Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Back in the Saddle Again

It was a bit daunting getting back into the training routine after our rest week/Dirty Feet race.  The DF race was a bit depleting for me, so it was more mentally a challenge to get energized and motivated for a build week.

In retrospect, taking the week off running completely really wasn't the best idea in this circumstance.  It reminded me of how I felt after BC Bike Race last year.  After our 8 day stage race was over, we got up the next day and even though we were tired, we could have rode again and not really felt 'worse.'  But the race was over and we made our way back to Kelowna.  Then the next day and the next day and the next day only felt worse.  Our bodies crashed and the fatigue of the race week caught up with us.  I think this is the best way to describe how Sarah and I felt after such a high mileage week, going into 5 days of no running or exercise at all.

My build week, however was a positive return to running overall.  Monday I taught a 45min interval spin class and I was surprised how much juice the legs had after racing the day before.  Tuesday brought a 2hr interval workout at Knox.  Some climbing on either end of some 4min intervals on rolling terrain at 10k race pace.  I was consistent with my efforts and happy about that.  Wednesday Sarah and covered just over 15km in 2hrs as we climbed up Crawford and down.  Neither one of us felt super peppy, but we were able to run a good portion of the hills and the sections we hiked were steady and strong.  Thursdays rest day was well appreciated and Friday was a short, easy 30min road run.  Mostly to just mentally get the legs moving and 'started'.  This is one of the biggest challenges for me with stage racing is just starting each day.  Once you get moving and are approx. 30min into the stage, you buckle down and get it done until the next day again. 

Saturday and Sunday's long runs were awesome!  Saturday the PACE crew met at Boulder Trail off Lakeshore Drive.  The PACE team gathered their groups and set out on the trail which basically ascends and then descends.  It is a beautiful single track trail with beautiful lake and city views.  I was leading the 50k group which was a smaller group that day and our goal was to climb up to Divide Lake and back.

The climb took us under 2hrs at a steady hike for most of the 4500 feet.  Once at the top, we decided to go a little further to the communication towers and then started the 12km descent back down.  We were out for 3hr 15min and we were happy with the 'stage' resemblance of the day.

Sarah working on her tan...

Sundays training run was so much fun!!  The Fat Dog 100mile was cancelled due to snow this weekend and I had a few friends who I was also coaching for this race and I felt bad when I heard they wouldn't get to put their fitness to the test.  So I called my friend Alison to see her thoughts on making up for it with something local and somewhat epic... I suggested the trail run from Kelowna to Naramata.

Alison had done this run with the 'goats' years ago so she had some familiarity with it.  It was going to require some logistics and unknowns, but that just added to the enjoyment and reward of getting to the finish.

Karen Christy, Sarah, Alison and I met at my house at 6:30am.  Trent drove us to the trail head, maps, camel backs, snacks and poles in hand we started our epic journey around 7am.  Sarah and I went into Valhalla Pure Outfitters the day before to purchase the poles we want to bring to Europe and wanted to practice on the run that day.

I can see why more and more ultra runners are running with poles... they were amazing!  We purchased the black diamond distant trekking poles which are so light, collapsible and easy to run with.  I ended up keeping mine out and using them all day!  I am so glad we got these poles for Europe and I recommend any distant runners/hikers to look at this user-friendly, compact set of light weight poles.

The trails to Naramat were quite over-grown.  So we endured lots of walking through dense brush and our legs took a beating and scratching from the thickness and volume we had to endure.  The runnable sections were beautiful, as were the views.  There was a few places we could refill and treat our water along the way, although the girls were all fine with what they packed and I ended up the only one who took creek water.

The company was amazing.  I ran with 4 very fit, strong, steady and positive friends.  We made light of all the bear scat and took turns with our signature 'bear calls' as we kept a sharp eye out for any fuzzy friends that were out there with us.  The run is quite remote and we referenced the map a few times to stay on track.

The last hour of our run as really hot and we were all still managing a steady pace and energy levels, but the bushwhacking was started to get to us a bit more.  It's a shame we didn't have more resources to clear this route.  Its a runners paradise and hikers dream!  It showcases our valley like no other and the route we took covered 30k and 4000 feet.  With many off-shoot options to add both elevation and distance!

Alison set a blistering pace to finish our 5hr traverse and Trent was this angel that popped out behind a tree to inform us of our last 400m to an air conditioned car with fresh cold water :)

We spent a good portion of the day at the lake, where Alison's husband, Dave and Trent were hanging with the kids and Grandma Simone.  We went into Naramata (the whole 2 blocks of if) for some greasy chicken fingers, french fries and ice-cream before driving back home to Kelowna.  The boys rode their road bikes in what proved to be the hottest part of the day... 30 degrees!

The whole week really was a good week and Sarah and I satisfied ourselves with approx. 13hrs.  Seems like so little compared to the 40hrs we are guessing it will take us in the Alps but then again we are counting on the beer and gelato to give us the extra energy we will need down there!


  1. i wanna trail run!!!! the pics look awesome and your narrative has me excited for new challenges after ironman... i miss JUST running


  2. One epic goal at a time young jedi... ironman is a huge goal and will be a very rewarding accomplishment. Keep it up... you're almost there! Don't give into the temptation of what you're missing out on and stay focused on all the awesome training you're doing. The trails will be there when you're done! :) Rene