Trail Ghost’s 40th Birthday BCMC

This Sunday, I’m headed up tio the BCMC to celebrate one of my fave people in trail running’s birthdays, Mr. Tom Craik.

Tom is doing a fun birthday event, challenging us to run (power hike) up the BCMC on Sunday morning, with the goal to arrive at the top, at 10am, without being passed by a hiker behind you!  So, you can pick any time goal you want, and attempt to get up in that time on  Sunday.  For example, if you think you can BCMC in 1 hour, you would email Tom, tell him 60 minutes, and then you would start yourself at 9am.  If someone else thinks 55 minutes, they would start themselves at 9:05.  The goal is just to make it to the top at 10 am in your allotted time, without the hikers from behind you passing you.

All details can be found at Tom’s blog here.

Everyone is invited, but you must get your time estimates into myself or to Tom before Friday!

Warning : there will be snow at least in the top 1/4 of the BCMC – come prepared!!!  And we will be hanging out with hot coffee and chatting at the top, so bring appropriate clothes and money!




Rainfall Warning…

Have you heard the weather report for this weekend??  Rainfall warning. 

Not exactly what you want to hear going into a double bib weekend, is it??

Sigh.  Well, nothing I can do about it now, except prepare myself for the worst, and hope for the best.

And I can dream about it looking and feeling like last night instead…


Yeaaaaa.  It was a beauty of a night.  And you know that feeling after a workout, when you’re like “YES! This is why I do this”??  Ya, it was totally one of those workouts.  So, I’m just going to be thankful for how beautiful Vancouver was yesterday, forgive it for the rainfall this weekend, and hope the sun comes back to play a bit more before Fall & Winter really set in.



Take THAT Grouse Grind!

Well, as you know, yesterday I posted my craptastic race recap from Saturday’s Seek the Peak, where I had a major meltdown and absolutely crashed and burned on the Grind portion of the race.  Yes, I know, it’s bad taste to whine & complain when you still PR, but when a race is annual, and you just know you can do so much better, it’s frustrating.

Last night, I headed up to the Grind with Karl & Gemma.  I was giddy to have these 2 speedsters willing to pace me.  And I’m not kidding when I call them speedsters.  Just to put it in perspective, Karl’s Grind portion of STP on Saturday was 39:05 whereas mine was 56:44!!  Ughhhh that time is just brutal.  It should’ve been sub 50 mins.  Could’ve…Should’ve…SIGH.

Anyways, I digress.

So, last night, the two of them were all gung-ho to get me a PR, and I felt like 43:00 was a fair bet.  43:29 last week with a bit of talking, so I figured 30 seconds was a solid goal.

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Seek the Peak – short & sweet

Saturday’s race was the 10th anniversary of Seek the Peak, and my 12th race of the year.


Don’t let this picture fool you.  This was not a good race (for me), Gemma, pictured above, KILLED it!!

Short story : I tried a different nutrition plan, I under estimated the race since I’ve ran in 5 times in the last 6 years, I ran 8-9 km before the race, I ran super low on fuel, and was inches from DNF’ing myself at the top of the Grind, and I lost a full minute or more because of a disorganized aid station, I accidentily stopped my watch and have NO CLUE on time, and somehow, no idea how, I still managed to come out of it with a 5 second PR.  Nowhere near the race I wanted, but thankfully, with friends and sunshine at the start and finish, it made up for my terrible race and saved the day!

My Official Stats : 2:14:12 – 24/71 females 20-29, 220th overall out of 477 finishers!

Results can be found here.

Full recap to come!  And it’ll be an interesting one.  I have lots to say, most especially about how I made a few dumb rookie moves and have been kicking myself since!




Seek the Peak on Saturday!

It’s time for one of my absolute favorite races this weekend, Seek the Peak!

Most people think that it sounds like a crazy race, since it’s from Ambleside Beach up to the base of Grouse Mountain, up the Grind, and then as if that wasn’t enough up, you run (power-hike) up to the very top peak of Grouse, turn around and come back down to the Chalet.  It’s 16 kms total, with almost all of it being uphill.  Given that I’m not a terribly strong uphill runner, nor do I particularly seek out uphill climbs, it’s weird that I have such a love for this race…

And honestly, while there’s so much I love about this race – the organization, the unique layout, the ReThink Breast Cancer charity partnership, the reduced price for Grouse members, the North Shore community, I think that the thing I like most about it, is that people think it’s insane.

When I talk about trail races with people not familiar with the Vancouver area running scene, they usually don’t have a clue what I’m talking about.  But, everyone knows what the Grind is.  And everyone knows that Ambleside beach is wayyyy down in West Vancouver, and that Grouse Mountain is wayyyyy up.  So, they actually get where I’m running, and what I’m doing (kinda).

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2013 Grinding Goals

If you know me, or if you just read my blog and know me online, it’s probably pretty obvious that I have a wee bit of an obsession with the Grouse Grind as a summer outdoor workout.


For those not aware, the Grind is a 3km climb from the base of Grouse Mountain to the Chalet/Gondola at the top, mostly climbing stairs .  It is known as Mother Nature’s stairmaster, and is open from mid May to mid October (depending on weather conditions).

For me, the Grind is all about challenging myself.  It’s never ever easy, and since the trail and workout doesn’t change, it’s all about pushing yourself, and expanding your limits.  Some people hate the monotony of climbing the exact same route, but I relish it as a way of gauging where I’m at physically.  Sometimes, I don’t even bother to push the pace, because I know I’m still getting a great workout, and I’m still outside, and doing a heck of a lot more than someone on the couch.  Other times, it’s all about getting into the zone, finding my rhythm, and getting to the top as fast as I possibly can.  Even though it’s same workout, there’s so many different ways to approach it and make it your own.  Besides, what better competition is there than yourself?

Getting better is all about maximizing the effort and streamlining your climb.  I talked about my Grinding tips a couple of times last year, here and here.  I will be writing an update soon, as I pinpoint more of the teeny tweaks I’m making to get faster.

Last season, I climbed the Grind 25 times, and was consistently climbing in 47-49 mins.  Only twice did I dip below 45 mins, and 1 of those 2, was sub 44 mins!  Already this season, I’ve climbed 4 times, and have a brand new PR of 43:40!!

I love seeing the progress I’ve made on this workout, it’s a great feeling to see the numbers dropping, to know that I’m still constantly improving, getting stronger, getting faster, and also getting lighter along the way.

Of course I love goal setting, and think it’s an important aspect of bettering yourself, so I decided to set some 2013 Grinding Goals!

  • Grind more than 25 times
  • Really try to get there at least 1/week June/July/August/Sept
  • Consistently go sub 45 mins on hard grinds
  • Goal time for the end of the season sub 42:00
  • Encourage/Inspire/Motivate as many people as possible to do their 1st Grind, or in my dad’s case, convince him to come back for his 2nd Grind!  The 1st time sucks, but it does get better (I won’t say easier, but at least you can pace yourself and know what to expect)

Are you a lover or a hater of the Grind? 

Do you have any Grinding Goals for 2013? 



Blood, Sweat, & Puke

I don’t normally chat about bodily functions on the blog, it’s not really my niche, I don’t have the skills to make jokes like Shut Up & Run, but the last 2 workouts for me need to have a special mention on here…

My running is usually fairly non-eventful, I rarely have anything crazy happen…I’ve seen a bear once, I’ve never gotten lost for more than a few hours, I rarely (knock on wood) fall or injure myself, it’s just not very exciting, it’s usually pretty run of the mill.

However, on Sunday and Monday, I not only had 2 super sweaty sunshine workouts, I also ended up puking and having a nose bleed, and NEITHER of these ruined the workout.  Say what?

WARNING : I apologize, this is a workout recap, mixed with some TMI grossness, so if you are easily grossed out, you may not want to read about my mis-adventures of bodily fluids…or just skip those parts!  No pictures I promise! Continue reading

New Grind PR!!!

Just a quick little post to say that I GOT MYSELF A BRAND NEW SPARKLY PR LAST NIGHT ON THE GROUSE GRIND!!!!!



Only the 4th climb of the season, and I surprised myself with this hard effort so early on in the season.  I know I’m stronger than last year, and I’m so excited to keep pushing my limits, and see how fast I can go!!  Thinking about my grinding goals for this season, and what I’d like to accomplish.  I think my favorite thing about the grind, is that it NEVER gets any easier, it’s always a TOUGH workout.  Improvement is all about digging deep, pushing out of your comfort zone and challenging yourself.

Have you climbed the Grind before?  What’s your PR?  What would you like to work towards?



Fair-Weather Runner, or not??

Last night, Hilary and I decided to do some extra training for our upcoming Seek the Peak race on June 15th.  Fun fact – Hilary & I actually met at STP in 2011, and have been friends ever since – often doing the Grind together, as well as I’ve rubber armed Hilary into some road races (what was I thinking…) and a wee bit of trail running. 

We parked at the Cleveland Dam, and just as we got there, the skies opened up, and it began to rain cats, dogs, elephants!  It was gross.  We headed down the stairs for approx 1 km, turned around came back up the route we’ll be taking on June 15, going past the dam, and running up the side of Nancy Greene Way.  Within minutes of starting, we were drenched.  We put our heads down, ran the hill, and laughed at the fact that the road was literally a river of flowing water.  We contemplated calling Momma, who’d driven the car up the was starting the hike ahead of us, to bail to sit in Starbucks and have lattes.  Sigh…what a nice idea… But, Momma doesn’t hike with her phone, and we were already wet, so might as well keep going!

As we started the Grind, Hilary turns to me and says “I will forever associate torrential downpour and exercise with you!”

I had to laugh because in my head, I’ve always been a bit of a fair weather runner, or a wimp when it comes to getting outside in complete nastiness.  But then I started thinking, and realized that that’s not the case anymore.  I used to always turn down running invitations when it was raining, let alone RAINING, and now, I almost never bail on training plans, and just get out there and get it done, no matter what the weather gods have in store.

Well, shit.  When did I become so hardcore??

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Grouse Grind is OPEN!

In case you missed the announcement last week, the Grouse Mountain Grind is now open for the season!!

Mom, Hilary, Cathy, and myself headed up on Monday after work, and we had a great grind.


The 1st grind of the season, is always tough, so we decided to take it a bit easy, and have what we call a “Grind&Chat” meaning that we go at a steady speed, but a speed at which we can talk as we climb.  This is a great way to ease yourself back into the grind, instead of trying to kill yourself first time out.

I also took the time to snap a couple shots along the way.  Since normally I can barely breathe, it was refreshing to take our time, and be able to take some photo’s to document the trail for those of my readers outside of Vancouver.

Click on in to see my photos…

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