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 ...

Monday, August 31, 2009

Fast and Furious

Back from Ironman last night, congrats to all finishers. Still doesn't make me want to go out and do it anytime soon. Walking around barefoot I was amazed to see a woman start out on the marathon course wearing Vibram's Fivefingers. I wished I had the camera and should have remembered her number to see how she did.

Gary Robbins and Tamsin Anstey from North Van won the mixed division of the Trans Rockies six-day stage run in Colorado last week. Awesome results you two.

Spartathlon participants list for this year is out. No Canadians entered and so my record remains safe for another year.

Tour de Mt. Blanc finished up over the weekend. The fastest Canadian time I could find was 38 hours and change. Most of the site is in French which makes it difficult to do the research.

After walking everywhere barefoot, including grocery stores, I was confronted at Costco today by an employee who said I needed to wear shoes and before I protested said it was "for my own safety as this is a warehouse and there could be glass and pieces of wood on the floor". If I had been quicker I would have mentioned that there's that and worse out in the parking lot and everywhere I walk. He then went on to say it's the same for shirts in that you need to wear a shirt like the old "no shirt, no shoes", policy and it was also a health issue. I asked if there was anything written anywhere prohibiting being shoeless and he said, "no but it's one of those unwritten rules". Bingo I was home free. I then asked if he was going to make me wear shoes and he replied he wouldn't throw me out of the store. Bingo number two. I pretty much thanked him and walked away saying I would watch my step. Vive le pieds nus!!

A brief rant about Costco: Unless you're a family of eight(teen) I don't understand the need to buy such huge quantities of mostly crap. The jars of pickles are too big for the fridge. I was going to buy some bar soap but they came in a pack of 16. Sixteen!! Why do I need to buy two years' worth of soap at one time? I'd rather pay a dollar more for a six pack. Just look into a cart to see what's there then see the corresponding size of the person pushing said cart. Coincidence? A small bag of chips from a regular store turns into one three times as big. Now you have to eat it all once you open it or it goes stale. Wouldn't want that.

Friday, August 21, 2009

What's Happening?

I got an email from Rick Webb the other day wondering what I've been doing because I hadn't written much in the blog lately. The first thing that went through my mind was, Wow, someone actually reads this crap?? I don't know why but I've seemed to have lost my writing mojo. Either that or there really isn't much to write about in my life these days. Any thoughts on how to change that let me know.
Okay, so in the last two weeks:

Did the triathlon relay for the WPFG. My team had a decent swim, about 23 minutes, my bike was awesome as far as I was concerned, 1:04, and the run was pretty damn good at 36 minutes. I think we finished around 2:05 with the transitions. I thought for sure we'd be in the medals when I got off the bike after passing all those people but when we got to the run course I met up with Steve Knoll our captain and he said we were in eighth or ninth place. We finished up seventh in our age group (30-39) and twelfth overall. The competition was awesome and I really appreciated the caliber of athletes at the event. A team from Surrey in the over 50 category won the gold!! I can only say, "one day".

Since then I've been getting back into the running more with a couple 20 milers under my belt. I've also been experimenting with running in less supportive shoes. AND I've been trying out shoes that are a size or two bigger than I've used in the past to try and prevent some of the blackness and toe-falling-offness I've experienced in the past. I haven't done anything too radical or out of the ordinary or bumped up the mileage but yet again I can feel that shin splint feeling in my right leg. Maybe it takes a month or two after a long race to flare up, I don't know. All I know is that I'm not overly disheartened because I've been here a few times before. I know to rest a week or two then I should be back to normal. Saw A.R.T. therapist Colin McKay at Precision Health last week and he didn't get the impression there was anything too bad going on. I'll wait a bit anyways to see if it progresses. Still a month before England.

I found out that Haney to Harrison this year is the Canadian 100k Championship so it's a reason to stay healthy. Six weeks after the Commonwealth 100 enough to recover and do well? All I can say is that I've done worse and I have a bunch of months to recover after the November event.

I'm also trying to figure out what to do next year. I'm strongly leaning towards going back to the trails. More to follow.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Ultraman and the Grind

Last weekend from Saturday to Monday was the Ultraman triathlon in Penticton. I did this three day event back in 2006 and still it remains one of the biggest highlights in my racing career. The heat was atrocious on day 1 and 2 but day 3 dawned with some respite from the hot temperatures. My day 3 run record fell to Benat Zubillaga of Spain in a time of 6:44, 11 minutes better than my time. Congratulations to Benat. Speaking with race director Steve Brown while we were in town a couple weeks ago, he said that anyone who has not completed an Ultraman must do Canada as a qualifier before they can do Hawaii. This will lead to more people attempting Canada and a better talent pool as well before they go on to Hawaii. I think my overall course record might be in jeopardy over the next few years if this is the case. All good things...

So Wednesday was the Grouse Grind for the Police/Fire Games. There's a reason this event is not called a hike, or run, or walk. It really is a grind. I felt no less intimidated by the whole thing. I aimed to run it like I did the last time - walking.
It went pretty much like the last time around except for two things:
1) they didn't end the race at the little timing station about fifty feet from the top of the trail, they made us run about 300 metres around to the back of the chalet. When I hit flat ground at the top I thought my legs were going to give out when I tried to run. It felt like the first brick workout of the year when you ride hard on the bike then try and run. Jello legs.
2) I finished better than the last time I did it, in 39 and change, even with the extra little run. Plus we started in the parking lot where the gondola is so that added another 15 seconds, I'm sure.

Anyways, I vowed to never run that thing for time again. I'd hike it with the kids but that's the extent of it in the near future.

Now tomorrow comes the triathlon.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Home Again

Got back last Wednesday from an epic training camp up in the interior. It included sitting by the lake, swimming in the lake (with the kids), and eating in true camping/holiday style. I also managed to do some runs and rides.

After my attempt at the Grouse Grind I realised I wasn't going to win the thing come race day no matter how much I trained and didn't really want to change my training too much to accommodate the Grind anyways. No use in going straight up when most of my races are horizontal with a few hills (not mountain climbs) thrown in. I was a little on the fence so when we travelled through Chase (for a wedding), Mara Lake, and Penticton, most of my runs involved some elevation gain. It's hard not to. Most roads that lead away from the lakes or rivers go straight up. I found a great forest service road by Mara that I climbed for 45 minutes without reaching the summit. I was aching to get there to see what I could see. With only one water bottle (now less than half full) and my IT bands not looking forward to all that descending, I turned around. I could have stayed on main highways but figured a bit of rollingness couldn't hurt for Grouse and would help in England where I believe the Commonwealth course is to be somewhat like that. Failing that, it's good to get my legs re-aquainted with hills for H2H in November. I don't need to be starting my hill work with only three or four quality weeks before that. I ran from Penticton up towards Naramat which I'd only ever ridden before, that being in the Peach Classic triathlon. It was cool to be going slower and to have a look at the beautiful landscape (minus the smoke).

I also put in some cool rides while we were away. One memorable one was taking the road from Penticton up to Apex. I did this with a group a few years ago and I didn't remember it being as vertical as it was. When I got to the turnoff for the actual ski area, the sign said 11km. I figured I'd ride up it for ten or fifteen minutes because I knew going back to town would be quicker than coming up. I rode for twenty minutes up and up and up. Again I was dying to reach the top but didn't need to fatigue my legs THAT much. I turned around at 1:25 not wanting to ride more than 2 hours. It took me 40 minutes to get back to the motel. What a ride. Turns out I went up the Apex road only 3.5km in that twenty minutes so it would have been at least an hour to the top. Next time. Another was riding towards Naramata, past Painted Rock, and towards Chute Lake. I didn't quite get there either so I have a lot of ground to cover next time my bike and I are up there.

I decided to drop the Seymour Hill Climb for the Games this week. I read the fine details and noted that it wasn't exactly a climb all the way up from the bottom to the top of the mountain. The course is only 3km long and on the steepest part (9 or 10%). With the triathlon two days after that, I rather would go in feeling a little stronger without those 3km in my legs. I must be getting old, I know.

My plan for the rest of August is to simulate the weeks I had prior to going to Belgium. This time I'll start with a 60 mile week then a 80 then try for the 100 again about three weeks out. For some reason ever since Belgium I don't feel that effortless pace I had when training for it. I thought I was just fatigued from the race and giving blood after but it's been slow to return. I'm hoping I can get it back. On a high note I don't have nails on the first two toes of each foot anymore so that won't be a problem for England or H2H. One less thing (actually four).