Well, this past semester at school has been brutal to say the least.  I haven’t had much time for a lot of anything.  A few things happened between now and may… mostly signing up for a couple more races, doing an all womens enduro bike race, and volunteering at a handful of races.  Oh, also a spur of the moment unsupported 50km.  I’ll try and compile a better post of photos and write ups though.

For now, next up volunteering at Squamish 50 and then racing Volcanic 50 on sept 3rd.

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A homage to where it all began.

May 31st, 2014 I stepped up to the line of my first trail race ever, Coast Mountain Trail Series – Survival of the Fittest.  Super excited, super nervous and very curious I set off at the count of go and from that point never looked back.  I became super enthralled in trail running and totally in love.  I finished that day exhausted, hardly able to walk in a total of 1:54:45, somewhere closer to the middle of the back.  It was a very sunny day as well!

That brings me to today… May 28th, 2016, nearly two years after the fact.  It was wet this morning… oh so wet, it was initially hard to get motivated in the morning until I remembered “Kenzie, you LOVE running in the rain.”  and then jumped out of bed, drove to the start line of what was, all that time ago my first ever race.  The run that brought me to where I am now.  I was still excited, still nervous but less curious.  I think I was nervous because for the first time at a race I actually set a time goal.  Normally I just focus on finishing happy and strong, but this race I decided that I needed to beat my time from my first race ever.  Out of the start gates I had pretty unhappy calves… but once I passed the 5km mark and the trail became less constant uphill and more fun technical, muddy goodness they got happier.  I had an amazing time flying over roots and rocks, and splashing in mud puddles.  I truly do love running in the rain.  I felt all and all pretty good on trail today other than being a tad hungry due to a breakfast that was kind of lacking.  I’m still figuring out my nutrition on trails, its been a rollercoaster.  I came through the finish line at 1:48:06, got a massage and then headed home for a shower, then pizza and beer. All and all it was a great day.

I didn’t feel like 6 minutes PR was much, but I was gently reminded that 6 minutes over 13km is actually pretty decent!  I’ll take it! Besides, not only did I get 6 minutes faster, my legs feel awesome and I can run 50km happily now… So I’d say thats a big improvement from that first race back in May 2014.

I’ve slowly been learning how to create a balance in my life that focuses on the things I love but also my responsibilities… like being a good student.  This is making me super optimistic for things to come!  I have some massive goals on my horizon, but I don’t want to say anything until I’ve actually registered.  For now, my summer looks like lots of fun training runs, an enduro bike race in July, volunteering at FatDog and Squamish 50 in August.. then running around Mt Saint Helens in September!

So excited!!

L: Amber and I at our first race, May 2014. R: Me at the finish line, stoked but exhausted.

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Spring and I after finishing May 2016 rocking our rad Pokosoha tights.  Muddy and happy.

I like when my Strava looks like this… PRs all around, mostly!

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Exhaustion.

Between being mentally stimulated all day with school or studying, 3 days a week in the gym and a handful of days out on the trails my body is exhausted.  My brain is exhausted.  Just everything is exhausted.  I’ve been toying around with theories about why I feel so tired and I think it is a combination of being constantly stimulated through school and studying all the amazing things I get to learn, but also ramping up training after a fairly sleepy winter season of resort days and ski touring as well as fighting off some unknown illness as I have fairly swollen lymph nodes right now which I will be getting tests done for soon if they don’t go away.  The heat lately doesn’t help for energy levels much while out on trails either.  That is something I will need to be working at!

I personally believe that rest is one of the most important things you can do for your body in life and in training.  If you are tired, if your muscles are sore, if you hurt anywhere its important to let your body recover properly.  So sleep!! Chill out! Eat some good food!  I’ve had to shorten my runs this past week but am still getting out with decreased hours on trail and less intensity.  I had been one of those people who went insane with training and it landed me with a severe injury in my neck because I wasn’t listening to my body and it needing some time to chill.  The result from that was me being unable to continue with the sport that I loved so dearly, and continues up until this day.  I honestly don’t know if I will ever feel healthy and pain free on a bike again.  The moral of that quick story?  Please rest when you need to rest.  I know it is beneficial to be training and then running on fatigued legs but when you are so exhausted you can barely stay awake, your heart rate is out of control or you just aren’t recovering as fast… you need to rest.

Because of the energy depletion, this week has been a struggle of doubts about upcoming races because of how terrible my body has felt.  I get into my head on trail when I’m tired like this and think “should I even sign up for that distance? If 10km right now feels terrible how will 100km in February feel…”  I know its a terrible mind set to be in so I then talk myself down from that ledge knowing  it will pass, it always does and I always try to remind myself that todays feelings does not depict tomorrow.  I am strong and capable, I am just in a rut.

In other news, I’ve been working with a coach to make my running gait more efficient.  Right now I feel like a colt learning to walk or like a prancy pony as my friend Lara said during our run this evening.  It feels super weird, but it is lightening my foot strikes, encouraging more of a forefoot landing and definitely seems more efficient.  My pace has slowed a bit but I think once I don’t have to focus on the exact movement and maintaining it I will be able to pick up the speed.  I was already running with a forefoot strike but it fell out the window on descents and when I got tired.  Our run tonight was a majority of downhill and I stayed in the strong efficient gait while running down through technical sections and noticed less hard slapping of my foot to the ground and felt really strong and balanced.  I will say though, it is scary committing your weight forwards on the downhills, but it is so much better for energy consumption.

Oh… and highlight from my run tonight?  WE SAW AN OWL!   He was pretty darn cute.

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Lost Lake 25km

A friend gently pushed me towards this race and I couldn’t be more thrilled about it.  He was to race the 50km distance and I figured why not join in and run the 25km distance.  Another friend decided to join me for the 25km distance as well so that was awesome!  The race consists of both a 50km, and a 25km run on the beautiful trails of Larrabee State Park in Bellingham, Washington.  I had planned on taking more photos to showcase the beauty of the area but was having too much fun running to stop and take photos.  So… I only managed to snap one on the actual course.

Sneaky ocean view on the back half.

The 25km started at 10am, but we met at 9:30 to catch a shuttle bus to the start line which was also the half way point for the 50km racers.  The course started with a pretty ruthless uphill climb.  My poor cold muscles were not too happy for the first 3.5ish kilometres which daunted us with a good 1400ft or so of climbing.  As I was going up here, my friend was running down in 1st place for the 50km race with a pretty hefty gap and looking really strong.  After that it mellowed out and was perfect, undulating and the right amount of technical.  Then it drops into a very very runable section, which is where I struggle the most.  I have a pretty slow pace on flat ground, I really need to work at this but I’m sure it made others pretty stoked!  Eventually this ended up at the first aid station, about 7 miles (12km) in.  I stocked up on some more gels, swigged some coke and then headed out on my way.  The next little bit traverses beside a lake and then drops down for quite a while and back onto a very runable pathy section again.  My 50km friend passed me again at this point still in first and still looking incredibly strong.  After this flat section though the course sends you so close to the finish line but nope… you’re going up this massive hill and then going to run down a road to the finish!  This destroyed my legs and made the last 4km of downhill a bit of a struggle.  I popped through the finish line, feeling strong at about 3:34.  While the time wasn’t the fastest, my body felt really good and I managed to actually ingest food during the race (my biggest struggle while running is being able to keep down the calories I take in).  I am pretty happy with this since its pretty much off the couch!  I will definitely be working on my speed a bit though for longer races to not be cut off stressed.

Afterwards, we partook in a beer at the finish line and I met a girl who put me in the direction of the Volcanic 50… which I may or may not be registered for now.  After hanging out around the finish line we headed towards Aslan Brewing Co in Bellingham to be rewarded with more beer (my favourite being the ginger beer, its so refreshing and delicious)… and grilled cheese… and waffle fries.

All and all it was a really great day.  The course is beautiful, the people are amazing and I can’t wait to go back and do it again next May!  I think this one will be a repeat yearly.  If you’re interested at all I really suggest to check it out next year.  Here is the website!

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Finishers get a little coin.

Also, I ran in my new UD Ultra Vesta (last years) in a tank top and had ZERO chaffing.  This vest is actually the best.  Here is a link to this years… I think its worth it.  I’m also in no way affiliated with UD, I just really love this vest and want to share the love.

Next up… Survival of the Fittest from Coast Mountain Trail Series on May 28th.

 

 

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Round 2… maybe 3.

Yep, I am beyond useless at keeping blogs.  I start, I gain very limited traction and then I totally drop off the face of the earth and forget to post anything.  Since my last update I ran Sun Mountain, it was amazing.  I went through some tough times right before it but managed to pull myself through and I’m really glad I forced myself to go.  I had to miss Squamish 50 but it was due to zipping off on a climbing trip to Colorado.  Balancing the life of running, school and all the other fun things to do is quite the act.

In short form, I dropped off the face of running and came totally immersed into skiing, injured my foot had to stop skiing, dropped out of Gorge Waterfalls 50km only to realize that running shoes don’t hurt the injury after a wonderful event called Starlight Overnight and now am in full gear to set big goals and attempt to crush training.

I’ve got 1 year left at school, and a filling race calendar.  This is going to be an attempt to share my trail love, information I’m learning at school and try and keep a personalized record for myself.  If you are interested in it, at all then that is awesome and I thank you for joining me!

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Well, as I figured trying to jungle being a student, running and having a life at home has put writing a blog on the back burner.  As I come into finals I have no time to do anything other then get out for training runs and study… lots and lots of studying.  My brain as actually stopped retaining information which is getting a bit worrisome since finals are in a week.  Eeek!

I started training for the Sun Mountain 50k just about 4 weeks ago.  I am not registered yet because it opens on December 22nd so fingers crossed I make it in.  I believe its a first come first serve style this year so I have a good chance if I’m on the ball!  I have been feeling pretty great with my training plan and really enjoying my time out.  This past week has been a slow week for me though because of school, feeling pretty down and having a sick puppy.  I haven’t been getting the mileage I need to but something is better then nothing and now I have a better idea of how to incorporate scheduled training into my life.  I’ve been adding in some crossfit and yoga but keeping running my main focus.  I’ve managed to get out on my skis too which was great.

I am going to keep this short and sweet and get back to studying but thought something was better then nothing.  I am going to make it a goal to at least post once a week.🙂

Last but not least.. I’M OFFICIALLY REGISTERED FOR THE SQUAMISH 50KM…. eeeeek!  So excited.

Wish me luck on finals!

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And so it begins..

November 3rd… November 3rd is the day I will officially start training my little butt off for the races to come the following year!  Eeek!  I am excited and nervous all rolled into one.  I have doubts about being able to do it but I know I am going to!  I will finish these races.🙂  I am going to be setting up a fundraiser page to raise money for two local organizations to benefit while training and will post it when ready.  I feel like the extra kick of knowing that I am helping someone will be a great motivator throughout the trials and tribulations that are to come in the next 5 months.

The past week has been super fun, and a tad hectic.  I’ve started back at crossfit which I’m hoping to incorporate into my running schedule to keep up strength just a couple days a week.  I’ve found it has been super helpful with alleviating some muscular imbalances that used to cause me pretty bad pain.   I’ve also managed to force myself to yoga a handful of times which I can feel my body loves but my brain has a hard time slowing down and relaxing.  I had midterms too!  I aced them all, but just when I thought I could relax research papers and more tests get thrown in.

As for running the past week, I have to admit I’ve been slack.  This past Sunday I got out with a group of ladies in North Vancouver who were amazing enough to run around in full costume trying to force candy on to strangers.  Solana did a great job of organizing it, but it seems that people out for their early morning runs are hard to convince to take candy.  It was a super fun time and we covered quite a bit of ground!  Time flies when you’re having fun!

Other then that not much to write home about in the running world this week other then an amazing soggy adventure last night at Bhrom Lake with my friends Alana, Dan and 5 dogs!  The trail was so flooded that we lost it in several sections and managed to have a mini epic on a 4.5km trail.  Some spots were calf deep, the trail was completely gone in places, we ended up in the lake at one spot, scrambled over/under logs, down loam.  Oh man it was fun.  Adventurous, rainy night runs are quickly becoming a thing of obsession for me.  It is hard to explain, but I definitely am loving it.

Sort and sweet.  I will post updates weekly about how my training is going.🙂

Here are some photos!

reverse trick or treating furry pals

post a successful reverse trick or treating run, with an unhappy husky pumpkin. “mommmm take this off me.”

shin deep water at bhrom lake… 3 of 5 dogs.

and, because I feel like adding a heart melting photo of my fur baby and my adorable niece…

Is your heart melting from cuteness overload?

(Solana did a way better reverse trick or treating blog post with way better photos so heres a link to that! http://www.solanaleigh.com/2014/10/29/candy-strangers/#more-7105 )

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