Run Crew: Knee Knacker 50K

This past weekend I had the honor of being on the race crew at the amazing Knee Knacker 50K. I jumped at the offer to marshal on the course of one of my race goals. It was so fun to be around all these amazing, determined athletes racing one hell of a course in the stoking hot sun. I definitely felt inspired.

I was part of the LSCR team. We all assembled around 8:30AM and put together one of the most amazing spreads I’ve ever seen at an aid station. We had a red carpet glamour theme, a red carpet stretching up to the station, a velvet rope set up along the trees, stars and balloons.

Everyone hard at work putting together all that amazing fuel and those great decorations.

Everyone hard at work putting together all that amazing fuel and those great decorations.

Water and electrolytes!

Water and electrolytes!

As much of the spread as I could get into one photo! Fruits, veggies, cheeses, crackers, cookies, chips, gels, gels and more gels, there was even beer!

As much of the spread as I could get into one photo! Fruits, veggies, cheeses, crackers, cookies, chips, gels, gels and more gels, there was even beer!

Once I took my position, I stood just after the bridge coming off of Rice Lake Road blocking the entrance to the trail to the suspension bridge, pointing everyone “Yes, up the hill” towards the aid station.

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Trail to the suspension bridge. Beautiful, but my job was to steer you away.

I LOVE this spot! I was so lucky to be in the shade for most of the morning. I was standing around 22 miles into the 30 mile course - I knew everyone passing me by would either a) be on the 4th or 5th wind of their runner’s high or b) would be wanting to die. I’ve been both of those runners passing a marshal in my races and I can say I’ve had my day made by a smile and cheer either way. Glare or a grin and a thank you, I made sure everyone knew they looked strong and were doing some amazing work out there.

racecrewselfie

Obligatory race crew selfie… mostly because I had a lot of time to kill earlier in the day.

While I relaxed and took in the scenery first thing in the morning, snapped some photos of the scenery and some fun selfies of my sweet race shirt, I couldn’t believe it when I heard the cheering from the marshal on the other side of the bridge… The first runner.. already? I recognized him right away, Mike Murphy, all banged up but looking strong and in the zone, I later read his race report and felt beast wasn’t strong enough of a word.

Here’s where I started to feel a bit creepy…. over the past year or so, I’ve been reading blogs of local ultra runners and following all the instagrams I can. Some of them I’ve had the pleasure of meeting and even running with, but mostly, I just read about the experiences of those at the level I want to be. I stood in that trail all morning telling people they looked strong, were beasts, were doing great, and food was coming. Seeing so many of my favourite local runners in action was truly something special, and if you ever happen to stumble upon this post: YOU ARE ALL AMAZING, INSPIRING ATHLETES. I can’t wait to race with you one day.

I waited eagerly for runners to cross over this bridge towards me.

I waited eagerly for runners to cross over this bridge towards me.

 

Memorable Race Crew Moments/Things That Made Me Smile:

  • Aid Station decor! I have to say, I wont soon forget the fun a couple of us had trying to install that “velvet rope” along the trees of the red carpet. You’d think it would be easier to stick bamboo in the ground. Nope! But, we pulled it off!
  • Interacting with the families and friends of all the participants. In 6 hours, I did not move, but my scenery was ever changing. I always had dad and the kids, or wife and the dog to sit and chat with. I would ask the kids what colour mom was wearing and we’d get excited together as she came over the bridge.
  • The love a dog has for its owner. Ok, this is no secret… but have you ever seen a running buddy dog on the sidelines of a race as their owner runs by? Its amazing. The love and excitement… and even heart break of wishing they could run with them. Beautiful.
  • Seeing that even the greatest ones fall and take walking breaks. Seeing the lead man run by me covered in blood, watching as a couple of my biggest inspirations walked passed me and seeing others groan at the hill ahead, was refreshing. We’re all human. This is an amazing, tiring feet. The wall is real and it happens to everyone.
  • I’ve been told many stories of ultras and the space that grows between runners, but it really was interesting to see that a 50k really is a race against yourself to finish above all else. The average time I saw between each runner was usually 5 to 10 minutes. Sometimes even longer.

Congrats to everyone who took on the Knee Knacker on the hottest day the event has ever seen. I hope recovery has been good to you.

 

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Quote: I run because it’s so symbolic of life.

I run because it’s so symbolic of life. You have to drive yourself to overcome the obstacles. You might feel that you can’t. But then you find your inner strength, and realize you’re capable of so much more than you thought.

—  Arthur Blank
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Favourite Local Running/Hiking Trails – Vancouver, Coquitlam, Maple Ridge

Minnekhada Regional Park

minnekhada

Minnekhada Park is located in Port Coquitlam. This place is special to me because its where I first discovered my love of trail running., and also where my boyfriend took me for our first date in 2011. It was only a short drive from an old apartment of mine in Coquitlam and has a few different trails and knolls to land on. The photo above is a view of the lower marsh from the high knoll, the last km of this trek is a glute work out, but the view is worth it.

UBC Malcolm Knapp Research Forest

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Malcom Knapp is a new favourite of mine. Having just recently moved back to the area, I discovered this gem just passed Golden Ears Park in Maple Ridge. There are 4 different trails: Blue, Yellow, Red, Green. The main Blue trail, which I usually follow is about 8km – at about 4km the trail splits and you can head up towards the peak of the mountain for an amazing view of Maple Ridge and the surrounding area. There Yellow, Red and Green trails are a bit on the easier side but can still cover a lot of kms. I’ve recently started meeting up with a running club and exploring these trials in more details. I’ve also been using these as my main trianing trails lately so I’m sure there’ll be more talk  in the future.

Buntzen/Diez Vistas

diezvistas

The Buntzen Lake Trail & Diez Vistas are two very different adventures, but I’ve grouped them together because they start from the same place in Coquitlam. I had been running Buntzen lake for a couple of years and had no idea there was something so amazing hidden up the hill until a friend took me. From the floating bridge closer to the park entrance you can follow a short service road to the right to take the 1-2hour run around the lake, or you can head up towards a 15km 3-5hour adventure depending on your skill level. I run the trail alone in the 3 hour range, I hike it with friends closer to 5hours. Its the difference between beginning and advanced. Both trails boast stunning views, but if you go up Diez Vistas on a clear day, you’ll undoubtedly be stopping to take in those vistas!

Mundy Park

mundypark

Mundy Park in Coquitlam is perfect for an evening run. The main perimeter trail is a 5km loop around the park with several connecting trails and 2 small lakes with trails leading to and around them as well. The terrain is relatively level the whole way through, wide and well maintained. Scenery is gorgeous, and you can easily join the park up to a neighbourhood road route to get some variation in with so many trails leading back to the streets.

Golden Ears Provincial Park

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Golden Ears Park in Maple Ridge is simply amazing. My first memory of the park is spending countless summer days on the beach at Alouette Lake, my dad would take me and our out on the hiking trails, I’ve been camping in the campground countless times with family and friends, a few years ago I did the monster Golden Ears West Canyon trek with a group (we split it into a day trip with a camp over on the Alder Flats), and earlier this year I ran 5Peaks Race 1 through the park. For less extreme hiking/running adventures I recommend you check out The Falls and Mike Lake. My favourite route is to follow the Incline trail near Mike Lake and take the Eric Dunning, Menzies and Look Out trails – I’ve managed to stretch this as far as a 17km run. Here’s a complete map of the area.

 Photo credit: Vancouver Trails
Thanks for saving me from searching through my own photos for hours.
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Canada Day – Trail Running on the Baden-Powell

I was lucky enough to have a paid day off from work this past Tuesday to celebrate my country’s 147th birthday. What better way, I thought, to celebrate Canada’s birthday, than to spend it romping around BC’s beautiful North Shore mountains?!

BP1

One of the most popular trails among my running friends is the Baden Powell. Understandably so! This trails are a runner’s dream… you know, if you’re into gorgeous technical trails that go on forever. This time in particular I stuck to the section between Lynn Canyon and Grouse Mountain.

BP2 Continue reading

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Selfie -I can dress up.

I’m always wearing running clothes… yoga pants…. hoodies… tanks… techs… shorts… very rarely do you see me out in even a pair of jeans. I’m just not that kind of girl. My family and coworkers make fun of me a lot for being one of the guys, so the other week when I was by my parent’s place my stepmom gave me a dress.

selfieinadress

See, look, ma! I can clean up too!

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Time to upgrade the pack.

I’ve been running with an Osprey pack since 2012, and it and I have gone many, many kms and made some incredible memories. Over the past couple months, with more kms and longer hours out in the trail I’ve been noticing more bouncing, too many zippers to dig through on a runners high, not enough pockets to quickly grab from while still wearing, and honestly, in the summer months, I just have too much room.

In the next year I have big goals to hit, a lot of kms to cover and I’d like to do it with a more light weight pack geared towards long distance running. I’d been looking around for a while and listening to a lot of opinions. The one name I kept coming back to was Salomon. The runners out here in BC LOVE them some Salomon gear, and I’ve been dreaming of one of their bags waiting for the funds to splurge.

BRIRED

I am beyond excited to have ordered myself a Salomon Skin Pro 3 Hydration pack just this morning. I’m close to positive this is the bag of my dreams. I can’t wait to take it out! I’ll definitely let you know how it goes!

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Amapeli.org Turns 5

In 2006, after a couple of years hiatus from my preteen blogging hobby, I decided to start fresh, claimed the name amapeli and got to work. I had no idea how long I would keep up with it. After piggybacking off of several friends’ domain names for countless years, in 2009 I decided to take the jump and purchase myself amapeli.org. For the past 5 years I have been happily hosted by Awe-Inspired – a special shout out to Randi for being such an awesome host.

balloons

To celebrate our 5th anniversary, I finally purchased the rights to amapeli.com, which will first be used as a forwarding address but eventually transformed into a collective of all the places you can find me today.

While this blog is 90% centered around my loves of running and nature, what you may not know about me is that I am an aspiring Web Developer. For the past couple of years I have been earning my degree through BCIT part time, and building a freelance business, while working a day job and training for all these races. I keep myself sane by running like crazy and doodling designs in my sketchbook.

Happy 5th Birthday, Amapeli. You’ll always be my baby.

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The Obsession With Running…

obsessionwithrunning

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Things I’m going to do in Summer 2014

Summer to me means more time to play outside. More time spent climbing mountains, running around on the streets and in the bushes, taking some road trips here and enjoying the light long into the evening.

Some things I will definitely be doing this summer:

Hiking - I’ll be spending every weekend mastering as many trails as I can with my BFF.

Family trip to the cabin in 100 Mile House - Every summer my mom and I visit "home". Only within the past couple years have we started bring our men with us. Last year was amazing. I cant wait to go back.

Family trip to the cabin in 100 Mile House – Every summer my mom and I visit “home”. Only within the past couple years have we started bring our men with us. Last year was amazing. I cant wait to go back.

Playland - It just wouldn't be summer in Vancouver without a trip to our local amusement park!

Playland – It just wouldn’t be summer in Vancouver without a trip to our local amusement park!

Camping - and lots of it, we already have a couple of camping trips under our belts, and a few more in the planning.

Camping – and lots of it, we already have a couple of camping trips under our belts, and a few more in the planning.

Stanley Park - the seawall, English Bay, 2nd & 3rd Beaches. Everything else in between.

Stanley Park – the seawall, English Bay, 2nd & 3rd Beaches. Everything else in between.

Working on my dreams - I'm currently working through my degree in web and mobile development. I've been working in my spare time to get my design site running, and I have no plans of stopping during the summer!

Working on my business - I’m currently working through my degree in web and mobile development. I’ve been working in my spare time to get my design site running, and I have no plans of stopping during the summer!

Drive In Theater - I've been waiting all winter for my date night to the drive in!

Drive In Theater – I’ve been waiting all winter for my date night to Twilight drive in!

Training - And of course, something that I'm always doing... Running! My race schedule is lax all summer, but come fall I have 5peaks Buntzen and 3 half marathons! Run, Eat, Repeat!

Training – And of course, something that I’m always doing… Running! My race schedule is lax all summer, but come fall I have 5peaks Buntzen and 3 half marathons! Run, Eat, Repeat!

(photos courtesy of weheartit)
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Run, Auntie Run.

I’ve recently added a new form of cross training to my running plan… I call it “The Auntie”. In an effort to help my best friend further her running passion, once a week we go out together, and I take a few turns pushing the babes around. You wouldn’t believe the arm work out.

The niece and nephew make great comedic relief and awesome cheerleaders.

The niece and nephew make great comedic relief and awesome cheerleaders.

Where there’s a will, there’s a way. No excuses!

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