Viewing entries tagged
Trail Running


Not Quite Ready to HURT

It's never easy to decide against doing a race when you are healthy and fit. Harder still is pulling the plug on one of your absolute favorite events that you've had nothing but success at.

It's taken me quite some time to come to terms with this, but I won't be lining up at the HURT 100 in just under one month's time. If you follow me on any training sites such as Strava or Movescount you've probably been thinking "what the hell, is he not posting his workouts right now" (I realize none of you are paying that much attention but let's pretend).

As a quick visual reference above, I gave it a solid shot upon returning from South Africa on December 1st, but by December 10th I was questioning my decision in pursuing HURT in such a close time frame to the Salomon Skyrun (the triple on the 7th is actually a double in which I stopped my watch early).

I've struggled mightily with motivation over the last ten days so I went ahead and got blood work done to ensure I wasn't facing any base line issues with ferritin (iron) or anything else for that matter. I received my results yesterday and my numbers were up across the board, as in it was the best baseline blood work I've actually had in many years, at least since I started training harder. I was kinda hoping for the opposite in which I'd be able to see what was causing my fatigue, and really in the end, that told me all that I needed to know. It's time for a break right now. Thankfully there are no injuries and no baseline blood indication of issues, so those two things are to be celebrated I guess.

Through further assessment I realize that I usually take scheduled downtime in the fall and then ramp up for HURT through a huge mileage push in December. The fact that I somehow hoped I could pull off one of the hardest 100km races out there in the Salomon Skyrun (a difficult 13h46m effort) and then turn around and tackle one of the hardest 100 mile races out there just 8 weeks later was a bit of a pipe dream.

The hardest part about this is that I'm confident I could show up in Hawaii and still have a very good, even great race, just piggy backing off of my current fitness. However, I no longer make race to race, month to month decisions like I used to. I step back, assess a year or more, and ensure I'm taking care of my body and my mind/soul/heart in all that I do. My mind needs this more than my body, and in the end the mind gets what the mind wants. You take the good with the bad and the strength with the weakness. There are a series of cheques and balances that need to be met, and I'm currently tapping into my overdraft. It's there, it works, but it's never a good idea to do so.

On the bright side, MORE WINE, MORE BEACH, MORE FUN, LESS STRESS...hey, wait a sec, why haven't I thought of this before?

Merry Christmas to each of you, I hope Santa is good to you this week.


Transkarukera 120km, Guadeloupe - Follow Along


Transkarukera 120km, Guadeloupe - Follow Along

I've kept my latest racing plans a little under the radar over the last eight weeks. This was nothing more than wanting to ensure I was 100% recovered from the lingering foot issues I've dealt with this year and not wanting to outwardly commit to a racing goal until I knew I was good to go.


Guadeloupe. What? Guadeloupe. Where? Guadeloupe. How? Guadeloupe. Huh?



HURT 100 Finish Line Interview

I had completely forgotten about this archived footage from last weekend's HURT 100 until Linda stumbled across it last night. Here's my finish line interview via Ultra Sports Live TV

I was also able to locate some fun footage from my second time coming through the Nuuanu aid station at mile 34, where I was in the zone and having fun. You'll have to fast forward to 57m20s if you want to see my free throw skills.

Video streaming by Ustream

I'll be working on my race report throughout the week and am happy to say that Ian from Talk Ultra will be giving me a call tomorrow for our annual HURT conversation :)




Finding Motivation

The rains are back in these parts and with that comes decreased motivation to train along with the coinciding increased personal guilt trips to get my body to move out the door.

Today was the first truly wet run that I've embarked upon in months, in fact I struggle to remember the last real weather challenged run I had to overcome. Off the top of my head it was likely a pre-UTMB exploration in France, though there was no lack of motivation to run in the Swiss Alps on that day.

So the question I'm posing is, where do you find your motivation? What are the most challenging days and/or weather conditions that you have to overcome to get your sweat on?

One of the biggest things I've learned over the years is that lack of motivation can come in many different shapes and sizes, though the vast majority of a lack of motivation exists entirely in our own heads. Being mentally fatigued is far more difficult to get past than simply being physically fatigued. As an example, if you're fired up for a run, let's use the Grand Canyon as an example, you're going to make that run happen no matter what your body might be physically telling you. If however you find yourself at the peak of your health and fitness but are not excited by the terrain you're covering that day you're run is going to be a challenge to complete. The mind controls what the body will and will not do more so than the body controls the mind.

Back in 2005 I was training for my first ever expedition adventure race, that being the 2006 Primal Quest, Utah. I was then residing in Squamish, BC, the aptly named "Outdoor Recreation Capital of Canada." I was months into my training for a goal that was so daunting that the fear alone got me out the door each and every day. I wasn't feeling necessarily physically beaten down, but everything just became more of a challenge to complete. Day in and day out for weeks on end was an absolute slog. My motivation was nearing zero, I wasn't having all too much fun and I started to wonder if I was experiencing some underlying health issue.

Seven years on I forget what lead me to the following recognition, but as I assessed my training routine I came to terms with the fact that it was exactly that, a routine, completely repetitive. On my scheduled three hour ride day I'd take my mountain bike out on the three hour route I knew. On my two hour paddle day, I'd lug my kayak to the river and paddle down into the sound and back. A two hour run was always completed over the same known two hour route. There was a 90 min loop, a 60 min loop, etc. The adventure was gone and the whole reason I had even been enticed by the sport to begin with was because it was called ADVENTURE RACING.

I metaphorically threw out all of my known, set routes and went about exploring and embracing the unknown wilderness surrounding me. Like an overdose of caffeine, I was wide awake again within days. I started paddling the waters further south of town and quickly discovered hundreds of years old native rockwall art on the sea exposed cliffs near Furry Creek. On foot I found a whole new access point to get up The Chief via a gully scramble. On my mountain bike I learned new trail linkages and started discovering old logging artifacts. I couldn't wait to get out the door and to see what I'd find next. I had to remove the structure to do so though. I had to embrace the unknown and keep the adventure within what I was doing. I met one of Canada's most experienced adventure racers at the time and I was asking him for some training tips, he responded with,

"Training? I've never trained a day in my life."

"Excuse me?"

"I play everyday, but I never go out to train. I go outside to play in the woods and to interact with nature. When I stop enjoying it like play then it becomes work. Work, no matter what form it may take, will always feel like work."

So as I sit here after a successful run on a day that's calling for 80mm of rain it is with an awareness that I consciously went onto a trail system I am less familiar with. I woke up early and was struggling with the mental image of where I wanted to run today. I started rifling through areas in my head and as soon as I thought my way to a trail access point that felt like it excited me I packed my bags and headed straight there. My run, and day of play was salvaged because of this.

Tracking back to the point of this posting, here are a few things I realize I use to motivate me when I know it is nothing more than my own head that's preventing me from getting out the door.

1) Remove The Blinders: The aforementioned day of exploration. Remove all expectations from your day and simply take every new trail turn you can find. Your current favorite routes were once completely unknown to you. Never lose sight of that.

2) Socialize: Training partners are great at keeping you honest. Like most I embrace running as a primarily solo pursuit, but there's nothing better than a planned group run to prevent the snooze button and to make the miles fly by underfoot

3) Mission Possible: In the true doldrums of our longest months which contain the least sunshine I create mini-missions for myself. Taking last winter as an example, we experienced an early and unexpected low snowline that refused to recede. One of my mini-missions was to grab my snowshoes and run from home to the snowline on Mountain Highway. I'd then start snowshoe running up to the tracked high point in the snow and go about breaking trail for 1/2 - 1km further uphill. The snow usually being hip deep while doing so. Once I completed my mission I'd turn around and retrace my steps home. By the end of this I'd have been on my feet for multiple hours, climbed 5-600 meters in elevation, and most importantly not once thought about the run itself. Creating a mission for yourself removes pace, distance and elevation expectations and allows you to go through the motions without over-thinking the going through the motion process.

4) Music, Podcasts and Audiobooks: My necessity for noise distraction to overcome lack of motivation goes in this order. A) no noise, I like to run in my own head as much as possible B) music, nothing distracts my mind on the 'I'm about to over think this running in the rain' days quite like music C) podcasts and audiobooks, on the days when I know I need an entire distraction of the mind to get out the door I fire up a good book or my favorite podcast. I haven't looked for research saying so but my own anecdotal experiences tell me that having to actually listen to a voice and process what it is saying, rather than just humming along to a song, takes the mind into a deeper state of distraction and concentration. My worst weather training days have a great audiobook on standby to conquer them. It has yet to fail me.

5) Dream Big: Throw down for that big race you've been dreaming of. Just because you aren't fit enough to attempt it today does not mean you can't and won't be ready to do so in eight or nine months time. A big-ass scary-as-shit goal will make short work of your alarm clock. I used to be the captain of the under-motivated, then I signed up for the biggest adventure race in the world in 2005, for the 2006 event, and my life has never quite been the same for it.

6) There's More To Running Than Just Running: IE cross-training. Having recently gotten past some neck and back issues I'd been dealing with I've really attempted to get to know some of other sports that I love once again. Primarily this involves gym work, squash, skiing and likely some hockey again, albeit the floor version instead of the ice version, but I find all of this exciting, and fresh and familiar all at once. This guy had it right, way back when.

There are very few people who can train in such repetition so as to pound out the miles five, six and seven days a week, week in and week out, month after month and not suffer through injury in doing so. Personally I am fortunate to be able to log heavy mileage without the standard issues a lot of people attempting high mileage may encounter, however there is not a single one of us who wouldn't benefit from cross training in the form of gym work, cycling, etc. You know that guy Kilian who seems to be a pretty decent athlete, he uses a road bike as cross training, in fact most European mountain runners spend a decent amount of time road cycling. It's interesting to me that we don't see that same mentality on this side of the pond. When you're mind and body start to feel the impact of the pounding of repetition, mix it up, stay healthy and continue to get stronger instead of being forced to the sidelines.

7) I Do Not Want To Suck: For me at least, I find motivation in competition. This is touched upon in five, but that's more in reference to the fear of not being able to finish a certain goal. Whether your goal is a podium finish or a personal best time, competition can be a great motivator. I attempt to pick the most competitive races I can find so that it keeps me honest. There is nothing quite like day dreaming about the best ultra runners in the world and how hard they themselves train to help me get past my rolling mental excuse list.

8) Talk It Out: Conversations ongoing in my head;

"I don't wanna." and be sure to say this in the most childish pout mouth you can.
"Why not?"
"Cause it's wet outside."
"You've gotta be kidding me."
"It's weally, weally wet outside." an Elmer Fudd voice will suffice here
"Yeah that's called rain, it does that here sometimes."
"It looks poopy outside."
"Listen are you injured or severely fatigued here?"
"No. It's poopy outside."
"Yeah, I'll pack a diaper for you, get you're ass out the GD door you pansy."
"But, but, but...."
This is where I put myself in a headlock and it becomes incredibly violent until the stick a soother (Salomon flask bottle) in my mouth and get on with it.

Giving it a voice can give it meaning. Most of our excuses not to do things are entirely trivial and they feel even more trivial when reviewed internally or even spoken out loud.

9) Give It Twenty: That's it, give it twenty minutes. That's my only rule on the days where I'm really in doubt of if running is a good idea. By the twenty minute mark things usually make sense again and I can't believe I fought so relentlessly with myself to begin with. I think in all the years I've been enforcing the twenty minute rule I've only turned back once at twenty five minutes. That day it was the absolute right call, but the other 100 times I've instituted this rule on myself I've ended up with some of my best, some of my longest and certainly some of the most rewarding days of my year.

10) Give It A Rest: Seriously, shut it down for scheduled maintenance on an annual basis. Training/playing creates stress on your body. As runners/athletes we become incredibly efficient at dealing with this stress and seeing it as positive stress. On a cellular level though your body is just dealing with stress and trying to keep you healthy. Your body does not differentiate between what we know to be healthy and unhealthy stress levels, it just knows a stress response.

Ultra running specifically has grown into a twelve month a year pursuit for many runners. With large money events now taking place in September and December there is little downtime to be had unless it is specifically structured in at the beginning of your year. In 2013 I lined up for seven ultras, three of which were 100 miles in length. All but one of those races went as close to 'according to plan' as could be suggested. When I sat down to plan my year I structured in the downtime and then stuck to that plan. Following each of my three hundred mile races I enforced three weeks of near downtime. Doubt the validity of my statement? I've posted all of my workouts this year to my MovescountStrava feeds. I was not injured following any of these races, I was embracing forced recovery.

Following each of HURT, UTMF and UTMB I shut it down in a big way compared to my regular training loads. Even following UTMB in which I only made it twenty miles I shut it down following the event. Why? The physical and mental stress of the training leading up to a big race is what really takes it out of you. In a five week span while training for UTMB I logged over 1,000km, almost all on trail and while averaging nearly a vertical kilometer of gain per day. Whether I made it to mile 20, 50, or the finish, my mind and body needed the break. Without structured downtime the best of the best have two years in them. By the third year there's inexplicable issues that arise either through injury or over-training. Schedule in downtime and enforce it or your body will do so for you, and it won't coincide nearly as nicely with your personal racing goals.

Newton's first law of motion, though not scientifically applicable certainly rings true when jigged to state that 'objects at rest tend to stay at rest, and objects in motion tend to stay in motion.'

The less you do, the less you'll want to do. The more you do, the more you'll want to do. So get out and do something and make it habitual. Whether your goal is to win a race, to finish a race, or you're just attempting to get/stay healthy, your body desires movement. Don't let your head get in the way of that.

My challenge to you. Go and run a completely new route this week. Take one day, one run, one hour and find something new out there. You'll be thankful you did.


So how do you motivate yourself to get out and get after it?



Guest Speaker - VIMFF Sunday Feb 10th

This Sunday February 10th I'll be a featured speaker at the Vancouver International Mountain Film Festival's "Trail Running Show"

Gary Robbins: Fueled By Cheese – Trail Running in the Alps

VIMFF Trail Running Show
Sunday, February 10, 7:30 pm (doors 6:30 pm)
Centennial Theatre MAP
Buy Tickets Here -

The Ultra Trail Du Mont Blanc (UTMB) is a 168km lap around the 4800 meter Mont Blanc, the highest summit in the Alps. Along the course runners have to overcome more than 9600 meters of elevation gain and loss while travelling through three countries to beat a 46 hour cutoff. With 2300 runners from 60 different countries, the UTMB is often referred to as the default world 100-mile running championships. It has continually attracted the best runners on the planet since its inception in 2003.
In August of 2012, North Vancouver ultramarathon runner Gary Robbins went to Chamonix, France to compete in the UTMB.  In his 20-minute presentation, Gary will share his ups and downs and detail why he feels that the loop around the Mont Blanc massif is a journey that every fit and adventurous soul needs to add to their bucket list.

Tickets are still available and are $19 in advance and $21 at the door, however, consider yourself warned that last year's trail running evening did sell out in advance of the night.

It would be great to see you out if you happen to be in town. Check out the full line up of films on the evening. It's sure to be a fun one!




BCMC Descent FKT - 15m52s

It's rare that I have a run where I celebrate it like I've just won The Stanley Cup. Today was one of those very special days.

With perfect conditions on the local BCMC trail, which is listed as a 3.3km / 2 mile trail that loses 853 meters / 2800 feet over an average grade of 25-35%, I leaned into it and held on (stayed upright) all the way to the bottom in less than sixteen minutes.

Just last week I ran a 19m29s descent in which the conditions were a bit more complex, and I commented afterwards that I thought I could break nineteen minutes. That was my goal today. That was all I expected to see when I clicked the lap counter once I'd reached the gate at the bottom. Seeing a time of 15m52s sent me into a flurry of leaping around like an idiot.

Now this run will certainly have to be noted as a snow assisted descent, though you still have to cover the terrain underfoot. By perfect conditions I mean that there is a decent snow pack over the top portions of the route so you can really stride out over what is normally very technical terrain. The mid portion however is a bit of a slushy slip and slide and my downhill ski experience certainly contributed to keeping me upright as I slid as much as I ran through this section.

The bottom was a mix of snow, ice and then the normal rocks and roots. I managed to rip my microspikes off my feet in about six seconds flat and refused to pause my watch for any reason as I didn't want to compromise the GPS file.

I pretty much turned myself inside out on this run. I made but two missteps in the snow which cost me a few seconds and had just two hikers who refused to relinquish the trail and forced me into the knee deep snow on the sides of the trail. All in all people were incredibly accommodating, and I attempted to give them as much heads up as possible with friendly "hellos" as I approached. The run really couldn't have gone any better. My only regret is that I wasn't wearing my GoPro for the whole thing:)

What really makes this an extra special run is that I've been training my tail off in preparation for my first 100 miler in two and a half years, that being the HURT Hawaii on Jan 19th. With 115 miles / 190km in the last six days I don't get much more tired than I've been as of late, but thankfully the body has stayed strong and my mind is simply being strung along for the ride right now.

Enough blogging, it's time to convince my mind that it wants to go for yet another run already.



Quick Reflection w/Pics - 1st Season Of Race Course Managing

Late last year I commented to a few friends on how I was looking to explore options for race course directing and design. Amazingly enough and shortly thereafter it all started falling into place, and this year I joined the teams for the Mind Over Mountain Adventure Racing series, the 5 Peaks trail running series, and a forthcoming local Red Bull Divide and Conquer adventure race. I felt as though just being brought on board by these highly successful and established brands was a victory in and of itself.

Basically as the course director/manager I'm responsible for everything from the inception of the specific race course until its completion. Starting with assisting in course design, pre-race flagging, implementing a race day safety strategy, dispersing of volunteers, setting up aid stations, managing volunteers while runners are on course, addressing any on the fly emergencies, and then packing up and making it appear as though you were never there to begin with. It's a behind the scenes job and I truly loved every second of it.

Obviously unforeseen was that I would end up directing all but one of these six races while on crutches, or in a colossal sized walking boot. All in all though I'd consider this to be a highly successful first season from a course directing standpoint, and I learned something new at each and every turn along the way. Being thrown onto the mic as race day MC for the Whistler version of our 5 Peaks race was the most daunting and hence one of the most rewarding experiences of my summer.

Between these six races I saw over 2500 runners and adventure racers (obviously not 2500 individuals as most raced multiple times) and we had ONE person take a wrong turn for the entire season. We're still not quite sure how that person made the wrong turn, but either way, I liked our save percentage (to steal a hockey term). Having raced for several years now myself, there's nothing I hate more than getting lost while on a flagged course (and I'm exceptionally good at this) so it's at the very top of my list of things not to f-up, though 5 Peaks have certainly been leaders in this realm since their inception.

I'm really looking forward to being back on board with all races again in 2012...unless of course they're secretly looking for my replacement as I speak? 

It was a pleasure to be a very small piece in the very large puzzle towards ensuring race day success, and I'll truly miss the monthly meeting of familiar and smiling faces. Our trail running community is as strong as any I've come across and we should be exceptionally proud of this.

Of course our access to beautiful locations certainly doesn't hurt, and as an example, here's how the season finale looked at Buntzen Lake yesterday morning. Thanks to all who frequented these races this year and I look forward to seeing you again in 2012.

First wave start of Sport and Enduro courses

Ghost kids 1k race
Original unaltered shot from top of posting. All pics were taken on an iPhone 4

Flooded beach due to an upper lake dam being spilled

Flooded beach made for spectacular shots

Trimmed and flipped. Otherwise unaltered. Water reflection on top

Trimmed and turned. Reflection on left. Otherwise unaltered.

Trimmed, flipped, and brightened with a filter

Trimmed, turned, and brightened with a filter, plus an added border

And finally, never, EVER leave your car keys unattended



Musings From The Sidelines - Weekend Ultra Story Lines

A couple of big races took place this past weekend and as always there were many story lines that emerged. A couple that stood out to me

(Hope Pass)
Ryan Sandes's 100 Mile Debut

South African Ryan Sandes won the Leadville 100 miler with the 3rd fastest time in the race's 28 year history. Yeah, that little race in Colorado that attracts one of the largest fields of any North American 100 miler. The race with a low point of 9,600 feet, and a high point of 12,620 while cresting Hope Pass...twice. That little race where the two fastest times ahead of this 100 mile rookie's performance are Matt "The Lung" Carpenter and Anton "My Bones Heal Faster Than Yours" Krupicka.

It's not like Sandes is inexperienced by any stretch of the imagination though, as he's the only person to ever sweep the Racing The Planet stage racing series. That does little to diminish the shocking caliber of his 100 mile debut however. And, if you happen to be keeping tabs, yes that another Salomon victory this year, and yes that's the 4th major US race to be won by an 'out of towner' since December.

NF 50 Champs - Heras
WS 100 - Jornet
Hardrock - Chorier
Leadville - Sandes

Can a U.S. runner finally snag victory at the most competitive race of the year, starting in France on Friday evening? (and yes my heart bleeds just a little bit every time I think about missing out on that starting line)

Dave Mackey Back Atop UROY 2011 Voting?

Dave Mackey got back to form again on the weekend by breaking yet another course record. This time at the Waldo 100k in Oregon. This one is summed up nicely right on their homepage: It is not a beginner-level ultra and participation in the race should not be taken lightly.

Dave shaved just over four minutes off of Erik Skagg's 2009 effort, in which you may recall he ran himself straight into the hospital, which thankfully he eventually fully recovered from.

After Mackey finished 8th at Western States he seemed to fall out of favor with the UROY chatter, even though his 8th place finish was a pretty damn solid 16h36m effort.
It will be interested to see what the voters think come year’s end, though there is still a lot of racing to go. I'm curious if we'll see similar to past years, where there seems to be a weighted voting process associated with the distance of the runs upon one's resume. Though it's pretty hard to argue the stats:
-1st CR Bandera 100k
-1st Amercan River 50m
-1st Miwok 100k
-8th Western States 100m
-1st CR Waldo 100k

Canadian Back In The Mix

Canadian runner Chris Downie broke onto the scene a few years back with some impressive results, before seeming to disappear for about a year. Well it appears the BC native is back with a vengeance as he pulled off a very impressive 4th place finish at the above mentioned Waldo 100k on the weekend. Downie finished just ahead of Oregon's own Yassine Diboun, who is a highly regarded ultra runner, and all around great guy period.

I believe Chris's next race will be another Oregon gem, the Pine to Palm 100 miler in mid September, and I'll say right now that I'm picking him for a podium finish. Chris has shown nothing but success over longer distance runs while winning his first 100mile and 146km races.


So whatdaya think? Is Ryan Sandes poised to become the next great 100 mile runner? Is Dave Mackey your pick for UROY through 2/3 of the year? Have you ever raced against Chris Downie and come away shocked that a man who looks like a football player can be so damn fast?




Mr. Jones & Me

IT'S GOOD!! Mr. Jones Fracture has officially been put to rest.

(How I felt after seeing the x-ray yesterday morning)

Finally, finally, finally there is X-Rayed proof that my foot is 100% healed and ready to start taking a proper beating once more!

When I left the hospital on Feb 1st I was told it was 80-90% and that I could start back at things as long as I "Didn't Do Anything Stupid"...Who ME?? NEVER!

Those exact words played out in no fewer than a dozen different scenario's during my constant foot tweaks over the last seven weeks. I have finally had the weight of my own mind removed from my shoulders...wait a second, there's many different ways to interpret that statement...anyways, no more stressing out because of foot pain, it's all good pain from here on out!

The worst mental tail spin I ended up on was for a week while I was experiencing direct pain in that exact portion of my foot.

"I'm done. This sucks. I'm soft. I'm broken again."

Dr. Jenn Turner "It's your cuboid"


"Your cuboid. Here..."

"OW! Mother of..."


"WHOA. SWEET! You ARE a magician!"

Runnin' In Circles

I blogged about my 10k treadmill run, but I never really mentioned how much of a price I paid for that stupid move. The fact that I ran 10k wasn't the issue, it was that I did it on a treadmill and simply kept upping the speed and attempting to hang on. In the end I felt great, for about an hour, and then my right ankle felt like it'd taken a bullet. I was unable to even walk without a limp, let alone run. The only beneficial thing that subsequently transpired was that I got sick and ended up having to take nine full days off anyways. By the time I had gotten over the flu my heal/ankle had come around and my lesson was learned. On the advice of Curb Ivanic I hit the track and ran in fully self propelled circles, instead of a treadmill assisted speed workout. In the end I am undecided as to what sucks more?

I Ran A Marathon

Over a span of six days that is...and I couldn't have been happier to have knocked down a six day mini running streak!

Mon 14th: Strength w/ Curb
Tue: 3.2k / 17min
Wed: 6.5k / 33min
Thu: 10k / 52 1/2min
Fri: 5.3k / 28min
Sat: 10.5k / 52min
Sun: 9.2k / 47min

Of course every run looked like this:
But whatever, it's all about the small victories right now right!

My First Trail Run In Almost Five Months!

With the news of a healthy foot yesterday I finally got back onto the trails for the first time since Oct 26th! A 14km jaunt out to Norvan Falls and back felt like an ultra but for all the right reasons. (1h23m)

Thankfully my body was ok with the distance, pace, and terrain I covered yesterday and I managed another trail run today of 12km in 1h08m with the first 5km being all uphill. It was a fantastically beautiful day by all definitions and as I sat in the sun at the top of my climb I couldn't help but smile from ear to ear. It's been a long journey back to the trails but all things considered the timing of it all could not have worked out better. There's still a long road ahead before I manage to get into race shape, and I know it won't be an easy process, but, mark my words. I'll be 'Showing Up' at Western States and I'll definitely be 'Showing Up' at UTMB!!

Songs o Da Week (I saw these guys in concert with Bon Jovi in 97)




My BIG Announcement...

(HUGE thanks to David Papineau at Prototye Design for this logo!)

AHHH, I've been waiting to announce this one for months now...and I can finally say with 100% confidence that this WILL least the attempts will happen...

Conquer The Coasts 2010

Canada’s West Coast Trail, Vancouver Island British Columbia, 75km, highly technical with average hiking times of up to a week.

Most famous trail in Western Canada. Trail consists of technical terrain from start to finish. Two water crossings via water taxis and half a dozen more via cable cars. Ladder work consisting of dozens of ladders and hundreds upon hundreds of completely vertical stairs. Boot sucking mud, ankle twisting roots, and a tidal cut off zone at the ¾ mark. This trail is not for the faint of heart and many who have set out to traverse it in a single day have ended up utilizing space blankets, headlamps, and wilderness camping to complete their journey.

Current trail record is a very respectable 10h13m by local legend Kevin Vallely. Kevin recently completed a 650km run across the frozen Lake Baikal with his adventure partner Ray Zahab, and with one additional teammate they set the current South Pole speed record in 2009!

I have run this trail once before, but at the time it was just over half of my intended route. I followed up the 75km West Coast Trail by running an 8km section of road to another British Columbia trail classic, the 47km Juan De Fuca Trail. All in I became the first person to run the 130km ‘West Coast Double’ in a time of 23h40m. My WCT time investment was 12h20m while running from North to South. I do believe the trail is doable in a sub 9hr time frame, assuming some luck with a lengthy dry spell of weather leading into an attempt. (if you have almost 13min to kill you can view my original video of my West Coast Double run you'll see this was before I learned about video editing software!)

My proposed run date will be in late May.

Canada’s East Coast Trail, starting in my old stomping grounds of St. John’s Newfoundland, consists of 220km of rough footing, non-stop undulations and incredible coastal scenery. There has only been one completed running of this trail, ironically enough by Kevin Vallely’s adventure partner Ray Zahab. Ray is a much more recognizable figure within the running world made more famous by his recent documentary release ‘Running The Sahara’.

Ray’s run time on The East Coast Trail was close to 48hr, but having spoken with him personally he reaffirms my initial thoughts of being able to hopefully lower that time to the 24hr range...mainly cause I just don’t wanna run for two straight days! Ray mentioned some issues with route finding along the way, and having run just two sections of this trail myself, all told for 40km, I can certainly sympathize with the navigational issues. All who know me are also currently laughing as my internal compass seems to be resting squarely upon a magnet!

My run attempt is currently scheduled for mid September.

After the media garnered during The Olympics I would hope all are familiar with this organization by now!

As I was plotting this ‘mission’ back in November it took me all of five minutes to realize that I needed to tie my venture to these wonderful people.

Their mission as stated is, “To improve the lives of children in some of the most disadvantaged areas of the world by using the power of sport and play for development, health and peace.”

My goal is simple, I’d like to lend a hand in raising $5,000 for this incredible charity. Why five thousand? Well, I initially thought $2,950 would have made more sense, since I’m running a total of 295km, however $5,000 just had a nicer ring to it. This is my primary goal with this entire process. If I were fortunate enough to set two new trail speed records but fall short on the fund raising side of things I’d still consider this an epic failure. SO, please help me achieve my goal with this by reaching out to help underprivileged children around the world.

Right To Play currently has programs in:
Azerbaijan, Benin, Botswana, Burundi, China, Ethiopia, Ghana, Jordan, Kenya, Lebanon, Liberia, Mali, Mozambique, Pakistan, Palestinian territories (West Bank and Gaza), Peru, Rwanda, Sudan, Tanzania, Thailand, Uganda, United Arab Emirates and Zambia.

Click here to support my fund raising campaign for Right To Play

(this hyper link seems to be 50-50 for hitting right page, please try a 2nd time if wrong link on first clic)
and thanks so much for your continued online support of my own running endeavors!

Gary Robbins