Monday, February 23, 2009

Rock and Ice Update #5: Jen Simpson

I just read Jen Simpon’s Rock and Ice report from Friday’s issue of and it made me do a lot of thinking. It was scary reading about what she has had to deal with in terms of the severity of her knee injury and the long rehab that she has had to go through. It’s very unfortunate that she will not be able to compete at Rock and Ice this year.

Jen’s report also made me think a lot about my own training for Rock and Ice. I have been disappointed in my training over the past few months with not having the ideal buildup to the race due to some of my own injuries and illnesses. While I have still been able to get out there each day and run, there have been times where I’ve had to cut back considerably from what I had originally planned on doing.

Sure, we always want our training to go ideally, but we also need to accept that sometimes there are things beyond our control that get in the way to prevent this. Reading Jen’s report was a good message for me in taking what the ‘Fitness Gawds’ give us and being ok with it. It’s all about having a positive attitude, having fun and then running hard on race day.

Rock and Ice is now less than a month away and it’s time to sharpen up a little before starting to think about tapering soon. The next month will fly by and certainly be filled with plenty of second guessing about things; however I am no longer going to complain about what I haven’t been able to do and what I should have done. I am healthy now which is the main thing and I can’t wait to head north.

All the best in your recovery Jen. I know many of us will be thinking of you while racing and hope to see you up there in 2010 at the Rock and Ice.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Training Log: Feb 16 - 22 (15:59)

Training Log: Solid week of running. Good volume and capped off with a strong pulk run on Sunday. Nice to get some more snow again. Leg felt great this week. A slight twinge in my ankle from Friday's run, but not bad.

Week Ending Total = 15:59

Monday Feb 16
Running 1:10:00
shoes: LS Raceblades/hobnails
(AM) Easy to Steady on north trail to Sandpit. Then ran north along the fenceline and looped back into Sandpit. Very nice loop with good footing on most through marsh trail. Legs were a little tired at the start, but surprised that they felt quite good. Wanted to keep going. Went to Perth after with Duane to pick up dogsled runners for pulk from David Moore (Moore Sleds). Looking forward to getting runners attached and ready to go.

Running 43:00
shoes: LS Raceblades/hobnails
(PM) Easy run on Hare trails. West trail blocked off, so came back through East trails and over marsh to Cat Trail East. Marsh looked a little thin in places, but didn't get wet.

Tuesday Feb 17
Running 1:16:00
shoes: LS Raceblades/hobnails
(AM) Easy to Steady run at Little Cat before work in Kingston. Felt quite good. Footing not bad for the most part and enjoyed the sunshine.

Running 45:00
shoes: LS Raceblades/hobnails
(PM) Easy run with Sara on Cat Trail West. Legs a little tired, but fibula still feeling good.

Wednesday Feb 18
Running 1:30:00
shoes: LS Raceblades/hobnails
(AM) Easy run on north trail to Sandpit and loop through marsh trail. Came back through Paudyn trails. Footing uneven in places but not bad. Leg continues to improve.

Running 46:00
shoes: LS Raceblades/hobnails
(PM) Easy run on Cataraqui Trail West. A little bit of snow on the ground made it slippery footing. Felt very good and wanted to keep going, but showed restraint.

Thursday Feb 19
Running 1:30:00
shoes: La Sportiva Crosslites (41.5)
(AM) Beautiful morning for running. Ran West on Cataraqui Trail on 5cm of fresh snow. Made for a much better trail than just the snow and ice that we've been running on lately. Felt very good running at a steady pace. Added 10mins with all the dogs offleash in the back too. Fun.

Running 50:00
shoes: La Sportiva Wildcat
(PM) Easy run along Cat Trail West with Sara. Felt a little tired, but all good. Spent the day installing dogsled runners on my pulk with Duane Ramsay.

Friday Feb 20
Running 1:19:00
shoes: La Sportiva Crosslites (42)
(AM) Ran with pulk today to test out the new runners. They worked extremely well with very little drag. I just need to do some work on the poles now and all will be good. Felt a little tired today. Wore snowshoes for the first 50mins, then switched to microspikes. Footing was very soft and slow.

Running 41:00
shoes: LS Raceblade/screwshoes
(PM) Easy road run with Sara towards Petworth. Was nice to be on good footing.

Saturday Feb 21
Running 45:00
shoes: La Sportiva Crosslites (41.5)
(AM) Steady run on Cat Trail West, then picked up a few things at the store and home. Felt great. Didn't want to stop, but taking a bit of a recovery day.

Running 40:00
shoes: LS Raceblade/screwshoes
(PM) Easy road run with Sara. Felt a little tired.

Sunday Feb 22
Running 4:04:00
shoes: La Sportiva Crosslites (41.5)
(PM) Pulk run. Tough conditions with soft snow, so slow going. Felt good at times, but a little tired. Good to get through it. Ran Cat West past Camden East, then on north trail and back breaking trail through Paudyn West trail.Ran on snowshoes for most of the run except the first and last 15mins. Pulk ran great. Pole system is good, but still need to fine tune it a bit. Left ankle a little sore from Friday, but not in the same spot as before. Loosened up after a while.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009 sale has an awesome sale on until March 2 with savings of up to 70% off. If you need any new gear, now is a great time to check it out.

Also, if you click on the logo before making your purchase, we receive a small percentage of the sale through their referral program that will help with our training and racing expenses. It's a great win-win situation.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Training Log: Feb 9 - 15 (10:53)

Training Log: After having taken 10 days pretty easy due to the pain in my lower leg, things seem to have turned around. I was very cautious during the first part of the week with short runs, lots of ice and a total of 3 laser treatments in the past 10days. Things started to feel much better after laser on Thursday, then had a great weekend of training including a very solid confidence building long run on Sunday. Looking forward to next week. We just need some more snow now!

Week ending total = 10:53

Monday Feb 9
Running 45:00
shoes: La Sportiva Wildcat
(AM) Easy snowshoe run on Hare Trail before going to laser treatment. Leg felt good running, but ached for the entire drive to Napanee. Felt good immediately after treatment, then ached again at night. Was undecided whether to start trying to run more to see how it responds or to run less and see if it improves. Decided to take a couple of pretty light days and see what happens. Have another laser treatment on Thursday.

Tuesday Feb 10
Running 24:00
shoes: La Sportiva Wildcat
(PM) Easy snowshoe run with Sara on Hare Trail. Leg sore at the start and from standing on it all day, but loosened up. Continues to frustrate as it aches after, but seems ok during my runs. See how it is tomorrow and may start increasing again. Used Superfeet insoles for a little additional support.

Wednesday Feb 11
Running 44:00
shoes: La Sportiva Slingshots
(AM) Started out on snowshoes, but turned back after a couple of minutes. Snow too soft from the big melt. Switched into Slingshots with hobnails and ran on Cat Trail. Trail was icy, but hobnails gripped well. Leg was sore for a couple of minutes on snowshoes, but felt fine running after that. Ached a little after, so iced it.

Thursday Feb 12
Running 53:00
shoes: Mizuno Wave Rider
(AM) Tempo run. Decided to test out my leg today to see how it would respond to a harder workout. Kept it to a road run for the level footing. Felt pretty strange wearing road shoes. Ran 26' worth of hilly tempo on Petworth loop that was quite a bit of wet dirt road. Started off at the low end of tempo, but then picked it up and ran hard for the last half over the toughest hills. Felt quite good and leg was no problem during. Felt a little achy after. Encouraging. Had a laser treatment a couple of hours later.

Friday Feb 13
Running 1:05:00
shoes: LS Raceblade/screwshoes
(AM) Easy to steady run on Cat Trail W. Temperature dropped down last night so all the rain froze up. Pretty slippery in places, but good in screwshoes. Felt pretty good. Legs a little tired from yesterday, but fibula seemed ok. Plan to do another short run this evening.

Running 40:00
shoes: La Sportiva Slingshots
(PM) Easy run with Sara on Cat West. First double run in a while. Felt good. Felt a little tired, but leg seemed to be ok.

Saturday Feb 14
Running 1:15:00
shoes: LS Raceblade/screwshoes
(AM) Nice easy run up the north trail to Varty Lake, then added on some on the Cat W. Leg feeling better.

Running 45:00
shoes: LS Raceblades/hobnails
(PM) Great run on Hare trails including a little bit of bushwacking to get around open water. Felt good. Leg continues to improve. Going to test it on a long run tomorrow. Really liking the hobnails in the Raceblades. They grip even better than sheetmetal screws with all this ice.

Sunday Feb 15
Running 4:22:00
shoes: LS Raceblades/hobnails
(PM) Great run. Felt awesome. It's amazing how good you can feel sometimes going into a long run a little more rested. Certainly wasn't ideal having to take the past few weeks easier, but very encouraging today. Ran from Curl Rd on Cataraqui Trail West to Camden East, South on McKeown Trail to Silo and West along Strathcona Escarpment. Ran down and up skihill (as I've never done that before...very steep, but fun!), and down Sutton Hill before turning back. Ran about 75% at a very solid pace. Very happy with how leg felt. Footing wasn't great and leg felt fatigued at times, but no pain. Hobnails were great on all the ice. Ran with backpack

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Snowshoe Mag Blog: Me and my buns

I love cinnamon buns. Always have. I think it goes back to when I was a kid and our family used to vacation at a cottage in Plevna. We would buy the best cinnamon buns from Mrs. Baker who lived on the hill (or was it Mrs. Hill who was a baker?). Anyhow, I am drooling while I am writing this. Even to this day, nothing tastes better to me after a long run than a gooey cinnamon bun and a dark roast coffee...

Read full blog >>

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Brennan's Bedroom

Training Log: Feb 2 - 8 (7:08)

Training Log: A little disappointing this week. Felt great last week and it's possible that I may have rushed back into hard training a little too soon after being sick, as I had to nurse some aches and pains all week. The footing from the 4 hr pulk last Sunday may have taken a lot out of me as my feet kept rolling from the soft snow and seemed to cause pain in my left shin/ankle. My leg doesn't seem to bother me when running, but barks a little after. Seems like its right above where I broke my fibula a few years ago. Hoping it improves over the next few days and I can ramp things back up. With the down time from being sick and now this, I feel like I'm quickly running out of time to get in some solid training before Rock and Ice.

Week ending total = 7:08

Monday Feb 2
Running 1:02:00
shoes: La Sportiva Crosslites (41.5)
(AM) Easy run on Cataraqui Trail West. Footing was a little soft and slow going, but felt pretty good. Need to take a couple of recovery days. Left ankle, calf and shin a little tight still, but loosened up.

Running 48:00
shoes: La Sportiva Raceblades
(PM) Easy snowshoe run. Ran west side of Paudyn trails, then out towards Varty Lake. Footing good on snowmobile trail.

Tuesday Feb 3
Running 1:10:00
shoes: La Sportiva Crosslites (41.5)
(AM) Steady snowshoe run at Little Cat Conserv. Area before work. Trail was pretty firm for the first half, but the last half of the loop was nice. Felt really quite good and ran fairly hard in places. Left leg still a little sore, so just running once today.

Wednesday Feb 4
Running 1:02:00
shoes: La Sportiva Wildcat
(AM) Relaxed run on north trail from home. Back was very sore at the start from splitting wood yesterday, but loosened up. Ankle was still a little tender, but also felt much better as I ran and didn't seem to be an issue. Felt it after getting home though. Really wanted to run more, but decided to take the recovery before ramping back up again. Ran in new La Sportiva Wildcats today. It's a little more shoe than what I usually wear (compared to Crosslites and Skylites), but I really like them. Soft ride, stable base of support, great traction and comfy upper with no stress points...and they look cool too! I know I'll wear them a lot when my body needs an extra bit of pampering. I'll write a full review at some point in the future. This is going to be a great shoe for LS.

Thursday Feb 5
Running 1:00:00
shoes: La Sportiva Wildcat
(AM) Steady run on Cat Trail West. Back feeling better today. Leg still sore, but loosened up as I ran. Trail firm with good footing. Ran fairly hard in places. Felt pretty well recovered from the past few easy days.

Friday Feb 6
Running 32:00
shoes: La Sportiva Wildcat
(AM) Started out on snowshoes, but kept sliding off home trail, so ran a short road run to Freeman Trail and back. Wanted to test leg before going to get a laser treatment and see how it's feeling. Not bad. Doesn't seem to hurt when I'm running, but continues to be achy when I stop and flex my foot outwards. Will continue to run moderate amounts this weekend and see how it feels. Hope to snowshoe run as much as possible as the stability seems to help.

Saturday Feb 7
Running 49:00
shoes: La Sportiva Wildcat
(PM) Easy run on north trail from Yarker out to Varty Lake. Felt pretty good. Back still very stiff. Leg ok, but sore again after.

Sunday Feb 8
Running 45:00
shoes: La Sportiva Wildcat
(PM) Easy snowshoe run on north trail with Sara. Back feeling quite a bit better today. Leg doesn't seem too bad. Still seems like it's fairly low on the fibula, but not sure whether it's tendon or muscle, but hopefully not bone. Was hoping to stay on snowshoes for the added stability this week, but with the warm weather and melt, it might not be possible. Was sunny and +5C today.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

La Sportiva Running Team

La Sportiva is a leader in the world of trail and mountain running. Not only do they make the best off-road shoes on the planet, but they also give so much back to the sport.

In 2005, La Sportiva provided Sara and me with trail shoes for our honeymoon fastpack of the Rideau Trail. We have been very fortunate to be members of the 36 runner La Sportiva Running Team since 2006.

In addition to supporting runners, La Sportiva also sponsors many races. For 2009, they will be sponsoring a total of 82 races including our very own Sydenham Fall Trail Run.

It’s really great to see a company put so much into the sport at the grass roots level.

Thank you La Sportiva for your continued support.

Check out the following La Sportiva links:
La Sportiva Running Team
La Sportiva Adventure Running Blog
La Sportiva Mountain Running Blog
La Sportiva North America website

Monday, February 2, 2009

Snowshoe Magazine

The latest issue of Snowshoe Magazine was just sent out and Sara and I contributed a few articles.

Snowshoe Magazine Interview: Mike Caldwell
This is the fourth in a series of interviews with notable snowshoe personalities that we will be presenting throughout the season. Mike Caldwell is the race director of the Mad Trapper Snowshoe Series in Low, Quebec (about 40 minutes north of Ottawa, Ontario). He started the series six years ago, and has watched it grow and attract many of the area’s best runners, triathletes, cyclists and adventure racers. He makes his events fun for beginners as well as the more competitive types. His backcountry style races take in some of the most beautiful and challenging terrain in Eastern Canada.
read full interview>>

Gear Review: Teko Socks
If you’re attracted to win-win situations for your feet and the planet, Teko makes the socks for you. They feel amazing to wear and offer great technical features, plus you can feel good about the company’s environmental ethics. Their motto and mission statement is: “best socks ON the planet; best socks FOR the planet”, and they certainly live up to that ideal
read full gear review>>

Happy Birthday Sara!

Happy Birthday to my best friend, training partner and soul-mate.

Love you!

Rock and Ice Update #4: The Joy of Pulk Running

The history of the pulk (sled) dates back as long as humans have been living in winter conditions and needing to transport things over the snow. I never really thought much about them before signing up for the Rock and Ice Ultra, however I will have to run while pulling a pulk with all of my supplies in it for the entire six day race.

Pulks come in many shapes and sizes, from bulky expedition style to a baby carrier style. I am taking it one step further and am in the process of coming up with my own design. The concept is very basic (ie. inexpensive) and I am looking to use a simple child’s sled with poles attached to my waist to prevent the pulk from running into me while going down hills. It has been a fun process and being a bit of a gear geek, I’ve enjoyed tinkering and trying to find the perfect design for me. I’m current trying to attach dogsled runners to the bottom to allow it to track a little smoother.

I have to admit that initially I didn’t really think that I would enjoy the whole idea of pulling a heavy load behind me during a run. Before we got snow, I was preparing for what lay ahead by dragging an old car tire. This was tough work. I tried to have a better attitude about it by naming my tire, however no matter how much you try to lighten things up mentally, running with a tire roped to your waist isn’t much fun at all.

An interesting thing happened though as soon as the snow hit the ground and I was able to switch the tire for my pulk. The pulling was much easier and I was able to actually start enjoying my pulk runs and even looking for any excuse to run with it. From running to the store to get groceries to loading up for a full day of fun in the outdoors, I found that by running with my pulk, I had many more interesting ways to enjoy my runs.

Knowing that you are out there for possibly several hours at a time, it’s very comforting that you can pack a wide variety of extra gear in your pulk for any conditions. Need an extra layer of clothing, dry socks, switch from trail shoes to traction device to snowshoes, have a more substantial lunch than just a sport bar, or maybe a hot drink, grab a headlamp, go winter camping?

Pulk running opens up so many fun opportunities for winter adventures. The possibilities are truly endless.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Training Log: Jan 26 - Feb 1 (17:14)

Training Log: Great week of running. Didn't really plan to run quite as much as I did, but felt really good. I now feel I am back in the place I was before Christmas and being able to train as much as I want. Feels very good. Left calf was a little sore from the footing earlier in the week, but didn't bother me on the weekend. Very encouraging pulk run on Saturday.

Week Ending Total = 17:14

Monday Jan 26
Running 1:25:00
shoes: La Sportiva Crosslites (41.5)
(AM): Beautiful run. Ran to Yarker, then south on trails to Wilton, East to Hare trails, then one loop of dogsled trail, north on marsh to Cataraqui Trail, then home. Nice loop. Felt great at the start, but then got a little hungry and tired from run yesterday

Running 56:00
shoes: La Sportiva Raceblades
(PM): DionSS. Nice snowshoe run with Sara on Paudyn trails. Snow quite firm and could have run without snowshoes tonight.

Tuesday Jan 27
Running 1:08:00
shoes: La Sportiva Crosslites (41.5)
(AM): Ran with microspikes in Kingston on Rideau Trail. Great run. Felt really strong. Ran Rideau Trail north and explored blue loops and a bit on Cataraqui River. Felt like staying out, but doing tempo run tonight

Running (Tempo Run) 1:16:00
shoes: La Sportiva Crosslites (41.5)
(PM): Tempo Run. Warmed up on Cataraqui Trail, then great 40 min tempo run on north trail to Varty Lake. Cool night. Wore Microspikes which helped a lot with the footing. Had planned to do 2 x 20', but felt really good, so decided to run continuous tempo instead

Wednesday Jan 28
Running 2:00:00
shoes: La Sportiva Crosslites (41.5)
(AM): Great pulk run in snowstorm. Ran Cataraqui Trail West. Tough conditions as snow was pretty soft and slow pulling pulk. Ran with snowshoes for about an hour in the middle until snowmobiles packed down trail, then switched to Microspikes. Running on fumes by the end even though I took a couple of gels and gatorade with me. A little tired at the start from tempo run last night, but legs loosened up well.

Thursday Jan 29
Running 1:13:00
shoes: La Sportiva Crosslites (41.5)
(AM) Good snowshoe run at Little Cat Cons Area. Trails were fairly soft, but nice to just plod along comfortably. Beautiful morning. -10C and sunny. Felt like you could run in shorts and a t-shirt. -43C with the windchill in Yellowknife right now, which will be a little different than here. Left calf a little achy from running in all the soft snow the past few days. Legs felt good otherwise after the tough pulk run yesterday. Went skating with Fred Perel for about 45mins after my run.

Running 30:00
shoes: La Sportiva Raceblades
(PM) Easy snowshoe run on our home trails. Snowing pretty hard and very deep conditions. Had to break our trail yet again. Tough going as it was firm underneath all the new snow, so kept sliding off the trail.

Friday Jan 30
Running 1:30:00
shoes: La Sportiva Crosslites (41.5)
(AM) We got a bunch more snow overnight. Wasn't quite sure where to run. Ran with snowshoes in my pack, but ended up staying on the roads. Not many had been plowed, so ran mostly with my microspikes. Left calf is still a little achy, but loosened up and was good. Had a tough time mentally getting out the door for some reason today, but felt great when I got moving.

Running 41:00
shoes: La Sportiva Raceblades
(PM) Easy snowshoe run with Sara on Hare Trail. Nice night out.

Saturday Jan 31
Running 4:04:00
shoes: La Sportiva Crosslites (41.5)
(AM) Great long run with Sara while pulling pulk. Ran Cataraqui Trail West to Strathcona. New loop heading north, then crossed road and up a tough very tough climb (Old Strathcona Ski hill) with pulk. Wore microspikes up to then (2:45), but switched to snowshoes at the top of the hill for the rest of the run. From Strathcona Hill we ran along the edge of escarpment to McKeown Trail and finished at Mom and Dads house....and food and a drive home (thanks). Felt really good. Probably didn't have enough food on the trail, but pleased with run.

Sunday Feb 1
Running 2:31:00
shoes: La Sportiva Raceblades
(AM) Was a little tough getting out the door today after the long pulk run yesterday, but good once I got going. Did a snowshoe run with Sara on Paudyn trails. Very deep snow as we hadn't opened up the trails since the last snowstorm. Each loop got better though and was nice and packed down by the end. Used up all of our energy gels and bloks yesterday, so had to make do with snickers bars, jubes and cheese curd. It got us through and was a nice change. Happy 12th birthday to my daughter Heather!

Canadian Running Magazine

I have a gear review and intro to snowshoe running article in the January/February issue of Canadian Running Magazine.

The magazine is in the newstands now or you can read the article here.

Also, Michal Kapral wrote a great article about the 2008 Rock and Ice Ultra that is posted on the Rock and Ice website. Click here to read it (large pdf).