Friday, August 26, 2016

ET - Beam Me Up!

ET51k 2016 is complete. This race became all about the journey, as it should. Very helpful when you're out there for 7+ hours. The picture was taken shortly after the 51k turnaround when I basically had the entire road to myself. Last time I don't think I captured the feel of that magical post-dawn painful beautiful stretch.

A long race gives me a full mental recharge, it's awesome. Tough physically but so worth it.

3 outstanding years and 107km of ET Highway!

Race report will be happening soon!

Thursday, August 11, 2016

My Fat, the Cat and Some Other Stuff

Hey everyone, it's Thursday!  I'm linking up with Amanda over at Running with Spoons to set all the random crap in my brain free, read the original post for more details and join us.

Huge weight loss fail.  I've managed almost 2 of an initially hopeful 7 lbs before Vegas. I'm going to stop stressing over it and get on with the running and the training and get my races done.  No matter what I'm doing the weight isn't really shifting.  Meh.

Pic in case it never happens again

Our small fuzzy family addition is doing just great.  She's been free to roam the house since Friday and though there's still hissing she's doing okay with her new kitty friends.  She's decided to start sleeping in the cat tree and we haven't noticed her hiding under the bed much.  Fingers crossed it keeps going well.  Last week she clawed me in the head then the next day jumped into my lap and fell asleep.  Because she is a cats.

I'm watching Mad Men on Netflix, it's fascinating.  Smoking, everyone, 24/7.  I remember going into restaurants as a kid and seeing all the smoke.  We're lucky that's not a thing anymore.  How can that ever have been okay?  Do what you want by all means, but not in my face.  My face will tell you to fuck off.

Did you know we have had a ridiculous amount of rain and thunderstorms in July and now into August?  Every weekend in the mountains we've either been rained on or dodged storms.  This is not typical of our summers at all.  It keep things interesting though, we've descended off ridges really fast lately, good training?  That being said, if it could please stop now that would be great.

It occurred to me that we're heading to Vegas in November just a couple of days after the election.  WON'T THAT BE INTERESTING?

Here's a thing someone sent me.  You're welcome.

Monday, August 8, 2016

The Pre-race Post for ET51k 2016


I'm past my longest mileage week and in less than 2 weeks I'll be standing in the desert at midnight waiting to run 51k. That's exciting!

My training has been a lot of time on feet on mountain trails with elevation alongside increasing road distance.  I've been hill and strength training but not speed training. It would have been easy to disregard roads during all of this but I would have regretted that.  I'm not the best at trail running and I think it's important to keep my distance and running in a good place.

The main purpose of the 50 is training for the 100. Having said that I still have goals.  Here they be:

C - finish the race within the 8hr cutoff
B - finish close to my last time 
A - run a PR (under 7:15)
A+ - under 7 hours

The first 13.1 miles of uphill is challenging, then the out and back from 20 miles to the finish can be deceptively long.  The sun rose over that portion when I ran in 2014 so it was staggeringly beautiful. That helped!  Getting past Rachel and not turning in to that alluring finish line at 20 miles is important. The entire course sits at elevation higher than Banff in the Rockies.  

The experience of this race is amazing, running through the desert at night with the full moon above you. Kev will be running his own race this year so I'll have to try not to drift off into traffic.  I'm happy he'll get the chance to see how the course feels at his own pace.

Most of all I think it's pretty cool that I get the chance to do this stuff.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Lake O'Hara Alpine Circuit

               Lake O'Hara Alpine Circuit     13 miles      1161m elevation gain     8 hrs (bus back out)

Lake O'Hara sits at the end of an 11km fire road. This year reservations for the bus were available online for the whole season (rather than by phone with gradual date availability).  I still missed the entire thing but honestly it's a nice trek in and you add a jaunty 11k and 430m to your day.

The forecast was for potential storms with rain likely at 3pm so our plan was to conquer the fire road as quickly as possible and ascend right away from O'Hara to Wiwaxy Gap (500m gain over 2km).

Lake O'Hara.

We sat for a few minutes then it was up, up, up.  The advantage to such a steep climb is the view constantly unfolding below.

There was a particular shot I wanted on this trail and I was hoping we'd get the sun for a few minutes since it seemed the clouds were rolling in.  Just as were climbing away from the view, the sun finally hit Lake Oesa.  Yes!

It's hard to capture how stunning this was.

The thunder started rolling as we hit the high point of the ridge so we descended fairly rapidly.  It became clear we were only going to get the edge of the storm as it stuck to the next valley south.  By the time we reached the Oesa overlook it was actually sunny again.

Since things were looking lovely on the weather front we crossed the Oesa outlet stream and picked up the next section of the Alpine Route - Yukness Ledges to Opabin Plateau.

This immediately rolled in to the north of us.  More thunder and lightning.

Somehow it stayed in the valley to the north.  Opabin is a lovely mix of trees and lakes.  We decided not to continue along the All Souls Route as the dark clouds were closing in rapidly.

Our weather luck finally ran out as we descended to O'Hara.  We sprinted to make the 4:30 bus through the pouring rain.  Luckily there were seats for us, though both buses were full after the campsite pickup.

It was a magical day.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Elk Lake and Petain Falls

Elk Lake/Petain Falls     19.5 miles      850m elevation gain     9.45 hrs (7.15 actually moving)

Never trust the weather in the mountains.  The start of this trail was very cold, grey and windy, then sun and rain mixed through the afternoon which was pretty much the opposite of the forecast.  Pack everything.

I hated the first hour or so until I warmed up, then we reached Fox Lake and things got better.  I mean how could they not?

As you descend to Elk Lake there are various avalanche runoff chutes which makes for flowery meadows.  I love these purple flowers.  Everything was soaking wet from recent rain on quite an overgrown trail so that added to the chill a bit.

Usually we cross a little bridge then follow the lakeshore near M6 but this area was taken out by the 2013 floods so there's a new trail (in purple) and brand new bridges further along.

The new route adds a bit of distance and elevation, but it felt like an adventure.  Upper Elk Lake is so peaceful and blue and bonus, we had the entire place to ourselves.

Curve into a valley after leaving the lake to find this view.  You can hear the waterfall quite a bit in advance.

We are surrounded by waterfalls, the ones on the left are coming straight off Castelnau glacier.  It's very hard to capture the scale in a photo.

Once again we are alone in the valley, so we explore a little further to the base of the Falls.

I like to refill my water about midway through, especially if there's a fast flowing river or waterfall (I add Aquatabs before drinking).  The wind blew the water right at me this time and I got soaked. Kev has a video which he thinks is funny.  I'm not posting it.

It was much warmer from this point on.  Unlike a lot of trails, you have to climb on the return but it was nice to split elevation between out and back.

After Fox Lake the trail crosses back into Alberta for the last little bit to the car park (downhill and great fun to run).  See you next time BC!

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Race Distance Change

We're all booked for Las Vegas in August but I've been delaying registering for the ET Half. Why? Well it's pretty clear looking at the current training plan the 51k just fits right in there.

So as of tonight that's what we're registered for. Officially.

Ultra #3. I'm between excited and wondering what the bollocks I've done. Either way, bring it on!

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

The Weekend - Prairie Mtn (and a kitty pic)

Training does not have to suck, and since a lot of our current training is mountain based we are definitely enjoying this journey.

I'm not sure how in all hell a person is supposed to feel 'ready' to take on 100k, but we're doing our best to get used to elevation gain and loss alongside keeping up our distance running on roads and pathways.

These views are from Saturday on Prairie Mountain, a quick 700m elevation trail closer to home.

Next week we're looking at a longer trail with decent distance and time on feet, so if the weather could sort it's shit out that would be just dandy.

The rest of the weekend was spent playing with the kit, she had a little haircut to get rid of the matty bits on her back and is much happier with life in general.  She looks a bit bedraggled though.  Wee thing!