A Look Back at 2016

sunset californiaRunning wise, this year has been a mixed bag for me, I’ve learned some tough lessons but also had some great races. Personally, I’ve had a great year – Callum and I got married, I have a new niece and we left Toronto at the beginning of November for an extended roadtrip across the USA.

Let’s start at the beginning. Last winter was another cold one and I managed to run through it which is always a big accomplishment. I had a recurring knee injury throughout the first few months of 2016 which eventually flared up causing me to DNF at the Sulphur Springs 100 in May. That was my first DNF and caused me to question a lot about running. I took a little bit time off and re-evaluated what I wanted from running.

sulphur springs 100

I actually didn’t train much during the summer, I temporarily hired a coach that had me running really low mileage. I ended up running the Black Spur 54km with my longest training run being 15km! Black Spur was also my first mountain race, something that I’d wanted to try for a long time and it was tough.

black spur ultra
During the summer, my goal was a fast fall marathon. As it got closer, it was obvious that I hadn’t done enough long training runs to attempt that so I signed up for the half-marathon at the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon (STWM).

In mid-September, my friend Sigrid and I road tripped to Wisconsin for the North Face Endurance Challenge Series Wisconsin. Race day ended up being beautiful weather and the flatish course allowed me to get a 50km PR there.

north face endurance challenge 50km
To close out the year, I raced the STWM half and had a really tough race but managed to take almost 5 minutes off my PB!

Looking back, what started off as a tough year allowed me to reevaluate what I really wanted to do and try some new things.

Stats for this year:

  • Total kilometres: 2,654 km (1,649 miles)
  • Runs: 214
  • Total elevation gain: 20,076 m (65,866 ft)
  • Races: 10
  • Ultras: 5
  • Set personal records for the 10km, half-marathon and 50km

In early November, Callum and I left to start our van trip to the US. In the last two months, I’ve run in the desert, at elevation in the mountains, along the ocean and through forests. I’ve also spent a lot of time struggling to get in enough mileage but the amazing places I sometimes get to run more than make up for it.

van rocky mountains
On NYE, I closed out 2016 with a long run along the ocean in LA with Callum. I have some big running plans for 2017 already and I can’t wait to take all the lessons I’ve learned this year to make 2017 an even better year!

What’s on the calendar for 2017 already –

San Tan Scramble 50km outside of Phoenix, AZ next week (Jan 7)
Lone Star 100km race in El Paso, TX in early February
Ragnar Relay from Cobourg to Niagara Falls, ON in late May
Sulphur Springs 100 miler – I have some unfinished business there!

How was your year? What’s your biggest goal for 2017?

Happy running!

100 Miler Race Prep

When I met my coach yesterday to go over race details the first thing that he said to me was, “the weather is going to change everything.” I think that will be the theme of this 100 miler. It’s predicted to be incredibly hot and humid, like late July level hot. Just what you want for a 100 miler…

There’s around 36 hours before I start the race. I have spent the last two days organizing my food, making packing lists for my clothes and figuring out a race strategy.

Food wise, I’m bringing a ton of food. WAY more than I could ever use but I don’t know what I’ll want so I’m bringing everything that I can think of. If I don’t eat it, it will get brought home and be eaten post-race. I went grocery shopping yesterday for some final items and went through aisles that I never shop in, like the candy/chip aisle; it was a lot of fun!

I’m going to start the race using mostly gels, supplemented with a little bit of solid food from the aid stations and then later in the race switch to mainly real food. My plan is to eat in the second half of the race like I would if I had the flu – simple, plain, easy to digest food. Because of the heat, I’m going to drink the electrolyte drink at every station and then also take salt tabs.

The plan for dealing with the heat is to bring coolers with ice and put the ice everywhere I can. Hat filled with ice, Buff with ice around my neck, ice in my sports bra, ice in my compression socks, lots and lots of ice! My first goal of the day is making it through the heat of the day until it cools down later on. Thankfully a few times this winter/spring I have run in really hot weather in Florida and Vegas because otherwise I would have been 8 or 9 months since Ontario has had weather this hot.

Packing wise, I’m basically bringing all the running clothes I own. I guess having way too many running clothes comes in handy when running a 100 miler! The weather is going to cool down at night so I’m bringing pants, a sweater, long sleeve and jacket for if I get cold. For during the day, I’m bringing a couple changes of shorts, singlets, hats, and socks. Just like with the food, I’d rather have more than I need than to be missing something that I really want. Also, it’s always nice to put on dry clothes after hours of sweating and having ice melt on you.

My original goal was a sub-24 hour race but I think with the weather conditions, that’s not going to happen. I have readjusted my A goal to a sub-26 hour finish. My B goal is a sub-28 hour finish and C goal is just to finish before the 30 hour cut off.

Callum is going to crew me which I’m really excited about because I always look forward to seeing him at races! I have two pacers coming to run the night with me and then Callum will run the last loop with me. The course is 8, 20km loops. It’s logistically easy because you go back to the same places a lot of times so I will get to see Callum at least 8 times and he can organize finding the pacers etc.

My first goal is making it through the heat of the day until I get to have my first pacer at 8pm. Then the focus is making it through the night until its day light again.

Callum has kindly offered to live tweet about my progress from my twitter account so you can follow all the action or send encouraging messages to me at @katherine_yager.

The rest of my pre-race time will be taken packing, organizing, getting a few final items and trying to get really hydrated!

Are you racing this weekend?

Happy running!