Monday, 20 October 2014

Couch to 50K- Grizzly Ultra Race Report

Two months ago I was on a runners high after running Deathrace. It was during this week of recovery that I decided to sign up for a fall Ultra Marathon.
The reason I signed up for the Grizzly Ultra Marathon was to help get me past the post-runners depression. I had every intention of keeping up my kilometres. I started off right, running 1 week after Deathrace and starting back to my regular gym routine. A lot happened (or didn't happen) and this is why I call this run my couch to 50K. I ended up with a really bad cold for weeks, and weeks. I actually still have the cough. But all of this means that I was not able to train like I planned. Every time I would attempt a long run I would have to stop because I was short of breath. I would always have to stop at about 10K.
Ok, enough whining from me. Lets talk about the race...
The Grizzly Ultra Marathon is in the mountains of Canmore, AB. It is based from the Canmore Nordic Center and is 50.7km (though my GPS said 52km). The run is based on 5 legs varying in distance and difficulty. 
Leg 1 is 14km and is labeled the 3rd most difficult. It was completely non-technical and very wide double track.
Leg 2 is 12 km and is labeled the 2nd most difficult. Also not technical at all, but extremely difficult with lots of elevation change.
With view like these, how can you do just as the sign says :)

Leg 3 is rated the most difficult at 12km. This was the leg I found to be the most fun. I give it 5 grizzly claws on the fun factor. It started off quite easy and then turned into winding, technical running. This is why I love trail running! 
Leg 4 is 7km and the 2nd easiest. This was the 2nd most fun! Also single track and a lot of fun to run!
All of the signs that were related to wild life and Grizzly bears was really fun and entertaining.

Leg 5 is 5.7km and is the easiest leg. It is the shortest leg and it also means I was almost done running for the day. It seemed as though there was lots of hills, but it was all double track and still pretty fun to run. It gets 3 claws from me on the fun factor.
Overall there is 1691meters/5548feet of elevation gain. Knowing all of this ahead of time, I was not expecting much from myself. With my lack of training and my new nutrition I was trialing my standards were not set high.
To my surprise, I felt pretty amazing the entire race! I was testing out a new energy/carb drink that claims it is good fuel before exercise, during and after. There is no protein in it, so I brought along some trail mix to much on while running too. But that was all that I had while running for 6 1/2 hours, and I felt great! I felt I had lots of energy and I had no GI upset at all! Vitargo is fuel of strength and power and claims to be worlds best carbohydrate. I tried the grape flavour and it once I got used to how thick it was, it was pretty great. I honestly felt more energized whenever I drank enough of it. I look forward to trying it again in the new year on my long distance runs.
www.vitargo.com

So. The Run. The first 2 legs went by smoothly. They were double track and it gave me time to get into my groove. The 3rd leg is where the winding single track began and where the fun really began. I honestly did not even notice how difficult the course was or was not after this point. I just found it a lot of fun! This was definitely my favourite race of the year! Deathrace wins, just because I have dreamed of running it for years. But for organization, scenery and overall fun factor I think the Grizzly Ultra wins for 2014.
There was one point that I feel like I should be honest about. After leg 2 my right knee started to hurt. This is something I have not experienced before. I took Tylenol immediately and I felt good the remainder of the race. This once again proves that there are 2 amazing feelings when running a 50K race. The moment the Tylenol kicks in. And the moment you cross the finish line.
I even felt strong on the last 5.7km of leg 5. My hamstrings most definitely felt tight, but nothing I could not run through. I even passed team runners that were only running this final leg. (That feels pretty good :)
I am sure you have all also seen my amazing outfit I sported during the race. How much fun! Running as a pirate! INKnBURN always makes amazing and attractive gear, but I have never run even close to this distance in the capri pants. I must be honest. I was a little nervous and had my shorts packed in my running bin. They pants were fantastic! Not only did I receive hundreds of compliments, I also had no issues with chafing, blisters or discomfort! I am so happy to be part of an amazing company that can make gear that we can be comfortable in for 10K, 50K, or 160K!

Pre-Race

With my sista.
In retrospect, I am so happy that I ran this race. The swag was pretty great! And the kids had a blast running the kids race. It was a beautiful sunny day in the mountains. I had my entire family there supporting and cheering me on and I ran into friends that I have not seen since Deathrace and/or Sinister. I would like to run this race again next year! But I will definitely try to train a little harder over the summer after any big runs I have. I would love to break 6 hours on this amazing course ;-)
I would also like to see what my GPS says. This year it said I actually ran 52KM! :-)
The proud little INKnBURNers...

Captured by my Mom the very second I crossed the finish line.

With my Mom and Dad right after the race.

Friday, 3 October 2014

Paleo Dinner Ideas

Roasted Pork Fajita Salad with Coconut Lime Dressing 

Ingredients

  • 4 TB. olive oil or melted coconut oil
  • 2 tsp. chili powder
  • 2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 2 tsp. onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp. cayenne
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 lb. pork tenderloin, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 2 red bell peppers, seeded and diced
  • 2 green bell peppers, seeded and diced
  • 1 small red onion, diced or sliced
  • 2 large heads romaine or green leaf lettuce, sliced (or use 12 cups mixed greens)
  • 1/4 cup freshly chopped cilantro (optional garnish)
  • 1 lime, quartered (optional garnish)
Coconut Lime Dressing:
  • 1 cup full fat canned coconut milk
  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp. raw honey

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 400 F
  • In a large mixing bowl or a large plastic bag, combine oil, spices, sea salt and black pepper.
  • Add the pork, peppers and onions to the mixture and combine with a wooden spoon (or close the bag and shake vigorously) until fully coated.
  • Cut a piece of parchment paper to fit the bottom of a large, rimmed baking sheet.
  • Spread pork and vegetables on the parchment paper, place in oven and roast for 20 to 25 minutes, or until pork is cooked through.
  • Meanwhile, combine salad dressing ingredients in a mason jar. Fasten the lid tightly and shake vigorously until well combined.
  • Top salad greens with pork and vegetable mixture, and drizzle with dressing to serve. Garnish with cilantro and fresh lime wedges if desired.
Crockpot Thai Chicken

Ingredients
2lbs, skinless chicken breasts
1 small red or orange bell pepper, sliced ( I added one of each)
1 small yellow bell pepper, sliced
1 white onion, chopped
3/4  cup natural peanut butter
1/2 cup lite coconut milk
2 Tablespoons lime juice
½ cup chicken broth
¼ cup soy sauce 
Satay seasoning 
Cumin
1/4 cup crushed peanuts for topping (optional)

Instructions:
1. Layer onions and peppers on bottom of crockpot and place chicken breasts on top.
2.  Mix together the remaining ingredients and pour on top.
3. Cook on low for 3-4 hours or on high for 6 hours. 
4. Shred chicken with 2 forks, garnish with cilantro and serve with rice noodles or as lettuce wraps.




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
broccoli
snap peas
zucchini
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.
Cheers.

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.