Sunday, April 20, 2014

Race Preview

The race director for my upcoming 50 km put together this YouTube video of the course.

Here 'tis!

These blogs detail my journey to a 50 km ultra-marathon as a fundraiser for the David Suzuki Foundation. Please consider making a tax-deductible donation here.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

A Marathon of Training

These blogs detail my journey to a 50 km ultra-marathon as a fundraiser for the David Suzuki Foundation. Please consider making a tax-deductible donation here.

The training plan that I have been following to run the 50k at Elk/Beaver Lake dictates that I should run a marathon about 4 weeks out.

I figured running four laps of the five laps for actual course would be about a marathon's worth.

So I headed off to Vancouver Island with the family in tow.

I wanted to emulate the actual event as closely as possible, so I mixed up my race fuel, stocked my camelbak with water and gels, charged my iPhone, strapped on my shoes and headed out for four laps at 6 o'clock in the morning.

The course it super flat.  There is only one slight uphill that I am sure will be turn into a mountain on lap five. I am not sure why it is considered two lakes as it is just one body of water that you run around.  The lake(s) is littered with fisherman, both on and off the lake.  Many gave a friendly wave as I trudged on by.

40 K in the books
I was greeted by my support crew two laps in.  My wife Megin, 2 year old Master N, and 5 year old Master A were there with fresh socks, water, hugs and kisses.  Best race crew ever!

And I was off again to complete laps three and four.  Lap three was fine, but I did fade just a little on the last lap.  My legs started to ache and I took some short walk breaks.

As I approached the end my lovely wife was there to greet me.  Yay!  40k in the books.

While this wasn't quite a marathon, four laps of the five lap course was good enough to me.  I was beat up, but I still felt like there were ten kilometers more in my legs.

Roll on May 10th!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Crash and Burn in Washington

Hourly Rates Not Available
One day I hope to race marathons in the great cities of the world.  The New York Marathon.  The Paris Marathon.  And maybe even the Boston Marathon one day.

Until then I settle for 30K runs around the beautiful Birch Bay in Washington.  

I stayed in a hotel in Blaine,  just a few blocks from the Canada U.S.A. border.  The hotel was - well - a dive.  It smelt slightly of curry and proudly advertised monthly rates in crooked letters on a neon lit sign.

Birch Bay in stark contrast was gorgeous.  It sweeps the coast line in a long lazy arch.

I had done the 15K version of the course a year ago and was quite pleased with how it went.

This year was a successful failure.

A successful failure? Let me explain.

My goal was to clock in under 3 hours.  The race started in drizzle and I soon locked into a pace that felt sustainable and would get me well under 3 hours.

This worked well for about 2 hours, then as some hills approached my legs felt heavy and I lost energy.  My paced slowed and there was nothing I could do about it.  I had hit the wall.

A beautiful sight
The last kilometre was torture.  Not only were my legs like lead, but a nasty head wind had kicked in.  My brisk 5:52 mins/km pace had plummeted to 8:00 mins/km.  I crawled over the finish line in 3 hours and 14 minutes.

On the positive side I learnt some valuable lessons.

Respect the distance.  30K is 30K.  It's a longway.  I'll be running 50K in about 2 months.  The respect is already building.

Fluid intake.  I didn't drink enough on the course.  Towards the end I was guzzling it down at the aid stations, but by then it was too late.

Food.  I ate crap the night before.  I ate crap for breakfast.  And I didn't consume enough on the course.

Suffering.  I learned how to run even though I was pain and felt I had nothing more to give.

In about 2 weeks I'll be running 4 laps of the 50K course on Vancouver Island.  I'll be testing out pacing and fuelling strategies as I run the 40K.

Hopefully I'll work some things out and gain some confidence for the 50K.


I am running the 50K ultra-marathon on May 10 as a fundraiser for the David Suzuki Foundation.  Find out details and how to donate here.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Modo 8K Spring Run Off

March 8th saw spring arrive in Vancouver and the traditional dash around Stanley Park in the form of the Modo 8K Spring Run Off.

Shorter runs are all about pain.  How much pain are you prepared to endure and for how long?  After some initial dodging of slower runners, I locked into my goal pace and gritted my teeth as the pain kicked in.

44 minutes and 27 seconds later I crossed the finishing line gasping and in a decent amount of pain, but happy to come in under 45 mins.  I came in the middle of the middle.  32 out of 61 runners in my age category.  I'm fine with that as I know I can go faster as my weight continues to drop.

This run comes highly recommended.  There were about 500 other racers, a beautiful course, and all the trappings of a bigger race such as medals, chipped timing, and professional photographers.

Next up, the 30K run at Birch Bay in Washington.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Mind Running

My Saturday morning long run was hard.  It wasn't just the 20 odd miles I ran, but my mind wasn't in it.

Every mile seemed like a slog.  I was dreading the four plus hours I'd be spending on my feet.

This reminds me - once again - that running this 50K event isn't just going to be a physical challenge.  Spending seven-ish hours on my feet is going to be mentally taxing.

So my valuable take away from this hard run: Don't think about the mileage ahead and just concentrate on the next step.

These blogs detail my journey to a 50 km ultra-marathon as a fundraiser for the David Suzuki Foundation. Please consider making a tax-deductible donation here.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Golden Ears Half Marathon and Free Hats.

Free Hat
In my build up to the big 50 K ultra-marathon in May, I have several smaller races planned because well, racing is fun!  And it is good to be in the scene.

The first of these races was the Golden Ears Half Marathon in Langley.

The course starts with an out and back across the Golden Ears Bridge, followed another out and back amongst the forests of Langley.  There was only about 110 runners, so it was very intimate. And I won a running hat. Score!

This was a hard race.  The bridge sucked the energy out of my legs and all the back and forth amongst the forest paths bit into my finishing time.

I think this was the best half marathon I've ever done, I felt strong throughout, but this was not my fastest.  I ran about a 2 hour-and-4-minute-run, a full two minutes slower than my best, and still four minutes away from my long term goal of running in under 2 hours.

I'll hopefully be able to crack 2 hours on the notoriously fast Scotiabank Half Marathon in June, well after my 50K.

Post Run Fuel
After the race, my lovely wife prepared a killer fruit salad and avocado sandwiches to help refuel my weary legs. Thanks Megin!

These blogs detail my journey to a 50 km ultra-marathon as a fundraiser for the David Suzuki Foundation. Please consider making a tax-deductible donation here.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Skunk Run

I get up early on Saturday morning to get my long run in before Real Life™ kicks in.

I was running along a trail next to Coquitlam River and I saw this vague dark object moving ahead of me. The sun had not yet risen and I couldn't make out what this thing was.  I figured it might be a feral cat so I kept my distance.

I followed this mysterious creature for about a mile as it religiously kept to the trail.

We finally got to a foot bridge with a street lamp and I could finally make out what it was.  A skunk.  Yikes. I'm glad I kept my distance.

This was the first skunk I've ever seen in my life.  We don't have them in little ol' New Zealand.

I'm still waiting to see my first bear.

These blogs detail my journey to a 50 km ultra-marathon as a fundraiser for the David Suzuki Foundation. Please consider making a tax-deductible donation here.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

The Long Run

“I run because if I didn’t, I’d be sluggish and glum and spend too much time on the couch. I run to breathe the fresh air. I run to explore. I run to escape the ordinary. I run…to savor the trip along the way. Life becomes a little more vibrant, a little more intense. I like that.” 
Dean Karnazes

The early hours of Saturday morning see me pull on my running shoes and head out the door for my long runs.

My most recent long run was a slow and steady 26.5 km run.  My peak long run will be about 42 km.

One of the best things I enjoy about my long runs is that I can pick a direction and just explore.  Sometimes I come across the bizarre (a topless women going for a walk about in high heels in Colony Farm), but more often than not it's the beautiful. Like the above wooden planks across a river.  Sometimes the weather itself dictates the beauty, like this frozen river I ran next to for several miles.

Running is freedom.  The freedom to explore.

These blogs detail my journey to a 50 km ultra-marathon as a fundraiser for the David Suzuki Foundation.  Please consider making a tax-deductible donation here.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Running an Ultra-marathon for the Environment

Time to bust out of the marathon limits and bust into the world of ultra-marathons.

I'm in training for the Elk/Beaver 50K Ultra-marathon on Vancouver Island as a fundraiser for the David Suzuki Foundation.

You can donate to the cause here.

The David Suzuki Foundation is a science based organization that helps people live within the limits of nature.  The Foundation has been around for over 20 years and has had numerous victories but there is still so much more to do.

The future of the four wonderful foster children that are in my care scares me as we are losing the battle for the environment.  I don't want to have a conversation with them in 20 years time in a world much bleaker than this and have them ask me why I didn't do everything I possible could to mitigate the affects of climate change.

This run is one small step to make a better future for them.

I'll be updating this blog regularly with my progress.

Stay tuned!