Friday, December 4, 2015

Seriously Scary Stuff - a WTF Moment

Three weeks ago I sat in the ER at St. Joesph's hospital and had one of the scariest and somehow bizarrely surreal experiences of my life. I had given my test results to the doctor and as he read them he asked me "Do you know what this is?"
"Yes" I did, unfortunately.
"Do you know how lucky you are to still be here?"
 No reply from me as my brain tried to grapple with what was going on.
"You might think your unlucky because you have gotten a blood clot but actually you are very lucky."
And so my year of running hell continues.

Its been over 8 months since I posted here, wow. I would like to chalk it all up to laziness but the truth is I have not felt like talking about running AT ALL. This past year has been highlighted by health issues and been pretty much a disaster. Every time I thought I was about to come out of it I got hit by another bombshell.

Western States was a disaster and it was all down hill from there. In the next few weeks I will be retracing my steps and putting up an couple of posts on exactly what went on all spring, summer and fall. I expect that maybe the most boring series of posts in the history of the internet but I want to get it all down somewhere. The hope is that I will be able to look back at it all at some point down the road and be glad I am past it.

So here is the short version of what is happening right now. After not being able to run since the summer I was given a preliminary diagnosis of Compartmental Syndrome in my lower left leg which seemed really bad at the time. That means surgery and probably 6 months minimum off. Definitely not good but it could be worse. Well turns out it was worse.

I was sent to get imaging done so I would have those tests to give to the specialist I was going to have to see. What those test revealed was that what I really had was Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT). You can read about it here. Essentially a large blood clot in my left calf. It was chronic meaning it went undiagnosed for most likely months. This might have started last July but maybe it goes all the way back to March.

From the doctors office it was straight to the ER where they started DVT  periodicals. That meant a visit once a day to the ER for multiple injections of blood thinners into my stomach for 8 days until the oral medication could take effect.

It ends up that a DVT a very serious, sometimes fatal condition (death rate is 1 in 9). Its most dangerous in the first 1-10 days as a piece of the clot can break off and go to the lungs. During that time I didn't even know I had it which is why I was lucky that it didn't turn into something worse.

So where does that leave me now? I can start exercising again so I began to ease back into things with a couple of 4km runs this week. With any luck I will be able to build things back to where I used to be as a runner but that will be a slow process. It certainly doesn't help that I am now really overweight and completely out of shape. I will be okay to run as long as there are no more complications. How long and how far is another question which I have no answers for at this point. The hope is to go back doing all the things I did before but right now there is no way to tell for sure. Next week I hope to get a little bit more information when I see a Hematologist.

One of the issues is that I don't really fall under the categories / risk factors that usually cause this to happen. Was this related to my breathing issues earlier this year? None of the doctors are sure but all my tests (heart, lungs, blood, etc.) came back normal. Maybe that was viral, maybe that was Over Training Syndrome (OTS) or maybe the two things are related. All I know is that at least there is a little bit of a light at the end of the tunnel.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Running Again, Looking for Pacers, ATB this Weekend

Finally I am back to running again. The calf is not 100% so I have to stay away from hills and trails for now but at least I am able to run. I expect I should be totally back to “normal” in another week or so. I am trying really hard to be smart and sensible about things but the trails tempt and taunt me every single day when I run past High Park. Man this running thing has to be the stupidest sport ever.

So with a return to running I can begin to allow myself to think about all my upcoming 100 mile races. I have already secured a pacer to run with me for the last 50 miles of Western States. Norman Nadon from Running Free Orangeville and Race Director for Chase The Coyote has been kind enough to offer to drag my ass through the Sierra Nevada mountains.

I also have coaching and running buddy Chris Henderson coming out to Utah to pace me for part of Wasatch. Karen Pride, fresh off of racing the Canadian Death Race, will help get me through to the finish as well. I have run with both of them before and they have seen me at the end portions of other 100s so they already have a good idea of what to expect.

I don't have anyone officially lined up to run with me at Vermont but because we are driving to this race I am fairly certain I will be able to drag a few of my coaching clients out onto the trail with me. Kind of gives them a chance to torture me and get back at me for all the ridiculously hard workouts I keep giving them.

That leaves me looking for pacers for Leadville AGAIN. Why I have so much trouble finding someone to run with me here is odd. I mean they have legalized marijuana in Colorado, that should make this pacing gig a no brainer. Okay seriously if you are interested in running (or walking slowly) in the mountains on August 22nd let me know. As an added bonus I all but guarantee that there will be bacon. Pot and bacon, together, seriously, thats like the biggest incentive ever.

Around the Bay
This Sunday is Around the Bay. I have a good group of runners that I have been coaching that will all be running the 30k race. I will be pacing someone as racing is out of the question due to the wonky calf. Should be fun regardless although I am super disappointed that they were forced to take out the big hill at the end of the course due to construction. I think this is the 7th time I have run this race and I have somehow managed to have fun every time. Now if we just get decent weather it should be a great weekend.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Running frustrations, a slight reprieve, more running frustrations

All I can say is wow what a frustrating February and March it has been when it comes to my running. Things had been going so great in my base training until I got the flu in January and since then its been like I am trapped and blundering through a really bad Monty Python skit.

After I got mostly over the flu in January I just could not seem to shake off the cough and lack of energy. I was slow and lethargic even though I was putting in normal base effort. By mid January it was pretty clear that running the Beast of Burden 100 was not a good idea. Honestly I just didn't have the energy that it was going to take me and I worried how much it would end up beating me up for my spring training. I made what as it turns out was a good call and went for the DNS however unfortunately the right call didn't help me as much as I had hoped.

At the end of January I made trip number 1 to the doctor where they gave me a puffer and what I can only call a patronizing attitude. That was on the Friday and two days later I headed out to meet my coaching clients for a Sunday long run. Half way up the hill coming out of the humber valley on Bloor Street my run was reduced to a walk. I could not run at all as I could not breath. Air seemed to be going into my lungs yet failing to make it any farther. What the heck! I walked to the flat area at the top of the hill and tried to run again but same thing. So much for the long run but it was really cold out and I figured maybe that was an issue. Yeah I know thats a total lie to myself, we all know it but it made me feel better in the moment.

Two days after I headed into the gym figuring I would jump on the dreadmill where it was warm, dry and there would be not hills in sight. First attempt I lasted less than 2 minutes before I had to get off breathing like i just ran my 5k pace for 10k. I was incredulous, I walked around the gym in disbelieve until eventually ending back at the treadmill again. I know I stood there for a minute or two sizing the damn thing up like a sparring opponent. If anyone was watching I would have looked kind of silly to them for sure. I figured back on and just go really, really slow. Take 2 lasted less than 60 seconds, what the @%&#.

The next day it was doctor visit # 2 for a second opinion. They put me on a stronger inhaler and antibiotics with suspected bronchitis. I did not attempt to run for 10 days in fact walking up stairs or the escalator in the subway was leaving me winded. After 10 days I headed out for a slow run planning to pace Kim. It was a disaster, I could have sworn that I heard some yell “Ice-burg Ahead” but probably not as I was moving so slowly I could have easily turned the ship away.

I am now totally freaking right out and I mean right out. Seems being able to breath is somewhat important for a runner. Is there something seriously wrong with me (okay bit of a trick question). I stop calling myself a runner and think about taking up smoking right away. Kim must be a saint because I know that I am miserable and must be a great deal of fun to be around, even the cats avoid me.

Back to the Doc for trip # 3. He comes in and he looks like he is about 12 years old which makes me realize that I am getting old faster than expected. He tells me to do nothing and give it 4 more days over the long weekend. I put my smoking experiment on hold for the time being and wait it out.

After the 4 days are finally up I head out for a easy run. Holy crap I can run, not back to normal mind you but at least I can run and breath at the same time. I am so glad to be able to run even if every day it is -25 and the footing is terrible. Time lost to bronchitis ends up being 18 days, damn thats a long time.

I join some of the Longboat guys on Saturday morning for a short run. Its snowing and footing sucks but I actually run my normal easy run pace and it is easy. Hallelujah, finally let the serious training begin again.

Here we go again
Hold on, not so fast buddy. I feel fine after the run and head back home. Sometime later in the afternoon I feel some soreness in my left calf. No big deal, happens all the time to us old dudes. I go back to a more normal running schedule and all is fine for 3 or 4 days except for a bit of discomfort in the calf. Then after my end of week runs the calf sudden gets really angry and apparently hates me as it becomes very sore. Not sore (just tight) while running but really sore when not running.

I try to run through it for a few more days but its clear I need to get it back to normal or there will be no serious training especially hill training. As I type this its day 7 of no running. The good news is I could probably run on it right now but I am giving it an extra day or 2 to play it safe. With any luck the next time you hear from me I will be complaining about how the weather sucks during my runs or some such thing.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Running Plans in 2015

Well 2014 just flew by, so much pain, misery and fun that its going to take a lot longer blog entry than this to get it all wrapped up. I will save that for another upcoming post and talk about what 2015 has in store as far as my own running stuff.

First and foremost on the coaching front I have a really good group of runners doing mostly long distance programs and training with me. Who knew there were so many people that are such gluttons for punishment and also willing to pay for it. In all seriousness though a big thanks to those that have chosen me to entrust their training to. It should be a lot of fun. You can check out what we are doing on the website.

Secondly I am in the process of trying to organize a couple of races for the coming year. I hope to have a lot more about that in the next few months so stayed tuned.

Last but not least my own racing schedule is quickly coming into focus. Originally the plan was that I was going to run both the winter and summer Beast of Burden 100s and if the lottery gods were kind run the Western States 100 in between. Well I got into Western so that should have been that until I woke up the next day with a bad case of the crazies.

I had always planned to attempt at some point to run the Grand Slam of Ultrarunning. A huge and difficult goal for anyone little lone a back of the pack 100 guy like me. When I got into Western after 5 years of trying I realized that this most likely will be the only chance I get to attempt this. If I manage to get into WS again down the road I will be older (read slower) so it's kind of like now or never. I am not sure what will happen but I know it will be a crazy adventure and hell what else can you ask for out of life.

For those that don't know the Grand Slam consists of 4 different 100 mile races run over the course of a single summer. Each one is very tough on its own with every race having its own unique challenges so here they are.

Western States June 27 - 28th

Western States Elevation Chart

Western States, busted quads here I come

Vermont 100  July 18th - 19th

Vermont 100 elevation chart

Vermonts heat and humidity makes it tough

Leadville elevation chart

Leadville, its all about the altitude 

Wasatch Front 100

Wasatch Front elevation chart

25,763 feet of climbing, yikes! 

I am also running Beast of Burden 100 winter addition on January 24th. I hope to run the full 100 however with the Slam now my main goal any potential serious problems will cause me to not take any chances. I really need to make sure I enter my WS training healthy.

Also expect to run a pile of trail races and maybe a couple of marathons as training runs starting in April. I know I expect to be running Around the Bay 30k, Hynerview Challenge 50k and PYP (50k or 25k). In early May it will be back to Bear Mountain to pace my friend Chris H to his first 50 Mile finish then  Seaton (25k or 50k) and Sulphur Springs 50k. Good possibility that I may throw in Buffalo and Waterloo Marathons to give me some big back to back long run days.

Kim will joining me in Colorado for a week leading up to Leadville so she will be running the Pikes Peak Ascent and then it looks like she will do Oil Creek (if she can get in). I may join her to pace during those races.

HOLY CRAP thats kind of busy but you know what they say keep moving or die. Want to crew or pace and watch me suffer live and in person? Let me know!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Beast of Burden 100 (summer) Race Report

Beast of Burden 100 Race Report

The first question to be answered is how did I end up in this race? I had originally intended on running 48hrs at Dirty Girls which is held the same weekend. Unfortunately crushing my ankle at Limberlost derailed those plans. I could not run for the next 2 weeks and after that I could only run flat. DG is very hilly and I knew that there is no way the ankle would last for 2 days of running on a tough technical course.

Problem is after getting my Western States qualifier at Mohican my main season objective was done so I came up with a new goal. I would attempt to run four 100 mile races in 4 months, kind of my own secret slam. I really wanted to see how my body would react as I was considering racing the mid Atlantic slam next year if I didn't get into WS.

A quick look at other 100 mile races in the area led me to Beast of Burden. The good, course is flat, on a towpath so not technical and less than 2 hours away. The bad, course is flat, not technical and totally exposed to the sun. Given my training had been aiming at hilly, technical runs I knew this would be a challenge. I figured I would either put up a really good time or I would struggle to finish, there would most likely be no in-between on this one.

Pre race

Kim and I drove down the morning of the race and arrived in plenty of time. This race starts at a weird time for 100 milers, 10AM. Good as we could drive there the same day, bad because if I ended up being slow I would be running in the midday heat twice. So far the summer had been unusually cool but forecast was calling for very hot temperatures all weekend.

I picked up my race kit which had a huge amount of swag in it and headed for the start line where I chatted briefly with fellow Ontario runner Brian Groot and then we were off.


It didn't take long to discover what I was in for as it was already hot right out of the gate. The course is a simple 12.5 miles out, 12.5 miles back along the Erie Canal. Just complete it 4 times and you're done, that’s all there is to it, easy right? Yeah not so much.

The race was as advertised completely flat (I got 36 meters of elevation change over 100 miles) and there was not a root or rock in sight to trip you up. The running surface is a bit of pavement and a lot of finely crushed gravel on the towpath. Actually a very comfortable running surface which should lead to putting up a great time. Yeah not so much.

From the start line you run about a mile, cross a bridge to the other side and run back in the opposite direction so that you pass the start line but on the other side of the canal at about 2 miles. From there you keep going along the canal in the same direction to the next aid station at 6.5 miles.

I run along with a guy from Florida for the next 6 miles or so and things seem to be going okay. My plan is to run faster than I would on trail and see what kind of time I can put up. It’s either crush it or be crushed and just end up finishing. There will be no in between in this race. I figure since there are no hills to walk I will run 25 min, walk 5. I mull this plan over for a week before the race and promise myself to stay with the plan. A mere hour into the race I end up off the plan. I feel great and am enjoying the company so I start skipping the walk breaks. It’s hot but not crazy hot so I kind of just go with it.

I end up losing Florida guy at the 6.5 mile aid station and back out on the course I run into another couple of Ontario guys at about 10 miles and run with them for a bit before letting them go. Its gone from hot to stupid stinking hot and its only noon. It is clear that this is going to get tough. The course is completely exposed to the sun and that is sure to spell trouble for me. By the time I hit the turn around aid station at 12.5 miles I am still hopeful of a good time but mildly concerned.

Kim is there and helps me get in and out fast. I pack some ice in my hat and bandana around my neck in an effort to stay cool and then head back out. It hits me right away, a wall of heat as soon as I turn back onto the canal to head the 11.5 miles back to the bridge crossing. There had been a nice breeze earlier but now that is gone and it is hot. I see a lot of people passing me outbound and many of them don't look happy.

This race is hard. I am roasting like a chicken on the spit at a Kenny Rogers restaurant. I stay on my drinking, take my salt and try to take my gels. The sun has converted the contents of my gel flask into a hot chocolate fudge sauce. It is disgusting but I manage to keep it down. It is so damn hot and at 20 miles I feel the wheels starting to come off already. What the hell!

I begin to see why this race can be so tough particularly for someone who does not run well in the heat. You often see a good mile ahead along the towpath where small ant size runners are making their way along the course well ahead of you until the path disappears around the next bend in the canal. Everything looks the same under a blazing sun, you can see the heat shimmering off the path ahead and the worse thing of all is you can see there is no shade. No shade just ahead, no shade for the next mile, no shade coming at all.

At 23 miles I pass the start/finish point which is still across the canal and 2 miles away. These next 2 miles seem to take forever. Finally I am in at 25 miles but things are a mess. My nutrition has been okay but I feel completely destroyed. The heat has already sucked most of the life out of me. I sit in a chair in complete disbelief as Kim gets me some food from the aid station. As far as I can remember I have never been this messed up this early in a race. Maybe at Creemore a few years back when it was crazy hot but that was a 50k, I didn't have 75 miles still to go.

I sit for a few minutes and rehydrate a bit. Kim brings me a snow cone from the aid station. Yes a snow cone and it is the best damn snow cone that has ever been made. I tell her I am no longer racing for time. I just got to make and effort and try to finish. I get ready to head out but first I pop into the aid station for another snow cone. I have to check and yes still the best snow cones ever made.

I am back on the course and moving, slowly but moving. I begin to feel a little better but not much. I run with an number of different people including a girl for Texas who was attempting the winter/summer Beast. She had done the winter version earlier in the year where there was no problem with it being too hot. I also ran a good deal of the leg alone which may have been good as I remember being tired and grumpy but slowly starting to come around.

I meet Kim and the 37.5 mile turn around. She gives me freezies and beer a near perfect combination for revival. I am starting to bounce back. She tells me that in the 15 minutes she has been at the aid station 7 people have come in and dropped. That is a huge number of drops for so early in the race. I tell her I am not surprised. The reality is there was only one reason that I had not dropped at 25 miles and that was previous 100 mile experience. If it had not been for all the previous races I had done, some ending in DNFs and some ending in finishes I would have called it quits. The one thing I have learned is that if you can hang in sometimes (but only sometimes) you can come back from the edge.

Soon I am back on the course again heading inbound. I go super slow to save my energy in the heat as soon it will be night and much cooler. By the time I get back to the 50 mile mark the sun is beginning to go down. I get a good bit of food into me and then proceed to throw it all back up as quickly as possible.

Back out the course I hook up with another guy and run a bit with him. The sun is almost down and swarms of black flies are out. I end up taking an unusually large mouthful of flies and one sticks in my throat. After a coughing fit I proceed to impress my new running buddy by puking out the flies, some gels and water all without having to stop or breaking stride. He says “Wow, that’s impressive.” I tell him not so much I just have a lot of practice at it.

The night arrives as does the cooler temperatures. I had hoped to pick up the pace but I am having a problem with my hamstring. I have lots of time and know time will not factor into my finish so I opt to run less and walk more. I get to the 62.5 miles turn around in decent time. Its actually cool enough to put on a long sleeve. I head back out quickly and early on I get passed by Brian. He is 25 miles ahead of me and as far as I can tell is in second place which is where he ends up finishing.

Its dark and I run the whole way back alone. For the most part I see nobody. Usually I occupy my mind during night running by watching out for tripping hazards, hills, wild animals and trying to not get lost but there are none of these issues on the course. Outside of one aid station stop all I see is gravel path in the beam of my headlamp for hours. A new problem rears it ugly head during this time as I begin to fall asleep on my feet. I have heard of this happening to others but have never experienced it myself. It is bizarre, I keep almost nodding off and am not able to run or walk in a straight line. I end up spending the next hour wobbling along the trail like a drunken partier just out of the bar after last call on Queen St. West. Finally I can see the start/finish turn around on the other side of the canal. The 2 miles to get there takes forever and I roll in just before dawn.

Kim goes to grab me food at the aid station and comes back with bacon. I have come to the conclusion that bacon is the greatest ultra food ever invented and send her back for more. I swear it must have some kind of magical powers. You can eat it no matter how messed up you are. I am told it comes from pigs but I doubt it. At least I doubt it about this bacon, this bacon clearly comes from Unicorns or maybe a Griffin.

I head back out for the last 25 miles just as the sun comes up. I feel okay but the hamstring is not very cooperative. Kim meets me at mile 2 with a Tim Hortons coffee and a gallon of sugar which really hits the spot. I am mostly walking or running very slow due to the leg.

I have no worries about finishing now but its going to take awhile and I can tell from the mist coming off the water that it is going to be hot again soon. By the time I hit the middle aid station it is scorching hot. I ask them if they know the temperature. The guy checks his phone and tells me 84 degrees, its only 9 AM! Oh crap.

I stagger along to the turn around for the last time occasionally seeing a few runners well ahead of me. I make it to turn around and Kim fixes me up and sends me back from the direction I have come. Much of the final 12.5 miles is a blur, mostly burnt out of mind by the pounding sunshine. I remember seeing Texas girl at the half way aid station. She wants me to run with her but my leg will not allow it, I am into zombie mode now.

Foot traffic has picked up along the towpath some kids run by me and just before they get to me one yells snake and jumps in the air. I look over as I pass and sure enough there is a big ass snake lying in the middle of the path. Probably would have stepped right on it if the kids weren't coming in the other direction. No idea what kind of snake it was, maybe poisonous maybe not, don't think I cared much at that point. Pretty sure it wasn't a cobra or a black mamba but it was freaking big.

Just past the snake I see one of the bridges that cross the canal. I know its just a mile to the 10.5 mile mark from here. I am so happy I try to run some. It hurts but I don't care soon I will be done. I run for a good mile only to discover that the bridge I saw was not the one I though it was. Did I mention things looked the same on this course? When I see the actual real bridge I can't believe it and immediately fall back into the death shuffle.

Finally I round a corner and see the start finish line across the canal. I am literally 300 meters away but still have to run 2 more miles. So cruel, so very, very cruel. Kim meets me here to “run” me in. It is a million degrees out now and every step elicits a grunt, groan or some other sound effect from me.

Some other struggling runner catches up with me and Kim in the last half km. He chats with us a bit and the tags along. I think he didn't want to pass me in the last few 100 meters of the race so I tell him he should go ahead if he can which he does. Somehow this says a lot about what ultra running is about.

Finally I see the finish line and slowly make my way across it. I am slow with a finish time of 28:16:01 but I manage to get it done on what turns out to be the 2 hottest days of the summer. I pick up my belt buckle and sit in front the cooling station which is a giant fan that blows water mist at you. Greatest invention ever. I little bit of cooling and then its time for a beer sitting in the shade.

Post race

A couple of final thoughts about this race. I had a lot of fun here, race is very well organized, unbelievably good volunteers and aid stations. Also crazy race swag including 2 shirts, beer mug, almond butter, bandana, sombrero. Even though the terrain is not my cup of tea somehow I ended up signing up for the winter version in January.

PS. thanks to Kim for driving me, snow coning me, beering me, getting me bacon, coffee and helping me to keep going. Sorry for almost throwing up on your shoes. No way I finish without that help.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Western States Entry, Time for a Slam, Pacing at the Tannenbaum 10k

Western and the Grand Slam

So for the fifth year in a row I rushed home from my Saturday morning run, booted up my computer and watched the Western States 100 lottery live online. Early on I was hopeful given all the tickets that I had in that big spinning drum but as the 270 spots for runners began to fill up things began to look grim again this year. By the time they had gotten to 200 runners picked a number of Ontario runners were already selected including Iris Cooper and Ken Niemimaa.

I had already begun to ponder what race I would run in 2015 to get my next WS 100 qualifier when I could have sworn I heard my name called. I actually thought I might have been hallucinating so I waited to see it posted in the list and sure enough there I was #219. I would like to say I was happy and I was very, very happy but also I think I must have been in shock because it took me a good hour to realize that I was actual going to be running this thing.  

I spent the next few days thinking about what I was going to do. You see I had told myself that the only way I would go back to try and run Leadville again is if I got into Western and then I would attempt the Grand Slam of Ultrarunning. You see since I figured I was never, ever getting into WS I was in no danger of going back to Leadville and being stomped on by that altitude anytime soon.

Finally I figured heck I may never get another chance to do this with it being so hard to get into WS that I might as well go for it. Am I biting off more than I can chew, probably but it would not be the first time and hey sometimes it all works out. I have never regretted trying so no matter what happens I will not end up sitting around crying about what if I had taken a chance and just gone for it. I mean really failing and not trying both have you ending up with the same result.

So the big races for the season are set, Western States 100 on June 27-28, Vermont 100 on July 18-19, Leadville 100 on August 22-23 and Wasatch Front on September 11-12. Throw in a bunch of trail races in the spring to get ready such as PYP, Seaton, Sulphur, Hynerview and NFC Bear Mountain and we should be good to go.

Elf Sighting

On Sunday fresh off of my Western States delirium I headed down to the beaches to pace the Tannenbaum 10k. I had a number of runners that I coach running it so I wanted to be there but with my ankle still a bit tender from a trail “mishap” I was not going to be able to race it. Instead I volunteered to be the 70 minute pacing elf.  

I knew this would be a bit of a challenge as going that slow would force me out of my natural gait making it hard to keep a consistent pace. I figured a good start was to run with slightly tired legs so I ran a double on Saturday and then ran the 19km to the race start Sunday morning.

I have to say I had a lot of fun. The weather was really good for a December race and the course was ice free. I started with a fairly big group of runners and just tried to stay as close to 7 minute kms as I could. We ended up hitting the 5km mark just slightly ahead of schedule, 15 seconds fast overall, not perfect but acceptable. The section between 4-6km the group somewhat split up with a bunch of runners actually taking off ahead. From 6-9km I managed to keep a very consistent pace and chatted with the runners that were with me. It turns out that at least 4 of them were running their first 10k race which was very cool and they were all working really hard. When I hit 9km all my runners took off ahead of me and I was running alone but still stuck to the pace just in case anyone was trying to catch up from behind. At this point I was 20 seconds ahead of schedule so still pretty good. With about 500 meters left I passed a girl that was struggling. She asked me if I was on time, which I was, as she really wanted to break 70 minutes so I paced her / talked her into the finish with plenty of time to spare. Final time for the 70 minute pace Elf was 69:33.

Some of the runners that had gone ahead came and found me after to thank me which was nice but really they were the ones that did all the hard work. I think pacing at a race is one of those things that ever runner should do at some point, not only are you giving back but it can be a lot of fun as well.

Race day was not quite over though as I went with the rest of the C+C runners up to Mackenzies for brunch. I felt that it was part of my coaching duties to make sure my runners knew the proper way to consume beer with their breakfast.

Next up: Flash back - Beast of Burden 100(Summer) race report

Thursday, December 4, 2014

I'm Back .. Western States Lottery and becoming a pacing Elf

I'm back! At least that's the hope anyway. Would like to make some kind of guarantee about that but I seem to remember promising to start posting regularly again a few times before only to follow that up with the greatest impression of Houdini ever.
I have not died, okay maybe just a little bit inside. I have not been institutionalized in a State Hospital which is actually pretty surprising to some people and I did not decide to swear off technology and move to a remote cabin like Ted Kaczynski.
No I just got real busy and real lazy all at the same time. Yes it is possible to be both at the very same time. Looks like I am not going to fix the busy part so I will try to at minimize the lazy part. So what has dragged me out of my summer slumber? Well first came the realization that if I don't write this stuff down I am bound to forget that it happened or at least exactly how it happened. That's old age for you. Even the stuff I would much rather forget should be written down somewhere. Then there is the wife who likes to remind me that I once had a blog that some people actually read once and a while and when am I getting back to that. Lastly there was this encounter at Oil Creek as my wife ran me in to the finish. HaHa ran, who am I kidding, try slowly walked me in at a zombie death shuffle pace.

Runner passing me “Hey I know you” says the guy I don't think I have seen before.
“Yeah, I used to read your blog” he says.
Ouch!! I mean he meant it in a nice way but all I heard was used to read your blog which kind of translates into what ever happened to your blog. I just got lazy seems like a wildly inappropriate answer to that. 

Turns out I have lots to write about that is going on right now and lots of stuff coming up. I also have a pile of unfinished oh so last summer race reports. I will try to keep up on the new stuff while revisiting this past summers racing with a few untimely race reports. Nothing like reminiscing about a run in a heat wave while the snow is falling outside.

Western States Lottery
Here we go again, names in for the WS 100 lottery. Drawing is this Saturday and I will be watching it online which is some kind of sick self torture. This is the 5th year of attempting to get in and the chances are 54% according to the website. All my previous failures give me 16 tickets and it looks like a good chance but I am not holding my breath. The lottery gods hate me so I think it will be another 2 or 3 years before they honour me by agreeing to take my money.

Tannenbaum 10k
Will be heading down to the Tannenbaum 10k on Sunday. I am not racing but will be a pacing Elf for one of the pacing groups. That's Elf not Alf. It should be a lot of fun and there are about 6 runners I am coaching racing. Here's hoping for no snow between now and then. Check back next week to find out how it went.

Related Posts with Thumbnails