Friday, December 23, 2011


Wow, time is just flying by. Hard to believe that Christmas is only 3 sleeps away. My co-worker is back to work as well, which means I am back to part time. It's weird because even though I have been tired and mega busy over the four months he was away, always dreaming of the day I would go back to part time, I find part of myself disappointed with actually achieving it. I have no idea why. What will I do with all my extra time? Not to mention smaller pay days! Oh right, maybe I can spend my extra time recovering from workouts properly and getting all of the things that I have put off for 4 months finally done! 

I am still running. Things are going ahead as plan, though I still have to keep my eye on a few things that keep reminding me that they are there. I also must say that I am tired of these short days and long nights. Thank goodness we have crossed over and will slowly begin to see more daylight. Running in the dark is not my ideal choice; however, thankfully the Saucony ViziPro line is wonderful. I have no doubt that people can see me in my ViziPro Orange jacket or vest in the dark. I highly recommend purchasing this line of clothing if you do a lot of running in the dark.

Christmas is 3 sleeps away and I have finished my shopping or well I thought I did. Until I found out I have to pick up a few more things. Put me in a mall anywhere near Christmas and it is an ugly sight. The only time I turn into a big BAH HUMBUG is when I am Christmas shopping. Definitely not a fan! I also have one gift that I am waiting for in the mail.... which means it has only 1 day left to arrive. I have my fingers crossed that it does or someone will be left without a gift. Please deliver tomorrow CanPar!  

Anyways I just wanted to let you all know that I am alive. I have a few posts in mind, but will keep those for later in the year (yes I know there isn't much left). Wish my luck with my last minute shopping tomorrow!

Merry Christmas (or Happy whatever you celebrate) everyone!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Athletics Illustrated

Chris Kelsall who is the main organizer of the Q Victoria Track Series and has written many articles for Flotrack, recently developed a brand new site called Athletics Illustrated. It is an excellent site where you can easily located each of his articles. It won't feature up to date news, but is a site with a wealth of information! Be sure to check it out and book mark it. Also like the site on Facebook or Twitter.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

2011 Canadian National XC Championship Race Report

This past weekend I headed over to Vancouver for the Canadian National XC Championships held at Jericho Beach. We had some wild weather in the days leading up to the race and race day was calling for 50+mm of rain. Yay. With ferries being canceled on Thursday due to winds, I was very nervous when I woke up race morning on Saturday to see wind warnings in effect yet again. I was at the terminal waiting for the 7:45am ferry while watching the winds whip around. I was more nervous about the ferries getting canceled and me not being able to make it over for the race, than the race itself. Something wrong with that isn't there? 

Thankfully the ferry sailed as scheduled and I had a nice nap in my car on the lower deck! I had worked the night before until 10:15pm, so I was tired from heading to bed late and getting up early. The peacefulness of the rocking boat put me right to sleep. Not to mention you don't really feel the rocking waves as much when so close to the water. 

We docked in Tsawwassen and I saw the weather was dreary but didn't seem quite as windy was Nanaimo. I made a quick stop at Richmond Center mall as I wanted to hit RW&Co to look for a dress that I saw in Nanaimo that wasn't in my size. They had it so a quick purchase and I was back on the roads to Jericho Beach. 

I arrived and headed to pick up my number. I stood by and watched the Junior girls start and then headed back to my car briefly. I grabbed my stuff and headed to the BC Athletics tent to hijack a spot for my stuff (technically I wasn't Team BC this year due to not qualifying for the team, but I was stealing their tent anyways). I changed my spikes to slightly longer ones based on the suggestions from the Team BC Coaches. Before I knew it, it was time to warm up. 

Tasha and I headed off just after the Junior boys started their race and met up with Marilyn for our warm up. I still wasn't too nervous, which was actually kind of nice. The last few weeks had been a bit rough. The posterior tibial tendon in my inner left ankle had been acting up for 3-4 weeks. It started the week after BC's and at one point was quite painful. I had almost weekly ART sessions with Joe at Island Optimal Performance to keep on top of it. 

Not only that, 2 weeks before the race, my training sessions went flat and I felt like crap. I couldn't get my legs to fire like they had been the week before. A few other issues had popped up as well, but I am not going to get into that. Needless to say I had no idea what to expect. My goal of the race was to run as best as I can and to not come out of the race injured. Coach Matt said, it's one race and not worth the injury.

Our race started at 1:30 and I was actually still on the line fumbling with one of my gloves when the race started. I quickly got that sorted out as the field tore up the grass. Mud was flying within minutes. My first thought was, damn this is a fast start, but we quickly settled in. We ran a 1km loop followed by 3 x 2km loops for 7km total. 

Race start

I think the race went well. I won't lie, it was tough. The effort was way harder than the pace was; however, with each step you didn't know if you would hit solid ground or if your foot would sink ankle deep into a mud patch. I was doing quite a few weird twists at times as I tried to simply keep my balance. 

After the first loop (I think)

Shortly into the first of three 2km loops, veteran Lisa Harvey pulled out right in front of me with what appeared to be her ankle. I found that a bit surprising as she is an amazing runner. I hope everything is okay. I feel as though I held my own, though I really really really suck at running downhills. I definitely have to work on this, but I just can't relax due to bailing so many times on training runs (usually on downhills). I just can't let go. Stupid black eye and almost broken nose, multiple rolled ankles, scraped shoulders and hips. Yeah I am a klutz sometimes. 


I felt strong throughout, other than losing my balance lots and finding nearly every sink hole possible. Unfortunately I got passed right at the finish and ended up 25th overall. With only 46 finishers in the race, I was slightly disappointed with my finish place; however, the top end was stacked with fast girls. Kendra Schaff won it, followed by Megan Brown then Dayna Pidhoresky. They are all amazing! 

Last loop before turning to the finish


Times were so much slower this year than last year, mind you last year was run in hard packed snow and freezing temps in Guelph. I feel as though Jericho is an easier course hill wise, but it was definitely harder in the mud than snow. Kate Harrison won last year in 23:43 and Kendra won this year in 25:00 (Dayna was 3rd in 25:47 this year and 2nd last year in 24:04). So the winner was about 1 minute and 17 seconds slower this year. Most people were slower this year by 1-2 minutes compared to last year. I am proud that I ended up with a 1 minute and 38 second difference, which is faster than many others who ran last year. It definitely bodes well considering how craptastic my year started. Only 6.5 months back into running after my time off and I am feeling almost fitter than pre injury. A good sign for things to come!. 

Results found here

Photos found here

Thursday, November 17, 2011

BC High School XC

Back on November 4th/5th, we took our top 7 girls to Kelowna for the BC High School XC Championships. It was a successful trip. When we arrived, we headed straight up to the race course to check it out. The kids would run a 1 loop course of about 4.4km (I believe). It was a very frozen course with a bit of snow in places as it was up at the Telemark XC Ski Hill. 

From there we checked into our hotel and then I attempted to figure out a place to do my own workout. I had intervals to run and looking out the windows at the hotel showed either the highway or hills. Not ideal. Thankfully one of the parents volunteered to drive me into Kelowna so that I could use the Greenway, which is a nice long gravel trail along Mission Creek. They dropped me off just as the sun was beginning to set. I rushed my warm up and started out. It felt tougher than normal. Still a good effort, but the overall paces felt faster than my gps said they were. Not to mention I was freezing for half the workout and due to limited sun, I cut my warm up short. My cool down was done after the sun went down and it was a tad creepy running through the trail not really knowing the area. In the end I survived and was grateful to get into a warm car for the trip back to Westbank. 

A dinner at Boston Pizza with one of the girls and her dad and then back to the hotel and an early night to sleep. The next day we were up early at 6am as the kids needed to eat. We left at 8 and headed up to the race. Oh my god was it ever cold. I give credit to those kids running. It was a very tough race with tough weather conditions. Needless to say, I was frozen before the race even started. I had hand warmers in my gloves, about 3 layers of pants, 4 shirts/jackets and I even shoved hand warmers into my shoes (they didn't help) as I couldn't feel my toes. 

The race was off and I headed back up to the finish area. Before I knew it the kids were coming in. Miryam ran a strong race to finish 4th (just barely) as our top finisher. Next we had Abigail, Carly, Rebecca, Emma and Rachel. Wait a minute.... that is 6, we are missing one? Rachel asked if we had seen Tkia as she had run by her laying on the ground with someone helping her. The other coach ran off to find her, while I stayed with the other kids making sure they got clothes on etc. Finally, Tkia comes back. She fell within the last portion of the race and hit the side of her head on a rock. Decision was made to head to Kelowna hospital. Thankfully, Emma's parents took me and Tkia to the hospital and hung out with us while we were there. 

Tkia was a trooper as she ended up with 5 stitches (2 in one spot and 3 in the other) and a nice black eye with lots of bumps and bruises. Poor girl. 

On the way to the hospital I was informed that even though Tkia didn't finish (She is usually our 5th scorer between Becca and Emma), we still placed 3rd for teams. This was awesome because we were 7th last year. Definite step in the right direction. I made sure to tell the girls to grab Tkia a medal as I felt she deserved one too. 

I am thankful to Becca for packing up the rest of my stuff at the hotel and to the girls in Tkia's room for packing up her stuff. As far as I am aware I am not missing anything! It is always nerve wracking to have someone else pack your things. 

Now for a few photos

Sunrise from the ferry to Vancouver

Drive to Kelowna! Snow!!

Crazy Mountains

Walking the course the day before

More course shots

Race day
Here they come!

A few of our girls (Carly and Miryam)
Emma and Rachel

Tkia still smiling post race

Waiting room at the hospital
What a sport!
Time for stitches!

Driving home

Sunday, November 13, 2011

2011 BC Cross Country Championships

After the 8km, I set my sights on the BC XC Championships which were being held on Oct 29th in Aldergrove. I ran this course last year and it was a brutal course. It consisted of three 2km loops for 6km in total. I had no idea how this year was going to go, but I decided to give it a shot and see what happens. As the race got closer, the women's starting list grew bigger with faster competitors. Soon my goals changed slightly and I hoped to come top 10. 

I headed over on an early ferry before the race, thanks to Sport BC for the ferry vouchers. I then had the job of locating the race. Last year I carpooled with Lucy Smith and a few other runners. Lucy simply set up her GPS and I paid no attention as to where she was going. It's different when you are in the drivers seat and without GPS. I google mapped the directions at work the night before and unfortunately the route took me along 0 ave (I think) which was right along the border of Canada/USA. It was also a very annoying road with raised intersections ever 400m or so. Although BC's aren't in Aldergrove next year, note to self not to take that road again!

I arrived in plenty of time before the race. The first race (masters men and women) was just starting. I took some photos and hung around, spoke with some of the high school athletes I knew and watched one of my NDSS girls race (congrats Miryam on your age 15 win). 

# for the race

The first hill on the course! Much steeper in person!


They make you run down the side and then up again (behind the trees)
Eventually it was time for me to warm up. Just as I was about to head out, I spotted Lucy and Hilary Stellingwerff. We waited for Marilyn Aresenault and then all went out on our warm up together (also with Sisi Hallam). 

Before I knew it, we were on the start line. 

Surprisingly, I wasn't as nervous as I thought I would be. I think that was a good thing. It was the same in Eugene back in May 2010 when I ran my 1:21:55 half marathon PB. I wasn't nervous before that one either. I just ran how I felt on the day. Today was the same. I went out with the crowd and made sure it wasn't too fast. The hills the first time felt hard, but still okay. I was sitting in 12th most of the race. 

1st lap


On the 2nd lap, the hills hurt a bit more and I could see one girl (Helen Crofts) falling back from the group in front of me. Slowly but surely I reeled her in, passing her with 1 lap to go. The hills on the 3rd lap hurt. I felt like I was barely moving! And everyone on the hill was cheering for Helen right behind me. Once I finished the hills, I let it fly on the downhill determined not to let Helen pass me again and she didn't. 

Start of the 3rd and final lap

Before the 1st hill

Down the hill

Up the 2nd hill and pulling a nasty face (I think my nose was running as usual)


While initially I thought I was 10th and was happy with how I ran, it turns out I was actually 11th (9th person from BC). Slightly more disappointed, but in the end I am thrilled with how I handled the race. I made an improvement on my time from last year, though the course was slightly different. I held my distance behind some competitors from last year and that made me proud, considering the year I have had.

Mar, Me, Becky and Mel (Post race)

As I stated after the race, I am simply happy to be out racing again. I feel as though I raced the course better than last year and I felt stronger than I have in ages. I felt stronger than pre injury so that was a good sign. 

After the race, we cooled down in a big group and then I booked it off to Surrey for a quick shower and then out to dinner for my brother's (half brother technically) 40th birthday dinner. I had to skip the cake after though, as I then booked it from Surrey to Horseshoe Bay for the 9pm ferry, which was the last one back to Vancouver Island for the night. In the end it was a long day, but very successful. Up next, National XC on Nov 26th. 

Congrats on Hilary on her win. Results found here

Photo credit (Copyrighted ones) to Vid Wadhwani

Sunday, October 30, 2011

High School Success

Lately I have been busy with coaching the NDSS high school XC team. We have a great group of kids this year, consisting mostly of girls and a handful of guys. The past few weeks the kids have had their Island Age Group Championships (Oct 18th) where the younger kids were able to run against their own grades and then their Island Championships (Oct 26th) where they raced in a big group of grades 8-12. 

Last year at the Island Championships, our girls team placed 2nd behind Oak Bay (out of Victoria), but this year would be a different story! This year, our girls dominated with Miryam winning the overall race and then thankfully most of our girls (Carly, Becca, Tkia, Abigail, Emma, Rachel, Abbey, Shishton and Ashley) were lumped pretty close together. Top 5 girls scores combine for the team score. 

This year we took top spot, FINALLY dethroning Oak Bay by only 1 point. Let me point out that according to the newspaper, Oak Bay has dominated both the men's and women's division for 9 years. Our girls were ecstatic to take top spot and bring the trophy home to Nanaimo. And not only that, the boys division was taken by another Nanaimo school (Dover Bay). That is right Victoria, Nanaimo has some pretty darn talented kids! Congrats to both NDSS and Dover Bay. 

Excited girls!

Top 3 spots in the girls race all went to Nanaimo kids (Miryam and then Marita and Erica from Nanaimo Christian School). Joel (brother of Marita and Erica) also took bronze in the guys race, so some definite talent up island. 

Top 3 girls (3rd, 2nd, 1st)

Our boys (consisting of Liam, Tyler, Yosef, Mike and Kaleb) ran well too, but unfortunately they did not make BC's. So we are off to Kelowna for Nov 5th for the BC High School Championships. 

Lastly I want to give a big shout out to the bus driver, who wished me good luck in my race as I got off the bus. I didn't realize I looked under 18, but now that I turned 30 on the 17th, I will take that as a compliment! Pretty sure I don't look under 18 though. 

Girls Champs!

Our boys! 

Sunday, October 23, 2011

GoodLife Fitness 8km

After a very LONG and frustrating 22 months, which included a good 12 months of abdominal pain, 1-2 months of my hip slowly acting up, 3.5 months of no running and a total of 8.5 months since racing, I finally returned back to the start line of a race. It had been just under 5 months since I made my slow return to running with 15 minute runs, where I doubted myself that I would ever get back to my former shape. I still ran with pain off and on as my body reminded me that it was not fully healed; however, I was happy as can be to find myself in Victoria on October 9th for the GoodLife Fitness 8km. 

Originally I had my hopes up to run the half marathon; however, going from 3.5 months of no running and spending 5 months getting back into it, there simply wasn't enough time to get fully ready to take on the half marathon. I am pretty sure I could have run and had a decent race, but when Matt suggested that I run the 8km instead, I realized that he was right. I was kidding myself thinking that I could take a decent crack at the half and what was the point in going out there and having an okay race. I want to really take a run at the half the next time I toe the line. So the change was made to the 8km. 

I took the weekend off work and headed down to Victoria on the Saturday. I had some dinner with my YYJ friends and simply chilled. After a crappy night sleep, I was up and ready to see what I could do. I did a warm up and within 5 minutes my hip started acting up. Oh great I thought as I had been having hip problems recently that seemed connected to my lower back being stuck. I had been to Joe a few times in the weeks leading up to the race in order to be adjusted. Now here I found myself, on race day with my hip feeling off. Thankfully though, I stopped and did a few leg swings and got the biggest POP ever out of my hip. Things were good after that! 

Warm up with Byron (I was actually doing some drills)

On the start line the nerves started in as I stood there with Amy Schneeberg while sporting my ViziPro Orange Saucony gear. 
On the start line (left side)

Amy mentioned that she would be lucky to get 30 flat, to which I said that was the same. I really had no clue what shape I was in, but my ultimate goal was to get as close to 30 flat as possible with the hopes of going sub 30. 

Off we went and Amy and I went out together. We stayed together until about 2km at which point I started to drop back. Amy was so kind in trying to encourage me on and I simply didn't realize that I got so far off pace, but it happened. I struggled between 3-5km and then finally got back into the zone for the final portion of the race. I was in 7th position for females the entire way and was slowly clawing back at Becky Woods. Unfortunately the race ended before I could catch her and I finished 3 seconds back of her at 30:05. 


Glad to be done!


Overall I was slightly disappointed not to break 30 and also due to the fact that I lost focus mid way through the race; however, in the end I was ecstatic to be back out racing and to have a race without the pain I had felt before. The last race I ran was an 8km in January where I ran 29:31. Really if you think about it, 34 seconds back of where I was 8.5 months ago, its nothing to be ashamed of. I could tell though that I lacked the race fitness and tactics. 

Up next is BC XC in Aldergrove on October 29th. I have no idea how this will go, but I know I will have fun and simply enjoy racing. I am finally ready to show off the Saucony name and represent what I am capable of! Thank you to everyone who has hung on beside me, supporting me and offering me encouragement throughout my frustrating ordeal! You guys kept me going! Also thanks to Jonathan Foweraker (Elite Co-ordinator for Goodlife Fitness Weekend) for hotel and entry! 

Friday, October 21, 2011

So Sorry

I know, I need to post. I have been so incredibly busy between training/coaching the high school kids and working extra hours, that I am procrastinating big time about updating my blog. I will do my best to do it ASAP. Things are going well and I after 8.5 months of no racing (including the 3.5 months no running), I made my return to racing back on October 9th. I am also finally seeing what it is like to run pain free again. Hard to believe that all of the pain (starting with the lower abdominal) started back in December 2009. Running is enjoyable again where I can finish workouts and be able to sneeze without being crippled with pain! Blog soon, I promise!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Just call me a model!

No lies that I have been neglecting my blog recently. The internet was pissing me off, I banned myself from Facebook for a bit in order to deal with it. I was less than motivated to write because of it; however, I have decided to finally update it. I should mention that I have also been pretty busy with work.

Speaking of work, my poor co-worker who works opposite evenings as me (in my assisted living department we only have 4 staff, 2 mornings and 2 evenings) sent me a text back in August telling me that he had torn his Achilles tendon while playing floor hockey. While he isn't a complete hard core runner, he does enjoy to run and even goes in races and had planned on the Good Life Fitness Half Marathon on October 9th (obviously out of the question now). After going through my injury, I knew exactly what he was going through, though with his requiring surgery it was probably worse.

While it sucks for him, that meant that he was now off of work and that opened up extra shifts for me. So now instead of part time, I am working full time with 3 extra shifts every 2 weeks. So yes, I am busy busy busy. It's amazing that after working part time for nearly 3 years (7 shifts within 2 weeks), how hard it feels to work 10 shifts (yes I realize that this is normal for most of the world). No word on when he will be back, but I am sure I will be sick of working the extra shifts by the time he does! Get better Andy!

In other news, just over a week ago I took part in a photo shoot for a calendar featuring Vancouver Island Runners. The calendar is 100% for charity and will benefit the BC Cancer Society. A lovely lady named Skye Overall is organizing it and it will feature numerous runners from both Victoria and Nanaimo. I was lucky enough to be selected for the project.

First off, I met Darcie at Rich 1 Salon where Rich himself donated his time doing both hair and make up. This was the longest it had ever taken me to get ready for a "run" before. Definitely weird to be pampered and at one point he had backcombed my hair on the top of my head, to which I asked if he was giving me a Snookie hair do. Luckily though, after everything was done, it was still a pretty natural look.


From there, it was off to Westwood where I met up with the wonderful photographer Morgan Deno.We then visited a few spots around the lake taking photos. I felt awkward as can be as I simply am not a model. I think the first thing I asked was whether I was supposed to smile when I ran or not because it was something I wasn't used to. Thankfully I was told that I could simply stare straight ahead and run. Perfect! I left the shoot thinking "I hope my photos don't look incredibly stupid." 

Behind the scenes shot (courtesy Damian Allen)

Thankfully, they didn't (I did only see 2 shots though), which are these below. They do not include the one that is being used for the calendar, which I have not seen either. 

The calendar will be out in November sometime and should be available at a running store near you (I think Frontrunners has said they will carry them, Frontrunners Westshore for sure). Remember, all proceeds go to BC Cancer Society, so please buy them (they'll make good Christmas gifts too)!

Overall it was a fun day in which I got to meet some really awesome people in person, including of course Damian Allen, Skye Overall, Kirsty Sheldon, Darcie Nolan, Morgan Deno and of course Rich Tchamourian. Not to mention I briefly met Adam Hawryluk just before leaving (though we weren't formally introduced). Thank you all so much for the fun!  

Also Thank you to Matt Merko at Saucony Canada for sending me a new singlet for the shoot.