Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Back to School Challenge. Starting with Chicken Coconut Stirfry

Well, Here it is. The school year begins. The summer is officially over for all of us with kids.
Nathan started grade 1 today and Nolan will begin Pre-K on Monday.
With this time comes a harsh realization for most of us. The extra beer weight that we packed on after an amazing summer in the sun.
Deathrace was fun! But My family and I have kind of been lacking in the "healthy department" since then. I have decided to initiate a Back to School Challenge that will involve clean eating and exercise. Following is the recipe that I decided to start the challenge with.

Coconut Chicken Stirfry

1 tsp cayenne
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground turmeric
salt and pepper to taste
4-6 chicken breasts, cubed
2 tsp sesame oil
1/2 purple onion
sliced carrots
snap peas
2 cloves garlic
1 can organic light coconut milk

1. Cook chicken in oil, add spices to coat chicken.

2. Add veggies and coconut milk. Let steam and simmer on low heat until veggies are at desired crispness.

3. Serve with rice or side of choice.

I would recommend playing with this recipe. Add some spice where you want or add some soy sauce or equivelant.

Hope you all enjoy the challenge and keep us updated as to your progress. Please share any recipes with us, either on my blog or on the Facebook site.

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Death Race 2014-Solo Finisher

Here I am, race week is here...
I am trying to relax, but it is quite difficult. I am super nervous, and I need to stay active, but not too active. My week went kind of like this. Monday: Work and Spartan training at night, Tuesday: day off and an 8K run, Wednesday: Spin, Thursday: Drive to Grande Cache, Friday: Do nothing but prepare for the next morning.
It is 5:45am. My alarm goes. I am awake, and surprisingly I had an "OK" sleep. I get up and have a cup of coffee and my usual pre-run vegan banana bread for breakfast.
7:00 am We head to the start line. I am planning on running leg 1 with Chris, but we decided that we will do our own thing.
I chose each INKnBURN outfit carefully for each leg! 
8:00 am The race starts. I am doing this! I will finish this! That is all I remember thinking. Oh, And Holy Crap! Here we go.
Leg 1 (19Km) Chris and I did start running together, but I was feeling pretty good and strong, so I ran a little bit faster. I also ran along with a couple of guys from training camp for a few minutes, it was really great to see them and wish them luck. My first pack broke with about 9 K left! I tied it back together and kept going. It was a total pain, but I wasn't going to let that slow me down. I knew I had another one waiting for me. Leg 1 is notoriously wet and muddy, but this year was very favourable and almost dry. This meant dry feet and socks.
I finished Leg 1 in 1:57. Perfect! My goal was to be under 2 hours.
Leg 1 I chose Sugarskulls because it makes me feel cool and powerful and it was the only one dark in colour, so early in the day was best for this beauty.
I chose Lust shorts because they are pretty. And they would go with my next 2 tops.

Leg 2 (27Km, summit 2 mountains) I am pumped, and feeling good. I traded my pack with my temporary support crew (my brother in law, Matt, his wife, Shelley and their 2 kids). I had the pack ready the night before, so I could do just that, trade it and go. I had fresh 2L of water and fresh energy bars ready to go. I also was able to keep my shoes and socks from leg 1, which was beneficial as I might not have had enough shoes for the entire race.
My changeover was quick, but as soon as we started running we had to stop for a train. This was frustrating, and took at least 5 minutes, maybe more, but off we went to climb the first mountain as soon as the train was gone.
I was about half an hour up when I went to grab my first salt pill. Oh no! Where are my salt pills!?!? Panic!!!! I forgot to replenish my pack pocket after the last race. I started madly texting my sister and sister in laws to see if Matt had left yet, but he had. Erik was just ahead of me, but he had passed me, so I was not sure if I could reach him. I think I picked up my pace a little and I caught him, only to help him discover that he had lost most of his as well. I calmed down. I had my EFS drink, my nutrition, and Matt would be coming behind me quickly, and surely he would have lots, as an experienced Deathrace soloist. I climbed the rest of Flood Mountain with Erik and when Matt reached us, he also informed us did not have enough salt pills for himself on this hot day. WHAT?! okay, it is okay. I will manage with lots of water, energy bars and EFS. When I got to the top of Flood I saw my friend Mike (from training camp), he just happened to have a large bag of salt pills that he was more than happy to share with me. Thanks goodness for good running friends!
Leg 2 got so much easier from there (well, mentally). I caught up to Matt again, where he warned me that I was on pace for a 4 1/2 hour Leg (which is pretty fast). I actually ended up running with Matt to the top of Grande Mountain, which is where he started to cramp. From there I ran the remainder with Mike. It was really great to run with Mike, the conversation was great, and we had the same goal. I just needed to remember to drink and eat enough while talking.
I finished Leg 2 in under 5 hours! 4:50 to be exact. Not bad with a train stop and panic climb.
The transition went smoothly. Chris was there and waiting to fill my pack, change my shoes and socks and give me fresh nutrition. Chris took care of my feet while I pounded an Ensure. It was probably the longest transition at almost 20 minutes. But I felt so great! Ready for the next 19 K!
I chose Run or Die for Leg 2 as this can be the most challenging of the Deathrace legs. I was going to run this one, or die trying!

My nephew was so cute. When he found out that I would be changing my shirt at each transition, He said "Auntie, How are you going to have enough clothes for that?!" My husband quickly replied "Well, Dude, you don't know you Auntie very well". Still makes me smile just thinking about it :)

Leg 3 (19K) I found this to be my toughest leg. The first half went great. I fell downhill, but I was okay. I stopped for a pee break, which is great, I was drinking enough fluids. After I came back to the trail after my pit stop, I saw Mike ahead of me. We once again ran together. I was feeling good. It was HOT! 30C and the sun was bright, but I felt good. There was about 6 or 7 K until the next transition left when I felt my guts flip. I knew this could be what breaks me. I told Mike to go ahead as I had to pull to the side. I was able to keep going at a slow run/walk pace and I did not need to pull over again.
Coming onto the highway was a great feeling! I knew I was close to the transition. I was really looking forward to the climb up Hamel. The best feeling was seeing my niece and nephew (Katie and Ethan) waiting for me. They gave me renewed energy as they ran up the trail with me.
I finished Leg 3 in 3:08 (including my transition time from 2/3). Not quite as fast as I wanted, but good enough.
What a great feeling! Over half way! I changed my shoes and socks, drank an Ensure, filled my pockets with energy bars, rice balls and trail mix while Chris put blister powder on my feet and filled my water. I grabbed half a sandwich (turkey and avocado on white) and my poles and up the mountain I went.
I chose Lust on Lust for Leg 3 as it was light in colour for the heat of the day. I also chose Lust as it is an emotional force associated with fantasizing about ones desires. Need I say more? 

Leg 4 (38 KM, summit one large mountain) The first part of the climb up Hamel was a very lonely one. Only 2 people passed me, and I don't remember passing anyone. The second part of the climb I caught a couple of soloists that I chatted with along the way, until I had to pull to the side again as my stomach turned. No vomiting though, I felt I was still ok. At the start of the switchbacks there is a bail out point where they ask if you are ok. Yup! No turning back now. The switchbacks felt pretty good. I did not notice the lack of O2 that I usually feel climbing up Hamel. I ended up climbing a lot with Matt from Ontario. We ran out to the point together and took selfies. The chat is nice.
The run down was once again lonely. I passed a few people, but did not see many racers. The run down felt slow, but not painful. I told myself from the beginning that if it did not hurt, then I would run all the flat and the downhill.
When I arrived at Ambler Loop it was a great feeling. I got lots of compliments on my flutter outfit from the volunteers, and more importantly, I made it through the meadow without having to use me headlamp. I also was able to fill my pack with water and change my energy bars out for my Clif Bar that I had waiting for me in my drop bag (because I was very tired of those bars and rice balls!).
I put on my headlamp and headed down the loop, then down the long logging road to the last transition area. We had to chip in at the bottom of the hill (which I ran all of, slowly, but I ran). I really enjoyed all of the volunteers! I especially loved how happy they were to see me. A female soloist, which didn't really make sense until the next day though.
I finished leg 4 in 6:30 (once again, including my transition time from 3/4).
The transition at 4/5 was a quick one. Me inquiring how everyone else was doing, change of shoes and socks. Add some coconut water to pack (just to change things up), and I took 2 Tylenol (just because I had not taken any yet, and I figured it couldn't hurt at this point). I also drank one last Ensure, and off I went.
I chose full Flutter for leg 4 as I was planning to float/fly up and down the mountain and look good doing it, just like a butterfly. 

Leg 5 (22 KM) I felt so happy starting this leg! The final 22K! At this point I knew I would finish. The first couple of kilometres is all climbing on single track with lots of trees and roots. I tried running quite a bit of it, but it is at an awful angle, it was very dark, and I did not want to risk any injury now, rolling my ankle on a tree root or on a rock. I had a lot of fun on this leg! It is so technical and challenging. There were lots of people around most of the first 8K up to the river crossing.
That is a fun feeling. You get to the river crossing, where the Grim Reaper is waiting to collect your Deathreace coin (that one must carry the entire race). It is such a cool thought, to give the Reaper your coin, and in exchange he will let you leave the hell of the Canadian Deathrace. Such a cool feeling! After getting off of the boat I knew I was home free.
I would jog where there were not many tree roots. Climb quickly when going up hill (what I felt was quick at this point). And just enjoy this feeling of being tired and happy and, well, strong.
I walked the entire last 3 km hill up the dirt road, as I watched relay racers jogging up it, thinking, good for you! How fun! This race brings people together and empowers them.
As soon as I turned left to the finish line I could feel my eyes getting teary. I was almost done! I ran down the road and crossed the finish line with a clock time of 20 hours and 3 minutes. I finished Deathrace as a soloist. Chris, Matt, my father in law, my sister and friend were all there along with Chris's Uncle and his family. They were cheering, and I could not have been happier! I survived 125!
The lays potato chips tasted so amazing at the aid station and the beer that they had waiting for me tasted pretty darn good too.
I was able to stay and watch my brother in law, Erik, cross the finish line as well. Such an amazing accomplishment! I was overjoyed to watch him cross the line as well.
The next morning came much too early, but I was informed that I was the 5th female and 2nd in my age group to cross the line. Even better! I was able to stumble with my 3 blisters down to the kids race and cheer for Nathan, Katie and Ethan. Feeling so proud of them! And of me!
Go Deathracer!
And for my final leg, Leg 5 I chose Wave, as I was planning to ride the wave to the finish line.

Pre-Deathrace Thoughts...

Wow! What a fun and amazing adventure this has been!
The past year has all lead up to this moment. Canadian Deathrace (CDR) in Grande Cache, AB Canada. 125 KM that pass through 3 mountain summits with over 17000 feet in elevation change, crossing a major river.
From the moment my brother in law Matt crossed the finish line in 2013 as a soloist at CDR my planning and training began. I knew that if he finished Deathrace, that I too, could try to solo this incredible and challenging 125 km race.
I think the most difficult, and nerve racking part of my journey was actually signing up. I had it marked on my calendar for months. January 23. Registration opens for Solo racers. I was so scared and so nervous. I had rolled my ankle the previous year at Sinister 7 and had not yet fully healed from that. And also, the previous year, I had a foot injury from running in the winter. Could I really do this?!?! Me, the chubby kid from Sparwood, BC that started running just 6 years ago??? In my mind I thought I could, but I felt that my body was telling me otherwise.
I started seeing a new chiropractor that does Active Release Therapy (ART) at the beginning of January, and it is him that I have to thank for giving me the courage to train, and to sign up for CDR.
Dr Luke convinced me that I actually could fix these problems that I had been having. My ankle pain, my knee pain, my hip pain. This could all be fixed with proper treatment and training. And he was right! So, Dr. Luke and my friend Jay (also a CDR soloist and Sin 7 soloist) became my "unofficial running coaches".
My real journey began on January 23, 2014 at 1000 when registration opened. This meant I was committed! Not only would I have my pride to worry about, but also my $350 registration fee.
I wanted to do this! But, just because I wanted to this, doesn't mean it would be easy. The other large credit goes to my very supportive family! Without the support and love from my husband (Chris) and my kids (Nathan and Nolan) I would not have been able to train as much as I did. It is with the support of my family and the advice from my brother in law, my chiropractor and my friend Jay that I was able to train as I did.
The first thing I did was sign up for a marathon training clinic. This got me out running on Sundays, even in the snow and the cold. I finished my long runs, no matter how much snow and freezing temperatures there were this past year! I did run on the treadmill a couple of times, but I actually learned to enjoy running outside in the winter.
The other thing I did was sign up for long distance runs, such as Woody's Marathon, Blackfoot Ultra and Deathrace Training Camp. These 3 alone gave me well over 225km in 3 weeks. I also signed up for Rundles Revenge 50K and Sister 7 as a team of 3 with my sisters husband and my friend Robyn, where I would be running 68Km. You see, I have learned, that if I sign up for it, I will do it. And I will do everything in my power to train and finish! It also meant that I would have some long runs under my belt before Deathrace came along on August long weekend.
I survived! My journey leading up to Deathrace, I survived! Part of the goal as an Ultra runner is to remain injury free. And I survived. I had a couple of scares along the way, such a pulled IT band, and ankle and knee pain, but overall, nothing too serious.
SO, I feel nervous, excited and scared $hitless, but here I go...

Monday, 7 July 2014

Rundles Revenge 50 K

Wow! What a Beautiful weekend away in the mountains of Banff, AB!
I ran my second Ultra marathon on June 22, It was The Northface TransRockies event called Rundles Revenge, held in the rocky mountains of Canmore, AB.
The event itself is a weekend event, with Mountain biking on Saturday and Running on Sunday. Racers have the choice of doing one or both events in a variety of distances.
I chose to only run the 50K running race which consists of 4 12.5km loops around the Olympic Nordic Center. The course was pretty much 2.5km up, 4.5km down, 3km back up with 2.5km of flat in there somewhere :)

The first loop was extremely crowded with all of the 7K, 12.5K, 25K, and 50K runners out there on the trail at one time, but it was fun!
The second loop I felt extremely challenged. My ankle was hurting, a lot, and for the first time ever, I thought that I might not finish after the 3rd loop. But by the 3rd loop the Tylenol kicked in and I was starting to get into my groove :) I try not to use medication while running, but man! Was I ever glad for Tylenol Joint and Muscle!
By the time I came into transition for the 4th loop, quitting was not an option at all! My husband (support crew) filled up my water pack, shoved nutrition at me and stocked my salt pills and EFS and I was back out for one more.
The first 50K run I ever did was in the rolling hills of Edmonton and seemed quite easy compared to this! It took me much longer than I expected to finish, but I don't think I took into consideration the mountains that I would be running.
I crossed the finish line in just under 6hours, 22 minutes. What a great feeling! Finishing 50 kilometres!

I was on a cloud when they announced that they would be awarding the medals for the open women's category in the 50K event. "In 3rd place, With a time of 6:21:56" (At this point I was not sure of my time and I thought, Darn! I just missed it!) and then he finishes with "Kristina Meyer".
I was so excited and in disbelief that I could barely move. I was looking, trying to figure the shortest distance to the podium. It was probably only 200 meters, but it felt much longer as I ran, once again, this time bouncing with joy!
The announcement that put me over the top though was when they announced that Abi Moore won 1st! I was on the podium with Abi Moore!!!! My idol! I could not believe what an amazing day I was having!!!

The fun for this weekend was over, next on to Sinister 7...

Monday, 9 June 2014

More Pics from Deathrace training Weekend

Biking the last half of Leg 1. Leg 1 is the shortest stretch of the race at 19km. The first day we biked the first 5 K, and the last day we ran 6 K and then biked the last 8K.

Night run on the first portion of Leg 5. I will definitely want my glasses with me when I start this one.

Another view of Leg 5. This is the side I will be on once I cross the river on the Ferry.
Another amazing view from Leg 5. Most people will never see this portion of the race in daylight. It is amazing!

The Soul Tree on Leg 5 :)

This was my view every morning from the door and window of the Grande Cache Mountain Lodge. No complaints here :) 
A mountain biker I am not! We biked leg 3 (21km) and it is all mountain. It was my first time ever really mountain biking, and it was so much fun! It scares me to think the places I had to carry my bike I will have to run :l

At the top of Hamel. This is Leg 4. It is a total of 38 km. The views from the top are breathtaking.
This was the group at the finish. 125ish KM covered over 3 days. We started with a  group of 22 and most of us finished the entire thing. The organizers said this was the highest percentage ever to stay right until the end of camp.

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Deathrace Training Camp

You see, I have signed up as a solo racer to run the 125KM Canadian Deathrace. I am very dedicated and committed, so I feel as though the training camp was a must!
Thursday evening I drove to Edmonton, just to break up the drive. I was on the road to Grande Cache, AB by 0615 (After a stop at Tim's).
Training started at noon with introductions and instructions, followed by a 8km bike ride. Immediately after that we began to hike/run Leg 2 of Deathrace. It was a beautiful day to summit 2 mountains. It was about 25 KM and it took us about 4 1/2 hours, with a few breaks and stops to discuss included. I really felt I was on top of the world! Even at the bottom of Leg 2! I just finished the dreaded Leg 2! 

Then it was back to the hotel for a quick shower and a light bite and then back out for a 5KM night run on single track. Note to self: I definitely will want my glasses for Leg 5 in the night! Lots of branches and tree roots....
The next morning began at 0930 with a 2 hour mountain bike ride of Leg 3. Now this girl is not a mountain biker. I brought my made for city bike and brought it down trails that it has never seen, and will probably never see again. I was more nervous for the bike ride than running the other 90km. But once I got down the first steep and hill and through the first giant puddle, I realized I was maybe enjoying myself. Actually, I was having a lot of fun! The only part I did not enjoy was scaling the coal/shale cliff (as the trail has been washed away). Thank goodness for the others in the group! They helped get my bike up the 90 degree cliff at the end...

Once we finished the last few kilometres up the highway, it was time for pizza and then back on the trail to hike/run Leg4. This is the same 38km that I ran last year, both in the race and as a training run. I drove to Grande Cache this weekend fully prepared to skip this as I didn't feel I would be able to make it. But surprisingly I felt great, so 2 1/2 hours up the mountain I go. And once we get to the top,  the views always remind me why I enjoy this so much! 

An hour and a half running down brings us to the Aid station, where they have beer waiting for us! What a great idea! Beer. And chips! Yum, what a great beer! Wait! We still have to run another 7km down to the bottom where our cars are waiting for us! Down we go..............
I was completely exhausted and totally dehydrated at this point. In the shower and out for supper we go. It turned into a late night as the supper and billing was extremely slow, but the food, though average,  tasted amazing!
Into bed by midnight and up again for a run and bike ride at 0830. I also thought I was going to skip this morning run, but I felt pretty good, so I joined the group. It was 6K through mud and swamp, up the mountain, down the mountain and then 10K mountain biking.
A quick lunch was had, and we met again at 1230 to hike/run the last portion of Leg 5. 18K. We finished where the actual finish line will be in August. What a great feeling! I just ran/hiked 85K and biked about 35 K, and I feel surprisingly good. Dale Tuck, the race organizer looked at me and said that I looked like I just showed up and was ready to run :)
Lets hope I can pull it all together and keep up my nutrition and hydration over 24 hours instead of over 3 days!
A couple of side notes to add, I would like to Thank Mike, from Leduc for running with me the entire weekend! I think we both helped each other through!
I would also like to add that I was voted best dressed every day by every single group member. Even Dale, though you could see it pained him to say it, admitted he liked my outfits :) Of course he did ;)
I would like to congratulate everyone that finished the weekend, or started and didn't finish! We accomplished more in one weekend than some people will finish in a lifetime. I look forward to race weekend in August. GO DEATHRACER!!!

*Next race is Rundles Revenge (50K) in Canmore, AB on June 22, 2014.

Training for Deathrace! What a Blast Over 3 Weekends!

Wow! What a crazy 3 weekends! At first I thought I really was crazy! How am I going to finish all of this running that I have signed myself up for?! I just kept reminding myself, One weekend at a time, and lots of down time in between.
First was Woody's Marathon. They had been calling for rain all week, so I was mentally prepared for that. It was the headlines that I liked the best "Red Deer likes Wet Woody's". I just learned that we even made the Ellen show! Clever ;)
I started with the mindset that I could maybe break 4 hours, but always thinking I have to take it easy, as I was running my first 50K Ultra the following weekend.
I felt good. I felt pretty strong. I definitely felt better than my first attempt at the same marathon last year! But as luck would have it, at about half way, I came across "runner trouble" and had to stop to use the facilities. But oh well, keep on running. Just one foot in front of the other, just keep running. 
Last year I hit "the wall" at about kilometre 36, I could barely walk, never mind run. But this year, I feel strong, and I ran the entire 42.2 km (except 200 meters on the last hill before the finish line). I finished in almost the exact time as last year, 4:04. Darn that bathroom break! Next year for sure!
It was very cold and extremely wet! There was a torrential downpour as I crossed the finished and could barely see, but I survived the first weekend, and have the medal to show :) 
Next was Blackfoot Ultra in Edmonton...
I took an easy week in preparation for the 50K. Woody's was on Sunday, so I took Monday and Tuesday as rest days, ran 12K on Wednesday and went to Hips and back yoga on Thursday. I took Friday off and Saturday is race day!
I was so nervous going into this race, I have never ran 50K before! I thought I could run it, as I felt good at the finish of Woody's, but I was scared out of my mind. I knew I would not break records, so I went in with a goal of 6 hours.
The race itself is about 30 minutes East of Edmonton in Beautiful lake and tree country. There is a 25K/50K/50mile and 100K race. All of the races follow the same 25 K loop. 
I was pretty excited at the start of this race as I knew one of my fellow INKnBURN ambassadors would be running the 50K too. Heather was super nice and I love that I got to meet another ambassador! the 2 Canadian ambassadors collide :)
Heather won 1st female! Congratulations Heather!
The thing I love the most about trail races and running as compared to road running, is that everyone is super laid back! My first loop went really well! I ran quite a bit of it with another lady that had a lot of really great stories to share about her running career. With her help I finished the first loop in 2:32. I stopped for a little break, to fill up my water pack, to pee and well, wait, I am running a timed event here! I took way too long there (10 minutes), but lesson learned :)
The second loop I chatted quite a bit with another runner from Red Deer, and another lady from Edmonton. I also made sure to walk all of the hills this loop and save some energy for the following weekend of training camp. I took my time and I could have hugged the lady that gave me ice at the second last aid station and the ladies that had ginger ale at the last station (Not because I was sick, just because I was sick of drinking water).
As I was coming up to the finish line I heard "Go Kristina". What?! I was not to have anyone cheering, they all stayed home. The best feeling ever! My father in law had driven out with my mother in law and my youngest son, Nolan. I was so happy to have them there!

It is thanks to Lloyd Meyer that I got the finishing photos as well as the one to follow, after my wardrobe change.
Again, I felt pretty good after running 50K! No! I felt amazing! I just ran my very first Ultra!!! 
I love this race! It was so well organized and supplied! I said I would never run another Ultra after this year, but I think I might do this one. It is fun!
So, it seemed to work for my last week, I thought I would try it again. Race was Saturday, took 2 days off, then spin on Tuesday, Hips and Back yoga Wednesday and day of rest of on Thursday, because Friday is when Deathrace training camp begins!