Saturday, January 29, 2011

Team ELM Survives Another YETI!

Good times on Mount Washington today!

The annual YETI snowshoe race series kicked off it's 2011 series at mt washington and 7 superstar ELM'ers took to the hills for a little snow rompin, but kicking, snowshoe racing!

Race report:

Team ELM included some experienced Yeti racers and some brad newbies - to this crazy breed of running. BIG Props go out to Team ELM for stepping up to the snowshoes and battling this challenging race course today!
  • Deb Berg
  • Debbie Wright
  • Lynn Swift
  • Kathy Campbell
  • Pascale Houde aka Diana Olsen
  • Sarah Burell aka ELM Bandit

Thought we were oh so organized and actually arrived early to race central at Raven Lodge. Next thing you know it is 9 minutes until race start and we are still sitting around the table inside yacking. Time to go warm up! Not a team to take ourselves too seriously, seriously, we shuffled outside to try and figure out how to strap on our shoes again (every year:) before trying to walk or even jog a few steps to say we warmed up. Second thought- let's save it for the race!

LOL 10:59am and we squish our way into the start chute just before the gun goes off. A friend comments on my headphones and I suddenly remember my master plan! I had completely forgotten that I intended to try a new style for this race- my first race listening to music! Normally I am a completely in the moment, working on all my senses racer. But for this 'race' my goal was to get a good workout in and have I am not training to be a snowshoe runner OR 5k racer for that matter I thought - what the heck?

3...2...1...GO! Oh crap! My iPod, right! Pulled out the iPod while running in the pack off the line and worked on navigating to a good mix before popping in my earbuds and stashing my pod in my bra. Where else was I going to put it? Our ELM Sugoi race jerseys don't have pockets- come on Sugoi, who doesn't make shirts with little hide-and-seek pockets on them these days?

So, I found a good fast mix by Calgary DJ Mikey Da Roza and began munching my way through the pack, through the snow and up up up the crazy off the line hill.

The first 10 minutes are the worst. Everyone who does this course will say the same. Well...the fraidy cats on the downhill may disagree...but that hill off the start is brutal!

Not sure what is worse- knowing the hill is coming and enduring it or not knowing and wondering when it will end? Newbies? Deb? Lynn? Thoughts on that?

And so...10 minutes into the race you are cresting a hill, entering the single track and loving life.

Pain and suffering are the way to higher levels of pleasure young one...this could be true.

Running the flats never felt so enjoyable as they did after finishing the super summit!

After the calf crunching, quad searing climb (get the point yet?), it was a mix of undulating single track through the glades on the bench above Raven Lodge. Winding up and down, back and forth and loving the rhythm and challenge.

Music was GREAT! The beats completely distracted me and really pumped me up when I needed it. I didn't connect with other racers or volunteers as much as I like to, but in a 5k sprint how many race friends can you really make? Downsides were minor: Didn't pick my fav mix at the start and had to pull out the unit to navigate to a new one during the race (gloves off, pod out, wipe tears out of eyes, navigate with sweaty fingers, look over shoulder for competition, avoid tripping etc, iPod batteries started to die at the end, I got water in the screen and the pod actually fell out of the bottom of my bra and ended up dangling near my knees at one point. I know. You don't have to say it.

Other than that having music was great fun!

The course was changed slightly this year and I LOVED this version! At the end we got to run out on a super fast decline cat track which meant ripping it up and kicking up snow to the finish line. Racers love to run fast! So, this was a nice bonus to the new course.

Came through the finish line near the lodge, yeah! Grabbed a drink from my stash then headed back out on the course for a 'bonus lap'. Team ELM was registered for the 5K sport course and I considered heavily stopping after 5k but...meh. What the hell? I went for another and joined that crazy Sarah B for the 10k.

The second lap was actually WAY more enjoyable! I got the right mix on my iPod, slowed down, relaxed and found a more enjoyable pace (6 beats per minute more enjoyable I noticed on my new Garmin after). The best part about lap two is there is no one around! You have the hills and the tracks to yourself so you can spread your wings and get into your personal groove. I like that, anyways.

Team ELM ROCKED. But most importantly we made some new memories and had some FUN!!

THANK YOU to the race organizers and to the stellar volunteers for putting on such a fantastic race once again!

Look what you could win if you are really fast! And the winners are...complete results here... and here

Kathy Campbell takes 3rd place in her category!!

Diana Olsen snakes 2nd in her category! Wait...that's not Diana!?

After the race and awards Kathy and Lynn were kind enough to take me out for my very first attempt at cross country skiing.

WTF was that? Seriously! When is the last time you tried something that you felt like a 3 year old child attempting? I just kept saying- "but what do I do? how do i move? what do i do with my feet? what do i do?"

Lynn and Kathy were so patient and forgiving and had excellent instructions for me:) Thank you girls for holding in your giggles! Kathy don't you EVER post that video or else...

I am not quite sure why so many people rave about this sport. OK OK I know, the DO make it look so smooth! I have a hard time imagining the FUN part but that is because I am completely lost with the whole 'skate' thing. Last time I 'skated' I was about 11 and I remember having to use one of those big metal cart things. No joke. I am going to call my mom and give her heck for not making me learn how to skate...

Parents: Make your kids try every sport. Save them the humiliation of adulthood co-ordination regression.

There are no photos from this adventure:)

Not sure if I have the hours in a week to learn to master the basics of this sport. Maybe if they ever ban mountain biking...

Shuffle on,


Friday, January 21, 2011

What moves you?

I just found this picture from a gutbuster a couple of years back...I remember that race - Mt Doug in Victoria consisted of a series of repeats up and down short but steep and technical summit of Mt. Doug.

Race season is around the corner once again and it is time to MOVE it or LOSE it.

Some days it comes so easy doesn't it? You are itching to get your sneakers on or jump on your bike for a rip. Craving the smell of dirt, the wind on your face or the beat of your feet.

Some days it is not quite so easy. In fact, some days it is downright hard. Like there is a magnet on your ass and it just won't let you get up and go. Like there are a million other things you would rather be doing. Like it is a chore to move rather than the gift of life you know it truely is.

Motivation is dynamic.

Like the tides it spills over us suddenly and just as quickly it can leave us for the other shore, far far away.

This is reality. Yours, mine and every human being on the planet. Even the worlds top athletes experience this ebb and flow - and for some it is a constant battle they must work to order to reach their dreams and goals.

The secret? Be honest with yourself. Take the time to ask yourself WHY you want to MOVE. The answer will change often. You can't rely on old motivations when you become a new you. Just as you evolve and change so will your motivations. Check in from time to time and figure it out. And when you do, don't judge yourself! It is a gift to figure our what motivates you- so use it and go with it and it will move you when you need a little help to overcome inertia or keep your body in motion.

So...what MOVES you?

MUSIC moves me. And when I need to move my but from low to high gear during workouts that require more intensity then I think I can muster I push in the earbuds, navigate to my NRG playlist and turn up the volume too loud. It works every time. I am always amazed what I can pull off with some big beats.

Here is what I am listening to these days on those High Intensity workouts- hill repeats, lactate threshold runs or z5 all out intervals on the trainer...look em up on iTunes. Keep in mind - I do not recommend these tunes for a long slow workout or a relaxing Sunday drive! That will be another post...

  • Mikey Da Rosa - House DJ based in Calgary. I can move to anything he plays but my current favs are: Entre Nous 2, SpinFest 2010, Carte Blanche 2 (heavy house watch out)

  • Lady Gaga - nuff said

  • Rihanna - Dance. Please dont stop the music.

  • FrouFrou - Dance/vocals. Just plain good.

  • Fiest- classic Canadiana. Look for her upbeat ones- Sealion remix, Past is Present, I feel it all!

  • Emiliana Torrini- one song: Jungle Drum....oooh ... and Big Jumps!

  • DJ Champion- edgy house/techno. Chill'em all.

  • Newer Madonna- Inspiring pop. Anything from HardCandy or Confessions on a Dance Floor

  • Daft Punk- house, solid beats.

  • Coldplay - uplifting, building, upbeat songs. Viva la vida of course.

There is only ONE RULE when it comes to using music to move you. You can only listen to your mix/playlist when you are training or racing. That's right. You need to limit your listening time to keep your motivation high and get the old pavlovian response working.

I would love to hear what is on your high NRG playlist- I am always looking for fresh trax! Send em my way!


Sunday, January 16, 2011

Fit & Free


Sarah Seads, owner of Equilibrium Lifestyle Management (ELM) and professional fitness trainer, will be sharing motivating tips and fitness advice from her new book, “Fit & Free: Seven Steps to Achieving Fitness for Life”, at the Laughing Oyster bookstore on Saturday, January 22nd.

Join Sarah for a relaxing 30 minute 'talk & walk' from 11-11:30am starting and ending at the bookstore 286 5th st. Or, drop by the bookstore between 11:30-1pm to ask Sarah your fitness and motivation questions and pick up a copy of her inspiring book, “Fit & Free”.

Excerpt from the book:

“The purpose of this book is to teach you the 7 key steps that you need to take
in order to effectively reach your health and fitness goals. Following these
steps will help you break the patterns of short-lived success and repeat
failures that you may have experienced in the past. These steps will change the
way you think about fitness and inspire you to be active everyday.
This book is designed to encourage success and in turn, increase your confidence by taking small but significant steps towards reaching your lifestyle goals. By adopting
small changes over a period of time you are more likely to reach your goals and
create meaningful lifestyle habits.

This seven-step program offers a combination of education, motivation and exercise in each chapter. Each chapter will discuss a key step in the Fit & Free™ program and you will learn how to incorporate these simple steps into your own life. This book includes valuable tools that compliment each of the Fit & Free™ steps and personalize your experience. “

Go to to learn more about this local author and her new book, “Fit & Free”, $20 including tax.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Balanced Training


Winter hit the Valley full force this week with inches upon inches of wet, heavy, core, building snow to tackle. This made for an interesting first week of January ELM classes!

Our participants were troopers and our instructors were creative and we had a great week playing outside and enjoying the white stuff during our workouts.

This week our participants learned how little space you really need to get a good hard workout in! Without our usual runs, we worked solely on strength and cardio intervals that got the heart rates up and muscles burning. Great work this week!

Balanced Training.
Yes, we are all striving for 'balance'...which is dynamic and very personal in all aspects of life. But, when it comes to fitness, a balaced program MUST include the 3 training cornerstones of fitness:

How much time you dedicate to each of these components will depend on your personal needs...notice I said 'needs'...not 'wants'.

We typically like 'cardio' or 'strength'. We either love Yoga or weights. We love to run or ride all day or hit the strength training hard. Fair enough! But, we usually like and gravitate towards the component of fitness we are already good at. We like things we are good at. It feels nice to be good at things.

If I had a dollar for everytime I heard this one:

I can't do yoga, I'm not flexible.

Come ON people! If you aren't good at it chances are you NEED to do more of it!

Balance our your training program this year by doing 2 things, well ok, 3 things:
1. Identify your 'limiting factors'. What you aren't as good at.
2. Shift the 'balance' of your current training plan to spend more minutes every week on these LF components.
3. Suck it up and watch your fitness and performance soar this year.

Tuff love from coach Sarah today! LOL:)

Our classes were perfectly balanced between cardio, strength and flexibility this week...

Bootcamp rain, snow, or sleet, just like the mailman...

Always fun with a partner!

Need for Speed got treated to a Bootcamp style circuit indoors as the track was covered in half a foot of snow last night!

Sit up...push your partner back down!

Time for a post workout Yoga session after Need for Speed! Thanks Birgit- you hit all the right spots!

Friday, January 7, 2011

I think I can I think I can

What you believe, you will achieve.

Look at this statement. Do you believe it? If so, then you know the tremendous power your thoughts have on your future.

If your mind believes "I can't," you will continually sabatoge your own efforts to succeed. You will never actually do what is required to realize your goal. But if in your mind you believe "I can," and you act on this belief, you will in fact move towards fulfilling your dream. I know this is true as I have seen the effects of 'belief' on success many times over in my own life and in the lives of my clients.

You need to eliminate restrictive beliefs about what you can and cannot do if you are going to succeed. You need to replace the negative with the positive- plain and simple. Self limiting thoughts will stop you in your tracks no matter how badly you want to succeed. Negative beliefs will block your growth and limit your potential. You are capable of that which you believe to be true no more no less.

99.99% of people experience irrational belief statements that start with some version of 'I can't'. "I'm too old, too short, too weak, to stupid." "I'm not ready, not good enough, not young enough." Sound familiar?

What you believe you will achieve. It works both ways.

Your actions begin with a single step, so to speak. And that step is taken in your mind. You win or lose in your head. You succeed or fail in your mind. Your beliefs will determine your path and the ultimate outcome.

Think of the days of 1954 before and after the 4 minute mile was broken by Roger Bannister. Before this day the entire sports world believed that it was impossible to run a mile faster than four minutes. Do you know what happened after this belief barrier was broken? More than 45 runners achieved the sub 4 minute mile in the next 18 months. Once the barrier was broken they all 'believed' it could be broken again. And so it goes.

Your beliefs can be changed but it will take practice, determination and consistency. You must remember that believing you 'can' is 'self direction' not 'self deception'. You are setting your path with your thoughts and beliefs to increase the likelihood of success. You may not succeed immediately but you will learn just as much from your setbacks and mistakes as from your successes.

Do not doubt your ability to succeed.

Time to practice. Here is an excellent visualization exercise from Tao Sports: Thinking body dancing mind.

"Find a quiet place, close your eyes, take 5 deep abdominal breaths and relax. Recall a situation where you've told yourself, "That's too hard, I could never do that-no way." Now, understand that if you've learned to walk, you probably can accomplish most athletic skills. See yourself performing 'as if' you were an athlete with great skill, dexterity and talent. See yourself doing what you believed you couldn't. Feel 'in the groove' playing as natural for this particular sport/activity. Feel yourself concentrating as you confidently accomplish the goal. Feel the sense of elation, and now believe that you are capable of such achievement."

Practice visualizations and positive affirmations every single day to increase the power of your ability to expand your beliefs.
The outcome will literally blow your mind.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

ELM Winter Challenge

ELM BIG Winter Challenge: On NOW!

This is it. The 'little push' you have been waiting for. Are you up for it?

January is as good a time as any to step up your goal setting game and get your groove on when it comes to your health and fitness. This winter ELM would like to up the anti and put some cold hard cash rewards on the line for those who are ready to get serious about their fitness. That's right, I said cash!

Each month for the next 3 months, ELM is going to post a new challenge for you to tackle. Accept and succeed at the challenge and you will receive a reward from ELM. Tackle the BONUS challenge and you will be entered to win $25 ELM Fitness Dollars at the end of the month. Complete all 3 monthly challenges with flying colours and you will be entered to win $100 ELM Fitness Dollars and a host of other fantastic fitness prizes that will reward your determination!

Anyone can play along with the Challenge but only ELM Members will be eligible for prizes so be sure to join the ELM Member Family if you haven't already! Late starter? No problem! You can jump into the Challenge at anytime and still be eligible for many prizes.

Enter to Win.
Think you have what it takes to tackle the ELM Winter Challenge? Email ELM to register and get started on your Challenge today! .

Challenge #1: January


This month we kick off the BIG Challenge with a bang. It is time to look seriously at your overall health & fitness so that you can identify weak links in the chain. You will learn alot about yourself with this month's Challenge and that knowledge will help you acheive a higher level of health and fitness in the weeks and months to come.

Your Challenge this month is to complete the ELM Weekly Progress Summary for 4 weeks. In addition you must reach GOAL levels for 6/9 of the Summary categories every week. You will find a copy of this Summary online here.

Enter to Win.
Registered Challengers must fax or scan / email Progress Summaries to ELM by February 7th in order to be entered to win this month's fitness prize (TBA).

**BONUS CHALLENGE! Want to win $25 ELM Fitness Dollars? Tackle the monthly bonus challenge:

Attend a minimum of 1 ELM Training Session or Program Class each week during this month and you will be entered to win ELM cash. Receive one entry for each additional session you attend weekly! ie/ 1 class / week for 1 month = 1 entry. 3 class/week for 1 month = 3 entries. The more you play the better your odds are to get paid by ELM!