Saturday, December 18, 2010

A Childhood Thought

I recall having a toy as a child. It was nothing special. In fact, it was fairly unsophisticated by the standards of the day. There were no bells and whistles or lights and explosions. But this is what made it so intriguing to me. I could not help but be drawn to the simplicity of its workings. The toy consisted of a metallic figurine, holding a convex dumbbell-like object across his chest (for the sake of argument, let’s assume it was indeed a male). His feet were pointed as though they were golf pegs, perched and balanced on a perfect tee. When upright, you gently swayed the object and initiated its mesmerising shift. Back and forth it went, remaining perfectly balanced and in total equilibrium. It swayed like this, almost hitting the surface at each end of its journey, under its own force and weight until eventually falling to the end of its initial momentum and coming to its standing rest. As a child it was amazing to witness this. It seemed to defy many of my intuitive (and apparently unfounded) understandings of gravity and balance.

Recently this memory came to mind when thinking about my running as of late. After an o-so-brief period of subdued running-performance and a slight lull in mileage and intensity I have been building over the past 6-weeks with my next running goal in mind. What many will refer to as a sort of condensed ‘base-phase’ the objectives were simple: reacquaint the body to the higher mileage; introduce a steady amount of interval work coupled with strength/ speed sessions; and lastly, to build up the muscular-skeletal capacity to bash pavement for a considerable period of time. At face value I must say that I believe I have approached a certain level of success on most of these points. Firstly, I have maintained at a minimum of 100km of total running a week. Secondly, I have consistently embarked on at least one form of interval session per week including a set of shorter strides or hills for strength over the same period of time. And lastly, I have run the majority of these sessions on roads or compact dirt paths. This period has felt comfortable and in many ways invigorating. The personal revitalization that a new form of challenge or goal can have is always significant. Even if the ultimate goal itself is never actualized I find the motivation that merely setting it as a purposeful target uplifting at a minimum and empowering at a maximum. But I digress.

Through this period I have had a pronounced internal dialogue with my body. Likely because I have been exposing it to things it has not had to respond to for some length of time (speed and longer intense sessions near threshold; roads; etc), this conversation is ever so marked. Over the past week I have noted some familiar yet disdained aches and pains; remnants of past injuries rearing their ugly head. But I was quick to take the appropriate steps and managed to quell any of these concerns. Like the metallic-figurine of my childhood, I swayed back to the side of safety and found my balance once again.

But inevitably, other issues have arisen. Nothing that would cause me to immediately halt my steps, but the type of pain that reminds me I am not invincible and must always be conscious and connected to my body and its desire for a state of equilibrium. That is, the balance between training at capacity to maximize improvement while warding of injury, exhaustion, and the detriments of over-training. Finding this is not easy. Indeed, it is one of the most challenging aspects of developing a training regime. How often do I run, when do I run hard, when do I run easy, what even is easy for me today… the questions are endless but critical. I envision this process as nicely represented by the toy from my childhood. We as endurance athletes are constantly flirting with the prospect of injury or over-training but at the same time, must always be approaching this point to extract the most from our training. It is a fine balance no doubt. It is about learning what we can ignore and mostly “push” through, as being distinct from what we must react to. To bring the point full circle, this Wednesday I headed out my door at 4:30am for an easy 6 miles. The previous evening’s effort was solid but nothing that left me for worse. On my morning run I did not feel superb. My left leg was having some peculiar nerve-like sensations but I was mostly able to ignore them. By the end I was just OK physiologically but perhaps more importantly, awakened and buoyed by a beautifully lonesome early morning run. After a day of work, I headed back out the door at 5pm to the track for a session of half-mile repeats. I had not done this particular workout for a few weeks and was pining to see some improvement. And indeed, the improvement was there. Without a greater perceived effort, I was knocking 10-15seconds off my previous half-mile times; more than I was expecting and vastly encouraging. But this was not without its detriments. By the end of the session my left leg was revolting and I had a few moment were it was essentially going completely “dead”. I knew it was a nerve, just unsure exactly what. As I trotted the 15+minutes back to my apartment the discomfort subsided and was essentially nonexistent but my mind again drifted to the image of the swaying metallic toy. I thought, perhaps my metaphorical figure was in full swing and tilting its way to the side of injury. Perhaps I needed to give myself a day or two to reorient. In retrospect, I have run the most miles I have ever run before this year and have not taken many days “off” this fall. The dialogue has been pronounced and I should heed the words. With that, I sit here feeling much better after a day of rest and a painful treatment of fascia release. My metaphorical toy has relaxed and is hopefully on its way back to equilibrium and findings its state of harmony.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Week in Review: December 6- December 12

Monday December 6, 2010: AM: Gym- lifted for about 30min then did some weighted rowing reps at near max capacity (weight such that I could only pull 6 times before losing form)followed with some balancing and a medicine-ball core routine. Felt OK this morning. Mind was into it.

Tuesday December 7, 2010: PM: 10miles (1:25) Ran with Meredith on the roads over to Pemberton Heights. We did 8.2miles in 1:08 including a climb up Keith Road and some initial shorter climbs. Stomach was jostling on me so I unloaded in the bushes and then continued on. Lost about 5 pounds. Legs felt decent but nothing spectacular. I finished up the session with 10times 30seconds of uphill strides at about 95% effort. It was absolutely pouring rain by this point in the run and I was soaked and cold but just wanted to get these in. Should have probably done 15 but I could not feel my feet and was hungry.

Wednesday December 8, 2010: AM: 7miles (1:00sh) Tempo session on the rat-wheel at 5:30am. Did 1.5miles of W/U then 4miles all at 6:58min/mile pace followed by another 1.5 C/D all at 1%. This was the first time that I have done all 4 miles of tempo at sub-7minute pace for this workout which I was happy about. They felt pretty comfortable which was encouraging. Heart rate was in the range of 162-166 for the 4miles of tempo and actually dropped down progressively for each mile. I finished the workout off with a quick medicine ball routine and easy squats. Quickly showered and off to work. My right leg was a little sore throughout the day however- started to get some weird twitching through my right tibia that had me quickly reminiscent of my stress fracture in the identical area last year. Iced it when I got home. It did not get any worse and seemed to feel better as I rolled out my right calf.

Thursday December 9, 2010: Noon: 5miles (45sh) Ran during my lunch break at work. I was eager to see how my right leg was going to feel after yesterday's scare. It seemed fine, not 100% but nothing to freak out about yet. I ran along the water front which was nice. Miraculously it wasn't raining. I then casually ate my lunch over the rest of my day at work.
PM: 7miles (58min) It progressively cleared up throughout the day which made this run really enjoyable. The moon was out and it was warm. Rocked the short-shorts and simple long sleeve top. Meredith and I headed from our apartment up to the entrance to Lynn Headwaters in a fairly tempoed sub30min then just kinda cruised our way back down the hill but managed a few sections of fartlek's in there as well. Great run despite my right leg still not feeling great. It twitched on me a couple more times near the start of the run then faded only to do it again near the end. Not sure what to make of it.

Friday December 10, 2010: Noon: 6.5miles (55min). Ran during my lunch break again. Had planned to head out early in the am but it was raining and my legs were not feeling great when I woke up. This was a really easy run that felt OK. However, once again, after the run as I had to run around the rest of the day for work, my leg felt worse. Not sure it is enjoying these mid-day runs but had to fit something in today and had no time post-work. Probably will avoid them for next week. Further, I was pretty sweaty at the end of this run and simply just put my work-clothes back on. But I am rustic and grungy like that.

Saturday December 11, 2010: AM: 9.5miles (1:15) Ran with Meredith in the am. This was bizarre run for me and started that way from the get-go. My right calf/tibia felt tight and awkward. I tried to roll with it and it did progressively fade but it was noticeably there for the first half. The route was an out-and-back and for whatever reason on the return things seemed to improve quite dramatically to the point that my right leg was of little concern. Managed a few quicker miles- overall 8:00min/mile pace with decent hills throughout. Iced my leg multiple times the rest of the day- it did not feel any worse. GS routine in the afternoon.

Sunday December 12, 2010: AM: 15miles (2:07) Getting up this morning I was completely unsure as to how I was going to feel and hence what I was going to be able to run. I surely had no expectations and was psychologically prepared to take the day off completely if that is what my right leg was telling me to do. I often fumble with this commitment but today I was ready to listen to my body. With that said, I decided to avoid pavement and stick to mainly trail/groomed gravel path. I also pulled out my old Brooks Launch that must have close to 800miles on them oppose to my racing flats. I also put on my calf-compression for my right calf only. Whatever it was my right leg felt fine from the start and was not a bother for the entirety of the run. There were a few moment were I certainly felt something but nothing that would indicate that I was doing any serious damage. Just the usual aches that come along with this type of run. I ended up running from my apartment up Grand Boulevard to Loutete Park- down to Bridgeman park, looped around there- then headed up to Gazebo via the trail that parallels Lillouette road- Richard Jurgyn- then just basically followed my footsteps home. Because I was completely unsure of how long I was going to run for I had no water or fuel with me and the taps were turned off at Gazebo. Because of this I ended up bumming some off a guy who was just finishing up his run. Needed it badly by this point. But notwithstanding, I was pretty bonky by the end and was relegated to a fairly pathetic grunt up the 500foot climb back up to Loutete park. Despite this I was really pleased with this run given how the last few days had gone. At this point, after chatting with my physio/fascia system guru Leah Davis, we are pretty sure that it is just a case of shin splints coupled with a tight soleus. Lets hope so.

Weekly Mileage: 60miles (9hrs) + 1gym session

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Week in Review: November 29- December 5

Monday November 29, 2010: AM: Felt pretty good this morning and decided to put in a bit of extra time at the gym. Solid session of squats and medicine ball routine. Lots of one-legged stuff, etc. The usual. Added on a quick 20min on the bike to finish out and get some blood flowing through the legs. No running. But as I said my legs felt decent given the 20miler on the roads Sunday.

Tuesday November 30, 2010: PM: 8.5 miles (1:10) + 100m strides * 10: Headed out with Meredith in the PM and did one of our customary loops from our apartment up over to Lynn Valley. One big climb that took a lot out of me. From there, I was simply playing catch-up. It was pouring rain for the first 30minutes; the kind where your shirt is absolutely stuck to your chest at the end. It finally stopped though and coincidentally I started to feel better. I finished off the run with 10times 100meter strides at 95% effort. Felt OK on these. However, I don't like doing them on the pavement but had no choice on this night.

Wednesday December 1, 2010: AM: 7.5miles (1:00) Rat-wheel session. 1.5miles w/u then 4miles of tempo (7:30, 7:30, 6:58, 6:58), 1mile c/d then few squats and basic GS routine post-run. I should have dropped down the first two miles of tempo but my heart-rate was too high this morning and the objective here is not to force things. I know the pace will come if I just stay slightly below the LT point without trying to make it happen. Rushed off to work after this.

Thursday December 2, 2010: PM1: 4miles (33min) Felt like crap. Legs were tight, calfs were sore to the touch and just drained. Naturally then, I followed up this jaunt with another. PM2: 7miles (1:02) Ran with Meredith when she got home from work. Felt much better than two hours earlier and was able to get through the run pain-free. My stomach did turn on me however which put a bit of a damper on things but I suppose this is how it goes sometimes. I did not stay on top of my calories all day.

Friday December 3, 2010: AM: 14miles (2:50). Front steps to Lynn Peak. The Lure.

(Along one of the trails surrounding Buntzen Lake- beautiful morning sun)

Saturday December 4, 2010: AM: 8miles (1:17) Trails at Buntzen Lake with Meredith. Just an easy pleasurable run with Meredith out at the trails around Buntzen Lake in Port Moody. They had some flooding during the summer because of a dam that was out of commission so a lot of the trails were detoured but we still managed a nice out-and-back. Great morning to be on the trails. Sunny but cold. PM: We decided to take advantage of the picturesque day and headed up to Mt Seymour for a little snowshoe-running. It was a perfect afternoon and we were able to take a lot of great photos. Tired and hungry by the end. Not sure how far we went but we were out for 1:45'sh. Perhaps 3-4miles with tons of up hill. I forgot how much I love snowshoe-running. Perhaps I will jump in a local race this year for kicks. It's on the list.

A series of shots from snowshoeing up Mt Seymour:

Sunday December 5, 2010: AM: 14miles (2:02) New Brighton park and trails with Meredith. We got a late start to the morning because of some personal stuff that we were attending to. My legs definitely felt heavy this morning; not sore; but just like there were 5pound weight on each leg. As such, we took it pretty easy and just rolled with it. These trails are nice but surprisingly draining. There is lots of rolling parts and no real section that is "flat". I picked it up a little at the end but other than that decided to take the day easy. I am hoping to get in a couple good workouts this week so decided to just sort of save-up. No food for the run but did take some water this time which was a good idea.

Weekly Miles: 63 (9.5hours) + 1gym session+ 1:45min of snowshoeing

This was a decent week for me but probably not ideal. Mileage was fine but I missed a second tempo/repeat workout on the week and did not manage what I consider to be a long-run. Instead I enjoyed a bit more time on the trails and up high in the mountains. For the psyche this is perfect, but I need to getting back to those types of sessions that are going to be more beneficial for me with my current goal in mind (see link for a good discussion on this and the cost/benefits of ultra-training and marathon training). Anyways, I have remained consistent for the past 5-weeks with all 60+ mile weeks. In November I managed to run 255miles on 38.5hours (this put me over 2500miles on the year) plus continue with the 2times weekly gym sessions. I am certainly seeing the repercussions of these and glad that I have made them part of the routine. However, in saying that, I will likely drop down to one session a week and just do more GS work at home over the next month plus. This is for two reasons: 1. So I have more time to run 2. So I have more energy to run. Simple premise.

Here's to hoping that decent winter weather continues.

Friday, December 3, 2010

The Lure

Having the day off work, I was left with the opportunity to engage in a more adventurous and spontaneous run today. From a purely specific-training perspective with my upcoming road-marathon in mind, this should have inevitably lead to a longer tempo run of sorts, perhaps a hard set of 800's or the like. But, as I looked out my window, seeing the sun breaking through the clouds and the fresh dosage of snow on the mountains from the previous evenings precipitation I felt that lure. That inevitable pull that the mountains can have over the mind and body of those who have experienced their ways. With that, I headed out my apartment door with today's project visibly in sights: Lynn Peak- glistening in the early morning sun with a low snow-line no more than 1000feet up.

There is something inherently appealing about starting a run from your front doorsteps and seeing your ultimate objective in mind. Knowing that it is just your feet that will power you to that point. In the end, I arrived back at my steps satiated after a solid 14miles/2:50minutes/3000+feet of vertical gain on a beautiful morning.

The run in picture:

Some of the initial trail leading to the base of Lynn Peak- no snow yet

A little icy and frozen through the early sections made the climb a little more challenging

Some accumulation of fresh snow about 1500 feet up the climb

Eventually hit fresh snow- thigh deep at points-made for a brutal climb but great descent

Sun breaking through

Goofing around with the timer feature on the camera- the traction was pretty good for the most part, tactile

I was the only person on the mountain this morning- the only other tracks I saw were bunny- thankfully nothing bigger

The tunnel of snow-laden trees leading me back down the mountain- the snowy descent made things a lot easier as I simply just bounced and slid my way down- much easier than the usual rocky and technical descent Lynn Peak normally presents

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Week in Review: November 22- 28

Monday November 22, 2010: Gym session. Boring but necessary. No running. Took the day off as planned. The inclination was there but I resisted.

Tuesday November 23, 2010: 1mile W/U + 8miles (1:10). Out in the PM for what I had hoped to be a good workout. Turned out to be extremely unsatisfying and notably frustrating. I warmed up for a 1+mile then hooked up with Meredith for a steady loop with a couple good climbs. From the get-go my stomach was extremely unsettled- I have dealt with this in the past but just could not shake it tonight. Numerous stops in the bushes but nothing really helped. I was in a heaved-over mess a couple of times and felt terrible. This is probably one of the most frustrating things to deal with because it completely inhibits a workout while at the same time I feel like I have no control over it. Needless to say, I bagged the planned hard hills to finish.

Wednesday November 24, 2010: AM: 6miles (45xx). Hit the rat-wheel this morning at the Y. It was about 10 below to start the morning and I honestly just did not want to bother putting on the layers. Did 1.5mile warm-up on the mill at 8min/mile then dropped it down doing the next 4 in 7:30, 7:30, 7:15, and 6:58 respectively. Felt pretty good. Took a while to find a bit of a tempo. Kept the HR below LT for the entirety of the effort. Wanted to keep going but at this point I was already going to be late for work so had to hustle. PM: Back at the Y for a weight session.

Thursday November 25, 2010: PM: 7miles (1:02). We got about 10-15cm of snow throughout the day. By the time Meredith and I headed out in the PM for a run it had become intermittent bouts of rain. Always nice. Either way, it was an enjoyable snow-run. I wore my Saucony Razors that I normally reserve for snowshoe-running but they were ideal for tonight. It was a tough run in the snow, I am always amazed at the activation of the stabilizing muscles when running in the slush.

Friday November 26, 2010: AM: 6.5miles (50xx). On the mill again early this morning before work. Nasty conditions outside from the rain/snow over the last 24hrs; as a result, I kept it indoors; simply could not be bothered to deal with the weather conditions before having to head to work. Another tempo session: 1.5mile w/u at 8:10's followed up with 4 mile tempo at 7:30, 6:58, 6:58, 6:58. Solid for me. PM: 4miles (32min) Easy on the mill again after work. Finished it off with another quick weight session as I was waiting for Meredith to finish up her workout.

Saturday November 27, 2010: AM: 7.5miles (1:09). Out at Port Moody leading a group run with IMPULSE. Turned out to be just Meredith and I for this run as a few others were heading out a little later. We did the usual Powerline climb. I was dragging my ass this morning and Meredith certainly took me to school. Heartrate was spiking and I could not get it under control. Finally slogged my way to the top, we had also picked up a runner along the way who joined us for the climb. We then parted ways after a quick chat. Meredith and I kept exploring and found another climb up a dirt/gravel path. Once we hit the top we found ourselves above the fog and looking down on a blanketed city. It was a spectacular view on a beautiful morning from up high. The high-rises were just poking their way through the layer of clouds. Loved it. At the top, we tried to work our way West and find some sort of loop back down. We ended up behind some newer property development and inevitably had to hop a fence to get back to where we needed to be heading. A car slowed down to checkout what the hell we were doing. I am sure we looked like a couple hooligans rummaging about with our toques etc. But as soon as they saw the spandex we were no longer deemed a threat. At this point I couldn't help but stare and form a certain degree of animosity towards the developers and how the property has essentially been cut into the mountain slope with a complete disregard for the natural landscape. Higher and higher they reach; massive homes, I am talking three-car garages, etc, perched up on this slope. They are lined up like military soldiers in front of their general, erect and identical. Weird feeling. Anyways, I digress. From there, we basically just worked our way downhill finishing off where we started. Great run and fun to get up high even if we could barely stretch beyond civilization.

Sunday November 28, 2010: AM: 20miles (2:50). I did the first 12 miles with Meredith and then continued on to finish up by myself. We ended up climbing a little more than I would have liked but it was good practice. I was dragging my ass the last few miles but no water and half a cliff bar for nearly three hours of running might have had something to do with that. But... breaking the body down and building it back up...adaption. Overall, a decent long road run for me and good way to finish off the week.

Weekly Mileage: 61+ (9hours)+ 2.5 gym sessions- two tempo runs (although shorter), one hill session, and a long run.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Week in Review: November 15-21

Monday November 15, 2010: AM: At the gym early for the usual routine. Felt tired this morning and unmotivated but got things rolling part way through. Had to fight off some of the regulars who were hogging some of the areas/ equipment (ie. all elderly people- apparently the only other demographic willing to get up at 4:00am and get their workout in before the sun has even pondered rising for the morning- great to see this and the commitment on their part to get at it every morning).

Tuesday November 16, 2010: PM: 10+ miles (1:20) Did one mile of warm/up with a dynamic lunge routine. Then did 6.5 miles in 54min with Meredith. Comfortable pace. I then finished the session off with hill repeats. 5 times a section of hill that is just outside my apartment that stretches 0.2miles. Splits for the session were good with perfect positive progression (1:18, 16, 15, 14, 13). Gasping by the top on each repeat and then I would recharge with easy trots to the start. Decent kick in the legs. Pedestal and Medicine ball routine to finish. Good workout that spanned approximately 2hours plus at the end of it all.

Wednesday November 17, 2010: AM: 6.5miles (55min) It was cold and wet this morning. Hard to get out of bed at 4:00am to fit it in but was glad that I did. My legs felt surprisingly good after last nights session. Just cruised around one of my usual loops. Was hungry and a little light headed by the end. But I didn't eat anything before this one so it was to be expected. Unfortunatley, had to pull out the full tights for the first time this year. PM: 5miles (40min) Shitty day at work and had to get outside to let it out. Easy trot around on a beautiful night that was completely juxtaposed to the mornings run. Clear skies and a full moon.

Thursday November 18, 2010: AM: Gym/ Weights- my right knee was a little sore- classic anterior knee pain I suspect. Loosened up alright and never got worse during squats etc. PM: 10+miles (1:20) Tights again. Damn. Winter is here. Cold and misting on this run. Did the first 6.55miles with Meredith in 57min flat with a number of climbs, including a finishing grunt up Keith road. I then did 4times half-mile repeats with standing rests of 20seconds between sets. Lots of saliva/snot flying around tonight. Good session. GS routine to finish. Another 2+ hour workout.

Friday November 19, 2010: PM: 5miles (45min) Super easy run. Shakeout of sorts. Nice night. Ran over to my parents to pick up the car. I then met Meredith at our second home, WholeFoods, for some groceries and grub. Massive mixed salad with tons of grilled veg and marinated tofu. Hit the spot.

(The view from the start of the climb up the powerlines)

Saturday November 20, 2010: AM: 10miles (1:30) Group run with IMPULSE out at Port Moody. I was expecting a better showing this week through email correspondence that I was having with a few people interested in coming out. Unfortunately, we got a couple inches of snow on Friday night which I think may have scared some folks off. Anyways, ran with Aaron, one of the chiropractors from the clinic. I was out there early and ran 4 miles by myself and then he and I ran a great little 6mile loop up the Powerlines. It was an absolutely spectacular morning for a run. The paths were mostly clear of snow but the white stuff had blanketed almost everything else. The sun was creeping out and the mountains looked spectacular. Two good climbs for me this morning. Not what I necessarily wanted with a long one planned for the next day but I was OK with it. Finished up hanging out in the clinic, rolling out and using the medicine balls to do my usual routine. Chocolate milk and cookies for recovery. Excellent.

(The type of slope and terrain typical of the climb)

Sunday November 21, 2010: AM: 14miles (1:48) Headed out to Burnaby Lake with Meredith. We both had not been out there for some time and thought it would be a nice change of scenery and a great way to get in some flatter/ rolling miles on more forgiving terrain. It was just straight up cold this morning (for a West Coast body anyways). No sun and we started off the run with the temps below zero. We did the first 8 miles in a comfortable 1:05. I felt meteocre to shitty for most of these miles. My legs were fine but I just felt like I could not get any sort of rythm to my breathing (cold air perhaps??). Anyways, I attempted to tempo the next 4 miles- I knocked them off in a rough and dragging 28:43- starting off sub 7min/per mile for the first couple then slowly creeping back up. Not a great effort but just did not have much in the system today. 2miles more tacked on. Wanted to go longer today but Meredith was done after 12miles and honestly, I would have mostly been just dragging my ass for whatever I would have added on.

(Pre-Sunday's run out at Burnaby Lake; looking much more bad-ass than I actually felt for the run. You can see the healthy dosage of white-stuff on the ground in the background)

Weekly mileage: 60+ (9hours)/ 2 gym sessions and lots of GS work

Pretty typical week right now and where I want to be about. I will be looking to continue the quality sessions during the week and upp their anti, so to speak, over the next several weeks. This is my third week of "training" and have managed to keep it consistent each week, which is definately a positive. Hopefully the weather will cooperate for the next while as well. I may bump up the mileage a tad but no real concern on this front. Qulaity over quantity as it is. Holding the mileage at 60-70miles seems to leave me with enough energy to continue to get to the gym twice a week for a weights and have some kick for the quality workouts.

Articles for the week:
Just one this week over at Science of Running on the philosophical approach to training and the necessity of balancing our ever-dependence on "science" with practical and feel-based training. Enjoy

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Week in Review: November 8-14

Monday November 8, 2010: No running today. Took the day off as planned. I hit the gym early in the AM before work to fit in my basic weight-lifting/ strengthening routine. Felt good but I was definitely a little sore from Sunday's run and feeling tight through my left hammy and calf. In the afternoon I did my Pedestal and Medicine ball routine. I have been really enjoying the addition of these exercises as I can thrown them in after most of my easy runs and fit them in as I please (which is usually 5-6 times a week). Thank you Jay Johnson and team for these.

Tuesday November 9, 2010: PM: Out in the evening after work for what I was hoping would be a solid workout. Turned out to be pretty disappointing. It was cold, wet, and dark by the time I headed out the door. 3+ miles of warmup as I made my way over to the track. I did 800m tempoes with 400m active rests. I had originally planned on doing 5 but ended up bagging it after just 3 (3:23, 3:20, 3:23) because my right calf was tightening up. I was able to keep my PE and heartrate reasonably low but felt as though I could not find another gear; there was a lapse between what my mind was telling my body to do and what it was willing (trained??) to do. Lots of work to be done. 3+ mile cool down. 7.5 miles total.

Wednesday November 10, 2010: AM: 5.5 miles (46min) Out the door by 4:45am for an easy shakeout/test of the legs. I felt much better then last night which was encouraging. PM: 4.5 miles (40min) Grocery run. Easy. Legs felt better once again. Pedestal and Medicine ball routine post-run.

Thursday November 11,21010: AM: 10.5 miles (1:30) No work today so headed out with Meredith for some easy miles and a few climbs after a leisurely morning. My energy was good today and my right calf was significantly better. Nice run.

(The type of trail surrounding Rice Lake)

Friday November 12, 2010: AM: Off work again today. 12miles (1:30). From my apartment I headed up to Lynn Headwaters, working, but generally just sort of cruising my way up. I was then surprised when I hit the gate in 29:30 (anything under 30 is solid for me) and the fountain in 36:30. Perhaps I was buoyed by the absolutely beautiful morning I was treated to. From there I headed over to Rice Lake for a couple mile repeats. The loop can be made a perfect mile and is constantly rolling with numerous sharp corners; it is a hard repeat for sure. First lap was 7:26 (HRA 156); Second lap 7:24 (HRA 157). My HR indicated to me that these were easy miles but I sure felt like I was working a lot harder. Legs just felt generally heavy by this point in the run. I ran the last miles home with an avg pace of 7:10 (HRA 153), however, these were downhill. Overall, a good run and the type of workout I need to be doing.

(The bridge at the entrance to Lynn Headwaters Regional Park; just after the fountain)

Saturday November 13, 2010: AM: 7+miles (1:06) Out in Port Moody doing a run clinic with IMPULSE. Easy run with lots of vertical. Fun morning exploring new areas. Each week I am amazed at the new trails we are able to find that just keep on climbing throughout the area. Core routine in the afternoon and pedestals after the run.

Sunday November 14, 2010: AM: 17miles (2:11) Another long run on the roads. I started off with Meredith for the first 10 miles. We basically just kept it tame, but honest completing the loop in 1:25. She was calling it quits after this. I quickly grabbed a glass of water and a gel from our apartment and was back at it. The goal was to tempo the next 5 miles. The first mile was uphill and just generally slow (7:47), however, the next 4 miles I found a bit of a second gear and finished them in a satisfactory 26:59 (6:45 avg pace). This was a full 1:43 quicker than I ran the same type of 4-mile tempo as I did last weekend. They were controlled but I was definitely working. 2+ miles of cooldown to finish. Followed this up with the usual Pedestal, Medicine ball and Myrtle routine for another 45+ minutes of work. Overall an encouraging workout and a good way to finish off the week.

Weekly miles: 64 (8+ hours) + lots of ancillary work
On the scale of things this was a decent week. It started off crappy but finished well. At this point I will take what I can get and what my body is willing to give. There is plenty of work to be done but I feel as though I am gaining a level of comfort with the faster miles. Just rolling with it. On a separate note I have included below a series of articles I came across this week via my usual computer time/ bus time on the iphone. Enjoy.

Articles worthy of a read: (good discussion in the October 25-31 on rest and recovery) (another interesting article on rest and recovery. More specifically, how many of the fueling tactics and post-run "recovery" methods that are constantly being touted as beneficial may in actuality hinder the proper process of adaptation that our bodies need to go through to improve. Really enjoyed this article as it reaffirmed many of my beliefs) (68 miles in one effort, solo! Shit, need I say anymore) (A good article on stride length and cadence. Interesting results from the study. Worth a read)

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Week in Review: November 1- 7

Monday, November 1, 2010: AM: Gym session; heavy weights at max effort. Usual routine that takes me about an hour to complete at the end of it all. Off to work after. No running today. Scheduled day off.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010: PM: 7.5 miles (1:05) Evening run with Meredith. Generally just took it fairly conservatively the entire time. My stomach was not cooperating the entire run; felt like I had a bowling ball in my stomach that was working its way out the other end (your welcome for the visual). Managed one steady climb over the run where I paced off a biker; love the motivation that bikers often provide. I don't think they like it when a runner is able to pace them. Finished with a serious of squats (single leg and double), weighted lunges, and a quick medicine ball routine (Russian twists, squats, lifts).

Wednesday, November 3, 2010: AM: 9miles (1:10) Up and out the door by 4:45am. Wanted to fit in a solid run before work. Unfortunately, my stomach gave me issues once again on this run. Thankfully, McDonalds was open for the quick pit stop (its only good use I swear!). Energy levels were up and down throughout. Average pace: 7:55
PM: 4.5 miles Casual run to Queensdale market to pick up some groceries for dinner. Wore my beat down MT 100's.

Thursday, November 4, 2010: AM: Gym session. Same as Monday morning. Starting to feel the benefits of these workouts. Power and strength??... not quite, but working my way in that direction. PM: 5.5 miles (50min). Easy with Meredith. Finished with short, intense hill sprints. 4 times 10 seconds on, with 5 second moving-rest; the whole effort progressing up a steep hill. Felt good, gasping by the top. These types of repeats are also beneficial for power and strength- with a running specific focus.

Friday, November 5, 2010: PM: 9miles (1:15). Awesome evening run. Headed out after work. There was an unbelievable rainbow encompassing most of Lynn Valley when I started my run. A light shower was falling but the sun was shining; I just love that. I headed up to Lynn Headwaters and by the time I reached Rice Lake it was dark. I strapped on my head lamp and tempoed a lap around the lake and eventually worked my way down to Twin Bridges, careful not to take an unnecessary tumble. I was certainly running scared the entire time. I was by myself and it was one of the first times I have run in that type of darkness through trails. Forced tempo effort for the last 4 miles as I was just hoping not to see any flickering eyes when I moved my light towards the surrounding bush.

Saturday, November 6, 2010: 7miles (1:04) Easy run with Meredith out at Port Moody on the Shoreline trail. We were doing some promo for IMPULSE in the surrounding community. Enjoyable run on some different terrain and in a unique setting.

Sunday, November 7, 2010: 18miles (2:29)
This was my first longer road run in some time. It was an absolutely beautiful morning; could not have asked for anything better in Vancouver for November. The foliage was in full force throughout Stanley Park. I did the first 9.11 miles with Meredith at a fairly conservative pace in 1:19. She then headed over to the Y for a workout and I continued on. I tried to MP tempo the next 4 miles running them in a decent 28:43 (7:10pace). I wasn't working too hard but was certainly getting the juices flowing. It was good training throw these miles square into the middle of a longer run. I then dropped it back down and ran the last 5 miles home in an easy 8:10sh pace. I definitely bonked the last 2 miles; especially heading up Keith road (god I hate that hill sometimes). I decided to take no water with me for the run and only managed to find one fountain along the way. I took one pack of Stingers... clearly not enough. Besides this little glitch I have to say I was overall pleased with the run given I have not run this length on the roads for probably close to a full year. Look forward to many more of these efforts over the impending weeks.

Weekly mileage: 60.57 (9+hours)
Gym Sessions: 2

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Stepping back...Moving forward

Saturday Oct 23, 2010: AM: Out the door decently early as I had to be at work by 9am. Decided on a sort of progression run out-and-back. The route takes me from my apartment doorstep to the base of Edgemont Village. I hit my arbitrary sign signifying my turnaround point at 3.30miles and follow my footsteps back. Today I hit the halfway point in 25:44 (7:46 pace) without perceiving much of an effort. I negative split the return trip in 23:57 (7:16 pace) and was feeling good as I crested the final grunt of an uphill to my apartment steps. A mile of cool-down and some drills and I was ready to get on with the day. Good start.

Sunday Oct 24, 2010: AM: Easy effort the first 6miles with Meredith. We then parted ways and I continued on for another 4 miles. I finished the run with 50meter*4 at max effort, with 50meter rests between sets. Felt good and feeling like my legs are finally recalling the notion of turnover after so many steady miles on the trails. Overall 10 miles (1:20).

The last few weeks for me have been pretty blase (45 miles; 40miles; 40miles). But this has been OK with me; I have been content with keeping the weekly mileage down and hitting the gym a few days a week. I have made the concerted effort to take a bit of down time and I believe this will pay dividends as I pick up my training starting this week. I have decided to focus on a road marathon for the new year and will likely run the Birch Bay Marathon February 20th. The prospect of running this much road and working on my leg turnover/speed is intimidating for me in a lot of ways. Although I have a solid base to work from, I am clearly out of shape when it comes to knocking down low minute/miles. This has been evident to me over the past three weeks as I have introduced approximately 1 speed sessions or LT workout a week. They are hard! But, I look forward to the challenge and believe I will be a better overall runner because of it. I will look to run a few shorter road races in the interim to gauge where I am at in terms of my training and exactly what I should be aiming for a goal-time. So, this is where i am at now. My right hamstring that has been bothering me for the past few weeks seems to be finally under control (cutting back has paid off I suppose). I wanted to start this training block rested and injury-free... I am probably as close as I will be to this point given my personal need to get out and run nearly everyday.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Coming soon....

Over the past year I have gotten to know one of the co-owners of Moveo Sport and Rehabilitation Centre. Like many interactions within the running world, I was introduced to Leah when I was in the long and arduous process of rehabilitating a stress fracture in my right tibia last fall. Needless to say, I have become good friends with Leah and become a strong believer in her philosophy towards sport, training, injury prevention, and rehabilitation. Flat out, I can say that without her support over the past year I would not be running at the level or extent that I am today. She knows my myofascial system to a T and has solved many of my aches and pains.

With that, I am proud to announce the soon-to-be opening of her second clinic: Impulse Sport Therapeutics in Port Moody. As the website states:

At Impulse, we recognize the true benefit of leading an active and healthy lifestyle and we believe that taking care of your only body should be an integral part of life. Our highly skilled multidisciplinary team provides thorough and comprehensive healthcare through undivided, one-on-one individual care. We support clients from every background in eliminating injuries and pain, promoting fitness and nutrition, and increasing mobility and motivation.

We’re as committed to your body as you are, and we’re always doing our personal best to help you attain yours!

I have been involved in the process of putting this clinic together and have had the opportunity to meet the team that she has compiled. It is an unbelievable crew of talented professional from a wide array of backgrounds. Truly impressive. Check out the website for bios.

As for my role in the process, Meredith and I will be operating a run clinic out of Impulse on Saturday mornings at 8:30am. The first session is set to start Saturday November 6th. The program is oriented towards general running fitness and will last 6-weeks. We will be doing a variety of different workouts throughout the session with different paces for everyone to explore their own fitness limits. I encourage you to check out the Impulse website for more details or contact myself (via this blog or by email at and/or Impulse. . Don't let the dreary British Columbia fall/winter season bring you down. Come and run with us!

Saturday, October 16, 2010


Out on the doorstep this morning at 6:00am. Clear, cold air, fresh and dark... a beautiful autumn morning. With my headlamp strapped around my wrist and sporting gloves for the first time this year, I headed out on one of my customary morning 'medium' loops up to the gates at Lynn Headwaters. I have been nursing a bit of a tight/ strained right hamstring for most of the week. I tweaked it during a gym session late last week and it has been pestering me since. And pestering sums it up nicely as I can run comfortably but there are those moments where it reminds me that it is not 100% and that I should not be opening up my stride. With that, I have kept my runs easy and generally shorter but still getting out there every day for the psyche.

This morning was encouraging as I hit the gate in 32:xx and reached the gate in 38:xx without any significant level of exertion (the PE was low). I hit a streak of low 7's coming home without my hamstring rejecting it. I then had to head to work for some good'old OT. All in all an encouraging run. 11 miles in 1:25.

At this time I am undecided on what tomorrow will bring. So if anyone wants to head out drop me a line/ leave me a comment. I was thinking Old Grouse Mountain road with a return trip down Secret Seven (perhaps 2X) and some easy miles around Lynn Headwaters to finish. Company is always welcomed especially in the early AM.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Week in Review September 27- October 3, 2010

September 27, 2010: PM: 3.5miles (23min). Ran to physio at LEVEL 10 and received some treatment on my right knee that has been chatting as of late. Mostly got it under control but keeping up on the maintenance. Your standard anterior knee pain.

September 28, 2010: AM: 5.5miles (40min). Up at 4:30am to get in a quick tempo session before work. Felt a little tender this morning but mostly a byproduct of the treatment I received the night before. Right hip-flexor was seriously bruised. Other than that, I felt pretty good and was able to get in some decent leg turnover. These runs can be pretty tough in the total darkness. But no complaining, it was a clear warm morning.

September 29, 2010: PM: 9miles (1:15). Headed out after work for one of my customary loops down to Interriver Park. My legs felt alright but had serious GI issues the entire time. This is one of the most frustrating things for me and continues to be an issue more often than not; especially during afternoon workouts.

September 30, 2010: Off 0 miles

October 1, 2010: AM: 10miles (1:15). Warmed up for 1.5 miles then headed over to Moveo where I was getting Lactate tested by Nicola Gildersleeve. Great session with some productive information coming out of it. Maxed out to the point of on the verge of puking. Awesome. I am now looking to use this information to be a little smarter in my training over the fall. More to come on this over the next couple weeks.

PM: 12miles (3:00). Headed up Lynn Peak with the Bro (my parents dog). It was an absolutely beautiful fall afternoon, warm, and the sun was shining. Just one of those days. Took it generally pretty easy, Bro pace, but managed a solid climb (approximately 50min)

October 2, 2010: AM: 10miles (1:19). Had to be at work for OT by 9am so I was out the door early to fit in a solid run. Went from my apartment up to Lynn Headwaters (29:35 to the gate; 35:58 to the fountain) and then looped around Rice Lake. By this point I realized that I was going to be cutting it close so headed home and was generally in a scattered and scrambled state to make sure I got to work on time. I did.

October 3, 2010: AM: 15miles (2:20). Hit the trails this morning along one of my more familiar routes. Started at Lynn Headwaters and basically just worked my way East along the numerous trails. Unfortunately, things just were not clicking this morning. My legs were not sore or anything but they felt like two sticks of lead. After about an hour I sat on a rock and tried to pull it together. This seemed to work a little, but no miracle. With that, I cut the run a little shorter than I would have liked and just kinda tucked it home.

Weekly miles: 65miles
Time: 10:30sh

Not a bad week but not great. Basically just ho-hum. I am definitely still working on getting my energy back from being sick the last couple weeks; I am starting to feel the body come around though. On the positive. my right knee was solid throughout the week which was encouraging. At this point it just seems like something I will have to continually keep an eye on as I work to strengthen the right glutes/ hip flexors. I will be looking to up the AT and tempo work over the next month or so. I will also be attempting to utilize my heart-rate monitor a little more often. Hopefully this will give me a better idea as to where my body is at on any given day and to be training in the appropriate zones, etc.

Thursday, September 23, 2010


Well, I suppose an answer is better than none.

It turns out after falling pretty ill once again this week (same shit, literally and figuratively speaking, as two weeks before) and going to the doctor to get some actual tests... I have an intestinal parasite! Yeah, that was my reaction too. Apparently the clinics initial recommendation of drink some Gatorade and rest was a little presumptuous.

Been wiped out. Starting to feel better. Limited to no energy. Chest pains. Cant eat.

Three types of antibiotics that I cannot pronounce... Ciprofloxin, nexium, buscopan... seem to be doing the trick though.

How long have I had this for? Unknown.

Where did I contract it? Unknown. Contaminated water, meat, etc are the usual culprits.

Current approach? Get healthy. Ease back into running. Find my rhythm. Don't run 50miles in three days like last time.

Recently checked out my running log for the year. Eclipsed the 2000 mile mark in early September. Not bad given that I was literally starting from scratch in January. I suppose the goal will be 2500 + for the year... seems like a nice number... but its not important at the end of it all.

Good news... my girlfriend and I won tickets to a show these guys are playing at the Venue next month via a radio call in. First times a charm. Heard my voice on the radio. Poetic.

And... will be seeing these guys next Tuesday.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Week in Review: Sept 6-12

There are two circumstances that inevitably prevent runners from actually running. The first is injury and the second is illness. Unfortunately, I was plagued with the latter of the two for the start of this week. It hit me hard, a stomach virus that was, and really was unrelenting (if you know what i mean) for 72 hours straight. I was absolutely physically spent during this period and severely restricted from engaging in any form of meaningful running. On the other hand, it freed up an enormous amount of time and allowed me to get going on the lengthy process of law school application. However, by mid-week I was finally starting to feel better and actually managed to fit in a solid few days to end things.

My running week in review:

06/09/2010: 0 miles. Went for a good two hour hike in the rain but besides that, I took it pretty chill. It wasn't until the evening where my stomach started to go south.

07/09/2010: 1.5 miles (15min). Tried and failed. Bad idea to even attempt anything in retrospect.

08/09/2010: 1.5 miles (12min). Better, relatively speaking. But still absolutely wiped. Turned around almost immediately.

09/09/2010: 0 miles. Common sense prevailed and I took the day completely off. What is the point?? I was feeling better and needed to give it one more day. Plus, I had Friday off work so I was thinking I better save what energy I would be able to muster up anyways.

10/09/2010: AM: 6mile (58min) + 4 miles cooldown hike/run (1:20). Things were feeling much better this morning. Somewhere above 60% but nothing like I had hoped. I just kinda rolled with it and monitored my state to make sure I did not let things deteriorate by getting caught up in things. I felt better as the run progressed and it turned out to be a pretty enjoyable morning on the local trails. PM: 6.5 miles (53min) As the day went on, I felt my energy continuing to rise. With that, I headed out in the evening for an easy effort around Loutette. I felt a lot better then the morning and continued to by the end.

11/09/2010: 9 miles (1:22) I headed out with Meredith and we decided to basically just roam the streets and meander through some the connecting trails. I added on a bit at the end, but overall it was just a casual morning run. Out to the farmers market in the afternoon to grab some ingredients for supper.

12/09/2010: AM: 11 miles (1:28) Tempoed the effort a bit this morning. It was pissing rain the entire time and felt a lot like a typical Vancouver November day. Not enjoyable. The run was solid though and I was able to knock out a couple of good miles. PM: 7.5 miles (1:05) Out in the afternoon with Meredith for an easy run. The rain had finally stopped from its morning torrential status and was merely just misting. How could I resist?!? My body felt surprisingly good. Encouraging run despite the fact my right knee was making a bit of noise by the end.

Weekly Mileage: 47 miles (7hours)

Ideas currently in my head that are running related: pavement bashing aka. training for a road marathon for this winter (San Diego end of January is an option because of some connections I have); speed work, hills, perhaps a track (doubt it though),want to still run before the snow hits... HoweSound Crest trail; night running; XC training with NSA (sounds fun); working on my weaknesses.

Meredith and I will be going to see these guys at the end of the month. Looking forward to it. Enjoy.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Week in Review: August 30- Sept 5

30/08/2010: Zero. Rode to and from work (30km) because it was a beautiful day. Now if only every day of the year was like it in Vancouver our carbon footprint would be greatly diminished.

31/08/2010: 8miles (1:04): Good run to start off the week. Started out fairly average and then found a bit of a stride as I progressed (avg pace 8:09). Still some residual soreness in the quads from the weekends volume.

01/09/2010: 9miles (1:22). Enjoyable social evening run with Brooke, Peter, and Darren up at Lynn Headwaters. Basically just trotted around joked about, and spent a lot more time talking than I am use to. Good stuff. Rode to and from work again.

02/10/2010: 11.5miles (1:28). Wanted to put some turnover on the legs while still avoiding as much road as possible. So I decided to loop down from my apartment in the usual fashion to Intrariver Park. From there, I went up to the Jaycee House and followed the RJ trail all the way up to Gazebo.Its a nice smooth gravel trail with almost an imperceptible uphill but you are nonetheless feeling it by the top. Stomach issues plagued me for the first half but I eventually got it under control after a few untimely pit stops. Average pace for the run was 7:58 which I was pretty pleased with given the 1000 feet of vertical gain as well. Yet no water and no food meant I was a little wasted by the end and on the verge of a slight bonk. Much to my surprise I enjoyed the 4 miles of downhill on the road back to my apartment.

03/10/2010: 7miles (58min). Easy run around Loutette park. Awesome night, shirtless the entire time. Rode to and from work again.

04/10/2010: AM. 14 miles (2:05) + 3miles cooldown. I was out of my apartment early this morning running with the rising sun. It was cold to start but I could see that it was going to be a clear day. There is something about running in the pre-dawn setting that cannot be beat. I was under a time limitation this morning so basically just tried to fit in as much as I could before 9am. A good climb up Powerline with an even more thrilling drop that lasted close to 4 miles on the route I took. PM: 7miles. Up and Down Lynn Peak with Meredith. Just some more vertical to add to the day. Little bonky by the end and just wanted to get home and have some eats. Which we did.

05/10/2010: 28 miles (5:05). Wasnt really sure on the route for today. Basically, I knew I wanted to be out for a while and was pretty set on running as long as I could comfortably before I felt like turning it in. A truly, let-the-body-dictate-things, kinda run. With that, I jammed about 500 calories worth of gels in my pockets and grabbed my 16oz handheld and was out the door. I initiated the run with a figure-eight loop up to Norvan falls. It was definitely eerie running. A fairly heavy mist was in the air and with the dense forest I found myself 'on edge' reacting to any sort of sounds from the bush. I was the only person out there for a good hour until I ended up running into some people as I was heading back. From headwaters I then worked my way over to Hyannis and eventually ascended up the Seymour Grind to the Mushroom junction. From there, I dropped down along the Baden Powell trail but then decided to climb again back up Old Buck to the Mt Seymour Picnic Area, a spot I had not been up to in some time. There is a beautiful stretch of singletrack up above the road leading to Mt Seymour that I just love (notwithstanding its mediocre length). I ended up dropping back down via the Old Buck trail eventually turning off at Horses Loop. I followed this trail to the Bridel Path and basically just worked my way back to headwaters from there. I decided on throwing in a climb up Circuit-8 at the end for good measures. 5718 feet of elevation gain on the day according to my GARMIN. Overall, a great day in the mountains and along some of the extensive trail networks the North Shore has to offer. No matter how many times I traverse these routes I seem to never fall tired towards them. I soak in Seymour River later in the afternoon to cap off the day.

Weekly Mileage: 87.5
Time: 14.5 hours
Bike Work: 90km

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

BCMC * 2

Sunday morning I headed out with my girlfriend Meredith to do some laps up and down the local BCMC trail. The route of the trail is fairly simplistic, straight up and straight down with a number of steps and larger step-ups in between. There are only a few sections of the route that I would call runnable: nearing the top and some of the initiating parts. Unfortunately being the peak of the summer season (and a beautiful day) it was considerably busy on the trail (however, nothing compared to the parallelling Grouse Grind). Needless to say, it was a battle on a number of occasions having to grunt and groan past people coming both up and down. The result was nearly a few good superman's coming down but in the end, all was good. Paradoxically, these same individuals offered wonderful motivation as I was lapping a number of them on my route and double lapping one. I would pass them on the way down, and then have them as my targets on the way back up. They also gave me many bewildered stares and questioning looks. One couple stopped to ask me in the parking lot how many times I was doing it. They were shocked when I said two (little do they know that this is fairly average in the running community and many do much more... eg. Gary Robbins *5). Anyways, great day overall and a good pounding on the quads after the 19miles I ran the previous day. I was definitely feeling it on Monday but any DOMS was virtually gone by Tuesday and I was able to enjoy an 8mile/1:04 effort with an average pace of 8:09 this evening in the misty rain.

Some Numbers for the day:
Round 1: Up (43:53) Down (31:22)
Round 2: Up (43.39) Down (31.05)

Stats for the route:
Total Distance: 3.3 km (one-way)
Average Grade: 25.8%
Elevation Gain: 853 m = 2,800 feet
Start Elevation: 275 m = 902 feet
Max Elevation: 1128 m = 3,700 feet

Throughout the run I was oblivous to my watch and just tried to simply go by feel. I find it an interesting exercise doing this once in a while as it forces me to a) listen to my body more closely b) intuitively appreciate the pace I am moving at and how it feels. Each points I am always trying to improve on.

Anyways, the theme song for the day and one I have been enjoying as of late....

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Where's Waldo: DNS

Where's Waldo 100km was my goal race for the summer. Although I always try to avoid the rigid mentality of preparing for a single event, there is no doubt that I was looking forward to this race and wanting to test my limits at the 100km distance. I had a good load of training under my belt including back-to-back weekends of 30+ mile runs (5 on the year). My body was in a good place and I was rearing to go and simply enjoying the taper...that was until I rolled my ankle ten days out from the race. It turns out I cranked it pretty good and ended up having approximately a 2inch micro-tear along my posterior tibial tendon. I took it easy, did the right things and it ended up healing enough that it was a non-issue a few days out from the race.

Meredith (who was also running the race) and I drove down to Oregon. This was suppose to be a vacation for us and a time to explore Oregon and Washington, something we both had yet to do. In a perfect world, the plan was to camp at Mt Rainer then Mt Hood the nights before the race, head down to the Williamette Pass region where the race was to take place, run the race, and then work our way to the Oregon coast and head back home camping along the way. Unfortunately, things do not always proceed as we would like. Situations arise and I believe it is how we take on these predicaments that truly shapes who we are as individuals.

With that said, I will give the bare-bones of the story. Meredith had some recurring SI issues arise prior to the race and although we remained optimistic, things never really looked good for her racing the event. As the day neared, we knew it was a no-go. At that point I also made the decisison to not race. This was not an easy decision for me in the least, nor a trivial one. I honestly went back-and-forth for half a day considering my options and weighing out the alternatives. At the end of the day I certainly made a sacrifice but one I am comfortable with. I was not willing to put Mereidth through the emotional turmoil of watching me run an event that she herself had been dreaming of also doing. I experienced this last year at Trans Rockies when I had to hit the sidelines after only 3 days of running. The ensuing days were painful in as many ways as the word can encapsulate. Watching other people compete in an event that you make a commitment to also do is like rubbing salt in a wound. As much as you cheer, put on a face of encouragement, deep down it is an emotional low that takes you by surprise in its magnitude. So with that, I tried to put the race behind me and enjoy the rest of the trip as we had originally planned. We went on numerous hikes, kayaked the coast and explored the numerous small towns along the way. Mt Rainer was spectacular and a place I look to get back to as soon as possible. We just got a taste, but the trails were spectacular. Mt Hood fits into this category as well. I was also able to experience cross-country mountain biking for the first time. In Oakridge Oregon (there Squamish I would say) we ended up doing a 5 hour/27mile bike ride with some 3000 plus feet of climbing and the same amount of descent. It was all single track and a pleasure to ride. Much to my surprise I took to it pretty well and kept both feet on the peddles for approximately 95% of the ride. Oakridge was certainly a town with trails galore.

Some Pics:

In the end I have always said that it is the training that I ultimately extract the most gratification from versus the race (or racing) itself. While achieving the "ultimate" prize completes the theoretical picture, I am never one to relish just in this accomplishment. Honestly, I do not run to race; rather, I run for the sake of running itself and that is what I will continue to do. There will always be other races.

On that note, on my first morning back I went up to Norvan Falls and looped about for a nice 3:10/19 mile effort. It is good to be home.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Shit Happens... But I don't like it.

Shit happens right?

That is what I keep telling myself as I sit at work, pissed, frustrated, and just generally feeling sorry for myself. Nine days out from Where’s Waldo 100km, my goal race of the year, and I have tweaked (rolled) my left ankle. I cannot even recall the last time that I rolled an ankle of any significant and sure enough, on a run I have done at least 50 times this year, I go ahead and do so. Cruising through a familiar turn, with the setting sun shining straight in my face (perhaps blinded?), I go to plant my left foot and bam. Quick and sharp as though it barely happened, I snap outwards; immediate to recover and keep moving, hobbling up the last of the hill praying the gimp will end. At the top I reassess and know that it is worse than the usual scare-roll that one can fairly comfortably persist through. Another attempt and I know that it is best to turn around and slog my way home.

At this point I am doing my best to remain optimistic. I can walk (with some discomfort) and can definitely put weight on the leg. I suppose I am on edge mostly because of the timing of it all, perhaps normally I would shrug it off, take a day, and be back at it. But context matters, and I can’t help but feel a great sense of trepidation and mostly frustration. I will take it day-by-day, continue to ice and have it assessed ASAP. There seems to be some tension on the outer soleus as well so I am thinking it is tendonal or muscular (??).

On the positive, it will force me to taper (something I suck at doing).

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Misty Weekend

07/08/2010: 13 miles (1:57) Started behind Park Royal with Meredith as we had the intended purpose to climb our way up the Trans Continental Trail to Cleveland Dam; up Nancy Green Way and some how loop our way back. As we reached Cleveland Dam plans changed, and we mini-looped from there over to Mosquito Creek trail eventually returning back to Cleveland Dam and pretty much just tempoed it back down to our starting destination. It was a solid run overall with some nice leg-turnover involved. Stopped on the way home to pick up some Pumpkin bread to make some delicious turkey sandwiches for recovery.

(A shot I took on Sunday's run heading up Powerline. As you can see, it was a little moist and cloudy)

8/08/2010: 19 miles (3:28) Unfortunately the weather predictions were inaccurate and the supposed "clearing and sunny breaks" we were told was to materialize never really did. Instead we were privy to some classic west coast mist and heavy moisture laden air. Meredith and I started at Headwaters this morning and got the legs rolling with a quick trip around Lynn Loop. We then worked our way to Twin Bridges and up Powerline. The climb seemed to go by fairly effortlessly (a good sign). However, perhaps it was because we could not see more than 30 feet ahead of us the entire time as we were literally climbing into the clouds (see pick above). After cresting, we continued down the Baden Powell towards deep cove, hit Indian River road and decided to head back. Throw in a couple more climbs of 1000' feet plus and a bit of banter with some mountain bikers as we passed them up the hills (they would pass us on the down) and we were back at the car in no time soaking our legs in the river. Once again, turkey sandwiches about an hour later absolutely hit the spot.

A few points of interest:

Somebody sets a new speed record for the West Coast Trail. And yes, it is absolutely legit.

Another course record to come from this guy at the end of the month at Leadville 100 perhaps...

Meanwhile, I will be testing my own limits at Where's Waldo 100km that same weekend.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Week in Review: July 26- August 1

(Coming down one of my favorite sections of our local trails)

26/07/2010: 8.5 miles (1:20) Took it pretty easy up at Headwaters with Meredith. Just cruised around with a couple nicely tempoed climbs. Not bad for a Monday run.

27/07/2010: off. Other events to attend to and simply could not squeeze in anything during the day. Would it not be easier if we just never had to work??

28/07/2010: 8.5 miles (1:30) Headed out on one of my more familiar routes. Looping through Bridle Path trail down over to Bottle Top. Had my parents dog with me on what was a hot morning so there were was a lengthy stop at the river.
PM: 9 miles (1:18) The customary evening outing with Meredith up at Headwaters. This has become our go-to area as of late because of the endless loops that it offers all within a fairly immediate vicinity. Tonight we cruised down a fantastic section of single track just off the Baden Powell that we both had not ventured down in some time. It was truly luxurious running.

29/07/2010: 10.5 miles (1:45) Out in the pm with the decided goal to run up Old Mountain Highway (aka. Old Grouse Mountain road). Meredith and I looped around Headwaters for a couple miles to warm up the legs and then began the climb. The temperature was perfect (shirtless) but not muggy and we were welcomed with some interesting company as a group of 30 or so mountain bikers all made their way up the same climb eventually hitting up the numerous singletrack that lead back down I am presuming. It was motivating to run next to these riders and fairly handily pass by them at a comfortable pace. It definitely pushed me to go a little harder then usual; but the legs felt good so I was OK with it. We defiantly pushed the descent as well, purely driven by the fact that I had dinner waiting for us back at our apartment. Food is always the strongest of motivations.

30/07/2010: 5 miles (1:18) Up and down the BCMC in the am. Tough to get going this morning but eventually found a stride. 47 min up and 31 down with a few miles tacked on at the end. Great way to start the day.

31/07/2010: 30 miles (6:22) Seeking a quick getaway, Meredith and I headed up to Whistler for our Saturday long run. Talking with a few friends it was suggested that we run the Comfortably Numb trail (25 km) which is described as a point-to-point "epic mountian bike trail" that should only be ridden by the "more advanced of riders". I had heard good things about the route and therefore, was more than willing to give it a shot. We left our apartment early and were on the trail by 9am. Starting at the North end of the trail we worked our way up the seemingly endless switchbacks and curvatures that embody most of the trail. This kept us well and distracted as you climb the surprising 1500 foot initial grunt. It was definitely technical running with no real sections that you could simply open it up and let'r go. The constant turns certainly prevented this. We eventually reached the end (Lost Lake) refilled our packs and made the return trip on the same route back to our car. We basically mimicked our initial 25km split "out" which was encouraging. Unfortunately, because it was now the heat of the day we ran out of water with approximately an hour left of running. This likely slowed us a bit, but we were still both moving pretty comfortably by the end and could not wait to get to the car where water was available. We then headed over to Capers, grabbed some grub and soaked in the nearest lake. By this time we could see a fairly ominous storm approaching and predictably, a massive hail storm hit us on the drive home (worst driving experience of my life). I was literally going 20 km/h on the highway because I could not see more than 20 feet ahead. Overall, a great day of running on some new trails.

(Retracing my steps on Saturday's run)

(Meredith Cruising on the return trip on Saturday's run)

(Fairly representative shot of the kinds of trail we enjoyed most of the day)

(A little dusty and dirty after 6+ hours of running dirt technical trail in racing flats)

01/08/2010: 8.5 miles (1:45) Recovery run after yesterday's effort. Things felt surprisingly good but wanted to take it concertedly easy.

Weekly totals: 80 miles/ 15:25 hours

(A video I shot on Saturday's run: loving the new GOPROHD HERO camera)

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Photo Gallery- A taste of the week

(Heading down Bottle Top- added effects from the new camera)

The following is a series of shots from a 10+ hour day of running/ hiking that Meredith and I did on Saturday up at Manning Park helping out with the sweep of the Fat Dog 100.

(Soaking the legs in the river up at Lynn Headwaters on Sunday)