Thursday, August 28, 2008

Holidays a day away...

Jen digging in hard on her hill run...

Well I am down to my final day of work before heading off for 2 weeks of surf, sand and SUN? Regardless of weather, we are looking forward to our annual camping trip to the north island and our house has been converted into a staging area filled with food and 'toys'. You can still reach me with any questions about our fall programs until Friday afternoon- so please feel free to email or call me before then. After that I will be truely out of touch - no cell phone, no computer, no nothin... All you need to know about our fall programs is online : and you can contact Arran by email after September 2nd if you have any burning questions: .

This has been a great week and I have been pushing my workouts in anticipation of a couple of rest weeks ahead of me. Once I return from the beach there is only really 1-2 weeks left before the MOMAR so this has been my chance to squeeze in some decent training. Since the Alberni half marathon there has been lot's of bike rides, lot's of bike climbing, plenty of high intensity resistance training (Tabata anyone?) and a couple of great trail runs. All in all a fun couple of weeks of training and now my legs are so ready for a break!

Laurel pushing hard up the final crest of the hill...

I had a chance to spend time with fitness mom and babes today! Starting first thing this morning, Jen and Laurel worked hard during their final partner training workout- as Jen is moving east next week:((and will be seeking out new adventures. Jen's little guy Nate joined us and supervised the workout...thanks for your help Nate!

Nate supervising mom...

Pure love...adds 20lbs to Jens ab workout too!

Then it was over to the Comox Marina Park to visit with the Baby Bootcamp crew. These super moms never cease to amaze me! Your determination and strength are very inspiring ladies! And the babies are so entertaining- it is great to see moms getting their pre-baby fitness back while spending time with their little ones. Way to go ladies!

ELM Instructor Rae Walsh leads her Baby Bootcamp recruits...

Side planks get that pre-baby core back into shape...

Didn't skipping used to be fun? Now it is hard work and great exercise!

Hill + Ball + Lunges = One excellent leg workout!

And last but not least...Noah! Rae's assistant instructor and cute as a cabbage patch son:)



Monday, August 25, 2008

Last Week of Summer Programs!

Happy Monday!
After a fantastic weekend of running and riding I find myself greeting the week and suddenly accepting that we are into the final week of summer at ELM! That's right, this is the final week for our summer classes and we are getting geared up for our fall programs - some of which START NEXT WEEK! The ELM office will be closed from August 30th to September 14th for summer holidays, however program registration will be ongoing during this time. Go to for all the details on our fall classes!

Adventure Running 3::3 kicks off next Thursday, September 4th! We are starting this program a couple of weeks earlier than the rest, in order to take advantage of evening light and ensure we have 8 solid weeks of trail training leading up to the Perseverance Trail Run on October 26th! Be sure to register before this Friday, August 29th to ensure you get the opportunity to train in the trails with ELM this fall!

All of our other ELM programs start the week of September 15th including regular fall favorites such as Orienteering 101 & 201, Fitness Bootcamp, Baby Bootcamp, Womens Learn to Run and Womens Off Road Trail Running. New this fall : Prenatal Fitness with Kim Senechal! Moms to be will appreciate this safe and effective exercise program that is instructed by mom/physiotherapist Kim Senechal of Ascent Physiotherapy. Check out the details online and let your pregnant friends know about this great new program!

This fall also marks our 7th year anniversary at ELM! Stay tuned for birthday specials and a logo makeover as ELM celebrates another fantastic year of outdoor fitness adventures in the Comox Valley!


Saturday, August 23, 2008

Elk Falls Canyon Run

What a great day! ELM Adventure Runner, Cindy S, took us on a scenic route from Elk Falls in Campbell River today. 4 ELM runners (Cindy, Korky, Joli and I) met at the main parking lot for Elk Falls and Cindy toured us around a big 10k loop that took us across the river over a high rise canyon bridge (150 feet up at least!).

The route took us down down down to the river...then along the rivers edge where we counted numerous fly fisherman...then up up up back to the top of the canyon. The trees were what took my breathe away (and the wicked hill climbing of course!). HUGE 500-800 year old Doug Firs and Cedars lined the trail at many points. It is rare to see giants like these in such an accessible area - anywhere but Cathedral Grove.

Finally after looping back to the parking lot Cindy took us back down for another loop to view the actual Elk Falls...amazing! I can't believe I have never been here before! A true gem that Campbell River has kept a great secret:) Get up there soon if you have not seen this amazing Provincial Park yet.
Go there:

Thanks for an awesome run Cindy!!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


Well, Bryan Tasaka is slowly leaking bits of information to racers such as myself who are hungry for details about the NEW Cumberland MOMAR course. Here is the most recent update from the MOMAR website:

The Inside Scoop from the Race Director
Aug 20/08 - COURSE UPDATE: Event
Director, Bryan Tasaka, just returned from four days in Cumberland finalizing
the course. Here's what he can tell you: 1) Distance ~40km; 2) It will feature 1
kayak stage, 3 trekking stages & 2 bike stages; 3) the single-track riding
REGISTRATION STATUS: Registration continues on its steady climb
towards a sell out. We are now sitting on 175 so that leaves just 75 spots left.
Regular registration fees end on Aug 27th at midnight so that rush may take us
close to our target.
DO YOU NEED A DOUBLE KAYAK? If you are having trouble
finding a double kayak to rent, please email me at If I can get enough people on a
list, I can try to source out a supplier to bring out a fleet.
IS THERE A SHORT COURSE? A short course will not be added to this course. However, the course will feature two optional advanced sections. If you were to skip these sections, the course distance would be much like a slightly extended short
course. You will miss out on doing the two big climbs in the course making it
very 'doable' for anyone -- especially if you did the short course at the
Shawnigan Lake MOMAR. The only catch is that you must do the 9km kayak leg and you will be ranked behind everyone that completes these stages.

And he also added:

It will only have one kayak leg
It will have a real orienteering stage
We may bring out the pool noodles (if we get nice weather)
The finish
line is going to rock

The wheels are a turnin'...


Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Hard Core

Forgot to post Connie's gory pic...hardcore Connie took one for Team ELM and left with

a race wound and a new friend at the first aid tent. Finished like a true superstar. Way to go Connie!

Log Train Trail Race Report!

What a great weekend! I went to the Big Time Out on Saturday night and danced until my calves couldn't take it anymore. Lot's of fun...up late...then up early for a 6am departure to Port Alberni for the Log Train Trail Race.
ELM was well represented with 14 runners in the 1/2 and 10k events. 'This is not a race!' reminded the event director while we waited anxiously at the start line. 'There are no prizes for coming first...and no official time...and the course is not exactly 21k...more like 22km". Approximately 80 of us took off to the timing of our own watches after the official green light (GO) was given. Approximately 8 were in the full marathon, a handful in the 10k and the rest took part in the 1/2.
This is the flattest and shadiest (not sure if that is a word) 1/2 marathon that I know of. Following an old railway line the terrain doesn't stray above a 2% grade and a mature forest bumps up against the trail to provide shade throughout the course. The perfect combo for a fast trail 21 (22)km or your first half marathon.
I hadn't actually intended on racing the course but...when I heard the word GO...I went. I just had to follow my own pace and decided to work on my endurance pacing- following my rule of 1/3rds. First third-at an exertion level that feels easier than you think you can race the distance. Factoring in adrenaline and fresh legs, this section should be moderately easy. I went by feel and ended up nailing a 5min/km pace for the first 8kms. No water stops- I went with one handheld bottle and it worked just perfectly- running out just before the last 2kms.
Second third- at a comfortably hard pace that I thought I could hold onto for 14kms. Heard the breathing rate increase slightly and kept at about 4:45- 5min km pace. It was awesome to have so many km markers- now that they have added a 10km course we get to check out progress for the first 10kms. This course was ALL about cadence. No chance to coast downhill and no need to dig in and climb. But for me, a flat course is much harder as I love and train for mountain running. So, I kept thinking cadence cadence cadence and kept moving my feet over imaginary hot coals.
Final third- hard. I can run 7kms at this pace...I can run 6kms at this pace...can I run 5kms at this pace?? The mental dialogue and cadence practice kept my mind occupied during the final leg of the course. 1/2 a pack of Cliffe Shot Blocks later and my stride was still going strong. I was still at a 4:45 min/km pace at the 20km mark...with no other women ahead of me and SO happy to see that 20km marker. A hard turn to the right and a sign indicating only 100m to go...but I knew they were kidding. After all, I had run this section at the start of the race. The 100m faded away and turned into 1km to the my finish time was 1:49:ish , first female overall and I set a new personal time for the course- on my own watch of course:). GOOD TIMES!
I grabbed my camera and turned around back onto the course to capture the other ELM participants in action. A big congratulations to all the ELM crew who completed the half and 10k courses:
Jen, Laurel, Hollie, Korky, Sandy A, Sarah B, Cathy T, Gayle, Karen T, Connie W, Nairee, Jean & Becky...whooohooo!
After the race we had a great stretch session and post race debrief (race tales:) then we went for a wonderful swim in Cameron lake and finished it all off with a double waffle cone at the Coombs market:) Mmmmmm can't wait till next year!
A big thank you to the race directors and volunteers for putting on another fantastic, fun and inclusive event:) Cheers!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Happy Friday!

Lovely Leaders! This pic was taken at Williams Beach just before our Thursday night Adventure Run. We were all wearing the same 'womens' logo shirts so I couldn't resist a group shot of the fabulous volunteer run leaders!

It has been a stellar week in the Valley and we have been lovin' the sweet summer sunshine!
This weekend there are some super fun things to do:

Big Time Out Music Festival in Cumberland

Gutbuster Ascent 3km hill run at Mt Washington

Log Train Trail Race in Port Alberni.
Full, 1/2 marathon or 10 runs start at 8am on Sunday. A group of ELM participants are carpooling for a daytrip on Sunday: Leaving Starbucks at 6am sharp. Join us for the fun! We are planning a post race picnic and swim at Stamp Creek- beautiful deep emerald green pools of fresh river water...perfect for a post race dip!
Here is a recap of my week of adventures:
Sunday 8k taper run followed by a yummy post clinic Atlas breaky:)
Monday 1.5 hour XC bike ride to Seal Bay...Calisthenics
Tuesday 1.5hour Hike with Womens Summer Hiking! Up 'Pain is your friend' and down 'Bics'
Tuesday night Womens Summer Hiking...pose patiently for their leader:)

Volunteer Leader, Darla cruises across the KMA bridge:)

Joanne and Gillian add a rock to this inukshuk...2010?

Wednesday: Rat Ride XC in Cumberland...wicked hot climb on the new logging road up to the top of 'Bear Buns' then all the way down, across 'Robs' Bridge, around TeaPot and then down to Allan Lake for the best swim of the year:)))))...Calesthenics

Thursday: Adventure Run! 1.25hours with sand running, hill repeats and fast paced trail training.

Friday: Perseverance Trail Run scouting with Terry Lewis.

Terry and I loaded up our packs with 20 + pounds of nails and we both acted as pack horses to finish off a wicked bridge at the top of Bear Buns. We rode up the logging road to the end of Buns and then rode/hike a biked up to Robs Bridge. From there we hiked up another 500meters to work on a bypass trail on Buns-that will allow me to hopefully ride this entire trail clean next time! We hacked, ripped and bootscreef'd out the bypass then I humped the entire pack of nails up another couple of kms to the top of the trail. After trail clearing we GPS'd some new sections that we are hoping to put in this years Perseverance Trail Run. As you may or may not know, Bucket of Blood has been logged and in it's place is a new VERY FUN VERY SCENIC Bear Buns trail. We played around on 'Off Broadway', Short and Curly and Shaker.

Then I had to bail out as I had a physio appointment with Brenda at Ascent Physiotherapy. She has been helping me put my cervical spine back in place. Very fun. Thanks Brenda!

Saturday- plans to be a rest day:) as my legs have just started feeling heavy this week so I must give them a rest.

Sunday- Log Train Trail 21km in Port!

Have a great weekend!


Monday, August 11, 2008

Happy Monday!

Bootcamp at Anderton Park last Tuesday....6am Sunrise Session.

Another beautiful start to the week...look at that fantastic sunshine!

I just wanted to check in and just say HI to all of my blog readers:) Thanks so much for taking the time to read my posts and leave your comments on my updates-.

The good news this week is that I am back on my bike pain free as the tendonitis has finally gone away...hurray! I went for a few easy rides and was able to push myself more and more as the week went on and the inflammation finally cleared up. This week I am ready to rock!

In addition to the rides we had 2 great clinic runs: Thursday night Adventure Running experienced Orienteering for the first time and kicked but on the O course in Nymph Falls Park! Here is a copy of the original O map for the area:

Sunday morning 1/2 marathon clinic got an easy day with the final run of the clinic- 8km taper run at Comox Lake Dam. It flew by and we even had time to go for breaky at the Atlas cause we weren't running 23kms this week!

Next week is the Log Train Trail Race in Port Alberni There are 3 distances all on railway grade trails: 10km, 1/2 and full marathon events all start at 8am next Sunday. This is one of the best little trail races on Vancouver Island!

Congrats to Chris W for his steller PB time at his 1/2 marathon race across the border this weekend! And congrats to all those who took part in the XTC on Sunday in Campbell River!

Finally, Saturday I had a great time teaching MOMAR 101 to a new crew of adventure racers out at Comox Lake Dam. The weather even co-operated and we had a great time 'playing' at the dam.

Looks like another fantastic week of summer weather so be sure to get outside and 'geterdone'!



Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Forbidden Plateau Traverse

*Notice the wrapped wrist ... tried to keep the tendonitis at bay...didn't work so well:(

Sunday evening I realized that Brad and I had no plans for Monday. No work. No committments. No road trips. No races. No fishing plans:). No responsibilities. Nothing.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

23km Loop

Way to go ELM endurance runners!

Today we had a small but fierce crew out for the longest run of our summer Half Marathon Clinic...23km (ish:). The gang completed the distance with big smiles and positive energy to spare. Congrats to Sandy and Jean on their new distance...welcome to the over 20 club! We ran a fantastic route that linked together many of our shorter routes from the summer clinic. Starting near Puntledge Park we ran up the Pipeline and along the Puntledge river (Bevan Trails) to the Comox Lake Dam (approx 10.5km) then it was downhill all the way via the Bears Bait trails, Nymph Falls, Twister and finally home on the Pipeline once again (approx 12.5km).

An ice cold soak in the river made our feet happy and soothed our muscles after a good long run. Let Taper Time begin! The Log Train Trail 1/2 marathon in Port Alberni awaits... August 17th 8am!

See you there!


Saturday, August 2, 2008

Mt Becher

I awoke this morning to spots of blue sky and a desire to climb something- you ever get that feeling? I hummed and hawed and stalled my departure until well after 10am hoping that one of my buds might pull through and call my back to say they were in for a fastpack. But the phone didn't ring so I decided to go solo...up Becher for my annual summer trip:)

I have been hiking Mt. Becher trail since I was about 10 years old. While growing up I was lucky enough to spend a portion of every summer at the Alders Beach Resort in Merville (yes, the gumboot capitol of Canada:). And from the time I was old enough to scramble, hiking Mt. Becher became an annual pilgrimage for myself and my family. In those early hiking days the trip up and back seemed like an epic endurance event. Climbing Becher was a DAY trip that actually seemed to take the entire day. Just as the drive from Victoria to Merville tested my endurance ("Are we there yet?") so did the hike up Mt. Becher. But I loved every minute of it of course. As a child I was accompanied by my father, aunts and uncles, cousins and out front my 70+year old relatives led the charge.
I have fond memories of wet feet and whiskey jack alpine birds eating crumbs from on top of my hat. I also have not so fond memories of the trip that turned sour when I was about 13. That was the year my Dad and I decided we would camp out atop Mt. Becher. That was also the year my Dad forgot to bring the sleeping bags and I had my first experience with hypothermia. Thanks for the memories Dad:)
It was these sweet memories that filled my head as Yuki and I fastpacked the Mt. Becher trail today. Although the sun was shining over the Valley there was a sticky looking cloud clinging tightly to the summit of Becher. Smiling hikers returning from and early trip up to the top confirmed the weather above...socked right in. This didn't even put a kink in my step-as the journey up Becher has always been the highlight of this trip for me. It's always about the journey! The trail was the wettest I have ever seen it in all my trips up. Wearing my trail runners allowed me to keep a fast pace and easily jump from log to stone like a frog maneuvering a lily pad pond. I even managed to keep my feet dry:)
At the half way point, 40 minutes into the trek, I stopped for a photo and posed Yuki in front of the trail marker-indicating the turn off to Paradise Meadows and the Mt. Becher traverse...I was scouting out the trail as I plan to navigate this route later in the weekend...
Yuki sitting patiently for a photo at the fork in the path...
At the top, Yuki slowed his pace and worked hard to climb to the summit. He negotiated the rocky sections like a superstar and I cheered him on to the top. He is a good old boy (10 years and a big boned Malamute) and the best hiking buddy a girl could ask for. We made it to the summit in 1 hour and 20 minutes. Hardly the epic test of endurance that I remember it being as a 12 year old:) But never the less- a perfect day hike, summit, vista (on a clear day) and the fastest access to Alpine terrain that you can find...right in our backyard! I stayed at the top for a whopping 6 minutes and then came to the conclusion that the clouds would not be parting for me on this day. Snapped some pics, let Yuki have a rest, munched on some snacks then hit the trail for the return trip before being eaten alive by mozzies.
Yuki looking onward to where the view should be at the summit...
On the way down I came across 3 men who were on their final leg to the summit. Recognizing one of the men I chatted for a moment while my brain worked overtime to place the face from my past. Then it came to me. Junior High. PE. Track Coach. Mr 'C'! WOW was that a blast from the past. We spent a few moments sharing memories from those days...20 years ago now. (Does that hurt or what). Mr C reminded me he had led my school trip on the West Coast Trail when I was in grade 9. Imaging 30 13 year olds on the WCT...that was before there were strict rules and regulations on numbers of hikers allowed on the trail. We had a riot, made a tonne of memories and learned how to spend time respectfully in the wild. Swaying under oldschool framed packs...learning what the 'tidal flush zone' was...Toni taking a hard fall and slicing open the palm of her hand-and Mr. D( the cool teachers only went by one letter) stitching up her palm right on the trail!! There is no way that would happen in today's age of waivers and liability...but man did we have a great time. That was my very first wilderness camping experience and I believe it truly helped shape me into the person I am today. Thanks Mr. C.
We returned to the car in fast time as we jogged most of the way down- Yuki was back out in front all the while smelling home. What started as a hum haw hike turned into an amazing walk down (or up as the case may be) memory lane.
Good times.