Monday, 9 January 2012

Chuckanut 50: Successful Registration!

Is it okay to not listen to what your physiotherapist says? If the suggestion is "run no further than 10kms", and then you go out for 19, is that a bad thing? Apparently things are looking good for me. The ankle is mobile and ready to go.

The last few days have been absolutely great. Today, Refused and at the drive-in announced reunions at Coachella. 14 years since Refused broke up, and 11 since ATDI. Wow! These bands are absolutely treats--post hardcore bands that defined a genre--some of the most influential rock from the last ten years, give a few. This music is not for everyone, but it sort of defines a time in my 20s that is unforgettable. These bands

This weekend, I managed to get a spot in the Chuckanut 50. This is the 20th anniversary of the 50km Ultra Marathon out of Fairhaven, WA. St. Patrick's day of 2012 will be memorable. I am super stoked to attempt this distance, and to finish. It will be a good one, but worth the training and effort. I have slowly started my training in 2012, and after taking some time off in the last few weeks, I feel rested and ready to go. So now it is time to crank up the mileage on a weekly basis, and the frequency of my runs. Today I took off after the 19 yesterday, but tomorrow AM I will be back at it, morning and evening. Life is good right now.

Some food for thought:

And, my new favorite blogsite: This is Colossal. The art pieces posted on this site are marvelous, beautiful, simple, thoughtful.

Friday, 6 January 2012

Freedom: Unlocking my foot

My ankle has been locked for the last 6 months. I found this out tonight at my 2nd round of physiotherapy, after a session with Christine at Physiomoves. After a short assessment, she managed to pop the foot out of it's jammed state with relative ease, and increase my range of motion and mobility more than I have been able to do in the last few months. I should have taken care of the ankle long ago, and thus prevented my Achilles injury, and now my calf injury. She said to take it easy on my run this weekend, if it feels good go for 10km, no more than that give or take. We will see how it feels, and make a call from there. A bit of kineseo tape on my Achilles and I was on my way, feeling better after two sessions than I have in six months. Sunday run is coming, Chucknut 50 registration tomorrow morning. Now I just hope to get in and be well enough to run in two days.

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Physio Day One

Yesterday I paid a visit to my physiotherapist, ReneƩ, who doubles as my sister in-law. Perhaps a combination of not running this week, and the treatment she gave me has resulted in much improvement in my leg. The achilles is not nearly as sore as usual, the ankle is the best it has felt, and my calf is feeling normal. I check in with Physiomoves (Tyler Dumont's set up) tomorrow, so maybe they can tell me something more about it tomorrow, such as causes of the injury, what I should do in terms of running, and duration and intensity of my training. I hear that it takes six weeks to meet up with Tyler, so I will get who I get tomorrow. He is a popular physio, and he also teaches at UBC.

Sunday is looking good, and Saturday is the Chuckanut 50 registration, so I feel like I need to get out there. I am kinda chompin' at the bit to be honest. Patience will pay off for me if I take some more time right now.

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Bad to worse...injured and in pain...

Today was the first time in over a year and a half that I had to can my run shortly after starting it. 3km is all I could hack, and nearly half of that was walking back home. It seems that the sprained/ turned left ankle that I have been experiencing over the last few months, dating back to June, have finally put me on the shelf.

It is hard to walk, quite sore throughout the low and high ankle, and up the anterior shin. GRRRRRR.... I should maybe book a date with Tyler and get some physio to see what the real deal is. The goal now is to do nothing in terms of running until it gets better, hopefully that will be by Sunday if I keep taking the gel caps and icing it.

A bit of patience and TLC of this thing, and I should be alright, I hope. However, it is something that started in June, the soreness I have had since October, and perhaps I have reached the tipping point here. Calf raises are my bag now, and I will listen to doctors orders.

A little trail running vid c/o Adam Campbell. This is enough to get me out there.

Monday, 2 January 2012

Fraser Valley Trail Series #1 Crescent Park XC Resolution Run

How to not prepare for a trail race on New Years Day: Jam back 15 meatballs, a bunch of super delicious bacon wrapped pineapple, each some chips, have 7 beer, then start dinner at 10pm that consists of a striploin steak, potatoes, salad, and scallops and prawns. Go to sleep at 2 a.m.

Middle of the night meat sweats, can't sleep.

Wake at 8, jam down a small amount of oatmeal. Arrive at the race. Warm-up for a too few 15 minutes of light running. Then try to run your fastest 8km. I tried, got off to a good start, running in 4th, but then 2km in, my left leg started to give me fits. I slowed, lost my pace, and started to suffer in pain. The engine was fine, I run hard and get my HR up and keep it there just fine, but my leg. Oh! My leg! Ankle. Calf! I needed a better warm-up. I needed to build my run up to speed, rather than start super fast and expect to maintain. I needed a better warmup.

This year I was slower than last year, a year that I suffered but still made it in 34:15. This year: 35:30. Mediocre. I thought I could jam back a 32 minute race for sure. Anything less would have been awesome. But this New Years Day, my left leg did not want to cooperate. I feel like I willed myself across the line. All of my runs in December felt great compared to this one. Chalk NYD race up to a bad one.

I have 3 weeks to get my stuff together and prepare properly. Campbell Valley Footrace is next. That one is 10km of flooded out trails, a really hard race.

Here is the plan for 2012:

Jan 1.           Resolution Run, Crescent Park XC 8km
Jan 22.         Campbell Valley Stomp XC 10km
Feb. 5          Houston Trail Footace XC 10km
Feb. 13        First Half Half Marathon, Vancouver 21.1km
Feb. 26        Aldergrove Mud Run, 8km
Mar. 10       Dirty Duo, North Vancouver 25km
Mar. 17       Chuckanut 50, Fairhaven, WA. 50km
Mar 25        Dirty Feet Trail Half Marathon, Kamloops 21.1
May 6         Vancouver Marathon, 42.2km

I have two and a half weeks to get better for the next one. Two long runs over the next two Sunday's, shooting for 25 and 28 kms for each go. And the ultra training begins.....

2011: A Year in Review

Preparations for 2012 are in full swing, but this December has been comparatively quiet to the previous few months.I have not been getting out there and putting myself through the paces like the previous few months. Gone are the 30 to 40 hour training months, 8 to 10 hour training weeks. I am now on the marathon prep train. ALL ABOARD! The train leaves Tuesday and Thursday at 5:40 am sharp into the darkness. A return to running, almost exclusively, takes up virtually all of my training efforts as the winter settles in.

Yet, taking time off of the bike this December (--the intensity of Cyclocross happens only in the form of Saturday group rides, and only occupies my thoughts through, Cyclingdirt, and CX Magazine, as competitions are now memories), I still have managed to burn the candles at all ends in the first half of December. Early mornings and staying up late attending parties and theatre productions, I have worn thin. Mid-December and finally the fatigue has sacked me. I long for a mid-afternoon nap over the holidays.

So what better way to look back on a very fulfilling year of running and biking through this blog, rather than have that even more fulfilling afternoon nap? Here goes.

I started the year with a titanium plate in my shoulder, and limited mobility and range of motion as a result of a bike crash in August 2010. In that crash I managed to fly into a ditch and break 8 ribs, separate my shoulder 10cms (they call that a grade III separation), and collapse my lung. This recovery period sucked, yet gave me motivation to set some goals for 2011.

January--Fraser Valley Trail Series

On a whim, Sean and I signed up for the Resolution Run in Crescent Park on New Year's Day. A 10 am start--(very NYD friendly), the race was an 8km course that was deceptively hard--with a good couple of on the gas climbs, and some technical trails that make a sprint out of the course. Still battling into shape after being laid up from August to November, I managed a 34:15 or something like that. A beautiful day with a speedy run made for a hard effort. Sean had to pull me along to the finish. I think I was top 30 in a competitive field. Sean and I crossed hand in hand. A fun finish to a chilly 1st day.

The next race was the Campbell valley Stomp on the 23rd. This race was a 10k, and it was a killer. Two laps of the course--the valley was flooded out and water was up to our mid calf. This was a really hard course as the climbing was straight up. A very hard run that day in what seemed to be Sleepy Hollow on the fogged out horse trails. 18th place and 46:53.

February FVT Series continued and First Half Half Marathon

February was a great month for running races--the weather was perfect if not a bit chilly, lending to differing conditions for all events. The 6th of the month saw the third race of the series, the Houston Trail Race 10km at Derby Reach. Wow! the trails out in Langley are amazing, a place that I want to run again. In this race, I got out to a super fast start, and then suffered for the effort after the first 2kms. This, too, was another amazing run--45:12 and 15th place. I seemed to be gaining fitness as the races wore on, and my placings improved.

Next up was the First Half half Marathon--a perennial favorite in my family, one we attend every year. I am always looking to better myself on this course, and this year I attempted a sub 1:30 half under beautifully sunny conditions. I came close in 2010, with a 1:30:08 on the Historic course in ft. Langley, but this year would prove to be just a bit slower. 1:31:29-- just off of my goal. 2012 will be different as I am ahead of the game for training, already doing long runs over 24 kms in December, and short runs of 15kms. 

The last race of the Fraser Valley trail series was the Aldergrove Mud run, which was without mud this year, but had lots of SNOW on race day! A challenging course with a bunch of climbing--I moved up into the top ten with an 8th place finish and 35:15 over 8 kms. The snow made the run treacherous, and one of the most fun. 

March--Dirty Feet Trail Half Marathon

I was the bridesmaid for the second year in a row at the Delta Ground Pounder's Tread the Shed 8.2 km run at the beginning of the month. I let the winner run away in the first km, thinking that he would blow up and I would catch him. I was dead wrong, and he stomped the course. Disappointing to let the leader take off like that.

The Dirty Feet Half Marathon Trail race in Kamloops was a highlight of the month of racing, as I had a chance to run with accomplished runner Aaron Heidt from Vernon. He is blazing fast, and he stormed to the win at this one. I was 4th with a time of 1h 46. A very tough but very well organized race on the part of  Phil and Grace Hiom Bachelor Heights. They rock and know how to put on an awesome event. This series of events is one that I will come back for. BTW--best race shirt I have ever received.

April and May--Training for the Vancouver Marathon

April consisted of a bunch of long runs between 35 and 45 kms on the Sundays leading up to the Marathon on May 2nd. The Marathon in Vancouver is really well done--the Expo is awesome, the food after the race is amazing, and the course, although it has been said to be a dogs breakfast in such a beautiful city, was really fun and challenging for me. I enjoyed every moment of the marathon, and it seems to be on my yearly list of races to do, like the PRR First Half, Test of Metal, and Chuckanut Footrace. Sean and I ran it together until the Burrard Bridge, when I started to pull away from him. He was on wicked back medication to simply run the thing. I came in for a 3:28:00. I think that I can peel 20 minutes off of this time for the 2012 edition of the marathon, on a new point to point course.

June and July--Test of Metal and Shoulder Surgery II

At the beginning of June I posted a PB for my 10km run with a 39:24. I had hoped to run sub 38:30, but that was not the case at the Sandcastle 10km in White Rock. This race is another local event that I look forward too each year. The race was good, I had good start but faded a bit towards the end....That seems to be my M.O with shorter distance races. 

June also had me racing in the Test of Metal, a race that I love and do every year, family permitting. For this edition of the test, it was wet out there from the weeks worth of rain leading up to the event, and I was timid to say the least, afraid to crash on my shoulder and wreck it again right before my surgery in July. I did not crash, and had my slowest time since my breakthrough year in 2008. That year I was a 3:20 finisher, down from the 4 hours and change from 2000-2005. I rode the race at my own pace, not killing myself and walking much of the plunge. A fun day of riding, a poor race for me. That is what happens when the head gets into the mix. One week later, I did the Cardiac Classic XC race at SFU. 3 laps of hill climbing, no crashes, beautiful summer day. 

July was the big month for my surgery. I could not wait to get the plate out of my shoulder. Just a few days before the surgery, I managed to run the Chuckanut Footrace and make a PB time on that course, smashing my previous time by almost 3 minutes. A 45 and change Chuckanut had me feeling really good about the day. It is an 11 mile race out of Fairhaven, and one that I will always plan to do because of how beautiful the race is, and how awesome the weather is on the weekend after the 4th of July.

Dr. Kwee at Peace Arch Hospital was saddled with removing my hardware. I don't think I have been as nervous at any point in my life as I was right before the surgery. It did not help that I was hungry from fasting and also on medication that made me irritable. The surgery was quick and easy, and I had to take 2 weeks off of all activity, doctors orders, which I obeyed. The bandage was massive on my shoulder, and became even more massive 2 days after, when my wound began to bleed under all the bandages. My first ride after getting the all clear happened just a few hours after my follow up appointment with Dr. Kwee. He told me to take it easy getting back into things. I ventured out for a 20km ride, which turned into 90. I felt better than I had in the last 11 months that afternoon.

August--Gran Fondo and CX training

One of my best days on the bike was riding out of my front door and trying to race my wife, our three kids, and our station wagon to Whistler. I really should have gotten up earlier and left in a timely manner, but I did manage to make it past Alice Lake on my approach to Whistler, marking a 143 km ride. This ride was rivaled by the Gran Fondo Event, but was way less stressful. The Fondo was scary with all the sketchy Fred's and road furniture. I will be riding to Whistler a couple of time in the summer of 2012, trying to hammer out the 170kms. Unless I want to be like Ted Matson, and ride up and back in the same day. That guy is a tank. A dip in Lost Lake after both rides to Whistler made the day.

Some time at Otter Lake, no events in August, and reading Born to Run lead me into the CX season, which I have already recapped in more ways than one in my previous posts. The season started with the School of Cross and was up and down, fun and frustrating.

For 2012, I look to up my moves and training time from 2011, run my first ultra, race CX in the Masters 1/2 category, and continue to stay as fit as I can.

My 2011 Highlights include:

1. Winning Aldor Acres CX
2. Completing the Vancouver Marathon
3. Placing 3rd in a field of 60 at Vanier CX
4. Running the Chuckanut Footrace to a PB
5. Riding the Gran Fondo
6. Running the Fraser Valley Trail Series

My 2011 totals from Movescount.