Spartan Update!

Photos from my Spartan Sprint (5km) on August 18th!

Photos from Jamie’s Spartan Super (~14km) on September 7th! You better click to see the full photos – he is hiding in his finisher pic😉

July & August update

Been a pretty fun couple months!

  • Ran the Stampede Road Race 10k with my buddy, Paula – it was a nice, relaxing, sunny run
  • Ran the Red Deer Mud Hero 6k with Paula, my sister Robin, and my husband – Mud Hero this year was much tougher than last year!
  • Then finished off by running solo in the Spartan Sprint 5k – not a good idea – but it was still fun

Just trying to enjoy myself while I work with the doctor to figure out my energy system issues. Sure is tough to keep your chin up when diligent training results in either plateauing on regression – but I keep reminding myself that at least I can do it at all!

Paula & Jen enjoying the Stampede Road Race

Paula & Jen enjoying the Stampede Road Race

Jen & Paula crossing the finish line @ the Stampede Road Race

Jen & Paula crossing the finish line @ the Stampede Road Race

Paula, Jen, and Robin pose before Mud Hero. Unfortunately there are no 'after' photos.

Paula, Jen, and Robin pose before Mud Hero. Unfortunately there are no ‘after’ photos.


Tough Mudder Report!

Oh. My. God. THAT was fun.

~17km of mud, blood, water, sweat, and teamwork.

Our team, Nerf Herders, was AWESOME! Thanks Glenn, Dan, Mark, Chris, and Jamie for helping me through some killer obstacles😀

(I tried to make this as short as possible, but a 17km course with 20 obstacles makes for a length post! I bolded all the Obstacle Names so you can skim over if you choose)

Just like they warn you, we got covered in mud within the first couple Kilometres at Kiss of Mud. But don’t fret, we got a nice rinse through Arctic Enema – a 1 degree Celsius tub of ice & water up to your chest that knocks the fucking wind right out of you. Holy shit. The dudes with the bull horns yelling at you to keep moving are necessary – because you pretty much lose your shit in that one; but I still loved it!  Carry on to Bush Wacked, which was a steep descent through heavily wooded and mudded terrain. Run some more, and arrive at Warrior Carry – piggy back your buddy ~50m; Jamie piggybacked me, and then I piggybacked Jamie – see ya lata quads. Run some more, and we find Glory Blades… 12′ walls on 60* angle – angled towards you. Run, run, run and get stuck @ the 30min bottleneck of some unlabeled Ice Hill type obstacle. We stood. And we waited. People tried to go around, but you just couldn’t! Finally made it through that boring one and got to Log Jammin’ – a series of logs of various widths and heights forcing you to climb over or go under via strategically places Barbed Wire. Next was Trench Warfare – which was several mud hurdles and mud pools – super muddy and super fun. Then we got to Firewalker – which was a bunch of cinder blocks filled with burning wood – flames got as high as a foot – you had to jump over the flames into a pool of water; that one was really fun, too! Run, run, run; trek through Mud Mile; run, run, run and arrive at Ladder to Hell – a 20′ ladder with rungs about 4′ apart. Run a whole bunch more to Electric Eel – a shallow pool of water you crawl through with live wires dangling above you; somehow I managed to only get shocked once, while Jamie got shocked a gazillion times and was a little ‘out of it’ afterwards. Run run run again, then pick up a large log at Hold Your Wood and carry it for a few hundred metres. Then, my favorite obstacle – Walk the Plank. This is a 15′ platform you jump off of into a deep pool of water. It sounds easy enough, until it is your turn: I got up there, waited for my go-ahead from the volunteer dude, freaked the fuck out, suppressed the freak out, and jumped – all in a matter of about 2 seconds. Then it was over. What a rush; sweet. Run again; watch a lot of people get heat blankets (it was friggin’ cold!) – I didn’t need one since I overheat at the drop of a hat. Then we found Boa Constrictor – a 20′ culvert tube descending into water and then another 20′ culvert tube ascending out of the water; there is nothing to really hold onto – I got stuck in this one!! I’m sure I could have eventually wriggled out of it, but it would have taken another few minutes – hubby grabbed my arm and yanked me out.   Next was Funky Monkey – greased, ascending monkey bars; Mark on our team (who did TM last year) called it the “1-2-Swim”; and that it was. I didn’t even get to swing to 1 bar before I slipped right into the water below.  Then… Then there is Everest: a greased 1/4 pipe. Dan and Jamie managed Everest – which was great – it meant I had 2 team mates waiting to help me up; I ran up that mo-fo and grabbed onto their hands. The 3 of us gave it all we had to pull me up; I got 1 foot up onto the ledge; but by that time my shoulders, back, and core were done. I let go with the intention of trying it again but when I stood up at the bottom, I realized I was shaking – I gave that thing all I had! I would have needed a good 5-min recovery to be able to attempt again, so I said Fuck it and walked around it😦 This obstacle was the one that scared me the most about TM, and the one that made me want to sign up for TM – definitely a let down. It was after that failure that ‘sealed the deal’ in my mind to do another TM.  Next was Berlin Walls. 12′ walls. Stronger, more coordinated folks ran at those things, pounced off the small 1″ step and hoisted themselves over. Us weaker, less-coordinated people had our buddies hoist us up and then we hoisted ourselves over. I totally bailed on the other side, it was awesome. And then we did another one. This time I climbed over the top a lot slower so I wouldn’t bail again. And finally, we arrived at Electroshock Therapy – the last obstacle at the Finish Line – a 20′ long obstacle of dangling live wires for you to run through. Yet again, I only got shocked once.

We crossed the finish line, and we were done. Just like that. Tough Mudder is not timed. They remind you again and again – it is not a race, it is a challenge. And you even pledge before you start “I will put my team ahead of my course time.” It took us 4:45; we had 1 team member with a really rough start to the run, and another team member busted his knee somewhere ~4-6km from the finish. For context: faster teams with no injuries finished in as little as 2:30.

Jamie wore the GoPro camera on his wrist, and got some cool pics! The GoPro fared relatively well in the super muddy/wet course.


3 More Sleeps

Just 3 more sleeps to the big day!

Last weekend we embarked on our last training run. It was not a good one. I definitely found my limit regarding my body-chemistry issues. We headed out to Allen Bill pond to run towards West Bragg Creek. As soon as we started running, I felt the exhaustion and tiredness; and the moment I got about 10 steps up the first hill, my legs were on fire, stiff, and lacking mobility. I managed to barely muscle through it (we cut it short); the dip in the river afterwards was numbing but great.

Since Saturday, I have focused on recovery and fueling. I’m now focused on eating enough, and wrapping up chores/errands/etc in preparation for 8 days away from home!

Here are some pics from Saturday’s run:

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Well, it’s not for lack of effort!

Just 2 weeks to Tough Mudder. I’ve been training like mad, so even though I am certainly not an “elite athlete” by any stretch of the imagination, however the day turns out is not for lack of effort.

I’ve been at the gym lifting heavy weights, doing the “Spartan Bootcamp”, and all sorts of other power/strength/endurance stuff (including banded running. look it up. it’s hard.) On the weekends, Jamie and I have been hitting the trails and doing [what I consider to be] long runs. With few walk breaks. The point is to develop endurance. Jamie & I both agree that this season is going significantly better for me than last – much less walking. Aside from rolling my left ankle, rolling my right ankle, breaking a toe, and today hyper-extending my heel (all in the last 4 weeks), I feel ready.

Today we did the lovely 16k loop around Upper Kananaskis Lake. I specifically chose a route with with few hills to help with the extra couple kilometers from last week. It was a gorgeous run – until I tripped on something (later to be discovered as ‘nothing’), and landed on all fours, hyper-extending my right heel. This kinda weakened my ability to keep a good pace on the tougher terrain (see: shaky-rocky-shale-type stuff), but once we got through the gnarly stuff we were back on track.

We got ourselves a Gopro hero3 for all of our adventures – especially to take with us to Tough Mudder. It’s a waterproof, “drop-proof”, take-along-with-you-in-extreme-situations camera. It’s tiny and can be attached to your wrist, chest, helmet, bike, whatever.

Jamie played around with the GoPro during our K-Country run today. Enjoy.

Gearing up for Tough Mudder

I’m on the 1-month countdown to Tough Mudder. I have obviously been very focused on training, but now starting to shift my focus on getting there & gear!

Flights are booked.

Vacation condo is booked.

Now what do I wear? This is a very important question. Your gear of choice needs to: handle mud, dry easily, be comfortable, and be trashed. Those are some pretty interesting requirements. I’ve landed on a few things:

I still need a shirt and a pair of shorts that dry fast, are comfortable, and i don’t mind being trashed. Does that exist?

what the f*** have i been up to?

well friends, family, acquaintances, random searchers on the web… to sum it up: a lot.

i have not posted in 4 months. At first, this was due to work & the stress related to work; work has since calmed down. However, in the last couple months it has actually been a hesitation to tell anyone how my training is going. I was worried training “wasn’t going”!

I have struggled off and on with training over the past few years – the gist is that my performance has become progressively worse over time. It felt like no matter what I tried, I could not run faster; in fact, I was running slower. My first 10k in 2009 was 00:60:46; my 10k time in 2012 was ~00:70:00.

My newest training adventure at Stenia Health and High Performance to help me get to Tough Mudder feels a little bit like my last ditch effort to see if I can ever be a stronger, faster runner. I am now ready to come out of my cave – “kinda” – and share my journey. So, here goes – the quickest update of 2013 ever!

During the winter, Jamie and I ventured out snowshoeing a few times.

Jen @ Rawson Lake

In March, we went to Disneyland.

Jen & Goofy

And all throughout last fall, winter, and now this spring – I have been training. I have been following a very strict, personalized program with my Coaches, Katherine and Kelsey. I have been lifting heavy weights, working on my chin-ups, and, of course, I have been running. The running was tough – at the beginning; I didn’t know why it was so tough – so I reported my symptoms (low energy, inability to perform a decent run for the week following my long run) to my coach. I learned that apparently it isn’t normal to be so exhausted after an easy 10k run; I also learned it isn’t normal to not be able to do a decent run for the rest of the week. I’ve been running for almost 4 years – I figured this was how everyone felt. That’s right – after every single one of those long runs during my Honolulu training I could not get off the couch for the rest of the day. Each Tuesday or Thursday run, I felt myself lag behind my fellow runners just a little more each week – there was just nothing left in my muscles for me to push any harder. I kept feeling more and more tired; I just thought it was normal.

Long story short – we took out the long run, and “ta-da!” – I feel like a friggin machine! I’ve been conquering pace runs, intervals, hill sprints, and hills. The suspicion is that I’m lacking some vitamin, mineral, or some other important thing in the body… So blood tests are out and I await their results. In the meantime, I just feel awesome.  I am enjoying every minute of training.

These next few weeks of training leading up to the big day (June 22) are going to be intense. I will be attempting longer runs and much more intense workouts (with my coach AND self-directed). I am exceptionally stoked.