Tag Archives: British Columbia

Running on the edge of Canada

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I moved to Canada in December 2008. I started working as a substitute teacher in January 2009, landing my first 1-year contract for the 2009-2010 school year. I was teaching 4 grade 9 math classes and a grade 10 class. It was a new curriculum year for Math 9, and we had a new textbook. As I worked through my notes in the text, when I got to the Chapter 6 on Linear Relations there was a section on interpreting graphs. There is an example problem, that at the time, meant nothing to me. Here it is:

I’ve been teaching math 9 on and off since 2009, and this example comes up when we talk about extrapolation and interpolation. Even though I’ve always been keen on maps, I never took the time to look where the hell this actually was in relation to the rest of Canada. Fast forward 10 years from my first time teaching Math 9 and I am actually going to Queen Charlotte Islands.

Note where Lethbridge is in the bottom right of Alberta. Head due west towards Vancouver, then follow up the coast and you’ll see Queen Charlotte Islands. We are basically almost going to be in Alaska.

My husband’s friend David and his wife Heidi moved out to Queen Charlotte about a year and a half ago. Dan met David when they took late French-Immersion during Elementary through High School in Red Deer, Alberta. David and Heidi eventually moved out to Vancouver Island, then Vancouver, and now have left the big city to live a more simple life. So we decided to make our family summer vacation to be flying out to Queen Charlotte!….and doing a race of course!

Flying out there isn’t an easy task. I was able to use my Air Miles to get our flights covered (just paid $100 each for taxes) and Andy still flies free since he is under 2 years old. We will be leaving Lethbridge and flying to Calgary. Then Calgary to Vancouver. And lastly, Vancouver to Sandspit. Once we land in Sandspit, we have a shuttle arranged that takes us about 20 minutes to the ferry. We get on the ferry, ride it for 20-25 minutes, and then will be dropped off at David & Heidi’s doorstep. It’ll be a full travel day for sure.

Since I am always looking for unique races to participate in, when I found out that the Totem to Totem Marathon occurs in July in Haida Gwaii I knew we had to come out during that time. It is a relatively small race, however, it is still a Boston qualifier. It appears the race began in 2010 (that’s the earliest results they have on their site) and there were 5 full marathoners, 12 half marathoners, and 12 who ran the 10km. Last year, there are results for 14 marathoners, 28 half marathoners and 128 runners who did the 10km. Considering the remote location, the growth in this race (particularly in the 10km) is great to see.

The race appears to be an out and back. No course map is provided on the website. But I think it is paved and pretty much along the water the whole way. I really will be running “on the edge” of Canada so to speak. I have no clue if there will be a bike pacing the lead runner. I have no clue how many spectators there will be. I am preparing myself to be mentally challenged because with so few marathon runners (I count 21 registered marathoners on the confirmation page through Running Room) we will all get spaced out pretty quickly. I am going ot be running my own race.

What do I hope for? Well, in a perfect world I nail that 3:30.00 I was going for back in Berlin this September and qualify again for Boston. But, I honestly feel like this is the least prepared I’ve been for a marathon in years…..

Yes, I have been running. I have been racing. But my training just hasn’t been “right” since being back at work. I’ve been dragging, having back pain, legs hurt. I have been meeting with my doctor, getting chiro done, going for massages. I haven’t ran longer than 15 miles straight all of 2019. So everything after mile 16 is going to be hella interesting.

I just need to trust myself in knowing that I’ve done this before. This isn’t my first rodeo. This will actually be my 15th full marathon! And the last time I ran a marathon in British Columbia I ran my best time ever. Sea level and cool temperatures are a good thing for me! I’m doing a race on an ISLAND!! How cool is that?!?! Either way, I am very much looking forward to not only this race, but the experience of exploring and learning about Haida Gwaii, because I honestly know NOTHING about the history of the area or the area itself. I can’t wait to right this race and trip report!

The Lone Wolf-Team “Lammers & the DILF”

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Father’s Day weekend 2019 was spent camping in beautiful Fernie, British Columbia….and running the trails of beautiful Fernie, British Columbia! The Lone Wolf, put on by Stag Leap Running. This was the second year the event was put on, with last year being the inaugural running. We did not participate in the inaugural event, so I cannot speak to how this was compared to 2018. But I will say that overall I was impressed!

These type of trail events seem to be a trending thing: last man standing style. For The Lone Wolf, you could either enter as a soloist or as a team of two. The idea is that every hour, on the hour, runners leave “The Den” to attack an approximately 4 mile loop. On the odd number laps, you would run clockwise and then on the even number laps, you run counterclockwise. You must finish your lap in the one hour, otherwise you are eliminated. It’s up to you or your team how much you want to push it on each lap. Run balls out on your laps, you’ll have more time to rest in between. Run slow and steady, and you won’t have much time before the next lap starts. Also, if you are a team you can decide how you want to split up the laps between you and your partner (more on that later).

Race photos from Raven Eye Photography

Before getting into actual race day, I want to say that if you are into camping, booking a campsite at the Mount Fernie Provincial Park campground is ideal for this race weekend. We are relatively new to the camping world, but I researched and found out I could book a campsite in mid-February. On the day booking opened, I had full selection of campsites. I chose one that I thought would be close to the Nordic Centre that the race would be located at. We came to find out that we were about 1/4 of a mile away! This was awesome for us, as we would be at the race with our 20 month old son and we knew we’d have to be going back and forth for various things. For example, in the evening once my husband was done doing his laps and threw in the towel, he took Andy back to the campsite to feed him dinner, and then he was able to return to the race site before I finished! There are lots of other hotel accommodations very close to the race, but I would strongly recommend booking early so you get exactly what you want.

Happy camper!

Race package pickup was at a hotel near downtown Fernie. It was a quick pickup, with waivers to be signed. We got our race bibs and our shirts. I really love the shirt colour and design, and they are also very soft. We headed back to the campground and were able to get a really good night’s sleep-Andy slept like a champ! With the race not starting until 10 am, we didn’t have to worry about getting up super early. If you are staying at a hotel or Airbnb you would want to get there relatively early and/or carpool as parking is at a premium. We had our friend Nick come to our campsite at 9 am and he parked his car there.

The race staging area is very large and there’s lots of spots to set up your own personal area. We had a group of us from Lethbridge put a couple of those four-sided shade tents together and had camping chairs, coolers and Andy’s pack-n-play set up in the shade. If you have a group that wants to be near one another, also get there early enough to make sure that happens.

So on to the race. Dan and I chose to do this as a relay because 1.) we aren’t skilled enough trail runners to want to try it solo and 2.) we needed to alternate who was watching Andy during each lap. Since we could choose who ran on which laps, I decided to start us off and always run the odd number laps. I can’t even remember who I paced myself off of the first lap, but I ran a conservative 51:10. What I learned during the first lap is that it was approximately 1/2 a mile from “The Den” to the base of the mountain. Then you’d get up the mountain to its peak at just over mile 2. It was then a descent all the way back to start/finish area. Knowing how long it took to get up to the peak would be helpful in later laps, because you could then know if you were going too fast or too slow.

As Dan and I alternated our laps, there was a great selection of food and beverages for the runners. Funny thing is that these items had to be relocated at one point because when I was out on lap 7 a fucking bear came right up to the finish line. It would not move away, even with bear spray and noise. The parks officials came and got it out of the way but holy shit, had I been at the group area and this occurred I would have told Dan we were quitting and done!

Racers could drop out at whatever point they chose. Obviously, soloists generally stopped before teams. The rule was that whenever the final soloist stopped, the teams must stop too. I don’t know what our true tema goal was, but since I’m competitive with my husband I knew I just wanted to run more laps than him (stupid, I know). Dan had had some back issues the week prior so he wasn’t even sure leading up to the race how he was going to feel. After his fourth lap (lap 8) he said he was done. This was at 6 pm. It worked out pretty well because I went out on lap 9 and Dan took Andy to the campsite. I was running with our friend Dylan, who was actually very injured, but it was comical at least. He didn’t want his team to quit yet. When we came after lap 9, Dan wasn’t back yet. Our friends said he was fully expecting me to run another lap. Also, had I stopped at that point I would have felt obligated to go back to the campsite and help out, when really all I would want to do it sit down and have my free finisher beer. So, I had some snacks and headed out for lap 10 with Dylan’s teammate Mark.

With lap 10 finishing at just before 8 pm, I felt like the smart thing to do was stop. I was STARVING and even though my legs felt fine for a lap 11, I knew I would probably pass out from hunger. Had I been able to get out there for lap 11, we could have placed 3rd in our mixed team category. In the end, there were 4 teams that completed 10 laps. They then calculate who ran the 10 laps the fastest to determine placings. We were the slowest of the 10 lap teams, and in the end we placed 6 out of 9 in the Mixed Under 40. The team that won were a couple who sat right near our tent. The husband was running 4 laps and then the wife would run 1. He was training for the Canadian Death Race and yeah, I think he could have lasted all night if the soloists didn’t stop.

We will definitely be back next year. It was so much fun and a really unique experience. I do have to give a special thanks to all our friends from Lethbridge who were there. They really stepped it up and helped out with Andy quite a bit. Andy is so used to everyone from all the other events we do in town and we are so lucky to have these friends who are like family. The race weekend wouldn’t have been possible had they not been there with us.

Race Recap Part 2—Spartan Sprint Sun Peaks

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In continuation of my last post, I am now going to talk about day 2 of my British Columbia Spartan Race weekend! So where did I leave off…oh yeah….Erin and I drive 10.5 hours to Sun Peaks Resort, run a 3 and a half hour race in rain, sleet and blizzard conditions, attend an after party for too late, get about 4 hours of sleep….and now it’s Sunday at 7:45 am.

And we have the 8:30 Sprint heat. WTF were we thinking…..?!?

Well, again, we weren’t. But, we signed up for the Sprint because we figured since we were already out there, we might as well do both races. And Erin needed this race for her Trifecta Tribe race, so I decided to do it with her.

Weather was a lot better this morning than Saturday. It was very quiet at the starting area, and not until 8:25 did they start calling our heat into the chute. And before you knew it, we were off! The race started off on the same route as the Beast….but it hurt ten times more today! A handful of others around us were Beast competitors the day before, and they were feeling the pain too. I was also feeling the dehydration due to too many sponsored Coors Lights on Saturday…
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The obstacles and routes were pretty much the same as Saturday, though some terrain had changed over night, due to foot traffic and weather conditions. All the mud obstacles were especially gross, like the cinder-block pull, as the blocks were sunken into the ground and so were the ropes.

Erin and I were trying to bust through this course the fastest we could, so we could shower and be on the road. Sheer utter over-tiredness took me by storm at the barb-wire crawl, because at the end of it I laid in snow angel position and yelled “BLAH!” I had reached the end of my Spartan rope.

We did, however, accomplish some things today that we couldn’t the day prior. Both of us made it on the Traverse Wall, and we both successfully completed the Monkey Bars! Helped when they are not full of frozen rain!

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IWe finished the race strong, with a time of 1:32:14, and later found out the course was actually 7 km and then some, not the advertised 5km! Either way, we completed two Spartan Race distances in two days. And day 2 was as well-organized as day 1. The crowd and volunteers were outstanding, the workers were fantastic…and they brought us better weather the second go-around. Keep in mind, we also drove 21 hours in two days. And still had one of the best weekends of our life. Until next time…AROO!

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Race Recap-Day 1, Sun Peaks Spartan Beast

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A few weeks ago I had a post about “Race Envy.” Well…it struck again. Bad. After completing the Red Deer Super Spartan at the beginning of September, my husband’s cousin and I had the wise idea to drive out to British Columbia a few weeks later to compete in the Sun Peaks Beast. And the Sun Peaks Sprint. I mean, come on….just a mere 10.5 hours away was our chance to earn a Trifecta medal…and do something completely bad ass! We both got on the bandwagon, registered ourselves, and started the planning for our weekend adventure!

20131006-102534.jpgToday I am going to touch on our Spartan Beast experience, and in a later post i will talk about the Sprint. The weather for Sun Peaks was not looking promising for race day—-pretty much a chance of rain all day. And cold. And on race morning we found out there was a solid 15 cm of snow near the top of the ski hill we would be climbing. Hello September 28!

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We started in the 10:30 am heat. We were fired up and ready to go! The race started at the base of Mt. Tod, which is about 4,200 feet above sea level. We would be climbing up the mountain and back down during our 21km adventure, eventually totaling around 4,000 feet of climbing.

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While I have done Spartan Races before, this one provided challenges unlike any other. Basically, take the Montana Sprint and times it by 5, add in polar opposites of weather, and you have an idea of what we faced. There were the standard Spartan obstacles on the course, with the over-under-through being one of the first. The obstacles had to be strategically placed, as the trails we were running were mountain bike or hiking trails up the slope. The obstacles had to be placed in open areas that were relatively flat—-this was hard to come by. Some that could be placed in the trails, like the first rope net, were fun, but got backed up due to the narrowness of the course and the fact you couldn’t have more than one or two people attempt it at a time.

The weather was the biggest factor in the Beast. The higher we got, the more the weather turned. It started out just damp and slightly muddy. And at one point Erin and I did notice little patches of snow flurries at the base of some trees. No biggie. But then the ground started to become a horrendous mix of mud and snow, and then pretty soon just snow and ice. When we got to the Hercules Hoist, we had to climb up a little incline that was covered in fresh wet snow. We would not be messing around. I would dare say we reached blizzard conditions when we got to the highest point of the course, the sandbag carry.

20131006-102344.jpgDuring our descent, you had to go almost as slow as you did going up, due to footing issues, ice, snow and mud. Erin and I used her patented “McLaren Slide” to get down many of the narrow trails—-a squat down to the ground, with both hands anchored behind your butt, and your right leg extended as a guide. I got a sweet bruise almost immediately after sliding over a rock, but it was better than tumbling face first and ruining my whole septoplasty procedure!

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All in all, the race was incredible. Erin and I finished in a respectable time of 3:33:28. They had to shorten the course about 4 km due to the dangerous weather conditions even higher up the hill. We understand and appreciate why they did this, but now we want to make sure to do another Beast in the future so we can do a full 21 km! But, this Beast was my Trifecta Tribe race and I am happy that I had my trifecta be all Canadian races. My Trifecta Tribe medal is being mailed out to me soon, as they did not order enough for the event, but Tara (new friend from Edmonton!) let me borrow hers for a photo in the beer garden! AROO!

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Exciting Things in the Next 50 Days!

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So the school year is officially in full swing, and any teacher would agree with me that the days are crazy busy, and the nights just bring full-on exhaustion. I have been doing well with sticking to my training plans, and also staying busy during the week so I can go away on the weekends and run some ridiculous races!

This coming weekend on September 28th and 29th, I will be competing in the Spartan Beast and Sprint at Sun Peak Resort in British Columbia. Upon completion of the Beast on Saturday, which is a half marathon filled with obstacles on the ski hill, I will earn the coveted Trifecta Tribe Medal, as I will have completed one of each Spartan Race distances (Sprint, Super & Beast) in one calendar year, in one country. And since Erin and I will have driven all that way, we are doing the Sprint on Sunday!

During Canadian Thanksgiving weekend, I will be participating in my first ever relay trail race, the Grizzly Ultra in Canmore, Alberta. The total race distance is 50km, but I am responsible for just Leg 1, which is 14 km. I stepped in as a late addition to a team due to someone dropping out. One of my Dopey Challenge Training Crew members on Facebook asked if I was interested in helping out! After checking out the website, I had to sign up!

And then in November, I have my first RunDisney event, the Wine & Dine Half Marathon. It will be a quick three nights in Orlando, with Saturday night being the exciting night race of the half! We will end at EPCOT where an after party occurs until 4 am, with all the food and wine expo booths open, live entertainment, and select attractions open!

As a reminder, my fundraising efforts are still in full swing, and you can check out more by clicking the charities tab at the top of this page. I have raised $1,125 for the American Heart Association and $1,005 for the Heart & Stroke Foundation in Canada. All these funds are being raised in memory of my father, Andrew Lammers, who passed away from a heart attack at age 51 in 2004. If you are able to, please consider donating to heart disease research efforts in North America!

Keep checking back to this page over the next few months, as I will have more race recaps posted from not only the highlighted events above, but other small races I have planned. This will all lead up to my culminating event of a lifetime, the Dopey Challenge 2014 during the Walt Disney Marathon Weekend!

Diagnosis—Race Envyitis

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My husband’s cousin Erin came down to Red Deer, Alberta, from Edmonton this weekend to participate in the Super Spartan Race with us. She wasn’t registered for the event until early last week, but she knew for some time I was. Reason why she ended up signing up for it, in her words, was RACE ENVY!

If you have run lots of races, or just are getting into racing, you may have experienced Race Envy before. Race Envy is when you are jealous of someone else running in a race you haven’t been able to do yet. It may be a race you never even considered running before. It may be a distance you never have ran yet. The point is, someone you know is running in an event that you aren’t, and you want part of it.

Erin is a long distance trail runner who has participated in some crazy runs, like the Grizzly Ultra and Sinister 7. She also has run two full marathons, and qualified for Boston at the Red Deer Marathon by just getting under 3:35:00! I wrote about this in my race recap of the event, and you can read about it here: Red Deer Race Recap. She had never done a Spartan Race before, but heard all about mine and Dan’s experiences down in Montana in May and in Calgary last month. She got jealous and had to take part.

I’m glad she did get that hot case of Race Envy because having her run the 8 mile (13 km) with us really pushed me. I will write up about the race soon, once I have all the race photos, but her trail racing experience really helped kick it up a notch for Dan and I. And Erin had a great time too!

After the race, I started thinking more about her statement about having Race Envy. I thought back to everyone running the Disneyland Half Marathon last week and all the Dumbo Double Dare runners. I definitely had race envy then, because I realistically could have gone to run it if I had thought of it soon enough, as I wouldn’t have missed any school. I am already thinking of registering for it next year, as I am envious of the Coast to Coast medals. Since I am doing Dopey Challenge in January, if I want one of those prized Coast to Coast medals then 2014 is my year.

Last night we hung out with my brother in law and sister in law. She also did the Spartan Race that day and we started talking about doing a Spartan Beast next year, which is 20km or more. Then we started talking about making sure to do a Sprint, Super AND Beast in 2014, so we can earn the Trifecta medal. And then, maybe because I was about 7 beers into the evening, I started conjuring in my head if I could possibly get to Sun Peaks, British Columbia, on September 28th to do the Beast there and get my Trifecta medal this year. This Race Envy is also a mix of Bling Envy, and those two combinations are deadly.

I’m sure I will have a case of Race Envy again myself, and I am positive Erin will too. Us runners are always wanting to try something new and different, earn a sweet medal, run a race no one else we know has tried, or even be the first of our core group to complete something. Have you ever had a case of Race Envy, or are you recovering from Race Envy?