Thursday, December 20, 2012

Christmas Running

 The mileage has dropped off a fair bit with the combination of recovery from Creemore and Christmas preparation.  I always seem to have a few small nagging injuries in the weeks after a long race and of coarse this one was no exception.Shin splints in the right leg were fairly intense for the first week but generous use of KT Tape took care of that.The only other annoyance is a slight tweak in the right knee but it seems to be getting better, ran a great 10k with Mike in Paris last night and did some hill work for 20k in Ancaster today so I think by January I should be ready to log some high mileage strength building weeks.
   I love these few weeks a year were there is no plan,sneaking away from all the craziness of the malls and people to run trails is super rewarding.Today I met 2 people in 20k and the trails were perfect ,a little wet but it was just cold enough to get amazing traction on the uphills.A couple times it tried to snow but looking at the long term we still have a few weeks before we get any real accumulation to make things a little more interesting.

 Merry Christmas and happy trails in the new year.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

The First First

 I had decided earlier this year that I would take a bit of a break from ultras after the Haliburton 100 miler.The plan was going well with a trip to Chicago for a marathon and the plan in the back of my mind to attempt a fast half marathon in Hamilton.When the opportunity came to run a 100 miler in Creemore I knew the only smart choice to make with such limited time and a complete lack of any long runs on my recent schedule,I signed up immediately.
   The race was being hosted as an opportunity for local running legend and friend to everyone he meets Scott Garrett( to complete his quest to run 12 100 milers as a celebration of his 50th birthday. The race filled quickly and organizer Jodi Langley did an amazing job of pulling all the details together. It was hosted at the home of Creemore Vertical Challenge race director Pierre Marcoux,as usual his courses consist of some ridiculous changes in elevation and at least one section that includes a rope for decent.The course required completing 15 loops and a spur, in a time limit of 30 hours.
 The day started out well,cold weather was keeping the trail portions frozen making them easier to run and the road sections had only a light covering of snow. I had a plan to push steady off the start and just try to hold on as the inevitable aches and strains come and go.The pace was quick for the coarse and I was sure I was not the only one with hopes of a win.Highs and lows are the norm in a 100 miler and I try not to worry myself when they arrive,stay relaxed and smile at everyone,enjoy the day and your surroundings and let the race unfold.Everything clicked during this race,steady hydration with a bottle of eload per lap and sips of water from the other bottle occasionally.A GU gel every lap with two or three extras in the middle when things began to get shaky and I found myself weaving or wanting to fall asleep.Aid station volunteers went above and beyond making sure everyone had everything they needed. Splits stayed relatively steady all day with the inevitable fade at the last one as the cold turned warm and weather switched to a driving rain. Times  at each lap: 1.12,2.12,3.16,4.20,5.31,6.37,7.45,8.56,10.11,11.28,12.45,14.11,15.31,16.56 and finally 18.24:31 for first place overall and a new course record over thee previous 20.09.
 It felt amazing to finish in first,I've had a couple second place finishes but this definitely felt great.
Thank-you again to all the volunteers and their hard work,and to everyone who finished or even attempted this race,a phenomenal group of people and everyone of them an inspiration to push farther than "normal"people say we ever should.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

I Never Learn

 November is here and my rest period from the long runs has come to a close. I took a bit of a break from ultras after the Haliburton 100 and ran the Chicago Marathon a p.b. for me at 3.16. It felt so good to run fast again I decided to sign up for a half marathon at Hamilton's road to hope race,another p.b. of 1.29:57 even though I came down with a cold the week before. This is where the never learning began.
  Road to Hope was Sunday the 4th I felt great after and planned some long runs Wednesday and Thursday.Wednesday arrived and I left early in the morning planning to see the sun quickly,instead I froze in my shorts and thin jacket,I should know better. The planned 40km quickly became a 25km escape for heat. At this point I had a great idea, I'll run with the group in Paris at night and make it up, a nice steady run nothing to crazy. My friend Henry made an appearance and suddenly the whole run changed into a bit of a tempo run ,we are  both a "little" competitive so this typically happens. I should still be fine for Thursdays 40km right?
  The picture above is Thursday mornings start,a beautiful morning,sun out and I'm dressed right. Unfortunately still not listening to any common sense. I went out too fast, ran all the hills,wandered down every side trail and deer run in sight and the short story is at 32kms slipped in some fresh mud slid part way down a hill before crashing in an exhausted heap in a pile of leaves.As I looked up at the sunny sky I ran through all my errors in my head as I contemplated a short nap.Too many fast runs in one week ,not near enough calories ,underestimating the weather,overestimating my own fitness level and just plane being way too stubborn.Eventually struggled back to my feet and finished the run at an extremely slow pace.
  Will I learn from this lesson and plan smarter in the future....I doubt it.

P.S. running in the Brooks Pure Grit on almost every run right now and absolutely loving them

Friday, October 19, 2012

New Shoe Debates

  After running exclusively in the Brooks Cascadia for the last few years I've decided to experiment a little with something new.Its not that the Cascadia gave me any problems, its just that after training on the road this past summer in a pair of Saucony Kinvara 3 I've become somewhat addicted to the lower lighter feel. Funny enough when I originally switched to Cascadias it was because their heel was much lower than my previous Asics trail shoe.
   I initially tried the Saucony Kinvara TR and found it to be a great shoe. Its light and grips well, the only downfall being a slightly smaller toe box,which is easily remedied by going up a half size.I had thought about the Brooks Pure Grit as well but the initial release of the shoe was black .Not a problem for most people but this is where I get a little strange.Black shoes don't feel fast,as a trail runner I look down a lot and the sight of a brightly coloured shoe makes my feet look faster.Kind of like a  Ferrari wouldn't look near as quick if it was chocolate brown. Long  story short when I went to visit my friends at Hamilton Runners Den  and Dan Pauls held up the "nightlife" version of this shoe  I was sold.
  So now I have two pairs of shoes I like and the entire training season to try and decide which ones I like more.I'll be sure to keep updating as I go along, we are coming into the mud season now so some real testing should start soon.Maybe when they are both completely chocolate brown the decision will come down to more than the red laces on the Kinvara.


Monday, October 15, 2012

Training Begins Again

   Training for ultras is a never ending cycle. We push hard everyday for months and then the day comes and everything you have or haven't done is painfully brought to your attention. I've run several 100 milers now, found what works for me and what doesn't, and this blog will be a bit of a window into the journey to the next race.
  Running  has allowed me to meet some amazing people, ones with drive and courage that goes so deep you can't help but feel humbled in their presence.The determination to run a sub 3 hour marathon at 50 years old or charge at a record that has been held for 27 years,these people inspire me to run faster everyday. The woman who continues her marathon through pain and injury to finish in 5.30, she is my inspiration when the way seems hard. My faith in Jesus is my strength when my legs feel tired and it feels impossible to go farther.
 I'm not sure if many will read this,maybe its just a way to express the journey and hold myself accountable for the miles.If you do read it I hope that somehow I can inspire you to push farther and realize the only wall in a marathon is the one you build yourself. To coin a familiar running shoe company "Run Happy"