Thursday, April 25, 2013

Off to the Races

I hadn't intended to do the Oliver 10k this year, but when our plans to go away for the weekend fell through, I decided that it was a good opportunity to support a local race and catch up with friends involved with the Interior Race Series. Knowing that the top three runners in each age group received a bottle of local wine had nothing to do with my decision to race...really...

Since the course included pavement, gravel and grass sections, I decided my new Hyper-Track Guides from The North Face would be a good choice, and they were. (My shoe review can be found here.) I was disappointed with my time as it was a lot slower than last year, but I still managed to finish as the top woman and took home a nice wine and cheese basket so I can't really complain. Results here.

I was also planning to run the Ratter trail half marathon down in WA, but I've been having some left hip/glute/hamstring issues so I decided to take the weekend off from racing and volunteered to sweep the course instead. (Dave ran the Rattler 9mi and finished first! Results here.) This is a fantastic, low-key event put on by my friends Alison and Sam Naney from Methow Endurance and I'd highly recommend checking it out.

I have a couple of races planned in the coming weeks: The North Face Dirty Feet 50k and Rainshadow Running's Sun Mountain 50k so May is going to be a fun - and busy - month with lots of time spent on the trails. (And the highway as we head out on our first road trip in our new VW van "Betty White".)

Happy spring running!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Diez Vista 50km Race Report

To run or to race; that's the question I've been asking myself since reading Ellie Greenwood's recent blog post about her experience at the Two Oceans marathon in South Africa. In it she says, "...I needed someone to help me 'race' rather than accidentally lull into just 'running'."

Her statement has made me consider my approach to racing (or is it running?) and it was on my mind at the Diez Vista 50km this past weekend in Port Moody. Leading up to this race, I wasn't very excited about it and I think it was mainly due to my uncertainty of the unknown, namely the technical sections of the course, which a number of people had warned me about.

I know I'm not a strong technical runner. It's something that I've been meaning to work on, but as often happens with things we don't like, it's just easier to avoid doing it, so I generally choose less technically challenging trails for training and racing because that's what I'm comfortable with and do better on.

Fortunately, the worst of the technical running made up less than 10% of the total course and there were plenty of long climbs, which I love. In fact, after the first ascent, I had a slight lead on the other top ladies but any time gained going up was quickly lost on the downhill that followed as they blew by me like I was deadfall.

As uncomfortable as I was through this rocky, rooty, slippery section, it was impressive to see how quickly - and agilely - other runners were tackling this treacherous terrain that was so much harder than anything I've ever run before. It was inspiring!

Once that bit was done, I was able to breathe a sigh of relief and focus on making up some ground on the gently rolling, runnable terrain. The next 25k or so was quite enjoyable and I was able to cruise along comfortably and enjoy the scenery.

There is one substantial out-and-back section of the course that allows you to see where you are in relation to other runners. Dave (who was having a fantastic run and finished the day in third) passed me along here and told me the other women weren't that far ahead. Sure enough, I saw the top two women a few minutes later and then arrived at the turn-around point myself.

It was at this moment, I determined that I'm a runner, not a racer. Google's definition of "race" is: "to compete with another or others to see who is fastest at covering a set course or achieving an objective." I have no desire to compete with anyone but myself. I was happily running my own race and wasn't interested in chasing anyone down.

I race because racing allows me to push myself harder than I can or will in training. And I like the people I meet. And the new places I discover. And the post-race snacks (and beer!). Those are the best parts of racing for me.

Before the race, I told Dave that my objective was to finish without spraining my ankle (again) and, miraculously, I didn't. To place third and crack the top ten overall was a nice surprise. Full results can be found at

Friday, April 5, 2013

Kamloops Dirty Feet Race Report

My race report from the Kamloops Dirty Feet trail half marathon has been posted on the website. Click here to read it.

And they're off! Photo credit: Phil Hiom (Dirty Feet)

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

New Shoe Reviews

I've just posted reviews of two new shoes: The North Face Single-Track Hayasa and The North Face Hyper-Track Guide. Go to the Reviews page or click here to read them. Happy Spring running!

Where's Waldo...I mean Stacey?