Friday, November 27, 2009

iRunFar Gear Giveaway

I just noticed a post on Bryon Powell's site that is definitely worth checking out.

iRunFar is giving away a whack of gear for those who sign up for a draw. No skill testing questions or anything else. It's open for Canadian readers too, so go take a peak at some of the great stuff and register.

Contest closes on December 4, 2009.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Week of November 16-22: Injury Status

My knee sort of hit a low point on the weekend. Just as is usually the case with injuries though, once you think it’s never going to get better you begin to get some encouraging signs. This was definitely the case once again with me over the past few days. I’ve stepped up the rehab exercises, stretching more, icing more, seeing Greg more often for treatments and trying to have a positive attitude.

I’m now on day 47 and beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel. The tough part will be staying the course and not jumping back into training too soon.

Total # of hours this week: 2:20
Total # of runs this week: 7
2009 total # of hours: 526:27
2009 total # of days: 333
2009 total # of runs: 413
Streak: 7,271 days in a row
Training Log Details: click here

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Snowshoe Magazine: Bring on the Snow!

Welcome back to another season at Snowshoe Magazine!

We are excited about the change in season and what is in store. As with previous years, Sara and I will once again be posting regular blogs here about our winter activities with a focus on Snowshoe Running and Racing. We thought we would start off by giving you a quick update of what we’ve been up to over the non-snowshoe season.
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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Featured Workout

iRun Magazine features one of my workouts on David Grant's 'Up to Speed' Blog this week. Click here to see the the recommended workout.

Outpost Magazine Article

The November/December 2009 issue of Outpost Magazine is on the newsstands now and features an article entitled The Traveller’s Trail Running Series.

This was the third part of the series that included great trails for runners to check out worldwide. I was interviewed by Outpost about the Adirondacks for this piece.

The article offers some good tips and trail descriptions of what to look for if planning to run Mt Marcy, which is one of our favourite runs while in the ADK’s.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Week of November 9-15

Continued easy jogging on grass this week with lots of rehab and ice.

Total # of hours this week: 2:20
Total # of runs this week: 7
2009 total # of hours: 524:07
2009 total # of days: 326
2009 total # of runs: 406
Streak: 7,264 days in a row
Training Log Details: click here

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Free Beer!

Well, not exactly, but now that I've got your attention...

There was some discussion on EJ’s blog recently about her love of coffee and about possibly giving it up. That sort of got me thinking about my own habits of enjoying good coffee and good beer.

It’s funny, when I was younger I used to indulge in larger quantities of both, but now I find that this is much less appealing than if I just have good quality coffee or beer. Sara refers to me as a bit of a coffee and beer snob:)

Seriously though, to start with, I can’t understand people who drink large quantities of Tim Horton’s coffee. To me, Tim Horton’s is worse than even McDonald’s coffee….and McD’s coffee is certainly no roaring hell!

Give me a good dark roast from Hillside, Multituli or Kicking Horse any day and I’m happy with limiting my coffee intake to one each morning. Okay, sometimes two on weekends.

The same goes for beer. You could offer me several name brand beers like Blue, Canadian or Bud light, and I would gladly turn them down in exchange for one good dark ale or stout. My friend Peter often refers to the above mentioned beers as ‘Weasle Piss’ and I tend to agree. Give me a Guinness, Smithwicks or Muskoka Dark any day.

The problem of course with liking a good quality beer however is that they do tend to be a little more expensive. Given the fact that my taste buds are more satisfied with a more flavourful beer, this all evens out though.

There has been a recent trend in the Canadian market to offer quality beer at a more competitive price. After all, the only reason that Molson’s and Labatt’s products are so expensive is to pay for their slick advertising campaigns. It certainly isn’t due to their beer being any good;)

During the summer months, I do like to enjoy a lighter beer and have discovered PC Honey Red. Yes, that’s President’s Choice. The same noname brand that makes grocery items. This is an excellent beer that I would challenge anyone to compare with a Sleeman’s Honey Brown. The best part is that it is considerably less expensive.

Another recent discovery, or re-discovery, was Upper Canada Dark. This is an excellent Dark Ale that I used to have on occasion a number of years ago. However, I just accidently found out that it is now being marketed as a discounted beer. Yippee!!! Who knew? I certainly didn’t. When did this happen? This is an extremely good dark ale brewed in Canada that compares favourably to English or Irish dark ales, but at a fraction of the price.

Okay, maybe I’ll treat myself to a second coffee this morning….and I’m also looking forward to an Upper Canada Dark this evening. Cheers!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Week of November 2-8

Autumn is a wonderful season to run...okay, actually every season is a wonderful season to run;)

When I was in high school, it was my favourite time of the year because it meant cross country running. Running the trails around my parent’s farm and racing cross country in my early years as a runner led to a long term love of trail running. This laid the foundation for my passion for trail ultras today and wanting to spend as much time on the trails as possible.

OFSSA Cross Country is the Ontario provincial high school cross country championships. It is just an incredible meet to watch, both in terms of the size of the fields (250 runners in each of six divisions), but also the caliber of competition. I was particularly interested this year and followed the high school season closely as there were some really strong runners and teams from our little corner of the world who were competing.

Sydenham is a very small community, but their High School Senior Boys team ran incredibly well to win the silver medal this past weekend. Sydenham’s top three runners all finished in the top 30 (Jeff Archer/10th, Rob Asselstine/22nd, Dylan O’Sullivan/28th with Eliot Leydonhorst and Chris Hull rounding out the team). This is just an incredible performance for a school of this size. Congrats guys.

Aside from being strong runners, I’ve met Jeff, Rob and Dylan and they are all super nice guys too. Jeff and Rob volunteered to help out with the Kingston 5Peaks race that I organized last spring (on a very wet and nasty day), and Dylan is actually Sara’s cousin so I’ve gotten to know him pretty well. It’s also very neat to see someone like Jeff finish so well at OFSSA as I remember when he took one of the kid’s running clinics I instructed when he was quite young and only in public school. It will be pretty interesting to see what these guys all do during the upcoming track season and years to come.

Congratulations are also in order for another small school. Ernestown Secondary School is where I went to high school in the early 1980’s and also coached during the early-mid 1990’s. We had some strong teams during this period, many of which were led by the Murphy Brothers, but I believe that the highest any of our teams finished at OFSSA was 8th. The 2009 ESS midget girls team capped off a great season with an impressive 6th place showing. Great job!

Mountain Masochist Trail Run 50m:
Geoff Roes continued his record setting year in beating Dave Mackey’s old course record by 20mins. What a year he has had. Canadians did very well with Gary Robbins finishing third and Adam Hill and Glen Redpath tying for seventh. Tamsin Anstey from B.C. won the women’s race.

Pinhoti 100m:
Karl Meltzer of the La Sportiva Running Team picked up yet another 100mile win on the season. I’ve lost count how many 100’s he’s run and won this year. Just a machine.

Stone Cat 50m:
This is a great race and I’d really love to get back down to it some time. I ran it a few years ago, and didn’t have a particularly good race, but I learned a lot about the distance. I loved the course and remember the volunteers just having way too much fun on the course. The thing I remember the most was when I was going through a rough patch and feeling like I was going to puke (what’s new?). I was promptly being threatened by someone with a perogee on a skewer while being told to ‘eat the perogee!’. Fun race. This was also where I met Bryon Powell and remember running with him for a while on the third loop, then being dropped by him after he took a snort of Jack Daniels at an aid station. Who knew? has a couple of good reports on both Stone Cat and MMTR here.

Ozark Trail 100:
The race came and went. I was looking forward to it, but got injured a couple of days after registering for the race and booking my flight. I’m curious to see how the race went as it sounded like an incredible course and strong field of runners. I haven’t seen any results yet, but they should be posted on their website soon. (Note: early results are now posted here)

Training Week Summary:
Not much exciting to report with my training this week. Just a steady diet of 20minutes of easy running each day to keep my streak alive and allow my knee lots of time to repair. I’ve been religiously doing my leg rehab exercises too. I seem to be noticing a slight improvement over the past few days, which is a good sign. Looking forward to testing it more and increasing some over the next week.

Total # of hours this week: 2:56
Total # of runs this week: 7
2009 total # of hours: 521:47
2009 total # of days: 319
2009 total # of runs: 399
Streak: 7,257 days in a row
Training Log Details: click here

Friday, November 6, 2009

Western States 100 lottery

Only 29 days remaining until the Western States 100 lottery.

I put my name into the hat as this is the granddaddy of all 100 mile races. With it being so difficult to get in to, I figured I'd best start trying now.

Western States is conducted along the Western States Trail starting at Squaw Valley, California, and ending in Auburn, California, a total of 100 miles. The trail ascends from the Squaw Valley floor (elevation 6,200 feet) to Emigrant Pass (elevation 8,750 feet), a climb of 2,550 vertical feet in the first 4½ miles. From the pass, following the original trails used by the gold and silver miners of the 1850’s, runners travel west, climbing another 15,540 feet and descending 22,970 feet before reaching Auburn.

If I was able to get in, this would certainly be the focus race for 2010, however if not, there are plenty of other races to get excited about.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Weeks of Oct 19 - Nov 1

Banff was incredible... but back to reality now.

I had some good chances to test out my knee during some longer and tougher runs last week. After doing so, I pretty much came to the conclusion that I wouldn't be able to race in the Ozark Trail 100 miler this coming weekend. I had still held out hope that there might be a chance as I had recieved some ART and Laser Therapy, however it just doesn't seem like it is strong enough right now to try and run 100 miles.

I'm not really devastated about this from a race aspect as the signs over the past few weeks were pointing in this direction anyhow. The frustrating part though is that I had paid the non-refundable entry fee and had already booked my flight. I was able to get a small credit from the airlines but after penalties it only amounts to about $100 towards a future flight within the next year. Oh well, lesson learned. Next time book with cancellation insurance.

This week has been bad for other news on the race front. Aside from not being able to run OT100, I also found out that the 2010 BHP Billiton Rock and Ice Ultra has been cancelled. So sad, and aside from feeling bad for race director Scott Smith, and competitors and clients JD and David, I am also feeling further blahs for myself as I was hoping to head back up to run again.

So with all of this happening, I find myself pondering what's next. I guess I need to get healthy first which is key.

With all this gloomy recent race stuff, I should make a point of mentioning a few strong races and highlights that shouldn't be overlooked. First, of course, there was EJ's and David's (and Kim's) races at the Sydenham Fall Trail Run. Congrats again guys. Great races!

Also, a big congrats to one of my clients Michelle, who ran her very first marathon in New York City this past weekend. Michelle mentioned that the crowds were overwhelming and the last few miles tickled, but that she finished it! I loved it when she told me when she crossed the line she said "Never again", only to start thinking about ways that she could have run faster during the drive home. Way to go Michelle! She was still walking a little gingerly on Tuesday, but had a huge smile on her face to go with her finisher medal.
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Training Summary (Oct 19-25):
Total # of hours this week: 6:31
Total # of runs this week: 7
2009 total # of hours: 511:08
2009 total # of days: 305
2009 total # of runs: 385
Streak: 7243 days in a row
Training Log Details: click here

Training Summary (Oct 26-Nov1):
Total # of hours this week: 7:43
Total # of runs this week: 7
2009 total # of hours: 518:51
2009 total # of days: 312
2009 total # of runs: 392
Streak: 7250 days in a row
Training Log Details: click here

Monday, November 2, 2009

2010 Rock and Ice Ultra - Cancelled

I was shocked, saddened and disappointed to find out today that the Rock and Ice Ultra had been cancelled for 2010. There were many thoughts and feelings going through my head when I read the emails and blogs about this decision.

I felt bad for Rock and Ice Race Director Scott Smith as he had built this event in three short years to be one of the premier winter races in the world. Rock and Ice is a very unique event with a strong field of international competitors. Scott had big plans for the race on the world scene and I only hope that this is a small blip and that he will be able to resurrect the race again in 2011.

The two competitors who I felt really bad for were David and JD. They had dreamed about this race, planned for it, booked flights, bought expensive gear and were training with the goal of competing in this life changing race. To them I feel truly very sorry that they won’t be able to race in this incredible event that they had set out to.

Lastly, I felt as though I had some unfinished business of my own at Rock and Ice after last year. I had hoped to have the opportunity to return again this year and have a great race. This is a race that really got under my skin and will be tough to replace.

So, now it’s back to the drawing board for us Ontario folks. There are still plenty of exciting winter events to choose from. We all will just need to do some research and see what fits best for each of us.