Thetis Lake

Race Review: Gunner Shaw XC 10k Classic

Dirty trail shoes, which were a lot muddier before running through the lake at the end of the race.

Dirty trail shoes, which were a lot muddier before running through the lake at the end of the race.

If you’ve ever wanted to slog your way through a mud pit, splash through a smelly swamp and bound through an ice cold lake during a race–and also NOT get electrocuted/bruised shins/etc. in the process (a la Tough Mudder)–then Gunner Shaw is the race for you. Not only is it affordable with a $25 registration fee if you sign up early, Gunner Shaw is also a fun, friendly, no-frills local race that’s a blast for newbie and experienced trail runners alike. (more…)

What off-season? Winter workouts and upcoming trail races

Love fall trail running!

Love fall trail running!

While some athletes and regular-exerciser-type folks like to take a break from training in the winter,  I tend to ramp it up. Not really sure why — I know it’s good to take a break or dial it back every six to eight weeks or so to give your body a chance to rebuild and recover properly, but I feel more motivated to work out when the temperature drops.

It could be because the cooler temperatures make easier to go out (or stay in) to break a sweat, or because less fun and awesome things are happening (like beach days, barbeques, music festivals, camping, road trips, etc.) that get in the way of training, or because there’s so much good food around during the holidays and I feel like I need to keep working hard if I want to stuff my face with all the deliciousness. Whatever it is, I’ve been doing some kind of running and resistance training routine during the winter months for the past three years now, and it seems to pay off when race season rolls around again. (more…)

7 Trails to Run Before You Die: 3. Thetis Lake to Stewart Mountain

madeitIt took us two tries, but we finally made it to the top of Stewart Mountain, the next trail run I wanted to feature in this series.

This trail route was tough to find, especially for a couple of directionally challenged trail runners like Debbie and me. I had run this route once a few years ago going in the opposite direction for a race, and thought I might be able to recall where the trail to the summit was. Nope. Not only did we miss the turn off for the summit twice yesterday, but also on our first attempt we took another trail all together — “Look, those white arrows are pointing that way. Let’s go the other way!” Thank goodness for iPhones and Google Maps. (more…)

Why I’m heading back to the gym

Something I’ll never be able to do at my new place… my bike trainer sounds like a plane taking off.

Something I’ll never be able to do at my new place… my bike trainer sounds like a plane taking off.

Remember when I quit the gym? Well… I’m on the hunt for a new place to workout indoors, but not because I’m tired of running outside. Who could ever get tired of that? I’d take running in wet, dreary west coast weather over a treadmill any day. No, it’s because my new downstairs neighbours can’t handle the sound of us walking across our living room floor, let alone me jumping around doing workout DVDs.

I moved into a new building last week, in part to save money by living with a roommate, but also to cut down on my work/boyfriend commute time. Just five days into living there, we received a formal letter of complaint from the property manager  on behalf of the people in the unit below us, saying that they hear constant noise,  loud party noises coming from our unit (during a time when my roommate wasn’t even in the country and I hadn’t even moved in yet), and that they could hear “loud banging and moving furniture” on November 16… the day I moved in. Really?? There was moving furniture?? Ya don’t say!! Pretty sure you can’t fine someone $200 for that. (more…)

Saturday hikes around the Island

Indy at Matheson Lake.

As part of my new do-whatever-I-feel-like-doing fitness routine I’ve got going on lately, my boyfriend and I have been exploring a few of the local Vancouver Island trails with the dogs almost every Saturday. Although sometimes I think I’d rather be flying through the trees, expertly side-stepping roots and clamoring up rocks like a mountain goat (okay, I run trails more like a regular goat… that’s been hit with a tranquilizer dart. It’s more of a controlled fall, actually…), it’s nice to take your time once in awhile and to really appreciate the scenery. I could not imagine living somewhere without these parks and trails just a short drive away. (more…)

Winter training: Leaving the comfort of the gym to get my trail shoes dirty

2011 Gunner Shaw XC Trail race – Photo by Jordan Mitchell

So I quit the gym.

I thought when I went in to cancel my membership (which I’ve had for seven years) it might go down like that episode of Friends when Ross and Chandler try to quit the gym… but it wasn’t that bad. They didn’t try to sell me on anything to get me to stay, but they did ask why. Despite the fact I rarely go (maybe once during the summer, and once a week in the winter), I would have totally kept my membership if I could have afforded it. But I can’t. It was either keep my membership or get the internet at my new place… and let’s face it, I can’t live without the internet! (more…)

Training update and race recap: 2011 Goodlife Fitness Victoria Marathon

Running the 2011 Goodlife Fitness Victoria marathon.

Really dropped the ball on posting a race recap after the marathon.

But no matter, there wasn’t a whole lot to report anyway. No crazy mishaps or injuries this time — I actually ended up having a really great race.

I stuck to my training plan, which was to go out slow until I found my legs, and expect a 1-2 minute positive split. I actually maintained a decent pace throughout the whole race, and only really struggled in the last 3 km.

Besides a sweet playlist to distract me, I also had my best friend join me on the course for a brief jog (she lasted one minute — granted she was carrying a coffee mug and wasn’t in running gear, but I was super excited she came out to watch and run with me), my coach Noa wait near kilometre 15 and 30 to check in on me, and an old coworker who filmed me running this same race for work last year find me on his bike and escort me for a couple of kms. (more…)

Triathlon countdown: 2011 HtO MS Thetis Lake swim

Finished! Thanks Kim for sending me these pictures!

One week from today I’ll no longer be ‘Bri, triathlete-in-training.’

I will have actually completed a triathlon and can call myself a triathlete! 

Well… maybe.

A few days ago I found out that Hamsterly Beach, where the swim portion of the Self Transcendence Triathlon will take place, was unsafe due to a high coliform count. Ugh.

I haven’t heard anything yet about what will happen… whether the organizers will move the swim portion to a different beach at Elk Lake, or? If anybody knows, please comment!

At least there are a few other triathlons I can do before the season ends. I think I’ll sign up for the sprint distance at the Subaru Sooke International Triathlon on August 7th, regardless. After all this training, I feel like I should do at least two this summer before marathon training starts! (more…)

Swim/bike/run: The transition

Tranistion area: Helmet, bike shoes, running shoes, sunglasses, gel, Garmin, towel.

I did my first transition today!

Six of them, actually.

My tri group had our first race simulation of the season this morning out at Thetis Lake, where we got to practice our swim-to-bike and bike-to-run transitions, as well as doing all three sports back-to-back.

The day before, however, I decided to see what my legs felt like on the run after a 35 km ride (the Olympic triathlon bike distance is 40 km).

I had a great ride out to Sooke, despite getting a bee in my helmet. (more…)

It’s time for an action plan

My YouTube debut. Thankfully, Dave was nice enough not to film me walking.

So it turns out I did actually tear a calf muscle. At the insistence of Kirsty, I went and made an appointment with Dr.Mike to get it checked out. That was my first time going to see a specialist for anything sports-injury related, and now I know why Kirsty didn’t tell me much about what to expect.

Active Release Therapy HURTS. Dr. Mike busted out this metal spatula device and started scraping my calf, like one might try to scrape the blackened burnt part off a piece of toast. But more violently.

Then he dug his thumb right into the torn muscle and asked me to FLEX my foot, which is something that hurt to do anyways, let alone with a thumb digging into the muscle. “Go go go go go! Pull pull pull!” I felt like a Biggest Loser contestant at the mercy of Jillian Michaels the way my face was contorting in pain.

But then I hopped off the table, and I could walk without a limp. I had zero pain in my calf, and haven’t felt pain in it since. Dr.Mike works (painful) miracles.

A few other pointers he gave me: You started out to fast. Get a coach, train properly. Six half marathons in one year is too much. No running for two weeks. Take up swimming and do some light cycling. You should be good to go for the Bear Mountain 10K  in November (yes! — that’s all I needed to hear).

So now my plan is to join a marathon running group and a triathlon club in January. I also need to take swimming lessons and get a proper bike. I signed up for the Gunnar Shaw as well, an off-road 10k at Thetis Lake in November that takes you through mud pits and freezing lake water (already bought some sweet trail running shoes for this adventure from MEC!), and have my sights set on doing the Island Race Series and another marathon in the spring.

Nothing helps to heal a running injury more than coming up with a new action plan — well, to help to mentally heal, anyway.

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