Friday, July 20, 2007

Bust a Gut!

Lynn and Lisa post race...they don't look tired at all! Should have done the half marathon...

Way to go Team ELM! A whole crew of ELM participants were rippin up the trails at last Sundays Gutbuster Trail Run in Nanaimo's Westwood Lake. Congrats to Lynn, Lisa, Kathy, Pascale, Andrea, Leo, Scott, and...who am I missing?! Check out the race times online @

The 8.6k course was very kind with mere hills and no crazy mountains to scale. Of course, the climbs were still hard work and the course designer managed to get us on 2 summits in the short course! There was a fantastic mix of terrain including soft packed single track, technical stretches with big logs to climb up and over and rocky outcrops to grip to on the way up and down. More than a few of us were crushed 4/5s through the race when we came to a logging road thinking we were on the home stretch..."Pace yourself! 2 more BIG climbs ahead!"...what??? Well, those helpful volunteers weren't fibbing after all. 2 BIG climbs later we were finally on the last steep descent leading back towards the lake and race central. A short sprint along the laketrail took us home and we all finished by running past the cheering crowd at the finish. Way to Go!!!! Yummy post race goodies and a dip in the crazy warm Westwood Lake made for the perfect finish to a good hard workout. Racing is the best form of speedwork out there! I must say entering more races this year has prepared me better physically and mentally for the demands of such high intensity efforts.

The word on the trail is trail racing is FUN! Everyone agreed that yes, it was hard, but man it was FUN and they are looking forward to next years race series! But you don't have to wait that long to race in the trails...the annual Perseverance Trail Run is coming to Cumberland this fall on October 28th, 2007! Go the the elm website for details...

Lynn, Kathy and Me pre-race...

Me, Lynn, Lisa and Kathy Post Race!

Hasta luego...

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Turning up the Heat: MOMAR Shawnigan

Ok I am back into the swing of things and finally getting caught up after my time away. Going away is well worth it, but there is always a tonne of catch up to do upon my return. Thanks so much for your patience awaiting my returned phone calls and emails! I am getting there...

So, here is my MOMAR Shawnigan update...

MOMAR Shawnigan: July 7th, 2007
Kayak Stage 1:09:10 Mt Bike and Water Events Stage 2:45:56 Orienteering Stage 1:22:48 Total Time 5:17:54 Pentalty 0:20:00 Finish Time 5:37:54 Overall 6th Place! First Female!

After 2 weeks off with only 1or 2 runs squeezed in and a 24km run/trek 2 days before raceday, I must say I am more than happy with how the Shawnigan race went! I had completed Kussam 2 weeks before and apparently I needed some downtime cause the 2 weeks of rest really paid off. My legs felt fantastic, my energy was super high and I hammered the course without any major aches or pains. Except for a few cuts...good one on my knee when I bailed in the river run...nice slice on my upper arm where I misjugded the distance between myself and a sharp broken off branch under a massive fallen cedar...other than that I was aok!

Race morning was B.E.U tiful on the westside of Shawnigan Lake. Brad dropped me and my gear off at the lake then headed to Vic for a round o golf with his buddies. I was on my own with my bike and trusty transition rubbermaid when I arrived at race central. Tonnes of racers everywhere with both a short and a long course running in Shawnigan.

Race Central 8:00am
Got my gear set up for the mountain biking transition and set up my kayak for a perfect fit.
Got my race map and started planning my distances, timeframes, mental image of the course.

Race Start 9:00am
Kayak stage to start with in beautiful Shawnigan Lake where the water was fresh (nice break from saltwater training) and warm. 10km loop down oneside and back on the other. Comox Valley Kayaks got me set up with a sweet 'Extreme' boat that was super fast and a HUGE blade that moved a tonne of water. I was warned that it would be fast but it might burn out my arms...I took the challenge...anything for a faster paddletime as this is not my major strength. Let's just say I have been in the boat a total of 4 or 5 times this year...and one of those was during this race:) Thanks so much to CVK as this boat let me fly and I was very happy with my time. 3rd female out of the water...but way at the back with the final few boats in the overall in single with wee arms will do that to you...

Bike Stage 10:00ish
The bike say the least. After a quick transition I was on my seat and munching on a fruit bar while riding up the driveway of the park...onto the Cowichan Valley trail. A very easy 4kish ride on this gravel path got the legs warmed up and my mind ready for riding. But there were a few interuptions along the way...and they almost all involved H2O. I must say I never look forward to water 'events' in these races as I am not fond of the cold water & muscle cramping combo. However, every one of these water challenges were o so refreshing and more than welcome on a super hot race day. too!
Water challenge #1: UNDER the tressle bridge (of course) by going down a steep ravine, through waist deep rushing water and up the other side to find a CP and a quiz about the history of the area. I must admit I am no fun with these types of they do not effect your time or placing and are not mandatory. Sure, if you get all the answers correct you can be entered to win a prize...but my priorities were different. There was a solo female racer right on my heels and I was not going to hand around to guess who pioneered the region! I will have to google that one or go back and read the clues another time:)
Back the same way down and up we hopped back on our bikes for a nasty hike a bike on a new trail where racers were backed up for a mile.

Water challenge #2: Off the bikes again with the goal of finding 2 check points that are up river 1/2 a km. You pick your route. There were racers scrambling over rocks, climbing over fallen logs and swimming in the river as far as the eye could see! Coming in at the back of the pack in the kayak means you get to meet everyone as you work your way through the pack. It is v. cool to say hi to everyone and exchange positive cheers along the way. I chose to stick to high ground and found a great route on land for most of the way up the river. At one point, however, I was forced into the river and stumbled as best I could through thigh high water towards my destination.

My pace suddenly came to a halt as I stopped to wait for a female racer to slowly and carefully inch her way around a rock outcropping to avoid getting wet. I was feeling a bit impatient (to be nice) as I wanted to maintain my pace and keep my competition in sight so I encouraged her to go through the water...'it's not deep' I said, 'you can go through'. At the same time I charged through the water to make my point and...SPLOOSH! I am completely submerged and only my pack filled with air bouys me back up to the surface. An uncontrollable squeeeeel leaves my mouth and I am sure my eyes were as big as saucers when I came up. INSTANT KHARMA for sure:) Only after I came back up for air did I notice the man sitting directly across the river from this 'special' spot...with his camera! Turns out this was the race course designer and he was getting his giggles by watching unsuspecting racers go for a dip! Good times and yes I deserved that for sure.

2 check points and one soggy outfit later I am back on my bike heading into the trails...Good times for a while as I tackle some fun flowy cross country trails on my NEW SWEET BIKE that made me smile the entire time. Fast tires and a locked out rear suspension make cross country trails a totally different experience. So good... Ups and downs and twists and turns the biking is easy and and I pass a few more racers along the way.

To the biking summit and to my suprise...a smiling volunteer presents my with OREO cookies for my efforts! I can not tell you how happy this small token made me. I savored that one sweet cookie as I ran back to my bike...twist in half, eat the chocolate wafer, lick off the cream filling and munch the final cookie. Ok...moving on...

A fun downhill section takes me to the final water stage...the Quarry.

Water Challenge #3: Blow up your inflatable swimming device (which we have been packing along with us for the past 3 hours) and get on it and swim out 50 meters to the CP. Flashback 18 hours or so...and you will see me standing in the 'Seasonal' isle at Canadian Tire after just learning we would need an addition peice of racing 'equipment' for the next days course. I decided to take a gamble and go with the smallest inflatable they carried...a mini donut style ring for kids ages 6 and under. With pink flowers on it. Cute, but there was no way my ass could squeeze through that was for decoration more than anything. So, my strategy paid off on race day as it only took about 8 blows to fill it up with air (and air was definately at a premium at that point in the race). I was out and back before many racers had even finished blowing up their airmattresses!! Check out the website pics for some great photos of the outfits...everything from killer whales to sharks out there:)

Inflatable secured to the back of my pack, gloves back on, I was on my bike and leaving those sweet memories behind in no time. Up a final climb to go above and behind the quarry I found myself at the bike drop and final transition into the Orienteering stage! Out of water I was happy to see bottles glistening in the now superhot afternoon sun. I grabbed half a litre and stuffed it in my pack for later.

Final stage: Orienteering...for real. Normally Bryans races require some form of navigation that rarely takes you off the trails. Sure, you are required to find the CPs without any assistance but they are easily located by running along lovely trails. Enter the Victoria Orienteering Club. True orienteering requires attention to detail, precise navigation and yes, a compass. Long story short I had a great O section, nailed the CPs and made a strategic decision to skip one CP in exchange for a 20 minute pently. After considering the distance and elevation gain of one CP it became apparent that it would take me well over 20 minutes (more like 60) to collect this CP. That is IF I found it in the bush. So, it was obvious that a 20 minute penalty would result in a faster I went for it! First time skipping a CP but I got over the guilt PDQ as I grabbed the last CP on the way to the finish line...5 hours and 18ish minutes I was done! Hurray for me:)

Good times, good food, good prizes...I can't say it enough...You have to try Adventure Racing!!
Thanks for listening to my rant...
Stay tuned for Gutbuster tales from Nanaimo this morning...

Monday, July 9, 2007

Home sweet home!

We are back from a fantastic trip and in the process of unpacking, doing serious laundry and drying out our camping gear. We had a wonderful time visiting friends and family down Island, singing along with Willie and camping & fishing on the southwest Island. I have posted some pics below...but more will come later as I need to develop my FILM! Yes, that's right, they still make that stuff. I am currently taking a monthly photography course called 'Chicks who Click' with Karen McKinnon so I have been working away with my old SLR Cannon...stay tuned!

Hiking part of the West Coast Trail: we ran/trekked from Pachena Bay to the lighthouse and just past to the 12km mark and the first beach camp...check out the map below. Now we are figuring it may be possible to complete the entire 76km trail in one long day...stay tuned...

Serious blow down from last falls storms

Snakes and ladders...

Pachena Point Lighthouse!

I will post a complete update of the Shawnigan MOMAR as soon as I get a chance.