Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Summer Months, in Brief

It has been a while now since I have had the time and more importantly, the motivation to update this blog. I have been exceptionally fickle in this respect over the last year. The weekly logs were getting redundant, and my daily routine of get-up, run, got to work, try and run again and then go to bed seemed to lose its allure. Dabble in this the fact I was away from computer access for the entire month of August and am currently enjoying my first week of law school, things have been a little chaotic to say the least. In saying this, I can briefly say that my summer months of running were some of the more enjoyable I have experienced.

In terms of the numbers, I was continuing to experiment and push my body, attempting to find that ideal niche between overtraining and adaptation. In June I ran a total of 379miles with a significant amount of those weeks accumulating over 11000 feet of vertical. July was similar in this respect as I ran 325 miles with decent vertical gain on a weekly basis. My mini-goal within these months was to implement a strict level of consistency. Naturally, I took this to the extreme and had no days off for these 2 months and dating back to May, took but 1 day off in a nearly 90day stretch of running. This was more an experiment then anything else. I was not racing during this time so the need for staying refreshed was secondary. Instead, I wanted to test my body and its ability to adapt to these strains. There were definitely hard days; many runs where it took me a few miles to even realize that I was running. But to a large extent it simply became routine. The thought of not running on a daily basis was perverse. In this sense, not only was my body adapting but critically, the mental shift had occurred as well. And in my experience, this seems to be at least half the equation.

August was a month of exploration and the fulfillment of a personal bucket-list item. My girlfriend and I drove down to Colorado to spend the month, running, hiking, and simply enjoying a change of environment and trying to get up as many high peaks as possible. The trip was absolutely the highlight of my summer. I was able to run trails that I had only read about and explore the training environments of many of the best ultra-runners. This was epitomized with a week in Boulder, CO and a subsequent 100mile week in Manitou Springs including a summit of Pikes and a few trips to Barr Camp. I will let a brief series of photos tell the rest of the story....

At this point I am unsure of what the Fall will withhold as it relates to my running. I have tried to take it easy so far, mostly because I felt that my body needed a bit of a break. But the daily routine of running still persists as I have tried to get on some of the classic local routes here in Vancouver before the days shorten and the rain ensues. Perhaps even a little racing will find its way back on my radar pretty soon...

Sunday, July 10, 2011


What do I do when I don’t feel like running,
When I feel more like just lying around?
Sometimes I do that, I just lie around.
And see that about myself.
But then, sometimes I push myself out there to run
Even tho the predominant feeling is,
I don’t want to.

Fred Rohe, The Zen of Running

There is something to be said about consistency. The nature of repetition is a process that breeds knowledge, development, and adaption. It creates a unique familiarity with whatever it may be that you are engaging in. When it comes to running, this is surely the case. To become good you must do it a lot. What exactly this means is certainly relative to each individual but this is where I am at in that process as of late:

Monday June 27, 2011: AM: 5miles (42min) Easy, Loutete Park PM: 5miles (48min) Easy, Pacific Spirit Park

Tuesday June 28, 2011: AM: 12miles (1:45) Fartlek with hills, Pacific Spirit Park, body and mind was into the effort. PM: 3miles (28min) Easy. Roads

Wednesday June 29, 2011: AM: 7.5miles (1:05) Pacific Spirit Park, poor energy, tired. PM: 3.5miles (38min) Easy, roads, still tired.

Thursday June 30, 2011: PM: 5miles (50min) Larabee State Park. Beautiful trails, terrible energy and annoyed stomach.

Friday July 1, 2011: AM: 16miles (3:13) North Shore. Warm up then 30minute time trial up Old Grouse Mountain Road. Hard effort. More hills. 3500 feet vertical gain.

Saturday July 2, 2011: AM: 9miles (1:20) Pacific Spirit Park. Easy effort with a few pick-ups. PM: 6miles (2:00) The Chief.

Sunday July 3, 2011: AM: 15.5miles (2:51) North Shore. First 7.5miles finding my stride. Did the last 8miles in (1:23). 3100 feet of vertical. Solid on the climbs all day. Most that I have ever climbed up the Seymour Grind.

Weekly Mileage: 87.5miles (16:30)

Monday July 4, 2011: PM: 8.5miles (1:17) Pacific Spirit Park. 8 * 10second steep hill repeats. Rest were easy miles. Legs ok, energy terrible.

Tuesday July 5, 2011: PM: 4.5miles (45min) Roads. Easy. PM2: 3.5miles (33min) Roads. Easy.

Wednesday July 6, 2011: PM 3.5miles (32min) Roads. Easy. PM2: 4.5miles (46min) Roads. Easy.

Thursday July 7, 2011: PM: 11.5miles (1:40) Pacific Spirit Park. First 6 were easy and last 5.5 were tempo with one solid climb. 1000 feet vertical. Physically spent by the end.

Friday July 8, 2011: Noon: 4miles (35min) Roads. Super Easy but decent pace. PM: 6miles (1:10) North Shore. Technical and hilly loop. Legs and mind never got into it. 1300 feet vertical. Poor effort.

Saturday July 9, 2011: AM: 28miles (6:45min) North Shore. First ¾ of Knee Knacker course plus return to Cleveland Dam. 8200 feet vertical. Great day. No complaints. Surprised with my energy and ability to run most hills all day.

Sunday July 10, 2011: AM: 9miles (1:30) North Shore. Beautiful morning. Magnificent trails. 1300 feet of vertical. No soreness from yesterday and legs were spry. Could have kept going for a lot longer.

Weekly Mileage: 83miles (16hrs)

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Loping Along

(trail head marking- along the Seymour River as you head up to the Powerlines)

you have the rest of your life
to progress into long distance running
why strain, make pain?
why not lope along,
free and easy,
doing it like a dance?
when you start doing it
you'll see that running
is naturally hard enough
all by itself
without you creating
additional hardship for yourself.

The Zen of Running- Fred Roche

(Twin Bridges Trail- North Shore- Beautiful colour after an evening rain)

I love to just "lope along". When my mind is clear and thoughts quiet I find that I am in my best state to run. I am not straining or forcing, far from it. I am letting the run come to me, without judgement or precondition. Even when I have a type of workout in mind, be it progression, hills, or steady-state, I am ever conscious of not forcing the stride. Hands loose, upper body erect, and light feet- these are the guiding principles. Perhaps this sentiment is a West Coast thing as I recently read a similar sentiment expressed by Adam Campbell. Whatever it may be, the personal satisfaction and sheer fulfillment that comes from achieving this state is always my ultimate aim. So for now, I will continue to just "lope along".

(Remainder of an afternoon rain shower- Photo Credit- Meredith Cale)

Monday June 21, 2011: PM: 7miles (1:05) Easy. Heavy legs after the weekend mileage. Did my usual steep hill 10second sprints (6times).

Tuesday June 22, 2011: PM: 10miles (1:28) Downtown to North Vancouver via Stanley Park trails. GI issues but legs felt solid. PM2: 4miles (41min) Super easy.

Wednesday June 23, 2011: PM: 9.5miles (1:18) Easy miles.

Thursday June 24, 2011: PM: 9miles (1:20) Hill workout. First 5miles involved two hill climbs of 10-13min durations. Then did the last 4miles at 7:30-8:00 pace. Legs felt surprisingly spry after the hills.

Friday June 25, 2011: Noon: 4.5miles (38min) Easy. PM: 6miles (47min) Progression Run along the Seymour River. Rolling terrain. Great run. Splits: 9:28 (rolling), 8:20(slight downhill), 8:13(rolling), 7:23 (rolling), 6:53 (uphill), 6:52 (uphill).

Saturday June 26, 2011: AM: 9miles (1:21) North Shore Trails. 2000vertical. Felt great on the climbs today. PM: 4.5miles (50min) Super Easy. Did one steady climb from Twin Bridges up to Gazebo. Felt good given the morning miles and vertical.

Sunday June 27, 2011: 20+miles (5:57) LSCR bike path and a climb up/down the east side of Coliseum Mountain with Kerry and David. To put this run in to perspective, we did the first 6miles in sub 50min and the last 6miles slightly over that mark. The other 8miles were done in 4+hrs. Never stopped the watch so we spent at least 30+min taking photos; soaking in our surroundings; finding our route; and assessing how much further and where we could go safely give the snowy conditions up high. The top half of the run was in snow-pack of 8-12feet and involved serious foot digging (so as not to slide down the slope). Gradients were seriously steep that I had a few moments of questioning our decision to continue to the top.

Weekly Mileage: 83.5miles (16hrs)

Sunday, June 19, 2011

The Measure of Effort

Everything we do involves effort. We are constantly exerting energy and extracting from our finite reserves. There is a psychological component, a physiological component and an overarching biochemical component- indeed, the process is all encompassing. But when it comes to running the former two dominate. There is an endless dialogue, a symphony of communication and feedback that inform the decisions we make. Do I run this entire hill? When the gradient steepens, do I tighten my stride, increase my cadence and will myself to the top? Can I maintain this pace for another three hours? What pace should I even be running?

These thoughts have been a prominent fixture in my internal dialogue as of late. More importantly, the notion of effort itself has been informing my running decisions. Every day when I step on to the Pacific Spirit Park trail system just outside my apartment door I have a general idea of the "effort" I would like to expend. The intention is there. The seed is planted.

But how this intention materializes in a quantitative sense varies on a daily basis. Indeed, "steady-hard" on a Monday afternoon may materializes into something surprisingly distinct on a Wednesday morning. Similarly, "easy" for a second run Tuesday afternoon is often much slower than an "easy" Thursday morning jaunt.

But with these thoughts I have found a balance- a place where I can control my finite energy embrace today's run and prepare myself for the next day. When I stray and ignore the signs that my body is sending, the current and future runs suffer. Perhaps I will be able to push through it for a day or two, but it inevitably catches up and the path is unsustainable.

I must learn. I have learned. And will continue to learn what effort means.

Whatever you do
With your running
You only cheat yourself
By pushing, pressing, competing.

There are no standards
And no possible victories except
The joy you are living
While dancing your run.
In any life
Joy is only known
In this moment--Now!

So feel the flow
Of your dance
And know
You are not running
For some future rewards--
The real reward is now!

Fred Rohe- The Zen of Running

Monday June 13, 2011: PM: 6miles (58min) Easy with Meredith. 4 times 8second steep hill repeats in the middle. Legs heavy but better as went along.
Tuesday June 14, 2011: PM: 11.5miles (1:40) Run from work to North Vancouver; tried to find as many trails as possible. Had to withstand a little pavement pounding. Achy by the end. PM2: 3.5miles (35min) 5times hill repeats 3min duration.
Wednesday June 15, 2011: PM: 9miles (1:21) 4.75mile warm-up (legs felt ridiculously heavy) 20min of 1min ON with 1min OFF. Got rolling during these. 1.5mile cooldown.
Thursday June 16, 2011: PM: 3.5miles (38min) Easy.
Friday June 17, 2011: Noon: 5miles (43min) Easy run on my lunch. Legs felt good. PM 7.5miles (1:05) Progression Run- felt good- managed the effort well.
Saturday June 18, 2011: AM: 13.25miles (1:52) Good run. PM: 5miles (47min) Easy with Meredith.
Sunday June 19, 2011: AM: 22+miles (4:15) First 7.5miles with Meredith in 1:13. Rest of run sought out vertical. Went over to Mt. Seymour up Old Buck to Picnic area via Seymour Grind, etc. down Neds. Beautiful morning in the mountains. Miles ticked by.

Weekly Mileage: 86.25 (13:50)

Monday, June 13, 2011


I have never been one to obsess over figures. Mathematics was not my strongest subject and I often found myself troubled when trying to grabble with the sheer absurdity of certain equations and numerical expressions. But stripped down to their essential, certain numbers seem to have an intuitive appeal. They seem to just fit, make sense given the context and desires at hand. For ultrarunners, it seems that “100” holds near knighted status- with the ultimate expression of this notion being to propel oneself 100 miles under the power of their own two feet. The mere thought of this continues to humble me.

But in saying this, I have always been attracted to the idea of running 100miles within a week. Further, it seems that to reach the ultimate objective of running one-hundred mile races, reaching this weekly quota on a consistent basis is a critical component. This week I eclipsed that mark and did so while logging 86miles the previous week and continuing my running streak of 44days. Compared to many ultra runners out there, this type of mileage is standard practice; my objective is nothing to even blink an eye at. But inherent within this is the beauty of running itself: it is a personal endeavour where each person seeks to explore their own bodily limits and potential.

(Top of Old Grouse Mountain Road)

Every time you run
You create the quality
Of your own experience

Runners often speak of pain
And of course if you want that
You can have all you want
Merely by pushing yourself
Beyond your limits
Every time you run

It’s your choice of whether
To run to punish your self
Or to experience your self
If you choose, with me, the latter,
Then every run can be joyful
The key words are,
Take it easy!
Create your self as a runner
Gradually, patiently, relaxedly

Fred Rohe- The Zen of Running

(Skyline Trail- Base of Grouse Mountain)

Monday June 6, 2011: PM: 8miles (1:10) Good run, rolling terrain with 4times 10second steep hill repeats.
Tuesday June 7, 2011: PM 6miles (54min) + 3miles (30min) 4times Hill Repeats.
Wednesday June 8, 2011: AM: 6.5miles (53min) With 2 times .5mile repeats on track. PM: 3.5miles (32min) 4times Hill repeats.
Thursday June 9, 2011: PM: 10miles (1:31)
Friday June 10, 2011: AM: 23miles (4:17) 4800feet vert. Pure beauty in the mountains.
Saturday June 11, 2011: AM 15.5 miles (2:23)
Sunday June 12, 2011: AM: 26miles (4:45) 5500feet vert. Solid.

Total: 101.5miles (17:30hrs) 13000 feet vert.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Clearing: Sun Mountain 50km Race Report

The sound of the rain is rhythmic. Hunkered in our tent, I feel sheltered yet immediately exposed to the natural elements. I shift and turn seeking to find the comfortable spot amongst the undulating surface we have situated our tent on for the evening. The rain persists, and I find myself continuously disturbed from my slumber by the changes in its ferocity. A steady drizzle, a sudden downpour, each evokes its own sensations.

After a restless night I awake to the stiffness and peculiarity that sleeping without any sort of pad or comfort provides. The grass was my bed and my body is reminding me how foreign of a notion this is in our modern age. My girlfriend and I spend the early hours of the morning packing up our things and seeking the requirement of a strong cup of coffee. Successfully, we enjoy this within the warm confines of a local Coffee Shop in the quaint town of Winthrop, Washington.

The race cannot come soon enough. I have been ready to go since 6:00am when I first awoke an hour early. But alas, the 10:00am start means I am merely killing time. We meander the foothills of the Methow Valley as the sun momentarily breaks through the overcast skies. Things look promising but the clouds are threatening. Looking at the singletrack carving through the slopes, I am soon eager about the 50km of running that lies ahead. I seeded this notion the previous afternoon when my girlfriend and I enjoyed a nice mellow run on the first part of the course. The forgiving, non-technical terrain is a welcomed relief from the usual scree-slopes, roots and step-ups of the North Shore trails.

Finally, we are off and in my opinion the only way that an ultra should, a quick 5second count down by the RD. It is a fast start, and not surprising, as the 25km runners join us for the first 9+miles of the course. I tip-toe my way through the early sections stepping around various runners who were a little ambitious out the gates. The gradient steepens as we make our way on to some doubletrack. I feel sluggish and lethargic, my body wants to rest. But my mind wanders, I am distracted now. The beauty of the surrounding landscape captures my attention. The shadows created by the morning sun are pleasant; just looking, a sense of ease emanates through my body. I forget that I am even running a race. In fact, in that moment I wish I was not. I would love to stop and take in my surroundings and continue to explore these foothills. A passing runner snaps me out of these thoughts. I have become lazy.

We hit the first aid station where I quickly refill my handheld and empty the trash I have stored in my pocket. It is just past this point where we deviate with the 25km runners and I am surprised at how many there were. Few make the turn up the slope to continue to the apex along the 50km course. Juxtaposed to the initial climb, the descent requires my full attention. It is tight and winding single track and due to the previous evening’s rains, there are many precarious points. I catch myself a few times as I slip and slide through the mud. Dry socks no longer. I continue to yo-yo with a couple other runners. We seem to work well together, taking the lead at various points.

Time elapses quickly. It always does when on foreign terrain. I have never been in this area nor run trails as groomed as these. I enjoy not having to watch my footing and hop-step my way up the slopes. Plodding along. I roll into the 17mile aid and quickly restock my waist pack with the necessary calories to carry me through the final 13miles and two substantial climbs. It is warming as we near mid-day and the exposure of the mountain is catching up to me. The first of the two climbs to the top of Sun Mountain catches me by surprise. It is a fairly steep gradient and I soon fall into the dreaded power-walk. Perhaps saving something, I juggle with the thought of grunting up the hill or reserving for the final stages. Mind games. I choose the latter and simply continue my forward progression up the slope mixing between walking and running. Lazy. Once again, the descent breeds life into my legs and I am soon passing runners I noted ahead of me on the climb. The singletrack cut into the side of the slopes wreaks some havoc on my hips and feet as I rarely find a flat spot. Thankfully, these are switchback so it balances out well.

The final aid station cannot come soon enough. My bottle has been empty for the last 20minutes; I have misjudged. With the 24mile aid in sight, I sprint along the quarter mile stretch of road, the only road we encounter the entire course, desperately seeking hydration. Quickly, I refill my bottle and down a couple cups of water. Relief.

The final climb waits for us across the road. The open terrain and cutting single track weaves up the mountain. Stark and barren, it sits in front of me. There is nowhere else to go. I continue to pick off runners as I climb. Each time feeling more and more motivated. It is arduous but doable. Inevitably, I reach the top and retrace my steps down the slope. Precarious at first and attempting to regain my legs, I eventually open up on the descent feeling the best I have all day. Is this race really going to end now? Nearing the bottom of the mountain my girlfriend awaits and tells me that I have less then 20minutes. Buoyed, I run on pushing the hardest I have all day but reminding myself of the slight uphill finish to the course. I take a quick glance at my watch and realize a sub 4:45 is out of reach so I resolve to a steady pace as I cross the line in 4:48. My legs feel fresh and my mind clear. The sensation is overwhelming. I cannot wait to do it again.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Week in Review: April 24- May1

Monday April 24, 2011: AM: 10.5miles (1:34) Fairly steady run from behind Park Royal on the Trans-Canada Trail up to the Cleveland Dam; did a few loops up around the rolling trails there and then retraced my steps home. Saw some low 6:xx's coming back as it started to pour rain. Mostly motivated by the fact that I was late to meet Meredith after her workout.Enjoyed the rest of the day off work.

Tuesday April 25, 2011: PM: 6miles (52min) Easy run. Tried to treat this as purely a recovery effort. Headed out and did 4miles on my own and then 2 more teaching KINTEC run clinic. Legs felt stiff and awkward, time for a day off.

Wednesday April 26, 2011: PM: 2.5miles (25min) Really easy teaching KINTEC run clinic. Poured rain the entire time. My energy pathetic.

Thursday April 27, 2011: Noon: 10miles (1:37) Off work at noon today. Immediately headed over to my parent's because I had to drop some stuff off. Took care of business then headed out their back door, all of two steps, right on to the Baden Powell. Debated the necessity of a jacket (chose to keep it and tucked it in my waist band... good call) and then worked my way along the Seymour River. Felt decently chipper given how things had gone the last couple of days. Ran up Curcuit 8 over to Lynn Loop, once again debated whether or not I should do Lower Lynn Loop... Decided to go for it and found myself running through a few inches of wet snow as a fairly heavy hail started to fall. Wet and muddy but I was just enjoying the luxury of an afternoon off work and spending it on the seemingly vacant trails. Eventually reached lower grounds and coincidentally, the sun made an appearance and I basically just worked my way back to my parent's. Hungry by the end.

Friday April 28, 2011: AM: 18miles (3:01) Medium Long run along the Chuckanut Course around Fairhaven/ Larabee Park. Circumstances drew me south of the border today so I planned a long run. Got on the trails by a little after 10am with a vague plan in mind. At the end of the day I basically ran 5miles along the fairly flat dirt path to the entrance to Larabee Park. I then headed up to Fragrance Lake and over the backside of the mountain. From there, I pondered continuing to the Ridge Trail but realized that time was not on my side and further, I took but one bottle and did not know the area well at all. So I retraced my steps back up the mountain to Fragrance Lake, enjoyed a quick loop, and then a buttery descent down the singletrack to the bike path. Beautiful trails and I am definitely starting to develop quite the affection for the area.

(Equipment post run- Notice the new Saucony Peregrine- great first run in them and nothing but positive things to say about them so far- the fact that I could go and run a comfortable 18mile mountain run in them says a lot I suspect)

Saturday April 29, 2011: AM: 3miles (25minutes) Loops around a few block radius surrounding my apartment. Then headed out with Meredith and did 10miles (3:00) of hiking/ running. Enjoyable day.

Sunday April 30, 2011: 11miles (1:55) Quick run early in the morning up at Lynn Headwaters. I did not have the greatest energy but got it done. Just ran as my body dictated. Some was slow, some was moderate, nothing was fast. When I got home Meredith and I headed out for a hike along the Baden Powell near Grouse Mountain. 7miles (2:45)- we packed lunch and just savoured the stunning spring day. Despite the easy effort, my legs were pretty tired by the end. The cumulative effect of the week I suppose.

Weekly Mileage: 78miles (15hrs)
Cross-Training: Daily ITB and planks. No gym session.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Weeks in Review: April 11-17/ 18-24

Monday April 11, 2011: 3.5miles (1:00) Run/Hike with Meredith up at Lynn Headwaters. Nice night.

Tuesday April 12, 2011: AM: Full strength routine at the gym.

PM: 6.5miles (1:10) 1386'vert Old Grouse Mountain Road tempo. Got out after work for one of my favorite workouts. Parked at the entrance gate to Lynn Headwaters, enjoyed the 5min warm-up to the stairs then ascended up to the base of Old Grouse Mountain Road via Baden Powell (15min). Then did a 20min tempo up OGMR. Felt out of shape and was pretty cooked by the end. Legs were fine just not very chipper. Finally felt like I let go on the descent; bowels were jostling which meant a quick pit stop but felt like I was flying otherwise.

Wednesday April 13, 2011: AM: 5miles (42min) Recovery run. Easy around Lonsdale and over to Loutette. Legs were predictably tight from last night.

Thursday April 14, 2011: Planned to go out after work but it didn't happen. I had all of my stuff in the car and then it just started to sleet/snow. Mentally, I was not prepared.

Friday April 15, 2011: PM: 5miles (1:00). Hill Repeats on Homestead trail. The Garmin measured these at a little over 300feet of vertical over .5miles. However, most of the gain comes over the last .2miles or so. And from those who have run the trail, I am sure you are aware that it is certainly a grunt to the top. Did them really easy tonight with Meredith- progression effort 3times all powerhiking. (8:47, :13, :11).

Saturday April 16, 2011: AM: 13miles (1:47) 1250'vert. Home to Headwaters return via Richard Jurgyn and Bridgman Park. Solid run early in the morning.

PM: 6miles (1:33) 1000'vert. Hike with Meredith up to Fragrance Lake down in Fairhaven.

Sunday April 17, 2011: 19miles (3:47) 4100'vert. This was an encouraging long run for me. Had a decent amount of vertical thrown in there including a climb from the river up the Powerlines. It was a nice day out which made the outing all the more enjoyable.

Weekly Mileage: 58miles (11:30hrs)
Cross-Training: One full gym strength routine + daily ITB and Planks. Also had another day in there where I just did my strength stuff at home with body-weight/ bosa ball.

Monday April 18, 2011: PM: Went up to Grandview field with my medicine ball and thera-band. Did about 45minutes of work before it started to hail. Nice to get outside and do this rather than in a gym.

Tuesday April 19, 2011: PM: 5miles (39:30) Quick run after work over to Loutette. A bit of a tempo effort for a few miles at the end. And not because I felt like it per se but I had to be home.

PM2: 2miles (22min). Easy jogging coaching the KINTEC run clinic.

Wednesday April 20, 2011: 7.5miles (53min) Home to Headwaters Out-and-Back. Another one of my stable workouts from last year that I have just started getting back into the routine of implementing. Felt sluggish and half-asleep at 5am but was surprised to hit the out in 30:42 and then just cruised the return at right on 7min pace for a 22:26 return. The sun was just starting to make an appearance over the eastern horizon as I finished.

PM: 2miles (22min) Easy jogging coaching KINTEC Run clinic.

Thursday April 21, 2011: PM: 8miles (1:17) 1400'vert Homestead Hill Repeats. Itching all day at work to get out, found myself distracted with the thoughts of where I was going to run. By 4'o'clock I settled on some hill work and parked my car just behind Capilano college. Did a 3mile W/U and then got to work. 3times Homestead Hills split: 6:30, :33: 21). Snotty mess by the end of each but was completely absorbed in the workout and the serenity that the trails offer at this time of the evening. The setting sun breaking through the dense coastal forest was a perfect setting. Shirtless by the end. Great night.

Friday April 22, 2011: AM: 12miles (2:05) 2300'vert. A steady run with company. Met up with Sammy, Kerry and David at Lynn Headwaters and we cruised over to Hyannis Drive eventually meandering our way over to the entrance to Horses Loop and returned via Bridal Bath and Curcuit 8. It was nice to run with some company. I had run with Sammy in the past but this was the first time I had met/run with Kerry and David. Great guys and solid runners. Look forward to more runs in the future with this group.

Saturday April 23, 2011: AM 20.5miles (3:38). Long Run from Headwaters to Indian River Road Junction and return. I felt extremely comfortable on this run. My energy yo-yoed a bit but not terribly. I did run out of water at about the 3hr mark- one hand-held did not suffice- but looped over to Gazebo and re-filled. Tried to explore what I thought was a new trail- unfortunately it came to a dead end and I had to bush-whack my way out. Other than that I was lost in my thoughts the majority of the run. The nearly 4hrs went by in a flash.

Sunday April 24, 2011: AM: 7miles (2:57) Hike with Meredith to the base of Black Mountain. My legs felt a little sluggish at the outset by the time we were coming back I felt good. I was quite content to just hike with Meredith because the trails were just so damn beautiful I wanted it to last as long as possible. 2300'vert.

PM: 5miles (42min). Quick shake-out on the roads over to Loutette before Easter dinner. It was raining but for some reason I found it extremely refreshing on this afternoon.

Weekly Mileage: 69miles (13hrs)
Cross-Training: One strength routine session at the field and the usual daily ITB and planks.

The last couple weeks have gone by rather seamlessly. I have been steadily increasing my mileage and will look to continue to do so over the next couple weeks as I build for my first race of the year at the end of May. The left knee/ ITB has been improving but is not 100%. I still get the odd twinge near the end of my long-runs and hence, have kept them near the 4hr range. I am fairly confident that if I continue to do what I have been doing over the past several months I will finally be able to shake this thing and be back to 100%. At the same time, I feel as though I can let go on the downhills and have the confidence that I am not doing some sort of undue stress to my left knee. I had a few runs in there that were definite confidence builders in this respect. Things have been busy and I have had a few nights were my dinner has been a few Cliff Bars but so it goes. The weather has been improving and the trails are drying out. The true essence of spring is around the corner...

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Week in Review: April 4- 10

Monday April 4, 2011: AM: Full strength routine at the gym. Felt a little tired this morning; but the 4am wakeup can do that once in a while.

PM: Treatment

Tuesday April 5, 2011: PM: 9.5miles (1:17) Decided that I would put a bit of a test on the left leg tonight. I did one of my favorite staple workouts over at Loutet Park. A 1.2mile loop on the surrounding bark-mulch path down 300feet to the gate/ returning back up the climb. Splits: (4:52/4:52, 5:00/4:42, 4:54/4:40). I took the downhills really conservative and tried to pick it up on the return. Good progression on the sets but definitely was a little gassed by the end. Out of shape.

Wednesday April 6, 2011: PM: 10miles (1:25) 850'vertical. One of my favorite evening loops down to Bridgeman by the river then returning home. Felt pretty decent tonight. Took a bit to get rolling but was happy with the effort. Steady. Knee felt strong.

Thursday April 7, 2011: AM: 4+miles (37min) Super easy recovery run at 4:30am. Nice morning. There is something about the stillness that is absolutely intoxicating. As much as it is a drag getting up sometimes, I always feel better after. Either way, its only an hour earlier than I would have to wake for work anyways.

Friday April 8, 2011: AM: 18miles (3:02) 2800'vertical. Solid long run on the trails. Other then getting bit by a dog, things went fairly smoothly. Being a Friday morning I found myself alone for the near entirety of the effort. I passed the odd folks out for a morning hike but other then that, it was a solo endeavor, my preference indeed. I seem to develop a deeper more inherent connection with my surrounding environment when I have few distractions but my own circular thoughts and the ground under my feet.

Saturday April 9, 2011: AM: 3.5miles (25min) Circuit Workout at the Track. 1+mile w/u and 1+mile c/d. Went like this: Run a 300m with jog in/out. Straight into the following sets of exercises with another 300m set between each sequence of 4 exercises: Lateral lunge (10x) Body squat (20x) Lateral Leg Raise (8x toe in, out, parallel) Groiners (10x): Next sequence: front lunge (10x) Wide Outs (10x) Pronated Pedestal (45sec) Supinated Pedestal (45sec): Next sequence: Back Lunge (10x) Back and Side Lunge (10 per side) Prone Pedestal with leg raises (10 each leg) Supinated Pedestal with leg raise (10 each leg): Next Sequence: Squat Thrust (10x) Push-ups (10x) Iron Cross (10) Scorpion (10). First time I have done one of these workouts and must say that I enjoyed it. It is a Jay Johnson special and was perfect given the severe time restrictions I was under this morning and my desire to get a more full-body workout in.

Spent the rest of the day with the Impulse Team at the Diez Vista 50km. Wishing I was running it. But enjoyed the time just hanging out and talking with various runners/ reps from the industry. Meredith and I also managed a quick hike: 2miles (40min)

Sunday April 10, 2011: 14miles (2:05). Cold and wet. Absolutely poured rain the entire time. Home-Loutet-Bridgman-Richard J- Gazebo- Rice Lake- Headwaters- Return via Lynn Valley Road. Not a great run. Energy was meteoric but my head was just not into it. Left knee was a little sore at the end. Tried to just take it really easy coming in.

Mileage: 61miles (9+hrs)
Yoga, daily ITB and Planks, Circuit workout, one full gym session.

Not much to say about the week. Just plugging along. I am still limited by this lingering ITBS which I cannot fully shake. Talking with a variety of different people about it, the consensus is that it just needs more time. So that is what I am trying to do while at the same time testing the limits each week. Got to the 3hr range with no pain this week and managed to run 6days/100km, so I suppose that is encouraging. I still need to remain prudent and aware of overdoing it though (I say this as purely a self-reminder as writing the words allows me to internalize the thought at a more significant level). I struggle with the question of whether I would be better off taking a week completely off of running and then resuming full training. Would that ultimately heal it? On that other hand, running, while keeping it pain free, is this the more appropriate approach as I have been doing. I am of the belief/ understanding that rest will not necessarily remedy it and that continuing with the measured training and my daily ITB rehab exercises is ultimately the best course of action. thoughts? Naturally, time is of the essence as I have pending race goals.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Week in Review: March 28-April 3

Monday March 28, 2011: Intended day off of running today; no miles. Went to the field after work with M. We brought our 10lb medicine ball, thera-bands and got to work. We basically just did a whole bunch of Jay Johnson's strength training routine. We do these inside all the time but it was nice to take it outdoors and incorporate some more dynamic (pylo) and throwing items.

Tuesday March 29, 2011: PM: 8.5miles (1:13) Took this run pretty easy. I was not feeling great from the start and decided I would do the intelligible thing and listen to my body. Headed from Loutete Park down to Bridgeman Park- did a loop around there and then did the 500' climb back up to the park and then looped home. Wet and muddy by the end. Not a very pleasant run.

Wednesday March 30, 2011: AM: 6miles (55min) I was planning on running after work but knew I was not going to have time. So rather then do a full-strength routine at the gym I hit the mill. Did a varying workout of hills. Basically just kept myself occupied and moved the gradient between 3%-15%. At the end I had 1300'of climbing. Felt pretty decent. Condensed strength routine followed.

Thursday March 31, 2011: PM: 8.5miles (1:05) Lynn Headwaters Trails. Beautiful run in the evening after work. Probably felt the best I have in a long time. I hit some quicker miles in there and just tried to find that zone of "comfortably hard". Perhaps I achieved this, my legs had that familiar sensation of fatigue after a more concerted effort.

Friday April 1, 2011: AM: Pool Running (35min) Went with Meredith to the pool and joined her in one of her workouts. Pyramid 1/2/3/4/4/3/2/1min hard with 1min recovery between each segment. I was surprised at how gassed I was at the end of this. I suppose one is inclined to push themself a little harder because the lack of pain in the legs acting as a resisting/reminding factor. I was on the verge of unloading my breakfast on two occasions throughout. Meredith kicked my ass for sure. Went home and fell asleep on the floor for 10minutes before I had to get to work by 7:30am.

Saturday April 2, 2011: 17miles (2:50) Solid run. Longest I have gone for well... a long time. Unfortunately, I did all of this on one gel and 15oz of water. But I managed just fine. A little over 2000' of vertical on the day. Started from my doorstep and only had to indulge in about 2miles of pavement for the entire run. Looped down to Bridgeman up to Gazebo via Richar Jyrgen Tral (sp). Descended Circuit 8 over the bridge, up Bottle Top to Hyannis. Retured via Bridgeman and up the final 500' grunt to Loutete and home.

Noon: Yoga (1:00) Did this 45minutes after finishing up my run. Felt a little delusional and light-headed at points but my legs felt great all afternoon no doubt as a result.

Sunday April 3, 2011: 13miles (2:25) Satisfying run. Lynn Canyon-Grouse Mountain-Skyline Trail- Baden Powell- Old Grouse Mountain Road (hill repeats)- Lynn Headwaters- Roads Home. 2400'vertical. I headed out today completely unsure of how I was goind to feel. Specifically, my plaguing ITBS. I was pleasantly surprised with how things went. I experienced absolutely no specific left knee pain; notwithstanding taking it fairly easy on the day, any type of technical downhill had been causing me some discomfort. Not today. Perhaps I have turned the corner. Ran into some familiar faces out there. Including hearing this guy approximately a mile away chatting, laughing and just generally beaming with joy. Guess Gary Robbins is happy to be back out there. Also saw boss Ryne Melcher doing a photo shoot with KINTEC. Exchanged a few words with him and then continued on. The only problem with this run was that I brought no water or fuel and the tap was turned off on the base of Old Grouse Mountain Road. Definitely bonked the last couple of miles but just spaced out and rolled home; in some perverse way, I think I may actually enjoy this sensation.

Weekly Mileage: 53miles/5runs (9hrs)
Cross-Training: Daily ITB routine and Planks (being doing at a minimum 6 consecutive minutes of these rotating every 45sec between protated and sides and finishing with 45sec of supinated- I think that is a lot of planks over the last 3months) one gym session, one session of pool running, and a yoga practice.

A safe week, but exactly what my body requires at this time. Both Monday and Friday I intentionally chose not to run because of my lingering case of ITBS. Nonetheless, I was able to keep the mileage decent (given only 5 runs) and was able to get some quality time on the feet over the weekend (30miles/5:20hrs). I am extremely pleased with this progress. Honestly, anaerobically I feel better then I thought given my paltry first few months of 2011, and my body has responded well to the last few weeks of actual running. Slow and conservative. I think this case of ITBS has scared me straight. I will look to continue weekly hill workouts to strengthen my glutes (Old Grouse Mountain Road being my favorite place for this)and continue to increase my long runs on the weekend. I will not be running Diez Vista next weekend, unfortunately, but I will be out there with Team IMPULSE helping out.

Non-running related, bought tickets to see these guys coming up at Venue. Pretty stoked on that.

And had this song stuck in my head all weekend. Really starting to dig this band.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Week in Review: March 21-27 2011

Monday March 21, 2011: Noon: Condensced version of my usual strength routine at the gym + ITB routine and Planks
PM: 4.5miles (40min) Easy shakeout. Not the best run I have had lately. The left knee was a little sore. Probably should have taken the day off given the previous days effort and my still vulnerable ITBS condition.

Tuesday March 22, 2011: Nada. Easy hour walk with Meredith in the evening and a little frisbee at the field. Usual ITB routine and Planks in there as well.

Wednesday March 23, 2011: PM: 8.5miles (1:10). Solid run. Felt better as I went along and managed to tempo (ie. ran by feel) the last 40minutes or so. Saw a few sub 6:30's on the Garmin as I rolled along. Finished up with a couple of hill strides.

Thursday March 24, 2011: AM: Gym: 2.5miles (30min) On the mill at 15% gradient. 1300' vertical. Felt good. Followed this up with full strength routine. Had my legs completely shot and quivering by the end of this one.
PM: 4.5miles (38min). Totally snuck this run in. I was out at UBC for a meet and greet for Law school starting in the fall and had some time before. Pulled over by Pacific Spirit Park, changed on the side of the road- and hit the trails. Quick run but man was it nice. Just one of those days. New trails and beautiful weather.

Friday March 25, 2011: AM: Gym: 2.5miles (30min) Mill at 15% gradient. 1300' vertical. Legs a bit worked. Full strength routine to follow. Pretty bagged by the end. Off to work.

Saturday March 25, 2011: AM: 14.5miles (2:08). Started this run nice and easy, and basically just progressed from there. Probably just over 2000' of vertical and I ended up running the downhills a little more liberal then I have been with my questionable left knee. Not bad overall. Few twitches at the end. I then followed this up with 5.5miles (1:50) hike with Meredith and my parents three dogs. This was really enjoyable as the sun was shining and it actually felt like spring; although my left knee definitely felt a little achy at the end. I should have expected this given the continuous time on the feet/ mileage. Tot 19miles

Sunday March 26, 2011: AM: 9miles (1:21) The positive on this run was that I had great energy and no general soreness from yesterday. However, my left knee was not perfect and I cut the run shorter than I was planning. This was really frustrating because I felt as though I could go all day- but the left knee is still not ready. It took a lot of resolve for me to not push through more than I did. Follwed this up with 3.5miles (1:00) hike with Meredith and the dogs. Weekend obligation. Tot 12.5miles

Mileage: 55miles (10:30) Cross-Training: 2.5 gym sessions along with daily ITB rehab routine and planks. A 14-15hr week of training with all included.

Not much meaninful to say about this week. At this point I just feel like I am biding my time. My body feels ready to go, excluding my left knee of course. It is basically limiting me to a little over 2hr runs at this time. I certainly have a growing sense of frustration with this, as I am trying to prepare for longer races in the coming months. But I am also attempting to be realistic. It was only a couple weeks ago when running for any stretch of time was a chore. However, perhaps I am just selfish, but this fails to fully appease me in many ways.

Sunday, March 20, 2011


Monday March 14, 2011: AM: ITB + Plank routine
PM: easy walk (60min)

Tuesday March 15, 2011: AM: 2+miles (30min) On the mill. Started the gradient at 5% and worked it up to 15%. Unfortunately, this is the maximum that the machines at the Y allow (have they never run the trails of the North Shore- we need more than 15% for cross-training). I spent the rest of the time at the gym doing my full strength routine- takes about 60min,
PM: 8.5miles (1:10). A fairly conservative and easy outing on this night. I was feeling pretty good part way through so did 2* 1-mile interval (6:23, 6:22) on the gravel path that surrounds the track over at one of the local high-schools. I much prefer doing repeats around this outer trail versus that actual track for three-fold: 1) its not a track 2) its not pavement 3) it has elevation gain and some winding turns. All of these factors make it much more appealing to me.

Wednesday March 16, 2011: AM: ITB + Plank routine.
Noon: 20* one-legged squat, one-legged sitting-to-standing, lunge-matrix
PM: 7miles (60min). Easy run, left leg felt good once again.

Thursday March 17, 2011: AM: 2+miles (30min). Same as on Tuesday morning, start the grade at 5% and work it up to 15%. Mostly powerhiking with avg pace at around 14-16min/miles. Just an attempt to keep my climbing legs strong.
PM: 2miles (18min) Easy trot to shake out the legs.

Friday March 18, 2011: AM: 12miles (1:49)- avg pace 8:43. My longest run in over two-months with no pain the entire time. Kept the pace slow and conservative and by the end barely felt like I had even gone on a run. 2000feet of vertical over the effort.
PM: Hot-Yoga (1:30)

Saturday: 6miles + (2:00). Hiked the Chuckanut 50km course with Meredith and took a bunch of photos as we caught the leaders at about the mile 26point. Great times hanging out and chatting with a bunch of other runners.

Sunday: 14miles (2:04). Another encouraging run. Kept the pace steady but never like I was working. 1,900 feet of vertical- over a nice little loop from my house- to Bridgeman Park- to base of Riverside drive- up to the Baden Powell Junction- Gazebo- Suspension Bridge- roads home. Thought I may have felt a slight twitch in the left knee near the end but nothing more. Can’t complain. Glad that I packed an emergency gel in my back pocket as I needed it about 1:45 into the effort. Also was glad the fountain at Gazebo was on because I did not take any water.

Mileage: 54.5miles (9:30hours)
Cross-Training: Two gym sessions and a Yoga class plus daily ITB rehab and Plank routine.

It has been a long time but I am finally running pain-free. Looking back at my log, I basically have not had a comfortable run since mid-December. But it has finally happened and really only over the past 11-days. But since this point I have been able to make fairly significant progress. From barely being able to run for 30minutes without that familiar ache materializing in my left knee, to today running for just over two hours with some decent vertical and with no pain, I am more then content with the progression.

I have to remain conservative and smart over the next couple of weeks; I am far from completely done with this injury. But in saying that, the countless hours I have spent strength-training in the gym and correcting my muscle imbalances is paying dividends. I will look to keep the mileage modest but steady in its build. At this point, I am just relishing the fact I am once again doing what I love so much, being outside in nature running. With this sentiment, I am reminded of these words by the now deceased Edward Abbey from his book Desert Solitaire,

“God? Nothing moves but the heat waves, rising from the naked rock. It is somehow comforting to see, nearby, the yuccas growing from the sand and from the joints in the stone. They are in full bloom today, clusters of waxy, creamy flowers on tall stalks, supported and nourished by the rosettes of daggerlike leaves that form the base of the plant. God? I think, quibbling with Balzac; in Newcomb’s terms, who the hell is HE? There is nothing here, at the moment, but me and the desert. And that’s the truth. Why confuse the issue by draggin in a superfluous entitiy? Occam’s razor, Beyond Atheism, nontheism. I am not an atheist but an eathiest. Be true to the earth”- Desert Solitair, 1968, Edward Abbey.

A few photos I took from Saturday's race:

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Cognitive Dissonance: Where I have been

The last two months have represented a significant period of struggle. Looking back, it was on December 15th, 2010 where the first notable signs of trouble began. After an easy 7miles in the predawn morning, I felt an almost indiscernible ache in my left hamstring. I had to specifically focus to really notice it, so naturally I did not think much of it and merely chalked it up as some morning tightness from the previous evenings run. So after a day of work I headed back out later that evening for a scheduled track workout in what was a typical Vancouver winter mist (for some reason I can recall daily weather conditions quite well; it is one of the things I tend to tune into when running). Things started well and I actually recall feeling quite spry. But as I worked my way deeper into the mile repeats I was losing push in my left leg. Like it was falling dead, I was getting sporadic twinges down the leg. But this would dissipate as I continued into the stride and thus, I progressed on. The following morning there were remnants of this similar nerve-like sensation and I found myself with the ability to recreate them via certain stretches/ movements. Clearly there was something not right.

After a couple of weeks of IMS and Fascia release coupled with reduced/ easy mileage I felt as though I was coming around. I was far from 100% but as long as I kept my stride easy I was able to keep the nerve under control. Unfortunately, during this time I felt growing tightness along my left ITB. In retrospect this was undoubtedly a by-product of the surrounding muscles having to react to a less-than-fully-functioning left leg; picking up the slack so to speak. Finally, my bull-headed stubbornness caught up to me and I was reduced to a pathetic limp after ascending/descending 3000feet of vertical in snowshoes and running 12miles the day earlier. I knew I had screwed things up. Since then there has been very sporadic/ little running and a lot of cross-training. My day has been reduced to something like this:

AM: 5:30am Gym: Medicine Ball warm up (20* hay-bails, 20* single leg squat/ pistol squat, 20* double leg squat with full extension at top, 20 * 90degrees to 180degrees, 20* Russian twists- I do two sets for all of these). ITB rehab: taken from here. Pedestal Routine: taken from here- with my own slight modifications. Quick session of upper body work. Stationary High Knees with resistance-band around ankles: 30seconds on 15seconds off for 3minutes. Stairclimber 30minutes or alternatively 45min pool running (vary throughout the week). Total time 1:30-2hrs
PM: Yoga + another set of ITB rehab and pedestal. I have now built up to walking for 45min to 1hour followed by 10-15* 50meter strides on grass surface followed by lunges and side-steps.

During this time I was still attempting to run every odd day but I usually had to get on the mill and run for 30-45min with an incline of 6-10% to reduce the strain on the left ITB. Eventually, after pushing it a little too hard on one of those runs, I resolved to the fact that this was not doing me any favours and I have now taken a more measured approach. I am finally seeing the progress I was seeking over the past week or so. It is coming around and I am actually feeling pretty strong (dividends of hours in the gym and the X-work at home I suppose). Running of any real significant is not an option yet but I am at least moving in the right direction. It is frustrating because my leg is a compete non-issue throughout the day and during regular routine/ cross-training, but as soon as I try to break out in to a lengthy run, the pain slowly kicks back in.

It is easy to sit back, retrospectively ponder, point out the mistakes and dwell. Should I have taken 2-weeks completely off in December? Would I have avoided all of this? If I had taken some time off this fall would I have started the year off fresh and fit? Intuitively this seems like the appropriate thing to do. When you make a mistake you are suppose to learn from them. Naturally, this involves giving them a certain amount of thought and consideration as to what went wrong. And indeed I have. But while I agree with this approach, I find it problematic to over analyze. I know I made some mistakes but it is a futile endeavour to continually nurse these notions. I recognize them and now it is time to move forward.

In a similar vein, I often read other runners approach as they go through periods of injury (read: non-running). A common theme is to justify in a sort of after-the-fact method. This is a usual psychological tactic that we as humans engage in within a variety of settings-I believe it falls closely under the confines of cognitive dissonance. Psychologists have done numerous studies outlining this concept wherein they ask participants to rate their likeness for let’s say 10CD’s. They then offer them one of these CD’s as token for taking part in the study. Later, they measure the same participants likeness for the CD’s that they were given and find that it has gone up a statistically significant level from before. Essentially, despite all other variables remaining consistent, they have suddenly developed a stronger like for the CD that they were given. Applying this to the case of not being able to run there are two conflicting ideas: wanting to run and not being able to. This leads to a strong sense of dissonance and resulting uncomfortable feelings; hence, we are motivated to reduce it. We do this by offering up a variety of different forms of reasoning that justify the conflicting ideas or simply that reduce the dissonance. For instance, I needed the time off to recuperate, the weather has been terrible, it’s the middle of winter why do I want to run anyways, this time will give me the opportunity to build strength and cross-train. While indeed all of these may be accurate and actually how one is feeling, they are spurred by the fact that one cannot run. If one were able to, they would not have such feelings.

What’s the point of all this? Not much, other than to show the applicability of psychological concepts to the everyday life of runners. And to gain some grasp on the feelings I have been having as of late. However, no matter how much I try to reduce the dissonance, at the end of the day I just want to run. It has become so innate to my self-concept that I feel unlike my “self” when I cannot, as cliché as that may sound. In a lot of ways, I feel a lot less like me. As will be obvious from this, I will not be running the Birch Bay Marathon this weekend. This is disappointing but I will get over it. At this point I just need to get healthy and be smart and measured in my progression back to significant running.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011


It was approaching 8:00pm. I had been at the university since 7:30am that morning when I first walked up the long set of steps with the rising sun perfectly framed by the stoic cement building of Arthur Erickson. Although controversial, I came to develop a fond appreciation for the integrity of his design and his commitment to his architectural principles. But I digress.

By this time in the evening my focus was surely non-existent. The intellectual vigour that I started the day with had morphed into a disfigured blob of haze, barely recognizable as a inanimate entity itself. Seven plus hours of lectures and tutoring can do that to you. But it was on this evening that we studied Heraclitus in my Philosophy class. And it is one particular proverb that he is credited with that to this day stands firmly in my mind. “One cannot step twice into the same river”.

The idea behind this proverb is fairly rudimentary but also brilliant. Since the waters that compose a river are forever changing as it flows, it is a different river each time you step into it. Taken to the extreme, rivers then as we ordinarily conceive them do not exist. If there is a Colorado River for instance it only exists for a fleeting moment before it becomes a completely different river. This is obviously a ridiculous proposition but the message that Heraclitus was attempting to promote is most definitely valid. Broken down to its essence, there is nothing that is truly stable and permanent; rather everything is always in flux or change.

I have held onto this notion dearly for the past month. Like a child desperately grasping their favourite stuffed-animal, I have taken this idea wherever and whenever I go. Each time I lace my shoes, and step out the door I am a new person, I remind myself. With a new cellular structure, and a new chance to get it right, perhaps. Remember the message of Heraclitus I dutifully posit: the world is always in a state of flux. I try to convince myself that my ITB won’t hurt as much this morning and that I will not be relegated to a few measly miles and another week of the pool and elliptical.

I turn the corner, hop-stepping over the chipped curb with a damp rain soaking my body. I am only thirty minutes into my run and my mind is racing; hyperactive. Increasingly, I become ever conscious of the growing ache above my left knee. I try to block it out, put it in the cage as they say, relax and feel the stride and just breathe. I tell myself that it will fade. It works. Momentarily. But that is all.

Frustrated. I turn around and follow my footsteps home. My stride has become awkward and unpleasant as I complete the necessary final miles, not wanting to submit to what my mind is telling me to do: walk. I cringe as I approach the undulating slopes that aggravate the already worsening situation. The time crawls by as I juxtapose this to how easy the miles felt a short time ago. Where it took me forty minutes just to warm up and find my stride before I began to click off the hours. Everything is in flux.

As I make my way back up the steps to my apartment, wet from the hazy mist on this early Saturday morning, I cannot help but feel a growing sense of displeasure. Displeasure with myself and my body that has so obviously let me down. But in nearly the same exact moment, the words of Heraclitus enter my mind as I gently remind myself that things are changing. Whether for better or for worse remains to be seen, but I grasp at the sense of comfort that these words provide. Knowing that stagnation and stability are just a fleeting moment and flux is the true principle of control.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

2010 Year in Review

This was the first year that I have logged my running in any significant detail. Realistically, I have only been running for the past couple years and I would still consider most of that to have been fairly recreational in nature. In 2009 I dipped my toes into the world of ultra running. I ran a couple 50km's and headed down to Transrockies for a multi-day stage race; I have had the bug ever since. However as is usually par the course, 2009 ended disappointingly as I spent the entire fall (Sept-December) rehabing a stress fracture in my tibia sustained over the summer months. With that, 2010 was in many ways starting from scratch. Building the proverbial base and forming that necessary anaerobic base and muscular-skeletal capacity to sustain a running lifestyle.

Here are my numbers for the year:

January: 125miles 23hours
February: 150miles 23hours
March: 260miles 41hours
April: 261miles 37hours
May: 337miles 43hours
June: 280miles 42hours
July: 295miles 47hours
August: 145miles 26hours
September: 206.5miles 33hours
October: 203.8miles 32hours
November: 254.8miles 37.5hours
December: 191.9miles 23hours

Totoals: 2710 miles 407.5hours

A quick brainstorm of the positive/ negative elements of 2010:

1. most mileage I have ever run
2. the consistency of my running; in other words, no serious injury
3. the incorporation of ancillary work as part of my weekly routine; I did not included this in the numbers above. But I was at the gym doing cross-training/ weights nearly 100times this year. No doubt in my mind, this is part of the reason why I was able to ward off any significant injuries
4. Reincorporating speed work through the fall months- something I will look to continue in 2011
5. the many hours of solitude in the mountains/trails- without a doubt the best aspect of the year and quite honestly, the reason I run. Period.

1. did not race as much as I would have liked to; and when I did, I struggled and mostly had crappy days
2. health/nutritional issues. I mostly have this issue back on track but I certainly had trouble with it during the spring/summer where I had a few health setbacks as a result.
3. my girlfriend fighting with injuries for a good portion of the year and thus, we were unable to share as much running as I would have liked. Fortunately, she is a workhorse and has managed to come back stronger than ever this fall and is looking poised to have a solid/smart year in 2011

I have not fully determined my goals for 2011. I don't like to put too much excessive thought into it- I am preferential to a more organic approach. With that said, I have mostly decided on my race schedule at this point and will post something soon on that. Other than that I will look to continue to do what I love- get out the door nearly every day, run and explore my body's limits. Pretty simple but for me, inspiring stuff.