Tuesday, December 31, 2013

A Year In Review

Moose mountain with John and Philippe the goat
With the year coming to an end, it makes a guy look back and contemplate the happenings in 2013. Overall, I'm thrilled about my running this past year on five fronts. Besides a very minor injury in early February, my body held up to the demands of my training. I'd like to thank my main man Tyson Plesuk at The Downtown Sports Clinics for all the amazing physio and keeping my body healthy. My friendship with my running buddy John Hubbard, who helped me get over many training hurdles this year, continues to grow strong. I was also fortunate enough to receive 3 sponsors to help ease the financial burden and support my running needs going forward. A very heartfelt thank you goes out to New Balance, Gord's Running Store and The Downtown Sports Clinics! I was able to train harder and longer than past years and as a result I had a race season that went very well.

Pneuma trail with John
New Balance kicks…sweet
My base season and training was at an all time high in 2013. This year I ran 4700 K in 202 runs. My average run was 23.2 K in length and per week would average 3.87 runs per week. This meant I had an average of 3.13 days per week that I was recovering. More recovery=more time with the family, which was a goal I set early in the year. Another goal I set was not to go over 70 K in one run during training, which I think resulted in many injuries the year prior. The vast majority of my running were done after night fall when my children were asleep, a routine that worked well with my family priorities. My longer training runs this year were no longer than 60 K but I would do multiples of these in the same week. Speed work was another focus in 2013. Getting out at least once a week to push the threshold was a great benefit at this year's ultra races. In 2012 I struggled to hold a sub 3:45 min/km pace but this year I ran a 35:30 10 K and consistently ran a 3:30 min/km pace in training! Woot woot!
Moral support at Grizzly 50K
Best crew a guy could ask for
Sam, Adele and Julia

  My racing was the best part of 2013! The year started with a fizzle with a DNF at Gord's Frozen Ass Fifty. My soleus suffered a minor tear at the 30 K mark which resulted in an immediate stoppage. Next was the 100 K National Championships at the Elk Beaver Ultra in Victoria, BC. I finished the race in first place with a time of 7:51. Couldn't be happier with that at this point, the best race of my life! Two weeks later I ran the Blackfoot 50 M just east of Edmonton, AB. I realized at the 60 K mark, I needed a hell of a lot longer to recover from a fast 100 K than two weeks. Struggling through the final 20 K I finished in first place in a time of 6:57. Next I took on my first 100 M at the Lost Soul Ultra in Lethbridge, AB. Super pumped, I took off like a shot completing the first two loops (107 K) in course record time. My lack of experience and issues on the final loop slowed me to come in at 21:26, about 30 min. off the CR but still in first place by around 2 hours. That race was one that I learned the most on; a turning point of sorts. My final race of the season was the Grizzly 50 K at the Canmore Nordic Center. This race attracted some of the best 50 K runners around. Though I am not a strong 50 K racer, I felt that I ran a solid race at Grizzly. Finishing in 6th place in a time of 4:19 I felt like it was a great way to finish the year in an absolute beautiful setting.
First 100M…ouch
Me and Sharon at Elk Beaver 100K

With my finish at the Elk Beaver 100 K I earned a spot on the National 100 K team which was set to go to the World 100 K championships in South Africa. Unfortunately this event was cancelled. I was so looking forward to travelling and running at the world caliber event but I'll just have to get faster and make the 2014 team going to Latvia next year.

All of this could not be possible if it wasn't for the support and love of my beautiful wife and my three wonderful children. I could go on and on but this post is already long enough. LOVE YOU GUYS!! 

So now I ask myself "What have I learned, what would I do differently and what will I continue doing?"
Plans for 2014: More speed work + more base mileage + more rest time + bigger focus on climbing + more cross training + keep up the awesome physio + represent New Balance, Gord's Running Store and The Downtown Sports Clinic to the best of my ability = EVEN FASTER RACE RESULTS!!!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

3 best ultra podcasts

It's base season once again, time to get out and grind the miles. You're out for a 5 hour run in the dark and all alone..IT'S PODCAST TIME. I've compiled my 3 favorite ultra running podcasts in order from my fave to least. All are awesome for their own reasons. Tell me what you think. Click on each title to link to the respective podcasts.


Scotty Sandow and Eric Schranz are two wicked funny guys that definitely know how to interview a guest. Always asking the right questions we listeners want to hear. Their interviews range from crazy elite runners to some of the sports oddities to some great coaches and nutritionists. What's cool about this podcast is that Scotty and Eric are just two average guys who, like the rest of us, are absolutely awestruck when in the company of these elites. Thus asking the question that are relevant to us runners. My fave episode has gotta be the Sunny Blende interview. Sunny is a nutritionist and ultrarunner who explained in plain terms ultra nutrition, hydration and what to do when things go bad. The only problem was while I ran listening to the interview, I didn't have pen and paper to retain all the wisdom. The tail end of every interview is called the farkleg round. It's a number of rapid fire questions always concluding with "what is your favorite beer"! Awesome guys! I give this podcast a 10/10!


If you could choose just one podcast with every single ingredient that makes a great listen this would be it. Hosted by Ian Corless (an elite ultra runner himself), Talk Ultra is a lengthy podcast covering international ultra marathoning news and events, detailed interviews, product reviews, pre/post race interviews and pretty much anything ultra related. Approached from an elite runners perspective they delve straight into the competitive aspect of the ultra community asking about racing and training that only a first hand elite could. I find listening to this podcast makes me realize I've got a hell of a long way to go and all along realize my pace has picked up for the duration of the broadcast. The only negative thing I can think of is the poor audio quality. For all the right reasons, I give this podcast a 9/10.

If you pay super attention to nutrition and are meticulous about your training this podcast is for you. This podcast brands itself as relevant to any endurance sport but to be honest, it is mostly directed toward Ironman athletes and marathoners. Tawnee Prazak interviews some of the world's best exercise physiologists and endurance nutritionists to pass along detailed and breaking science to the ultra/endurance community. Bordering on excessive, the information discussed is extremely useful when negotiating races exceeding 8 hours. In my opinion, the detail which is presented is too complicated for me (maybe that's why I run trail ultras not triathlons) but when I feel the need for attention to detail Endurance Planet is my go to podcast. I give it a 7/10.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

2013 CTR Santa Chase

Nothing says Christmas like over dressing in a warm Santa suit along with beard and hat and getting out for a run with friends. That's exactly what I did on Dec. 19th with my fave running group the Calgary Trail Runners for there inaugural Santa Chase. Accompanied by about twenty runners wearing holiday headgear, we embarked on the snow covered trails in the Weaselhead alongside the Glenmore reservoir in Calgary. An urban trail run with more laughs than Santa could fit into his sleigh could only end in one way…a pub. Santa enjoyed a pint of Guiness and when he felt jolly and full, surprised all the good young trail runners, both naughty and nice (but mostly naughty) with a set of balls…protein balls that is of course! 


Sunday, December 1, 2013

DIY Protein Balls

     If there's anything I hate, it's paying way too much for quality protein bars. For this reason and for the enjoyment of baking with my kids, I've started making my own. My dietitian, Samara Feleski-Hunt at The Downtown Sports Clinics gave me this fantastic recipe which doesn't just fulfill my nutritional needs but also saves me a ton of cash.
     Everyone I've given these to has raved about them and noted that they don't taste at all like protein bars, most have gone home and made some themselves. The biggest test was the passing grade I received from the three most discerning critics I know: Julia, Sam, and Adele!

Protein Balls
Per ball: Calories:166, Protein:10.5g, Carbs:20g, Fibre:2g, Fat: 5.5g, Sat.Fat1.5g

This recipe will make 40-45 balls. Store in a zip-lock bag in freezer. 
These freeze well and make for wicked healthy treats for kids and are great for Christmas parties.

5 cups whey isolate chocolate protein powder
3/4 cups cocoa powder
1 cup peanut or almond butter
1 cup honey
10 tsp flax oil
3 cups dried cranberries
1/2 cup shredded coconut

Combine whey protein and cocoa powder in a bowl. In a separate bowl mix the nut butter, flax oil, and honey. Combine the two mixtures until well blended. Add the chopped cranberries. The consistency should be similar to play dough. If it seems too dry, add 1/4 cup of water or a little extra honey. If it seems too wet, add extra cocoa powder or protein. Form into bite size balls and roll in the coconut. Chill in the fridge for 15 min. and enjoy. The ingredients bellow will make 40-45 balls. 

Friday, November 22, 2013

30-Day Plank Challenge: DONE!

This past week was a great week. Firstly, it was my birthday and it's tradition on my birthday to run my new age in kilometres. Thirty three is how old I turned and so was the distance I ran on that day. It was cold, but alone with my thoughts I celebrated another year of existence. Secondly, I completed the 30-day plank challenge, which turned out to be a heck of a lot harder than I first imagined. On the final day I planked for 10 minutes. Midway through the challenge I thought 10 minutes would've been impossible but I must say the core does adapt. During the final week I found I was breezing right past the period that I used to start failing. I also noticed, when out running snowy Bragg Creek trails with the Calgary Trail Runners that I felt an anchoring and stability which before I was without.

I plan to continue planking all throughout the year and into the next. Whereas I think the 10 minute plank is a bit silly and has diminished returns. Instead I will continue to plank for 5 minutes every second day to maintain my core strength.

I also ask of you to please be kind after watching the video and understand the slumping and just-get-through-it nature on the 10 minute plank is just that.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Everybody needs a John

     This past long weekend I spent a part of it enjoying some of the best Kananaskis has to offer. My run started at 12:30 pm at the base of Moose mountain road at my fave trail named Pneuma. What makes this trail so awesome is the constant winding uphill climb for a solid 10K, then the trail turns back down and you're spoiled with a fun and zippy steady downhill. 

Bright, sunny and warm with no wind and pillowy November snow blanketed everywhere set the scene for a perfect run. The only better way to experience a day like this was to share it, and that I did. My training buddy John Hubbard had texted me the week prior urging me to get off my fat ass and join him on holiday Monday. Together we had plenty of laughs, good conversation and relished running in near perfect conditions. 

      Johnny and I have been running together for two years and I would be the first to say it's been a very advantageous relationship. He and I both are in similar stages in our own lives: both with young families which ALWAYS comes first and a thirst for a concept of where our bodies and minds can take us athletically. I find that where I lack, he excels and vice-versa. One of many examples is I will push a consistency in training, where John can convey a calmness on a race day that helps me negate several blowups and DNF's. The Alberta winters also present a challenge (the topic of my last post) and knowing that we ARE meeting up for a Friday night long run ,which I'm sure neither of us want to do but neither want to be the first to chicken out, holds us accountable. We are a complicated bunch as ultra runners and at the best of times my family and friends have a hard time getting me when it comes to running. Only in conversations between one runner to another does our babbling come across as sane. It was midnight one Friday night long run and John went on speaking nothing but jibberish for 15 minutes. I called him out on it and proceeded to suggest eating something. Later on that same night, after stopping at McDonalds for some good old gut training we were quiet for a while whereas he turned to me and out of nowhere told me my face looks like ass…now there is a true friend.

Most runners are lucky enough to have a network of people surrounding them that seem to propel them. Within that group are normally one or maybe two that seem to excel your abilities even further. Use them, cuz you better believe that they will benefit just  as much as you while training together. If you're not so lucky check out groups like Calgary Trail Runners. Everybody needs a John.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Embracing the cold, dark Alberta winter

This past Sunday at 2 am our beloved sun, with the help of daylight savings time, will now be setting one hour earlier. Meaning my after work runs starting at 7 pm will now be entirely in the dark, very sad indeed. Every year I struggle with this. Not only is the weather turning and snow and ice are a new challenge, but the thought of lacing up for a 40K run, all at night has become more and more difficult to stomach.

With the innovation of warmer running garments, foot wear and headlamps the only thing getting between you and the trails is motivation. But when the sun is not around, motivation is hard to come by. Even if the lack of sunlight doesn't put you off, most running races will reconvene in April/May, leaving a long time between now and then, making it very easy to slack off (for lack of a better term). So how does one stay even moderately motivated and focused through the cold Alberta winter?

Embrace the warrior within you. It's easy in the summer months to get pumped about your long mountainous runs cuz heck, the weather is warm, days are long and views are stunning. However when your running in a blizzard in the dark, it's easy to circle back and finish the run early. Look around outside. If it was easy everyone would do it and the truth is: no one's around. If it's not the cold that stops you it's the darkness; if not the darkness, it's the lonely, empty feeling of running in the middle of nowhere in a white out. There are endless reasons and excuses of why not to get out for a run in November, but there is one major reason why we all should. Not only are you getting a long run in but you're also getting in significant mental training, key to ultra training. Anyone who's ever run an ultra will tell you its 90% mental and 10% physical. Sometimes you just gotta embrace the suck.

Years ago, I was running my first ultra when an older runner took pity on me. He mentioned I had a significant disadvantage at events like this because I lacked "old man strength". He went on talking about two farmers from two different generations, both having food poisoning. The junior pouting and whining curled under the kitchen table all day while the senior was still able to complete a 14 hour work day. The only way to handle adversity is to face adversity often. Confused and annoyed I ran on and later found out the hard way that he was right.

That being said, training in the cold, dark Alberta winter can be (if you choose it to be) an opportunity. As a runner let this cold winter off season help you develop and condition your mental strength and get one step closer to finding your inner old man.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

gotta get stronger, let's plank!

Almost two weeks ago I got my ass handed to me at the Grizzly Ultra in Canmore, AB. At the 8K mark the lead group pulled away from me at which was already a stupid fast pace. As I watched Duncan Marsden gliding ahead I noticed how there was a certain togetherness to his stride which made running look almost easy. So I conclude, after comparing my running stride with his: Duncan looked strong, myself more wibbly and nonlinear.

Now to say I don't have an efficient stride would be wrong. I've had a good race season with a number of wins and increasingly faster times, but if I want to take my running to the next level I have to locate my weaknesses and address them. If I had a coach (which I don't because I have control issues) I'm sure this hypothetical coach would have a number of solutions to my number of hangups. Since I'm flying solo I will just have to go at it using trial and error.

The off season is the perfect time to improve your weaknesses. So the first one I'd like to take a stab at is my core strength; being that I have no core strength. On top of my regular strength workouts, my core workout currently consists of randomly hitting the ground and planking for a minute or two and...well...that's about it. My buddy Caroline Toppazzini is doing the 30 day plank challenge. So I plan to follow suit, but being that I'm bat shit crazy, I'm going to double the time spent planking. Basically topping out at 10 minutes on the 30th day....GULP! The goal is to develop significant strength in my core, hoping that by next year I can keep pace with the stone cold killers in the lead pack of a redlining 50K. In the meantime if it so happens I look better with my shirt off, I may just do as Justin Bieber does and randomly lose my shirt in public places.


Monday, October 14, 2013

Grizzly Ultra 50K

photo by Phil Villeneuve
      On October 13th I laced up for one last race for what has been a long, exhausting racing season. The Grizzly Ultra is a technical 50K race at the Canmore Nordic Center in Kananaskis country. Before the race started I knew it was going to be a tough race. Firstly I'm not strong at the 50K distance. Secondly, I heard it would be a super fast lead group, enticing me to go out with them at the start which would certainly increase the suck factor later in the race.

     Once the race started that is what exactly happened. The lead group consisting of Jakub Sumbera, Duncan Marsden, Francois Leboeuf, Tyson Smith, Andy Reed, Devin Featherstone and myself pushed the pace, which is easy to do on the first 26K. The first half of the course consists of rolling hills on a double track course. At the 10K mark I glanced at my GPS that read 40:20. Careful Dave, that's a crazy fast start, so I decided to drop the pace and fall back of the now lead group of 3-

At finish line
4 guys. Still feeling comfortable I continued with my moderate pace knowing the course was going to get far more technical with bigger climbs in the second half. Curious to see how my pace was, I looked at my watch at 21K, 1:29:30!!! Shut the front door! Backing off my pace once again I found myself running a consistent pace going into leg 3 and the beginning of the technical single track. My body felt good addressing the rooty climbs and tricky descents. Upon completion of the third leg with only 12K left to go, I noticed Andy Reed about 1-2 minutes back. Knowing that he noticed me, he was going to pick up the pace to catch me. So I would have to do the same to make sure that didn't happen. The fourth leg really left me hurting. When I left to do the fifth and final leg I saw Andy coming in from his fourth. Now only 1 minute up on Andy I had to somehow convince my exhausted and beaten body to have one final strong push. As tired as I felt and probably looked, Andy informed me after the race that he didn't feel any better. The final leg was a suffer-fest but all the hurt disappeared quickly when I saw my three kids, wife and mom at the finish line. 

Adele, Sam, and Julia
My time was 4:19:27 which was good for a sixth place finish. As for all the crazy fast horses, Jakub Sumbera won and set a CR in a time of 3:45:39. WHAT?!? Duncan Marsden captured second in 3:52:28 and Francois Leboeuf snagged third in 3:54:18. Three runners all breaking the old CR held by Phil Villeneuve and all coming in under 4 hours!!!

Overall, the race went well for a 50K. Legs felt good, fueling was okay and venue was awesome. I would totally come back and do this race again...if they bumped it to 100K!

Lt: Me, Ctr: Jakub Sumbera, Rt: Duncan Marsden


Sunday, October 6, 2013

The Tried and True Granola Bar

It's a weekly routine of mine to preheat the oven and mix up a batch of my oh-so-yummy granola bars. With a ton of nutrients and good fats, I find it's the perfect snack to have in your bag whenever the hunger strikes.  Not having these on hand leaves the door open to buy the readily available crap that is everywhere.

1 1/2 cup quick oats
1 cup almonds
1 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup flax seeds or chia seeds
1/2 cup hemp seed
3/4 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup liquid honey

Combine. Pour on parchment paper on cookie sheet. Press firmly. Bake 17-19 min. @ 350. Let cool then cut into 16 bars.

Whether I'm trying to fulfill my nutritional needs while training, recovering from a race or loading for an ultra, these bars pack a punch in a small very tasty square. Check the nutritional value:
242 calories, 14 g fat, 1.5 g sat. fat, 25 g carbs, 4.5 g fibre, and 7 g protein.


Sweet mother, I'm getting hungry just writing this!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

MitoCanada, Running on Empty 2013

A big thank you to all my friends who donated to this awesome cause!!!

MitoCanada's Running On Empty was a perfect event for trail runners and mountain bikers to loop a fun, yet technical single track course all the way making new friends, chatting with old friends and bumping shoulders with all different abilities. Enjoying the beautiful day was only part of the experience. The other was raising funds and awareness for MitoCanada.  Please, please, please visit the link provided to find out more about this amazing foundation.

The first thing I noticed at the Nordic Center in Canmore AB (the replacment course due to the June floods) was that everyone, long time friends and complete strangers were all smiling ear to ear. To be clear, this is not a race but a personal challenge to complete as many laps as you can either solo or on a team. I decided that I would relax, run a reasonable pace and run alongside as many runners as I could. The day started with me running two 8.5K laps with a new friend and ultra juggernaut Andy Reed. We shared stories, laughs and he told me about his incredible 24th place finish at this years Leadville 100M. The rest of the day was spent  meeting and making a long list of new friends.

My only regret on the day was not running a lap with Blaine.  I heard about Blaine and his family's story in March of 2011 when my son Sam ended up in the hospital with flacid paralysis. A biopsy was performed to test for mitochondrial disease. Not knowing what mitochondrial is, I did what every parent seems to do: I went home and Googled it. The first thing to pop up was a video about Evan Penny, Blaine and Sarah's son. Immediatly I felt peace. The way the Penny family goes about their life and challenges is truly inspirational. The biopsy came back 3 months later and was negative. Currently Sam's disorder is undiagnosed and continues to be researched. He continues to suffer a form of ataxia (lack of balance and coordination).  All who meet the Penny family are lucky to see that they are the epitomy of strength and positivity.

Next year may shift back to the original course of West Bragg Creek out to Canmore all throughout Kananaskis country, picking up runners as we trek along. I totally recommend this event for anyone wanting to meet like minded people, enjoy Kananaskis trails, and want to raise awareness and funds for the best foundation around.

Remember to check out their site!

Friday, September 27, 2013

Highs and lows from a first time 100 miler: Lost Soul 2013

It’s been 6 years since the last time I raced the Lost Soul Ultra. In the last several years I’ve taken running more seriously and thought that given my recent success in 100K and 50M distances that it’s about time that I challenged myself with a 100M. But why on earth would I run my first 100M at LS in Lethbridge AB given the reputation for being the toughest race around. Maybe its forgetfulness or utter stupidity. Either way on Sept. 6 I laced my shoes up and toed the starting line of what will soon be the most memorable running experience of my life.

The horn sounded at 8am and the race started quicker than I would have liked. The 100K and 100M racers all started together, followed by the 50K’s the next day at 7am. Devin Featherstone and Carl Pryce, a couple of 100K racers, took off right away. For whatever reason, I thought it was a good idea that I follow. Speed likes company and I soon realized there were a large number of runners tight on our heels, which set the stage for an incredibly fast first 53K loop. Amongst the trailing group were some strong runners Oleg Tabelev, Neil Rybak, Bernadette Benson, Alissa St. Laurent and John Hubbard. I think 6 runners posted a sub 6-hour first loop, crazy fast! The pace felt fine, body strong and mind at ease so I kept roughly the same pace all throughout the first loop. I completed the first of three loops in 5hrs 21min. In front of all 100K and 100M runners I felt in control at a reasonable pace. All through the first loop I ate every 30 min. mostly on food provided at the aid stations i.e. bananas, sandwiches and chips. When an aid station wasn't close I'd rely on gels to get the fuel in. Fluid intake was positive with around 700ml of water plus Nuun taken every hour.

Sharon, my wife and crew, handed me my iPod to start the second loop. I created a playlist that had only songs with 180 to 185 bpms. This worked wonderfully, my head was in a good space and my body followed suit.  To prepare myself for this race I knew I’d have to beat the heat to post a reasonable time. In the coulee valley it's said to be 5-10 degrees hotter than what the temp posts and that day was no exception. To help me cope I wore a white cotton shirt that I'd blast with ice water every 15 min. The cotton holds the water and sticks quite well to the skin. I also wore a straw cowboy hat which allowed great coverage from the sun and could store a lot of ice inside.  Even with those adaptions when the heat came it brought me to my knees, literally. Around the 75K mark somewhere between the Peenaquim and Pavan aid stations the heat got to me and I bonked big time. Another mistake I made about 30 minutes before crashing was choosing to use some of my drinking water to pour down my shirt to cool me off. Not only was I overheating but also dehydrated, gulp! I came lumbering into the Pavan aid station where my wife/crew knew right away something was wrong. Sharon knew I needed an ice bath and I needed it right now. Another angel was a volunteer dressed as a zombie, later learned his name is Terry. He came right to my aid and knew exactly what I needed. Thanks man! Cold and overstocked with water I set out on the long Pavan to Pavan loop and was able to pick up my pace again. With ultras, the question isn’t if you’ll crater, it’s how quickly can you get your legs back under you and try not to bonk again. My fueling still to this point was not an issue. Consuming roughly 150 calories every half hour and switching up the foods regularly. I still looked forward to eating and my stomach was nice and settled.  The rest of the second loop felt solid and despite losing significant time due to the bonk I still felt positive. My average pace had dropped and if I tried to push that line I'd get a big spike in my heart rate reminding me that I have a new normal now. Crappy, but all I can do now is adapt, and adapt I did. At that point all my focus was anchored on meeting up with my pacer and brother Dan Proctor for the third and final lap. Dan has never run an ultra but he has something that was absolutely crucial to me finishing strong that day. Dan has a mile high personality and can tell stories like no one's business and he did not disappoint. After finishing the second loop I learned I had a lead of around one hour and my main competitor Oleg dropped from the race around the 95K mark. Fueling, hydration, heart rate management and body were all feeling good, considering I’m now in new territory: 105K. This is the first time I’ve run over the 100K mark. Just a mere 55K more to go, right?!? For the next 4 hours Dan and I ran up and down the coulees in the dark. I quickly learned they are really tricky to maneuver at night. Dan the storyteller and me the captive audience.

All was good until the 135K mark, the farthest point of the course. I remember telling Dan that I felt really tired and at the top of a large coulee I oddly decided to lie down quickly falling asleep after muttering incoherently for a few seconds. Dan let me have a five-minute powernap. He then woke me with a solid slap to the face. What a guy! But that could have ended very poorly and I can't thank him enough for being there for me. It was incredibly difficult to get up from the tall grass. But all I could think of was how the grass looked like a pillowy soft cloud that when in it’s comfort all my body aches and tiredness disappeared. Until Dan reminded me my lead and the course record was slipping away. We pressed on at a slower pace. The exhaustion was getting the best of me in my first 100 miler. At the end of my second loop I knew the course record was within reach. But after the powernap and the underestimated time it takes to run the coulees at night, at 140K I knew it was too much time to beat the CR.  At the next aid station I saw my friend Wayne Gaudet. He encouraged me that the record could still be mine if I put in a solid last two sections. So Dan and I shot out of that aid station like a cannon. That didn’t last very long. The first climb between Pavan and Peenaquim I was left standing still half way up. Blurred vision, disoriented and for the first time during the race, feeling like I needed to vomit. I knew now the course record was ultimately out of hand. I turned to Dan and we agreed that the best action would be to enjoy ourselves the rest of the journey and that we did.

Upon the final few K’s of the race I noticed there was blood in my urine. This has never happened to me before. No abdominal pain, just blood. Being close to the finish I knew the race would have medical staff on hand at the finish line which eased my worries.

At 5:26 am on Saturday September 7th coming in at 21hrs 26min, I took my first step across the finish line winning this years Lost Soul 100M Ultra. Loud cheering and applause came from my entire crew who lovingly stayed up all day and night awaiting my arrival. I am a very, very lucky man!

The blood cleared from my urine within hours and the race doctor cleared me. Now, finally, it’s time to REST.

The question is: would I do anything different next time? The simple answer and the one everyone would expect is to not go out as fast...but I don’t know about that. The pace felt so comfortable, but I know my bonk on the second lap could have been lessened or eliminated with a more relaxed pace. My milage in training all year has been solid so I felt fit and strong enough. Fuel and hydration went very well. Cowboy hat and cotton shirt seemed to keep my body cooler than ever before, so I’ll definitely be wearing those again. Now for the weirdest thing: people have told me that trail runners are a must on that course. I ran all 100M in one pair of New Balance 890’s road shoes and never felt once compromised in relation to traction, support or rigidity. And get this, no blister’s or nail issues!!!!!!
Big thanks go out to my lovely wife and crew Sharon, my 3 beautiful children Julia, Sam, and Adele, the best pacer a guy could ask for, my brother Dan. My best bud and training partner John Hubbard. Big shout out goes to all the organizers, officials, and volunteers at the best race I’ve ever run the Lost Soul Ultra!