jenbacca


it was such a busy weekend, i did not get any photos

well, that’s partially a lie. it was a busy weekend. but thats not why there are no photos… the main reason for no pics is that hubby participated in one of the events with me this weekend! which is approximately 1,000,000 times better than him being a spectator. not that i don’t love when he takes photos (because, uh, he is awesome); but it is just so much more fun to do something together!

maybe i have turned him into a runner and he doesn’t quite know it yet. SH! don’t tell him! it will be our little secret.

anyway – the weekend!

last wednesday, the physiotherapist gave me the green-light for easy running on pavement. in my head, this translated to full-on-whatever-i-wanted-so-long-as-i-wore-my-ankle-brace-and-remembered-to-not-be-dumb running on any terrain. which meant my 5 peaks race on saturday. it also meant the mud hero race on sunday. and it was fucking awesome.

5 peaks was at a municipal park in Sundre called “Snake Hills”. Much to my dismay, there were no snakes, but there were about 6 or 8, or maybe 12, but also possibly  different number, intermediate hills. they weren’t killer steep, they weren’t killer long… they were just plain old steep & long. the terrain was pretty much heaven… not very technical at all. 90% soft grass or soft dirt… 10% loose gravel or sticks & twigs. we were in this perfect little picturesque forest the entire time. it was a little humid. it was a nice, challenging track.

mud hero was so awesome! first off, it sold out. there were over 4,000 people participating. aside from the cash-gouging tactics, the venue was actually pretty awesome. the course itself was very easy; mostly flat with about 3 uphills. the ~13 obstacles were relatively easy (in comparison to other obstacle races out there, such as Spartan Race). It was a hot, dry day… Which unfortunately meant very little mud. No one was really covered in mud until the final mud pit right at the finish line… and that mud pit was 1/2 dried out, too. HOWEVER, even with the lack of mud, it was by far the most fun event I have participated in. Jamie did really well, even with a horrible cold (from me 😦 ), and Paula and I ran the whole thing together. I wish I had photos. Maybe there will be a couple of me on the Mud Hero website in a few days… If I find some, I will definitely post them!

Next event… 5 Peaks @ Nakiska/Delta on August 18th. I have decided to go for gusto and, failing another injury, I am going to do the full 12km run!

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B&G with J&P

Jamie, Paula, and I ventured to John’s infamously named “Blood and Guts” trails over Beautiful Bowness. I hiked due to my injured ankle, but with all those hills, I still got the heart rate up and may have sweat a couple drops… It was cooking on that embankment! But it sure is gorgeous 🙂

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Barrier Lake with Friends

On Monday, July 2, we braved the very flat & boring hike @ Barrier Lake. Ok, it was actually about 1800ft elevation gain up a mountain, and we ran it. Well, I tried to run – I probably ran about 40-50% of it. However, Jamie, Carolyn, Peter, and John pretty much ran the entire thing. In fact, they even did check-backs to me and our 1 hiker, Tamara. Yes – John’s running group still does check-backs on a mountain.

Jamie and Carolyn took the longest route both up and down the mountain, and totaled about 21km. Tamara and I did no checkbacks, and therefore had the shortest trek of about 17km.

It was an absolutely gorgeous day, on a gorgeous trail! The scenery was too beautiful for me to really complain about how challenging it was. And believe me, it was. I could barely walk to ascend the last 10-15min to the summit to the Ranger Station. Just like John suggested when we first started trail running in April, I need to do some hill training. Go figure.

On the downside, I did roll my ankle on the descent. I have some kind of weird joint thing (bimordial joint syndrome i think?) which means I’m uber flexible… So I didn’t sprain my ankle, but I am in pain and I cannot flex my foot backwards. Here’s hoping it’s nothing. I’m going to see my physiotherapist today.

Here are some great shots Jamie took:


5 peaks #2 – done!

whew, after much stress and deliberating, i finally decided to switch from the 10.2k race to the 5.2 race at the canmore nordic center on saturday, june 19. i am so glad i did. the last km my legs felt like jelly… I am not sure how i could have added another 5k on there! all in all this race was a blast. the course was gorgeous and full of tons of fun and chatty people! it was nice to see so many people at my same level.

can’t wait for snake hilly on sat july 21, followed by mud hero on sun july 22!


and jen’s saga of learning continues…

the one thing i have learned in my ~30 years on this planet is that we never stop learning. the minute you think you know everything, that’s when you know you’ve f**ked something up. seriously. keep an open mind, be humble, and know that you simply don’t know what you don’t know.

and so here i am at an interesting point in my running life, yet again. learning more, again. kinda funny.

I have posted many a time about nutrition. 3 guesses as to what this post is about, and the first 2 do not count. yep, nutrition. i have been seriously neglecting my holistic nutrition, and am now feeling the consequences.

while i was marathon training (especially in the 20k+ long run phase from about September to December), I was mostly concerned about carbs & hydration. this made sense, and it really worked for me. i probably ate an 80/10/10 split of carbs:protein:fat. i felt great, mostly. i am sure i also ate 2500-3000 calories/day, and i still leaned out – and i wasn’t running nearly as much as someone like Kara Goucher, but my body was working its ass off just to survive. so, voila – i ate a lot.

as soon as i finished marathon training, it all became a blur. it was a combination of burnout from training & fundraising, and winter, and who knows what else. but i became slack. i have no clue how much i have been eating, and no clue what i have been eating. the one thing i do know is that i have a preference to eat less meat than others might. some of you also saw me post on FB about trying the vegetarian thing. Which I think is was the icing on the cake – silver lining though, it immediately showed me my consequences: when i walk, my legs are tight. when i go up the stairs, i feel my quads. when i run, my legs are just exhausted. on my trail runs as I try to ascend hills, my calves & hamstrings are twitching on the verge of a spasm. not good. overall, i have significantly decreased my volume because i am just done.

so, i am running less. my rmt says my muscles aren’t tight. what’s left? nutrition. i’ve done a little reading, reached out to my past nutritionist for some suggestions, and now doing a lot more reading. Cue: time to get more protein, iron, and sodium. we’ll see how this goes over the next couple weeks. failing any improvement, i will be going to a sports nutritionist. wish me luck, because this kinda sucks right now. and sorry for not photos. low protein and iron deficiency symptoms include lethargy.

f**k, i’m lethargic. what a yucky feeling!


I love spring!

What a great Saturday! I didn’t have it in me to meet the group at 8 am, so i headed out for my long run around 11am… I knocked off a nice 17k! Woot!

I met Jamie in the parking lot at Edworthy Park, then we headed over to Douglas Fir trail to scope out a place for me to run… Nice!

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what’s on your mind? apparently you are thinking about starting to run… AWESOME!

remember that poll i posted a couple weeks ago – asking who runs? i am going to give myself a “B+” grade for it as my very first attempt 🙂

The results surprised me. I am a little shocked to see that no one enjoys running as much as I do! What?! I cannot possibly be the only one… Maybe I just need to convert some people. On the other hand, 6 of my respondents chose “Me? Yeah right. I can’t run. (Although some part of me wants to… hmmm)”. Cool – you’re thinking about it!

See, doesn't running look fun?

If some part of you is considering running, what’s stopping you? Is it the myth that to start running you must be fast? Is it the myth that only “athletic people” can run? Are you overwhelmed and unsure where to start? Here are some tips from little ol’ me (the newbie-ish runner who has no right to be handing out advice…):

  • You don’t need any “special” gear to start running

You really just need a pair of shoes and clothes that are comfortable (and warm during this time of year) to run in. Don’t go spend $200 on a new running wardrobe & another $150 on a fancy pair of shoes. Chances are you’ll be running less than 15km a week (unless you happen to have the natural running gene and find it really easy and I hate you), so a “decent” pair of runners will do. I didn’t start getting the fancy gear until I graduated from “trying to run” to “loving to run”. I would rather spend money on a new adidas technical shirt than a new pair of dress shoes!

  • Pace/speed/distance (or anything relating to a number) don’t mean squat (at least not in the beginning)

When you start, go by feel. In general, you want to try to run at a pace that you can carry a conversation at. Don’t get me wrong, you should need an extra breath here and there, but you shouldn’t be running so fast that you <HUFF> have to <HUFF> take a <HUFF> breath <HUFF> every <HUFF> word. You should be able to <HUFF> comfortably chat with your buddy <HUFF>.

Stop judging the fact that you can’t run as fast  or as far as Joe Blow over there. You know, the dude that passes you in the blink of an eye on the public pathway. That’s Joe Blow. This is you. I’ve touted this over and over – running is personal. No one else’s running progress matters. I’ve passed people on the pathway who look like they’re shuffling, actually – I have run at a pace that was essentially a “shuffle”.  We all start somewhere. Joe Blow wasn’t always that fast and he couldn’t always run that far.

  • Be consistent

The only way running will ever become easier for you, is if you consistently do it. If you do get out there and pound the pavement, but only do so once or twice a week or less, it will continue to be a little tough, making it a little bit de-motivating. Keep it up twice a week or more (preferably 3x a week), and after 2-3 weeks, it will start to get easier.

  • The only person you might want to consider impressing, challenging, competing against is YOU

Don’t compare yourself to others. All that matters is that you go out there, and git ‘er done. Pushing yourself is not at all about going as far as Suzy Cooper (House reference for Hugh Laurie fans) or as fast as Ryan Hall (google him). It’s about knowing that you either stepped it up a notch to push yourself and make improvements, or knowing that you packed it in early or took it easy because your body told ya “Hey, I need a sec”. It’s about proving to yourself that YOU can do it… and waking up one morning and realizing you’re doing something you never even fathomed you had in you.

  • It’s winter – I hate cold, ice, and snow

It’s not that bad, really, for the most part. Unless it’s -20 and windy, the cold is easy to deal with… Especially once you get going and start to really warm up. Also, wear mitts and a hat. If you do get too warm, they’re not exactly heavy items, so just carry them.

If ice is really bad, or you’re overly paranoid, then hit the treadmill. Sometimes called the Dreadmill, this is a perfectly fine alternative – just be aware that it is easier than running on pavement (it does a little bit of the work for ya). To overcome boredom, split up your run… Do 10mins on the dreadmill, then do something else for a little bit – anything – and then continue and do another 10min on the dreadmill. Or 5mins each. Or 15min each. Whatever time, just split it up.

Aaaand… a couple resources from one of my fav runners I follow, Jason Fitzgerald (a 2:39 marathoner!)