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Preview: Elements of Erin 337

Elements of Erin 337

Adventure | Creativity | Self Care

Updated: 2018-04-09T20:03:36.735-07:00


April Fools 1/2 Marathon Plus 15km cool down


After my minor breakdown at work on Friday, I set off on Saturday for Sechelt.  I have run the April Fool's Half Marathon two times and this was my third time.  It never fails to be hilly and hard.  Sunday morning I started off at in Gibsons ready to run to Mission Point Park.  I took it very conservatively knowing that I would be adding another 15kms on at the end of the 'race'.  I crossed the finish line, collected my medal, filled my water bottles, ate a  piece of bagel and a bite of banana and kept running west.  I do not recommend running your longest run before a marathon in Sechelt if you are not used to hills.  That place is full of 12-15% grades both up and down.At the end of the day, I ran from 9:17am - 2pm with a few quick breaks to refill bottles, eat gels and take few rocks out of my shoes.  After a shower and some real food, I was back on the ferry to North Vancouver. Reward:  White Spot Legendary Burger combo with cheese and a Coke.  [...]

Today I Cried at Work


Proof that my marathon training is effective.  I cried at work today.  I am emotionally and physically worn down.  (image)

Fully Cooked


With one week of high volume running before my marathon on April 28th, I am feeling fully cooked.

After a rest day on Monday, I switched up my track workout day and my trainer ride day.  We secured tickets to the second to last Canucks home game on Tuesday night so I couldn't do my track workout.  

I did my trainer ride in the morning on Tuesday and my track workout on Wednesday.

Instead of going solo at the track last night I created a workout in Garmin and downloaded it to my Garmin 920XT.  

10 min warm up
8 x 1 mile with 90 seconds rest
10 min cool down

Let me tell you, this workout completely exhausted me.  I came home after the run, showered and ate but I felt so drained.  After a bit of rest on the sofa, I was able to feel better and went straight to bed.  

Today I skipped my 6am swim in favour of an extra hour of sleep.  

My mantra for the week is 'just one more week'.  Just one more week of heavy volume until I start my taper.

But first, a tempo run tomorrow and 38kms on Sunday.(image)

Who is the April Fool for Running this Far?


With only two more long long runs before my marathon taper, I set out on a 34km adventure around Vancouver.  I had great company and I felt pretty good.  The hills in Vancouver won but I think it will be good training for next week's longest run and ultimately the marathon.

Locarno Beach looking west

Locarno Beach looking east


The Group Ride


Today was the first outdoor group ride with The SAA if the season.  We rode an easy 35km Richmond Loop with coffee at the end. (image)

Good Friday


Other than a physio appointment I booked for 7am on holiday (what was I thinking?) and a run, we have no plans today.  The sun is out and it is 11C so here we come Ready Player One.  Yes, a movie.  Indoors.  




My weekly swim distance increased this week to 2600m.  Although it was not faster, I felt stronger.  It is always fun to go to work with goggle marks around my eyes.



Trainer Time


Although it officially spring, the weather does not seem to be aware the season changed.  Instead of being out on my bike, I was in the family room watching Netflix while on the trainer.

1 hour of strength intervals.(image)

Running in Circles


Tuesday night is track night with Coach Powell.  With this week being spring break, official track practice was cancelled but I still had a workout to do.  6 x 2000 m on 6 minutes/km pace, 90 seconds rest.

My legs are pretty dead right now so I was not confident I would be able to complete this one well.  I thought about not starting it at all.  

The track was quiet and I had most of it myself.  It was warm (10 c) and sunny.  Perfect conditions to get it done.  

I was able to meet all of my 6 intervals at the 6 min/km pace.  I told my self I would quit after 4 intervals, then 5 interval, then I finished my 6th interval.  Mentally it was tough to keep going but I didn't have any commitments after the session so there was no reason to cut it short.  

I rewarded myself with 2 McDonald's cheeseburgers on the drive home and a steak and spinach salad when I got home.  

No one is perfect.  Embrace it.  

Point Grey Track


Rest Day


As my first marathon of the year is only four weeks away, it is more important than ever to take rest days.  Generally this tends to be Monday.  Today I went to the Physio for some IMS and Ultrasound on my lower back and left hamstring and calf.  I am familiar with having a tight back and hips but the calf tightness is a new development.  Stretching and some foot strength exercises are in my immediate future.  (image)

The Long Run


Today's long run called for a 3 1/2 hour jaunt out to the airport and back.  I mapped the route at 30km but it ended up being 28kms.  

Even though this was a rest week, today's run was tough.  

How to sabotage your long run in few easy steps:

  1. Eat a excessive quantities of comfort food for two days leading up to your long run
  2. Drink beer and wine with your comfort food on the two days leading up to your long run
  3. Before you start your long run, think about how much you know this will be a terrible run

Goals for the week to come:
  1. Get back on the wagon with eating well.  Fuel to workout 
  2. No alcohol
  3. 8 hours of sleep per night

A few photos from my run today

Burkeville watching the planes take off at YVR

Terra Nova looking toward YVR


Espresso 101


With the opening of Sanctuary Cafe getting closer everyday, Jamieson and I attended Espresso 101 at Espressotec in Vancouver.  

Beautiful Giro d"Italia edition Rocket espresso machine


Hard Days


Some days are harder than others.  Tough days at work, challenging workouts or lack of motivation.  Some hard days put others in perspective.  Be thankful you are still alive to experience those hard days.

Rest In Peace
Amy Lee
May 10, 1935 - March 18, 2018



Two years ago after I herniated a disc in my lower back, my recovery activity was swimming.  Once the initial pain had subsided (about 8 weeks after the initial injury) I started walking and then swimming.   

In 2016, I swam 80,000 metres and completed three open water swim events.  By the end of the year, I was given the OK to start running again so I cut back on my swimming.

In 2017, I decided to train for a June marathon and my swimming completely fell off the radar.  For the whole year, I swam once for a total of 2200 metres.

With Escape from Alcatraz on the race calendar, I have returned to the water.  I have only been back for 3 sessions now.  The longest one was today 2400 metres in 51:47 (2:09/100m).  

Looks like I have some work to do if I am going to make that 1 hour swim cut off in Alcatraz.

I feel more focused swimming will be in my immediate future.  

Snorkeling in Waikoloa - February 2018

Big Goals and Bucket List


2018 The Year of Big Goals and the Bucket List

April 28, 2018               Revel Mt Charleston Marathon
June 3, 2018                 Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon
September 16, 2018      Light at the End of the Tunnel Marathon
November 4, 2018         TCS New York Marathon

Three themes for 2018
1. Adventure
2. Creativity
3. Self Care

1 Year Goals:  See above
5 Year Goals:  Qualify and run Boston Marathon and complete Challenge Roth




In early February, I bought a season's pass to Grouse Mountain.  I have owned a pass in the past but not in for a few years.  My main goal was to get up on Monday and/or Wednesday nights for the Social Snowshoe.  90 minutes snowshoeing up the Snowshoe Grind and over the back side of Dam Mountain.  Headlamps required.Full MoonFellow SnowshoersView of VancouverYes, these are terrible photos.  I only took photos this one time.  I realized that the iPhone will not take good photos in these conditions and you miss the actual moment trying to get a good photo.In addition to Grouse, I have been up to Cypress Mountain Nordic area two times this seasonFirst trip to CypressOur friend The RavenMap of the snowshoe trailsHappy hikers todayHappy hikers today[...]



Not too long ago, I was still pretty bitter about my back injury.  I tried not to talk about and just suck it up.  After all, my sadness was about not being able to compete at Challenge Roth.  I was not diagnosed with a terminal illness.  Get over it!

This week I experienced what I would consider progress.  I found myself liking photos on Facebook of friends in California at a triathlon camp and REALLY feeling happy for them.  Not cursing under my breath and feeling fake happy but REALLY happy.

Then on Thursday, a coworker asked if I would ever do another Iron distance race and I said YES!  Emphatically, without hesitation, YES.  

Physically, I am still making progress, no set backs to speak of.  I am still taking it easier that I would have in years past.  This approach is currently working.  I am enjoying my workouts and enjoy having goals again.  

I have been keeping consistent with my training.  My favourite things right now is my spin class on Thursday nights and swimming on Wednesday and Friday mornings at Hillcrest Community Centre.  I have run a few times and enjoyed it because of my new Bluetooth earbuds and the 2nd Season of Serial the podcast.

"The challenge of the unknown future is so much more exciting than the stories of the accomplished past"  Simon Sinek

Welcome 2016!


Welcome 2016!  What a year 2015 was.  I am SO VERY happy it it is OVER!My body gave me a forced break in May when a disc in my lower back (between L5/S1) decided to make itself known by putting pressure on my S1 nerve.  The timing was bad.  8 weeks before Challenge Roth.  This injury not only took me out of sport, it took me out of my daily life.  2 weeks off work, unable to move or be still without pain.  If you have had this type of injury, you know what I am talking about.  This disc injury was the final straw in a year of health issues that really made me evaluate my participation in sport, my job and life in general.  Although I was not able to participate in Challenge Roth, I was well enough to travel and to Germany and follow my good friends around the course.  Seeing them finish in the stadium was both very inspiring and sad for me.  I was so happy to see them accomplish their goals and so very sad for myself not to be out there with them.2016 will see the end of my pity party.  New year, new focus, new goals.  I started a new job in July that is challenging and rewarding.  I am still working part time at my previous job and running my coaching business.  I am able to workout out again but with a different focus.  For 2016, my focus will be on swimming and cycling.  For now, running will have take a backseat until I am strong enough.  I started a strength class once a week to build my core to make my back stronger also. Events planned for 2016 so far include:Penticton Fondo - 160kmsSwim Across The Lake - 2.1kmsVOWSA Open Water Swim Race seriesChallenge Penticton - 120km bike relayWhistler Fondo - 122kms[...]

One Step Forward - A Few Steps Back


2015 is proving to be a weird and wonderful year so far.  The week before Christmas, I managed to jam my right pointer finger, damaging the tendons.  The condition is call Mallet Finger.  Look it up if you are interested.  The treatment for Mallet Finger includes mobilizing the affected joint for 8 weeks.  If you haven't realized how important your fingers are, try wearing this for 8 weeks.  It makes typing, opening boxes, turning keys in locks and using your iPhone a little more difficult than usual.  The good thing is it is was not painful.After wearing this for a few weeks, a running buddy was kind enough to knit me a finger warmer.  Because the splint is made from plastic, it made my finger quite cold.  The finger cozy got more attention then the splint did so I had to limit its use to running outside.As time went by, I started to have fun with the splint after a friend mentioned it looked like a hat.Two weeks ago, I was given the OK to start taking the splint off for 1 hour per day and build up to 4 hours a day in 4 weeks.  I am up to 3 hours per day.  I have also been given physio exercises to help get the joint moving again.  Silly me.  I thought I would take the splint off and my finger would be good as new.  Nope, not the case.  The joint is very stiff and may never fully recover.  Basic function has returned so I am happy with that.  In other news, I discovered I have extremely low iron (ferritin) levels.  This was confirmed after a pretty horrible feeling January and February.  I would wake up as if I had never slept, my workouts were very fatiguing and getting out of bed some mornings was challenging.  I had entered a few trail races and a half marathon.  I completed them all but was VERY discouraged about my performance and how I felt during.  After completing the First Half Marathon on February 15 in my slowest times ever feeling like I had no more to give, I decided to go and get checked out.  I was pretty sure something serious was wrong.  Good news was that it was just low iron.  I am almost two weeks into taking an iron supplement daily.  I'll be taking this for 3 more months and have my iron retested.  Might just be a placebo effect but I am starting to feel better in my daily life.  My workouts are still laboured but I am feeling stronger.   And to top it all off, I had a 'suspicious' mole removed from my leg requiring 2 stitches.  It came back benign but it prevented my from swimming for the last week.  Probably a good time to take the time off anyway.  Well, that is all for my aches and pains report.  My focus:St. George 70.3 - 8 weeks awayChallenge Roth - 18 weeks awayChallenge Penticton - 25 weeks awayHappy Training![...]

Ready or Not it's 2015!


What an amazingly awesome 2014 I had.  Travelling, racing and celebrating were in abundance throughout the year and especially in July 2014.

2015 is here whether we are ready or not.  What is on the slate for 2015 races?

Peninsula Runners Trail Series (4 races Jan/Feb/Mar)  January - March 2015
Kajaks Ice Breaker 8km  February 1, 2015
Pacific Road Runners First Half Marathon  February 15, 2015
Ironman 70.3 St.George UTAH  May 2, 2015
Challenge ROTH !!!!!!!!  July 12, 2015
Challenge Penticton August 30, 2015

I was fortunate enough to be selected as one of five Canadians to be on the Challenge North America Team.  There are a total of 65 team members from Canada, USA and Mexico.  Pretty excited about this!

Started the year off right with #1 in the Peninsula Runners Trail Series in South Surrey.  Feeling good about how the race went.  Hilly course with moderately technical sections and an open field.  You can check out the data on Strava. 

Next up is #2 Peninsula Runners Trail Series January 18th.  Join me!

Happy Training!


Weekend in the Community


It really is beginning to look a lot like Christmas.  

Saturday was the annual Steveston Craft Fair and official start to my holiday gift buying.  It was great to see so many familar faces selling and buying crafts and baked good.  

Today started by participating in the Run Inn The Woods to support the BC Cancer Foundation.  Thank you The SAA for supporting the event and thank to The Run Inn for hosting for a 17th year in a row.  The event included either an 8km run or 3km walk in Pacific Spirit Park.  The  weather was a cold -5C but the coffee and treats back at The Run Inn helped thaw everyone out.

This afternoon, I gave blood.  This is only my 2nd time giving blood.  The first time was over 5 years ago.  The process is relatively painless.  The anticipation of the needle is worse than the reality of it.  Once it is in, you don't feel a thing.  Best part of the process is chatting with other people who donated while consuming the obligitory juice box and cookies.  I am booked to give again on January 25th at 3pm.  Anyone want to join me?  


337Multisport Fall Spin Class



Winter Weather Training


Today there was snow in the forecast for Vancouver.  Alternate plans were made to accomodate my training but the snow never came.  So after a 1.5 hour indoor spin class at Speed Theory, and after coffee and breakfast with friends, I headed outside on my bike.

Armed with hand warmers, a water bottle I hoped wouldn't freeze and my favourite Pearl Izumi thermal bike wear and my SAA thermal jacket I rode from Richmond out towared UBC.  I stopped just before UBC for some fun hill repeats, then rode home.  

Even though the temperature was just above zero, it was sunny and glorious.  Not bad for a training day in February.

Happy Training!


Theme of the Year - HILLS


Welcome to 2014!  Ok, it is a bit late but better late than never?2013 ended pretty uneventfully for me.  After having a terrible run at the Fall Classic Half Marathon, I made an appointment with my Dr. to see why I was struggling so much.  Blood tests revealed I was completely normal.  Ugh!  My iron levels were a little low but not enough to explain why my running was suffering so much.  After another visit to the Dr and some more questions and test, I was put on an inhaler.  Seems that when you can't get enough oxygen into your system because your lungs are tight, you don't perform very well when running.  Well, let me tell you, this inhaler has made a world of difference.  Christmas and New Years came and went very quietly.  Most of December saw me working out regularly but not at the same intensity and volume as in the summer.  I also took time out to eat and drink pretty much whatever I wanted.  Although I no longer make New Year's resolutions, I did get right back on the fitness bandwagon come January 1st and have stayed there ever since.  My first race of 2014 is next weekend at the Langley Historic Half Marathon.  This is my first time running this race and it looks like a hilly one.  Perfect to prepare me for some of my big races in 2014.  The theme of the year - HILLS.Here is what my 2014 race season looks like:February 16, 2014 - Historic Half, Langley BCApril 6, 2014 - Fools Run (Half Marathon), Sechelt BCApril 26, 2014 - Delta Sprint Triathlon, Delta BCMay 3, 2014 - St.George 70.3, St. George, UtahJuly 6, 2014 - Maratona dles Dolomites, Alta Badia, ItalyJuly 27, 2014 - Ironman CanadaAugust 24, 2014 - Challenge Penticton Relay (swim), Penticton BCPasso Giau[...]

Chuckanut Century Ride (that was actually 87kms)


On September 15th, Tim and signed up for the Chuckanut Century ride.  After finishing Challenge Penticton, I still felt like I had some more to give.  I was not ready to finish my season.We drove down to Bellingham, WA the morning of the event.  The weather this summer had been amazing but fall was starting to set in.  It was misty and foggy but we thought it would lift as we started the ride.  Well, that is not what happened.  The weather never really improved and it started to rain at one point in the ride.  We were moderately prepared for the cooler temperatures and rain but not so much.  At the 45 minute mark, Tim got a flat tire.  At the 1 hour mark of our ride, we came across a cute coffee shop where a few cyclists were sitting.  We figured "why not?" and stopped for an Americano European style with actual cups (not paper cups!)After about a 45 minute coffee, we continued on our route through Samish Island, WA.  What a great place!  The fog was still thick but we were able to check out the area and decide we wanted to come back next summer when the weather is better.After 87kms we returned to the start of the ride.  The original plan was to ride the north route and make the ride 100 miles.  This didn't happen.  After returning to the start, we packed up our bikes and went to the Boundary Bay Brewery for our complimentary burger and fries.  By 3pm, were across the border and on our way home.  The routes options are fantastic and are a must do if you are visiting the area to cycle.  This ride had a similar feel to the Chilly Hilly in February.  There is no mass start or timing.  Just a casual ride in a beautiful location.  Flat TireCoffee ShopTweets!  See, real cups.Boundary Bay Brewery Burger/Fries PartyMingling with the other ridersHappy Training![...]