Sunday, March 30, 2014

The escape

Hiding spot on F&F, Grouse MTN, Wednesday night - Photo by Aran Seaman


Escape plan logic

As athletes, we understand - at least at the intellectual level - that we must first overtax the system (train) to then recover (taper off) in order to make gains in performance. This typically happens in both macro and micro cycles with the intention of hopefully peaking for key events. I say that we comprehend this concept intellectually because when it gets to the execution of this very simple training AND recovery principle, many fumble irritably. This episode is affectionately known as the ‘Taper Crazies’.

Junction of F&F with Aran
Beauty moss on F&F


Lately, much has been written about elite ultra-trail runners filling their offseason with SKIMO (ski-mountaineering) or otherwise gorging on various snow sports, who subsequently hop off their skis mentally jazzed, injury free, and ‘kill it’ on their first race of the year. Yah, with no miles under their feet!

Jeff  often tells me “if it works for Killian …” hence why I enthusiastically devoted these past winter months to skiing, powerlifting, and zilch nil zero to running.

So. Great. I’m injury free and mentally jazzed about the upcoming trail running season. But guess what. I’m no elite and darn it: running hurts! With a negligible amount of miles banked, I feel downright unprepared for potentially 6+hours of mountain racing happening in a handful of days. Back in December, I was over thrilled to secure an entry to the DiezVista 50k, and now all I can do is shake my head.

The good news is, since I'm so lacking in running-specific fitness right now, I have opted to forgo tapering, and in effect completely bypass (escape) the infamous Taper Crazies by continuing to run leading up to race day. That’s good logic right there.

F&F lookout.
And attempt to bag Turbine summit until getting shooed-off by Grouse staff
because the ski run was still open, then Aran said something like
"told you this was a ridiculous idea"

What I did on my vacation week from The Taper Crazies
M 
Olympic lifts + foam roller routine
T
Easy 6k road run, flat
W
Olympic lifts routine, hike 1.5k 1050m, Flint & Feather and up
T
Moderate 10k trail run, 100m, Buntzen Lake area
F
Rest / Foam roller routine
S
20kish trail run/power hike, 1100m, Swan Falls area
S
Rest / Ab ripper + foam roller routine


Buntzen Lake with Adele, Thursday night

Looking up near summit of Swan Falls loop, Saturday morning


Snowden and Thompson working their #mountainsexualmen pose

Happy runners - Photo by Graham Snowden



For proper advice on how to prepare for an ultra see Ellie’s suggestions in the latest issue of Canadian Running Magazine.

Next post: Pre-race interviews with local athletes gearing-up for DV50!



Monday, March 24, 2014

When fresh out of excuses to start blogging

Fear. I have it. I’m afraid of moths and leggy bugs, bugs that burrow in your skin or crawl in your ear while asleep. I’m afraid of what you can’t see - especially under water and I don’t swim for one. I’m afraid of losing track of what I’m doing or of not working on the right things. I’m afraid of wasting time, or getting sick or just so injured that it knocks me out completely.

Idleness scares me the most. And procrastination … wait, what? Fear is not the word. It’s more like an aversion. Regardless I am guilty of procrastination, and thus my justification for starting this blog. Blogging has been on my to-do list since 2007. No more excuses. Today is the day, I hope you like it.


Photo by Jeff Pelletier - SQ50 course

Re-Cap of SQ50 Orientation Run and Cap Crusher smorgasbord weekend

Anyone who has raced on a Gary Robbins’ course design becomes an instant fan. Last year, I was the first to register for the entire Coast Mountain Trail Series (#CMTS). No, I was the first female to sign-up. James Marshall insists that he was the first ever. Anyway, I even tagged-on their signature event: the Squamish 50 (#SQ50).  So, a four-race hit in less than 30 seconds! True, not the smartest move to swill wine, VISA on the table and index on the Register button, yet, as the saying goes “no regrets”. Let’s pause this chapter on the 2013 season, to perhaps recall those lessons-learned in future posts.

Fast forward to 2014, Saturday, 8 am, for the first of four SQ50 Orientation Runs. It is a point to point, where we shuttle up to the start. This method works-out every time somehow, but I was nonetheless uneasy as we had already filled all seats in my Subaru carpooling from East Van with Jeff Pelletier, Joshua Barringer, and Jackie Muir. Thereafter, we quickly made new friends in the parking lot at Nestor’s Market coordinating shuttles up to Quest.

It was a strong turnout, despite biting wind, snow, and an iffy forecast. The vibe was giddy, catching-up with that crowd you mainly see at races, and meeting those you only know virtually through Instagram. We huddled for the traditional group shot, then off all-a-chatter we rolled, from what I could see Josh and Jesse took the lead to swiftly disappear up the first climb. Clusters spread as we claimed our paces, eventually each settling into smaller pods as it goes in trail running.

Gary had expertly marked the course from the perspective of a fast runner – so even if you were flying through the corners, there was no way to miss the arrows and “confidence” flagging. About 1h20 or so into the run, I was starting to fidget with my gear, and wanting to stop, then boom! a fully stocked aid station and smiley faces right there. Perfect. Shortly after more fun twisty stuff, we were spit out into Smoke Bluffs Park, already over. The run was advertised as 23K. I don’t wear a GPS watch, though my pod companions debated it was maybe short of that, finishing at a relaxed pace in under 2 ½ hours. 

In the car ride home, Jeff and I agreed we needed more miles on the weekend, and concluded to add a run on the BP up toward Hollyburn Mountain, after the next day’s Cap Crusher race.

Pre-running Cap Crusher course

Sunday, 8am, Capilano River Park. I was warming-up toward the British Properties and ran into a tall blond with course map in hand. He introduced himself as Jordan, wondering “which way does the 13k go?”. We ran briefly together, chatting about upcoming races and how excited I am about the Knee Knacker Wednesday night runs starting up in April. He asked if I was going to “kill it”, I replied “no, just a tempo run, getting ready for Diez Vista 50 in a couple of weeks”. Otherwise, the start was business as usual. Warm-up-drills, washroom, high-fives, pre-race announcements, start gun, then that familiar muscle burn up the first climb.

Photo by Jay Klassen

As anticipated, the course was way fun. It is compact with crossing loops and two-way traffic in some sections, allowing for spectating while running. Mike Murphy “The Murph” looked super focused as usual. We learned of an American champ at the start line, Gary goading Mike to guard the lead and save our BC honour. Trailing close behind The Murph, to my surprise, was young Jordan from this morning’s pre-race run. Also in the lead pack was Morgan Arritola, an accomplished world class multi-sport athlete, who took first place in women and 4th place overall, amazing! 13K results.

In the 8K race, was happy to cheer by Gemma Slaughter who took the women’s win, along with her West Van Salomon teammate Jeff who just missed first place by seconds. 8K results.
 

Post-race was also business as usual, games, prizes, hugs, acknowledgements, and a few more snapshots for the Gallery. 

And then Jeff and I went for a run with my buddy Erik Bjorklund who happened to be there with his dog Bella, both ready to go. Not sure on the final distance for the day but I was satisfied enough with the effort. I hit the couch and the foam roller soon after.
 
Jeff and Erik, Brother's Creek Bridge

Check out Solana's Beast Mode blog for more stories on both events.