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WAM 110k 2018: DNF (Do Not Feel sorry for me)

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I've read a lot of "DNF" (Did Not Finish) blogs over the years. Lots of soul-searching, introspective, sometimes regretful, tales of understandingly heart-wrenching decisions to call it quits on a race. 

This is not one of those blogs. More of a comedy than a drama really, with some blood, sweat, snow, rain, and mud, but no tears. 

Just to be clear - I did call it quits on the WAM 110k, at about 60k into the race. But not even a little piece of me thinks it was the wrong decision. This was one of those rare instances that my friend Tory calls "the Happy Drop". Let me explain.

For the first half of this race, I ran well. I was taking it very easy, eating regularly, drinking plenty, and having fun despite fairly terrible conditions. It was raining, although mercifully not at the start - it started drizzling about 2-3 hours in and then got progressively heavier for the next few hours. Once we passed the snow line on Whistler at about 1800 metres, it was essentially s…

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…