Sunday, September 5, 2010

North Face Canadian Death Race (Post Mortem) :)

So yes, this is over a month late. And really, after a month is a race report even valid? My husband says yes. In fact, he says "Do it for me". And how can I argue with that? He is the husband extraordinaire, and he did support me in my race (and every day before and after). And he rarely askes me for anything. Plus, I would like a record of this somewhere. So here goes.
The training:
From Jan- June I trained high mileage and built up my endurance. I was running 100km plus a week and felt like I was 100% on track until...

The Death Camp:
In June I attended Death Camp. A weekend where we covered all but the first section of leg 5 either by foot or by bike. After this camp I realized that I didn't need any more mileage. I needed strength and I needed time on those trails.
After the Death Camp: I did squats, lunges, plyometrics and hill sprints. And I spent every weekend I could in Grande Cache. Thanks to Crystal I learned to love Leg 2. Thanks to H-dog and Husband I learned to love leg 4. Thanks to Sue I was scared of leg 3 (haha!) It made me run anyway...
The training was tough and I seriously contemplated dropping out before the race even started. I was starting a new business and I felt stretched as it was. I signed up for this race as a way of dealing with greif. By June I had dealt with it and that was no longer a motivation. I had to find a new purpose for doing this, and finally I did.
The Race:

My #1 goal for the race was to be the happiest soloist on the course. Honestly, I believe this is what got me through legs 1-4. I was smiling, chatting to everyone I met and even had the thought "I don't want this day to end". That thought was followed by "OMG don't jinx yourself!" LOL the fear certainly wasn't unfounded. There were walking dead all around me- and that was only leg 2! I am so glad that A) I took it easy on leg 1 and B) I knew leg 2 like the back of my hand. Leg 2 is a beast. The first time I did it I was ready to drop out of the entire venture!
By the time I got to race day I'd done it 3 times and had made my peace :) Thanks to Crystal Rhyno  I had some mind games that kept me happy and positive. Like yelling "BOGMAN" through the tough boggy sections, and singing "The road that never ends" all the way up the long road to the top of Grande.
On leg 3 I ran with a woman from Grande Cache who was a chatty Cathy and kept me entertained. She apologized for her rambling but it was great. I ran leg 3 almost start to finish. I was terrified of the cut off. And rightfully so, there were 85 people who's days ended at that cut off because they missed the 7:06 deadline. (I was there at 6:30)
Leg 4 was the longest of all. I had a short rough patch on the way up, but regrouped and felt pretty good for most of the way to the top. I passed a lot of people and had some good conversations on the way up.
On the way down I was running and keeping a good pace. And got dark. Between the dust and the boulders I had to slow to a fast hike. Once I got to the 7km gravel road to the bottom I was able to jog, but it took me much longer to complete this leg than I'd planned. By the time I reached transition it was after 2am. I had blisters all over my feet, I was grumpy, sore and ready to be done. (did I mention I got my period on leg 2?)
Darin was a fantastic support crew at the end of every leg. Mostly I was easy- fill my camelback, help me change my shoes and give me any food I need. At the end of leg 4 it was different. I needed my husband. I was whiney, grumpy and in serious pain. D popped my blisters, changed my socks and shoes and tried to get me to eat/drink something warm. I was almost crying from the pain in my feet but D was so supportive and told me to just get out there and finish the last 22km.
Leg 5 was the toughest of all. The first part of the leg was the only part I've never seen and it was horrible. Overgrown (and pitch black), steep and nasty. I was really suffering, stubbing my toes on every 4th step and screaming out in pain. I was seeing things that weren't there, and just praying to get to the river for the boat crossing.
Finally I did, and after that I was on familiar turf. I was so happy to get rid of my coin to the man dressed as the grim reaper (you have to carry a coin and a timing chip through the race. If you lose either you are DQ'd). The climb out of the river bank is about 5km and STEEP. But once to the top you have a fairly flat/ rolling trail home. My bladder was on overdrive and I had to pee about 5 times, but when I hit 120km I decided to put my head down and RUN! And I did. All the way to town, and into the finish line. I have to say this finish was the most emotional and satisfying of any I've had. I've done done 4 Ironman's, 4 marathons and lots of smaller races and nothing compared to this. I was so happy to be finished, knowing I had completed the toughest physical and mental challenge of my life.
I was so happy to see D, and my friend Crystal, at the finish, 22hrs and 5 mins after I started. Other than that it is a pretty low key finish line at 6 something AM.
I crossed the finish line, hugged my husband and hugged Crystal. Both of them were huge in getting me to the finish of that race. After that I just wanted to get off my feet! D and I walked (hobbled) to the motorvator a few blocks away. When I got back I wanted a shower, but after taking off my race clothes I was consumed by the shivers and couldn't imagine walking another step never mind the 3 or so blocks to the rec center for a shower. So I washed my feet, and used the baby wipes for a wash down and hit the hay.
A few hours later we woke up and were able to shower and eat.
The aftermath:
So now that the race is done and in the bag I can say for certain it was the toughest thing I've ever done. I can also say (with confidence) I don't want to do it again any time soon :)

I learned a lot about myself while training for, and during, this event. I am glad I did it, and glad I followed through and finished. I proved a lot to myself and I feel like it was what I needed to do. A month plus later the emotions are not as raw, but the lessons are just as relevant.
I finish what I start, if I am not strong enough I can find the strength, and my family are my biggest supporters and most important inspiration.

So there we have it. Race report done, moved on and moved forward. New goals are set for 2011 and I am looking forward to getting back into a regular training and blogging routine.

Fun Facts:
Total distance: 125km
Total elevation: 17000ft
Total time: 22hrs 05mins
Number of bananas consumed: 11 (thanks Julie!!!!)
Number of shoe/sock changes: 3
Number of black toe nails: 4
Number of nails lost (so far): 1

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

What I've been doing

In case you were wondering. This has been my 'project' the last few months. Construction is underway and I finally feel confident that we will be all moved in and up and running by October 2010. This is how I would define dream.come.true. :)

Friday, August 20, 2010

Happy Friday!

Bikes and Wine. How can you go wrong? Celebrating a productive and successful week with the husband and a bottle of this:
Yum! Happy Friday :)

Thursday, August 19, 2010

I stole these

Here are some pics that my friend Crystal took after our run on the Wapiti Trails today. I stole them from her blog since I never remember to carry my camera nevermind take a pic. It was hot and windy but the company was good. H-dog was happy to be back to running the trails with his slow momma :)

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


Yes my blog has grown cobwebs and I am ready to dust them off. My hubby did a great write up of his crewing experience for the Canadian Death Race, and I have yet to post my own. But I will.
In the mean time, I feel fully recovered from the race and have started back into some good training. Next up is The New York City Marathon, and I am excited to race a marathon again. I am also training a group for the Victoria Half Marathon which I will run, but not race as I'll be there as a coach. (tough life, I know)
Since D opted out of IMC this year we have decided to head to Peace River and do their sprint tri which is the same day as Ironman. I have swam twice so far in "training" and haven't been on my bike since Penticton. I am swamped with getting my new venture off the ground by the time the snow flies so I really only train when I am teaching or coaching. I will get out for a few rides in the next couple of weeks, but I know that this race will only be for fun so I'm not stressing about it. I have enough stress in the rest of my life.... :)

Saturday, June 19, 2010

What's Up??

Wow, that last post was up for far too long!
Things have been rolling along great. After recovering I was able to run in the Banff-Jasper Relay. I was leg N9 which had me running uphill for about 9km and then another 7km of rolling/downhill. It was a blast and it was so good to feel like I could run again!
I cheered D and all the team GP athletes on in Hinton the next day. I dedcided to forgo the Duathlon, I didn't want to press my health/ luck with back to back races. I made a video for a tri 101 clinic we did of the guys at Hinton.

Death Camp was last weekend, and it pretty much blew my socks off. I was ready to pack it in after doing Leg 2 on day one, but it was mostly due to not enough food or water. The leg itself goes on forever and is very technical and tough! I stuck it out and survived the camp. I was barely walking by the time the weekend was over, but I managed to cover the entire course between biking and runing/hiking.

Yesterday I was back to GC to tackle Leg 2 again. This time I had back up in the way of a friend. We had a much more enjoyable hike, and I am not the least bit sore today.

Tomorrow I am back again with another friend and we are going to do leg 3 and 4 back to back. I am looking forward to the LONG day (57km, elevation change over 6000 feet, one 3000 foot climb etc)

The rest of life is crazy, lots going on and some big exciting news coming soon.


Monday, May 31, 2010

So that happened...

I wanted to get this 'out' of me before the start of June. Tomorrow is a new month. I am ready to start fresh. So here it is in all its whiny glory. If you don't want to read my sad story, move on. I am sure I'll be back to my normal happy positive self soon. I have until tomorrow :)

After training basically since January for my goal run on May 29th I feel robbed that I wasn't able to cash in on all that training with a race. I am working on letting it go, but I am super disappointed and pissed off. I know that I did absolutely everything within my power to get to the start line healthy and prepared- but circumstances were beyond my control. It is like the universe keeps shoving this lesson down my throat even though I feel like I've learned it. Here is my message to the universe...Eff off already!

Last week was a nightmare. Waking up sick as a dog on Monday I wanted to scream "NOOOOOOO"! But my throat was swollen and felt like it was full of razorblades so there was no screaming. With 5 days until the Blackfoot 80km I knew I was in a bad situation. I spent most of Monday sleeping with a fever that had me freezing one minute and sweating buckets the next. I was worried I had strep throat. The next day the coughing started (a sign that it was not Strep). I decided to do whatever I could to get better.  I unleashed an array of alternative modalities- Oil of Oregano (5 drops 5 times a day- that stuff is NASTY!), various vitamins, 2 sessions of accupuncture, magic chinese tea and cough syrup, infared sauna sessions, saline nasal flushes, super powered smoothies and lots of sleep. While I felt somewhat better everyday, I was still not well. I would take H-dog for a 3km walk and be so exhauseted at the end I would need to lie down. D told me I should pull the plug on the race. But I couldn't.

Despite knowing I was not near 100%, I still wanted to toe the line at Blackfoot. I knew if I stayed home I would be even more depressed about missing out on the race I'd trained so hard for.
We headed to Edmonton Friday afternoon, and while my energy was starting to return, I was still full of congestion and coughing my head off. But still, I thought that maybe, by some miracle, I would feel better once I started running. Oh the power of desire (and denial)! haha!

I hadn't actually run a step since Saturday, when I had pulled the plug at 3miles because I was feeling so off (this was the first sign of things to come). I was pretty tight from a week of laying around and had a painful massage Thursday to try to work out the kinks, but I had no idea how things would go. I was hoping for the best though.

Saturday night I slept very little. I had decided to bite the proverbial bullet and take some drugs. I took 2 tylenol cold pm caps, primarily because they had a cough suppresant and I wanted a night off coughing. Unfortunately it didn't work and I think one of the other medications in it actually kept me and learn.

We were up at 5am, had breakfast and hit the road. We started off on a bad note when we realized we didn't have the map. We had a general idea of where we were going, but unfortunately with a 6:30am race start we didn't have any room for error. And error we did. Several wrong turns later, we finally arrived at the race site. At 6:43. Every racer's nightmare come true. I asked if I could still run and the race director just laughed and said - yes. I asked if my start time would be 6:30 and he laughed again and said yes! But don't worry, Jack Cook was 25mins late one year. I had no idea what he meant or who Jack Cook was but I was pretty sure he was saying it to make me feel better. I took off to use the washroom and then started my run. The 80km starts with a 5km out and back and then is 3 loops of a 25km course.

It was really weird being the only runner out there. And knowing I was dead last. I felt pretty good running and the course was beautiful. About 1.5km in I started to see people on the return of the loop and at 2.5 I hit the turn around. The sweeper bike was with me :) At this point the weather was a cool 6 degrees with a very light rain. I felt perfectly dressed in my 3/4 length tights, bike jersey and thin sugoi jacket. I had my mountain biking gloves on more for the snot factor than warmth at this point.
And snot there was... I won't go into any more detail, but it was a blessing to have no one around me as I hawked, blew, and wiped the steady stream of mucous.

I made it back to the start line to finish the 5km and start my first loop. I did the first 5km in 28mins which was faster than I was planning to run, but I felt fine. Soon after I started to catch up with people and within the first couple of kms I had passed about 6. I knew that every km out there was a gift for me so I was just enjoying the run, the fun of reeling people in and the fact I was there.

After the first hour it had started to rain a bit more and the wind was picking up. I was still warm enough but shortly after the skies really opened up and it began to pour. My jacket was soon plastered to my body, soaked through, and my fingers were freezing inside my soaking wet gloves. The temp was also dropping (it was 2 degrees by this time) and I was starting to feel pain in my left hip and knee.

The terrain had also changed from a grassy trail to a dirt road which by this point was a greasy, muddy mess. I chose to run just off the road in some long grass which was easier to keep my footing, but my shoes were soon full of water.

At about 20km I started to go downhill. I was freezing, soaked to the bone and everything was cramping up- fingers, toes, legs... and the aforementioned mucous that I was coughing up was now mixed with blood. I knew at this point I was probably done for the day. I came into the last aid station and D and H-dog were there. I told D that I was pulling the plug at the end of the loop. He had the Jeep there and told me I could stop now, but I really wanted to finish the loop.

I took off for the last 5km, thinking I could handle anything for 30mins. I had been running 2hrs 28 but the last 5km were by far harder than the 25 previous combined. My left IT band seized up and my hip and knee were in serious pain. I had to take walk breaks and the more I walked the colder I became. Just in case I had doubted my decision to pull out my calves seized up too. I was hobbling/ walking the rest of the way in, finishing the last 5km in 40 ugly minutes. So my day ended at 30km, 3hrs08 mins. I went straight to the truck and was shivering so bad D had to take my shoes and socks off. He had the heat blasting and the seat warmers on but was was shaking like crazy. I finally got all the wet clothes off and some dry ones on and I started to warm up. I was coughing my head off and felt horrible. I just wanted to have a hot shower and go home. So we checked out and headed back to GP.

I have no regrets about pulling out when I did, it was hardly even a choice for me at that point. But I was (and am) really bummed that I didn't get to take on the goal that I had been working towards for so long. The disappointment of that still stings. I want to give it another go next year for sure. It was a beautiful course and the organizers, volunteers and participants were fantastic.

So that is that. Time to move on. This weekend is the Banff- Jasper relay, I am running the only leg rated "very difficult"- a 15km climb out of Columbia Icefields. I am also registered for the Hinton Duathlon the next day, so for the love of all things fair and reasonable I NEED TO BE HEALTHY!

June, I am looking forward to you... to training, running, enjoying life and being well. Bring it on.

PS (I stole this title from Mr Simon Whitfield. He used it twice. I am hoping for an opportunity to use it again the way he did.)

Wednesday, May 26, 2010


A couple of weeks ago we took a spontaneous trip to Victoria. It was an amazing little get away and a great time to reconnect and refresh with a change of scenery. And oh my oh my the scenery.... what a place. Someday we'll call it home :)
The top picture is the view from our room. The green pictures are from an amazing 3hr trail run we did in Goldstream Park. We also rented bikes and rode along the ocean. The shot of me and the politicians is from the wax museum. That was too fun.
Lame recap, I know. But the pictures are nice :)
3 days until my 80km run and I am sick. I have been working hard to get better. Tomorrow I will have a verdict.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

run day sunday

today I needed to run. I had some grumpies to run out, some sadness that was weighing on me and some energy that had to be moved.  in the first 3km of the run I had tears running off my face but I didn't care. I had sunglasses on and there was no sobbing, just tears. by 5km the sadness was gone. I ran 11km out to bear creek and then did the 4km single track trail out and another 4km back. by that time it was 10:30 and I needed to make my way to the race start to see my peeps. I had a huge group of Women of Strength running the Brian Harms 3,5, and 10 mile races. I have to say, seeing the army of women wearing my t-shirts had me bursting with pride. my sis in law was running her first 5km so I ran with her (she kicked butt) and then ran a few more in. I finally met up with one of my run stronger girls on her first loop of the 10miler so I headed out to pace her on her second loop. she did amazing!! I was so proud of everyone, not the least of which my hubby who won the 10miler in 58mins. my original plan was to run home but I was starving and I knew I wouldn't make it without fuel so I took a ride home, had a snack and then ran 10miles on the treadmill to make it 50km in just over 5hrs for the day.
The grumpies are gone, the sadness has passed and once again running helped me make sense of the world.
When I got home I read this quote in my running log "I ran to be free; I ran to avoid pain; I ran to feel pain; I ran out of love and hate and anger and joy."

Friday, May 7, 2010


Hubby made this for me a year or so ago...I love it.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

You're almost there! Not.


I haven't blogged much lately. Mostly I am too lazy to write about running, after running all the time. If I could blog while running (just uploading my thoughts) that would be great! We've had some fun adventures lately with some stellar runs and even a race! Ever since the race I have been fighting a cold/flu though and today I had to succomb completely. Hence the STOP. And since I am on my ass on the couch anyway...

We got out to Grande Cache a couple weekends ago and were able to run most of leg one (we did an out and back). The hills and trail conditions were a reality check for me- no more road running! I need to run hills and trail. That is what is going to help me now! I have a great base, I just need to get more specific.
Here are some shots from Grande Cache:
So as I said, after the run in GC, I decided I needed to get off the roads and onto the trails...and I needed to find some hills to train on! I found some great terrain south of the city. Below is a shot of part of the trail- like mother nature's agility ladder!
Here are some more, the second one is a long sandy hill that is a great
This past Sunday we headed a couple of hours north to the Peace River Valley. We participated in the Unchaga Run in Peace near Grimshaw. It was a beautiful drive north, the countryside is amazing up there!
The bridge is the Dunvegan Valley Suspension Bridge. I stole this photo from the interweb since I forgot my camera.
Here is my Garmin info from the race. If you click more info you can see a profile of the run course, it really did redefine "hilly"...

And here is a shot of us at the finish line. I was happy to discover I could still push myself into that white hot instesity place. I finished in 1:34:58 officially. I was rewarded with a 5th overall placing, 1st female and set a course record. (it is a new race, only the 3rd year). D finished strong in 1:18- super impressive if you know just how long and steep that last hill was!!

Unfortunately I think the intensity was too much combined with the high mileage (I ran 30km the Friday before the race) and I am now paying for it. As much as I hate being sidelined, I am taking it as a deep recovery week to let things heal up and get stroger. I just hope I am 100% by the weekend so we can make the most of our weekend in the mountains!!

Happy Training everyone...

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


How do you know it is Spring in GP?
- The pathways are packed with runners, walkers, bikes and dogs
- Motorbikes everywhere
- Bootcampers flooding the park at 6am
- Beautiful sunrises on the way home from class
- 9pm and still daylight
- Emails flying about group rides, runs etc.
- A big SMILE on my face :)

Sunday, April 4, 2010

the weekend

It has been a while.
This was a big weekend for my run training. I did a 45km run in 4:20 and felt fantastic. The next day (today) I did 10km and it took more energy than yesterday's 45. That is the b@$ch that is running.
But I feel good that I am making progress.

More importantly, I have beautiful neices. Seriously, I have the cutest 3 neices on the planet. I thank God for the gift of these girls and for being a part of their lives.
Happy Easter!!
And of course my boys, the loves of my life!!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Oh yeah, and it snowed.

So I am sitting here eating Godiva 72% Dark Chocolate with Almonds, and drinking a Rickards Dark Beer. Mmmm.

In the last week I have been either working, running, eating or sleeping. I have felt like I've barely had time to breathe little alone blog, thus the lack of posting.

Not for lack of things to write about! On the contrary, my life has been one exciting and blog worthy event after another, I just haven't had the time to write. And I've been spending so much time at my computer my eyeballs feel like they are bleeding, so there is that too.

A full week ago I was in a business course. It was awesome and as a result I have launched 2 new business ventures. I also am entering into my busiest time of year for my bootcamps, so the combination has my head spinning pretty good. All of it is wonderful and exciting though, and I am super appreciative of the opportunities I've been given and the people I have partnered with.

Running has been going well too. I am almost to the 1100km mark for the year. Crazy! I was doing my 35km run on Saturday, thinking about the week's mileage and just about to pat myself on the shoulder for covering 110kms...when I realized...that is still 15km short of what I am going to cover in ONE DAY for the Death Race. At that point I threw up a little in my mouth.
I mean, I realize I signed up for this thing Dec 31 and have been training with it in mind ever since, but for some reason I have been living in some sense of denial. I had a mini panic attack and asked myself "do I really want to do this?"

So far the answer is still yes...I just won't think about the whole elephant. One bite at a time I can handle it.

I have a whole other blog post I want to write based on a question my sister in law asked me via facebook. "What do you love about running? What makes you get out there over and over again?"
This is a good question and something I've had a lot of time to think about in those long solo runs.
I will blog about it. But not tonight... I am shutting the computer and going to enjoy my beer and chocolate :)

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

You gotta know when to hold em...

You are all tapping your toes to Kenny Rogers now aren't you?? :)

This was the theme of my day. Last week was a bit of a test to see how I would handle the mileage. The marathon followed by a half marathon left me feeling a bit depleted, but not too bad. Monday was a rest day, and I felt great- I wanted to run. Tuesday I felt like a bag of ass. I begrudginly went out for my 20km run and slogged through but I knew I was digging myself into a hole. Today I was scheduled for another 20km but I had to take Kenny's advice and fold em. I am not sick, just run down. I think if I had run today I would be sick. And I am traveling to Calgary on Friday for a course I am super excited for and I really want to be functioning at 100% for that.

Anyway, here's to hoping tomorrow brings renewed energy. Enjoy...

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Babe, you need to update your blog...

Yeah I was told this today. I have been meaning to, really I have. It has just felt very busy and everytime I think about updating it seems there is too much to post and not enough
So here is a recap of the past two weeks...

My folks came for a visit! 10 days for mom and dad just left this morning. It was awesome to have them here, I love having my parents here and the house always feels a bit too empty after they leave.
We celebrated my first born niece's 5th birthday!!  So hard to believe that this little angel... 5 already!! 
We had a big party and I had the honor of making the cake. I'm not a baker but I was up for the challenge. I think what I lack in baking skills I made up for in creativity.
Can you guess the theme??? LOL She was so cute in her birthday outfit. The lady at the hotel desk where we had the party (pool/waterslide) wished her a happy birthday. She said thanks and then asked "how did you know it was my birthday?" This is what she was wearing at the time...
So cute. 

We have had some awesome weather the past 2 weeks. D has been loving riding outside in March!!! Note the snowbanks...they are receding!

I, of course, have been running. And running. And running. Last weekend I did 27km and 16km for my long runs as a bit of a recovery from the big 35km the week before. This week I was so happy to be out in the sunshine I did all my runs outside, 2 of them on trail! It was

Yesterday I did a 42.2km run, my first (of many I am sure) solo marathon. Today I ran 20km with a friend and I felt really good. It helped to have company for sure! I am surprised at how well I am adapting to the mileage. I felt pretty crappy yesterday with a horrific headache and nausea and still managed to do the marathon in 4:08. Faster than my first ever marathon in 2003 (4:11). Today we ran very easy and still managed sub 6min kms (1:55 for 20km). The week's total was 110km. I am publishing all these numbers because it is all still a big novelty to me. And that's how I roll....LOL (for Julie)

Best of all I seem to recover quickly. My whole family and everyone I have been around lately has been sick and (knock on wood) so far I have held it off. I felt a bit run down today but tomorrow is a rest day and I will make sure to get lots of sleep and vitamin c in me.

So that is the recap. This weekend I am off to Calgary for a business course so it will be a lower volume run weekend. I am looking forward to doing some new (old) trails though so I will probably be getting up early to run before the class starts. If any of you Calgary freaks want to join me let me know!!  Hopefully cowtown gets some nice weather too :)

Happy Training!! (and gestating for the other half of my blogroll!!)

Sunday, February 21, 2010

A run worth writing about. Get comfortable, this is a long one.

Maybe it was the 2 weeks of taper/recovery and the deep desire (and dare I say need) to run. Maybe it was the week long binge of watching the Olympics and being inspired daily by the phenomenal athletes of the world. Maybe it was all the couch time while watching said Olymics and the roots that were beginning to grow from my butt. Maybe it was the glorious sunshine and above (yes ABOVE) zero temperatures we had today. Or the smell of spring in the air and the swarms of people that emerged from their winter caves to celebrate the promise of an end to hibernation by walking, running, skating and sledding in the warmth of the long absent sunshine. Maybe it was none of these or all of these. Whatever it was or wasn't that contributed to my experience of running today, I am grateful.

Because today, my blogland friends, was one of those days.
You know, the reallyreallyreallyreallysuperradicallyawesome kind? Yup, one of those.

Buuuuut, I'm getting ahead of myself. Let me back up a bit.

So, last Monday I ran the Frozen Ass 50km (in case you forgot), and a few minutes hours after completing it, true to form, my dear husband asked me "So babe, what's next?" Despite the urge to punch him in the face, I sat and thought about it for a few minutes. I had been totally focused on cramming for this 50k in the past 6 weeks, and my only thoughts were of getting in the miles, staying healthy, and getting to the finish line. But what I noticed during my long runs, and in fact during the 50k, was that I seemed to have a mental/physical block at the 30km mark. Meaning, I was all good until 30km and then things started to deteriorate at an alarming rate. I suppose it could be due to a lack of calories, but something told me it was beyond the mechanics and had roots deeper in my subconscious. 30km was the point at which I seemed to fall apart in my previous marathon training as well, and during my marathon races that is the point I started to fall off pace.

I know that training for an 80km, and then 125km, means that if I am falling apart at 30km, I am screwed. Even during the FA50 the last 20km were a serious sufferfest. So, I told him "What I really want to do in the coming weeks is break through this 30km limitation I seem to have and to really get comfortable with that distance (so I can find the next distance I fall apart at..haha)."

This week I ran a couple of short 5km jaunts and a 9km with D and the boys. I wanted to make sure I was recovered from the race, but my body (and mind) have felt great all week. If nothing else it has been a good excuse to sit on my duff. Yesterday I did a 90min ride with the crew and it hurt, but today I knew I wanted to go for a long run. I worked my butt off to get all my shit list jobs done on Saturday giving me the entire day to do with as I pleased (what a beautiful feeling that is!). This morning consisted of lattes with D, breakfast, and Olympics. I checked the weather and it was -17 with the promise of warming to -2. So, since I could, I waited. And had more lattes, more breakfast and more Olympics. I also filled up my new pink ipod shuffle (a Valentine from my sweetie) with some new music. At around noon the weather network announced it was -3 with a wind that made it feel like -9. Single digits was all I was looking for so I put on drastically fewer layers than I am used to and headed out. I had no set time or distance to run, I was just going to run as long as I felt good. I brought enough food and water for 2-2.5 hours thinking that would be sufficient.

As I started out, I didn't feel especially great, but the sun was out and that was wonderful. After a couple of kms I started to find my groove and things started to pick up. I ran down to the park and up around the college. Then I ran past the Pavilion and noticed the skating rink was super busy. I continued to the end of the trails and up past the dog park. This was about 11.5km, but I wasn't ready to turn around. I decided to head out to resource road and maybe head back that way. Once I reached that path (13km) I decided to head out towards Evergreen Park and maybe to another out and back.

Once I hit Evergreen Park I decided to turn down the correction line and make my way back to the dog park via the dump road (this all sounds so exotic eh?).  I hit the 21km mark at 1:58 which I noted since I remeber hitting it at 2:04 during the FA 50. And today my time included several waits at lights, shoe fixing and one quick pee break in the woods (too many lattes). Aaaand, I was feeling great. My perceived effort level was about a 5/10 meaning I was barely noticing that I was even running.

I got to the end of the dump road, took a pull off the camel back and realized I was out of water. Shoot. I tried calling D, but he was busy studying and his phone was off. Luckily I was pretty close to a Starbucks so I headed there to refill. This isn't the first time Starbucks has saved me! I used a cup to refill my camel back, but I was starting to feel a little spacey, like I could use some food. I had eaten my only fuel source at 16km (a granola bar) and the thought of another 12-15km with no food was distressing. I looked around the coffee shop but couldn't see anyone I knew to hit up to buy me a cookie (I had no money on me). As I scanned the room, my eyes fell on the coffee condiments bar.

Hmmm....sugar packets- that could work- but even better I spied the honey. Perfect! I dumped a big glop of honey into my cup, squirted in a shot of water from the camel back and began to slurp it up through a straw. It was like heaven in a cup. As I was licking the remaining honey from the straw I sensed eyes boring through the back of my head and turned see the entire coffee shop staring at me. Ooops.
I smiled, tossed my cup and straw in the garbage and headed out.

The honey was like jet fuel. Off I went heading back towards home. At one point I looked at my Garmin and I was running 13.6km/hr. But I felt like I was floating. I did pull the speed back again, thinking I might have a sugar crash to go along with this high, but it never came. I hit 30km in 2hrs 50 mins and from there it was a short 4kms home. I decided I needed to make it 35 so I lapped the block a couple of times, finishing my last km in just under 5 mins for a total run time of 3hrs15.

As I was coming down the street finishing up I could have been the winner of the Boston Marathon. I was that happy. I felt like I had broken through a wall of sorts, and instead of it being painful, it was one of the most effortless and enjoyable runs of my life. The smile literally never left my face for 35kms.

Today was a special day. I had a massive breakthrough and the high has still not worn off. As I said in my twitter/facebook status: 

"Dear limitation, I hope it didn't hurt too much when I smashed you into a million tiny pieces today. Warn your friends, I am coming for them next". 

I know that the nature of running dictates that the bitch will be back, and I will suffer. But for today, I am basking in my love for running. And I am burning it into my memory (and my blog) so that the next time I have a tough run I can remind myself that bad days make these great days even sweeter.