Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Motivation and Running

Ah! Got ya! You were expecting some crap about sticking inspirational quotes on your mirror, telling yourself you're a winner and that you have friends (they just have busy schedules), putting upbeat music on your iQuit and setting a goal to set more goals ...etc. Shut up - i know you were.

Anyway ... forget it. None of it works. Coffee and cinnamon buns are what i use and if you can't get out the door for a run in the morning with the lure of a sticky bun and the elixir of life to follow then you're a baboon. Just looking at these pictures makes me wanna throw some salomon products on my feet and head out.

So it was the Aldergrove ramble last week and if you read wing cmdr craik's blog you have a pretty good idea of how that went for me. Egg macmuffins usually make my mouth water in a good way but just a nibble of that cheese had me pointing craiky off the road lickitysplit and saving his car by mere seconds from being decorated with the contents of my stomach. C2H5OH is an evil evil molecule. Aldergrove was a rough 4 laps and there was no stopping craiky from giving me a beating. But i was glad that i still showed up and prevented the letters D, N and S from appearing after my name.

This weekend is the Gunner Shaw Memorial at Jericho. It's a 10k and the terrain is classic cross-country with undulating ground, forests, open areas, mud, water and a couple of stretches of sandy beach to heckle your resolve. Hopefully the weather remains sunny and crispy, frosty. My favourite. I'm gonna stay clear of the evil molecule and snooze early. Then it'll be time to go head to head with craikster and see who falls first (should be him if i let him lead out. Piano and cheese wire are my friends in the forests.....).

Just remember... all this wouldn't be possible without the motivational assistance of Cinny and Beany .... I'm the Lazy Trailrunner... I know these things....

Race is at 11am, Saturday. Join us for the leaf kicking ceremony (where i kick leaves in craiky's face) and after-wheezer refreshments.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


Revenge is sweet. I got the weasel at last. After finishing behind wing cmdr craik for most of the year, except a 5peaks race (was there another?), i got him today!

Finish line 8k, 29min:37
(photo courtesy Tran Media Services)

Today was the Remembrance day 8k x-country race around Stanley park. I've been wanting to try these for a while and finally signed up. Good tempo training .... or something ... learning how to run when you're gassed from the get-go.

The rain/hail held off and after an odd start (Craik and another runner actually had to hold the start line string up and start us) we were off. A hundred or a bit less speedsters from the track clubs blasted off the line across the cricket field. Craik made a funny but nobody laughed except me n him ..... it's often that way.

Anyway ... i was hoping for about 35 mins considering it was trail and up and down, and i knew it was gonna be a wheezer. One of those all out speed things. It didn't disappoint and surprisingly i was feeling about as good as anyone can when maxing out heart, legs, lungs.

I had set off at a good clip that i thought i could maintain for a while and found myself near the front ... sweet! even better .... craiky was behind me .... although he does that a lot and then whizzes by me after a few minutes. But as we zoomed across the leafy fields and into the first loop of Beaver lake i was still in front .... and then i began to wonder .... "maybe i can stay in front today!" the other elf said "don't get cocky coo ... still a little under half way. I had some good wheels today though and felt pretty good (unusual) and i was maintaining a pretty good pace as we went into the first longish "hill" and then back down again. I hadn't looked behind me once to see if craiky was there ... and never did til the end..... but i was starting to think that i might get him ... and this was enough to keep me driving up the next steep climb) almost to the height of the top of the Causeway, before a quick descent back down to Beaver lake and back down the home stretch.

Rounding Beaver lake for the second time I could hear two people breathing on my shoulder .... one passed me ... a girl ... damn! As we crossed pipeline road and ran the trail back into the open field where the kids water play area is i sensed, rather than saw, that craiky had fallen back. I was beginning to tire myself at this point but knowing that i might finally get him spurred me to keep going.

Breaking out into the open again on the starting field behind Brockton Oval, the course does a 1km loop of the cricket pitches. 1k to go ... i gave it all i had .... passed some dude in front of me who had passed me earlier and cresting a rise about 200m from the finish i took a quick glance to my right ... couldn't see craiky and almost did a jig crossing the line in 29min:37 ... sub 30! Gigiddy!

I was trashed. Those things are all out! But finishing 8th (2nd in age group) and only about a minute back of the first woman, Rachel Ruus who had gone to the 10k Nationals this year, made me recover pretty quickly. :) Looking forward to the next two (Aldergrove and Jericho) although i know craiky is gonna be out there tying my shoelaces together. But for today at least i get to strut around and kick leaves at him. The old coot still has some fight left in him! :p

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Zipiddy do-dah!

A nice little 2 hour cruise in the rain this morning along the Baden Powell trail with wing cmdr Craik. There was even a bit of snow in places!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Rucky Chucky Recce

The last time i ran this trail i was in hell.  I was ready to crawl under a rock and lick dirt off the underside.  It was cold and rainy and my legs were placing calls to local cab companies.  It was the Chuckanut 50k race -- prob the worst i've ever felt in a race with the exception of sections of Primal Quest in 2005 or was it 6?? Whatever .. the utah one. 

But this last Sunday was puuurrrfect and the promise of coffee and a boo around REI in Bellingham was all the lazy trail runner needed to coax him off the couch.

I headed down with wing commander Tom of the Salomon Flt crew.  We were chauffeured down in Ward Beemer's Lexus limo to the trail head  ... which is at the 10k point of the actual chuckanut race and thankfully cuts out the tortuous flat section.

The middle 30k of Chucky is mostly on nice smooth single track as it winds up and down and around Chuckanut ridge. 

Ok, you're saying, then what the heck is that huge road in the picture up there?!  That ain't single track! Your powers of observation are astounding, Holmes! It is indeed a dirt road and it's a bit of a doozy, winding 5km uphill about an hour into the run.  Sucks in a race but on Sunday, in the sun and with the fall leaves and a bunch of friends, it was delicious.

At the top of the road you re-enter the atmosphere ... wait a minute ...  i mean the single track and zoom along a rolling, wet, slippery, rooty ridge with a 150ft cliff on your right.

The pace ramped up pretty quickly and a small peloton broke off and started speeding down the trail.  Me, Wing Cmdr Tom, Stefan and Pricey hurtled along in single file, bouncing and darting among the trees, roots, rocks and leaves for a sustained and leg burning 15 minutes.  However, about 10 minutes in we dropped Pricey who went down like a sack of hammers on a root that I had placed there the night before for precisely this objective.  I had also been out with a jar of vaseline lubing up roots and rocks.  The lazy trail runner needs every advantage he can get afterall ... even on a fun run....

The remaining three surged on for another 5 minutes, heckling our weaker pack member.  The hyenas would deal with him later.  By the time the rest of the group caught up we were shivering a little and ready to get going again albeit at a slower pace .... we'd had enough of the zooming lark.

On the back side of Chucky some of us came across porky porcupine. Porky climbed a tree to avoid the neon runners while Katie disappeared up the trail at a noticeably quicker pace, worried that Porky could shoot his spines like a Scud missile battery =D  .... we were just kidding Katie! Come back! =D 

The rest of the run was pleasant but uneventful, except for Pricey going down again on a vaselined rock and spraining his ankle.  A little tennis ball soon appeared and he hobbled off back to the car while the rest of us ascended K2 ... i mean Chinscraper ... a nice wheezer of a hill before pounding back down road and trails to the cars, a change of clothes and a trip to REI .... well.....

First we had to deal with Katie.  She rolled down from Vancouver on an essentially flat tire and was going to head to the Chevron to put some air in it only her car wouldn't start! =D  Luckily it's a manual and we push-started it a couple of times but it cut out.  Off went Darin, Brooke and Stefan to buy some jumper cables while the rest of us stood around and got chilly and made VW jokes ...  Back came the white knights and jump started the car and we were back in business and off to REI and some food.

Thanks to everyone for coming out and making a great day of it.  We had a lot of laughs ... ok ... mostly me  and Tom had a lot of laughs and other people looked at us wondering who had invited these 5 year old clowns .. =D   If you get a chance to go down to Chucky on a nice day I highly recommend it.

Until my next posting... i toast your couches and spit in your eye,

The lazy trail runner.

Gear for the day:  My banana yellow Salomon XA Pros.  Fantastic for technical running and longer training runs.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Another visit to Rubble Creek

Time for the lazy trail runner to get off his lazy ass and update the blog ... 

I returned to the Rubble rumble on Thanksgiving Monday.  Had been there a couple of weeks earlier on a guys weekend in Whistler .... already capably covered by Tom in his "Run Now" not later blog.  That one had been snow free and relatively warm and just guys.

This one had snow and cooler temps and some pretty girls. Hmm... which one was better.... :p

Anyhoo... i think there were 14 of us that day starting in temps bordering the positive side of the freezing point.  But the sun was shining and there were new people to meet and chat with and even Jessica from my corporate days which i left behind me long ago (happily) for the rewarding world of teaching. Jessica was a good part of the corporate stuff though and when I knew her she didn't run! Now, 8 or 9 years later she's running ultras and looking to do her first 50 miler next year.  It's funny how people come to this sport and the stages of their lives where they decide to take it up, but once in I don't know anyone who's dropped it and why would you when you can run in places like this and with good people! 

I'm not gonna ramble on too much about the run. I'll let the pictures speak. Suffice to say it was pretty much a perfect day to run and I was sorry to have to turn around at Taylor pass and leave the group to get back to my car and turkey in North Van.  You can't miss out on that and people were eagerly awaiting my famous curried yams afterall! :p

The run back down by myself was great though.  Sometimes it's nice to just run through this kind of country with the trail to yourself ... which is pretty much what i had.

Looking forward to the Halloween half next Sunday.  It's always a good wheeze and the lazy trail runner is always up for a good wheeze .... I'm a professional wheezer..

Sunday, September 20, 2009

5Peaks Wheezer - Buntzen Lake

Yesterday was the last in the series of 5 Peaks races. In the previous one at Whistler I had placed 3rd in my age category but I had to burn a couple of lungs to do it. Going from sea level to a fast 16k at 6500ft was a bit of a wake up. Add to that that my Salomon Flight Crew team mate, Tom Craik, started in the wave behind me, meant that even after crossing the line ahead of him I still couldn't be sure if I was ahead until the times were posted. I was expecting the weasel to beat me again ... but managed to eek out a little victory after finishing behind the whipper snapper all year.

Buntzen is lower down so I hoped to have some lungs. It's a nice technical course and it had been raining so it would be even more like a banana peel than usual. An advantage for me over the newer trail folks out there but also an advantage for the whipper snapper, Tom, who liked it even more than me.

Contrary to speculation, I did not pull an Usain Bolt at the start but tucked in right behind Craikie. I planned to take it easyish for the start but even where I was I felt I was going too fast but Craikie was there and I couldn't let him get away so early. I tried following him up the long climb but by the time we reached the saddle and started the second climb he was out of sight. Rats! But there was nothing I could do. My legs were feeling pretty lead-like and if I pushed harder I knew I'd go lactic and burn out. So I just had to swallow my pride and settle in to what I could do. I was right behind the second place guy in my age category all the way up the climb but when we topped out he took off like a shot and was gone. He passed Craikie too on the downhill, which says something cuz Craikie has some downhill wheels. Strangely enough we would both get this guy before the end though.

I still struggle for about half of the top of Diez Vista ... trying to find my legs and lungs. Finally it came back as I ran along the top by myself and down the steep trails to the north end of Buntzen. Then a little struggle for the next km as my legs recovered from the pounding. I wanted to have something left for the last 4k along the lake - which was nice rolly terrain on good trails. I wasn't sure if I could do it but when I hit the first downhill at the start of that section I could feel the turnover coming back and I pretty much hauled the last 4km hoping to catch the whipper snapper. Twas not to be. I missed him by about 2 1/2 minutes but managed to almost run down the guy who would place 2nd in my age group. Another 50m and I would've had him. Still - I felt good that I had been able to reel in this guy who had just disappeared completely out of sight since the top of the first big climb 4k into the race.

I felt even better after seeing that I had whittled out another 3rd place age category finish and that, combined with my two other 3rd place finishes and a 5th in the 5 Peaks series, was enough to put me 2nd overall for the series and a nice little plaque to go with it! Craikie managed a 3rd in his group too so overall the Salomon Flight Crew had made its presence felt.

Thanks to Mark and Kathryn Stanton for putting on a great series and to JP for putting us in some of Salomon's finest gear. I feel spoiled.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Floe to Numa

Here's a little video of the run I did in August from Floe lake to Numa Creek. As you can see.. by the end of it the isolation and wilderness had turned me into a crazy man xD

Saturday, August 29, 2009


Thought about going for a run this morning ...... then thought better of it...

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Shuffling the Rockwall

After toodling around on the bike in Washington I drove to Calgary through Idaho and SE BC.

I was planning to run the Rockwall trail which is a 55k trail that takes you along this huge ..wait for it ...... rockwall in Kootenay national park.

I pulled in to the Marble Canyon camp site at 10pm after seeing a wolf on the side of the road. Yah - I thought i was hallucinating too until about 2 minutes after seeing it I drove by a big flashing park sign saying "Caution - Wolf on highway. No stopping"! Pretty cool .... i'm pretty sure that's my first wild wolf sighting. Not too hopeful for many more because they have been pretty much decimated by traffic inside park boundaries, and by poachers and ranchers outside the boundaries.

I couldn't be bothered to put my tent up in the dark (remember - I'm lazy) so I just put the seats down in the subaru and settled into my sleeping bag for a good snooze.

In the morning light my better sense prevailed and I knew that a 55k run along a trail that the hiking book rates as a 5-6 day hike was a big chew. Don't get me wrong ... it's a totally do-able trail run to polish it off in 10 or 11 hours (I think the record might be 8) ... but in my present shape, not having run longer than a couple of hours since my trip to the grand canyon in march, i decided to enjoy myself rather than kill myself. So I opted to run up to Floe lake then on to Numa pass and down Numa creek to the highway - a run of about 28k and around 4000ft of elev. From there I would hop on my mtn bike that I had stashed in the woods and ride the 8km back along the highway to my starting point.

The run up to Floe lake takes you through a burnt out forest along a smooth and mostly runnable trail. Most of the elev comes over the last K or so as you climb the headwall to the lake.

I gotta say it was a pretty easy run up to the lake. Much more fun than toting a huge pack. Floe lake is pretty nice. Your typical rockies lake - turquoise blue - snugged up against a towering wall of rock. You get the idea from the next couple of pics. It must be amazing up here in the fall when the larches turn yellow and the first dusting of snow clings to the rockwall.

From the lake it was a nice run up through larch trees to Numa pass, although, at around 7300ft I was wheezing a bit.

Once on the pass it there was little sense sitting around as it was windy and cool. With all the hard work done the rest was pretty much all downhill from here. And what a downhill! The trail drops steeply down into the Numa creek valley and I had a blast zooming down the smooth trail seeing the envious faces of heavily burdened backpackers toiling up the same trail on their second day out .... meanwhile I'd only been out for about 3 hours and covered the same distance! :p
It was nice to get a longer run on my legs and see some new scenery. I'd love to be able to run the whole 55k in the fall when the larches turn and I'm hopefully a little more svelt :P

The Salomon S Labs were perfect for this terrain. Light and low profile I could skim along on my toes and know that if i got lost Search and Rescue would have no trouble finding me with those bright red signal flares on my feet!

Cross Training near Mt Rainier

Ok - so this is supposed to be a trail running blog but like i said ... i'm a lazy trailrunner. Sometimes i hop on a bike.

Anyhoo... last week i was lucky enough to be shown some of the Seattle area's great mountain biking trails.

It was a 30k loop on an almost perfect day at the edge of Mt Rainier national park. The loop consisted of two trails: the Skookumchuk trail and Sun Top. In between is a nice little 3500ft climb up a forestry road. But it was worth it! The Skookumchuk trail is a fast rolling cross country trail along the river. It's pretty smooth and you can zoom along laughing your head off at how much fun it is.

After the long climb up you get even more fun! A 45 minute descent on smooth, winding, fast rain forest trails. It's sooooo much fun. Have a look at the video if you need some more proof.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

5 Peaks - Seymour

So, yesterday was the 5 Peaks race on Mt Seymour and after watching Lance Armstrong race to the top of Mt Ventoux from the coffee shop at the Quay, I dragged my butt off to my own Mt Ventoux to see what I could do.

Being a part of the Salomon Flight Crew is more about being an advocate for the sport of trail running, a product tester, and encouraging people to get involved than it is about being on the podium. However, I still feel like I should somehow project the Salomon image of the lean, adventurous athlete pushing him/herself against the elements. I'm still working on the "lean" part! Motivation has been a little off this year.

Anyhoo... the enduro course on Seymour was around 12km and about 2000ft of elevation gain. It's a very technical 12km covered in rocks, roots, and mud and I was glad to be wearing my S-Lab shoes. They have a relatively low profile, good grip and just the right amount of protection for this kind of technical running.

I did have one revelation while running though. I tend to buy shoes a half size larger so that they are a tad roomier in the toebox. The reason for this is that I typically do longer runs of 25km and up and the extra room allows for foot swelling and doesn't overly affect good contact with the ground and solid footing. But the Seymour enduro is short .. 12k is a sprint and it's a sprint over some really rough ground. I found my forefoot sliding a bit inside the shoe and therefore felt a little less sure .. just a little .. as I was running. For short, fast, technical races I would recommend a shoe size that doesn't have that extra bit of toe room. I'd get the shoe size that fits my foot snugly so that I could have that solid "feel" for the ground that I'm running over.

So.... ultras or training ... get a size with some decent toe room and anything for fast, short cross-country get a size that is a little more snug.

After about a k or two of downhill the enduro wound around a couple of muddy ponds and then began a steady, long, sustained climb that got steeper the higher up the climb you went. That and having to go all out over such a short distance meant that my breathing was just about red-lined the whole way! I haven't been used to that for a while and it was all I could do to keep going and concentrate on not falling on the tricky terrain. Make you want to just say "screw this!" and pack it in. I was glad to hear Kevin Holland say the same thing to me after the race. Kevin's having a great year and is a really strong runner so I was reassured that I wasn't being weeeeak! :p

I finished 12th on the day in 1hr:09 and 6th in my age group. At the previous race on Burnaby mountain I had finished 15th but 3rd in my age group which meant I had been able to stand on the podium after all! I have a few more weeks to cram in some more training before seeing if I can manage that again at the Whistler race. Stubbornness can sometimes make up for lack of training. Still, the Spike Training System proved itself once again!

Friday, July 24, 2009

The Genius is in the Graph

Someone once asked me what my training regimen looked like. I thought a moment and then described the graph you see above.

During the week, I explained, I do nothing .. or maybe one short run and then there's a sudden spike where I load up on some training. That's the weekend, I said. Really! That's all you gotta do folks. Forget training your ass off 6 days a week and logging insane miles and workouts! Save your suffering for race day! Let's face it. If you run hard in a race you're gonna feel the hurt right?! It doesn't matter if you're first or last ... if you push it you hurt. Training isn't gonna make it hurt less ... it'll just get you to the finish line faster ... and if you've paid $80 for a race you might as well stay out there and enjoy the scenery!

On top of that, you don't have to concern yourself with all this "what should I eat?", "what should I drink?" crap. While your buddy is there sipping a cranberry spritzer and worrying about that extra gram of spinach he/she ate, you can suck back a few beers and stuff your face with chips, chocolate cake, ice cream, lard... u name it!

It's a proven training system. I've done it for most of this year and probably last year and while I don't finish on the podium I'm still up there AND... I'm enjoying all the vices that make the uber mensches cringe and run away in fear!

Mark my words... the Spike Training System (patent pending) will work for you too. For $19.95 I'll send you an autographed, limited edition print of my proven, field tested method.