Friday, June 25, 2010

Glacier Lake

Another good weekend of sunshine last week so we headed off to Glacier Lake which is located in one of my all-time favourite areas - the Icefields Parkway (regarded as one of the most scenic highways in the world for good reason).
I've never run into Glacier Lake before so it was a nice treat to do some exploring. It's known as a good early season trail as it dries out fairly early in June compared to everything else that is still snow bound.
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Monday, June 14, 2010

Exshaw Ridge

It was hard to believe that we were suppose to have hot, sunny weather this weekend as it had rained all week and was suppose to continue raining again on Monday. Having 2 sunny faces sandwiched in between the grey clouds on the weather forecast looked nothing more than a tease. However, they got it right! 2 days of super hot, super sunny weather, all happening on the weekend - how sweet is that!
Not wanting to miss a minute of being outside, Steve and myself decided to go exploring somewhere new so headed off to the hamlet of Exshaw which is down the road from Banff. Exshaw is known for its cement factories but if you head up the valley, you leave all that yukky stuff behind and head into some beautiful mountain scenery. Getting up onto Exshaw Ridge is a bit of a grunt, but the views are well worth it. And once on top, there's an adventurous ridge run across, before pounding your way back down into the valley. My quads felt pretty tender afterwards and were squealing as badly as my sunburnt shoulders!
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Tuesday, June 1, 2010

BLACKFOOT ULTRA: race report

Seeing as I had a speedy recovery from running Miwok, I decided to sign up for the Blackfoot Ultra. I've got fond memories of this race as this is where I did my very first 50 km 3 years ago! Up until that point, I had only run a 21 km race so wasn't too sure how I'd get on but it turned out to be the perfect day and I got to the finishing line without any problems and a huge smile on my face! I then went back the year later to run the 80 km in preparation for the Canadian Death Race and had another good race. So this time, it made sense to sign up for the 100 km. I'm not a big fan of doing laps but I figured that running 4 x 25 km laps would be good mental training for me.

I like the 5 am starts but after 20 minutes of running, the skies opened and the rain started. This went on all day and turned into sleet and finally into snow. Parts of the course were incredibly muddy; I don't think I've ever seen so much mud before and, even though it was fun to be slipping n' sliding my way through it all, it was also freezing cold to wade through.

I knew that there would be some rain during the day so I had packed lots of different layering options in my drop bag and was able to change into dry clothes during the day. It was unbelievable that some people were still running in shorts, some without hats or gloves. Needless to say, there were a few folks pulled off the course due to hypothermia.

Before coming into the 50 km mark, I did consider dropping as my glutes were getting very stiff and, as this was a training run, I was a little concerned that I'd injure myself which would be a bummer at this time of year. So, I ended up hunkering down in the main shelter for a while with the idea of calling it quits but then decided to get back out there after the race director murmured words of encouragement in my ear. And of course, this meant that I was then in it for the long haul! Due to the amount of time I'd lost hanging out in the shelter, I had to start pushing myself to keep up a decent enough pace not to end up missing the cut-off time (that would have been hilarious!) but it all worked out well in the end. Running through the slippery mud was slow and tedious, especially on the uphills but I got to the finishing line with a smile on my face and no injuries. Mission accomplished! A huge thank you to RD, Gary, and all the volunteers. I can't imagine how cold/wet they must have been and yet they were still happy and smiley, cooking up hot soup at every aid station and giving out lots of encouragement. They were amazing!