Beating the Blerch!

It seems with all of school and work I neglected to post but fear not here is my review of the Inagural Beat the Blerch but first training runs!

Sunday is known as the long run day and I usually stick with road but this past sunday CJ and I took to Norvan falls

 

North Vancouver trails are amazing!
North Vancouver trails are amazing!

2014-09-07 10.34.31

I rather enjoyed pushing myself to go longer distances on the trails . No sure why I have the fear of it since I’ve done the half marathon distance 4 times now..but something about elevation on trails seems rather daunting. This run was technical but I enjoyed the challenge and eventually got comfortable

But I ran, it was cool starting off and returning it was rather warm. We ran/hiked/walked chatted. It was lovely. We talked about our goals , how we were feeling and general girly gossip.

With this recent trail run I’ve committed to some goals.

1- I will run at least 3 trail races next year, one course being Enduro

2- I will train for the Squamish 23

These seem lofty but I had this desire of being 23 and running the Squamish 23…yes much like my original half marathon goal I aspire for a champagne race!

My original plan with Beat the Blerch was to drive down with a friend and her husband unfortunately they had to miss the race to a conflict with crossfit. So with a transfer of names with hotel rooms I made the drive down with my mum that saturday. We spent the afternoon shopping and it was a gorgeous drive. I’ve never actually been this far down driving!

We checked into the hotel had dinner there to save ourselves some walking and then lounged the rest of the evening.

I woke up early sunday morning almost on autopilot as I am so used to running such early races…yet this half marathon started at 930!

That being said the hotel included complimentary breakfast and I didn’t want to miss out on that. So in most of my running gear I went downstairs and got some food

I was quite pleased with the breakfast ! It saved time looking for somewhere first thing on a sunday morning and wasn’t totally gross!

Thereafter , we checked out , got some step by step directions printed out for us and then drove to the race! That drive was lovely but a touch foggy which was interesting as the sun was starting to come out!

As we approached the race , we noticed an increase and traffic and I wasn’t totally loving the lack of people directing parking…as well we ended up driving farther down to park because no one communicated that onsite race parking was still available.

We parked then walked to the race. I had picked my bib up prior but they didn’t have a shirt for me! I would later exchange my size..as the L women’s….was so not an L.

I get a photo with the Oatmeal. An actual nice one. and I bought his book too!

My face is not an accurate display of how excited I was!
My face is not an accurate display of how excited I was!

The race begins! I start off strong! The blerches chased me! I had a cake (which I shouldn’t have and I think made me slower then I already am..but you only race…once? Nah doesn’t work!)

2014-09-21 12.06.46 2014-09-21 12.10.58

I was impressed by the course. It was so beautiful and I loved how well prepared they were. I even saw the Oatmeal run past me in a fat suit….impressive!

Minus the parking and shirt mixup. The race was well run! I got chased by blerches, got cake and my photos turned out well and didn’t cost me a thing! So I will definitely be running this race again next year. In fact I may just drive down the day of and make a day trip of the race instead of an overnight. Considering how late a start it is!

blerch1 blerch2 blerch3

I even purchased a water bottle and socks which I plan on rocking when I had blerchy days running!

Coming up next Melissa’s Road Race & Half Fanatic Status!

//

 

The Grind & Cypress 5 Peaks

12 days. That’s how many days I have left before Concrete Hero. I’m so excited now and am feeling confident and ready!

The last few weeks have been consistent running and fitness . As well as no dairy for 2 weeks! Lactose intolerance is truly a lame allergy but it’s one I have and I need to manage better.

So what have I been up to? Well let’s start with Cypress!

I love the cup! It's cute orange and used it a lot already!
I love the cup! It’s cute orange and used it a lot already!

I unfortunately wasn’t able to make it out to any of the orientation runs but I had chosen the sport course because Brittany was running! As well trail running is still very new to me so I chose the course with less elevation.

It was a beautiful day and despite the heatwave I didn’t overheat. Luckily a good chunk of the sport course was in the shade !

Package pickup went smoothly and Brittany and I found ourselves with enough time to put our stuff away, get our bibs on and get to the start line! I found myself running into a lot of people as well. As I’ve been told I am the Kevin Bacon of my generation

2014-07-26 09.00.12 2014-07-26 09.00.16

I enjoy the sport course immesnely. I found my workouts have been paying off as I ran the entire race almost non stop and clocked in at 1 hour , 10 minutes. The scenery was beautiful and I even managed to rock the technical parts as well! I will definitely be running this race again next year ! There was a ton off awesome food and drink afterwards and I even got myself a Salomon shirt too!

2014-07-26 10.02.59 2014-07-26 09.58.54 2014-07-26 09.58.50-1

As well that week my Bib Rave shirt had arrived in the mail that I won off twitter! If you aren’t familiar with the website it’s a site in which you search and write Race reviews. I look forward to completing more races and reviewing them on there!

2014-07-26 10.34.51 2014-07-26 10.34.28

Shoutout to Brittany for being an excellent race buddy and winning herself an entry! After the race we proceeded to hit up the Salomon store so she could get herself a pair of proper trail shoes!

The other fun part of my training (besides running and weight workouts) has been the grind. It’s full as I’ve worked at Grouse for almost 3 years and I’ve made a point of not doing it….until now!

2014-07-25 17.44.43 2014-07-25 17.08.15 2014-07-25 16.40.18

Friday after a day at camp I pushed myself up the trail alone. In the heat too. I learned that I would not be doing anymore evening grinds but I was glad I did it none the less ! (Also I decided to do this before the cypress race….plus a 10k run ….I enjoy punishing myself!)

The following friday I managed to convince some friends with me. I found myself slower mostly due to tight muscles but I’m hoping to get another few grinds in before the end of the summer. It’s a tough trail but very rewarding!

For those who are not familiar, The Grouse Grind is a hiking trail on the Northshore. It is often referred to as “Nature’s stairmaster” . Despite being just shy of 3km , it is the elevation gain that really trips you up when hiking. A lot of people choose to hike it as you can take the tram down versus hiking down which is prohibited. I would not reccomend it to someone who isn’t already active as I’ve heard enough calls and stories of people getting injured or going into cardiac arrest. Make sure to read up on it and be prepared before heading up!

The grind is always better when you have friends!
The grind is always better when you have friends!

I’m starting to plan a costume for Concrete Hero, stay tuned for updates on that! I’ve got 3 runs to fit in this week plus some gym/body weight workouts!

Also I know we just got into august but school is just around the corner and that means Beat the Blerch is less then 50 days away! We’re in the midst of hill training (I share a love hate relationship with that) .

//

 

Making a Concrete Hero

So a bit of an update!

I’ve been a little quiet on here since well to be honest I’m embarrassed! But then again I have just spent the past 7 weeks completing Magazine Publishing so I haven’t really been lazy So I guess it all balances out.That being said I’m still struggling with parts of my life. I won’t get into it too much but it’s definitely  a mind over matter when it comes to my confidence and my goals.

I keep trying to start goals and challenges but am finding myself struggling with motivation (also allergies!) . But with that in mind, I think I’m finally getting back into my regular routine. Here’s hoping at least.

I am pleased to report that I am officially in Concrete Hero training mode

2014-05-21 19.56.132014-05-12 20.01.21-1 2014-05-21 19.56.34

What does this mean? It means seriously watching my food and actually getting myself to the gym. I’m sure I’ve mentioned before how I need to crosstrain . It’s funny with the motivation issues I struggle with, I can still push myself to walk or go for a quick run. Getting to the gym however, seems near impossible.

So I’ve got a plan

I’ve got the Half Marathon clinic on Sunday morning, Tuesday and Wednesday evening. I need to be hitting the gym at least twice a week on the days I am not running. I’m hoping after a couple consistent weeks I’ll be able to make it 3 days a week! I know I can run the distance for sure. It’s the climbing that makes me nervous. My gym routine is going to consist of lifting weights, burpees and kettlebells.

I’m not saying I’ll be a beefcake but I’d love to have some muscle to show off in my arms come August 17th

Concrete Hero means altering my diet. More water, less trips to starbucks. With school wrapping up I’ll be home more with more time to prepare food.

What else have I got planned?

  • A potential 10k
  • A potential Disney Trip in the works for 2015
  • Another trail race
  • The Turkey Trot (of course!)
  • My back to back Halfs , plus Rock & Roll

I’m hoping with Concrete Hero forcing me to go to the gym I’ll be better trained come Beat the Blerch. I want to get back to my BMO time (sub 3 hours yes I’m slow speed comes with training !) It’s funny with my motivation and the gym. I can get myself to run, even if it’s 3 k it’s better then nothing. But there something’s about being in the gym and seeing other people I get rather nervous.

 

At least moving forward I no longer have the doubt that I won’t finish. I’ve done it 4 times now . I’m now more determined then ever to get faster.

Today I’m proud to report that I actually managed to get out and swim! I spent many a summer taking swimming lessons. I like swimming since it’s cardio but it’s a little less strenuous.

Plus I enjoy pretending to be a mermaid and I have triathlete aspirations (one day..need to over my fears of cycling)

I’m excited internet. I’m determined to make this summer amazing with keeping active.

Stay tuned for an update on how the gym plays out!

//

Taking to the Trails

On Saturday May 10th I woke up at 6am thinking

Oh god what have I done? This isn’t going to go well I’m going to fall and be slow and it’s going to be horrible

These thoughts continued to run through my head as I ate my Special K but I told myself that I’ve done that distance, i ran tuesday and managed to survive and plus Brittany would be running with me and I would make it through ok.

My Dad gave me a lift to Brittany’s place which was only 20 minutes away from where the race started. We got into her adorable green car and drove off!

We arrived there after 8 with plenty of time to park, hit the washroom and pick up our bibs (curse me for forgetting cash so I wasn’t able to purchase anything but I should save anyway!)

The package pick up line although long I only waited about 10 minutes. I also got a coveted buff which I already love and prefer (I love collecting shirts but it’s nice to change it up!)

The start of the race!
The start of the race!

It was lightly raining and was not as cool as I originally anticipated but I still chose to rock my Whidbey Island longsleeve if only for the concern that it might rain more later.

These shoes would eventaully be covered in mud..and very wet
These shoes would eventaully be covered in mud..and very wet

The race started in 915. I purposely put myself at the back knowing that I am infact a slower runner. I ran nonstop to the best of my ability only walking up the last major hill. I enjoyed running through the rivers, the cold water felt amazing on my feet oddly enough. Besides I had packed extra socks so I mean what’s the big deal?

Special shoutout to Brittany for being an amazing buddy!
Special shoutout to Brittany for being an amazing buddy!

Once we really got into the trails I barely noticed the rain. I kept looking at my surroundings. I also enjoyed my various friends running past saying “Go Melissa go!” Even people I didn’t know cheered us on!

However the highlight was one of the course marshalls complemented me on my lipstick ! Alongside my red shoes!

The course overall was tough but manageable. The worst hill was right at the end but this was at the top

Made the climb all the more worthwhile
Made the climb all the more worthwhile

After that it was a steady downhill and next thing I know I’m pushing myself for the last 400m to have a strong finish!

Total time: 1 hour 34 minutes. Not bad considering it’s my first ever trail race! Especially when I signed up just to join along with all my twitter friends

The post run food was amazing and just the energy from everyone there. It’s definitely one of the smaller races I’ve attended but I liked the intimacy !

Finish line shot rocking my Buff!
Finish line shot rocking my Buff!

After this event I’m seriously considering registering for Alice Lake, I’ve been told that’s the fastest out of all of them. Here’s hoping I can swing that Saturday off !

Either way this has got me wanting to run more trails and push myself to get out of my usual 10 & 1 routine !

Change is good! I’ll definitely need to work on this more as I train for Concrete Hereo!

//

Ladies of The Trails

It’s not just a neat name. It’s a running group. If I recall correctly it was created last summer to allow running women of all ages and experience to come out and run trails. It’s sponsored by 5peaks and is run by Solana Klassen (frequently seen on the web as #beastcoach) I thoroughly enjoy reading her blog especially with some of the crazy distances she’s done!

I told myself this year I would get over my fear and run trails. I must admit the only reason I hadn’t joined these free dropins was fear of my slowness.

Trying to decide what to wear before heading out...
Trying to decide what to wear before heading out…

My mantra right now is

“I may run slower then a herd of turtles running through Peanut Butter….but I RUN!”

because right now that is the most important part to me, is just getting out there and doing it.

We met up just after 6, leaving at 615. I tried my hardest to keep with the group but I found my calves we’re starting to hurt (I need to look at compression sleeves as they haven’t been this bad since I started training for BMO last year)

Lynn Valley is a beautiful area, I've explored it a couple times whilst on break from class
Lynn Valley is a beautiful area, I’ve explored it a couple times whilst on break from class

I was holding back tears when Solana came back to make sure I was still alive (Thanks again by the way!)

Group running is not just fun, it’s important. Running with other people is what keeps people motivated and it’s about a support system , also running the trails by yourself is not recommended.

As a Rover I should know this. And I was prepared I had my phone wallet, and other essentials in my trail vest (more about my awesome vest later!)

In fact when we came to a turn off I insisted that the faster ladies run without me ! I was letting my pride get the best of me, and I didn’t want to hold anyone up. Jen and Chantelle offered to run with me and ironically enough we ended up beating them back! The shorter loop had quite the intial climb but I actually don’t mind that, compared to downhill. I was worried about injuring my self running down them

But I did it.

Post Run Selfie! Oh god what did I just do?
Post Run Selfie! Oh god what did I just do?

I did 8k is around hour and a half. Not my fastest but it’s a start! With practice make perfect.

I’ve got my 1st trail race this weekend, and after last night I know I can get through it and finish!

I’m looking forward to future summer nights of running with these women

Obligatory selfie post run (Credit to Solana!) maybe I'll work on not blinking next time...
Obligatory selfie post run (Credit to Solana!) maybe I’ll work on not blinking next time…

If you’re at all interested in running with us look for us on Facebook if I can do it..so can you!

//