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.