Monday, May 10, 2010

A Weekend by the Numbers: 2 days, 3 runs, 1 Moose and 3 Moms

It's a good thing I like to run in the mountains. Training for a 100 Miler takes time, energy and motivation. It's crunch time: I'm squeezing in some back to back long runs and just getting time on my feet. For me, there is no program, no pace charts, no structure - I'm just running and recovering and repeating. That's it. I'm trying not to focus to much on the details, I'm just getting the miles in, on terrain specific to my race and enjoying the ride. If I had of given it some more thought, I wouldn't have changed a thing. How do you train for a 100 Miler? I don't know - it's a work in progress. I'll let you know in 4 weeks, but I think I've put in the miles and I know I can get it done.

My friend Kamren is training for his first Ultra and he's picked the 125km Death Race for his debut. He put together a wicked tough run on Saturday and got in 70km for the first time. He hurt a lot for the last 20km, and was asking the question: "if I hurt this much now, how on earth am I going to run 125km?!?" Naturally, the answer isn't straight forward and every day is different. But, he's getting his homework in - he's running long and his body is still getting used to that. Your body adapts, it changes, it gets stronger and it recovers more quickly. How you feel on any given day can depend on so much: did you sleep well the night before? did you eat enough during the run? did you take your electrolytes? did you pace yourself? what kind of terrain are you running? is your pace too fast? what about your head game? how are you feeling? what kind of mood? are you having fun? These are all things I'm still working on and it's an ongoing process. Everyone is different. And every run is different! That's the cool thing about ultras: the equation is always changing. What works, what doesn't, what you can change, how you can overcome. I'm still learning - but I've figured this out: an ultra is largely mental. While the physical stuff is really important, your brain game, your attitude, your mind can get you to the finish line.

Anyhow, enough of the rant - it's hard stuff to put into words and I've never been good at putting my thoughts into words. What about the run you say?

Run #1: the run was great! We started with a power-hike up Sulphur Mountain and then circumnavigated Mount Rundle for 56km. I felt pretty lousy for the tail end of this run - just plain old tired, but the mind was good. After the run, the same thing. Phew. Done. Me So Tired.

3 boys: Kamren, Mike and Clint

Kamren gets his Grrrr on.

This is how you suck it up.

Bighorn Sheep - far nimbler than us

Spray Lakes Road above Canmore

I got up early and made the drive from Banff to Kananaskis Country. I headed to Kananaskis Village so I could go for Run #2, before going for Sunday All-U-Can-Eat Mother's Day Brunch.

I love my Mummy and I love food. Happy Mother's Day special lady.

You mommy's out there continue to impress me - and you do something that I admire, even though I've never had any desire to do it: have kids and THEN put up with them. Go Mommy's! You have my utmost respect.

I'm a lucky girl because I have the best Mummy in the world. My mom was a runner as well, not a long distance girl, but a sprinter. Now her legs don't work so good and I think about her lots on my runs. I wish she could see all of the beautiful scenery that I get to see daily. At least I can share my pretty places with the help of the blog!

I've also got the bonus of another mom - my dad's been remarried for 25 years now and that patient and generous lady took us on as teenagers. Oh wait - there's a 3rd wonderful mom in my life, Keith's mom Rennie. These ladies are good people, giving, supportive, non-judgmental, loving and genuine. They sure are great Mom's.

So, Run #2. After spending Saturday enjoying completely dry trails all the way around Mount Rundle, I was surprised to find a whole lot of snow in Kananaskis Country. It was seriously bonkers.

There weren't ANY dry trails to be had. In fact, there wasn't any running either. I post-holed for 2 hours through crusty snow until my shins bled. Note to self: soft and fluffy goooood, hard and crusty baaad.

It was me and the bunnies out on the trail and the bunnies were definitely traveling faster, lighter and easier than me.

Silly Bunny.

There was an amazing amount of moose tracks, more moose footy prints than I've seen all winter! Actually, come to think of it I haven't seen ANY moose tracks all winter. In Banff, we have a healthy population of elk - but moose are not common in our area. Moose are frickin' huge and they scare the hell out of me. Shortly after I took this photo, I ran smack dab into a moose.

Needless to say, when this female moose came running out the woods, it scared the crap out of me! Trust me, she's bigger than the photo looks. I found myself a big tree to hide behind, pulled out my bear spray and pulled off the safety and held my breath.

Mama Moose - Happy Mother's Day lady and thanks for not charging me.

Eventually, she got off the trail and just disappeared into the woods. Moose are the color of the woods. I swear. You never see them with their 3 shades of brown. Eventually, I got brave, snuck out from behind the tree and continued post-holing, looking furtively over my shoulder, with bear spray still in hand.

There's humor where you least expect it.

I was almost late for brunch, because post-holing through shin deep snow always takes you longer than you think. I don't know how far I went, but I was tired and ready for some serious eating after my 2 hours. I did some damage to the buffet and it was delish.

It's not often that I get to Kananaskis, so I decided to do Run #3. A "bonus lap" on the shoreline of Barrier Lake, up to Jewel Pass and Barrier lookout and back down. Don't worry Mom - I left a note in my car on the dashboard with my destination and departure time "just in case." My mom has taught me well - you've always got to let somebody know where you're going. Either that, or I just let the criminals know how long they have to break in to my car before my impending return. I took my wallet just in case. :)

I'm so glad I did this bonus lap - I got half dry trail and half snowy trail, but it was significantly better than what I had earlier in the day. I ran the whole thing - but I lollygagged and took lots of photos. It was beautiful out there!

On the top of the mountain, I had a rare Canadian Wildlife sighting - even more special than the moose. Honestly, could this day get any better? There were 3 of them - music blaring and beers in hand, having a true Fubar wilderness moment.
Head Bangers. They were true blue, Kenora-dinner-jacket-wearin', weed smokin', rock and roll listenin', Pilsner drinkin', Canadian Head Bangers. Rock on dudes. I salute you. Thank-you for making my day even that much better, eh? But no thanks, I don't need the beer - maybe another day. :)

When you least expect it, Fubar.

On that note, I hoped you enjoyed my pretty photos as well as the most significantly disjointed blog post, ever! And remember: there's humor where you least expect it.


Kaz said...

Can't believe how much snow there is in places - actually I can - last time I was over your way it was May and 22 degress C the first day and the second we woke up to 1 foot of snow on the tent! BRRRRRRR! It was beautiful though - just like your photies.

You're so right about the head game for ultras (only done 1 but hope to change that after baby is born) I found that a smile on your face can blow a lot of fatigue away.

My dad gave me some of the best advice and I always try to remember it. He said: "No one is forcing you to do these things - you choose to do them because you like to run - so run and have fun!"

I think it is just so true - I have seen people get really hung up and negative before or during a race and I just think - why are you here - yes you get sore and tired, but that's the way it is - our bodies do, but aren't we lucky our bodies can do so!

I love your ethos on training too - get out and run and enjoy what you do - that's my attitude too. Once out, I will inject speed if I'm up for it etc, but unless I'm meeting friends or club to do speed I can find it pretty prescriptive and joy sapping!

When your doing your 100 miler I'll have reached 37 weeks and baby will be due any time. If you get tired - just think of me and I'm sure you'll be grand! HA HA!


Derrick said...

Not sure which was scarier...the moose or the headbangers. Cool to see both though. Sounds like a great weekend! Loved the photos.

Sara Montgomery said...

Loved this post! So much in there, I'm going to read it all over again now!

aka Moogy said...

Great photos and story!! Hope to visit the area soon.

Danni said...

Awesome!!! And I'm glad the moose did not charge. Scary.

Paige said...

This post made me smile. Good stuff! The headbanger sighting is awesomely hilarious. Think of all the things we'd miss out on if we weren't running all the time!

Anonymous said...

I don't think you have a hard time putting your thoughts into words. In fact, before I came to that sentence, I had copied down what you wrote about not having a structure to your running--very freeing! I ran my first 50 mile race last fall (the Helen Klein) and am thinking of tackling a 100 miler soon.

Loved your post.


Leslie said...

Hi Tam and thanks! It works for me - but like most folks and as a sort-of newbie, I always wonder if I'm doing ENOUGH.

Hey Kaz,
Yup, I'm hanging tight until July and August when the crazy beautiful high alpine trails open up - I can hardly wait for that snow to disappear!!

Glad to here all is going well with the wee one, I'll definitely be thinking of you. It's true, I'm doing these things for fun - and that's always the main goal. New places, new faces and max fun. :)

Hey D and Sarah!
And just Giv'r, eh?!?

Hi Moogy,
What's on your race card this year?
Does the military approve of the mullet as a hair cut?

Yo Danni.
Moose are big. I just read a cool article about a guy who believes there are moose in New Zealand. They were introduced in the early 1900's and he believes they still exist in this remote corner of Kiwi land. Very cool stuff.

Hiya Paige.
I'm thinking the rock and roll mullet might be a great look for you as well! It would go so well with the pearls. :)

JeffO said...

The only big difference I know between 100-mile training and shorter distances is you have to eat while you run - not just after. You have to eat through a 100. Too many get to a 100 and their stomachs can't hold the food, or small amounts of food in their stomachs makes them lethargic. Not used to running and digesting.

Great photos! But really, I can do without the moose-ass! Even my ass looks better than that!

Deanna Stoppler said...

Oh man, those dudes were too funny!

Anonymous said...

Les - Those guys are true westgate hosers...I think they went to Ernest Manning or St. Mikes. I'm running a 6km tommorow...nothing remotely close to a 100miler...maybe I'll slurp down a beer at the finish line. ROCK ON!

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