12 months of updates, sigh! (Or: Watching Dani’s hair get shorter by the month!)

I’d like to be a better blogger. I really would. It’s been almost a year since my last update where I threw tons of stuff together into a blog post and promised to do better and then I left it til now to update again. The more I put it off, the more there is to blog about, the harder it is to write that post! Ugh!

Anyways, I’m on a plane now [or I was when this blog post started being written – it’s now a month later as I’m continuing (finishing?) it] so the plan is to run through the last 11 months as Dani and I remember them, get caught up, and then from now on she’ll help me run this blog, now renamed to runningstix.com! Team Stix is here! 😀 We like the idea of a blog for a number of reasons.. Keeping track of events, best-of pictures, and information on previous events, but also there’s been some information we’ve come across that was hard/impossible to find online with Google and hopefully us posting about it will help others find better info if they’re looking for the same things later. Like a 30 km run in Kananaskis, something we’ve done a few times now, and every time it’s not what we expected. :)

I’m rambling. On with the history!

Last October after the last post, we ran the Grizzly 50K out in Canmore. I like this race! It was my first 50K in 2013 just before I met Danielle and it’s what got us talking in the first place, actually! She ran it for the first time in 2014 and had a stellar performance for her first foray into Ultras! I think my time was roughly 5:50, 30 minutes slower than in 2013 but in 2013 it was my A-race that I prepared for all year (albeit not optimally, but whatever), and this year it was an after thought after our iron distance triathlon at Challenge Penticton. Dani finished in 5:59 and some seconds, amazing! I think our longest trail training run was 18km before this and most were closer to 13km. This year we’re thinking of doing it again if we’re around, possibly bringing Dani’s family out for Thanksgiving and getting them to put a team in? We’ll see! If you guys are reading this, get training! hah. Oh, and super coincidentally, this girl that Dani ran with at Sinister 7 a few months before Grizzly ended up running near me for a while at Grizzly and we got talking, later added each other on Facebook and have since become great friends. Dennene is an inspiration to us for sure, full of Ultra accomplishments, including qualifying for the World 24-hour championships by running 189km in 24h around a track in Arizona and then managing 193km at Worlds in Italy! She also ran in the World Championships for the 100km road race (omg, road) in Dubai! Great person to know, always full of inspirational things on Facebook, and we’d later see each other again at the 2015 Calgary Marathon and run together for a while at Sinister 7 2015 too. More on that later!

Let's kill this 50K, babe!
Let’s kill this 50K, babe!
Dani taking a pic of the 3 sisters at Canmore Nordic Centre
Dani taking a pic of the 3 sisters at Canmore Nordic Centre

2014 Grizzly 50k on Strava

Early December was registration for the aforementioned Sinister 7, a 100-mile race in Crowsnest pass that some people do solo (like Dennene), but you can do in a team up to 7 people. This wouldn’t come around for another 7 months, but suddenly we were 2 hours before registration and we hadn’t really talked about what we were going to do for it. In 2014 we both ran a leg (Dani ran leg 3, me 6) on separate teams and had a blast, but we kind of wanted to step it up this year. Last second we decided to split it 50-50ish and Dani would do legs 1-4 and I’d do 5-7. About 85km and 76km respectively, with me getting the night legs and Dani the daytime ones. Dani’s sister Carmen signed up with another team and volunteered for leg 6, the hardest leg and another night time one.

Christmas saw Dani and I going to Maui with my family where we did a bit of running, a bit of snorkeling, saw some turtles, and the best/ worst part, cycling up Haleakala, on rented bikes from Paia. It was an amazing accomplishment, cycling from sea level to 10000 feet but we were really really underprepared for how cold it would be up there and how long it would take us. Mostly there was a massive delay renting the bikes for some reason I can’t recall anymore, but we started much too late, got to the top and as soon as we stopped pedaling, it was freezing cold and ridiculously windy… I had been excited about the downhill all day, but as I turned around and started the descent I just started shivering and couldn’t stop. Dani made me get off the bike at the information station at 7000 feet elevation, which was sadly closed, and do pushups and jumping jacks trying to warm up. Maybe it helped a bit but a bit is not very much! Luckily at some point my parents decided to try and find us (maybe we’d texted them?) and we found them at about 4000 feet above sea level, a sight for sore eyes, as there was probably 30-45 minutes of descent left and it was nearly dark and I was still freezing! Dani was cold too, but I think I won the race to near hypothermia.. Oh, and the best part is our plane home was canceled and it was Christmas time so there were no hotels and we slept on a picnic table outside of the airport… “slept”.. lol

Out for a run, beautiful sunsets!
Out for a run, beautiful sunsets!
A huge tree.. and Team Stix!
A huge tree.. and Team Stix!
Christmas Day Yoga!
Christmas Day Yoga!
Out for Christmas Dinner with the family!
Out for Christmas Dinner with the family!
Climbing Haleakala!
Climbing Haleakala!
Still Climbing Haleakala!
Still Climbing Haleakala!
Finally! The top! Fuck, I'm cold!
Finally! The top! Fuck, I’m cold!
Dani was so happy to find this $5 coconut to drink all morning!
Dani was so happy to find this $5 coconut to drink all morning!
Mmmmm Hawaii life!
Mmmmm Hawaii life!

Sometime in around the new year we signed up for the lottery for Escape From Alcatraz triathlon down in San Francisco.. tons of people try to get in every year and tons get turned away, but it was only $25 to try, so we did, and shockingly we both got in! This kind of threw a kink in the whole run run run year I semi planned for 2015, but it was too good an opportunity to turn down, both having gotten in! Coming up in June details below!

January we left Canada yet again for warmer pastures in Bali, Indonesia.. We’d gotten some amazing deal to Singapore off the YYC deals blog ($800 return w/ Delta?) and so instead of spending 12 days there we thought we’d spend 2 days there and find somewhere else to spend 10 and that was Bali! Before we left I got Dani Scuba diving lessons for Christmas and she did her certification dives in Bali (on a sweet sub-island called Nusa Lembongan, what a place! So peaceful and beautiful!) along with a few more dives off the main island! We got to do some cool dives there for sure, including the USS Liberty wreck in Tulamben, up on the north part of the island. Amazingly we called the dive shop the day before while staying in Ubud and they arranged pickup the next morning and drove us two hours there and back as part of some flat rate 3-dive package that was still cheaper than most of the diving I’ve done in the world. Other big highlights were:

– The monkey forest in Ubud, a super must see! The temples around the forest are amazing themselves, but there’s a few hundred curious (and sometimes violent if you tease them with food) monkeys.

– Following Google Maps to Bali’s most important temple (Gunung Kawi) and finding ourselves in a complete deadend in a small town with definitely no sign of temple to be seen. A group of people asked us where we were headed and we made it apparent we were looking for this temple. An awesome young local guy said to follow him, he’d take us to the temple no problem. Someone in his family caught up to us a few hundred meters down this path with sarongs for the temple so we didn’t have to rent them there. Had to cover the knees, you see! :) Anyways, he takes us on this amazing, beautiful walk through rice paddies, local rice farmers, creeks, hills, and eventually down into the valley where the temple actually was. We climbed in some back stairs, definitely not where your average tourist enters and commenced walking around the temple area with this guy after he’d ran off briefly to buy us tickets at the real gate (we paid him). He showed us every inch of the temple, but his English was pretty lacking, so it was mostly just pointing and a word or two here and there, but such a cool way to find this place! On the way back to our scooter transportation he took a different route and stopped by this super private waterfall which seemed like a great place for a proposal! .. not mine, but someone’s, I’m sure! 😉 We got back to our scooter (oh yeah, we’d rented a scooter in Ubud for 5 days at a rate of something like $5/day? Ridiculously cheap, anyways.

– When we left Ubud we took a 38km taxi ride that took 2 hours to Kuta. TWO. HOURS. Ugh! Anyways, we finally depart the taxi, annoyed and frustrated and get a call from the hotel in Ubud.. We’d left our passports and my GoPro in a safe in the room. Nooooo! So, what could you do but go back? And I was pretty much forced to rent a real motorcycle and drive Grand-Theft-Auto-style back to Ubud in what seemed like blazing and dangerous speeds but still took 1.5 hours to go that 38k. Fun, anyways. Dani relaxed on the beach, but that motorcycle ride was really really fun for me. Much better than taxiing back and forth once more!

– On a hunch I made over Christmas I started pre-medicating with Zantac (heart burn medicine) for the pain that I’d been getting for the last 8-9 years whenever I ate chicken. It worked!! I could eat chicken pain free finally for the first time in forever, and it was amazing. I was a bit worried it was Bali chicken alone, but it’s worked since returning too… Chicken’s back in the foray! I also tried all kinds of new Bali and Indonesian dishes while there, those who know me or read this blog while I was in Africa will recognize this as an amazing feat for me, Mr Picky Eater extraordinaire usually!

– One of Dani’s favourite parts was in Ubud as well, this yoga studio she found there called Yoga Barn. She went almost every day and was challenged and inspired by the practice there. I never made it myself but I saw some photos of the complex and it was definitely way high on the amazing scale! I probably should’ve gone, but I was really into the relax!

As for our two days in Singapore, it was pretty cool as far as cities go, but really expensive for anything outside of food. The highlight there was Marina Bay Sands, a $8 Billion casino/ hotel/ mall complex they built on reclaimed land in the harbour area. I found a roulette-like asian game in the Casino there and promptly lost a bunch of money. I probably should’ve watched a bit more before diving in, alas! We also went to the Night Safari here, definitely the coolest thing we did in Singapore! Go do that!

This whole 12 day vacation was complete time off training, I don’t think we did a single run and definitely didn’t do any cycling or swimming for sport!

Getting off the boat in Nusa Lembongan, all our travel time was worth it! Time to chillax!
Getting off the boat in Nusa Lembongan, all our travel time was worth it! Time to chillax!
Out walking around the island we found a real live cockfight! Was crazy, over so fast..
Out walking around the island we found a real live cockfight! Was crazy, over so fast..
Relax!
Relax!
The Bridge between two islands... We drove the scooter over it! Eep!
The Bridge between two islands… We drove the scooter over it! Eep!
Yeah, that scooter.
Yeah, that scooter.
Some guy surfing at Secret Beach in Lembongan
Some guy surfing at Secret Beach in Lembongan
In Ubud we had the best place: Nick's Hidden Cottages. So nice for $50!
In Ubud we had the best place: Nick’s Hidden Cottages. So nice for $50!
The entrance to Nick's Hidden Cottages
The entrance to Nick’s Hidden Cottages

IMG_4024

Sharing a moment
Sharing a moment
Baby Monkeys!! OMG! Monkey Forest Sanctuary in Ubud.
Baby Monkeys!! OMG! Monkey Forest Sanctuary in Ubud.
Lombak sunrise.. the next island over!
Lombak sunrise.. the next island over!
We climbed to the top of  Mount Batur!
We climbed to the top of Mount Batur!
Another shot of us at the top of Mount Batur
Another shot of us at the top of Mount Batur
Hi babe!
Hi babe!
Nice walking path!
Nice walking path!
Oh, just like the sign says!
Oh, just like the sign says!
Bananas on the side of the road
Bananas on the side of the road
Mwah!
Mwah!
Diving the USS Liberty in Tulamben
Diving the USS Liberty in Tulamben
Some awesome rice field valley we found and ate beside.
Some awesome rice field valley we found and ate beside.
This guy took us on a private tour of one of the biggest Bali temples after we accidentally found him by following Google Maps too much!
This guy took us on a private tour of one of the biggest Bali temples after we accidentally found him by following Google Maps too much!
Sun setting on our last night in Bali, Kuta beach!
Sun setting on our last night in Bali, Kuta beach!
We got some sun..
We got some sun..
6 Rip Curl stores on the main street in Kuta within a few blocks!
6 Rip Curl stores on the main street in Kuta within a few blocks!
lol store in Singapore... All Minecraft?
lol store in Singapore… All Minecraft?
Chomp Chomp Goodluck! Food was epic in Singapore
Chomp Chomp Goodluck! Food was epic in Singapore
Sadly Beautiful
Sadly Beautiful
Singapore Downtown is pretty beautiful!
Singapore Downtown is pretty beautiful!
This huge hotel and entertainment complex was pretty amazing... Singapore's Marina Bay Sands
This huge hotel and entertainment complex was pretty amazing… Singapore’s Marina Bay Sands
Matte finish Lambos? Ok..
Matte finish Lambos? Ok..
Essential Singapore Landmark!
Essential Singapore Landmark!
At night it lights up like crazy!
At night it lights up like crazy!
The Night Tour in Singapore was another amazing experience! Defs worth doing there!
The Night Tour in Singapore was another amazing experience! Defs worth doing there!

We also wanted another attempt at qualifying for Boston w/ a spring Marathon. We looked around and decided on Toronto but my good friend Jenna was running Mississauga the same weekend (why two cities 25 minutes apart have marathons on the same day, I do not know), so she convinced us to change our minds.

I had a pretty shitty time training last winter… It was great weather to keep running all year round, but my legs just weren’t in it a lot of the time. I’d go from having an amazing 21k run in 1:42 to running 3k in 20 minutes and quitting and walking/ limping home because my calves were hurting so badly. Between a bit of physio therapy, massage, rolling at home, and perhaps a bit of a gait change, I eventually emerged from this unscatched but with only about a month left until the marathon.

I felt I did pretty good considering… I decided to go out at a Boston Qualifying pace (3:05 overall time – maybe 4:21/km, something like that..) and see how long I could hold it. I got to 25km w/ 4:16/4:17 pace before getting some cramping going on and slowing way off. I basically did my 2nd fastest half marathon followed by my 2nd slowest half marathon and finished in 3:19! Dani did another BQ run, getting just under 3:35 but because of the competitiveness to get into Boston these days, she didn’t have much hope of getting in and isn’t signing up this year. We made a good list of marathon/race lessons from that one that luckily we wrote down because I’d never remember them otherwise. A huge thing for both of us was to race more. It’d been a long time since I’d ran a pure run race (or any at all) and I remember my heart rate was up around 150bpm before the gun even went off! :(

See, we went to Toronto!
See, we went to Toronto!
Dani grew up with Andrew Albers, and he played a game for the Jays just before we got to Toronto!
Dani grew up with Andrew Albers, and he played a game for the Jays just before we got to Toronto!

2015 Mississauga Marathon on Strava

From there we had a month to prepare for Escape from Alcatraz, an iconic and epic triathlon in San Francisco that starts by 2000 people jumping off a barge which is anchored just off the shore of Alcatraz island! Originally I’d said I was going to bike and swim a bunch in that month, but I only biked once and I’m not even sure if I swam.. I don’t think I did! It went ok, considering, but was far from my best performance. My bike actually felt pretty great, but I was dead for the run and my legs weren’t used to brick at all. Dani had prepared better and was definitely doing better that day than I was! The run had an out and back at 8km (of 12km total running) and she was only about 500m behind me… Oh shit! lol. I did my best to pick up the pace but it wasn’t until the top of the sand ladder (a sand staircase of a couple hundred meters of elevation that is a big landmark of the course) that I finally got my running legs back and laid down some mid 4-minute kms to finish just a minute ahead of Danielle! Nice work, babe! In any event, that race was super cool, and the course was amazing. Brought me to a side of San Francisco I’d never seen before (the oceanside of the peninsula and also Golden Gate Park (which is not super close to the bridge, actually)) and Dani’d never been to the city either, so she enjoyed exploring everything!

We took a couple days after to explore and drive up to Sonoma for some wine tasting and lunch in the town.. It was such a great trip, and we decided then to really try and push to find some jobs in California and make a new adventure in our lives. It all started with the Alcatraz Tri lottery! WOO.

Escape the lines! Triathlon was big!
Escape the lines! Triathlon was big!
The morning of! All the bikes! So stoked!
The morning of! All the bikes! So stoked!
Ready to roll!
Ready to Roll
Back to Alcatraz later in the day for the night tour!
Back to Alcatraz later in the day for the night tour!
Cycling around SF!
Cycling around SF!
The GG Bridge yo!
The GG Bridge yo!
What would become our new city a few months later..
What would become our new city a few months later..
Rented a convertible to drive to Sonoma!
Rented a convertible to drive to Sonoma!
One of the nicer wineries we saw.. Can't remember the name right now.
One of the nicer wineries we saw.. Can’t remember the name right now.

The rest of the summer saw us doing a lot of trail running / power hiking in Kananaskis and running a few amazing trail races / ultras. I’ll try and summarize the experiences in point form!

Hike with Carmen and our dog (not our dog) Molly
Hike with Carmen and our dog (not our dog) Molly
Running in Fernie! Always training!
Running in Fernie! Always training!
Someone's burning something in Fernie
Someone’s burning something in Fernie
Out in Kananskis, I think on Fullerton loop
Out in Kananskis, I think on Fullerton loop
Trails!
Trails!
Powderface Ridge!
Powderface Ridge!
Hi! ;)
Hi! ;)
Epic epic hike/run in Elbow Trail area.. I think this is the end of the Powderface trail by the gravel highway?
Epic epic hike/run in Elbow Trail area.. I think this is the end of the Powderface trail by the gravel highway?
Where are we?! Powderface somewhere. Took Carmen on a 1600m/35km day! Eep
Where are we?! Powderface somewhere. Took Carmen on a 1600m/35km day! Eep
Scouting leg 4 for Sin7
Scouting leg 4 for Sin7
Pretty sure we're atop Powderface Ridge here
Pretty sure we’re atop Powderface Ridge here
Gov't of Alberta: Update these maps! Copyright 1990
Gov’t of Alberta: Update these maps! Copyright 1990
More Powderface/Praire area
More Powderface/Praire area
I think this is the near the 66  68 connector highway piece.
I think this is the near the 66 <-> 68 connector highway piece.

First up was Cactus Coulee Crawl in Lethbridge, approximately 35km of runnable(ish) hills in the coulees of Lethbridge..

– This was a pretty great small race (50ish people)
– I came in 3rd soloist (3rd male), about 18 seconds after 2nd place, who I hadn’t realized was so close (curvy tree covered path finish), but we were almost an hour behind the overall winner, Ian MacNairn, a local pro.
– Dani came in 3rd female as well! Super exciting! And she even spent 10 minutes or so helping a girl who fell and broke her wrist right behind her! Yikes.
– We won mugs for our podium finishes!
– Dennene was there, the aforementioned friend I met last year at Grizzly and Dani had met last year running Sinister 7!
– Dani’s friend from Physio school owns the running store in Lethbridge, Runner’s Soul, and even better they had the new shoes Dani had been looking for (and ended up racing in all summer)!

2015 Cactus Coulee Crawl on Strava

Next big race was a 50K at the Canmore Nordic Centre – Transrockies! I wasn’t super feeling well all weekend and that day was projected to be 36C, which resulted in me DNFing at 32km. Sad at the time for sure, but ultimately the best decision for me!

– Dani came in 2nd place female and basically tied her 50K record from Grizzly last year on what I’d consider a harder course w/ more elevation gain!
– An online running friend Adam Kahtava destroyed it and won in something like 4h, amazeballs, Adam! Constantly inspired by his runs on Strava.
– Dani loves the Nordic Centre! I like it, but.. she really loves racing and running there! Woo!

2015 Rundle’s Revenge 50k (30k) on Strava

Next up was the race we’d been looking forward to all year! Sinister 7! Dani and I were “duoing” it, with her taking the first 4 legs in the daytime (85km) and me taking the last 3 legs at night (76km)… It went so so so well! We both had a blast supporting each other and running it as well, of course. Carmen, Danielle’s sister, came out as well and ran a night time leg (leg 6), which I got to see her during! Was so great, from every perspective. Dani did her half in just under 13h on what was probably the hottest Sin7 day in years (and through 20km of downpour rain) and I did mine just under 10h on wet ground but didn’t get rained on myself! Was so super exciting to finish the last 50m with Danielle at 6am or so with a couple friends and family members watching! Woo!

– We ran 100 miles between the two of us under 23 hours!!
– Hanging out with Carmen all day while we supported Danielle, getting to know Aaron, her boyfriend, a bit better that day, and having him see the running side of our lives.
– Learning how important nutrition is, especially in the ultra endgame… It doesn’t matter if what you have left to run looks easy and you’re feeling good – eat something!!
– Lots of friends out in Crowsnest pass!
– Seeing Dennene on Leg 6 who was not feeling well but went on to finish strong
– Meeting Joanna Ford on Leg 6 as well, who was also not feeling well and also had a great finish!

Lots of runners here!
Lots of runners here!
Fam at the start!
Fam at the start!
Meat Stix ready to roll!
Meat Stix ready to roll!
Dennene's sister supporting her.. Was so pro!
Dennene’s sister supporting her.. Was so pro!
Dani coming in after leg 3!
Dani coming in after leg 3!
Someone left this in the backcountry for us.. Leg 6, 4am, super dark, so tired.. then WTF!
Someone left this in the backcountry for us.. Leg 6, 4am, super dark, so tired.. then WTF!
Dani on Leg 3
Dani on Leg 3
Me on Leg 5
Me on Leg 5
Carmen on Leg 6
Carmen on Leg 6

2015 Sinister 7 Part 1 (Dani) on Strava

2015 Sinister 7 Part 2 (Scott) on Strava

Now I needed a new goal, and we may have bitten off more than we can chew in finding that… Especially given what’s happened since (more on that later!).. But we signed up for the Javelina Jundred 100 mile race in Phoenix on Halloween and got back running again… Then August hit.

The first week of August we went out to Dani’s parents’ farm for her dad’s 60th Birthday and had a pretty amazing time, so so much fun! All the siblings (3 girls, 2 boys) game and their significant others (I was the only significant other when we were out there last – lots has changed!) so that was pretty awesome. We ran a couple times but perhaps not as much as we wanted.

Everyone! Fam + S.O.s!
Everyone! Fam + S.O.s!
Out for a run!
Out for a run!
The old bridge
The old bridge
Summiting Table Mountain!
Summiting Table Mountain!
Having a drink!
Having a drink!
Boys pose
Boys pose
Then the girls, so hot!
Then the girls, so hot!
Also hot!
Also hot!
Ruby sunbathing! Oh, the dog life.
Ruby sunbathing! Oh, the dog life.

The next week we went back to San Francisco because I had interviews with Strava on August 10! Strava!! I’d applied shortly after the Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon after an argument with my boss here in Calgary and started the whole process. Two phone interviews later a flight and day of interviewing was scheduled and I had 6 interviews that day! Six! Then met with the CTO and flew home feeling pretty stoked! The next day: an offer was coming! Wooo! Everything since then has been getting ready to move, and training has kind of suffered as a result.

While in SF, we also wanted to do a long trail run, so we found a 50K to do the day before my interview in the Sierra Morenas south of the city. It was a pretty amazing experience! Another small race, but it was under canopy pretty much, only a few exposed fields… I had no idea SF offered anything like this. We were immediately excited for more! Dani came in 3rd female again I think and 1st in her age group? What a year for 50Ks for her! Then later that week sadly injured her ankle and she’s been unable to run since.. now 5 weeks later. :( Sooooo, who knows about that 100 miles! I’d still like to try for the 100K option, but time will tell. I don’t have to decide quite yet, I guess.

Back in San Fran! Stumbled upon a Porsche 918! $1mil+ car?!
Back in San Fran! Stumbled upon a Porsche 918! $1mil+ car?!
Took Dani rollercoastering at California's Great America! Her first one!
Took Dani rollercoastering at California’s Great America! Her first one!
And her second... and maybe her last for a bit
And her second… and maybe her last for a bit
The intensity is getting to her!
The intensity is getting to her!
Trail running! Crystal Springs 50k!
Trail running! Crystal Springs 50k!
So nice!
So nice!
Definitely stoked!
Definitely stoked!
Dani only 10min behind me, killing her 50k record! 5:40?!
Dani only 10min behind me, killing her 50k record! 5:40?!
Beauty of a hotel room thanks to Strava! The Palace
Beauty of a hotel room thanks to Strava! The Palace
Strava bibs during my interviews!
Strava bibs during my interviews!

2015 Crystal Springs 50k on Strava

Anyways, more on the move and the last month of our lives in the next post. Lots of information for those wanting to work in the USA, sell everything they own here, etc! This post is already almost 4200 words, so if you’re reading this still, you’re my hero. Thanks for the interest! See you sooner next time with both Dani and I blogging and much excitement happening in our lives! 😀

Everything Summer: Vacation to Europe, Challenge Penticton, and Everything Inbetween!

The problem with basically every blog I’ve ever written is that I end up getting behind a little bit. And then something happens that I want to write about, but I’m behind a bit, so I don’t do it yet, and then things just pile up and up and all of a sudden my blog is dying.

So, uh, I haven’t posted anything about my life since leaving Africa basically… Whoops!

So, here, I’ll try and summarize the last 5 months since returning.. I’d much rather have done separate posts about the 5 races I’ve ran since (Pacing my friend Lisa for Calgary Half-marathon, Racing Chinook Olympic Tri, a relay segment of the 100-mile trail race – Sinister 7, Ironman Calgary 70.3, and Challenge Penticton), but I just know that’s not going to happen… Especially when you add in all the posts I wanted to do about training in Calgary and Penticton this summer. Oh, and in Europe. Jesus, this is going to be a big post. Whatever, right? I just need to catch up so I can move on and hopefully be more consistent!

So, clearly a big summer! I got back from Africa April 22 and tried to start training pretty immediately. I jumped back into Talisman Centre’s Triathlon Club workouts, Monday nights on brick, Tuesday nights doing Run Strength, Thursday mornings swimming…

Danielle and I pretty much roughed out a schedule that worked for us and kept at it most of the summer. Probably roughly 20 hours a week, two sports a day… Probably 3 swims most weeks (Tues, Thurs, Sunday), 4 rides, and 4 runs if we could. Including brick runs. Definitely biking saw the most time, with every weekend spent doing a 5-7 hour ride west of Calgary.

In mid-May we did the Golden Triangle, a 3 day ride I’d done the year before too, with Meghan and Martha, two new-to-me friends, and got rained on 2 of the 3 days. Day 3 was stellar like it was last year, but day 2 was a slog. Slog slog slog. So wet, so cold! The 100km days though, those felt like nothing after the extremeness of Africa. I mean, even 11 degrees and raining was better than 47 degrees and 166+ km of the same same scenery. :) Not bitter at all! hehe. Actually, as time passes I feel better and better about my Africa experience. I’ve always felt glad I did it, but I’m beginning to remember more and more of the good and less and less of the bad now. I probably shouldn’t read this blog’s archive.

Danielle climbing Sinclair's pass outside of Radium.. Nice day despite the forecast! If only the same could be said about the hostel experience.. :-(
Danielle climbing Sinclair’s pass outside of Radium.. Nice day despite the forecast! If only the same could be said about the hostel experience.. :-(
Rainy day 2 on the Golden Triangle, but we made it! View from the hostel as I goto sleep. Too rainy to take other pictures!
Rainy day 2 on the Golden Triangle, but we made it! View from the hostel as I goto sleep. Too rainy to take other pictures!
Castle Mountain as we finished Golden Triangle 2014!
Castle Mountain as we finished Golden Triangle 2014!

June 1 saw me doing the half marathon at the Calgary Marathon event instead of my planned 50K, mostly due to inability to run much in Africa. Whether or not this was a great decision, it was at least a good one… I paced my friend Lisa to (hopefully) a 2:00 half, but she missed it a bit this time. Alas, but it was still fun to run with her for the race!

Watching the marathoners and 50k'rs after Lisa and I finished out half together.
Watching the marathoners and 50k’rs after Lisa and I finished out half together.

That week Danielle and I bought Tri bikes! Something I’d thought of doing the year before but didn’t. She had her eye on one for a while and I had my friend at Speed Theory that could get me a deal, so everything just worked out well. Danielle’s bike is a Trek Speed Concept 7.5 and I got an Argon 18 E-116! Both definitely helped our speed, training, and just general excitement about getting out there more on the bike. Gotta tell you, it was a huge change from the steel-framed Surly Long Haul Trucker I had in Africa! So light and aero. 😀

New bikes and bike rack!
New bikes and bike rack!

Later in June was the Chinook Olympic Triathlon… I think it went pretty good! I took a lot of time off my previous year’s effort, 15 minutes or something. My swim was nearly identical, but I gained about 10 minutes on the bike (thanks Africa and new bike), and was able to put in a lot better effort on the run too, which amounted to only 3ish minutes, but I felt a lot better on it. I think I ended up around 2:29? Something like that.

Canmore Nordic Centre, trail training!
Canmore Nordic Centre, trail training!
It's a hard life, but someone's gotta do it!
It’s a hard life, but someone’s gotta do it!

Early July had us going to Crowsnest pass and competing on 2 different teams for Sinister 7. I was leg 6 and Danielle was leg 3. We both had a ton of fun! My leg started at about 10pm, so it was mostly in the dark. I tried to stay dry for the first few km, but about 5km in there was 600m of deepish water covering the whole trail… Wet it was! It was super fun though, and I think I did fairly well. It’s inspiring for certain, to see the solo people doing the whole thing themselves! I’d love to do it some year… next? 😉

Danielle w/ Crowsnest Mountain behind her.
Danielle w/ Crowsnest Mountain behind her.
The river/path for my leg of Sinister 7
The river/path for my leg of Sinister 7
Me running my night leg! Around Crowsnest Mountain!
Me running my night leg! Around Crowsnest Mountain!
Our Team! Peanut butter jelly legs.
Our Team! Peanut butter jelly legs.

At the Calgary Ironman 70.3, I saw another good increase over last year, finishing just under 5 hours, which was a goal of mine. I remember the swim being pretty fast and the bike being windier than last year (oh, and 4km longer, I think!)… Then the run just went all kinds of better for me this year. Last year it was all cramps and foot numbness and everything… This year, just general soreness, no cramping, no walking. Was nice to see so many TCTC friends (and UCTC friends from the year before) on the out and back on the run.. Saw one of our coaches, Grant, finish 5th while I was starting my run too, very cool!

Racking up in the morning
Racking up in the morning

Early August saw us going to Europe for some friends’ wedding (Niccole & Ben), some of you may know them! We went to Nice, France and Davos, Switzerland (with a tiny bit of time in Zurich as well). It was awesome! We did a lot of training there too, renting bikes in Nice and cycling along the coast, through Monaco, up into the mountains along the Col de la Madone, a training ride that Lance Armstrong often did during his TDF prep days. Then off to cooler temps in Davos where we did more running and tried out windsurfing, something we determined later that we are not very good at. :) Overall a really fun trip though, and though we were worried about getting our training in pre-Challenge, we did it well I think!

Monte Carlo Casino!
Monte Carlo Casino!
Climbing Col de la Madone
Climbing Col de la Madone
Seeing a futbol game in Nice! v. Barcelona!
Seeing a futbol game in Nice! v. Barcelona!
Nice beach, so wonderful!
Nice beach, so wonderful!
Trail running / power hiking in Davos.
Trail running / power hiking in Davos.
On a hike with everyone, really like this pic!
On a hike with everyone, really like this pic!
The happy couple!!
The happy couple!!

After that it was just some tapering and boredom until Penticton! Race day!! Omg, it was so much fun. Honestly! It was so so many feels crossing that line after all the work we put in this summer!

The swim started off well, and according to my watch’s GPS I was on fire, moving really quick… But around 2/3 into it, I started feeling pretty ill… Like pukey ill! I couldn’t keep it together and ended up puking twice in the water (sorry swimmers behind me – though I was off to the side and no one was behind for 20ish metres, lol)… But then I felt good! I was slower, but I finished it, 1:19:45! Exiting the water, I ran quickly to the change tent (missing my family and friends cheering for me off to the side) and changed into bike clothes. This was the first tri that I changed completely between events, but it felt reasonable given how long everything was. A quickish 5:11 (there was a few hundred metres of running to cover too) and I was out on the bike.

About to get going!
About to get going!
Cheer Squad being photobombed by some great cheerers! In costumer all day, those guys!
Cheer Squad being photobombed by some great cheerers! In costumer all day, those guys!
Me getting out of the water
Me getting out of the water
Danielle's out too
Danielle’s out too

Overall things went pretty good there. I had a lot of these Hammer brand electrolyte tablets along the way, mostly since I was so worried about having puked up sodium and breakfast, and lots and lots and lots of Honey Stinger chews. Probably 12 packs of them, which is like 2000 calories of gummies. haha. The early bits were really crowded at times, mostly with half-distance racers, and actually most of them were in huge pelotons, which is ridiculous… Where were the marshalls? After they turned off though, it got pretty quiet! Richter pass was tough but totally doable, and I saw my parents along it, which was awesome. I really loved having them there (and Danielle’s family and our friends!), really made something to look forward to. Probably the worst part on the bike was the out and back around Keremeos, ugh! It was rainy for this bit too, and just demoralizing… Seemed uphill both ways! After that it was Yellow Lake hill climb, which I’m really glad we did back in June, since I knew pretty much exactly how long it was. Getting over the top, it was lightning fast downhill back into town, where I saw some of the top runners already on their way back from the Marathon out-and-back. Off the bike in 6:13:45 and through another change of clothes and back out to the run in 3:24!

Danielle headed out on the bike... Going to rub that sunscreen in on the move!
Danielle headed out on the bike… Going to rub that sunscreen in on the move!
Loving it!
Loving it!
I'm pretty stoked myself!
I’m pretty stoked myself!
Cheer squad!! Thanks guys!
Cheer squad!! Thanks guys!
Ok, wait a sec?!
Ok, wait a sec?!
Clearly they're getting a lot of attention at this point.
Clearly they’re getting a lot of attention at this point.
Danielle about to pass aero-helmet!
Danielle about to pass aero-helmet!
Danielle's brother Paul entertaining her as she passes..
Danielle’s brother Paul entertaining her as she passes..

I started out much too quick here… 4 minute kilometer?! Slow down, self! I ended up trying to maintain about 5:30 for the run, which had varying degrees of success… At each aid station, I’d take ice, water, and Heed, and hold the ice, dump the water on my head and drink the heed, while walking a bit. I think this walking is what made me running late for my 4h marathon goal. At 26km or so I got to see Danielle’s family and our friends again, a surprise, since I thought they’d be off eating at that time, and literally minutes later the battle began… My legs really didn’t like me anymore! I fought through though, and got a big boost from seeing Danielle at about 30km in (she was 15km in and though happy to see me later admitted she was swearing at me for being so far ahead, haha… All of our training was together, it’s shocking that I could still be faster after doing all my training miles at the same pace, more or less). With 4km to go, I was within reach of my 4 hour goal but it was going to be close and my legs were dying quick. I almost walked a bit and gave up the goal, but I was too close and had come to far to miss it. The thought of waiting year(s) to do another one to get that 4 hour ironman marathon was enough to push me through! Especially the last km down main street with people congratulating me along the way and the finish line in site! It was my fastest km for sure! 3:45 or something ridiculous!! I made my goal with 3 minutes to spare, somehow! 3:57:08! For a total time of 11:39:13! Incredible!! 😀

Me at the turn around... Dying a bit?
Me at the turn around… Dying a bit?
Danielle at the turn around!
Danielle at the turn around!
Danielle finishing!
Danielle finishing!

Thanks SO SO SO much to our friends and family that came out to cheer or were cheering from home! It means a lot!

So proud of her! And excited for myself!
So proud of her! And excited for myself!
We did it!!
We did it!!
Let's drink!
Let’s drink!
Cheer Squad! THANKS AGAIN!!
Cheer Squad! THANKS AGAIN!!

After Penticton, we lounged around for a few days there doing a lot of beach and wineries… Then headed down to Spokane, Coeur D’Alene, Heyburn State Park (Idaho), Whitefish, and Glacier National Park (Montana)… Very fun trip! Coeur D’Alene is so so nice! And so cheap for real estate! Live there one day? Maybe!! They have a wicked 72 mile long cycle track too. Here’s a bunch of pics from those days…

Duck attack!
Duck attack!
Back to Liquidity Winery. So nice!
Back to Liquidity Winery. So nice!
OK Falls beach
OK Falls beach
The girls and their wine!
The girls and their wine!
Danielle and I overlooking some vineyards in the valley!
Danielle and I overlooking some vineyards in the valley!
Challenge wine from Therapy Wines!
Challenge wine from Therapy Wines!
Us in Kelowna at the Kettle Valley Railway! Now a walk/bikeway!
Us in Kelowna at the Kettle Valley Railway! Now a walk/bikeway!
Trusses!
Trusses!
Very cool.
Very cool.
In Washington! Grand Coulee Dam. It's definitely grand, but lacks beauty! heh.
In Washington! Grand Coulee Dam. It’s definitely grand, but lacks beauty! heh.
The reservoir..
The reservoir..
These were labeled as Canadian Fries at the Spokane food festival "Pigout in the Park"... uhm, ok?
These were labeled as Canadian Fries at the Spokane food festival “Pigout in the Park”… uhm, ok?
Coeur D'Alene!
Coeur D’Alene!
And us in it!
And us in it!
Dat sunset!
Dat sunset!
The railway turned bike path! Super old bridge too.. So cool!
The railway turned bike path! Super old bridge too.. So cool!
Montana! So pretty!
Montana! So pretty!
Us in Montana
Us in Montana
I eat Pizza for the first time..
I eat Pizza for the first time..
At this guy's restaurant in Whitefish..
At this guy’s restaurant in Whitefish..
We did a small hike in Glacier Park and it was Freezing!
We did a small hike in Glacier Park and it was Freezing!
Yep, chilly.
Yep, chilly.
Wind and rain in the face faces.
Wind and rain in the face faces.

Since then, we’ve mostly been running. We signed up for the Grizzly 50K again this year (Danielle’s first ultra), and that’s in a couple weeks. I got a new job at a company called iConnectivity doing iOS, Windows, and OSX development for their MIDI related hardware… Oh, and I bought a (town)house! Weee. Life is good! Training is good! And now I’m caught up and can blog again in realtime!!

My house!
My house!
Inside, but not my furniture.
Inside, but not my furniture.

Hope you enjoyed… This took a few weeks of writing here and there and an evening of sorting pictures to finally get posted!

we run. a lot. also do triathlon sometimes. run run run!