Sunday, October 9, 2016

Lets Go Victoria!!

I am currently in Victoria for the weekend, and it's been so far so good!!  It's so great that summer has finally arrived, and although I am studying every day, at least I get out for a couple hours and get to enjoy it!  I only have one more week left of biochemistry 300 at UBC.  So far it's gone really well - I've had 2 of 3 exams, and the final one is next Saturday evening!!

On Friday my dad met me at the ferry to pick up my backpack, and I rode the coastal route (2.5 hours) back to his house.  It was so nice to ride on the the island again, and the evenings with the sun going down is one of my favorite times to ride!  Yesterday I took a pretty chill day and just studied and went to the moss street market!  We picked up these lamb shanks which we cooked in my dad's SUN OVEN all afternoon (see above)!!  How cool is that??  Just with solar energy we were able to maintain a temperature of 300 degrees for about 4 hours!!  The meat was fall-off-the-bone delicious!

I then headed over to the track to see Marilyn run a 3km TT at a local track event.  The sun went down and it got SO cold that my friend Jess and I had watch the race from the car.  We just pulled up next to the track and rolled down our windows every lap to cheer!! I also got to see a bunch of great tri friends last night at Sharpe's bbq!  I got there just as people were starting to head out which was too bad, but at least I got to see everyone and catch up a little bit.  I'll have to be more organized the next time I come and actually plan to see people a bit better!

... just getting ready for bed and bringing my water with me (I think I have a drinking problem!)

Saturday, October 8, 2016

New Job!!

MOVING TO EDMONTON! Yes, that's right.. -40 degree winters here I come! Oh crap.. not sure what I've got myself in to haha :)  But aside from the cold winters, I am really excited about joining a research team at the University of Alberta in the field of Nutritional Epidemiology.   While volunteering in Africa I did 2 weeks research with two Nutritional Epidemiologists from Edmonton (total coincidence). Gita and Nonsi were hired as part of a diet study to do a dietary analysis in the rural Zulu communities surrounding the charity I was volunteering for.  Gita, my new boss, is an Endowed Chair in Aboriginal Health, and Professor of Aboriginal and Global Health Research at the University of Alberta, Department of Medicine.  Their main focus is studying and analyzing the diets in aboriginal communities (they have done a lot of work with the Inuit in Alaska and the Arctic) and developing countries, and connecting them to chronic disease prevalence.  I am very interested and passionate about both nutrition and health care, so to get this job offer was a dream come true! I will be moving/starting work in mid-September. 
Gita in South Africa
Gita, Nonsi and I on a hippo cruise.
 So what am I doing in the mean time?

Well.. today I woke up after 10.5 hours sleep and moved to the couch to watch some FOOD channel.  My 3 weeks summer holiday has officially begun.

Last Saturday I finished the biochem course I was taking at UBC.  Thank goodness it's over.. I swear it was making me stupider.  Some days after studying all day I would say the dumbest things.. and I started giggling a lot at things that weren't funny (kinda like I used to do everyday).  I think it must be a side-effect of doing a 6-credit (full-year) course in 6 weeks.

 I spent my first day of summer at Brohm Lake in Squamish with some friends... beer and burger and bbq equipped! I'll be sticking around BC until after the Gran Fondo on September 10th.  The Gran Fondo is a 130km road ride from Vancouver to Whistler.  2 weeks "crash training" started on Monday... so far so good! 

Oh and I'm in Victoria for 5 days.. so if you'd like to go for coffee, or a bike ride, or a run, or a beer?  I have copious amounts of free time and would probably love to see you... shoot me an email!

Friday, October 7, 2016

Blog Resurrection

Summer is coming (there have been signs!) and I’ve been surprising myself recently with my enthusiasm to swim, bike and run. For the first time in 18 months I have been enthusiastic to do workouts beyond what is required for healthy fitness. I never lost my desire to be fit; I guess I just lost my desire to “train”. That break from competitive sport took me places that have potentially shaped my future. I went to South Africa for 6 weeks and volunteered at a charity called Izulu Orphan Projects. I met amazing people during my time in South Africa, and surprisingly came home with a nutritional epidemiology research position in an Aboriginal and global health research group at the University of Alberta. The job has given me amazing opportunities to grow. I currently have one publication in press at the Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics, and recently traveled to the Arctic and Alaska!

In February of this year I ran my first two half marathons, two weeks apart. I didn’t exactly train properly for either, and the first one (the first half half in Vancouver) I signed up for the day before. My focus that weekend was on my medical school interview at UBC, but I still surprised myself with a comfortable 1.27 half-marathon time.

I feel very privileged to have been asked by Vega to continue on as an ambassador for 2012. I have been using their nutritional products (bars and sports drinks and protein powders) for the past 4-5 years, for sport performance, recovery, and healthy day-to-day snacks. Vega just came out with a new line of Vega Sport products. I recently received a sample box that included one of each of the new Sport products, and it has got me really excited. The new Sport products taste better than ever, and include products for pre-, during, and post-workout preparation, performance, and recovery. With the number of products that Vega has to offer, it can be overwhelming trying to understand the difference between them all, but I urge you to check out their newly designed website that does an amazing job at breaking down the products so they are easy to understand. I honestly am more excited than ever to be an ambassador for Vega because they are evolving and fine tuning and always striving to improve, which I believe is an essential component of success. I believe in the quality of the Vega products and they TASTE GOOD (yes Sharpe they do!)

I have a series of run races planned for the spring/summer of 2012 and I hope to keep updating my blog with race reports and stories of my adventures. Next weekend I am running the St. Albert 10 Miler, and then plan to run the Frank McNamara Wednesday evening cross-country run series that goes til mid-May. I have 3 half marathons on the radar for each June, July and August, and have REGISTERED for the Great White North half ironman on July 1st!!

Good to all those Canadians racing in Sydney next weekend!

Happy Easter =)

Thursday, October 6, 2016

2 races, 4 days..

On Sunday I ran a local 10-mile road race. Once again (I have to break this pattern) I signed up the weekend before, and did not do specific workouts leading into the race. I knew I was fit though, so I was hoping I could do a repeat of the First Half half marathon and hold a strong tempo pace throughout. My goal was to run consistent from start to finish, to hold my form, and to not go out too hard. Despite needing to eat my gel 10 minutes into the race, I succeeded. I tried the new Vega orange zest gel for the first time (I know your not supposed to try things for the first time in a race, but this was not exactly life or death). I have to say it’s the first time I’ve enjoyed a gel that isn’t chocolate. There were 4 girls jostling for position the whole race, and I yo-yoed between 2nd and 4th, and in the end finished in 3rd.  It’s funny - I’ve just been doing long easy runs all winter as well as strength work, and for the first time in my life I can push myself for 16+ km without breaking down physically or hitting the wall. I’m really enjoying my new ability to keep going and the strength I have.
After I finished I was on “mission recovery”. I knew I wanted to race a local cross-country race on Wednesday (my birthday). The only issue: on Monday my calves felt like rocks and I could barely walk. I try to do most of my running on trails, so to go out and run 10 miles hard on asphalt does not feel good the day after. I epsom salted like crazy though used copious amounts of muscle cream and was “okay” by Wednesday afternoon. Actually 90 minutes before the race I was more concerned about the massive vegan chocolate cupcake I had devoured coming back up, rather than the state of my legs. The girl who won the 10-miler was also racing XC so I just stuck on her shoulder right from the gun. I remember thinking at 2.5km (out of 4.5), “okay I can do this, only 2km to go,” only to come out of a trail and see that I was at the bottom of some massively steep and long dirt hill. I swore out loud (to the amusement of the guy next to me) and barely made it up the hill without walking (okay I walked a little bit :S). I finished the race in 2nd and was then very happy to head to Brewsters brew pub with some good friends for a raspberry ale and a burger with yam fries! It turned out to be a great birthday. Plus the Canucks won =)
The next races I have planned are 3 more local cross country races the next three Wednesday evenings, and then I plan to run (and maybe train better for) a half marathon on June 3rd!

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

study, eat, work, eat, study, eat, run, sleep, repeat..

My life is a little bit busy right now, but that's the way I like it. I seem to function better and am happier when I barely have a moment to sit down. Maybe it's a sign I should take up meditation or reading or take a stroll on a beach and zen out a little bit, but then again that's what running does for me so at least I'm killing two birds with one stone (fitness and mental break/relaxation). Honestly, one of my favorite things is a long run listening to Rise Against on a nice sunny day.

Last weekend I ran a 15km trail/road race here in Edmonton. It was such a great morning, and the event was so much fun. It was put on by Running Room and the race organizers were SO nice, and organized. I didn't feel that I ran that well because I literally only had time for 2 runs all week (totaling 90 minutes), but I still managed to win by 10 minutes! The most unexpected reward was winning a free haircut and 90 minute acupuncture and massage! AWESOME!!

I have for the most part had to abandon swimming and biking for the summer to give myself enough time to study for the MCAT, which I will be re-writing in August. Yesterday I did get out for a 4 hour ride with a friend though, and surprisingly felt great the whole time. That was a nice feeling, because I only have time to ride once a week and I dearly miss my bike the other 6 days :(

This weekend I'll be racing the Canada Day 15km that starts downtown and loops around Hawrelak Park. I'm hoping to have the Vega reps come down to the finish as well so we can promote their amazing products among the running community in Edmonton.

My new routine involves going to the Saturday morning market every week and picking up fresh veggies and local bison. I'm making an effort to go back to the "primal" diet I love. My homemade granola, Vega smoothies and fresh local veg make it easy! I have to say Edmonton's growing on me, which is a good thing since I'll be sticking around for another year or more! woohoo!!

Sunday, September 4, 2016

My brain hurts

You know you've been studying too long when you can't remember your password to access your blog!!  Wow.

I'm sitting in Blenz trying to study, clearly unsuccessfully.  I wrote a 5.5 practice MCAT this morning though so maybe thinking I could study a few more hours today was a bit too optimistic.  The good news is that I did pretty well on the exam.  Actually I pretty much aced one section (biological sciences), but am still having difficulty finishing the physical sciences and verbal reasoning sections. I keep running out of time and it's killing me!   I only have 10 days until the exam so I am starting to freak out a little bit! I'll only do 2 more full length tests before the actual test day so I'm starting to feel the pressure.  It certainly didn't help when I checked my phone messages today and there was a message notifying me that my scheduled test date had been canceled!!  Talk about stress!  It all got sorted out though, they just moved my location from UVic to Camosun College.

So yes that means a visit to Victoria in the near future!

p.s. Blenz has the best hot chocolate EVER: melted belgian dark chocolate in steamed almond milk!! Best 5 bucks ever spent!


On Sunday I ran in the Vancouver Sun Run.  I've only ran the Sun Run once before, but it's always a great event with so much energy.  Over 50,000 people ran!!  Initially I wasn't going to race because up until 10 days before I hadn't ran faster than 5min per km pace since October!!  But then I thought who cares! I wasn't about to pass up the opportunity to run in such a great event just because my preparation wasn't as thorough as I'm used to! I had fun doing some cram training sessions in the 10 days before the race. In the end I ran as I expected I would - 38.22. 

 Race morning: killing time with my roomie Melissa Ross.

 Catching up with my red head triathlete friends at the post race brunch! Unfortunately Lucy wasn't allowed in the picture because her hair was not red. 

Ice cream sundae making station = best post-race elite brunch EVER.  Too bad I can't eat ice cream!

Brent and I pigging out.

Saturday, September 3, 2016


In 7 days I will be on a flight to Kwa-Zulu Natal province in South Africa.  My plans to travel to Uganda changed abruptly last week, but I will be still be sending 2 boxes of sporting equipment and children's books to the school I had organized to volunteer at.  I held a fundraiser on May 1st to raise some funds and collect material items I could take with me to the school in Uganda.  It was a very successful evening and I am excited to load 2 boxes of goodies into a container that will be leaving for Uganda on Saturday.  Special thanks to Pat and Brenda Montani for helping me organize my trip and the fundraiser, and to chef James Buchanan for volunteering to cater the evening and keeping everyone happy with delicious food!! And of course thanks to everyone who attended the evening and showed their support!
 I will now be traveling to South Africa to live on a farm owned by an amazing women called Kate.  Kate and her husband founded Izulu Orphan Projects (IOP) in 2006 and it has evolved into something extraordinary.  I still don't know a lot about it, but I guess I will be finding out soon on a first-hand basis.  I will be living on Kate's farm for 6 weeks.  Izulu Orphan Projects currently has 330 orphaned villages on file and this year are schooling and providing uniforms for 850 orphans.  IOP also supports the villages with basic food and clothing.  With never having been to Africa, this is going to be a crazy experience! 

Friday, September 2, 2016

Day 1 with Izulu Orphan Projects

It's been a long journey but here I am, in Kwa-Zulu Natal, South Africa.  The trip went well - as good as a 55 hour trip can possibly be and better.  I had 21 hours of flight time to catch up on some relaxation, good movies, and reading, split up with a 24-hour tour of Amsterdam and a 5-hour sleep in Johannesburg.

After a 90-minute drive from Durban this morning I arrived at Kate's farm, my home for the next 6 weeks.  Kate's land contains both her house as well as the offices for Izulu Orphan Projects.  I spent the day with the crew that work here and it was a super-fun-filled day of African adventures:) The guys piled into the back of a 4x4 and we took off (thank god I love driving fast) into town to pick up about $7000 worth of groceries for the orphans.  After loading it all into the back of two massive trucks the guys climbed up on top of all the food and we took off again back to Kate's.  At the farm we all worked together to unload the food.  Next week about 550 orphan families will come pick up a food package that will hopefully last them most of the month.  This a monthly project with Izulu Orphan Projects, so I was lucky to arrive today and be able to be some help on my first day!

Thursday, September 1, 2016

An Incredible Week with Izulu Orphan Projects (edited with pictures)

 I don't even know where to begin.  There are so many incredible things going on here with IOP that I have had the opportunity to get involved with.  Kate has been an incredible host so far, and what she has going on with IOP and the direction it is headed is so exciting!

Kate and I in Durban.

I'll start with last weekend.  Kate took me to Durban to her parents house for her mom's birthday party.  I saw the big soccer stadium built for the World Cup, and we spent Sunday morning lying on the beach!!  I just kept thinking about how cold Whistler was before I left and was grateful for that!!

Jedd (Kate's oldest son) and me on the beach.

Sunday evening was my first experience seeing the huts that the blacks here live in in the area surrounding Kate's farm.  At first I was shocked, it was just so different from anything I have ever seen before.  Since then I have driven through many of the orphan villages and I'm starting to get used to it.  It was definitely eye opening for me.

These are the huts from a distance.

On Monday I helped put together 210 food packages for the category 1 (lowest income) families that are supported by IOP.  A food package included soup bases, canned fish, canned vegetable curry, peanut butter, cooking oil, vaseline, shoe polish, toothpaste, soap, brown sugar, tea, uncooked beans and a large bag of maize meal.  We had women visiting the house all day picking up their food packages and I helped hand them out.  Some of these women would have walked over an hour to Kate's farm and would then have walked the same distance back home, all the while balancing a large 25kg bag of maize meal on their heads and carrying their other groceries.  I wish I was that talented!!

Kate also showed me current database being used by IOP and the new improved one she is working on.  It was all so impressive and very extensive!  Hopefully in the near future IOP will have Ipads for all the health workers and doctors to make collecting health data so much easier for all.  The ideas bouncing around this place just make me realize how different and innovative this project is from anything else in the world.

Food Packages for the IOP members

IOP members lining up for their food packages.
I spent the rest of the week working with doctors, Rick and Anita.  Rick and Anita are training 4 or 5 "health workers" in all the different orphan communities that IOP is supporting.  The health workers are females ranging from late teens to early thirties that are interesting in making a difference in their communities.  Rick and Anita have trained them to do HIV testing, blood glucose testing, and blood pressure testing.  They have set them all up with their personal testing kits and the health workers go out into their communities and test anyone and everyone who wants it.  Anita taught me to do the tests as well, so over the next few weeks I will be going out with the health workers and making sure the testing is going okay.

As well as the HIV, blood glucose and blood pressure screening, Rick and Anita were looking to expand their screening to include BMI testing and also educating the communities about obesity, diabetes, and healthy eating.  They had made some starts with it and we actually spent two mornings last week in the communities educating the health workers. After many exciting discussions with Anita I took on the role of coming up with a training plan for the health workers.  I just finished it this evening.  Soon the health workers will be going out into their communities and measuring BMI, educating on obesity and diabetes, and analyzing people's diets and giving suggestions for healthier eating plans.

In one of the community gardens where these women are growing sunflowers for sunflower oil production.

This week another doctor has arrived for a diet study.  I will be going out to the hospital with him tomorrow for the colonoscopies (I hope I don't have to watch!).  I looks like an interesting study but I'll write more about it when I know more about it.  It will be going on for the next month so I'm sure I will be busy helping out with that.  On Tuesday this week I am meeting one of the health workers on my own to finish her diabetes and blood sugar testing training.  I will then be joining her in the communities doing HIV and blood glucose screening.  Needless to say I have been busy, but it's all very exciting.  I have tons of pictures, but it's dinner time.. so another time!

South Africa Week 2: Volunteering with Izulu Orphan Projects

 I just had the most incredible "holiday" weekend in Umhlanga, a northern suburb of Durban, South Africa.  I spent the weekend at Rick and Anita's (the doctors who work with IOP) house.  They had organized a weekend away for a friend's birthday party, and their son's (14 and 17) were busy studying for exams, so I was on my own but I had no problem entertaining myself in this ritzy little resort town.  I ran lots (36km to be exact), lay on the beach, boogie boarded in massive waves, went to the cinema, went out for dinner, went shopping, and watched both the men's and women's WCS triathlon races live online from Madrid.  Woo go Paula (she won)!!

This weekend was a little escape from reality for me.  I saw and experienced so much working in the communities around Kate's farm last week that really shocked me.  Some of the living conditions and poverty I experienced were nothing I'd ever seen before. It leaves this empty feeling inside you knowing that there are people living like this...

At this particular hut (above) there was one "gogo" (zulu for grandmother) and 5 kids. None of the kids had shoes, or pants that weren't ripped to shreds, the dogs were so skinny you could see their skeleton, and there was no chicken coop to separate where the chicken's lived from where the human's lived.  So yes.. there was chicken shit everywhere - even inside the huts.  Imagine if this is all you had.

 This adorable girl's grandmother was very sick. We were walking from hut to hut doing HIV, blood glucose, and blood pressure testing when we came upon her.  She was in bed and not looking good. The family couldn't afford to get her to a clinic so we organized to pick her up the next day.  She ended up getting safely to and from hospital courtesy of an IOP worker.  If we hadn't stopped by she wouldn't have got any help and the family wouldn't have known to call anyone.

 This was quite interesting for me to witness.  The health workers and CWP (community works program) workers I was spending my day with on Thursday decided they wanted to eat some meat.  So they started building this little fire right in the field we were in and brought out this bag of frozen meat to cook.  It doesn't look like the most appetizing or hygienic meal, but curiosity got the better of me and I have to admit I did try some.

 This(above) was on Tuesday last week.  I had to finish one of these health worker's diabetes training (sign off that she had watched all the videos and passed a written test).  This picture was taken after the training was over and we were walking to another hut to set up health screening for the rest of the afternoon.  These girls are so enthusiastic about their jobs as health workers.  It's great to know there are people who care that live in these communities and are doing their best to help others.
 This is one of the health workers all set up do screening.  Rick and Anita have set all these girls up with collapsible tents and chairs so testing can be done in comfort and privacy. 

This is how we get around!  Riding the back of the 4x4 on these dirt roads is so much fun!  I always get offered the front seat, but riding in the back is so much more adventurous!! 

This is a really neat project put on the by the CWP workers.  They have planted community gardens in all of the various communities so people can have access to fresh grown veggies.  This is Kitiwe and I in the garden.  Kitiwe works for IOP and was a great help organizing my week last week.  I wouldn't have been able to do it alone because I don't speak Zulu (I know 3 words)!

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Africa Update!

It's definitely time for an update, but I have a good reason for the delay.  Unfortunately I caught I stomach flu last weekend and was vomiting, nauseous, and lay in bed for about 2 days with no energy.  I went to the doctor though and got some meds and I have made a full recovery.  It was so bad the day I went to the doctor I had to sit down and rest during the 100m walk from the doctor's office to the pharmacy to pick up my presciption!  Anyways.. I am alive and well.  

So lots has been going on with the diet study and I have been jumping in and helping out as much as possible.  The picture below is me in the field collecting stool samples (not me) of the subject and doing breath tests, questionnaires etc etc. 

 Above is a picture of the 3 subjects (sitting on the ground) and two of the people helping me collect data.

This picture below is a different day out in the field doing HIV, BP and diabetes screening.  We went to the most amazing community way out in the countryside.  I got to drive the 4x4 out here and there were a few hills I wasn't sure if I would get up!  It was so beautiful with a mountain right behind all the huts that I decided to hike up!!  Two ladies joined me but they only made it half way and then I ran the rest of the way and took pictures from the top.  It took 40 minutes to get to the top and the view was amazing!!  This picture below is one of the ladies who lives in the community we were doing the screening at.  She really wanted her picture taken.  All of the community members love it when you ask for their picture so I don't feel shy about bringing out my camera anymore.  Lots of the women put clay on their faces to protect them from the sun.
 The picture below is some of the community members whom we screened.
 It still fascinates me how all the women carry things on their heads so easily.  This is three community members arriving at the screening site.
 This picture below is me half way up the mountain.  The two ladies I was with stopped at this point so we got some great photos.  The view was incredible.
 Here are the two women who came with me.  I was so impressed they made it this far, and also so impressed they expressed interest in coming!!
 The view from the top! 

 This is just a pretty picture of the road out of the community from the back of the 4x4 on our way home.
 Last weekend we went to the Umpholozi Game Reserve.  This was my first safari so despite vomiting a few times it was incredible.  I went with Kate and 2 girls from England who run a charity and raise money for Kate to give out food every month.  They were incredible women and young (28 and 30) so we had a great time.  This is a picture of me leaning out the window of Kate's car at the end of our game drive the first night.  We saw so many animals - giraffes, wild dog (very rare), vultures, white rhino, warthog, zebras, lots of elephants, crocodiles, turtles, buck,  and baboons. 
 We were in and amongst about 10 elephants, including babies!  Kate had her foot on the gas ready to accelerate out of there if any of them showed interest in flipping our cars!  We were trying to be still and be "one with the car," but that's always difficult with a 2 year old and 5 year old in the car haha!!
 This giraffe was so close I thought he was going to put his head in my window! 
Since the weekend I have been very involved with the diet study.  A team has arrived from Edmonton (small world) for the diet study.  Gita is the lead lady and has a PhD in nutritional epidemiology.  They have been out in the field collecting 24 hour recall data on 80 community members.  They ask them to recall everything they ate the day before.  I have inputed all the data into an excel spreadsheet for them and will be doing as much as I can to help with their research during my time left here.  I find it fascinating and am excited to learn more about what they do.  I may even have my name published on a few papers by the time I leave here!!

My battery is dying so I am going to end this here.  I hope it makes sense I was typing fast!!

exciting developments in the life of kerry spearing...

to be continued...

A few relevant notes:
1) I have been in 4 different countries in the past 4 days
2) I am about to enter my 5th in a few hours.
3) This is day 4 of airports and flights.
4) I am way to excited to be bored of flying by this point!
5) I couldn't sleep last night - too excited.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Home Sweet Home

I'm back in my favorite place in the world - WHISTLER!! My last week has been absolutely crazy, but I'm so happy to be here. Last Sunday I raced in Holland at the Almere European Cup. It was another race in torrential rain and severe wind and I was happy when it was over. I had a great time though, despite the poor race, and Bryan was a great roomie :)
On Monday I flew to Zurich and took the train back into the Swiss Alps to Pontresina, where some of the irish team was still training. I had left most of my stuff there so I had to go back, but I made the decision I was not going to stay and on Tuesday flew back to Belfast. I spent most of my day on Wednesday packing my things and at 4:20PM called Air Canada to ask if I could get on a plane to Vancouver on Thursday (the next day). The lady I talked to was extremely helpful but there was no flight to Heathrow early enough for me to make the 11am flight to Vancouver. "Can you get on a flight tonight at 7?" "Um it's 4:20 now.. sure why not!" SO I spent 5 consecutive nights in 5 different countries and arrived in Vancouver on Thursday smiling from ear to ear. Al picked me up from the airport and we drove to Squamish to meet my mom when she got off work.
Man I love this place. I had planned to take some time off, but have already been out for 2 rides, a couple trail runs, and even competed in my first XTerra relay (swim and run) since I arrived!! It's so nice to get back to exercising for the enjoyment of it. It can be easy to get caught up in what your trying to accomplish and forget the reasons why you started the sport in the first place.Mel McQuaid was in Whistler for the Canadian XTerra Championships this weekend. Apparently as far as XTerra goes it was a pretty knarly course, but I guess being in Whistler that's to be expected. On Saturday morning she asked me if I wanted to do a relay with her partner, Ross. He would do the mountain biking if I swam and ran. I signed up right away - I LOVE trail running!! It was so much fun and I had a big smile on my face the whole way. It was an 11km run on some pretty sketchy mountain bike trails. I took the downhills pretty conservative as I didn't want to break an ankle, and just made sure not to walk on any of the uphills (although it was pretty tempting!!).

I'll definitely have to do more of these!
Mel and I at the finish (she won).

My good friend Shauna came up to Whistler last night for a visit. We went out for an hour hilly trail run this morning around Lost Lake. It was so much fun, but after the 11km race yesterday I am SO sore now I can barely walk!! Ah the price you have to pay for adventure :)

This is a pretty sweet picture I took at the top of a climb in the Swiss Alps. It was a tough climb but so worth the view at the top!

Gavin Noble with coach Chris and support team Martina and Ricky.
A beautiful lake in St. Moritz, Switzerland. It reminded me of Whistler.
This was in Almere the night before the race.