Racing, Running, Whistler

Whistler Half Marathon. Do it.

This run is without a doubt one of the most fun races I’ve ever done.  It’s a challenging but fun course; it’s scenic; the “fans” are numerous and entertaining and the swag bag is great!  And let’s face it, how often have you seen people look this happy after a half-marathon?

girlsphoto 1

Get your butts in gear and sign up!  It’s selling out fast and you won’t want to miss it.  Plus, my regular running partners are going to be otherwise occupied in June, so mama needs some people to match with.

photo
                                      Matching is fun! Take our word for it…

(Excuse the very crappy iPhone reproductions of great photos by Robin O’Neill)

We’ll see you on the start line, right?

Biking, Day-to-day life, Family, Kids, QOTD, Racing, Running, Skiing, Triathlon, Whistler

In which I blab on about a variety of topics.

I spent the weekend in Vancouver with the kids, the plan being to take in the Stanley Park Christmas train, city lights and the Santa Claus Parade.  Then, this happened:

anja and rory

Being sick when you are little sucks. It’s hard to communicate what you feel and you can’t help much beyond back rubs and cuddles.  And midnight/2am/4am Tylenol and kleenex doses.  Thankfully, they both seem to be on the mend.

Rory and Will rallied for the parade, Anja fell asleep…

parade

QOTD:

(scene: Rory is having a hissy fit because we’d planned an adult evening without him).

Me, to Will: “What’s going on?”

Will: “Oh, Rory’s losing his marbles because you’re leaving”.

Me: “Hmm, well – are you ok with it?”

Will: “Me?  Oh yeah.  You should go, you guys totally need a break”.

(scene: Rory, on the couch, legs in the air)

“I feel a celebration coming on!”

Knee surgery looms in January.  In the meantime, I’ve been running and kind of biking (and by kind of, I mean hanging on for dear life on the rollers while staring at a dot on the floor so as not to lose focus).  I’ve also been trolling the internet and planning 2 types of race schedules.

1) The one I’d do if I were single, rich and responsibility-free (read: Phuket, South Africa, New Orleans, Texas, Mexico, Hawaii… just to name a few destinations).

2) Reality.  I’ll be coming off of surgery, have 3 kids to focus on, don’t have that much race mojo anyway.  Any suggestions?  Oh, I’ve been talked into the Test of Metal after a 9 year hiatus.

fall

The cooking project continues and I’ve been diligent about trying new recipes.  In the process, I’ve learned a few things.  First, don’t try to fool the kids with things like “These quinoa burgers are just like real burgers”!  They’re kids, not idiots.  Truth helps.Next, I’m much more of a 1 dish kind of gal.  If I have to cook a main and 2 side dishes to all be ready at once, something is bound to be over-done, under-done, too hot, too mushy, etc.  Plus HEY LOOK SOMETHING SHINY!  I’m too easily distracted and there are always 3 little people talking to me at the same time between 5-6pm.  Finally, I keep waiting for that love of cooking to spark.  But I’m thinking this is one blind date that’s going nowhere…fast.

On the bright side, I made myself laugh the other day when Will came barreling into the kitchen demanding to know what was for dinner.  I answered “Windowsills.  Now get out of my kitchen”.  Verbatim what my Mum used to say to me…

aftermath
Aftermath of the gingerbread house building event. I had to wrestle the beer from Rory.

If, like me, you harbour romantic notions of living in Canada’s north, do check out Tandi’s blog.  A healthy and funny dose of reality!

It’s here… another ski season.  Day 1 for me started with these two and it was both painful and awesome.  Anja delights in folding in half and laughing when she hits the ground.  Rory seeks jumps like it’s his job.  The two of them collided more than once and I ended the day with sore legs (snowplowing is evil) and a full body sweat.  Here’s to more days on the hill and less days of plucking them off the ground!

Anja in the gondi
                              Have you ever seen anything cuter? No, you have not.
besties
Wedding weekend coming up! 
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.

Fact

“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.

Fall

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.

Thankful

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.

QOTD

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?

Day-to-day life, Olympics, Running, Whistler

Inspiration

Sometimes I have it, sometimes I lack it.  With the Olympics on 24/7, I certainly have more of it than usual!  Between live feeds, Twitter, FB, news, etc I’m having a hard time keeping up but I’m loving it and I’ve managed to keep my FOMO in check.

A few of the more captivating stories for me have been…

The Canadian Olympic Team, especially since we seem to have moved beyond the attitude of “oh, I’m just so happy to be here, I’m pleased with my 47th place” attitude to our “I’m here to win!” attitude.  Go Canada Go!  Also because my Olympic boyfriend is a serious medal contender.

The US swim team.  They seem to genuinely like each other – legitimate rivalries included – and who doesn’t love a team that does something like this.  Also, the fact that Rory has a HUGE crush on Missy Franklin helps.  Oh, and well… Lochte.

The sculling sloth.

Tonight I’ll be in my jammies, cheering at the top of my lungs for the triathletes as they take over Hyde Park.  I don’t even care if I wake up the kids, they can watch with me.  We can nap tomorrow.

On that note, a few pictures from my inspired lunch-time run (it was hard to turn around and go back to the office, that’s for sure).  Stay tuned for a report from Monday’s upcoming adventure… can’t wait!

Biking, Family, weekend, Whistler

Another weekend wrap up

That was certainly a full and fun-filled weekend.  CITS had to take a backseat this weekend (for me anyway) so that I could partake in the silliness that was Charlie’s Angels.

DH Angels.

I have to hand it to Tony Horn.  I’d never done one of his events and can now say, with certainty, that if he does another event, I’m in.  He puts on a  great event that was challenging yet achievable and more importantly, all for a good cause.

I haven’t raced a mountain bike race since 2003… and I’ve been on my mountain bike precisely 3 times this summer.  I was certainly out of my comfort zone as we rode up to the start of the DH.  Surrounded by downhillers, there’s no doubt in my mind that I am definitely more of an Uphiller (that’s a word, right?)  I had seeded myself just about last because of my, uh… prowess in the park?  However, I couldn’t take sitting up there watching everyone go.  So I jumped in and went.

Proof that I made it to the bottom – in one piece, no less.

I loathe time-trial starts and despite  not pre-riding the course, I didn’t exactly light the world on fire BUT I laughed (nervous laughter) all the way down, even after I hit a tree and then crashed off a jump.  I made it down in one relatively unscathed piece and then flew home to catch the Opening Ceremony.  It was, in my opinion, a great way to spend an evening.

Back of the packer…

Saturday held the XC portion of the race and although I experienced some kick-ass cramping in muscles I forgot how to fire, I had a fantastic time and really enjoyed the course Tony put together.  It was fun to ride to some fun women I rarely get to see.  I much prefer mass starts (it’s where my pointy elbows come in handy) and especially ones that start uphill.  It got me out of the fray quickly and on my way.  2.5ish hours later I was at the lake, ready for more Olympic spectating (I immediately turned on my phone to see who won the Phelps V. Lochte dual – NERD).

Of course, no weekend is complete without some kind of medical emergency with the kiddos.  This weekend we were treated to 2!

Little broken beaner…

Onwards with the week.  Here’s to my arms regaining some of their feeling after the weekend and looking for the next adventure…

Pretty sure I was cramping here.