Thanks for the PR!! …I think?

My next big race is 5Peaks Golden Ears. Im really excited to run this race. I grew up in the area and spent a lot of time at this park growing up. Since moving back to the area a couple months, I’ve been exploring the trails at Golden Ears park a lot by default since they’re so close to home! With the race only a month or so away I figured I would get my hands on a course map and go and give it a shot on Saturday afternoon.

I had no intention of pulling a great time, and the distance wasn’t intimidating at all. I saw one elevation on the course that made me gulp a bit, but figured I could take it. Plus, for every nasty uphill there is a wicked fun downhill! I had to modify my start a bit because of where I parked, and the fact that I had no desire to dodge everyone enjoying the first hot sunny day of the year on the beach. I had my map tucked into my pack for easy access, and most forks along the way have a map stapled to them to assure me I’m on the right track.

The first couple of KMS went by easy. I felt great, the weather was the best I’ve seen all year, my legs were happy and I was happy. I passed some beautiful scenery, but this man made waterfall was the one to have me stop my timer for a minute. Just gorgeous! Then I climbed over it.

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So, how is it that a leisurely, perfectly mapped out and planned run turns into a distance record and one long ass day…..

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Reflecting on running post fumble.

Post Dirty Feet I felt pretty destroyed. I was in pain in all places…  especially my pride. Between a pep talk from the girls on the ride home about how hard it was and how proud I should feel, and the encouragement and great advice from the ladies I run with, I was beginning to feel good about the experience.

I realized something – it’s the hard runs that shape you. If every run was easy, no road or trail challenged me, no mountain had ridiculous elevation gain and rooty, muddy terrain in places…. where would the excitement be? How would I grow and become stronger as a runner? Simply put… I wouldn’t.

My goal for this year was to push myself further. I spent the last few years at such an average level, just doing it never trying too hard. The whole point of tougher trails and further kilometers was: Further. Better. Faster. Stronger….. so what are you so upset about, Amber? There’s no way in hell I would have made it up that mountain and/or gone that many kilometers this time last year. Scrolling through my running app I can see myself this time last year, compared to where I am at now. Twice the kms a month, twice the distance every week. My short runs are what my long runs once were. That kind of progress is never a disappointment. In the past couple months especially I’ve been getting to know my strengths as well as my weaknesses, and I’ve been learning to work with them.

In the past couple weeks I got right back to a place where running is love and life. I’ve been working on my weaknesses, planning routes that challenge and push me, and after years as a lone runner, I found a group and I’ve been getting out to meet people and socialize within the run community…. and finding just how fun and supportive a group of running friends can be!

Things like this are why I love and need running in my life….

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Pitt Lake has some of my favourite flat stretches for temp runs.

Thanks to Solana for taking this sweet shot of a Ladies of the Trail meet up.

Thanks to Solana for taking this sweet shot of a Ladies of the Trail meet up.

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Sun peaking through the trees at Golden Ears park

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Uphill isn’t soooo bad when it looks like this, is it? Ok, yeah it is.

I really do run in some beautiful places!

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Be content.

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Race Recap – “The Dirty Feet Kamloops Experience”

**This entry goes hand in hand with: Girls Trip to Kamloops & Race weekend

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I really enjoy destination races – I try to do at least one a year. Its fun to get out of your usual trails and explore something new, and its kind of fun to go into a race route totally blind. There are of course downfalls to running races away from home… this I can take a lesson from in the future.

We arrived in Kamloops late Friday night, had a glass of wine with our hosts and climbed into bed exhausted. I woke up Saturday morning and looked out the window in shock… I had been watching the weather for Kamloops all week. I was ready for cold, I was ready for clouds and even a bit of rain, but I wasn’t ready for snow. Here’s a big problem with destination races: you can only plan so well. I have to admit, I was starting to get nervous. Not only was this my first lengthy trail race, IT WAS SNOWING! ….eek. I had packed warm, but not warm enough.

Thankfully the running store hosting package pickup was also holding a sale! The girls and I had a leisurely morning with a big french toast breakfast. We soon headed in to town to pick up my race package…. and find me an extra layer. Just my luck, the running store hosting package pick up was having a huge 70-20% off sale. I left Runner’s Sole with a fully stocked race package and a new layer of discounted Under Armour.

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Girls Trip to Kamloops & Race Weekend

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Photo op. stop in the Fraser Canyon
(From the left: Myself, Danie, Chelsea)

Enjoying the amazing view!

Enjoying the amazing view!

A couple of weekends ago my girlfriends and I took a trip up to Kamloops. The main purpose of the trip of course was so I could run Dirty Feet Kamloops - as an added bonus we got to spend the weekend with my BFF’s Dad and Stepmom in their beautiful home with an awesome view.

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Gorgeous view from their rap around deck!

The girls and I drove up to Kamloops Friday evening – not actually leaving the city until nearly 7pm. We took our time and didn’t end up getting there until after midnight after taking the long way to avoid snow and black ice. When we finally got there, we stayed up to have a couple of glasses of wine with Chelsea’s dad and step mom before heading to bed.

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Week In Tofino

My boyfriend works out of town; he can be away from home for a few days, a week or so and sometimes even a month. The week before last I picked him up from the airport after being gone for nearly a month! I took advantage of my new third week of vacation and took some time off of work to spend with him.

I’ve heard many, many stories from him and his friends about summers spent on Long Beach and the legend of the fort they built together over a bunch of drunken summers. Naturally he wanted to take me and show me some things… and I am glad he did. According to my Grandmother, I had been before as a child, but if I cant remember then it doesn’t count and this was all new to me!

Tofino is on Vancouver Island, so its a bit of an adventure to get there. After a couple of hours waiting to get on a ferry, then another couple on the water, we started on our 3 hour drive.

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Race Recap – Golden Ears Bridge 10K

Yesterday I ran Peninsula Runners’  Golden Ears Bridge run. While I’ll admit, this one is a tad beneath my training goals for 2014… it is personal between this bridge and I, and it was a must that I repeat the race this year with a way better experience than last year…. As I briefly admitted during my 2013 running recap, I had not only a moment of realization, but also a moment of total embarrassment at this event last year. After moving into the neighbourhood of the route, and becoming a much stronger runner this past year, I really wanted to prove to myself that I could do it and just have the experiences to compare and contrast.

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My point of view coming back over to Pitt Meadows from the Langley side of the bridge. Taken on my practice run the week before.

After including the bridge and then some in a 14km run the weekend before, I was feeling pretty confident. I had set 2 main goals for the race: 1) Consistency. Maintaining one pace with minimal to zero walking breaks. (My first year of racing, this was not my forte)   2) PR at 1hr or under. (To be fair my current 10K PR sits at 59:53, but I only juuuust scraped by).

I had planned a proper night of sleep around having to take care of some personal matters the night before the race. I had planned out the perfect amount of sleep, but that was interrupted by my lack of ability to plan for daylight savings… oops! After 3 or 4 smacks of the snooze button I finally talked myself out of bed. My saving grace was a 9:15AM start time and all I had to do was drive straight down the road to the start.

I pulled up right to the start line, parked the car, hoped out and stood at the start. Less than a min of pacing back and forth and kicking my legs about that way us runners do, and we were off. I wanted to start strong, but I also wanted to finish strong. I quickly found my comfortable pace and flew through the first km like nothing. Half way into the 2nd km I felt felt that awkward sitting toenail snap right off… not pleasant. It got to me… “seriously? I’ve barely started…” but no sooner did I let that negative thought into my head, did I hear honking and screaming coming from the round about beside me… I looked over to see my best friend going around in a circle yelling out the window with my nephew.  I flashed them a quick over smile and thumbs up and put my head back into the game.

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I can & I will.

Tell yourself this about every goal. The first step is believing in yourself. From there, anything is possible.

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