If the miles behind me could be put into words before you, you would feel my efforts, my struggles, my desires. Most of all you would see my joy. Watch me from afar run the trails and hills and miles upon miles and you will see ...

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Finished at last

I am overwhelmed with what everyone had to say and the fact that many of you watched as I trodded along. I will have to wait to respond or see personally all those who wtote amazing words of wishes and support. I can't say enough. First and foremost goes my thanks and appreciation to the crew: Carrie and Ian made it possible to get all the way through this. I've said it before but without awesome support, this type of thing wouldn't be possible, at least for me.
The journey was a long, long, long, LONG, one. My knees will not be forgiving me any time soon. My left one is very swollen I believe from compensating from some plantar issues on my right. Strangely, my IT band never really flared up too bad (advil is wonderful, ain't it?) and my old shin splint worries never materialized. Suffice to say our trip to the Acropolis will be a lengthy and slow moving one tomorrow. We're off to see the coast in the other direction from the race for the remaining days. It's cloudy and cool here now but hoping to get some beach weather soon.
Can't wait to reconnect with all those back home, I just wish I wasn't so tired through the last half and could remember more!! I now understand why most people called me "crazy" these last few months. Of course, I met several folks here who had done this several times. What does that make them??

"This is madness"


Thursday, September 25, 2008

In Greece

Hey everyone! First of all I have to say a million thanks to all those who sent their good wishes to us. We're here now and after a bit of a rough time getting to the hotel, due to crazy drivers and no street signs, we made it. With twelve hours to go we all are in a bit of a state of anticipation but also dread. The directions for the race route are vague at best so Carrie and Ian are going to have fun with that. Apparently it is well-marked so that should help. I am anticipating the run but also am worried about the distance. I've said it all before so I'll spare you that train of thought. What's going to happen will happen. The weather looks favourable for running and they're even expecting rain later in the day Saturday. Great being from B.C.! More updates hopefully will come your way, if not I won't be writing anything more until at least Saturday night (Greece time) or Sunday some time. Til then.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Spartathlon info

There have been many people who have helped me get to where I am today, not just in this race or other races but life in general. If you're reading this then you most likely are one of them and I thank and appreciate you.
Carrie has been a rock for so long I take it for granted that she's always going to do what she can for me without even me asking. I mean, she volunteered to come to Greece to help crew, for goodness sake!!! What a trooper. The whole family has been very supportive and understanding for so many years, including both sets of parents who will be here looking after the kids while we're away.

Other major contributors that can't not be mentioned are:
Jim Stewart from Cactus Club Cafe who helped out huge with airfare this year.
Ferg Hawk from Carbo Pro who without his help I would have bonked many times over.
Darren Mealing of Adidas and the gang at Peninsula Runners who have kept me clothed and shod in comfort for years now.
Ian Mayhew from Gears and Tears who coached me throughout all my injuries and whining and complaining and put up with all my stupid questions

The event begins this Friday, the 26th, at 7am in Greece. That's Thursday the 25th at 9pm Vancouver time. Apparently there will be athlete tracking along the way, so feel free to check in throughout Friday.

Not sure about internet connections during race time but Ian will have his laptop so maybe they will be able to post updates along the way. Stay tuned to this website for those. You can also track athletes on the Spartathlon website (under the home page menu find Live).

Here's to finishing!!!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Public Speaking

The week that school started the principal of the kids' school asked, because she read the article about me in the paper, if I would do a little talk at the first assembly about Spartathlon and show the kids on a map where I'd be running. She asked if Thursday work for me at 10:30 but I had a dentist appointment at 10. Too bad. Then she says would 11:30 work? I guess that would be good, I said. Okay, we'll move the assembly to that time. Great, I thought, not being the most comfortable person in front of large crowds even though I've done my share of teaching smaller groups throughout the years.
Anyways, last Thursday I stood in front of them and told them the history of the race, and comparing it to running to the Abbotsford Airshow and back three times or from the school to Merritt. That kind of hit home as to the distance I'd be running (to me also!!). I finished by saying that this race was not one to be done by oneself, that every runner needed support not only from crew at the race but from friends and family at home. Also if on the 26th they could think of me running and send me good thoughts I would love it.
What blew me away was at the end two kids from each of the thirteen divisions came up to the front with the little creations that they had made for me to take to Greece. They had taken and cut out a drawing of a runner and coloured it with some having little messages in them for me. I'm supposed to take these and have them with me as support while I'm running. Not sure where I'll put them but they're coming for sure.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Rune Larsson quote

Rune Larsson is a ten time finisher of Spartathlon with the 23rd fastest time ever in 24:41. I read an article he wrote with his advice on how to approach the race. It seemed very informative and my favourite quote was:

"Set a clear goal. The goal should be related to Sparta. I used to have the Sparta Hospital as my goal. If I ran hard enough, I would be taken by ambulance to the hospital, where the doctor and nurses would give me the best care a collapsed runner could ask for. When I got exhausted towards the end of the race, I enjoyed the sensation, because it was a clear sign that I was on my way to being worthy an ambulance ride after touching the statue of King Leonidas."

That's giving it all you've got!!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Video of '06 Spartathlon

Here is a video and report from Scott Jurek's website. I believe he is entered in this year's race as well, wanting to beat the record time of 20:29 owned by the legendary Yiannis Kouros

Monday, September 8, 2008

Sheldon Boreen's Ultraman '08 report

Sheldon Boreen - Ultraman 2008 Race Report

I have endured a few obstacles in life. However this past September long weekend will not be easily forgotten as I was one of the solo participants in one of the world’s most demanding ultra-endurance challenges.
One of my goals turning 43 years old was to be one of the 12 individual ( along with 10 relay competitors) in the field for the three day 512.6 Km ( 318.6 miles) Ultraman Canada Triathlon held in the Penticton/ Okanogan region of British Columbia, also home of Ironman Canada that is held one week prior.
The eighth edition of Ultraman Canada, a Canadian event, was established in 1993, follows the format of the original Ultraman established in Kona, Hawaii in 1983.
Stage 1 starts with a 10km swim in Skaha Lake and a 145 km bike ride the first day, which ends in Okanogan Falls.
Stage 2 consists of a 275 km bike ride starting in Penticton and ending in Princeton.
Stage 3 is an 84 km run from Princeton to Summerland on the old Princeton/Summerland Highway
The race was definitely the most difficult athletic challenge I have faced. I have been racing in long and ultra distance events for the past 10 years, in various categories including four Ironman’s in the last four years. For this race I completed Ironman Switzerland in early July as a training race and also was required to complete some epic training session, swimming up to 8.5 km at times and even using the famous bike race “Ramrod” a 170 mile / three mountain passes /10,000.00 of climbing around Mount Rainier, Washington as a warm up for this three day event.
I was a bit nervous when it started due to the fact an athlete walks a fine line when competing at this level for those distances. A key component is having the body replenished with proper nutrition during the event and avoiding injury. It takes years to get to this level of fitness and months to plan a race like this with your support team. The support team travels the entire course in a vehicle basically acting as a traveling Aid Station. With out the support team it would be extremely difficult if not impossible to complete the event.
Day 1, The 10 km swim in it self has to be as straight as possible to avoid extra distance and time, spotting from your escort kayaker is crucial. The 420 km bike ride is where the majority of time is spent during this event. This year’s event provided the most brutal conditions ever seen in its history. High winds early morning produced heavy chop in the lake that hit during the tail end of the swim and unfortunately slowed my swim and bike times and caused severe stomach upset on the remaining 90 miles of cycling that day.
Day 2, of the 170 mile bike course saw the unrelenting winds continue and provide more challenge with almost 150 miles of that 11 hour ride into head wind, rain and some sleet. It was the toughest cycling day I had personally – that day also saw two veteran Ultraman drop out. Everyone remaining after day 2 knew that the final two marathons to run on day three would not be easy if those weather conditions persisted.
Day 3 On this final day the weather provided some relief with a sunny cool morning, no wind and clear skies. All remaining participants on day three finished the 54 mile run under the 12 hour cut off time, however everyone’s body took a major beating to the lower legs and quadriceps due to the last 20 miles traversing uneven gravel road surface and mountainous terrain.
Ultraman is in a different league compared to Ironman in terms of the time commitment and training along with the support required to complete the event. The mental determination and ability to stay focused for up to 12 hours at a time and be mindful of every stoke or stride so as to be efficient as possible to conserve energy and stay uninjured. An interesting fact is that there have been more people who have climbed Mount Everest (approx 1900) than who have done an Ultra man.
There are many extreme physical, mental and emotional highs and lows experienced on the course over the three days. Some say they even meet God. I have experienced all of the above, but what imprints on me the deepest is the amazing support given by everyone involved for all individuals to be successful and to complete their goal. It is real testament to see the best of humanity at the extreme fringe of human endurance. In this race there are no winners or losers, only participants, the event is actually not advertised as a race. Everyone commented on the fact it was the best event they had every attended. The feeling after the weekend was if we had all become family and lastly it gave us all the opportunity to discover the potential we all have with in.

Really Cool Video from Badwater in July

This was a clip from CTV I think which I snagged from the trainharder.com website. There's a lot of coverage of Jen Segger who is from Squamish.

Badwater Clip

Friday, September 5, 2008

Ups and Downs

Okay so ever since this this article came out in the Surrey papers, tons of people from work, the kids' school, and neighbourhood have been wishing me good luck and inquiring about Spartathlon. It is so great knowing that I have the support of so many friends and family, but it makes me nervous as well. This is no Ironman that I've done before. This is not JUST another 100km race. This is something I haven't even come close to in terms of distance. I want to finish this more than my first Ironman, more than any race I've ever started. Knowing that people will be watching (apparently there will be race-day coverage that will let you follow the athletes' progress from checkpoint to checkpoint, I'll put it on the blog if there is) makes me want to finish even more. Just know that I will do everything in my power and use all my endurance experience to get to the finish, even if it's by walking or crawling in at 35:59. My legs are feeling the effects of the distance.

Ever since the Death Race I've had IT band issues that affect my knees. It's definitely gotten worse this last week after LAST week,s 95 miles (unheard of distance for me in training). This week was a mere 91 miles but I think that's it for the long distance weeks. On Wednesday I did a run from Mud Bay to Boundary Bay in Tsawwassen to a gas station to get more water. That's an 11.5 mile, dead flat, gravel dyke. After getting water I went back to Mud Bay, got water from my car, went back to Boundary Bay, got water, went back to my car, got water, and did a half hour out and back for a total of seven hours. Total 51 miles. THAT will be my longest run until the race even though I had longer ones planned. My knees, ankles, and hips start to ache after only a couple hours and I took only a couple Advil because I hate using them while I'm running (kidney issues and all that). I did the first five hours at a 7:55 min/mile pace then thought I would try to slow my speed and walk for a minute every fifteen minutes. The lower speed seemed to help some but I ended up with the last two hours with an 8:48 min/mile average. I kind of screwed up and ran out of carbohydrates with about an hour and ten left to run. Back in the car I felt like I did after my 100 mile: I could barely keep my eyes open driving home, close to bonking. I stopped and got a bag of ice, went home, filled the bathtub with cold water, dropped in the ice, dropped in my sorry butt. I've done the cold water thing before but never with the ice. I couldn't get my core temperature back for an hour after only ten minutes in there. It felt good though.

I took the next day off and then did a 30 mile run on Friday. I went around the neighbourhood, through some trails, and also some flats. I wanted to go out easy and ended up with a 8:19 per mile average. Still a bit faster than I wanted. I figure around 8:30 should work but I'm afraid of slowing down even more along the way. I guess as long as I'm making forward progress during the race that's a good thing whether I'm running or taking walking breaks every so often.

More details on race coverage to follow.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Ultraman Day 3 and overall

Well it's been over for two days. Most of the athlete's have had time to digest what they've done and I'm sure they are proud of their accomplishments. Congratulations to all who finished and anyone interested in next year's race should be out there right now swimming, biking, or running. The overall results are here: Ultraman '08 Results

2008 UMC Re-cap

Monday, September 1, 2008
Summerland, BC
Ultraman Canada Day 3 Race Report

The final day of Ultraman Canada 2008 provided great weather conditions for the 84.4km run. The weather remained cool and the winds were mostly from the rear helping guide them from Princeton to the finish at Memorial Park in Summerland. Although the weather was good, the course remained difficult and only the relay run course record was broken. Heather Flaherty of Nevada, Iowa broke her own record, set just last year by running a 9:02:17. Her brilliant effort was not enough however to over take Penny Youngash who ran a 9:24:11 to given Team Pulse the overall victory with a time of 25:34:51. Flaherty and Flock of Team Law and Disorder finished second in the relay division with an overall time of 26:15:07.

The men’s race saw Seattle’s Jeff Geoghagan motor to a first place run finish in a time of 7:55:22. Florian Kraft of Germany ran a 8:06:15 to maintain his lead and claim the men’s overall champion with a total time of 24:46:06. Geoghagan finished second overall with a total time of 27:11:57. Alexandros Strathopoulos of Greece rounded out the top three with an overall time of 29:03:03. The women’s field was led by a strong performance from Penticton’s Sheena Miller who captured the women’s championship by running a time of 10:00:32 for a total time of 30:49:20. The second female of the day was Jenn Dawkins of Mapleridge, BC with a run time of 10:42:09 giving her a total time of 32:05:33. Rounding out the field of official women’s finishers was Beatrice Van Horne of Reston, VA with a run time of 11:39:02 for a total time of 32:38:33.

All athletes on today’s course were able to make it to the finish line prior to the 12 hour time limit. They were greeted at the finish by their crews, volunteers, and spectators and treated to a wonderful barbeque and camaraderie. Many look forward to their future attempts and participation in next year’s Ultraman Canada.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Ultraman '08

Ultraman Canada

The race is now officially over as of 7pm Monday night. The results take a bit of time but here are the write-ups for the first two days:

2008 UMC Re-cap

Monday, September 1, 2008
Summerland, BC

Sunday, August 31, 2008
Princeton, BC
Ultraman Canada Day 2 Race Report

The 273.4Km bike ride that awaited the athletes on the Day 2 stage of Ultraman Canada provided the most brutal conditions ever seen in this event. The 12 individuals and 4 relay team members faced approximately 170Km of strong head winds, rain, hail and cold temperatures. Simmon Hoffstetter of Team Pulse lead the day with a relay record Day 2 bike time of 8:52:16 to retain their hold on first place in the relay division. He was followed by Cutris Flock of Team Law & Disorder with a time of 9:06:56.

The first men’s individual finisher of the day was Florian Kraft of Germany with a time 9:19:55 retaining his hold on first place with a total time of 16:39:51. Penticton’s Sheena Miller was the first female finisher of the day with a bike time of 11:11:12 moving her into first place overall in the women’s division with a total time of 20:48:48.

As noted by athletes, crew and race officials, the weather provided for slower times and closer competition as everyone had to struggle against the same factors. The conditions caused 2 athletes to withdraw due to physical ailments. Day 3 will conclude Ultraman Canada with an 84km run from Princeton to Memorial Park in Summerland. The first finishers are expected to arrive after 2pm.

Saturday, August 30, 2008
Penticton, BC

The first day of Ultraman Canada gave the athletes an understanding of why this event is called ULTRAman. Cold water temperatures greeted the 12 individual athletes and 4 relay team members as they embarked on the 10K swim at Skaha Lake. Quickly, the wind picked up making for some serious chop on the water. Florian Kraft of Germany and Sabrina Taylor of Surrey, BC were able to power through these conditions and set new men’s swim record (2:35:45) and relay swim record (2:37:29) respectively. Beatrice Van Horne of Reston, Virginia was the first solo female out of the water in a time of 3:21:15. Penticton’s own Sheena Miller was the second female out in a time of 3:48:52.

Taylor’s Team Pulse was able to battle with Kraft on the bike in brutal headwind conditions and very cool temperatures. Simmon Hoffstetter, Team Pulse’s cyclist, was able to pass Kraft to be the first bike across the line giving Team Pulse a total time of 7:18:24, a new relay team record for Day 1. Kraft came in just over a minute behind in a total time of 7:19:56 setting a new men’s record for Day 1. Van Horne kept her lead in the women’s division by posting a 5:58:09 bike split for a total time of 9:19:18. The fastest bike split of the day was posted by Calgary’s Curtis Flock at 4:36:17.

The swim saw one athlete drop from the event due to equipment failure. He was able to continue and complete the 145.3km bike ride. All athletes will continue the Ultraman adventure on Day 2 (Sunday) which consists of a 273.5K bike from Penticton to Princeton. On Monday, the athletes will tackle the final day of competition with a 84k run from Princeton to Summerland.

For Mr. Kraft to beat my overall race record he'll have to have run about a 6:20 for 84km. Impossible? No. The weather looked like it was going to be good for running but the crappy wind may have tired a lot of athletes out on Day 2. Here's hoping that all the competitors could finish before the twelve hour cut-off.

Day 3 should be up later tonight or tomorrow at Ultraman Canada
I'll put the recap here as well.

This race is in my top three of any I've ever done and always recommend anyone who wants to challange themselves like never before to give this one a shot. It has none of the pressure or hype of an Ironman race which makes it much more fun for everyone. It's a three-day party!! Okay, maybe not quite a party.