The Murph Run – Not for the Faint of Heart

Last year after running the Golden Ears 5 Peaks race, I was waiting for friends to finish and struck up a conversation with Mike Murphy, who had just slaughtered his competition in the Enduro course, winning by a 2.5 minute margin!  We had known each other from afar, but a year ago our friendship was officially born.

2014-01-31-11.59.58 I look up to Murph for many reasons, and my favourite thing about him, has to be how humble, down to earth, and relatable he is to chat with about running and racing.  He may be winning the race, but he still wants to hear about your race even if you’re almost double his time (KneeKnacker 2013 Mike was 4:42:32 (masters course record), while I was 7:31:50). Over the past year, I’ve found Murph to be a great support for my running, and someone who I can always discuss the good, the bad, and the ugly of a race with.  He’s not afraid to tell me when I’m being dumb in my training, or encourage me to step it up a bit.  I’m super thankful to have taken a leap to start chatting with him last year. Another example of just how awesome he is, is that he’s offered to put on a free orientation run this Saturday at Golden Ears focusing on the gruelling parts of this course, most specifically the killer uphill climb of the Incline Trail (aptly named) and the technical downhill of the Eric Dunning Trail.  Not exactly a beginner friendly orientation, but a crazy awesome opportunity to not only run with, but learn some of the tricks and tactics of one of Vancouver’s premier trail runners. More deets? Continue reading

Yakima 50K

I’ve been trying to decide whether to write a short version recap and a long version, or maybe give myself more time to “get over” the horrible race I had.  So, I’m just going to sit down, start typing, and see what comes out.

First off, I want to make something clear, I LOVE technical trail running.  Technical meaning that you have to have fast feet, there’s tons of roots, rocks, twists, turns along the trail, and you have to be on your toes, ready for anything.  For the most part, Vancouver area trails are considered technical.  There are some exceptions to this of course, and not all trails around here are that technical, but on a whole, the majority of the trails are.  For example, the Baden Powell on a whole, is considered a very technical trail.  The loop around Rice Lake and the connector trails like Twin Bridges or Fisherman’s to name a few well known local trails, are not considered technical.

Secondly, I also want to make it clear that I am damn proud of this race finish, no matter how slow it was, but, I did have a terrible day out there, and this recap will be a whiny mess, because that’s how I was on Sunday.  I will not apologize for hating this race, because that’s how I feel.

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Thirdly, call it what you want; character building, worst case scenario training, a challenge, whatever you want, it’s not going to change the fact that I hated this race.  This takes nothing away from the stunning views and landscape of the Yakima Canyon.  It is an absolutely gorgeous place to run a race, but I personally do not believe in running a race on rocky horse trails, it just isn’t fun to me.  Yes, I realize that some people look at this race as a gnarly challenge and that excites them.  That isn’t me, and that won’t be me.  I love to be challenged, I do not like to put myself in a position to feel unnecessary pain.  Yes, running an ultra marathon for fun could be considered unnecessary pain if that isn’t the norm for your life.  It is the norm for my life, but the only requirement is that the races and runs are still fun in the end.

Sunday, in no way, shape, or form was fun for me.  Not even a little bit, and that’s where I draw the line.

Not sick of me whining yet?  Here comes the race recap…

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A Week of Symptoms

Man guys. This week has been tough.  Let me break it down for you.

Pssssst.  I talk quite a bit about puking.  So, don’t read this if you’re easily squeamish.

Sunday night : Home from Wedding and Whidbey activities, foot is spasming like crazy, and decide to ice it.  Wrong move!  Icing it causes it to FREAK OUT, and spasm all over the place.

Monday : Woke up with a killer sore throat.  Feels like I swallowed razor blades.  A little bit of a head cold – stuffed up nose, coughing up phlegm, but the throat is realllllllllly bad.  Can’t get anything down except for hot tea.  Cancel my Ladies Run evening plans, and stay firmly planted on the couch.  Trying to stay off of the angry foot, it’s still spasming every time I stretch or move it a certain way.

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Push for PocketFuel

In ultra running, you really have to try a whole bunch of products, and then stick to the ones that work for you.  And sometimes you can have too much of one thing and then get sick of it, and have to switch to something else.  And sometimes it’s hard to eat anything at all.  Right now, I’m on a blonde Oreos kick during ultras.  Don’t ask me why…

But anyways, there’s a few staples that I love and can almost always stomach.  I love Cliff Shot Bloks, and Gu in vanilla, chocolate, and expresso only.  And I love Pocketfuel.  I love the taste, and the idea of having real food in a pouch to go.  Pocketfuel recently came out with a new idea, a ready to eat/drink cold brew coffee!  Basically, they describe it as a coffee pudding.  I cannot describe how excited this makes me for those killer long runs when all I can think about is a cup of coffee.  Mmmmm….

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Anyways, to mass produce these for people all over the world to enjoy, Pocketfuel is doing a Kickstarter campaign, and to be honest, I thought they’d far exceed their $20,000 goal within a few days, but they haven’t, and now we’re down to the last few days, and they need our help!

The great thing about kickstarter campaigns is that you don’t get charged unless they reach their full goal, and companies are always willing to give you a deal for backing them.  FOr example, for a $40 backing, you get 20 coffee packets, and then 7 nut butter packets, so 27 packets for $40!  And these packets are normally $2-$3 each.  You’re saving $20 right there!  So anyways, I love this company, I love their products, and I love coffeeeeee!  And no, I’m not sponsored by them, or receiving anything in return, I just really want them to succeed.

Click here to check out the campaign and back them! 

xoxo

-S

I’m Not Dead, Yet.

You guys know how it is when life gets in the way of letting us do all the things we want to do.  That’s where I’m at right now.  SO busy, and now I’m sick.  I love blogging, I love sitting down, typing, letting my fingers just fly, and for the most part, blogging is very natural for me, and comes very easily.  I almost never feel like it’s a chore, or something I have to do.  Except when it comes to uploading pictures sometimes, now THAT is a chore.  Oh and when technology hates me, and makes my blog stop loading, or deletes posts, or turns pictures upside down, that again is a big chore.  But right now, no, it’s not a chore, I just don’t have the time and energy to get it done.  And again, the super slow laptop without a battery and missing keys does get in the way from quick blogging happening.

Anyways, I’m sidetracked.  I’m not dead!  I’m still here, just been super super busy.

So, let’s catch up!

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Just Keep Climbing, Just Keep Climbing…

For the most part in trail running, and especially in ultras, you’re one type of runner, or the other.  Either you’re a ‘climber’ or a ‘downhiller’.  I’m totally serious about this.  Either you prefer to go up, or you prefer to go down.  I have yet to meet anyone who really enjoys (and excels) at both.

So, for me, I am a downhiller. I hate long climbs.  And given the choice, I will always choose the route that has less climbing, and the climbs I prefer are the shorter/steeper/more technical climbs while I despise the fire service road climbs, or anything that’s a long slow trudge.  For example, locally, I would always choose the Grouse Grind over running up Mountain Highway.  And really, when I have the choice, I’m likely to choose neither during a run, and do shorter climbs.  But alas, this isn’t always the smartest technique of training.

To be honest, a lot of my trail running “training” has been quite loosey-goosey, and determined more by which way I feel like turning when I hit an intersection, or the overall time on feet.  I do like to do more race specific runs, like before KneeKnacker I did lots of BP runs, and before Baker Lake, I did lots of Buntzen runs, but I’ve never really focused on the elevation gain, and the climbing specifics.

Shea & Melissa, mostly Melissa, have been bugging me about running Yakima 50K for the past 6 months, and Melissa threatened to register me so many times that I found myself in a FOMO position, and online when registration opened.  A weekend away with our good friends, running a 50K that looks stunning, no big deal right?

Wrong.  Somebody neglected to check the race course, and didn’t see the 10,000 feet elevation gain.  Eff.

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Diez Vistas 50K – Jump Jump!

OMG.  Such a fun day today volunteering at the Diez Vistas 50K ultra!

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Short story : we had a kick ass marshalling station with a tent, chairs, and treats, what treats you might ask?  Cookies and craft brew of course!  No joke.

Long story : to come.

For now?  Pictures!  Jay is killing it taking photos lately, and his skills are getting better with every event we are at.  You can check out his album here!

Seriously, everyone should volunteer at an ultra.  So much fun.

xoxo

-S

Fave Things Friday

Just a few things that have stuck out to me this week :

Salomon Running is doing their Advanced Week in Italy right now – basically the best of the best of their athletes all get together and test new products, go for runs, and have a blast. Our very own Gary Robbins is there, and the pictures, video, and even cartoons coming out of this week are so awesome – great job Salomon!!!

Watch this video :

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8aEGR7bwiMY

Check out this cartoon!  Can you spot Gary?  Hah!

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And check out their Facebook page for a ton of jaw dropping shots!  Oh, and Gary’s instagram is pretty rad too.

What else am I loving today?

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Month of March 2014 – Training Recap

March, oh where did you go??

Total Road KMs : 17 kms (treadmill…close enough to road)

Total Trail KMs : ~225.5 kms

KMs raced during January : 13 km trail race at Cap Crusher

Total KMs this month : 242.5 kms

Total KM’s this year : 600.5 kms

Hours running :  36 ish

Cross-training hours (Spinning, Grinds, Strength training) : 2ish

# of Grinds/BCMC’s : 1 – Grind closed, but made it up & down BCMC once.

How’s my month been?

Surprisingly good.  At the end of February I was pushing hard to turn my month around, and I ended up being able to do exactly that.  Even though I had a prolo shot right before the end of February, and 1 in March, I’ve got a really decent overall mileage, I’m down ~7 lbs, and I’m making noticeable improvements in my foot injury.  All of this packaged together makes for a pretty solid month of March.

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A Very Proud Beast.

Driving home yesterday, I pulled into our cauldesac, and drove past my parents heading out for their post work run.

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Isn’t that such a great sight?  It’s so heartwarming to see them out and running on their own.  They started running a few years ago because of how involved running had become in my life, but they have both found their own reasons to continue, and are chasing their own goals.  To see them finding their own peace through running, and making it their own adventure is so very special to me.

To be honest, I’m feeling like a very proud beast this week.  And not just of my parents, but also of others in my life.  And now is a great time to talk about it.

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