Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Steve Earle

Steve Earle played in Kingston last night. He puts on such a fantastic show. It was an acoustic show with just his guitar, mandolin and harmonica. I was expecting to see him play a lot of material off of his recent 'Townes' CD, but was surprised that he played a wide mix of everything that you would want to hear that spanned over the course of his entire career.

He's very outspoken on many topics which is a large reason that I love his music. It's real and tells a story. The strength of the message that comes from it is loud and clear. His passion is very evident and it's pretty powerful to see him expressing his views in his songs and intro to songs. Hearing him playing a haunting song like Billy Austin, it's pretty hard to imagine that the death penalty still exists. Not to mention his other opinions on various topics.

The Grand Theatre was a wonderful venue to hear an acoustic concert, and we were fortunate to be seated in the 3rd row. I was very surprised to see that someone has already posted three videos from the show and looking at them, I think the guy who took them was only a few seats away from where we were.

Mike Plume opened for Earle and played a great solo set as well.

If you ever get a chance to see Steve Earle in concert, don't miss it. As I've said before, he's the best singer songwriter out there today who is still performing.

Week of Oct 11 - 17

It's been a heck of a busy week with organizing the Sydenham Fall Trail Run, getting ready for the snowshoe season, and having some fast approaching deadlines on some writing pieces. Definitely feeling somewhat overwhelmed and swamped at times.

Running wise, I've bounced back well from being sick. I was still fairly weak for much of last week, but got some decent runs in that included a 4:25 run on Monday and a couple of good 2hr efforts. The 2hr run I did on Saturday may have been a little too aggressive with some of he paces that I ran at. I pushed it a little harder than I've been able to in a while and my achilles barked a bit and let me know that it wasn't entirely happy. A few days of R&R and it will be fine.

Weekly Summary (Oct 11-17):
Total # of hours last week: 10:57
Total # of hours this year: 446:43
Streak (# of consecutive days of running): 7,601
Training Log Details for the Week

Sunday, October 17, 2010

2010 Sydenham Fall Trail Run - Race Report

Congratulations to everyone who took part in the 6th Annual Sydenham Fall Trail Run.

The weather and course conditions were good with only a bit of a headwind after the turnaround. 223 runners completed the race which took place on the Cataraqui Trail following the northern shoreline of beautiful Sydenham Lake.

Jodi Wendland continued her record breaking ways at Sydenham by winning the women’s race in a new course record time of 30:30. This was 15 seconds faster than the course record she set in 2009, and earned her $100 for the win, plus an additional $50 for the record. Second place in the women’s race was Richelle Moore in a time of 31:35, followed by Margarita Sviajina in 33:13 for third. The top female master’s runner (over 40 yrs old) was Joanne Armstrong in 34:14.

In the men’s race, Sydenham native Paul Chafe also defended his 2009 title by winning in a time of 26:33, with Scott Takala following in second in 27:40 and Rob Campbell in third in 28:04. The top master in the men’s competition was Clive Morgan in 30:16.

Complete results are now posted at .

We have also posted a video of various footage of the race here. This was new for us this year and we apologize for those who we missed. We’ll look to do better in this area next year, but hope you enjoy reliving some of the memories of the day.

Thank you once again to all of our sponsors La Sportiva, TD Bank, Sydenham Veterinary Services, Stonehaven, Hillside Coffee Company, Hansler Smith Limited, Running Room, Trailhead, Clearwater Massage Therapy, and Spafford Health and Adventure.

Also, just a reminder about the upcoming Dion Eastern Ontario Snowshoe Series coming this winter with three great races. Check out soon for more details, or follow us on facebook.

See you on the Trails,

Derrick Spafford
Race Director
Sydenham Fall Trail Run

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Being Sick

I hate being sick. I'm not good at it at all. Well, actually I suppose considering the amount of times I've been sick, you could probably say that I am quite good at it.

Ever since I was a kid, I've always seemed to get sick pretty often, and usually accompanied with a high fever. Maybe I just have a weak immune system, maybe it's a result of having meningitis when I was a baby, or maybe it's just horse shit bad luck. Then, I was diagnosed with Stevens Johnson's Syndrome in my teens, but thankfully I have been able to control that by taking the proper medication at the first sign of any symptoms.

Actually, over the past few years I have been healthier than any other time in my life, in fact I can't remember the last time I had a cold. And this is all during fairly high mileage training too.

I've made a point of really trying to take care of the little things with lots of rest, eating well, low stress and I have also paid close attention to adding some supplements to my regular routine. Interestingly enough, I have not had a bout of SJS since I started taking First Endurance Optygen. The two main ingredients in Optygen are Cordyceps and Rhodiola, which were first used by Tibetan Sherpas to help them climb Mount Everest, but have been used recently to aid in recovery and performance in endurance events. I've also added Udo's Oil to my daily diet as well.

So, I was somewhat surprised to come down with a nasty cold last week. As Sara told me, it was a perfect storm brewing. It was the week following my ill fated Virgil Crest race where I dropped at 25miles. I guess that I maybe thought that this didn't take too much out of me as I was keen to get back into training after a few easy days. I also had a busy week with quite a few appointments and being around a lot of sick people when I am used to mostly working from home and in isolation. I think the kicker was an eye appointment I had at a very busy clinic which was probably a germ factory.

The short story is that I got nailed hard for all of last week. Most of my running consisted of 20-30 minutes of very easy running each day, just to keep the streak alive. My fever spiked pretty high for a few days and lingered in my chest a bit. The fever left me pretty weak, all week.

By the weekend things were improving considerably, as I've felt much better and started to increase back again closer to normal. I had planned to run long on Sunday, but decided to bump that back to Monday (yesterday) for the extra day of recovery.

With a busy week coming up with organizing the Sydenham Fall Trail Run this coming weekend, I guess if you have to get sick, then last week was a good time.

Here's hoping to a healthy fall and winter, and being able to really ramp up the trail miles!

Weekly Summary (Oct 4-10):
Total # of hours last week: 4:46
Total # of hours this year: 435:46
Streak (# of consecutive days of running): 7,594
Training Log Details for the Week

The Sick Bed of Cuchulainn by The Pogues. An amazing song that fuses Punk with Traditional Irish Music. Great to see that The Pogues can still play it with passion 25 years later.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

One Last Shot

Well, it looks like I may have one last shot to get into the Western States 100 lottery. I heard back from the Stone Cat 50 race director and I was able to get in. Stone Cat is on the final day of qualifying, so it's all or nothing.

I'm really looking forward to it as we've run there in the past and it's a very honest and runnable course. The course has changed a bit since the last time I ran it, but sounds like it may be a little faster too. I have no interest in time, but just looking forward to getting a 50miler under my belt again.

I remember the four loop course at Stone Cat featuring a few challenging sections, but nothing too crazy. I have some good memories of running parts of the race with Jan Wellford of ADK speed record fame, as well as meeting Bryon Powell for the first time, who is now operating the primier website for all things trail and ultra at The funny thing about Bryon was that partway through his race he was having a rough patch, and was convinced that a shot of Jack Daniels (the drink, not the running philosophy) would help him. Apparently it did as he left me in his dust over the final loop. Guess I should have taken a shot too.

So, all systems are go. The only problem now though is that I spent a little too much time around sick people last week and I've come down pretty sick myself. Hopefully, only another couple of days of light running and I'll be able to get back out pretty long again soon. I have to say that watching Sara leave to go for a long run at Frontenac Park on Sunday was a challenge, and for a moment I considered going along for a short run and sleeping after in the car. Probably best I didn't though as I was feeling pretty rough. So, I'm on a steady diet of 20-30 easy minutes per day right now, just to keep the running streak alive.

The good thing though about being sick is that I've had a little extra time to get caught up on work. The Sydenham Fall Trail Run is on October 17, and I still have lots of last minute things to get done. We have reached our maximum even earlier than last year and are looking forward to a great event a week from Sunday.

Weekly Summary (Sept 27- Oct 3):
Total # of hours last week: 7:28
Total # of hours this year: 431:00
Streak (# of consecutive days of running): 7,587
Training Log Details for the Week

Study: Americans Get Majority of Exercise While Drunk

Study: Americans Get Majority Of Exercise While Drunk

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Barn

Here is a great blog by my parents neighbour with some wonderful photos of my parents barn that I grew up spending so many hours exploring.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Campfire Reflections: Virgil Vigil

My pipes are still a bit tired from the 25miles at Virgil on Saturday. I've spent quite a bit of time reflecting over the campfire the past few days and am still fine with the outcome.

Yesterdays token 20 minute run helped to loosen up my legs a bit more and another easy day or two should have me fired up to dig deep into a good training block.

Looking back over my training log in the past few months I realize that I am certainly not where I want to be, but am very thankful of where I am and that I am able to move forward. Injuries suck and I am very grateful to be healthy again and will never take that for granted. On that note I am really looking forward to when Sara is 100% healthy too. Soon.

I found it very interesting watching the below short video clip that Sara took of me while running in Colorado. I have always felt that my stride efficiency is reasonably good, but you can tell that biomechanically I am a huge mess. I am essentially limping as my whole right side is locked up. Part of that was the Achilles flareup that I had, but the bigger problem was the tightness in my hip/psoas.

Thank gawd that is behind me now. Looking at my form not that long ago is very painful to see. I feel like I have come a long ways in the past 6 weeks and getting stronger each day. It's funny that I never felt like I was running that awkward even though Sara mentioned that my stride just looked off. It's just amazing what you can believe when you are not wanting to admit something.

Anyhow, my strength and flexibility is getting better daily and I can assure you that my current form has improved considerably and isn't anywhere near as bad as the video.

Weekly Summary (Sept 20-26):
Total # of hours last week: 9:04
Total # of hours this year: 403:00
Streak (# of consecutive days of running): 7,580
Training Log Details for the Week

Gimpy: The scenery is nice, but the form?....not so much...

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Virgil Crest: I shouldn’t have clicked submit

Ok, so Virgil Crest is still taking place as I write this, so WTF am I doing blogging? Well, in case you didn’t see the online updates or my twitter, I dropped…and dropped fairly early I might add at 25miles, or as Eric pointed out 40kms which does sound a little better.

I’m a bit disappointed, but not devastated or anything. The writing was on the wall. This was my first race in over a year and I may have rushed things just a wee bit in the race department. I had signed up for the 100mile, but my main goal going into the race was to get in 50miles in under 11 hours to be able to put my name into the Western States lottery. Virgil allows an official 50mile time if you sign up for the 100 but decide to drop after 50miles. I felt that this was a good option for me and highly doubted that I would be able to continue on for the full 100, but just wanted to keep the door open just in case.

Looking back on my training log, I should have realized that it was very stupid to try to attempt 50 yet, let alone even thinking of 100. July was still a write-off training/fitness wise, August was only a little better. And, I was only able to cram in a 4 and 5 hour run in early September, plus pacing Keith for 6hrs at Haliburton. Not ideally the type of training that I would normally do for any ultra distance race, especially considering I hadn’t raced in so long. I guess you always hope that you can get by if you run smart. Hope is a dirty 4 letter word though and you need to KNOW. I think deep down beforehand I knew it was a mistake.

The strange thing about it is that I feel that if it had been run on a little more runnable course, that I might have been ok. Virgil is tough. In fact, it’s the toughest course I have run on with 20,000ft in elevation in the 100. That was the big thing that got me. My fitness was lacking, PLUS I hadn’t done the specific training that I needed for a tough course like this. The ascents up the ski hills were brutal. I don’t think that there were many who were able to actually run many of the uphills, and then the braking of the downhills were tough too. That seemed to be the pattern of the course, you were either climbing up or braking coming down. I don’t want to sound like I’m whining, as Jeff Browning ran an awesome race on the course last year, however they added a few more miles this year which made the course that much more challenging with the addition of more elevation change and single track.

Anyhow, I wasn’t ready for this and realized this fairly early. I started the race as relaxed as possible and definitely felt like I was holding back early. The first parts I found were quite possible to run within myself. I began to struggle though when we started climbing. The ups and downs really beat up my body and due to the lack of base mileage over the summer; I had nothing to fall back on in addition to not having done a hill phase for a race like this either.

When I’m fit, I usually start feeling stronger after about 4hrs into a race. Today, I started to feel very rough at 3hrs and kept getting worse. I had a couple of good pukes, but it was more about there just being no strength in my body on that type of course. I may have been able to keep going a little while longer, but I essentially knew that my body was not ready to keep going without risking something that I was not prepared to risk on the day.

Structure wise, I’m feeling good and even feel pretty good now after a tough 25miles of the race. I honestly feel that my injury is behind me and that within a few days I can get back into hard training. That is what motivates me and gets me excited.

Yes, I should never have toed the line, however if I hadn’t then I always would have wondered if maybe, just maybe, I could have snuck in a decent race and sped up the return to competition. Unfortunately though, there is no bluffing a race in a 100 miler, especially like Virgil, without doing the work…and that is what I need to do before my next race.

While I am a little disappointed that I’m not a little further along in my fitness right now, it is good to know exactly what I need to do, and I have the green light to do it now that I am healthy.

I’ve told many of my coaching clients in the past that no matter whether you have a good race or a sub par race, the motivation should always be there following the race to train hard. I am certainly very motivated, now that I’m healthy, and can’t wait to hit the trails!

PS. Thanks everyone for all the emails, facebook, twitter and Running Mania comments.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Click Submit!

It’s been over a year since I’ve raced due to the knee issue that I’ve been wrestling with. The good news is that I’m finally healthy, know why the injury happened and know what I need to do to avoid getting this injury again. So why am I reluctant to hit the submit button for Virgil Crest this weekend?

Click submit Derrick!

I know that I’m not in great shape, but feel fit to get fit. I’ve gotten in a few good test runs over the past few weeks including pacing Keith at Haliburton, plus a solid 5 hour solo run. My training volume has been decent, though not spectacular, but still enough to be able to run the distance.

Click submit Derrick!!

Yesterday was sort of the final test that I passed. Great range of motion/flexibility in my hip, and continued increased strength as well. My physio gave me the green light to run, and said that even if I felt pain during the race at any point that it wasn’t going to set me back any.

Click submit Derrick!!!

I guess the biggest thing is that I would ideally like to have a little more time to train and get in better shape, but unfortunately I don’t really have that luxury right now since there are a limited number of races and weekends available to get in a qualifier before the Western States 100 Lottery.

Click submit Derrick!!!!

Nothing is ever ideal. I’ve been away from a race for a long time and even though I’m not in my best shape, I still can’t help but have all of these preconceived race goals. If I can just let go of those and go into the race to run relaxed, have fun and enjoy a long day on the trails, then everything will be great....and that's exactly what I'm going to do.

Click submit Derrick!!!!!

Okay, done. Submit button has been clicked! Time to get ready to enjoy a great day on some sweet single track.

Last week was a solid week of running that included a great 5 hour long run last Wednesday. Structurally, I felt really good and like I am finally in a great place.

Aside from the 5hr run, the highlight runningwise of the week was my run at Ballahack. The Ballahack trails are proposed provincial park/crown land that are just gorgeous. I remember going there xc skiing as a kid and this place just seemed so remote and wild. We don’t tend to run there that much as it’s near Tamworth and a good 45mins plus drive from our place. When we do, it’s always an adventure though.

These trails were actually the first trails that Sara and I fastpacked overnight on. We’ve also dogsledded and snowshoe run there as well. In fact, pretty much every time that we run there during the summer, we tend to see a bear and Sunday was no different.

I did the tour on the trails that I wanted to see with great views of Norway and Puzzle Lakes. Saving the best for the end, I then took my favourite trail in towards Cranberry Lake. Sure enough, just as I was climbing to the highest point in the area, I looked across the marshy section of the lake and saw a huge black bear sunning itself and playing under some big trees. It was totally oblivious to me being about 150meters away from it. I felt pretty comfortable being that far away and with a body of water between us, so I sat on top of the rock and watched him play for about 15mins. Bliss.

Another highlight of the week was visiting Sara’s parents and nephews, Whit and Sully, in Jones Falls. Just a beautiful place and we took full advantage of the opportunity to do some kayaking. Brennan and Heather kicked my butt in the race around the island competition, but I’m claiming that it’s because they were using Peter and Judy’s streamlined, jet-powered kayaks. Great fun!

Weekly Summary (Sept 13-19):
Total # of hours last week: 11:42
Total # of hours this year: 393:56
Streak (# of consecutive days of running): 7,573
Training Log Details for the Week
Kayak race. I got smoked!
Puzzle Lake
Norway Lake
Unfortunately I wasn't able to get a good photo of my friend the bear as the sun was shining towards me. Next time for sure.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Haliburton: The Other Side of the Trail

It’s getting near the end of the week and I haven’t even had a chance to post last week’s update yet. Guess I’ve fallen a little behind on the blogging front. I do have an excuse though as it’s been a very busy week and I’m trying to play a little catch up.

I decided late last week that after juggling some things around that I was going to be able to go to Haliburton after all and take part in the festivities…although from the other side of the trail. I drove up by myself late Friday and pulled into Basecamp at about 11pm. It was too late to grab a campsite, and besides, I didn’t want to disturb the runners who were racing the next morning.

The stars were out in full force like they can only be in the Haliburton Forest. It was tonight that I had the biggest pang of wanting to race the next morning. I went for a short walk towards the entrance to Normac Trail and just soaked in some of the feelings of this special race. The howl of the wolves being answered by the song of the nearby huskies, which are waiting anxiously for the dogsled season, brought a smile to my face. They would like to be running just as much as I would tomorrow I’m sure.

I make my way back to the Subaru and curl up in my sleeping bag. I’m not sure if it was the tight quarters in the Forester or the thoughts of being in the Forest, but I struggled to get much sleep.

I awoke at 5:30am with plenty of time to make it to the start line. Part of me wanted to not see any of my coaching clients before the start of their races, but instead just show up at an aid station mid-race to hopefully help boost some morale if anyone was going through a rough patch. In the end I couldn’t help but searching out everyone and giving them some last minute well wishes.

Runners were marched to the start line by bagpipe, as per Haliburton tradition, and then they were off on their 50km, 50mile or 100mile journey. The bustle of runners heading down into the Forest soon faded and I was left standing feeling somewhat lost. Fortunately, Kim was there to crew for David, so we were able to chat and then most importantly work on the task at hand…making camp coffee!

The early part of the day was a blur of activity. I scurried around between aid stations checking on coaching clients, helping out others, cheering on friends, twittering updates, and genuinely enjoying the day…though it certainly felt strange.

The course was abnormally wet from the heavy rainfall this summer, as well as some handy beaver work on the trail. This certainly affected the times of all runners and contributed to what I expect was probably the highest percentage of DNF’s ever recorded at Haliburton.

It was great seeing Aaron finish his 50km so much faster than last year, and seeing David just eating up the trails in his first attempted at the 50mile distance and cracking 10 hours. These were two very solid performances and I was very impressed with how smart and with how much precision that they both executed their races.

I had spoken with my friend Keith and his wife/crew chief Jenn and told them that I could help Keith out with pacing after 8pm if he wanted. Keith accepted and I was pretty giddy to be able to get out on the course and be a little more of a part of the race. I met Keith at 75miles and we ran the final 25mile push to the finish together. Keith was in second place at the time and seemed to be struggling a bit, but I was amazed how well he recovered after having some hot noodles and gave chase with thoughts of seeing how much of the lead we could cut into. We were getting updates along the trail and seemed to be making some headway, but the long day of slugging in the mud quickly made it apparent that it would be very difficult to keep up the pace and make any further dent into the lead. Keith continued to run well to the finish for second place, with the highlight being a bear encounter on the Normac Trail.

After a brief post race beer with Keith, I was given a long ride back out to the 75mile point to pick up Floyd the Forester…thanks Jenn. I was then able to get back out onto the course and check on SHA clients JD and Christy, as well as I was hoping to see how John M was doing too.

I pulled into aid station #6 and spoke briefly with JD who was having a very solid day on the trails and continued to be moving very well. I also saw Christy coming into the aid station obviously in a great deal of pain with very bad feet due to the wet conditions. I was pretty blown away seeing how much discomfort Christy was in, but she was still not ready to quit yet without giving it one last shot. Seeing Christy leave AS#6 had a profound affect on me and brought me to tears. It is truly amazing how powerful the mind is and what it can will the body to do. Christy limped out of the aid station in terrible pain and disappeared down the trail. It was beautiful. Unfortunately, it was just too much and she was forced to stop partway before the next aid station at 82miles…but a huge congrats goes out to her for such a brave and determined effort. JD’s race continued to go well and he kept moving strong right to the finish with a great time.

Reflecting on the race as a spectator gave me quite a different perspective of things in the ultra running world. There were so many incredible efforts that I witnessed over the course of the weekend. I heard of a runner being told that they had to hurry to make it to the 75mile aid station before 4am or she would be disqualified from the race for missing the cutoff time. Then hearing how she was sprinting into the aid station with only a few minutes to spare as if it was the end of the race. Then she still had to run another 25miles. It gets better though when she comes within mere seconds of missing the 30 hour cutoff time at the finish line and once again it comes down to a courageous sprint.

These were just a few of the examples of the many heroic efforts on the trails and my hat goes off to everyone who ran. Sometimes when you are so caught up in your own race and racing, you can miss some of the finer moments in running. I feel very fortunate to have witnessed these on the weekend. Though, I am hoping to be back again next year to play in the Haliburton Forest… possibly for a little longer though.

Congrats again to everyone. There are some great reports of the race at the following links.
David's report
JD's report
Christy's report
Keith's report
John's report
Lots of race reports on Running Mania
Race Results


Training Summary:
~ My training volume was a little skewed on the high side during this week since I ran long on the Monday and then paced at Haliburton on the weekend. Physically, I’m starting to feel great and find that I am beginning to feel a little stronger on longer runs too. This is encouraging, but I still realize that I do have a ways to go before I’ll be feeling back in a good place fitness wise. Rehab has also been going particularly well and structurally things definitely feel the best that they have in the past year.
Total # of hours last week: 17:30
Total # of hours this year: 382:14
Streak (# of consecutive days of running): 7,566
Training Log Details for the Week

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Now That's Mountain Running!

Incredible Mountain Running video of Valerio Bertoglio that I stole from Adam Campbell's blog.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

End of Summer and WS100 Dreaming

It seems like the end of summer is here. The heat and humidity (and deer flies) are gone and they’ve been replaced with cool nights.

I just love this time of the year for running, and feel very fortunate to be back into a place where I can be enjoying some substantial trail time. My daily volume has continued to be back to a point approaching almost normal amounts again. While I haven’t ventured into many longer runs, I’m now feeling like I can look to test the waters and see how my body responds to some now. Monday is going to be a long run test. This will be a great opportunity for me to see when I think I might be able to hop into a race. Wish me luck!

On the topic of races, I was looking over the Western States 100 lottery information last week. WS 100 has made some really good changes to the system, however I just realized that I’m getting burned a bit in that I currently don’t have a qualifier to put my name into the lottery yet. The qualification period is from October 1, 2009 – November 6, 2010. So, unfortunately my Haliburton 2009 race is a couple of weeks too early, and with my past year of injury, I am in need of a qualifier.

I’ve been looking over races and while I do feel that I’m a ways off of being in decent shape, I’m considering trying to hop into get a qualifier. I expect that the 50mile option will be where I look. We’ll see. The fact that we organize the Sydenham Fall Trail Run in October further limits that number of potential races to look at though.

Back to school time for Brennan and Heather now. Hard to believe it's that time again. It's been an amazing summer with so many wonderful memories. We had enjoyed a final campfire of the summer this holiday weekend.

Training Summary:
Total # of hours last week: 11:32
Total # of hours this year: 364:44
Streak (# of consecutive days of running): 7,559

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Dog Water Skiing

No...not the skis ON the dogs.

The summer must be getting close to being over as I'm thinking more and more about winter these days.

We have dogsled, cross country skied and mountain biked behind our huskies, but water skiing never occurred to us.

My friend Duane sent this article and the below video that was fun to watch. Maybe we'll need to give it a try. Too bad our yearly spring flood didn't last longer on our property.

Monday, August 30, 2010


Another solid week of training and I'm really pleased with how my body has handled it. My goal last week was to increase the daily volume that much more, and hopefully feel good running long on the weekend.

Everything seemed to go very well all week with 5 days of running twice a day. I had one planned recovery day of 45mins, and then ended up cutting back to only 45mins on Sunday (instead of a long run) as I started to feel like I was fighting a bit of a flu bug on Saturday afternoon.

The big highlight of the week was my two physio appointments. It seems as though I've finally discovered the final piece to the puzzle of the past 10 months of injury. There have been a number of little things that have been addressed one at a time, but I seem to have the big picture now and through a combination of stretching, strengthening, rolling, sticking and physio manipulation, I have noticed very big changes just this week. The result in just a very short period of time has been that I now feel that I am running smoother and with equal strength and range of motion on both legs. This has been largely generated from freeing up much of the tightness in my right hip/psoas, which had been causing the knee pain, and indirectly the achilles pain.

The only drawback to all of this is the time that I need to spend daily doing rehab. I really just want to be out running, but realize the importance of the rehab work and have been hitting it hard.

I feel that right now I still need to be patient for a while, but am definitely in shape to start getting into shape....meaning that I'm not ready to think about racing to my best yet, but I can see that after another month or so that I could be in a better place to consider testing the waters.

Aside from running, we enjoyed a nice weekend with a couple of meals around the campfire in our backyard. We also set up a slackline between a couple of trees as a fun challenge to work on our balance. Brennan and Heather have also enjoyed giving it a go and I expect that we will be having yet another friendly competition in our house with this new activity.

Training Summary:
Total # of hours last week: 10:38
Total # of hours this year: 353:12
Streak (# of consecutive days of running): 7,552
Training Log Details for the Week
Heather mastering the Slackline...

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Training and Taper Advice

There are a lot of folks doing their final long runs and beginning tapering into Haliburton now, and I thought it was a great opportunity to share 'the secret'.

I'm a huge fan of the Clash and just finished reading 'Redemption Song: The Ballad of Joe Strummer'. Great book and I highly recommend it.

Sara is currently reading it and I think has been quite surprised with some of the links to running...especially that Joe Strummer was a marathoner!

For some of the best training and tapering advice out there, you definitely want to check out what Strummer offers here.

Happy tapering!

An artist and his canvas

Brennan and my Dad working on building Brennan's mountain bike trail and jumps in our backyard today.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Steve Earle coming to Kingston

Very excited to see that Steve Earle just announced the Ontario dates of his current accoustic tour... and he's coming to Kingston on October 19th.

Steve Earle is, in my opinion, the best singer songwriter still putting out new material, and who is still performing.

We last saw him at the Festival of the Islands a few years in Gananoque and he put on an amazing show. I've been a huge fan since his early days for his mix of great songs in a political voice. This tour will be in support of his recent 'Townes' recording that was a tribute to his late mentor Townes Van Zandt.

The bonus part of this show is that Mike Plume will be opening for him. I've wanted to see Mike Plume live for a long time, so this will be a great opportunity.

With the concert being two days after the Sydenham Fall Trail Run, this will also be a great way to unwind from the busy schedule leading up to the race.

Tickets bought....third row :)

Monday, August 23, 2010

Tired Pipes and Daily Doubles

It feels good going into the new week with tired pipes.

Last week was a great week with an increase in training. Getting back up to 11.5 hours of running again feels good. This is the largest week since early June, when my knee injury flared up. Certainly not where I want to be, but a good start.

The increase last week was mostly due to higher weekday volume, and beginning to run twice a day again. Double runs seem to have been good for my knee and achilles. I have kept my long runs quite moderate for now until I get the green light though. Some faster paced runs have also been sprinkled in which seems to have helped with my stride efficiency. I've also been focusing on a little more flexibility work and continued rehab.

Tomorrow will be another physio appointment to assess my situation a little further and what I need to do next to get me back to 100%. I'm feeling good that I can keep increasing, but still feel that there is something generated from my hips that needs to be tweaked. I feel pretty confident that I will be able to turn it around quite quickly though.

On the armchair athlete side of running, there were a lot of great races to follow along this past weekend. As mentioned on my Twitter, congratulations to SHA runners David and JD for solid races at the Iroquoa Trail Test 32km. Both ran awesome races as final tuneups for Haliburton.

Elsewhere, there were some interesting races on the weekend that included Pikes Peak, Where's Waldo, Transrockies and Leadville 100.

Also, a huge congrats to Gary Robbins for setting a new speed record of 35hrs and 17min on the 220km East Coast Trail in Newfoundland.

Now, it's time to start thinking about when and where Sara and I can consider racing again this fall. We pondered this a lot during our run at Frontenac Park yesterday, but are still a ways off from making any decisions just yet.

Training Summary:
Total # of hours last week: 11:27
Total # of hours this year: 342:34
Streak (# of consecutive days of running): 7,545
Training Log Details for the Week

Video of Gary Robbins setting a speed record on the East Coast Trail and short interview...

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Cataraqui Trail

We live about 3km's north-east of the Hamlet of Yarker on a dirt road. The Cataraqui Trail is a 104km trail that runs through Yarker. We run on the 'Cat' pretty much daily, as a regular run, but also to connect to our other favourite trail networks including the Rideau Trail, K&P Trail, and various other snowmobile and ATV trails.

There are many beautiful sections of the Cataraqui Trail, with some of our favourite parts including the course of the Sydenham Fall Trail Run, and a remote section of trail between Perth Road Village and Chaffey's Locks that features a number of high cliffs and hidden lakes.

Aside from running on the Cataraqui Trail, it's also a great place to dogsled on in the winter. We've recently noticed a larger number of people utilizing this multi-use recreational trail which is really great to see.

There's a new website for Yarker at . I was looking through it this morning and discovered a photo of a very familiar looking runner on the Cat Trail going over the Napanee River.

Monday, August 16, 2010


We have a new friend who has been joining us at Freeman Road Base Camp lately….a tree frog affectionately named Bugsy.

Bugsy stops by our living room window nightly to feast on the insects that are attracted to the light from inside. He’s a pretty smart little guy and surprisingly quick and efficient at catching his dinner. While it’s fascinating to watch him at his task, we can’t help but feeling a little bit bad for his prey. I guess when it’s about survival; the whole barbaric action seems a little more understandable.

Bugsy joins ‘Sherpa’ the chipmunk and ‘Quigley’ the squirrel as regular visitors around our place.

Aside from watching the Bugsy show on our own nature channel, we had a great weekend and spent some time getting caught up with my nephews Matthew and Michael from Munster. We enjoyed a great night around a campfire swapping stories and getting caught up. Was good to see you again guys!


Training Summary (Aug 9-16)
I felt pretty good about my training week. I’ve started to add some doubles into the week and had a couple of weekdays that totaled 90mins. I cut my long run back to just over two hours this week as the previous two weeks were both over 3hrs, so time for a recovery. I enjoyed a great run with David on Saturday going in on the Rideau Trail to the East end of Frontenac Park and doing the Great Rock/Slide Lake Loop with a short out and back added on. (Was nice getting out with David for a much overdue run, and great to see how strong he is right now going into the Haliburton 50miler next month.)

Structurally everything seems quite good. I had a few days with a tender achilles from walking in my Crocs a little too long, a little too quickly (Stupid me!). However, after treating it aggressively with the Tanda and Zanagen, it seemed to respond very quickly.

I’m really looking forward to increasing further now with the focus on gradually adding more volume, but maintaining my emphasis on rehab, stretching and strengthening.

Total # of hours last week: 8:06
Total # of hours this year: 331:07
Streak (# of consecutive days of running): 7,538

Friday, August 13, 2010

Office Assistant

Mr Happy Sore Legs

Woke up this morning with tired, sore legs....but in a very good way!

I can usually tell during the first few steps upon getting up how my little nigglies are and if my knee and achilles are happy or not. Today, both were not barking in the least. In fact, they are probably in the best place that they've been in months. The fact that I've increased my training a bit this week has me feeling fatigued, but certainly very optimistic. The added volume has rewarded me with only sore legs from the 'in training' variety, but not the injury kind. That makes me happy!

Recovery between bouts of training will continue to be very important as I move forward, but I'm feeling in a very good place in my current state of soreness.


Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Colorado Dreaming: James Peak

I still find myself dreaming of the mountains. Apparently I'm not the only one....see Sara's blog.

Just uploaded a few videos today, which were fun to look at. I had to laugh at the above video of our run up James Peak. I mentioned about there being no clouds at the summit...not sure where the heck I was looking? There were clouds everywhere! Must have been the thin air affecting my brain ;)

Fun playing on St. Mary's Glacier.

Then, this and this video from Crankworx for Brennan.

Oh well, it's been great to be running a bit more this week and exploring some of our local trails. Looking forward to summiting 'The Great Rock' on Saturday morning.

Monday, August 9, 2010


Colorado was amazing!

I find myself thinking that I’m a bad Canadian for saying that I enjoyed the U.S. Rockies more than the Canadian Rockies. In fairness, there were probably a number of things that contribute to this statement. When we visited Banff last fall we were there partially for Sara’s work and were both working through some nasty injuries that prevented us from enjoying it to its fullest. It was also during the fall, so the weather was a little bit dreary.
While we are both still fighting injuries again now, we are coming out of the other end of it. Also, being able to share this trip with Brennan and Heather was beyond fun, and each day was a great adventure.

Boulder (Wed, Thu)

Boulder is cool, with a capital C. We stayed at a cottage/cabin in Boulder that was right on the Boulder Creek Trail with great views of the mountains right out the window. The plan was to do a few things around this very happening town before heading into the wilderness a bit more. Boulder is situated at just over 5,000ft, so was a good opportunity to acclimatize a little before heading up higher.

Pearl Street Outdoor Mall: What a fun place. We enjoyed pizza at an outdoor patio, while Brennan was ‘volunteered’ to assist a street performer/busker. Bren didn’t have to swallow any lit torches, but performed with excellence.

La Sportiva: We popped into see Ian at La Sportiva. Great to meet him, have a tour of the facility and see all the incredible new 2011 Sportiva models. Brennan and Heather also got to see the La Sportiva Olympus Mountaineer boot that is used for technical 8,000 meter climbs such as on Everest. Very cool.
Rocky Mountain National Park: Enjoyed a beautiful drive into the Park. Had a great hike with Bren and Heather into Emerald Lake at over 10,000ft. Just spectacular views. While I think we all noticed the elevation change, it didn’t seem like anyone was too bothered by it.
Running: As mentioned, right out the door in Boulder we were on the Boulder Creek Trail and could be heading up a mountain in less than 5 minutes. We did a couple of runs from here with a nice run up Flagstaff Mountain to the summit at about 6,800ft early one morning with great views of the Flatirons and Green Mountain. The red dirt and windy trails were so much fun to run on. The thing that really struck me about the trails in Boulder was that, yes you were running up mountains, but that they were very runnable for the most part. So many times when we are running up mountains on trips to the Adirondacks, the trails end up going straight up, however in Colorado, they make full use of switchbacks that help to make the trails a little more practical and enjoyable for running. This was something that we noticed on many of our runs during the trip.

Pemba Sherpa Restaurant: We had a wonderful dinner at Sherpa's restaurant that included Tibetan, Nepalese and Indian food. Very interesting. It was also cool to see various mountaineering gear and articles from past expeditions. Brennan and Heather were great sports about trying an adventurous menu too, but weren’t quite sure about the Yak Dung Burgers;)
St. Mary’s Glacier (Fri, Sat, Sun)

We rented a condo at the foot of St. Mary’s Glacier for the next three days to base ourselves out of and do day trips from. It was a perfect spot to relax, explore and recharge our batteries at night. The weather was usually sunny and clear in the morning, with thunderstorms arriving in the afternoon. An early start was needed each day.

Crankworx (Fri): Some of the best mountain bikers in the world were doing some sick, squirrely tricks at Winterpark. Very cool competition that may not have been a good thing for Brennan’s safety to see. I think he was pretty blown away to see this live though, as we all were. It was amazing to see what people could actually do on a bike from 20 or more feet in the air. St. Mary’s Glacier Hike (Sat): We all enjoyed an awesome hike to the top of St Mary's Glacier and kept climbing towards James Peak. The going was tough for us flatlanders in places, but we were rewarded with some amazing views. We had lunch above the glacier at about 11,700ft with a great view of James Peak, but then headed back down shortly after because of the ominous looking weather. Sliding back down the glacier was a blast and we saw many people backcountry snowboarding and skiing there. Brennan and Heather did amazing up high, and I think found it interesting how their bodies reacted to the altitude at various heights. We got back to the trailhead just in time as the skies opened up with a heavy rainstorm.
Condo: We were fortunate that we had a great place to base ourselves out of. Other than a brief trip down into Idaho Springs for some groceries, we had everything we needed at our Glacier accommodations. We went for short hikes after dinner most nights near the glacier that usually included a little bushwacking and climbing.
Running: We enjoyed great trail runs from the condo with a number of options right out our door. Sunday was going to be a quiet day at the condo to recharge the batteries a little, so Sara and I took off for an early morning run up James Peak. This route featured the same hike we did the previous day with Brennan and Heather. We ran up St Mary's Glacier, then continued on to the summit of James Peak at 13,294ft. James Peak is the highest peak in the Indian Range and is on the Continental Divide. It was a tough run, but once again spectacular views. The views of the very rugged Mt Bancroft were beyond words, with a massive drop off on the one side.
Another enjoyable run was up the Mine Trail with a beautiful view of the glacier. I got a little turned around on the many off-shooting trails on the final morning and glad I had the GPS to point me back. Was a bit worried with the weather, but it blew over.
Mount Evans and Red Rocks (Mon)

Mount Evans: We drove to Mt Evans, then a short hike to the top at 14,265ft. The road was a little sketchy driving above tree-line with no guardrails, but we made it (Whew!). We were a little worried once again with the weather, but had an early start and were rewarded with more incredible views from the summit. We also saw a number of marmots, mountain goats and picas.
Red Rocks Park. This was quite the contrast from Mt Evans earlier in the day. The temperature was just over 40 degrees Fahrenheit and quite cold up on Mt Eavns, but down at Red Rocks, which really wasn’t too far away; it was like we were almost in a desert with the temps at about 40 degrees, but in Celsius! It was very interesting seeing the giant red rock formations and the way that they had built a multi-use amphitheatre around the rocks for various concerts. After checking out the amphitheatre and noticing all of the bands that had played there, we went for a hike on the trails. Luckily, we didn’t see any rattlesnakes or mountain lions, and actually didn’t even see the warning sign until the end of our hike.

Following Red Rocks, it was time to head to Denver for one last evening in Colorado before our flight home the next day. We enjoyed a relaxing evening doing a little bit of shopping, before re-hashing our trip over dinner.

It really felt like we were busy for the entire week with so much to see and do, but it also seemed like we had just scratched the surface about what was available and offered in this wonderful outdoor paradise.

The one thing that we really left with was the impression of how active, green, fit, and progressive Colorado is…in particular Boulder. It was so refreshing seeing bike lanes everywhere (Yes folks…Kingston sucks in that regard). People were walking through outdoor malls and genuinely just enjoying being outside and a part of life. I was amazed at how clean the city seemed as well.

While I’m not exactly ready to apply for American citizenship quite yet, if I was offered an opportunity to move to Boulder, as a runner especially, it would be pretty tough to turn down.

It’s been almost a week now since we arrived back home from Colorado and the memories are still very fresh in our minds. I guess one of my favourite parts of the trip was seeing how much Brennan and Heather enjoyed this lifestyle and how well they did in the mountains. It was just so great for Sara and I to share it with them.

While I expect that we will still enjoy our regular quick weekend trips to the Adirondacks, Colorado was certainly something very special.

Weekly Summary (Aug 2-8)

Training Summary (Aug 2 - 8)
Back from Colorado and feeling structurally more sound each day. Ran 3.5hrs at Frontenac on Saturday, but tweaked my achilles on a rock and final hour wasn’t fun. Much better the next day though after lots of TLC (Tanda and Zanagen).

Total # of hours last week: 8:13
Total # of hours this year: 323:01
Streak (# of consecutive days of running): 7,531
Training Details for the Week

Weekly Summary (July 26 - Aug 1)

Training Summary (July 26 – Aug 1)
Colorado trip, so plenty of uphill running. Final shockwave treatment on Tuesday, so achilles was a little sore for a few days after. Each day it improved though and felt very good doing a long run up James Peak on Sunday totaling over 3 hrs.

Total # of hours last week: 7:27
Total # of hours this year: 314:48
Streak (# of consecutive days of running): 7,524
Training Details for the Week

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

iRunFar Gear Review: La Sportiva 2011

Check out for Bryon Powell's gear review of the new and exciting La Sportiva Electron and Quantum trail running shoes... due for release in January 2011.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Colorado Bound!

“I’m going out to Denver…”

It’s been a long time coming, but we’re finally heading to Colorado this week for holidays. Colorado has been on our wish list for a long time. The thought of seeing and running in some of the beautiful places that you read about in various magazines and on websites is very exciting.

Unfortunately, while my knee and achilles are improving a great deal, they are certainly not in the place where I’d ideally like them to be to be able to log some long runs in the mountains. I am actually surprisingly ok with this. While I really had hoped to get a few specific longer mountain runs in during our trip there, the goal all along has been to have a great time together with Sara, Brennan and Heather in this mountain playground. We have lots of fun things planned including staying at a glacier at 10,000ft, hiking various trails and mountains, and catching the Crankworx Mountain Bike Series. We are also going to use this opportunity to pop in and say hi to the wonderful folks at La Sportiva in Boulder. Should be a great trip!

As for my injury progress, this past week has continued to progress nicely. My knee is feeling quite structurally sound and my achilles has improved a great deal…while just still feeling a little weak. I have one more shockwave treatment tomorrow morning, followed by a few more light days, and then I can hopefully start increasing my volume and training harder again. Being patient will of course be very challenging considering that we will be in some of the most beautiful running terrain imaginable. The goal will have to be to keep busy with lots of other fun things to take my mind off of not being able to run as much as I’d like. This shouldn’t be a problem though.

Time for HOLLERDAZE!!!!

Oh, and one more I mentioned on my Twitter page, a huge congrats to SHA runner David B for his awesome race at Damn Wakely Dam 32.6mile self supported race. David finished 11th in a strong field. Look for a full report here soon.

Training Summary
Total # of hours last week: 3:37
Total # of hours this year: 307:21
Streak (# of consecutive days of running): 7,517
Training Details for the Week

Here is the best song about Colorado. A great Steve Earle cover of the classic Townes Van Zandt song...

Friday, July 23, 2010

Mosquito Mountain

Ok, here's a random thought...

I've been reading a lot about mountains and mountain climbing lately in anticipation of our trip to Colorado next week. On a completely different topic, we also have a whack of mosquitos at our place (BIG and lots of them!).

Has anyone else ever wondered if mosquitos think of humans the same way that we think about mountains? I mean, they keep coming back and trying their best to conquer us and bite us even though they are probably fully aware of the potential dangers of doing so and getting whacked in the process. Which is not unlike humans trying to climb mountains and sometimes being foiled by the mountain or weather conditions.

I guess the reason I sort of thought about this a bit more recently too was hearing about my sister Deb's recent attempt up Mt Fuji, when she was forced to turn back due to bad weather. Glad you didn't get smucked like a mosquito Deb!

Okay, back to work Derrick!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Sounds of Yarker

Even though I’m in full-on rest and rehab mode while waiting for my knee and achilles to heal a bit more, it was still a nice weekend in the wilds of Freeman Road.

As I’ve mentioned before, we tend to spend a lot of time hanging out in our backyard with the dogs, quite often by campfire. Saturday night seemed like just another one of those nights. We had a great dinner of STP (Sweet Tater Peppers) over the open flame, and generally just enjoyed relaxing with the temperature being a little cooler than recently. Nothing but the bright, starlit sky and the peaceful sound of birds, coyotes and really bad wedding music.

Huh??? WTF? We live on a pretty secluded dirt road and very rarely hear much noise. Therefore, we were surprised to hear the PA system of a wedding dance blaring through our quiet night. Apparently there must have been an outdoor wedding and reception in nearby Colebrooke and the direction of the wind had the music selection coming through loud and clear to our normally tranquil backyard setting.

What can you do? At first we were annoyed that our little bit of paradise was spoiled by the sounds of some really bad wedding music, but then it became rather fun and we got into the celebration, unbeknownst to the bride, groom and anyone else who was there for that matter.

Have you ever noticed that at a wedding you always hear the exact same songs? Which is to say a very brutal selection of the worst of the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s pop music. Yes, that is way too much Abba, Kenny Loggins, Bob Segger, and company all wrapped into one big Cheesefest of every other bad song you could ever imagine. We had fun with it though and made a game out of guessing what would be the next bad song that was going to be played. This wasn’t our normal way of spending an evening, but surprisingly we almost made it to the end of the reception. Our dogs didn’t seem to share in our enjoyment though and I think just wanted to go to sleep. Apparently they have different tastes in music than we do. :)

The backyard meadow (note our 1km barefoot grass trail is out there, but just a little hidden)...

Training Summary:
My running this past week has been reduced to let my knee and achilles get stronger. The shockwave therapy from last week had my achilles feeling better than it has in months. This is very encouraging as I think this has been part of the problem with my body compensating and contributing to the knee pain/tight psoas. My knee seems to be coming around nicely from all the stretching, rehab and rolling/sticking that I’ve been doing. I have a few more treatments of shockwave over the new 10days, but hope to be in a good place to kickoff our upcoming holidays in Colorado. Can’t wait.

Total # of hours last week: 5:33
Total # of hours this year: 303:44
Streak (# of consecutive days of running): 7,510
Training Details for the Week

For the record, the Ramones were not played at the outdoor wedding the other night.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Shockwave Therapy

It’s been 2 months since I re-injured my knee. After an appointment at the KOPI Sports Medicine Clinic two weeks ago, I discovered that the cause of my Patella Femoral problem has been due to a very tight right psoas. This has also resulted in an achilles tendon flareup from the change in my mechanics too. Lucky me…two injuries for the price of one :)

Anyhow, I have noticed some pretty good improvements with my knee as I’ve been focusing on stretching my psoas more; however the achilles has been on again, off again. Some days it is pretty good, while other days it is pretty tender. The common thing though is that at the start of every run as of late it has ranged from being anywhere from tight to tender, and doesn’t feel like I have my normal strong toe off.

I have felt as though it has improved, but not at the rate that I would like it to have. I’ve continued on sort of in a state of half ass training and half ass recovery. After consulting with my physio today, he was not pleased with the progress of my achilles at this point either and feels as though it may be limiting the recovery of my knee injury. I totally agree.

I guess I feel that I could probably continue on the way I have and things ‘might’ turn around soon, but then again they might not. I do feel that I have more to lose then to gain right now and have decided to be a little more aggressive with my rehab. I’ve held off this long in the hopes that I could turn this around and be ready for a late summer race. As the weeks click past though, this might not be the wisest approach. I have definitely decided not to run Haliburton 100 this year, which will be tough not to do since I just love the race. I am looking into other options a little later though. Virgil Crest 100 certainly appeals to me, which is a few weeks later, but still may be too soon. We’ll have to wait and see how things go.

So the exciting news for me is that I have tried a new form of therapy called shockwave therapy. It hasn’t been around for long, but from everything I’ve read and heard, it’s been getting great results. I feel very fortunate in that KOPI offers this therapy at their clinic. That is one of the reasons that I decided to come to this clinic is because of all the different things that they offer under one roof. That is the way healthcare should be!

I had my first shockwave treatment today and didn’t really know what to expect. It was almost like a jackhammer hitting my achilles for about 5mins. It was a little uncomfortable when it hit some tender spots, but not too bad. I did feel as though my tendon was a little looser, though a bit achy following the appointment. I also had some pretty deep ART on my psoas again and it seems to be improving. The thing that I have to be careful of with shockwave is to take it pretty easy for a couple of days following each session, which is the main reason for my decision to cut back a bit more. I have a total of 3 sessions booked in the next two weeks. This is usually enough to get maximum benefit from what I have been told at KOPI.

So, the plan for the next few weeks will be to keep the volume pretty low, especially for the first two days following treatments, and then increase a little before the next session. I’m almost treating the shockwave sessions the same way that I would a long run, hard workout or race, and give it lots of recovery after.

While I’m a little disappointed that I still don’t have a race in the near future, I am encouraged about where I’m at right now and where I hope to be back to in a few weeks time. After all, it’s all about being out there and in it for the long haul.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Canadian Trail Races, Gatineau Park and Rock Lobster (I mean...Dunder)

Rock Dunder
We have wanted to go to Rock Dunder ever since we heard about it a number of years ago while I was working at Trailhead. There was a big push to preserve this piece of property and we finally had a chance to see first hand why.

While Sara and I didn’t explore Rock Dunder by our normal means of trail running, we enjoyed it just the same by taking Brennan and Heather on a fun filled hike on Saturday. It is less than an hour drive from our home, located on highway #15 near the village of Morton. We were surprised at the rugged terrain, elevation gain and beautiful views. The hike we did started out as a gradual climb that eventually popped us out on a beautiful summit overlooking Morton Bay.

After a quick lunch, while enjoying the view, we continued down the loop to a cabin on the water and were treated to a very refreshing swim to cool off from our hike. The soft pine needles on the final section of trail out to the parking lot were a soothing way to finish our hike.

Having thought that we knew every trail in the region, we were very surprised at this gem. This was prime Canadian Shield and there were many parts that actually reminded us of our trips to the Adirondacks. While the trail system isn’t too extensive, it was certainly enough to come back, do a few creative loops, and you could get in a decent length run.

Gatineau Park
I had a Monday morning meeting in Ottawa, so we made the last minute decision on Sunday afternoon to head to Ottawa to stay over night. One of the things that pulled us in was to have the opportunity to go for a run in Gatineau Park. Surprisingly, we haven’t really spent much time in the Gats other than a snowshoe fastpack a few years ago, so don’t really know the trails very well.

With it getting a little later by the time we got there, we felt it was best to just park at the Visitor Center and run from there. As I said we didn’t really know where we were going, or how to get there, so were a little disappointed to find that the initial loop from the parking lot was all of about 10 minutes long, which was not really enough to satisfy our trail running needs. Upon another inspection of the trail map, we headed off and were able to find some nice trails featuring great climbing. The problem was that we were getting pulled in further and further while not wanting to turn around. Common sense prevailed, and that fact that we hadn’t brought headlamps, we turned back in time to avoid getting caught in the dark.

This quick taste of the Gats left us longing to get back for a full day for more exploration. Armed with our newly purchased guidebook and maps, we are already drooling over where to run next time.

Canadian Race Highlights
There were some great trail races this past weekend with the NACAC Mountain Running Championships on Friday night and the Knee Knacker 30mile race on Saturday...

The NACAC Mountain Running Championships featured some of the top mountain runners in Canada and the US. It was great to see Taylor Murphy run well on the course and finish as top Canadian in second place. American Joe Gray won the race, but Team Canada beat the US by one place for the team title. This years race was supposed to be entirely run uphill, but the route had to be altered at the last minute due to Grizzly bear activity in the area. The course was therefore moved to Canmore and did feature some downhill segments as well. Top Canadian finishers have earned the right, pending funding, to represent Canada at the World Mountain Running Championships later this summer in Slovania. Complete results

The Knee Knacker 30mile race was also held on a very challenging course in BC this weekend. Adam Campbell won the mens race in his second ever ultra race, against a top field of Western Canada ultra runners including recent 6th place Western States 100 Mile finisher Gary Robbins. Ellie Greenwood was the top female in the race smashing the old course record in a time of 5:06, while finishing in 6th place overall. Complete results.

Training Week Summary
Not much to report here. I am trying to be very patient and mix long days or harder days with shorter recovery days to baby my knee and achilles. This approach has been working very well in combination with plenty of rehab. I’ve feeling pretty good now and actually got in 3 runs of 90 minutes last week including one light tempo workout. The goal for this coming week will be to increase the length of my runs and aim to get into the 2+ hour range again.

Total # of hours last week: 7:48
Total # of hours this year: 298:11
Streak (# of consecutive days of running): 7,503
Training Details of the Week

I couldn’t help but think about the song Rock Lobster when we were hiking Rock Dunder on the weekend. While I was a little more into Punk than the New Wave movement when I was younger, I have to admit that I did, and still do, own the record…