Sunday, March 30, 2008

Sunday Sunshine!

What a glorious day! I was up and ready to ride this morning with a blue sky as motivation. Met my rat buddies (just in time) to find out we were heading for Cumberland and snowdusted cross country trails. We did a classic Sunday XC ride connecting the following trails:
TwoandaJuice...Buggered Pig...ShortandCurly...Twister...Entrails...SoggyBiscuit...MatsTrail...SpaceNugget...home! The trails were super mushy with the spring freeze-thaw patterns we have been living with over the past couple of weeks. So it was a mix of snow, slush, thick gooey mud and clear stretches. If you have ever ridden in sand then you know what a great workout it is for the quads! 1.5hours later we dipped our bikes in a pond to wash off the grime and made our way back to the parking lot.
My muddy buddies transitioned their way to the pub for beer and nachos and I, however, transitioned out of my armour and into my running shoes for the second half of my workout. Sigh. "Anyone want to join me for a short run?" Silence. Sigh. The lonely life of a solo adventure racer. Alas...Off I went to the dump trails for a 1hour run and off they went to the pub. One foot in front of the other and within a few minutes my legs loosened up and I was trotting through the beautiful sunshiney dumpside trails including: Penrith Alley & Cherry Picker. I had heard rumours of new logging in the area and wanted to check out the changes...and I found them. Suddenly I found myself at the end of an old fav. trail and the start of clearcut land. Yuck. But, what can I say...I wipe my but with t.p. too. So, I decided to trek across the clearcut through the slash and it brought back some bitter sweet memories of my tree-planting adventures. Sigh. Cutting across clearcuts is not always the fastest route. But I must admit I have pretty good 'bush-legs' and have always been able to dance my way through slash without too many 4 letter words. The view is changed here...clearcuts do provide excellent panoramic vistas...And of course, amongst all of the destruction there are the little ones to provide inspiration and hope for a brighter future...seedlings:)
2.5hours later I go home...shower...stretch...pick up cinnamon buns from Becky's bakery and head to my cousins home for lunch. These buns are as good a reason as any to run that extra hour:)
Happy Trails,

Saturday, March 29, 2008

A Great Run:)

Man did I start my weekend with a fantastic spring run this morning! Up out out the door early (7:30 am is early for me on a Saturday), Pascale and I took off to Nymph Falls for a mountain run up the base of Wood Mountain (aka Forbidden Plateau). Starting at the fish hatchery on Forbidden Plateau Rd, we began with a gentle 15minute warm up -chatting and stretching out our legs in the beautiful sunshine:). I must admit I was feeling the effects of gravity pretty much instantly as we had boosted the amount of weight we were carrying in our packs today-to simulate AR conditions. That, combined with the aftermath of my first dynamic power weight training workout of the season last week, got my attention p.d.q. But, alas, we began our uphill session with sunny smiles on our faces:)
To the base of Forbidden Plateau: we entered the 'Punisher' trailhead off of the dirt road that goes out to Medicine Bowl's. Up -Up -Up we began our climb up the downhill bike trail, twisting and turning, up and over roots and big fallen logs. Half way up the trail and we hit snow that was getting silly to run in so we got back onto the road and continued to the top. It was a painful reminder of why I am not a road runner at heart. Not the most exciting ascent on the planet...
1:40 later and we were at our summit-the old lodge at the Forbidden Plateau ski hill- for a drink, a snack and a quick photo squinting into the fantastic sunshine:)

Our descent flew by as we beatled it down the mountain road to stretch it out and work on a speedy turnover. Yeehaw! After the 10th switchback, I was counting down the turns to the bottom of the hill, however. Kicking up mud from the spring thaw our joints survived the first of many punishing descents as we train for Kussam (or something). Home in the sunshine once again and we wrapped it all up in 2:40. Getting there...

DON'T FORGET! The Merville 15km race is tomorrow morning! For those who crave a bit more speed that the smooth lines of a country road provide the Merville race is the place to be!

Looking forward to my Sunday morning ride...if we can find a clear patch amongst all this fresh snow...


Friday, March 28, 2008

Bootcamp Survivors!

Congratulations Bootcamp Survivors!

Tonight was the final class of the winter session:: the post-Bootcamp Fitness Test at Vanier track. Our newest recruits completed the final assessment and passed with flying colours! These guys worked their *&#^%'s off over the past 10-weeks at our 6am sunrise Bootcamp classes and their results were proof of that.

Vicki and I are very proud of your accomplishments and look forward to seeing you reach new heights this spring!

Way to go!


Sharing my photos with you!

Hello again!

I had a photography session in Cumberland this 6 inches of snow at the lake! The scene was more than inspiring and we had a great time figuring out how to take pictures without getting our cameras soaked. I learned about changing ISO speeds on the camera to allow for photos in darker settings without having a flash or stuff!

So, I have had some requests to share more of my photos (thank you:) and thought I would go ahead and set up a public photo gallery where you can check out my fav pics. Hopefully you will see an evolution in my photos as I learn from the best-Karen McKinnon:)

PS: Here is a little secret...Karen & I are planning a Fitness & Photography retreat to Tofino this fall...stay tuned:)

Here is the can add it to your favorites if you like...and I hope you enjoy it!

Have a fantastic weekend!

Spring Fitness Adventures start April 7th!!

Oooooh look it just started snowing! I always get giddy when I see a few flakes...then I wake up and realize it is March 28th! It is lovely to watch through the window in my office...but we shall see how kayaking goes later today:) I am heading out to my Chicks who Click photo course this morning in Cumberland and it will be beautiful with a few snowflakes I am sure!

I am enjoying some downtime between the Winter and Spring sessions with a few extra hours in the week to refocus, re-energize and get geared up for our April programs. I am so looking forward to all of our spring classes and hope to see you playing outside with us this April! Myself and the other FANTASTIC ELM Trainers: Rae Walsh, Vicki Petrie, Sarah Burrell and Susan Muldoon are all super excited for long, warm spring days that come with our April-June session...we hope to see you soon!

Registrations have already been coming in and we are getting our numbers up in all of our April programs including:

Don't miss the deadline for these classes...April 3rd! The earlier you register the better- as it let's us confirm minimum numbers and ensure your favorite classes are going to run.

And our 2008 Trail Running season kicks off May 1st with Adventure Running 1::3! This has to be my favorite class as it combines my love of trail running with a little adventure, navigation and team spirit:) Our annual Sunday morning half marathon trail running clinic also begins in May with our first run on the 11th. This is a great way to stay fit and motivated during summer and increase your distance for late summer/fall races.

Deadlines are late April for these two clinics.

Check out some of my favorite spring pics from 2007...

Monday, March 24, 2008

Well Rested

Just got home from a fantastic weekend in Tofino at Middle Beach Lodge my sisters. The 3 of us were overdue to spend some time together-and MBL was the perfect place to get caught up. Although I squeezed in a couple of amazing beach runs in the mornings, most of our time was spent on pure intensive relaxation-curled up on the couch with a book and huddled around the scrabble board breaking out in fits of laughter. We walked the beach for hours on end each day and enjoyed every type of weather sky, snow squalls, sideways rain, hail and sweet warm springtime crazy! Some of my fav pics from the weekend are below. Can't wait until June when we return for the ELM Womens Fitness Retreat!!

Hoppy Easter:)

(Panchita the amazing mexican jumping bean)

Friday, March 21, 2008

Paddling in...SNOW?

Just got home from a mid-day paddle and finally managed to warm up my digits (painfully). Launched from Comox Valley Kayaks around 1 pm and turned directly into the wind and chop on my way out to Comox. COLD wind combined with clounds moving in meant that I missed my window of warm sunshine and had to buckle down to keep on track. In between gusts I enjoyed the amazing view of the Beaufort range and an eagle feeding frenzy along the shore of Dyke Rd. Tooo cool! I counted over 40 mature and young eagles before losing track. Not sure what they are eating but there was also a flock of mallard couples around and I have heard they tend to be a tasty eagle snack at times:((

I tucked into the Comox Marina to take shelter and warm my chilled fingers in my armpits for a few minutes. It did the trick and in no time I was turned around and heading back. Didn't want to stray too far as the wind and waves had gotten a bit more wild since I launched.
What's this...a SNOW storm coming right at me!! That's right, I experienced snow while kayaking for the first time. Couldn't stop laughing...tried to capture it but the pictures don't do it justice at all...
Tried out my racing boat for 2008 and a wingblade paddle for the very first time. Racers swear by these crazy paddles and some of the research shows they can increase output by 10% using the same energy input. Sold! But wait...they are crazy. Got a quick lesson on how to paddle and avoid swimming while using these super scooped out blades. And after my first stroke I realized that the word for the day was going to be::CAREFUL. So, I took it very gradual and felt the paddle to see where it wanted to go...totally different technique than a standard paddle. After a while I got the hang of it and by the end of the paddle I had a good flow going. But man, am I going to be sore tomorrow. Lift the elbow and wing out to the side...repeat 3000 times.

Heading to Tofino with my sisters tomorrow for a girls weekend!!! That means a break from dirt but there will be plenty of sand and surf to play in:)

Comox Valley Half Marathon!

Congratulations to our ELM superstar participants who raced in this past weekends Comox Valley Half Marathon! Cindy, Korky, Kim G, Mary Ann, Kim S, rocked the course! It was the perfect day for a half-no wind, no rain, no sun, and no snow! Great job you guys-now you have a baseline for your 2008 racing season. Check out the results online:

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Map my Run

Ok this is something cool that I just found out about...ever wonder how long your run was? Or, perhaps you want to map out a route but forgot to drive and clock the distance? you can do it from the comfort of your home! Check this out:

I just tried out this totally FREE site to map our run for tonights Womens 10K Clinic from Extreme Runners to the Courtenay Airpark...too cool! Try it out and let me know how it works for you!


Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Training Opportunity

Hello and Happy Tuesday!
What a beautiful sunshiney day! I wanted to let you in on a training opportunity that has just come available:

Semi-Private Personal Training 3-4 persons
2 spots have just become available!
1) Mondays 7:30-8:30am personal training time. Minimum 10-weeks March 31-June 9th (no session BC Day)
Where: Vanier Track
What: Personal training in a small group setting. Individualized attention, with group energy and a discounted training fee. Full body strength, endurance, flexibility and dynamic/interval cardio training.
Cost: 3 people $25pp per session. 4 people $20pp per session
Interested? Call or email me asap! First come first serve basis. I may have some additional spots opening up in mid April (Tuesday 10:00am and Weds 7:30am) so please give me a shout if you are interested in these times and I can add your name to the interest list.


Sunday, March 16, 2008

Spring? Come ON already...

Well yes, spring is teasing us with a nippy chill in the air this weekend. Come ON I am so ready for 10-plus weather!

Regardless, Saturday was a BEAUTIFUL morning for a run in the foothills of Forbidden Plateau. Pascale, her pooch Jack, and I climbed to the top of Tomato Creek to reach the most amazing view up Comox Lake to the might Comox Glacier...on a clear day this view really takes your breath away. Man oh man do I feel lucky to have this in my backyard. From Tomato Creek hill we crossed the CL logging road and trekked up Arbutus trail...well we found our own loooong route which gave us more amazing views of the lake, the mountains and the Glacier. Up Up Up we climbed on with sunshine on our faces over rocky outcroppings on our way to the summit. I thought I was hearing voices...and I was! We ran into some fellow 'Rats' who were heading our way so we joined forces and ran a few miles of trail together. Made our way to Branch 21...PondPass...and downill all the way home. Managed to shoot a bearing that got us home through the bush to our car...good but small start to navigation training in 2008. 2.5hours total time.
We don't know what we are training for at this point as we may not be able to get a team together for this years Full Moon in June. But we are having fun anyways!!
Sunday:: Bike ride with the Rats...F.U.N.! From the dam we did the B21 climb (once again) and downhill via Lower Monkeys yadda yadda yadda...2.5 hours total time. Figuring out how to ride with these leg hold traps one ride at a time. I am getting a bit more confident and I have figured out that I can ride without being clipped in cause my shoes are super gripy with Vibram soles! I must recommend the peddles that have a flat base AND a clip in the centre so I can still ride rather than having to drag my bike along when I freak out and unclip on technical or steep sections. I must admit...I have regressed. My fearometer is set WAY higher now that I am attached to my peddles. It is painful but true. I can only hope that I will be back to my usual riding confidence no time...
Gotta Go! See you sooooon:)

Don't get injured...

Last Thursday, Kim Senechal, Physiotherapist and Owner of Ascent Physiotherapy shared her knowledge of injury prevention with our Womens 10K Running group. Very useful information indeed!! Kim is a runner, a mom and an ELM Bootcamp survivor! She knows first hand how frustrating a running injury can be. Kim discussed some common running injuries, how to prevent them, what causes them and what treatment is required. Thanks Kim!
FYI Ascent Physiotherapy are ELM Membership Sponsors! Check them out...
More to come from my weekend of training...

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Spring has sprung:)

It is official in my world...spring has sprung! My daffodils are ready to burst, there is an orchestra of new birdsongs in my backyard and man oh man was it a beautiful 10 degree sunshiney day today! Yippppeeeee!

The ELM Spring Program ( registration is underway and I am excited about bringing back many of my favorite clinics this April & May: Trail Running, Fitness Bootcamp and Womens Only program details are all posted on the ELM website...check it out and register early to save your spot!

Our Womens Fitness Retreat in Tofino June 13-15th is already filling up with only 2 spaces left! This years event promises to be filled with fun, fitness and fresh westcoast fare! Not to be missed:)

I had a great 3 days of warm, sunshiney training with my buddies this past weekend...

Saturday: Cross country run in Cumberland...through Space Nugget, Mats Trail, Entrails, behind Allan Lake to Trent River Main and towards Nikei mountain...unfortunately there was active logging taking place on the mountain so we couldn't climb to the top!!! Brutal. Is no hill sacred?? Anyways don't mind was a great 20ish?k run with the group then I tacked on an extra half hour to make it 25ish:) Home for a quick snack and then off again to meet Pascale for the first paddle of the season!! A beautiful afternoon to be on the water. I had forgotten how fantastic the view of the mountains is from the water! Across to Royston wrecks for a quick paddle to refresh the muscle memory and start building up those paddling hands:)

Sunday: Tried to ride with the rats...but...don't want to admit all the way to the dam and discovered I had left my front wheel in my driveway. I hope this makes you feel better for all the stupid things you have ever done.

Worked out for the best as Pascale and I did a nice long ride (3.5 hours) on our own and after the longest transition in the history of Adventure Racing we were on our bikes on the Pipeline heading to the dam once again...via Bevan & Bears Bait trails...then from the Dam we climbed the road up to Branch 21...up up up...past big men pushing their big bikes wearing big armour and carrying their big helmets....(love that) we made it to Pond Pass and pushed through snow to our summit at Monkeys. Then it was downhill all the way through Lower Monkeys, The Plunge, Johns Trail...and of course back UP Cable Hill and out to the river trail for the ride back home. Woooo hoooo! The first big climb of the season and I am ready for more! Love the up..can take or leave the down...

Did I forget to mention I was wearing those clippy bike shoes for the 2nd time ever?? Serious stuff. Not convinced yet. Don't like them at this point cause I feel like wolf caught in a leghold trap. In fact I sounded like one as I flung myself into the bushes multiple times as the apparent result of some neuronal deficit which does not allow my brain to tell my left foot to unclip. But the theory is there and so I am willing to keep trying and waiting for proof that I will save energy, generate more force, and be faster for it.

Stay tuned.


Sunday, March 9, 2008

New Toys

While in Victoria last weekend, we took the opportunity to pick up some 'essential' outdoor equipment:) Back and forth comparison shopping I swear we went to MEC & Capitol Iron 6 times...but what's new! We also ate at our favorite spot 3 days in a row...Ferris' Oyster Bar...if you haven't gone yet...go.

MEC loved me as I picked up bike shoes, trail runners, a new pack and every flavor of Clife Bar that they had. I am working on a Clife Bar review at the moment and will post my findings once I have munched my way through this mountain of Carrot Cake and Chocolate Peppermint...

And Brad finally got his secret fish finding weapon...a GPS that triples with road, topographical and marine chart maps. This, he promised, would ensure we would be eating more prawns and salmon than ever. And it actually worked...a 20lb Spring turned up for dinner yesterday!!

We had a great time playing with our new toys on a fantastic trek at Mt. Work park near the 'dump'. Hours of entertainment...easily entertained?


Friday, March 7, 2008

Building a Better (BERG) Bike

Hola Amigos!

Sorry for the looong break between posts...things have been busy around the ELM world with road trips and preparations for our upcoming Spring starting in April.

Last weekend Brad, Yuki and I went to Victoria to spend time with my family-well really all we do when we go there is eat and shop! On the way down we made a detour to Cobble Hill to meet with Al Bergman, owner of BERG bikes - the islands up and coming specialty bike builder. For those of you who missed the excitement last October-I won a credit with BERG bikes at the end of the MOMAR adventure racing season as a super duper grand draw prize (you can search back in the old posts for a nice shot of my shocked face when I actually won something).

It was excellent to tour the shop, check out the bike building process and get measured up for my new bike. Al is a wealth of knowledge and his passion for high quality bikes and components just gushed out of him. It is this passion and knowledge combined with expert craftmanship that come together to create a BERG custom bike!
Al and I used to fight fires together at the Rapattack base in Salmon Arm, however he suffered a life altering injury that changed his life, his career and his future. His story is one of inspiration, motivation and passion that blows my mind and uplifts me in everyway. Once you hear it you will always find inspiration when you need it.
"Perhaps you might be wondering what a guy in a wheelchair is doing building and selling quality bikes. Well, we need to go back a few years to figure this out..." Follow this link to read Al's story
I have learned a great deal about life from Al...even though he may not know it. Thank you Al:)