CITS, Racing, Running

2 babies, 3 surgeries and 1 half-marathon.

Nailed it.

CITS city

CITS, with a few honorary members, ran the Spirit of the Shore Half Marathon on Sunday.  I was going to write some big long race report but the reality is that Liz did a better job and mine can be summarized in bullet points and pictures.

  • Shoulder fracture? January 4th.  Knee surgery #1? January 23.  Shoulder reconstruction?  July 23.  6 weeks of dominating life in a sling and not running a step until mid-September.  That, right there, is a good set up for a personal worst, my friends.
It's early but it sure is pretty.
It’s early but it sure is pretty.
  • The joys of social media allowed me to successfully farm out 3 children for sleepovers.
  • Pre-race meal: beer, Chinese food, wine.  For the win!
She needs the extra liquid calories: this mama is still nursing.
She needs the extra liquid calories: this mama is still nursing.
We may or may not have been assigning terrible nick names at this point.
We may or may not have been assigning terrible nick names at this point.
YES.  All kinds of YES.
YES. All kinds of YES.
I chose my beer based on the looks of the can.
I chose my beer based on the looks of the can.
  • Pulling into the parking lot at 7:21 for a 7:30 start?  You know it.
The girls had babies 4 months ago.  NBD.
The girls had babies 4 months ago. NBD.
I like to give those following me something to remember me by.  Also, something to read.
I like to give those following me something to remember me by. Also, something to read.
Our Creative Director
Our Creative Director
Someone was worried about finishing last.  Did not achieve this goal.
Someone was worried about finishing last. Someone did not come close to finishing last.
  • Quoted at km 9: “God, I’m bored”.
  • Internal quote at km 15: “Maybe I should have done a real long run before this race.”
The ladies
The ladies
  • There may or may not have been some texting on-course.

photo 4

  • We looked damn good.


  • It was sunny.  Sunny as in “Ow, my eyes are burning I can’t see anything” sunny.  And it was awesome.
  • Great course, fun atmosphere, good post-race food.  Sign up for next year, people.
PWs all 'round, baby!
PWs all ’round, baby!
  • I now very much appreciate the fitness I had last summer and can now admit that running a half slowly, undertrained and under-fueled isn’t as magical as it sounds.  But I can assure you that I’ll probably do it again.

Enjoy Liz’s take, friends:

When I set my sights on the Spirit of the Shore Half Marathon back in January, I knew that I needed a big goal. It’s not every day that you achieve a new PW, but I thought it was in me and I set out to do everything I could to reach it.  I’m happy to report that my new half marathon PW is 2:05, knocking my previous 1:58 from my very first half off the chart.


My last big training block for the race began mid July when I could finally run 3k without stopping and posted a new PW in a 5k on July 27th.  If 5k could take me 28:31, surely I could stretch that out to a half marathon by October.  Since that 5k I managed a few 9k, 12k, 15k and 18k all of which left me feeling like my insides might fall out and crawling back into bed for a few hours.  Truly optimal training.


I have my usual race pre-race routine, but to make big leaps sometimes you have to try something new.  I planned the ideal weekend to reach the starting line in the best condition I could.  Starting with Chinese food and beer for dinner.  Then a restful night of feeding Henry at 12:30am, 3am, 5am and finally waking at 6:37am for an optimal 20min frantic search for running tights and socks.  Breakfast is also so crucial and instead of packing in useful calories like most other races I thought the half bagel and a cup of coffee would really bring my performance up to snuff.


Like most halfs the first 5k were easy and fun.  The next 5k were still moving fairly quickly.  Then at 13k or so I looked at the pavement and it seemed to me to be soft and pillow-like and waiting for me to lie down on it.  I couldn’t believe how completely exhausted I felt.  If I had been running alone, I’m fairly certain I would have turned around and headed back to the car or at least the closest coffee bar.  Seeing as I was with super hot pink company and didn’t want to let the team down, I kept going.  Besides, the last half I started ended in my one and only DNF and that wasn’t the goal this time.  Things improved after I stopped to pee and didn’t have to concentrate on not being incontinent.  The last few k were actually better than the first few, but we had to be careful not to go too hard and end up with more than our 5min negative split else the goal wouldn’t have been met.

Post race

It’s like the running melted away.  After a shower, some food, a far too large bowl of frozen yogurt, I was back to my usual self and ready to do it again.

 Future goals

Now that I have a new PW, I’d like to keep it that way.  I’m sure there could be more down the road with more matching shirts and great company, but for now I think I’ll go back to getting faster again.  Just 4 months to take 30mins off my time. No problemo right?

CITS, Family, Kids, Pemberton, Racing, Running, weekend

Let’s run.

Spring has truly sprung here… 32C last weekend?!  A little early for scorchers, but I’ll take it.  June-uary will be here soon enough to remind me not to put away the puffy coats so soon.

With everything greening up around here, it means I’ve been able to explore the trails more than the roads… which also means Season 2 of CITS has kicked off.  Well, sort of.  There’s been an early season modification.  Since the usual “C” in the ITS refer to my running girls who both happen to be avec bébé right now, I needed new partners to kick off the season.

Dry, warm and haven't left the driveway.
Dry, warm and haven’t left the driveway.

Insert Children here.

Will and I had planned to run the Mosquito Lake trail run for a while (we’d even been “training”) but when Rory heard that he wasn’t included, plans had to change – pronto.  It wouldn’t do to be left out.  When you run with a 4 and 7 year old, you re-evaluate your race goals: from trying to run yourself into the ground to win to making sure no one goes head-first into a tree.  It’s the little things…


So despite pouring rain, cold temps and having never run before, he powered through (most) of the 6K route, with a little help from Dad, some encouragement from Will  and incessant annoying photography from me.  Will ran the 10K route in a little over 1:20!  Proud moment.  He’s been asking when our next one will be.


Is it too soon to ask him to pace me at the Squamish 50?

Biking, CITS, Day-to-day life, Family, Kids, QOTD

Progress report

Yeah, you’re all dying to know. Did I or didn’t I bail on the week 1 cooking challenge do-over?

I attempted a few new recipes and re-jigged a few kid favourites (to their ABSOLUTE HORROR.) Among other things, I “invented” a veggie stir-fry that I really liked, the kids thought it was essentially poison. Have you ever watched a 4-year old pick grains of rice out of a plate one-by-one? Entertainment at its finest. Chocolate pudding? WINNING. I didn’t tell them it was made with avocado.

I’ll continue on with my personal quest this week and see what I manage. True confession, though: it’s a lot easier to learn to like wine than it is to like cooking…

What is it with this time of year that ignites my inner consumer? I’d been doing a pretty good job of purging and keeping my desire to acquire things in check, but lately every time I turn around I see something that I have. To. Have. It’s ridiculous.

I think I need to initiate some kind of reward/earning system for myself to justify some of this desire… (that being said, I can pretty much talk myself out of anything, so maybe that’s what I need to be working on). That elephant ring on Etsy? Must cook 15 original meals. That new cycling kit? Must… um… earn it somehow?

Is this something you do? Tell me more, if so. How do you justify your treats?

Rory, trying the guacamole I made: “I don’t really like it but I kind of love it”.

Will: “Sometimes, when you slow down, things come to you rather than having to chase them”.

CITS is kind of in hiatus these days… it’s just me and my bike. I can’t run comfortably so I’m trying to get re-acquainted with my mountain bike. I wonder why I like riding more in the cold and wet than in the warm sun? Weird.

Biking, CITS, Pemberton, Racing, Running, Travel, Triathlon, Whistler

Ironman, eh?

So presumably, you’ve heard the news.  Ironman Canada is moving to Whistler in 2013.  This is pretty exciting news for a tri-nerd like myself.  No, I won’t be signing up.  But I’ll be involved in some way and will be following developments closely (and by closely I mean I’ll be following my favourite pros twitter feeds to see if they are coming and hoping the Ministry paves the road between Whistler and Pemberton).

Liz has written a very good account of what race day is going to be like and if you’re racing, I highly suggest you read it.  Preparation is key!

Most of the people signing up seem to know quite a lot about Whistler (based on the forum chit-chat I read). Some are knowledgeable, some are grossly and amusingly misinformed (for example, the dude who thought a swim in Green Lake in October would be awesome!)  However, no one seems to mention Pemberton all that much so consider this my open invitation to come to my little town and create your own training base!

Pemberton is small, fun, active and family-friendly.  It’s a great place to live and train – trust me, since I do both here…  If you come to town to train, look me up, maybe I’ll even invite you to a CITS run!

Herewith, some suggestions…

1. The swim.

Despite years of asking for one, Pemberton doesn’t have a community pool.  If you are coming to our part of the world between October – June, you’ll be swimming in the 25m pool at Meadow Park.  It’s a decent facility (with a hot tub and steam room) but stick to swimming during “swimmer’s hours”… that is 6am – 9am.  Otherwise, you’ll encounter hordes of screaming kids and are liable to get landed on by an overzealous rookie on the rope swing.  Plus, there are only 2 lanes open during non-lane swim times, so you’ll be battling for space with the head-up breastroker and the one length, board-short wearing sprinter.

If you come from June onwards, the open water swim possibilities open right up.  Alta Lake is where IMC will be held, so best to train there.  Like Liz said, watch those boats!  They are pretty pointing and they go backwards.  Lost lake is a great option with the added bonus of a nudie dock (if you’re into that sort of thing).  But let’s not forget Pemberton!  Mosquito lake is small but clear and beautiful.  It just takes a little work to get to… 1 Mile is an ok option, if you don’t mind getting your face caressed by weeds, which I kind of do.  Last but not least, Gates Lake in Birken is absolutely worth the drive north.  Clear, quiet and big.

Oh – and you’re kidding yourself if you think wetsuits won’t be required at this race!

2. The bike

Perhaps I’m in the minority but I think this course is tougher than Challenge Penticton.  It may not have Richter Pass, the 7 Bitches, and Yellow Lake, but the ride back to Whistler at the end of 180K is not to be underestimated, nor is the long out and back in the Pemberton Meadows.  It’s pretty much guaranteed that the wind is going to be picking up just in time for the AG’ers to make the turn and that’s when the real drafting, er, I mean work will begin.

If you are coming up here to train, don’t limit yourself to the course. There’s some fabulous riding to be had around here.  Riding from Pemberton to D’arcy is a gorgeous and tough training ride.  Bring your $5 and treat yourself to a cold Coke at the D’arcy General Store before you start the ride back up to Pemberton.  Challenge yourself -as we do every year – to ride from Lillooet Lake to Joffre Lakes sans timing device and see how close you can get to your estimated ride time up the 13KMs of switchbacks and climbing.  Ride the Classic “Tour de Train” – ride from Pemberton to Lilloet, take the train back to D’arcy then ride back to Pemberton.

Of course there are lots of hills and rides to be had in and around Whistler.  Join the Whistler Tri Club on Wednesday mornings… they’ll welcome you up Cardiac and Kadenwood.  Fun times at 6:30am, I swear.

The thing with riding around here that everyone – triathletes, roadies and drivers – needs to remember is that the roads are going to be pretty crowded next summer.  Everyone’s going to have to play nice.

I know tri-nerds are loathe to risk injury in the months leading up to their “A” race, but trust me when I say that the mountain biking around Pembi makes it worth the effort.  And that’s saying something when it comes from a chicken like me.

3. The run.

The course description makes it sound pretty flat, but there’s a few kick-your-ass deceivers in there.  By all means, train on the course.  Run the Whistler Half Marathon course.

But Pemberton has some great trails to train on and miles of roads (here’s where that out and back on the Meadows comes in handy… have someone drop you off at the turn around and you can run back to town.  It’s not super exciting but it’s scenic and dead flat – what better way to practice leg turnover!)  While it’s true that most of the running in Pemberton tends to out-and-back style, we local girls have managed to string together some pretty long loops over the years.  Look us up and we’ll let you in on our secrets…

A tried and true and tough long run?  Go from Pemberton to Whistler.  It’s not very exciting but it sure as hell gets the job done.

4.  Nutrition

We triathletes are known to eat and eat well (and often).  How much do I love finishing a long run or ride knowing that I get to end the day at Mile One Eating House?  A whole lot.  You won’t find a better burger and micro brew combo!  I’m sure they have some veggie options, I’m just not that interested in what they might be.

We happen to play host to 2 fantastic coffee shops, too… Blackbird Bakery and Mount Currie Coffee Co… Try both, you’ll wind up with your own favourite.

For such a small town, we can boast about having 2 grocery stores, a natural foods/supplement place, a couple of yoga studios, a gym, a physio clinic, the world’s best masseuse but if I told you who that was I’d have to kill you because he’s already busy enough, a totally weird General Store and last but not least, 3 gas stations.

See?  Doesn’t it make you want to come and play?

CITS, Day-to-day life, Family, Kids, Pemberton, Racing, Running, Whistler

Rubble Creek and random thoughts

Rubble Creek Classic

Last week, Jen and I, accompanied by 30 friends/strangers ran the Rubble Creek Classic .  Chicks in the Sticks go racing!  We’ve been wanting to do this run for years and we finally committed; or rather, I signed Jen and I up whether she liked it or not.  Neither of us have gotten in much quality training of late but the day was spectacular and well worth the effort of getting up early and running 24K.

About 8 km of climbing, a random number of kms of flats around the base of Black Tusk and then 10 painful kms of down, down, down… I felt that run for days.

It was mostly worth it because I had the most spectacular nap that afternoon.


“If you want something done, give it to the busiest person you know”.  Truer words were never spoken – to me, anyway.  I’ve been “retired” for about 3 weeks now and I am struggling to relax and feeling the need to fill my days with tasks and projects.  I’m afraid that if I slow down, I’ll never get going again.


It’s Fall now, pretty much officially.  Shorter days, cold mountain mornings.  I love the leaves, the light, the change.  I don’t love having to layer the kids in clothing.  I’m counting the days till the can dress themselves intelligently to head into the cold outdoors.

Early runs now start in the dark… harder to pry oneself out of bed, that’s for sure.  This morning’s CITS run was the 2nd Annual-Earn-That-Turkey-Dinner-run through the Mosquito Lake trails.  The sunrise made it special, as did the fact that we were done by 8:45am.


There is much to be thankful for this year.  Despite the loss of my mother a few weeks ago, I am thankful for being surrounded by such good friends, ridiculous children, a close-knit family and some pretty nice physical surroundings.  Frankly, there isn’t much I can complain about.

Ed: is it thankful FOR or thankful that I?  See?  Told you I wasn’t a writer.


Anja and I fly to Quebec tomorrow to prepare for Mum’s celebration of life.  She is very excited about prospect of “fwying on da aiyapwane”.  Little does she know that flying is basically like sitting in a car for 5 hours, but with a bathroom.  I can’t bring myself to burst her bubble.  I have, however, drilled the notion of sky martials into their towheads.  Scream and the “sky martian” is allowed to open the door at the back of the plane and “fwow you out!”

Parenting 101.  Fear and mild skepticism.

CITS, Running, Whistler

The best laid plans

We set out for our planned run (insert ominous foreshadowing music here) at about 9:20 on Monday morning.  Sunny day, not too hot yet, perfect conditions!  Liz, Jen and um… Jane (as she’ll be known in this blog post) had the goal of getting to the top of Singing Pass, then heading over the Musical Bumps back to the Roundhouse.  We’d then enjoy a leisurely snack, take the gondola down and then hit the Scandinave for a relaxing afternoon of girl time.

We made it pretty much ¾ of the way up Singing Pass (including that delightful creek crossing) before Jane went from feeling kind of off to really, really crappy.  We took a break and then made the call to move a little further up the trail to the junction rather than head back down.  In hindsight, probably not the best call.  But the reality of going down Singing Pass when your balance is off isn’t that fun and the consequences of toppling off the trail can be rather severe.  So up we went.  And up… and up…

As we neared the top of Flute, we got to a point where Jane couldn’t move forward anymore.  It was too painful and disorienting and frankly, dangerous.  We sat her in the shade of a big rock (the only shade around), Jenny stayed with her and Liz and I ran ahead to meet patrol.  My call to patrol was actually to our old friend Gavin who, without hesitation got the necessary details, got on the line to dispatch and sent help our way.

Ian, a senior patroller with the mountain, set out on foot from the top of Harmony to come and find us (about 4k away).  Along the way, he encountered Renata, an ER doc and her husband Doug, a heli pilot, who were out for a run.  He asked them to come with him.  Only in this town…

After a brief discussion with Jane and a medical assessment, it was decided that the safest, quickest and frankly, only way to get her off the mountain was to fly her off.  So the call was made and we waited for the chopper.

Sidebar: are helicopters not the coolest things ever?

Once Jane and her medical friends were safely on their way, Liz, Jen and I stared at each other, squealed something like “I CAN’T BELIEVE THAT JUST HAPPENED”  and then booted it to the Roundhouse.  Clouds were rolling in, collectively we had about 8 sips of water and 4 shot bloks.  Not ideal, but we knew we didn’t have far to go (even if it was mostly uphill).

We were about 1K from finishing when the gentle rains started.  It was so hot and dry up there that raindrops were bouncing off the dust.  We kept moving and Liz did let out a little chuckle of “oh my god” when we heard the thunder rolling in.

Sidebar #2: The gondola shuts down during thunder and lightning storms…

We got to the Roundhouse with time to spare (and the gondola still running); stopped to grab the most delicious bag of salt and vinegar chips ever and a cold Coke and we were on our way down.

The good news is that Jane is safe and healthy and that we couldn’t have had better and nicer help.

Another adventure in the books.  I wonder what the next one will hold?

CITS, Kids, weekend

Weekend wrap

Another weekend come and gone… I’m still a little blown away by how quickly they go by.

A little biking, a little running.  Some sun, some rain.  Friends having twins.  No garage sales.  Some dog walks.  Too lazy to write much about it, photos will have to suffice.

All in all, a good one capped by a super run yesterday.  CITS #6 is in the books, 22K on Singing Pass. Super excited for the next one!

But first, I gotta get through this.  See ya later, comfort zone.


CITS, Pemberton, Running, Whistler

Chicks in the Sticks

The idea for Chicks in the Sticks came about on one of our many runs together. We’ve been talking for years about all the runs around us that we’d like to do, but it always ends up being October by the time we realize we’ve once again run out of time and are staring down another winter. This summer, rather than scour the internet for races near and far, we decided that perhaps it was finally time to take advantage of what our own backyard has to offer – for free! Hence the creation of our own series: Chicks in the Sticks. The purpose is to run our favourite trails, to run new trails, to catch up with one another and to talk, talk, talk. There are no rules, you don’t even technically need to be a chick, so long as you can keep up your end of the conversation.

Have I mentioned how thankful I am to have friends to do these silly things with? Especially friends who will just as happily sit down and have a glass of wine as they will run up the side of a mountain on any given Sunday.

V1 of our series was the Mosquito Lake Trail run, a tradition of sorts in Pemberton that ends with popsicle-stick timing and homemade treats. Proof that we participated on what was a pretty miserable day, courtesy Dave Steers.

Internal dialogue:

Jen: “It’s pouring rain and I have to run home after we finish this silly run. What am I thinking?!

Carlee: “Why did I let them talk me into this when I paid to get my hair done yesterday?”

Christine: “Yep. That 3rd glass of wine last night was a bad idea.”

We pretty much came last and I, for one, did not shut up the entire time. Someone passed us near the finish line and we all started to surge to pass her and then all consciously slowed down and let her go. This, for me anyway, was a new experience and really kind of fun!

V2 was kind of impromptu, a run on the new Sea-to-Sky trail from our homes to Nairn Falls and back. It was a gorgeous sunny day and not a single picture was taken.

Clown feet

I’m still recovering from V3. Carlee taught dance for 1203947 hours on Saturday so had to bow out but Jen and Lizzie joined the fun… and by fun I mean “let’s run to the paraglide launch at the top of that mountain!” fun. What goes up, must come down… Ow.

Stay tuned for V4. All are welcome to join… the more the merrier. That way, there’s more bait to distract the cougars and bears.

As an aside, can we talk about my terrible, do-I-or-don’t-I grow it out hair for a second? Help.