Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Gorge Waterfalls 50km

There's nothing better than an early season race to get you over the hump of all those dreaded late winter runs on snow and ice and road and whatever else you can come up with to keep yourself entertained and excited about the up and coming season. So four of us from Nelson and two from the coast met up at the Gorge Waterfalls 50km trail run this past weekend just outside of Portland Oregon. The race sold out in 45min with 300 runners entered so I figured it must be a special course- and it was. You run by and in one case behind several magnificent waterfalls, and because it is an out and back, you get to see them from a different perspective again. The funny part is, I was so focused on my run I hardly noticed anything. When Lisa took photos of the falls and showed them to me at the end, It was hard to believe I missed them!
Being and out and back course it was fun to see everyone, including your friends and the race leaders out there.
I finally seam to have put together a solid 50km effort, which was quite surprising being it was only my 13th run of the season. Maybe all that Nordic skiing does pay off?
I really focused on not going out too hard the first hour as I really didn't feel like suffering the last 15km of the race like I have in the past. When I got to the turn around for a 2:23hr split I new I had a chance to break 5 hrs if I didn't go out too hard the first 25km. The best indication in any ultra of how you are doing is simple...if you are passing people in the last 30-40% of the race- you've ran a smart race...if you are being passed- you're likely done or went out too hard...For once I played it right and passed 17 runners on the way back...geez that feels so much better than bonking and having runners blow by you :)  I finished in a very happy 4:56 for a pretty descent 2:23/2:33 split
Scott, Lisa, Erin and Carolyn all had awesome runs too...Patrick still hasn't figured out why he suffers since he puts in 4 runs before going out and doing a 50km race!
With our early spring this year in the Kootenays some of the lower trails are now good to go- so hopefully see you out there!....Oh and if anyone has been on the trails from Glade let me know as I'd like to check them out...
Post race smiles...Patrick, Lisa, Scott, Erin, Carolyn and Randy

Monday, March 11, 2013

Columbia River Trail

Definitely one of the best early season trails in the Kootenay's, especially if you are trying to pack those Km's in and not put the legs through too much trauma, you have to get out and Run the Columbia River Trail from Castlegar to Trail on the east side of the river. You have the option of a one way 22km run or an out and back as far as 44km. If you start from the Trail end you get off the dirt track/road faster onto the single track- maybe 3km. From the Castlegar side it is maybe 4km. But those sections are just as nice and add to the overall experience of the day. After all it's only March and you don't have to run on any paved road or snow.
Since I needed a good amount of Km's I parked near the Castlegar airport and ran the 8.5kms to the trail head, which I would have hated, but hey I was elated to be out there for the first longer run of the season. I was surprised to see so much snow on the side of the road....Hmmmm....
3km into the trail or 12 into the run I hit -well- a lot of snow...I grunted through for about 4km until it finally opened up into beautiful dry single track for pretty much the remainder of the run.
I finished the 33km run meeting my family at the pool in Trail.
I think with the weather this week, even those snowy sections will be either gone or no big deal by the weekend.
If I was lucky I got this 6" strip, but mostly not for 5km 

The trail just opened up- yes I was very happy!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Pilot Bay

There is not much more than I can say than some of the trails at Pilot Pay are in absolutely perfect running condition. Not that I have suffered through the winter like Carolyn and others who put in mammoth 5 hour runs on mind hurting roads or what ever they can find, but it was so much fun to be back on real running terrain. The upper part of the headland trails are not free of snow yet, but the whole shoreline trail out to the Tipi Camp and sections of all the climbs are good to go. We ran from the ferry out to the trail head, along the shoreline trail to the Tipi Camp, climbing up the trail from the Tipi Camp for maybe another km then the same way back to the ferry. It works out for a perfect 23km 3 hour easy run and times the ferry departure back to Balfour perfectly.

I'm probably going to run out there once a week for the next few weeks leaving on the 6:30am ferry which would put you back in Nelson by 11:30am so if anyone wants to go, let me know. you can run whatever distance you like at whatever speed as its an out and back...

March 16th a group of us will be running the Columbia Trail from Castlegar to Trail, so if you are interested in this or have any questions, let me know...It is one of the best early season trails around and hard to believe most people have never even been there...It's really easy on the legs and follows the river with beautiful views.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Getting Going

After essentially 4 months off of running- I figured with 5 weeks until my first long run the end of March I'd better get my ass in gear. For the past 4-5 weeks I've tried just about every combination of training I could think of to try and keep my interest in putting some km's into my legs. Being all over the place hasn't helped...Here's a break down of my training since the new year and it's excitement ranking out of 10...

  • Ran home from work a couple of times. That is 23km of road- with a finish in Mountain Station- Yuck...give it a 3 out of 10 and that's only because I really missed running...
  • Ran up Mount Masada while in Israel, which was great...but it only lasted 17minutes- which might of been my shortest run ever...8 out of 10...hey it was all trail and sunny and it was with my best friend!
  • Ran in the Bahamas- all road for 37minites with a total elevation gain of 4 feet...5 out of 10...It was sunny, I was with my brother and was hung over from a wedding so it seamed like an Ultra...
  • Two one hour runs up in Mountain station on the Badger trail...fun being on trail but pretty damn icy...7 out of 10
  • The last two weeks I've ran the 10km's out on the rail grade from Mt. Station to the Nordic ski area, skied 17-20km's of trail and then ran the 10km's back home...have to admit it was really fun and a great way to add some early season km's to the legs without much of an effect. 8 out of 10

Well I planned on running the Pilot bay trail's this past weekend, but the snow hampered that idea, so went ski touring instead...With 5 weeks until the Gorges 50km trail run I suppose I better get at least 3 good 25-30km runs in otherwise- well you know- It's going to hurt more than usual!

Lisa, Carolyn and Scott are already running 4-5 hour runs every weekend- Ouch...I just need to suck it up and forget about excitement when it comes to running great terrain for only the next 3-4 weeks :( 

Monday, November 26, 2012

The November Blues

I'm trying real hard to pretend I am not missing running and looking forward to winter activities. It's not really working too well though. Although with a knee issue that keeps pestering me, I am trying my favorite winter distractions to keep me busy. I was able to squeeze in a really fun mountain run out of Idyllwild, California last week that takes you to the top of Mount San Jacinto which is just under 11,000'. I forgot to account for weather at that elevation, so I was forced to move along steadily so I didn't freeze in the sub zero temps. It was funny to get all those looks from the "well" outfitted hikers as I ran past in my shorts and running shoes. I mean who wouldn't think to be out in shorts in sunny southern California as it was only a 2 hour drive from San Diego or L.A.! The out and back from the Idyllwild side of the mountain is only 25km and only maybe 5,500' of climbing, but I'd love to go back and do it from the Palm Springs side where it is a famous route known as the "Cactus to Clouds" as it starts at 200' which supposedly makes it one awesome day with a 10,600' ascent- ouch....

Ski touring was also better than expected this weekend with some fine early season coverage. I also opened up the Skate ski season as the Biathlon range in Rossland was good to go. So for the next 2-3 months I'll just play in the snow as a combo of ski touring and skate skiing will keep me plenty fit for running season, which I hope to start end of January- that is if my leg issues resolve themselves as I can't even think about a season without running...That said; if anyone knows a great sports physio- please let me know...

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Kaslo Sufferfest

This past weekend was the Kaslo Sufferfest. An amazing 3 day weekend filled with something like nine different running and Mt. biking races. I was hoping to end off the season with the 50km trail run, but my knee is still not 100% so I opted for the 100km Mt. bike race. I figured since I've already ran a 84km race, biking 100km has to be pretty easy...so much for that theory!...Although I'd only ridden 5 times this year, I figured being in good trail running shape, it would get me through the day- and after all I was a decent Mt. bike racer 5 years ago when I decided to give it up...We started out in New Denver at 7am sharp and immediately begun the first 5,000' climb of the day. It only took me 30 seconds to realize I was not going to hang with the riders I wanted too, so I had to just fall into my own pace and forget about everyone else. The first big loop took us all the way back to New Denver and I remember thinking "now I have to do the biggest climb of the day all the way to Kaslo? yikes". We used to do this ride as a training day every year, so I was quite familiar for what I was in for. After riding the first half of the race with a small group of riders, I had to let them go as I needed to fall into my own pace and begin to suffer on my own. The next climb is almost 6,000' up and over Rico Pass. The hard thing about this climb, other than being relentless, is you don't know you are at the top of the climb until you are about 20 meteres from the top- so it feels like it just goes on and on without any sort of adrenalin boost. I actually stopped at one point to eat my 3 Reese's Peanut Butter Cups to cheer me up as I  I was slowing down to a crawl. As I got going again I realized I was only 45 seconds from the top of the pass. Pumped now for the descent, I glided no more than 50 feet before I heard that all too familiar noise of my rear hub grinding! Without going into a long story, I've been riding with Mavic wheels for 10 years. Everything about them are awesome except the absolutely shitty seals on the rear hubs. Mavic's lame answer to this issue is you must maintenance them regularly- Huh forget it...no other hub requires the same pain in the ass issue. So being an expert on dealing with this problem while in the middle of a race, all you need to do is sit and peddle all the time- no gliding or the chain comes whipping off...It's not easy peddling on huge fast descents as you are focused on speed and not crashing. I actually started thinking about more climbing as it would solve the hub issue...Once you get down to Retallack, at least the riding got a little easier, but still somewhat frustrating with my chain flying off. I happily got to kaslo and the finish line in around 8hrs35min really happy to finish better than mid pack with essentially no training. Bill Harbord also put on a mighty brave show and Suffered happily- coming in just under the cut off of 11hrs- Proud of you Bill!...It was great to re-connect with my former riding self as I've been so focused on running. I wish I had the health to do both, that would be the perfect world! It's actually been great that even with a sore knee and being off of running for a month that I've happily filled that huge void with some epic fall mountain biking with rides in Revelstoke, the Kaslo Sufferfest and a season ending ride next week of the 235km Kokopelli Trail from Grand Junction Colorado to Moab.
A huge thanks to Janis and the town of kaslo for putting on this amazing event- everyone should make an effort to get there next year!!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Sapphire Lakes

Climbing the final boulder fields before Sapphire Lakes

Sapphire lakes

Yes I Love the Alpine!
What an amazing fall in the Kootenay's. If I could live in the alpine at this time of the year in a little shack, I'd gladly grasp the opportunity. When I ran past Sapphire Lakes in Kokanee Glacier Park last weekend, I dreamed of how amazing it would be to have a place right there for a couple of months and be able to explore the terrain every day. Maybe next September I'll plop a tent down for a week!  I got to enjoy an amazing day with Lex and Greg as we ran up from 6 Mile Lakes Rd to Sapphire lakes, down to Kaslo Lake and out to Gibson Lake. The 10km climb out of 6 Mile, although gaining 4,000', was maybe 50% runnable. The trail was slightly over grown and could use a good weed whacking, but fun none-the-less. Half way into the run my runners knee flared up, a post race aggravation from the Whistler 50 miler, and I had to pop 2 extra strength pain killers. I never take pills so the effects were quite euphoric...That said; I think I enjoy the endorphin high much better :)...You can see by the photo above that my pain is all gone!
The run was 4 hours one way and worth the effort, but it would be nice if it was brushed out next time.