Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Missing Link

I’ve had a long battle with a barking knee. It started giving me grief last year about a month after the Haliburton 100 when I tried to train for another 100 possibly too soon. It slowly came around and then I was able to get some solid training in between March to May and felt like I was getting in decent shape. Even during this period though, it still felt like there was something there and just not quite right. Then, I had a pretty bad flareup while race directing with the set up and tear down of the course...

Monday, June 28, 2010

Ultra Computer Geek

Well, if you can't train or race quite as much as you'd like to, the next best thing is to be a computer geek and follow along online while everyone else is racing.

I honestly can't believe how much time we spent online over the weekend checking out races. From early Saturday morning throughout the day I was following along with all the updates from Western States 100. The race certainly didn't disappoint as Geoff Roes, Anton Krupicka and Killian Jornet waged an epic battle with Geoff finally coming out on top, smashing Scott Jurek's old course record by 29mins in a time of 15:07. Krupicka held on for second, also under Jurek's old CR in 15:13, with Jornet hanging on to third. Tracy Garneau of BC ran an awesome race and won the women's race in a time of 19:01.

Tracy led a strong contingent of Canadians at WS100. In the men's race, Gary Robbins had a stellar 6th place finish, while Glen Redpath also nailed it in finishing a few minutes behind Gary in 7th and was the top master. In the women's race, Nicola Gildersleeve also ran well to finish 11th. A very exciting time for Canadian's in the wonderful world of ultra running. A special mention should be given to Bryon from for providing exceptional coverage of WS100 before, during and after. You can check out all the great articles and interviews here.

In other ultra news over the weekend, Phil Villeneuve broke the course record at the Ultimate XC 56km race in Quebec, but I haven't seen full results yet. Phil's race was that much more impressive knowing that he is just coming back from a nasty achilles injury. This speaks well for Phil's final preps leading into the Canadian Death Race in 5 weeks time. CDR is going to be an amazing race with Phil, Gary Robbins and Adam Hill all registered. Tracy Garneau is also running CDR.

A little closer to home, it was also fun to hear about SHA runners David and Kim who ran very well on Saturday. David ran a 6km trail race Saturday morning with Strider the Pup, then ran the Perth Kilt Run on Saturday night with Kim. Crazy man! Kim looked to have the performance of the day though with a very strong 38:04, finishing 2nd in her age group. The interesting thing about the Kilt Run was that this was a World Record Attempt to set the record for largest race in the World of runners wearing Kilts. This was succeeded as 1400 runners took part. I was a little surprised as I assumed that these were running kilts that everyone was wearing, but no they were in fact traditional wool kilts. This certainly makes the times that much more impressive.

Training Summary (June 21-27):
Upon having my achilles bark a little louder at me from favouring my knee over the past month, I have decide to take a noticeable drop in mileage for a little while to try and get things under control. Both my knee and achilles are feeling better each day, but I'm hoping that a trip to a new physio today might yield some more answers and put me in a place where I can safely start increasing again soon.
Total # of hours last week – 5:30
Total # of hours this year – 283:55
Streak – 7,489 days of running in a row
And now in honor of the Queen's visit to Canada this week, I'd like to share my favourite version of God Save the Queen...

Friday, June 25, 2010

News Update

I have to admit that I don't really tend to follow world news much. We don't have a TV, I don't listen to the radio often and don't go to news websites.

I was therefore pretty shocked to hear about the terrible BP Oil Spill recently.

It was very comforting however to know that BP is doing such an amazing job with their cleanup efforts.

I also recently heard about another spill that BP was on top of as well...

Have a great weekend! :)

Dreaming of WS100 and Racing

The Super Bowl of ultra running occurs this weekend with the Western States 100.

I had put my name into the mix last fall, but unfortunately did not get selected. In hindsight, it's probably just as well with the recent injury flareup. With not feeling structurally sound at this point, trying to run 100miles doesn't make a heck of a lot of sense.

Western States is looking to be an incredible race. The men's race is shaping up to be a four man race between Anton Krupicka, Geoff Roes, Hal Koerner and Killian Jornet. The women's race seems a little more wide open, though Nikki Kimball is probably the favourite. Anything is possible in a 100 miler though, so it is going to be very interesting to follow along. Not as fun as actually being there and taking part, but still it will be fun to follow. There is also a strong contingent of Canadians taking part as well with Gary Robbins, Ryne Melcher, Glen Redpath, Tracy Garneau, Tamsin Anstey and Nicola Gildersleeve. You can follow live updates from WS100 here.

With spring now behind us, I'm a little frustrated that I have nothing to show for it. For the past month I have tried to tip toe around the knee relapse and achilles flareup with the hopes of it coming around. I'll get a few decent days and then have a minor setback. I feel that if I could take a short period of really light days, then I'd be fine. Whether that is in the form of a down period or taper, I'm not really sure what makes the most sense right now. My heart is wanting to run in a race, but my gut is telling me it might not be wise. My body is sitting somewhere in between...though probably leaning a little more towards my gut. Finger Lakes 50 is a race that I would love to do again next weekend and salvage something out of the spring, but I haven't fully decided yet one way or the other. I'm just going to take it one day at a time. If I'm feeling good early to mid next week, then I'm going to consider running. If not, then I'll put a little more effort into rehab.

On the topic of rehab, I had my final appointment with Greg Lehman on Wednesday. Kingston has been very fortunate to have Greg in town for a number of years now. Greg has worked magic for Sara and I on countless occasions. Unfortunately for us, Greg is relocating to Toronto to set up practise there. He will certainly be missed by us and others in the Kingston area. I'd like to say a huge thank you to Greg for all the years of help and encourage those in the Toronto area to check him out if they need some help working through or getting past an injury. Check Greg's website for an announcement about his new clinic hours soon in Toronto.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Anniversary Frolic and Feast

It was a nice weekend on Freeman Road!

The weekend was highlighted by our 5th anniversary. Sara and I celebrated by enjoying a 'fancy' dinner at home with my own invention called 'sweet tater peppers'. Very yummy if I do say so myself (recipe below). We also had a nice run at Frontenac Park running out to Little Clear Lake. The western tip of Little Clear is just beautiful and was certainly worth having to deal with the deer flies to get there. We actually did the loop and then added on to hit the nicest section a second time and treat water for the final half of our run. No better way to spend an afternoon with my best friend. Hard to believe it was only 5 years ago we were lacing them up for our Rideau Trail Fastpack. Love you S!

Also, a big thank you to Brennan and Heather who dropped off a very cool surprise Father's Day present and card while we were out. Sorry we missed you. Looking forward to next weekend!

Aside from the Yarker area, there were a couple of great races to follow online this weekend.…

The Mount Washington Road Race was held in New Hampshire and boasted a strong field of mountain runners. This 7.8 mile race that goes straight uphill includes an average grade of 11.5%, with the last 100 meters hitting over 30%. 4650 ft of elevation is gained as runners climb to the 6288 ft summit. Chris Seimers won the mens race 1:00:22, while Shewarge Amare won the women race in a new course record of 1:08:21. Top Canadian was veteran Canadian steeplechaser Joel Bourgeois finishing in a very solid 10th place in a time of 1:05:31. This may have been the fastest time and placing recorded by a Canadian in the 50 year history of the race. Sara and I ran Mt Washington in 2004 and would love to go back to it at some point. It’s just an amazing event.

Also taking place this weekend was the Bighorn 100. There was a deep field there as well with the top 5 finishers all having some great credentials to their names. The race was won by Mike Wolfe in 18:43 with Ashley Nordell winning the women’s race in 23:49. It was great seeing Yassine finish a very strong 4th overall. I met Yassine last year at Finger Lakes 50 where he was having some knee issues at the time. It's very inspiring to see him well past his injury and just tearing it up this year. I can only hope I can soon put some of my injury problems behind me as I move forward as well.

Recipe: Sweet Tater Peppers
- Red peppers cut in half
- Smashed sweet potatoes filled into red pepper
- Cheese
- Hot peppers
- Spice with Freeman spice
- Top with sprinkling of sunflower seeds
- Roast in over at ? degrees for ? minutes until peppers are soft. I guess you can tell that I'm not one for details while cooking, but that's the fun part :)

And finally, here is a video of my nephew Matt performing some CCR for a talent show. Great job Matt!

Training Summary (June 14-20):
A smattering of decent runs, recovery days and some injury flareups. Finished off with a nice 3hrs run at Frontenac with Sara. Knee and PF were much better than earlier in the week, but achilles continues to be a bit of an issue on the rolling hills and terrain. A few more light days and hopefully things will come around. Seeing Greg on Wednesday for some ART and acupuncture which should help improve things further. Also pampering with Tanda treatments and Zanagen, which has helped.
Total # of hours last week – 10:29
Total # of hours this year – 278:25
Streak – 7,482 days of running in a row
Training Details of the Week

Monday, June 14, 2010

World Cup: Jack's Heroes

In honor of the World Cup...

Jack's Heroes is the undoubtably the best song ever about the World Cup. It was written by The Pogues and performed by The Pogues and the Dubliners 20 years ago as a tribute to Ireland's team. That was the last year that I remember following the World Cup with much interest.

Training Summary (June 6 - 13):
Solid week of training including a 4:10 long run and a good mid week tempo run. I've been trying to include a few more lighter recovery days in to keep my knee and achilles happy and healthy.
Total # of hours last week – 14:49
Total # of hours this year – 267:56
Streak – 7,475 days of running in a row
Training Details for the Week

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Trail Running Soul: SJS3 Compression Sox Gear Review

The following is a review I did for Trail Running Soul on the SJS3 Compression Sox...

I have to admit that when I first thought about trying compression socks I had a hard time with it as I kept having flashbacks to the 1980’s and runners wearing knee high tube socks. How on earth could they be comfortable, let alone aid in performance in long distance running?...

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Confessions of Mr Low Tech

Stop the presses (actually….are there still such things as presses?). I bought an iPhone!!

Yes, the guy who embraces the fact that he is very much anti-tech most things has finally caved into the modern world. Who would have thought?

Don’t get me wrong, I love most things high tech runningwise, including the latest in footwear and gear, however elsewhere we don’t own a TV, replaced our gas lawnmower recently and much prefer cooking our dinner by campfire in our backyard to having a night out on the town or going to a movie.

With the nature of my business and the way Spafford Health and Adventure is evolving though, it is imperative that I have consistent access to email and phone. Part of the straw that broke the camel’s back is that living in what some would call ‘the middle of nowhere’; our rural wireless internet provider can sometimes be very inconsistent and be down for periods of time. This is not good.

So, I figured it was just a matter of time before it happened, but I have to admit that it was a bit nervous and reluctant over the whole ordeal. Even on my way to pick up my new phone I happened to bump into my friend Keith whose response to this was ‘Doing away with the carrier pigeon huh?’ Knowing Keith, I expected to hear him follow this up with, ‘Nothing tastes better than BBQ’d carrier pigeon’.

So, it’s been a few days now and I’m finally beginning to figure things out. Actually, I had originally bought a Blackberry, but after a day of using it, I realized that the iPhone is a better fit for my business needs so took it back (sorry again Kim).

My initial worry of becoming one of those people who are constantly playing with their iPhone and spend far too much time with it seems to be almost the reverse. I have found that it has actually freed up time for me in that I can quickly check my email without having to sit down to the computer, which quite often ends up with much wasted time mindlessly surfing the internet. Being able to reply quickly to emails and staying on top of things will make it that much easier to be more efficient and better organized.

A huge plus for me is that if I am away from the house for a number of hours, say maybe out for a long trail run perhaps (?), I can still check my email and have regular contact if need be. In fact I tried this out during my 4+hr run yesterday and it worked like a charm.

Now this is where things start getting really weird for Mr Low Tech. I have never, ever listened to music while running, but since my iPhone is also an iPod, and I was partway through a particularly long, boring, straight and flat section of railtrail, I decided to try it out and see what the fuss was about. For this type of run, where you are running through uninspiring terrain, I could definitely see the benefit of it and must say that I enjoyed rocking along to The Pogues, Steve Earle, Social Distortion, The Clash and Ramones. It was not long after though that I was caught redhanded running along while happily grooving to tunes as Sara drove past me on the road that connects the trail to our house. Mr. Low Tech was totally busted. I felt like a cat with its paw in the goldfish tank. Opps, guilty as charged.

Gosh, even though I am not a religious person, I feel like this is kind of like confession.

I am actually pretty excited though about how much more efficient I am going to be able to be with work. Now, as far as listening to the iPod/iPhone for every run, I can’t really see it happening. It was really nice getting back out on the trails today and listening to the wind, birds, chipmunks and the rest of things that make trail running so wonderful.


Training Summary (May 31-June 6):
Feeling good to be ramping back up for a few days, but also throwing in some decent recovery days too. Even got in a good tempo run on Friday. Knee continues to improve, but achilles has been a bit stiff still at the beginning of runs. Looking for a bigger week again for next week.

Total # of hours last week – 12:20
Total # of hours this year – 253:07
Streak – 7,468 days of running in a row

Friday, June 4, 2010

La Sportiva Contest: What Fuels Your Flame?

La Sportiva has another great contest... What Fuels your Flame?

Check out all the details and submit your entry at the La Sportiva Mountain Running Blog.

The contest winner will receive a pair of La Sportiva Mountain Running® shoes, First Endurance OptygenHP, a pair of Defeet Socks, Petzl E+Lite, and a Green-Layer apparel item.

Contest runs until July 31. Good luck!