Scotiabank Vancouver Half-Marathon Weeks 4 + 5 / 11

Strength + Stretch.
Distance: 0km. Did not strengthen nor stretch.
Daytime Distance (commute + shift): 10km.
Music: N/A

Schedule: 6.5km run.
Distance: 0km.
Daytime Distance (commute + shift): 8.5km.
Music: N/A

Schedule: 7 x 400 track intervals.
Distance: 6.75km – ran with friends again; it makes all the difference.
Daytime Distance (commute + shift): 9km.
Music: N/A

Schedule: 5km run + strength
Distance: 0km.
Daytime Distance (commute + shift): 9km.
Music: N/A

Schedule: Rest (yay!)
Distance: 0km.
Daytime Distance (commute + shift):

Schedule: 5km pace
Distance: 0km.
Daytime Distance: 5km. Walked with my son and his school in the local parade.
Music: N/A

Schedule: 13km long run
Distance: 0km.
Daytime Distance: 7.5km split between a trip to the park with Spud and a family Mother’s Day hike.
Music: N/A


Distance (actual vs scheduled): 6.75km vs 36km
Daytime Distance (commute + shift): 54km


Strength + Stretch.
Distance: 0km.
Daytime Distance (commute + shift): 7.5km.
Music: N/A

Schedule: 6.5km run.
Distance: 0km. Commute from hell coming home, lost will to run… Sent Colin out instead while I covered Spud’s dinner and bedtime. Wine.
Daytime Distance (commute + shift): 8km.
Music: N/A

Schedule: 40min Tempo
Distance: 40min with hills instead = 5.5km. Ran the biggest hill all the way without stopping, which is a big deal for me! Total run was actually 6.5km in 47min.
Daytime Distance (commute + shift): 11km.
Music: Fall Out Boy’s American Beauty / American Psycho album played straight through and then repeated.

Schedule: 5km run + strength
Distance: 5km
Daytime Distance (commute + shift): 9km.
Music: Can’t remember if I had my iPod for this run.

Schedule: Rest (yay!)
Distance: 0km.
Daytime Distance (commute + shift):
12km. Also includes hanging out downtown after work waiting to meet up with friends for drinks.

Schedule: 5km pace
Distance: 0km.
Music: N/A

Schedule: 15km long run
Distance: 17km. Ran with Colin and Dianna in Squamish. Completed the Coast Mountain Trail Series’ Survival of the Fittest long course, minus the short downhill/uphill of the start/finish. Since they are in the final taper for their race the distance was short enough that I could finally tag along! I’ll be doing the SOTF short course in 2 weeks so it was a nice preview.
Music: N/A


Distance (actual vs scheduled): 28.5km vs 37km
Daytime Distance (commute + shift): 47.5km

Note: Remember to take your vitamins! The difference in how I felt between Week 4 and Week 5 was night and day once I started taking my vitamins, and specifically my iron, again.


Scotiabank Vancouver Half-Marathon Week 3 / 11

Strength + Stretch.
Distance: 0km. Did not strengthen nor stretch. Zzzz.
Daytime Distance (commute + shift): 13.5km.
Music: N/A

Schedule: 5.5km run.
Distance: 0km. Made the mistake of sitting in a comfy chair, got hungry, put on pjs. Zzzz.
Daytime Distance (commute + shift): 10.5km.
Music: N/A

Schedule: 35min Tempo
Distance: 10km slow instead. Didn’t want to go, but did it anyways. Awful.
Daytime Distance (commute + shift): 9.5km.
Music: N/A

Schedule: 5km run + strength
Distance: 5km + no strength
Daytime Distance (commute + shift): 10km.
Music: N/A

Schedule: Rest (yay!)
Distance: 0km.
Daytime Distance (commute + shift):

Schedule: 5km pace
Distance: 0km.
Music: N/A

Schedule: 11km long run
Distance: 0km. Didn’t work out with Colin’s run schedule and then had errands and a work shift. Oh, well… At least the distance isn’t what I’m worried about.
Music: N/A


Distance (actual vs scheduled): 15km vs 30km
Daytime Distance (commute + shift): 56.5km

Scotiabank Vancouver Half-Marathon Week 2 / 11

Strength + Stretch.
Distance: 0km. Made sure I did 10min bodyweight exercises + 5min stretch right when I got home from work. Yay!
Daytime Distance (commute + shift): 12km.
Music: N/A

Schedule: 5.5km run.
Distance: 0km. Too sore from past couple days and didn’t want to over-do it before track session on Wednesday.
Daytime Distance (commute + shift): 10km.
Music: N/A

Schedule: 6 x 400 track intervals.
Distance: 5.16km, but accidentally shorted myself one interval, only doing 5 / 6. Guess I need a better way of keeping track {no pun intended}.
Daytime Distance (commute + shift): 10km.
Music: None – had the company of my friend Simone.

Schedule: 5km run + strength
Distance: 5km, kept it slow and surprisingly steady. No strength; Spud’s bedtime and my dinnertime were more important.
Daytime Distance (commute + shift): 10km.
Music: Fall Out Boy + Deadmau5.

Schedule: Rest (yay!)
Distance: 0km.
Daytime Distance (commute + shift):

Schedule: 5km pace
Distance: 0km. Tired. Nuff said.
Music: N/A

Schedule: 11km long run
Distance: 0km. Was going to run when Colin got home from the Squamish 50 Orientation Run, but the downpour and hail turned me off pretty quick.
Music: N/A


Distance (actual vs scheduled): 10.6km vs 30ish-km
Daytime Distance (commute + shift): 50.5km

Scotiabank Vancouver Half-Marathon Week 1 / 11

Strength + Stretch.
Distance: None. Comfy pants won this round. Way to start the cycle right!
Music: None. See above.

Schedule: 5km run.
Distance: 5km mall-walked instead while waiting for Colin to pick me up  + 12km walked during the course of my shift = 17km.
Music: Whatever the mall was playing. Nothing memorable.

Schedule: 30 minute tempo
Distance: 6km. I have no current pacing ability. I was all over the place due to a hillier than recommended route. Next time it’ll be flat(er).
Music: Squamish 50mi playlist on shuffle. Highlights were Rage Against the Machine, Pearl Jam, and White Stripes.

Schedule: 5km run + strength
Distance: 5km + 7.5km during shift = 12.5km. Again, no pacing ability, but faster than I thought I was able to do a steady run. Baby steps.
Music: Pearl Jam, multiple albums on shuffle. Highlight: Jeremy – it played 2 x in a row.

Schedule: Rest (yay!)
Distance: 12km; 4hr shift + walking around for the rest of the day combined.

Schedule: 5km pace
Distance: 0.3km walking around my house because I did nothing but sit on my couch ALL day. It was great!
Music: N/A

Schedule: 10km long run
Distance: 9km long run. Terrible run. Ran from a training shift out at UBC back to Kits Beach. While the weather and scenery were good that’s about the only nice thing I could say about it… (The intramurals including 20 min HIIT session did not help my legs.)
Music: Pearl Jam, because I didn’t remember to take it off of that before starting.

Throwback Thursday: Ragnar Northwest Passage 2012

** I wrote this partial relay recap waaaay back in 2012.  I never quite got around to finishing it {spoiler alert}, as it’s been languishing in my drafts folder for the last 4 years, but it’ll give you a good idea of how much fun relaying can be.  I highly recommend it! ** 

Remember when… I ran a relay in July?  And was regularly blogging?  Yeah.  Me too.  I might as well get back into writing by posting the longest race recap ever.  There will be no breaking this up into separate posts.  You’ve been forewarned.


I think I’ve finally figured out why I have been putting off writing this recap.  I feel bad about having had more fun than I did at Hood to Coast last year.  There.  I said it.  It was MORE FUN.  Part of me feels like I’m being mean saying so.  It feels like I’m somehow negating the friendships I made through HTC.  That’s not the case.  Things changed after HTC for me.  This year I felt like I knew people already – Nuun staff in real life and teammates from Facebook and Twitter.  Last year (even after all the emails) I still wasn’t sure what everyone would be like.  To my introverted self the pressure of meeting new people was a little paralyzing.  HTC helped me get over it a bit so Ragnar was easier.  This year I was more confident in my running abilities and at peace with my pace.  I admit that last year I felt like I was the weakest link in our van.  This year I got over myself.  Comparing Hood to Coast to Ragnar is like comparing apples to oranges; you can try, but they’re just different.  

* The Beginning *

My Ragnar weekend started on 19 July – a Thursday and also my anniversary.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Colin deserves the “Husband of the Year” award for telling me it was okay to spend 3 days on my own (don’t worry… he and Spud had fun too).  After putzing down the I5 we arrived at Nuun HQ in the early afternoon.  It was just in time to join Caitlin as she picked up Holly from the airport.  We had a bit of an adventure trying to buy bagels on the way there, me being no help navigationally, of course, but it all worked out.  This was when I learned that, due to a rental snafu – “sorry, we just don’t have your nice comfy 12 passenger vans, oops – hard work was being done to ensure we’d be able to get around.  We were saved by Good Chevrolet and Michael’s Chevrolet when they each loaned us one van!

Caitlin dropped Holly and me at the hotel and we promised we’d arrive back at HQ for dinner.  Lauren met up with us and we played tourist (disregarding the fact that we were all at RnR Seattle in June), going to Pike Place Market after hitting up a Starbucks.  Might not have been the smartest move to walk, but it was a nice day.  I didn’t end up buying anything though I longed for the cheap, beautiful flowers I couldn’t take over the border.  After returning to the hotel Lauren drove us up to HQ so we could meet the rest of the team.  We sequestered ourselves in the waiting area – love the cardboard couch! – and, as people arrived, we doled out the fun accessories people brought (sunglasses and jelly bracelets to go with the 90s theme).  We sort of felt like we were invading since the office is really open, but eventually Mason and Zoe called us out on hiding and told us to make ourselves at home.

* Wherein I get tipsy and chatty… *

Apparently a Thursday evening hosting bloggers called for a party atmosphere at the HQ (although reading Twitter has lent me to believe that any day is an excuse…).  By party I mean drinks were involved.  Since I was the pariah who doesn’t drink beer I had the choice of gin or vodka.  Since I don’t drink gin, vodka it was.  And perhaps more than I should have had.  Now, this wasn’t entirely my fault.  Yes, I drank it all, but Mason made it for me.  Pretty sure it was 3 parts vodka to 1 part Tangerine Lime Nuun All Day – in a red Solo cup.  If that wasn’t the ratio I am a cheaper drunk than I thought!  Anyways, I get chatty when I drink (and then really quiet if I’ve had too much).  I just realized I’m like Raj on Big Bang Theory, ha!  I was pretty happy to see Italian food for dinner.  Next time I will eat before I drink!  Over dinner we got to know each other, Mason said some nice things I don’t remember, and then it was van decorating time!

When we were done Lauren drove me, Holly, Becky, and Jenny back to the hotel.  We took advantage of the rooftop hot tub – the distant lightning made one question the choice – and turned in relatively early.  Becky and Holly had an early pick up to get to Bellingham for 9am while Jenny and I got to take our time as we were in Van 2.

* It’s Raining.  Aw, crap. *

Usually I can start a recap with “the day dawned bright and early.”  Yeah, no.  The day dawned at regular time and was pouring out.  The extent of my wet/cold weather gear?  My Sugoi jacket and my Vancouver marathon long sleeve.  No extra shoes.  Not even really extra anything.  Tyler and Kim from Nuun picked Jenny and me up at 9am, where we joined Stacie, Dawn, and Megan in the van.  I put in a request for a frontish seat (after having been in the back row last year) and got the first row with Stacie.  We actually kept to our seats for the most part of the relay.  Our first stop was Starbucks/Kim’s house.  We needed coffee and she needed a few things she forgot (and also offered up extra cold/wet weather gear for those who had nothing either).  I grabbed my usual venti tea and scone for breakfast, which turned out to be a poor idea.  That much tea, a tiny bladder, and an underwhelming amount of rest stops = running to the bathroom at our first exchange!  And then running to the port-a-potty because they were free!  Yes, I understand school fundraising, but not to make people pee!!!  Not cool, Bellingham High.  Not cool.

After the drama of finding a place to go we convened back at our van.  We had a while before Van 1 would hand off to us during which we needed to change, attend the safety meeting, pick up various race stuff, and hit up the merchandise tent.  I got a hoody (which I am wearing as I type) before they sold out.  Unfortunately, I should have also bought the pint glass as those were sold out later on.  We decided to find a place to eat and wandered over to a local sandwich shop across from the high school.  I felt really bad for them because they didn’t know about the relay.  Obviously a miscommunication somewhere as that could have been a really good day for them.  It wasn’t too much longer until it was our turn to head out.  Jenny grabbed the snap bracelet from Meghan and we were off!

* Whirlwind *

I’ll be honest with you.  This part is kind of blurry.  Even though I’ve done a relay before it’s amazing how fast it all seems to go by.  Pretty much my recollection is this: Jenny starts, we drive, cheer her on a couple of times (really bummed I forgot my cowbells at home!), get to exchange, Kim runs, we drive, cheer her on, get to exchange, I get out and ready to run.

My first leg was 6.1mi/9.8km along Lake Samish.  I’ve only ever seen the road I ran along from the I5, but it gave me a fair idea of what it would be like.  The weather was cool, but not raining.  I was nervous, but feeling pretty good.  As usual I went out too quickly although I thought I’d be okay.  Not so much.  I got a massive stomach cramp about half way through which I wasn’t anticipating.  It slowed me to a walk as did the hills that I wasn’t quite well enough trained for.  I wasn’t all that keen on the hill coming up to the exchange either.  Mostly because I seem to have blocked it from my memory and didn’t know it was going to be there!  Along the last stretch of my leg I succeeded in scaring the crap out of myself.  There was something in the bushes along a driveway, probably a squirrel or something small that sounded much bigger.  Anyways, I had my iPod with me in my handheld and the cord moved with my arm.  I looked to see what the noise was, got hit by the cord, and jumped a good foot into the air.  Thankfully there was no one else around to see that!  It started spitting rain a little bit when I came in to hand off to Stacie and then I was done.  My final finish time was 1:02:25 – 10:13/mi or 6:21/km – super proud of myself as that was the fastest run I’d run in a very long time.

Post run I got changed back into my neon cheering wear as I was off duty for the next however many hours.  Stacie handed off to Dawn, Dawn handed off to Megan, Megan got pelted by gummy bears, we handed off to Van 1 and it was dinner time in Burlington!  Again, it seemed like people weren’t notified about Ragnar coming to town as Red Robin was hopping with relayers and a local soccer tourney filling it up.  The manager was pleasant, but frazzled as she’d been there the majority of the day.  My adult sized macaroni and cheese was the perfect dinner.

* Late and Stupid aka Seagull Fishing and Lemon Tea *

Funny things happen during relays when you aren’t running.  In reality, and to the outsider, they probably aren’t all that funny.  But to 7 people who have been running/driving/going non-stop pretty much anything is funny.  Or downright hysterical.  After dinner all of us were pretty tired from a long day.  But then the conversation somehow turned to seagull fishing.  Stacie had to explain as all of us gave her “WTF?!?” looks when she brought it up.  Essentially, lay down under towel on beach, put food/bait on top, feel seagull land, sit up and trap bird in towel.  See?  Hysterical!  I can’t remember if this was the same time Jenny made us watch a video of the dolphin midwife, but that was hysterical in a gross way… I know you’re dying to look that one up, but seriously (srsly) don’t.  We didn’t do much more than drive straight to the next exchange and try to get a little bit of sleep.  I managed to get about 2 minutes of sleep as every time I thought I was close to dozing off something would wake me up.  The 2 minutes came right before our alarm went off.  Oh, well, it was to be expected.  We all roused ourselves to see Jenny off on her second leg.  She had a really hilly leg and it was pretty darned dark so we made sure we stopped and cheered quite a few times.  At one point we parked at the top of a hill and had ourselves a little, and rather loud, dance party.  Not sure that the other vans appreciated our enthusiasm, but, meh, we were having a great time!

Jenny handed off to Kim and she headed off.  We made sure to stop and cheer for her as the second half of her leg was unsupported.  More loud dance parties ensued – I think the other runners liked seeing us.  About half way through her run Kim was starting to hurt.  However, she is one tough lady and pulled through admirably and with a fair amount of speed.  And just like that it was my time to run again.  It was 3:30am and, because he is awesome, Tyler agreed to run with me.  I wasn’t too thrilled with the thought of having to run this leg by myself.  It went through a bit of an industrial area and, as I’m not the speediest of runners, I was a little paranoid.  I thought the first part of the path was dirt or gravel, but turned out to be a paved bike route.  It was also fairly well lit.  But there’s safety in numbers and I was glad for the company; especially when we saw the seagulls painted on the path – got the giggles then and wished for a camera.  Unfortunately for Tyler he wasn’t really prepared for pacer/bodyguard duty and ended up running in his safety vest and non-techy clothes.  I know that there would have been many times during this leg that I would have given up and walked had I been alone.  As it turned out I ran 2.7mi/4.35km in 28:24 – 10:31/mi or 6:32/km – which I consider a win since I was going on no sleep!

Once I handed off to Stacie (who took Tyler with her; again, safety in numbers) I went back to the van.  Just before getting there we were somewhat accosted by an official who was very adamant that Dawn know where she was going on her leg as she got to cross the Deception Pass bridge.  I get that he was just being safety conscious, but it seemed like a bit of overkill at 4 in the morning!  Stacie had a ridiculous uphill for her second run.  Since it was early morning things were getting loopy again.  I don’t remember who was awake for it, but Kim, who was driving with Tyler out of the van, started serenading our runners with Toby Keith’s “Red Solo Cup.”  Essentially there was a promise of a cold drink, dubbed “Lemon Tea” for it’s Nuun-like resemblance, at the end of leg 22.

Red solo cup,  I’ll fill you up

Let’s have a party, let’s have a party

Red solo cup, I’ll fill you up

Proceed to party, proceed to party

This was srsly (another inside joke that I really can’t explain) one of my favourite parts of the relay.


Life and Stuff. And a Race on the Horizon.

So. It’s been a while.

I suppose it’s fitting that the length of time between posts is almost same as the length between my last and next race. I may have been dormant here, but I’ve at least been {moderately} training for a half marathon… that’s next Sunday! It’s amazing how a race tends to sneak right up on you regardless of how long you’ve known about it.

So let’s recap the last few months shall we?

– Post-Squamish 50km I was recovering and trying to prepare for a second 50km race, Oregon Coast. With only 7 weeks or so between them it was optimism, and FOMO, at it’s finest.

– Oregon Coast, while not utterly horrible, wasn’t great. Here’s the mini-recap since I never wrote a post: I was under-prepared. We drove – and drove and drove – down to Yachats, OR, the day before the race; Portland traffic was apparently Portland traffic (re: SLOW). Race day morning was windy with sideways rain. The first 10km were on the beach and I was last from the get-go – I expected this so not much of an issue there. The sweep decided he would stay close enough that I could hear the shwoosh-shwoosh of his shoes on the sand, but not close enough to run with me; this was mentally draining. The sun started to peak out by the time I was off the highway and into the woods. At 16km the short course runners started passing by and I had to urge the sweeps to pass me since I was going to lose my **** on them otherwise. This is where I wanted to quit. It was a mudfest. The downhill is where I started to have fun. I got an awesome race picture taken. Passed the point of no return for the loop portion. Sucked it up and did it even though it was hard. Passed one person (hey – I’ll take it!). Met up with a friend who was having a rough day. Had fun on the downhills knowing I would drop at the next aid station. Actually got cut for time, but was a-okay with it. Ate all the grapes as they were packing up the aid station. Caught a ride back with the drop bags. Watched friends finish the 30km and 50km race. For an off day I at least got in ~36km. Can’t say I’ll ever do it again, but it is what it is…

– Post-Oregon Coast I did nothing. Some fun runs with friends. Some volunteering at races. Nothing taxing.

– Christmas was a blur.

– Started training for a half marathon. It’s a road race. If I’m honest it’s the first road half that I’ve seriously trained for since 2010. And, to be more honest, my training is still mediocre. Not effort, but runs/week.

– Trying to plan out weekends is crazy. Colin and I both run so it’s a lot of “who’s running when?”. Most of our weekends are booked until September!

– Immediately after my half I start training for the Squamish 50 MILE. Since I still haven’t gotten around to getting my training plan (yup, really need to do that!) it’s not 100% real. Except for my name being on the official registrants list. I’ll have one race in July, Buckin’ Hell 15km, but other than that it’ll be train, train, train some more.

So that’s about it. Things are crazy busy, but we somehow seem to balance it out.  

How’ve you been?  


50 for 50km: Squamish50 {Belated} Recap

As is my custom, this Squamish50 50km recap is overdue and randomness put to page.  I make no apologies.  Enjoy!

  1. Rookie mistake: I forgot my watch.   We were on Highway 1 at Capilano Road (25 minutes from home) before I noticed.  Thankfully it wasn’t our race day and we had left with enough time to go back and retrieve it.  It was on my living room table.
  2. Volunteering for a race (in my case, marshaling the 50mi the day before my own 50km) is a great way to feel bad about yourself psych yourself out be inspired. Colin and I were stationed before the finish line at Smoke Bluffs Park “Turn left, stay left, just over 2km to go…”  We got to see the lead pack come through and, wow, it’s amazing how fast people can run and not look like death.  I’m sure it would be different later in the race, but I didn’t see too many vacant non-comprehending stares.  Just one or two that I kept an eye on to make sure they turned the right way…
  3. Seeing friends (and familiar faces aka “friends” I “know” through online “stalking”) finish their races/journeys was incredible. There were a lot of emotions on show at the finish line both on the Saturday (50mi) and Sunday (50km/23km).  It felt like an honour to have others share how their days went as sometimes events like these are extremely personal.  **probably also why this race recap is a month past due **
  4. Pizza – Margherita, at Howe Sound Brewing, for those wondering – makes a good pre-race meal. However, when you decide that it’s so tasty you should have just one.more.piece, don’t.  It will end up as a ball of dough sitting just at the bottom of your esophagus, refusing to go into your stomach to be digested.  It will cause you to worry that you will have some very private issues out on the trails the next day.  It will mean that Imodium will be your friend.  Just in case.
  5. A 6am start time, with a 4:30am shuttle, means that going to bed late was dumb. Our wake up time was 3-something.  It came very early.
  6. Breakfast was a banana and a Blueberry Boomdizzle Picky Bar.
  7. When you see a person walking down an empty street at an ungodly hour of the morning in the pitch black and you know that the walk to the shuttles is a) still a ways to go and b) axe-murderer scary you stop and offer them a ride.
  8. Riding a school bus when you are an adult is weird. I still have issues with the no-seatbelt thing.
  9. You would think, for the only reason of not having a couple of hundred runners peeing (or worse) in the bushes at a provincial park, said park officials would have remembered to come by and unlock the good bathrooms. At least we remembered where the lesser known pit toilets were and we didn’t have to wait too long.
  10. Group selfies are a must. I love having friends who insist this is a race day requirement.
  11. There’s something fun about an RD who counts down his race standing atop a picnic table and then just yells, “Go!”, to start it off. It’s official, but personal.
  12. I feel a little badly for anyone who camped at Alice Lake on the weekend of 16-17 August 2014. It’s not usual for a few hundred people to run by your tent when you’re probably not even awake yet.  At least we weren’t bears?
  13. Embracing my slowness meant that a lot of people passed me right off the bat. And I caught up to them within about 8 minutes because we bottle-necked into the forest.  Ha!  Not that I saw them again after getting through that, but still.  I’ll take my victories where I can get them.
  14. Forest, forest, roots, a lake, forest, roots, small hill, forest, Ginger Runner, forest, roots, PANIC ATTACK.
  15. Approximately 2.5km into the run I had a full-on, breath into my paper bag buff, wheezing panic attack. I attribute it fully to not having any sort of breakdown during taper aka Taper Tantrums / Taper Crazies.  Next time I will happily freak my crap out prior to race day.  I don’t ever want to be standing on the side of the trail looking like the crazy as other runners go by again.  I really should have just bawled my eyes out and screamed at the trees to achieve some sort of catharsis.  Lesson learned.
  16. I am continually amazed that I won’t run around my neighbourhood by myself outside of standard lots-of-people-around hours, but I will run happily through the woods without too much stress. It probably has to do with the abundance of comfort-inducing pink flags leading my way.  Please read #4 here to get a better idea.
  17. I fell. I would like to think spectacularly, however, no one was close enough to see and verify this for me.  At 5.63km, roughly 52 minutes, into my run I had a stick completely jump out and trip me.  That is the only way I can think it happened as I was running in a flat loose dirt section.  One second I was running along minding my own business and the next I was seeing the ground come rushing up toward my face, my sunglasses go flying off my head, and my buff fly out of my hand into the dirt.  Immediately I checked to see if a) I was broken {no}, b) if Sherwood, my Suunto Ambit2, was okay {yes!}, c) if I was bleeding {no – mostly scratches and what would turn into a few excellent bruises}.  I dutifully hit the lap timer so I could know exactly when I was wronged and carried on.
  18. Hills are {{insert your favourite pejorative here}}.   Especially switchbacks.
  19. Having runners who were out to complete the inaugural 50/50 race – that’s 50mi Saturday AND 50km Sunday – pass you is a bit of a mood killer. Not that I wasn’t proud of perfect strangers for getting out there…
  20. Pit toilets are my friend. Which is why I was so happy to get to aid station 1 and that I knew where the secret toilet was.  Just wish it had had toilet paper.  The little bit that was crumpled up on the side was definitely a no-go.
  21. PLASTIC SCHEISSE & GALACTIC SCHEISSE! MUSIC!! MY iPOD IS A SHUFFLE GENIUS!!!  Roughly 5km of continual uphill called for a distraction.  Amazingly, I enjoyed every single song that played.  Thankfully no one was close enough to hear me singing Eminem’s Not Afraid incredibly loudly and likely very off-key.  I was having a great time.  Note: I am extremely glad I was able to do Galactic twice in training.  It was the one part of the trail that I was scared of.
  22. I ran (hiked?) into Barb on Galactic. I had run with her at Buckin’ Hell – I still haven’t quite forgiven her for dropping distance then… I was so close to not coming in last! – and it was awesome to see a familiar face.  We didn’t talk a ton as I had music in and was huffing and puffing along.  However, we kept pace and kept each other company.  We would end up running the majority of the race together which was great mentally for both of us.
  23. Random moment: as I was descending off of Galactic to Upper Power Smart I decided I was going to put my music away. I asked the next marshal – who turned out to be a guy I used to work with!  It wasn’t surprising that he was volunteering as I knew he was a downhill mountain biker and adventure racer.  It was just unexpected.
  24. Downhills are {{insert your favourite complement here}}.
  25. One of my goals was to make cutoff at Quest University, which was 11:15am. That gave me 5 hours and 15 minutes to get there.  I made it in 4 hours 43 minutes and left the aid station 10 minutes later.  Goal accomplished!
  26. Fig bars. Buy them.  They are, hands down, the best thing ever when running long distances.  I even forgot to peruse the aid station table at Quest for anything else.
  27. When at aid stations, peruse. I really wanted watermelon about 3km after leaving Quest.
  28. The one part of the trail I didn’t pre-run was Climb to Angry Midget. So glad I didn’t.  It was long and never-ending.  Had I known that was coming I would have dreaded it.  Instead I kept my head down and kept going.  I am a bit peeved that my legs didn’t want to let me enjoy the downhill at A.M.  It was the only part of the race that my knees hurt.
  29. Seeing a member of our running group at the bottom of A.M. was awesome. She even had a sign with our group name and the names of all of us who were running that weekend!  It was a huge morale boost.
  30. I finally got my desired watermelon at aid station 4. It was just as good as I wanted it to be.
  31. I don’t pee in the woods. I needed to.  I got stage fright 3 separate times.  Laugh if you want.  It ruined my favourite section of the whole run.  I couldn’t get any flow (pun intended), but each time I even thought about going I’d suddenly not have to anymore.  However…
  32. … Squamish50 will forever be known as “the day Alanna learned to pee in the woods” or, at least, “the day she found a log on the side of a road and peed quickly before the dog walker with +5 dogs came up the path and saw her”.  In true trail runner fashion I have friends who appreciate and celebrate this fact!
  33. Getting to aid station 5 was the best feeling ever.  I had friends there who could give me updates on others.  I knew I only had 10 hard kilometers left.  They had watermelon.  They had ice.  Ice!  They filled my hydration pack with it.  And they gave me a baggie for my buff.  Best friends ever!
  34. Barb and I were still running together. So thankful.
  35. I was on autopilot by this point. I don’t remember much after aid station 5.  Just that when I got to Endo I knew that time was more important to me than finishing.
  36. This race has an 11 hour cutoff. I was starting to calculate splits in my head and it was nagging at me.  I let Barb go.  Not to be mean, but to run my own race.  It wasn’t discussed.  It just happened.  This is why trail friends are awesome.  They understand.
  37. I wish I hadn’t picked up a 50/50 runner at this point. She was using me as a pacer, I think, but I was a bit irked by her stick.  Aside from the fear that she’d errantly hit me with it I was a little torn.  I kind of wanted to turn her in for using an aid – believe me, I could have gone faster, too, with something to lean on – but she was on her 2nd race in two days so I let it go…
  38. Mountain of Phlegm. If you’ve run any race in the Squamish50 weekend you know.  It just sits there in wait mocking you as you make your way there.  You feel like you’re doing well.  You think, “it can’t be too hard“.  Then it rises up and knocks you on your ass.  And it was a freaking hotbed of mosquitoes this year.  I stopped to talk to my friend Ed, who was having a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day (and who would overcome it to finish!), and got about 9 bites.
  39. When I hit the top of Mountain of Phlegm I had 4km left. And about 50 minutes.  By the time I got off the hill with 3km left I had 35.
  40. My mantra from Smoke Bluffs Park to the finish line was “You are not allowed to walk”. Man, did I want to walk.
  41. I was only slightly confused to be yelled at by 2 girls in a car when I was running along the last stretch of road. Turned out to be Candice and Hilary!  Your cheers were so appreciated!
  42. The splits for my last 3km were: 9:06, 8:09, and 7:52. I am as proud of this as I am of finishing.
  43. I briefly registered that Colin and many of my friends were waiting at the finish line, but, darn it, I was sprinting as if my life depended on it to get done and get my hug from RD Gary Robbins. He gives good hugs.
  44. Official time: 10:49:42.1. Yes, that millisecond is important.  Goal accomplished!
  45. I didn’t finish last!!! Goal accomplished!
  46. I had a really good race. There were way more positives than negatives (and, really, any of my negatives were inconsequential compared to others).
  47. Volunteers are amazing. I can’t say enough good things about everyone who pitched in on race weekend.  There were so many people who raced Saturday and volunteered Sunday and vice versa.  The less thinking I had to do the better.  Please know you have my gratitude.
  48. Gary Robbins and Geoff Langford. Thank you.
  49. This picture makes me think things I probably shouldn’t be thinking.
  50. 50 miles – I’m coming for you.

Commencing Freak-Out in 3…2…1…

THIS is happening in just over a week.

Despite the title of this post, I actually haven’t freaked out yet.  Shocking.  I’m waiting for it to sneak up on me like it did before my first marathon when I was pinning on my bib the night before.  Here’s hoping that it doesn’t happen at all or at least, God-willing, not on the 4:45am bus ride out to Alice Lake for the start!

I haven’t been blogging much about my training, which is regrettable since I’ve had a few fun and epic runs up in Squamish with friends.  Those will definitely need their own posts prior to my race recap!  Somehow I missed seeing a bear that was ~12ft in front of me last weekend (don’t worry, Mum and Dad, we were very cautious – and it would have eaten Ed first if it hadn’t been more interested in berries). 🙂

I am actually feeling really good about race day.

* Nutrition: I (think) that I have all the nutrition under control:

Hüma Gel – the best tasting gels I’ve ever had.  They have chia in them.  The mango and the apple cinnamon are my race day choices.

Nuun – double strength tri-berry in the hydration pack and will do half tri-berry half wildberry energy (caffeinated) after Quest.

Picky Bars – race day breakfast will be a Blueberry Boomdizzle bar and a banana.

PocketFuel and Nature’s Bakery – my “just in case I’m hungry and gels aren’t cutting it right now” food.  Real food.  Will either go with Coconut Cherry or Pineapple Coconut (both are almond butter based) Pocketfuel.  Nature’s Bakery makes yummy fig bars and we have the fig, blueberry, and raspberry ones.

* My race day outfit will be the same one I’ve been training in:

Sugoi – hat

Buff – snot rag if on my hand, neck cooler if soaked in stream water

Oiselle – Strappy bra, Scantron tank, and Lesley knickers (and possibly arm warmers depending on weather)

Injinji – socks

Inov8 – 245 trail shoes 

* I’ll have my pretty Nathan Zeal vest to hold all my crap.  

I’ll need to give myself plenty of options in my drop bag so I don’t look at the choices and find that nothing appeals.  Other than that, though, I’m confident I can make the 23km 5hr 15min cutoff at Quest University, which was my one big worry.  I’m willfully ignorant of Upper Climb Trail and Angry Midget, but am okay with the rest of the course as I ran it last year and part of it at Survival of the Fittest a couple of months ago.

So that’s it.  I know I can finish and that’s all I’m really hoping for.  It’s going to be a HARD race.  Good thing my motivating song this training cycle has been Hedley’s “Anything”:

A hundred thousand disbelievers couldn’t keep me on the ground
I’ve invented a momentum that’ll never slow me down
I believe it cause I feel it and I shout it out loud
I can I can I can so

[and the line I use the most when I’m having a hard time]

Uh uh, **** that, I can do anything


Buckin’ Hell Race Recap

Because I’m a very lazy blogger – and tired – I’m cutting and pasting my Facebook race synopsis, so apologies if you follow me there…

My legs feel like they’ve been beaten with sticks. That’s what I get for running Coast Mountain Trail Series races. Buckin’ Hell lived up to it’s name (and I may have replaced that B with an F a couple times near the end) and was exactly what I expected it to be. May have come in last, but at least I finished it (21.1km with 4300ft of ascent/descent)!

Here’s the map so you can appreciate my suffering today:



– uphills suck. I will complain about this after every trail race. Why can’t trail races have a nice flat 5km warm up?
– downhills are awesome: Forever After and 3 Chop made the run worth it.
– ran with music, which I usually don’t do, but wanted it for uphill inspiration. My iPod is a genius and played the right songs at the right times. Bad Habit by The Offspring (eclectic + old school) had me cursing like a sailor in the middle of the woods, exactly when I needed it – Old Buck I’m talking about you…
– trail volunteers are awesome (Colin and Spud were directing runners and traffic). They genuinely seemed excited for me rather than making me feel like I was holding up their afternoons.

Overall, I am happy with my race.
– My hiking skills are a lot better than they used to be.
– My nutrition was a bit off – should have eaten more, sooner.
– I didn’t fall, however, I tripped a bit on a root and almost fell off the side of a hill which scared me a bit.
– I didn’t cry, but I almost did on the switchbacks up to the lookout as I was sore and just wanted to turn around.
– mentally I’m good. I’m convinced that if you can survive being last (and not for the first time) you can survive anything. Pretty sure some would call that stubborn.

How is your weekend going?  Any races or runs today or tomorrow?  Let me know!