Monday, July 28

Like the good old times, but better

Out of the dense temperate rainforest we ran. The drizzle soothing, we climbed a twisting trail as it ascended another relentless hill. A combination of sweat and precipitation sprayed the skin with each foot strike. With each slap on the softened forest floor, my shoes absorbed moisture as energy rose through my arches and ankles. My quads burned on the abrupt ascents. It was a pure carnival of pain, but I loved each stride because running distilled my purpose and enjoyment.

Okay, I’ve bastardized a quote of James Tabor’s but I wanted to try and capture the essence of my recent weekend. After a relatively comfortable few weeks, I unwittingly upped the volume and delight.

Thursday was spent looping through Rithet’s Bog with Hicham in an attempt to reintroduce our legs to some speed work. The idea was some to do some structured strides; he runs too fast.

Saturday was brilliant. After a fortnight away, I was back running with the Great Lake Crew. I’d let a few of my friends know we were meeting at 8:00 a.m., and was presently surprised to see the entire gaggle at Thetis Lake. We looped through some of my favourite trails, hitting Seymour Hill, Centennial and Marsh Trail. The real kicker though was heading back out to Thetis 24 hours later, but sadly, for me I was with a companion who had fresh legs. Not wanting to become a creature of habit, we looped up Scafe Hill and Stewart Mountain, returning home later that morning only to tell Ally that my legs felt like they were training for an ultra marathon they’d forgot to tell me I had registered for.

Two weeks is too short, I can’t wait to do it again.

Thursday: 56:24 with Moneghetti strides 2x90” (90”) + 4x1’ (1’) + 4x30” (30”) + 4x15” (15”)
Friday: day off (unscheduled, opted for 1:20:54 up-tempo ride after watching too much of le tour)
Saturday: undulating 1:59:22
Sunday: hilly 1:45:59

Wednesday, July 23

Rolling With Summer

While biking home from work yesterday I passed the time contemplating where to run. One of my favourite areas is the rolling hills around Broadmead but it’s also my winter stomping ground and I’m reluctant to use it too often in the summer. I whittled my choices down to Mount Doug or a dash along the Lochside Trail and out into the Saanich farmland.

It was with muted surprise then that after returning a DVD I turned right and veered south toward Cedar Hill (see photo). As I weaved through the sun-bleached neighborhoods and eventually onto the undulating chip trail, I couldn’t help but notice the responsiveness in my legs. As I was out late the night before I fully expected and deserved a run with heavy legs, but definitely wasn’t going to complain about my windfall. Perhaps my slow trips up Mount Doug are paying off.

I was brought back to reality by a serendipitous encounter with Marilyn and Shawna (?); both women will be running with the varsity team this year. The company was most welcome, and we looped around the golf course chatting about the year ahead (and possibly my first cross-country season).

On a disturbing note, and in complete contrast to yesterday, during my strides this evening I found that my arms were writing a cheque that my legs had trouble cashing. Am I getting old?

Monday: day off (scheduled)
Tuesday: easy 1:12:06 with 8xstrides (1’)
Wednesday: easy 21:11 with 7xstrides (1’)

Sunday, July 20


“People often say that motivation doesn't last. Well, neither does bathing - that's why we recommend it daily.”

I’m weary. Not that “I can’t keep me eyes open” fatigue, but rather that deep seeded exhaustion that builds one drop at a time and ultimately leaves even the hair on your head devoid of purpose. For almost two weeks now I’ve also noticed a corresponding decline in my motivation, and if not for habit I doubt I’d have run.

I think the problem rests with my attempt to squeeze a pre-fatherhood routine into a life that now includes a child, something ridiculous (the idea, not he child). Specifically, it’s the fleeting moments of solitude at the end the day, the time that I have entirely to myself which now nibbles away at much needed sleep.

[the jury is still out on whether to maintain the status quo or seek to achieve a compromise]

Still, what bothered me the most was the slip in motivation. I’ve been content once out the door but it’s the act of “getting out” that is becoming increasingly more difficult. Thankfully, after reading
Brad’s Knee Knacker report and pouring over my old training program, coupled with Thomas’ inspiring 5k account that I noticed that a fire was still burning deep within me. I wanted to live those moments (minus the broken foot), most importantly I wanted to run.

This Sunday then couldn’t have been better. After deciding to forego the opportunity accompany a good friend for a 2h jaunt as he prepares for a fall jig (with <2h18 PB, I’m not nearly fit enough), I decided to head out to Thetis Lake. From there, Tim and Jim accompanied me as we looped around the back trails and into Francis King Park before heading back. The highlight of the day was kicking off our shoes and jumping into the lake at the end of our run.

I love summertime.


Friday: day off (scheduled)
Saturday: easy 1:00:31
Sunday: rolling 1:34:12

Thursday, July 17


People are always blaming their circumstances for what they are. I don't believe in circumstances. The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and, if they can't find them, make them.” ~ G.B. Shaw

Three years ago I competed in the Knee Knackering North Shore Trail Run, a challenging 30-mile race along Vancouver’s North Shore mountains. Climbing 8,000 feet and descending another 8,300 feet in the process, Running Wild magazine has recognized the race as one of 25 toughest races in North America.

What started as a group run with eight participants in 1989 quickly grew into the largest ultra marathon race in Canada. As the course is run along the world famous Baden-Powell Centennial Trail, the organizers have had to implement a lottery system capping the field to 200 runners. In 2005, I was fortunate to finish 8th in a time of 5:43:39, but only 10’ shy of 3rd!

This year a good friend of mine was lucky enough the win a lottery spot but unfortunately ran into some difficulty less than half way through the race.

About 10-15 minutes from Cleveland Dam, which was a mile before the first of the five road crossings leading into Cleveland Dam, I rolled over on my right foot. Hearing a snap, which I thought (hoped) was a twig, I continued to run as often a twisted ankle isn't bad. The initial shock wears off and you can run on it no problem. In fact, that exact scenario had happened not five minutes earlier with my left ankle. The pain was not in my ankle, but rather in my foot. After 500m of running, I knew my day was done.”

A full report can be found here.

When you come to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on.” ~ Franklin D. Roosevelt


Monday: day off (scheduled)
Tuesday: hilly 57:42
Wednesday: easy 37:23
Thursday: hilly 1:05:21

Sunday, July 13

Thirsty Beaver and a Smile on My Face

“You are not the kind of person who sits around and talks about doing things. What’s the point? You’d rather be out there doing it, and leave the talking to someone else. No one ever achieved greatness by chatting about it. We salute high achievers with our Thirsty Beaver Amber Ale.”

The condensation is slowing beading down the side of the bottle, the malty flavour still lingering on my tongue. I’m closing out a near perfect weekend after just returning from a quick blast up and over Mount Doug, the beer to my left making the moment all the more enjoyable.

After a late night out with the boys on Friday, I paid my dues and then some the next morning as I was out for my biweekly trail run. Today though was all mine, and as I sped down Whittaker after summitting the mountain I couldn’t help but let the legs roll and notice a smile creep over my face.


Friday: day off (unscheduled)
Saturday: EZ 1:48:44
Sunday: hilly up-tempo 55:50

Friday, July 11

The Imagery of Smell

Two days ago, I stepped out our front door into a veritable wall of heat. It was something that would leave folks from barren climates still shivery, but it left me parched with nothing but the ubiquitous rubbing of crickets’ legs to keep me company.

I turned right and jogged down a narrow rocky path that brought me to the start of the Lochside Trail. From there I proceeded along the Connector and across the Blenkinsopp Valley to the foot Mt Doug. Always a sucker for punishment and wanting to truly experience the warmth, I slowly made my way along the shoulder of the hill, over Little Doug, around the back and then up the exposed eastern face.

Almost brought to a standstill in places, I couldn’t escape the dusty heat, the dryness allowing my whole body to breathe. But it was the smell of the desiccated grass that I remember most. If I ran up the shoulder of the mountain, it was the armpit that brought me back to the base. Running under a thick canopy of trees the temperature dropped drastically as the trail dived north toward the ocean. It was here that I could smell the salty seawater, but I was surprised with the accompanied sweetness that I could taste on my tongue… much like salted taffy I imagine. If only I could package it.

Upon arriving home yesterday, I made like Jack Bauer (24) and defused a potentially dangerous time bomb which unfortunately affected my planned long(er) run; but I’m still alive to tell the story and with a little luck I’ll be able to sneak out for a jaunt later this afternoon.

Monday: day off (scheduled)
Tuesday: hilly 1:09:02
Wednesday: easy 41:20
Thursday: easy 24:01

Sunday, July 6

The Lazy Days of Summer

It’s official, not only has summer arrived but invariably the hours of daylight are also getting shorter. Fortunately, most of us haven’t noticed the decline as the preceding eight months were dreary to say the least. Despite birds chirping and the sun shinning then, the question I’ve lately been pondering is, “why am I languishing when I head out for a run”?

Last Monday was the beginning of my summer/fall training schedule and despite aiming to hit 70’ on three different occasions, I only once succeeded and that was during an unsuccessful bid at 90’. The 70’ barrier has been drawn in the sand and I’m struggling to cross.

Not only that, but the barrier has an accomplice… my daughter. It was Friday afternoon and I’d just retuned home from work. I was changed and just about to lace my shoes when small hand and incomprehensible gurgle caught my attention. Five minutes became ten, smiles turned into laughter and before I knew it, my window of opportunity had all but passed.

Still, despite my recent shorter-is-better attitude to training, I’ve enjoyed getting back out the door. I really must remember to post more often as recalling my runs days later isn’t conducive to an interesting read. Vaguely though, Tuesday was okay, Wednesday great and Thursday not nearly as fun as Tuesday. Sunday was not the light-on-my-feet experienced I was hoping for.

And we continue onwards…


Monday: day off (scheduled)
Tuesday: easy 1:09:17
Wednesday: steady 36:55
Thursday: 1:06:04
Friday: day off (unscheduled)
Saturday: steady 57:26
Sunday: easy 1:21:32