Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Next up...

Fast Trax Trail Ultra - 80km!

Just confirmed my registration...excited and nervous!

I remember back in 1999 when I weighed around 230lbs and trying to do a 2km jog around the neighborhood I was renting in at the time. Made it about 500m out the door before I started to gasp for air and walked the rest of the route.

Just ran 50km last weekend, plan on running 80km in 3 weeks with 125km several after that!

Who would have "thunk" it?!?

Happy Tuesday Peeps!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Blackfoot Ultra 50km Race Report

"Pain is temporary, pride is forever" - I had to remind myself of this about 43km in the race when things got a little rough...but lets back up a bit and see how I arrived to that point.

Friday I managed to get off work a little early to drive up to Edmonton. Left Calgary around 4pm and arrived at the hotel in Sherwood shortly before 7:30pm. I stayed at the Mainstay Suites and would highly recommend these guys to anyone as the staff was absolutely great and the rooms immaculate. The rest of the night was pretty quiet as I watched some TV while getting my gear laid out for the next day. Asleep by 10:45pm.

Saturday I woke up around 5am and fell in and out of sleep until 6:45pm. Got up to shower and pack up my stuff while eating a toasted bagel with peanut butter for breaky.

The race was taking place out at the Cooking Lake Provincial Park east of the city. I have never been in that part of the province before so I ended up taking a wrong turn before finding my way to the race site with about 25 minutes to go. Picked up my race package, ran into Mark for a chat, and got ready. I was still undecided, 10 minutes before the race, which runners to use before eventually making up my mind.

9:00am we were sent off on our way to run 50km over trails - 2x 25km laps.

Lap 1 Highlights

  • Kept pace over the 5:30/km target.
  • Ran too many hills when I should have hiked them.
  • Ate & drank every 15 - 20 minutes as planned.
  • Didn't take in any electrolyte supplements - realized towards the end of the lap that I accidentally threw my salt tablets in the garbage at the beginning of the race!
  • Towards the end of this lap started to get nauseated.

Lap 2 Highlights

  • Started off feeling sick and backed off pace.
  • At first aid station, stopped for 5 minutes to refill hydration pack, and hit the bathroom. Felt better after that.
  • By the time I hit the second aid station (30km mark) I knew I was in trouble with my electrolytes. I wasn't hungry, wasn't thirsty, and only peed once during the entire race to this point and my urine was dark brown. I tried to force myself to eat and drink but that only make the nauseated feeling worse. Tried the electrolyte drink on the course but couldn't stomach it. Tried to suck some of the salt off my beef jerky but that didn't help.
  • 35km in, I resigned myself to the fact that I'll have to walk/hike the rest of the way in.
  • Last aid station: threw up after drinking some water, volunteer offered to drive me back to the start but I politely declined. I thought to myself, pain is temporary, but pride is forever and I am not too proud to walk it in.
  • Finished in 5h29min which is about 1 minute under my goal...lol.
I am really happy with my race and really happy I finished!

I made a few mistakes during the day - yeah my gut continues to be an issue for me but I firmly believe I can fix it. For this race, I think it came down to not taking enough electrolytes as a result of throwing out my electrolyte tablets at the beginning...I'm such an idiot...lol.

Pace-wise, I felt I was on target but I should probably slow it down even more.

Next up...I think I am signing up for the 80km Fast Trax in Edmonton on June 18...below is Mark and I after the race...

Friday, May 27, 2011

1 more sleep

It has been a relatively easy week of training as I head into the weekend to the Blackfoot Ultra. Had a great couple of workouts this week - short in nature but focusing on form and speed. Not that speed is necessary for an ultra but it definitely helps from getting the stale the week of the big event.

Wednesday's workout was about an hour with the main set focusing on flushing the legs 1 minute at strong-steady effort on 1 minutes easy running. Thursday my legs felt a little fatigued but today they feel snappy and ready to rock on Saturday morning.

I'm leaving work a little earlier today and driving up to spend the night in Sherwood Park. The 50 km'ers don't start until 9am so it will be a bit of a sleep in before finding my way out to the park. Mel won't be joining me on this excursion as I don't think it would be much of a trip for her anyways. If I decide to do the Fast Trax in Edmonton in June then I think she'll come up for that one as the course is only 10km...with multiple loops depending your distance.

Two things worry me about the race tomorrow...eating enough calories and the state my feet become after 30km of running. I find my feet have been swelling like balloons training for this ultra stuff. Half of the tips of my toes are bruised and black from where they start rubbing once they swell.

Other than that I am looking forward to trying my first race in a new (to me) sport tomorrow. I use to run cross-country as a kid growing up and one of my favorite things about trail running are the smells of nature and the peacefulness that comes with it.

I think I will take my mini camera on the run tomorrow to snap a few pics to share in my race report.

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Week in review...

The past week was a down/recovery week and there is not much to report in terms of excitement. Went through the motions of doing my workouts and enjoyed them. Sunday I woke up a little rough around the edges despite sleeping lots. I planned the day to work on installing trim on the second level of our house and run during the evening. By the time the evening rolled around I was spent - my legs felt beat from climbing the stairs in our house to the garage and back about 50 times so I wimped out on that workout.

This week is a mini-taper week heading into the Blackfoot Ultra . I'll be doing the shortest of the distances involved - 50km They also have a 50mile and 100km race taking place. I haven't done a 50km run yet in training so I am nervous about this being my first time attempting it. Also, after tanking on a 4 hour run a few weekends back, I am cautiously optimistic about how things will pan out.

But at the end of the day, you don't know until you try.

I have no idea about how I will do at this race nor the trail itself - happens to be 2x 25km loops in a park east of Edmonton. I have a set a loose goal of 5 1/2 hours and are approaching it as serious training run. Time to practice my nutrition, pace, and gear strategy. Coach Katie says to take it easy the first loop and from there determine how to attack the second.

In terms of gear I figure I'll wear the 2L Nathan backpack with about 4 scoops (540cals) of Perpetuem. I'll also have a baggy of trail mix - (w/ smarties of course!), a baggy plain ole beef jerky, a spare baggy of perpetuem, first-aid kit, baggy of vaseline, and pending weather - cap/gloves along with a wind-breaker jacket rolled up and tied to the back of the pack.

I haven't decided whether I'll be using my my Salomon or Asic Trabuco trail runners for this one. The Asics are the set I bought last week and only put about 90 minutes on them so far.

Either way, that is a lot of gear to carry - in a way that is good because it forces me to slow it down and pace better.

Busy work week with graduation ceremonies happening on campus, so it looks like I won't arrive into Edmonton until late Friday night. Sleep about 5 hours then get up and drive out the park to race and drive back home right after.

I am excited though...chance to run on some pristine trails is always appealing to me.

Happy Tuesday!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

I got ripped a new one...

 Tough week overall - felt like ass for most of it and largely because I had some bad insomnia. Up to and including Friday I have been averaging about 5 hrs of sleep. So when I got up on Saturday and tried to kick out a 4 hour...I had a melt-down around the 3 hour mark...ran out of liquids around 3:15...started to get hazy shortly after that and eventually called Mel to come collect me on the side of a dirt road north of Calgary...haha.

Not enough liquids, eating about 200 calories total for the run, and lack of sleep really destroyed me on Saturday's run...holy heck. However, not to be defeated I realize my mistakes and are taking steps to mitigate them in the future.

Had a good meal Saturday evening and was in bed pretty earlier. I got almost 11 hours of sleep and felt like a million bucks today. After walking the dogs and puttering around the house working on some renos I decided to head out for my run. Coach Katie called for a 2 hour run but I really wanted 3hrs to redeem myself.

Legs felt a little stiff but overall I felt solid from start to finish - much better!

Next week I start a mini taper into the Blackfoot 50km ultra, which should be a fun one and my first kick at doing an ultra-marathon.

Thursday, May 12, 2011


/cue the scary organ music!!!

This week I have been dragging my arse out the door to get the workouts done and it hasn't been always easy nor pretty.

One thing you may not know about me is that I am a huge, HUGE fan of the classic black and white monster flicks. Frankenstein, The Wolfman, Dracula, The Mummy, The Bride of Frankenstein, etc. I love them all...black n white, cheap effects, cheesy acting - so much fun.

So in honour of the great classics, and to get some motivation I came up with Monster Week and decided to "theme" my runs after some of my favourite characters.

Tuesday Evening - Dracula's sinister tempo run!
10 minute w/u, 5x 7mins at half-marathon race pace w/ 3 mins of active recovery, and 20 mins c/d. Goal here is fly like Dracula during the intervals!

Thursday Morning - The Mummy Shuffle!
50 minutes of easy pace. Goal here is to "un-ravel" or unwind with an easy early morning run at an easy shuffle pace.

Thursday Evening - Run through the hills like Wolfman!
15 min w/u, 40-50mins of straight running up down a long hill, 15 min c/d. Goal here is run uninhibited like the crazy wolfman - minus the part without any clothing. Was suppose to do this on Wednesday evening but crashed on the couch after work.

Saturday - Frankenstein Death March
4 glorious hours of running/hiking with a loaded backpack and two hand-held water bottles. Goal here is not end up looking like Frankenstein at the end of this monster run!

Sunday - The Igor Limp-a-long
2 hours of hobbling along on some tired and sore legs & feet. Goal is to just survive - and the picture to the left accurately describes the state I'll be in by the end.

There you have it...my "monster" week of running...the next two weeks I ease off a bit on the mileage to get ready for the Blackfoot Ultra 50km at the end of this month.

Have a great weekend out there my friends, stay safe, have fun, and don't hold anything back!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Pushing through it...

Last week was one of the biggest volume weeks of running I have ever done in my life. It was also one of the hardest weeks mentally to get lace up the runners and hit the trails/pavement.

My weeks consists of peaks and valleys when it comes to training & energy levels. I run Tues, Weds, Thurs and by the time Thurs evening rolls around I am cooked after having a day of tempo and a day of sustained hill repeats. Friday is a day off to rest up for some super mileage on the weekend. Saturday is my longest run of the week which lately has been leaving my feet sore and swollen. Saturday night I sleep like a baby and have a bit of a sleep in on Sunday. When I get up on Sunday I usually tired all day long and typically leave my second longest run of the week until the evening.

This past weekend it was pouring rain off & on through out so I ran 3.5hrs on the treadmill on Saturday and then another 1hr45mins on Sunday.

Thursday & Sunday's runs were by far the hardest to get motivated for as they were on tail end of a valley.

This week is an even bigger week and all I am focusing on what is in front of me. Not what just occurred or what will happen tomorrow...just one foot in front of the other. It is times like this that I will draw upon for motivation during the CDR.

Happy Trails!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011


It has been just over a week now since Mel and I were down in sunny Cuba. We spent a week down in Varadero at an all-inclusive - our first time doing a resort. Overall it was a fantastic trip - weather was incredibly hot, we did a day trip into the town of Varadero, another trip into Havana, spent loads of time on the beach, swam 90 minutes in the ocean every day and drank way too many mojitos. I've posted a few pics on facebook and have to put up some more this week of Havana.

I ran pretty much every day when I was down there. With the heat/humidity I was only able to scrap together 9km at a time - only had a hand-held water bottle with me and really should have taken the hydration pack.

Towards the end of the trip I pinched a nerve really bad in my right foot...probably from running across the beach in sandals. I took a few days off from training which helped it a bit but it still hasn't fully recovered so I have been in to see my family doctor and have since been referred to a foot specialist. Had to ditch my orthotic for that foot and been doing a lot of running on dirt roads and/or the treadmill. It is a constant battle to stay healthy when trying to train for an ultra marathon.

But I enjoy the overall process and really like working towards a goal.

Happy Tuesday!