Sunday, August 10, 2008

A time to reflect

As sore as I was this morning, I realize the importance of doing a good recovery run the day after a race. It would have been nice to sleep in for a change, and just do nothing but those who know me realize that that is something that I have a hard time doing.

My recovery run (just over 10KM) was at a nice easy pace and the main objective was just to loosen up my leg muscles. It was during this run that I was able to reflect on my race yesterday. I was very pleased with how well I was able to run considering that this was my 7th Ultra Marathon race since April. Eventually all those miles start to wear on you so I'm sure that by the time my last race is over in October, I won't have much left in the tank.

Yesterday I was able to run quite a bit with several of the elite runners. Even though I realized that they were going much slower because they were running longer than I was, it was still nice to pick the brains of these amazing runners. More than anything else, though, it made me feel like I belonged. Even though I've been running now for 3+ years, part of me still feels like I have something to prove to the veteran trail runners. All the trail runners who do the OUS races are all so supportive and encouraging and it's like a family reunion when we all get together at the races. In fact, the best part of the race is the fun we all have afterwards.

I travelled with one of my Ultra running heroes yesterday and it was nice listening to him talk about some of the races he has done. I am planning on doing an Ultra race in Texas in December and I'm hoping he can come along.

After today I will begin to focus on my next race. This will be one of the most challenging races I've ever done. Running in Haliburton is an experience that I'll never forget and I know that the 50 Miler will require me to be as focused as possible.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

An amazing day from start to finish!

I just arrived home from my race and it was the best race I've done this year. The race was a 10K trail and I entered the 6 hour portion of it. Basically I ran as far as I could for 6 hours and at the end my distance was measure, but back to that in a moment.

I felt very strong throughout the race and was even able to turn on the jets at various points. Normally I would hold back some but today I wanted to let it all out and see what I was capable of doing.

The first two loops were amazing and I felt stronger and stronger as the race went on. I probably went out a little two fast because by the end of third loop I was feeling a little gassed. A friend and very good trail runner passed me at one point and that's when I really turned it on. I was very motivated to not let him beat me so I took off after him and eventually passed him at the end of the fourth loop (40K).

He also was motivated and eventually he passed me once again and this time he was at least 20 minutes ahead of me. I figured that there was no way I was going to catch him but I continued to run at my pace. To my amazement I eventually caught him once again and this time I wasn't going to let him catch me. I really dug down deep and finished the 5th loop (50K).

I had about 30 minutes left to go in the race and the race was marked every 2.5K. I knew that I was going to get to at least the 52.5 mark so I pushed it again. I reached the 52.5K mark with 12 minutes left in the race. Unfortunately that didn't leave me enough time to get to the next checkpoint so I decided to stop there. I knew that I would have gotten at least another 1 and possible 2 K so I was very happy with my accomplishments.

I knew that I had given everything I had and my legs were cramping as a result. The weather started out nice for the first 2 hours but then it rained for the rest of the race.

As they announced the overall winner and age category winners I was pleasantly surprised to learn that I had finished 3rd in my age category. Beyond that, though, I knew that I had run the best race of the season so I was very proud of that accomplishment.

My legs are a little tender but overall not too bad. I will be doing a light recovery run tomorrow morning just to get the blood circulating again, and then it's time to start training for my next race in September.

Friday, August 08, 2008


After 5 long agonizing weeks without a race I have tomorrow to look forward to. I'll be running a 6 hour race in Mansfield, Ontario. The good thing about timed races is that it doesn't matter how far you go, we all have to run the same amount of time. What that means is that pacing will be more important than ever. My legs have been rather heavy all week so I have no idea how I'll perform tomorrow. I'm hoping that the excitement of race day and seeing all my friends will give me the added boost I'll need.

I've been running stress free for the past two weeks and that has allowed me to focus my attention on other areas of my life. While I will always love running, it's nice to know that I can spread myself around to other areas equally as important.

Running stress free has allowed me to enjoy my runs much more and at the same time it has allowed me to focus on my technique a little more. Even though I have not made public my goals for this race, I do have a good idea of what I'm capable of and I'm hoping that that will pay off tomorrow. Expect a full report by Sunday!

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Finally, it's race week again

It seems like such a long time since I've had a race (5 weeks) but this weekend I'll finally have a chance to shake off the rust as I run a 6 hour timed race on Saturday.
The course is a 10K loop in the trails near Mansfield, Ontario. From what I have heard, it is a challenging course. I have a certain goal for myself but for that to happen, I have to have as close to a perfect race day as possible.

My legs have been extremely "heavy" lately, despite that my weight has started to drop. I plan to do more resting than running this week as I want to be at my best for that race. Knowing how difficult that is for me, I will have to keep myself distracted as much as possible.

I really felt the trail run this morning and if I don't get more rest this week I will be in for a rude awakening on Saturday.

I've cleaned up my diet considerably over the past two weeks and have eliminated gluten from my diet completely. I have noticed a big difference with regards to how I'm feeling after a meal. I have incorporated more brown rice and brown rice pasta into my food choices. In addition to eliminating gluten, I have also decreased my intake of dairy. I have been using both almond and brown rice milk exclusively and have also been pleasantly surprised at both the taste and how I'm feeling.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Positive influences can make a big difference

One of the things that running has taught me is that I have a very strong mental "game." I can count on one hand the number of times that my mind has gotten the better of me with regards to finishing a run or race. The truth is that without my mental toughness, there would be no way I would be able to accomplish the things that I have with regards to my running.

This has also had a huge impact on the rest of my life but there is still areas of my life that need improvement. I've noticed that because I run so much I can get away with more than most people with regards to nutrition. However, I also know that I would be a much better runner if I became just a little more disciplined with my diet.

I'm lucky that I am surrounded by people who are willing to push me to limits beyond I thought possible and that has turned my life around in the past two weeks. My diet has never been "cleaner" and my body is reaping the benefits as a result. I have never felt this lean before and that has more to do with my nutrition than anything else.

We all need people around us who will offer support when we need it as well as a kick in the pants from time to time. Most people, unfortunately, surround themselves with negative influence which makes it more difficult to achieve their goals. In the end, though, the choice becomes your and yours alone. If you keep your eye on the prize and realize that without proper nutrition you will never get what you want, then things will start to come into focus.

My life has never been more complete these past few weeks and I'm running with more peace of mind than ever before. I know that things will only get better and that is something that I'm excited about.