Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Yukon Arctic Ultra

Well, better late than never I suppose for my update....!
Here are a few pics of the happy Merrell campers at the beginning of the 2011 YAU. I have to say, my day proved to be quite enjoyable for the most part....bright skies and sunshine, and warm temperatures for February (-17C at the start). I finished the marathon 3 hrs: 14 later in 1st place, with a new course record. All fairly uneventful to be honest....a lovely Yukon winter day, enjoying a long run, and some friendly competition. The last minute surprise entry of fellow adventure racer, Chad Ulanksi from BC made things more exciting as it took me until mile 17 to finally track him down. Chad is an excellent runner, and I`m pretty sure hadn`t training much, as he just happened to be traveling through Whitehorse for work and saw the marathon advertised. Only something a fellow adventure racer would think was a good idea! It ended up his water had frozen up in his camel back early on in the race (one of the perils of winter racing, and a local trick - must put camel back under clothing and tuck insulated tube back in jacket after drinking), and that didn`t help things. I stopped briefly to share some water with him and make sure he was okay, and carried on to the finish.
I was able to catch up with Greg upon finishing as the marathoners had an extra loop out on the highway to make up the full distance. Greg was the 4th person in on foot at the point dispite pulling a pulk and having another 425 miles to go! He looked great and we exchanged a quick hug and he was off. I think it is a good thing, that he had no idea the pain he was about to endure. The 2011 YAU ended up seeing pretty much all weather conditions. That night temps dropped to -37, as he carried on to Braeburn. He made it to Braeburn, the end of the 100 miler in just over 20 hours, and the first one there on foot. He took several hours rest there and took off that afternoon for Carmacks, the next major CP.
I met Greg in Carmacks, and I have to say, he did not look good. I could see the soul literally drained out of him and the cold and hours alone had definately taken their toll. I think his biggest issue once we got him stripped down, showered and some food into him, was he was very dehydrated. Because it had been so cold over night again (-39C), he had barely drank anything in the previous 11 hrs coming from Ken Lake CP. Everything is such a major effort in the cold. To take off your gloves, open your jacket, drink, blow water back down the tube, shove the tube back down your shirt, put gloves back on, and then spend the next 20 minutes trying to warm your hands up again, makes eating and drinking not that appealing...but still necessary! He took a longer than originally anticipated rest in Carmacks, but he definately needed it. When he left at 1:30 am, I couldn`t help but thinking how fortunate I felt to be not heading out at -40 into the cold by yourself.
I had time to drive home, sleep for a few hours, go to work the next day, and then drive to
Pelly Crossing to meet Greg the next day. I had been a bit worried about him after how bad he looked in Carmacks, but when he arrived in Pelly, the evening of Day 3, he looked very fresh and was in great spirits. He took a few hours rest there and left early in the morning for Pelly Farms, which was only 48k away and he had a mandatory 8 hour layover to look forward to.
Greg arrived in Pelly Farms the next day just after lunch. He was in pretty decent shape overall, all things considered, but knew leaving Pelly Farms was where the race was going to begin and where it was going to be more of a survival effort, given the snow storm that was coming in. At this point, he had approx a 16 hour lead over the next competitor behind him, but you just never know with these type of events, so always have to keep in race mode. He left Pelly Farms that evening around 9:30 with a much heavier sled containing snoshoes, a heavier sleeping bag, and much more food and clothing. A storm had come in, and they were calling for heavy snow for the next 2 days. As I walked out with him and eventually turned around and ran back on my own, I was again struck by how lonely and quiet it is out there. This was the last time I would see Greg until the finish line in Dawson, another 240km or so to go.
Pelly Farms to Dawson proved to be brutal. Greg ended up breaking trail for over 100km, because there was no race staff out on the course. The CP at Indian River was not set up when he got there, and he ended up bivying out for a few hours, before carrying on. I can just imagine how difficult that must have been when you`ve been walking and breaking trail for over 24 hours and are expecting hot food and a warm place to rest....He carried on to Scroggie Creek, where he would stay for a 6 or 7 hr rest. He carried on after Scroggie as temps dropped to -45C. A friend of our from dawson went out and met him on the trail and set up a fire for him to have a place to rest midway and get warm. I expected him back the next day as figured he would carry on to the finish, but he ended up bivying out again for 9 hours, as he knew he was on the verge of having frostbite and needed to get some rest and melt some more water and get some more food in him in order to carry on and safely finish. It was nerve wracking sitting in Dawson watching his spot tracker not moving and I have to say I have new respect and consideration for what we`ve been doing to our families all these years! I ended up sleeping with the computer that night, waking up every so often to hit refresh and have to say I was pretty relieved to see him moving finally early that morning!
I met him out on the trail the next day and walked the last 15 km into Dawson with him, where he would finish in just over 8 days and with a new course record! (and even more importantly, was home safe and sound with all digits accounted for!)
After Dawson, he followed this up with one more CP...we carried onto San Diego the end of the week for some much needed and deserved R&R!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Cross training...

Well, I can officially say I must have turned into a single sport person somewhere, and I'm not sure how much I like that?? I did my first run of 2011 on sunday, which was just over 3 hours....-1C and sunny skies in Yukon is a rare occurance and like a rare treat to savor! I felt great the next day after my run, and keen to start gearing up for what 2011 will bring. I decided the next day it was time to get back to some weight training after a rather large hiatus....2 sets of lunges and a few sets of squats and I thought, I should do this more often, that felt great and didn't take much time at all. I woke up the next morning and felt like my hamstring were going to rip off my bones. Mmm, and I thought I was pretty fit, how quickly our bodies forget?! That doesn't seem logical, I can run for hours comfortably, but a few sets of leg weights debilitates me...I guess I forgot how important cross training was since I've been focusing on pretty much stricly running for the second half of 2010. Well, definately time to get back to a little strength training and some core work, with a few spinning sessions sprinkled in there!

First up for 2011 - Yukon Arctic Ultra marathon, Feb 6th. Will do this as a training run, given the rather short time frame, and the fact that speed is likely not a huge factor as the conditions aren't generally great for running. Greg is running the Yukon Ultra to Dawson..., which did I mention is 430 miles?? Crazy!??

Friday, December 31, 2010

2010 wrap-up!

Hard to believe another year has almost passed and we're ready to say goodbye to 2010! I always feel a little nostalgic at New Years, thinking about the past year and all that has happened, but I also feel excitement and anticipation of what 2011 will bring. Racing and training is my passion and I will continue to do so as long as it's still fun....I mean, let's face it, there's nothing better than beating yourself up and crossing a finish line totally spent....

As the year has come to a close and I've been enjoying several weeks of downtime since the world championships in early November, I've had some time to do a little thinking and one of my goals for 2011 is to incorproate a little more balance into my life. I feel so fortunate to have a healthy body and to have the ability to run the miles I have run this year and for the past 14 years since those early days in 1996 with my beginners running group. (I'm really dating myself now, aren't I??!) I have been enjoying my off season since World champs in early November and realized I havn't taken the time to do this for a few years and how much it is needed to recharge and allow your body and mind to regenerate. I have been enjoying running for the past several weeks with no agenda or focus other than simply feeling the ground (snow/ice) beneath my feet, feeling my heart pumping, lungs filling and muscles contracting and releasing for the simple joy of being physical.

In looking back at my adventure racing/running career over the past 10 years, I realize I've been so fortunate with my health and injuries (believe me, I'm touching wood), especially considering the rather bizarre, crazy, insane things we put our bodies through with adventure racing. So., I'm counting my blessing and heading down to the basement to do a little yoga this morning - yes, you read it correctly the Y word....and I'm going to be patient with the fact that while I can barely touch my's kind of like it's 1996 and I'm setting out for my first 3km run...=)

p.s Check out my article in Canadian Runner, "On the Run in...Whitehorse at

Sunday, November 21, 2010

100 km World Championships - Gibraltar

Well, apparently my blog is growing some cobwebs! So.., here is my recap of my race experience in Gibraltar especially for Darin and Rick =)

The World Championships in Gibraltar proved to be an amazing experience. As with every race, I generally go into it with 2 or 3 goals. First off, I always have the ultimate dream goal, the one in which the planets need to align and the running gods need to be smiling in order for me to accomplish, and then a couple of secondary goals. The running gods were in fact smiling upon me for this one and carried me through to the finish. My first goal was to run a pb, which would entail running faster than 8hr:15:59, which was my pb from H2H last year. Secondly, I knew that the Canadian womens record was 8hr:02:59, and I had my eye set on that record. Finally, my ultimate goal was to break the 8 hr mark, which while I realized would be a huge improvement, I knew I had been running pretty well and figured it just may be a possibility if everything fell into place on the day for me.

The race had a 6:30am start, right outside the athletes village. I woke up at 4:30 to eat a good breakfast, and was feeling slightly nervous, but perhaps more than anything, felt anxious to get the race started. I always look forward to tapering, but by the time the race rolls around, I start feeling cagey and like I need to get some blood and oxygen flowing again. As the self doubt started to creep in, I reminded myself that’s the feeling I always have, which signals the taper has been sufficient and I should be rested and hopefully ready to run well.

After breakfast, I finished getting ready and dropped my support bag off to our excellent support crew. I had every snack imaginable packed in my support bag, figuring I’d likely never touch any of it, but you just never know once you’re out there what you’re going to crave. Besides, having a support crew and not having to carry your own supplies is a big luxury after years of adventure racing and having to be self sufficient. I figured I’d likely stick to my gels and carbpro/electrolyte mix, which has worked great the last couple of races.

I milled around with the rest of the team in the starting coral and you could feel the nerves and anticipation in the air, with 250 athletes lined up. I remember thinking, “What’s going to happen today - is the hard work going to pay off?” Standing in the coral, I could hear the various languages being spoken around me and thought, whatever happens, “You’re in Europe, surrounded by many of the best ultrarunners in the world, and the surreal feeling of thinking, “Wow, could I actually be one of them?”

Back to reality....the 1 minutes countdown began, a quick group hug with the rest of the Canadian team, and everyone was off in their own head space and the task we were about to embark on. I reminded myself, 8 hours, that’s just a day at work, piece of cake, right? The starting gun went off, I rubbed my lucky necklace one last time and we were finally off and running through the darkness of the Gibraltar streets.

We were to run 5 km out to the start of a 5 km loop, which we were to complete 19 times. (yes, you read that correctly, not generally my idea of a good time either). I was concerned about the mental challenge of repeating a loop that many times, but figured we were all up against the same struggles, and regardless of the monotony, it would be over the same day, which helped me mentally prepare for the upcoming hours. We ran about 15 minutes or so, and all of a sudden I saw runners ahead stopping and looking around. As I approached the confusion, we were directed to turn around and take the round about and head back in the other direction. I instantly felt my heart sinking, thinking if they’ve messed the course up for the front half of the pack, I may not make my 8 hr time goal. Knowing, my goal was already lofty, I knew I didn’t have the luxury of any extra mileage or stop times. Apparently what had happened in the end, which we found out later that morning, is they had sent us too far and they worked out the extra 1.4 km distance later in the course, by shortening the 12th lap. As I made my way through the start/finish line of the 5km loop, it crossed my mind that I was going to have to cross that line 19 more times before I’d be done!

We started our first loop, and I have to say I was a little dismayed by the concrete industrial jungle we were running through. Later in the morning, when I was again thinking how dismal this course was, I turned a corner and caught a glimpse of the rock of Gibraltar, and reminded myself that once again, I was running in Europe, and had just ran by the Rock of Gibraltar and that’s actually pretty cool, so suck it up! I fell instep pretty quickly with a girl from the U.K. We ran beside each other for quite awhile in silence, and I finally asked her what she was hoping to run today. It can be really difficult to know how fast you’re running when coming off a taper, it generally just feels so good to run you have to watch your pace. Her name was Emily and she told me her pb was 8hr:15 and she was hoping to break 8 hours. Perfect I thought, and interesting that our pb’s and goals were exactly the same. We ran together for several laps and chatted occasionally back and forth a bit. We ran our first loop in 22min:03, which felt really comfortable, but was almost 2 minutes faster than the 24minute, 5km pace I needed to run to finish just under 8 hours. Generally, with this distance, you’re going to lose some time in the second half, and it is nice to have a few minutes in the bank., but it is a fine line between going out too fast and running a consistent race and finishing strong, but with not much left in the tank either. After several more loops together, I could feel her pulling ahead of me and I decided the pace was already borderline on being too fast, so I let her go and figured perhaps I’d see her again. You really have to do your own thing out there and focus on your own race, while being cognizant of what’s going on with your competitors. Too much ego early on with trying to keep up to someone else and not being patient can sink your race.

Between 20-25km I began to feel the first inkling of tightening in my quads, and felt some concern that I felt that so early on in the race, with only a quarter of the race completed. I carried on at the same pace, and hit the marathon marker at 3hr:13 mins, which was almost 9 minutes up on the 3hr:22 I needed to be at, so I knew I had 9 minutes to play with at that point which would likely come in handy later on. My quads continued to tighten to that, “Stiffed leg, I’ve been running on pavement too long feeling”, and I cursed myself for not doing more pavement miles. I had far run more pavement miles this year than I had for last years Canadian championships, but started to feel some self doubt trickling in. I tried to re-shift my mental focus to thinking how great it was that I had one marathon down and only 1.5 more to go, and that I was generally feeling okay, had no major issues, just some early discomfort that I knew I could work through.

By about the 12th/13th laps, my pace had gone from an easy feeling 22-23min 5 km pace, to just maintaining my 24 minute 5km pace. This is generally the point where it is pretty easy to start feeling sorry for yourself, and the mental games become a bit more of a challenge. As I started to feel some doom and gloom setting in, I looked around and noticed I had passed several people walking, one girl limping and crying and another guy on the side of the road throwing up. I thought to myself, this is where it counts, and this is where the years of training kick in and a positive mental state is critical. I had passed several of my team mates and knew several of the guys were struggling out there and hoped their races would turn around for them. Any thing can happen with a race of this length, so I figured I’d just run my pace as long as I could from this point forward and see what happened. The nice thing about a loop course, is I could see my team mates often and we could offer each other support throughout, even if it was just a nod and a half smile towards the last part of the race.

By the 15th loop, I had crept up to 9th place and had passed Emily from the UK. I focused on one land mark at a time at that point and finally caught up with a US girl I had been following in the distance for the past few hours. I ran beside her and realized I remembered her from 2008 world championships in Tarquinia, Italy, where we had run the first 70 km together. We exchanged a few words, and jostled back and forth for a lap or so, until I eventually put a little distance on her and was on my own again.

With just a few more laps to go, I made sure to keep my fluids and energy stores up. I hadn’t touched any of my food but had managed to get down 8-9 gels, 4 oranges and several bottles of carb/electolyte powder. My energy levels were fine, but my quads were tight and heavy and felt like they were seizing up by the step. I ran the 18th lap in just over 26 minutes, which was a far cry from the 22 minutes of my first lap, but I knew from the clock, I just had to complete this last lap in just under 30 minutes and I’d make my time! I started off on that final lap, and drew strength from the crowds energy. 2.5km to the half way aid station, was my next focus, and one more time up that hill which had grown considerably from the early loops. I climbed the hill for the last time, and grabbed some sponges and water from the aid station. With only 2.5km to go, I put my head down, rubbed my lucky rock, and thought only another 12-13 minutes and I’d be done…it is amazing how long 2.5km could feel and how your body seems to allow itself to feel another level of pain when you’re so close to the finish. I started counting steps to 100 to distract myself, and then would start counting over again and again. I finally rounded the last corner, and could see our Canadian support team and hear them cheering. I hit the straight away and could see the finish line for the last time. I crossed the finish line at 7hr:56:41 for a new Women’s Canadian record and the 8th place woman at the World Championships!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Klondike Road Relay Ultra

After running the Klondike Road Relay this weekend, I have to say, the body truly is a mystery sometimes?! I went into this race having very little expectations, as I had been sick for over a week and really hadn't gotten in the miles since the Death Race. My longest run in the 5 weeks since the Death race was a 25k road run, so I was a little worried how the body was going to hold up over the 72km of punishment on the pavement. I went into it thinking my first goal was to just run the distance in a respectable time under 8 minutes miles, and come out feeling healthy with not too much recovery time needed, as it really was just a long training run for the World Championships, which is in Gibraltar November 7th.

The race started at 5am in Carcross. Similar to Haney to Harrison, which I ran last year in Vancouver, the KRR is a 10 person relay, which runs 180km from Skagway, Alaska and finishes in downtown Whitehorse. I woke up at 3:30 to eat a quick breakfast and my friend and support crew Kim and I left just before 4am for the start. I got there just after 4:30, which was enough time to get my things sorted and ready for the start at 5:00.

The race started at 5 and my friend Keith and I took off together. Temperature was 5 degrees, and was actually a little cool for the first bit in my long sleeve Merrell jersey and shorts, but I knew it would warmup once the sun came up a few hours later. I stopped for a quick pee break and Keith carried on. I chased him for over an hour and was still not catching him. I knew our pace was pretty fast, so I didn't want to push myself to go any faster and figured I'd catch him evenutally, and better to do my own thing.

Leg 7 and 8 which totalled 33km, seemed to fly by in no time, and I felt happy to feel strong and to have quite a bit of energy. I caught up to Keith finally early on in Leg 9 and asked him what pace we were running as I knew he was wearing a Garmin. He told me we were on 7:16 pace and thought to myself, I hope this isn`t going to be a problem later on. I felt really good and figured just keep running at that pace as long as it felt fine. My excellent support crew kept me well fed and hydrated and I made sure to eat a gel or something every 45 minutes at a minimum. As we hit the first of the hills on leg 9, I could feel Keith dropping off and after running together for a bit, I gradually put a little bit of distance on him. I grabbed my ipod partway through leg 9, and it seemed to provide me with a little extra zip, as I managed to average 7:11 min miles for leg 9, which surprised me in the end. Toward the last few km of Leg 9, I could feel things start to stiffen up. I carried on until the end of the leg, and when I looked back at the Transition I realized I was on my own.

I hit the Alaska highway with the remaining 19 km to go and a bit of a headwind. I forced some more food down and focused on just getting the 11km to the corner and off the highway knowing I`d be into Miles Canyon by then, which is one of my favorite places to run and on the home stretch. This section was definately the low point of the race, but I kept reminding myself that this was 28km shorter than the world champs was going to be, so better suck it up and try and maintain a good pace. I finally hit the turn off, Kimmie handed me a skor bar and that would be the last time I`d see my support crew until the finish line. I ran through the hills at a pretty good pace and was surprised I still felt pretty strong on the uphills, but was definately suffering some on the downhills. I crested the last of the hills, plodded down the backside and turned the corner onto Swatka Lake knowing it was all flat from there to the finish line.

I crossed the finish line in 5 hrs:28 minutes, in 1st place and with a new course record by 17 minutes, which was certainly more than I had expected from the day. I was thrilled to realize I had averaged 7:24 minute miles, which is 19 seconds per mile fast than my goal pace for Worlds. Im not sure that I could have maintained that pace for another 28 km, but hopefully with another 6 weeks of training, and a bit of speed work I still have some time to improve.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Death Race Survival!

I'm just home and pleased to say I not only survived the Canadian Death Race on the weekend, but managed a 3rd place overall and a pretty respectable finishing time. My hat goes off to Rockstars Hal Hoerner and Ellie Greenwood for both breaking the previous male and female records and finishing 1st/2nd respectabley. Impressive running - holy cow! Hal, I can say I never actually saw (how depressing is that!), but I did have the pleasure of running with Ellie and chatting for a wee bit the first 50km or so. We started at a pretty comfy, respectable pace for the first 2 legs - the time flew by and I really enjoyed that part of the course. Leg 2 had alot of climbing and some steep downhills, and technical terrain which is my favorite kind of running. I kept Ellie just in sight and came into the end of Leg 2 a minute or 2 behind her. I left the TA first and she quickly caught up to me and passed me, and I realized then that I needed to let her go, or I was going to pay for it later. I think this was a wise decision as this course is tough and early on in leg 3, I started to feel the heat getting to me, and was having a difficult time eating, and energy stores were waning considerably. I continued to putt along on leg 3, which seemed to go on forever! I struggled a wee bit through the end of leg 3, refueled at the aid station and was happy my excellent support crew had located some trekking poles for me for the climb up Mt. Hamel. (Thanks Greg and Phil!).

The climb up Hamel took approx 1.5 hrs or so, and I met up with a solo racer from the US. He shared some water with me and we chatted back and forth for awhile. At one of the CP's on the way up, one of the volunteers told me that Ellie was approx 15 mins or so ahead of me. As I looked up, I could see her on one of the switch backs ahead of me. It was a good check to know that I was still in the race, and I reminded myself to stay focused as I've learned through experience, that anything can happen during these kind of races.

When I reached the top of Mt. Hamel, I took a few seconds to look around and noticed what a spectacular view it was. The sky was clear and sunny and there was an amazing 360 degree view. People often ask me, why I do these types of events. One would think that with the amount of time, I've spent racing over the years and the hours upon hours of introspective time out there, I'd have a brilliant answer..., but I'm not sure there is one...the summit of a mountain is part of it, the reward of looking back down and seeing how far you've travelled..., but I also think for me, there is something primal that I am drawn to about getting back to the basics of life and working through completing a physically demanding task. It may hurt to varying degree's while you are doing it, but I know the reward and sense of accomplishment in the end, will far outweigh the temporary sweat and tears which are just part of the process.

After a quick reward of admiring the view, I brought myself back to the reality of the task at hand and the fact that the end was still 50km away, but was happy with the fact, that the longest climb was complete. I ran the out and back to retrieve my prayer flag and on the way back, I saw Simon Donato on his way out to the prayer flag station. We exchanged a couple brief words of encouragement to each other, and I noticed he looked very strong. I had actually thought he was ahead of me at that point, so was a little motivator to pick up the pace as I knew he'd be chasing me down!

My new friend stopped to refill his camel back as I made my way down Mt. Hamel and he eventually caught up and passed me. We continued to run back and forth chatting periodically for another couple of hours. Eventaully after a very long down hill we made it to the ambler loop aid station where our drop bags were. As I was coming in I saw Ellie heading out, and she looked like she was on a mission. I asked the volunteer how long the loop was an he indicated it was about 5km. I knew at that point she was likely close to 30 mins ahead of me, and would be tough to catch her now as time was running out. I had been having a difficult time eating for several hours now and was happy to get my drop bag and to be able to chug some calories in a Boost drink. Nothing else in the drop bag was appealing, but I ate part of a banana and drank some coke. I took off for the loop and at this point had caught a relay runner for Leg 4. He was just ahead of me, and as I looked up, I saw a little black bear run across the road. He didn't seem to be interested in us, and I am very used to running in bear country, but always nice to have someone else around when there is a bear sighting. We traded some electrolyte tabs for some water, as he said he was having some cramping and ran together chatting for a wee bit. Finished the loop and wished I had put another Boost in my drop bag, as still not able to eat, but pushed on for the remaining 10km or so to the end of leg 4, which was a long gradual downhill run on the road.

I reached the final CP to see my support crew and tried to get in a few more calories for the final push to the finish. As I left the CP, the trail started to climb again and went deeper into the forest. I caught up with a relay runner and exchanged a few words and contined to climb. I continued up and up for 45 minutes or so. I realized at one point I hadn't remembered seeing any flagging for awhile, but also didn't remember passing and side trails. I took note of my watch and continued up for another 5 minutes or so until I came to an intersection. The trail continued on straight, or I could turn right or left. I went down both right and left sides of the trail for a minute or so in each direction and didn't see any flagging. I started to feel a sense of panic, in that surely this close to the finish I hadn't made a stupid mistake and missed following the flagging. The trail had been marked brilliantly up to this point, so seemed strange to not have any markings at a major trail junction. I figured by this point if I was going the right direction and hadn't missed a turn the girl that I had passed on my way up should be close behind. I yelled down the trail several time and listened to the empty void and the echoing of my own voice. I yelled a few more times and eventually heard a response back. As it turned out, the girls name was also Denise, and I asked her if she had seen flagging recently. She indicated that she hadn't but had done this leg last year and was pretty sure we were to go straight through the intersection. We continued on together and eventually she pointed out some white buttons placed on the trees. She said these were trail markers and they glow in the dark, so was sure we were on the correct trail. We ran together for awhile and evenutally came to the river crossing. I felt a huge sense of relief, knowing I had lost some time, but hadn't totally blown it and wasn't going to be wandering around in the dark all night.

We paid the grim reaper our token to cross the river and hopped on board for the short river crossing. I got my headlamp out and ready to go, as dusk was just approaching and figured I might as well get ready so I didn't have to stop in a bit to sort it out. I thanked the driver for the ride and Denise and I continued up the next hill, and I soon lost her. I carried on for awhile and tried to take in a gel and some fluids, and instantly felt nauseous. I began to throw up the little bit that was left in my system, and then started to dry heave. It was very strange, I've never thrown up in a race before and as quickly as it came on, it passed and I felt better and started running again. I was a bit afraid to eat and drink after that, and knew I only had about 11-12 km to go, so knew I should be fine to make it to the end without anymore fluids or calories. It seemed like night all of a sudden arrived and I turned on my headlamp. Was very quiet and errie out there and I was happy to have my AYUP headlight with me, which does an amazing job of lighting up the trail. I hit the 5km sign to go at 14hr:30 minutes exactly, and thought I could easily bring it in under 15 hours if I kicked it down. It's always amazing what the "kicking it down" pace is at that point, but it felt like I was going fast even though I was definately not breaking any speed records! I could see the lights of town and could hear music, and turned the corner to see the very welcome sight of the finish line. I crossed the line at 14 hrs: 56 mins:24 seconds. Greg was there waiting for me with hugs and a smile and I knew it was all worth it once again.

Monday, July 5, 2010

24 hrs - that's crazy!

I just wanted to take a few minutes and introduce you to my ultra running, ultra crazy 24 hour champ friend Sue Lucas. Sue logs more hours on the treadmill as a result of cold manitoba winters, than anyone I know and it seems to have translated into the creation of one bad-ass 24 hour running machine! Not even touching on the amazing physical accomplishment, to me running for 24 hours around a 1 km loop definately takes more mental strength than this running chic has!! Truly incredible!

I took a few minutes to ask Sue, as few questions about her training and racing, and here's what she had to say;

q: Congrats Sue on an amazing accomplishment at the 24 hr world championships in paris this past spring - 1st canadian woman, and 197km- impressive! Can you tell me what the experience was like?
a:The experience was amazing! Being selected as a member of the National 24 hour team has been a goal of mine on my todo list, so it was nice to accomplish that goal and run such a great race. I can't wait for the opportunity to go again to worlds and surpass my 197.68km!

q:What were your goals and expectations going into the race?
a:I always expect 110% from myself no matter what race I'm running. I hadn't run this type of race before, so I wasn't sure what to expect and what pace to run. I secretly wanted to run 200km, but i guess 197.68km will have to do this time.

q: You seem to just keep getting stronger over the years, what's your secret??
a:There's really no secret. I just seem to be able to pace myself well and get stronger as the race goes on. I watched a lot of people during the first few hours and they were running like they were running 10k - I knew I couldn't get caught up in that and that if I could maintain a slower pace for the first half of the race, thenI should be able to run the second half faster. The temps were also ideal for me, overcast and cool.

q: What are your plans for the remainder of 2010?
a:The Lost Sould 100 miler is next on my schedule on september 11th. I've been thinking about a couple of other races still this year, but we'll have to wait and see.

q:What events are on your top 3 "to do" list?
a:Hardrock, Badwater and the grand slam

q:What's your most memorable running experience to date?
a" I'd have to say the marathon des sables in 2008. I'd wanted to do that race since 1998, but had never had the courage to sign up for it until 2008, and then placing in the top 10 in the women's category was incredible.

q: I asked Sue to tell me a few things that would surprise people to know abut her....she decided to let me answer that question, which could be dangerous, considering I've known Sue for a long time, but we'll keep it professional...=)

What can I say...Sue actually does many other things than run and is the number one pet owner in the world. If I come back in another life as a dog, I want to be Sue's dog...she is a dog biscuit baking, master painter, house renovator, do-it all kinda gal...Sue and I met in 1998, when we were both just wee girlz doing our first marathons ever, and we instantly bonded...I think it may have been my chocolate lab puppy she was coveting and the fact that our last name's at the time were the same....strange, but true....=)

Look for Sue rocking the Lost Souls in september and definately breaking her 200km goal in switzerland next year at worlds!