Summer Explorations & Observations: Running in the Heat

Wow it’s hot.

I wonder how many people look forward to running in the heat?

It’s great to strip down to short shorts and a light t-shirt or no shirt at all. I know personally I was looking forward to not wearing mitts and potentially restoring the feeling in my fingers. (In November, while out for a 15 miler and not dressed appropriately I feel maybe I got some nerve damage in the end of my fingers. A little frost bite can do that. Every run going forward my fingers were a really big concern.) Yah for not worrying about that shit. For now.

I used to take summers off running because of the heat. I would get way too hot and dizzy. It would suck. I would be knocked out for the rest of the day. So I decided to say fahk it and would refuse to run.

But now… no way. I carry a water bottle with proper nutrition and with Manitoba having so many great trails to explore that are inaccessible for 6 months of the year (plus I am a teacher and have these two months to get after it) I can’t. And added advantage, trails around here, have their fair share of shade.

I have big hopes and aspirations and now that I have freed myself of an obligation I wasn’t too passionate about, I have some more time.

Some Trails on my list:
Pine Point Rapids
Tunnel Mountain (Kenora)
Birch Ski Area
Falcon Lake Trails
Mantario Trail (one day trip)
Riding Mountain National Park

Trails I have already explored:
Hunt Lake
St Norbert
Bird’s Hills Secret Trails
Assiniboine Forest & Fort Whyte
Lost Souls Ultra course (Lethbridge, AB)
Bear’s Hump (Waterton, AB)

what else? suggestions?

I am very excited to be participating again in Trail Run Manitoba’s Summer Trail Series. Last weeks race was a quick 10K with some super fast runners. I placed 10th with a 58:46 time.

I went out quick to get in position on the single track but felt pretty tired after 5 miles. After walking for about 30 secs I got back at it, slowing down to maintain my position but reserving enough energy to finish strong.

Next Thursday its 12k and I am looking for an equally good finish but I know some of the elite will be back. Can’t wait. These races are so fun.

Manitoba Marathon featured me on their blog as the My Manitoba runner. It was really cool to include me as more of a trail runner, than a marathoner (I did run my first “official” marathon this year with them. 4:09 – not terrible). READ

 

 

Runner Profile: Jim Walmsley

Runner Profile:
Jim Walmsley

Not a lot can be said about Jim Walmsley that hasn’t already been said. He is a 27 year old Ultra-marathoner from the United States. He was an incredible runner a Horizon High School in Scotsdale Arizona, at the Airforce Academy, and now he has become the golden cowboy of the ultra-world. He is public and his training and race data can be found on Strava.

Some Achievements: (from the Nathan Website)

This weekend, June 24-25th, 2017 Walmsley will be competing in his second Western States Endurance Run and is considered a favourite to win. (The WSER 100 is “the world’s oldest 100-mile trail race” and “is one of the four 100-mile races that comprise the Grand Slam of Ultrarunning, which also includes the Vermont 100 Mile Endurance Run, the Wasatch Front 100 Mile Endurance Run in Utah, and the Leadville Trail 100 in Colorado”). At last year’s WSER after establishing an early lead and running most of the race well above Timothy Olsen’s course record time, Walmsley took a wrong turn. After realizing his mistake, t-boning a highway, he was face-to-face with a challenging puzzle; how to find the right pieces of mental and physical fortitude to finish the race. See the story in outside’s video:

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Jim Walmsley should have no problem putting together a great race this weekend. There is a lot of pressure on him to do well. Expectations are high and based on this data on Strava he is more than ready. But we have seen in the past the puzzle of Ultramarathons not come together so easily. Remember Gary Robbins and the Barkley Marathons. I think fans are eager to follow Walmsley this weekend to see if he can finish on top and set a new course record. If you want to follow along you can do so on Ultralive, on twitter @WSER100, on Facebook, and of course irunfar will have some amazing coverage.

SIDE NOTE:

Local Manitoban runner Mallory Richard is running her first WSER 100. In irunfar’s 2017 Western States 100 Women’s Preview Mallory is considered one of the woman to watch.

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Some Achievements:

  • 2017 Ice Age 50 Mile – 1st place
  • 2017 END-SURE 50 Km – 1st place, course record
  • 2016 Superior Sawtooth 100 Mile – 1st place, course record
  • 2015 Superior Sawtooth 100 Mile – 1st place
  • 2015 Black Hills 100 Mile – 1st place
  • 2015 Canadian Death Race – 3rd place
  • 2015 Spruce Woods 50 Mile – 1st place
  • 2015 Actif Epica 120 Km – 1st place
  • 2014 Superior Sawtooth 100 Mile – 1st place
  • 2014 Spruce Woods 100 Mile – 1st place

You can listen to an albeit awkward, but insightful interview with Mallory on the Rub Some Dirt On It Podcast. She is one of the nicest, humblest, and most powerful runners I have ever met. Have fun Mallory and go get that buckle. You deserve it.

Good luck to all runners at WSER 100 and around the world this weekend.

 

 

 

 

 

Manitoba Marathon race report…

 

I am an “official” marathoner. check! I’m also a “goof ball”, a “super social” runner and happy as could be. This year has been incredible for running and we haven’t reached half way.

Races so far:
Hypothermic half (13.1 miles/21 kms)
MEC race #1 (6.2 miles/10 kms)
Sprucewoods Ultra (32 miles/50 kms)
Manitoba Marathon (26.2 miles/42 kms)

Distance cover in races and training:
717 miles/1154 kms

Upcoming races:
MEC trail race #3
Summer Trail Series (long)
Marathon du P’tit Train du Nord

In the months leading up to Sprucewoods, I had talked about the possibility of checking off the Manitoba Marathon if I came out of the 50 km relatively unscathed. I was that typical half marathon runner telling people “I could never do a full marathon”, “I am not interested in a full”, “I am happy just doing the half” but secretly have always wanted to try. Well here was my chance. I have logged the miles. Why not? (Side note: Running  a full is amazing. I encourage all half marathoners to give it a go. The low numbers, hospitality, extra cheers, and sense of accomplishment is worth it. Just put in the time. Pay attention to pace. Nutrition and run your own race)

TRAINING: I had 5 weeks between races. 4 to the taper. After taking 6 days off running, on May 20th I logged my first marathon training miles on tender legs and feet. It went well. Not much residual pain. 13 miles. The real test was the following weekend where I was set to do 19 miles. I continued my usual 2 mid week runs but started to hear some unhappy voices coming from my knees. The 19 miles turned into 17 miles but I was okay with it. The following week was the same, but the long run was down to 13 miles (it was 13 miles in the rain – great prep for yesterday). The talking was getting louder but I managed through the run. The days after the runs, the talking was loudest. The 4th week was a bigger week. I had 5 runs due to obligations like National Running Day and a trail running workshop I was hosting. The weekend’s long run was only 9 miles but there was way too much conversation from my knees for my liking. The taper became my usual taper, nothing other than trying to heal.

RACE DAY: I couldn’t have asked for a better start. I woke on time and got my food down without any problems. The pre-race rituals all unfolded perfectly. I picked up Nick and we were at the race. The new location of Investor’s Group Field (home of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers) was a little tricky to navigate, but the benefit of being in a football stadium there were so many washrooms inside it was easy to finish off the morning rituals.

I had a great start. On pace, which is a miracle in itself (I had/have so much anxiety before a race I usually blast off the start line – especially the Manitoba Marathon). It was a solid start. My plan was to hang around the 4 hour pace bunny, but for strategy I wanted to be in front of him by about 30 seconds. (I expected him to do 10 and 1s but later in the race didn’t notice him following that plan). I hit the course split exactly as outlined and felt great. I started to notice a few things tightening up between miles 7 to 10 but I was happy and it was completely manageable. I took some Hammer Nutrition Endurolytes and ate a couple of dates and continued on as planned. Up to then I had run with, behind, and in front of my physio, JF and his training partner Anthony. We talked a little and parted ways. No disrespect. As we passed Mulvey school, about 10-11 miles I decided I would run with them. They were maintaining a good pace and felt it might help me in the long run. Somehow the pace bunny caught up and eventually passed us. This was okay as long as I kept the pace bunny in sight. I continued with JF and Anthony behind the bunny until I met up with a very experience runner who was crewing an aid station just after 14 miles. She helped me get some dates in my stomach and we both sensed I was about to lose the bunny. Jen reminded me to run my own race. I parted ways with Anthony and JF as Anthony needed to stop at the porta-potty. I also needed to refill my handheld and take some Tylenol for some of the talking from the knees. This had to happen at the next water station and I would need to walk through it. This made the gap between the pace bunny and me that much greater. This was about mile 16.

IMPORTANT INFO: My goal for this race was 4:20. In training for the 50 Km I ran a full marathon distance in 4:40 on a very cold and icy day and was self supported. I set a relatively conservation goal for this race, shaving off 20 minutes. That was the upper end. I talked about in the few days before the race about the possibility of hitting 4 hours or maybe even breaking that mark hence the 4 hour pace bunny. I knew a negative split was less likely as the later miles I knew I might need to walk a bit so thought stay ahead of the bunny as long as I could (maybe to mile 18 – side story coming) and then battle as much as possible. If I hit 4 hours or better I would be beside myself. Honestly, I didn’t think it was possible but just maybe…

SIDE STORY: The race passes right by my house. If you have read my other posts you will know I love my family very much and they fuel me, just like most. I knew they would be out there along with my neighbours and friends. Thank you! Also it was planned for me to refill my handheld with tailwind and have a small snack of salty potato chips. Being super social I knew I was going to hug, high five, bowl over, and chat with them all. This was the highlight of the run and I was looking forward to it. I knew I would lose the pace bunny at this point, but it would be worth it. I care about the time don’t get me wrong, but spending time with my family if only for a moment on course is so worth running a full marathon. I don’t know how I am going to do it in October in Quebec.

SIDE SIDE STORY: This is a bit tough. It was Father’s Day. I have two beautiful daughters. Charlotte 7 and Abigail is 4. We had a great Father’s Day. I am a son. My Father died of a heart attack a long time ago. I have some anger towards him and how he choose to live his life. He never met Catherine my super strong, smart, goofy, and supporting wife nor my two fun, strong, funny, and smart daughters. He motivates me to do what I do but he was not a positive role model. Motivation can come from what people don’t do and can not do. Dad I ran a marathon!


Back to the race… by the time I got to my family the bunny was long gone and I was totally fine with that. You can see by the pictures above how much fun I had at the family pit stop. I was there for about 2 minutes maybe more. After that I continued on perfectly on pace as if the bunny was behind me but around mile, getting close to my nemesis from last year, Fort Gary I knew I had to get the music in my ears. I decide to walk the Pembina Highway uphill loopdy-loop while I set up the music. It instantly helped. I got to mile 22 fine but was sensing the energy levels drooping. I decide instead of doing a 10 and 1 recovery, I would run about 90-95% of a mile and then walk to the mile marker and it was awesome.

SIDE NOTE: In the week leading up to the race I decided to try meditation. Catherine has used it for her running as well as my run partner Nick. Using the app Headspace I learned so much about meditation just in the 6 days. While I was walking the small percentage to the mile marker, I was finding that headspace by focusing on my breathing and wow, did it ever pay dividends. As I hit the mile maker I was off running, and then walking, meditating. This continue until the end.

There were two finishes. My family had packed up and drove to Investor’s Group Field (IGF) to see me finish and give me a lift home. Instead of going inside they were waiting outside on the road to the real finish and as I stopped to hug them I felt I was done. But Catherine yelled out, “now go finish!” What?! There was probably only about a half a mile left but I was next to done. My legs felt heavy and I could not go much further than the actual finish line on the field. It took some digging. Looking at my splits I ran that last half mile relativly quickly but it sure did not feel like it, especially because another running buddy, long haul trucker Cameron Mann found another gear and blasted to the finish.

Entering IGF was unbelievable. Such an improvement on previous years. I heard my name twice and as I crossed the finish line, I felt amazing. The SWU 50 km finish was much more memorable with my family but the grandiosity of IGF was pretty damn cool. And done! It was great hanging out on the field by myself for a few minutes but quickly a bunch my new found running family (friendly manitoba trail runners – a strava group) came over to grab some turf and share stories.

My official chip time was 4:09:13 and so I smashed my upper goal by 11 minutes. The 4 hour mark will have to wait, but seriously and honestly I knew I would not be able to run that fast. In the fall I will have another shot at that time in Quebec. I will train very differently with speed work and more strength training.

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Thank you to the Manitoba Marathon and their crew. To all the volunteers and the hundreds of people that came out to cheer. Thanks to the Grosvenor crew. You are fantastic. Best cheering squad hands down. Thank you Jen Harrison for guiding and helping me through the prep and crewing at mile 14… you got me back on course. Thanks to all the friendly manitoba trail runners, to JF for hanging out with me on the course, afterwards, and getting me in to get some work done, to Anthony, of course to the Munson Park Thugz especially Peter/Nick for giving me the rasta love, headspace, and killing it out there daily… such respect.

Thanks to the funny little people that look and act a lot like me… I loved the nibs in the bag… you know me too well. Thanks for your love and support. Best Father’s Day Ever. Catherine, if you made it this far. I 100% support you if you want to tackle this. You truly are that extra special person that understands, tolerates, and supports me. Thank you for dragging the girls out and cheering me on. Much respect.

I will be taking a bit of time off mono-focusing on running. I have a date with the Hunt Lake trail, Falcon Lake trails, and Pembina Valley and some fun races throughout the summer, but I also love to golf, so will try to play some rounds until the training kicks in for Marathon du P’tit Train du Nord. I do have a commitment to running 1000 miles in 2017 and as you can see below I am getting closer. Hopefully I will be about 150 miles to the finish before I begin to mono-focus late August.

Thanks for reading. happy running.  Good luck to Mallory Richard and all the runners competing in the Western States race.

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Onwards

I first posted this 7 years ago on Facebook. “for all of the runners out there this is great, (sic) and for everybody else this is pretty damn cool! How can you go wrong running, caribou (manitoba), james jarvis and animation. enjoi!”

I totally needed this today.

 

I am not sure if anyone else who is running the Manitoba Marathon after Sprucewoods is feeling as fatigued as I am but, seriously I love running. It shouldn’t be a chore to get out.

May has been so busy. Its been good, but see you next year.

hello june!

SpruceWoods Ultra 50km – Race Report

“If I put myself in a position where I have to worry about the law, that’s on me. Choices. I made a choice. My favorite word is choices. It should be everybody’s in this fucking world. You make it, you own it. You reap the benefits, suffer the consequences. You made the choice. Be man enough or woman enough to take the pain as well as the gain.”
– Jerry Tillinghast, from the CrimeTown podcast

My first ultra, the Sprucewoods Ultra 50km race/run was an adventure that I will remember for a long time and learn from immediately.

I will say first of all: I finished. It took me 6 hrs and 56 minutes. I finished 40th. I am happy.  I am an upper portion of the middle of the pack runner. That has always been where I have placed in races. I know, when you attempt races like this you should be thankful to finish no matter what… but I am a little competitive, and am a little disappointed in my finish. My goal was to finish anywhere from 6-7 hours and I did, but I secretly thought maybe I would be closer to 6 than 7 hrs and I was on pace for that finish. But, despite all my preparation I did not anticipate what happened out there.

Three quick side stories (not excuses) before I get into the race:

  1. the creek crossing. In the lead up to the race there were reports from other runners that the bridge that crossed the one creek on the Epinette trail was washed out and the race director refused to fix it. The thought was runner’s feet were going to get wet. I trained that idea out by steeping in creeks to run with wet feet. I even researched the best socks for wet feet and discovered Drymax socks were great, and anything with merino wool was also good as long as they were thin. I bought two pair. The prep also had me developing a strategy for getting to and through the crossing. One experienced runner suggested there might be a backlog at the crossing and suggested getting there quicker than the mob. I also practiced changing socks as suggested. This was my plan. Get there relatively quick. Get through. Change socks and go. Turns out no feet got wet. The crossing was easy enough. No socks were changed. I carried my extra dry pair of socks in my vest.
  2. the damned knees.  On my last long run, a slower 16 miles with a bunch of other SWU runners in Grand Beach I tweaked my knees. I didn’t notice it at the time, nor afterwards. The next morning my right knees started to ache. I had my physio check it out, he thought it would be fine but mentioned something might be up with my left. Sure enough 2 days later my left knee got really sore. I did everything I could to deal with it, went for a shorter long run, 13 miles and felt quite sore afterwards. It was a week to the race and I had a sore knee. Panic set in. I got into the physio and he got me working out an imbalance. I wore running shoes all week, ice/heat/diclofenac/rolling/stretching/physio and did not run. As you might imagine the anxiety was opening and slamming the door shut on my well being. It was at this point my thinking about SWU went from race to run.
  3. the throat of discomfort. In the 7 months of training I can officially say I sustained positive health. There were times when colds, head aches, and fevers were there but I sucked it up and got out and did what I needed to do. I never let it stop me. The two weeks leading up the race I was fighting off yet another sore throat and for several days I could not keep warm. It didn’t help that my oldest daughter was diagnosed with strep throat three days before the race. I remember on Thursday night, I was hoping the race was the next day because I thought maybe I would be less sick Friday then Saturday.

Saturday May 13th, 2017 – race day. I stayed in Brandon the night before and got a good night sleep. I woke up on time and did my usual morning routine before runs and got to the race on time. The only variable (other than the knee and the possibility of sickness) in place the night before and morning of were how to dress. It was 4 degree in the morning with a cooler wind but it was going to quickly warm to 20. Sprucewoods is arid and it is sandy underneath the grass so it is typically warmer in that provincial park, than say in the Whiteshell. I choose my layers (not the best decision) and we were off.

I started a little quick. I knew it; it was part of the strategy, but I was going to slow the pace down after the creek crossing. When I got to crossing to discover I wasn’t going to get wet and that a log jam of runners wasn’t going to happen I put my head down and kept going, slowing only a little. At that point I had dropped back to around 8th place as there were quick runners like Blaine, Riley, and Ty lighting up the trail. This kept going for 10 miles. I picked off another runner and everything was going well. I wasn’t feeling the knee and the throat felt great. I had stripped down my layers and packed them away as I had practiced. I was through the first two aid stations and began running with Bean sprout Dan and the Gorp guy. Everything felt great. I can’t stress this enough. My legs, hips, glutes, and core muscles felt amazing.

I bombed down the biggest descent at Jack Fish lake and began the big climb or “descent”. As I was leaving Aid Station 2, I saw a smaller group of strong runner come in. They stopped for nutrition and to hydrate. I got moving as best as I could at that point which was great. No problems. Mentally I wondered if I had enough nutrition as it was about two hours into the race. As I was climbing the big climb at Jack Fish I heard those runners hit the hill. I thought, “they must have been quick through the Aid Station” and they made up some good time. This was a big hill and I choose to power walk it, but they ran the climb. By the time I hit the top they were closer then they had been and eventually, over the next two miles, pass me.

There is something about losing a big lead in a race. I feel it’s all on me. Was I slowing down? Was I walking too many hills? It is all negative. Never is it a celebration of the strength of the other runner. These 4 or 5 runners were damn strong. We all clustered (about 8 runners in total) at Aid Station 3, the one station I was really looking forward to. I was familiar with the volunteers hosting the runners: Scott, Leslie, and Quinn. Their knowledge was valuable and I was looking forward to asking them a couple questions. But with the cluster, the anxiety, and with the nutrition I had with me, I choose to run through. I second guessed myself and returned to top up my water as the cluster moved out with the couple of guys I was running with. With a slight panic I did not ask those questions I wanted to ask and kept going. Mistake?

About a mile out from the station my woes crept in. My muscles felt strong but I had my first cramp. My whole right quad seized up as another runner passed. I kept moving and the cramped jumped from leg to leg, muscle to muscle. At first I was really concerned but it was almost comical. I would run a quarter of a mile  and be fine, then the cramps would attack my legs. In between the big cramps little pinches that were painful but almost tickly lit up my legs like fireworks and then nothing. This continued on until after Aid Station 5, where I had been passed by at least another 10 runners when Caroline Wiebe, a strong 100 miler pointed out after seeing me do the cramp dance that I was losing a tonne of salt by the stains on my long sleeve Salomon shirt I was mistakenly wearing. With a bloody hand from a can of Mountain dew she reached into her race vest and handed me two salt tabs and told me I would be feeling a little better in about 20 minutes. She mentioned I should get more at the next Aid Station. I decided to walk the next 20 minutes with hope this would be the case.

After being passed my another runner (Meg Bargen), I started to feel a little better. Meg was walking faster than I was at that point and I said as soon as she starts running I need to run. She ran. I ran. I kept up her run walk pace until the end of the out and back where I turned around to flip the bird at that section of the course. Meg was gone. It was just me and the killer playlist I had created in the build up to the race. (I never listen to music while running, but in case of emergency I could put it on. The playlist was a collection of my favourite uplifting songs like ‘boy with a thorn in his side’ by the smiths, ‘mirror kisses’ by the cribs, and ‘frozen dessert’ by iseo & dodosound…) I started to feel a lot better as I was building up speed and not getting as many cramps. I kept the one runner behind me and it was relentless forward progress.

I welcome the final aid station. I got more salt tabs and filled up my bottle for the final push. I was sick of the tailwind I had been drinking but I put in 100 calories worth of the caffeinated razzberry buzz, ate some chips, and asked how much further. 5.3 miles. Fuck yeah. 5.3 miles, which actually felt more like 10 miles. This was the most roller coastery part of the course. Up. Down. Up. Down. Up. Down. Up. Down. Up. Down. Up. Down. Up. Down. Up. Down. Up. Down. Up. Down. Up. Down. Up. Down. Up. Down. Up. Down. Up. Down. Up. Down. Up. Down. Up. Down. Up. Down. Up. Down. Up. Down. Up. Down. Up. Down. Up. Down. Up. Down. Up. Down. Oh my goodness. All I wanted to do was get back to the creek and when I did, I dipped my feet in to cool them off. From the water coolers I added a bit more water and kept going. I passed a handful of runners, which I had no clue what race they were doing but it felt good to pass people again. But this section of the course seemed to go on and on. At one point I passed a runner, that had passed me much earlier. Now that I was feeling a bit better, I was hoping to make up some time and places. We ran together for a few hills, and I mentioned the end is near and that one of the things that was moving me to that finish was the thought of my girls being their to cheer me on. He mentioned that he had been thinking the same for the last 15 miles. I said “see you at the finish” as I kept going.

Short side story: last year at the last of the summer trail series runs my family came to cheer me on. As I rounded the last turn both my girls were there. As I approached them I gave them a high five and a quick hug and ran by to finish. This haunted me over the winter. Why didn’t I pick them up and carry them with me across the finish line? This wasn’t an option on Saturday. If they were there, they’d be crossing that finish line with me no matter how tired I was. 

As I already mentioned the 5.3 miles from Aid Station 6 to the finish felt much longer. It really did. It felt like a whole other race. Getting to the creek was big, but I made a mistake. I felt when I hit the creek I was done but there was still about 2 miles to go. During the next two miles my cramps returned and I got passed by four runners. The first two early on and the other two after I stopped to take in the view of the finish line and shed a few tears. Wow. As soon as I saw the finish line I broke down. I couldn’t believe I made it to this point. Never throughout the race was I ever going to quit, I was mentally strong throughout the whole thing but it was damn difficult. As I got going again, and saw the final stretch I saw my girls running up the hills and my beautiful wife approaching the finish line. I heard someone yell my name and a loud applause, I raised my arms in the air. Even though I didn’t win. I won. As I got closer to Charlotte and Abigail I bent down and hugged them and as I had been thinking about for the last 9 months, I picked up Abigail and put her on my shoulders (it took two tries). I asked Charlotte to carry my handheld and grabbed her hand and asked her to run with me across the finish line. As we got closer to the finish I saw my wife Catherine, my Mom visiting from Lethbridge, and the Munson Park Thugs: Riley (7th place 50 km) and Nick (2nd place 50 miles) coming to celebrate my strength and looked around to see everyone that has helped me along the way. And done! 50km. Yup. I did it.

After receiving my woodle, wood medal I took a look around. It seemed everyone there was waiting and cheering me on. They knew my pain and my gains and they understood why I ran 32 fucking miles. Choices, right Jerry. You made yours. I made mine. I couldn’t have made mine without you making yours. Thank you.

Thank you to Dwanye Sandall and the SWU crew, Trail Run Manitoba, and all the volunteers and their families for a great event. Thank you to my friends and family that have listened to me talking about running, post pictures and talk more about my training. Sorry. Thanks for the Mikes: Mike Ocko and Michael Anderson for being mentors and heroes. JF. Thanks a million for fixing me and fixing me and fixing me and fixing me and listening to me and of course your insight and doing what you do and then running 100 miles. Brothers you are one crazy french man. Thank you to Nick and Riley, the munson park thugz (not a real crew) for sharing miles, injuries, and late night text strings…your speed is incredible. You made me feel fast and capable. Congrats on your finishes. Much respect, and thank you to my mom for being dragged around for the last two weeks while you were supposed to be visiting. And of course thank you to the silly sisters, Charlotte and Abigail for carrying through this race until I could carry you, for the fantastic door celebrations, the foot massages that were absolutely amazing in all aspects including there creativity, and for allowing me to rest (sort of) after those long winter runs… I love you. And finally to Catherine.

Thank you for all of the support from meal planning, buying groceries, and supporting mysterious packages arriving from places like Tailwind, Territory Run Co, and MEC, to dropping off the girls on time-change days while I am at phsyio, for finishing off the night solo because I am asleep somewhere in the house, to all my highs and lows and anxiety about everything including  _ _ w_ _  movements, to allowing me to do this – you are beyond amazing. Thank you. I love you. And yes you could totally run a marathon.

phew. now the Manitoba Marathon.

 

SPRUCEWOODS ULTRA

This is the week. I pick up my bib this evening. I have already started to pack. (Well, I might be all packed but I am a little ashamed to admit that.) There are only a few variables left and well, I think I have already made those decisions. Those variables are out of my control such as mail delivery and weather. The weather is as expected, a little cool to start with a slight chance of rain and we never go new on race day.  So I am part ready.

I started seriously training for this way back in October 2016. It has been a fantastic training block where so many things have gone right and I have been able to experiment with nutrition, strength training, stretching, foam rolling, gear, mental strength and fatigue… it has been incredible. One would think I am all set and I think on the getting the miles done in terms of endurance I think I have this. It is not going to be world class and I am not going to win, but I think I can go out and finish 50 km.

The strategy is in place to do so (I will reveal this in my race report). The training is done. The nutrition is on point. Sleep is happening. I have a ride. A hotel room. Picked out all the gear. It’s been tested. It works.

BUT. WTF!

Two Saturday’s ago on a fun, slow 16 mile beauty of a run through the Grand Beach trails which was completed with happiness and joy, something happened. I can’t pinpoint an exact incident. I finished fine. At some point I jarred my knees and have been feeling off since then. The only time I can think of was when I was bombing down this fun switchback, it was going left, I was going right… but that’s it.

Quick version:

Saturday: Finished run, headed home, had a great afternoon, woke up next morning felt fine, Sunday: rode with my girls to swimming lessons, felt a little achy in right knee, iced, rested, Monday saw JF, he felt it will pass but asked about left knee, nothing (I said, “no concerns”), felt great rest of day, did physio homework, Tuesday: felt great, worked, felt great, ran 6 miles, right knee felt great, left knee started to ache, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday: iced, stretched, foam rolled, Saturday: ran 10 miles, was really achy in left knee, Sunday: iced, stretched, foam rolled, begged to see JF, Monday: saw JF, got me working on my hips, Tuesday: iced, stretched, foam rolled, physio work, —- Today, Wednesday Bib pick up day… WTF.

I don’t know what to say. It is a little frustrating.

I am going for it no matter what. I have trained too hard, and done so much to not compete. I am in running for the long haul. I have several other races on my calendar this year including the Marathon du P’tit train du nord in October, and I know that if this turns into something bigger then those might be compromised. I have evaluated the risks vs the rewards and I am going for it.

I have had to change my race strategy, sorry Shane M. I am not going to bombed it and then when I collapse pick myself back up and finish. It was a thought at one point. My expectations now are just to finish. Get to the finish line to see my family and friends and enjoy the experience. I am 43 this year and I am in the best shape I have ever been in. I am signed up for a killer race in a beautiful place. I am a runner of the wild.

See you at the finish line, with or without my left knee.

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UPDATE: Ups & Downs

Although this is not about running, I felt it represents a little how I am feeling these days.

Spruce Woods Ultra or my first 50km run is in 24 days. It is within sight on my calendar. Granted there are a lot of other things in-between now and then, but the anxiety I knew I would be feeling come race day, is starting to build. I am really looking forward to getting out there with the gear on, the nutrition on board, the anxiety percolating, and the excitement welling. I believe no matter the result it will be a fantastic day with a load of learning.

This will not be my only race this year.

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I was hoping for something else later in the year, and with the help of Scott Sugimoto I tracked down the Marathon du P’tit Train du Nord It is in late October, through The Laurentians, on trail, and downhill. My wife gave me the permission and I signed up. This will be my first “official” marathon.

Updates:

In my You vs The Year challenge of running 1017 kms in 2017 I am currently at 764 kms over 52 runs. I was hoping to meet this goal during SWU, but I think I will be a little short.  I may try to make it happen, but at the risk of a successful taper for SWU.

In my #Run1000miles challenge in 2017 I am currently at 474 miles. I am really excited about hitting the 500 mile mark this weekend. I feel I will reach this goal by the time of or during the Marathon du P’tit Train du Nord.

The training has been good. Ramped up but going well enough. Now that it is warming up in the morning quicker I have been able to bike commute to work and throwing in some run commutes. If I choose to run commute I get a great back to back for 15 miles. 7.5 miles in the morning. 7.5 in the late afternoon. It is trick backing all the nutrition needed as well my work needs but I figured out a system in the fall and I just need to keep organized.

I have been doing hills on Tuesdays and really pushing myself. I suffered a concerning ankle injury on a long run about three weeks ago, re-injured it on the edge of a single track but with the help of JF, it seems to be healing well enough.

Also I have been making sure to hit my goals stretching, doing physio, and core strength training, although I feel I could be pushing myself a little more in the strength training.

I am planning to post part 2 of my training post after spruce woods as I am trying out some things and I want to test out the training before commenting on it.

Enough for now,

peace.