I was very happy and surprised by my recovery from The Toad last weekend and on Monday, two days after the event, which is normally the worst day of recovery, I managed a solid 25km run. It was painful but very beneficial as I did a loop along The Baden Powell Trail, up Mountain Highway, and back down BCMC. Local jargon to say that there was some good elevation gain and loss in the run! As we topped out on the climb, we being Roxy and I, we came across a Deer and Doe. Roxy was obviously enthralled by the duo but she obeyed command and quietly took it all in from a distance.
I took the Tuesday off from training and then on Wed ran a 7km a.m. road run followed by a p.m. headlamp run with two friends. We tackled Lynn Peak, which again means some good elevation gain and loss.
Thursday morning I managed a solo interval training session, but took it down to 4x400 meters instead of the 3x1k that I have done with my buddy Simon in the past few weeks. I won't post times, but will say that I managed to get faster with each lap and at least felt somewhat fast on the final interval. Total distance was about 8km.
I was off today and headed to Bellingham, Washington to run some completely new terrain with trail running buddy Daniel Probst. Dan is planning a possible 100 miler in Bellingham for 2010 and we ran about 50km of the course today. We could not have had a better October day for running, and although I did scrape frost off of the car at 7am, when we started running at 9.30am we were blessed with nothing but blue skies and spectacular views!
We started the run with a six mile out and back along Watcom Lake and then proceeded into a climb of almost 3,000 feet that lead to breath taking views out over Mount Baker. The run finished off with some sweet downhill singletrack running and I decided to add on one more out and back along the lake to bring the distance up to about thirty miles, while Dan decided to soak his legs in the lake. I told myself that I wanted to push the last ten km and see what I could manage, and I was very happy with a twenty minute first five km and nineteen minute final five km for a 39min 10k finale to my day.
Of course Roxy joined me for the entire run, but surprisingly enough this was her first ever ultra run! Her longest run prior to this was back in July when we logged a 40km day along the better portion of The Knee Knacker course. That was a hot day and it really took it out of her. Being a Husky-Sheppard (or Doberman, still not sure) mix she ate up the kms today with temps topping out at about seventeen degrees. Check out this short vid to see that she was in no way exhausted whatsoever after our five hour run!
My weak glutes that have lead to IT Band soreness and hence knee pain has not been resolved, however, after racing three times in four weeks I have come to terms with it. You may be asking why the hell I'm still running at all as we head into October...well I managed to get into a race called Mountain Masochist, which takes place on November 1st in Virginia. The course is listed as fifty miles, but apparently being a David Horton course it comes in closer to 54 miles, or 87 kms.
Still you may be wondering, why am I pushing myself this late into the season, with a serious race in November...at least I am left wondering that sometimes! I rarely race in October, let alone Nov and historically have not done well after the final MOMAR on the last weekend of Sept. The reason for all of this comes down to just two words, Western States. WS is the premier 100 miler in North America. There are others that are right up there, but in terms of history, appeal, and notoriety, nothing else compares. So sought after is this race that every year it goes to a lottery and each year it becomes harder and harder to gain entry, as more and more people apply. I may be mistaken with this number, but I believe they get well over 2,000 applicants for a race that is capped at ~400 runners!!
Long story short, the race was canceled this year, for the first time ever, due to wildfires. The Montrail Cup Series consists of seven races, six leading up to Western, and they award automatic entry into Western for top three male and female at each of these events...it's the only possible way to get to the starting line for WS 2009...which is looking like it could very well be the most competitive race they've ever held!
It's a dream to be a part of this event next year, and I'm doing everything I can to make it happen. I found a return flight from Seattle for just 275 Canadian, and I have a friend in Raleigh, NC, just three hours South of the race start in Lynchburg, Virginia. Hays Poole n family are who I stayed with in 2006 when I attended game five of the Stanley Cup finals...the Oilers won in OT to stay alive...that's all I care to remember about that playoff series!! Anyways, Hays has been kind enough to offer up accom for a few nights and a free NHL hockey game the day after the race! Can't say I'm a Leafs fan, but on Sunday Nov 2nd I'll be hard pressed for who to cheer for in North Carolina...the team that stole my Stanley Cup dreams just a few short years ago...or the always hated Toronto Maple Leafs...I'll decide when I get there...maybe Carolina if I can pull off a top three and gain the highly desired WS entry, The Leafs if I do not and am pouting anyways!!