Insert Witty Title Here

As I lay here with my compression sleeves on, drinking Skratch Pineapple electrolytes and hoping to hell my knees are up for the Grouse Grind on Tuesday, I figure it should probably do a quick blog post.

First off, no I am not dead. But between this heat, the hang over I had last weekend on my run, and knowing what the next 13 weeks have in store for me, it does seem like an option worth considering… Just kidding… Maybe.

Once Seek The Peak was done, my 16 week training plan by the Beast Coach herself, Solana went into effect. Let’s just say it’s not a walk in the park, but there was no cursing as I looked over the plan. It involves running, hill training, speed work, back to back, and more or less pushing my body when I am tired to not give up. Did I mention hills?

So what have I been doing? Well, the last 3 Sundays in a row, my training runs have been distances of 21.1km or greater. Yes, 3 weeks in a row I have ran a half marathon, and then kept on trucking.

I hit a new Personal Best last Tuesday with Nikki on the Grouse Grind which was amazing!20140713-212320-77000799.jpg

I have definitely kicked my own ass in my speed work, and along the way found myself the best Friday night run partner possible. I’ve also gotten out to run with people I haven’t had the chance to in ages, and people I had never ran with before. I have people willing to do crazy stupid long distances on trails with me to help me get in my time. Heck I have people who WANT to run with me and help me, and it’s beyond amazing.

I have also swore like a banshee, and vow never to run another 50k once Baker Lake is over. Yes, I said it. I am not running another one. Let’s hope I a woman of my word this time.

But I have had the chance to see some amazing views, and that’s how I will end this. With pictures. Because really, I am way too tired to think.

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Golden Ears 5 Peaks

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So let me tell you about this shirt… This shirt was what you got for buying a 5 Peaks Season Pass, which is all 5 races for the season in a discount bundle, which I was beyond excited for last November. So excited, in fact, that I found a back door way to register before registration was officially open. Apparently it caused a bit of…. Excitement? Sorry guys!

Anyhow this shirt was what I snagged at the first race of the 2014 season at Golden Ears Park. Having run the orientation a few weeks before, and after my little “breakdown” over BMO I played it safe and went with the 8km Sport course race day. We also received this kickass Buff as our race swag. Seriously best swag ever!’

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Race day started out cold, wet and dreary. In other words, I was stoked. I was glad to not be stressed about the time and just to get out and enjoy myself. It’s always nice to not to feel the need to race the clock, and instead just enjoy yourself.

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We started out in small waves, more or less you segment yourself to how you feel you will do, with both Enduro and Sport leaving together. I think I went mid pack, with Krista, Stephanie and a bunch of others. Krista ran off ahead of me, and I just started off glad to be out on the trails.

We hit the first water crossing and like any delicate lady, I ran right through it getting my socks and shoes soaked. Krista was there waiting for me, so we decided we would run together. She told me a few times to go ahead, and I had no desire. We ran BMO together and dammit we were going to run this together too.

Muddy shoes, muddy legs, and awesome climbs. After a while I am not sure if it stopped raining or I just didn’t notice it.

But the one thing that didn’t go away? I had to pee. And when I get bouncing downhill, it gets bad. Finally on the last 2ish km of the course there was a trail that branched to the right, and I told Krista I would be back. Only a few of the runners directly behind me started to follow me, instead of seeing the go straight signs. Nothing says embarrassment like telling someone you are running off course to pee.

With that done, away we trudged for the last few km’s. We crossed the finish line at 1:20:02 and it was great!

I always find 5 Peaks races to be well organized, with amazing volunteers, tons of hugs and encouragement. I also love how on the trails, everyone who passes you shouts encouragement and tells you what an awesome job you are doing. It’s amazing really.

So my verdict for this race? Gorgeous scenery, excellent organization and kickass swag. I’ve also managed to obtain a bunch of 5 Peaks swag over the last year….

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So if you haven’t tried trails, do it! Enjoy them and get off the road. Muddy legs required.

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Weekend Trail Love

So after pounding out the pavement for the last few weeks, I finally had the chance this weekend to get back on the trails with some friends. Saturday I was planning on hitting up Buntzen Lake with Suzanne, Nicole and whomever else wanted to for 20k. Sunday was the 5 Peaks Golden Ears Race Orientation.

First off, I LOVE the fact that most local trail races have orientation runs. I love the ability to get out with others to run the race course, and get to see what I am up against for race day. Also, with being so new to trails and not knowing the area it gives me a sense of comfort.

Saturday did not go quite to plan. I did the first loop of LakeView Trail, slow and steady. My body felt great and the views were awesome. But common sense prevailed. I had not been on trails for a while. I was planning on doing 14k the next day and I had just come off a hard week of 2 road halfs. So I only did the first loop

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Sunday again did not go as planned. I balked on doing the 14k Enduro course. My legs were still tired and stiff from Saturday, and I knew I would be extremely slow and sluggish up the killer climb shown on the map. So I opted for the 8k Sport course instead. This was my first time ever running at Golden Ears and I must admit it was stunning. The terrains was not as technical as I thought it would be, and when I finished the Sport I felt guilty for not doing the other loop. Until I heard Russ say that the one climb felt like the grind. I knew then I made the right choice.

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My feet lately on trails have really been hurting. Realization that my favorite brand of socks Injinji were not thick enough made me sad. I had a few people suggest trying their trail socks, which would make sense. I’ve been wearing the lightweight which are awesome but too thin. So I went and bought 2 pairs at MEC of trail socks to see how they work.

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As long as this damned headache that has been haunting me for a week allows, I will be giving them a test tomorrow at the Ladies of The Trail run after work. Pretty excited to see how they feel, especially if they help keep my feet drier after trudging through the water.

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Tuesday Trails in North Van

One of my twitter “friends” Solana is a big reason on why I wanted to get out and do some trail running. This chick is a beast on the trails and seriously kicks ass. So when she invited me to come out and run with 5Peaks Ladies of the Trail on Tuesdays I jumped at the chance.

Every Tuesday we meet at 6:30 in North Van, all skill levels and ages to get out and run the trails. I was extremely nervous this week, as I wasn’t sure what my skill level would be like and did not want to hold anyone up with my pace.

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Waiting in my car for the others to arrive.

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Shoes on and good to go!! Loving my Salomon Speed Cross 3’s!!

We ran roughly 8k of trails in 1:15 and I sat about mid pack. I learned rather quickly I am good to power up the hills but had no clue on how to properly run downhill. Solana came up and gave me some advice on how to hold my body and what to do, which made my declines a lot easier. I love that she noticed what I was doing and gave pointers to help me out.

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Blurry mid trail shots of the run.

The end of the run was a trail called Homestead and it was all up. Solana challenged me to push it the last bit, and I wasn’t sure how much I had left I the tank but I am not one to turn down a challenge so I put my head down and pushed it. Felt so good to get to the top and still be mobile.

I am not going to lie, the run was so outside my comfort zone that a few times during the run I wondered what the heck I was thinking. Having the other ladies there, all strangers and all so encouraging made me realize that stepping outside that zone can be so worth it.

On the jog back to the car, we got chatting about my weight loss and Solana got the idea to focus on one lady a week and what got us to trail running. I felt extremely touched and honored her first post was on me.

I also decided to push my comfort zone even more. We are running Buntzen on the 14th and instead of the 10k course, I am going to challenge the 15.5k Trail instead. Not sure which one I will do the day of the 5Peaks Buntzen so I am going to wait until I tackle the course and decide.

I am excited to be a part of the 5Peaks Ladies of the Trail group and cannot wait to see what comes up down the road. I have already set my race for next year and am stoked to challenge and push myself even more.

Burnaby Lake, Buntzen and a solo 15k

This week I was extremely thankful for friends, otherwise I might never have left my couch. Motivation has not been there and I didn’t know what to do.

Tuesday, I got to see the beyond wonderful Melissa, and we went and ran Burnaby Lake, which is where we will be running our next half Marathon October 20th, the Rubber Ducky

It was my first time running there, so it was really great for us to run, take some pictures and just have a good visit. I had missed running and even just hanging out with her.

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Friday was my first official trail run through Buntzen Lake. A friend of mine on twitter hikes there all the time and we had decided once I was back up and good to go after surgery we would tackle it together. The deal was I set the pace, and that worked for me. I was worried I was going to hold him back, but Jared assured me it would be ok.

It was amazing!! Being out on the trails, dodging rocks and tree stumps, tackling the incline and declines, just felt so freeing!! And the view was outstanding as well.

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We managed to knock 10-15 minutes off his time so I think in the end we were both happy. And only once was there threats of being vomited on… And I didn’t make those threats. I did have a bit of squeaking running over the suspension bridge and the next day every bone in my body hurt like hell. But so so worth it.

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And the fact I have a half coming up in just under 2 months, and the longest run I had done was 12k… My stress level was slightly rising. With my body still being sore after my run on Friday, hips and abs aching like mad, I didn’t want to run at all.

But after grocery shopping, I realized that if I didn’t get out and run, that I might start slipping back into my old ways. So I got dressed, geared up and decided I was going to run a route I had never done before but always thought about. Which meant I had no clue the actual distance I was going to run.

I have been running 5 and 1 intervals, but decided after talking with someone that going back to 10 and 1 might be my best option. My run ended up being 15.14k (garmin messed up partway through so I had to reset 2.14k in) with 2 killer hills. Sitting at 10-11k and knowing I was at 176/Fraser and still had to run UP Fraser Hwy, I wanted to cry.

Just at that point some asshat driving by yelled “get moving you fucking fat ass” out his window. Made me so mad, which helped me push myself up the hill (stopped partway due to urge of vomit). My pace was amazing through the whole run. I was under 7 min/km overall which was incredible for me.

I figure if I can keep that up for another 6k, I’d be able to hit my goal of a 2:30 half by October. But either way, I am glad I found my motivation today and got out and pushed myself. It was weird doing a long solo run, but you gotta do what you gotta do right?

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