Sunday, January 31, 2010

ORCAS: 50K or 55K?

It's been a year now since my first Orcas Island 50K and we're a week away from this years. Ward, Kev, Duncan, and I will be making our way across the border and into the San Juans on Friday evening, for some good food, some running movies, and a bit of pre-race chit chat. With visions of Mount Constitution in our heads, we'll fall asleep all snug in our sleeping bags upon the sweet vinyl beddings of Camp Moran.

Orcas was good to me last year and I was very happy with my 5:48 finish. Without a doubt I was in a world of hurt by the finish, but all in all I walked away feeling good about it. With volcano vistas in the back drop, new terrain to explore, and incredible people all around, how can one go wrong. Maybe by running 50K . . . in February. Considering the very, very snowy circumstances of last year however, I was thrilled. 2009's huge snowfall definitely put a twist on both training and racing. It wasn't impossible, but being one of those folks with a hate on for road running, I was fairly limited in the places I could turn over. I did what I could and on race day I ran happily over some of the greatest trails in the Pacific Northwest.

This year things have been a bit different. The weather gods have smiled down on the trail runners, while frowning on the Olympics. No snow however, means open trails and no excuses. I've put in my time, I know about the powerline climb at 13-ish miles, and I sincerely hope my work is evident. A few weeks back I worked through a calf area injury, but it seems to have been remedied by reluctantly resting, stretching, massage, and ice/cold bath therapy. If it stays at bay and all my training comes together, I am aiming to run closer to 5:30 over this 50 K course. Or is it 55K?

Race director, James Varner, seems to indicate the actual distance is closer to 55K. Of course I'm thrilled about that. It makes it my longest race distance and I know the course as being 50 K. It's not like another 5 K has been added. It's just all of a sudden longer. Either way this course is filled with big, sneaky climbs , fast loamy downhills, beautiful views, and a Lakeside finish area.

I'll be sure to report out this time next week. Until then, get out there and Run Now.

Monday, January 25, 2010

5 Peaks Trail Clinics by Salomons Flight Crew

About a year ago I felt like the luckiest trail runner alive when I was chosen by Salomon to be part of the Flight Crew, a group of runners and adventure enthusiasts who are genuinely at the heart of the sports they engage in. Flight Crew members are not just a bunch of fast guys and gals, but individuals who promote what they enjoy by being involved in every facet of their sport. They might design courses, marshal races, cut up
fruit for aid stations, or mark and sweep courses. They also might just be those smiling faces cheering when you run or ride by. Some of us even promote products at events through our own personal experiences out there.

The bottom line is this - Flight Crew Athletes are passionate about what they do and positively share that passion with everyone around them. Each of us is truly involved in the whole sport!

In carrying forward this passion for trail running, I have embarked on my latest endeavor with fellow flight crew member Duncan Coo. As Salomon is heavily involved in the 5 Peaks Trails series it was a natural fit for us to create Flight Crew Trail Clinics, a series of clinics specifically geared toward the first three lower mainland 5 Peaks races: Golden Ears, SFU, and Mount Seymour.

Flight Crew Clinics are meant for beginning trail runners as well as those who simply want to improve their technique and perhaps improve on their racing times as well. Each clinic is a place for us Flight Crew members to share our knowledge as well as our passion for running in nature among good people.

Our first drop-in clinic is on March 20th at Lower Seymour Conservation Reserve. This first clinic addresses the major differences and similarities between road and trail. For for further details, click on Flight Crew Trail Clinics. If you have any specific questions please email us at

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Watch this guy!

If you're not watching already, check out Gary's progress. After 5 hours he leads, with Tracy Garneau of Vernon, a few short minutes behind.

Check the link.

Go Canada!

Friday, January 15, 2010

47 minutes, Baby!

Once again I hit the trails. Kev and I did a great night run last night , 'round Rice Lake, out Circuit 8 and then down to Fisherman's. It was nice and slow, but gave me a chance to try out my new and hopefully improved soleus. It also gave Kev a chance to share his shin injury with his knee.

Regardless, it was great to get back out there after a week of pool running, massage, stretching, icing, and compression. It was pissing rain, but the headlamps guided us out safely and very happily.

I really can't thank Gary Robbins enough for his wisdom in taking care of this thing quickly. Sure, it may only have been a mild strain, but overuse injuries start somewhere.

That being said, Gary said something else to me that really got me thinking. He said he attributed being mostly injury free to his focus on running technique, rather than post-run recovery routines. Of course these two are not mutually exclusive as recovery is important, but to have to recover from less stress in the first place is sheer brilliance.

I found this short video produced by Newton that talks about running technique. Check it out. It's some simple stuff that we just need to be reminded of sometimes.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

I Hate R.I.C.E.

Some lower extremity pain has me resting, icing, compressing, and ...I'm not really elevating. Soleus I think. Dam snowshoeing! I've talked to Mr. 300Km week, and gotten some ideas to speed up recovery, but I'd love to open up the floor to everyone's special remedies.

I think it'll be an informative conversation for everyone to share their recovery and repair secrets. So...WHAT DO YOU DO?

Sunday, January 3, 2010


You know those days when you have a long run and you're just beat at the end? Not just a bit tired, but absolutely trashed? That's me right now. Ran 4 hours 45 this morning all across the North Shore, including five switch backs up Mountain Highway at the three hour mark.
I came through the door famished and completely punched. After annihilating my cupboards I dove into a nice cold bath. Sitting there up to my waist in ice water I said to myself, and I knew it was myself because I recognized the voice, I said, "I'm knackered! Hey that reminds me, I should register for Knee Knacker". It was sort of like that. There was other dialogue too, but you get the gist.
About two hours later, all refueled and happy, I bought my $110 lottery ticket into Canada's Knarliest Ultra.

Fingers crossed and always ready to run.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Opinions Needed: What will be the best 2010 races?

It's seventeen hours into the New Year and I have had a terrific day and an amazing sleep. Woke up on day one to coffee, a rainy drizzle, and the prospect of another X-country race: The Resolution Run in White Rock. I didn't break any records or win it outright, but I felt perfect. My splits were almost spot on and I was ticking over exactly as I should've been. I finished the 8k in 32:10 and dipped into another fine cup of coffee.

Now I'm home and I've spent some time looking at other people's blogs, viewing various web sites, listening to conversations, and just generally being made to feel like I too should be making some commitments for the upcoming year.

So I sit here trying to sort out just what I want to commit too.

Is it a commitment or a focus?
What's realistic?
What if I don't achieve it?
Will I be disappointed if I don't achieve it? Or will it be enough to have tried?

I don't know...

Maybe I should try to achieve it all as soon as possible and then I won't lose focus. Hell, Adam Campbell set his goal to get married and he's already done it. Congratulations by the way.

There it hit me. From deep in my not-so-deep sub-conscious . . . Test of Metal registration has been open for two hours already and I haven't even thought twice about tackling the web site mayhem that is likely ensuing or already over. I'm totally into running and this is my year for some bigger, longer, and maybe faster, stuff. Last March I got a bit more serious about things and really mixed up my workouts. In fact, they became "workouts", not just a series of long runs with friends. It was variety and it was fun to run fast, like a kid. Still is.

Of course my first goal is Orcas Island 50, on the 6th of February. It's a beautiful course and I can definitely improve upon my previous 5:48. Without a doubt Gary Robbins is fast, but why is he beating me by over an hour? I need to close that gap to at least 59 minutes then I'll feel complete. You complete me, Gary.

What else have I been thinking about? The top event on my bucket list, and if I can pull together the entry cash, I'll definitely be at Trans Rockies in August. Outside of that one, anything can happen?

I guess my criteria are the following:
1.) run 3 or 4 50K trail races, including Orcas
2.) run at least one 50 miler (maybe a 100k)
3.) Visit some new terrain/new courses - I'd love to race in the Banff area or Calgary foothills.

To date I have no races planned for or registered for, other than Orcas. I would love your opinions and ideas on races. Maybe the ones below or perhaps others. I'm not against traveling, but I'd love to be able to drive from North Vancouver.
Excited to hear what people think . . . or simply what your plans are for 2010.

Whatever your plans are, happy planning, and happy racing.