Archive for category fitness

Dave, Jackie, Richard, and Ferg hike the CPR Trail from Cameron Lake up Mt. Arrowsmith.

Cold nose and feet...

Our first view point, just as the sun was emerging. Our big dog, Xhosa, was left at home today as she’s been limping and she needed some rest.

It’s been very dark and wet in Port Alberni so when our friend Richard called and suggested hiking up Mt. Arrowsmith we jumped at it!  And a nice rare clear day too!

IMG_20160201_124845 copy This is a 1000 metre climb, and since Jackie is in training for an upcoming race, she opted to go with her full water bottle vest she is trialling. As you can see, the trail is not easy to find when everything is covered in snow.

Ferg has cold nose and feet!

Ferg has cold nose and feet!

The scenery was very nice being snow covered once we got high enough.  We saw fresh cougar tracks crossing our trail about half way up.

Richard Ronyecz knows this area well .

Richard Ronyecz knows this area well. Good thing, because you couldn’t see much of the trail.

There was no snow at the Cameron Lake trailhead, but after a couple of hundred metre elevation gain the snow started and got deeper and deeper until it was about a metre deep with higher drifts.

Scenic up high.

Scenic up high.

Ferguson loves the snow!

Fergus loves the snow! He was really tough for such a little guy – we were out there for nearly five hours.

We ended up, at the far side of the loop, not being able to clearly find the track. So we took the safe option, rather than risk wasting 15 minutes at a time, over and over again trying to find the trail, and just retraced our tracks back down. A very fun and beautiful day.

And if you have a couple of minutes and want a laugh, check out this video of Fergus (Yorkie-Chihuahua cross), with icebergs hanging off his fur, after four hours of hiking through the snow, still full of energy and having a good play:



Leave a comment

Heading to the Golden Ultra, mountains of British Columbia, in a few days: How I trained

Photo: Dave Best/Golden Ultra

Photo: Dave Best/Golden Ultra

I’m leaving in two days for the Golden Ultra. Multi-day staged races are definitely my favourite ultramarathon format, and this one intrigued me as soon as I heard about it. Most multi-day ultrarunning events are kind of the same from day to day – usually between 20 and 50 km of hilly running per day for five or six days (and sometimes with a 70 or 80 km overnight stage thrown in). But the three-day Golden Ultra (aka Blood, Sweat and Tears) is different:

Day 1 (the Blood) – 5 km, but with 1000 m vertical gain

Day 2 (the Sweat) – classic 55 km mountain ultramarathon (2500 m vertical gain and loss along the way)

Day 3 (the Tears) – a 20 km trail run on rolling, relatively flat, trails (total 400 m vertical gain and drop)

So this is more like three completely different races, each one suited to different types of runners: hill-climbers OR ultrarunners OR half-marathoners. Few people are all three! (And there is the option of entering for just one of the days… but of course it is the full three-day event that captivates me).

So, for me, my main goals are:

  1. Don’t blow my legs out on the first big-uphill day, because there is still a long way to go.
  2. Don’t let my feet swell after the 55 km ultramarathon day – or I won’t be able to run the final day.
  3. Try to train well at running so I won’t be embarassingly slow on that third, supposedly very runnable day.
  4. Don’t get injured – because I am racing the 7 day Kalahari Augrabies Extreme Marathon, in South Africa’s Kalahari Desert, only 4 weeks later!

So, now, how have I gone with my training to achieve those goals?

The big uphill: 300 vertical metres of this. And we did it twice!

Hiking the Inlet Trail with Nikki last year. I’m on this trail nearly every week.

1. Well, I’ve done a real lot of hill-climbing (as well as a little bit of leg weights) so I think I am in the best climbing shape I have ever been. In the last two or so months I’ve done Della Falls (still waiting for Dave to do that blog post), Mt. Arrowsmith, Mt. Adder, Mt.Klitsa, Mt. Albert Edward in Strathcona, the Castle Crag/Mt.Frink/Albert Edward loop in Strathcona and – the highlight of the summer (blog post not uploaded yet, sorry!) – the Buttle Lake to Mt. Washington Augerpoint Traverse! These hikes all have elevation gains of 1000 m or more. And I have also trained on our usual “back yard” uphill hikes a lot too, like the CPR trail, and up the start of the Alberni Inlet Trail (same hike I did with Nikki Scott last year, when we were prepping for the Squamish 50k. Coincidentally, Nikki is one of the organizers of the Golden Ultra!).

2. I’ve trained as well as I can so my feet won’t be “shocked” by the effort and swell. I’ve done a lot of really long days – in particular, those three big Strathcona days three consecutive Tuesdays: 8.5 hrs then 9.5 hrs then 13.5 hrs. I’ve also done a lot of back-to-back days – either two big hikes in a row, or a big hike followed by a hilly run. So my body is pretty accustomed to that kind of thing: the amount of hours and the fatigued muscles. And I will have electrolyte pills along (and use them) for the race. And I’ve just ordered new Injinji compression socks for running and recovery too. Those are the things you can do to try to minimize foot swelling. Beyond that, there still is a little bit of a luck-of-the-draw component there. But I think I am set up pretty well.

You get up on a beautiful plateau with lots of little tarns. You can see theMt.Albert Edward ridgeline behind me here - I'll be going up it around the right side of the photo, thentraversing it to the left. You can't see the peak of the mountain yet from here - it's behind the ridge.

Heading up Mt. Albert Edward in July. I did lots of big mountain hikes and runs this year.

3. Well… I am still not a fast runner. I was really good with my long hikes training… but probably could have done a bit more with the long fast runs. I did get going on some HIIT (high intensity interval training) which supposedly helps with speed… also have been taking iron supplements these last two months. Low iron is a very common issue with female runners, and I definitely have problems with that.

4. And then I will just have to go safe and smart. I am probably in the best shape I have ever been in my life (at age 51!!) – maybe not my fastest ever, but definitely my strongest, and recovering really well and quickly after big days. So I am in good shape in that department. I’lljust have to be careful, and make sure I don’t get hurt.

So there you go. I leave here Thursday, flying into Calgary and then driving out to Golden. The race starts with that first short but steep leg on Friday afternoon, so I will have some time up my sleeve to relax and get a good sleep there the night before. I’ll be staying at the official host hotel, Kicking Horse Lodging’s Glacier Mountaineer Lodge (which has a hot tub and sauna!) – so many thanks to the race organizers and the host hotels for arranging this! What a treat, to have such luxurious accommodation while running such a wild and rugged multi-day ultramarathon. Wish me luck!


I’ve wanted to do this hike for years – Mount Klitsa!

LIMG_0515Dave and I had a great mid-July hike with Ron and Brett up Mount Adder. They were planning a trip a couple of days later to Mount Klitsa, and invited us along on that too. I was totally excited about that – I’ve wanted to do Klitsa for years. My old Tofino friend, artist Mark Hobson, had told me about it, but somehow I never had a chance to get up there. Dave couldn’t go this time – he was packing, leaving for Iceland the next day – but I jumped at the chance! Read the rest of this entry »

1 Comment

Mt. Horne hike with Rich and Xhosa.

Jackie just finished a 132 km hike in Patagonia before her ultramarathon so I’m wandering the mountains here with Rich.

Cameron Lake start.

Cameron Lake start.

We parked at the yellow gate at the Port Alberni side of Cathederal Grove and walked down the road to the flagged trail start. Read the rest of this entry »

1 Comment

Mt. Wesley Traverse.

Jackie is still in Patagonia so Rich, Xhosa and I decided to tackle the Mt. Wesley Traverse. This trail is the ridgeline over the top of the mountains across from Cameron Lake.

Trail sign from rail line.

Trail sign from rail line.

Read the rest of this entry »

Leave a comment

Franklin flats to home along the Inlet trail.

My favorite section of the Inlet trail.

My favorite section of the Inlet trail.

Since Jackie is in Patagonia getting ready to run a 70 KM Ultra, I ran from Franklin Flats along the Inlet trail to Read the rest of this entry »

Leave a comment

Dave’s Tofino Run

We are in Tofino for a few days as Jackie is speaking about the geology of Clayoquot Sound for the Rainforest Education Society at the Tofino Botanical Gardens.  While Jackie was preparing her presentation I took the opportunity to go for a longer run through the Tofino trail system and out to Chesterman Beach and back.

Tonquin Beach.

Tonquin Beach.

I started on the ‘Lighthouse Trail’ system, which starts right in town, and first stop was Tonquin Beach. Read the rest of this entry »

Leave a comment