Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Chuckanut 12km Trail Race - Alison in 1st!

Alison training threshold speed in May
This past weekend Alison and I traveled over the mountains to Bellingham for the Chuckanut Mtn 12km race, the last in the Bellingham Trail Run series. This is another classic up-and-down race, incorporating some great trails right outside Bellingham in Larrabee State Park, finishing the climb on the infamous "Chinscraper" portion of the trail before screaming down to the finish on FS roads. Leading into the weekend Scott had the race on my schedule but following some intensive anaerobic work and a hard lactate threshold session on Saturday, we opted to skip the race in order to recover for more hard training this week. Despite the decision, I was psyched to support Alison and to get a good aerobic threshold run in while spectating.

It should be mentioned that we pride ourselves on our thrift. Driving into Bellingham in our new-to-us, 240,000 mile-and-counting Subaru Legacy we excitedly scanned the roads around the start/finish area for a likely spot to pull over and sleep. Having done this countless times while traveling back and forth across the country for school, I have become quite adept at scouting discrete locales which won't draw attention from local fuzz. Unfortunately, Chuckanut Drive in Bellingham is about as untraveled as the Internet, and we found no privacy. Come 10pm, and someone was getting cranky (and it wasn't our Husky). Finally, we found a short FS road with a small pull-out; we waited until the Park Ranger pleasantly informed us of the no camping rule when he returned from closing the upper gate, and then we promptly parked. Needless to say, it wasn't the most restful night because fitting two people and a dog in the back of a Subaru requires a shoehorn. But we made it to morning.
Walking away from the podium with more pottery for the shelf

Alison's training has been focused on building speed, so this 12km was a great trial. She started conservatively and built consistently all the way up the climb, steadily dropping all the other women and sitting easily in the top-5 or 6 of the overall pack. I ran along with Nikki for a while and paced the leaders while their pace stayed comfortable, then dropped back to see Alison coming and cheered for her for a bit. We then backtracked down the trail to make it to the finish where she crossed clearly in 1st for overall women.

Endless boxes of handmade, local donuts and fresh fruit? Best recovery EVER.
Best part of the day (besides the winner's mug)? The AMAZING spread that Candice (race director) put on; I have to say, many race organizers that I know could learn a lot from trail running races. Those folks know how to feed an athlete, and they still manage to make money on races while not charging more that $30-40 per athlete. Quite impressive.

Back to hard training this week. Track workouts, speed and power, and more aerobic distance work. We're getting into a groove now - the specific training portion of the year is nigh upon us. More to come!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Group Run and SCOTT shoe demo

Join me this Saturday at 9am at Goat's Beard Mountain Supplies in Mazama for a group fun run. SCOTT Running will be here with demo shoes, so if you're interested in these awesome, lightweight shoes, now is the perfect time to try them out. There will be a raffle for a free pair of SCOTT shoes, and I'll share the importance of a well fitting shoe. I see many clients with injuries from either the wrong kind of shoe, or from not replacing shoes frequently enough.

If you have questions about the shoes you have (or have had), bring them! I am a self-professed shoe geek, so I'm familiar with  most  running shoes, how others compare, and what shoe will work well for you specifically.

Call the shop to sign up: 509. 996. 2515.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Pre-work Hill Climb

Today Nikki and I went on a little mountain adventure, up toward Mud Hole Lake, off the Cedar Creek trail. It was much hotter than I anticipated, and the little arctic dog was not too pleased. We climbed up from a connector trail so had the added benefits of less driving and more climbing. Aside from getting slightly dehydrated from giving Nikki my Heed (she's a Hammer dog, all the way) and her water I carried, it was a good semi-long 3500 ft mid-week jaunt, complete with a dip in the roaring Early Winters creek for the pooch. While not a water dog by any means, like her labrador friends, she certainly recognizes that flowing liquid cools her off.

The requisite self-portrat. Didn't quite get the angle I was going for. Prize for anyone who counts all the trees.

Succulents in their natural environment! I love these guys.

A relatively rare mossy rock.


Early Winters Creek, still movin' pretty quickly.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Women's Trail Running and Yoga Retreat

Photo by Kristen Smith methowvalleyphotography.com
In the four plus years I've lived in the Methow Valley, I've fallen in love with fall. While on the westside, by late September I dreaded each time moisture would fall from the sky, as it felt like the beginning of the long, wet season. In contrast, autumn here brings sunny, warm days and crisp, cool nights. The gold of aspens and larches add a pop to an otherwise green mountain landscape.

This September, we're partnering with Winthrop Mountain Sports to create an incredible weekend. Join me in taking a few days to reset after a full summer and before the busy holidays set in at our Women's Trail Running and Yoga Retreat, September 27-30. Based at Mazama's Freestone Inn, our days will consist of running, practicing yoga, eating yummy food, and relaxing in the beautiful North Cascades (hot tub-yes please!).  In addition to beautiful lodge rooms, the Freestone has various-sized cabins, so bring your friends to play in my favorite beautiful place. 

We'll offer optional talks on running technique, training for an event, injury prevention, and sports nutrition.  Additionally, we will have the opportunity to demo some of the best products for trail running. In the afternoons, rejuvenate tired legs with a massage, take a soak in the hot tub, or simply take a seat in one of the Freestone's comfy chairs to appreciate the view with the company of a new friend or a good book.
Photo by Kristen Smith methowvalleyphotography.com

Register here. Please email Alison at alison.naney(at)gmail.com if you have questions or want to reserve your spot. Bring a friend for a discount! The cost of the weekend is $275, which includes dinner on Thursday, all breakfasts,  lunches Friday and Saturday, and dinner on Friday; all guided trail runs; and all yoga classes. Contact Freestone Inn at 509. 996. 3906 to reserve your accommodations. Want to camp outside, instead? That's also an option; email me for details. Space is limited, so sign up now; hope to see you in the fall!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Shoe fit clinic and SCOTT shoe demo

Finding the right kind of shoe is incredibly important if you're looking to run injury-free (aren't we all?). Join Alison on July 21 at 9am at Goat's Beard Mountain Supplies, our new mountain shop in Mazama, for a free shoe fitting clinic. Learn the difference between different kinds of shoes and what to look for when shopping for new footwear. You'll learn about foot anatomy and mechanics, and how shoe manufacturers take that into consideration when building shoes. While you're there, enter to win a free pair of SCOTT running shoes.

After we talk all things feet and shoes, we'll have SCOTT running shoes available to demo for a group fun run. All levels are welcome-hope to see you there!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Why Use A Coach?

I find it very likely that, if I were to approach a selection of endurance enthusiasts in the Pacific Northwest to ask them if they ever considered having a private coach, the majority of them would answer a very humble "no". There is a preconception that coaches are for high school football teams and elite athletes, and that the rest of the athletic population must go it alone. Maybe I'm being overly critical but if this is indeed the case, there are countless hard-working athletes out there who are going in circles with their training, not knowing that there's another way.

A coach doesn't have to be the stereotype you see in sports biopics, the guy holding the stopwatch in one hand and beer in the other as he waits at the top of the sand dune for you to haul your tired ass to the top for the eleventieth time. Granted, some coaches are like that; I think my coach takes a special pleasure in designing workouts that brings me close to vomiting. But that hard-driving coach ethic should take a distant second chair to the most important role a coach can fill: supporter.

My coach Scott testing my blood lactate during a workout
A coach provides a sounding board for the athlete. Just as people seek psychiatrists to talk through their emotional woes, a coach's role may be as basic as listening and offering suggestions for someone's running schedule. I know plenty of athletes who meet in person with their coach maybe three times per month; they can do this because they've established the relationship, the coach knows their strengths and weaknesses and they construct training accordingly. The most important part is communication.

A coach is above all else an objective voice. None of us like to hear our girlfriend/boyfriend or spouse telling us to get our duff off the couch and out the door to run; it's too personal and the relationship gets confused. But a coach can do just that. He/she can also be the one to listen to how you're feeling and offer a suggestion or opinion that is distanced from your personal feelings. This part is crucial to athletic success at any level. Especially for more recreational athletes who feel that the only way they can get fit amidst their busy schedule is to hammer intervals up a hill for thirty minutes three times per week, a coach can sit them down and say, "Hey, that's pretty dumb training. I know this because I've done it/watched others do it/seen how tired it makes you." They see what our blinders keep us from seeing ourselves.

Alison getting monitored during a treadmill test. 

Both Alison and I offer coaching as we ourselves would want it. Much of our coaching style is modeled off our own coach (we both work with the same person), and emphasizes close communication, innovative training that is tailored to the athlete, and careful monitoring of nutrition and health.

Everyone can benefit from a coach. Check out our coaching services pages above for more info on how you can take huge strides forward in your efforts, whether you're a first-time 10km runner, a wave three Birke skier, or a seasoned vet looking to shave minutes off your 50km PR.