Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Sometimes All You Need Is Fresh Socks....

Im not sure what it is that is different today then 3 days ago, maybe it is nothing...except a new piece of jewelry...or is it a medal? Im not sure, but I am working on a way to make a pendant out of it...

Saturday was every thing and more....It truly was. I have had bad runs. I have run with headaches, back aches, I have run through love lost, stress, through rain, snow,sun, flu, allergies...sore knees, bad feet, new shoes, chaiffing skin...
So I was prepared for anything. I really thought I was.

But nothing could make me understand the magnitude of what a day would be like running for more than four hours than I ever have in a race, a further distance than I have ever been, in the heat that we had and feeling healthy like I did on saturday...
This photo was at 4:30 am when I arrived in Deep Cove to catch the Shuttle to Horseshoe Bay.
I woke up at 3 am, quick shower and makeup (I know, I know...but it's how I roll...)

My heart still fills totally full of happiness from seeing my team mates on the day of, the kind notes from family and friends. Having family and some friends surprise me and show their faces or signs...
I can't even expain it.

Checking in.....
Given our last few instructions....
Two of my friends that I have trained with for one last photo before we each went on our own journey...

The volunteers were unbelievable. The spread at the 11 aid stations and encouragement, smiles, help...are all things that I ran off with thinking I hope I sounded grateful enough...

Never in my wildest dreams did I actually think I would eat the potatoes and salt and flat coke, gummies, chips, cookies...all en route....
But I did...
And it saved me. I just know it did.
I tried to really take it all in...the views, the positive spirit, the kindness, I tried to keep in a positive mental state...and I was successful at all of that, lucky me.

This Is BLACK MOUNTAIN unfriggen real....this is only a weeeeeee bit of it. there are tiny rocks, climbing rocks, running rocks, there is a very tiny photographer at the top of the hill looking dowwwwn... its a nutty hill...and I love it. ha ha

I love it because there is a surprise at the top waiting...and if you know me at all, you will know that I looooove surprises. The unexpected. Usually its a great story or a kind word or gesture...but today, it was a spectacular view...

                                                 My family came with smiles and signs...


My Patient fans...whether they liked it or not...at Cleveland Dam

I had a sock change at Cleveland Dam thanks to a reeeeeally kind person that took my shoes and socks off for me...which is much like childbirth....when all of your pride goes out the window and you just want to get it over with...who cares if you see my bunion...everyone look at it. See? Have a look...I don't care anymore... (Which reminds me, I need to treat myself to a pedicure)

As I was running many things crossed my mind...I had forgotten to turn the power on to my Garmin at the beginning of the run, so I just put it in my pack because I am a numbers gal, I like to know things. Calories, mileage, time, distance...but It was not going to happen, so I put it away and ran the race how it was naturally going to go...It all worked out. It was a milestone for me...as I don't ever run without my watch...but Im glad I did it.

Staying in a positive mind frame can be difficult. Its amazing how quickly you can spiral from fatigue and feeling dispair when you are sore or tired or just having a bad day...
I refused to let myself go there....it really is 90% mental. I think anyone is capable of doing this type of endurance if you can mentally keep fit.

When I made it to Cleveland Dam I changed my socks. My feet were wet, granted...but it was more a mental strategy to change my socks. It was that I was starting a new race. I had done half, in 04:14 so in order for my little squirrel brain to function at the capacity of what my day truly was going to be in distance and time; I decided that when I ran out with new socks half way through, it was like starting a new race.

Sometimes, in life...we need to do this. Whether it be in love, career, or a new level of anything that we are not sure of, frightened of...weary of...we need to put on fresh legs, because if we don't, we will always have lingering negative thoughts, expectations or excuses for not allowing us to experience or enjoy success when it is warranted.

Dont get me wrong, the journey was physically grewling and the parts I thought I would actually be good at I wasn't, but it really didn't matter. Because I knew I was going to finish.

Without my watch, with Coke and other crap in my belly...Knowing my children, parents, a few family and a couple of friends were waiting was the only stress I really had...
This is my 4 year old niece basically asking me what the hell took me so long....

Ah, Chelsea...you were totally right. But only in the perspective of the temperture outdoors reaching around 28 degrees....(sadly) 

A GREAT gift....Seriously, these are awesome...smell minty and fresh...an instant spa for your toes.
Oh, the simple pleasures....

Yahoo! Almost forgot to head up the hill to the massage table...So so so awesome. Thank you massage lady, you were amazing.
At the end of the day I felt like I had accomplished a few things. running 3 mountains and 30 miles, seeing my family and friends, enjoying the spectacular views and warmth of the volunteers, reaching a new level of so many achievements...along with not texting for a whole eight hours, fifty nine minutes and fifty one seconds...

Friday, July 13, 2012

And at the end of the day. I have to remember what my original goal was in my first Ultra Marathon...To Complete and NOT shit my pants.

This is my last entry before the race. Tomorrow is race day and to say it gently. Im totally overwhelmed with excitement, disbelief, anticipation, kindness of words from friends and others...It has been great.
But before I get into that, here are a few photos from the past few training sessions I enjoyed.

The four below are from the start of our taper...we started in Horseshoe Bay and ended up in Cleveland Dam.
I had heard about Black Mountain before, but not to date had experienced it.
I figured it would be challenging.
It was just that and then some.
Personally, never experincing "mountain climbing before (surprising for a Mountain Goat I know) welll, lets say it was Rock climbing...wish I had brought some rope and clips. Hopefully I will remember the helmet on race day...

 Here are a few of the lads with their fit little smiles at the top of Black Mountain. Supposibly a spectacular view should be seen from here they said...(I thought I was taking one :)
Oh, oh....this was the view they were talking about...hmmm. doesn't look like much does it.Wait until race day, should be worth the price of admissison....

Humble berry pie...well, I must say I was a weeeeeee bit disheartened by looking at my Garmin and seeing that at the Cleveland Dam I was at 04:23 hours. ugh, REALLY?
SERIOUSLY??? Half friggen way?

Ok, well after a quiet ride home pondering my own speed demond dispair I came to a theory...It was the steepness was something new, the snooooooooow felt like it went on for at least 40 minutes (I think) Pret-ty sure...
So, come race day; hopefully I can shave a few minutes off...hopefully....

Our Unofficial last Wednesday run was from Cleveland Dam (the half way mark) to Lower Cypress look out.
What a spectacular prize indeed. Had to push over a bus full of cannon cameras to get in there for a shot, but totally worth the wait.

View of Vancouver and as far as the eye can see.

Our last Sunday Official Training run was Lynn Valley To Deep Cove. We ran accross the Lynn Valley Suspension Bridge (Which isn't on the Official Route; but a very fun way to start a day)

 As ususal I enjoyed the company of various new friends I have met along my little mountain goat journey.  It was a short little run, only the last quarter. Which, was done for me in 01:43 hours. Light and fresh.. A great way to finish...

This is a photo of what a typical training run looks like as we all meet in the beginning.
(see how clean everyone is?) Amazing!
We have had some great people guiding us through instruction (even if I do tend to get lost...It isn't like they don't actually explain it...just that I don't RETAIN it...)

Here we are. Big smiles and enjoying another beautiful finish...Hope I can look this fresh on race day.

WHICH happens to be in hours....

 Well, here are my final thougths....
Last night, I was telling the kids that I would see them at the race as my fantastic family is taking care of them after camp today until I see them at a few of the stops along the way tomorrow.
I said so I figure we should assign Mountains. What do you think?
They agreed but couldn't decide on whom should be which mountain.
This morning I was driving them to camp, en route to my job (as I haven't won the lottery yet) and said I think we should have Sophie be Cypress, as she was first born. I will be Grouse as I seem to need to stay neutral and you guys usually put me in the middle anyway. And Rowen, my little guy...you can be Mount Seymour. Because Im going to need you to get me through that last leg...

Sophie then said "So wait, are you giving me the toughest part?" I said yep.
She then sat for a moment in the back seat, and in true Sophie form piped up and said,
"Is that because I put up with listening to all of your running stories? And when you are done talking about running, you talk about it a little more and I always listen?"
I burst out laughing and gave her a sympathetic sigh with an apology attached. Yes Soph. And I am sorry about that.

I have ask the kids to try and meet me on the pavement before I run through the finish. Because it wouldn't be right doing it with out them.

The reason I run and share is not to boast. It is to encourage, enlighten, hopefully educate and show passion. I am new at this so sure, maybe thats part of it...but when you love something, you want everyone to love it because you love them and want them to feel as happy as you do.

The lessons along my training part of the journey have actually been endless and priceless...
but a few of them are:
Be good to yourself
Ask for help if you need it.
Live a passionate life.
Everyone has a story worth listening to.
I love my family and friends.
I have more goals to come.
Anything is possible.
Be a good person and if there is a way to do it, then you should do it.
If someone were to ask you at a coctail party that you have never even met "What is YOUR passion?" What would you say?
Can you answer it?
I dont think I had one for a few years. Maybe even longer than that...

It doesn't have to be running...it can be education, or sailing or reading...but do you even know what it is? Many of us loose it. Or never dig to find it.
Now that I have tasted it, I crave more. We all deserve it.

There is no manual for parenting. Well, okay...there are many actually...but Im not a big reader so I would rather show them that dreams are unimplimented goals. Goals can be achieved with work and passion and that with guidance I hope that one day they will achieve what ever their heart desires.

Thanks for reading my blog thus far.
Thanks for anyone that has helped me through any of my journey...babysitting, or whatever...
I wish fora really great race tomorrow, feeling in great mentally and physically...That I remember to take it all in, enjoy the fantastic volunteeers and the beautiful viewswithout soiling my pants. Because at the end of the day, that was my original goal. To finish without shitting my pants.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

With A Little Organization, You CAN Do It All...

It has been a busy time FOR SURE. But managing for the most part to do my training and live a balanced life.  It isn't easy, but definitley worth a try. (Besides the obvious lack of zzzz's, raising two brilliant children, and working full-time....)

I had the opportunity to go to Brian Adams (Good ol' Canadian Boy) even though it was on the eve of a long training day. Of course, with a little organization of preparing fuel, outfit and hopefully getting home early I convinced myself it was a good move...(which clearly didn't happen - thanks to the girl puking on the train beside us, the door breaking and oh, getting on the wrong train)
Slipped into my bunk at 12:59am..grrrrrr managed to get in a few hours which was going to have to be enough for a long run.

Here is a photo of the "football" type terrain that I have previously mentioned. It is like a dance to get through.

I am so glad I didn't talk myself out of not participating on the run (Even though I would love a lay in!!!  A wise woman once said....sleep when your dead. Yes - that was you Brenda who said that in grade 9 at a party to me before you had 4 children in diapers... but I still think about it all the time). 
AMAZING day for me...

We parked at Deep Cove for our 7:30 kick off and shuttled out to the Picnic Area of Cypress. (Please note I was watching the clock in the car and we arrived at 8:05 meaning that we were driving for TWENTY FIVE MINUTES!!! So we could run back to our cars.
Hahahahahaa....This is going to be f.u.n.

I was quiet driving up Cypress in the backseat looking at all the little tight bums riding their bikes up the hill. Yep, they are doing it...lets go. Let's getter done.

This happened to be a crazy wet and muddy run, but thats ok, because the following weekend I would be in Whistler doing the Tough Mudder in lou of my long run, so I just had fun with it.

As usual, I took the wrong way multiple times, but really, its not my fault. (My mother was also born without navigational skills.)  It is just the way we roll...

There were a couple of highlights for me. But the number one by far this week was seeing signs for CYPRESS, GROUSE and SEYMOUR Mountains, and not because I was in a car...but because my little mountain goat legs were moving across it all!!!!

I had  great running pal, someone new. Interesting gal, a previous Knee Knacker so she had a few good tips. (I love tips) Although we ran together, we were both stronger in different areas, hers was clearly climbing the hills. Wow, she could move. My strength seems to be downhill and holding my own on the steady. So we usually ended up somewhere together. Which was comforting.

She ended up leaving me on the Seymour Grind, man that is A Bitch (oops, no, not her...the actual hill - had to clarify that edit) . I told her just to go. I took my time getting up it. Entertaining myself with mathmatical questions.

You should try it...when you are doing something physically exhausting for a period of time, try and figure out some math, even simple addition and subtraction is very difficult. (ok, yes...my grade 8 math teacher would laugh his little face off at that as I was always poor in math) but it is true.

My treat was to get to the top of the grind and lay down to stretch my aching back. Holy man it was sore. I got there and immediately laid down. Stretching side to side. Still had my jet pack on my back. I was in a "Who Cares?" kinda space.
Then I laid on my back (awkwardly, as my pack was still on) and opened my eyes. I could see my breath. Hooooooooh..Hoooooooh....Watching it float up. I could hear the water trickling, the air was so fresh and cool.  The trees are so tall and beautiful.  They just go on forever...looking into the tops. On my back...It too was a great moment.  I thought I should get up. Getter done. Felt fresh...I rolled to one side to do just that when I noticed a Black Diamond mountain bike trail. It was called "Severed Dick"  I had a big grin, but was too tired and honestly, it was just too beautiful to make a human sound, but I did see the humour in it.

I had lots of energy to finish my last few km. Felt fresh. Like I was starting over.  Got to Deep Cove, walked straight into the water. Paddled about for a few and went home.

To participate in the Knee Knacker you must obviously have your name drawn in the Lottery but you also must do one of 3 things.
You must 1. Do a minimum of 4 hours of Trail work on the trail to help maintain the trail
                2. Do a minimum of community service
OR          3. Fund Raise a minimum of $100. for North Shore Search and Rescue.

Unfortunatley I was already signed up for the Tough Mudder on the Maintanence day, so I wanted to submit my hours of community service and hopefully be abl to fundraise a little cashola too.

I was not planning on doing any major events after the knee knacker this year, but you know thats not how I roll if the right thing comes up. - Love a  POSITIVE challange.

I contacted a phenominal lady that I did some service for/with at Christmas, as I didn't have the kiddies that am, and I didn't know what to do with myself.  I decided to make the most of it and do something that  have always thought of doing, but haven't to this point implimented...helping/contributing my time at a Christmas dinner for the less fortunate. She was more than helpful in making me feel welcome contributing.

When I arrived, I was overwhelmed by the number of volunteers there that early. From all walks of life. Many (in my own opinion) did not look like they had a lot coming to them this year themselves.  Their spirits were amazing and I really am glad I went.  The woman in charge, whom I had met via email, was just as organized and vibrant in person. At 9 am she was fully dolled up, hair, make up and pretty suit on.

I emailed her 2 weeks ago, so I could use her as a reference for my credit of hours there. I reminded her of who I was and why I might need her as a reference. I also sent her this, my blog.

When I received her response I could not stop smiling.
She told me that she would like to participate "some how" in the Surrey Marathon this coming September.
I immediately responded I will help you. What do you need? Can I push you?

She is physically unable to RUN this herself, Yet she CAN do it.

We have to figure out some logistical things, but it will happen, and I can't wait.  Very excited to see this happen.

I told her I will do it OR get a series of Hot Firemen to keep her company, up to her, she will get this done....

Every ONE of us can complete a goal if we are a little organized, accept a hand or even ask for one when we need it. I have. I do every week so I can go and make my goal come true. Sometimes I have negative comments said to me about doing this for me...taking time for me etc. But I can tell you this. I am a better mother and person for finding a way to accomplish my own goals. I tell my children all the time that the world is theirs. That they can do it, that they can make anything happen with determination, drive, and passion. So, Its something that I am getting a thicker skin, though it hurts sometimes, bottom line is that I am a happy person and ultimately bring that home to my kiddies...

So, we are super excited about this new goal, to make someone else's goal happen.

This last run I missed unfortunately, which Im not happy about, but did do Tough Mudder with some fantastic friends and even a few new ones.
Tough Mudder is a 10 -12 mile, 25 obstacle event (not a race) designed by the British Forces and....for the first time in Canada, came to our own beautiful Whistler, BC. My favorite part of the day was watching my friends accomplish something great. One had never in her life been part of any kind of "race" not that mudder is a race, but you get the idea...She lost 15 pounds training for it.  And is now aiming to do her first half marathon.  Super proud.
We all had a blast, and helped eachother with the parts that we needed help with. The whole purpose of the Tough Mudder.

Here are a few fun snaps.
Clean and Shiny for our 9:30 heat.

Not so strong on the Monkey Bars....went for a little dip thanks to a bum shoulder and well, no other upper body strength....
The Mudder Fudders

I think I realized doing this that I am ready for the Knee Knacker.  Yes, I still have some distance that I haven't yet reached and yes, I still have some of the major parts of the trail that I have not yet touched, but I am ready.  17 Sleeps to go!!!!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Rewards of Running on the Beautiful North Shore

Click here to support North Shore Search and Rescue "Claire Lambert"

Thanks everyone who has been super supportive over the last few months as I venture into my last month of training. I am raising funds for the North Shore Search and Rescue, which is an amazing organization. Over the past 40 years in service, fueled by volunteers, they have attended over 1000 calls, which over 25% have been related to serious injury or death.
North Shore Rescue does not just work on the mountain, please take the time to educate yourself on their role.  You or someone you love may need them at some point. 
Hats off to these people.  On call 24/7. We, the public are not charged anything if they come to our sides in need of help, hence why I believe it is important to have their backs.
Please consider participant:  "Claire Lambert"

This was a great week for photos, Sunday was my longest run ever on my feet. Even though I have run a couple of marathons, this is completely different territory. Its NOT FLAT!!!

I am definitley going to try out my dancing skills once this is done because the run is like a dance. I often feel like a football player practicing between the tires as you are trying to get from point to point. (Considering I was asked to NOT participate in the Jazz Dance Year End Show in grade 8 by the dance teacher, I would like to give it another shot now...)

Sunday was all about getting hours on our legs in. I did 05:30 hours. From 7:30 am until 1:00 pm. Started in Deep Cove on the Baden Powell and turned around after 02:40 hrs (32km for me) to head back to our starting point.

It wasn't a cake walk, but honestly, I felt really good and strong the entire run. (Good sign I hope) We all have our good and bad days, this just happened to be a good one for me.

Deep Cove is so gorgeous. It really is. If you ever get the chance to spend a day there, put it on your list of  "to do's" this summer.

We met in the parking lot, there were about 70 odd people I think. Some of the most Elite of the crew were there, just flying with big bright smiles.

Now is a great time to be finding out what fuel works best for you. I think I have found my favorites. I seem to go a bit sideways with the Gu's so I have found some great products that suit me well.


The reward of our run today was a surprise to me at the end of it. Jumping off the trail, still feeling strong and (ok, a little bit dodgy) following some of the crew into the Ocean.
We soaked up to our bellies. The aching of my back and tired legs was instantly removed like magic.  It was magic actually. Standing in cold water, not even feeling the temputure, shoes and all, looking around at the smiles and the gorgeous view...It was a great finish.

Last night was Wednesday. Again, an "unofficial" training session. We started at the Cleveland Dam and ran up to Hollyburn Ski Camp. It was 15km even-steven. My legs actually felt a little dead, and I seemed very slow. Thats okay though. Im here. I have made it another week without injury, getting lost to the point of no return and just trying to take all of my good and not so great lessons in check.

I made sure this week that I was properly organized incase for some odd reason, I ran into trouble like last week.
Fuel (water and a bar in my bag) I have my phone charged (not always in range - but I do have it) an emergency blanket in my Jet pack too...as well as a map of directions.

This shot was near Hollyburn Ski School, so pretty, I am glad I got to experience the running through consistant snow for a period of time because Im pretty sure it will still be there in 30 days!!!

The highlight of this run was running with some new faces ANDDDDDDD RUNNNNING THROUGH SNOW for ages!

This is the destination, where there is water to fill up if needed or just put on new lipstick. Of course, my choice was lipstick...

Wow, that was fun, challenging, but laughed plenty as I tried to stay off my butt. (I did manage to do this at the expense of not looking very classy Im sure - guess my "runway" days are over - not too many 5' runway models in demand these days...)

Running back down through British Properties was this view. I sometimes see it, sometimes it is clouded over...so here you go.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

To My Great Surprise, I Have Not Run Out Of Lessons....

Well, it was a great week in some ways, infact...I suppose it was a great week.
Last weekend in Lou of my trail training, I ran the Northface Whistler Half Marathon. I registered for it last year. Great event. In its second year, and truly flawless. The "swag bags" are superb. Top notch. Dryfit t's, water bottle, even a sun visor. All with Northface product.
I brought the kids along with some family and we made a weekend out of it. The kiddies did the "Little Rippers" race, which was a KM around the villiage. It is so important to me to let them experience such fun and reward. To my GREAT surprise I killed my own PB by 13 minutes. I couldn't believe it, thought something was wrong with my watch. I guess all that hill training is paying off!
The medal for the Half Marathon was a poster of a painting. It is really different, apparently there are a series of them. I plan on getting one every year.
The kiddies got ribbons and shirts too.

                                                                  Part of the Swag bag.
Just before the race started, I saw my first BEAR. Yay! I was so thrilled, he/she was only about 100 m away, had a good look at me and kept going. Sorry for the bad photo. I just about killed me to not get closer, but I was running a little late.

Our "Medal"

 Now for the embarrassing part... unofficial training night. (ugh)
I have mentioned this before in my lessons....but last night was crazy dumb. OH I am a Donkey.
I know to stay with someone, I do try. I have a couple of friends that I seem to catch on the runs usually.
As soon as we were on the mountain I found my legs were tired, I guess from running my tail off in Whistler (that's my excuse anyway) I wasn't far behind, but far enough...
I got a little confused with the trail but kept looking at my map to make sure I was on target.
I started to see some of the "Speedies" running down, part of me felt like I wanted to turn around and just head back, but noooooooo. Not the way I roll, so I had to go to the top solo.
I turned around and all of a sudden it seemed very confusing. Im not exactly sure where I went wrong, but the moment I realized, I b-lined it back to where I thought I would see the next wave of runners...but they had already gone....at least, I thought I knew that is where I would meet them...or had I been going the right way....

My heart was now starting to race as I was looking at the time and I knew that I was in trouble.
I heard water running and could not remember for the life of me if I had run over that creek.
Ugh, Focus, focus....focus....
I ran back and forth along a stretch for a few minutes before deciding I needed to start descent.
I saw a Mountain Bike trail, which clearly meant I was on the wrong path, but I felt comfort that humans had been there!!!
So I ran near it, but it was so slippery, so much wood.
I felt like I was doing everything wrong, and everything was going through my head about what I should be doing....
I had to run a little further off track to get to see get near the bike path again...seemed like I was always going left. I just wanted to go right, but there was nothing but dense forrest.
I then picked up my phone...the red light was flashing. WHAT? How could that be? I charged it all the way here...no battery? I went to put my phone away and I looked down and there it was....large paw track marks. FRESH ones. OMW.
I am wanting to panic, but know it isn't going to help. I picked up my phone and thought I just need to tell someone where I think I am...so I called my brother (of course I would) My sister in law answered just at the same time as I saw a BP marker on a tree...I felt immediate relief.
I also knew that I had a looooooong road ahead as I had gone way right.

I saw some Mountain bikers at this time and got some direction, I was quite far off base.
I managed to see one more runner with his dog too. It was so quite in there, getting dark and cooler...I thought I heard a voice. I stopped and waited. Oh was I happy to see him. He was so fast though, and I was so knackered. 3 hours in there, more that half of that time totally lost.
He waited for me at a few confusing spots.

When I was running down Cap Road back to the Cleveland Dam at full speed. (So happy to see pavement) I saw a familiar car. Oh CLIVE! He had waited for me. Saw my name was not checked out and waited.
I felt TERRIBLE and still do...but I was very appreciative of his patience. I am quite certain this is what he saw running down the hill....

I did think my phone was charged, I did have an emergency blanket...but it was not enough. Not this time.

I will NEVER do that again. Follow your gut. Turn around if you need to if it means staying with the Pack.
Or wait for the next ones.

Happy to get home, peal off my gear, stand in front of the fridge and slurp some soup and slip into bed.