Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Near North

We spent last weekend up near Sudbury for Taylor and Kim's wedding. It was a beautiful wedding and the natural setting suited the extremely outdoorsy and athletic couple perfectly. Everyone had a great time. The leaves have already turned up there, and we had the opportunity to carve out a couple of trail runs while we were in the area to enjoy the rugged beauty.

Here are a few pics of the running parts of the weekend, featuring Grundy and Mashkinonje Provincial Parks. The parks are in the category of Near North, and it sure felt a lot more north than we are (in a good way). Grundy had a couple of very pretty short loops that were perfect after a long day of driving to stretch out the legs and back. Mashkinonje is a new park, and the trails are still so untrodden in some places that the moss underfoot was inches thick. My shoes sunk in like it was snow. I felt kind of bad for stepping in it, but it was a treat to run in such a single-track heaven. Justin joined us for this run, and we all had a lot of fun. Neither park was very hilly like nearby Killarney Prov Park is, which I was happy about because I'm not quite recovered enough for that yet.

Beaver Dams Trail, Grundy PP

Swan Lake Loop, Grundy PP

Swan Lake looking very pretty

Mashkinonje Provincial Park Trails (Click for high res version)

Justin and Derrick cruise through the moss on Heron Trail, Mashkinonje PP


Moss or snow?

Peeking out at the West Arm of Lake Nipissing

They aren't currently trail running, but I couldn't resist.

Friday, September 16, 2011

TransRockies Run Race Report at iRunFar.com

The reason we had the opportunity to go to TransRockies this year in the first place was by winning a contest for a free team entry from iRunFar.com. Bryon Powell (Mr. iRunFar) asked us to write something about the race, and he just posted our report.

If you're new to iRunFar, be sure to poke around, subscribe to the emails or feeds, and even request a cool bumper sticker (like the logo below), or shop for some of the coolest gear in the sport. When a marquee race is coming up in the world of ultrarunning, chances are that the iRunFar team is there covering it from all angles.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Postscript on TransRockies and Haliburton

Lots of photos taken on Hope Pass

The last several hours of Haliburton, and for many, many, many hours after, my mantra was 'never again'. I said it with anger and enthusiasm to anyone who would listen! Since then, after some good rest, my mindset has shifted to that of enjoying the recovery and looking back with satisfaction at having raced two challenging races in the last month. I look forward to using these races as stepping stones, and to being better prepared to not suffer as much along the way next time. (It's gotta get easier, right??)

Did the altitude tent help? I get asked that a lot. For me (adaptations vary widely among individuals) I think it helped significantly at TransRockies to allow me to use what fitness I had without being nearly as debilitated by the thin air as I would have been. For high altitude races I think it would be hugely beneficial for anyone to try. As for increasing my actual baseline fitness...it may have helped marginally, but not in any way that makes me feel like I have taken a leap to another level. I wish it was that easy (actually that's not true, it would erase what I love about running), but the only thing that has ever made ME feel on another level is increased mileage. It is the only thing that I find brings about significant changes; everything else is just the small stuff. Small stuff is good, and it can certainly all add up to elevate the big stuff, but the big stuff has to be taken care of first. If you're maxing out training and looking for that slight bit of an edge, I think that's where it would be useful. And as mentioned, everyone is different. It was definitely an interesting thing to have had the opportunity to try.

What's Next? It's somewhat tempting to look for a trail race in October, but I'm not going to. I have my big trip and big 100K in November to look forward to, and my priority is to be healthy and rested for that. I'm excited to soon get back to some good training after a bit more rest, and to start sprinkling in some hiking with poles, as that will help for Trailwalker. We're planning to hike most of the way, with a bit of running mixed in here and there to shake up our muscles. Aside from a couple of hikes a year and a good amount of uphill hiking recently at TransRockies, I don't really have much to draw on in this department. I'm so excited to finally get to be out all night in a race (umm, remind me I said this later D?), and as Derrick so helpfully pointed out, the time on the legs will be invaluable experience should I ever choose to do a 100 miler. [NOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!]

Other than that, I'm really excited to see what Derrick decides to race next. He's been sifting through some very appealing options. There are so many cool races out there!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Haliburton 50 Miles

Just a quick race report for the Haliburton 50M. The year I turned 30 I ran my first marathon, so it was a nice bookend to finish my first 50 Miler ten years later. The timing was a bit close to TransRockies, but there are no other options for me this year, so with a good weather forecast, I took the leap of faith that it would work out.

Things started off well, and I got to the turnaround a bit before 5 hours (maybe 4:40ish; can't remember the exact time as I didn't take splits), and knew it was going to be a long way back from there as I was already getting pretty tired. I got a mental lift on the corduroy trail after AS 6 (the part of the trail that everyone hates but I loved) but then gradually entered a death shuffle over the next section and by AS 4 when I saw Derrick. I was sad for him that he dropped, but know he will make up for it soon. It was comforting to look forward to seeing him at the remaining aid stations. The last loop around Macdonald Lake and back to base took me almost 2 hours, which killed my (admittedly long-shot) idea of breaking 10 that had come into my brain somewhere along the way. By that point I didn't care, and was really happy with 10:16:28.

It was good to be back at Haliburton, for the most part the trails are fun, technical, soft, and beautiful. No mountains, but the endless rolling hills take their toll by the end. I swore off (up and down and repeatedly) anything longer than a 50K from now on (okay, after Hong Kong, Deb), but of course our stupid minds always try to talk us back into it. We'll see.

I had a lot of the typical GI troubles in trying to figure out the fine balance of nutrition. I think I fueled a bit too much in the first-half (for what I could handle), and too little at the end. I'd switch to a liquid fuel by the end if I could do-over. My quads are very sore, and I took the elevator up to my 2nd floor office this morning. :)

My trusty Quantums that got me through TransRockies were a great choice again for this (dry trail) year at Hali, and I used a single UD holder except for AS 5 to AS 4 on the way back where I added a handheld.

It was great to see everyone back at the Forest, to share all the good, bad and ugly. As usual, it was mind blowing to see the physical and mental strength of the 100 milers. Truly amazing. KO, you rock.

Thank you to the one-and-only Helen Malmberg and her amazing crew.

And that's all I have to say about that.