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.