Friday, 3 May 2019

Antelope Canyon 50 Miler Recap Part 1

I am terribly late on this recap, but I have been so lazy after coming back from the race. My daughter has been asking me weekly on whether or not I had written my recap, as I think she may be the only one who reads this blog :)

The Antelope Canyon 50 Miler happened to fall on the start of Spring Break for the kids, so it was a crazy week or preparation to get the house in order before leaving as well as packing up for the race. It was all a blur.

My buddy had come over earlier on the week and we were able to prepare all our nutrition packets that we would have in the drop bags as well as planning on what we would need to have in each drop bag during the race.  We had to have all this prepared as we were flying in the day before packet pickup and would not have time to set up as if we were at home.

We flew out Thursday morning to Phoenix.  My original plan was to fly into Las Vegas, but the night before,   I checked the flight loads and the flight to Las Vegas was now oversold, but the flight to Phoenix had seats open.  We were travelling standby on my passes, so our seating would based on whatever plane had seats available.   The problem was that it was leaving earlier than our Las Vegas flight.  I frantically messaged my girlfriends and hoped they would get my message because I would be showing up earlier to pick them up.  Luckily, when I showed up to their homes, they were up and ready to go. I drove quite fast to the airport and we made it to our flight with minutes to spare.

I was able to rent a car in Phoenix while waiting for board the flight, thank goodness for technology.  We arrived in Phoenix, picked up our rental car and I started the four and a half hour drive up to Page, Arizona.  The view are stunning, but we ended up driving into the sunset and arrived to our hotel in the dark.

We woke up to beautiful views from our hotel.  Since we had arrived in the dark, we had no idea what was around us. It was incredible to see the views before us. It was stunning.

After a lovely local breakfast, we headed out to find to expo. The location had been changed, but we had no idea as were were not emailed. We showed up to the expo which was where the start and finish line of the race would be and saw no one. We saw that people were setting up the area for the race but no expo. Thankfully, we found another racer/volunteer to directed us to the new location.  They had changed it because of how windy the area was.  We decided to get out and take some photos, as I figured we would be staring and finishing in the dark.

Can you hear that wind? It was so windy that our car and clothes were full of sand from it just blowing around.

Goofing around at the Race Start

Thankfully,  Page is a tiny town and the race expo had been moved to the local community centre which was 5 minutes away.  

We got there just in time to catch one of the Navajo elders doing a welcome.  We picked up our bibs, dropped off our bags and did some souvenir shopping and headed back to our hotel to relax. We stopped into a local grocery store to pick up some breakfast items and we each got a pint of ice cream for a treat.  

Can you See Our Drop Bag? 

Course Map

On our drive back we found a lovely look out and drove out the check it out. Once again, amazing views. I couldn't believe all the beauty around us.

When we finally made it back to the hotel, we each dug into our ice cream containers and ended up being so stuffed that we didn't even have dinner that evening.  I'm not sure if it was a good idea, but we would find out soon enough.

Monday, 4 March 2019

Week 14 - 11/02/2019 - Peak Week

After taking a nice rest on Sunday, we were back at it Monday with some speed work.  This week our buddy had some 400m repeats for us. The work out was essentially 4x400 with decreasing rests.  Running fast has never been my strong point, but I have to keep reminding myself that it SHOULD help me.

Tuesday morning we wake up to some more snow fall and to find out all the school buses in our region have been cancelled.  After, we dropped the kids off at school, I was off to meet up with the run crew for a road run. We ran for 1 hour and 4 minutes and covered 9.01 km.  As I am checking my Garmin statistics,  I see that the day before at speed we ran 1 hour 4 minutes and covered 9.02 km.   I'm going to assume that I should have covered more distance the day before.  I'm going to assume that it was because of the snow that had accumulated  on the roads.  Can anyone shed light on this?

Wednesday ended up being another snowy day,  so I decided to take it inside on my beloved treadmill. I was also keen on catching up with my latest addiction of watching Game of Thrones.  After 1:45 and 2 episodes of the show, I was off to run some errands before the kids got home.

Valentine's Day was on Thursday and it was also the day before our longest run of the training cycle. I decided to take it easy and really rest the legs, but all I could think about was how LONG the run was going to take and if I could survive.  I took full advantage of the day off and rested and enjoyed a nice dinner with hubs and tried my best to sleep early.

Valentine's Meal with Hubs

After dropping off the kids at the bus stop,  I hurried home to pack up my stuff for the long run and was out to door to meet up with my friends for our long run.  30 miles was planned for the day or whatever we could get in before I had to be home to pick up the kids from the bus stop.

New Altras for the Long Run
My girlfriend had planned our route.  The run was going to be on road as we were limited on time.  We ran locally and then onto some country roads before heading out to our pit stop at the school where my training partner's husband is a teacher.   She had sent him to school with extra supplies for us to refill and refuel.  Her planning was perfect as we arrived at the time she had told him and we were able to refill all our bottles, use the washrooms and change out whatever we wanted to drop off.  We had probably run around 35 kms at this point.

Pit Stop
The road down to the school was exposed with no trees to block any wind and it had been quite windy for a lot of this section. I was happy to have this pit stop but looking at the time, I knew we had to get moving.  We were supposed to head back up to my girlfriends place where my car was, but I had to cut the run short and run to the bus stop to pick up the kiddies and finish my run on the treadmill after the kids got home.  My watch had died around the 40 km mark so I had no idea how much or how far I actually finished with.  My Garmin has been dying lately.   After a full charge, it will only last at maximum 4 and a half hours. I'm pretty bummed as I know it will not be able to last the race.  I had hoped to get the battery changed but it doesn't seem to be an option for this model, the Garmin 620.

I was surprised that I was not dead after the long run.  But, as a mom, there's never really any breaks. Back to wife and mom duties.  

My friend and fellow runner from Rochester had come up to celebrate Chinese New Year with us for the weekend.  I asked her to join us for our second long run on Saturday.  Hubs had made plans with the other dads to take the kids to the Toronto International Show which meant I had more time than I usually have on Saturdays to run.  I was able to sleep in a little and have a nice long run catching up with my buddy.  It was such a treat.  We met up with some of our other girlfriends for a lovely brunch.  It was a great way to end this week.  I finished the week with 94 kms.  Hoping this is enough for the race.

All Smiles after 18 km


How was your week?

Tuesday, 19 February 2019

Week 13 - 02/04/2019 Build up Week

The weather finally let up for the start of the week.  We started off this week with a some speed work.     A run buddy of ours is training for her first full marathon in the spring, so we have decided to join in on her workouts.

The workout was planned at 1 km @ 5km race pace 1 minute rest followed by 500m 1 minute rest, 500m with 2 minute rest repeated 4 times.  We only mustered up 3 repeats before calling it quits.  It all seems awful when doing the workout, but always thinking you could have done more after.

No Jackets

Happy Chinese New Year Tuesday.  Another nice day to get out for a run with my buddies before a flight off to London.   We took it back on the road for a speedier run than normal run for me.   They managed to get me to average a 6:27min/km pace for almost 9 km. It's one of my fastest runs in this training cycle.  Speed seems so much harder now since I've gotten used to the trails.  Look what you get from Garmin for logging a run on this special day.  I should try to run more often on holidays.

I had planned to try to squeeze in a quick run while in London, but things didn't go as planned. My cousin had purchased tickets to see Avenue Q. Avenue Q is a musical comedy featuring puppets and human actors with music and lyrics.  The layover is so short but I forged on and was able to enjoy the nice day. I spent the morning walking through the busy shopping streets of London.

Shopping for the Family

I was so distracted with the nice day and shopping that I lost track on time. I made it back to the hotel just in time to head straight back out to meet up with my cousin for dinner and the show.

New Wimbledon Theatre
The show was HILARIOUS!!! I laughed until my tummy hurt. If you ever have the chance to see it, you must go get tickets.  It is not for kids and may be offensive to many, but oh boy,  I was crying in my seat.  It ended up being a late night. I opted to sleep in before my flight instead of running to save my legs for the long back to backs runs when I got home.

Friday after dropping the kids off at school, I met up with my training buddies to head out to the trails.
Fuel for the Day
The weather had been terrible during the week.  It had started warm with rain showers, which then turned to frigid temperatures with 60 km per hour winds.  We drove out to the trail head hoping to run the first of our long runs in the trails.  We knew it would be a hard run as soon as my friend tried to drive into the parking lot. It was a skating rink and the car didn't stand a chance to even make it into the driveway.  We ended up parking on the side of the rural road and ran up and down the road for 39 kilometres.  It was the only way that we would get the mileage in as the forest was not an option.  The country road was gravel and the plow eventually came along and graded the road.  We stayed on the road as it was between the tall trees of the forest that was able to block the 60 km/per hour winds. 
As my friend said, "it was an ugly run"

Saturday morning at 5:30 we were back out to run the roads with the whole gang. It nice to have all everyone to keep the pack moving.  I was only able to finish with 30km.  I was limited on my time so finished 10km short.  This does make me nervous because I feel like I haven't built up enough mileage, but I am hoping that I can catch up the week after. 

Saturdays are always super busy here for us, so my runs are always limited.  We jam our weekends with our kids extracurricular activities.  It's all about finding a balance.

We celebrated Chinese New Year with my family Saturday night with a giant feast.  I quickly forgot about all the miles logged and stuffed my face.

Thanks for reading.  How was your week? Hows' your training coming along?

Monday, 18 February 2019

Week 12 - 01/29/2019 Zurich for the First Time

We ended up with another snowy weekend and more snow was coming for the week.  My run buddies were busy on Monday,  I decided to take Monday's run indoors and just had an hour and a half recovery run on the treadmill.  Because most of our runs have been outside, I actually look forward to my treadmill runs where I can indulge myself on Netflix for endless hours.

With more snow overnight, Tuesday's run ended up being another slow snow run around the block avoiding cars and snow banks.  Check out how we got our kiddies to the bus stop that morning.

After our run, I got a call from work with some flights available up for grabs.  I was offered Frankfurt, Dubai or Zurich.  I had never been to Zurich or Dubai, but the trip to Dubai would have taken me away from the family for 5 days. So I opted for Zurich.  I quickly made it home to pack and get the home prepared for me being away for the next few days.

Thank goodness Some Sidewalks were Plowed
I was excited to go to Zurich as I had never been there in my 20 years of flying.  I soon realised that I would have to do one of my long runs there as I would be missing a run with my friends on Thursday so I had to pack up my gear for a 24 km long run in Zurich.  I usually like to look up running routes, but did not have anytime as I had just found out about the flight.  I quickly checked the weather and packed accordingly and headed out the door.

The flight to Zurich was quiet and uneventful. I asked my fellow crew members who had been to the city about areas to run and found out that we stay in a small town outside of the city centre.  I was told that there were some trails up a mountain and a lake that I could run around.

We arrived early Wednesday morning Zurich.  It was about 2 degrees with little snow which was a nice change from the snow storm I had left in Markham.  After a quick nap,  I headed down to ask the concierge about running routes.  She gave me a small map with directions to the lake which was only about 7 km, so I decided to improvise.  A fellow crew member had told me that I could exit the hotel and see a mountain where I could just run to the base of and find a trail head.  Her instructions were pretty simple so off I went.

Snow Trails 

Made it up to the Top

The trails were light snow covered as I headed up the trail head. There were many markers along the way, but I had no idea where they were directing me to :)  It's part of the fun when running trails.
Because I had overslept, I knew that I wanted to head back down the trails and back towards the town and find the lakes before it was dark.

Bike Trails

This Way Out
Luckily, I ended up seeing some people walking their dogs and out for evening hike which reassured me that I was not lost.

I made it back down the trail to find my way to the lake with the map the concierge had given me.  I followed it to a park which was part trail and part paved sidewalk.  It had 15 stations with exercises posted.

I made it to 10 of the 15 stations before I realized that a few of the stations were beside the prison and train track. I decided to head back to find my way to the lake as it was sun was starting to set.

Finally found the Lake
The map was fairly vague and I had looped around a few times before I spotted some other runners and followed them towards the lake and the running route that the concierge had told me about. I was so relieved when I finally spotted the lakes.

Sunset over the Lake
The run had been another adventure through a beautiful city. I am so grateful my job allows me to see such amazing cities.  I had to finish the last 10kms on the hotel treadmill as it got dark.

I was able to make it back to spend Friday with the kids as they had the day off from school.  With the all the snow that we had got during the week, we decided to go tobogganing. It was nice to have the day off from running and just having fun with the kids.

But we were right back at it Saturday morning to finish the second long run for the week.  My buddy and I met up before sunrise in hopes to run trails, but ended up running mostly on the road because of all the snow.  I was happy to have some company again for a long run.

Another week was done and the snow seems to be never ending.  Zurich was a real treat and would definitely love to go back in warmer weather to run the trails again.

How was your week? Any races ?

Thursday, 14 February 2019

Week 11 Slow Week of Training Jan 21-26

After the long run over the weekend, I started to feeling a bit under the weather.  By Sunday, it was starting to look worse. Runny nose, coughing and just lethargic.  We had a pretty bad snow storm over the weekend.

Monday morning, we wake up to bus cancellations and lots of snow. Hubs and I decide to drive the kids to school so that I can take a rest day at home. I had hoped to join my buddies for a run, but I was scheduled to fly to Hong Kong the next day and I was still feeling like crap. I ended up sleeping the entire day away until I had to wake up to pick up the kids from school.

I headed to work on Tuesday. This week I was flying to Hong Kong with my friends, which meant that there would be little to no working out. I was kind of o.k with it as I knew the long runs this weekend would be long... but who's kidding who, they are always long.

I ended up spending my layover with my friends eating and not running. My excuse was that I had a long run to rest up for on the weekend :)

I arrived back home on another wintery Thursday night. Our flight was slightly delayed due the the late arrival of the in bound plane.  I was happy to be back, but knew I had to prepare for the long runs ahead.

We had 25 and 20 miles on deck for this weekend.  We decided to take it onto the road because of time restrictions and the weather.

The run started out fairly decent when we started out, but then we headed out into the country roads and then winds picked up. My buddy was able to capture a shot of me getting caught up in a snow squall. The blowing snow made it impossible to see but thankfully we were on the country roads with no cars to be seen for miles. We finished in time for me to pick the kiddies up from the bus stop.

I was so tired after this run and just fed up with the run, that I decided to take the next run indoors and onto the treadmill.  I had not done a long run on the treadmill since the last training cycle, so it took some mental preparation but the thought of being inside away from the blowing wind and snow made it bearable; along with a few Netflix episodes.

I was able to catch up on shows that I had not watched in ages.  After this treadmill run, I am now currently hooked on Schitt's Creek. It's a hilarious Canadian sitcom filmed just north of where I live. The cast includes father and son duo Eugene and Dan Levy.  I highly recommend it to everyone.

Do you like to watch shows while running on the treadmill?  Any recommendations?

Have a great week

Monday, 21 January 2019

Week 10 Antelope Canyon 50 Miler Training

After a quick weekend at home, it was back to the grind.

Monday was another day for speed.  My photo pretty much depicts how I felt about the workout, 5x400.  Running round and round until I wanted to vomit.  Happy to get it in before going on a field trip with my daughters class.

Tuesday, I was scheduled to work to Hong Kong, which means no running.  I used to wake up at 4:30 before my flight to run on the treadmill before working the 15 hour flight to Hong Kong, but those days are over.  I now wake up just in time to pack the kids lunches before rushing off to the airport to catch my flight.  

View from 39,000 ft.
I am now usually so tired after working the flight over to Hong Kong that I don't workout on the day I land and save myself for a trail run the morning before my flight home to Toronto.  I try to get in a good meal and get some rest.

Nothing like a Good Bowl of Noodles

Thursday morning, I drag myself out of bed to the closest trail; Lion Rock.  It was the weekend leading up to the Hong Kong 100km Race.  I was excited to see trail markers and some sections that I usually run.  

Race Markers #HK100

I could not imagine racing an ultra with Hong Kong's insane stairs.  They are unforgiving and never ending.  

It's always a hard workout but completely satisfying when I make it to the top. The trails are usually quite and occasionally I will come across fellow hikers and some wild animals.

I come up from the back of the mountain and over the top. You can make out the shape of the Lion to see why this peak is named Lion Rock.  It is quite amazing that there are so many trails right in the city beside all the hustle and bustle of the city down below.

Can you Make out the Lion?
Made it back in time for a quick shower before heading straight to the airport for my flight back home to the freezing cold temperatures.

Friday was long run #1 of 2.  It was actually not as cold as the week before, but once again we were warned of another extreme cold alert headed to the city for the weekend. Because of time limits, we took our run partly on the trails and part on the road.  

Look, No Gloves for Photo

City Trail Run

It cooled down quite a bit for long run #2 on Saturday, but we got it done. It's always so much harder on day 2 partly because it is a super early morning wake up and we're always tired from the run the day before.

The extreme cold weather moved in that day and got colder as the day went on. By the time we woke up on Sunday, it was -29 degrees with the windchill.

The sun was out which made it seem like the gorgeous day, but it was frigid.  The kids were adamant about getting out and doing some winter activity, so we braved the outdoors for 1 hour and took the kiddos tobogganing.  What a great way to end the week.

Week 10 done :)  How was your week? 

Antelope Canyon 50 Miler Recap Part 1

I am terribly late on this recap, but I have been so lazy after coming back from the race. My daughter has been asking me weekly on whether ...