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 ...

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Swimming?!?! WTF?!? + a video

Hey I did something yesterday I haven't done in over a year - I swam (swum?) Other than my 50m or so in the Mediterranean when I was in Italy:

Before that it was in the pool about two months after Ironman in August of '07. I went there thinking I could do 20 x 100m. I did them on 2 minutes with each 100 being around 1:40. After 10 I thought my arms were going to fall off so I threw out the 20 and compromised at 15 instead of stopping at 10. My arms today are sore and my shoulders ain't happy with me either. Seeing as I signed up for the triathlon at the World Police Fire Games next August I have to get in the water eventually. I thought about doing it straight off the couch but as it's an open water swim I figure I should practice a bit. Another reason I'm doing that event is because it's two minutes down the hill from us at Crescent Beach. How cool is that? I'll put the course map on here once they have it on the WPFG site.

Now for the video part:

Ferg Hawke let it be known that he has the video of his Badwater race available. You can buy it and/or view the trailer at

The Distance of Truth

I have yet to watch it but am looking forward to an evening of beer and popcorn to laugh at the craziness of it all.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Ultramaratona degli Etruschi 100km

Well, if the length of the race should be an indicator of the length of the report, I'm about to dispell that rule. My 100km in Italy, in a nutshell, was the worst race result I've ever had when doing a race of a distance that I've done before. Translation: I sh*t the bed like never before.

Now, that's not to say that I was devastated and distraught and swore off of running when I finished. It wasn't totally a surprise to me how it all unfolded, even though one tends to surpress those feelings of imminent doom a couple minutes before the start, it's just that it never happened to me before. There was definitely a lot of good that came from this race and the trip over there.

I'm assuming (and hoping) I wasn't recovered fully from Spartathlon. Having never run 246km at one time, and still thinking that I'm impervious to any lasting effects of long races, I didn't know (and still don't) how long this would take. I've heard Ferg Hawk say that he needs four months off after Badwater to recover. Spartathlon didn't have the heat of Badwater, but it had the distance and the road surface. I should have heeded that four month period but being who I am I thought I could muscle my way through 100km. I wanted to run together with some other Canadian team members which we've never done at Worlds before so Rick, Darren, and I started out at around 7:15 min/mile pace. Why wasn't someone yelling in my face, "ARE YOU KIDDING?!?!?". The route was 37km of a hilly stretch of road, followed by four 14km loops, finishing up whith a 7km trip to Tuscania, the last 1km all uphill.
I felt pretty good and was cruising until the 30km mark when my quads got a bit tight and I figured I should slow down to see if that helped. It did for 8km then I started running out of gas and motivation. It was somewhere on this first loop that Aussie Dave Eadie ran up beside me and we chatted for a bit about how bad a run he was having. My face must not have betrayed me at that time but I'm sure my speed did in letting him know that I was almost done. Anyways, he gave me some encouragement but soon was off ahead of me. When I pulled up to the 40km aid station I told Darren's wife, Kandise, that I was done and would be pulling out at the 50km station where my warm clothes awaited me. It was ironic that she pointed out to me on the bottle of CarboPro that she was using to refill my smaller bottle I had written, "Don't let me stop!!", on it the night before.
Until I got to the 50km mark, I was waffling whether to drop like never before. I haven't ever done a race where I actually contemplated stopping like this. I've had races where I wanted to stop, but always knew I'd go on. The narrative in my head had started to play out how I would tell people that I wasn't recovered from Greece, it was a hot day today, my ankles were killing me, blah, blah, blah. What kept me going was the kids - they had made for me in '07 a wrist bracelet that had written "Go Dad Go" in little beads along with a small bell that jingles when it shakes. I could hear it on and off throughout the race but it was never louder than when I thought about how I would have to tell them that I didn't finish the race. I'm sure they'd understand but in the state I was in I thought it would be a nightmare to have to face them with that news. Every time I heard that bell it would shame me and guilt me into not making a final descision. At the 50km aid station I saw Aussie Dave in the massage tent and I also found Martin from the Irish team. If you remember he was the one in Texas last year that collapsed at the 49.5 mile mark of the 50 mile race and didn't get an official finish because he was in the ambulance when it drove across the line. He was having stomach issues and said, "C'mon, you don't want to be a quitter like me, do ya?". That settled it, I was going onto my second loop.
Halfway through this one Dave ran up beside me again and from this point until the finish we were stuck at the hip. He basically brought me back from the brink of DNF and made me keep going. He was doing okay but for the next six hours we each had our moments of doubt and had to encourage each other to keep moving forward. I'm so thankful for him because I don't think I could have done 50km on my own with the way I was feeling. I had given up the hope for an 8:30 finish, then 9:00, then 9:30, and all we wanted to do was finish before 10 hours to get an official finish and the medal. Through the dark we went until, unbelievably, we were on the final couple of kms to the finsh, up the hill and through the gates of town to be done. Without the crews at each of the three aid stations along the 14km loops it would have been near impossible to finish as well. Their encouragement and enthusiasm was so helpful they'll never know how much.
I'll never forget that run as it's shocked me back to reality and makes me see how lucky I've been in the past when I haven't been the most prepared. Usually I can fake it and still have a decent result. Not this time, there was nowhere to hide. I don't think I've ever trained properly for a 100km race. I've done a fair amount of events where I suffered just to finish so I'll save any further cliches. What I learned most was that too much racing is a bad thing, not enough recovery is a bad thing, but finishing a race when you're in the shit only makes you stronger.
My goals for next year have kind of evolved from this race. I was going to do more trail races, possible a 100 miler or two, but I now feel I have unfinished business with this 100km thing. I'm going to actually train specifically for the World's in Belgium next June to try for a personal record, maybe around the 7:15 mark. This is of course my emotions talking and it could change between now and next week, but I think I'm leaning towards more road-type events. Not to say I won't be on the trails every week, it's just that I need to race smart but train even smarter. At the beginning of the year I had over 1200kms of racing ahead of me. I managed 881kms. Still a lot of racing.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Well

Race Day: 30km in

Hello, Darin, this is the Well calling. You've tried going to me once too many times this year and there ain't a lot left. Sure you felt great for 30km, around 1 hour 50 minutes, on pace for a 7:20 finish, but you should have known that it couldn't last. When was the last speed session you did? June? You're quads are feeling tight and everything hurts already. Are you going to drop? I know you want to. Try to hold on for another seven hours and see how much fun that will be.

Present Day:

It wasn't that fun, I can tell you that. The legs feel better today finally, and I'm over the fact that I finally had the crappiest race of my life. I knew it would come one day, you just never want to admit it. Almost 2 hours off my PB for 100km but I'm proud of the fact I stuck it out - seven hours almost of constantly wanting to stop. It was very, very hard to keep moving but I did have help from Dave the Aussie who was hurting as much as me. It made the time go by a little faster. The best news of the day and what made the pain subside for a time was that Rick Webb had the race of his life and set the new Canadian record for his age, 50, in 7:39!! As that is my PB for the 100, I have some work to do for Belgium next June.

The recovery has been tough as well - walking miles and miles through Rome for the past couple days in beautiful sunshine is terrible. I'll have a more detailed summary of the trip and pictures up Friday or Saturday.


Saturday, November 8, 2008

Finished ...

Not sure of any details as of yet but Darin has finished in 9 h 35 min. Perhaps there were too many bakeries along the way!

Congratulations to Rick Webb who posted a PR with a finish of 7 h 39 min and was the first Canadian across the finish line. Way to go Rick!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Timing and Results

Try this website for times during the race and hopefully results after the race:

Timing Data Service

Otherwise, I will try to update as best I can.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

On to Italy

Thirteen hours to go and I'm flying out of here for the last long run of '08. I'm not sure what to expect this time around other than:

  • I will finish
  • I will not be first or last
  • I will be super sore for three days after
  • I will be glad to take some time off after

I'll be pondering next year on the plane ride home. One thing is for sure - I won't be doing a race every two or three weeks (sigh of relief from Carrie) like this year or burn-out will become a reality. 

If anyone is awake on Nov. 8th at 1 am, you might be able to catch the start at International Association of Ultrarunners. If not, the results will still be there around 9 am hopefully if the wheels don't totally fall off. If they do, it will probably be because I passed a bakery and was lured in by the sweet smells of chocolate croissants. If there are any web cafes close by, I'll try and drop another post before race day.