My Seek the Peak training has continued to go well. Nothing hurts, my appetite continues to be insatiable and I am sleeping like a baby! With the Grouse Grind officially opening over the weekend, we decided to tackle it ourselves yesterday.
Even with the HOV lanes, this morning’s traffic was a gong show (I so appreciate my commute to work). We arrived at the base of the mountain shortly after 10am, and got our trek underway quickly. Although cool temperatures and low cloud are less than ideal at this time of the year, they make perfect grinding conditions (and also keeps the trail quiet).
Within 5 minutes I was breathing heavy and in a bit of a sweat. My plan was to keep a steady pace and not completely kill myself in the process. The trail was in great shape until just past the ¾ mark, from here on up there was snow at the sides of the trail and in the spots where there weren’t steps it was quite muddy and slippery. I made it almost all the way to the top without having to touch a rope or the handrails (yes, even when grinding I am a bit of a germ freak, eww sweat, snot and random DNA, and then you wipe the sweat from your brow with the hand that has held the rope…). The rocks were so slick that I slipped and had to catch myself with one of the ropes, I guess a little foreign matter on my glove was better than smashing my knee.
Grind timer to grind timer, I made it in 50:37:94 (yes every second, and tenth of a second counts), 34 kills, I was killed once (very close to twice, hence my scramble and slip on the rock). I was pretty happy with my first attempt this year, next week my goal is a sub 50, but I cannot imagine doing it in a few weeks having already run 10km up hill and still have another 3km to go after the grind.
Everyone seemed very happy with their times, Conny, Susa and Amanda all had PB’s and you would never have known that Soraiya had run her third marathon in 6 weeks on Sunday…good for her!
We all started to cool off very quickly so we bought our gondola tickets and headed back down the mountain, and then the drama started. I pride myself on being organized, always. I don’t like to leave anything to chance (yes, I have control issues), and yesterday was no exception. Packs leak, they also get sweaty and they also get wet in the rain, so I always put my phone, car key, and ID and lip gloss in a plastic baggy inside my pack, it keeps everything together and dry.
After I had finished the grind I had pulled my phone out of my baggy, I had also used my debit card to pay for my gondola ticket. We were half way back down on the gondola when I noticed my car key was no longer in my baggy. We frantically tore my pack apart, and still no car key…OMG! I distinctly remembered locking my car and putting my key behind my phone in the baggy so that it wouldn’t pocket dial and hadn’t opened my pack again until the top of the mountain. So it had to be up there somewhere, right?
I must have had sheer panic on my face when I told the gondola attendant what had happened. He assured me that somebody would have turned my key fob in and that he would call the top of the mountain once we were at the base.
I wish the news had been better, but nobody had found my key, so the trip back up the gondola to retrace my steps was among some of the longest minutes of my life, not to mention the coldest. In my mind I had already gone through the two scenarios of how I was going to get my spare key from Maple Ridge to North Vancouver, I was either going to have to suffer the wrath from my husband or my Dad, sigh…
As the doors finally opened Conny, Soraiya and I made our way through the masses in search of the missing fob. The plan: to find it quickly so that we could go back down on the same gondola.
Conny and Soraiya hit the store and the ticket counter and came up with nothing. I headed outside to the veranda where we stood and stretched, to find nothing. I went down to the lower level to the covered area where we waited, still nothing. By this point I am ready to lose it. I headed out onto the rocks to the grind timer and the spot where I originally opened my pack for the first time, I looked down and there it was, one soaking wet, lonely and beautiful key fob!
Too cold and just too emotionally spent to do a happy dance I found the girls and we squeezed back on the gondola and headed down to warm, dry clothes and a well-deserved Starbucks.
I guess I could laugh about it now, but I won’t, it wasn’t funny, but I did learn a lesson, that this will never happen again.
I love to people watch, who doesn’t? Seeing how unsuspecting individuals speak, interact, their mannerisms, sometimes it may even involve a little eavesdropping, all the while trying to be as covert as possible as we observe from behind darkened sunglasses, menus or just blatantly gawk. There are the obvious spots around town like Robson Street and English Bay where you know that you are guaranteed to get some good watching, some of my favourite locals include the lounge at Kobe, the pool at the Bayshore, any public boat launch, the beach at Hayward Lake and of course Vegas.
People do and say the strangest things, especially when they think that nobody is watching and the best part of the sport of people watching is to piece together the parts of the puzzle that may have happened before said party caught your attention, filling in the parts of the conversation that you didn’t hear and finishing the story long after the spectacle is over.
And this morning our trail running group got to do just that (well at least group 2 did, group 1 may have been so distracted that they explored a new trail and group 3…well they were just all smiles and giggles when we reconnected).
As we were gathering for our run we couldn’t help but notice a shirtless, muscular fellow eating a large sandwich in the parking lot of the West Canyon Trail, then a second and slightly shorter, muscular and heavily tattooed fellow then emerged from the trail head wearing a soaked to the skin white tank top (yes Mum, he was wearing shorts), muscle 2 stopped in front of muscle 1 and lifted his arms overhead, muscle 1 removed muscle 2’s tank, gave him a large sandwich and they drove away in their big truck.
It was random and completely fantastic and has easily given us enough material to play with for the duration of our run clinic.
How was your morning?
Well I am one week into my ramped up training for Seek the Peak and I am feeling fierce! I did take the Victoria Day long weekend off from work, but I still managed to get in a training run everyday; one flattish, one utilizing the hills as well as the scenery of White Rock, one tempo and one in the trails.
This morning I did my second training session with the Body Campers (also another excuse to wear my posing shoes). Out of sport I decided to dust off the chin-up bar and add stair plyometrics to the circuit. I am not sure how the group feels about my working out along side them, but it is doing my body good, although after the 4th round of skipping drills with the weighted rope, my backside looks more like I spent the morning with Christian Grey than in my Studio.
One thing that I noticed almost immediately was the increase to my appetite; feeding the python this week has been reminiscent of marathon training. It was also perfect timing for the cooler full of Keri sized containers of manicotti that my Mun made and delivered to me over the weekend.
The Grouse Grind officially opened over the weekend, so my training plans for the next week include a test grind (maybe to the peak depending on the snow pack), hitting the weight room with D, taking the stairs EVERYWHERE and also giving my body a little rest time so I can finish my latest read.
Guest Post: Ugly Finish.com
There are a few steps you can take to prepare yourself for race day and the jitters that may accompany the big race. Our expert guest blogger, Keri Cawthorne, gives us 6 helpful tips to help us make the most out of our race experience.
Learn how to increase your odds of reaching the starting line without a hiccup and with the confidence to propel you through to the finish.
Overcoming Race Day Jitters
Familiarize: Be familiar with the race route by either making your last training run the race route and if that is not possible drive the route beforehand making note of mile markers, especially the half way point.
Love Yourself: Be kind to your body during the weeks leading up to the race, eat well, keep yourself adequately hydrated and get plenty of rest.
Your Mantra: Develop a mantra for the race to calm your nerves and keep you focused. It could be posture inspired such as ‘run tall, run light’ or something as simple as ‘don’t think, just run’.
Prepare: The night before the race, lay out your running gear and everything that you will need for the race. Pack a bag with a change of clothes for after the race. Attach your timing chip and breathe. Go to bed and visualize yourself crossing the finish line.
Do Your Thing: Nothing new on race morning. Keep your pre-run routine the same as you would for a training run. Eat your regular breakfast and even have a cup of coffee if that is what you normally would do, now is not the time to experiment with new foods.
Trust Your Training: Be confident in your training. Know that you have put in the time and distance and that your body is ready to run.
Some people love the smell of freshly cut grass, some love the smell of bread baking in the oven, I love the smell of new runners. I know what you are thinking, it’s not in a kinky fetish way it’s just one of those smells that brightens up my day. And given my line of work, my world gets a little brighter every couple of months or so with a new pair of road or trail shoes.
Now my gym shoes are another matter. I am embarrassed to say that I cannot remember the last time I bought a pair. Really, the pair that I am currently using was an old pair of road shoes. And given the broken orthotic that is in the left shoe I would have to say that they are at least 3 years old…yikes.
I could try to rationalize the neglect of my gym shoes by saying that I never do any impact moves in them (except when I drop into Christine’s classes every couple of months), I don’t run in them, I wear them only in the weight room, in my Studio and for my core class, they are more of just a standing shoe if you will. Who am I kidding?
So yesterday I finally replaced them, and boy did I replace them!
I have had minimalist shoes on the brain since the Running Symposium I attended back in January and have been dying to try a pair out. Given all of my foot issues I know that they wouldn’t be the smartest shoes for me to wear when running, but who said anything about running? These shoes are for standing (or posing as my Dad would say).
I unveiled them today at my lunchtime Core Connection class. I have to say that wearing them makes me happy, and yes, I totally selected this model based on the colour.
I’m not sure if one standing workout can count as an opinion on my new kicks, but here is my verdict so far: I was really surprised how much cushioning there was on the insole of the shoe, I was completely expecting to feel like I was in bare feet (I guess that is why there are varying degrees of minimalist shoes), however when I was performing balance exercises, squats and lunges I did notice a lack of support in the toe box that gave me that exercising barefoot feeling. So for what I plan on using them for I think that they are perfect and soooo cute.
When I found out that I wasn’t able to participate in the Tough Mudder because of schedule conflicts I wasn’t entirely disappointed. I am all about adventure and the next challenge, but after getting injured at last year’s Warrior Dash I have to say that I am a little gun shy of doing another mud race. That being said, I am pretty, ok ridiculously goal oriented, and without a summer challenge to work for, I started to feel a little lost.
On my list of things to do this month was to fill my training void and come up with something that was doable yet that would push me. I have been looking at the Seek the Peak Relay for the last few years and as luck would have it, this year’s date worked with my schedule (as long as I am done by noon).
Here’s the billing from their website…
The challenging 16-kilometer course starts on the beach at Ambleside Park in West Vancouver, winds its way through North Vancouver, then heads up the legendary Grouse Grind® to the Peak of Vancouver. Seek the Peak is not strictly a race for elite athletes. Participants are primarily motivated by the symbolic overcoming of a significant obstacle, reflecting the ongoing fight against breast cancer. This event is about rethinking what matters. It’s about rethinking our pain thresholds and our ambitions. More than this, it’s about rethinking our priorities. Support Rethink and together we will overcome breast cancer.
…and it is 4,100ft of elevation gain! I guess my mountain really is waiting.
With too many family members, friends and clients (one of which had her first surgery on Monday while another had her final reconstruction surgery on Tuesday of this week) affected by this horrific disease and overcoming my own obstacles for the past few years; the event really resonated with me. In previous years I have looked at taking part in it as part of a 4-person relay team, but on June 17th, 2012 I will be running it solo baby!
I have to confess, I practically threw-up when I hit the submit button to process my registration, come on it’s 4,100ft of elevation. I won’t be setting any records; it really is about completion (I WILL COMPLETE IT however long it takes me, but do have to be done by noon) and the thought of standing at the peak of Grouse Mountain looking down to see how far I have climbed (the thought already brings tears to my eyes).
Training officially started yesterday and I have a lot of work to do, but it is minute in comparison to the battle that so many fabulous and fierce women whom I know have endured.
I have managed to twist a few of my running family’s rubber arms into joining me (one has even registered) and would like to extend the invitation and challenge to the rest of you, either as a soloist or a relay team.
My Mum used to say that all she wanted for Mother’s Day was peace and quiet, and if you have ever witnessed the witty banter of the princess versus the president (which almost always ends in feetie fighting), you would know that it truly would have been a remarkable gift. Maybe this year?
So far, my Mother’s Day has been picture perfect. Waking up to that familiar smile, enjoying a great cup of coffee, sneaking in a early morning run in the sun and finishing it up with a little Flo Rida before the 10 mischievous grins that were sleeping above my garage surfaced, coming home to a kitchen filled with the aroma of warm pancakes and last but not least hearing those three little words that mean so much from my favourite teenager.
I hope that your Mother’s Day is filled with good feelings!
This morning was all about the BMO bling and the stories that went along with the bling. Huge congratulations to Brain on running his first marathon (which from what I hear, wasn’t all that bad), to Coach Soraiya and Carissa for being the cutest duo out there, to Colin for qualifying for the BOSTON MARATHON (woo-hoo) and to Julia for completing the 1/2 marathon with a sub 2!
Today was a bittersweet day. Today was the first time that we have all been injury free enough to run the loop of Hayward Lake since Thanksgiving weekend last year, but today will also be the last time that we are able to do so for the next 5 years as a section of the trail (which is also the best section as it gives access to the floating bridge) is being closed due to the seismic upgrade of the Ruskin Dam.
Just in case you slept through it, this morning was spectacular, sun, blue sky, warm air and not a glove in sight! Getting to the trail was no easy feat as the lower Railway Trail parking lot had been closed and we weren’t about to hike to the upper parking lot.
We do what we have to do and made it by the first fence only to find another smaller fence, they really didn’t want us to be here. But once we were through we enjoyed the lower section of the trail and the sweet smell of Spring, in some of the less treed areas it felt more like early Summer.
Up the Powerhouse hill and over the Stave Dam and then the work started as we climbed the s-curve hill on Dewdney Trunk Road (or as we like to call it Wynona’s Big Brown Beaver hill). It’s always a relief when this is over as we kick back in the trail for a mostly downhill run.
As we passed the Reservoir Trail parking lot we ran into a friendly BC Hydro guy (with great shades) and he filled us in on some of the timelines. Drawdown of the lake will begin on Friday. The two floats that secure the floating bridge will be removed as will the bridge. He assured us that no matter how stealthy we were (obviously he didn’t see us navigate the fences on the Railway Trail) we would be unable to cross over the floating bridge. He also said that the lake would be on drawdown until August and that the beach area would also be closed. This kinda ruins summer, no beer commercial morning runs, no late Summer afternoon treks to the floating bridge to cool off and no beach. What are we going to do? Lookout White Rock, the country folk will be coming to visit! Although we will not be able to cross the bridge, we will still be able to run the section from the Reservoir Trail to Canoe Landing and to the floating bridge, and then back out still giving a good two-hour run. As well the lower trail, the upper parking lot on Wilson and main parking lot will be open, but it just isn’t the same, especially with the lake on drawdown. Friendly BC Hydro guy almost seemed as sad as we were.
For the next 50 minutes or so my anxiety started to build as I knew what I was going to have to do. We passed my fav spot on the trail, had a little peak, Soraiya suggested that this spot needed “ahhhhhhh” music, over Conny’s near death experience bridge, along the ledge and to Conny’s moss wall, she loves this spot.
We climbed Canoe Landing and then down to the floating bridge, and it was time. When Conny and I ran last week we said that we would take a dip in May, and this being our farewell run, we would be taking a dip today. Oh, that water was going to be cold, I had only just commented that I could see snow on the neighbouring mountains which feed Stave Lake. Pack off, hat off, Garmin off, shoes off, socks off and over the railing we went…
We took a few minutes to say goodbye and finished the last 5 minutes of our bittersweet run knowing that it would be years before we would be able to be here again, sniff, sniff.
I never win anything, I don’t. My Dad does. Some but not all of his numbers come up on the lottery every so often and he always shares his windfall. One of these days he will win the big one, and when he does his plan is for him and my Mum to live out their days in a little hut somewhere on a beach in Mexico. Once he asked me what I would like when he did hit the jackpot, and without even flinching I responded with “a Porsche Cayenne Turbo in silver, it doesn’t even need to be turbo, ok it does”.
Several weeks later my Mum and Dad stopped by my house for a coffee and my Dad reminded me of our conversation. With a twinkle in his eye and a smirk on his face, he told me to go and open my front door. Knowing full well that it is only a matter of time before he does win big, I raced to my front door and threw it open to find a model replica Porsche Cayenne Turbo in silver sitting on my door step. Yes, once again some but not all of his numbers had come up, and as always he was quick to share his winnings.
I don’t have his luck. Once I won a football pool, picking the winner based only on the colours of their uniform and a few years ago I won the ‘entertaining’ gift basket at my daughter’s school Halloween carnival, which sat in the corner of my spare bedroom only until recently. I don’t win 50/50 draws, pull-tabs or on slot machines. I think that the first time I went to Vegas I only spent $20 in the casino and that was given to me by a work colleague to play for him.
A few months ago I entered an online contest for Optimyz Magazine. I don’t often enter contests because most of the time you have to be a US resident to win. But Optimyz Magazine is Canadian, so along with over 400 others I tried my luck. The contest asked what race I had planned for 2012, the prize was a TIMEX IRONMAN Race Trainer Kit. Simple enough, I responded with my race card for the season and guess what arrived in the mail yesterday?