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)