Monday, June 28, 2010

Inspiring Stuff + Week in Review

Following this year’s Western States 100 from my laptop evoked nothing but pure inspiration. The dedication, commitment and personal triumphs that took place were many and brilliant. It is humbling to watch these top athletes put it all on the line and perform at such an unbelievably impressive level. I will not spell out any of the details of the race (if you are reading this I am sure you are a fan and thus, likely know them all anyways), but I wanted to note the stellar performances by those North of the border (Peter Watson, Nicola Gildersleeve, Gary Robbins and Tamsin Anstey).

Also, check out these post-race interviews from

In comparison, my training this week seems like a walk in the park. Nonetheless, with a little less than two weeks until my next race (Knee Knacker 50km) I wanted to fit in one longer run (preferably on the course) while keeping the mileage reasonable and my body in a contented state. I was able to achieve these goals fairly well. Further, I fit in some solid climbing (as I have been the past 3 weeks) attempting to replicate the numerous climbs I will be confronted with on race day.

With that, here is my week in brief review:

21/06/2010: 10miles (1:25) 1000’ Took this run mostly as an easy recovery effort. I was feeling a little tired from NYC but my body felt solid the entire run. I basically just cruised around Lynn Headwaters on a beautiful evening.

22/06/2010: 4miles (1:00) Body felt good but decided on a casual hike/ run with Meredith.

23/06/2010: AM: 9miles (1:11) 800’ Headed out the door at 4:45 am to get in a satisfying effort before work. Tempoed from my appartment to Lynn Headwaters hitting the gate a few minutes over PR split without feeling like I was working too hard (good sign). Overall, a great way to start the day. PM: 6miles (1:28) 2500' Decided to summit Lynn Peak.... Could not resist as it was literally beckoning as I was heading home from work; 41:05 to the peak, 27:06 down. Casual but felt like I was working hard enough going up. Did bruise my ankle coming down on some loose rocks. However, the more I do this summit the more I love it.

24/06/2010: 4-5miles (1:00) Ran/ walked to Meredith's parents place for some delicious grub. Took the day extremely easy despite my legs continuing to feel good. Still need these days though.

25/06/2010: 9miles (1:16) 800’ Decided on one of my default AM runs. Starting at my apartment I work my way up Grand Blvd, through Loutette park, circle Bridgeman Park; then climb the 500 feet back up and head home. Nothing really eventful on this run, just felt ok. I did manage to startle a black bear down one of the ravines, no biggie. It's my fifth bear encounter in the past three weeks. I am coming to expect it.

26/06/2010: 22miles (5:20) 7100’ Started the day with a trip up/down the BCMC with Meredith. We then parted ways; I decided to run a large section of the Knee Knacker course from Grouse Mountain to the intersection of Old Buck and the Baden Powell. I then looped down to the Bridle path and worked my way home. Felt comfortable for most of the day and on all of the climbs. Ran out of water with about 50 minutes to go, so felt pretty bonky by the time I reached my apartment. I also only brought 4 gels... Could have used one more.

27/06/2010: 8 miles (1:40) 2000’ Went up Old Grouse Mountain road with Meredith; came down Secret Seven. Fun run despite the cold and wet weather.

Weekly totals:
73 miles
12:30 hours
14000’ of vertical

Monday, June 21, 2010

Update + NYC

(A representative photo of some of the awesome single track along the Appalachian Trail)

It has been some time now since I have updated this blog. Normally, I would be inclined to say that this is due to my proclivity to procrastinate. However, this time I would say that it is more a reflection of the times; we have now reached what I will call the ‘summer’ of the trail running season on the North Shore Mountains which means more hours dedicated to this activity. Naturally, it simply means more time outdoors as I seek to spend as much time as possible soaking in what are the few weeks of warmth and sunny skies we are typically privy to on the North Shore. It also means that some ‘peak’ races are just around the corner and therefore, perhaps a more regimented approach to training should coincide. However, on this latter point, I have taken a fairly different approach then last year and would like to expand a little further.

The majority of my training this year has been of the solo-nature. Certainly I am out for the odd endeavour with the tight-knit running community on the North Shore and the many people I have come to know quite well, but mostly I am on my own. This is also because my usual training partner (my girlfriend Meredith) has continued to be bothered by foot issues. Because of this I have found myself varying/ tailoring my training as I see fit with the moment; the rigidity of the two speed workouts for the week, hills on Thursday, long run Saturday, etc, that is so prevalent within the running community has lost its allure for me.

Interestingly, I still find myself following a ‘routine’ in many ways. But this, I would say, is because I enjoy the structure and my lifestyle to a certain extent requires it (9-5 job etc). Notwithstanding, the freedom to adapt my weeks to how my body is feeling has resulted in a much more enjoyable start to the high-time of the running season. Each week seems to bring with it a certain degree of spontaneity and change, which psychologically makes each week seem longer and more unique. This is a good thing indeed. Interestingly, this has not led to any form of decrease within my training volume. Quite to the contrary, I find myself logging some of the longer weekly/ monthly mileage of my life as I almost get caught up in my next run (obsessively perhaps?!). I must be careful with this and be sure not to neglect the necessity of recovery days or down weeks; if the past has taught me anything, it is the importance of this. However, as long as I continue to listen to my body I am sure things will go my way.

So, as it stands, I will keep moving with this proclivity because it is working for me right now, at this moment in time.

With that said, here is a very brief version of my last few weeks of running both in Vancouver and on the week-long trip I took to New York:

Week of 31-05-2010 to 06-06-2010: I took this week as a bit of a down week after logging 85 miles in the previous week. I ended up running approximately 60 miles/ 10 hours with two scheduled days off. To put it plainly, this was generally a shitty week for me. For whatever reason I lacked energy in all of my runs during the week; each seemed like a vast personal struggle where hills that I normally barely register were presenting themselves as serious obstacles. I spoke with Gary Robbins from NSA about this and the general lack of energy I seemed to be having. He immediately noted that a few other people had been experiencing the same over the past couple of weeks and thought it may have something to do with the less than stellar weather we had been having. I never even considered this and took solace in this suggestion. Perhaps he was on to something... By the time the weekend rolled around I felt much better and logged a 3 hours outing on Saturday with the people from Mountain Madness and a 4:30 hour effort on Sunday with some significant vertical. And, perhaps no coincidence, it rained for neither of my two weekend runs.

(Pre-run with Meredith on our Appalachian outing)

Week of 07-06-2010 to 13-06-2010: This was a good bounce back week of running for me after the pitiful start I had to last week. I was able to log 70 miles/ 10:30 hours of running with what I will call no significant long run (my longest effort was a 14 miler on Saturday before I had to catch a flight at noon that day). Moreover, I went up and down the BCMC twice including a full-fledged “reach the peak” from the ocean up Mosquito Creek, up BCMC and then returning back down to the base of Grouse on Thursday. I also ran every single day including a double on Tuesday. Compared to last week it was like night and day. My legs felt solid on nearly every effort and my energy levels were consistent for the week.

(Post-run with Meredith)

(not the best thing to encounter on the trails)

Week of 14-06-2010 to 20-06-2010: I was on vacation in New York with my girlfriend Meredith for the entire week, arriving on Saturday and returning the following Sunday. As such, running for the week would not be on the top of the priority list (in retrospect, who I am kidding, running always is near the top). Anyways, I ended up running about 60 miles for the week with a significant amount of that being of the pavement-bashing variety (blahh). Unfortunately, there were virtually NO trails where I was staying in New Jersey about 30 minutes outside of NYC. Furthermore, there were absolutely no mountains to be found. Because of this, Meredith and I ended up driving about an hour up state one day to Wawayanda State Park in desperate need of forests, mountains and trails. We ended up running a beautiful 16 miles stretch of the Appalachian Trial with some amazing single track. This was definitely a highlight for me; the varying terrain (from dense forest to open farmland where we were literally running five feet away from bulls/ cows) and close bear encounters (had to scare off two black bears that would not leave us alone) bolstered this and made it a memorable day. Other than that, it was mostly just a lot of road running in temperatures in the mid 80’s (good heat training if we ever get some in Vancouver). Followed by 4-6 hours worth of walking in the city each day (had to do something for training?!)needless to say, we were both wasted by the end of each day. But we would not have it any other way.

(a view of NYC as we depart one evening)

One last note, a quick shout out to all of the racers at this weeks Western States. Especially to the crew from the North Shore including Peter Watson, Nicola Gildersleeve, Gary Robbins and Tamsin Anstey who I know will just kill it and represent Canada.