Friday, 31 May 2013

Salut, Sutton!

Well folks, I believe there comes to be a time in every blogger's life... or anyone's life in general.. where the question arises: should I save face or should I spill the deets.. The thought did cross my mind to keep my cool facade in place, but I think I've already lost that, so it's your lucky day!

My hardcore cool face ;)

The trip over here was eaaaaasy peasy! Kidding! Hahahah Oh man, I must have a rabbit foot somewhere cuz I've been able to come away unscathed for the most part from all my adventures this trip thus far (Knock on wood). Getting to the airport= transit- nooo problem. Finding your gate and getting your seat= noooo problem. Putting your bag in the overhead compartment to realize you've left your laptop in the terminal= Problem!!!! Squeezing through people trying to get off a boarding plane is neither easy or a good idea, running frantically trying to find security whom the laptop has apparently been returned to, getting lost and having to go through security all over again when your plane is leaving in 9 minutes with no lap top, a bag on board, and waiting for your purse to get scanned while you count the minutes on your watch til take off.. AHHHHH! But I GOT IT!!! They had it at the info desk INSIDE of the gates area. Luckily I ran back and fell back into my seat just as they announced the last person had boarded (me, again). PHEWWWWF! Thank goodness!!


Flight was no problem, brought a handy sandwich and granola bars, yum! Rental car- upgrade to brand new Sentra! Heyooooo! Got lost 3 times trying to find the grocery store, then hit a pot hole and worried that I'd get a flat- no flat! Weoooo! Bought healthy ingredients for the weekend and hit the road for the long 120km or so drive to Sutton. Soaring away down the road to a wicked radio station (the music in Quebec rocks! Dance music channels! Who would have thunk it!) Anyways, its about 11pm here. Driving along and Highway section closed and google maps doesnt know it- slight problem.. getting stuck in stop and go traffic for 10km TWICE cuz I got lost 3 times trying to follow the directions from google, finally learnt my lesson and just followed other cars and a sign here and there. Wooooo!!! Rest of the drive was nice and easy :)


Suite is gorgeous and had no problems getting in cuz they left a key for me. Went for a nice jog on the road, had to do loops of the only sections lit by street lights, so I felt a little crazy running back and forth but.. hey if you can't see your shadow, you shouldn't be running there I don't think! :P

The trail course seems pretty easy to find and a direct route there as my suite is just further down the same road to Mont Sutton. The course is wonderfully marked with pink ribbon! Yay! I love pink! Spent a beautiful 2 1/2 hours hiking it in the morning and was impressed with the gooooooooorgeous scenery and exciting trail! It's by far the most technical course I have ever seen! Wow! I bumped into Mirabelle and Sean on the course (two amazing people who have also made the trek from Vancouver! Mirabelle is an incredible runner and was on the national team with me last year! Sean is so nice and offered to hike more of the course with me later, but I decided just to do it all in the morning so it wouldn't be too hot and I could relax later. Mirabelle clued me into the fact that I was doing the course backwards.. LOL! Oops!! But it's a fortunate error! That's the best way to preview a course sometimes and works some different muscles. I took a ton of pictures and ran some easy sections. I just couldn't believe the wide mix of tough terrain! Deep mud that your shoes get lost in, roots, rocks, dirt trail, dusty gravel road, grassy mountain side, wood bridges and ladders, river crossings, loose rocks, and I got up close and personal with wet slimy rocks. If you leave blood on the course before the race that means that it's yours right?? Ouchies! My foot slipped and crashed me down into the rock smashing my knee and splitting my shin open. A few tentative steps let me know that it wasn't broken! Heyo! hahahahah Win! The damage seems to be contained to the split open shin.. its a very deep gash.. I got to play some surgery on myself, but luckily it stayed clean and not filled with dirt.. two small scrapes on my knee and some bad bruising and swelling on the side of my knee. It's pretty darn tender, but not as bad as the balloons on my leg I got from missing a box jump about two months ago so that's good news!


The rest of the day has been wonderful, too! Made some delicious meals, explored the quaint town of Sutton (it's beautiful here!) There is a cute little main strip of different shops and tons of cafes and restaurants. Chatted to a bunch of really friendly people, bought a new cute dress and visited some art galleries. I'm just off to the meeting for the elite Canadian Mountain Running Championship runners at the base of the mountain! Should be interesting to learn some more about the course.

The question now is.. what sort of animal should I run like tomorrow? A cheetah? A wild horse (for Carrie), a fluffy bunny (for Lauren), a chamoix (for my hiking buddies from Europe), or a giraffe?! Thanks to Seb and Joel, I now know that giraffes can run up to 60km/hr! Isn't that the most absurd thing you've ever heard?! How do their necks not flap behind them!? Hahahah! New goal has to be to see a giraffe running that fast, and maybe race him!





 Big thanks to everyone for all the love and support and good luck wishes! (I'll try not to fall again! Hahahah!) Looking forward to an exciting experience and the sweet fresh mountain air! There's nothing like that delicious aroma!

Bonsoir! Love you always,

Shanny

Thursday, 30 May 2013

En Route to the National Mountain Running Championships in Quebec!

Hey all!!

I can't believe it!!! It's actually time! After a final weekend of intense mountain running.. Joel and I tackled running up and down 3 mountains in record time on Sunday!! I'm here at YVR and waiting to board my plane. This last month has just flown by so quickly! It's been full of hard training, amazing runs, tons of support and a few great races! This weekend will sure be a fabulous challenge! I'm sure the east hosts a bunch of incredible trail racers that I have never met yet so I am very excited and a lil nervous for the race! All i know is that I'm going to run hard, run fast, try my best and enjoy every minute! (even the burning quads and dripping sweat!) Looks like the forecast is for thunder showers so maybe dodging some lightening will give me a extra skip in my step! Or if I'm not fast enough to avoid it.. the lightening should give me an extra jolt of speed! Hahahaha! Zaaap! Apparently, it's supposed to be VERY hot and humid.. temperatures around 30 degrees but are supposed to feel like 37!!! Eeeep! Never tried to run in something like that before!



Anyways, just wanted to give a quick check in before my flight to update you all! The National Championships are 11.8km and should be a wild ride! They take place at Mont Sutton and start at 10:00am!

Here's a link to Breathe Magazine who is providing coverage of the event:
www.breathemag.ca/flashblog

Here's the link to the races website for more info on the race:
http://xtrailasics.com/Mont_Sutton_Event.html

Thanks so much to everyone for all of your love and support, it means the world to me! I will run extra hard for you all!! Talk to you soon!!

Shanny

Sunday, 12 May 2013

5 Peaks Golden Ears

Wooohoooo!!!! It's 5 Peaks season again!! 5 Peaks trail running series hosted the first trail race I ever ran last year and introduced me to this amazing running experience!!! Fun, fast races! Well organized! Cool swag and most importantly tons of amazing people!! This and the beautiful courses in the forest!!! What could be better?! A whole new season to boot!!


Photo courtesy of Rob Shaer
Golden Ears took place on May 11th, just the weekend after my first BMO half marathon(hello roads!). I was beyond excited to get to race it as I had heard from other runners that I missed out not doing it last year! And sure enough, it was incredible!! On the way there it really hit me how much I love trail racing!! I felt more and more excitement building in me as I drove through the park and then literally squealed and clapped like a kid on Christmas as I saw the first "5 Peaks race in progress sign!!" O-M-G (as the kids these days would say :p) after registering I headed down to the lake and was blown away by the beautiful scenery!! It was hard to stop taking pictures long enough to warm up!!! Somehow I managed though and ran into Nicola Gildersleeve at the MEC tent! So nice to see such a lovely girl before the race!! As Chris Colpitts lined us up to start I came up next to Mike Murphy and knew it was going to be a fast race!! I was lucky enough to enter a few of the Peninsula Runners races with him earlier this year and amazing with his speed!! The count down started and we were flying through the Solomon arch faster than I knew!!

The course was really great!! A very interesting mix of some single track technical trail with steep uphills and downhills to run willy nilly down! There was also wide gravel road! A well marked route and amazing volunteers made it easy to navigate!

 Some of my favourite quotes from the volunteers as I ran by them:

-"You're the first person smiling to pass by!!"
-"You're waaaay too chipper!!"

Lol! Okay maybe I run with a giant smile on my face but I can't help it!! I just love love love the amazing feeling running gives me! I feel like I'm at one with the world and everything is how it should be. 

Photo courtesy of Rob Shaer

Anyways on with the race! A brutal climb in the middle of it left a few of us power hiking... I met up with Karl Woll, who had also just raced the last weekend at the BMO.. But he killed the full marathon! Wow! Talk about amazing! Racing so well just a few 6 days after a full marathon! Anyways, we struggled up the hill with burning legs and bingo! There was a photographer mid climb so I made sure to let him know I'd start running when I got into range and asked if he could put a caption under my picture that said, "She ran the whole way!" Let me know if its there or not! Lol! The race was fast and challenging! I could feel some weakness from the half marathon still but overall not bad!!! I got to get a lil mud on the new Pure Grits who made their debut appearance and rock my hot pink compression socks!! Weeee colours!! I was able to "finish strong" (words of encouragement from my fellow racer, Karl. And pulled in a time of 1:07:57 ranking me 1st in my age category, 2nd female and 11th overall!! Wow!!! Amazing!! 

The new medals look great and I won a sweet neon green running backpack from MEC!! I also got to connect with Rob Shaer, the amazing photographer of the series!! He takes incredible pictures and I can't wait to see them all! He truly captures the esscense of the race! The Sneak Peek of the photos from the race are on the 5 Peaks trail running Facebook site!! There's some amazing shots plus two of me!! Eeeep!!! So cool!! 
Photo Courtesy of Rob Shaer

Alas my allotted time on the elliptical has run out and I'm dripping in sweat so I think it's time for me to say toodles!!

Love and hugs to you all! Keep those smiles on and thanks for everything!!

Shanny

Thursday, 9 May 2013

My First Road Race

Well folks... I did it! I gave the mud on my trail runners a chance to dry and tied some speedy pink slippers on my toes! My new Brooks Pure Flows! They are more pink than bubblegum and absolutely amazing! They are like hugs for your feet! What could be better, one might ask?! Your feet getting pink hugs as they race!! Introducing... The one.. My first.. The big BMO half marathon!!

After much consideration and deliberation I decided to run it! With two of the most awesome people participating too, it only made a bigger cause for it! Kathryn rocked the fluorescent ninja look and brought on the full marathon, while Joel and I destroyed the half marathon.
Right from the day before at the expo, it was an incredible experience! From picking out the perfect outfits to eating every type of energy bar, to posing for Oikos yogurt pictures the expo was full of fun times and totally got me pumped up even more.. Yes you heard me right.. Even more excited than when I was running around in circles in North Shore Athletics after I signed up! Prepping for the race involves tons of hydration, stretching and lest we forget, pasta!! Joel and I took on the challenge at Anton's the night before and put some serious dents in those pasta mountains!! Talk about fuel!! Yum!!

Waking up the next morning with one of the best power shakes and a nice decongestant to scare away my stuffy nose it was game time!! Joel and I arrived to see herds upon herds of people!!! And I thought the PNE was busy!!! Wow!!! The line up for the potties was massive but all super organized!! Lol imagine that! Awesome!

After a nice relaxed warm up, we headed into the masses to get ready for the gun!! It was amazing to be a part of something with that many people there! Pretty scary though as I'm not one for crowds but sine the atmosphere was so positive and I was with such good company I was already on cloud 9! The race was absolutely beautiful!!! The energy the crowds had... I couldn't believe it!! I've never experienced anything like that before!! Just thousands of people cheering us runners on!!! Random strangers.. All sending their low and support and energy!! It was one of the greatest feelings!! I could have flown with all those positive vibes in the air if I had some fairy dust!!!



The run felt incredible! Water was everywhere you needed it, and having such an amazing running companion made it from great to fabulous!! The amazing sunshine plus stunning scenery were breath taking!! I couldn't stop gazing around!! Kathryn and I had made a promise to each other to take funny pics for the cameras so hunting out photographers and prancing and pulling ridiculous stunts happened without a doubt! I think I was cheerin as much as the crowds at some point! Lol! Love a good cowbell!! Anyways we ran fast and ran hard and passed passed passed!! Zoom zoom zoom!! Maybe Tinkerbell dd help us out because we flew! It was one of my favourite runs I've done and completed with a time of 1:30:13.. A chip time that placed me third in my age an sex category!!! Wow!!! Crazy!!! Unfortunately it goes by gun time so I'm 5th in my category in the official results, but heck it wasn't about winning. It was just for the fun experience and all the laughs that went along the way with it!! I can't wait to try another one! Joel crushed his PB and I set myself a road time! Talk about a victory!!!

Next up: National Mountain Running Championships in Quebec!! June 1st!! Wow! So soon!!

Congratulations to everyone who participated and massive thank you'd to Joel for his encouragement and support, Kathryn for fixing my muscles all the time and support and Sourosh for fixing my ankles!! All that running has been compressing them! Yikes! All is good though!! With all the amazing people, friends and family behind me, I couldn't be more grateful or more ready to take on all the adventures life has to offer me. Starting now.. Time to climb off the bike as I'm making a pool of sweat in the gym as crank out a strength workout!

Much love to you all and will post again soon (ps. Still gotta write my recap of my April 7th race!!)

Hugs and kisses,
Shanny