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Thursday, 26 June 2014

Rundle's Revenge: Hitting the Trails!

This past weekend - on Sunday - I did a 25km race! A trail race -- Rundle's Revenge! This was a tough race. It was on trails I normally do not run (though I have run several times in Canmore Nordic Centre). It was significant hill-wattage. 25km, with over 400 metres of climbs. TWICE. This would be two laps of a 12.5 km loop. DEEP BREATH in! It was a challenge, but I was up for it.

So let's back up a couple days...I went for a short run early Friday morning. PIIIING. I took a step and all of a sudden felt a snap in my calf not unlike a VERY large elastic band. Charleyhorse! Hooly Crap! There were tears. I was freaking out. I on purpose didn't write about it, lest I lose my shit and start posting chicken little sky is falling type posts. Instead, I raced to my chiro. Let him do a little ART (active release). Raced into a fav little running shop (TRI-IT) in part to chat with Richelle to have her talk me down off the ledge - and then I bought a new tank top - haha. I came home, iced and stretched, and iced and stretched. The next day i did more of the same. It felt better, but was still really tight. I was prepared not to run. But kept calm (ish).  Once I got to Canmore on Saturday evening I took a salt tablet to see if that would help. I did more stretching and rolling. I felt so much better. But nervous. This had never ever happened before! eeeek!!! 
The morning of the race, got up took another salt tablet. Got my race face on and got ready to roll. I was off with my great pal Michelle and one of her oldest friends Susan! These women are seasoned marathoners, but not really seasoned trail racers. So we all were facing challenges but excited and ready to conquer!
And off we went...I watched in awe at all the amazing runners, these fab, fit beasts! 
(these are the proofs of the race pics...but man they show off the area - so gorgeous!) 
Really the first few kilometres (like 5) were straight climb! Just breathe. This is a traiing run, keep a nice pace. Don't trip! I kept telling myself. 
The trails were rough, rocky, technical, mostly all single track. 
Hill. After hill. After HILL. it was "hilly". 

And I had to take a moment or two to calm down, and stay alert...I managed to trip a couple of times. 
Only really fell twice though!  This was tough. But felt great. The smell was amazing, the air was fantastic and it was so so beautiful out! 
There were a couple times when the view was just so amazing one had to take a second to take it all in!
The second lap was going to be HARD! Especially as you knew where all the tough parts were! It was going mostly well, but the last 5 km were the really challenging part. Or was it 6km? When I finished my GPS said more than was tough those last few K, to be sure. 

At one spot I walked and took a picture and gave myself a pep talk...You CAN! You are SO close! 
And I just kept moving. 
The trail is so so different than road. There is no music or tunes to turn up to get you in a groove. Music is way to distracting or dangerous on mountain trails. You need to listen! There are bears, cougars and quite a lot of folks on mountain bikes, too. And, since this race was loops, there were runners passing. We need to be aware of the surroundings, to be sure. Some things more scary than others! 

I had less than 5km to go and I started pinging. It was Crystal wanting to know if I was done (oh how i WISH) but I knew I had a bit to go. I send one last text and put the phone away, puffed up with courage and got running. Less than 3km, 2km, then 1km...then the trees cleared and BAM...the finish was sooo close. My legs burned. They were heavy. But, I pushed and pushed and I could see the finish. then hear Crystal yelling at me. (she took these finish line shots!). And michelle an Susan were only a couple minutes ahead of me. All in all, we all KILLED IT!  

 Honestly, I was elated! I hurt, my legs burned. I was soaking wet, filthy, covered in salty sweat and felt frigging awesome!!! 
I had a few gulps of Coke at the finish line, ate a few slices of watermelon. Chowed on some salty chips...and then...
I do not drink beer...this was TASTY!!!!! 
I finished 25km (did I say that GPS said well over 27km?? haha) in a slow 4:30. I had wanted to be under 4 hours, but I had not really run on these trails. I had been on some of the other hills out here, and they were not as ...erm...aggressive. Still...I got er done!!! As I finished there was one 50k-er finishing. And a few with another 12.5 km lap left to go! Everyone here is a BEAST! 
AND those climbs were insane. 
If I was stronger on the trails I could have been faster sure...but I had an amazing time! The atmosphere was fantastic! The Transrockies Crew know how to throw a party!!! It really is awesome race and way to spend the day. Who doesn't love a sunny day, trail run, BBQ and laugh? 

And check my race pics out! I normally HATE race pics...but these well the view is spectacular! I might look like a rock star, but they  do showcase the amazing view! 

And I can't wait to get back out to the trails again!!! whooohoo! 

Do you run trail? 
Have you done a trail race? 
What is the best (or scariest) thing you've seen on the trail?

Do your feet get this dirty? 

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Got a Question? AB FAB is the Answer!

Did you have a bad day? 
Do you have a burning concern you need to address? 
Not sure "what to do"? 
Need a DAMN good LAUGH?
Yes that was me all week. 
And then I saw this....

Oh my... yes. Whatever was ailing me is now cured!


Thursday, 19 June 2014

Trail Time!

Last week hit the trails twice! I love being able to get out there and get dirty on the trails. It is such a total change of pace, mindset ... and allows me to "re-set".

Last Thursday did a nice short (not quite) 6km trail out at Canada Olympic Park (COP). This Thursday am going to repeat! Ange and I hit the trails last week. We didn't plan on going together, it was just a happy accident we figured out we were both going and made a date!
TransRockies is hosting a Dirty Thursday run series. I am not really there to race, but to give myself an opportunity to be social, hit the trails and check out of the world just a little. We were supposed to be hitting the trails today but several days of rain has ensured this week's run is cancelled. So sad...I was soo looking forward to it!

On Saturday, I ran a 5 Peaks trail series race in Canmore - 12km (Enduro). I love heading out to the mountains...the view is so spectacular. Only on Sat, the clouds and fog were so heavy there were NO mountains. Really? They were hiding?
That was snapped at 7 am. 
By 9 we were getting ready to start the race...and the mountains were peeking through. 
I ran into Rachel from True North Runner. You see all that nothing behind us? 
Yes. That is clouds hiding all our lovely mountains. 
And shortly thereafter we started off on the trails. 
I snapped these on the second loop of our race...the views were just too good not to! 
It was 12k of glorious difficult trails. But it felt good and totally kicked my butt. As much as I love going downhill, the steepness and tree roots and rocky terrain is scary at times. But the smell is wet and fresh and green and pine-y! And you feel so invigorated. I was a little surprized by the photographer as I came around the bend though a flat spot to head back into the trees. 
The last bit of the race was some big hills - my legs were feeling it! 
But I love coming down the last big hill and through the finish!!

After finishing I grabbed some food, saw I won a prize a nice solomon long sleeve shirt, and then heard a few cheers for Carol! she has been running a little less due to an injury, but was powering through to a fine finish! A couple of us ran to the finish for a big cheer.
As you can see, we were damn happy.
And, I quite like the two picture angles. The pic of the selfie AND the selfie. AWESOME! 
Then I heard my name called! 3rd place in Athena Class in the Enduro Race. 
Yup! A great ego boost! 
Placing in Athena may not have the same as an age group, but it makes me feel great. 
And I feel confident now going into a big challenge this weekend: 
 Rundle's Revenge - it is a 25km trail run.

THAT is what is NEXT up on the trails THIS WEEKEND! 
I am slightly intimated. But if I break it down its just TWO 12.5 km loops. And I DID just run a 12 km run and was feeling good the entire way. I know I can do another loop. I am excited by the challenge to be sure! I certainly have the mileage in. Just maybe not all the time on the trail. It will be a grand adventure, indeed. I was registered in it last year to prep for 2 legs in Sinister 7. But when we had the massive floods, all was awash and the race was cancelled. So this year is the year to be brave and accept a change of a 25ker on the trails! 12.5 km each loop - with 400m of climb. 

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Wordless Wednesday: Stay FABulous, my Friends!

I know this is supposed to be a wordless post....but if you do not immediately recognize this image you NEED to 'google' Absolutely Fabulous (one of my fav shows EVER). It is a brilliant comedy created by Jennifer Saunders and Dawn French - all about the antics of drug-addled PR consultant Eddy Monsoon and her bestie Patsy Stone. Go WATCH on YOUTUBE!

Monday, 16 June 2014

SkirtChaser: The 5k Redemption

So the week after my marathon was one huge event. As in a 6 day event. Filled with overtime and exhaustion. In order to keep my head clear (ish) I  walked to and from work every day, and didn't even try to think about running. And then when I tried thinking, I was too overwhelmed with work to do a damn thing.

So when Friday morning rolled around, I said I would meet some of the ladies who run out of Strides Running Store for a short Saturday morning run. Forgetting I had a 5k run on Saturday evening. haha.Stress makes me forget stuff. Oh I remembered Friday night, not to worry!

So off I went on Saturday to meet the ladies. Michelle wasn't feeling well so she and decided to get the fresh air and walked. We actually walked 5km. It was lovely. We talked about the Calgary Marathon I had run it the sunday previous and she was in charge of the water stations - and I was told by all runners I knew to give kudos and hugs and super Hi-5s for her fine work! We even discussed my upcoming 5km run. Just go out and do it and feel good."Take 'er easy," was Michelle's advice.

Then off I went to work for a few hours at the Mayor's Environment Expo. I finished a bit early and zipped off to go pick up my race package. Then lie down and head to the run. It had been cool all day so i planned my outfit based on that. I even thought arm sleeves would be perfect.
Then I went outside and it felt like 10 degrees warmer. Bonus! So off with the sleeves. And definitely no jacket for this skirtchaser run! Once I arrived - after a little issue with parking and lack of signage, I et up with Tara and Jen! Both who had done the halfmarathon at the Calgary, and with the promise of a beer after, and we were going to have a blast!
Lookit us! Ready to rock the run! 
Do we not epitomize fun & fab? 
Ready to start...
Off we go! 
I have to say i started out a wee bit fast. I was trying hard to not look at my watch, but coul dfeel the pace was too fast. Btt I kept telling myself just keep pushing, you can do this. First kilometre was 5:29. The next was 6 minutes, and I knew I needed to be a tad slower. So the next three were about the 6:30 mark - now I think I could have kept closer to a 6 or 6:15 but hey! It was so awesome to just run. And #runhappy! Overall, I was super pleased. I felt great! I didn't feel too winded, nor did my legs hurt. And I had a little gas at the end. I let one guy pass me and held off three more at the finish. And really....only 2 minutes off my personal best 5k time ever...I felt mighty proud! Hey...maybe my suck dial is not turned up. MAYBE I am on bad race does not make a bad season! And this race is totally showing me that I am doing a-ok! 
I crossed the line and had the biggest smile! It was hot! Sweaty. I had serious swoob and swass. And quite frankly. SWAGGER! I felt redeemed. Hurrah. 
And the beer tasted pretty good too! 

Klink! here is to keeping that attitude and momentum for the rest of the season!
and Thanks to SkirtSports and TransRockies Events for putting on such a fun energizing event! 

Yay to redemption runs!! Onwards and Upwards.
Don't you love it when that happens?