running

Massage for Runners

Are you wondering what about the best way to recover between Golden Ultra stages?

While stretching, cold river baths and lots of sleep will be critical, so too will be a bit of massage and active therapy.  We are so excited to announce that Golden, BC's own Element Therapeutics and Claudia Richard from Active Vernon Massage will be available all three days to help your aching bodies!

You can sign up for your massage spot online (online registration now closed - Sept 17) if you're worried about getting the prime spots.  Otherwise we will have sign-up at registration and daily after each event.

Claudia Richard is an RMT from Vernon, BC.  Claudia has extensive event experience including work at SingleTrack 6 and BC Bike Race, not to mention she runs ultramarathons herself!  Claudia is also a certified Active Release Techniques (ART) therapist.

Golden's Kristi Easton is RMT with 6 years of experience working with Canada's Ski Cross teams, including a stint at the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Games.  She's also a registered holistic nutritionist so quiz her about recovery food as you're getting your legs flushed.

Element Therapeutics owner, community supporter and physiotherapist Stan Metcalfe will be at the finish line assisting with First Aid when he's not helping runners recover.  

Yoga therapist, yoga teacher, and physiotherapist, Kristie McGregor, will be offering massage service as well as intriguing conversation on total wellness including yoga therapy.  Kristie is particularly interested in movement system impairments and wholistic wellness.

Tessa Keefer is a massage therapist at Element Therapeutics who enjoys both backcountry skiing and surfing.  She has worked at numerous backcountry lodges in BC and in Tofino for 6 years providing apres-surf massage.  

Mountain lover Marie-Michelle Lafontaine finished her physiotherapy studies in 2010 and high-tailed it to the mountains of BC.  An adventure seeker, Marie-Michelle is excited to hear of your Golden Ultra challenges as she helps you prepare for your next run.

Kierra Hautala is one of those elusive Golden-born-and-raised species that is also an avid outdoor adventurer.  Kierra has travelled far and wide to gain experience and training as both an RMT and now Osteopath, and is returning to work full time at Element Therapeutics, starting with the Golden Ultra!

Six Tips for Climbing and Descending

Prepared by: Jen Segger

With just under two months to go until race weekend, there is STILL time to improve and develop your hill running game in time for September’s Golden Ultra. Whether you plan to partake in only one day of racing or take on the entire 3 day challenge, hill running, up and down, will likely be the key to your success!

I’ve been competing in trail running events and epics for nearly 12 years, choosing to mainly tackle races that have daunting elevation profiles. Through practice and focus I’ve learned how to become an efficient climber and to actually embrace hills when I come across them. By focusing on form and technique, I was able to remove fear and hesitation in descending and learned how to save my legs for the next climb. All my coached athletes, whether new to running, veterans or elite, work on hills throughout their training cycle.

Each of the three stages are unique and your legs need to be ready to take on the demands that the Golden Ultra trails have waiting for you. Day #1 is purely vertical, short and sweet covering 1,000m of vertical gain in just 5km. Day #2 begins with a mix of ascents and descents but ends with a long sustained downhill so you want to make sure that your legs are prepared to take on multiple kilometres of downhill running (almost 20km!!!!) and still have functioning limbs for the final day at the event. Day #3 being a mixed bag of everything including a number of downhills that are technical and steep. As you can see, it will be beneficial to have a diverse set of hill skills for this race!

The ABC’s of ASCENDING

Assume Position As you approach a hill, no matter how big or small, determine the game plan for how you are going to get to the top. This might sound simple but many people don’t think about the most efficient way to climb based on the grade of the hill, the terrain (technical or smooth) and the length of the ascent. Set your body position. Stand tall, drop your shoulders and avoid hinging at the waist. Look up to where you want to go and ensure your arms don’t swing across the body. Avoid toe running unless the terrain gets really step. This will help prevent fatiguing the smaller muscles in the legs such as the calves. Then from that position you can determine if it’s a power walk, a steady controlled ascent or a fast and powerful all out climb.

Breathing Longer hills require that you get control of your breath. I do this immediately when starting a hill that is anything longer than a quick up and over. You want to keep your breathing rate steady and avoid gasping for air. Control the rate of your inhale and exhale. Aim to avoid quick, shallow breathing. Dropping the shoulders and relaxing the upper body including the arms will help promote quality and controlled breaths. For short power climbs that are only a few steps or 10-20 seconds in length, a more aggressive pattern can be established that will almost match the rhythm of the arms as they pump forward to propel you up. As soon as you crest over the top though, resume controlled breathing.

Cadence Aim to keep your cadence (or stride frequency) the same regardless of if you are climbing, descending or running flats. Instead adjust your stride length. Focus on short steps for a steep grade. If you need to power walk the hill, do so with purpose. Keep the legs turning over and stacked under the hips. You want your feet moving and propelling you, rather than feeling like you are hauling 2 heavy weights up the hill.

The 123’s of DESCENDING

#1 Little Effort Running downhill should require very little exertion. The more you can relax and let your body move with gravity, the less energy you will expend and the more your quads will be saved. Think about it like this: How you run one downhill will ultimately affect how your legs feel for the next climb that you ask of them. The first part of your body down the hill should be your chest (sometimes called leading with the heart), especially in non-technical terrain. By maintaining an engaged core yet relaxed arms and legs, this is achievable.

#2 Lengthen Out As your speed increases, lengthen your stride but don’t let cadence drop. If the terrain is more technical you may need to sit back slightly and shorten the stride but remember that quick foot work, paired with high cadence will move you over rocks and roots with ease. Regardless of terrain, land on the balls of your feet and avoid heel striking. Aim to have the least amount of foot to ground contact time as possible. Strive for quick, fast, agile feet.

#3 Look Ahead Focus your eyes down the hill, looking to where you want to go and not at your feet. I suggest a 45-degree angle to the ground is a good starting point. The more you practice this, the more your confidence to trust your feet will grow.

On Yoga and Golden Love: Jessica Pyper Profile

The yoga and trail running retreat is filling up fast and now only a few weekends away, so we thought it high time we shared some information on our Golden local yoga instructor, Jessica Pyper.  Jessica will be working with Kristen Stuart leading the yoga classes and Elinor Fish will guide the running practise.

Tell us a bit about yourself... 

I am a yoga student and teacher. I grew up in Grimsby, ON and moved to Golden, BC in 2009 to spend more time in the mountains snowboarding and studying and I just never left. A typical day for me looks like this: wake up, do some computer work for my business (marketing, social media, planning retreats, etc.), practice yoga, eat breakfast, get outside (either snowboarding or mountain biking- seasonally dependant), garden/house work, dinner, more computer work or work at the restaurant or hang out with friends. For work, I teach yoga classes, SUP yoga classes, workshops, and retreats. I also give Reiki treatments and currently work at a restaurant in town, too. 

When did you start practising yoga?  Why?  What do you love about it - what keeps you practising?

I started practicing yoga when I was 19 - only a few classes here and there. I gradually began practicing more and more and now I aspire to practice everyday if I can. I starting practicing yoga for the physical benefits and kept developing my practice because of all the other amazing aspects of yoga. I love yoga because it centres me and makes me feel comfortable in my own skin. I have an identical twin sister, so growing up was quite a challenge for me - I never felt like I had my own sense of identity and I didn’t really like myself too much. I was always wanting to be someone else- which sounds sad, but it wasn’t, I was very loved… just not by myself. Practicing yoga has really taught me to love myself as I am- it’s the best thing in the world.

Jessica with some garden rewards.

Jessica with some garden rewards.

What do you like about teaching yoga?

My favourite part of teaching yoga is teaching my students to love themselves, teaching gratitude, and helping them release their fears. My class is very physical, too, but my biggest focus as a teacher is teaching love.

Where do you find your inspiration for your classes?

I find inspiration for my classes all over the place- usually from my students. I never plan my classes and I base my teaching on the energy level of the group and I always teach a class around the needs of the group that day. Music also inspires me a lot, whenever I create a new playlist, I get pretty excited to teach! 

Why Golden?

I like Golden because of the amazing mountains here. We have such awesome mountain biking and snowboarding- Kicking Horse is the best resort I’ve been to yet. I LOVE the small town vibes and the people here are so rad. If the mountains don’t humble you, the people here will for sure.

What do you think are the most important poses for runners to practise?

Some yoga poses I enjoy after running are hamstrings; any type of forward fold either standing or seated will stretch out your hammies and your lower back. Downward dog is great because it stretches the calves, hamstrings, and back. I also really enjoy low lunges, with the back knee on the ground; if its available, grab the back foot for a deeper thigh stretch. Lastly, legs up the wall is my favourite all-around restorative pose.

Thanks for sharing, Jessica!

---

The Golden Ultra is a three-day stage running race (or relay) in Golden, BC from September 18-20, 2015.  Runners may participate in all three stages as a solo or part of a relay, or may register for any single or combination of two stages separately. 

Meet the Courses - Golden Ultra Orientation Runs

With the advent of the summer season - it's looking HOT out there - and the grand summer opening of Kicking Horse Mountain Resort, we're stoked to announce some orientation runs on the Golden Ultra courses.  

Sunday, June 7 - "The Tears" Course:  Meet at corner of Bowles Evans Drive and Spruce Drive, we will run the "single track" portion of the course (approximately 15 km).

Sunday, July 5 - "The Sweat" Course: Meet at the CBT Mainline Trailhead (on Kicking Horse Trail & Golf Course Road).  We'll run the "bottom half" of the course, approximately 20 km.

Sunday, July 12 - "The Sweat" Course: Meet at Cedar Lake parking area (Tallis FSR at Cedar Lake Campground).  We'll run the "top half" of the course, approximately 30 km.

Monday, August 3 - "The Blood" Course: Meet at the Gondola base at Kicking Horse Mountain Resort.  This will be your only chance to try this course uphill until race day as the ski hill does not allow uphill traffic for safety reasons.

All orientation runs begin at 9:00 am sharp, at the designated location.  Runs are free and are not limited to Golden Ultra registered runners.  There will be a brief course description at the start and then we will set out as a group - if you're especially slow or especially fast we'll try to make accommodations so that you also get the benefit of the run.

We've posted all these runs as events on our Facebook Page - RSVP, post your questions and photos, and invite others!

Healthy Eating: How Much Sugar is too Much Sugar?

Katie Mazzia

Katie Mazzia

This is the first article in a multi-part series about athlete nutrition and eating for performance.  These articles are written by Katie Mazzia, Clinical Dietician and Diabetes Educator at the Vail Valley Medical Centre in Colorado.  Katie is part of the Golden Ultra family and a fantastic runner herself.  As a multiple time podium finisher at the TransRockies Run, she knows a thing or two about healthy eating as an athlete!

How much sugar is too much sugar?

Sugars are carbohydrates. Whether its natural sugar, like molasses or honey, or processed sugar, like cane sugar or high fructose corn syrup, too much is harmful for your health and training. On average, Americans consume more than 22 teaspoons of added sugar each day or about 140 pounds in one year!

Simple sugar during exercise is okay!

  • Simple sugars such as glucose, fructose, cane sugar/syrup are the most important energy source during endurance activity. Studies suggest a combination of these sugars can increase absorption 40% faster than just one type.
  • Maltodextrin is “technically” a complex carbohydrate although breaks down fast and is often found in sports gels or other sports nutrition products.
  • Aim for a minimum of 25gm carbohydrate per hour if exercising > 60 minutes.
  • Quick energy ideas: Clif Shots or Bloks, Honey Stinger Chews, 2T. Raisins, Skratch or Tailwind sports drinks.

Too many simple sugars are not okay!

  • Excess added sugar in your diet increases your risk for heart disease and diabetes.
  • Limit added sugars to 25 grams a day for females (100 calories) or 37 grams per day for males (150 calories).
  • Added sugars are on the Nutrition Facts label are under “Total Carbohydrate-Sugar”.
  • Limit your juice intake to 8 oz. per day.
  • Remember fruits and plain milk have NATURAL sugars and this is not counted as “added” sugar. 

What does 100 calories of added sugar look like? ½ ounce dark chocolate (10gm), cereal (10gm), 1 tsp. brown sugar (4gm).  20 oz. Vitamin Water=31 grams added sugars. Starbucks flavoring (2 pumps) =10gm added sugars.

Stay tuned for more healthy eating tips to get you ready for event day!

Katie Mazzia on the top step of the podium at TransRockies Run

Katie Mazzia on the top step of the podium at TransRockies Run

The Golden Ultra is a three-day stage running race (or relay) in Golden, BC, Canada.  Runners may participate in all three stages as a solo or part of a relay, or may register for any single or combination of two stages separately.

Meet Yogini Kristen Stuart

When we created the Golden Ultra Yoga & Running Retreat our goal was to pull together some of the most real, inspiring and talented teachers to share their love of running and yoga with you.  There was no better person to invite than yogini Kristen Stuart. 

Kristen is a registered Yoga and Meditation teacher and a Lifestyle Coach, passionate about guiding people towards their passion, purpose and powerful presence in this life.  To introduce you more to this beautiful person and inspiring teacher, here is a quick question and answer.

Tell us a bit about yourself... Who is the real Kristen Stuart?

I live in Canmore, Alberta, in the heart of the Canadian Rockies.  Although I’ve lived here for many years, this place never stops inspiring me. 

A typical day for me would be to wake up around 6:00 am with a warm lemon water drink.  This is part of my ayurvedic self care routine that I’ll share more with you at the retreat.  I follow that up with some meditation, an Americano and my yoga practice.  A healthy breakfast follows.  Once I’ve taken care of myself I start my work day of coaching, private and public yoga instruction, and all the other stuff that goes into having your own small businesses.  The evening is all about healthy dinner, quality times with loved ones and grounding.

I love hiking and climbing and there is no better place than Canmore for that.  Grassi Lakes is a quick hit close to town for hiking and the climbing gym at Elevation Place is simply amazing.  I’m so thankful that being active is so easy to incorporate into my life.

When did you start practicing yoga?  What got you interested in it?  What do you love most about yoga?

I started practicing yoga in 2001 and was initially interested from a totally physical perspective.  I came from a background of personal training and started my yoga journey with the Ashtanga style of yoga – strong and sweaty! 

For me, yoga is a way of life, a lifestyle.  Once I began the practice my life shifted in so many positive ways.  I was more conscious of the food I was eating, how I was communicating with others, and I was so much more conscious of energy.  As a totally type-A over-achiever, yoga chilled me out while still allowing me to accomplish.

Yoga is a practice that you can lean in to on a daily basis and use to help shift you in the direction that you need to be shifted.  If I wake up with low energy I can use a powerful practice to invigorate me.  Likewise, I can use a grounding practice and meditation to soothe anxiety.  My practice is ever evolving and always brings me the exact ‘medicine’ I need.

The beautiful thing about yoga is that there are so many styles and practices and everybody connects to it and values it in a different way.  This is what has kept me interested as an instructor and even within my own life.  I love to use yoga to help guide people through times of transition.  This is what forms a key part of my business – yoga-influenced life coaching.

If I was to sum up my practice:  Yoga meets me where I’m at, takes me where I need to go and never leaves me where I was.

Lots of runners are not good stretchers and are nervous about getting into yoga.  What would you tell a beginner to “ease their fears? 

That was me 14 years ago! 

It would be a rare runner that could show up to their first marathon without training & expect to win it.  Just like that, with yoga you have to start somewhere.  A small step is to incorporate some yoga into your daily routine.

Our plan for this retreat is to put together a great foundation in yoga from an anatomy and alignment perspective.   This won’t be about the end result of touching your toes (for example) but about how you can get there, slowly.  You’ll learn about both strength and flexibility, while we make it fun and playful.  Overall you’ll be able to take home a mini-program that you can incorporate into your training plan.

4.  What is the most rewarding thing about teaching yoga for you? 

By far the most rewarding thing about teaching yoga for me is watching people change.  It’s about seeing how the practice influences their lives in a positive way.  Over time I see people stretching the edges of their life, moving through fears, doubts, uncertainty, and all the other things that make us human and open us to grow and evolve.

On a more physical level, it’s amazing to see people nail their first arm balance or to watch their body move deeper into a pose. These ‘aha’ moments never fail to bring smile to someone’s face!

If somebody only had time in the day for 10 minutes of yoga (or meditation), what would you suggest?                 

I would say take 5 minutes to sit in a quiet space and meditate.  Go screen free and listen to your breath.  Then, turn on some music and take 5 minutes to run through some yoga postures like sun salutations.  Or just unroll your mat and move in a way that feels intuitive.  The key thing is to use those 10 minutes, embrace them, don’t be afraid or to busy!

Words of Wisdom?

Our beliefs create our environment.  They have the incredible potential to attract more kindness, abundance, gratitude and beauty, thus setting the tone for greater wellbeing and self-empowerment.

The Golden Ultra is a three-day stage running race (or relay) in Golden, BC, Canada.  Runners may participate in all three stages as a solo or part of a relay, or may register for any single or combination of two stages separately.