Sunday, December 27, 2009

Dogsledding VS. Ultra Running

Dogsledding as a Christmas Present
We head back to Invermere  B.C. for Xmas and I find out my dad got us a 'dogsledding tour'. I was a bit unsure at first, but once we went to Toby Creek Adventures and were driven past Panorama ski hill,  to a camp the excitement built up. We met the mushers and helped hook up the dogs. Megan and I were strapped in securely, and Jim and Aaron(the musher) were at the back.   The dogs were smaller, and friendlier than expected. Once the harnesses were hooked up they went nuts! With all the howling etc, you would think they were at some major race!!
Dogsledding Vs. Ultrarunning
OFF we went... faster than I expected.  We get to chatting with the musher. He has done the Iditarod - wow!  So I start the questioning:
1."Do you usually start this fast??"- answ- 'no- we start slow at the start- Save up for the end'
2."What do you do at checkpoints/camp?"
- answ- " we give the dogs nutrition and look after their feet"
3."What type of fuel do they use?"
- answ- "dogs burn fat like we burn carbs". Their diet is largely fat".
 -Immediately after a workout, they are fed a high fat treat
4."What kind of Mileage do they practice?"
-answ- "10 miles, 3 times a day now...we build up/peak/taper"
4."How do you determine which dogs are fit for the race?"
- Answ- their build (perfect lean/muscle), their feet (compact) and their ability to eat during a race. If they cant eat during stress, they will not make the race!! ...

I can certainly see the similarities with ultrarunning!   The head musher thought that with our training so far, we would make great mushers in a multistage dogsled race. 30-40 degrees C below.... no thanks! Not to mention that when Jim got to drive alone, the sled was headed toward a rock so he.. LET GO!(#1 no-no in dogsledding), leaving his poor wife (me) and daughter strapped tightly  into the sled,pulled blindly by the dogs, tilting at a 45 deg angle as we went up the side of the rock!  Thank god the head musher got control of them. We finished off the chilly trip with hot chocolate around the fire, amidst beautiful scenerey.
Of Course we RAN
With no immediate races, it was nice just to run for fun (and keep some level of conditioning over the winter).
Over the week we were in the kootenays, only two days it warmed up to minus 10-15 degrees. Warm enough to run without your nostril hairs freezing together.

12 mile out and back run (6 mi up/6 down) along endless logging roads back into the Purcell mountains.

When the snow got too deep to run on the logging roads, we resolved to do a 15 mile run out on pavement through farmland.  7 miles out in the boondocks, we come across a guy in a mack jacket, with a large axe on his right shoulder stumbling out of the bush..."Melvin! " I holler with excitement.  I was certainly glad to see this farmer I knew from years back, but I was more excited /relieved that I knew who the dude was with the axe! ahhh, only in the Kootenays.

Well, after a wonderful Christmas in Invermere with my Parents , its back to Vancouver, and running in the rain. Its a price I gotta pay to have the warmer temperatures  :)


Thursday, December 10, 2009


Yaaay! the Diez vista 50 K is happening!!! This is a MAJOR goal of my running.
Here is the  short story;
- After breaking my tibfib I get into trail walk/running for my rehab.
-My first trail race is the 5 peaks diez vista ( only 14km section). I place top10. psyched.
-I show up to view the 'crazies ' doing the 50 K diez vista finish line, um, 4 yrs ago.
-I watch Susan Evans cross the line- WOW!  I am so impressed by a woman in such great shape.
-It is now a DREAM  to do this race'. I show up to cheeer the 50K finishers every year .
- Jim and I train... me recovering from a broken leg, him from a pulmonary embolism (welder, 2 pack a day smoker- obviously he quit)
-Did  several trail races and a 3:34 marathon together- NOT the endgoal... was training for the 50K
-Did the Frosty 50 K .  NOT the endogoal... was just practice for the Diez vista..
-Find out the Diez vista might not occur--oh no! ... and now the great news . It is happening! Yaaay!

.... I'm actually thinking of a post race party as I live 5 min away from the finish. Hmm. Luv2run, luv2 party!


Saturday, November 28, 2009

And this is why I run...

After Schlopping around in the rain in Vancouver this last month, Jim and I decided to take advatage of a deal to Palm springs. Aaaaah, sunny Palm Springs! Hot, dry, 25-30 degrees.

Not  so much for 'winning' or  a 'tight butt', but more so I can adventure through backcountry and see things that others could never see! I am my own 'tour bus'. But instead of sitting in a stuffy bus, seeing only the touristy things.  I get to feel the terrain, smell the air, touch the plants and go places a tour bus could never go!!!

While staying in Palm Canyon Drive area, we would look up at the mountains wondering...where the trails are. With some local investigation and driving around we found the LYKKEN TRAIL!

Short warmup on the road, then straight up switchbacks for 1.2 miles or so to immediate vistas! Then, a fun  run alongside the mountain with views of Palm Springs below.  What a Beautiful way to start our day!

Cool trail.

We ran until we basically hit , well ,a cliff. I believe it is called Taquiz Canyon. Again, beautiful views.  We met a lady who did  a hike straight up every Sunday for 18 years. She was unaware this longer/more gradual trail existed. Funny how people get in a rut.

We shared our love of the outdoors with our Daughter. We did a very interesting hike thru the oasis then up top of Indian Canyons.  A lovely 2-3 mile easy, hot hike.  She thouroughly enjoyed it.


Of course, any visit to Palm Springs should include the drive thru Joshua Tree National Park. Amazing trees,landscape and rock formations. Nice campgrounds with lots of rock climbers. There is actually a climber on the TOP of the phallic rock on the right. Amazing.

Of course, the trip includes shopping, drinking, and lounging by the pool. But those events weren't nearly as memorable as the adventures above.  I can't wait to go back. There is soo much more to see and do! I want to hike more in Joshua tree, and go visit the 'Salton Sea"- the start of Badwater race, etc, etc,

I think we were the only ones in Palm Springs who diddn't golf!  ha ha !


Saturday, November 7, 2009

Down time adventures in Vancouver

So, we trained all summer for our first 50 K, did it, then I ran a 30 K just for fun in the mud.  Not many races to prep for so we put our energies into family life active adventures  in the lower mainland as follows:


Beautiful hike. Only about 5 K right in the middle of suburbia.  We brought Megan along, and took it easy since we did our 3 hr run earlier that morning. I love this picture. Someone painted 'REST' on the tree. Megan took it literally The Falls themselves were beautiful . Will Certainly visit on a hot summer day. Lots of nice 'pools' to soak in. i was a bit sore after as I was wearing high heels! I diddn't know we were doing a hike till it was too late.

First time there. MUCH nicer than the teen hangout Cultus lake. TONS of hikes in the area. The picture below is a 2 hr straight uphill hike we did to a glacier lake . Beautiful!

What is weird is that in the middle of bf nowhere we come across a sign saying 'transcanada trail'. Wow, its everywhere!

Eagle bluff:
A beautiful trail with about 20-30 mins of switchbacks. Megan loves this trail. She talked the whole way up. Funny how kids like to talk when hiking.  This is one of my favorite bridges. Soo pretty.  At the top you look down to buntzen lake and the mountains. Very rewarding short hike. I am so pleased my tween daughter can also appreciate it. She diddn't want to leave.

Figured we had done enough trailwork and should maybe try the flat. Still working on tying to get our speed back.  Found this great 19 km circuit in Pitt meadows we ran with friends. Lovely wide open spaces. the flat was certainly a wake up call. I can not believe we were actually hurting after only 19k! Maybe I'll postphone that 1/2 marathon for a while. hee hee.

The lower mainland is such a beautiful place to adventure thru. There is sooo much in just our back yard. There is always new places to discover.  I look forward to discovering more incredible trails.


Sunday, October 18, 2009

Conquering Cultus 30K, and a Few Fears Along the Way

Conquering my Fears:

I LOVE running on the trails. I HATE driving in the city.

Why do I hate driving?
a) I grew up in a small one street town and
b)As a Physio, I treat many people who have been in horrible car accidents. So many bad stories.

Unfortunately, this fear of driving has prevented me from doing many running events I would love to do. So, as my own personal therapy I entered myself in a race "Round the lake give'r take 30 km" at Cultus lake. A whole 1 1/2 hr drive from my house.

White knuckled, I drove on the highway AND over a bridge AND in the dark AND in the pouring rain. My stomach was in knots by the time I arrived. Since the rain was hammering down, all the runners huddled under the tents. It was nice to visit with some old running colleagues, as well as meet some new ones.

By the time the pre race hype was started, my nerves melted away to be replaced by sheer excitement!

Seeing this pic, I'm thinking my trail running get-up looks pretty funny. But who cares, I'm in the bush! and will soon be very muddy!!

After taking it easy on the Frosty 50K, I was bursting at the seams to just go out and rip it up. This race totally satisfied my desires. It started with a nice flat loop to warm-up. I couldn't believe how fast people were going at the start, being so competitive at the beginning when its such a long race! The first hill was a steep one. I took my time and walk/ran it as was able, letting people pass me. I did learn a few things from the 50 K cuz then... the downhill... wooo hooo! my legs felt great and limber as I flew past those same people who were running rather apprehensively. The only person I did not catch up to was an amazing older lady wearing pink. Everyone seemed to know her.
Slip'n slide, jump'n glide thru the mud!! You couldn't avoid the muddy trench, you just ran thru it... sometimes literally skiing down the hill! It was soo fun. I did go off course a couple of times... and felt like I ran for a very long stretch of 20 min or so alone without seeing any markers. I was kinda leary of where I was. Then finally, a marker. Yaay! I'm still on course! There was a beautiful road run with trees overhanging. Unfortunately, if I came across a large puddle, it was either step IN it and get wet or, go AROUND it and get a tree branch in your face. So I ran thru most of them. The trail shot me out onto a field, then by a monastary, then the road.
Second Half
Ugh, the road, a long, pounding downhill, then slight up. My short legs, and the metal in my left tibia do NOT like pavement. Thank god we hit the trail again. At the 17km mark I see the lady in pink resting. I'm like... keep going, you're doing great! then I find out she was doing the relay! no wonder I couldn't catch up to her.
Up teapot hill I walk/run, winding my way up. I enjoyed a visit I had with another runner who I always passed on the uphill, then he passed me on the downhill and flats. Then some jerk flies past me saying " don't you hate it when you suck on the second half and people pass you"... well, my running friend informed me this guy was in the relay and was just starting. Grrr. There were great motivational signs going up the hill "you've come this far, you can finish" etc. Someone had a sense of humour when they put up the sign that said "you are almost at the top". Pffft, right! I ran for another 15 mins uphill AFTER that sign.
Bring it Home
After the top, there was a very, very Long downhill. Wished it was more technical, but was soo fun to fly down. Legs still feeling great. Head was a bit silly. I had been running by myself for a good 1/2 hr now and started to sing to keep myself entertained. Some theme from a game show I think. My thermolytes fell out somewhere before the start so I just ate chips/drank refresh at the aid stations to try to keep my electrolytes up. Good to see I could run without the thermolytes as a 'crutch'. So, back into civilization I come, run along the road, then around the beach. The beach! run in sand after 25 km or so? I just kept reminding myself of my friends who will be doing it every day at Marathon De Sables so I shouldn't complain.
I finished in 3:05 or so and felt great! Very wet and muddy, but great! Soaked in the lake, got changed, enjoyed some yummy chicken soup, then took cover under the tents as the rain storm picked up.
Nice Suprise
As I was busy chatting/eating etc, I was pleasantly suprised to find out I

won my age group! Not only was this a well organized race with a fun course, great support and great food, but I even got a medal! Later that night the results were posted, and I was even more impressed to see I was second female! The first, Nicola Gildersleeve, was like 30-45 mins ahead of me- She is certainly in a totally different class of runners, but I was still pleased. Maybe due to the rain some of the better runners stayed home in bed that day. What was most important was that I did the drive, did the run, and had a really FUN day.
And now, its back to the family, back to reality...laundry,gardening,cleaning, and of course, back to work. What a wonderful escape today was.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


Frosty Mountain 50K in Manning Park
What a GREAT way to celebrate this years worth of training.
The Night Before:
After training all summer for our first 50Km run, we were remarkably calm the night before, going over maps and packing . Unfortunately, JIM spent a lot of time in the bathroom with the stomach flu!

The race started at 8am. It was 5 degrees C and raining. Lubed up and ready to go. It started flat along little muddy trail. Jim and I constantly telling each other to 'slow down'. Only 3 miles into the run I trip-full on mud surf. Good fun. The muddy bog was nice and soft. After a long road of switchbacks we hit some pretty single track trails. Then JIM lost a glove so we ran back to get it cuz another runner saw it. Unfortunately, our good samaritan got stung 3 times! and had to DNF in the end. I'm sure he will be back for more. It happens to the best of them.

Going UP:

Feeling great by the time we hit the alpine meadows. The trees were getting scarce so finding a place to pee became a bit concerning at this point.

Finally the steep 1000m climb up to top of Mount Frosty. We did feel the altitude at 7,900 feet. It was ABSOLUTELY BEAUTIFUL up there.... even if it was windy and sleeting. But I still LOVED IT! as you can see from the video below;

The run down from frostywas a BLAST!! we hit the 27 Km in less than 4 hrs and were feeling great. I found it interesting how you get kinda 'puffy' at altitude.

The Drama Continues: Jim is injured

THEN running along lightning lake JIM hits a rock and hyperdorsiflexes his foot and hears a loud 'snap'. We figured he was done... but no, he could run.... with LESS pain in his plantar fasciae ever. So along we go up Skyline one trail. I only had to run back once to get JIM's toilet paper he dropped. He is not done yet!

Now Jim is Out for sure!

At about 30 Km JIM turns pasty white, is dizzy and severely lacking energy. I figure he was done again ! His stomach flu came back to haunt him. I couldn't just leave him there in the woods... and I couldn't build a rickshaw to carry him down. At 200 lbs, he was too heavy to piggy back. So I conceded to let go of 'competing' and just run behind Jim, letting him set the pace. I had no choice cuz apparently if I ran ahead of him it ''brought him down''. It was hard for me, a real test of self restraint, and a test of our relationship.

I thought I dropped a glove and ran back down the hill to look for it. I had lots of time with Jims current pace. I'm thinking I ran more than 50 kms by the end of the race. tee hee.

We make it to the 32km Aid station. I inhaled the munchie mix and cheezies! Jim forced down a gel.. and I suggest he refuel with pure water- good choice because he started to get better.

Jim digging deep to push the last 20 kms.

Me full of energy, having much more fun than Jim at this point. I think my singing 'Peanut butter Jelly time " was a bit annoying for the poor guy. I marked a point on the map- the furthest we have ever trail ran (22 miles). The rest was unchartered territory. Lo and behold Jim perks up AFTER this point and starts running agin- Yippee!!

Running along Skyline there are about three peaks. You just think you are done, then you see another peak! 778m climb in total. But the views looking back were again, beautiful.
Down,down,down we ran. Me knees were starting to feel it. The 42 km aid station seemed so far.
Running thru the Campground;
Maybe it was my mindset, but I thought it was hilarous finishing off the race running through a campground ! People sitting all relaxed by their campfire, having a beer, watching 'the freaks' run by. I remember very clearly smelling the hamburger and cheezies a guy had... which he offered to me. I damn near stopped running to sit down with him at his campsite. But DNF'ing ONE km before the end would be just silly, but kinda funny.
In the End:
We ran/walked to the finish line to finish at 7 hr 38 mins. We did the corny thing and 'held hands' when we crossed the finish line. The crowd of 15 went wild. We did it! WE did it!!
Nutrition: about 800-1000 cals. Loved my home made date bars at the start, and the carbopro gel at the end. Drank about 4 L of water, and popped some thermolytes. Had to pee, like, 4 times on the run! Jim diddn't go at all for about 9-10 hours... dehydrated or what! I kept hounding him to drink, but his stomach was limiting what he could take in.
The pumpkin dessert (made by Gottfried??) went down great at the end of the race.
Lessons Learned:
Though I was frustrated with the slowed pace, I now realise it was a godsend. This enabled me to do what I was always envious of other runners.... not to race, but to enjoy the scenery, take pictures, chat with people, make memories . In the end we both FINISHED- that was the goal. I finished feeling fabulous, and feel great the week after... making the whole experience an enjoyable one. Other runners told me this was hardest 50k they ever did... which gives me confidence for future runs.
We are already discussing our next run.. Perfect!
Loving every minute of it;

Jim, me and Gottfried:

Had to Hike 'HEATHER TRAIL" the next day.

Views from Heather trail;

Looks like a nice run... if I could have actually ran the next day.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

now I'm freaking for my first 50 K

Yup, I am up late after work. Why? can't sleep. Why?? thinking about my first 50 K run EVER. I know I have trained, I have done several 4 hr and a 5 hr run over the summer. But now the time is nigh.... what to pack, how to rest, etc. With the tapering I have tons of energy. Cleaned the house , did baking, groc shop, and weed eating of a 1/2 acre before noon... then worked till 10:30 tonight. I will try to rest more tomorrow.

I just want this to be a positive experience. Maybe lead to more 50 K's..... not one of those 'I'll never do it again' things. So many other people have done multiple 50 Ks and more, so there must be some joy in it. Even moreso, I hope my husband will 'enjoy' it. He is nursing a sore heel, and I hope it doesn't hold him back. I guess we will see.... we will see.

Thursday, September 10, 2009


"It is not a race but a celebration of all the hard work you have done"

That is what I keep telling myself. The other is ;

" It is not the destination, but the journey"

And damn, it has been a great journey training for this.

Well, we did our whole 'peaking thing' 3-4 weeks before the run. Two 75 mile weeks (including X-trianing) Much less info out there for specific 50 K trail runs than a marathon, which has Tons of exact guidelines. Even less for the taper- So I'll wing it. Looks like 4-5 mile /occas 6 mile two weeks before, avoiding speed and hill training? -its gonna be hard when you feel great!

THIS IS A NEAT PIC FROM THE TRANS CANADA TRAIL ALONG BARNETT MARINE PARK. Very nice trail from Port moody. Apparently we can make it all the way into Vancouver if we get the tides right. Will try next time!!

Funny part is, we tried a different trail from "harry jerome bubble thing' back home. Looked great at start but it was total bushwackin the rest of the way. FUN (sort of, if you were a guy)


We did Sasamat, Diez Vista, around Buntzen, only part way up power lines then back. At 4 1/2 hrs Jims sore heel made him walk. Pretty damn good for him. Cuz I'm a freak and wanted to run 5 hrs, I finished the rest of the time on the treadmill. It was more of a mental accomplishment than physical.

Jim is slowly recovering from his Plantar Fasciitis. Hey, he ran 4 1/2 hrs ! He is finally respecting his injury and decided BIKING is the way to go.

So... we pull into the bike shop... he tells ME

"we are NOT buying anything, only looking".

I look away for awhile, next thing I see is Jim out with the Credit card buying a Cannondale!!

Oh well, He deserves it- he had the same bike for like, 20 years! no kidding! he paid homage to deep cove bike shop big time.


So, a great way to finish off our training for our first 50 K was to go and support some great running friends we met this year for their stage race at MARATHON DE SABLES.

Friends come and go through life. But there is something about running with someone for 4 hours.... I feel like I know them more than some of my longer term friends- weird. .. Maybe we get bored and open up ?? Hmm... Maybe I should take my daughter for a run! I am looking forward to meeting more crazy runners.

Since we were actually home Sunday morning . (shorter run-taper thing ) We got to see these four bears, plus a fifth. All enjoyed our crabapple tree immensesly. Entertainment every year.!


I guess the next post will be the actual run... yikes! Afraid... but Very alive.


Sunday, August 9, 2009

Penticton Vacation and ULTRAMAN

What a great start to our ''training vacation". We watched the finish line of ULTRAMAN to inspire us. Wow! 10 km swim, 400+ km bike then 84 km run!! in Penticton heat and smoke!!

AMBER MONFORTE- Wins the womens, breaking the record by 3 1/2 hours!! What an amazing woman!! No only was she an amazing athlete who worked full time... but apparently she finished each stage with a tequila shooter... now thats my kinda girl! For more info:

This was one of the first four guys... 3 of them from italy. There was a big whooplah. I was impressed with the size of the guy. Is it a common misconception that you have to be small to be fast?? inspration for my 6 ft 3"" husband.

And on to the actual HOLIDAY! :
GOAL: Endurance training, 75 miles running ( or similar xt);Learn to enjoy more biking.
ACHIEVED: two ten mile runs ; two 40 mile 5 1/2 hr bike rides in 4 days. ??bottles of wine consumed. tee hee.
LOVED 10 mile runs penticton to OK falls. Stopped once at a good ol' diner at OK falls. Jim ate some huge farmers scramble with eggs/bacon/cheeze/potatoes etc.... then ran back. I don't think he will have stomach problems for our 50 K!

We did a bike ride thru Naramata to ''wine taste''. It was so beautiful we never stopped to do the tasting. Biked 40 miles. The most I have ever biked in my life - I quite enjoyed this!.
Biking thru Naramata Vinyards :

Kettle Valley 40 mile bike ride: 20 miles uphill, in the sand, against the wind, for 3 1/2 hrs. I did not find this enjoyable... but it was a good workout. Tired after the 5 1/2 hrs of biking.
Beautiful tunnels at the beginning... but it just went uphill from there. No wonder everyone was going in the opposite direction to us.

The map:

Back and forth, up and up...

lie down at the end at Chute lk:

To make it that much more enjoyable, Jim got a massive flat tire at 18 mi out . He rode 6 mi in then some old rock picker picked us up. Thank god. I know we could have ran back.

I want to GARBAGE his old hard tail bike. I think its 20 yrs old from deep cove bike shop! Give it up Jim!

We started to get into biking. No pounding on the joints but still a great workout! love it- but need better equipment.

Dirt to Dining: Total Vancouverite
Finish sweaty, dirty bike ride...cleaned up in the lake at Naramata... then off to Penticton Casino for some classy dining. A perfect day!

Back home:
Great stop at Manning Park just before East entrance. I could spend a week here! I hoped to do part of the frosty 50k run but Jims foot (plantar fasciitis) was too sore. ..And back to Van we go.
Great trip, great work at cross training- liking the bike thing! Highly recommend BANBURY green for camping . Its betw penticton and ok falls. Access to the KVR. Bit more $, but most sites on skaha lk with your own private beach. LOVELY!!