Saturday, December 29, 2012

2012 in the tash lane


I hope that you have all been having a fabulous holiday season.  Mine has been great-just very busy!  As it's the end of the year, I thought it would be fitting to do a "year in review" sort of blog.  So let's get started with the running stuff.

In 2012 I raced 19 times- 4 half marathons, 5 x 10ks, 6 x 5ks, 2 x cross races (6 and 7k), 1 x 1500 and 1 x 13k.  I raced every month except for January and December.  I took a week break in January and I took a 10 day break in July.  Most of my races were great- with wins at the First Half half marathon, the Vancouver Sun Run, the TC 10k, the Vancouver BMO half, the UBC longest day 5k, the Vancouver Lululemon half, the BC 10000m Champs, BC 5k champs, Victoria half marathon, and the BC XC champs.

 However I had some pretty shitty races including my epic fail of a race at the St. Patty's Day 5k in Vancouver last march.  Don't know what happened but I ran 18:20 and couldn't move.  Questions I got asked after the race- "are you injured?", "are you sick?", "are you pregnant?", "are you on your periord?". The last one was the funniest.  Sometimes you just have a bad race.  My favorite saying is "its the bad ones that make you appreciate the good ones." So every once and awhile its good to have a shit race.  Other not so fantastic races this year were the Ottawa 10k and National 5000m champs.  So only 3 out of 19 races sucked.  So that's pretty good.

My top 3 favorite races this year- 1. Winning the Sun Run was pretty cool.  Very unexpected, and gave me a good confidence boost going into the spring season.  2. Getting 3rd place at National XC Champs here in Vancouver with all of my friends and family there and qualifying for worlds.  That was fun.  3. Winning and setting a personal best by over a minute at the Victoria half marathon in October.  That's my favorite race for sure.  I was in 2nd place the whole race until the last 3k.  I really had to fight to win that one, and I'm proud of myself for never giving up.  The big PB was icing on the cake. 
after the victoria half with my friend Kim- she did her first ever half that day!!!!

I set new PBs in every distance except 5k, which was VERY frustrating.  I was in the best shape of my life, but couldn't manage to run a fast 5k.  This year.  It'll happen. 

Ok, so I did a lot of stuff besides running this year.  I did a lot of running, yes, but I also had a lot of fun.  2012 was for sure my favorite year EVER!  I was originally gonna do a top 10 list of 2012, but decided that was too much, so have settled on a top 5.


5. 2 weeks in Phoenix and Palm Springs in March.  That was wonderful.  Did a week of training in Scottsdale, AZ, then flew to Palm Springs where I stayed with my good friend Leisha and her family where I was able to get another stellar week of training in.  It was the first time in my life where I got to spend 2 entire weeks on running without work.  I loved it:)
myself, Julia K, Coach Brit, Ruky A and J Smith

4. Our late honeymoon in Costa Rica in January.  Travis and I spend almost 2 weeks travelling around Costa Rica.  It was so amazing and we had so much fun.  I took 8 days completely off of running and was really able to enjoy our trip.  We got to see lot's of sloth bears.  I like sloth bears.  We tried to catch a monkey by setting up a monkey trap on our balcony- strategically placing a plantain (giant gross banana fruit), on the table.  Not very eloborate and probably why it didn't work.  But it was fun trying. We did lots of cool stuff- zip lining, ATVing, hiking to various volcanoes/waterfalls, horseback riding, white water rafting.  What a great trip!
awe...sunset pic

3. Weekend at Shuswap Lake at the Braeder's place.  7 couples stayed at my friend's place on shuswap lake in July.  It was during my week break off of running, so I didn't have to try and run every morning, which was nice.  We had so much fun- wake-boarding, water skiing, tubing, beach volleyball, sun tanning and of course my favorite activity- flippy cup (best drinking game ever).  There was a lot of booze consumed that weekend- lots of great stories that just aren't approriate for this blog.  It was a great weekend with fantastic friends.
flippy cup!!!! 

2. Mexico in November!  Spent one glorious week in the Mayan for our friend's wedding.  Travis was a groomsman and I was the MC at the recpetion.  That was pretty fun- stressful- but fun.  We stayed at a beautiful 5 star resort- Azul Sensatori.  It was amazing.  We met a lot of awesome people (the Irvings!) and had some fabulous times.  I was even able to run most days while I was there- even with the hangovers:)
Maria and I posing on the beach- wedding day
the wedding party:)

and my number one favorite time from 2012 is.......

1. WHISTLER 50 MILE RELAY WEEKEND!!!  (October) Oh man this was an epic weekend.  It is my number one because it combines running and fun!  There were 8 girls on our team, each running either 13k or 7km leg.  Rachel Cliff, Rebecca Johnstone, Kim D, Kim H, Christie C, Liz N and myself were the HONEYBADGERS.  We don't give a shit.  (please watch the youtube video to understand.)  There were 6 of us staying in one room (it had 2 bedrooms- it was an awesome room).  We went up friday afternoon and had a nice quiet evening in the night before the race.....well....not really quiet....we had a few drinks:))  Learned the Gangum Style dance.  It was a fun night, but 6am wake-up call came very early!!!!  It was freakin cold and it snowed for the first time that season. 
The race was fantastic- the girls all did so awesome.  We ended up placing 3rd all female team!!!  We were super pumped about this.  We had a lot of fun running around the course cheering each other on.
celebration shots!!! (gotta stay warm, right?)
  We got back to the room around 2pm.....and decided to bring the box of wine down to the hot tub.  lol.  We are a classy bunch.  Most of the girls chilled for an hour in the hot tub- but Kim H and I outlasted them all.  We were in the hot tub till about 5.  Yikes.  But there were so many running folks down there, it was so fun! 
ready for the after-party!  christie, liz and me
The Whistler 50 mile relay, formally the Haney to Harrison Ultra, is well know for its epic after-party.  And this year did not disappoint.  We hit up the after party which was held at the confrence center around 9pm.  There was a lot of dancing and a lot of drinking.  We smuggled in our box of wine, which was no longer a box just the bag.  Yup we did that. Kim even switched jeans with a fire-fighter.  So funny.  After the after-party we continued partying at various clubs, eventually arriving back at the hotel at 4am.  It was a very long and fantastic day/night. 

Honorable mentions that didn't make the top 5 include- 
- Weekend away at Birch Bay with Kizashina. love those girls.  Fell off a bike and a trampoline.  lol.
- One year anniversary in Whistler with Travis at the Four Seasons- dinner at Barefoot Bistro was amazing.
- Hitting up 13 wineries in one day in Kelowna with Jess.  16 this summer.  it'll be done.
- My 31st bday party downtown.  wow.  Vancouver kicked my ass that night.   

Thank-you to everyone who was apart of this most amazing year of my life.  You all know who you are.  I am so excited to see what 2013 has in store for me- both in life and in running!!!  

Have a fabulous New Year everyone!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Running, Cookies, Kloe and a Double Rainbow


I am writing this blog while repair man "Yuri" (he's a very nice Russian man.  He likes me cause my name is Russian too.)  is fixing our peice of shit oven. It hasn't been working for over a month now.  Our oven is only 4 years old- what a hunk of junk.  And the part to fix it is $560 plus labour.  Are you freakin kidding me?!!  Luckily our warranty is still good, so atleast the cost of the part is covered.  But still- $200 in labour to fix our dumb oven. It sucks, but enough about that.

I hope that you all enjoyed my debut blog post last week!  My coach told me that I shouldn't swear in my blog.  "It's very un-professional Natasha.  You know once something is online its there forever."  Ryan Brockerville told her I was a grown woman and I could write what I wanted.  I told her that I would keep the swear words to a minimum.  My British friend, Matt, suggested I say "Gall Blimy" instead of swear words. I don't know if that will work.

It's been a pretty busy week.  Let's start off by talking running.  Had a pretty solid week of training- about 120km of running with 3 good workouts.  I had my first track workout of the season last Saturday- 5 X broken 1000s.  (200 hard, 200 mod, ect).  They were mostly 3:07ish, so I was happy with that.  It was awesome being back on the track.   On Tuesday we were training at Como Lake, which is a 1km trail loop with 200m markers along the way.  We saw a double rainbow!  It was actually really cool.  Anyway, I did 6 X 800m, with 200m jog recovery.  Fun times.  Yesterday (Thursday) was hill training at SFU.  Ran 20 mins continuous up and down a big hill.  It's hard.  Then we jogged over to the track ( about 1km) for something fast.  Brit's choice for me yesterday was a hard 800m.  Put my spikes on for the first time since the summer:)  Threw down a 2:17, trying to chase down the boys.  So that brings me to today- Rest day!  Well, sort of....I have to jog 5.7 km (I google mapped it.) to my friend's house where I left my car last night.  I was drinking wine and eating cookies last night.  It was great fun. It was a cookie exchange party. I got to be the judge for the "best tasting cookie" contest.  This meant I got to take a bite of all 17 types of cookies!  Yummy!  It was a tough job, but someone had to do it:))) 

some of the delicious cookies I got to eat:)  I got to take one of each kind home with me too.

We had so much fun!

Last Friday after work I went to my friend Christina's house as she was having a Movember party.  I didn't get there until pretty late, 11:30ish, so everyone was quite intoxicated when I arrived.  I didn't know a lot of people at the party, cause they were Christie's husband's fire-fighter friends.  But they were all really nice and very interested in how fast I could run.  This is when Christie's husband- Steven- started chirrping at me that he was faster then me and he could beat me in a mile. Just because you are a man does not mean you are a better runner then me.  Why do guys always think this?! This is kinda how the conversations went-

Steven- "I could totally kick your ass in a mile."
Me- "I really don't think so"
Christina- "She won the sun run steven!  She will kill you in a race."
Steven- "How fast can you run a mile?"
Me- "I don't know- 4:50 ish?? faster then you."
Steven- "Ok that is fast.  But I can still beat you around the block."
Me- "Fine.  Let's race.  Right now."
Steven- "Done"

So, we decided to race around the block at 1:00am in the pouring rain.  I would say it was like a 600m loop?  Christie outfitted me in her smallest hot pink shorts and nike frees.  I was ready to go!  I knew there was no way drunk Steven would beat me, but I think he really thought he had a chance.  Oh silly Steven.  So as soon as we start running he is trying to grab my shirt and push me.  Already cheating!  We are not even half way, when he suddenly runs through someone's yard and jumps the fence- taking a short-cut!  So of course when I get to the finish he is already there, claiming that he beat me.  What a cheater! Lol.  He cut his leg jumping the 7 foot fence too.  hahahah sucker!  Ah, good times. 

I have been doggie-sitting my friend's 3 year old chocolate lab for the last 8 days.  Her name is Kloe and she is the sweestest, most lovable dog ever.   However, she is exhausting!  This dog has so much energy!  She's insane.  I've ran with her a few times this week (trying to tire her out) and I'm amazed I haven't gotten injured.  Have you ever been in a race with someone that runs past you, cuts you off and slows right down.  Then you pass them, and they do the same thing again?  That's what running with Kloe is like.  She will even just come to a complete stop, causing you to hurdle her- or trip over her. Sometimes, though, she will run beside me like a good dog- untiil she suddenly decides she wants to run on the other side of me and runs right into my legs.  She did this 3 or 4 times tripping me up pretty badly.  I'm honestly shocked that I stayed on my feet.  I should have face planted a few times.  Kloe also likes to carry a stick in her mouth while she is running.  She ran 7km with a 2 foot stick in her mouth.  It's really awesome when she rams the stick into my legs too.  Love that.  So- she's not the best running partner I've ever had.....but atleast my runs weren't boring:) 

This is Kloe. She likes sticks.

Ok what else happened this week- I worked Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Wednesday night at the Boathouse. (Server extraordinaire). I did 2 Stella and Dot trunk shows on Tuesday and Thursday. I'm a stylist with Stella and Dot and I sell their gorgeous jewelry.  Anyone have any christmas presents they need to buy????  Email me!  And I had run clinic last night. I lead run clinics for Kintec.  This one is for the "first half" half marathon in Febuary.  They had hill training last night and they did awesome.  So it was a pretty busy week, especially since we had Kloe.  She's a lot of work.  Did I mention that we live in a 650 SQ FT apartment with a cat?  It was pretty crowded in here this week.  

Have a great week!!!
check it out.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Let the blogging begin!!!


So a few years ago I attempted to blog- "run tashy run".  I think I got through two of them before I quit.  I just got really lazy. This time around I promise it will be different! So I'm gonna start off by telling you two important things- I am a terrible writer and even worse speller.  So please don't judge or correct me:)

I guess the first thing I should talk about is my most recent race- Canadian Cross Country Nationals at Jericho Beach last saturday.  It was a good day.  I was so nervous before the race, I could barely eat.  Once I started my warm-up, the nervousness went away and I was feeling good.  My friends and family started arriving during warm-up, and I was getting really excited to race!  My coach was not happy with my sociallizing before the race and gave me a talking to....I got in trouble:(  So I removed myself from everyone for a good 20 minutes, where I was able to focus.  My goal for the race was top 5.  Top 5 make the team to go to NACAC  and World XC.  I wasn't concerned about my time- the course was muddy, so I knew it would be slow anyway.  Here's a quick breakdown of the race- (7Km)

Gun goes off and I am happy to finally be racing.  I find myself in the lead.  What the heck?  I don't want to be leading!  Oh well- I feel strong and relaxed so its ok.  I continue to lead a large pack for about 1km

Megan Brown passes me and I stay right on her shoulder for the next 2km- I can hear the other girls, but they are about 15 meters back.  I am surprised that there aren't more girls right up with us.  But that's cool.  I'm feeling good and happy with the race so far. 

3k- Megan gets about 15 meters on me....I run past my coach who yells at me to close the gap.  So I pick up the pace and close the gap a bit. 

3.5km- The effort into closing that original gap was too much for me and Megan drops me more than she did before.  I can hear the other girls gaining on me.  I still feel pretty good, but just can't run at Megan's pace. 

4.5km- Kate Harrison and Rachel Cliff pass me.  Ok tasha its time to fight.  Kate gets about 10 meters on Rachel and I.  We are running side by side going through the 5k mark.  At this point I say to her "lets work together!".  She says "lets do it!" (Rachel is a BC girl and friend of mine.  She's awesome!)  So for the next km we ran together and pushed each other.  It was awesome.  Thanks Rachel!  But with 1km to go, its race time.  I'm still feeling strong and I'm confident in my "kick".  So with about 600 to go I pass Rachel and just keep running as fast as my little legs will go.  I was able to get about 20 meters on her and hold onto 3rd place! 
 Finish line- I got third!  I did it!!!  So freakin happy!  Find my coach- she gives me a big hug and tells me how proud of me she is- I almost cry.  Thanks Brit- I love my coach- she's great:)  Then I do a little interview with Athletics Illustrated.

 My friends and family all started to arrive at the finish line and it was very overwhelming!  I felt so incredibly loved and supported!  Thank-you Brent and Megan Braeder; Kim, Riley and Andrew Copp; Marilyn, Kevin, Aly-boo, and Christian Yeo; Nick, Veronica and Raiden Wodak; Ruth and John; Rebecca Johnstone, Kim Hollaway, and Christie Crump!  You are all amazing and I couldn't have ran like I did without all of you there cheering me on!!! 
 These were the best signs ever!  Thank-you Kim and Christie!  I love these girls!!!!

 Here is the highlight video of the race.  Thanks Chris Kelsall from Athletics Illustrated for the great video!

So the race went well and now I'm on the National Team going to World Cross in Poland in March.  Pretty pumped about this- I've gotta a lot of training to do this winter!  Speaking of training, I did not really get a "down" week like I thought I was gonna get.  Nope- just right back into it.  Although I skipped my sunday's worst hang-over (we won't go into too many details.  It was rough. Lets just say I couldn't eat anything until 730pm that night.).  But besides that one missed run, training has been good this week.  1km repeats on tuesday and then hill training up at SFU on thursday. Which brings me to a story I want to share with you.

On thursday I am doing my warm-up in the trails around SFU.  I realize that this is the first time I've run alone on those trails without being scared.  Scared of what you may be wondering?  COYOTES.  One tried to kill me this year.  This is the story of how I almost got killed by a coyote (ok maybe killed is a bit extreme....but that fucker would have really hurt me.) 

Last June I was warming down after a pretty intense track session up at SFU.  I am alone in the trails on our warm down loop- about 700m loop in the forest.  I'm happily jogging thinking about the awesome workout I just had when I see the coyote.  He's just standing there in the middle of the trail.  I see them quite often, so I wasn't scared.  Just kept running at him and he ran into the bushes.  As I ran by the spot he ran into the bushes, I hear him come out right behind me.  I stop and turn around, and he's standing on the trail about 15 meteres behind me just staring at me.  I did eveything I was supposed to at this point- made myself "big" and yelled at him to fuck off.  That's when he started running at me.  Oh fuck shit.  What the fuck is he doing???? I immediatly start sprinting like a crazy person.  I am screaming for help and running for my life.  I keep looking behind me like one of those stupid girls in a horror movie when she is being chased by the pyscho killer.  The coyote is gaining on me.  He is going to bite me.  Then all his coyote friends are gonna jump out of the bushes and bite me too.  I'm gonna die.  Tears streaming down my face and me screaming "SOMEONE PLEASE HELP ME!!!!  HELP MEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!" as I'm running frantically toward the trail head only 50 meters ahead.  Finally I hit the trail opening and cross the street (totally could have been hit by a car, i didn't look just ran out).  I stop and there he is on the other side of the street, just looking at me.  He's thinking- you're lucky bitch.  I'll get you next time.   I am hysterical at this point, and some random guy waiting for the bus asks me if I'm ok.  I go on to tell him that the coyote was chasing me and it was gonna attack me and I barely made it out alive.  The random guy definitely thinks I'm crazy.  I jogged back to the track where the SFU group is.  I tell them this story and most of them laugh at me!  It's not funny!  I almost got attacked by a diseased coyote. Not a laughing matter at all.  People tell me that coyote attacks are very random and almost never happen.  Well let me tell you, that coyote was gonna bite me.  I was lucky.  So ever since that day in June I have been scared to run alone on that warm down loop.  I know that coyote is waiting for me.  He's probably really hungry this time of the year too.  And he's mad I got away the first time.  Angry, hungry coyote is waiting for me. 

Ok I think that's enough for my first blog.  Hope you all enjoyed your first installment of "life in the tash lane".