Jul
15

Catching Up

Its been hit and miss the last 20 months or so but I’m finally at the point I’m comfortable saying that I’m running again. With reasonable numbers, some feeling of improving fitness, races planned and renewed enthusiasm I’m feeling like I’m back in step.

Further reason for me to begin to get excited about things is that I have allowed myself to put mental & physical effort into getting mileage in. No longer pushing the time to train to the back of the schedule.

Recently I turned 40.  It was refreshing to me that for all that went on in and around celebrating the milestone I took the opportunity to run as part of the celebration.

Although some might not think it a great gift, the gifts began with a V02max and Lactate Threshold testing session at Peak Performance in Burnaby. I was excited and nervous to have a chance to benchmark my fitness level.

 

Getting ready to push

This test measures your bloods ability to uptake oxygen from your lungs. Essentially you are fitted with a snorkel like mouth peace to breathe through. Once the test begins your speed is started at 7 km/h and  increased by a km/h every 3 minutes. At the same time they increase speed they pin prick your finger, draw blood and measure the increase in lactate levels in your blood. Your done as soon as you can no longer handle the speed, breathing or anything else that involves you raising the white flag. Including but not limited to fainting, vomiting or falling off the treadmill or a series of events involving all 3.  Much to the disappointment of the cheer leaders I had a very tame exit. I pulled up at the 20 minute mark running at a rate just under 15 km/h.

I entered with tempered expectations considering the last ~2 years of under training, however I came away surprised with strong results which led to a new sense of motivation to get back at it.

On a recent Friday I hauled out of bed at 3 a.m. and began pre-packing for a morning of running on the North Shore Mountains. It had been so long since I had given myself time for this I was excited. I’d drop my wife at YVR for a work trip then off an early attack of Grouse Mountain trails.  Arriving at the airport and accompanying her inside I’d soon learn there would be no mountain run this morning. I’d been had. With help from family she had been able plan & pull off a surprise of epic beauty right under my nose with out me getting a wiff. We were just an hour or so from leaving Vancouver for New York City. I was so shocked I was numb. For the 1st time maybe in my life  I was totally speechless. I couldn’t add up what it all meant. Turning 40 in New York. The Yankees vs. Red Sox at Yankee Stadium on my birthday. Running Central Park. Seeing Jeter play before he retired-at Yankee Stadium no less. What?

40th Birthday Run in Central Park

Turning 40 was a good day. 7 miles through the streets and paths of Central Park followed by an evening at Yankee Stadium.

With June now behind us and feeling very positive about the events in front of me I’m excited to see what comes of the Squamish 50 races and beyond to the Victoria Marathon and RnR half.

 

 

 

Apr
15

(No title)

Maybe it’s not always about trying to fix something broken. Maybe it’s about starting over and creating something better.

I have felt for sometime now that the running portion of my life has been spinning tires and not gaining any traction. That feeling hasn’t been just based around low over all numbers and infrequent outtings but the totality of effort overall. In terms of fitness deconstruction I walked into a bit of a perfect storm and had no pushback for it. I wasn’t prepared.

I’m not going to give the last 10 mths or so any more thought or energy.  The current month is off to a decent start and I’ll rebuild from there. I have new short term goals and there is a big milestone beginning to come into focus on the horizon. I’m 176 km from hitting the 9000 km mark and obviously 1176 km from rolling 10,000. I fully expect to hit the 9 thousand mark with in 2-3 weeks and from there I’m going to aggressively chase down the 10,000 KM milestone. In some respects I wish the upcoming benchmarks had been noticed a little earlier as I would have loved to have rolled 10,000 ahead of turning 40 at the end of June. It’ll be close but I don’t for see any chance of being able to reach that mark before mid July.

Feb
14

A New Dawn

Squamish 50/50

Registered. Its been near 2 years since any meaningful race and heading towards 3 since I’ve laced up for any Ultra distance events. Easy to tell that the racing and the writing exist in symbiosis. Pretty lean here on this site the last while but I needed time away to focus on bringing the rest of my life into balance/focus. I look forward to getting back in step and being able to flourish in a much more healthy and balanced existence.

Nov
01

Nov.1, 2013

Its taken more than a few false starts but I seem to have gained some traction on the road back to fitness. The last 16 months or so have been filled with so much change it was a challenge to keep plotting forward knowing what month it was let alone being able to map a day to day routine. I can say now after a month or so of steady progress that I seem to gaining the ability to bring running back into a balanced routine.

 

Moving forward I am motivated by nearing a fairly large milestone for me and that is being near the 10,000 km  mark in logged training. I know I spent near a year off the Garmin grid but I’ll forget about the mileage I know I gained and just focus on the official numbers.

 

Looking ahead at 2014  I am taking aim at resetting my personal best times at every distance. My fastest 10k, half marathon and marathon times were all set in 2009. As for the Ultra distance events I’m looking to improve on the 100k and 100 mile times. I dont foresee a 50 mile event in 2014.

 

Although the sample time and overall numbers are in their beginning stages I’ve noticed a signifigant bump in the tempo and interval speeds during workouts. Hopefully a good sign.

Sep
02

Tip your hat and raise your glass

A quick wit and quicker with a smile Marty Byron was often the first person you’d see in the morning and the last person you’d see on the way out of  CCC  in Delta. During the 7 years I called him a colleague I can honestly say it was a joy. Honest, true and kind. Eager to share in the joy of  life and just as eager to share in the not so joyous as well. Marty left us  suddenly Saturday morning. Shocked and saddened we are left to remember a bounty of  fond memories and laughs.  I’m happy I got the chance to call him a colleague, fellow runner but mostly a friend.

Tip your hat and raise a glass to one of the good ones. 

Jun
19

little Diesel in the tank

Little bit of spirit came back into my running last night. 2/3 of the way through Tuesdays run and at the start of a fairly decent climb I found myself hunting down the cyclist ahead of me. Its been a long time since I have felt any fire in the belly but yesterday it reignited. I’m not sure why or how but turning into the climb I just reacted-’your mine’ I heard myself say and then the Gong at the start of Hells Bells played in my head-’I'm a rolling thunder in the pouring rain, I coming on like a hurricane-white lighting flashes across the sky-your only young but your gonna die! ‘ is all I heard. Its was almost out of body. Reading this back it seems more ‘outta your mind’ but as Todd Bertuzzi would say ‘it is what it is’. The best part was that it was a reaction not premeditated.

Sept 14th I’ll toe the line in Sausalito, California for the Headlands 50 miler. Near 2 years since my last Ultra event, too long. However, returning happy, healthy and hungry will be a welcome thing. I believe I was suffering a little burn out from not taking the time to allow body and mind to recover and had run myself into the ground a little. I briefly toyed with the idea of running the 100 but I’ll try to avoid the pitfalls of rushing into anything and save the 100 mile return for the summer of 2014. Here’s to returning to happy trails in the second 1/2 of 2013.

 

Above is the elevation profile per 25 miles, so the 50 mile distance will have just over 10,000 ft of climbing/descent. A reasonably tough challenge for a return race and I’m looking to go sub 11 hrs and use the result as a WSER lottery qualifier for 2014.

May
17

(No title)

As the slow march back towards fitness starts I have begun to wonder how rapid the loss of fitness was. I was maintaining a fairly strong fitness base for the 4 years or so that lead up my last event, 2012′s Scotiabank half marathon in Vancouver.
I was not surprised at all to learn that the decrease in fitness really begins around the 2 week mark after the training load is lightened and continues to fade the further one keeps the load light.
The inaction has a bit of a domino effect from there. The first and most noticed results is the loss in cardio, but the bodies systems are all connected and its not long before other biological signs begin to appear. Blood volume decreases, reducing oxygen uptake ability. Paired with losses in mitochondrial density, lactate threshold and the ability to burn fat stores and the reduction in the enzymes responsible for metabolizing energy it begins to look bleak fairly quick.
The next phase is muscle atrophy and it goes on from there. Point being that things go sideways quickly. The general idea is that if you dont use it you lose it. The process of getting out of shape is a lot easier and twice as fast as getting into shape.
Of course with the experience of having been at a certain level once before and the benefit of muscle memory the path can be righted fairly quickly and with the benefit of cross-training the curve can begin to climb again in little time but in hindsight I would have saved a lot of time and effort if I had made better attempts to maintain over the last 10 months.
The silver lining for me in this return to fitness is that I have time. For a change I am plotting a series of goals as I build towards being in peak fitness for the summer of 2014. I feel a bit funny plotting and planning 14 months out however I know how quickly time slips away and how important it will be to be feeling like no stone was left unturned in the journey that will prepare me for a summer 2014 battle @ 10,200ft. I have been there before and vow to return lighter, leaner and meaner than ever.

May
02

Milling

Quietly beginning to get runs in more days  than not and beginning to feel a little life returning to my legs.  Its a great and somewhat sad reminder of the fitness level that I had maintained but was unaware of for near 4 years. I take a little ease from Scott Jurek saying its okay to forget all about running for a while and even to gain 7-8 lbs, as it will restoke the fire a bit. Scanning through some late summer options for an event still undecided about distance or terrain  but it’ll come.

http://www.transvulcania.com/index.php/es/ The Transvulcania event this weekend is stacked with world class talent and should be a great one to watch.

Apr
27

5 Years

Its been a little quiet on this front for the last while but as this is primarily a running log I haven’t had much to add during the last 6 or 7 months while its been quiet on my event calendar. Slowly things are returning to a more normal  rhythm.

On a Saturday morning 5 years ago I awoke and decided to participate in the following mornings local spring start to the running  season, the Vancouver Sun run. A 10k run that has risen from humble beginnings to an annual average of 50,000 eager runners pounding the streets through downtown Vancouver.

 

This past Sunday I returned to run the event as a bit of a nod to the 5 year anniversary of whats become a huge part of my life. I certainly had no idea at the time the effect that the high coming off the Cambie Street bridge  toward the finish line was about to have on me but  safe to say it was huge.

 

A short look back has reminded me that although I have had a bit of a lull over the last while the numbers over 5 years are pretty good.

 

  • 3 x 10km
  • 12 x Half Marathons
  • 3 x Marathons
  • 1 x 50km
  • 2 x 50Mile
  • 3 x 100km
  • 2 x 100 Mile

Having been able to finally get an event finished after a few false starts I am looking forward to getting a few more tucked away in 2013. Most likely a summer Half and a fall 50 mile or 100 km event to prime for a big 2014. I am mulling possibilities of a race series for year 40 or really bearing down on a old familiar 100 mile event and evening the score.

 

If there is one thing I’ve learned in the last 5 years its that I’m willing to commit and I will not quit, because I’m better than I think I am and I can do more than I think I can.

Feb
17

The Rebuild.

I spent a lot of time (3 years) focused squarely focused on making the return trip up the boulevard to the red carpet in Leadville. It was a destination well worth the journey. I have also just spent a good number of months with attention purposely focused away from training or racing. Another welcomed journey.  Over the course of the last six or so months as positive life changes  began to come to fruition I have been able to allow thoughts of  how the reintroduction to running would look.

This week I’ve stopped the wonderment and began the process kind of from scratch. 8 months of  unfocused occasional runs  has left me under trained but overly excited and reinvigorated to get going. I feel like I have regained some mojo. I haven’t delved too far into it but I am certain I was feeling some sort of mental and physical burn out.

The short term goal is the Vancouver 1/2 marathon in May and then on to White River 50 mile in July. If all goes well I’ll look at the fall schedule perhaps Javelina or the Headlands 100. For now though I’m going to enjoy the process of returning to fitness and getting back on trail.

Here’s to the first steps on the journey of many thousands of miles.

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