The past few years Jen Segger's solo competition schedule has literally been all over the map as she knocks off endurance events around the world that appeal to her sense of adventure.
This past weekend she took on the 58 km Ultra XC in Quebec, an off-road trail run that has a reputation for being technical and tough. Segger said the reputation is well deserved:
"This was on my list for a while, I knew it was a very, very technical course and that it was super hard and gnarly," she said. "I can say that anybody who considers themselves a trail runner needs to do this race. There is nothing easy about it, no easy sections. Sometimes you're following a very faint trail and the flags, and there's no trail at all. There's never an easy 10-K section on a logging road. You're going up or you're going down."
Normally that kind of thing would appeal to Segger and she entered the race with the goal of beating the women's record of roughly seven-and-a-half hours. However, about six kilometres in she re-sprained an injured ankle, which slowed her down and hurt her confidence through the rest of the race. She also missed a few flags and went off course twice at a cost of almost half an hour.
She still finished first in the women's category in just under eight hours, but about an hour slower than she expected.
"I can't be too disappointed because I still did okay," she said.
The ankle is a bigger concern than not breaking the Ultra XC record. She's signed up for The Sinister 7 Ultra from July 9-10, a 148 km bike ride around the Seven Sisters Mountain outside of Nelson. After that she's doing the 140-km GranFondo road ride in Kelowna, and, at the end of July, the Ultraman Canada race in Penticton. Ultraman is basically a double and triple Ironman held over three days, starting with a 10 km swim, followed by a 420 km bike and a 84.3 km run.
She'll likely take the month of August off long distance races, then is looking to do three additional events - either the Ironman Cozumel or Ultraman Hawaii in November, the Xterra World Championships in Hawaii in December, and the Honolulu Marathon.
She's also looking at a few smaller events during that time, and depending on how her ankle feels she may be in the 25 km Comfortably Numb race in Whistler this weekend.
Segger said she's always looking for something different. "I've always picked my races and events, but I always have my ears out for things that sound cool or challenging, or will make me have to work on something. Like Ultraman - I'm not a swimmer, I've never swam that distance before, but this race has 10-km just to start with. I like things that make me work extra hard, or force me to raise the bar again."
In between events, Segger is also running the Challenge By Choice Performance Training gym and coaching programs in Squamish.
She says it's been a challenge to balance racing and running a business, but it's been enjoyable. So far she's been able to do both things with the help of other local coaches, which was the goal in the beginning.
"It's going awesome," she said. "I've been very fortunate to have JF (Ploufe) working for me, and everybody is loving him so I can race and travel and know people are having a good experience. I think it's really important that I'm out doing what I'm training people to do, and pushing my limits and trying to lead by example."
As well as running a gym and competing, Segger has also assumed the role of race director. She's planning to bring back the Loop the Lakes trail run in September after a year's hiatus.
"The tentative date is Sept. 18, and my goal is just to keep it super low-key and family friendly with no sponsors or anything. Just a fun race to finish the summer."
For more, visit www.jensegger.com.