Monday, January 28, 2008

TransRockies Run Race Report

Here it is! My Race Report of the inaugural TransRockies Run.
It is long and it is 4 months late....but I had promised some of my running friends that I would write one up, so here it is:

I have a running hangover.

This is what happens when you run for 5 days in the Colorado Rockies. You should try it sometime! I had way too much fun. The TransRockies Run was a great running holiday, tour, adventure, whatever you want to call it.....I would definitely call it a good time and recommend it to ALL!

My trip to Colorado was very last minute and I had decided to go, only 3 weeks out! But I needed a partner, who could pull it off on short notice. Evidently, this was the first ever running race in North America that was a Stage Race where you run as a team of two! Who knew?? I love the partner idea for a few different reasons: safety in the backcountry and entertainment's always more fun with a friend! Knowing this, I asked my good friend the lovely and talented Iris to join me for some fun on the trails and she was very excited to take on Colorado, but eventually had to bow out with a cranky knee two weeks before race day. Bummer. So, I put it out there to a handful of runners I know to see if anyone could compete last minute. With only 10 days before race day, I came up with my partner: a local guy by the name of Steven Miller. Steve was one of those guys in the Bow Valley who was always out there running around in the woods and most importantly, he was STOKED about the idea of running for 5 days. He seemed like a sweetheart too, so I lured him in with my evil plan and signed him up: Team Banff Trail Trash was going to toe the start line.

I love a good roadtrip and Steve had no the decision was made for us to drive to Colorado. It was also a great way to get to know each other, because Steve and I had spent little time together socially. Read: never. And so begins the 9 day get-to-know-each-other-roadtrip-run-sleep-together-in-tent-experiment. I love my husband. He lets me go on roadtrips with complete uber-athlete strangers. Now that's a secure man! We got up early, and spent the day driving across Montana. Lots of people....Great sky' Our day ends in Pocatello, Idaho where we score with the Ultimate American Buffet Restaurant.... every car in Pocatello was parked there so we decided it was THE place to eat! The All U Can Eat left us happy and bewildered simultaneously. Steve and I toured the buffet mesmerized at the prospect of Steaks, Ribs, Salad, Veg, Pasta, Roast Beef, Burgers, Roast Chicken, Fried Chicken, Curried Chicken.......and then there was the dessert...phew! I love food!

Next day we cruised through Salt Lake into the mountains and into Red Rock and mesas and buttes....I'm still not sure what a Mesa and a Butte are, but I know we passed a few. We arrived in Colorado and rolled into Beaver Creek before you could say "Beaver Liquor".....yes, it is the name of the local liquor store and yes, they sell T-shirts. Beaver Liquor. Hey-hey. That is pretty funny. We settled in to relax before the race mayhem...

We are greeted by a sweet German girl named Steffi, who evidently knows my husband. He made a lot of new friends working at the Trans Rockies Bike Race. The German girl asks me..."Ver ist uur hoosband?" Then she looks at Steve and says...."who are yooo...yoo must be her luv-errr!" Steve is I give him a hug and say "Yes! My new boyfriend!" I have known him for 48 hours and he has the good nature to blush.

We are issued one large duffel bag to put all of our weeks worth of gear in. I attempt to stuff all of my belongings into one duffel bag. Sleeping bag. Extra thick sleeping pad. Running clothes. Cozy clothes. Cold weather clothes. Rainwear. Socks. Lots of socks. I pack. I repack. Steve makes fun of me. His bag is half empty. He has brought what looks like....nothing. He was a treeplanter in a past I figure he is probably O.K with stinky base layers. But I still have to sleep with him in a tent every night.

Pre Race Shenanigans
We arrive at the Beaver Creek Resort Parkade and are confused when we see a couple of guys in Mission Impossible outfits carrying paint ball guns?!? When we meet up with Aaron, the race organiser over breakfast, he tells us there is a marauding black bear in the parkade....and this is how they deal with bears. Earlier that morning, he had taken the elevator down to the parkade, and when the doors opened, there was a bear! Waiting! For a lift?! Maybe for breakfast? We will never know for sure. We are up early to catch the breakfast at a slope side restaurant at the shiny Beaver Creek Resort before the race starts. It is all so civilised!! It is all part of the race package so I enjoy some bacon and eggs...and sit back with a coffee to people watch. An hour later I have a second breakfast. More athlete friendly this time...bagels and bananas and bacon. Did I mention the bacon? Over breakfast, we meet up with the race owners and the race organisers both of whom are friends. We see Doone and Tim Watson of Calgary, and the Canmore Girls: Tannis and Laura. We see my friend Elinor who has come to run for Trail Runner Magazine where she is associate editor. We see my friend Charlotte and her partner Pam: we went to Junior High School together! We see Dan Seto an ex-Banff Bike shop owner and friend of Steves from years gone by. Everyone is getting anxious and jittery and keen to start. There are many friends of past present and future. It is going to be a great week!!

Day 1 Beaver Creek to Vail 15.1 miles

Race Start! Wooohoo! Finally, it begins. We have come a long way to run and we are keen to get at it. That and we have been drinking coffee for 2 hours. We are jostled into a starting corral and the music is blaring with AC\DC's Highway to Hell.....and finally....WE ARE OFF!! The trail takes us on a tour of the Beaver Creek ski hill and we get a glimpse of the front runners. They look to be two thirteen year old brothers and they have take their shirts off. We nickname them the Naked Boys. They are tall, skinny, FAST and naked. This is the last we see of them. We get a great tour of the ski hill: the views are gorgeous, the colours are changing and there is bears shit everywhere. I feel at home! We descend down from the mountain into town where we have to endure a substantial bit of road running to get us out of town....and we pass the Beaver Liquors and as an extra bonus: the Beaver Divers (a local dive shop). Too funny. Steve is taking photos and running with his camera. We are cruising comfortably and having fun when we hit the first Aid Station and some more gravel road before finally hitting the singletrack and our first big climb. Fifteen minutes into my effort, I begin to feel a wee bit dizzy. Then, seemingly out of nowhere: nausea, dizziness, and heavy legs and arms. Even with my poles I feel like I am staggering. Steve takes my hydration pack for me - it seems to help, but I am definitely getting my ass kicked by the elevation. It is a simple climb, but it is feeling monumental! I am suffering. The cobwebs begin to clear from my brain and body a little ways from the top and the finish line and I feel a bit better. A massive storm has followed us up the mountain and just as we roll into the finish line, it descends. Winds, hail and rain are pounding the top of Vail Mountain and half of the field is is still out there! I am feeling fortunate to be cozy and warm inside of the gondola station where we wait for the storm to pass. We get to visit with Laura and Tannis and Doone and Tim. I am reassured when I hear tales of other people suffering as well....I wasn't sure what exactly was wrong with me, but I am assured it is only the elevation. I try not to panic about the upcoming days.

The Daily Grind
It has been a long day, but I manage to do a few things that will eventually become my daily ritual. I eat, I find a creek to submerge my legs in, I take a hot shower, and then, I nap. Steve and I decide that NAP time is the BEST time of the day. Then I try and get my shit together and organise my gear for the next day. Following that, we hit the dinner tent to gorge ourselves and post-dinner, we enjoy a daily celebration of the days events: a slide show of pictures of the day, video clips and awards presentations for the stage winners of each day. We also get a briefing on the next days course. Laura and Tannis are THRILLED to find themselves on the podium....they have finished the day in second place for the ladies teams! The food is AMAZING and the daily celebration is a great way to end each day. As we wrap up the celebration it starts to rain. It storms all night and it is good one: deafening thunder claps and sheet of rain hammer the tent.

Day 2 Vail to Pando - 19 miles

5:50 AM. It is early and Steve and I need COFFEE!! This is our coping strategy in the AM. We have the coffee first, and then everything else will fall in to place. We wake up to find the rain is still pounding and the soccer field in which we are camped is a giant sponge. I have brought a giant umbrella - and we huddle under it and dash to find some coffee, eat some breakfast and try and stay warm. Already at 6:00AM the food is waiting for us and again, it is superb. We are starting at the top of Vail Mountain today and are required to take the gondola to the summit....but the weather is causing mayhem. There is wind, rain and lightening. When the sun comes up we discover there is also snow! Woohoo! This excites Steve and I who both enjoy cool temperatures and a little adversity. Over at the gondola station we are delayed: wind and lightening are not good! So we wait...Steve and I find a quiet corner, sit back and try and relax. Some of the athletes are definitely getting cold and cranky. An hour later when we bust out the salty potatoes and other treats from breakfast that we have horded our fellow runner are looking ravenous and jealous. Finally: word comes down that the course will be modified due to the gondola delays and a major ascent and descent will be cut from the course. By the time we all get to the top of the gondola station it is 10:30 we had breakfast at 6:00 and we have been sitting on our butts for a couple of hours. There is an inch of snow to greet us up top and we are excited when the show finally gets rolling. We start off climbing up a ridge from the top of Vail and I strip off my layers rapidly as we heat up. Every now and then the clouds lift to expose some massive snow capped mountains. The temperature is perfect and the wind had died completely and it is very calm. Steve is keen to get some good photos and keeps running ahead and taking pictures of us all. I don't think he has cracked a sweat yet and he looks deliriously happy running through the snow which is getting deeper as we climb. I am thrilled to be feeling great and more like my normal self. Out on the course we see Glen Crawford and Dan Hudson - who are out filming us - they are both Canmore boys and I enjoy seeing them out there every day. I juggle some snowballs for Glen at the top of the mountain as the clouds begin to clear and the sun comes out!

We are having lots of fun and the running is great as it turns into singletrack and then twists and turns its way up the mountain. The snow turns to slush and mud as we start a rolling descent and then ascent. Up down up down. Love it! We spend at least an hour ripping through the forest without seeing any other runners - it almost feels like home. We finally hit a fire road where we descend all the way from valley top to valley floor...and all the way to the finish line. At camp, there is soup on to tide us over to dinner, and we receive a little prezzie: dry cushy socks and some chocolate. How cool is that?? The Pando Camp is awesome: we are camped in the bush, the fall colours are changing and we are treated to afternoon sun for our nap. There are foot baths and massage available and there is a big fire going and people are gathering. It is also peaceful and quiet and we enjoy a quality nights sleep. We enjoy a taste of rural Colorado at its finest...

Day 3 - Pando to Leadville 24 Miles

5:50 AM. The tent is frozen shut with frost. We get a snow shower getting out of the tent and we need our new socks to keep our frozen toes cozy. The organizers get the bonfire roaring to offer up some warmth as we gather for the start. The naked boys are huddled by the fire to keep warm. They are skinny and cold and vulnerable. But they have won every stage so far and appear to be unaffected! It is a gorgeous frosty morning when we start off our morning run! The first few kilometres are on a flat gravel road but soon we hit the goods: some sweet and scenic singletrack, rolling and twisting and climbing. We cross one highway, where there is a police officer working traffic control...I give him a hug and Steve gets the photo. An hour and a half into a most enjoyable digestive system self destructs. My legs are fine, but.....ooooooo, my belly is NOT. It takes me the rest of the day to get over "the bellies" and I seem to be "pit-stopping" more than I am running. By the time we hit the last 10k, I am over it. I take off for the last 10k to redeem myself and we pass quite a few people along the way. It's a loooooong day and I am glad to reach Leadville. When we cross the finish line we are presented with another prezzie: a great Timex watch! What a nice surprise. But I am starving when I get to Leadville and I need real food and I need it NOW. I run an extra kilometre to get to town and buy a sandwich, still covered in mud and still wearing my running skirt. I get a few strange looks because it is evident that nobody knows there is a race in town!

Day 4 - Turquoise Lake to Chapman Campground 28.3 miles

The night is cccccccold in can tell this is a high mountain town! I sleep in most of my layers just to keep warm in my lightweight sleeping bag. We start the day with a shuttle to the beautiful Turquoise Lake, outside of Leadville. Today's course profile is basically up for 10 miles and down for 20 miles. At the top is Haggerman Pass at 11925 feet! It is a calm, beautiful day when we depart from Turquoise Lake and begin climbing on the fire road. Lots of people are power walking, myself included....and the top of the pass comes quickly.

The biggest challenge of the day is actually the descent for most people: 20 miles of descending?? When do you ever run downhill for almost 20 MILES?!? We pass team after team on the descent....there are people walking on the downhill their legs are so trashed. Fortunately, we are feeling good and rock the descent. It is getting hot though and I drain my bladder and run for a long stretch with no water. It feels like a long time when we finally hit the aid station and I get to soak my head and re-fuel. When I hit the finish line I run straight to the lake and jump in. My legs appreciate it. I find a luscious cold creek to soak my legs in and it definitely is key when you are doing stage races! The campground is beautiful, the company is great and are across the finish line early enough to enjoy the afternoon sun. I can't stop eating and I am sleeping like a baby in the tent.....with the aid of a handful of ibuprofen to ease the achey-painees.

Day 5 - Basalt to Aspen 18.25 miles

At the meeting the night before, we learn we are going to be running the entire distance into Aspen and the finish line on a bike path. Ouch! I haven't run a mile on asphalt in years!! But I don't is JUST an easy 18.25 miles rockin' the bike path and it is scenic and pretty. How hard can it be?? We have a fun last day and get to spend one final day on the trail with all of the nice people we met during the last 4 days....this is a wickedly social race! How could it not be?? You end up racing with a lot of the same people daily who are going the same get to have communal breakfasts and dinners and camp out....and you get to meet trail runners from all over the world. We enjoyed the company of crazy Brits, flatlanders from Louisiana, cigarette smoking Germans and ya know....quite a good collection of Canadians, eh? We enjoyed one last run through a little waterfall/creek beside the bike path, took some more photos, mooned a few unsuspecting runners.....and made it to the finish line happy and smiling. Steve was a superstar: not only did he NEVER complain, he was great company, ran my pace and ran for five days holding his camera....did I mention it was a HUGE camera? He really was on the 5 day photo tour while I was on the TransRockies Run. It is a great feeling to be finished and Steve and I are pretty elated/stoked/happy and tired....Banff Trail Trash not only finished, but finished strong, happy and comfortably! The TransRockies staffers and volunteers made us all feel like rockstars and made everyone feel like they were part of something very special. And we were. The scenery was great, the food was awesome and I enjoyed 5 days of running with my buddy AND met some new friends along the way! What can I say? TransRockies Rocks: you should go do it.
Don't tell anyone....we pilfered the flowers from an obscenely large Aspen vacation home on route to the finish! Ya got to stop and smell the flowers!

For our last night together, the TransRockies crew has put together the perfect ending to our week. The have organised the ultimate runners party: a big yummy dinner, awards presentations, finishers jerseys and certificates for ALL...a mini-movie and slide show documenting our 5 days of fun and most importantly, a bed in a hotel in Aspen at the end of the night!! Exactly what I need after my five days of running in the Colorado Rockies!

See photos here of Banff Trail Trash at the TransRockies Run.

The Cold has Arrived

We have been spoiled for so long with good weather, that I had alomost forgotten what winter was like....until this morning. I left my house this morning for the usual lovely walk and was ASSAULTED by the cold weather! It was -30c (-22F) which woke me up rather quickly!

Yesterday upon hearing that there was some cccccold weather due to arrive, I snuck in a last run before I go hibernate for a few days. There was fresh snow up on Tunnel Mountain which gave me a little challenge as I practiced my uphill with 4 trips up and down.

In honour of the crappy weather, I present to you my friend Steve's collection of fantastic mountain photos entitled the Rock and Ice Collection. A lot of these were taken on summer and fall trail runs! Enjoy!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Chandra Crawford rocks!!

After a fantastic long run in the sun yesterday, I decided to take a day off. I wanted to go see a cross country ski race at the Canmore Nordic Centre. There was a World Cup event taking place in Canmore this week: the best skiiers in the world had gathered to race and I wanted to catch the action and excitement! If you ever want to get inspired, just go see athletes of that caliber in action. It was so AWESOME!

These athletes are beautiful to look at: big shouders, strong butts and huge quads. And three lungs.....yeah....they have 3 lungs! I swear! They would make great ultramarathoners....

So yesterday, I got to catch the sprint races and the speed that they were going just blew me away. It is an elimination race, just like with track and field heats and finals. Fast and exciting! The fastest two from each heat get to go to the semi finals and then the finals. Power and grace and speed all in one package. Despite Canada being a winter nation....we are not exactly known as a cross country ski power house! But the past few years, we have had a few success stories and there is definately some momentum building in the ski community.

Who is Chandra Crawford? Chandra is a local girl who came from nowhere and WON a gold medal at the Torino Olympics. She was a 4 yr. old when the Olympics rolled through Canmore back in 1988....growing up in a house on the trail system not far from the nordic centre. And yesterday, she bust it out AGAIN and won her first World Cup Race in her home town, on her home course in Canmore. See the CBC is a very cool story. I cried my eyes out (discreetly and under my sunglasses - I am Canadian after all!) and was jumping up and down and screaming my lungs out when she crossed the finish line. Chandra Crawford rocks!

Friday, January 25, 2008

It's a Beautiful Day!

Woke up to yet another clear and sunny day and the weekend forcast is not so nice, so I decided to get my long run over and done with. The joy of running on a Friday: 4 hours on the trail and I saw only3 people! I was also loving up the solo run with the Ipod today. When U2's "It's a Beautiful Day" came on, I couldn't agree more! I was singing out LOUD because there was nobody around to hear me......

Thursday, January 24, 2008


I took these photos while walking to work this morning: this is my daily commute! How do ya like it???

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Full Moon Run

I have a little thing I do in the garage called.... "bicycling to nowhere" is a mid winter coping strategy! We haven't had T.V for about 7 years, so last year I was a little surprised when my husband came home with a huge flat screen television. He promptly set it up in the GARAGE and assembled our bicycles and trainers in front of it. Nice! So now, we "bicycle to nowhere" and occassionally have special guests over to join us and watch movies. Last night my friend Michelle came over, she is training for her first half Ironman and is a regular at the garage, aka. Keith's Spin Gym. She brought over four quality episodes of "My Name is Earl" and I laughed my ass off! If you are going to watch might as well be without the commercials and this funny!

After the hour and a half of cycling and saying goodbye to Michelle, I looked out my big side window in my house and the moon was FULL over the mountains and the sky was clear: it was so beautiful. You could see everything!! So I changed, put on my runners and went for a Full Moon Run. I ran to the top of Tunnel Mountain (again...) but this time it was extra special the light was so bright off the snow I didn't even need my head lamp. It was -15c and windy out. The wind in the trees scared me a few times, but I kept going up, up, up and when I got to the top I HOWLED and then I turned around for the fun descent home. Weeeeeee!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

3 Days of Fun

Top of Tunnel Jan.20th

"What a great way to jumpstart the weekend: powder, clear sky and good friends!"

Friday AM: Prompted by a dusting of snow the night before, Keith and I decided to head to Sunshine and make some resort powder turns! We get up early and are up at the daylodge having coffee before anyone else has arrived. Keith is heading to Sorceror Lodge for a week of skiing, so it was a last chance to make some turns with my honey before he leaves town for the week. When we arrived at the hill not only was there freshies, the visibility was clear AND my favorite ski friends Dave and Brenda were in the day lodge putting on their boots! What a great way to jumpstart the weekend: powder, clear sky and good friends. We had already made 6 runs before the rest of the world arrived at the hill.

Friday PM: A girl still needs her trail easy 1 hour stretch the legs out on the Spray River Trail.

Spray River Loop Trail Jan. 18

Saturday: "The Double Duty" X-Country Ski for 2 hours/lunch/Run Up Sulphur 3.5 hours

My friend Mike was the only taker in the "Double Duty" so I met up with him and his wife Ida for a sweet little two hour ski. It started to snow big fluffy flakes as we headed out. Mike was kind to me and went my speed. I am a complete hack on my classic skis.....but my lack of technique makes for a great workout! Charged home for a quick feed and was joined by Mike, Steve and special guest Iris for the PM run. The new snow that had fallen this week gave us a little more challenge than usual: as we climbed it got DEEP! Still made it to the summit and it made for an extra fun descent and a longer run of 3.5 hours. See Mikes photos. Iris and I had a hot tub, threw together a yummy post exercise feast and chatted until we couldn't keep our eyes open any more. Early to bed....

Sunday: Early to rise! When I looked out the window this morning it was a perfect winter day with a clear blue sky and got me over my yesterdays aches and pains and out the door to meet with Steve for my long run. What a day. Ran Vermillion Lake Road in the beautiful sun....looped back through town and then rewarded ourselves with a little sweeeet trail run behind Tunnel Mountain. I sure was glad for the company today....because I was feeling a wee bit tired! 3 hours run time......phew!

For information on the Tunnel Mountain Trail, the Spray River Loop or the Sulphur Mountain Trail see the Banff National Park trail guide.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Planning for 2008

So......looking towards 2008 I have committed to a few races:
  1. Orcas Island Fat Ass 50k. Located in the most beautiful state park. Love the Golf Islands! A good excuse to get out of town.
  2. Miwok 100k. Love California! A really good excuse to get out of town. Especially in May. When you live in Banff.
  3. Blackfoot Ultra 50k. A post Miwok effort and a good excuse to get out of town. That and all of the friends are going. We will have a 4 person Banff Trail Trash contingent!
  4. Powderface 42. Love this race! A kick ass marathon on all singled track. Hope to speed it up this year!
  5. The Canadian Death Race. Support crew. Sometimes you just have to give back the love!
  6. After that......summer is short! I just want to hit some special trails in the National Park, and am planning something long and epic....I just need to give it a name.

Skoki Lodge

This is the look of a happy girl!

That is what a few days in the backcountry will do for you....make you silly and happy! I love stomping around in the forest and the for my 39th birthday Keith and I decided to head to Skoki Lodge. Ever heard of Skoki Lodge?

It is small historic lodge located in the backcountry of the Lake Louise area. What makes it special is its jaw dropping scenery and that it is only accessible by foot: you go in by a 11km ski in winter or hike in summer. I thought it would be a great place to spend my birthday and enjoy 4 days of ski touring and it was. You can only run so much in winter! The ski in is challenging for most and exceptionally beautiful. You spend a little time in the forest gradually climbing and then cresting the first pass where the views open up. Then you cross a frozen lake and climb up another pass to begin a fun descent into the Skoki area. I was generating so much heat working my way up the pass, I didn't need my toque!

The view on Deception Pass is what greets you as you work you way towards the lodge.....a little work for a lot of reward:

Arriving at the lodge.....Helllllooooooo Skoki! Keith in action earning his lunch!

At the lodge, things are pretty simple yet quite luxurious. There is no running water and limited electricity! A very pioneer ambience. Let me give you a visual: a group of happy exhausted skiiers gathered around a big wood table, a feast on the table, a cozy log cabin lit by candles and oil lamps, a wood fire roaring in the fire place. Sounds good, doesn't it? That's Skoki.

We were lucky to get exceptional weather, warm temperatures and clear skies. The first day we skiied in, the second day we made some turns, the 3rd day we went on an awesome long tour - a circumnavigation of the very beautiful Fossil Mountain - and day 4 we skiied out. In between we were treated to some fantastic meals, met some great people and were treated to some genuine hospitality by Katie the lodge manager and her crew.

Skoki worked its magic: I enjoyed some good times with Keith, got some great exercise in a beautiful place, ate like a queen and left feeling rejuvenated, happy, inspired and motivated! That's the power of beautiful mountain places.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

The Local Wildlife

Le Wapati!
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Le Wapati

One of the joys of living in a National Park is an abundance of wildlife and probably the most common sighting in Banff is the elk. I like to call them by their french name sometimes just because it sounds cool......le wapiti = the elk. It is much cooler en francais, isn't it?? Anyhow, these critters are HUGE and when you spend as much time as me on the trails, you tend to have the occasional run in! Today I had some excitement because I ran into not one, but two HERDS of elk! The first herd scared the crap out of me and they were at a really narrow part of the trail between a big cliff and a river. My fault, I wasn't paying attention and ran right up on them. I had to take cover behind a big tree while they decided if they wanted to move on or not. Eventually they did, but I thought for awhile I was going to have to make a major detour. Not half and hour later I ran into another herd.....these guys saw me coming and were nice enough to pose for me!

Monday, January 7, 2008

Miwok Madness!!

Another great weekend in the Rockies: I had a day of ski touring, a couple wee runs and a nice long run from Johnson's Canyon to Banff with my running crew. But the real excitement came on Sunday morning, when I committed and registered for my first Ultra - the Miwok 100k!
I have been wanting to do my first 100km race for a long time. I thought about doing it locally, as we do have some great races here in Alberta: The Blackfoot Ultra, The Death Race and the Lost Soul Ultra were all viable options....but none of them got me EXCITED. I kept looking at all of the other great offerings all over North America and I kept coming back to one race: the Miwok 100k! It has everything I was looking for: a mostly local race, beautiful scenery, lots of up and down in a corner of California I have wanted to explore. So I decided it was time to realize the goal and do it sooner than I registered. I am stoked! My friend and Alberta Ultra Triple finisher Jen Silverthorn has been wanting to do this race for some time as well....but the race apparently sold out in less than an hour and she did not get in! Evidently, I am a lucky girl but I sure wish my friend could make the trip out as well.
As always, I enjoyed my weekend with one day skiing, one day running and one day socializing. What can I say? I am a well rounded girl. On Friday we went up to Sunshine Meadows to Rock Isle Lake. This place is one of my favorites in summer and it sure looks different in winter! I love that I get to enjoy this beautiful place in all seasons.

Sunshine Meadows with Laura

On Saturday, I gathered with the trail running friends for a run and I sucked it up and ran on a ROAD for 26km. Can't remember the last time I ran on a road.....really, it has been months. Fortunately, the road was covered in nice packed snow, no traffic and some great views! As we started off on the highway at possibly the narrowest part of the road, this came around the corner:

Remember the Simpsons episode where Homer gets to be a snow plow driver?? That's what I was thinking when this guy almost ran us down!!

Notice the freshly plowed road!! And yes, the tree is in the middle of the road.

It was pretty funny, and we all got a wee bit of snow in the running shoes diving off the road and into the snowbank. And no run would be complete without a little bit of adventure....a little offroading and a little animal underpass. What is an animal underpass you say?? Well, here in the National Park we take good care of our critters and have built them both underpasses and overpasses where they can cross safely across the highway. It keeps us safe from wildlife on the highway as well!

Coming back into town, we got some great views of Mount Rundle and someone had built an igloo on the shore of Vermillion Lakes. Maybe I'll dig out my headlamp and head out there later....

Brenda, Steven and Mike bringin' it home!

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Life is Good!

JRA - Just Running Along: Mount Rundle in the background on my long run day.

Life is good! In the past week I managed to get out for a day of ski touring with my hubby and some friends, a day of snowshoeing with my friend Maureen from Vancouver, a night-time hike to bring in the New Year, and of course.....the mandatory long run of three and a half hours of time on the (snowy) trails.

This is me making sweeeeeet turns near Crowfoot Glacier on the Icefields Parkway. We hiked for a couple of hours to earn these turns.....and it was well worth the effort!!


This is my hubby Keith, isn't he cute?

We made our friend Maureen smile a lot - she needs to get outside more often!! Our snowshoeing trip was in Kootenay National Park about half and hour from Banff.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year! Doesn't time fly when you are having fun?? On New Year's Eve myself and my hubby and 3 friends hiked to the top of a small mountain to bring in the New Year. This is the second year in a row we have done this and I think it is a ritual that is going to stay. It is always fun to put on the headlamp and venture out onto the trails in the dark, don't you think?? Therefore, my New Year's resolution is to try and get out with the headlamp more often....and start having Full Moon runs! I've been talking about doing this for years, but basically it is just a good excuse to gather the friends for a night run. Full moon runs in wintertime are the best and the amount of light you get with all of the snow AND moonlight makes for a very cool experience.