Thursday, August 07, 2014

It's only sort of about the bike!

Finally some breathing room. The pace of life has slowed down and for that I'm very grateful.  One of my good friends told me that she was taking the Summer off to spend with her kids and that really resignated with me.  I'm realizing that Kiel is growing up much faster then I ever expected and that I can't get these years with him back. As such, I made a conscious decision to only just do what I needed to work wise and to start saying no to the extra's.  I turned down several magazine writing articles, have kept social media time to a minimum and have tried to de-clutter my life somewhat. Feels good. I stopped stressing on the fact that I couldn't run anymore and focused on the things that I could do to keep fit and maintain my mental edge.  This alone relieved so much pressure.

Life on the road!

In saying that though, I coached a very successful and fun running camp in July for 4 days. I had given myself permission to still run and be on trail for this and trust me, I enjoyed every single step I took out there, never taking one ounce of trail for granted. Being on the trails, especially up in the alpine, is incredibly special to me. We had a great group of runners to explore and experience our coastal BC beauty with.  The achilles wasn't too happy with me but I was pleasantly surprised regarding my fitness seeing as I hadn't run for months. My motto has been well I shouldn't run so I might as well bike and so, bike it has been.

The Lions. Day #2 Run Camp

Just for fun, I participated in the 160km Grand Fondo in Penticton mid July. This would have been my Hardrock weekend (booooo) so at least challenging myself in some capacity filled the void. Kiel's Aunty Sheena and I ventured for a great weekend of training, racing and camping to the hot Okanagan. I hadn't actually swam in Skaha Lake since my Ultraman 10km swim a few years ago. Gotta say, much nicer to float around with Kiel in it as opposed to swimming it from one end to the other.  I had a great day on the fondo course, hanging with the chase pack and riding at a nice fast pace. 75km of headwinds wasn't so much fun though and it was a hot day.  I hadn't entered with any expectations and had just planned to ride with friend and biking bad ass Barb Sweeney.  However, thinking she was in front of me, I chased her all day only to discover that she had dropped with an injury.  I ended the race with a crazy sprint that just about sent me into cardiac arrest at the finish shoot. Having not spent much time in the saddle, I was super stoked on 3rd female across the line (but finished 5th by milliseconds due to chip time.)  Is road racing for me? Not sure.

However, building upon my 4.5hr fond time, my good friend Robyn accompanied me down to Oregon this past weekend so that I could ride some sweet single track at the Cascade Cream Puff 100mile mountain bike race.  I've had this event on the radar for many years, mainly because I wanted to see what Oakridge riding was all about.  So, why not go when a race was happening right?  The course was incredibly hard, lots of climbing (18,000+ft) and super hot but had some of the most amazing single track to balance it out.  I was on my hard tail and clearly had not put enough time on it. Great for climbing as it was super light but my hands were killing on the descents due to lack of absorption.  Anyways, I had no expectations out there. Apparently I left my climbing legs back at the campsite on race morning as usually I get stronger as the race goes on but maybe due to the heat (?? hmm still not sure)  I was off my game on lap #2. I led the race for females until about 60miles and then was passed by last years winner. She was climbing well and put time in on me. I made up for it on all single track sections but just couldn't close the gap.  In the end, after 100miles of riding, I finished in 2nd, 6mins behind the winner.  I've dedicated my 2nd place to all the ladies in Squamish who I ride bikes with. It's been awesome hitting roads and trails with several woman who are phenomenal riders and who always push me to be better.

No time to be nervous! Other things take precedent over race prep.

My take away from the Cream Puff has been a few things. Firstly, I've done anything but train seriously  for bike racing so overall, I'm happy with how I have been doing. Majority of rides are chariot pulls (1-2x a day) and that does actually develop some nice leg power.  Secondly, I've been relieved to see that I still have my ability to dig deep and hang in there when things get rough or when I feel like crap. I don't ever want to loose my edge to suffer and through a few races this year I have proved to myself that it's still there post pregnancy.  Thirdly, patience to heal is something that I'm still dealing with daily and that's ok.  My last check in with physio showed good progress so I'm on the right track for the pro-lapse reversal. And lastly, I've been having just a great Summer adventuring with Kiel, riding when I can and just enjoying nature as opportunities come to me.   I'm content. I'm surrounded by great people who are supporting me to get back out there and who are a big part of Kiel's life.  It takes a community to raise a child and I have that for sure.  Thankyou friends, you know who you are.

Relaxing post race, the best part!
Lowdown on my current gear. I thought I'd share this seeing as I haven't updated on my favourite items since taking a break from the running!

Bike:  Specialized Stumpjumper Carbon HT
Glasses:  Ryders Shelled
SportsBra:  Icebreaker Sprite Racerback Bra
Shorts:  Shredly (wicked for trail play)
In My Bottle: One bottle with just H20, the 2nd with Nuun (grape)
Post Recovery:  Shaker cup of vanilla hemp milk, Manitoba Harvest Hemp Pro 70, Udo's Oil and 1 banana
Training Partner:  The Chariot of course!

I've also gotta give a few shout-outs to some people who are working so hard to get me better and keep me going. Di Adams, Laura Miller and Britt Jonat's amazing massages!  If I was really rich and could afford massage every single day, this is what I'd spend money on!!!!  Chiropractor Amber Kirk for the much needed adjustments when I hobble in with whiplash from falling off my bike. To all my friends who give me that little break and watch Kiel so I can go to appoints and do work when Norm is out of town.  And lastly, to all my athletes and clients in Squamish and around the globe! You inspire me daily and I thank you for that.

Adventure Onwards……and we will do the same!

Ps - are you on Instagram? Lets connect!  Find me at #JenSegger

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Our New Path

So stoked that July is here and I finally feel like the waters have calmed a bit.  May and June were out of control busy as I had the addition of 2 running events to my already jam packed plate.  I hadn't felt so stressed in a long time and it's a part of my life that I've been really trying to work on. However, thanks to all my wonderful volunteers, we pulled off yet another successful Loop the Lakes Trail Race (8km,15km and 21km) up at Alice Lake at the end of May and then just an AWESOME new sold out race, the Skyline Ridge Run presented by Manitoba Harvest Hemp 10km/19km on top of Squamish's new Sea to Sky Gondola in June.

Skyine Ridge Run Race
Sometimes I have NO idea how I even got into events and race directing.  As anyone who puts on events knows, the prep time and back end hours is insane, never mind the event day itself!  I suppose I am a detail oriented person though and I find with running races, its a great way for me to give back to the running community that has given me so much over the last 10+ years. I tell ya, I never show up at a race anymore without thinking about how much hard work went on behind the scenes prior to everyone showing up at the start line.  The Skyline Ridge Run was a unique challenge to take on as there was no template behind its organization. It was fun though to create something totally new for runners to enjoy. The trails up on top of the Sea to Sky Gondola are incredible and I highly urge everyone to get out and explore them this Summer.  Stay tuned for our 2015 plans!

On the racing front, I've had to face the hard reality of where my body is at these days. I returned from pregnancy with a settled achilles tendon but I knew it was far from perfect. I decided (against better judgement) to return to 2 early season races - La Mision 50miler in Patagonia and the Zion 100km.  Despite winning both of them, my performance at Zion really upset me. I was in so much pain from start to finish that it was hard to enjoy the scenery and trails that I had fallen in love with over the past few years.   I didn't feel like a runner, my stride was off and technique ugly. More recently I've been seeing physio for a post partum set back, finding out that I'm at risk for a prolapse if I don't take care of re-strengthening my pelvic floor correctly RIGHT NOW.  I thought at first that I could fight my way through that one, doing all my exercises to correct the issues while still running and preparing for Hardrock 100.  I quickly learned that my body had other plans for me and finally, I succumbed to the reality of my situation. An irritated achilles and a potential prolapse was not going to set me up for the race that I wanted at Hardrock this year.  I was miserable when I emailed the RD at Hardrock a few weeks ago to decline my entry but knew that the sooner I did it, the better for the next person in line to have more time to prepare. A Hardrock entry only comes around so often which made it that much harder to give up.  But, it was the right thing to do as I knew that I would not be competing against the top females like I wanted to do.  I sadly also had to let Nikki Kimball know that I wouldn't be able to pace her at Western States this year. Again, totally bummed out. I've never experienced the WS atmosphere and I was psyched to be apart of Nikki's team. She was to pace me at Hardrock and I was stoked to have the most bad ass female in ultra along me as I took on the big mountains. Anyways, another year, there will always be another year :)  Hardrock is just going to have to wait.

So with my body not co-operating for running this year, I've pulled my schedule back to just a few key must do's, the next of which is my High Alpine Run Camp next week. I'm looking forward to hitting my favourite routes above the treeline with a great group of runners.  After that, I return to my physio protocol of rehabilitating this silly achilles with the hopes of a wickedly awesome 2015 and some adventures that have been brewing for wayyyyyy too long!  I need to get better so it's a Summer on the bike to maintain fitness and keep me mentally sane.

However, there is a silver lining to everything!!  Norm, Kiel and myself are now extremely excited and stoked to have partnered with a brand that we believe defines everything of who we are as athletes, adventurers and where we are at in our lives.  We couldn't be more stoked to have come on board with Icebreaker, a company who is as natural in their products as they are in their company values. It's a fit that feels right. For years, Norm and I have been wearing Icebreaker for our base layering, especially in the winter. But now, after experiencing how amazing wool feels in the Summer too, how breathable, lightweight and natural it is, my love for merino based products just rocketed through the roof.  They make products that work for virtually every activity that we do, from running to SUP, to hiking to travel and casual wear. Check out their website and have a read on what Icebreaker is all about.  Norm and I are committed to integrating Kiel into our life of adventure, outdoor play and experiential education. Icebreaker makes the perfect products for us to do this in comfort, style and most importantly, performance.

Adventure Onwards........we are!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Adventures in the Great Bear Rainforest

For years now, Norm has raved about May in the Great Bear Rainforest.  It's a special time up on the remote North Coast when the forests and waters are alive with wildlife, the days are typically sunny and the people living in the special community of Hartley Bay are busy down at Kiel harvesting traditional food, drying seaweed, fishing and preparing for the year ahead. Kiel is their Spring harvesting camp and this is the place that we chose to name our little man, Kiel (pronounced Key-L) after.

I've been to Kiel several times now, almost always in the Fall when Norm and I are guiding SUP expeditions in the area. I was excited to visit in the Spring and see Kiel alive!  Most importantly too, we were very much looking forward to bringing Kiel to Kiel so he could see where his name came from and what the area means to us. With the threat of oil tankers on our coastline, Norm and I both felt it important to get Kiel there sooner then later as all the beauty, the wildlife, the pristine nature could be instantly wiped out and never the same.

Also exciting, Norm had just purchased his first boat and he was eager to get it in the water!  After months of searching and non stop "boat talk" I was equally as excited for him and couldn't wait for Kiel and I to be on board.  We made the drive from Squamish to Rupert (17+ hrs) and survived the coffee hole of death (aka - it's bad coffee from Prince George West until you hit Smithers) yet again!

A highlight on our drive was stopping in to see Norm's good friend Roy Henry Vickers.  Being that Roy is my favourite artist of all time (growing up visiting his gallery in Tofino since I was young) and now owning several of his prints, it was a real honour to meet him.  He recently just published a new children's book and surprised Kiel with a signed copy.  Thank you Roy!  It's a special gift that we will cherish always. We also got to spend a bit of extra time in Smithers with our friends Walt and Amy before finishing the drive and launching Norm's new ocean vessel from Kitimat.

A special gift for Kiel from Roy Vickers.
Confident in Norms boating skills, we made our way down Douglas Channel from Kitimat to Hartley Bay.  Like all adventures and expeditions, this one certainly had it's moments and challenges.  We had to cut our trip short due to some unexpected health issues's of Norm.  However, we managed to see some great wildlife, spend some hours on the water with Kiel and enjoy time with the Hill family.  Following are some of the photo's from our week on the Coast.   If I can recommend one place in the world you must get to, its the Great Bear Rainforest!  Norm is busy planning Fall expeditions and private charters to the GBR all Summer but I sadly, wont' be able to return this year.
Lots of gear means fun times ahead.  
Proud moments, Norm's first boat. 
Norm builds Kiel a boat to participate in the annual Hartley Bay boat race.
He didn't win. 
Enjoying ocean time, waiting for a bite. 
Lots of catch and release. 
Kiel arrives to Kiel. 
Teach them young and let them learn. 
Tide reading and sharing ocean knowledge.
Halibut drying, incredible process of food harvesting. 

Sea Lion rock.
Best way to experience Sea Lion rock is via the SUP.
Evening exploration.
Grizzly bear sitings. 
My first catch of 2014.  Gave to Eva and Cam as a Anniversary gift. 

Monday, May 05, 2014

Thank you Salomon - the journey has been amazing!

Seven days before departing Whistler for my first solo ultra across the Sahara Desert at the Marathon des Sables in Morocco, I signed on with team Salomon.  The year was 2005 and Salomon was just starting to form a trail running team.  It was the beginnings of the brand making a true statement as being leaders in the trail running industry and playing a key role in where the sport is today.

The Salomon brand when I started!
To where it is today!
For me, it was a dream come true to be asked to represent and be branded with a company such as Salomon.  As young 23 year old, the sky was the limit and I was so excited to continue my outdoor pursuits in trail running, adventure racing and mountain biking under the Salomon banner.  I remember attending the very first Advanced Week.  I think there were 10 of us on the International trail running team at that time and our week in France product testing and running was THE BEST to put it simply.  It now seems like so long ago when I look at how the years, adventures and memories have accumulated. 

The 1st Salomon Advanced Week!
And so it is with very mixed emotions as I write this blog to announce that I have recently decided to leave Salomon.  Words can't describe how much I value the last 10 years of being with this incredible company and how proud I have been to wear their logo and call them my sponsor.  I'm fortunate to have travelled the world, made so many new friends and to have challenged myself to my absolute fullest capacity as a runner for them, with them and alongside my running friends.  As I reflect on my career with Salomon, it has been nothing but positive.  I'm proud of what I have personally achieved.  I feel beyond lucky to have had the experiences that I've had under the Salomon banner.

A special thank you to my Salomon Canada family especially Phil Villeneuve and JP McLeod for providing me with so many great opportunities over the years.  I've enjoyed working alongside and supporting both of you as we've worked to spread the trail running stoke throughout our country.  I look at what we have accomplished and the list is long!  And to my International family, the adventures have been amazing thus far and I look forward to running with many of you in various parts of the globe as the years go on.  Thank you Greg Vollet for the incredible opportunity to be on the International team and full fill my own personal goals of being able to use my running to explore the world.
My early days as a Salomon athlete!
And so I leave Salomon on a very positive note, looking upon this past chapter with nothing but fond memories.  The time has come for me to welcome change into my life and as hard as it is, I know the move is the right one for me at this time.  I'm a different person and athlete then I was 10 years ago, 5 years ago and last year. As "they" say, one door needs to close so that another can open.  I'm excited for the new opportunities and challenges that await me in the months ahead. 

No matter what, Salomon has played a key role in shaping who I am as an athlete today and the goals that I have already set for the future.  Thankyou Salomon for a decade of amazingnesss and the opportunity to be apart of something special.

ONWARDS……….the trails are waiting………..