Wednesday, September 13, 2017

My webpage has moved. Gotta run!

I have moved on to fancier things, well a new web page at least.
Find new blog posts and current info on my new website

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Who can afford gas these days

Whether its a good idea or not remains to be seen. I've decided to better train the body and mind for upcoming multi-day races by running down to Lethbridge for the Lost Soul 100 miler then run home after. It's a 170 km run down over two days from Okotoks stopping in Claresholm to overnight then race the most difficult 100 miler around then 170 kms back home again overnighting in Claresholm. The task being made much more difficult given the recent heat wave and forest fire smoke thicker then a bowl of oatmeal.

In advance i'd like to thank all my friends on the Lost Soul FB page for stopping along the highway and helping me out along the way by feeding me and keeping me watered as I plan to do this unsupported. The closer I get to the race start on Friday the more I'm doubting my abilities to run well on the Lost Soul race course. I mean if you are realistic what are the chances after running 180kms over two days I could toe the line on September 8th and crush a hundo, chances are slim but I'm super interested to first hand find out what happens.

It'll be super imortant to fuel extremely well when running and keep the pace very reasonable like 5:30min/km. I plan to eat my body weight in food everynight when my run is done. Ice baths and self massage will be key to keeping the body okay.

Most of everyone I know hates hates running on highways I really enjoy it. I find it a mindless activity that mimics staring at a wall and day dreaming. With all the social media and instant gratification around now I feel my mind craves to be shut off and performing super simple tasks.

Since I'm the husband of the year and decided to race on Sharon's birthday (sorry baby),Sharon won't be able to crew me as she will be going for dinner and getting lit with friends. I'm super excited to be crewed by my great friend Stephanie Gillis-Paulgaard. I'm really hoping I don't pout too much around her and she isn't too annoyed with me by the end that she still wants to remain friends.

Monday, July 17, 2017

What's next...

The Belfast 24 hour marked a change in course for me that will shift my focus from one event to another. Be it the two events might not appear too different from one another the training models and strategy will be remarkably different. This summer/fall's race goals will be centered around multi-day racing opposed to my  usual 24 hour and 100 mile schedule. 

I believe my skill set as a long road runner with a stomach that can digest the kitchen sink will succeed in this odd and wacky sport. My main objective is to race well at the Across The Years 6 day in Arizona over the New Year. The Canadian record for the 6 day stands at 870 kms set back in 1891 I believe is an obtainable distance covered in 6 days. The other Canadian records that may fall along the way are the 48 hour (355kms) and the 72 hour (496kms).  I've run this race before giving the 3 day a go a year and a half ago. An injury to my knee halted progress at 36 hours. I'm super excited to give the 6 day a whirl to see what this old body can grind out in just under a week. I've been busy planning and coercing others and more information will come when I start understanding what the hell I am doing.

To ready myself for this race I’ve signed up for the Lost Soul 100 mile on September 8-9 in Lethbridge. This is one of my all time faves as the race organizers put on a top shelf event worth traveling for. To get in the multi-day volume I really want it’s bloody convenient that I live 190 kms away from the race. I plan to run down to Lethbridge, run the race, then run home the next day. This will be a super fun experience nothing like anything I’ve done before and a great opportunity to pile day on top of day on top of day. If you are on Alberta’s highways one of those days would you be so kind as to top up my water or drop me off a snack, thanks in advance for your kindness.

Mixed in with these races is a 24 hour in Taipei, Taiwan. I feel very blessed to be invited to this race and would feel rather stupid turning down a trip to Asia since I’ve never been and always wanted to go. Hell, since my flop in Belfast I still haven’t qualified for next year’s Canadian 24 hour team so that is definitely in order. 

All together I feel very excited about where this change in direction is leading. Hey, I've got an idea, let's run around in one mile circles for one day short of a week. Laugh once if you think it's a good idea. Laugh twice if you think it's a brilliant one.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Belfast 24 Race Report

Let me start by saying it was a complete honour and privilege to represent Canada at last week's World 24hr Championships in Belfast Ireland. The race took place on July 1st, the same day we Canadians celebrated our country's 150th birthday. As the horn sounded at noon signalling the race start I knew I had done everything right in preparation to assure success only 24 hrs later. My fitness has never been better, my mindset was solid, and I really, really, really wanted this.

The first 50kms went off as planned. My pacing was a steady comfortable 4:55min/km and I passed the time chitchatting with old friends. The 1.7km looped course was very busy so winding in and out of slower racers was a challenge but right around the 70km mark I felt the stiff concrete surface tightening my hamstring. At this point I decided to change out of my Zantes and into a fresh pair of 1080s. This made a world of difference and the hamstring tightness cleared. A heavy rainfall came in but cleared within the hour; besides that the weather was moderate and perfect for running a fast race. My 100km split was on target at holding 5 min/km. The sun went down at 10pm and by 11pm trouble started. My legs felt fine, I felt motivated, but I now started yawning and my eye lids felt heavy. Sharon handed me a Red Bull which is my go to when it comes to giving me a jolt in these races. The effects were quick and within 10 minutes felt back to good and ready to tackle the world. Sadly, only 30 minutes later I struggled getting back to the Canadian tent as I was nearly falling asleep running. I sat with Sharon for a bit as she motivated me and spurred me on to get back on the course but as I sat their my eyes started closing and I started drifting. Out of desperation Sharon gave me a 5 hour energy shot, this is something I never tried before. I forced myself back on the course only to find myself 5 minutes later sitting on the neighbouring park benches asleep. My friend from the Great Britain team Robbie Britton grabbed my arm and forced me to run with him. He asked me questions to assess my mental state but quickly realized I was fine just dog ass tired. We ran two laps together until I passed by the Canadian tent again. I knew then that this was not going to be a good day. I knew that only 11 hours into the 24 and needing a nap only leads to a disastrous result but I sat there with Sharon and concluded that the only thing that would break this sleep spell was sleep itself. Sharon bundled me up in a sleep sac and I slept well for two hours.

Now I know what you are thinking. Why on earth would Dave need sleep after 11 hours of running? Is that normal? The answer is NO WAY. Truth is we had a terrible time flying into Belfast 5 days prior, I don't sleep at all on flights or in airports and since arriving I've struggled getting more then 2-3 hours per night. Jet leg officially kicked my ass and I cried like a little school boy. 

I awoke after my glorious 2 hours and felt like a million bucks. Knowing my race was shit and I wouldn't have the result I wanted from this point on I decided to just have fun out there and celebrate the fact I was in Belfast running for my country. I got back on the course running with Dan and James from Great Britain. These two chaps looked great and were cruising at this point. We had a great time chatting and talking running stuff. Both James and Dan are good lookers so all the Irish ladies were hooting and hollering as we passed. True to form it seemed like every second spectator overnight was holding a pint of Guinness. That gave me chuckle and left me wanting. We ran for the next few hours in good form. Once again like before and just as quickly the sleep monster crept up. Sharon gave me half a Red Bull and we devised a plan to hammer a Red Bull every three hours until the end of the race (probably not a decision made on a clear mind). Sadly the Red Bull lasted no longer then 20 min and I found myself in la la land once again. Sharon was very kind to allow me another nap. After waking this time I knew my race turned from shat to a heaping smelly pile of shat. Feeling the need to make myself useful I latched onto fellow runner friends to help them achieve their goals. My main focus was on my main man Wayne Gaudet. Now Wayne is an old fart, but a strong fast one at that. Four years ago Wayne set the over 55 Canadian 24 hour record and was setting out that race day to break the over 60 record. He was on pace but as we all know the pace can diminish quickly approaching the end of a 24. I latched on to him, kept the mood and conversation light and helped him focus on small little goals. Lap by lap we plugged away creeping closer and closer to the elusive mark. Wayne looked good and steady. His crew and wife Trish was calmly cracking the whip and he obeyed like a little boy in Sunday school. The last few hours are always a treat in these races as the spectators show up in hoards, the beasts become more beastly, and each runner runs holding there flag with such pride. 

When the horn sounded I didn't have a second to feel sorry for myself. Wayne my great friend and running buddy gave me the biggest hug a man can muster. This felt good. What also felt good was embracing all my friends - some having brilliant days and others just as bad as mine. What I love about this sport is even if I had a terrible result my friends generously shared their great results with me. I left the park that day feeling like a winner and for that I wanna thank all of you who shared your wins with me.

Since then my feelings are difficult to explain. The morning after I got on my phone to the race director of Sinister 7 (a race only 6 days after Belfast24), I started to plan an early departure from Ireland to go home and race right away. This was a stupid idea on so many levels but the main one was I'd be leaving Sharon and Julia to finish off the rest of the Ireland trip on their own. I'm so glad I stayed in Ireland and got to travel with my girls. Every day had been different, some days I felt like I got kicked in the gut. I started second guessing myself and wondered what I could have done differently. Other days I felt indifferent and questioned why I do this stupid sport. 

One thing is for certain, when there is a void I always, I repeat always start planning the next move. Planning occupies my every thought. The conclusion of this 24hr race signals a change of focus for me. Up until now I have raced almost exclusively within a day. My goals from here on will change from the singular to the multi-day. 

I'll write a post in the next few days discussing a plan to conquer the six day. This is all new to me so I feel giddy just thinking about it. 

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Belfast24 Preamble

On Saturday July 1st (Canada Day) Ill be taking part in the World 24 hour championships in Belfast, Ireland. This is a 1.65 km loop around beautiful Victoria Park. The average temperature this time of the year is 15 degrees and rains an average 12 days out of the month meaning its the perfect venue to post some big numbers. The course is very flat with only four rounded bends per loop. The surface is all concrete which may pose issues with consistently hitting hard roughly a quarter of a million times that day. Canada is sending a strong team consisting of 5 men and 6 women. Sharon and my daughter Julia will be crewing me which is no small task as they will be seeing me every 8-9 minutes nonstop for 24 hours straight. The race starts at noon (5 am MST).

My race plan is simple but heavy. The first hour of running I will not look at my watch, instead I'll shake out the cobwebs and relax into the day most likely talking to other runners and enjoying the moment. After that I'll go out at a 5 min/km pace and just hang in there. This is my all day space and place. If all goes well in the front half by midnight (the 12 hour split) I'll be banking 144 km in the front half. My hope is to hold onto that pace for the first 14 hours, after that time I understand my physiological pace will slow down and maintaining the same effort level will produce a new pace. My goal pace for hours 14 through 18 will ideally be ~5:30 min/km. The wiggle room in my pace chart lies in the back 6 hours. From hours 18-24 I have placed my speed at that time ~6 min/km. This is where all the work and mental prep will come in as when the sun rises with 6 hours left to go and the other runners are finding a new gear I'm hoping I will find mine as well. The last 4 hours will be spent knowing where the other runners are and focusing on my turnover to keep the speed reasonable. This pace plan will result in 271 kms.

The keys to a successful race will be:
Crew efficiency - Sharon and Julia will have their work cut out for them being very organized, calm, and able to change plans on the fly. The weather may play a role in their delivery methods but I have the utmost confidence in their skills.
Pacing - My fitness level is quite good at this point so it's important to not get caught up in others' racing early on. If I can get to where I want to be at 14 hours my pacing work is complete.
Fueling - Eat 50% more than what I'll feel like eating.
Shoes - Change from the New Balance Zante to the NB 1080 if I feel the surface is hurting too much. Don't hesitate, just do it.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Calgary Marathon Confederation 150K

At 10pm while the sun set to the west I toed the line at the line in downtown Calgary for a truly unique experience of running a 150km race finishing up on the Calgary Marathon course the next morning. This course would see us run a 10 km loop around the Bow River pathway overnight to complete the first 100kms at the start line of the Calgary Marathon at 7am on the world famous Calgary Stampede grounds. There we complete the 150km race by running the 50km course.

All other runners started earlier, some as early as 6pm to strategically pace the front 100. For me, I knew I'd place my first 100km somewhere between 8hrs and 8hrs20min. 

My training for the world 24 hour championships in Belfast on Canada day has been going extremely well. Today was a pace test to see what pace I'd go out at, along the way checking comfort levels and practicing fueling strategy. Starting the day I was struggling with the notion of pacing at a 4:50min/km or playing it conservative like a good Alberta boy and going 5min/km. I know this doesn't sound like a big difference but it is. Over 150kms that's a difference of 25min and over 24 hours it's way more. 

The horn went off and myself and wheelchair athlete Brian Martin took off. As he zipped past me I settled into a nice rhythm, started a great conversation with the lead cyclist and with a smile on my face got into my happy place. Overnight looping the river I passed by friends, created new ones, had some laughs, ate a Big Mac (thanks Terry), and generally felt very good. around 2am my pace started to slip a bit and my mood started shifting, after processing this it was decided that I need a Red Bull to give me some wings. Like that, poof, problem solved. All's I needed was some damn caffeine (and whatever the hell else is in those beautiful little cans). Around 2:30am I noticed a bright green streak of light shooting up from the west. Very quickly as the light extended to the east and started to dance the dance that only the Aurora Borealis can and wide-eyed watched the Northern lights put on a show worthy of applause. It
was one of the coolest moments I've experienced while running. The rest of the night was pretty uneventful, as I passed other runners I noticed the exhaustion in their bodies and offered words of encouragement. The welcoming sun arrived just after 5am nearing the completion of the first 100km and signalling me to get my ass over to the Stampede grounds for the start-line of the final 50. 

My 100km split was 8hrs 11min. This was perfect, exactly where I wanted to be. I felt relaxed, comfortable and very confident about my pacing for the next 50. Both my wife Sharon and my Physiotherapist (and buddy) Shari MacDonald brought me Timmy's coffee and breakfast sandwiches. Thanks girls! As I hammered those back I went looking for my drop bag that was supposed to be delivered from the overnight aid station to the Stampede location. I had my day clothes in there among other things. Turns out there was a problem getting the bags delivered over so with 10 minutes before the Calgary Marathon start I decided to go to the start line wearing my overnight gear. No biggie, we all must adapt right. 

The thing I was looking forward to the most that day was that Sharon was volunteering as the lead cyclist for the final 50kms for the 150 soloists. I was well in the lead at this point which meant I get to share this experience on the course with the woman I love most. For Sharon to easily find me in the crowd, I ran alongside a group of my friends all dressed in pink and all ten of them tied together, These women were setting out to run the Guinness world record for fastest women's linked marathon, along the way raising money for MitoCanada. These ladies all rock! About 3kms into the race I saw my smiling wife on her bike. I knew from this point on this was gonna be a fun day. Sharon comes out to all my races and if you have the pleasure of knowing her you'd know she is the world's best crew. But this viewpoint was a very different one; she'll be side by side with me checking out all the sights and sounds of something I see so often.

The marathon portion proved to be a lot of fun as we zipped through familiar streets, saw many friends, ate popsicles (thanks Glenmore Running Room) and generally had a good time. My pace didn't fluctuate and remained feeling comfortable. This was key because in my mind that day I wasn't running 150kms, I was running 270kms and pacing as such. The final 5km stretch brought on a great warm feeling that I now know I'm ready for the world 24's and that all the hard work and countless hours of running has paid off. I crossed the finish line in 12hrs 18min with an average pace of 4:55min/km. I pumped my fist knowing that I've got another 120 in the tank, but lets leave that for another day.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Johnney's Back

Last Saturday's long run with my long time running buddy and best friend Johnny Hubbard started in typical fashion. "Who's idea was this?" followed by "We're doing four reservoir loops, right"? We then, like clockwork complained about our aches and pains, discussed work issues, debated politics (which he was wrong) and finally settled into talking about our families. I filled him in on the updates of Sam's recent diagnosis of a rare disease and John discussed this week's trials and tribulations of his son's Colitis and liver disease.

You see, John has pulled away from racing the past three years tackling family health issues. As much as I enjoy picking on Johnny's extended fat camp, I couldn't agree more with his decision to choose family over his love for running. But now with things getting back into a groove John has decided to dive back into the bat-shit crazy world of ultra racing. His first race back will be the Confederation 150 at the Calgary Marathon race weekend this May 27-28th. This will be an opportunity for him to give back to the health providers and system that played an integral role in his son's health to date.

John and Natasha have set up a fundraising page to provide a bedside bowel ultrasound machine to be used in the GI clinic at the Alberta Children's Hospital. This is a real time, rapid, non-invasive tool that can be used  in the GI clinic to monitor responses to therapy. Illness and disease is already stressful enough so to eliminate the preparation, sedation and ionizing radiation administered in other modalities is a huge win for children, families, doctors and medical staff. More information can be found here.

Anybody that knows John knows he is one of the toughest SOB's you'll ever meet but behind the curtains he has an incredible soft spot and devoted love for his son. On May 27th as John grinds out 150 long kilometers on Calgary roads showing us how far he is willing to go for his son. Let's not let him go it alone. Please show your support for this incredible family and help them help others.