Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Pre-Race Downpour Panic

Right then. Good things about this:

The race isn't in Flagstaff or Reno
The weather will be good on non-running days
I'll learn all about running in the rain for a long time
It will be an experience

BUT *still hoping it might improve* because of course.

I can't do anything but go out there and try my best so that's what I'll do.  Races, especially very long ones, are about experience, immersive experience. The end goal in this case will take 24 straight hours of effort.  So I'll deal with it.  We all will.  It's a little bit liberating when something you can't control is thrown at you and all bets are off.  What if I were to let potentially not achieving my A goal define the experience of this event?  That would be ridiculous.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Reasons To Run PGH

I will be flying 3000 miles to run The Pittsburgh Marathon for the third time in May. Worth it?  Yes.  Absolutely.  As soon as I had run my first marathon (to make sure I could) there was no doubt Pittsburgh would be my second. The tagline for the race in 2014 was 'Run Home Pgh' and that's how I feel every time I'm there.

If you live there you probably already know, but here's 5 reasons from an aht-of-tahner why I love this race and this city.


Pittsburgh is gorgeous, it's surrounded by three rivers and rolling hills and it's surprisingly green.  The sharp architecture downtown featuring those stunning yellow steel bridges will impress you.  The hill we climb during the marathon (Forbes) will not impress you.  Or me.  On the plus side climbing the hill means a peek at the Cathedral of Learning and a stroll (or wheeze) through a collection of college and vibrant urban neighbourhoods. That's my favourite part of the race.  It's also where the beer is at.


These are actual things. They have their own entire language here. Mr Rogers, the nicest guy in the world, is from Pittsburgh.  My best friends live here.  The friendliness I encounter just makes my heart happy.  Roads might be a bit of an exception to this rule - don't drive like a jagoff.

Sporty Things

Six Super Bowl titles, Four Stanley Cups, Five World Series titles.  The new Half route runs by all 3 venues, that's pretty awesome.  If I wasn't committed to 26.2 I would be all over it.  After running by, you can catch a Pirates game (with a spectacular view of the city) and hopefully a Pens playoff game.  This year is the Pens 50th anniversary which means I get extra pizza.  Just try to argue that with me.

Race Experience

Although this race is huge (30,000 finishers) it still feels personal.  Race day is extra special with people carting out parking chairs and signs all along the route. When they hand over your epic medal (and it is epic) you are officially a Runner of Steel. That's pretty awesome.  Also, one weekend, three medals.  Are yinz registered for The Steel Challenge yet?


There's a bunch of really interesting stuff that's all Pittsburgh - pierogies, fries on sandwiches, Clark bars (we're not going to talk about chipped chopped ham).  All of it tastes good.  After you collect a medal, you get a smiley cookie from my absolute favourite local diner Eat'n Park - winning!  Check out some actual food sites before you go, there's a huge variety of restaurants.  Or just eat pizza and wings and drink beer for 10 days like I'm going to do (...after the marathon).

This is so much more than just a race.

*I am an official blogger for The Pittsburgh Marathon however all thoughts and opinions are 100% my own.

Friday, February 3, 2017

The Jackpot 24hr Pre-Race Post

I'm two weeks out from the race so it's about time for my traditional pre-race post.  Soon I get to take on 24 hours of relentless forward motion - yay?!


Based on the sunrise times we are looking at:

8.5 hrs sun/light
13 hrs dark
2.5 hrs sun/light

That affects clothing choices quite a bit, we'll need to make sure we have packed enough warm stuff for all those night hours.


I have put in slow miles, cross trained, strength trained.  I would describe my training as 'unstructured'.  Think about your ideal training plan - this was not it.  I've been in a crappy place in my head since Christmas.  I know how important mental state is and every day I'm trying to get toward a positive place.  Feeling bad mentally = very tired physically.

I'm well over my goal weight but with no injuries/pain/issues.  I've tried extremely hard to get that weight off with very minor results so far.  Time to stop beating myself up and focus on the race.  I have visions of burning off 10 pounds while I'm out on the course.  That's realistic right?!


I've never run all day then made it into the night hours - see LSU DNF.  I want to prove to myself I can do it and that is my top goal.  Ideally I want to keep moving for 24 hours without long breaks.  As far as distance goes, anything over my personal long of 66k is a win but I really want that 100k.

I have no idea how I'll feel 15 or 20 hours in.  I imagine there will be a lot of pain and I'll be pissed off and I'll have to figure out a way to move through it all while also staying awake. Lazarus Lake once said if you can take even one more step then do it.  So that's the plan.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Hiking in the Rockies

Before finding my way to running I was an obsessed hiker.  As soon as Kev and I moved to Calgary we started heading up to the mountains every single weekend.  I was overweight and not remotely fit but I wasn't doing it for that.  It didn't matter.  I just wanted to see what was 'over there' 'around the bend' or 'above the ridge'.  The sheer beauty of being outside overtook any care I had about my breathing (or lack of) or how slow I was climbing hills.  I was totally irrelevant in all the vastness surrounding me, and how I loved that fact.

Now we can trail run and see even more of the mountains.  We've been covering then extending routes we used to hike, it's amazing.

This was one of our first trails....check the reports for warnings and snow info.  Late May at Rockbound.  It's a firm nope!

We've been up close with Grizzlies a few times on our treks.  The first encounter was very early on when we thought the little brown blob in the distance might be a moose.  After getting closer (we were on the way back to the car) you can imagine our surprise when a fecking enormous bear popped out of the trees and walked right by.  He didn't care about us at all but I'll never forget him.

The second time we noticed bushes rustling off to the side of the path then hello - the bear stood up on hind legs less than 5 metres away.  This is an amazing sight and absolutely terrifying.  I ignored any and all bear safety advice and ran like a bitch, leaving Kev behind to be eaten.  We always carry bear spray, but still.

These were taken from a distance, from the car.

Last year on a snowshoeing trip to Ribbon Falls we saw a Lynx for the first time.  He was beautiful. We didn't have a camera with us, just the crappy phone.  You can still make out his fluffy ears.

Seeing wildlife in its natural habitat is a privilege.  This is their world and I am only visiting.

My favourite area has to be Yoho National Park.  The Iceline and Lake O'Hara are so ridiculously beautiful - pure hiker porn.  This day was mostly cloudy then we had a hallelujah moment when the sun hit every lake for just a few minutes at exactly the right time.  Then we had fairly intense storms.  Can't have it all!

For extra time in the mountains, insert camping.

We have quite a bit of winter around here, you need to find a way to get out and enjoy it.  Presenting -  snowshoeing.

I call all this my mountain therapy, there's nothing like it.

Monday, January 16, 2017

12 Notes for 24 Hours

It's a month until my first 24 hour race, Beyond Limits Running's Jackpot weekend in Las Vegas. This is my 5th ultra start, only 1 has been outside Nevada so far (and it was my only DNF). Yeah I like it there quite a lot, it's typically warm and Vegas has all the things and then some you may need for recovery and/or celebration.

12 notes for 24

I don't have to worry about time cutoffs and technically completing just one loop takes away the possibility of DNF.  Both good things for my brain.

There are different ways to gauge success in a timed endurance event, for example moving forward as much as possible vs a set distance goal.  I like the perspective shift.

Fueling is easier when you're on a 2.something mile loop.  I'm going to stick with Nuun and real food the entire race.  We'll have a cooler at base camp and also race food at the aid station.

Hokas are happening (2 pairs of Cliftons) and many socks.  I'll wrap my feet if I feel any blister issues cropping up.  As we're on a short loop I can do this quickly.

I'm packing colourful fairy lights to put on our stuff at night so we can find it.

By 9pm on Sat we'll be on course with only the 48 hr and 100 mile runners. The 12 hr, 6 hr and marathon will be done.

I'm not taking a Garmin, I'll have an idea of how much distance I'm covering every 3 or 6 hours and go from there.  There's a board with lap details by the timing mat.  27 loops = 100k.

Cher is playing on Sunday night but I don't want to risk buying tickets then being in a state and unable to get to the show.  This is a first world problem.  But it's Cher.

When I did the 12 hr I was able to check tweets after the race to see where I was at and when, I also dropped my phone a number of times trying to type.  Same again?

I'm taking a handheld and my hydration pack so I can change it up.  Short breaks will scheduled to tie in with food, the race has pizza at 9 pm (pizza break!) then soup overnight.  BLR takes very good care of us.

Will I get tired and fall in the central pond?  Probably.

I'm glad there are so many different types of races out there, it enables you to refresh your challenges and your mindset year to year.  Running = never a dull moment.

It's going to be very different putting in 12 tiring hours then keeping on moving until 8am the next morning.  I'm interested to see how I handle that.  Watch this space, or the Twitter on Feb 18/19.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

RnR Winter Runningland Virtual Race Series

It gets pretty cold here in the winter... it's great to have some extra motivation to get outside and run, and by motivation I mean bling. I ran two sets of virtual runs in 2016, both by Rock n Roll. My medals aren't here yet for Runningland, but here's my Making a Band set from the summer.  The size and quality of the medal/ribbon is comparable to actual RnR race medals.  I was really impressed by that.

AND if you register for all 3 races there's a bonus medal.  Winning.

Winter Runningland was three 5k runs which is perfect for cold weather.  I ran all mine outside, though you have a date range to run in so I picked the less freezing days.

Winter Hat

Running Shoe


I need a pair of those actually.

Since my race schedule was done for the year the timing was perfect, though it would also be a fun series to add into a training plan.  If you want to complete a Rock n Roll race and save on airfare/hotel this is a huge win!  You can choose your day, then roads, treadmill or trails, pick a route and have fun with it.

*As a member of RocknBlog for 2016 I was given complimentary race entry, however all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Tunes Tuesday

I'm hanging out with Steff, Kim and Janelle today for Tunes Tuesday to share some of the random music on my running playlist.  I change things up a lot but there's a core I always keep, and some of it is a bit unusual.

I'm Scottish and this was a song for the England football team in 1998, but of course they lost so I'm allowed to like it.  It's a great tune.

Aqua = happy.  So much happy.

I sing along to this really loudly when I'm feeling crappy on the treadmill, it frightens the cats and my husband.

Those are 3 of my favourites, I'm always open to suggestions for new stuff and the quirkier the better!  Maybe one day I'll share Gunther with you, that's a real treat.

What kind of random tunes do you listen to?