January 24, 2010

9h45min of Running in 48hrs - Yay!

By the end of last week - my 4 day work week - I was trashed. I mean a 4 day work week seems fun and all but it just means that I have to fit the same amount of work that I can't already fit into a 5 day week and squeeze it into 4 days. Aaaaargh! By Friday my 11am coffee break was happening at about 9am - just for the caffiene hit to keep my eyes open! There had been a few after work things too (like freezing my ass off on Wednesday for an hour waiting for the Olympic torch on Banff Avenue only for it to sail past carried by some random person who I had no clue who they were, or my Thursday night Albertan initiation into line dancing at Lake Louise!) so I hadn't got as many runs or long gym work outs as I would have liked and although exhausted I was getting pretty fidgety for a decent work out. And this weekend has more than made up for that...

Friday night I hit the treadmill for 2 hours. I really don't mind the treadmill, I just grab the one in the corner, plug in my iPod and try to run under the radar since you're only officially meant to be allowed on the treadmill for 30mins! Oh well, I guess other people have more exciting social lives so the treadmills weren't too busy at 8pm on a Friday anyway.

One work out checked off the list I hit the hay and got a stellar night of sleep in - exhausted from work and my mind relaxed that I'd already got a decent run in. So come Saturday I jumped out of bed feeling so refreshed and eager to run. I headed out for about 4 hours and it was THE most beautfiul day - a light layer of fresh snow and awesome light that made the mountains and sky look tinged with pink. I hit a couple of icy sections on the trail but nothing too bad and much better than I had hoped for. To top off the awesome run I was heading back towards town along the closed road on the Banff Springs golf course when a wolf ran out across my path and up onto the hillside next to me. Now if that isn't a little blessing on a run then what is? The Rockies really can be a magical place to live :) It wasn't until I was literally turning the corner back to my apartment that I realised that in clocking 4h30 it was my longest solo run ever! I'm definitely getting better at doing long runs on my own and dealing with the mental aspect of not having friends to chitter chatter to and help the time go by.

So my final run/ hike of the weekend came today. I decided not to go skiing (I am still struggling with being a runner in a ski town!) and instead get another run in so headed up Sulphur Mountain and then added some loops of the Fenland trail in just for some extra miles and time and real running, rather than hiking.

All in all I am now feeling way more confident heading into Orca's in two weeks time than I was even a week ago. Although my long runs are super slow due to the snow and ice, I have at least got the time on my feet and hope that the treadmill work outs will have kept some of my pace up....

Only downer, back to work tomorrow :(

January 17, 2010

Team Montrail Update

There have been a few shuffles around on Team Montrail for 2010, the main thing being that us Canadians have been incorporated into the main Montrail Team - mostly US runners but also Hiroki Ishikawa from Japan. I am so excited to be part of this bigger team, though a little daunted knowing their race resumes and results - wow, these guys can seriously run! Check out who's on the team as well as look for regular blog updates on http://montrail.com/AthletesAndEvents.aspx
Mind you, Gary Robbins has set the bar high for us Canadians to live up to for 2010 too - having just a few hours ago competed Hurt 100 miler in Hawaii in a smoking course record time of 20h12. Congrats Gary!

January 15, 2010

Work/ Life Balance...can someone remind me what that is?

Wow, right now I am just in from a 53min run. I am counting every minute as every minute was a strugle to stay awake. I had hoped to get maybe 90mins in but there was no way I could keep going as I am just dead on my feet right now.
Life has been pretty whirl wind since I arrived in Banff just over two months ago. I mean I can't believe that I have been here two months as I feel like I've not had a chance to settle in as I've been too busy working. I'm not meaning to moan here as my move here did involve a bit of a job promotion but all I can say is it is manic!!!!!! Hours are pretty long, lunch breaks are pretty non-existent and I am now wholly proficient at having an in depth phone call on one topic whilst simultaneously emailing on a totally separate topic.
So other than work, where I am pepared to put he hours in as I do really enjoy it, my priority has been running and hitting the gym. But as I start work fairly early this means I am running or hitting the gym in the evenng when I am dead beat. Tonight was only a bit worse than some other nights but I know when I am just getting a run in for the sake of it and really should just get some rest in, recuperate and rejuvenate so I can be fresh to hit it another day.
So, one more day at work tomorrow and then two days off where my priorities as usual will be to get some zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzs in and to get some runs in. Only 3 weeks to Orca's and I know I need to keep good training in to make these weeks count rather than fizzle out too soon...
On that note, I'm going to get ready for my wild Friday night in of PJs, herbal tea and a running magazine. Late start - 9am - woo hoo, in the office tomorrow..but really need to get up early to phone the UK folks too......oh for 10 days in a week!

January 12, 2010

Interview with Emily Solsberg

I've run with Emily at VFAC in Vancouver and was super impressed to learn this summer that she represents Canada at the World Mountain Running Champs, so I figured we could all maybe learn a thing or two about running from Emily. Hopefully the insights below will help us learn a thing or two...

Have you always been a runner and when did you get the bug? When did you get into trail running if you road ran before?

I started running in my 4th year of university at with the varsity team at McMaster in Hamilton, Ontario in 2001. After university I ran for one season with the Norwesters club in Vancouver. But I really got the trail running bug when I lived in New Zealand from January 2003 –December 2005. The hill running races in Dunedin and Wellington converted me for life. Seeing the World Mountain Running Trophy as a spectator in Wellington, New Zealand in 2005 made me realise that participating in that race for Team Canada was my lifelong running goal.

A lot of runners are pure trail runners but I think, like me, you still sometimes road race. What do you still like about road racing compared to the trails?

I like that you have a standard time that you can compare yourself to from previous races of the same distance to get a sense of your improvement with training. I think I will like that aspect until I stop improving my times!!! Also, it’s easier to train for those common distances with a running group (such as Vancouver Falcons, my running club) and I enjoy the (motivational and social) group aspect of training a lot.

You have represented Canada at least twice at the World Mountain Running Championships and you are planning to qualify to do so again this year. What has been the best worldwide mountain location you have run in?

So hard to decide!!!!!!! The races in Sierre, Switzerland and Madesimo, Italy were stunning and exotic for me, with intense competition and the thrill of international travel. Running in Canmore, Alberta is amazing with all the selection of high altitude routes in the mountains. However, my favourite training runs were in the hills around Dunedin, New Zealand where you can sometimes run for 2 or 3 hours and not see another person (you might also see everyone you know in the local running community on any given Sunday).

And you also run lots of local races throughout the year in BC, particularly the 5 Peaks series which are great races for all abilities of trail runners. What BC race would you most recommend to first time trail racers?

I do like the 5 Peaks Lower mainland trail running series and I think the Whistler race is my favourite of that series, in August. However I have to say the Gutbuster Trail running series on Vancouver Island is my favourite series with the Nanaimo Westwood Lake half marathon being my favourite BC trail race. I still have a lot more to try out though (including the Tumbler Ridge August long weekend trail run). A good first trail run would be the Tender Knee or My First Trail Run in the Run the North Shore series in North Vancouver.

You tend to run shorter (well non-ultra distances at least) but some of us are already dropping hints that you’ll get the ultra bug! Is that something you would like to do one day?

I knew there would be a short joke in there somewhere. (I was thinking height and not distance). For sure I would like to run an ultra one day. I would like to try doing support crew for one of the mountainous ultras (my friend Tamsin Anstey is planning to do one or two of those this year) to get an idea of what it’s like before actually racing. I don’t know if that would be a deterrent or a motivator to actually race an ultra!

I also hear that you’re a physio (do friends get free treatments?!), surely this must help you stay injury free?

You would think so!!! I think I’m getting better at recognizing initial stages of running overuse injury and working to prevent any further aggravation of “niggles” of pain. I am trying to really listen to my body with training and make very gradual adjustments with distance, intensity and repetitions. I have a great coach who trains moderate to elite level female runners and he is very realistic with training and recovery periods-I think this is key. Another constant modification is footwear and I try to be really vigilant with replacing my shoes. So yeah, the physio aspect does factor a lot into my training.

You’re competing in some of the Yeti snowshoe race series this winter. What other sports do you do?

Some of the other runners in the club (VFAC) and I have a goal to try at least one class at every yoga studio in Vancouver this year-we’ll see how far we get! (I don’t even know how many studios there are, this might not even be possible). My husband and I play ultimate Frisbee and practise capoeira (Brazilian martial art) occasionally and hopefully more often this year. Other than that, hiking, swimming and maybe a triathlon or two. Any other suggestions?

January 9, 2010

Chuckanut Registration is Open!

Stop running and make your way to the closest PC - you need to sign up for Chuckanut 50km! Registration opened up at 8am PST this morning but the race tends to sell out pretty fast so get your name on the list soon if you want to be part of this awesome race! I ran Chuckanut for the first time last year and was so impressed, super organised, super friendly and I loved the course. It is about 10kms of fairly flat out and back at the start and end (love it!) which is not for everyone but if you don't like that then the middle 30kms might be more to your liking with some pretty fun technical trails. Check out the website for details on the course and registration and at only $40 it's a great deal.


January 7, 2010

Final Thought for the Day...

'Running is a big question mark that's there every day. It asks you 'Are you going to be a wimp or are you going to be strong today?''

Peter Maher, Two time Canadian Olympic marathoner

January 6, 2010

Thought for the Day #6

'A lot of people run to see who is the fastest. I run to see who has the most guts'.
Steve Prefontaine

January 5, 2010

Thought for the Day #5

'Race results stay on google forever'

January 4, 2010

Thought for the Day #4

'If you want to become the best runner you can be, start now. Don't spend the rest of your life wondering if you can do it'.
Priscilla Welch who won the New York marathon in 1987, aged 42.

January 3, 2010

Thought for the Day #3

'Man can will nothing unless he has first understood that he can count on no one but himself, that he is alone, abandoned on Earth without help, with no aim other than the one that he sets himself, with no destiny than the one he forges for himself on Earth'
John Paul Sartre
(quoted in Ferg Hawk's movie about Badwater, The Distance of Truth)

The Running Community

One thing that never fails to amaze me about running is that although on the surface it appears to be a solo sport we all know as runners that nothing could be further from the truth. How many of us have training partners, running buddies and relay team friends? Running has allowed me to make so many friends and I've always been amazed at how friendly and welcoming other runners are, so accepting of fellow runners to come and join in the fun. I have running friends who come from all walks of life, a whole host of countries and who are all ages, yet we always find we get along because of that one common denominator - running.

This last week I've had chance to reflect on this. Since I moved to Banff I've been running solo and relying on emailing my friends on Vancouver for support and feedback. I don't mind running on my own but I have missed the company, so what happended this week was very neat. I was sitting in my office when someone popped their head around the door. 'Hi, I don't really know who I'm looking for except she is British and a trail runner and has recently moved from Vancouver'. Well pretty soon all eyes were on me (4 of us work in our office - one is 8 months pregnant so it's pretty obvious that she isn't going running anytime soon, another is petite, blonde and very pretty - not your typical trail runner look, and finally my boss is just about hoping to get back to 10km shape, so I think I was the most obvious runner among us!). So up I hoped to see who this random visitor was. It turns out that he trained with VFAC in Vancouver about 16yrs ago and is still in touch with our coach who had mentioned to him that I had moved to Banff and would welcome some running company! It just bowls me over; firstly John (my coach) had gone to the effort of searching out the only runner he knows in Banff to help me out, and secondly that Jo, who I am sure has plenty of running buddies already, went to the effort to come find me and suggest we go for a run. If that ain't a Running Commuity I don't know what is.

So Jo and I went for a bit over an hours run this morning (and he showed me a new route - yay) and he's going to link me up with some of his friends who runs ultras. Good times! In fact I was so excited I then ran/ hiked up and down Sulphur mountain too (on my own), thus got in a total 3h50 today. No skiing this weekend but I'll sacrifice a ski anytime for a run with some company. As a side note my legs now feel trashed - tight hips and calves. Got to get back to yoga this week!

January 2, 2010

Thought for the Day #2

'Somewhere in the world, someone is training when you are not. When you race him, he will win'.

(Today's run - 3h11 on fresh snowy trails and roads, my longest run since coming to Banff! Aim to get 2hrs in tomorrow too)

January 1, 2010

Thought for the Day #1

I love quotes. A few little words well said that sum up some sort of philosophy or outlook on life. So for the next week I'm going to post one of my favourite quotes every day. Little words of wisdom that keep me running.

Thought for the Day #1

'Tough times don't last, but tough people do'.

Red Wine & Running: A Cautionary Tale

Happy New Year! Welcome to 2010 and for me I'm hoping to start my 2010 running path afresh again tomorrow after not the best of outings today! I had planned to get a decent run in today to make the most of the 3 day weekend but let's just say that I didn't have my normal energy today after a bit too much celebrating last night :) As ever I thought I would go out for a fairly quiet night so I am not quite sure where the night disappeared to but before I knew it we were closing the bar down after a bit too much red-wine fuelled dancing and it was 3am by the time I crawled into bed. I didn't feel too bad this morning but I felt none too lively either and of course I am used to getting up ay 0630am so kept waking up and ended up not having that much quality sleep. The thought of going for a run was not that appealing but I didn't want to bail on myself either and I know that I need to get serious training in for Orca's 50km which is now only a month away. I therefore decided rather than do a true run, I would run up to the base of the Sulphur mountain gondola, hike up to the top and then back down - it makes it more of a fun hike and then a blast down rather than steady running which I thought would be quite a challenge today!

Well the run to the base of the gondola was the worst, it is all runnable but I was just feeling hazy and tired from last night so ended up walking sections I knew I should be able to easily run. But I was determined to get this work out in and once I got onto the snowy switch backs going up Sulphur I tucked my head down and just got on with it. As I didn't start my run until 2pm the trail was quieter and I only passed a few other hikers on the way up. Just as I was starting to feel really quite good and maybe about 3/4 of the way up I turned a switch back to see a guy dressed all in black standing at the corner of the trail. He had a mad bushy beard and little round glasses and was reading a book. I then noticed his ball cap logo 'Jesus Saves You' - what?! So basically this guy was half way up a mountain reading a bible in sub zero temps. Each to their own I guess.....But I am beginning to think he is targetting me for salvation as the other week I was out running on a really quiet road and I see a car parked at the side with a masive sign in the dash - 'Jesus Saves You'! So if I see this guy another time I really will begin to think I have a religious zealot stalking me on my runs! Personally I think that running saves me and I have no need for anything else to save me, but maybe I should avoid the subject of religion....

So I carried on power hiking and by the time I got to the peak it was getting on to 4 o'clock so the light was beautiful especially as light snow had begun to fall. I found some suitably friendly looking Japanese tourists to take a quick snap of me to mark the New Year, they commented that I was very brave (I'm guessing they'd taken the $29 gondola!), I bundled on some extra layers and then started down on the slippy descent. As there was some pretty fresh snow on the trail I didn't get brilliant traction so couldn't go totally crazy on the way down as I kept having to screech to a halt to make the turns, but even so it was dead on one hour to get up and 23mins to get down. Not too bad for 5.6km (that'll be 14 laps of a track I figured when I was trying to break the climb into sections!) and 698m of elevation.

My biggest suprise was when I got home I saw that I had clocked 2h37mins which is almost exactly the same time as when I did this route in Nov. I'm just hoping that means that I've got fitter so should I do it again without the red wine influence then I would be a lot faster!

Anyway, tonight is definitely a quiet night in and some sleep catch up so I can run tomorrow and feel good whilst doing it.

Happy Running in 2010, I'm looking forward to one awesome year ahead :)