Seek the Peak Training: Yoga for Runners

Yoga on Grouse.JPG

Our 14th annual Seek the Peak race is fast approaching we want to make sure you have all the info you need to rock those race day hills. Stay tuned as we share some helpful training and preparation tips to support your journey, all the way to the Peak!

Training for Seek the Peek? Or just looking to optimize your running program? YYoga teacher and avid runner, Katherine Moore, shares her insights on how yoga can benefit runners. 

Calmness comes with Quiet –B.K.S Iyengar

This is one of my favorite quotes. I find a calmness and quiet in both running and yoga. They require you to drop into your body, breath, and connect to the present moment. This creates incredible inner discipline, strength and ease. 

 Running and yoga are like a healthy relationship. They complement each other beautifully. Running, as freeing as it can feel, can be demanding on the body, nervous system and joints from repetitive action. With running and in life, we make goals and projects to constantly improve on. Yoga helps you to become aware of your body, mind and breath, which can awaken you to the possibility of change. With yoga, you are practicing taking a step back, even leaning back, breathing into the back body and accepting the moment you are in. These teachings can bring great balance to training and everyday life. 

What I love about yoga is you are always practicing. You may practice the physical practice for a certain time but yoga practice is 24 hours. The teachings are everywhere. You can weave the teachings into your running training. Being present in your training is a great technique. This can help to avoid injury by accepting where you are in your training and practice, and being patient in achieving your goals. Being present and patient also means listening to your body. You will learn that if you are feeling tired or something is sore to adjust your schedule and rest. Being goal oriented, that is probably the hardest one for runners. 

In yoga, running and life, you are always refining and changing - it is a continuous practice. The patience and presence you practice in yoga can help you achieve future goals. 

Keep an eye out for YYoga’s outdoor summer yoga series on top of Grouse Mountain every weekend in July and August!

Seek the Peak Training: Fundraising Tips

Our 14th annual Seek the Peak race is fast approaching we want to make sure you have all the info you need to rock those race day hills. Stay tuned as we share some helpful training and preparation tips to support your journey, all the way to the Peak!

Fundraising is an incredibly important component of our annual Seek the Peak race. Since 2004, this unique event has raised over $400,000 in support of cancer research in British Columbia. By fundraising in partnership with your entry in Seek the Peak, you show your support for those experiencing life with cancer by providing much needed funds to leading-edge research happening at the BC Cancer Agency. 

This year our goal is to raise $40,000 and to do that, we need your help. Here are some tips from BC Cancer Foundation to kick-start your fundraising: 

1. GET TO KNOW YOUR PERSONAL FUNDRAISING PAGE: Personalize your page with a photo, and take advantage of the draft letters and other email tools in the Participant Centre. 

2. TELL YOUR STORY: Who inspired you to do this? Your donors will be more inclined to give if they know why you are doing this. 

3. SET YOUR GOAL HIGH: When you get within $100 of your goal, increase your total! 

4. SECURE YOUR FIRST DONATION TODAY: Think of the people who you know will donate to your fundraising efforts—your partner, family, friends, co-worker, boss, etc. 

5. SEND AN EMAIL TO EVERYONE YOU KNOW: Think wider than family and friends— local businesses, work, sporting clubs, etc. Remember to include the link to your personal fundraising page in any email you send out. 

6. GET ACTIVE ON SOCIAL MEDIA: 90% of donations now come in online. Share your story and a link to your personal page over your social networks. We suggest Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram. 

To set up your fundraising page, head over to the BC Cancer Foundation website!

Seek the Peak Training: Inspiration

Our 14th annual Seek the Peak race is fast approaching we want to make sure you have all the info you need to rock those race day hills. Stay tuned as we share some helpful training and preparation tips to support your journey, all the way to the Peak!

Fundraising is an important component of Seek the Peak, with every dollar raised going towards the lifesaving work of the BC Cancer Foundation. While tackling Seek the Peak`s 4,100 ft. climb may seem like a daunting task, it pales in comparison to the fight faced by women who are diagnosed with breast cancer. We're honoured to be able to share Nicole's story about her own battle with breast cancer.

You Can And You Will. 

This was the mantra I repeated in my mind each morning during my breast cancer treatment. It didn’t matter if I was pulling my cute blonde wig over my bare head as I got ready for a day at the office, sitting down in a comfy chair on the 6th floor of the Cancer Agency and rolling up my sleeve to present my tired veins to the sweet chemo nurse, or if I was staring down the handle of a fork on the end of which a bite of food sat in all of its tasteless glory. 

The words I repeated countless times were not ones I sat down and dreamt up; rather, they seemed to have chosen me. They popped into my conscious without warning and they followed me. They follow me still. The same could be said, perhaps, of my cancer itself. I was diagnosed at the age of 32. Newly engaged, in a great place with my career, and in the best shape of my life, I had never been happier or felt healthier. I found the lump myself, of course, since mammogram screening does not begin in the province of BC until the age of 40. 

There is a loss of individuality that occurs, I learned, with cancer diagnosis and treatment. It is not that that the doctors, nurses and hospital administrative staff set out to do this intentionally, but the system is massive, complex, and often highly effective—it saves lives. You are given a number, you show up for your appointments, you stay on the couch for a few days, you watch your hair fall through your fingers and are told it is not a necessary part of yourself (I eventually agreed with this). You pick a wig, or maybe a headscarf, or perhaps you rock the bald look…these are the types of decisions you are tasked with. Regardless, you bring that head of yours to your appointments and you stand on that scale, get poked and prodded, and put every other worry out of your mind as you await your test results because nothing else matters. Everything that you planned for, hoped for, wished for lives with you here in this moment. You are being held hostage by your own body. 

This is not the relationship that I had nurtured with my body up until this point in my life. Body issues were somehow conspicuously absent from my young adulthood. I had an ‘athletic’ build, very few curves, a long torso that looked funny in certain shirts. I didn’t care. My lack of competitive spirit in team sports led me to more solitary activities. Jogging and hiking became a prominent part of my life in my late 20s and I embraced the calming practice of yoga in my early 30s. I grew up on Vancouver’s North Shore with the mountains and, specifically, Capilano Canyon as an omnipresent backdrop to—and force in—my life. My grandparents walked the canyon trails daily, and instilled in me a deep respect for the forest. To this day it is into the canyon I go when I have a worry that won’t quit, or a problem that seems insurmountable. Maybe it’s the reminder that we are only such a small part of this universe. Life, in all of its glory, is waiting around every corner to be discovered. 

I started hiking the Grouse Grind about ten years ago. The exhilaration of reaching the top, turning around, and taking in all of the beauty below was magnetic for me. In 2014, I decided to take my love of the Grouse Grind to the next level and join a relay team for Seek the Peak. I participated in the training leading up to race day and I enjoyed some of the best trail runs of my life. Were they easy for me? No, but they were always worth the effort. To me then, as well as now, there is no greater freedom than setting out on your chosen path, holding your head up high, and reaching the finish line. Race day in June of 2014 went great, and I recall standing in a cloud of mist at the top of the mountain and feeling proud and strong. 

I felt a similar sense of accomplishment just over two years later when my oncologist referred to my cancer in the past tense for the first time. It had taken me almost a full year to get to that point, but I had accomplished what I had set out to do. This time, there was no finish line and no medal around my neck. I will admit this troubled me at first. How could I have achieved something so great and have nothing to show for it? It took some time for me to realize that each moment of each day to come is what I now have to show for my cancer journey. No matter how many days unfold in front of me, that profound sense of freedom has joined me again on my path, and that path has never been so beautiful. 

- Nicole

For more information on the BC Cancer Foundation, to set up your own fundraising page or to donate, please click here.

Seek the Peak Training: Pacers' Advice

Our 14th annual Seek the Peak race is fast approaching we want to make sure you have all the info you need to rock those race day hills. Stay tuned as we share some helpful training and preparation tips to support your journey, all the way to the Peak!

A huge part of our training program and our race day team is our team of pacers. These folks know where it's at and are a wealth of info when it comes to how to prepare for race day since they've been through it all. Today we're sharing some of their top tips to help you crush your goals on the big day.

Top Tips from our Pacers

Lesley's Tip: 

For an event like this one, pacing is critical. Imagine that you have one match; burn it too hot and you will be fatigued and ready to quit before halfway. Instead, light the match in Ambleside and burn it evenly throughout your run. When you are coming down the Peak and nearing the end of your 16km is when it is time to use the last of your energy to push through to a spectacular finish! 

Colin’s Tip: 

My best piece of advice would be to not try anything new on race day that you haven't tried in training. Whether it’s a different breakfast that you saw on Facebook or a new hydration pack that you're itching to try out, make sure to test things out before race day to find out what works for you. That way, you will have the best race that you possibly can. Most importantly, have fun and crush those hills!!! 

Suzanne’s Tip: 

Remember the training and know you're ready. Remember to say thank you to the volunteers. Mostly have fun! It's a fun atmosphere at the finish to see your fellow trainees finish and celebrate together. 

Andy’s Tip: 

Running hills - Best piece of advice I’ve ever got when starting out running trails and something that I still stick to, was this: if you can't see the top, walk it! You can interpret this depending on your fitness level and the grade of the incline, total mileage run that race or day. In simple terms it means that if the hill is really steep or long, you will not be able to see the top and it does not make sense to run it. A fast hike will get you to the top just as well without losing too much time and using slightly different muscles than your running apparatus. The big advantage of this is that you will be more rested arriving at the top than someone who "ran" to the top and it allows you to then use the saved energy to run faster downhill or flat. If you can see the top of the hill, imagine a trail that rolls with short sections going on an incline at varying grades, it might pay to run the hill and then recover on the next flat section. It helps to know the trail to make the best decision to know when to push and when to preserve energy. As your fitness improves you will be able to run more of the hills and hike less. You can then start to run into the longer hills farther, hike the middle section and start running again before you reach the top. 

Christine’s Tip: 

Arrive early enough for those last minute bathroom stops and to participate in the excellent warm-up; crucial to help get the legs moving and the mindset for the road ahead. If you feel a little out of gas as you hit Nancy Greene Way, then walk a minute and run a minute, alternating all the way to the top and you’ll be there in no time. Last but not least, hydrate, hydrate and hydrate, especially with some electrolytes if it’s a warm day. 

Stacey’s Tip: 

My biggest lesson learned was last year when I didn't fuel properly. I had practiced runs with electrolytes, but on race day I got over excited and wanted so badly to be prepared for the Grind that I over did it. When I hit the Grind I had no regular water with me and all I had in my tummy was electrolyte which made me feel less than my best. I didn't do it knowingly, just a mistake in the moment. My advice is carry water, practice, practice, practice and make sure your stomach will be okay. It's a tip for training and for race day. Trust what you know! 

Seek the Peak Training: Injury Prevention Tips

Our 14th annual Seek the Peak race is fast approaching we want to make sure you have all the info you need to rock those race day hills. Stay tuned as we share some helpful training and preparation tips to support your journey, all the way to the Peak! 

Today we're sharing some helpful tips about injury prevention at all stages of the training journey from Timberly at City Sports & Physiotherapy Clinic.

Top 5 Pre-run & mid-race injury prevention tips

1. Warm-up. Before any given run, you need to ensure your nervous system, muscles, tendons, ligaments and joints are ready for the load you are about to put on them to avoid shock to the system. A slow jog is not enough to warm things up. Legs swings, marching drills, hurdler steps, lateral shuffles, and lunge walking are all good examples of movements that take your lower body through a big full range of motion of all your joints, thus prepping them for the big moves of the Grind!

2. Stay warm. On race day, we often warm up, and then go stand in the starting corral and cool back down. Keep warm by jogging on the spot, doing leg swings, marching on the spot, bum to heel kicks, and short hold active stretches. If it’s a cold day, keep a jacket on that you can tie around your waist or hand off to a friend on the side. 

3. Practice the ABC’s of running at least 1-2x/wk. These are running drills that work on specific components of the running stride. “A” and “C” drills are particularly helpful for trail runners as they focus on picking up your feet, and having a quick turnover. Check out this video as an example.

4. Don’t overtrain!! The number one cause of running injuries is doing too much. Listen to your body. If you’re struggling to recover from your last run/workout and are still feeling a bit sore, fatigued – take a rest day and focus on some stretching, mobility and easy core strengthening rather than going out for another run. Injuries that are lingering or keep returning are often a sign of doing too much. 

5. Look up and watch where you’re going! Trail running can be technical and the tendency is to look down at your feet the whole time. This changes your posture and can affect your running efficiency. As well, looking ahead allows your brain to recognize that there is a log or rock or root up ahead that you need to step over. 

Top 5 R’s of Recovery for Post-run and race injury prevention tips

1. Resist the temptation to stop moving! Try to keep moving, just walking slowly, for at least 10-15 minutes after crossing the finish line (or after any run). You’ll be less likely to cramp up and develop stiff sore muscles. Then allow yourself a few minutes of stretching your quads, hamstrings, buttocks and calves.

2. Re-fuel! Get some nutrition in you. Fueling your muscles within the first 15 minutes will help with muscle recovery and regeneration. So while you walk to cool down, head over to the food table and grab a banana, snack, and some water, even if you don’t feel hungry. 

3. Rehydrate. Continue drinking fluids throughout the day. You might not feel thirsty now, but you likely will later. Hydrated muscles are happy muscles. 

4. Rejuvenate! Come visit us at the recovery tent!! City Sports & Physiotherapy will be there to assess any aches, pains, and injuries that may have happened, as well as to provide post-run recovery massages. We will have foam rollers, massage sticks and balls to help you with your own recovery. 

5. Recover appropriately before your next big/long/hard run! Too many runners get injured from not giving their bodies enough rest after a hard race. A good rule of thumb is to take 1 day off running for every mile you raced. That doesn’t mean no exercise, but keep all activity to a low intensity, focus on light cross training, and lower volume during that time. 

- Timberly George Ambler, BScPT, BScKin

Seek the Peak Training: Halfway There!

STPtraining

Our 14th annual Seek the Peak race is fast approaching we want to make sure you have all the info you need to rock those race day hills. Stay tuned as we share some helpful training and preparation tips to support your journey, all the way to the Peak! 

Today our Seek The Peak Trainer, Marieve Legrand shares some words of encouragement at the halfway point of training.

Seek the Peak 2017 – It’s May and the race is 5 weeks away! 

As I look up from my house to the Peak of Grouse Mountain, I can’t help but be in awe of how majestic those mountains look, even more so with all the snow they still have on them! I’ve hiked up the BCMC trail a few times in the last couple of weeks to get a sense of the amount of snow left, and let’s just say that it’s no wonder the bears only just came out of their den! It’s still winter up there, and we’ll just have to wait to see what May has in store for us. 

So yes, we’ve had to alter the training plans a bit. Last week, according to the “plan”, runners were supposed to tackle the Grind. Obviously, that did not happen, but hey, we’re surrounded by hills and trails, so it’s never a problem to come up with Plan B… or C. 

I have to say that I am so impressed by the dedication and motivation I see every Thursday evening. Our group training runs are not easy, and everyone who comes out accepts these challenges with determination. There have been many laughs and smiles (usually at the end), and I know how hard everyone is working. Hills are hard. The effort is real. And to be honest, it never feels easy. The truth is, however, that everyone gets stronger. And faster. 

We’ve all signed up for this race for many reasons and have committed to giving it our best shot. My commitment to everyone is to prepare them the best I can for the big day. I’ve said before that one of the many reasons I love to be a part of this race is that after 10 weeks of training together, seeing everyone cross the finish line feels like the biggest party ever. Hearts soar and adrenaline levels are high. There are hugs, there are high-fives, and there are real feelings of having accomplished something many thought impossible 10 weeks prior. 

That’s what keeps me coming back and loving this so much. It’s so much more than running hills. It’s a privilege that allows us to push our limits and test ourselves. It’s about new friendships and setting goals that seemed crazy at first. 

So there we are, halfway through the training program. We’ve already tamed Nancy Greene Way and know our way through the Capilano Pacific trails. We now need to continue to build our endurance and strength along rocky and technical uphill trails while the snow slowly melts and lets us up to the top. 

 5 weeks done, 5 more to go. Just imagine.

- Marieve

Road to Seek the Peak: Week 7

Each week we’ll be featuring posts from special guests designed to help get you ready for the big day. From nutrition info, to training tips, to motivational stories – each post will have valuable info to support your journey, all the way to the Peak!

Seek the Peak is just over a week away and we can hardly contain our excitement! It’s almost time for all the training and hard work to pay off as we tackle those race day hills. Not only does Seek the Peak celebrate personal achievement but it also raises valuable funds for the BC Cancer Foundation. Whether you’re fundraising as part of a team or as an individual, every dollar you raise goes towards lifesaving work in the fight against breast cancer. As an added incentive, the top team and top individual fundraisers will win a case of delicious wine from Sumac Ridge Estate Winery to celebrate. 

Here are some tips from BC Cancer Foundation to help you with your fundraising:

1. SECURE YOUR FIRST DONATION TODAY: Think of the people who you know will donate to your fundraising efforts—your partner, family, friends, co-worker, boss, etc.

2. GET TO KNOW YOUR PERSONAL FUNDRAISING PAGE:Personalize your page with a photo, and take advantage of the draft letters and other email tools in the Participant Centre.

3. TELL YOUR STORY: Who inspired you to do this? Your donors will be more inclined to give if they know why you are doing this.

4. SEND AN EMAIL TO EVERYONE YOU KNOW: Think wider than family and friends— local businesses, work, sporting clubs, etc. Remember to include the link to your personal fundraising page in any email you send out.

5. GET ACTIVE ON SOCIAL MEDIA: 90% of donations now come in online. Share your story and a link to your personal page over your social networks. We suggest Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.

6. SET YOUR GOAL HIGH: When you get within $100 of your goal, increase your total!

To set up your fundraising page, head over to the BC Cancer Foundation website! 

Road to Seek the Peak: Week 6

Each week we’ll be featuring posts from special guests designed to help get you ready for the big day. From nutrition info, to training tips, to motivational stories – each post will have valuable info to support your journey, all the way to the Peak!

This week’s post will cover the top 5 tips for pre-race preparation and post-race recovery to help you crush those hills, avoid injury and recover like a champ.

Pre-Race

  • It’s North Vancouver – you never know what weather to expect, so train for it all. Trail running and climbing in rainy weather and hot dry conditions will ensure you are adequately trained for slippery terrain or hard packed dust.

  • Aim to have an even effort, and an even cadence, regardless of the terrain. To achieve this, shorten your stride on the steeps, lengthen on the flats, and go mid length on moderate terrain.  Just like hill climbing on a bike – vary your gears, but keep your effort stable.

  • Train yourself to pick up your feet over terrain towards the end of your longer runs. Most falls happen later in the race as you fatigue and don’t get full clearance with you feet.

  • Look up, and ahead, even as you tire. This opens your rib cage and shoulders, maximizing oxygen intake and balance, and allows you to see any potential obstacles coming your way.
  • The day before race day, get out for a short limber up run. Nothing taxing, nothing hilly, as you’re looking for maximum recovery pre race. Stretch your legs for a 20-30 minute run, with 4-6 repeats of 30 second bursts of race pace or equivalent effort.

Post-Race

  • Once you’ve crossed that finish, savour the moment!  Breathe in the satisfaction that comes from pushing your body physically and mentally.
  • Resist the temptation to stop and sit!  Walk for 10-15 minutes to allow your body to slowly cool down and minimize the risk of cramping. Follow this with stretching – hit your calves, quads and glutes, along with any personal trouble spots.
  • Chow: 16km with massive climbing requires fuel. Get calories in your body within 15 minutes of finishing, even if just juice, as your body gets maximal absorption while it is still storing glycogen in the muscle tissue.
  • Chug: start to replenish those fluids as soon as you can tolerate them. Fluid replacement requirements vary by individual and race day conditions, but you are likely to have lost substantial fluid, so get drinking.
  • Chill: both in the literal and figurative sense.  Within a few hours after racing, cool those legs, especially at any tender points or areas of injury. Resist the craving for a hot bath; although it feels nice in the moment, it draws more blood into the muscle tissue and inhibits recovery.

Marnie Giblin
Physiotherapist
Pivotal Health

Road to Seek the Peak: Week 5

Each week we’ll be featuring posts from special guests designed to help get you ready for the big day. From nutrition info, to training tips, to motivational stories – each post will have valuable info to support your journey, all the way to the Peak!

Hello all! At last Wednesday's Seek the Peak training session, I gave a brief talk on hydration and the importance of a proper warm-up before training. Here is a little recap for those who missed it.  

Hydration: 

It is best to hydrate consistently throughout the day rather than packing/consuming a lot of water only during your training. This means consuming about 2-3L of water per day. A standard water bottle is 500-750ml, so keep one nearby, and fill and drink it 4x per day. It is a challenge, but having your water bottle ready is step #1. 

Warm-up Exercises:

1. Leg swings (forward and back): 

  •  2 sets of 30, each leg. Start low and work your way to higher kicks as you approach rep 30 
  • Keep your stomach muscles engaged and do not let your lower back arch (extend)
  • The movement should feel like it is coming from your hips not your back 

2. Reverse lunge with knee drive: 

  • 3 sets of 10 
  • Drive your knee up to hip height 
  • This challenges your balance and works through range of motion for you ankles, knees and hips 

3. Squats 3 ways: 

  • 10 reps with feet hip width apart 
  • 10 reps with feet narrow 
  • 10 reps with feet wide and toes turned out slightly 
  • SQUEEZE YOUR GLUTES! 

Nutrition: 

Equally important to hydration is nutrition. The purpose of this post is to give you some ideas of what snacks to consume before and after training that will optimize your hard work out on the road/trails. 

Before: Low Glycemic Index (GI) foods like whole grain products, beans, oatmeal, and chickpeas are best consumed at least 30 minutes before training. Everyone will be different in terms of how close to training they can eat, but a good rule of thumb is to eat at least 30 minutes before training. Low GI foods are broken down in our body slower and provide a nice consistent blood sugar level while you train. A training session when your blood sugar levels are low is not only dangerous, but it will not bring the same benefit as having a small snack before. Check your food labels to see if it discloses the item's GI index. A number closer to 100 = HIGH (ie. Glucose is 100). Rule of thumb is high fiber, protein, or grain content = low GI. 

After: High GI foods such as apples, grapes (most fruit) and snack bars that are high in sugar are best saved as a post work out treat. High GI foods supply a quick spike in blood sugar levels. This is best to happen after a work out as your blood sugars will be depleted and the glucose consumed will be converted to glycogen and stored for your next training session. It is also important to consume protein after, as our muscles require the amino acids to repair and recover. For any of you milk drinkers out there, chocolate milk is a great option and personal favorite. The optimal window for consumption is 15 minutes to 1.5 hours after training. To put things in perspective, 15 minutes would be what elite athletes shoot for but anything within that window will suit the everyday athlete. 

Real World:

I don’t want anyone panicking about having perfectly planned meals for their week and training sessions. This information is here to serve as a reminder that today’s recovery will benefit tomorrow’s training. It can be as simple as having some nuts or an oatmeal bar for before training, and an apple after training. This allows you to make it home or back to the office for a meal with some protein (chicken, chickpeas/hummus, beans, lentils, yogurt) to maximize the positive effects of your training session. 

Thanks for reading! 

David Ridgewell MPT, BSc Kin, CAFCI
Registered Physiotherapist
City Sports and Physiotherapy

 

Road to Seek the Peak: Week 4

Each week we’ll be featuring posts from special guests designed to help get you ready for the big day. From nutrition info, to training tips, to motivational stories – each post will have valuable info to support your journey, all the way to the Peak!

When I finished my first 5km trail race in April 2014, the first words I uttered to friends at the finish line were, "I hated the hill!". Less than a month later, I made the goal of completing Seek the Peak. I had recently lost 50lbs and was in the process of discovering a world of things I was capable of. I told a friend that I was going to train and do it the next summer and she suggested, in the friendliest of ways, that I might want to take a couple of trips up the Grouse Grind before I made that decision. Here I was, wanting to do a 16km race with 4100ft of elevation gain, when I had just finished a 5km, where my biggest takeaway was "I hate hills". 

I did my first Grouse Grind a couple of weeks later. It took me 1:57 and at the top, my friend asked, "Still want to do Seek The Peak?". My answer was, "I don't know...", but I did know! I was back the next day, and through the summer I did the Grind 28 more times. For the next year, Seek the Peak was the goal I was working towards. 

I was the 20th person to register for Seek the Peak and I'd also signed up for the training clinic, which was a huge step for me because all of my training had been in the gym and mostly on my own. The first night was just a large group of unfamiliar faces. We were introduced to the "pacers" and I'm not going to lie, I was a little intimidated by how "experienced" they looked. I remember thinking "What have I done?!". We were then told by Marieve Legrand, (lululemon ambassador, ultra-marathon runner, and Seek the Peak trainer extraordinaire), in no uncertain terms: "I won't sugar coat it, it's going to be hard, but I promise if you show up, you'll finish". After which she promptly threw us into the wonderful world of hill repeats...my favorite!! Before the night was through, I'd met 3 people, who to this day, are still my running buddies. 

That 10 weeks of training was a roller coaster. Some nights as you ran and climbed you felt great and others you couldn't imagine ever completing the race. The pacers were always there, though, offering advice as we worked our way through the course. There are memories of them standing at the top of the stairs yelling the number of seconds I had before my "time" was up and waiting at the junction of a trail with the biggest smiles, or just chattering at you as you pushed to keep running. 

The night before the race I had ALL the nerves. I just wanted to finish. Two of my friends had promised they'd be waiting with chocolate milk at the finish line and boy was that incentive! Race morning it was all blue sky, familiar faces and much laughter. As we left the start line I tried to remember tips from training - to hold back and save myself for the Grind. I ran legs 1 & 2 and walked Nancy Greene Way. I was listening! I'd gotten my time down to 1:13 during all the training on the Grind, so as I approached it I was sure I was ready. Oooor not. By the 3/4 mark "I can't" was going through my head a LOT. I was mentally done. I saw I wasn't the only one struggling and I thought of the first time I'd ever reached the 3/4 mark and it felt worse back then, than I felt at that moment. That was enough to keep me moving. I reached the top of the Grind way off what I'd hoped to and fought quad cramps as I approached the Peak. I felt like I was going slower than ever, but I wasn't! I looked at my watch as I got to the top and saw I'd just beat my personal best for the Peak. I'd pushed myself to a new PB climbing that one last hill, and I was on my way to the finish line. The home stretch was amazing. 200m from the finish I heard "STACEY!!! GO!! RUN!!". Suzanne, one of the pacers, had seen me coming down the trail and was jumping up and down and yelling...as I came around the corner I could hear so many people cheering. A group from training had been waiting for me and they were loud! Even though I was the last from our group to cross the finish line, I felt like I'd won and really I had. I'd finished!! And in 3:35! Just 5 minutes from my goal time! The support and excitement on that day from friends and the training group was incredible. I honestly can't tell you if I was in pain at the end, because I was just so happy. 

Seek the Peak wasn't just a race that I finished. It introduced me to a community that has shown me nothing but kindness and support. I now run with the pacers I was intimidated by on that first night of training - every week. They're only a 'teensy' bit scary now and they've helped me get faster! I knew before I crossed the finish line that day that I'd be back for Seek the Peak version 2.0 ...and I am. I joined the training clinic again, and this year it's about seeing how much progress has been made each week. I can't wait to get back to that start line and see what awaits at the top! 

If you're going to be on the hill with us, just remember to take it all in. The good and the bad! It's SO worth it!!

Stacey Anderson

Road to Seek the Peak: Week 3

Each week we’ll be featuring posts from special guests designed to help get you ready for the big day. From nutrition info, to training tips, to motivational stories – each post will have valuable info to support your journey, all the way to the Peak!

SHOES.COM - What you should look for in a running shoe

Trail running shoes differ from running shoes in a similar way that a mountain bike is different from a road bike. They are designed for specific terrain and specific run lengths. So, if you know what type of terrain you'll be running on, or whether you'll be running a 5k or 50k, there are specific shoes for your needs. 

If, on the other hand, you’re looking for a trail shoe that can do a bit of everything - roads, firm trails, a bit of mud - try to find a slightly more rugged version of your favourite running shoes. You may even find a trail adaptation from the same brand. 

What characteristics should I care about?

  • Proper fit 
  • Trail terrain 
  • Type of running 

Proper Fit:

Trail shoes should hold your foot snugly around the mid-foot so that you’re not sliding around as you’re running up and down hills or over uneven terrain. The toe box needs to be roomy though, with a bit of space between your big toe and the end of the shoe, so you don’t finish the day with blackened toenails. 

Trail Terrain:

  • Soft, wet terrain - Look for trail shoes with a durable sole and large, well-spaced lugs for improved grip on slippery surfaces. More spacing between the lugs allows mud and dirt to fall out. Because these shoes are designed for running on softer ground, they’ll have less cushioning than other shoes. 
  • Firm, rocky terrain - Trail shoes for rockier terrains will include an EVA mid-sole or similar, to absorb the shocks and provide more cushioning for your feet. 

Type of Running: 

  • Fast & light - If you’re aiming to run short distance quickly, you’ll want to consider a lightweight shoe. The downside of a lightweight shoe is that you get less structure and protection. 
  • Long distance - If you want to run in the ultra range, do yourself a favour and invest in a pair of shoes with some decent cushioning. Your feet (and knees) will thank you. 

Check out the SHOES.COM Trail Running Shoe Collection to find your perfect fit. 

Road to Seek the Peak: Week 2

Each week we’ll be featuring posts from special guests designed to help get you ready for the big day. From nutrition info, to training tips, to motivational stories – each post will have valuable info to support your journey, all the way to the Peak!

Marieve Legrand – A few thoughts on running, training and racing…

Seek the Peak had been on my bucket list of races for many years until finally I was able to fit it into my schedule in 2014. I remember thinking what a challenge it would be, not only to run the course, but to psychologically connect all the sections, embrace the elevation and feel strong throughout the entire distance. I wanted to prepare myself not just to run the course, but to be able to race it. In order to accomplish that I would need lots of specific training such as speed work and uphill climbs… many many uphill climbs.

At the time I committed to Seek the Peak we had a small group of runners at lululemon Park Royal who were also keen to do the race. We decided to train together on the course every week in order to get ready. We hiked the Grind. We ran up Nancy Greene Way. We ran Capilano Canyon then Nancy Greene Way then the Grind. We even added the Peak to get a feel for it. It was a challenge for everyone, but the resulting feeling of accomplishment and building our confidence for race-day were vital. By the time June arrived, I think everyone knew they could do it.

On race day I remember telling myself not to take off like a bat out of hell; even if it was so tempting given the flat start. “Save your legs, breathe, save your legs”, I kept reminding myself. The important thing was not to focus on what others around me were doing; I needed to run my own race.

From training, I knew all the sections very well and could visualize the entire course. I maintained my focus on the initial climbs in the canyon and tried to keep an even pace. I used the flatter parts (and some of the few downs) to catch my breath and stride out my legs. I knew what was coming and continued to try and hold back somewhat. The Cleveland Dam stairs came into sight, and then I was off on Nancy Greene Way. “Slow and steady, just keep moving your legs”, I kept thinking.  Before I knew it I was on the Grind and the transition to power hiking felt natural. I again checked my breathing and my pace and tried to settle into a speed that I hoped to maintain all the way up. It surely wasn’t over yet and I had to make sure I had enough left in me for the Peak.

I expected it to be hard, and it was. I’m not going to pretend otherwise. But so is life and so is going through chemo. I’ve been lucky to be fairly healthy, but I’ve always been very aware that running and racing are a privilege. I chose to do this and if I really wanted to, could stop at any time. Some people don’t have the option to stop. Illness and pain don’t always stop. I knew other runners around me had their own reasons to do this race as much as I had mine. Some of my own friends and family have had to overcome cancer and they were my inspiration during the race. Even if I was my body was begging me to slow down, completing this race was my opportunity to stand next to them saying “I’m here for you; if you can’t stop, then I’m not stopping either”.

So there I was, at the top of the Grind thinking “Ok, it’s almost over. Just one more hill”. Off towards the Peak I went. This particular year there was a ton of fog at the top. Visibility was so limited that I it was difficult to figure out where to go and I listened to the directions of the course marshals as best I could. I managed to keep to the trail and started the last climb up to the Peak. At this point my legs were so tired but it was not the time to slow down. Just one more climb. Just one more climb. The feeling of accomplishment in getting to the top was absolutely amazing. I was so happy to finally be able to let my legs run down as fast as they could toward the finish line. I passed familiar faces still climbing and we shared some words of encouragement. I knew it was almost over and my body was flooded with adrenaline.

And then I was done. I crossed the finish line amidst loud cheering from my husband and kids. I had given it everything and felt tired but so completely happy. I could now cheer too and greet others crossing the finish line with well-deserved high-fives. We had done it and it felt amazing.

I was honoured and excited at the opportunity to put together and lead the training program for the race last year. I knew how much this race means to people and what kind of challenge it represented for some. I also knew that it was my responsibility to guide, train and support all of those runners. It was going to be a hard 10 weeks, but that was also the reality of the race itself.

The 2015 race came and went with everyone from our training group making it to the top. Smiles and hugs flooded the finishing area and this is by far one of my favourite memories.

I considered writing this blog post on advice and tips for training which would surely be helpful. But I decided that my own personal experience would be more relevant. I love this race – as hard as it is; and cannot wait to celebrate the 2016 finishers with a round of high-fives at the top.

Road to Seek the Peak: Week 1

Each week we’ll be featuring posts from special guests designed to help get you ready for the big day. From nutrition info, to training tips, to motivational stories – each post will have valuable info to support your journey, all the way to the Peak!

Morikke Espenhain

When I began to think about participating in Seek the Peak (STP) last year I considered a few things: I can already run 16 km - check! I can climb the Grind – it’s exhausting but manageable. I can climb up to the Peak and back down, no problem. But when I started thinking about combining all those parts together… it just seemed crazy!  So I decided to join the STP training clinic and “think” about doing the actual race. After many weeks of training (up and down many hills) I finally committed to the 4,100ft climb. But, as the run drew closer I realized I needed additional support so I reached out to my closest friends and family to be my cheering squad on race day, to help bring me through the finish line. 

On race day I awoke to a glorious, sunny day. Feeling somewhat anxious and jittery I powered up with a good breakfast and headed for the start.  The flats of Ambleside were filled with nervous and excited racers, each with their own reason for taking on this challenge. I was still in the process of defining my own reason for racing but I’d didn’t have much time to think about; it was go time.

As I started off through the balloon archway I felt good; really good. So good in fact, that I forgot my plan to power-walk the Nancy Greene Way section of the race. Instead I ran it.  It was tough and seemed to go on forever but, I had practiced it many times during training so I knew I could do it. When I entered the Grind section I was tired but still feeling good and slightly ahead of my predicted time. As I started climbing however, things began to change. Not even 5 minutes up those steps and I started to think; I can’t do this, I don’t want to do this any more. But I knew I had to get to the top since going down would be worse, and I couldn’t let down my family and friends waiting at the top. I decided somewhere around the one quarter mark that I would just get through the Grind and then quit. Then I started thinking about my Mom.  She died 7 years ago from a rare form of cancer in her gallbladder.  I thought about how she never quit.  In fact, she never even complained about the pain and struggle she had to endure for an entire year, instead putting on a brave face and tackling her own grind the best she could. So many people are battling cancer and here I am, healthy and strong, participating in this race to help with that fight. It was a humbling thought – one that inspired me to keep climbing

I made it to the top of the Grind filled with renewed hope and a new goal. I was not going to quit, instead I was going to try to beat the time I had set in my head.  So off I ran on very wobbly legs to tackle the Peak. Up and down I went; at this point, longing to see the finish line.  As I rounded the final corner, there were my friends and family cheering me on. Their hoots and holler’s gave me the last bit of energy I needed to sprint across the finish line and into the waiting arms of my husband and my Dad. I remember looking up at my Dad and saying, “that was for Mom”.  I could see the tears of sadness, remembrance and pride in his eyes. My reason for running had become clear out on the course – it was for my Mom and for all the people who battling cancer.  They gave me the strength to keep going.

Now, every time I lace up my runners to hit the trails and roads of North Vancouver, I hope to get better and stronger.  This is my hope for all those battling cancer.  I hope that they too will get better and stronger, ready to seek their next peak.

 

Nicole's Training - Week 8

Week 8: Get Ready for the Taper

Two weeks to go until Seek the Peak - is everyone ready? 

With the start line inching closer, it’s time to start thinking about the taper - the time in a training program when we focus on less running and more recovery. It sounds like a dream for many, doesn’t it? 

Tapering allows your body to recover and regroup, preparing you for race day. The length of a taper depends on the length of a race, though it is generally understood that a half-marathon taper should be two weeks in length. For comparison sake, we can compare Seek the Peak to a half-marathon. 

Start Dropping the Miles
You know the saying, “less is more”? That rings true during your taper. Many runners drop their mileage by 50% in the final week leading up to race day. You have likely been decreasing your mileage since your peak run or training session, but if you haven’t - take note over the next two weeks. Just be sure you’re not dropping your overall intensity. 

Watch What You Eat
It might be easy to fall into the trap of eating more and not placing much thought into your meal balance. After all, you’re going to burn a ton of calories on race day, right? Be sure to eat well and nourish your body during this time. Protein, greens, carbs and hydration will put you in a great position for race day.

Trust in your Training
Personally speaking, I start to feel phantom pains during taper.“My hip hurts. What’s going on?” or “What’s that pain in my lower back?” Trust in your training (and your taper) and avoid thinking about those sneaky doubts. You’ve prepared yourself for Seek the Peak, so it’s now time to take care of your body and arrive healthy on race day. 

On my end, I completed a half-marathon this weekend and am now going into another small taper before Seek the Peak. I’m relying on my foam roller over the next two weeks and will be nursing any lingering phantom pains! 

PS: If you haven’t registered, visit the link here - and be sure to tell your family and friends about this great event.

Nicole's Training - Week 7

Week 7: Arriving to the Start Line Injury-Free

As I was climbing the Grouse Grind this weekend, I felt a slight pain in my right knee and thought of the worst. Was I feeling an injury surfacing? Thankfully, after a few more minutes of climbing, the pain disappeared and I returned to normal. With the countdown beginning for Seek the Peak (three weeks away!) it’s time to ensure we avoid injuries as much as possible and arrive healthy and prepared for race day. Below are three ways you can help ensure you reach the start line with a smile. 

1. Stretch and recover. 
Both key elements of any training routine. After every workout, ensure you give yourself enough time to stretch. As busy as our lives are, it is important to spend at least ten minutes taking care of yourself post-run or climb. RunnersWorld has some great exercises you can do to prepare (and repair) your body after exercise. 

2. Take advantage of rest days. 
I’m guilty of absolutely despising rest days, but experts say that these days are just as important as those spent working out.

“When you perform excessive amounts of exercise without proper rest and recovery you may experience some harmful side effects including decreased performance, fatigue, altered hormonal states, poor sleeping patterns, reproductive disorders, decreased immunity, loss of appetite, and mood swings.”Source.
 
The next time you think of skipping your rest day, consider the consequences of pushing through. 

3. Listen to your body. 
As with any runner who has completed long-distance training, you know that your body will often tell you when something just isn’t quite right. Whether it’s the slight pain in your knee or a shoulder feeling off, your body will always give you little signals that indicate distress. Listen to your body and try not to push limits. I hope you’re excited to arrive on the start line with a smile, prepared to take on the Seek the Peak race route for such a wonderful cause

Until next week! 

Nicole

Nicole's Training - Week 6

Don’t forget the stairs… 

We’ve entered the 30-day countdown to Seek the Peak. Are you ready? 

Quick check-in for this week as my training weekend revolved around the Grouse Grind and Nancy Greene, where I was once again reminded just how many stairs there are on this route. 

As you climb through Capilano and onto Nancy Greene, the grind of the race really starts to begin. Once runners begin the Palisades Trail, we will face an 800 meter climb up a section of technical trail and a series of stairs. Capilano to the base of Grouse Mountain is a total of 6KM in distance, but is the beginning of a great climb to the top. 

If you haven’t started preparing your legs for this sort of elevation increase, it’s time to begin. Remember - Grouse has a great training calendar that you can follow, and I recommend replicating a few of these routes before race day. 

I’ve exchanged some great tweets with a few of you as we all prepare for race day, so please keep sharing your thoughts and training preparation. We’re all in this together! 

Next weekend I will be tackling legs 1-3 of the race for a great session. Where will you embark? 

Happy training! 

Nicole

Nicole's Training - Week 5

Could you hear the cheers from hikers across the North Shore last week as Grouse Grind was officially open for business? An extra loud cheer was sure to be heard from Seek the Peak participants as leg three of the race is now available for training. 

I was so excited to head up the mountain, so my training partner and I agreed to battle for two consecutive Grinds on Saturday morning. Attempting to nearly replicate the duration and climb of Seek the Peak, we thought this would be a great way to celebrate Metro Vancouver’s announcement to officially open the gates. 

Surprisingly, Grind 2 was much easier than Grind 1. Funny how that works, right? With the body already warm and loose, we didn’t face the typical 5-10 minute adjustment your body makes when first starting the Grind. 

If you are a new visitor to this trail, or simply need a refresher in climbing this mountain, below are three tips to help make your climb the best it can be. 

1. It’s not a race – so have fun! Unless you’re looking to break some personal bests, remember that it’s not a race to the top. There are hikers of all fitness levels who climb the mountain each and every day, and it is important to remember that you will all arrive at the same destination at your own pace. Whether you take 45 minutes or 2 hours, have fun and enjoy yourself on this beautiful trail. 

2. Climb on the right, pass on the left. Further to remembering that it’s not a race, understand that some hikers do want to reach the top in a time that feels right for them. Always climb on the right and pass on the left. Don’t be afraid to let hikers ahead know that you will be passing them shortly, so they can be aware of their surroundings. 

3. Listen to your body. There are some days when our bodies just aren’t working to their full potential – and that’s OK! Be sure to listen to your body throughout your hike. If you need to rest or simply slow down, don’t be afraid to do so. Hydrate and ensure you have the nutrition needed. 

The Grouse Grind is going to be a popular destination over the summer, and I hope that it is on your to-do list as well. Most importantly, get outside and be healthy! 

Until next week. 

Nicole

 

Nicole's Training - Week 4

As your training increases and the days become warmer, it is important to start thinking ahead about accessories and nutrition for Seek the Peak. 

This past weekend I returned to Nancy Greene Way - though this time, I returned on my road bike. My training session for this weekend included a cycle from Downtown Vancouver to the base of Grouse Mountain, embarking on a one-hour round-trip hike through the Baden Powell, then cycling back into the city. I tried to replicate the climb and duration of Seek the Peak, much like the weekend run suggestions do here. With the change in footwear and accessories on this route, it made me think ahead and begin to prepare for our June 14th race. 

Footwear
As Seek the Peak travels along both trails and pavement, you will need to select footwear that works best for you. Although I climb the Grouse Grind with hiking boots in the Summer months, this certainly wouldn’t work for a 16KM run. I would recommend finding a trail shoe that is light in weight, yet comfortable for your feet. 

Backpack or Water Belt? 
Wearing a backpack or using a water belt is a personal preference. Although most runners wear water belts, I am personally more comfortable with a trail pack. This allows me to carry my phone, water, keys and nutrition. Just make sure to pack light. 

Nutrition
What to consume is dependent on each and every runner, and I would highly recommend you determine what is best for your body well prior to race day. Personally, I will pack three gels on race day and consume them with water along the way. There are some fantastic options on the market, so make sure you select a product that suits your body best. 

Most important of all? Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Speaking of which, have you signed-up for the Whistler Water One Climb?

Until next week! 
Nicole

Nicole's Training - Week 3

Last week I made reference to three mental and physical challenges that runners will be faced with during Seek the Peak, the most challenging of which is Nancy Greene Way. That is a personal opinion of course, and mostly because I recently completed the climb for the very first time. Ouch! 

This portion of the climb is in Leg 2 of the race, from Capilano to the base of the Grouse Grind. In this portion of the race, runners will emerge from the Palisades Trail and head onto Nancy Greene Way for a one mile climb to the mountain. 

Although one mile is remarkably short, the climb is a challenge. For runners racing this event, especially those embarking on the journey solo, I highly recommend you include Nancy Greene Way as part of your training leading up to race day. This leg just goes...and goes...and goes...and although many of us who love climbing the Grouse Grind during the Summer months simply see this road as a sign that we are getting closer to the base, it is deceivingly difficult on foot. 

Combined with the Seek the Peak training guide, I incorporated a few days of cross-training within my schedule this week - including becoming more familiar with the terrain of trail running. Cross-training refers to combining exercises of other disciplines, different than that of your regular training regime and is believed to improve your fitness, prevent injury and aid in a quicker recovery. With Seek the Peak being such a physical journey that builds leg strength, it is important to incorporate other activities into your training calendar - especially those that involve building strength in your core and upper body. 

Next week, I will focus on the nutrition and accessories of racing. With varying terrain in this race, we need to be prepared for what both the pavement and mountain areas will present to us. 

Until then! 

Nicole

 

Nicole's Training - Week 2

Seek the Peak participant Nicole van Zanten is documenting her weekly training leading up to the big day. Have a read of her second training diary entry below:

Week 2: Breaking The Route Into Three Pieces

In Week 2 of the Seek the Peak training program, the recommended weekend run route is to begin at Cleveland Dam, tackle Nancy Greene and head down the road switchbacks to the Skyline trail. This run is 8KM and should take between 60-90 minutes. 

Nancy Greene is said to be one of the more difficult areas of the route. When chatting with a few friends about this race just a few weeks ago, I was challenged to stay focused on three challenging aspects of this event. The three potential mental hurdles, so to speak. Instead of waiting until race day to tackle them for the first time, it is important to be aware of these hurdles and face them head-on. 

Ready to tackle them with me? 

1. Solo vs. Relay

I love that there is a relay option for this race. Endurance events are meant to be supportive (there’s nothing like seeing your friends and family holding signs and cheering you on), and to have a relay team option is a remarkable addition for Seek the Peak. For solo runners, however, seeing fresh legs join your route can be a mental challenge. 

2. Nancy Greene Way

I’ve never tackled Nancy Greene Way, so this weekend training run will be interesting! I’ve been told that this part of the route is a huge challenge, so I expect for this to be tough. 

3. Post-Grind

When you complete the Grouse Grind on a regular Sunday, you don’t expect to be told you need to complete 3KM more, right? Although this is the home stretch of the race, I’m sure it will be a challenging, yet rewarding finale. 

Breaking the route into three challenging pieces will allow participants to know what’s coming, be prepared for what’s ahead and defeat those mental roadblocks before they begin. 

See you next week (with an update from the Nancy Greene run!)