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.