Sunday, July 26, 2009

5 Peaks - Seymour

So, yesterday was the 5 Peaks race on Mt Seymour and after watching Lance Armstrong race to the top of Mt Ventoux from the coffee shop at the Quay, I dragged my butt off to my own Mt Ventoux to see what I could do.

Being a part of the Salomon Flight Crew is more about being an advocate for the sport of trail running, a product tester, and encouraging people to get involved than it is about being on the podium. However, I still feel like I should somehow project the Salomon image of the lean, adventurous athlete pushing him/herself against the elements. I'm still working on the "lean" part! Motivation has been a little off this year.

Anyhoo... the enduro course on Seymour was around 12km and about 2000ft of elevation gain. It's a very technical 12km covered in rocks, roots, and mud and I was glad to be wearing my S-Lab shoes. They have a relatively low profile, good grip and just the right amount of protection for this kind of technical running.

I did have one revelation while running though. I tend to buy shoes a half size larger so that they are a tad roomier in the toebox. The reason for this is that I typically do longer runs of 25km and up and the extra room allows for foot swelling and doesn't overly affect good contact with the ground and solid footing. But the Seymour enduro is short .. 12k is a sprint and it's a sprint over some really rough ground. I found my forefoot sliding a bit inside the shoe and therefore felt a little less sure .. just a little .. as I was running. For short, fast, technical races I would recommend a shoe size that doesn't have that extra bit of toe room. I'd get the shoe size that fits my foot snugly so that I could have that solid "feel" for the ground that I'm running over.

So.... ultras or training ... get a size with some decent toe room and anything for fast, short cross-country get a size that is a little more snug.

After about a k or two of downhill the enduro wound around a couple of muddy ponds and then began a steady, long, sustained climb that got steeper the higher up the climb you went. That and having to go all out over such a short distance meant that my breathing was just about red-lined the whole way! I haven't been used to that for a while and it was all I could do to keep going and concentrate on not falling on the tricky terrain. Make you want to just say "screw this!" and pack it in. I was glad to hear Kevin Holland say the same thing to me after the race. Kevin's having a great year and is a really strong runner so I was reassured that I wasn't being weeeeak! :p

I finished 12th on the day in 1hr:09 and 6th in my age group. At the previous race on Burnaby mountain I had finished 15th but 3rd in my age group which meant I had been able to stand on the podium after all! I have a few more weeks to cram in some more training before seeing if I can manage that again at the Whistler race. Stubbornness can sometimes make up for lack of training. Still, the Spike Training System proved itself once again!

Friday, July 24, 2009

The Genius is in the Graph

Someone once asked me what my training regimen looked like. I thought a moment and then described the graph you see above.

During the week, I explained, I do nothing .. or maybe one short run and then there's a sudden spike where I load up on some training. That's the weekend, I said. Really! That's all you gotta do folks. Forget training your ass off 6 days a week and logging insane miles and workouts! Save your suffering for race day! Let's face it. If you run hard in a race you're gonna feel the hurt right?! It doesn't matter if you're first or last ... if you push it you hurt. Training isn't gonna make it hurt less ... it'll just get you to the finish line faster ... and if you've paid $80 for a race you might as well stay out there and enjoy the scenery!

On top of that, you don't have to concern yourself with all this "what should I eat?", "what should I drink?" crap. While your buddy is there sipping a cranberry spritzer and worrying about that extra gram of spinach he/she ate, you can suck back a few beers and stuff your face with chips, chocolate cake, ice cream, lard... u name it!

It's a proven training system. I've done it for most of this year and probably last year and while I don't finish on the podium I'm still up there AND... I'm enjoying all the vices that make the uber mensches cringe and run away in fear!

Mark my words... the Spike Training System (patent pending) will work for you too. For $19.95 I'll send you an autographed, limited edition print of my proven, field tested method.