May 29, 2008

Yogaslackers head to the Desert

I am gettting jittery with excitment as in a day I get to hang out with my new friends the Yogaslackers. Jason, Daniel and I are reuniting to take on the Desert Dash Adventure Race and then hang out for some solid team bonding while rock climbing in Red Rocks, practicing some acroyoga, slacklining, probably mountain biking, running and whatever other adventures we find ourselves in...It's been 2 months since we met, raced and kicked some serious butt in Baja Mexico and it feels like forever ago. I am sure to have tons of stories upon my return.

Also, Jason, introduced me to Skype. first reaction was one of embarrassement and shyness until I got used to looking at myself and him....but then it was just really cool to actually talk and see and watch....oh technology, it brings many joys...but like many things in life with joys come lots of headaches...but I am an optimist! so the JOYS it is. My name is laugaitis....look me up if you want to chat!

I'm looking forward to time in the sun and with good company!

live, love, laugh,...DREAM!

May 27, 2008

My weekend with the Minerva Foundation

Minerva Foundation

I was lucky enough to participate in a women’s Learning to Lead Workshop for the weekend held at UBC at the St John’s College Campus. The workshop was Friday to Sunday: close to 100 women (grade 11s, emerging leaders and community leaders) got together and learned from each other about self-awareness, leadership, communication, teamwork. We laughed, learned, taught, and kindled new friendships. It was a fabulous weekend organized brilliantly by the Minerva Foundation volunteers. I had a chance to look deeper into who I really am: my likes and dislikes, and my strengths and weaknesses. It’s important to take the time for self-care, to set goals, take risks, keep good company, be a learner and a teacher and have fun! These are just a few of the key notes I have learned over the weekend. Life is a wonderful place, and the world is your oyster. ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE! So……like I say it everyday..I’ll say it again…


May 23, 2008

Burnaby Lake Canoe and Kayak Club

So this past Wednesday I attended my first official kayak "lesson" down at Burnaby Lake. Lynn, the coach, let me figure out how to stay a float in a K1 kayak (it is harder than you think. To my surprise and hers I stayed upright and by the end of the lesson felt fairly comfortable. I am very excited to get help with my technique. I have a little (huge) kayaking quest....I want to win the Molokai. No doubt it will take a couple of years, for now its a dream that I am slowly trying to turn into a reality.

Live, Love, Laugh,...DREAM!

May 22, 2008

Long Weekend Adventures on the Island

Surf’s Up!

The long weekend in Ukee/Tofino…

A huge group of us booked cabins, brought food/drinks, games, surfboards, warm clothes and made our way over to Ucluelet. “Ukee” is a quaint small town about 40km from the big surf town known as Tofino. Thank you Pacific Boarder for the use of their surfboard, Christa for picking it up, Danny and Bryce for driving me, Michelle, Katy for getting me to some awesome beaches, Nicole for booking the cabins and for everyone else for showing up with smiles and party hats on.

We arrived on Friday evening; I managed to squeeze in a run before dinner and a little socializing.

Saturday consisted of surfing, eating, running, slacklining, acro yoga, more surfing and partying like I haven’t in a long long time. I’ve decided that partying until the wee hours of the morning is tougher on ones body than a 3 day non stop race in the desert… I was zonked on Sunday. I attribute my feeling of complete exhaustion from partying and being ultra active on Saturday, but mostly from not taking a rest day since my last 24 hour race. I think it all just caught up with me….Despite feeling tired I managed to surf for several hours and set up a sweet slackline on the beach. I also showed off with some acro yopga moves again. Sunday night we celebrated Hilary’s birthday, made an awesome dinner, and ended it off with a bonfire by the beach…All in all a fab day

Monday we awoke to pouring rain. No one was really organized, we had to head out to the ferries before everyone else, so we missed out on a surf session but that’s okay, it was nice to chill, eat a big breakfast and just take a lazy day for once.

The weekend was great! We had surf, sun, bonfires, wine, good friends, slacklining, running, cute cabins and a killer backdrop of ocean, mountains, beaches etc …Life is pretty darn good.

Live, Love, Laugh,…DREAM!

May 14, 2008

Desert Winds Adventure Race Race Report

Dart-Nuun-Gregory/Dart-Nuun Grab the Win

Where to begin…

Desert Winds Adventure race is a race that takes place about an hour from Las Vegas on a huge lake called Lake Mead. This lake was created because of the Hoover Dam. This race is truly a desert race. There is nothing but desert for miles on end around this area. The terrain is harsh, lots of canyons, rock, wind, prickly plants, and hot hot sun. This was my first time venturing into the area and I was blown away by its beauty and its harshness. Robert and Druce Finlay from Kayak Lake Mead put on a most wonderful race with difficult navigational twists, tough running and interesting coasteering. The race had 27 checkpoints in total but only 3 of them were mandatory providing a chance for beginner and elite teams to race together. The disciplines included trekking/kayaking/”swimming” and we had 26 hours to complete as many checkpoints as possible.

I raced with team Dart-Nuun-Gregory (Sean Clancy, Glenn Rogers and Ryan VG). I had met these great guys at previous races but have never trained or raced with them. WOW, if you want three quality, athletic, hilarious, genuine guys these guys are it.

This was my first trip to Vegas and surrounding areas and I wasn’t too sure what to expect. I was blown away by the vastness of the area. In order to save funds (adventure racing is one expensive hobby) I bused down to Seattle Thursday evening, stayed with RVG at his place in Seattle and flew out to Vegas Friday morning. I had about 3 hours to kill before Glenn and Ryan were to arrive so I decided to get a head start at getting my body used to the heat. I found some palm trees outside of the airport, and set up a slackline, did some yoga and read in the shade. It was a great way to spend my first 3 hours in the heat. We eventually made our way to Temple Bar where we met some other racers and set up camp, organized gear, ate and relaxed.

Race Start 10am
Saturday morning after a little bit of a faf we headed down, got our boats ready, and attended the pre-race briefing which lasted about 5 minutes. Nect thing I know we are off running and swimming to get to our maps for leg 1. We managed to reach the maps first. Glenn and Ryan were on it and we were off to look for our first check point. We searched and searched and couldn’t find it thinking we were in the wrong saddle then back until it seemed like most of the field was in the saddle looking for this checkpoint. After awhile we just let it go and were off running…we swam to an island; Robert was there, we told him about the check point and later learned that a burrow nibbled it away. Who would have thought? The rest of leg 1 included swimming and running, getting checkpoints on islands and underwater. We used these fun inflatable sandals to rest our feet throughout the swimming section and they happen to work out great! It was interesting that the water temperature was so cold considering the air temperature was so hot. We reached the end of Leg 1 in first and on fire.

We were off on the kayaks and onto leg 2. We were doing really well: kayaking well and hitting the checkpoints on target. We ran through and over, large beautiful canyons, down steep dried out river beds, through dense prickly plants and landed our kayaks in some deep slippery mud. Our route choice on the second part of leg 2 was probably not ideal but we did well all things considered. I was feeling awesome despite a mild ankle twist. We finished off leg 2 at about 3am and took off for Leg 3 not long after.

We were off on our kayaks again, we had some trouble finding that first checkpoint (it was dark and there were a ton of sneaky coves in the area). Needless to say we eventually found it once the light starting rising and we were off for our last big trek. We were racing hard against the other Dart-Nuun team the entire race. We were in front, then they bounced back and got ahead heading into Leg 3 but we managed to find that first checkpoint ahead of them and were back infront. About half way through the last large trek they passed us again (we miss calculated the checkpoint). We scrambled to catch up to them again. Both teams decided to be as efficient as possible and grab the last couple of checkpoints together and head in for the tie. It was great to really enjoy the last part of the course as a big group. We headed into the finish line all together with smiles on our faces.
I felt great throughout the race and afterwards. I had a few hours to spare until my whirlwind of a flight and bus back to Vancouver. I managed to walk down the strip and try and take in what Vegas had to offer until I literally was starting to fall asleep on my feet. I escaped to the airport where I could grab an hour nap before my flight to Seattle.

What a weekend…what a race. Thank you Robert and Druce, both Dart-Nuun teams and everyone who supports me throughout everything. Nothing is impossible…you just have to live with passion.

Live, Love, Laugh,…DREAM!

May 7, 2008

What May has to offer!

May 10/11 Desert Winds 26 Hour Adventure Race (Lake Mead)
-I’m looking for to racing with team Dart-Nuun at this race. Their female, Karen got injured and so they found me. I am very excited (a little nervous) to race with this fabulous team. Both Dart Nuun teams will be racing in this race. (Both teams beat us –Yogaslackers- in Baja a month ago). I have met all these guys about a year ago and just think they are amazing athletes and people. I feel blessed to have the opportunity to race along side them this weekend.

May 16-19 Tofino Long Weekend
-It’s been quite sometime since I last stepped onto a surfboard. I like to try all sorts of new and fun activities and surfing is one I am not ready to let to rest just yet. I get to spend the entire weekend on a beautiful part of Vancouver island, playing in the water and getting my body mangled by waves…sound like fun huh? The best part is I get to spend it with some awesome friends that I don’t get to hang out with very often. I am hoping to squeeze in some long runs, in between surfing, and chilling…

May 23-25 Learning to lead Program Minerva Foundation
-I got accepted into this leadership program designed for women. I'm looking froward to learning new skills and more about my self and my abilities. Should be a weekend of empowerment and fun!

May 30-June 3 Vegas Sprint AR race and Climbing at Red Rocks
-I finally get to hook up with the yogaslackers to test our skills at another adventure race. Although a much shorter race than Baja, it will be a tough all out sprint from the start to the end. Post race I get to enjoy a couple of days rock climbing at Red Rocks with Jason and whoever else decides to join in on the fun. I am jittery with excitement, to race with the team again, rock climb outdoors, practice some acro yoga, slackline yoga and just hang out in the desert with some people that I think are too fabulous.

Whoa…Life is good huh?

Live, Love, Laugh,…DREAM!

May 5, 2008

A weekend Full of Kayaking

Lake Whatcom Classic Race

Ben picked me up with the Mark 2 and XT Surfskis on his roof. We headed to Surrey to pick up Johnny and off we were to Ferndale to meet up with some other paddlers at Larry’s new home. It was neat to meet a bunch of fast kayakers. We had some burgers and drinks, chatted about kayaking etc and then headed to bed in Larry’s old house next door. My sleep wasn’t the best. I scored the couch but still managed to twist and turn all night long. Oh well, better than outside I suppose. We awoke Saturday morning to rain. BOO. Ben, Johnny and I headed to Old Town CafĂ© in Bellingham for some breakfast and off we went to my first official Kayak Race. My friend Chris came down to see me which was awesome. He is an awesome guy that I had met back in my Whistler days. While, we were registering and organizing the boats I was starting to feel a little nervous. I wasn’t nervous about the placing but more that I would finish and love it and feel good and not tip over. I felt fairly steady climbing into the boat to go warm up.

I was grateful the start line was very long and so it wasn’t as intimidating as others races are with all the boats beginning at the same time and the wash from all the boats creating large waves that could knock a beginner surf skier off their boats. So the horn went off and off we paddled in the rain. Now, it’s an odd feeling not being able to go as fast as your strength will let you due to poor technique. This is where I am at in the surfski (oh and still figuring out the whole balance part.. but its coming surprisingly quickly…I am grateful for this.). I was doing fairly well (all things considered) until about ¾ of the ways through the race. My butt muscle (I still haven’t figured out which one) seized up which caused me to experience severe pain in the buttocks area and down my legs. This pain was fairly intense, to the point where if I moved my lower body at all shots of pain were going through me…it was fairly unpleasant and therefore, I was no longer concentrating on anything but my pain and the need and want to get to the finish line…I was moving slowly (after all my hard work catching up to the double kayak…arg). In the end after a couple of hours, a good night of waffles, drinks, biking and catching up with good friends I was feeling much better and excited about surfskiing again.

Tour De Indian Arm – Deep Cove

Sunday morning I was still somewhat sore in my back and butt muscle (I wish I knew what muscle it was?) but decided to head out for a morning run to loosen everything up before my second surfski race. Following my run I practiced a little yoga to try and stretch it all out.

Once we got to Deep Cove and got our selves all organized I decided it was a much smarter move for me to do the short course rather than the long as I had nothing to prove and I have a big race coming up this weekend in Lake Mead (Desert Winds) with a fabulous strong team (Dart-Nuun) and I want to do well for them (and me!). When you race lots sometimes you have to pick and choose your battles and this race was lower on the scale for me at this time than my Adventure race coming up. On a weekend, Indian Arm is a popular place, especially with the power boats. These power boats would prove to be my enemy throughout this race. I was doing well (for me) for the first half of the race. Going across the channel a huge powerboat managed to create some large waves for me to fight through. I was doing fairly well (well… surviving) until midway through these series of waves one managed to tip me over. I was so surprised and nervous that I slipped back into the boat in nearly record speed but just sat there with my feet dangling out until the series of waves passed by. I regained my concentration and off I went across the channel, a little shaky at first but my fear of falling disappeared. It was great. Coming back from Grey Rocks I again was being challenged by the motor boats. Waves were coming at me every which way and due to my lack of experience I was lucky I managed to stay in the boat at that point. I crossed the line in 1:02. I received my first Kayak Ribbon and a 1st place blue one at that! I got the pleasure of watching Ian Mckenzie and the other great paddlers (Ben and Johnny) cruise in from the long course.
All in all the weekend was a great experience, I am learning lots and am so excited to learn more and watch myself improve. I need to really concentrate on my technique…

Live, Love, Laugh,…DREAM!

May 2, 2008

Tuesday Night Deep Cove Race #4...the attempt at the surfski

So there I was sitting in Stu's XT Fenn, with Ben's paddle, wearing Johnny's farmer john wetsuit, gittery with nervousness, excitment, curiosity along with a bunch of other emotions that come with sitting for the first time in a surf ski by yourself on a start line of a kayak race full of experienced surf skiers. "No pressure, try to finish without dumping and have fun" these were my thoughts I was trying to ingrain into my head. I was nervous: the water was cold, there was some wind, and a lot of other boats. The megaphone yelled go, I stayed put, let all the boats go and then off I went, the lone boat out in the back, was a new and different feeling to be in the back but I wanted to play it safe, get my confidence up and enjoy the experience. As we turned the corner and headed across the channel I pretended I was in the Molokai (this race I would like to do in a couple of years and eventually win...) and started to just go for it, I didn't care if I dumped and fell in anymore, I didn't care how big the waves were and who was in front or behind me, I was in the zone, trying to figure it all out. The stronger my stroke was, the faster the boat went and the more my confidence increased. It was such a neat feeling to beable to get past the fear stage and into the "I don't care what happens lets see what i can do here" phase. In the end, I did not place well but I finished with a smile on my face wanting more...Come to think of it: I believe I infact did win the race, I won my own special race. My next challenge....The Whatcom and Deep Cove races this weekend.

live, love, laugh,...DREAM!