Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Monument Valley Race Weekend Part 1

It has taken me some time to get off the high of completing my first ultra race.  It had been months of training through the awful Canadian winter. Long runs back to back in snow storms and ridiculously cold temperatures.

I was fortunate enough to have two awesome ladies train with me and guide me through the entire process. They are both experienced ultra runners who kept me going, even on days that I just didn't want to make another step.

We flew into Las Vegas and picked up our rental car and drove 7 hours to Kayenta. Monument Valley sits between the Utah and Arizona border. During the drive, our clocks kept switching back and forth from the time zones, which I found amusing. The drive the breathtaking and the pictures do not do justice to how magnificent the view were.

Driving Hwy 59, Hurricane Utah

My buddies had done some ultras in this region, so they were able to explain to me what I was seeing and also take photos for me while I was driving. We made a quick stop in Glen Canyon to take some photos as the sun was setting and I also had never seen a real dam this big before.

Glen Canyon

Glen Canyon Dam

We made it into Kayenta in pitch darkness and passed out from our LONG day of travelling.  We got to get a real sense of the area once we woke up and looked out our windows. We were in Navajo Nation and in a very small town. There were only a few hotels, 1 grocery store and a number of restaurants. The views were none that I had seen before.  We were in the dessert surrounded by many random monuments. It was as if I was in a movie.

We were able to get a sense of our race setting as we headed to Monument Valley for bib pickup. 




Bib pickup was inside Monument Valley National Park and was quick and simple. After dropping off our bags and picking up our bibs, we took a look around the visitor centre. We bought some race swag and took in the incredible views and snapped some great shots before heading back to the hotel to rest up.


A tradition Navajo Hogan for the Ceremony

We decided to go back to a local restaurant in town to rest and  grab some food.  I had heard a lot about the Navajo Fry bread and was dying to try some.  We went to Amigo Cafe, a spot that we had gone to for breakfast but had a limited menu at the time, so we went back in search for Navajo fry bread. The photo below shows our pre race feast.  Our waiter, Chandler turned out to be a runner and running the 50K race with us the next day.  He was working hard serving all the runners that had come in for supper and giving us tips of the area.  If you're ever in that neck of the woods, I highly recommend the restaurant and calling up Crawley's Monument Valley Tours. You will not be disappointed

Mmmm, Fry Bread Taco


With our bellies full, we headed back to our hotel for some sleep.....




Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Ultra Training.. the good, bad and ugly

My running lately seems be feel Groundhog Day. I feel like I've been running everyday and for endless miles. This is most likely because I've been immersed in training for my first ultra in March. My family has had to endure me waking up a ridiculous hours on weekends to get my long runs in. I've spent my layovers sleeping, eating, and running.


I have tried to incorporate more strength training to build strength to help me be a stronger runner/athlete overall.  But there never seems enough time in the day to fit it all in.

If it's one thing I learned so far in my 2 months of training for an ultra is that you really need to organize your time well. I am a working mom with 2 young kids and a job that requires me to travel.  I have had to squeeze in as much of the training in when I can along with keeping up with all the other responsibilities I have.  

The training has taken over all my free time. I am dressed to go for a run as I take my kids to school,  then off to run errands in my running clothes.  I have cooked dinner in my running gear and many times not gotten to the shower until the end of day.  I have gone through many pairs of socks. I can barely recognize my feet and I think I will be losing a few more toenails along the way. I am constantly doing laundry. 

I started training in December with my buddies and I finished the month with 317 km.  We just finished month 2 (January) with 330 km. I am pretty sure that I have never ran this much in all my years of training for my races.  As of today, I have run over 560 km. I am happy to say that I am still able to walk and not hobbling around my house.  The foam roller is my best friend as well as my cabinet full of oils and elixers.

One of the best things that has gotten me through all this training so far are the strong ladies that I am training with. No matter what the weather is, we run OUTSIDE!!! I have run in snow storms, wind storms, my feet and shoes have been soaked through, splashed by buses, and yelled at by drivers.  I relish in any day where the temperature has been about -10. I however have been able to get in a few runs while I am away at work. Although I am jet lagged, I try to get out and squeeze in a run just because I do not have to wear 3 layers, gloves, and wool socks.


So far I have learned to try to stick with the training plan and if things don't work out, relax and let it go. I have had to get used to running back to back long runs. It doesn't always work out for me as my work gets in the way. I used to think having to get one long run a week was tough, trying getting in two. I had my first 100km+ week which has NEVER happened. I haven't gotten any faster by any means, but I think I am getting stronger. I still battle with negative thoughts before many of my runs and contemplate giving up most days. But having to be accountable to my pals has gotten me to pull myself together and forge on.

Thanks for reading... have a great week.

Any tips for getting through those dark moments when you just want to give up? 




Sunday, 4 December 2016

Ultra , Why Not?

I had met a wonderful group of running moms a few years ago and started running with them on and off early last year. At first, I was afraid to run with them as most of them are experienced runners, Boston qualifiers with tons of races under their belts.  I had a lot of self doubt and didn't want to be "that" slow one, or the one that they had to wait for.   But we all had a few things in common, the love of running and love for our family.  When I first met them, we were all training for a range of distances from half marathons to ultra marathons. I was inspired by their many stories and found myself wanting to run with them.

I spent this past year training with alongside them. I was training for my full and they were training for 100 miler and 100 km races. We spent many runs together chatting and getting to know each other. It had become my therapy to meet with these women from all walks of life and just run and forget about all that was going on in our busy lives for that couple of hours we were out for our long runs.

My 2016 racing season did not go as planned. I spent many days after my fall marathon thinking about all that went wrong and how to do it better for 2017. After a few weeks of feeling sorry for myself, I decided to try something new.  They were nothing but supportive when I asked if they would be interested in running my first ultra marathon with me. I had heard all about their previous races and was just dying to try something new. They were both experienced trail runners and had done a few ultras in the past, so I knew that I would be in good hands.

My buddies had given me a criteria for me when I was looking up races. They did not want to train in the Canadian summer which meant I had to find a Spring race, no races that are just in the forest,  they wanted something with breath taking views and nothing in Utah. We decided on the Monument Valley 50 Mile Race for 2017. I have days where I'm super excited, but most days I try not to think about it, because I am freaking out.

So tomorrow we start our training. ....




Thanks for reading...

Have you ever run and Ultra Marathon?

If so where?

Any Tips for this Newbie??

Friday, 17 June 2016

A Slow Comeback

It has been a few months since I have written on my blog.  So, what's new? Things are coming along slowly. I had decided early this year that I was going to run less races this year and focus on my training. I would work on my mental game plan along with the physical part of racing.

My first race of 2016 was the 30K Around the Bay Road Race. I have run this race a few times as it is a very popular race in the run community. I went into the race rather nervous as I wanted to do well, but the weather changed right before the race. It snowed. I had been training through the winter with my little guy in the stroller through some pretty wicked weather.  I was disappointed with the race as I did not do as well has I had last year. I guess there will always be next year.

So Much Fun with Buddies
Have Stroller will Run

In April, we went down to Rochester, New York to celebrate a good girlfriend's birthday as well as run a half marathon together. It was a full family weekend as the kids also were able to participate in their own races. I love running in Rochester. The city is quaint and full of runners. Streets are not crowded and the course is always rolling.... as in hilly. I had run the half a few years ago with the birthday girl for her first half marathon experience but this time I wanted to see if I could do better on the hilly course. I kept a good pace for the first 10km but slowed down quite a bit as this is when the hills started. I was pleased with the race and now looking forward to my next half marathon in August.



I am now training for the Seawheeze Half Marathon in Vancouver with my cousin.  It will be her first ever half marathon. I am super excited for her and also for our getaway weekend. I ran this race 3 years ago when I was on maternity leave and took her out there with my kids. This race is hosted by Lululemon, so needless to say, it's an amazing event. It was one of my most memorable races ever. The course and vibe is like no other. I had told my cousin three years ago that if she was to ever run a half marathon, this one should be it and I promised I would take her and run with her. 

After talking with the coach earlier in the year,  I decided to only run 1 marathon this year and focus on my pacing.  I signed up to run the Wineglass Marathon in the fall. As always, I am going to try to PB. Here's hoping that all goes well.

I have found a great group of ladies that are as excited about running as I am and we get together every Saturday morning at 5:30 for our long runs.  Most of them are experienced runners and training for all sorts of distances from half marathons to ultra marathons. I have learned that I enjoy running in a group setting. The time definitely passes much quicker when there are people to chat with and keep the pace going.  It is always tough when the alarm goes off at 4:30, but I wouldn't miss it at all. It has been a good boost for me to have these strong runners push me when I want to turn around and give up. 

Have a great weekend ! 

What races to you have planned?

What keeps you motivated to keep on training? 












Wednesday, 6 January 2016

Hong Kong or Bust !

Hubby and I had decided in early 2015 that we would end our year partying it up in Hong Kong. My parents decided to join as well as a few of our close friends. Our last family trip out that way was Christmas of 2013.  It was a rough trip as hubby and the kids all got sick.  I spent most of the holiday nursing them all back to health. Hubby was very nervous before heading out, but was excited as now our kids were 2 years older and our friends were going to be joining us there.

Mom and My Princess
It's always a surprise when travelling standby, but were were all lucky to get on the first flight we tried. The route to Hong Kong is one that I am familiar with as I work it all year round. I am used to the long flight, but not as a passenger. I'm usually asking if you want the chicken or the beef :)
15 hours to go
My post 2 years ago has a few suggestions for travelling with kids.  My kids have been very fortunate to have started travelling at a very early age. My hubby and I love to travel and always take our kids with us. With that being said, I still suggest bringing lots of bribes and goodies to keep the kids entertained for hours. Bring comfort items as well and always keep in mind all the things you take out during your flight at the beginning because it will be a frantic end of the flight searching for all the stuff you took out at the beginning.

After 20 hours of travelling we made it to our final destination.  Hong Kong is one of my favourite cities.  It should be on everyone's top 10 places to visit. Here are some of the many highlights of our trip.

Posing in Front of Bruce Lee's home
Hubby is a huge Bruce Lee fan and found out that we could actually see it. It was sold after his death and turned into a 'love hotel'. It now stands empty, but was still cool to see.

Disneyland

One of the best things about Hong Kong is their public transit system called the MTR. It can get you to pretty much anywhere in and out of the city. It even brings you to the boarder crossing at Shenzhen.  There is even an app that you can load to help you with schedules of the trains and busses. We took it it everywhere even to Disneyland to surprise the kids for Christmas day.
Mom and Dad with the Kids


Running with Hubs

My parents joined us on this trip which allowed us to squeeze in a few quick runs. Hong Kong is not just big city, but has many gorgeous nature reserves and hiking trails. We stayed at an apartment nestled in the many hills of HK and was schooled by these hills.

Views from The Peak
We also did many touristy things as it had been a few years since our friends had visited HK. The Peak is a must do for any visitor. It has the most spectacular views of the city. There are also hiking trails nearby with the Pok Fu Lam Reservoir right there.

Cable Car ride at Ocean Park

We love HK
Ocean Park is part aquarium, part theme park nestled into one of the many mountains.  It was one of my fondest memories of HK. My parents had taken me there on my first visit to HK in 1983. I am told that much of it has changed, but their signature cable car still remains the same. It spans 1.5 km one way and offers AMAZING views of the surrounding area, the park and the sea. It connects you to the other part of the park where most of the new rides and shows are. 

HK Railway Museum

My son is currently a huge train enthusiast and when I found out that there was a Railway Museum, I knew I had to take him there. Both the kids had a blast seeing old engines and trains from the past.


Frozen Beer
Here's to an amazing finish to 2015 for me. We survived the trip and no one got sick this time. I was able to squeeze in a few runs and saw new places that I had never seen. As, I mentioned earlier Hong Kong is a fantastic city. It is busy and crowded yet peaceful and free. There are many things to do and sites to see. The food is incredible. Many of the restaurant chains in North America can be found there. All signs are in both English and Chinese and their transportation system is top notch.

We are looking forward to visiting again on day.... after we recover from the crazy jet lag.

Thanks for reading.

Where are you top places to visit in the world?

Have you been to Hong Kong? What are your favourite memories?






Happy New Year. Looking Ahead to 2016


I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and New Year Holiday. I was very fortunate to have spent the last few weeks of 2015 in Hong Kong with my family and friends. I was also forced to take a break from my training due to our busy schedule and to be honest, it was supposed to be a vacation.

Hong Kong Skyline
I know that I have been very absent from my blog and I can't really  nail down the reason. I guess it was part laziness, but I have a feeling the main reason was that 2015 was a tough year with my running life. I had no PB's (personal bests) and was pretty down on myself.

I still have a bunch of race reports to write up from 2015 and promised myself that I will get to it.  There are many days where I just want to shut down and completely stop writing.  I'm not much of a writer and there are many blogs out there that are way better than mine. I know because I follow many of them.

I started my blog as a way for me to talk about my passion for running and hope to inspire people. It has been therapeutic for me and also emotional for me.   It was an outlet for me as many people around me were sick and tired from listening to me talk about running, training, racing and all things related to the sport. 

Looking back at my New Year's post 2015, I had set out goals which I can sadly say I didn't accomplish. I feel like I completely let myself and any readers out there down. I obsessed over social media following fellow bloggers and runners and saw all their successes which made it even harder for me. Many were inspiring, but at the same time can be a huge downer when I was not where I wanted to be with my journey.  I found myself comparing myself to them. 

As I am still getting over the jet lag from my fabulous holiday and typing away at 4am, I look forward to 2016.  I am not going to set lofty goals for myself. I AM going to stop being so hard on myself and enjoy the training this year. Of course I will be aiming for PB's and always chasing down the unicorn. I will continue to train as hard as I can and run each race with all I have. I want to start the year with a clean slate and a clear mind.  If 2015 taught me anything, it's that running is 95 % mental and the rest is physical.

Happy Hump Day and Thanks for Reading

What did 2015 teach you?

Do you have goals for 2016? What are they?





Friday, 30 October 2015

Taper Week

So this is taper week. It's not the first time I've been here, and definitely not my last.  This training cycle for marathon #5 has been a tough go for me. I'm not sure why I've had such a tough go, but I am not going to dwell on it.

I have been following a customized training plan and completed almost all the training plan that was given to me. However, as my training progressed, I realized that I wasn't getting any faster.  It had seemed as if I had hit a plateau. My plan had me running less mileage, but more frequently.

I ran some races during this training cycle and all of them I crashed. I couldn't seem to pick it up. With each race, I started to doubt myself and my abilities. I felt beaten before every run.

Other than running with my little guy in the stroller, it has been a lonely training cycle.  I don't really talk to people about my running anymore other than posting on Instagram and blogging.  I am always inspired and motivated when seeing other runners post about their successes, but I wonder if it's making me feel worse about myself.  I was able to get out on a few runs with a friend and was able to push myself to run harder than I had in any previous runs. These runs boosted my confidence a bit, but also helped me understand that I may perform better if I had other runners to help push me.

My running buddy and I

I am looking forward to the upcoming marathon just so that I can get it over with and start over again with the next marathon.  I know it sounds crazy, but I am actually looking for another marathon to run next year.  I am almost certain that I will not run a personal best, but I will finish. Finishing is an accomplishment on its own, but I am not going to give up my dreams. I will continue to train and chase down a BQ (Boston Qualifier).


One Step at a Time

Do you have a race coming up?

Have you ever had to deal with self doubts ? If so, how did you deal with it?

Thank you for reading