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Tillamook Burn 50k 2017: Redemption via Pinot Noir

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A month and a half ago, I ran the Chuckanut 50k as my first ultra of the year. As I wrote in my last blog post, I had a pretty terrible run there: I never once felt good, the whole race, and missed my time goal by a large margin. It was, and still is, hard to put my finger on what went wrong that day, but something was just... "off". I came out of that race absolutely wrecked: my quads were incredibly sore for a week afterward, and I took 2 full weeks off running before gingerly easing my body and mind back into training. I was also feeling a little deflated, because I had trained hard through the winter and didn't feel like my performance was representative of my fitness. But as with everything, I had to draw from the experience what I could, then put it behind me and move forward, with my sights set on the Tillamook Burn 50k 6 weeks later. Because of the extended period of time off after Chuckanut, I basically just built my running back toward the 50k distance, figurin…

Chuckanut 50k 2017: From Slow in the Snow to Pain in the Rain

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Back in November, when building my race calendar for this year, I decided that 2017 would be a year to focus on running faster over the 50k distance. I planned 3 races, with Chuckanut 50k being a 'B' race - not my main goal race for the year, but a race at which I wanted to perform well. Being in mid-March, Chuckanut is a great first ultra of the year to test your fitness. 
Last year, I found out 2 weeks before Chuckanut that I had been invited off the waiting list into Gorge 100k, so instead of tapering for the race I used the 50k as my last long training run. I had a smooth, easy day on the course and finished in 5:23, placing 22nd overall in a stacked women's field and 1st in the 40-49 age group. I recovered really well from the race, and was back running 3 days later. Leading up to the race, I had really only managed 8 weeks of solid training, due to a nagging hipflexor strain that kept flaring up at the beginning of 2016. Encouraged by that performance considering rela…

Training in (real) Winter: Stumbling into Gratitude

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Let me start with this: I'm from Quebec. I am plenty used to training for spring races through brutally cold winters. I've raced a half marathon when it was -30 degrees C outside. I suffered frostbitten fingers after a long run because a truck splashed me from head to toe with frigid slush and my hands got soaked when I tried to wipe the slush off my jacket. I've seen my running partners' balaclavas (yes, we had to wear balaclavas) completely frosted over in white. Having hot showers after runs sometimes felt like being stabbed with thousands of tiny needles. I once ended up in a freezing rain storm so horrendous that I was trying to run with my eyes closed and seriously considered lying in a ditch on the side of the road until it blew over. I used to say my favourite temperature for winter running was -15: cold enough so that the snow on the roads was packed down solid. So believe me when I say, I am not just a fair weather runner. 
But this winter - this oddly snowy, …