Monday, December 13, 2010


These videos  crossed my desktop and I thought I would share.  Too funny. Gotta watch.



Sunday, December 5, 2010

Love finding new trails.

BEAUTIFUL, Sunshiney day !
Long run, where to go....
Well, I found some trails on an adventure run with Jim this summer. I was excited to show them to my running friends today.  I love showing, and being shown new trails.

Depart from Anmore, some road, up past Aspenwood school, to powerline road (turnaround of DV 50 km) .We head up a trail and cross a river. Thank goodness for the ropes cuz the rocks were icy and super slippery! Hands were pulling me across, feet were doing very little.  I apologized for the ice and water, but thankfully my friends are tough and looked at it as an adventure. Off to some cool mountain bike trails, singing "deck the halls" , shot out into a pretty open trail.  We hit a road they recognized and up they went... behind the mountain, and up towards Cypress lake, up thru the snowline.  Part way up we took a single track trail down- back toward Buntzen , academy trail, and back home. A beautiful  3 hr circuit I must do again!  

And all this before noon !!
And all this in my 'back yard'
Life is good !

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Palm Springs Cold Adventures

After Jims  stay at the hospital (hey, it was all inclusive), I thought I would take him down to Palm springs for a REAL holiday.  It was Short and Sweet, but  little did we know, we would hit their 'winter condition warning"

Oooh,  high of 17-18 degrees  Celcius  (low 7-9) , 30 mph winds.  They knew we were Canadian cuz we were the only ones in shorts!

So instead of whining about the cold weather, we took advantage of cool things to do in the cool desert.

Cold Weather in Palm Springs Positives:
Beautiful sunrise's
Great weather for running, hiking, and SHOPPING!
Cheap hotel that includes breakfast (that carried me till dinner). Cheap food, big portions.
Cold weather forces us to ' Howard Hughes' hole up in the hotel... and hang out in the hot tub!

Adventures and Highlights
Visit to dessert interpretation center... as dark looming clouds crept in. Cool Ironic views.

Hike up to canyon.
Palm to pines highway drive. Windyfun
Shopping at Palm Desert- too lavish for my budget!!! but really nice art shops. Saw some scary looking plastic surgery/ botox mishaps.  

GREAT  10 mile run along ARTSMITH trail;
- Desert trails,
-Beautiful views of Palm Desert below

Now thats special. I don't know when I will ever see that again!

But to get that rainbow, we had to go thru some  wicked rain and wind- can't even hear what I have to say below;

And, isn't that just life.... you  can't have rainbows without a little rain.


Monday, November 15, 2010

Phantom Phun

Phantom 24 Km Run : North Vancouver

After volunteering at Fat Dog 100, I was given the added bonus of a free entrance to this run.  Both events are put on by Mountain Madness   Volunteering rocks!

I showed up just for fun,
And as you can see from the pic below- I definately had Fun ! ``runners high`` or what!
Fun HILLS , beautiful run along the RIVER , MUDDY technical return, and a sprint to the finish!
I enjoyed the MUD so much, I took a dive to really get into it (involuntary)

 I practiced 50km pace, taking the hills slow at the start to keep my HR down and prevent calf cramping.
As this is a 24 km, I was passed a I picked it up the second half.
I could not believe how much gas I had in the tank the last 4 miles.
2 hours in I was ready to race!... but it was over by then- too funny! Finished in 2:28
I will definately take this approach for my next 50 km though.

The race is reccommended;
It is well marked.
Great volunteers.
Diversity of terrain
Enough aid stations
Upbeat atmosphere
At about 1.5 hrs in I had a lovely visit with girl representing ``save our skin`` . She was so nice, but I never got her name. She beat me in the end- thanks for that final push !

I liked that (other than top 3) results were not posted at the could feel like I had a good run, based on how I felt, and not how I placed.

YUMMY post race food! Potluck. -wish I had some of their recipes.
The soup was sooo good! Best I`ve had in a long time.
  - Thank you Don Scott for not posting the horrible pic you took of me literally inhaling the soup- this one much better.  

It was a great fall  reunion with many runners I met over the summer.

I look forward to doing it again next year.

He sends me off to the race, telling me `they are calling for freezing rain and hurricane force winds!`Funny. 

The next day  : JIM  takes me on an 8 mile `recovery run` to  scope out some cool new trails in the heart of Belcarra forests, ending with a beautiful oceanside run.  Its so nice to run with my husband again! I love his sense of adventure.  Half way thru the run, I`m hurting, but I had to tell him `` you`re fun !`` .  Its amazing how quickly he is getting back into running. I had a hard time keeping up with him.


Sunday, November 7, 2010

Morning Running poem- The world flows by

This morning I opted out of a great hard training session with my usual group for an easy adventuresome run with my husband Jim as he recovers from illness.   His first long run on the trails : -10 miles! 2 hrs+ . Yeah baby!! and all because it became an adventure finding new trails!  Thank goodness I had my watch telling me we when to turn around cuz we could have gone forever!

I dropped him off, refueled at home ( best aid station ever! -running toilets and everything!) then kicked in a faster 7-10 miles. As the sun shone  thru the trees, I was so enthralled with the beauty of it all that I thought up this poem :

Morning Run

Air is crisp and clear,
Like no one is here
- Till I run by

Dew on leaves twinkling,
As if its winking
- As I run by

Sun filters through trees
As if to guide me
-So I run by

‘In the now’ is a thrill
Like I’m standing still
-And the world runs by

Heather V

I missed out on a good hard training run, but appreciated an adventure run.  It really did feel like I stopped running, and the world flowed by me.  It was beautiful today.


Friday, October 29, 2010

Getting Excited for Next Year!

Three sucessful 50 km 's this year.  Husband almost dies (but lived). Oldest daughter in university, youngest in middle school and competing in figure skating. Its been a busy year.

I took 3 easy weeks hiking/easy runs with my husband.  I enjoyed eating and drinking whatever I want and 'relaxing'.  Not suprisingly so, this has gotten boring quite quickly.

So now what?
Thankfully, I have a great running group. As my husband is out of the loop (for now), I thought I would just do the same old local races . But my friends have better plans! yaay! I am so there!
1. I LOVE the team/ friend/social aspect of runs- so much more fun than running a race alone.
2. I need a new challenge to keep me 'honest' with myself. 

"My Best friend is the one who brings out the best in me" - Henry Ford

So my plans for next year are :  tentatively....

March 19- Chuckanut  50 K
Apr 30- Capitopl peaks 50 mile - my first run exceeding 50Km and a gague for the death race.
May 15 - Tenderfoot Boogie possibly.. 50 mile or 50  km . May be too close to 50 mile above though.
July 31 ish - Canadian Death race- 125 km, ...17000 ft elevation gain . I'm so scaaaared!!!/Excited!!
Sept- Frosty mountain 50 Km. I have a bone to pick with this race. Haven't  ran the whole thing.

Its starting to look like an addiction.  Like, 50 km isn't enough? I'm looking for more to satisfy my running 'fix' !

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

First time the Wheels Fell Off

It wasn't even a race... just a nice long Sunday run with the gang.
45 minutes into a 3 hr run, hitting the second hill of ... Calf cramps! quad cramps! out of breath! WTF??

I felt fabulous otherwise (energy level etc), except that when I asked my legs to push me uphill... there was NOTHING there, like no blood was getting to my muscles.

I bowed out, told the gang they would probably spend the rest of the run waiting for me. I went back downhill and ran relatively flat to finish out a 2 hr run.  Hard to believe someone can feel like a loser only running 2 hours- but I did.

Literally depressed at my performance, I spent 1/2 the day trying to find an explanation.  The flu a week earlier ? Recent speedwork? Spending hours on a ladder?.
... Probably all of the above

So I ask myself :
"Why am I running if I end up mad at myself cuz I wasn't up to par one day?" 
After much introspection I remind myself: 
 " I run for fun, for health,  for adventure, personal accomplishment and socialization."  

Sometimes the fun gets lost in the seriousness of training.
Race season is essentially over, so why not cross-train,  take the pressure off and go have fun!!!
I think I'll go buy some snowshoes... Look up a cool hike , ride my bike,  and maybe even take a dip in the pool.
...And eat cookies : )


RETURNING to this post I reealize how I need to chllax. I am back at it with the gang and am catching up.   Why?
ROLLING !!!! ON the roller
AND I'm back doing  core exercises.
I am BACK on the WAGON!!!! the running wagon that is.  Yeah baby !!

Saturday, October 2, 2010


What are you afraid of? How does it limit you from living your life to your fullest?

Fear of the Doctor:
My husband is recovering from a serious illness… which brought on this discussion.
Was he afraid of yearly checkups for fear they might find something??

…. But had they found something, they may have prevented his current health issue!.

There is food for thought…Wouldn’t you kick yourself if the doc finds something that could have been fixed a few years ago if you saw him then?? Get that physical!

But it Expands from there- what else do you avoid because of fear?

Fear of Wildlife:

Some people never go enjoy the outdoors for fear of bears, pity! What they are missing!!! According to the wildlife research institute, people are 250 times more likely to be killed by lightning than a bear. The odds of being hit by lightning are 1 in 4.2 million. The odds of dying in a car accident are 1 in 20, 000. So put down the cell phone, put both hands on the wheel, quit worrying about bears!

Fear of Driving:

Well, that is definitely one of my fears- especially in the city. But when I added up all the great experiences I turned down because I was afraid to drive , it was again, a pity. I have since taken the wheel (albeit white knuckled) and have expanded my adventures outside of my little neighborhood. Doing so has expanded my life and independence- What a GREAT feeling!

Sad story of Fear:

In my clinical experience I recently came across someone who admitted she was afraid of intimacy and rejection so she chose to be obese on purpose! (I’m talking 300+ lbs and had a stroke in her 30's) . She DENIED herself health and happiness, just because of her fears! Whoah, give your head a shake!

So Get out there, do what you HAVE to do... do what you WANT to do,
and don’t let fear stand in your way!

And here are a few quotes for Motivation: 

The greatest mistake you’ll ever make is FEARING you’ll make one” . Elbert Hubbard
“You’ll ALWAYS miss 100% of the shots you DON’T take.” Wayne Gretsky 1961

And of course one suited for those ultra-runners;
" Only those who risk going TOO FAR can find out HOW FAR they can go” . TS Elliott -Love it!


Sunday, September 26, 2010

Since when did I think a trail 1/2 marathon was a SPRINT? Since yesterday.

Years ago I did 5 peaks trail races- the "Enduro's" (10-17 kms) . I used to think they were long.  After  my first race I had to go have a nap, and was stiff for a week! Years later, I'm doing 50 kms, training longer (and running slower I might add)  

I was granted a freebie entry into this weekends 5 peaks 1/2 marathon trail run (payback for Volunteering).
I knew I could do the distance. That is all I knew.  Sadly, due to the trail conditions we did not get to do the fun technical Diez Vista trail... oh well, its going to be a fast one then! And FUN it was!!  And it was a BEAUTIFUL SUNNY day!!!

Like GREYHOUNDS out of the starting block, all the 1/2 marathoners took off at what seemed like blasting speed.  I looked at my Garmin- 6:45-7 min miles- yikes, I can't run that fast... but I kinda had to.

They were greyhounds, I felt more like a little WEINER DOG pumping my legs as fast as they would go to keep up.  I was actually thankful for the hills- a place where I could catch up! But catching up was difficult with this fast group. I ended up running alone most of the race.

" Well, I guess this will just be a good speed training run" I tell myself.  I had to give my head a shake, speed training?  diddn't I used to think of a half as an endurance event? How things have changed ! I finished the first loop of lakeview/buntzen lake in about 1hr 30 mins- then some guy waves me in the direction of my second loop up and around some trails- " Oh Goody" I tell him.  As usual, once I'm warmed up, I really start to enjoy the race. I do the rest with a smile on my face.

Thanks to all the endurance training, I was at least able to keep a solid hard pace the whole run and finished with gas in the tank and enough energy to dance all night at a wedding.   

 It was good to revisit old experiences to see where I've improved (and need improvement) .
The BEST part was when Jim suprised me and met me at the finish line!  It totally made my day!!

Note to self:
 Hard run - feel GREAT  after.
Night of partying, dancing in stilletto's- NOT  so great after .
Will I ever learn? probably not. Its all in good fun!


Friday, September 17, 2010

Jims Toughest Test Ever

Roads to run, Trails to Traverse, and Peaks to Persue.... All great tests of our endurance and strength. 

Last week my husband was given one of the toughest tests ever...
He damn near died with BLOOD CLOTS in BOTH LUNGS !!  Yup, bilateral pulmonary embolisms!! Freaky hey!
He had calf pain for months, then it mysteriously went away.... only cuz the blood clots moved up to his lungs!

He couldn't breathe, had massive chest and rib pain, but had to hold on... and hold on he did!!  Several sleepless, painful nights he endured .  Thanks to his great fitness level going in he had enough reserve lung capacity to keep alive. And now he is back walking on the trails.

This is not an endurance event I recommend for anyone, but it certainly supports WHY WE RUN.  I truly believe that had he been sedentary he would not have had the physical and mental strength to make it through this.

Yet another reason to get off the couch.  And if that isn't enough, have a look at this video:

Just keep moving forward....


Sunday, August 29, 2010

Swan Falls Loop Revisited with Video

Amazing hike/run  on a sunny day. 
I even took some videos to enjoy when I'm 80 yrs old and can't do this.
Looking down on Vancouver from Mt Beautiful

Lindsay Lake
Ropes up rock

Here is the VIDEO:
Listening to myself, I realize I am truly a NUT !! I guess thats why I love trail running.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

The Hangover Run Poem:

I read a great athletic poem by Tom Craik on Stormy ... and that put me in a 'poetic mood'.  So I created this poem on my run today- though it certainly doesn't relay any uber athleticism.  Enjoy!

The Hangover Run

Drank in moderation, or so I thought                                                          
Woke up this morning-apparently NOT

Morning meal diddn’t sit right,
Run or not, with myself I fight.

Get that Sunday long run in!
Today I pay for last nights sin.

Head is knocking, stomach queasy,
This run is not going to be easy!

Outside I go into fresh air,                                                   
Dew on the ground, wind in my hair.

With every step, I feel more clear
As I run off last nights beer!

Heading home I sprint ahead
Knowing that is where I’ll find my bed.

Second wind, now I’m cruising
Hot damn, I do love running!

3 hrs down, I’m feeling spent,
I did it, I did it! So glad I went!

(or, an alternative ending for those hardcore partiers out there)
3 hrs down, I'm feeling great,
Now lets go out and celebrate!

Some pics and Videos from today:

Beautiful wide trails to Sasamat/Belcarra

Sasamat Bridge

Second wind VIDEO , LOVE running Downhill!!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

INAGURAL FAT DOG 100 - Voley/pacer experience

INAGURAL FAT DOG!! 100 m/100 km.
 Should be called the MAD dog!
 because you would have to be MAD to do it!!! ( as per my opinion...but I used to think anything longer than a 10k was too far, and now I'm doing 50k's )

How hard is it? the numbers tell the tale:
The 100Km was reported to be more like 130 km, and took 19-30 hours to finish.
The 100 mile, also longer than expected  .
NOT to mention the elevation gain!!! 17500 ft gain and loss!
Several Veterans of 100 mile races DNF'd at this race!!! WHO IS TOUGH ENOUGH!
Only 13 of the 35 entrants finished the 100 mile.  Hassan Lotfi-pour  won the 100 Mile in 27 hrs 59 min..  This guy had the BEST attitude, and the best sense of humour when he hit my aid station! The longest runners took about 41 hours- thats a long time to be running!
But luckily, most runners got in the beautiful views from Cathedral Mountain and/or  Heather trail (above)
VOLUNTEERING ROCKS! :  LOOK at all the water! not to mention the volunteers who packed each and every container!
The  4X4 trip up to my aid station had beautiful views .  Just me, Amber, watermelon, and the bears. Totally worth it!  As a runner, it felt great  giving back to the running community .

DOING THE CALCITE AID STATION ( 2nd one in)  ... felt kinda like a first aid station.

The first runners were to arrive at 7:30.but did not arrive till 11 am!
EVERYONE was out there longer than expected

Several wide eyed, salt laden faces-They either looked like they were in ADVENTURE HEAVEN.. Or, like they had bitten off more than they could chew!!!

One guy said he did not pee for 7-8 hrs. We fueled, and watered him till he was good (and speak in full sentences) and I am happy to report he FINISHED the 100 miles !

Once ALL runners were thru I went ....Back to the finish line to find my HUBBY !!

Jim was Pacing his  100 km friends for the last 50 Km:  
 I expected them 8 hrs later. so..

I Sit at the finish line:
Expected arrival- 10 pm ... but I knew it would be later.
3am... STILL no runners!!! Did they call it off??
Staring int the darkness for the slightest  headlamp flicker...

Some Pictures Jim took :
Great volunteers , good friends, and a crazy photographer

I catch word that my gang of guys  hit the last aid station  at 10 pm  in good spirits..When everyone else was ready to puke at that point and could only stomach liquids,  apparently  Gary Robbins offered Jim  a hot dog and Jim scarfed down 2 or 3 of them!  Since then, he has been coined  "HOT DOG JIM". LOL !


It was a beautiful FULL MOON!!

Meanwhile, me.. 5 am... I'm starting to stress a bit: Twelve hours ! omg, Jim must be F'd by now! He just go over plantar faciitis, he must be crawling by now. Or are they all lost on the mountain?? I start to get mad- thats it! our holidays are now wrecked!

7am.. ish- The most beautiful site! Jim lumbering in. He is walking !! (not limping) and laughing!!! The guys finish in around 23 hours.

Jim Doesn't even cross the finish line... He yells "Food!"  B-lines  right to the food table. Too funny!  glad he is only a pacer.  In the end they all make home ! finishing 4th and 5th !!  and all the guys had a great adventure together ... though I hear  'what happens on  the trail stays on the trail' - and I really do NOT  want to hear the details.

So, after running all night, they get back to the campsite.

Jim Quote: " Nothing says breakfast like soup,grill cheeze, 3 freezies and 2 beer"  
I think the neighbor campers were jealous and wondering where they got this girl to bring them food and beer in the morning.. let alone the massages . LOL.

All runners who were BRAVE enough to attempt an inagural event, fully knowing there would be glitches.
Heather for taking on this gargantuan task.
Gary Robbins for offering Hot dogs to Jim ( which probably kept him alive)
Nicola and Peter for their nonstop support and enthusiasm for this great event.
Amber- for putting up with me at the aid station.. for my arts and crafts moments, and nonstop chatter
All volunteers- many of who's long hours were an endurance event in themselves!

This was a bit late as I was on holidays with no wifi for 2 weeks..

Monday, July 12, 2010

Schooled by the Knee Knacker

My first Knee Knacker 50 K  er, 30 miler

8000 ft elevation gain, 50 km.  I can do that.  Done it before. No problemo- or so I thought.
The terrain and the heat were another story.....

It has been called "Canada's  gnarliest 30 miler", and  "one of the 25 toughets races in North America" ,
um yeah!
       Uphills so steep, I had to go on all 4's at times to pull myself up. I have callouses on my hands!
       Huge boulders, I gingerly step over, hoping I don't dislodge one onto my friends below
       2-3 foot high steps at times, not condusive to my short little legs!!
      Roots so gnarly, it was tough to even run on the flats at times . When I did try run thru them, it was a
drunken, ankle-rolling game of hopscotch- staggering, slipping, and toe stubbing away. I can't give a detailed race report cuz I had no idea where I was most of the race! It was actually kinda trippy!

But man, it was BEAUTIFUL!!
Going up Black mountain

View of Bowen Island
 I felt pretty chewed up by the time I was spat out of the mountains to the finish line.  
What was most impressive was the organizers and volunteers.  Throughout this difficult course, I felt cared for, cheered on and safe the entire race!

My Day of Firsts:  Perfect for my FIRST Knee Knacker!!!

First bad  FALL  in a race. Slipped on a root and slammed my shin on a rock on the first peak. Of course it had to be the leg with the steel plate- tawang!  It swelled up and jiggled all the way down hollyburn chute- so I took it slow, which probably paid off in the end. Got to Ice it in the snow at mountain top.

First 50K in the HEAT . I have new respect for my friends who ran the Sahara! 

First race without my running friends or husband (sad face) . Cross finish line, go 'yay me', then kinda walk around aimlessly.

First time DRIVING 'in the city'. I spent more time researching/googlemapping the 45 km drive than I did the 50 km run!!! ha ha !!  I'm almost more proud of my drive than my run!

After Race Thoughts:  Mixed Emotions
*Happy to destroy my sub 7 hr goal.
*Disappointed in my slow down the last 7.5 mile stage of the race due to the heat.
*Validated after looking at the results and seeing how many others crashed in the last 1/4 and were actually slower than me.  I was actually 39th fastest finisher in this stage...should I have pushed harder? Still learning.
*Disappointed in my 4th place finish. Damn, KK brings out great  runners!
*Laughing at myself cuz at the end I encouraged a running colleague to giv'er. No worries, cuz she is in a  younger age group than me....NOT.. apparently she turned 40 and took 3rd ! ha ha. I'm happy for her tho.
*Sad cuz  my running friends were not there to hang with after.
*Grateful for the wonderful running community. Everyone is so nice and supportive!

Wow, I wonder how someone feels after a 100Km/miler ??

Some Pics from the KK Site:

Start: run, stop at trail, wait to get in-Bottleneck! 

First hill. Me trying to keep up with the 'big boys'.  I look so little! This pic cracks me up!!

Hollyburn and Cleveland dam (1/2 way). Its getting warmer... shirt rolled up, gut hanging out-but I don't care at this point. By the end, the shirt is off! Glad I planned for respectable gear underneath. 

Ahhh, some things are worth stopping for!!


My Stats- for future referencel
Goal- Sub 7 hrs -the longest 50K  I will run (due to the technicality)
Time-  6:43:37  Yaaaay!
Splits: Stg 1- 1:50 (all up) Stg2-1:27 (post injury slowdown)  Stg3- 1:36 (feelin' great) Stg4- 1:48(damn hot)
Place: 4th in age  / 10th woman overall / 45th out of 206 overall.  

Pleased with the race, but see lots of room for improvement... after a rest of course!