Thursday, June 27, 2013


When my alarm went off this morning, I reset it for an hour later and told myself it was okay, I’d run after work. I laid there for 10 minutes – wide awake – and realized I actually really wanted to get up and do my run.

So I did.

I peeled myself out of bed, got dressed, slammed back some water and OJ, woke up a sleeping Rust-beast, strapped on the ol’ Garmin, and together, the Colonel (aka Rusty) and I happily headed out the door into the grey, rainy morning.

The feeling of wanting to get out of bed and run, of wanting to hit the hill and run 1min repeats over and over, has been a bit of a foreign feeling in recent weeks.

I don’t know why I find it hard to admit sometimes, but I’ve definitely been struggling with training lately. All the running, running, running, has been taking its toll on me.

It’s funny, because by the end of the 3 easy weeks post-marathon I was itching to get back at things. I wanted the structure and the hard workouts. I wanted to start building up for TRR and I couldn’t wait to really get going again.

Unfortunately, it seemed that as soon as the structure and hard work reappeared, my body wasn’t having it. I felt constantly tired and super heavy on every single run. Couple that with a lot of solo running and the doubts (and a bit of negative self-talk) started to creep in.

Thankfully, this past weekend (when I probably needed it most) I had two pretty great days of running and I could definitely start to feel a little spark of excitement reigniting in me.

So, you want to hear about the weekend? Well, okay...

Saturday morning Kirsten and I met up bright and early at Mt. Finlayson. We parked in Goldstream and headed up and over the mountain and into Gowlland Tod. We weren’t moving fast, but the conversation was flowing and the time and kms were ticking by. Before I knew it, we were back at the car and making plans for Sunday morning’s run.

Sunday we met up with a trail running group at Thetis. It was a small turnout for the group as a lot of their people were up doing the Kusam Klimb, but I think that actually made for a great (and less overwhelming) introduction. Not to mention, it was kind of nice to be able to actually chat with and meet the guys who were there.

Anyway, the plan was to run Stewart Mountain. Since Kirsten and I usually get lost when we are trying to run the Stewart Mountain loop, I think we were both kind of excited for this. We headed out with the group, and the leader promptly took a wrong turn and got us lost, haha. It was kind of hilariously awesome and definitely made Kirsten and I feel better about our constant wrong turns. Once back on track, we headed up Scafe Hill and Stewart Mountain and I made lots of mental notes about which turns to take and which turns to avoid. The time absolutely flew by and once again, before I knew it, we were back at the car.

The group was incredibly welcoming and a lot of fun and I look forward to running with them on many more Sundays in the future.

So, with that solid (and fun) weekend of running behind me and my desire to actually get out of bed and do my workout this morning, I’m hopeful that the heaviness and the struggle I’ve been feeling lately is on the way out.

I know there will still be plenty of days where my legs feel like lead and the warm bed seems more appealing than the early morning miles, but I think I’m on the right track.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Running. Running. Running.

Running. Running. Running...
Yep, that’s what I’ve been up to lately. Running. Up and down hills. On trails. Very. Hilly. Trails. I’m not going to lie, my body is tired.

I think I had this mindset of “I’ve done Ironman, I can do anything” when I agreed to do TRR with Kirsten, and while I still totally believe that, recently I’ve also definitely been realizing how hard a certain 6 days in the Colorado Rockies this August are really going to be. I’m slightly scared. Excited and still optimistic about the adventure that awaits, but yeah, pretty freakin’ scared none-the-less.

I ran just shy of 60k up and down hills in about 6.5hrs this Friday, Saturday and Sunday combined and my legs pretty much felt like they were going to fall off by Sunday night. Actually, that’s a bit of a lie ~ while Friday and Saturday’s runs were on hilly terrain, I did cheat and ran on nice flat trails on Sunday (even though I should have been hitting the hills).

My defiance of my training calendar was worth it though and while my Sunday run was flat and still uber-slow, it turned out to be a pretty fun one and a nice mental break.

Why was that you ask? Well, let me tell you…
Kirsten and Shane were racing the Victoria Triathlon at Elk Lake. I once again waffled about signing up for the sprint distance, but decided I didn’t feel like paying the big bucks to go out and give a half-assed effort (as I knew I would still have to be running long through the weekend) and really, I was being a big wuss and didn’t want to race on a super tired body. So, I spectated instead!

Shane did the sprint, and Kirsten was racing the half. I happily watched all the action with my Mom & Dad and once Shane was finished his race, I headed out on my run around the lakes (heading in the opposite direction of the racers).

The first few kms were pretty lonely, but soon enough the leader of the Olympic distance passed me, then the half leader, and then more and more athletes started to stream by. I think I cheered or clapped for every person (and some cheered and clapped back at me, which was awesome) and it was simply just a wonderful, happy distraction from my own running.

One other random non-running related note:
Last Wednesday the weather gods smiled on us, and Shane and I finally got to take part in the Learn to Ride clinic we had signed up for at the Velodrome.

It was great fun and once I got over my fear of the fixed gear bikes (whatever you do, don’t stop pedaling!), it was a blast. Who knew riding in circles could be so much fun? Okay, well maybe I did already know that - but it was definitely reaffirmed.

Also, highlight of the night: when the instructor told Shane I pedaled like a roadie and not like a triathlete. This made me oddly happy, haha.

That is all for now... Happy Trails!

Monday, June 10, 2013

GutBuster Duncan, Mt. Tzouhalem

I did my first official trail race this weekend. GutBuster Duncan at Mt. Tzouhalem.

The plan was for Kirsten and me to run it together and get a sense of what it will be like to run together at TRR later in the summer. That may sound strange, as we do run together fairly often, but I guess what I’m getting at is that it was a chance to run together in a race setting. That said, I had absolutely no expectation and didn’t really go into it with a “racing” mindset (oops, sorry Kirsten).

I’ve been doing a lot of running on hilly trails lately, with lots of big back to back days on the weekend. This is still somewhat new for me and while I am having fun with it and enjoying the newness of it all, I’m also quickly realizing that I kind of suck at trail running. I'm not super agile at this point in my trail running career, and well, I definitely spend a lot of time hiking up very steep hills cursing my cramping calves and wondering if it will get easier (which I know it will, I just want it to be easier NOW).

Anyway, the race. I knew I had to follow up Saturday’s GutBuster with a VERY hilly long run on Sunday, so perhaps that is why my mindset going into the race was more “have fun and just survive” than it was “race!!”

So yeah, was it fun? You bet – especially once we got to the top of the mountain and got to start our descent, haha.

We did a nice 30min warm up and although my calves were a bit tweaky and crampy during the warm up, I thought I had done enough that maybe they would be happy once we really got going.

Unfortunately, that was not the case. Things started okay, but at the first big climb, my calves felt like they were going to explode and so I had to start hiking (along with a lot of other people thankfully). Kirsten finds it easier to run, so she would trot on ahead and then wait for me.

I felt really bad and like I was holding her up, so did find myself getting slightly frustrated (not with Kirsten, but with myself and my body), but we eventually got into a nice rhythm and made it up to the summit together. The views were pretty amazing.

The back half of the race and the downhills were awesome – definitely my favourite part! I tucked in right behind Kirsten and I felt like we just flowed down the trails – even passing a few people on the way. We were moving quickly and pretty fluidly and it was a nice positive mental break from the frustrations I was feeling with my body on the climb up.

As we came out from the trails and raced toward the finish line Kirsten kept picking up the pace, telling me to go faster. I was feeling pretty maxed out but tried to surge to get beside her (or well, I’ll admit it – maybe I was trying to get in front of her), but she had my number and got the last step on me. Turned out our finishing time was exactly the same though and it resulted in a pretty good finish line photo. I was smiling, but I’m pretty sure I was also calling her a jerk as the photo was snapped.

Photo by Esrah Boulton:
Kirsten and I post-race with Torben.
Photo by Mom :) 
After a much needed sleep in on Sunday morning, Kirsten and I met up at Mt. Work and did a little hike/run-sploration around Gowlland Tod Park to round out the weekend. We made our way down to McKenzie Bight, up and around part of the Jocelyn loop (I think) and then up and down Mount Work.

I'll admit, at the start of the run, I was feeling really stiff in my joints and the uphills were feeling really tough (stupid calves, again). In short, I was struggling! I definitely had a few moments of thinking "I don't think I can do this” (the “this” in that statement being both that day’s run and TRR depending on the moment) but as the run wore on, I loosened up a bit and it slowly got better. By the end, I wasn't feeling too too bad. Don’t get me wrong, I was still fighting heavy tired legs, but was definitely in a better headspace.

Pretty views somehow make a tough run worth it.
So that was the weekend… and what I’m sure many weekends this summer will look like. I’ll keep plugging away on the trails and will hopefully start to see some gains. Perhaps I’ll get a little more nimble and quick, and perhaps my calves will stop hating me.

Off topic (kinda), in our journey to TRR this summer, Kirsten and I have decided to support Martin Parnell in his TransRockiesQuest 888 – a fundraising effort for Right to Play. Knowing how much our lives have been enriched with sport, it was an easy choice to try and raise some money for Right to Play. On top of that, every donation we receive will be matched by Right To Play partners 3 times!

For more information or if you'd like to donate, please check out our fundraising page here.