Monday, July 10, 2017

Dragon Slaying

For my first race of the year, I decided to do a new 50k at Silver Star Resort called "Slay the Dragon" which includes the nearly completed Beowulf trail that has been four years in the making and was built by bikers for bikers. And it felt like that. I don't necessarily mean that in a bad way, but there are trail features for mountain biking that just aren't as much fun for running, like berms and tight switchbacks...

Part of a 10k descent, followed by a 10k climb

It was still a fun course, though, even if some sections lacked flow, and I'm pretty sure my mountain biking friends will love it.

Random internet guy, not an actual friend

Mostly, I just wanted to get in a low-key training race before the Waldo 100k in August and this was the perfect event for that. I got to test my gut and hamstring on a hot, tough course and both held up well (sorta...keep reading). Hopefully, that means those concerns are mostly fixed, or at least good enough to run hard and get a few more miles on this body.

Since February, I've been working with David Roche at Some Work, All Play and his guidance has been incredibly helpful. I credit his cautious and conservative approach for my successful return to running with a torn hammy. He's also hilarious and makes training a lot of fun!

As for my stomach, well, it got me through the race just fine. I ate and drank throughout and didn't have any problems...until the car rode home and then things went south. Dave was forced to pull off the highway with little warning so I could fall out the car door and do some retching into the gravel. I thought that was as bad as it could get until we got stuck in a traffic jam near Peachland and couldn't pull over so I had to do my barfing into a plastic bag which I later learned had a hole in the bottom. I think the resale value of our Subaru went down that weekend.

Random internet dog, not my actual dog

Anyway, we finally made it home (longest drive from Vernon EVER) and after a couple hours of moaning miserably on various flat surfaces (i.e. the floor and couch), I was totally fine and able to take down every edible in the kitchen like a professional eater.

The working theory for my post-race bout of pukiness is the evil Ibuprofen I popped mid-race to counter an increasingly throbbing headache. I probably won't do that again. But headaches suck too so I might have to.

As for the race itself, I was able to run the first mini loop of about 13k with a few friends doing Grendels' Mother  - the 25k distance - so that was fun and helped passed the time. After that, I was pretty much on my own for long stretches. It was not a large race so the field was quite spread out.

I was happy with my pacing and on track for a 5:20 or so finish which I thought was pretty good, especially considering the course was looking to run a bit long and had a decent amount of vertical. Unfortunately, an unmarked (sabotaged?) intersection at around 44k earned me a few bonus kms as I tried to figure out where to go. I finally found my way back on the course and dragged my ass over the finish line (or finish area since there didn't actually appear to be any kind of line or chute) in 5:46 for 54k. That was good enough for 1st woman and 5th overall. Results here.

For a first-time event, I thought the organizers did a great job. There were a few minor hiccups along the way, but I'm sure they'll have them sorted out for next year.




Thursday, March 2, 2017

Winter Hibernation

I definitely tend towards introversion on the social scale at the best of times, but come winter, my hermit-like tendencies kick it into high gear. And this winter - with its prolonged periods of cold, snowy weather - was no exception.

Not that I'm complaining, I've read some excellent books (I highly recommend anything by Chimamanada Ngozi Adichie), made enough soup to fill a swimming pool, filled every available inch of freezer space with baking and did a lot of nothing.

Well, almost nothing...

There were some fun family snowshoe adventures.
Ski touring on the KVR.
And unusual yoga classes.
After The North Face San Francisco Endurance Challenge in December, I took two entire months off from running. I needed the time off to complete a series of prolotherapy treatments on my torn hamstring. I'm happy to report that I have a much happier hammy now. Not entirely pain-free, but at least improved enough to start thinking about some races.

Since I've been off for so long and gotten terribly out-of-shape, I've decided not to plan any early season races so that I can gradually build up my mileage and, hopefully, avoid more injuries and burnout. 

My tentative 2017 race schedule looks something like this:

March - Elevator Multi Sport Relay (road biking)
April - Rainshadow Running Yakima 25km
May - Dirty Feet Kal Park 25km
June - Chelan Century Challenge 100-mile (road biking)
July - Slay the Dragon 50km
August - White River 50-mile
August - Waldo 100km

Hmmm, now it kinda looks like a lot!? Well, I'll just have to see how things go and how my body holds up to a bigger training load. I'm no spring chicken anymore after all ;)

I am, however, pretty excited that spring is coming! And I'm not the only one. My hairy little friend is looking forward to hitting the trails again too. 

Bring on spring; we're ready for it!