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Posted by on Nov 3, 2011 in Trail Running | 0 comments

The little video that could

So thanks to those who voted for Andrew’s video Set Free a trail running story as that propelled us into the finals of the Mountain Equipment coop sweet spot 2011 video contest.  After two weeks of waiting we found out that MEC picked our video to win the grand prize of 2000$ in MEC gift cards.  A small bonus for living what we love as this was never our intent to make this film.  Andrew and I are going to continue on adventuring with some ski touring gear, something I keep saying I would love to do.  So thanks MEC for helping with that dream.

 

Last years MEC sweetspot 2010 winner Jamie Bond lives and filmed his video in Squamish, BC as well.  Perhaps, this means that Squamish has so much variety and beauty that its hard to beat  a place like this to live and play.  They do call Squamish the Outdoor Capital of Canada.  Jamie’s video is awesome as it depicts all the things you can do outside in Squamish in 24hours.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0jiOxQwICqw

 

Well, our short little video may not  be done yet as we plan to enter it into a film festival upon an email from the festivals coordinator expressing some interest.  In some ways I hope it doesn’t make it in as I don’t want my face plastered for people to watch.  Haha.  I originally hoped that the film would inspire at least one person to get outside and explore, have fun all while staying active, maybe even go for a run.  The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive.   So I guess the message is simple: Get out there, move, breathe, explore, enjoy and live what you love.  One step, two pedals, 100 steps or a million pedals of something,  get going! …..

 

Have fun out there!

Kristie

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Posted by on Oct 21, 2011 in Trail Running | 1 comment

What to do after 100 mile training?

What to do after 100 mile training?

After an ultra like Leadville I usually take a few weeks off.  So far its been two months of not running.  I am trying to sort out my body by unwinding the torques and twists that have resulted from years of postural neglect as well as a previous whiplash injury in my early twenties. A slight hip rotation here and thoracic torque there may not cause symptoms in everyday life or even during a few hours of running but these discrepancies become apparent in ultra distances and symptoms due arise.  Stride length should be around 180 steps per minute regardless of how fast you are going.  Imagine how many steps that is during a marathon (2-5hrs) and now during a 100 miles.  Ok, I did hike much of that but still that is a lot of steps and force exerted through an uneven body.  Obviously, in my case one side may take more of the brunt then the other (ie right back) and over time that will most likely lead to pain and injury.

So in the meantime I have been enjoying hiking in the mountains, grinding up the chief, yoga and waiting patiently for the snow to fall so I can start skate skiing and immerse myself into a new adventure of ski touring.

Currently, yoga is a new love that I have discovered a short three weeks ago.  I have been practicing yoga at  The Yoga Studio in Squamish.  Each week, I’ve experienced a new teacher that has brought a different element to the practice.  Lydia, Sarah and Annie all have a unique way of making a newbie feel welcomed,  inspired and uninhibited.  When I am there I just let myself go!  The class is a balance between strength and flexibility with emphasis on the core and working on the tensegrity series.    Tensegrity is a word that manual practitioners like myself tend to use when looking at the body and how it functions and moves.  I tend to say a lot that “everything is connected”.

Tensegrity, tensional integrity or floating compression, is a structural principle based on the use of isolated components in compression inside a net of continuous tension, in such a way that the compressed members (usually bars or struts,bones) do not touch each other and the prestressed tensioned members (usually cables or tendons) delineate the system spatially. via Wikipedia.

At the end of each yoga class the teachers read a meaningful exert, poem or prayer for reflection and thanks.

Today we were given an opportunity during our last few minutes to give thanks in silence to what ever came to our thoughts.  Andrew and my parents filled my jar of thanks today.

 

Have fun out there!

Kristie

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Posted by on Aug 22, 2011 in Favorite articles, Trail Running | 4 comments

“Better to die trying then live in regret” Leadville trail 100 2011

“Better to die trying then live in regret” Leadville trail 100 2011

Ok, I don’t want to die but Andrew bought me a t-shirt for my efforts as he was super proud of me and that’s what it says.  I think ultra runners are crazy because this stuff hurts, some points we suffer other times we enjoy the beauty around us but then we always want to do it again.  Even if we don’t finish, we come back again and again.  At Leadville only 43% finished, but with odds like that we still come and try.  Failure is not a word we use, as this makes us stronger and more determined and motivated to come back again.  Andrew and I went to the finish to see the last few people cross the line and what an inspiration that was.  Total and absolute respect for everyone that finished today.

Ken Chlouber words stuck in my head at the pre race meeting. In so many words he said it will hurt but don’t let your crew, the volunteers and yourself down.  So my goal was simple, don’t quit no matter what unless someone tells you to. Early on in the race I realized statistically that I was too slow to finish.    From the crew meeting,  a lovely lady told us that racers should come in around 1:30pm at Twin lakes in hopes to make the Hope pass cut off (45miles).  She also mentioned that statistically anyone just making the 6pm cut off at Winfield (50 miles) would not finish the race and she had been studying the stats for years and years.   I figured I needed to be close to an hour faster then the cut off times.

The Start

There was a buzz in the air at the start of the race, 800 racers and there families/crew ready to attempt a 100 miles.  In the end 347 finished  100 miles in the 30 hours allotted time in which 54 were women.

 

 

The Race

The first 7.5 miles before I hit my crew ( Andrew) at Tabor boat ramp was fairly flat and wide at the beginning consisting of mainly pavement and dirt road. The sky was clear and the stars where out as we entered a trail around Turquoise lake.  Headlamps lit up the outskirts of the lake in the distance.  It was a nice gentle warm up before hitting a small 200 foot climb before the crew access point.  This is when I knew the altitude was here to play a toll on all of us.    Andrew greeted me with some food and water, which I filled up on and then headed out toward May Queen aid station.  We continued around the lake, towards a campground before meeting cheering crew and volunteers.  At this point my previous back injury started up and I began to get sharp pain down the side and front of my leg.  I had worked so hard in the last 8 weeks to remedy this and to have this come on so early was  annoying at the least.  Regardless, I wasn’t going to let this stop me.  So I got Andrew to give me a massage and then I was off.

 

After May Queen we headed up our first big climb toward Fish Hatchery. I ran and hiked many similar climbs to this one on logging roads and trails back home with a consistent pace, but climbing up toward 11000 feet had me stopping every few hundred feet and feeling slightly drunk.  Onward and upward I went taking in some of the views before meeting Andrew at the Fish hatchery with 20 minutes to spare going into the next leg.

 

At treeline aid station wearing Moveo gear just after Fish hatchery

 

 

I passed through Tree line and headed toward the half pipe aid station and cut off.   I made Pipe line  with about 6/7 minutes to spare.  Time was getting shorter but I still had lots of energy because I kept eating around 200kcal every hour even when I didn’t feel like it.  The only problem was I bloated up with a hard sore stomach and puffy fingers.  At the pre-race meeting the sports med doctor said that too much salt will bloat you up.  I guess I was nervous about cramping and ingested too much sodium.  It was too early to inhibit my race but I am sure if I made it past 60 miles things may have gone sideways. I just need to work on my nutritional plan for next time.

The moment of truth

We had some more up and downs to go and with 3.5 miles left I was feeling the pressure to make the Twin lakes cut off.  A nice volunteer at the 3.5 mile mark said I could make it and I said “I will” and he said “do it for us”  I didn’t have much time left even though it was downhill.  I had sharp shooting pain going down my leg so the downhill was murder on my body but I kept pushing on.  At one point I passed two racers and I asked then how much further.  They thought we had about 2 miles left in which they said there is no way they could make it with just over 15 minutes left.  I told them I was going to give it a shot and the lady said “you go girl”  and so I did.  If it was two miles I knew I wouldn’t make it but I was going to give it all I had to make the cut off.   A few minutes later I passed a volunteer  that said I had less then a mile left. I’m glad I didn’t listen to the previous racers as I knew I still had a chance.   I converted that into meters and I was off.  This was a race against the clock.  I passed several other volunteers that encouraged me on and pushed me too run faster.  I sprinted that last mile and came toward the aid station with an applause of cheering crew members, and spectators and Andrew who gave me a big hug.  A camera crew captured the moment and interviewed me as I hugged Andrew and then I proceeded to cheer on the last few guys to come through.  Several racers I had passed along the way including the New yorker  made it with seconds to spare.  I gave it my all through some pain knowing that my chances of making the next cut off where slim.

Andrew was instrumental in filling up my water, having my clothes ready and a selection of food displayed for my choosing.  We made a great team.  A nice lady from Colorado springs sat me down on her chair and held up an umbrella  as Andrew organized my stuff. I headed up toward Hope pass aid station and cut off at 2:15pm.  Along the way I ended up spending most of my time with two amazing racers.  We stuck together for the most part, stopping every 50 meters or so to catch our breath and to cheer on the racers that had already come and gone from Winfield aid station.  We moved at a turtles pace but kept going one step in front of the other.  Closing in on the 4:30pm cut off time, we knew we wouldn’t make it.  As racers turned around knowing they wouldn’t make either  we kept on climbing wanting to be cut off and turned back to Twin lakes.  Shortly after 4:40pm we turned around and headed back to Twin lakes.  I asked both of them if they would race Leadville 100 again.  Without much hesitation they both said yes.  Of course we all needed to figure out a better way to beat the altitude next time.

For me, next time may be in several years as I need to be faster and work with the altitude.  It was a big goal to take on Leadville but hey why not?  There is so much that we may miss about ourselves if we don’t dream, we don’t try, and reach for those bright sparkling stars.  I used to fear failure, but it teaches us how to cope with life and what it may throw at us and it makes me at least, hungrier for more.  In the end I deserve to wear the t-shirt but next time when I cross that line I’ll deserve to wear that belt buckle too!

I’m keeping my number

Have fun out there!

 

Kristie Elliot

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Posted by on Aug 19, 2011 in Trail Running | 0 comments

Inspiration from pre race leadville meeting

Inspiration from pre race leadville meeting

I had to write a quick note on today’s pre- race pep rally!  It was truly uplifting and encouraging to know that everyone is gunning for the 800 racers that will toe the line tomorrow.  Ken Chlouber the former race director spoke with high expectations on not to give up, not to quit and that it will hurt.  His famous quote that he has said over the years was spoken from the heart and it truly was as it brought tears to my eyes.   “You’re better than you think you are and you can do more than you think you can!”  Then he said just dig deep and finish so when you get home and your friend asks if you finished it’s easy to say YES instead of spending 30 minutes explaining a list of excuses why you didn’t make it.  Ha Ha! so true…..

800 people entered and 109 are women so I guess I have to represent!  Follow me online starting at 4:00am mountain time

pre race meeting

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Posted by on Aug 19, 2011 in Trail Running | 0 comments

Leadville 100 Here I Come

Leadville 100 Here I Come

I had the best week leading up to Leadville 100.  First of all I had the week off from work which means time off my feet.  I spend about 6 hours a day on my feet treating people with soft tissue injuries.  This is key for me.   Andrew and I left Sunday from Squamish and traveled 3000km driving through 5 states and staying, hiking and photographing everything from the Bruneau sand dunes and watching lightening in Idaho, the salt flats in Utah, and finishing off with two days in Moab exploring Arches National Park.  The best part was getting up at 3:30am on Wednesday (hey Andrew will be doing that for me in two days time) driving into Arches and hiking up to the back side of landscape arch.  Andrew set up a time lapse and took photos with the stars and the moon and eventually we watched the sun come up.  It was amazing.  This is Andrew’s  passion and it was nice to share his love and excitement for photography along this trip. Afterward we decided to do another short  hike which turned into a 3 hour jaunt through the hot desert.  Oops!  Oh and Andrew was carrying all his heavy camera gear.  But, luckily afterward we had the Colorado river right beside our campsite to cool off in.

Well, the race starts 4:00am on Saturday and I will be carrying the SPOT (a GPS tracking device) so family and friends can see where I am every 20 minutes.  Andrew will be tweeting if there is good reception on how I am doing.  You can track my progress live online

Below are some photos that Andrew took of our trip leading up to Leadville.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Have fun out there

 

Kristie Elliot

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Posted by on Aug 7, 2011 in Trail Running | 7 comments

Less then two weeks to Leadville Trail 100

Entrants list to Leadville trail 100

 

Finally they posted the entrants list for Leadville Trail 100 race on August 20th and 21st.  I received my confirmation back in February but there is something about seeing your name on the entrants list.  I arrived at work on Saturday and realized they had posted the entrants list.  As I scrolled down to page seven my stomach began to knot up.  Can I throw up now or shall I wait till some point during the race?  I am nervous and scared and excited but I know this isn’t going to be easy this is a challenge after all and I am testing my own personal limits.  We all have our own goals and they are just as brilliant as the next person’s goal whether its a lengthy adventure bike trip from the tip of South America to the most northern route in Canada, training for a personal best in a marathon or simply running your your first 5km and doing something that  might be slightly knew and out of your own comfort zone.    Anything is possible and attainable.  For me I am testing my ability to finish a 100 miles at 10000 feet in allotted 30 hours time frame.  It’s me against the clock, its my mind against myself and my body against my mind.

 

Have fun out there

Kristie Elliot

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Posted by on Aug 3, 2011 in Trail Running | 4 comments

Thunder Bay

Thunder Bay

Thunder bay holds a special place in my heart, and every time I go back I am flooded with thousands of positive memories from my childhood and early adulthood.  Every summer from the time I can remember we made the 16 hour drive as a family from Ottawa to Thunder Bay for a few weeks in the summer.  We spend most of our time at my Auntie Gayle and Uncle Ralph’s cottage on Loon lake.

Loon lake from the deck

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The cottage was much smaller when we were kids but we enjoyed the simplicity of it with steep stairs opening up to a  small open room with low ceilings (watch out for your head) that slept 6 people all in one big room.  Usually my brother and I would sleep upstairs with our grandma and aunt, while out parents slept downstairs in  a bedroom off the kitchen.  Since then they have slowly rebuilt the cottage themselves with the help of family and friends over the years.

 

my favorite place to be

In my mind a cottage is a child’s paradise from swimming all day, exploring in the woods, water skiing, picking raspberries with grandma, and of course going in out of the sauna 3 or 4 times a day.  My little child imagination grew from the moment we arrived to the time we left .  Hopefully when I have kids one day they can enjoy the cottage as much as I did and still do.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Grandma and I enjoying dinner with the fam

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

another dinner with friends and family

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

you are entering the sauna

I love sauna’s!!

 

 

 

my brother and I  swimming after having a sauna

Ah yes the sauna, a tradition among my mom’s side of the family due to their Finish background and a common occurrence in Thunder Bay found at any lake or in the back yard of someone’s house.  My grandma’s boyfriend has one in his backyard.  One might think why on earth would you want a sauna in the middle of summer, well its just something we do and have done since I was little.  The object is to stay in the sauna til one is all nice and sweaty and then jump in the water and swim until you become too cold, too shriveled or just ready to come out.  Then you run back into the sauna and do it all over again.  The water is spring fed and is quite pleasant to swim in.

 

 

 

 

My love of running may have started at Loon lake.  Every summer as a kid I participated in a sports day weekend which had many different competitions from running, potato sack, egg carrying race, three legged race, swimming, row boating and diving. Of course any of the running races were my favorite, and that love of running in childhood at Loon Lake continued into early adulthood when I decided to head off to Lakehead University in Thunder Bay.  Since I was 16, I knew I wanted to study Kinesiology at Lakehead University.  I joined the university track and field and cross country running team and met some amazing friends from the running team, most who I still keep in touch with and who have inspired me then and continue to inspire and make me proud today.  I wish all of them nothing but happiness.  Ria, Ali, Tracey, Karen, Jaclyn, Clayton,Jon, Matt, Roger, Melissa, Becky, Roger,Maggie, Greg and of course coaches Mike and Maureen were the core group of runners I hung out with and shared much laughter, tears, happiness, and many fun times.

I flew to Thunder Bay for my grandma’s 90th birthday party last week.  I swam, I ran, and ate and spend sometime with family on the boat and of course in the sauna.

one of my runs on a dirt road near Loon

Thankfully while I was at the cottage I had a recovery week and was able to run a few days but  spend more time with my family. It was hot and I got bit by a horsefly which really hurt (guess I wasn’t running fast enough)  but it was nice to feel some heat on the runs after the lousy summer we have been experiencing on the coast of BC.

lake Superior in the background

 

 

My grandma is one amazing 90 year old.  She still lives on her own with her boyfriend Alf (a boyfriend at 90 is pretty cool) hardly ever complains about any ailments and is so happy and proud for me and my life.  I told her that I was moving in with Andrew and she said “that is good” with a big smile on her face.  She is always smiling and laughing and happy.  But that’s my family, always have been super supportive in any path or decision I have made for myself.  Thunder Bay is a place that I love filled with many memories from the past and more to be created in the future.

my brother and i with the birthday girl

 

 

nanna and my great uncle bob

 

my parents, yes my dad is wearing a captains hat…we are a funny bunch!

 

always work to be had at the cottage

 

Have fun out there!

 

Kristie Elliot

 

 

 

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Posted by on Jun 28, 2011 in Trail Running | 0 comments

54 days to Leadville! The physical and mental ups and downs…

54 days to Leadville! The physical and mental ups and downs…

Sometimes I find myself comfortably settling into my own routine of working, sleeping, eating, running and spending quality time with Andrew. I love all of these things but  there are only so many hours in the day and with an hour commute to work  it eats up much of my time.  So planning my day is crucial to fitting my training in for the week so everyone is happy. Living in such routine can become stale and the motivation I once felt for Leadville 100 can slowly start to unravel.

 

Ah you can see for miles in Kamloops

 

 

 

That’s why getting away and visiting my super great friends in Kamloops, BC is the breath of fresh air I needed a couple weeks ago. It`s refreshing to run and hike somewhere different then the lush and fresh coastal rain forest of the North Shore and Squamish,BC.  Kamloops is the desert of BC with hot dry temperatures, sage bush, cacti and smooth flowing single track.  Sunshine, no rain as well as positive and fun company is just what I needed.

Elle and Nick

Elle and Nick and there three cats greeted me with a cup of tea.  They are the only people I know where we can drink a copious amount of tea anytime of day.  We caught up on life, love and reminisced about the good old days.  Elle and I met and became roommates in Thunder Bay during 2001 for a year before she left to the east coast while I choose to venture out west.  A few years later Nick and Elle moved out to Kamloops, BC to start a new adventure together full of great friends and fantastic riding. Over the years I have driven up to run, skate ski, mountain bike, hike, eat and drink tea with them.
Aside from a cold, we were able to run and hike through the hills of Kamloops.  I left feeling rejuvenated and motivated about training again. Hanging around their active friends and the positive encouragement from them always leaves me feeling inspired and motivated to continue training again when I get home.
 

inside the old cabin during our run

discovering an abandon cabin

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Elle and I running part of comfortably numb last week in Whistler

After I ran the Comfortably Numbcourse yesterday (which was 25km of gradual switch back, mostly soft terrain with some rocks and roots leading the way) doubt began to enter my mind abut leadville. Ok maybe sheer panic is a better word. It’s been a month since Sun Mountain 50km when I ran almost half the course with sharp shooting and grabbing pain down the side and front of my leg. At times it felt like my leg was cramping and I had tremendous weakness in my leg. I knew that this was coming from my back, a nerve root lesion affecting L4. Basically, lumber vertebra four is compressing the nerve because of many factors which I won’t go into detail now.   Over the last month, things haven’t been that bad but I still can’t seem to run more then a few hours with pain down the front of the leg.  I have been seeing Kelly a physio at Moveo for the last month and it has improved but I keep upping my time on my feet which doesn’t allow my back to completely heal.   The only positive thing is I can hike or run up hill without causing sharp pain. The therapist in me thinks I should give it a rest for a week or two but the athlete in me keeps pushing through. It’s up to me and how well and consistent I am with my  exercises.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

after the race

This brings me back to the 25km trail race I ran yesterday. Things were feeling really good until I hit the two hour mark and the pain started. At least I only had 8 or 9km left but this left me thinking how on earth could I get through Leadville 100. The point is I can’t like this and I don’t like the word can’t but its true . I felt a bit defeated during the race but at some point I realized its not the end of the world.
Regardless I still enjoyed the run immensely,  and highly recommend this point to point race.  If I focused to much on the pain during the 25km race  then I really began to fall apart mentally. So I shifted my mind to more inspiring thoughts. My mind thought of the Western state 100 race the other day and how inspiring it is to hear Ellie come from behind and win by 20 minutes or how Nicola and Gretel ran from the finish to the start and back again in this race, or how the last person Marla from Western States finished with three minutes to spare.  Yes, I look at all the results even the ones at the end because that will be me out there fighting to finish and regardless how fast you are moving 30 hours is a long haul.   All of these people, whether I know them or not inspire me to keep on running, stay positive and mostly to have fun out there.

Jen Turner and I after the race enjoying the sunshine

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Have fun out there

Kristie Elliot

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Posted by on Jun 20, 2011 in Trail Running | 0 comments

First Race finished in almost 3 years!

First Race finished in almost 3 years!

Training has been super,  thanks to Nicola Gildersleeve on crafting a program for myself.  She keeps me motivated and properly trained as the tendency for  myself is to always do more then I should per week.  Since she can see what I do through the computer training program it also keeps me accountable to not just myself but someone else.  Last year I attempted Fat Dog 100 in which I quit after 90km or so.  I didn’t run any races that year before Fat Dog 100, in fact I haven’t run a race since the knee knacker in 2008.  I was injured in 2009 and decided to run Fat Dog 100 because of the amazing beauty of Cathedral provincial park and Manning park.  For me I planned it as an adventure with my friend  then as race.

Winthrop, Wa

So this year I have added a few races and the first one I ran was Sun Mountain 50km on May 22nd. (almost a month ago, slow at posting) I went down with Nicola and a bunch of amazing trail running girls to Withrop, Washington.  I was excited to be around some positive girl power energy as well as finishing and running my first race in a few years.  The race itself was lots of fun and quite beautiful.  Sage bush lead the way up the hilly single track with wide open views all around me.  A totally different experience then running amongst the cool dense coastal forests of BC.  After some doubt in the first hour of the race, I finished the race with a huge smile on my face as I was met with high fives from all the girls.  Of course the pizza, beer and live band was an amazing plus to this running event.

The girls waiting for me to come in after their amazing finishes

Hi fives from Nicola, Cathy, Gretel and Shauna

I have to admit it was nice running with people again.  I tend to do most if not all my training by myself.  I enjoyed talking to people along the way and cheering racers on who were passing by me.  The first hour of the race as well as the first hour of any training run feels sluggish and slow.  It takes my lungs and heart rate anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour to feel warmed up and steady.  Perhaps this is why I felt a bit doubtful in the first hour of the race.  “If I feel like this, out of breath, out of shape  and wanting to walk then there is no way I am going to finish”  are the thoughts that entered my head as many people passed me and I passed no one in the first hour.  The first hour went by and just like magic, my lungs opened up as though they were expanding and I was able to settle into a perfect and constant rhythm.  As each hour of the race passed by I felt stronger and fitter.  All the doubt faded, as I slowly passed people all throughout the race.  The last six miles was the best part of the race for me.  I felt strong on the climb, fast on the descent and happy all the way to the finish.

So far a good start towards my ultimate goal of finishing Leadville trail 100

after the race, having fun

Have fun out there!!

Kristie

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