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?