The Grizzly Ultra

On Sunday I will be running in my second 50km race! My first was last February and was a small race put on by a local running store. It was basically a series of out and backs on pavement and snow and while it was a great start, it definitely left me longing for trails.

‘Sprinting’ to the finish of the Frozen Ass 50km

So when I heard of an inaugural 50 km taking place in Canmore, Alberta which is right in my back yard, I was pumped! I even convinced some friends to put together a relay team which is on the same course at the same time. The Grizz (as I have taken to calling it) is 5 different loops all starting at the Canmore Nordic Centre Stadium (home of the 1988 Olympic cross country skiing and biathlon). I guess I’m not the only one excited about it as they had to DOUBLE their original participant cap. As of last weekend I think there were just about 300 soloists and over 500 team members!

The Grizz will mark my debut racing trails. Like I said, my first 50km was on pavement and both the marathons that I’ve completed were also on pavement. I’m a little nervous (to say the least!) but excited more than anything!

Just over a month ago I had a bit of a reality check. The race seemed to be approaching really quickly and I was facing a few set backs in my training. This summer I had some really great training, but it wasn’t quite at the quality that I would have liked. I was training for the Yellowknife Marathon with friends and while I was getting lots of volume, it wasn’t ‘focused’. There wasn’t a lot of climbing (Yellowknife is pretty dang flat), it was all on pavement (trail running up there consists of running on Canadian Shield aka ROCK) and I was balancing work, a slopitch team, some volunteer commitments, and I’ll admit, a 23 year old’s social life. While I was pleased with my time in the marathon, it left me wanting more, knowing that with more quality, focused training I could make major improvements.

Unfortunately post marathon, while I hit a high of motivation, I got really sick and it left me struggling for two weeks to get back into training. Of course as soon as I was better I was back at school and moving to a new place which was chaotic. Long story short, I’ve made the absolute most of my last month of training and am choosing to focus my thoughts and energy there. I’ve been running trail every weekend, attacking the hills (trying but struggling to ‘love’ them) and just staying positive. I’m heading into this race with the goal of finishing and having a great time, but with a desire to push myself as much as I can.

I guess for me this race is going to be an experience of doing the best that I can with the tools I’ve got. I may not have had the best training, but I’ve got a great attitude. I may not have practiced too much climbing, but I’ll have the mountains looming to inspire me. And my body may not be at it’s peak, but my mind is ready to take over before I even feel weak.

Looping through the stadium, with so many participants is going to be incredible. Running some of the time with my friends will be a blast and looking for my boyfriend’s supportive smile after each lap will send me out again with energy! I mean after all, in it’s essence this race is an opportunity to breath fresh mountain air right? Which in the end is ALWAYS something to get up in the morning for!

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