Thursday, October 25, 2012

October Update

October is winding down, and I have one more trail race to look forward to in a few weeks before snowshoe racing season begins. Training is really starting to click now, and I'm enjoying it more than I have in many years. I am healthy after feeling generally 'off' this summer, and it is such a good feeling to be back in a groove. That classic quote by George Sheehan, 'the more I run, the more I want to run' holds true as always.

While attending a conference in Montreal earlier this week, I had the chance to run at Mt Royal Park a couple of times. Lucky me, my hotel was three blocks from one of the park entrances. The mountain is actually a big hill, but it's enough of a hill to get a good sustained uphill-yet-runnable workout in.

Congrats to everyone who raced at the Sydenham Fall Trail race this year. It was a bit of a soggy day which slowed things down out there, but I think everyone had fun anyway, and the races were very impressive.  

Happy birthday to my Dad, who turns 70 years young today.

My parents

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Run for the Toad 50K: Back to Basics

For many years I've wanted to Run for the Toad, and I finally got my chance last weekend. Derrick was setting up a booth at their expo this year, so I thought I would go up to Cambridge too and run the 50K. It was a very fun race, I had a blast. My running the last few months hasn't gone very well due to some fueling issues disrupting both my racing and training, and then poor pacing at Haliburton which further shook my confidence. So I needed to get back to basics and get this 50k under my belt with nothing going wrong. I know, no pressure! Actually, there was no pressure, as I put zero, zip, nadda competitive pressure on myself. This was my run, just for me, and I was determined to enjoy it and get my confidence back. 

And that's what happened. I was really happy to feel good pretty much the whole way. (I mean 'good' in a running-50k, all-relative kind of way of course.) I most definitely did not go out too hard, in fact not even letting myself breathe hard until 25k (2nd loop of 4) was past. This wasn't tough to do because my legs felt really sluggish anyway. Going into the third loop I spent a bit longer at my drop bag, grabbed my iPod and a bunch more gels, and regrouped for a few helpful minutes. I loved the third loop, my legs woke up a bit, and the trails were practically deserted with the 25k race now over. At around 33 km I started feeling the best of the race, and the knowledge that I was going to finish was a big relief. The fourth loop got tougher again as my legs were back to being sluggish, this time from fatigue, but knowing it was the last loop helped. 

Structurally I felt really good, my feet were exceptional with zero hot spots or blisters which shocked me (I know now that DryMax socks really do work), and interestingly after my fueling nightmares this summer, fueling for this race was the best it's ever been (30 minutes for gels, 1 hour S-caps, with a few additional ones of each thrown in when I felt the need). My stomach felt rock solid all day. My UltrAspire waist belt with larger bottle was perfect, I was running out right at the end of each loop.

I loved the course, it was sectioned up with a ton of variety, and it was nice having the K's marked. I prefer more technical trails, but it was a good thing for me to have to run a steady pace the whole way, especially since it was quite hilly. I can see that's been lacking in my training this year.

The entire race was so well organized by Peggy and George Sarson - a wonderful couple who work so hard to create this special Toad experience for everyone - and their incredible team of volunteers. A very special event to be a part of. 

Proof I was having fun! (photo by Derrick)