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Squamish 50k 2018: A Finish Line 5 Years in the Making

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The Squamish 50 is my favourite running event of the year, and holds a special place in my heart. Two days after I moved to Squamish in August 2013, I went on my first run on the trails and ended up in the middle of the 50 mile race by mistake. Intrigued, I looked up the event and decided to have a go at the 50k race in 2014. I ran that race as my first ultra, despite my life being upended by a breast cancer diagnosis and the subsequent surgery 3 months before the race. I came away with a time of 7h12, a huge, instant love for the sport and the trail running community, and the drive to improve on that time.
I trained hard through the next winter and spring, after undergoing and recovering from the final step in my treatment, a bilateral mastectomy. I was feeling great for the 2015 race, until I broke my wrist and did some soft tissue damage to my knee in a bike crash in late July. I barely ran for the 5 weeks leading up to the 50k, and was unsure whether I should run it with a broken w…

Follow the Yaks: Trekking the Langtang Valley in Nepal

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Brendan and I have returned home from a month of travels, the highlight of which was an eight day hike in Nepal's Langtang Valley. Only 120 km from Kathmandu, Langtang is a lesser-known trekking area, as compared with popular routes like Everest Base Camp or the Annapurna Circuit. Despite its proximity to the capital city, the drive to the trailhead takes 6-7 hours, owing to the road being essentially a one lane, muddy, deeply rutted jeep track that winds up and down mountainsides. The valley is remote, but is still a "tea-house" trek, meaning that the trail goes through tiny villages where mountain lodges can house and feed you for the night, so there is no need to carry camping gear. We planned a fairly aggressive hiking itinerary, hoping to cover a lot of ground in the somewhat limited time that we had available, while still making sure to enjoy the journey and leave adequate time to acclimatize to the altitude. After some back-and-forth, we convinced our wonderful gu…

Diez Vista 50k 2018: Back in my Groove

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Diez Vista 50k was my first ultra since May 2017. I tore a hamstring tendon in July of last year, and watched my summer and fall racing (and adventuring) season slip by as I worked to rehab that injury. I was finally healthy enough to start running again at the beginning of November, and signed up for Diez to give myself a goal to work towards and to motivate me through the winter months. I had never done this classic local race and was looking forward to a new experience after having raced Chuckanut for the last two years as my early season ultra.

Fast forward to April 14th: I had a fantastic day out there. I finished in 5:55, placed 6th female and, most importantly, had no hamstring pain whatsoever. I couldn't have asked for a better race at this point in my training, when I am still in a building phase. 

The night before the race, I wrote down my goals and how I planned on achieving them. This is a ritual I do for every race; I find it calming and a nice way to frame my expectati…