Sunday, October 16, 2016

Bigfoot 110km - October 8th, 2016

Bigfoot 110km - October 8th, 2016
48% of the 110 km racers did not finish the race.  If I had to take a guess to why the DNS/DNF rate was so high, I think it would be fair to say that the extreme weather (torrential downpour, thick fog and 50 mph winds), the distance, and the navigation issues were the main reasons.  

At a paramedic conference today, I listened to a Road to Mental Readiness (R2MR) presentation. As I sat there, I was astonished to what I was hearing.  He was listing the many things I do when faced with difficult race conditions.  I want to share these strategies with my readers.  Perhaps you could try them too. My “not so secret” to finishing tough races:

  1. Goal setting:  I set small manageable goals when I race (setting these goals as the day goes on - reactive to how I am feeling).  These specific and attainable goals create a path of success.  For example, if my big goal is to finish my 110km in 14 hours and I arrive at the 60km marker in 10 hours. What do you think my morale is going to be like at that point? I instead set smaller goals such as “run every flat”. And when things are really rough, and I feel really awful, I have even smaller goals such as “run the next 10 steps”.  This makes a huge difference for me.  The lows go by much faster and I typically move past the “I hate running” phases quicker.  It quiets the panic/thoughts of not finishing the race.
  2. Positive self talk: We are very tough on ourselves.  It’s human nature.  We, generally are very negative people.  Once this negative self-talking begins, it’s a challenge to stop them.  When running, I try to recognize it immediately, and replace the negative with positive talk.  I motivate myself: “I can do this.  I trained hard for this race”.  I instruct yourself: “Run the next few steps; Use your arms. Activate your glutes”.  I visualize myself crossing entering the next aid station, at the top of the next climb and even at the finish line.  Doing this slowly increase my confidence and thus diminishes the negative talk.  

One thing I’ve been doing for years now that I heard about a female pro triathlete (and forgive me, I can’t remember her name) but she would say to herself when training/racing: “Hello pain, I’ve been expecting you!” We all know it’s going to come so why are we discouraged when it happens.  At some point in the race, you will hurt. It’s a given.  It’s what you do after the pain starts that dictates whether or not you will finish.  Positive self talk will help you through this.
  1. Big picture:  It’s easy to get caught up in the moment of pain.  That pain is all we could think about.  The lactic acid in our legs, the blister on our heel, or the distress in our bellies.  Whatever the reason, when this happens, I take a step back mentally and start thinking about all the moments that got me to this time and place.  I remind myself that I have trained hundred of hours, the hard training sessions I pushed myself through, and the other sufferfest I’ve experienced. I think of all of the support I have.  I remind myself why I love the sport and why it’s important to me.  I give myself permission to recover.  For example, “It’s ok walk the next 10 minutes”.   As opposed to “I have an ailment.  My race is over. I feel like s*&# so i’m going to drop out.”  I use my aid stations, crew members, and pacers (if I have them) for support and stop second guessing all of the hard work I have to done to get me to the race. “Relentless forward motion” right!! ;)
  2. Breathing Exercises:  Many studies have proven that breathing exercises reduces stress.  Why not use this to our advantage.  It lowers our heart race and controls our erratic breathing.  I find my zone, count to 3 inhale, hold, and exhale.  I even feel more relaxed when writing about it.  I use this a lot when I’m all alone in the dark, in the middle of nowhere. When I’m not doing as well as I thought I would. And even when I’m getting ahead of myself and running faster than I probably should.  

There you have it!  My “not so secret” to pushing through pain.  These simple pointers may help you in your next race.  I’d love to hear about your strategies.  Please share below.  :)

Before I sign off however, I want to let you know that my race went well considering the crazy conditions I faced out there.  With loss and grief of 2 people that I hold dear to my heart last week, it helped me to be doing something I love in the mountains, even in that nasty weather.  

I ran with my best bud Craig until just past the first aid station and with my “twin” Alan for a total of 50k.  I haven’t seen them in a while so it was a nice to catch up for few hours.  Thanks guys!  
I continued solo and raced pretty much the rest of the time alone.  With no watch (cause I couldn’t find it in the chaos prior to my trip), I ran by feel.  I ran when I could, and hiked when I needed. I listened to my cues for drink and food. I chatted with volunteers. I held my hat in 50 mph winds. I prayed I didn’t lose a contacts in the sideways rain.  I crouched behind a boulder to put on warm clothes. I fell in a very cold river. I stood relentlessly when searching for the next markers in the lava boulder fields.  (Thankful for 2 runners coming up behind me to help.)  I couldn’t see more than 2 feet in front of me in sections.  I climbed down cliffs and up cliffs with a rope I hoped didn’t give.  I thought of friends and family.  I paid many respects. I listened to my audiobook.  I stayed strong.  I spoke confidently to myself.  I pushed through when it hurt.  I held back when I felt great.  And I’m happy and honored to have met Candice Burt at the finish line.  Super proud of my 3rd place finish.  That’s it in a nutshell.  There’s so much more… but the takeaway is I’m happy with my 18 hrs 54 min of racing.   ;D

Thank you to all of those who messaged and called.  I’m a so proud to represent Running Skirts, Ultimate Direction, Clif Bar and Icespikes!  Your products help me everyday to achieve my ultra running goals and I’m proud and honoured to share your amazing products with others.  Thank you for the bottom of my heart!!

Congrats to all who attempted the race.  A HUGE thank you to the organizers and volunteers who were out there with us.  Your warm smiles definitely helped me.  

As always, Thank you to Coach Mike at the Discomfort Zone for always believing in me.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Icespike Tip of the Month Reach Your Potential - Reach Your Goals
by yours truly, Chantal Warriner

Late fall is a great time of year to plan our following season’s race schedule.  

November means two things to me.  It is my birthday month, and the month in which I start planning my following season’s race schedule.  There’s nothing like getting a year older that makes you evaluate and re-evaluate your race goals and bucket list.  I find this time of year extremely motivating.  I am rested and recovered from my previous running season and ready to plan and dream of my upcoming adventures.  

With any goal, it is imperative to ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Where am I now?
  2. Where do you I want to be? What do I want to achieve?

We could further elaborate these important questions with:

Where am I now?
    1. What is my current fitness level?
    2. Where is my head at?
    3. What worked for me this season?
    4. What didn’t work for me this season?
    5. What motivated me to keep training/racing?
Where do you I want to be? What do I want to achieve?
    1. What is important to me to achieve next year? In the next few years?
    2. What support system do I need to put into place?
    3. What team members/stakeholders do I need to engage?
    4. What will keep me motivated to continue training/racing?
{ name a few}
When answered truthfully,  these questions can help you create a roadmap to success.  

However, to be realistic, the best laid plans can potentially fall apart without some basic key elements.  A successful runner is typically an athlete would trains consistently.  In my opinion, staying motivated is directly related to training consistently .  One technique that has kept me motivated over the years is keeping a training log.  Seeing myself reach targets and hitting key workouts is empowering and keeps pushing towards my goals.  

In addition, a positive attitude may keep a runner strong and happy.  It is not out of the ordinary for me to repeat the following simple phrases throughout my workouts and races:
I am a strong runner!”  
“I am fit.  I am healthy!”
“I can do this.  I WILL do this!”  
Lastly but as equally important is comfort.  Comfort - or should I say the lack of comfort - can and will make or break a success story.  Running shoes that fit properly; clothing that doesn’t cause chafing; and course using Icespikes so traction isn’t an issue! These are all things that we could easily be incorporated into our running.

So there you have it.  Reach your potential. Ask yourself the questions! Make a plan! Train consistently! Stay positive and believe in yourself.  We are all capable of doing great things.  We just need to go for it.

The holiday season is fast approaching.  Beat the holiday rush and order now.  #icespike

Thank you.

Chantal W.

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Thursday, October 15, 2015

2015 and Oilcreek 100 km report

Before I get to my Oilcreek race report, I feel like I should explain my journey to Oilcreek first.

My 2015 season was mapped out in the late months of 2014, and the early months of 2015.  I was excited, eager and scared straight to run my first 100 miler in June

2015 was my second year tackling the ultra distance. I trained smartly, consistently and hard.  I was pumped to kick off the season with a win at PYP. I love love love this local race.  

One week later, on May 2nd, I traveled in style with friends to NY state to race North Face’s Bear Mountain 50 miler.  Unfortunately, I came down with a cold and couldn’t get my breathing and heart rate to slow down. I finished the race {6th female, 10:24:43} but broke out in a fever, chills, nausea and dizziness a couple hours later.  Ok, so it wasn’t ideal, but it was over 10hrs on my feet and the experience was banked for my first 100 miler, right?!!

7 weeks later, healthy, fit and tapered, I travelled to the US once again.  This trip brought me to beautiful Dayton, Wyoming.  Staying with like-minded friends, I toed the start line with uncertainty but with respect and confidence.  Everything was going great and my 100 mile race was right on track.  I meet a new friend (Hi @Alan Lam!) and was having a great old time! Unfortunately, my feet swelled and I was forced to decide between continuing on or DNF’ing . Actually, it wasn’t a decision at all.  With shoes that were now way too small for me, I walked - and I use the world “walk” loosely  -  approx. 20 miles to the finish line. With many many tears later (and one panda bear later - OK, one hallucinated panda bear later), I crossed the finish line with Alan (who took care of me in those long hours) in a time of 32h15m.  I was the145th of 150 runners to come in and 5 minutes from being in last place*.  I win races; I podium at races and I went to Bighorn to do the same.  So I was completely humbled by the experience, but I am proud of my heart and my hard headedness of not giving up.  It was definitely character building.  You just never know what’s going to happen in a 100 miler.  There are a few things every runner should never forget: always respect the distance; always respect the mountains; always respect the trail!  

A short time after the race, I signed up to be on the Oilcreek 100 km waiting list.  I wanted more than one more race to ‘redeem’ myself.  I was over the moon to get into this sought out race.  

* Bighorn 100 Miler had ~50% dropout rate.

This brings me to July and August.  These months were primarily for recovering and spending time with my family.  I did however,  have my first go at an unsupported FKT (fastest known time) in Killarney Provincial Park.  The La Cloche Silhouette trail is an 80km trail in Eastern Ontario.  It is probably the most rugged trail in Eastern Ontario.  I haven’t posted my report on this FKT yet, so I won’t spoil it here, but I broke the 16 hour women’s FKT and finished my unsupported loop in 14h01m.  

September’s adventure had me travelling within my beautiful country to Golden, BC with my great friend Kat Tupling and awesome travelling/racing buddy Kendra Olsen. We got spoiled rotten by our host Alan Lam.  Thanks again for taking care of me Alan!  

I was very fortunate to be one of the Golden Ultra’s scholarship recipients.  This race did not disappoint.  Magi Scallion and her team did an amazing job planning and executing this inaugural 3 day ultra stage race.  With this race being 3 weeks out from my fall ‘A’ race, my plan was to trained through the race with only couple of days of rest prior to the race start.  The races were challenging in terrain and elevation and I finished in a combined time of 11h11m - 3rd in the open female division.  Unfortunately, I came home with plantar fasciitis my right foot.  Limping, in pain and disappointed, I poured my heart out to my coach, Coach @Mike Coughlin, about how I was doing emotionally and physically.  It was decided that training would be cut back and resting/rehabbing would become priority (thanks @Lisa Wilson).  My ‘A’ race was only weeks away, and I wasn’t even sure if I could go.  6 days until race day, I “tested” my foot with a 2 hr run in Collingwood with my friend Caitlin.  I committed to travelling to the race on Thursday, 36 hours before the gun was set to go off.  

With all of my heart, I wanted to end my season with a bang! I wanted to get my confidence back. I had no idea if I would succeed, but man was I going to try.

I travelled down with my best bud Craig Kingston. Craig agreed to crew my race and pace me for the last 27 kilometers.  I honestly don’t remember many details of the race.  My foot was sore from the beginning.  I thought it would be in my best interest to run as fast as I could, so I could finish the race as fast as I could and thus get off my feet as fast as I could.  I know this could have backfired with me blowing up, but fortunately it didn’t.  I forced myself to listen attentively to my audiobook.  The hours actually flew by.  At the 73 km mark (~ 9 hrs into my race), I turned off my book and started running with Craig.  Craig was so polite and encouraging.  We weren’t very talkative, but we knew we had business to take care of.  I’m happy to say, I pushed all the way to the finish line.  We even sprinted the homestretch once Craig saw the timing clock, rounding the hour. I finished in 12h00m03s; 2nd female and 5th overall.  I succeeded in finishing my season with a bang.  

Saturday, October 11th, 2015,  6 am start
Oil Creek State Park, Titusville, Pennsylvania
11,026' elev gain - 31 hour limit
Unforgiving.  Historic.  Gnarly.  Do you have what it takes?  
Registration opened March 21st, ‘15 & sold out March 21st, ‘15. Wow! That is a huge statement.
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Split 1
OVR 9th    Chantal Warriner    692    35F       2 Female        5:42:59.10     11:11/M

Split 2
OVR 5th    Chantal Warriner   692    35F        2 Female        8:29:20.00     12:08/M

Final Split
OVR 5th    Chantal Warriner    692    35F       2  Female      12:00:03.30     11:37/M

It is so important to me that people know how grateful I am to have my health and ability to do these amazing feats.  Believing in yourself is crucial.  The mind and body is an amazing thing.  Thank you to my husband Jeff Warriner who supports my crazy ideas. Thank you to my friends and family who continue to encourage me.  Thank you to my beautiful kids who light up everytime we talk running and enjoy the outdoors together.  Thank you Coach Mike who always believes in me.  Thank you Team Runningskirts for adopting me. Thank you Ultimate Direction, Icespike, Smartwool and Brooks Canada for allowing me to be an ambassador for your most amazing products.  I am so proud to be part of your teams.  Thank you @Kat Tupling, @Craig Kingston, and @Oliver Fischer for pushing me along! My training runs with you are some of most memorable runs of the season.  I am so fortunate to have you guys!

Cheers to these development years! Cheers to rest! And most importantly, cheers to planning 2016!   Thank you for reading!!

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#discomfortzone #teamrunningskits #ultimatedirection #brookscanada #runhappy #icespike #smartwoolcanada

Sunday, September 27, 2015

2015 Golden Ultra (BC) Race Report

2015 Golden BC Race Report - From the Ontario Perspective.

My journey to Golden BC started in January when I applied for a sponsorship spot! I was over the moon to get word on February 4th that I was picked to attend the 2015, inaugural year of the Golden Ultra. From the get go, I just loved the energy Race Director Magi Scallion and the ultra team had.  I can’t even imaging all of the hours that went into prepping and planning this 3 day  event.  It surely was evident on the weekend.  The races, volunteers, photographers, locals, visitors, and their dogs were so nice and inviting. It was hard to leave! Perhaps a 6 day option is in order. ;)

Before I go on any further, I have this to say:

To my dear friend Alan Lam:  Alan, you took care of me in Wyoming in my debut 100 mile race! You outdid yourself once again with your generosity, hospitality and kindness!  THANK YOU FOR ABSOLUTELY everything you did for me, Kat and Kendra.  You truly outdid yourself.  Now, let’s get you to Ontario for a trip!  I’ll show you our mole hills! ;p   PS: Great pictures too!  

Day 1- Blood   1000m gain - 5km - 4pm start

This graph is so deceiving.  
Doesn’t it look like a gentle climb up? I wasn’t! I sure was glad to have my poles!

This race was my first go at a Vertical Mile Challenge!  VMs are big in Europe and I surely was excited to find out was the hype is all about!  

CHALLENGE is surely the right word to describe it.  We started at the  bottom of the gondola and “ran” straight up.  I’m pretty sure I ran less than 1 minute in this whole race!   It’s absolutely impressive to see how fast peoples legs can bring them up such a steep slope.  

My finishing time was 1:06:44 - which was good for 3rd in the overall female standings.  Total calf burner!  Loved it!!

We caped up the night with awards, a mandatory meeting and a delicious meal at Kicking Horse Resort!

Day 2- Sweat - 2500m elevation gain - 57km - 930 am start


The start of this race was in the village.  Energy was in the air; but nerves and fear was also felt.  Perhaps it was just how I was feeling!  I love and respect the mountains! One thing I’ve learnt these last couple of years is - you just never know what the mountains will bring you that day!  

With a quick 2 km road section done, we hit the single track and pretty much climbed the next 34km, with the last ~ 5 km being straight up!  Lung burner!!  I felt wonderful climbing!  Again, very thankful for my poles.  I gained strength with every step and felt totally in my element.  At the top of the mountain, I joked with volunteers about the size of my local ski hill - and the whopping 6 minutes it takes me to run up it!  

It was great to Alan on one of the summits taking photos!  It was funny when he asked me to run, while looking up at the camera.  I’m just glad I didn’t fall on my face for that photo op! lol.   The ridge on top was fantastic.  It was cloudy, so the view wasn’t ideal.  Perhaps that’s for the best as the cliff beside me was straight down.  Way to go mountain bikers who bike up there - you sure do have nerves of steel.  

Time to run down!!  My least favourite part of mountain races.  By the bottom, my feet were sore and my quads were sore.  I, #16,  passed the checkpoint in 16th spot (men and women), with 16km to go.  (16 -16-16) What are the odds!  There was lots of self-encouraging moments in the next couple of hours.  Then, the most demoralizing thing happened.  I got passed at the road (2km to go; at the 55km mark) by a competitor. :(  I tried to stay with her, but couldn’t.  She had me that day.  I finished in 7:46:26…. holding 3rd position in the overall open women standings.  

Super proud of Kat Tupling who completed her first ultra on this day!!  Kendra Olsen also rocked the ultra.  Absolutely amazing ladies!

Day 3 - Tears - 800m elevation gain - 22km

I would love to hit this trail on fresh legs!  One could definitely tear it up.  On this day however, it wasn’t going to be pretty.  The first few kilometers were a bit laughable.  My wobbly legs and not so pleasant words on each down hill were quickly replaced with great conversation and faster pace. The couple of hours of racing went by fast and before I knew it, I came out of the switchbacks onto the gravel path to see a fellow female racer in sight.  My competitiveness took over and I realed her in.  A quick breather behind her and a surged passed got me a 16 second edge to the finish line.  My finishing time:  2:18:09.

With a 3 day combined time of 11:11:19, a small 2 minutes faster than the 4th place open female competitor, I just made the podium! It was a great experience.  I learnt lots and most importantly, I had fun.  A total of 5 days in the mountains amongst friends is a great way to have a vacation!  Thank you everyone who had part of making it possible!

Also, A BIG Thank you Magi Scallion for everything you have done this last year.  It was great to get to know you.  

All of the articles Magi wrote and/or had part in organizing!!  

We finished out trip with a quick trip back to Banff for a beautiful hike up Sulphur Mountain.  What a view!!!!  Now time for a little rest and family time.

Photo credits:  Alan Lam

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