Sunday, March 9, 2014

Dirty Duo 2014: A Benchmark in March

Another year gone by and another great day at Mountain Madness's Dirty Duo. The conditions were exactly what should be expected in March 'round here: pissing wet but mostly warm if you're on the move. As usual, the North Shore biking, running and volunteering community came out to laugh, hurt and be generally friendly all day long. We have an unbelievable community here on the shore and it can't be said enough that I am grateful to be part of it. Thanks to everyone for their part in yesterday.

March is early in my calendar and so is my first larger race this year, Diez Vista.  For me, Dirty Duo was an excellent place to set out and see where my body is at and to see what needs to be tuned up. What gears do I have? (Or not have) Where am I hurting? Is my nutrition and hydration plan good? In general, Dirty Duo was a check up prior to Diez Vista in about four weeks. 

I was nervous to race in the days leading up to Dirty Duo. I hadn't raced a shorter race like this since September, nearly seven months prior. I had no idea if my training was working and so I was happy when I found that my base-building phase hadn't left me completely speedless. That's not to say I had all the speed I wanted, just to say I wasn't any slower as a result of running mostly slow and long. I don't think my base has ever been this strong at this time of year and likely because I've been able to maintain 50 to 60 mile weeks for the past six weeks. It's been tough to work in that mileage on top of an already busy calendar but I realize the payoff today, the day after the race, as I am completely pain free and ready to get out and run again. I ran smooth throughout the race without a single low but the kick I had over the last two kilometers was phenomenal. After 23-ish kilometers, I was able to get things up on the next step, get out ahead of an amazing competitor, Jonathan Gormick, and lead into the finish. To boot, I wasn't doubled over at the finish looking for a place to spew. A quick hand shake with my partner, Dylan Wolsky, who went away quickly, and I was fine. A hug from my wife and daughter, some hot chocolate and lasagna and life was good.

Again, I feel fantastic but it is clear that I don't have a top gear that I can maintain, especially on the climbs. Oldbuck and Homestead, both of which are completely runnable, were a slog. I was able to run them both but with no juice at all. I climbed like a tractor not a WRX. The descents don't concern me whatsoever, but it's time to add in some faster running. Intervals? I don't know. I have some ideas but nothing I feel like sharing. 

I'll keep with the higher volumes as it seems to work in terms of recovery and overall sustainability and running economy. It's not realistic to build in too much speed before Diez Vista but I'll definitely get things underway and hope to see some benefits later in the year for Sun Mountain, Knee Knacker and Squamish 50(km).

To wrap up, I'm thrilled to have been on the winning team of the Dirty Duo men's relay for the fourth year in a row. I've been incredibly fortunate to have had the absolute best riders from anywhere on my team. The first year I raced with Kim Steed as he lost his teammate to injury. The following year Monika Marx introduced me to the Nomads and I raced with Arthur Gaillot, his teammate Chris Johnston, the following year, and now Dylan Wolsky. A special thank you to Monika Marx for keeping me strong to prevent injury and from the onset of the aging process.

Gear of the day:  
Salomon's Advanced Skin Belt. It fit tight against my hips, waist and low back so it wasn't noticable and it easily carried two 8oz. soft flasks of water as well as two gels up front. In these shorter efforts, it seems this was plenty to get me through the run and helped me avoid carrying handheld bottles (my preference to have empty hands). I wore it over my Exo Tech Tee, which I wear as a base layer and under my Trail Runner Long Sleeve.


  1. Congrats on another win bud. Yesterday was my fourth consecutive DD and each year I've been amazed at the ~2:20 times you always post. I haven't checked the record books but yesterday may have been your fastest yet? I use this race as a benchmark each year too before my spring road marathon. This year it was a good lesson that I better get off my ass and train a lot more if I hope to ever have a chance of beating you at a race one day! Good luck on the stretch to DV!

  2. Thanks for the battle royale Tom! Your turn of speed at the end was impressive!

  3. Back at ya, Jonathan. It's always fun to race a good dude under respectful rivalry. I love your line in the last 5km when I encouraged you to "make your move" - This is my move was the best response ever.