Q: Can anyone do this race or are their special qualifications required?
In order to register for the CCC you have to have earned 2 points in the past 2 years. You earn points by successfully completing one of many races throughout the world. For example, I earned 3 points at Trans Alps, Sun Mountain 80 km was 2 points, and Copper Canyon Ultra was 2 points.
You then enter a lottery and cross your fingers that your name pops up! (Or, at this moment, I am cursing that I was one of the chosen … :=;)
Q: Why do you want to do this race? What motivates you to run so far and take on such a demanding goal?
Because it’s there? I’m really not sure right now – what actually possessed me to sign up for this???
I really do enjoy a challenge. For me, the best type of challenge is that which I’m really not sure I can actually accomplish – I’m thinking this race meets that condition!
I also love adventure. It is not about how fast I race, but the experiences I have along the way. Thinking this one will meet that condition!
Should I be fortunate enough to cross the finish line I will be pretty darn ecstatic!
My heart, my soul and my support all come from Chris – without him encouraging and believing in me there is no chance that I would have EVER contemplated such a huge challenge!
Q: How did you prepare for this race? Can you give us some examples of your training and preparation?
After finding out I was ‘fortunate’ enough to get into this race, Chris and I came up with a very loose training schedule that included 3 ultras and lots of longer back-to-back runs as the race date got closer. Most importantly, I was an active participant with anything and everything that PACE offered! This included the winter, spring and summer clinic, the Rossland Mtn Camp, and the Charity run. Aside from PACE events, Rene has played a large role in my training and preparation. As a coach, Rene is a wealth of information and experience - always ready to share. She is forever positive and encouraging and my role model for strength and perseverance.
Q: When things get really hard in a race like this, what do you do to keep yourself moving and not give up?
I hear Chris’ nagging voice in the back of my head saying ‘Just keep putting one foot in front of the other – don’t stop!”
When things get really hard and my head is filled with negative thoughts, the first thing I do is actively work on changing my attitude – silly as this may sound, the PACE moto is SO TRUE for me. I think about how lucky I am to get to be out there on that trail. It doesn’t take long to realize that there really isn’t anywhere else I would rather be! We trail runners really are a fortunate bunch!
Q: If you were a spectator on the sidelines and one of the racers came up and asked you for advice, a tip, inspiration or something that would help them before they toed up to the start… what would you say to them?
Enjoy every moment of the experience – those moments will only come by once in a lifetime! As cliché as this sounds, it really isn’t about the end, but about the journey ...
This years annual charity run, organized and sponsored by the founder/owner of P.A.C.E. Sports Fitness, Rene Unser, marked the toughest course to-date with stats showing a whopping 63km, 7500ft ascent & 8000+ft descent. It took the determined & tight-knit group approx. 12.5hrs to complete and the 20 of them raised over $8,000 for the Canadian Cancer Society.
The trail itself starts off Hwy 33 on Philpot Road. It starts off with a steep climb called Cardiac Hill and proceeds to climb for quite some time. The trail is mostly single track and there are pretty view points along the way. We broke the run up into segments for the day and our first goal was to run 29km to Beaver Lake Trailhead where my Dad, Joe, and son, Carter, would meet us. They picked up 5 other runners from Home Depot in Kelowna and car pooled out at 8:30am where they set up a terrific buffet of snacks and water. We are so grateful for their patience + for volunteering their time. The aid stations were such a valuable part of the success of the day for everyone.
We expected this section to take approx. 4-4.5hrs. I believe it took us closer to 6hrs as there was a lot of deadfall and trees to navigate. Not to mentioned the trail is quite poorly marked, so it required two to three of us to head in different directions to locate the correct markers. Or we would travel so far and then have to turn around as the 'markers' were lost.
We also had two very brave and strong dudes who decided to attempt to MTB the course and as you can imagine lugging their bikes up and over logs + miles of walking a few steps, riding 5 seconds, off again and repeat took time and patience.
Leaving the BL Trailhead, the fresh runners kept us all on our toes as they were anxious and ready to roll! We climbed out of the aid station and not long after into more deadfall. Once we got up the climb, however we did get into some beautiful meadows with alpine flowers, spectacular views and for the first time in the day we felt like we could actually sustain some leg turnover and run! Our next segment/goal was to make it another approx. 14-15km to the Oyama Lake Trail head where we would access our last aid station before making the final push to the finish. I believe we covered this section in approx. 2hrs and rolled into Oyama in high spirits. There was some tricky navigational areas in this section again and also some very cool areas like the Monolith. Everyone worked so well together and if you weren't helping 'scout' you were staying upbeat, positive and patient. The energy remained high, even as the heat of the day was firing up and we all knew we were going to be out longer than originally expected.
We had a solid team waiting at the Oyama trail head at the approx. 41km mark. Owen, Owen's brother in law + Claude waiting patiently as well for us to arrive. They were in high spirits, cheered us in and helped us get refueled before making a quick transition back on the trail. Not one person waivered at this point. The full meal deal runners were already 8hrs in at this point and the 30k runners were just over 2hrs in. You could tell everyone was in it together. Going to make the final push and do what it took to get this beast of a run done... as a team.
Truth be told, this last section was a bit of a blur for me. I continued to engage in more conversation with those around me. I was super focused on trail finding, keeping the group moving, reminding everyone to keep drinking + eating that I mostly recall the terrain being single track, more trees down but still more runnable sections. The navigation improved for longer stretches, but still would randomly pop out and there be no clear markings in some sections. We truthfully didn't know if we only 14km or 22km left as the trail reports and map distances didn't match. I think we all secretly were praying it was only 14km but it turned out to be 22km and took us another 4+hrs.
After our glorious group shot at the summit of microwave tower, the views and triumph of our journey thus far fueled the group for the 'final-final' push down to Cosen's Bay. The trail was steep, technical and still had numerous tress down. There remained a few tricky navigational sections but we sniffed out the trail with continued team work and eventually could see water and eventually-eventually hit the road back to Cosen's Bay parking lot. We all regrouped for the final 200m, liked arms and the volunteers set up a ribbon finish line for us to all cross. It was 7:30pm. We started at 6:30am. Approx. 13hours for the 63k runners + 7hrs for the 31k runners. This includes our aid station stops etc...
Not one complaint. Not one sour comment. There was joy. Pride. Maybe even some tears. This wasn't just a run... it symbolized how fortunate we all were to have the health and opportunity to accomplish something so wonderful in honor of those who can't. For many, we ran with family members and friends close to our hearts all day long. Every year this run holds a touch of magic and symbolizes community and a belief that our contributions are making a difference and helping those suffering from Cancer. It gives us hope and also reminds us to keep our aspirations alive and that anything is possible if we put our minds to it.
I wore Mary's favorite necklace on the run. I haven't worn it since my Dad gave it to me last September as I was saving it for this day. I drew copious amounts of energy and strength from this all day long. It was a very endearing moment for me personally, when I came into the finish at Cosen's Bay and my Dad noticed it and gave me hug. We both teared up and shared a very endearing moment. It was a beautiful sentiment of honoring as we both know Mary was with us and that she was proud of what we all accomplished together that day.
This event wouldn't have been possible without the support from our community. It was a long and enduring day for all the volunteers. Our time line was way off and it resulted in our volunteers waiting patiently and devoting their whole day to supporting us. Some baked or brought food. Everyone drove to and/or from the start, remote aid stations, the finish and back to Kelowna. The volunteer team that made up this years event was the glue that kept us rolling along our epic journey. We are all so grateful.
Cobs Bread, Hammer Nutrition, Tree Brewery, PACE Sports Fitness, Missy Blackburn, Jody Crumb & Trent Marshall all contributed in some manner to the aid station and finish line food/beverage.
The generosity from our friends, family and community who helped us exceed our fundraising goals. Everyone who donated needs to know that each participant ran with the motivation from your support and each of us wanted to make you proud and be deserving of your donation. Our run as also fueled by each of you. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
Whether you're someone who uses the New Year for traditional "New Year Resolutions" or simply likes the concept of a "fresh start" to create new habits, often the greatest challenge is how to ensure you stay on track. Let's face it, old habits die hard.
So how do you make new habits stick? I think it should start by understanding how a new habit is created. When the mind does something for the first time, it creates a strong attachment and memory to that experience because it has to work hard to get it the first time.
Then it comes down to finding a way to implement a new routine. For example, you could try picking a buzz word like "run" and then remind yourself of the reward you will get when you finish. Pick something that is important to you like a race goal you're working at, or health related goal like "TransRockies Run" or "stronger, leaner" or "healthier, happier".
Then repeat. And repeat. And repeat. And repeat. And repeat. And repeat. And repeat. And repeat. And repeat. And repeat. And repeat. And repeat. And repeat. And repeat. And repeat. And repeat. And repeat. And repeat. And repeat. And repeat. And repeat. And repeat. And repeat. And repeat. And repeat. And repeat. And repeat. And repeat. And repeat. And repeat. And repeat. And repeat. And repeat. And repeat. And repeat.
Bottom line: it comes down to repetition and consistency to form a new habit. Action leads to success.
Lastly - you have to really believe in your goal and believe in the new habits you want to create. Surrounding yourself with positive people and those who have similar beliefs will help keep you on track and reinforce the new habits you're trying to create. And this applies to everything in life. Fitness, running, alcoholism, relationships, money and more.
Personally, this year I worked hard to create new habits in regards to racing. I wanted to run more ultra's before my main race in September (Gore-Tex Transalpine Run) because I really wanted to work on my racing confidence. I have struggled at times with trusting in a race effort and often stay comfortable in races. This year, I just wanted to try different tactics, be prepared to fail or suffer miserably and know deep down that I would grow from my races this year if I wasn't afraid to try different things.
I knew it would require follow through. Not letting my busy life, parenting, coaching, fears, blah, blah, blah... get in the way of toeing up to some races.
I ended up having a positive and happy race season this year. Finishing top 10 female in all of them. Aside from that though, I learned. I learned a lot about myself. I had fun. I felt successful for following through. It was a positive start for sure. I would say new habits were definitely made and most importantly, I made new memories and new experiences that I will look back on my life with gratitude. Don't be afraid of change. Go for it! And don't hold back.