8 Days on Haida Gwaii!!!

When we got married we talked about a few different honeymoon ideas but ultimately decided on Haida Gwaii! Easy to get to from where we live, prime outside adventuring and gorgeous landscape – the main things we were looking for. My husband and I are very different, but we do share a serious love for nature, camping and exploring. The variety that Haida Gwaii offers is awesome. We had both been there in the past on family trips as kids, but it was time to go back together and do it our way! Almost two years after the wedding, we did! Here’s a recap of our trip. I hope it inspires you to get there or get BACK there, and that it might also help with some trip planning.

Once we picked the dates and made ferry reservations, we were working with the first evening plus eight more full days. I feel like this was enough time to do all the things we wanted, but I also could have stayed WAY longer, or forever. On the other hand, I believe that a shorter trip would be totally worth it depending on what you want to get up to! If researched and planned well, even a few days would be so great.

We camped for seven of the eight nights. I love camping and we are pretty efficient about it. That being said, setting up and taking down camp does take a little extra time, so we had to keep that in mind.

Our trip began with the daytime ferry (10am departure) from Prince Rupert to Skidegate on a Friday. The crossing, I hear, can be anywhere from six to eight hours, and we were unloading by 5pm.

I know!

During the planning process, one thing I had wondered was if it’s possible after unloading from the Northern Adventure to make the Kwuna (smaller ferry that crosses Skidegate inlet down to Moresby Island) in the same day. We ran into a friend on board and that’s exactly what he was doing. Really good to know that we could have gone down to Gray Bay the first night if we wanted to.

First up, Rennell Sound (2 nights – evening, full day, morning)

Rennell Sound! The only vehicle access point on the west coast of Haida Gwaii. We got off the ferry, drove through Queen Charlotte and made our way there, which is all logging roads. We passed on Rennell Sound Rec. Site at the bottom of the steep hill just as you get to the sound – it was packed and busy with massive boats everywhere and that wasn’t where we wanted to go anyway. We drove to Bonanza Beach (at least 10k further northwest, at the end of the line) which you can’t access with a vehicle. We didn’t actually know that part. After checking out the approximately 500m trail into the beach, we decided it was a bit long to pack in the camping gear. Damn!

first glimpse of Bonanza Beach!

We hadn’t actually planned to pack gear anywhere. Whoops. There is also a two-spot mini camp spot called Cone Head just before Bonanza Beach, right along the road and with beach access, but it was occupied. Along the logging road a few groups were camped in small pull-outs here and there, but it was dusty and not what we were looking for. I consulted our Haida Gwaii bible, Haida GwaiiΒ – a Guide to BC’s Islands of the People by Dennis Horwood and noticed that the trail into Gregory Beach looked shorter. It was!! So we packed in some gear for two nights! I love that we started the trip not knowing exactly where we would first camp!

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is this real life?

We were the king and queen of Gregory Beach! All to ourselves!!! As far as I could see, pure magical beauty! The first night the waves sounded so close I kept waking up and looking outside to confirm the ocean wasn’t about to come into the tent ahaha.

The following day we jogged/biked to Bonanza Beach to explore and have lunch. On the way we learned here is another camping spot tucked in off the road along Gregory Creek. So cool! Maybe we will go there next time.

Rennell Sound is absolutely amazing. Like, secret enchanted beaches at the edge of the world. If I come to Haida Gwaii for a similar length of time, or longer, I will absolutely go back.

For a shorter trip, however, it’s slightly out of the way, and more of a hassle than just arriving to a campground. The drive was a little long for just a day trip. Even though this ended up being my favourite spot that we went, I think I’d save it for week or longer visits.

Gray Bay! (2 nights – half day, full day, morning)

On Sunday morning it started to rain (for like an hour..lucky!), which lit a fire under our asses and we packed up quickly and hit the road back to Skidegate Landing. We got on the Kwuna over to Moresby Island (20 minutes, under $40 for two people in a truck) and had breakfast at the Sandspit Inn. Then we made the drive south to Gray Bay.

The Gray Bay Rec Site has nineteen spots. We turned into the first section to find that there were people in #1 and #2 who were packing up. Turns out this crew is good friends with our good friends!!! Small world. They suggested we wait and take the spot because it was the best. It really was. We were basically surrounded by water on three sides – the ocean, plus in the bend of Gray Bay Creek!

view from behind the creek. See our tent?

I had a long run to do so once we were set up I hit the beach. I ran the length of the bay twice, as well as the length of the short campsite road. Unbelievable. All sites have beach view and access. This campsite is the shit!!!!! Gray Bay is actually breathtaking.

Later we tried to find our own way to Secret Cove but missed the trail. We started too close to the mouth of the creek and only hiked in enough to find the first mini cove north of Gray Bay. Still awesome!!

The next day we went the real way to Secret Cove (turn-off about 200m before the Gray Bay Creek Bridge). We rode our bikes until it was no longer bikable, then hiked in. It’s a short trail and super cool spot!

Gray Bay is amazing. It’s easy to get to and the campsite is awesome and right at the greatest beach. On another shorter run, I checked out every single camp spot, since there was no one else there! Site #10/11 wins second place after #1! I’d prioritize this place even if I only came for a few days! The ferry to Moresby Island is so short and the drive to Gray Bay was quick. Do it.

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Sandspit to hike the Dover Trail!

On our way back to the Kwuna to go back to Graham Island, we stopped in the Sandspit area for a hike. I heard about the Dover Trail on both the @gohaidagwaii Instagram page as well as their fantastic website! We also tried to go toΒ the famous Dick’s Wok Inn for Chinese Food but it wasn’t open at that time. Damn!

It was an easy hike in a beautiful old growth forest trail. It follows a creek for a while and there are cool spots where you walk along old logs, and some semi-steep parts with rope for assistance.

At one point there’s a short side trail that takes you to the waterfall. It was the muggyest day EVER and arriving at that waterfall was heavenly. I really loved this hike and I’m glad we made time for it, but I wouldn’t feel compelled to go back unless I was on an extended visit to Haida Gwaii with lots of time on my hands.

Tow Hill & North Beach area (3 nights – evening, 2 full days, morning)

After crossing back to Graham Island, we hit the highway and stopped for coffee at Jag’s on the way. COFFEEEEEEEE!!

Around five we got to Agate Beach Campground. Tow Hill Road alone was so cool! The campsite is busy and windy, but it is the most stunning location with crazy views. We picked one of the few open spots and set up shop. The wind was really cold, I couldn’t believe it. I had all my layers on, everything I brought basically! It felt like we went from summer camping to Fall/Winter camping, so bring warm clothes.

Then I got my tempo run in on Tow Hill Road. It was the best. I had my husband with me on the bike! So gorgeous.

The next day our first adventure was exploring North Beach. We biked from the campsite past Tow Hill and across the Hiellen River Bridge and rode as far as we could before the sand wasn’t as good for bike riding. Probably about 10k. Then we walked another 5km to get to Rose Spit.

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That was a very long and tiring adventure. North Beach is really cool and very long ahah. Next time I won’t feel the need to explore so far down – it’s great but not a lot changes until you get to the spit. I think I’d go for a max 5k out along the beach, either on a bike or a run. I would also take a vehicle down towards the spit but I wouldn’t do it again on bike/foot!

Later on after dinner, we went to Tow Hill! I am IN LOVE with it. The boardwalk to the blow-hole is flat and wheelchair accessible, which I think is really cool.

The boardwalks to the other viewing platforms are steep but not that long. The views were amazing! Unfortunately it wasn’t a rising tide when we were there so we didn’t see much spray going on at the blow-hole, but it was still the coolest spot. The beauty here is overwhelming.

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North Beach/Rose Spit viewing platform

I doubt I will ever come to Haida Gwaii again without visiting Tow Hill. It’s too cool, easy to get to and there are so many accommodation options in the area besides camping, if you plan far enough ahead that is.

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The next morning I went back to Tow Hill by myself on a 10k run because I loved it so much! It was worth getting up before 6am for that. After breakfast we headed to the Cape Fife trailhead which is just over the Hiellen Bridge past the Tow Hill parking lot.

This trail is flat, easy and beautiful! It’s 10k across the spit, over to East Beach!

East Beach is the shit and, in my opinion, kicks North Beach’s ass. It looks like freaking Cancun! There is a hiking shelter at Cape Fife and it’s LEGIT. I am so happy we checked it out because now I know that next time it would totally be an option to stay overnight! It’s a longhouse style cabin with a wood stove and two sets of bunk beds that have a double on the lower level so six could sleep comfortably. It’s AWESOME.

Since I love hikes and trails but I am also a serious beach bum, next time I will hit this trail in the early morning and spend the whole day at Cape Fife, and either spend the night in the shelter or hike back in the evening.

Twenty kilometers of trail made for a long day (plus the 10k before hand) and we were pretty over it by the time we got back to the campsite. Also, the wind kept getting stronger and by this time we had nicknamed our campsite “Everest Base Camp” LOL. It was now the seventh night in the tent. We were reaching a turning point with respect to camping and being filthy dirty. HAHAHHAA.

In the morning we cleaned up and headed out. Breakfast at the Island Sunrise Cafe in Masset was really good and SO needed. From there we hit the road to head south again.

Port Clements, etc

Our first stop along the way after leaving Masset was to go swimming at Pure Lake! This lake is perfect! I wish I had it for triathlon training! Tip: don’t try to go swimming at Mayer Lake (unless you’re out on a boat) or Spirit Lake, we learned this the next day. Nice places, not good swimming spots! Pure Lake was so ideal for a quick swim for two dirty honeymooners but with all the cool places to explore, I wouldn’t come here for the day or anything like that.

We went to Port Clements to check it out and stopped at the little museum. It was interesting reading old newspaper clippings about the Golden Spruce. There was a lot of cool old logging equipment and in general it was just a neat little spot. I’m glad we made the stop, Port Clements is really beautiful. I might look into adventures around here for next time.

Tlell (one night – late afternoon until the next morning)

We continued south and had the most AMAZING lunch at the Crow’s Nest at Tlell!!! I picked up a calendar of the most literally breathtaking artwork – paintings of local landscapes by my newly decided favourite artist, Maryanne Wettlaufer. The magic of Haida Gwaii plus tourist syndrome got me so I also got a glass Crow’s Nest travel mug, but managed to escape friendship bracelets and dangly earrings. The Crow’s Nest is amazing in so many ways. Cafe, convenience store with local farm items too, gifts and jewelry, ICE CREAM. Such a cool little hub in the hamlet that is Tlell. You absolutely need to go here, and it’s on the way to everywhere both ways anyway!

From there we went to the Crystal Cabin. We booked the Sleeping Beauty Cabin for our last night, a miniature one-room cabin in the yard of the Crystal Cabin gallery. It was awesome! Tourist syndrome continued and I got this incredible Tow Hill hoodie from the gallery while we were checking in.

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We went for a drive to explore and find more ice for the cooler. Up until now we hadn’t really driven around, just to wherever our next camping spot was. St. Mary’s Spring, which also happens to be the turnaround point in the Totem to Totem full marathon, was a spot I wanted to stop at. Since I believe in magic and legends, I needed to drink from the spring. My husband even gave in and drank some of the spring water and he’s the skeptic. LOL.

After our cruise we went to the Pesuta Shipwreck trail. I friggin loved this. It’s about 2k of an easy hike through a beautiful forest, then 3k on an old road along the river until it meets the ocean and East Beach. The shipwreck itself is fascinating, and the beach where it’s located is like paradise on a nice day.

I personally would prioritize this adventure. We did it in an evening and didn’t stay at the beach nearly long enough, and it was still so worth it. Next time I will take at least half a day so that I can spend a few hours on the beach between the hikes in and out. East Beach, like I said, is amazing!

Then it was bed time in the Sleeping Beauty Cabin! Okay the outhouse is so radical, test it out if you go to the Crystal Cabin gallery, which you should!

Skidegate & Queen Charlotte (Saturday)

Woohoo race day!! We got up around six and forty-five minutes later made the short drive from Tlell to the Haida Heritage Centre. Both of us were running the 10k in the Totem to Totem race, but there is also a half marathon and full marathon! Such an awesome event! I vow to come back for this race next year, not sure which distance!

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Both of us agreed it was such a wicked race!! After we finished running, we went back to Jag’s Beanstalk for more coffee and breakfast snacks. A swim was in order so first we went to the Spirit Lake trails just a few minutes away, but discovered it’s not a good spot to swim. We had heard about Mayer Lake as well, and since we had all day and the race awards weren’t til around 2:30, we figured we’d go check it out. Also not a good swimming spot. We were just two happy, stinky honeymooners on the best trip of our lives, so we just kept driving and ended up back at Pure Lake, 80km from where we started HAHAHAHA. Worth it! Wish I had some pics from Pure Lake but there was some public nudity going on. Sorry.

After the glorious swim we cruised back down to Skidegate and got to check out Skidegate Days! We had shishkebabs and chow mein and then went to the Longhouse Gift Shop, which we’d run past in the race. This is a cool store and you should go!

Then the awards were presented for the race. It was sweet it was just on the balcony of someone’s house, right on the main street in the village where Skidegate Days was happening! Look what I friggin won!

1st place female!

I have a tendency to not fully enjoy the last day of any trip. I get sad that it’s ending, and a bit of travel anxiety, etc. Not today! It was so hot and beautiful out, there was lots going on and it was nice to be done camping and just touristing at this point. So beautiful and relaxing!

Prawn & Scallop Restaurant (formerly known as Oceanview Restaurant??) was where we ended up for dinner in Queen Charlotte. The Chinese food was really good! From there we walked around a bit by the ocean side square by the visitor’s centre and talked about how next time we definitely need to rent kayaks or SUPs from Green Coast or the like. That’s on my list for next time for sure, a full day or most of a day on a SUP in Queen Charlotte. Most of the shops were closed at the time we were there so next time I’d really like to check them out!

On the way back to the ferry at Skidegate Landing there is a new little smoothie shack called Green Eggs Market. The location is prime and it’s the cutest little juice and smoothie bar! You should go here. It’s on the way anyways, whether you’re coming or going πŸ˜€

That was the end of the trip 😦 We had a visit in the ferry lineup with some of the ladies who also ran in the Totem to Totem, and then it was time to board for the 10pm sailing. In our state-room we watched a couple episodes of Netflix we’d downloaded at dinner (no wifi, FYI), and then crashed pretty hard. Around 4:30am we arrived in Prince Rupert, and made our way home..

This was actually the best trip of my life. Sure, I was with my favourite person on the planet, and we lucked out hard with excellent weather, but Haida Gwaii is just seriously unbelievable. It’s the most beautiful place I’ve ever been, with such strong culture and connections to nature. I’ve heard many people say it’s a very spiritual place and I’m sure anyone who has spent time there would agree – I do. Grateful to have spent such quality time in such a special place. Thank you to Mother Nature and the Haida Nation!

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PUMP up the JAMmie! – Weeks 14 & 15/16

Getting so close! One week til Jack & Jill’s Marathon! Husband and I were on Haida Gwaii for an overdue honeymoon for the last week and a bit. With respect to the taper for this race, it was good to be away and distracted. Lifelong EnduranceΒ has me maintaining some good intensity over the last two weeks and I really like that – it helps me stay sane! I am ready to run.

I am feeling so calm and neutral about this marathon. My goal has turned into a range of times and more importantly, non-time-related goals, like staying focused and fluid and appreciating the beautiful course. I re-read Elizabeth Clor’s book, Boston Bound, recently and this is something that really REALLY resonates with me right now, as I’ve loosened my grip on the goals for next weekend:

“Investment model running is the attitude that you put “x” amount of time and effort into training to receive “y”result on race day..To set a PR or run a specific time, you need to invest the time and hard work. And on race day, it will all pay off.

[this way of thinking] does a disservice to all your hard work. A race result speaks to how you performed on one day in one set of conditions.”

I look forward to doing my very fking best next weekend, whatever the day hands me. Pumped. Here’s what went down the last two weeks, training wise. I’ll be recap our trip on its own because it was THE BEST TRIP OF MY LIFE.

Monday, July 9threst day!

I was surprisingly not sore or overly tired after the triathlon, but I knew it was still a good idea to stick to this scheduled rest day. It felt good to take a day off.

Tuesday, July 10thhard day

  • 2k warm-up
  • 2 x [15:00 @ marathon pace, 3:00 easy]
  • 2k cool-down

later on (and WAY too soon after pizza..)

  • 2k warm-up
  • 6 x [200m hard, 200m easy]
  • 2k cool-down

Wednesday, July 11theasy day

10k relaxed with Erin!

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Thursday, July 12theasy day

10k chill along the Cannery Road πŸ˜€

Friday, July 13th hard day

  • 3k warm-up
  • 2 miles @ ~ 4:35/km
  • 5 min jog to a hill
  • 10 x [1:00 hard hill, 1:00 jog down]
  • 3k cool-down

Got the first 2 steps done but it was time to go to the ferry terminal! I slept in a bit! Haida Gwaii bound woooooo!

I DID get the intervals done! They weren’t hill repeats but beach intervals, which were just as challenging in their own way. Super proud to have gotten it finished after a long day of travel and an unplanned camping situation right off the bat (explain later)

Saturday, July 14threst day

First morning waking up in the tent! I did run today, but it was very relaxed and slow on a logging road, chatting with husband beside me on his bike, and then along the beach we were exploring!

Sunday, July 15thlong run day

A planned 27k with no special instructions turned into 20k of extremely challenging and tiring beach running. It was SO beautiful though!! Again, proud to have gotten this +2 hours of running in while on vacation in the middle of nowhere at this point!

I went back and forth along Gray Bay twice, with a few kilometers on the logging road along the campsite in between πŸ˜€ The terrain varied from hard-packed beach to soft sand (the WORST AHAHA), rocky beach, big rocks, crawling over huge logs and some weird bouncy seaweed hay.

Monday, July 16theasy day

A small piece of the Secret Cove trail and the whole Gray Bay recreation site for 6.5km! No one else was as the campsite! I literally ran into every spot and checked each one out. We were in the money spot, #1, but I would also recommend the 10/11 site ahahah


Tuesday, July 17thhard day

Omg. This run was SO good! Tow Hill Road is the most beautiful road and the best quality of unpaved road you could imagine. With husband along side on the bike making me laugh and snapping a couple sweet pics that I didn’t know about, this run was one of my favourites ever!

  • 2k warm-up
  • 6k ~ marathon goal pace (I ran a bit faster)
  • 2k cool-down

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Wednesday, July 18theasy day

I skipped my run today and I’m happy to say it! We rode our bikes on the sand of North Beach for about seven kilometers. Then we walked another 5k to Rose Spit. Then back to the bikes (got a ride in the back of someones truck for like 2k) and then biked back again into a serious headwind!!

Then later we checked out the Tow Hill boardwalks and viewing platforms. My legs did a lot today!

Thursday, July 19th

10k Tow Hill Run!

I went from Agate Beach Campground, a little down Tow Hill Road towards Masset for some extra distance, and then to Tow Hill, to the blow hole and back out, up to the top viewing platform, back to the blow hole, out to the parking lot and back to the campsite which gave me 10k!

Followed by a 20k easy hike with husband to and from Cape Fife!

Friday, July 20thunplanned rest day

I went to bed with a headache the night before and woke up with the migraine from hell. It was terrible! I was actually crying as we packed up the campsite and thought I might need to go to the hospital if it didn’t calm down. This also happened to be our camping breaking point. LOL. More on that in trip post as well.

That migraine robbed me of my day! I was hurtin’ and felt one hundred years old from seven nights in the tent so I made an executive decision to skip the planned workout and use the race the next day as a good, solid 10k workout. Later on when I was feeling almost normal, we went for a hike/walk/jog on the Pesuta shipwreck trail. It was 5k each way and that was more than enough for the day.

Saturday, July 21strace day!

Totem to Totem 10k for both myself and husband. What a great course! I ran it exactly as was permitted by Coach Andrew – around half marathon pace. It worked out great and on this day was fast enough for first overall female! I’ll write a separate post about the race itself. The event was so wonderful and I will be back next year, that’s for SURE.

Sunday, July 22ndlast long(er) run day!

7k easy, 8k @ 5:00/km

Holy headwind!!! This run was so frustrating! My heart rate was so jacked from how hard I was working against the wind. I’m glad it’s over πŸ˜‚ I stopped a few times to have an internal hissy fit. I’m sure the four-hour nap on the overnight ferry didn’t help either. YODO.

It’s time to bank some sleep. I plan to go to bed around 8pm all week and get up at 4:30am. I know it sounds insane but I need my body to be okay with how early I need to get up for the race (the earliest bus to the start line goes at 4am I believe) and I also need it to know to go poo by 6am. LOLLLL.Β Talk soon!!!!! It’s happening!

2018 Tyhee Lake Triathlon!

This was my second time taking part in the Tyhee Lake Triathlon, and my second triathlon ever. Last year I completed the sprint distance and this year I came to tackle the Olympic distance. That day last year, I decided this was the best endurance event I’d ever experienced in Northern BC, and this year that decision was totally solidified!

The Tyhee Lake provincial park is AWESOME. Some may not think that camping is ideal for race weekend accommodations, but the campsite is beautiful, well-maintained, and there are showers and some flush toilets as well as standard outhouses. It was so nice to be staying AT the event.

On Saturday morning I woke up at six and saw that Erin was already awake. Immediate excitement!!! We ate breakfast right away (I had granola, a Happy Planet chocolate protein smoothie and a banana with peanut butter) and then started to get organized and go to the bathroom 500 times. Check-in/bike check was all going down from 7:45-8:30 and then the Olympic distance event started at 9:30, so we had lots of time.

Triathlon morning, I’ve come to learn, has way more stuff than running race morning! I gathered:

  • goggles, cap, earplugs
  • wetsuit
  • sunglasses, SpiBelt with a Clifbar and an Endurance Tap gel
  • water bottle with Skratch Labs powder
  • helmet
  • bike (duh)
  • runners, socks, hat, BodyGlide

On my body I was already wearing my new Smashfest Queen triathlon shorts (LOVE), sports bra and Garmin, which would go under the wetsuit for the swim and then stay on me for both the bike and run.

Erin and I went down to the event area (giant parking lot) with just our bikes to check-in, get our race numbers and swag-bags and then line up for the mandatory bike check. I got a fresh new bright yellow swim cap since I’d be wearing a full wetsuit and the number written on my arms and legs wouldn’t be visible until after the first transition. I love free shit ahahaha.

After our bikes were given the once-over we found a spot on the racks in the transition area to hang them up. Then we went back to our site to get the rest of the gear and set up our towels beneath our bikes with everything needed after the swim. A helpful tip I remembered from last time was to put my sunglasses and SpiBelt inside my helmet so forgetting them couldn’t happen.

At 9:15, I got into the lake to swim around and try to get the initial nerves out. I put my face in and blew bubbles slowly, swam a short distance out and back and just hung out in the water for a bit. I really didn’t want to have the swimming anxiety today!

the Piranhas

Ali, the amazing race director, did the countdown on the mic and we were off. I didn’t feel nervous and was prepared to start slow and get into it. No freaking out was happening and I wasn’t hyperventilating or anything, but I couldn’t seem to swim more than a few strokes without needing to breast stroke and try to slow down my breath and heart. Maybe it was just adrenaline. Anyways, I wasn’t worried and just kept going forward, and once I reached the second buoy (500m) I felt almost normal. At the completion of the 750m triangle, we had to stand and go around a cone before continuing for the second lap. Here, I knew I was good to go.

The second 750m went by in the blink of an eye and it was fun swimming hard and confidently in the final 250m!! 1500m33:09

Wearing silicone earplugs seemed to really help (thanks for the tip, Rheannon) because normally when I get out from an open water swim I am SO dizzy and nauseated. I got up the grassy hill to the transition area without issues and saw my friends from Telkwa cheering along the way! Wetsuit removal went smoothly and into my bag I chucked my cap, goggles and earplugs. Quickly dried my feet, threw on my socks, shoes, sunnies and Spibelt, fasted the helmet and un-racked my bike. Wooooo!

I don’t do a ton of cycling, that’s for sure and forty kilometers felt kinda long. It was very tiring, but it was so enjoyable! The bike course is gorgeous. It’s a rolling road and you can see the lake, cows and beautiful countryside. I ate a Clifbar immediately and then stuck with my bottle of Scratch for the rest of the ride for fuel and hydration. Quite a few people passed me on the ride, but I didn’t care; I was already stoked for the run! Sorry to the girl who I told my vagina hurt πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

Coming back to the transition area upon completion of the bike segment is great because it’s downhill. 40k1:35:18

After I re-racked my bike and removed my helmet and belt, I grabbed an Endurance Tap, threw on my hat and got back out there for my favourite part! I don’t have the clip-in cycling shoes so didn’t have to do a shoe change. I’ll get those eventually..

My legs felt better than last year, that’s for sure! After spilling half my Endurance Tap down one leg, I told myself to just get the first kilometer done before making any judgements about how I felt. The first split is ~25m gain (the big hill that was so lovely at the end of the bike), which is brutal coming out of the transition!! I saw Corey on this hill and we agreed it was a cruel joke ahaha. After that, I felt okay and kept chugging forward. I took water at the first two stations and again at the third where there were sponges as well. I stopped for a sec to properly drink a cup of water and get a sponge. This was somewhere in kilometer four and I had to tell myself to suck it up and do this.

I wasted some time in kilometer four…

Erin and Shannon both passed in the opposite direction before I reached the 5k turnaround and it was so uplifting to see my friends!!! I started to feel really good and even though it was hot and sunny, I realized I did not give a F.

I passed a couple of people, including some burly men and it was pumping me up. At the turnaround, I got another sponge and got in the fuckin zone.

I passed more people in the second half of the run and was feeling like a million dollars, running on gumby legs or what Shannon calls meat sticks lololol. My legs were moving fast underneath me and my arms were swinging. I felt great!!! I saw Jessie and Matt too: all Piranhas accounted for!

I caught up to Shannon and her flowing hair and we crossed the finish line together, under three hours!!! What an amazing feeling!!!! My time for the run was actually the fastest women’s run time!! 10k (though my watch shows it a bit short..) : 50:48

reunited with Erin, who got 2nd place in our category and 3rd overall for women!

also reunited with Corey!

Cheryl got 3rd place in her category for the Sprint distance!!

Pippa and Ellen came for an impromptu duathlon! Ellen WON!

fking love this woman

This event is amazing! It’s so well-organized with great communication from the director. There is so much support on the course, especially for the swim and the run. The location is perfect and so is the vibe, it’s relaxed and not hard-core and intimidating. The swag bags are unreal! Afterwards, there is a delicious barbecue, tons of prizes and a beautiful lakefront to hang out at with friends/family while listening to the awards!

I’m so grateful that my friend Breeann encouraged me to take part in my first triathlon here at Tyhee lake just one year ago. I now LOVE triathlon! Seriously, I love it as much as I love running I think! Ironman 2021 (when I’m done school and can train), mark my words!!

I highly encourage you to consider participating in this event next year if you live in the area or will be nearby. There are various distances, including the “try-a-tri” which includes a 300m swim, 10k bike and 3k run.

This was one of my favourite days of my life and I’m thirty-three years old! I think it’s safe to say that the Tyhee Lake Triathlon is FANTASTIC!!! Thank you, Ali and all the volunteers who make this happen!

PUMP up the JAMmie! – Week 13/16

TWENTY DAYS out. This last week was big and awesome! One thing I very specifically took note of this week is the ability of my body to recover. Lifelong Endurance has guided me to becoming so much stronger, and I am really REALLY looking forward to running 42.2k on July 29th! I haven’t run a marathon in over four months. It’s (almost) time. LOL.

Monday, July 2ndeasy day

10k nice and easy. Didn’t really feel like going, ended up being awesome. Weird πŸ˜‰

Tuesday, July 3rdhard day

  • 3k easy
  • 8 x [800m ~4:30/km, 2:00 rest]
  • 3k easy (I only did 2)

Average pace for the eight 800s was 4:25/km. I took the rests very easy, walking for at least a minute of the 2:00 each time. I wanted these 800s to be solid because the last time I was at the track I was sick as a dog and it was very discouraging. Awesome workout!!

Later that day, 7k easy before dinner

Wednesday, July 4theasy day

Back on the road! I headed to Telkwa to visit my friends for a few days and then go camping with the tri crew on Friday. This is one of my favourite places on the planet.

10k easy was on the schedule. My friends live at the very top of basically a 10k hill. The final 2.5k to their house is the steepest! Every time I go I envision myself being able to run back up slowly but consistently and it never happens. I did intervals of 200m jog, 100m walk for the final 2.5k of this run.

Thursday, July 5threst day!

Zero exercising today! My quad was sore from the track on Tuesday and then the pounding downhill on Wednesday, so I was glad to take it easy! Plus, 38km was on schedule for the following day!

Friday, July 6thlong run day

Thirty-eight kilometers!!! This was the kind of run that didn’t feel AMAZING but also wasn’t anything to complain about. I wasn’t able to pick up the pace in the last 8k, which was the plan “if feeling good” but I was consistent and my fueling was awesome.

After food, coffee, nap and more visiting, I headed down to the Tyhee Lake campsite.

Saturday, July 7theasy day

6.5k easy along the triathlon run course! I considered skipping this run…we were on our feet all day long at the farmers’ market and exploring around downtown Smithers, and then Erin, Corey and myself went for a mini-swim to test the temperature of the lake. Adding on a run seemed like so much work, but I went for it. The beginning felt terrible! My quad felt like it had a rock hard knot in it on the left, and my left ankle was hurting too. But things improved and as always I was very happy to have gotten it done and stuck to my schedule.

Then it was dinner time with the tri crewΒ (now called the Piranhas) and very early to bed!! Wooooo!!!!

Sunday, July 8thhard day! Tyhee Lake Triathlon!

Okay. Triathlon is the BEST. You know how I am obsessed with marathons? I might be MORE obsessed with triathlon. I’ll write a full review of this race because it’s so great people need to know more about it, but in summary…

Swim: despite having gotten into the water pre-race and practicing some breathing and warming up, I couldn’t calm the F down for the first 500m. It was frustrating. I’ve worked so hard on my swim! At the second buoy, I started to pull myself together over the next 250m. The second loop was AWESOME and went by in the blink of an eye.

Bike: great! I am not an experienced cyclist and didn’t train nearly enough. This was hard, but bike riding is soooo fun! I worked as hard as I could and enjoyed myself. Forty kilometers felt long!

Run: started amazing, faded quite a bit and had some negative thoughts, told them to STFU, and then smashed the second half. I passed a lot of people! AND it was hot out and I didn’t even notice. Stoked on this run overall!

my girl Erin here got second place!

Such an amazing way to cap off the week! A super fun and exciting full-body workout that ended with running on very tired legs – excellent practice for the marathon! Such a positive racing experience with my friends.

SUMMARY

WEEKLY MILEAGE:Β  95km

INJURIES/PRE-HAB?Β  quad was concerning me but it seems to have loosened up and isn’t irritated anymore!

SLEEP?Β  fine

NUTRITION BRAGS?Β Β Um Skratch Labs powder has now served me well three times during hard and/or long workouts. My fueling on the 38k and during the tri was really good!

CURRENTLY READING:Β  probably going to listen to How Bad Do You Want It on repeat until the marathon now..

CONFIDENCE BOOSTER(S):Β Β the triathlon! Specifically the last 5km! Also putting 38k on these legs just two days before.

NEXT RACE:Β Β Jack & Jill’s Downhill Marathon. Holy shit.

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Scotiabank Vancouver Half & 5k!

I’ll start with the fact that I really LOVED this event! Since the week prior I was sick as a dog, I wasn’t too sure how it would go, but by the time race day came around I felt a lot better and my Friday and Saturday runs felt good. I wasn’t worried.

Bib/shirt pick-up was fast and easy at the Vancouver Convention Centre and the expo was very small. We were in and out within just a few minutes. I actually like the t-shirt and will wear it in real life after I take it in at the bottom. Why do shirts flare out at the bottom!?!?! It’s pretty plain but I love me a white t-shirt!

In the afternoon I managed to get in a SOLID nap. For dinner, we went to a Japanese restaurant and I stuck with a safe meal of edamame, tofu and rice. I also avoided sugar all day with the help of Karmen. Once I laid out all my gear for the next day, it was early to bed.

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By morning, I decided to go with minimal clothing. My fear of being hot is very real ahaha. I love the new Tracksmith crop that Karmen picked up for me when she was in Boston for the marathon, but it needs a bra underneath and two layers on a warm day was terrifying! It was Global Sports Bra Squad Day anyway, so I stuck with just a Lulu Energy Bra. I’m so glad I didn’t wear a shirt, I would have actually died.

I was up at 5:20, then left the house around 6:15 to meet my buddy Kelly (who killed his first half marathon in under two hours) and share a cab to UBC. The starting area is by Thunderbird and it was an easy place to get dropped off, as well as a really good area for a race to start! I managed to get in line for the bathroom before it got crazy. In my opinion there weren’t enough toilets. They were in small groups in different spots here and there I think? Anyways. So many great places to warm up like along Main Mall! I did a jog, drills and strides. Today I felt relaxed and calm about the race.

I got into the red corral around 7:20 and saw my friend Thai and some of his November Project Vancouver crew while waiting for the race to start. Then we were off! Here’s the profile:

My general plan was to run the first 7k at ~ 4:59/km. After 7k is when the giant downhill starts happening. I was a tiny bit fast at first in the initial 3k downhill, but I held back, and then a little slow on some of the following uphill splits for the next 4k. It didn’t matter, it all evened out and I was at a 4:59 average pace after 7k!

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I felt very patient and relaxed and tried to keep my heart rate in check. People around me were huffing and puffing and wheezing after just a few kilometers! It was already getting warm.

The next part of the plan was to run kilometers 8-12 around a 4:57/km pace. I tried to stay in the shade and felt VERY thankful that I decided to bring my handheld Nathan. Still, I took water at every aid station except the first. Somewhere in kilometer 8 I took a gel and it sat fine.

At times I had trouble running that ~4:57 pace. It felt easier to either relax into ~5:05/km, or to pick it up and flow around ~4:50/km; I couldn’t seem to find the middle. If it had been cool out, I would have taken a chance and just ran in the low 4:50s. But it was warm and I was afraid of burning out. Regardless, this 5k section went well!

My next section was 13-17k. Another 5k chunk that I wanted to run around 4:56/km. In kilometer 13 there is a short hill from Marine Drive up on to 4th and it was hard! I also didn’t want to send my heart rate buckwild. A downhill followed and I regrouped. Aside from the split with the hill, good section!

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having fun!

This next part of the course I just wanted to put forward my best effort until reaching the crest of the Burrard Street Bridge, which counts as home free in my books. Turning up Maple Street was challenging; I was now hot and tired, but the end was near! It was time to tackle the bridge. I saw East Van Run Crew at the turn off of Cornwall onto the bridge and ripped open my mocha Humagel hoping to add to the boost of seeing them. The bridge didn’t feel hard back in 2016 during the Vancouver Marathon, but I wasn’t running that race with any goal but completion. This was tough! It’s about a kilometer long, uphill with zero shade! I ignored my watch, swung my arms and smiled, and I might have been running with my eyes closed LOL.

The crest of the bridge is at 19k. Two kilometers left. I told myself every second counts and to run 2000m on downhill/flat with heart and caffeine. I was hurting and definitely didn’t have the best energy, but I was able to spin my legs for a 4:40 and 4:38 in 20 and 21, respectively.

At the 21k marker I had a thought..“fuck, am I gonna be that person who hits the deck in the last hundred meters?” πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚ WTF brain!?!?! But I saw Karmen and Adam and thankfully made it! Thirty-three seconds shy of my sub-1:45 goal, but still a personal best!!! I can’t wait to run a cold Fall half marathon!

Kilometer 21!

I’ve always said I hate and suck at running in the heat. Not today mofo.

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Official time: 01:45:32. Good old Strava tells me that for 21.1k, I ran 01:44:29. Too bad tangents are a thing haha. I’ll get my real life sub-1:45 soon, I know it!

After crossing the finish I switched bibs (thank you, Adam!) and jogged the 5k race for a cool down and some extra mileage.

I also wanted another medal. Look, they’re big!

Karmen, Adam, Jess and I found each other and then we ran into Steph, who won the 5k! Quick pic, retrieved my gear bag that I checked at UBC, and then it was time for a shower and FOOD. We walked home along Pacific and got to support the half marathoners who were still coming in. This is also a section of the Vancouver Marathon and it brought back memories of 2016!!

Epic meal time today took place at the Twisted Fork on Granville. Banana-stuffed french toast with syrup and whipped cream? Yes fking please.

The Scotiabank Vancouver Half & 5k weekend was AWESOME!!! Yes, it’s bound to be hot, being a late June event, but the course is awesome (yet a little misleading at a glance) and I friggin LOVE running in Vancouver! This course is beautiful! The scenery is amazing and even though the Burrard Bridge is one of the hardest parts, it’s so gorgeous running over bridges!!! I would have liked to see at least a couple more water stations, especially considering the history of the weather at this event, but the aid stations were by no means scarce. I just think a few more would make a huge difference. There was some great spectator support and the finish area in Stanley Park is fantastic!! Sweet medals, decent shirt, and perfect start and finish areas! You should run this race next year! πŸ™‚

I’m just over four weeks out from the marathon. Yes, a faster half marathon time would be a huge confidence booster, but I still feel very happy that I wasn’t affected by warm temperatures the way I thought I would be. Also, it’s comforting to keep in mind that I am running a downhill marathon for a reason; to support my goal. I feel good and I’m excited!!!! Peeaaaace.

PUMP up the JAMmie! – Week 12/16

Good week, lots of variety and high mileage. One month to go. I can’t wait to run a marathon again! I’m finding it exciting that I don’t know what the plan is yet from Lifelong Endurance for race day. It’s good. At Jack & Jill, I look forward to running 42.2km in the best shape I have ever been in, on what may be the most beautiful course I’ll ever run. But for now, there’s still a triathlon to crush and a Haida Gwaii honeymoon almost two years in the making!

Monday, June 25threcovery day

this was a scheduled rest day. Probably shoulda rested…but I was on a mini vacation and it was SO nice out and one of my besties was in Vancouver too, so a 14k recovery run it was!

After lunch I went to Kits pool woo! Twelve lengths x 137.5m (I know, it’s SUCH a long pool) = 1650m!

Tuesday, June 26thhard day

10k easy, 6 x [200m hard, 200m easy]

This didn’t feel great. I was still sore and tired and felt like the tin man. But again, so nice out and so great to change up the scenery, so I really enjoyed it regardless.

Afternoon run: 7k easy

This felt a lot better than the morning! So hot and sweaty and amazing!

Wednesday, June 27theasy day

NOVEMBER PROJECT YVR !! The best!! We did a circuit of burpees and park loops in Queen Elizabeth Park. Unfortunately I haven’t come across any pics from this morning, but it was just as awesome as my NP Montreal and Seattle experiences. Kelowna tribe, I’m coming for you!

Later, 10k easy with death toe. Something happened during the half marathon. I think the combo of swollen feet from it being hot out, plus some downhill running and shoes with drop, my big toe turned purple and I’ll stop there with the description. It hurt so badly. But not badly enough to skip a run. (It’s better now.)

Thursday, June 28theasy day

Brick run! 11k bike into 10k run

This was awesome!!! I told Coach Andrew, no wonder triathletes are such killer marathoners! They run on legs that feel like wooden pegs all the time!

Friday, June 29thhard day

  • 3k up
  • 3 x [10:00 @ 5:02 – 4:55, 3:00 easy]
  • 3k down

the goal pace intervals felt REALLY good.

Saturday, June 30theasy day

6.5 easy before mini roadie with husband, then 5k easy in Terrace to make 400 km in June! That’s my biggest month in history.

Sunday, July 1stlong run day

30k workout!

Planned

  • 10k easy
  • 5k ~ 5:00/km
  • 3k easy
  • 8k of 2:00 @ 4:52, 2:00 @ 5:25
  • 2k easy
  • 2k empty the tank

Gahhh. First three steps went great but, then my stomach turned and I had to stop. From there on I had the worst side stitches and abdominal pains. I did my best and finished but stopped so many times. Sigh. Win some, lose some. Definitely no cherries during race week…

That’s it! The majority of next week I’ll be away again. It will be nice to change it up again and get a big part of my long run in on packed dirt road, similar to the Jack and Jill course. Talk to you next week with news of my longest long run ever (38k) and my first Olympic Distance Triathlon!!! Baiii