Monday, September 20, 2010

2010 Army 1/2 Marathon

This last Sunday the 3rd annual Canadian Army 5k and 1/2 Marathon races were held in Ottawa. The first year the race was held a couple of weeks after my 2nd 50km at Haliburton, so Kim and I took the conservative route and just ran the 5k race. Last year I was coming off my stress fracture and recovered off my Spafford pacing duties fairly well so we both competed in the 1/2 marathon, Kim running her 1/2 PB and me running a respectable 1:35.

This year it was a different beast. Kim registered to run it as a pre-NYC race and I bowed out because it was a week after Haliburton and I figured there is no way I could run even 5km a week later. Friday evening I did my first post Haliburton run with Kim and Strider, just an easy 20min. The first 10 mins were great, but after that my energy completely faded and my left Achilles flared up (damn shoes, different story). Saturday morning we went to pick up Kim's race kit and I must say I got caught up in the race fever. Kim was running this as a NYC practice race now, the injured soldiers, the beautiful at the last minute I did something I have never done before and registered for the race.

Race day was perfect and Kim and I made it to the start as planned with about 2 minutes to spare. The plan was for Kim to run a 5:30/km for the first 10km and then run an 5:10'sh for the last 11km. Well, we started out behind the 1:50 pace bunny (thanks James) and Kim was feeling comfortable so we went with it. The race course was beautiful, winding down Sussex drive and through Rockcliffe for the first 1/2. Kim ran well right behind the 1:50 bunny, but faded a bit after about 8km, still we kept pretty even pacing and finished in 1:51:27. (we measure the course as 21.38 so pretty well a 1:50 for 21.1 :) ). It was a good practice for NYC and we worked out some good hydration and nutrition strategies. Well done sweetie.

Energy wise I felt good throughout the race, but my left Achilles was really getting annoyed with me and my right hip was tender, so still have some TLC and rehab to get through after Haliburton. Looking forward to a couple of weeks now of rolling, sticking and stretching. It felt good to run a nice steady 1/2 marathon though, and gives me a lot to build on for an fun NYC Marathon.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Haliburton 50mile Race Report – 2010

Run 50miles? Run for 10 hours? Sounds crazy when you say it, but that is what I did last weekend and loved every second of it. The Haliburton Forest 50 mile was my "A" race of the year and it was my first attempt at the distance. I was a little nervous about the distance, but knew I had done the training and all I really needed to do was run a smart race and things would fall into place.

Kim and I arrived at the Base Camp around 3:00pm Friday and got our tent and gear set up fairly quickly and settle in for a glass of wine and some snacks. It was our first time camping in more than 15 years.

Race morning arrived early (4:30), but we had slept reasonably well and felt ready to tackle the day. Pre-Race seemed a little rushed, but we made it for the walk to the start line right on time. Just as we started walking, we were asked if this was the way to the start line by a surprise guest - Derrick - who even though was not running had driven up to cheer, coach, crew, and pace. NOW I knew it was going to be a great day.

The Race (course map)

Start -> Normac Loop -> AS#2 (0-11)
This is really just a warmup. You start in the dark so most people are running with some sort of lamp. This is the most social part of the race as people shake out their legs and get into the groove for the day. From the start I was on top of my nutrition taking my first Gel at just 20min, and continuing to consume calories every 20min, and drinking, this was the plan for the day and I was determined to stay on schedule no mater how or where I was. I controlled my pace well and settled in to what I felt would be the rhythm for the day.
Coming into AS#2 I was met by the smiling faces of Derrick and Kim (my crew, support, paparazzi) for the day.

Swtiched my Nathan Speed 2 Belt for my UD Handheld, restocked with a couple of Gels and headed onward

AS#2 - AS#3 (11-15)
I find on the way out Normac Trail is really just a warmup, not too technical and tough, just gets you into the groove. Poachers trail is where the fun really begins. This really is my favourite part of the course. Deep woods, nice climbs, and technical enough to be challenging without being stupid. Not much to say about this section. There was some nice mud, but after Wakely I was ready for anything muddy and wet.
Kim was ready for me as AS#3 (as she was the whole day at every station-she rocked!) and I switched back to my Speed belt and chowed down some PB and J

AS#4 - AS#5 (15-24)
Both heading out and on the return this is the toughest section. It is a long way to the next aid station and there are some nasty climbs and technical sections you have to negotiate. Add to that the endless mud and beaver created stream and you have a challenging 9km run. I did negotiate Bens and Krista trail fairly uneventfully but as it always does it took a little wind out of my sail. I kept up with nutrition and hydration, and actually took an extra S!Cap just to be sure. It felt good to get to AS#5 and know that I had 16km left till the turn.

AS#5 - AS#6 (24-30)
Started heading into new territory now, trails I had never run (well in the light at least), so it was all new fun. After 25km and almost 3 hours of running I wouldn't say I was feeling fresh, but I was getting into the Ultra Groove. The first half of this section turned out to be quite technical with a couple of good little climbs then the "corduroy road" (buried logs) followed by a nice run out on a dirt/logging road. It was here that I finally caught up to and ran with Johnny into AS#6 (it was great to have company).

At AS#6 I had my only drop bag. In it I had a shirt change and my Nathan Hydration Pack. Thinking was that if Kim had difficulty finding either this or AS#7 at the turn, I would have enough water and nutrition to get me to the turn and back. I took a little time at AS#6 to change and have some sweet potato with yummy salt before heading out.

AS#6 - AS#7 (30-40)
Johnny had been quicker out of AS#6 and as such I was running by myself again. This section began with a nice trail section for a couple of kms before coming out onto sandy road. To be honest at this point I was starting to tire a bit. 20 miles done and another 30 to go. My achilles felt stiff, but nothing to serious and I had a strange stiffness on the outside of my right knee, aside from that I was ticking along. I was feeling the extra weight of the 1.5litres of water I had just strapped to my back and was starting to wonder the decision to switch. After a while I could see Johnny in ahead of me, and by the time we came off East Road on onto King James I had finally caught him again. This last 5kms to the turn was tough. Long climbs and descents, rollers and some pretty nasty mud. John and I chatted and cursed together. It was great to finally run into runners returning as it meant we were getting nearer to the turn. Both my hips were starting to ache a bit and I decided that if Kim had made it to AS#7 I was dropping the hydration pack and going back to my waist pack. Strange that I have trained with the Hydration pack all summer, but I was just not feeling it on the day. Kim was there, so off came the pack

After arriving at the AS#7 we still had a .5km out (to the turn) and back spur to do. Without my pack I felt light as air and it wasn't as mentally painful as it could have been. Returning back to AS#7 my wonderful Crew (aka Kim) had everything ready.

Hitting the turn +.5km coming back to AS#7 was a huge mental lift for me. True I had run almost a marathon, and still had almost a marathon to run, but I was on the return and from here I could count down to the finish. I knew the trails, I new the aid stations, and now it was just a matter of doing the work. It was starting to warm up so I opted at this point to loose my shirt, the less I had annoying me the better.

AS#7 - AS#6 (40-50)
Johnny had headed out again before me, but it didn't take long for me catch him. We slugged it out through the muck and hills until I pulled ahead and never ran with him again. I felt a little bad when I realized he was no longer with me, but everyone needs to run their own race and I knew he was dealing with what he needed to. I was really starting to feel the downhills as my hip flexors started to bark at me, so I was running the downhills a little cautiously and was quite happy to be back on the sand road. Here I started to try and open up the pace a bit and run a little faster. I was tired, but stretching the legs with a little longer turnover felt great. Off the sand road, back onto a short trail section and out to AS#6. Yeah! 50km done, the countdown had begun

AS#6 - AS#5 (50-56)
Okay, so this I had run last year when I paced Derrick. It was nice to run on the logging road again for a short while to stretch out the legs some more, hit the trail and kept focused on looking for the turn-around sign for the 50km folks. Once at the sign I knew I would have just 25km to the finish. Finally I came across the sign and my watch said I had been running for 6:20, 10 minutes ahead of where I had hoped to be. Out of the woods and another km into AS#5, at exactly 6:30.

AS#5 - AS#4 (56-65)
Well I can't say the wheels fell off at this point, but damn it took a long time to get to AS#4. I didn't feel that tired, walked the uphills, but still ran most of the flats and slow jogged the downs, but I think it ended up taking me almost 1:30 to cover the 9km. I is one of the best feelings to come out of Bens and do that little jog downhill to AS#4. Both Kim and Derrick were there smiling and as tired as I was at this point it was a huge lift to see them and know I had survived the toughest section and only had 15km to go.

AS#4 - AS#2 (65-69)
Back on to my favourite trail. Seemed a lot tougher heading back for some reason, more because of some of the wicked steep downhills than anything else. This section ends with a run across some planks of wood, so once you hit them you know you're almost out of the woods (in more ways than one).

AS#2 - AS#3 (69-74.5)
This is one toughest sections mentally on the course, whether you are doing the 50km, 50m, or 100m having to run up the road and turn on to Normac for the final loop, rather than to the finish is always hard. I adopted the suck-it-up attitude and when I had to make the turn said out loud - "okay let's get it done!" Normac was as it always is, a slug fest. One day I'll run this trail on a return, but not today. It was a run-walk-run-walk and push to that last ugly downhill to when you finally come out on to the road for the final 6.5km run to the finish. I still had my mental on and was looking forward to the road to see of I could actually run the rest of the way to the finish. My last 2, 50km races here this has always totally beaten me up, but today I was feeling like I had the power to run it home. I climbed the first little hill and then started running. Not fast but the turnover was there. I had decided a while before that running was faster than walking and if I could, no matter what I would will myself to run and get this finished as quickly as possible. Once again seeing AS#3 and Kim waiting for me was such a great feeling. The end was soon in sight and the job would be done.

AS#3 - AS#2 (74.5-78)
My plan was to run with my handheld until AS#2 and then drop it and push to the finish, but first I had 3.5km of nasty road to get through. Kim pulled up beside me in the car to cheer me and I told her when I get to the finish I wanted my Northface Fleece, Gatorade(lesson from Wakely), and two Tylenol, I was hurting. I managed to run the whole distance, except for one hill that I just HAD to walk up. Drank almost my full bottle of water before AS#2.

AS#2 - AS#1(finish) (78-80)
So this was it 9:46 into the race, just under 2km to go and I now had a goal - break 10 hours. Before this I refused to set a goal other than to finish, but now I figured I really couldn't screw too much up, one thing stood in my way, the hill coming up to the final turn. Anyone who has run this race knows how tough this hill is especially after running up it the first time to loop into Normac. I refused to walk any of it. I focused on form and tempo and remembered those up hill repeats and just climbed the bastard; made it to the top turned the corner for home and there is a one little climb left - damn you! Still made it to the top, running, and then it was the final stretch home. I picked up the pace as best I could, and hammered. I have no idea how fast I was running, but it felt like I was flying, problem was the finish line didn't seem to get any closer for a long time. 9:53 - come on, come on. There is the finish line - run HARD. Cross the line screaming feeling amazingly good. In my last 2 50kms I have felt like I crawled over this finish line, today after 50miles I flew over it. What a great feeling.

Post race and conclusion
I ran this race smarter than any I have ever run. I ate/consumed calories every 20mins (Gels, Bars, PB+J, Chia/Honey, AS food) drank nothing but water (but a lot), S!caps every hour + 1. Never pushed the pace until the end. Ran in my LaSportiva Raptors and had zero foot issued, even with the mud and water. It was a perfect race, and I loved the distance. Plan now is to run a few more 50mile races maybe 100km over the next two years and then come back to Haliburton in 2012 to take on the 100mile (looking for pacers already).

Special thanks and love to Kimberley who did an amazing job at not only crewing and supporting me perfectly through the day, but also took all the pictures, so I would have a wonderful photo diary of the day. Also, Derrick who trained me, coached me, listened to my whines, and then made the trek to show his support to all the runners. You both were critical in the way the day turned out.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Passed the Test and Ran some more.

Three weeks now to Haliburton and I am right where I need to be, I think! This past week I did have a scare with my achilles flaring up, which hasn't happened in almost 6 months. Still not sure what caused it, but with some timely Graston and Zanagen it seems to be under control.

This past weekend was a huge training weekend, probably the biggest I have ever put in. Saturday I participated in the Final test that is the IROQUOIA TRAIL TEST. Plan for this was to run it as a easy training run to focus on Hydration and Nutrition for Haliburton in a race environment. Even though my time doesn't reflect it, I truly ran well within myself up until maybe the last 4km where I decided to kick up the pace a bit. I finished feeling like I had so much left in the tank, and after the miserable end to Wakely got a real positive boost from the race. Kim did another amazing job at picture taking, including putting together quite the montage of my finish.

After ITT, Kim and I had to hustle it back to pick up Strider, so the drive was a little painful as the Glutes and TFL were wanting a little stretching and to not be sat on so much. Sunday morning I met up with Heather and Brian at the Cataraqui trail/Chaffey's locks road intersection. I ran with Brian for an out and back 32km. Beautiful trail and prefect for my tired legs. We ran the return 16km, 3min faster than the out, and ran it non-stop. For me this was a great survival run, where you pick that pace that you feel you can hold forever and keep going. I felt no worse at the end of the run that I did at the beginning, which is huge.

The week ended with 11:45 of training. Well over a hour longer than I have ever done. Feeling a little tired and sore today, but non the worse for wear everything considering. So now is the time to be really smart, lots of TLC and make sure not to screw anything up. 50 miles is less than 21 days away

Friday, July 30, 2010

No more yucky taste

After suffering through the awful taste of purification tablets at Wakely, and knowing that as I head towards 100 miles I'll need a little more water, I purchased one of these

Logic being that not only could we use this for water on runs, but also when we are travelling so we don't get runs from water.

Recovery is going well from Wakely. Only sore spot is the top of my left ankle for some reason, but I have an appointment with my Steve at In Balance Chiropractic at lunch today so that should all be resolved.

6 Weeks till Haliburton - Yikes!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Damn Wakely Dam 2010 Race Report

The title on my blog says “Training to find the edge”. This phrase was coined from a comment a friend of mine made on my race report from Moab. It stuck with me because I believe it defines us runners. We are always training to best our last performance, whether it is time, distance, terrain, or environmental conditions, always challenging ourselves. Then there are the times when you push yourself to that limit you didn’t even know you had in you and you go beyond. It is then that you find that new edge, that new barrier, and in doing so, learn so much about yourself.

My goal for this fall is to compete and complete my first 50mile race. So, to prepare for this, Derrick recommended racing the Damn Wakely Dam Ultra. To quickly summarize this race, it is a point-to-point, self supported, 32.5mile trail race through some of the wildest parts of the Adirondack Park. There is a very limited field which is made even smaller by the fact that previous years participants have first rights to registration. I put my name into the lottery and was fortunate to be one of the chosen few.

Training went well and I was pretty confident in my fitness going into the race. I had, or thought that I had, a pretty good handle on my gear and nutrition – with no support on the course, there was no backup if anything went wrong.

Kim and I drove into Piseco, NY late Friday afternoon in an absolute downpour. If there were any chances of the trail being dry, they were washed away by the rain that fell that afternoon. The one positive was that for now the temperature had dropped, but still they were calling for a high of 90F (32C) for Saturday.

Pre-race meet up and activities went perfectly -> handing out of race numbers, group photo, quick briefing by RDJim, (including the announcement that it would be the last year, for him holding this event, so sad), and final march to the starting line/trail head. After a short time gathering around, we were off into the great unknown ahead.

First impressions right from the start - this trail feels old, seldom travelled, but not over grown, a very special place. Second impressions - damn that IS shoe sucking mud, watch out for that rock/root/fallen tree, does this trail not go in a straight line, EVER! If you were to try to picture the perfect dense wooded, technical trail, this would be it.

Things ticked along nicely for the first 4 miles, I kept my pace under control, not being pulled by the rabbits and just did the work. I drank when I was supposed to, fuelled with Gels, re-filled one of my bottles at the first stream and everything was ticking along nicely. It did start to dawn on me at this point just how unrelenting the trail was; there were no breaks, no time to cruise and relax or get into any sort of rhythm as it was constantly changing trail and terrain.
Every time I thought that I could finally get into any sort of steady pace, there was another mud pit to tip toe through, or tree to climb over, or stream to cross, or (as Sara described them) slippery-like-no-other-surface-on-Planet-Earth boardwalks. But, it was all part of the game, so on I pressed.

I arrived at the half-way point feeling pretty good, but getting tired from the obstacle course I had been running for the last 3+ hours. I had been having some minor stomach issues for the last hour, but nothing too bad and with some candied ginger I had been able to keep it under control, but I was slowly losing that battle. The combination of the Gels, Blocks, and Water Purification Tabs was starting to take its’ toll. I pressed on, anticipating the final 3rd of the course where it supposedly became more runnable.

When I hit what I thought was the start of the last 3rd I was actually able to run for a stretch of about 200m until I hit was must have been the 40th mud patch and was forced back to the same old pace. So I wouldn't say the wheels fell off at this point, but the tire was definitely leaking. I was starting to feel that if I kept drinking any more purified eLoad or chewing another block that I would be sick so I decided to keep things under control by sticking with the water in my hydration pack and gels. Then, on a nice steady downhill it hit me, my hamstrings were starting to cramp a little – crap I had not kept up on my S!Caps, stupid! Reached into my little pocket, and they were gone – must have fallen out on the course. Just thought at this point, I’m screwed. My tire was leaking and I lost my patch kit. As it was hot, I was sweating like crazyand I had two hours to go with nothing but water and a couple of gels, it was time to go into survival mode. I slowed my pace a little, started walking when I felt a cramp coming on, drank what I had and kept moving forward. What I found amazingly encouraging was that after over 5 hours on the course, even with all this I was feeling pretty good. Sure I was bonking and cramping, but mentally still so much in the game. I knew what I had to do to get to the finish and just did it. There was never the thought of wanting to quit, or second guessing being out here, the mind was telling the body what to do and would not accept any excuses.

The relief that I thought I would feel exiting the trail on the road for the final 1.5 mile just did not happen. I was in a zone of pushing the body to the finish and until I crossed that damn dam, I would not relax. Finally there it was, finished in 6:34 of muddy, sweaty hell.

I stripped off my belt, pack, and shirt. While I had stopped running, I still couldn’t catch my breath. I was walking around is a semi-haze trying to recover but couldn’t. Walked into the lake to cool off, but I still felt out of breath like I was still running on the course, this was new! Finally sitting down it hit me – Gatorade – I need to get electrolytes. Finally after a couple of bottles, my breathing relaxed and my fog lifted. First time I have ever been that depleted, and you know you are when your ab muscles are cramping.

The race was tough, but fair and I would love the have the chance to come back to run it again, and give it a good smack down. This was an amazing event that I feel honored to be included in. On the back of this years shirt is the name of every person who had run the Wakely Dam, and there are only 250 names for the 10 years. This shows in the days of 25,000+ entrants in the big road marathon, what a small and unique this race is, and how few have had the joy to run the Northville Placid Trail.

The edge found at Wakely is one I have to be learn to be careful with; if you learn to mentally push through a physical limitation you also have to learn to take those physical cues and know what they mean. In hindsight, I was getting dangerously close to something more physically serious at the end. I wish I could report more on the trail; what this section was like, this lake, stream crossing, climb, descent, points of interest, but to be honest I don’t really remember. I was so focused on not falling on my face or doing something stupid that all I was thinking about was getting to the finish.

Finally the thanks – Kimberley my pre-race, post-race, life-long crew chief, none of this would be worth it or possible without you. Derrick, you trained me well, I hope I didn’t disappoint. And RDJim for inviting me to the dance, it was a great ride

Oh and Kimberley is also my official race photographer and her skills are really improving. HERE is a link to the pictures from the race

Final results were 32.5miles, 6:34, 11th overall


Friday, July 16, 2010

Wakely Dam - T minus 8 days

I am into the home stretch now before the Wakely Dam Ultra on July 24th. Training has gone very well and I think I am in a good place and good shape to tackle this race. Derrick has lead me through some solid weeks of training, and I have managed to remain, for the most part, injury free. My weight is down almost 10lbs since Boston and I feel I have done as much as I could in preparation for this race.

Seeing Wakely is a self supported race, dialing in equipment, nutrition, and hydration has been one of the puzzles. Without any aid stations or support of any kind there is a fine line between having too much and too little, especially with the heat and humidity of the summer we are having. All the training in the world will do you no good if you become dehydrated or start cramping with 10km to go, it is a long walk to the finish.

So from Bottom to Top here is a list of the gear that I hope will get me to the finish.
  • LaSportiva Crosslites - I was originally going to run in the Raptors but I am hoping to run this race fairly hard and the Crosslites are a good choice for both speed and support.
  • Darn Tough Merino Wool Socks - Light, solid fit, breathable and wool. A great thing to have between you and your shoe
  • Sugoi 42k Short - I usually race in a longer short, but after last weekends long run where my shorts got soaked from the sweat after a couple of hours, I decided I wanted something a little more minimal. These are really as close as you can get to wearing nothing :)
  • LaSportiva/SHA Tech Tee - Light & thin and very simplistic, and I have to support the guy who got me here.
  • Headsweat Go Hat - I usually prefer running with a buff, but this summer I have found a great relationship with this hat, and it helps to keep the deer flies away. Note, must be worn backwards, of course.
  • Nathan HPL#008 - 1.5 liters of water, hoping this is all I'll need for just water. Great fit, and since I was training with a pack for most of my snowshoeing last winter, this was an easy transition, it has in effect become part of me.
  • Nathan Speed 2 Belt - The second part of the hydration, this will be for my electrolytes. Plan is to refill and sterilize these along the way and use for mixing my electrolyte drink. I am figuring I will need to refill each bottle twice.
  • EFS Liquid Shot - Made by First Endurance, I have been very pleased in training with this product, and I am really liking the Shot bottle and not having to deal with little packages. That said I will still have a couple of my Gu Vanilla as backup.
  • Gu Chomps - a new product I started with this year as a supplement to Gels. Easy to chew and don't stick to my teeth.
  • eLoad - My "go to" electrolyte drink for the last 3 years. If it ain't broke!
  • S!Caps - A great electrolyte companion to eLoad and Gels, really important with these hot and humid days we have been having. 1 an hour does you good.
  • Guayaki Energy Shot - None of the supplements I am using contain caffeine and I was looking for a little pick-me-up. I have been very impressed with the Guayaki products and the energy shots give you a nice perk up without the caffeine buzz or crash.
  • Candied Ginger - another new addition, a small piece of this when your stomach seems to be turning on you seems to do wonders for settling everything down.
Tomorrow will be my last run of any significance, just an easy 1:30, but will be running fully equipped to make sure I have everything in it's place and every place has a thing.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Weekend Activities & Festivities

Training for Wakely is ticking along quite well. Last week was really encouraging coming off an almost 4 hour run on the Saturday, I seemed to recover well and hit my workouts for the week. This past weekend was a little of a push with two races on Saturday and a 3 hour run Sunday.

Yup 2 races, one day. Smart? I'll let you know in a couple of days.

Saturday A.M. - Jog the Bog.

This was a small key local fun race organized by a guy (James) on Running Mania. About 20 people showed up for the event, and it was a great opportunity for Strider to run his first race. We ended up coming in 3rd and he beat me by a nose.

More Pictures Here

Saturday P.M. - Kilt Run (Perth)

I had mentioned back in January that Kim and I had registered for this event. It was an attempt at setting the world record for the largest number of participants wearing Kilts, and by the turn out they were more than successful. Our plan was to run a fairly relaxed run, but once the gun (and it was quite the loud gun) went off, Kim was in full race mode. We had a great time and with a strong finishing push Kim secured 2nd in her age group (which unfortunately we did not find out about till we got home) and like Strider, beat me by a nose. Just wasn't my day.

More Pics Here

Sunday A.M.

3 hour run on the Gatineau Trails. My left calf is quite stiff from running in my Vibrams at the Bog Jog, but even though I was dead tired Saturday night I got through the 3 hours feeling fairly strong. Really noticing some good strength coming back in my downhills.

Sunday Afternoon.

England was eliminated from the World Cup by Germany. As disappointing as this is, England has not had the best tournament and Germany was the much better team. I'll continue to watch and root for Germany, but starting this Saturday is the Tour de France, so I may be a little distracted.

Sunday P.M.

Taking a note from Derrick's post about Sweet Tater Pepper I just had to give them a try. My version was; I microwaved the sweet potatoes, scooped out the inners into a bowl. Added Garlic, diced up hot peppers, shredded cheese, cinnamon, salt and pepper, mashed and mixed it all together and stuffed into Sweet Peppers. Grilled on top rack of the BBQ for about 25mins. Awesomely delicious. Nice Cab/Merlot on the side.

Heading into a hard week of training as things start to peak before taper. Feeling good about things, and the only real niggle it the silly tight left calf.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Happy 1st Birthday Strider.

I can't believe our little puppy is a year old today. I can't remember what it was like without Strider in our lives, but again it feels like just yesterday when we brought him home. He is a great buddy to all of us, and loves each of us equally. He is turning into a great running partner, and did his longest run of 1:00 and 10.75km last week. Birthday hugs and slopping kisses to you my friend

Picking him up at the Breader.

Chillin together last night

So this week in training was a recovery week. Strange that I have been more tired and sore than in previous weeks. Trust in the coach! Anyhow total for the week was a respectable 6:38, that included running the Beaver chase race with Graham. I am proud of him for running it, but I don't think he enjoyed it that much.

Vice for the week.

and why is the Flake Bar the vice for the week? Well it is British, and the World Cup has started, so we must do our part.

So key run for this week is Saturday, so all roads lead to that training run this week. Lots of sleep and foam roller will the the prescription for the week

Happy Father's Day to my Fellow Dads.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Weekly Summary May 31 - June 6

Quick Update.

7 weeks to Wakely! I think I can now officially start the count down, but I am in no rush for it to get there, I want to enjoy the first 7 weeks of summer, and I still have some serious work to do before then.

This past week of training was a huge confidence and strength builder, for the first time since before Pittsfield I am starting to feel real positive on where I am...but there is cautionary tale in this too. I was starting to feel the first signs of over training; I was not sleeping well and felt irritable, but for no apparent reason. Home life has been hectic and training steadily increasing, so not surprising . Last week when Derrick sent me my workouts for the week he told me that this week would be a recovery week. Wow, body and coach were in sync and knowing that I had a recovery ahead of me I knew I could push the week a little harder and have the time to recoup. Final total for the week was 9:27, which include a couple of small doubles, one strength in the park again, and an awesome back-to-back weekend.

The weekend was a true highlight. Saturday I ran 3:00, randomly meeting up with my old trail partner Eric (he was running with his friend Marc), on some back trail. Great time as the 3 of us ran for a good 1:30 together. Sunday Kim and I ran 2:15 in the rain on some really nice trails, with a quick stop at Herridge Cabin at about the 1/2 way mark. Total distance for the 5:15 was 49.2km with about 7,000ft of climbing. My hill strength has carried over from Pittsfield nicely, just need to focus a little on some downhills.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Weekly Summary May 24 - May 30

Good news this week was no evil food managed to upset my diet. I already confessed the Vickies and Hummus so that doesn't count. Another nice little increase in training time again, breaking the 8 hour mark with a total of 8:06, with a couple of good double days. There were few very nice highlights to the week.

1) Friday I had scheduled a 20min FF run followed by a strength workout. So I brought a Yoga mat I keep in my office for stretching on, did the FF run in the beautiful sunshine and then strength outdoors in the park. Beautiful. A bunch of people from work had all gone out for lunch and here I was running and exercising, guess where I preferred to be.
2) The weekend was the NCM race weekend here in Ottawa. Saturday evening Kim and Graham both ran the 10km race. This was Graham's first ever 10km race, and even though he would disagree he did really well. He was running strong until the 8km mark where he got a cramp and had to walk. The 8km mark is the tough point of a 10km race and he got to experience it first had. At least he is not giving up and may do a couple of other races (shorter) in the next few weeks. Kim cruised in, in 48mins. 30 secs over he BP, but she wasn't really pushing. She is getting stronger everyday.
3)Puppy Strider ran 6 days straight. With Kim and my schedule for the week it just worked out that for his morning walks they had to be easy runs. Nothing too long, 20-45 mins, but still he is developing a good base.
4) Sunday was a 3:30 run on some nice technical hilly trails in the Gats. It was an good test of nutrition and gear for Wakely. I kept my pace under control, so the distance wasn't that spectacular, but did get a lot of climbing in. Well I can quite honestly say that the caterpillar issue on the trails is pretty well a non-issue. I had visions of running and crunching caterpillars under my shoes for 3.5 hours. Don't think I stepped on one and only saw about 3 on the trail and had to brush 1 off my shoulder once. You can hear them munching away on the leaves, and there are bits of leaves on a lot of the trails, but not nearly has horrific as I had imagined it might be.

So this week is coming along well and will be a busy weekend, but everything is holding together well. Kim and I are being faithful with our Sauna routine and nutrition.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Weekly Summary May 17 - May 23

Figured I better get this posted before the end of the week. Busy times. So another week in the books and another good week where runs went as planned, stayed injury free (mostly), but unfortunately slipped on the diet a bit.

Total for the week was 7:24, so just a little over last weeks total. Highlight of the week was a 2:48 run on Saturday, on some pretty knarly trails in parts. So the diet was doing well until I heard the call of the M&M's from the freezer. What were they doing there? Well Kim thought it would be a good idea to have some for Kingston a couple weeks back and the leftovers we would save if we went out to a movie in the future. Ha! They lasted almost a week. Evil things. Then on Monday (technically this week), we broke out the Mrs Vickie's Crinkle Cuts and Hummus, Yum.

So for Saturday's run I was suppose to run on easy trail, and because of time constraints (I was out at 5:55 in the morning) I decided to run on the Trillium Woods trails close to home. Now these aren't the longest trails and I HATE running loops, so I decided to run one of the longer 7km sections (outback) as part of it. Foolish. I had forgotten how nasty this trail was. About 3km in I tripped on my right foot and jammed my left ankle. Nothing too serious but a wakeup call for sure. Finished the run, but I was dead at the end. That super technical stuff can really tire you out even without adding any significant hills.

Highlight of this week will be cheering at the NCM 10KM as Graham runs his first 10km, and Kim will be his official pacer (if it is cool to run with mom). Sunday I hope to get in 3:30 on the trails in the Gatineau Park with all the Caterpillars falling from the trees. Yuk!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Infrared Sauna

About 2 1/2 years ago I was flipping through a Get Out There Magazine and noticed an add for something called an Infrared Sauna. The advertisement was promoting the Sauna as an athlete recovery device, that also helps with injury prevention and rehabilitation. I was just about to start my training cycle to prepare for my first Boston, and as all runners had suffered a few injury set backs, this really peaked my interest. Also who doesn't enjoy the feeling of a good sweat in a sauna. So Kim and I hit the internet and started to do a little research on these Infrared Saunas. What we discovered really surprised us. I won't repeat all the facts that are repeated in a number of different sites, you can Google those, but here is a quick list of the highlighted benifits.
  • Weight Loss
  • Better Circulation and Increased Energy
  • Cardiovascular Health
  • Speed Recovery from Injuries
  • Detoxification
  • Improved Immune System
  • Improves your strength and vitality
  • Relieves pain (joint pain, sore muscles, arthritis)
  • Combats cancer causing environmental causes
I encourage you to do a little research into these wonderful devices. One word of advice if you are looking for one is to purchase is to look at Carbon vs Ceramic heaters. The Carbon ones provide much better Infrared penetration.

Kim and I didn't spend too much time in it last year, we got lazy, but are back at it with a vengeance now. Anything we can do for Wakely, NYC, and longer happier lives.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Weekly Summary May 10 - May 16

Seems like forever since I posted a weekly summary but since we are now in full on training for Wakely and Haliburton it is time to get both serious and accountable. I seemed to have recovered both physically and mentally from Pittsfield and Boston and all ready to get serious again. Really looking forward to some nice longer training cycles and building on the strength I gained over the winter. Also one of my main focuses will be diet. Kim and I have both found our weight slipping up and those nasty M&M peanuts getting the better of us.

Total training time for the week was 7:17, with quite the mixed bag of activities.

Mon: Noon 30min Elliptical
Tues: PM 70min, including Beaver Chase see Perfect Evening
Wed: Noon 30min on grass in my Nike Free 5.0
Thu: AM 64min - Great early morning run in the Trillium woods
Fri: Rest
Sat: 5Peaks Kingston 2hr19min - What can I tell you, a perfect race day by an awesome RD and his crew. A million thanks to Derrick, Sara and all the volunteers that made this race happen. I actually ran the Enduro course as a warmup and then paced Kim through her race, followed it up with a nice easy cooldown. I really wanted to focus more on the training mile than speed for the day so being able to run the enduro course twice was great. A really fun trail (some how I ended up 2nd in my AG too. What a hoot)
Sun: 61min - Kim and I stopped at the Little Cataraqui Creek Conservation Area on our way out of Kingston Sunday morning. What a wonderful spot, just north of the 401 for a run. If you are ever in the Kingston area I would highly recommend checking it out.

We are having a busy week at home and work and heading towards the weekend it is not getting any easier, but we are hoping Monday will be a PJ day at home, butt on couch with coffee.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Perfect Evening

Last night was the first of four races that is part of the Beaver Chase series that Kim and I enjoy participating in each year. As we both had to do the same warm-up and cool-down we figured it was easiest to actually run to and from the race. Kim got home from work, changed, I brought a Backpack with everything we would need and off we went. The run to the race was nice and easy, we registered, chatted with some old and new friends and headed out to do our strides and finish our warm-up. The evening was perfect, overcast with a slight breeze, cool, but such that you still felt comfortable in shorts. We hovered around the start area, talking with more acquaintances, many we hadn’t seen since last August at last year’s final race. We both had a guideline of race pace from Derrick that in all seriousness we were planning on following. So the race started with the typical – “Go!” and off we went. I fell into my stride fairly quickly and noted that I was way faster than goal pace, but cleared most of the initial crowd and settled in. I was focusing on my average overall pace and up to the half way I was running a fairly relaxed 4:20/km so I figured I’d step it up just a bit. A short while later we had to run an out and back section, coming back I passed Kim, grinning like the Cheshire Cat because she too was running faster than Coaches Pace, and feeling great. I passed one other guy and headed for home finishing off the last few hundred meters feeling better than I have at any previous BC races. My final time was 22:40 for the 5.4km route and I felt like I wasn’t straining at all through the race. Almost exactly 3 mins later Kim came sprinting in passing a young kid that has been her nemesis at previous races. Both of us way exceeded our expectations for the night and felt great and had a good time doing it. We chatted and cheered for a while and finally grabbed the backpack and headed home for our cool down. The entire run home we were replaying the race to each other, laughing and glowing. As soon as we got home, we grabbed a bite to eat and then both of grabbed our Laptops to upload our race data, and stood back waiting for Derrick to yell at us for misbehaving.

So I recount this story with the title because last night it was great to be a running couple. From the time we headed out to the time, really we went to bed, it was all about running and each other. We supported each other, kept each other company, fed of each other, celebrated together and just had a blast doing one of the things we love the most. What makes it even more special, was the day before we celebrated our 19th wedding anniversary. When you think about being married to your life long partner and friend, nights like last night are truly what it is all about. Thanks my love, can’t wait for the run on the beach in Barbados for our 20th.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

2010 Plan Redeux

So I think I have finalize my plans for runs and races for 2010. I like to have a pretty solid schedule as it really helps with training plans, allowing for peaks and valleys, but it also lets us schedule holidays and finances.

So here we go.

Boston Marathon - If I only run one road marathon a year, this will be it. I love Boston; the course, the city, the people, the history, the vibe. I am really looking forward to this weekend heading back. My main goal is to re-qualify for 2011, and as I am turning 50 this year that means a 3:35:59. Should be quite doable, my real goal is 3:27:27 (4:55/km) but this is a Marathon and nothing is ever guaranteed.

Beaver Chase Series - This is small local race run once a month, Tuesday evenings, for May-Aug. It is a very low key event where people of all shapes and sizes, ages and abilities show up. No pressure - just running fun. Good chance to work in a little tempo run and some fun socializing.

5-Peaks Kingston - Hey it is Derrick and Sara's race and part of the SHA running series, I have to participate. However this will not be a race effort race. I am hoping to be able to run the course once prior to the race and then run the race with Kim leading her for a nice tempo effort. I loved the race course last year, even in the mud. It is a great start of season race, not too technical with a lot of climbing, but gets the dust off your trail legs to get you ready for a good strong season.

Wakely Dam - Derrick pointed me to this race and as soon as I read about it I knew it was for me. I made in into the lottery just in time and I was fortunate to be picked. Wakely Dam is a 52.5km trail race, unique in that it is a point to point with no support. You are required to carry all you'll need, and there is no DNF'ing as there is no way off the course except the finish line. This race lines up great for me and I feel that I should be able to race this well. So stoked for it.

ITT - Anyone who does trail races in Ontario knows about ITT. The IROQUOIA TRAIL TEST is the one trail race that had brought so many people over to the Dark side known as Ultras. It's rocky, technical, ankle twisting, stream crossing course has taken it's toll on numerous novices who thought that trail running was just like running roads with a little tree cover. This will be the last year for ITT and therefore a must do for everyone. I was fortunate to be the first to register, love being #001, even if it is only a Bib.

HF50 - So no 100miler for this guy at Haliburton this year. I was previously caught up in the post Rock and Ice cancellation funk, and thought I HAD to do something big this year. I wizened up to the fact that there is no way I'd be able to compete/complete a 100 miler this September and still be in good enough shape to run NYC. So I have smartly changed the plan to run my first 50miler and enjoy all that is Haliburton. This will also be Kim's first forte in the Forest. oh me oh my ...

NYC Marathon - Kim's BIG show in the BIG City. So can't wait for this. I have been keen to run NYC for 4 years, loosing the lottery and finally getting in, and now being able to pace Kim to her first Marathon, it will be an amazing day.

So I thinks that covers off the year. For 2011, we will see, but I am really liking the idea of Alaska in February.

That's it till after Boston, and after that I hope to be back to blogging a little more frequently with at very least my weekly summary's.

Beantown Bound.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Pittsfield Snow Shoe Marathon

This past weekend, I participated in the Pittsfield Snow Shoe Marathon. Before I delve into the details of the race, I’d like to throw out a couple of BIG thank you’s.

First to Andy Weinberg, gracious host and race director. Andy greets and treats everyone as a guest in his house and then sends you out to challenge you in ways you that make you smile and cry. Whether you are running 100 miles, doing the Winter Death Race or running one of the 3 main distance races, you were treated with both respect and admiration.

Second, thank you to Derrick Spafford. When I decided to take on the challenge of running a Marathon in snowshoes, I knew that there was no way that I’d be able to train for it myself. There are no cookie cutter programs out there to train for this kind of beast. I enlisted Derrick’s coaching services and was amazed at what he was able to pull out of me. Week after week, he penciled workouts that I’d looked at and balked thinking there is no way I could pull it off. But, week after week, I completed everything he threw at me while getting stronger and staying injury free; the perfect one-two combo.

Kim and I drove down to Pittsfield on Friday arriving early so we could unpack and relax a bit before the race. The drive was under gorgeous sunshine, but we noticed that there was quite the absence of snow. Andy had assured us that there were at least a couple of feet of snow on the mountain and fortunately he was correct. We stayed at a charming Bed and Breakfast in the heart of Pittsfield (pop. 350), where we were treated to a wonderful Italian dinner on the Friday night.

Race day dawned clear and bright with perfect blue skies and wonderfully perfect temperature. We went through our well practiced pre-race routine, and being only ½ a mile from the start, we could take our time. We lugged our Rubbermaid tote with all my “aid station” gear and nutrition to the race site, got setup in a good location and then watched some of the Death Race participants. Some of the “tasks” that were in the progress were: coming from their dunk in an icy pond; building a wheel barrow to carry wood up the mountain; and wrestling the US 4 times National 190lb champion.

We listened to the pre-race briefing and then Andy started the countdown. Then, we scrambled to get ready and when the race started, we were lucky to find ourselves close to the front so we managed to avoid a lot of the congestion. The race was a 6.55 mile loop that had to be completed 4 times for the marathon. A loop was simply put - a run up to the top of one of the surrounding hills/mountains (1,900 feet up) and back down; the top was almost exactly half way.

Loop 1

Starting close to the front, it was easy to get into pace without being clogged up or having to pass. The first ½ km was nice and wide, flat or downhill so everyone moved out fairly quickly. We crossed a small bridge and then hit the single track trails what we would be on for the next 9kms. The overnight temperature had been below freezing so the snow was still pretty firm. This made for fairly easy footing and the first climb went smoothly. The climb to the top is a combination of switch backs with 3 (I think it was 3) long straight steep climbs. The run back down the mountain was almost identical to the climb, a few really steep descents with a number of undulating switch backs straight through to the bottom where you crossed back over the bridge, looping back to the start. I was running close to one other guy for most of the first loop so the pace was solid, but not too fast. I had an arbitrary goal of trying to run each loop in 1:15 based on what I thought the course was like and came in from the first loop at 1:16. I was pretty pleased, but I also knew that I wouldn’t be able to hold that for the entire race as it was quite a bit more climbing than I had anticipated. I quickly downed a small bottle of e-load, switched out my water bottle and headed back out for Loop 2

Loop 2

As soon as I hit the single track, I knew this was going to be tougher. The sun was strong and it was warming up. The snow that had been firm earlier was starting to soften and the shoeing was getting a little more challenging. I hadn’t run in this kind of snow before. The best way I can describe it is slippery; the cleats could dig into the snow but because it was loose, they didn’t have a lot of sideways grip which meant that you really had to engage the hips and core to keep a straight line. Overall this loop went well, I did slow a bit but climbed fairly smoothly, kept the pace controlled on the down hill and finished the loop in about 1:22. Kim had finished her race (single loop and came in 4th overall. awesome) and was waiting for me. Here I decided that it was getting too warm for long sleeves, so spent the time to change shirts, drank my e-load/Chia mix, switched bottles and back out again. Things were starting to “tickle”. J

Loop 3

This I knew was going to be the toughest. Loop 3 is the no-mans-land loop and it is all about keeping it together mentally. On the climb up I was slowing, the snow and race was starting to takes it toll so I focused on conserving my energy on each climb and running at a more controlled pace. On the last of the 3 steep climbs, my left calf muscle really started to ache, not cramp just get really sore. After I crested the top and started descending, I started to get sharp pains in both my hip flexors. Time for that mental to start working. I kept my descent pace under control hoping to relieve some of the tenderness, but also trying to get my mind into a positive zone. I thought of how great it would be to just stop after this loop, how I really hated putting my body through this kind of torture and how comfy the couch would be right now. Mental was losing, but the whole time I kept running and kept moving forward at a pretty solid pace. Finished this loop in 1:30; slower, but not a huge decrease in time considering the changing snow and physical conditions. I was pleased to get that one behind me, and spent very little time at my aid tote, just wanting to get out to face the final climb.

Loop 4

This was the countdown loop. I finally let myself count down the kms to the end. It was a great mental game and as each clicked by, I knew it would be my last time through here. The pains were still there, but mentally pushed to the back as I focused on clicking off that next km and having a drink of water after each which was my reward. As the snow was getting softer, it really felt like I was slogging at times, but my pace was still fairly strong and I kept with the forward momentum. When I crested the top for the last time, I stopped to refill my water bottle so I wouldn't run out of rewards ‘til the finish. My descent on this last loop felt faster and more controlled than the 3rd loop and after hitting the bottom and the final km to the finish, I still had a spring in my step. For the last 200m, I made sure to stand straight and finish tall and strong. I was not going to look as tired as I felt. Crossed the line in a loop time of 1:32 and final time of 5:42, and 5th place overall.

I am really happy with this race. It was tough, but I was on both physically and mentally, nutrition was perfect with no stomach issues, cramping, or bonking. I managed to keep a steady running pace throughout, and all my climbs were solid. Trust in the training.

Oh and there is a third thank you, and that is to my life partner and best friend Kimber. You always have my back and are always at my side. You pull me to the finish and never let me down. None of this is possible or worth while without you. Hugs.

Some of our pictures from the race

My Training Peaks GPS Upload

Monday, February 22, 2010

Taper Time

Well the title says it all. But what is taper and what does it do? A couple of great articles by Dr. Greg Wells Just when you think they're training harder... & TAPERING – THE ART AND SCIENCE OF SPORT PERFORMANCE. Give them a read, so you know when it is time to taper - don't try and get that one last extra workout in.

Now how to stay sane?

Thursday, February 18, 2010

New York, New York

Well I had to wait till Kimber's was official (took almost 2 weeks). We have both been accepted to the New York City Marathon. I got in by missing the lottery for 3 consecutive years, and Kimber was accepted based on her smokin' half time at the Army Run (she had qualified at the Ottawa 1/2, but decided to better herself). Exciting times ahead for sure. This will be Kimber's first marathon and I am going to run it with her and enjoy all that is New York.

Congrats my love - looking forward to the journey ahead.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Wolf x 4 + 1

Wow, what a weekend! Coming off a pretty solid week and a nice rest day on Friday, this weekend I ran, as planned, 1 loops of Wolf Trail with Kimber on Saturday and 4 loops on Sunday as my long run.

Saturday was Kimber's first run ever on Wolf, and she was really pumped for it. We didn't get out till around 11:30, so the trail was busy, but most everyone was very courteous when they saw us come running up to or by them. We stopped a couple of times for a picture break or two, so it wasn't a all out effort, just a fun time on the hills. Kimber did really well and finished pretty pumped up. She is going to have a great time running the Hell Hike in Pittsfield.

Here she is powering up one of the climbs

Ah Sunday. 4 loops of the dreaded Wolf. This was a good practice run for Pittsfield as it is a 4 loop course too. I set up an aid station in the trunk of the car that I used for refueling and cloths changing (Shirts/Hats/Gloves) similar to what I am planning for Pittsfield. I ran the loops alternating directions, so aside from the first 1/2km section it was not too boring.

Loop1 - Clockwise. Legs felt fresh and springy, so I focused on keeping the pace slow as it was going to be a long morning. Focused on short strides and quick turnover. Practiced "skiing" some of the steeper downhill sections. Decided that for these loops there would be no stopping, I had to run each loop without any break. I would allow as long as needed at the car/aid station but had to be constantly moving on the loops. Finished the loop in 56:59 which was 4 mins faster than the previous weekend. I was a little worried I had gone out a little too hard, but I didn't feel like I had pushed.

Loop2 - Counter Clockwise. This I think is the harder direction as it climbs pretty constant for the first 2.5km. The nice thing though is the last 4.5km is basically an easy downhill. (which means when running the reverse as in loop you climb on and off for 4.5km). Climb went well, ran through back to the parking lot in exactly the same time 56:59. That was a little freaky, opposite direction but the same time.

Loop3 - Clockwise. On a 4 loop course like Pittsfield will be, Loop 3 is the hardest. Not so much physically as mentally. It is the "no mans land" loop where you start to get tired, loose focus and slowdown. Again I went back to the stride focus, short and quick, making sure to keep the leg turn over going. On one of the steep descents I passed two girls hiking, slowly inching down the slope, just after I passed one yelled and asked if I was the guy running 4 loops (I had told a man I met in the parking lot and he seemed to have spread the word). Hit the parking lot in 59:00. A little slower, but 3 loops under 1 hour each, I was happy.

Loop4 - Counter Clockwise. Okay heading out for the 4th was tough, but I kept telling myself that this was the last and that I wouldn't have to do it again...well till next time. I passed the two girls again on a steep pitch and as I huffed and puffed past them gasping that this was my last loop, I got cheers and encouragement to complete it. Damn I need that. Up to the top and one last gel and I was bound for home. As I was looking at my Garmin I kept wondering what my final time would be. With .5km to go I had 2:30 to break the 1 hour mark - ef'it I put my head down and went for it - with 32km of hill snowshoes I managed to kick up a 5:00/km pace and finished in 60:05.

Done - 32.8km in 3:53 - about 4,000ft of climbing. Good but tough workout. Quite encouraging to get that done, but as with any workout you can't put it in the books until you have recovered off it. Quads are quite tender at the moment, but structurally I feel good, and I am starting to get my energy back.

Taper will start soon, but till then it is heads down, this will be another tough week but I'm ready for it.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Week Ending Jan 31 2010

I haven't really been posting my weekly stats of late, mostly because there is not too much to report on. I have been running and running and, well more running. But this week had a couple, or maybe 3 highlights that need sharing.

1) Thursday was tempo day on Snowshoes. Coming off Saturdays' race I was a little unsure how I'd perform and how well recovered I was. The first 25 minute interval was just a hair slower than my average race pace, and the 15 minute interval was 10 seconds faster. This was huge, I find I am getting more and more comfortable on the shoes now, that the switch from trail shoes to snow shoes doesn't really matter. They are different, but I am able to switch gears without even giving it a second thought.

2) Saturday was Kimber's first 32km run and I had Derrick adjust my schedule so I could run it with her. It was -24 (before windchill) when we headed out, so we set up an aid station at home and mapped an 8.5km route that we would run 3 times with a final 6.5km at the end. Worked perfectly. It was nice have unfrozen gels and water, and we made sure not to linger, just a quick in a out. Kudos to Kimber, she nailed it with solid even pacing and a smile at the end. Just the way you want to run your first 20 miler. Well done. I added a little to the 32km and ended up with just shy of 34km on Saturday

3) Sunday (Kimber's Birthday BTW) was then a two hour Snowshoe run. For this I was finally going to face one on my biggest training goals for the winter and run the Wolf Trail loop in the Gatineau Park. Wolf is one of the nicest loop trails in the park. It is 8.3km long and approx 350 meters of elevation gain. Running this would be a good test/warm-up/training for Vermont as it is approx the same elevation, just shorter distance. Plan was for two loops in two hours (I had nothing to gauge that on). Having run the loop in the summer I know the right side is steeper and a lot more technical so I opted to do the first climb starting on the left. By the time I had climbed to the lookout (#2) I was warmed up and feeling strong. The descent on the steep section was fun but quite manageable. I got back to the parking lot in 1:01, right on, switched water bottles and headed back out. For the 2nd loop I decided to climb the steeper right hand side leaving a nice gentle downhill run to the finish. The 2nd climb was a lot more walking and tougher, but once to the top I was raring to go and finished the 2nd loop about 30 seconds faster. Nice. Felt good when I got back to the parking lot, and almost headed out again, but knew I'd be in big poop if I did. This was a huge confidence builder for Vermont. With 5 weeks to go I know I'll be ready.

This weekend will see me back at Wolf running 4 loops (4 hours) on Sunday, with a single loop with Kimber on Saturday. I am really looking forward to adding this notch to my Vermont Training.

Pics from Wolf

Trail Entrance

At the Top


Monday, January 25, 2010

Dion Frontenac Snowshoe Race Report

This past Saturday, Jan 23rd, I was fortunate to participate in the inaugural Dion Frontenac Snowshoe race, held in Frontenac Provincial Park, just North of Kingston. A race in this park had been a long time dream of Race Director Derrick Spafford, of Spafford Health and Adventure, and a snowshoe race seemed like a fitting event for Derrick who is an avid snowshoe racer. Derrick’s passion and attention to detail was evident in his frequent course updates, including a Video of the course made by his wife Sara, and the grooming of the course he performed leading up to the race to ensure all races had the best experience they could. He sure sets a high bar.

Kimberley and I drove up from Kanata early in the morning so I would have time to get a good warm-up in prior to the race. My main focus this winter is the Peaks Snowshoe Marathon in March, so even though this was not my “A” race, I will still hoping to perform and place well. (What race don’t you?). Even though there was not a huge field, with only 35 participants, the race had a very diverse range of talent and abilities, so it was hard to predict how well I’d place.

The race was, as Derrick described, a lollipop course; straight out on an undulating, fairly wide open trail for 1.9km, a loop through some single track trail for 3.5km and then a return on the original 1.9km section. We all lined up, got the pre-race instructions and cautions and then we given the “Go” by one of the park’s rangers, a nice touch.

I started off cautiously a couple of rows back; wanting to let the faster people and those with a bit more early adrenaline, start off ahead. I settled into my pace pretty quickly, keeping it fairly light for the first 1.9km as everyone settled into the race. I did manage to pass a couple of people through this section and by the time we turned onto the single track, I was running alone. When we hit the single track trail, I am sure I must have looked like the Cheshire Cat, with a huge grin on my face. I love running on tight, twisty trails, and in snowshoes, its all the more fun. Derrick and crew had done a great job packing the trail. I passed one other runner on this section; I felt strong throughout and could really feel the training in my legs and form. Coming off the single track and the final stretch to the finish, I could see no one in front or behind so I thought I’d have a nice easy run in. About 400 meters later, I looked over my shoulder and saw the racer I had previously passed starting to close the gap; the race was on. From there to the finish, I was running scared and pushing hard. I was glad for that as it turned it into a true race at the end. I crossed the line in 39:01, placing 5th overall (nice). I waited for Kimberley to finish, and she did so with her usual hard sprint to the end; snowshoes, trail shoes, or road shoes, do not get in her way at the end of a race or she’ll run you over. Kim had an amazing day finishing 5th female and 1st Masters woman. Well done.

The post race did not disappoint with some excellent home made chili and amazing awards and prizes. Once again though, I was shut out of any of Grandma Rosie’s homemade fleece socks, but that is alright because I am holding out for the double lined fleece mitts.

Once again Derrick and Sara put on a spectacular event. Every detail was thought of, including the good weather. Thanks so much. But an event like this also requires a number of unsung heroes in the volunteers who seemed to love the day as much as the racers; to them we are eternally grateful.

Derrick, the happy race director

Sara and Derrick

Kimberley with her well earned medal

So now back to the training for one last push before Vermont in 6 weeks.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Registered for Kilt Run

Okay so it may not be an ultra, but it will be a lot of fun. The Running Goat store in Perth is trying to set the world record in recognition and celebration of the 800th ANNIVERSARY of Perth, Scotland.

The race takes place a 6:00pm on June 26th, and you have to figure there will be a good party with a beer or two after.

Free Kilts to the 1st 500 registrants.

Of course the question is now, what to wear under the kilt?

Everything you need to know - Perth Kilt Run

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Registered for Peak Snowshoe Marathon

Well after JD registered yesterday for the Sustina 100, I figured I should commit and register for a measly 26.2 miles - so it is done too. If anyone else is coming down, we are staying at the Casa Bella Inn, looks like a nice spot with a great Italian Restaurant.

I find myself really looking forward to this race. I still have a few weeks of training left, but I am feeling more and more comfortable on my Snowshoes. I did run into a problem last weekend with the Razors bruising the top of my right foot, so I have to go through some shoe experimenting.

I had had a couple of strong 8+ hour weeks of training, but am stepping back hard, with 2 complete rest days, for the first part of this week as I am feeling quite tired for some reason.