Saturday, July 28, 2012

Centennial Ridge

A stellar day in stellar company. A relatively leisurely 4 hours, Nakiska and over. Figure could get closer to 3 hours with goo form and weather.

Knee a bit sore after a large tumble but 'merely a flesh wound' !

Monday, July 23, 2012

Ha Ling laps

I don't think there's a better 'bang 4 the buck' hill repeat venue than Ha Ling. last Tuesday was 2 laps. Over 10,000ft (ascent and descent) of quad busting.

Boom Lake - July 21

A nice jaunt to a beautiful lake. Easy gradual ascent - all runnable. 10.2km return trip.

July 23

Easy 8.36 km around the Nordic Centre. 54 mins.

Climbing 225m
PTE 2.9
157lbs this am

Big day planned for tomorrow. Legs a bit tired after some hiking this weekend.

Running Buddies

It sure is important to have good running buddies. These are my two favourites!


Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Rundle's Revenge 50km

The Rundle's Revenge 50km, held at the Canmore Nordic Centre (aka home turf), was the first Ultra I've done where I felt like I had a legitimate chance to take the win. I have had a stellar spring as far as training goes, despite the rain, and have dropped around 20lbs in weight. I went into this race feeling fit, in form, and I had spent a few weeks running the race trail to get familiar with the course. It's 4 laps of 12.5km, with around 400m of climbing per lap, so it's a decent challenge.

As usual the pace off the start was crazy and I found myself in a small lead pack heading up the first incline at sub 4min/km!! Fortunately this lead pack comprised both 12.5km and 25km runners, as well as the 50 km'ers, so I quickly backed backed off the unsustainable pace and settled into a more comfortable one. In training I was lapping the loop in around 1hour 15m, so I was surprised to get through the first lap about 10 minutes faster, but the legs were feeling good and I felt this was a reasonable pace. I was sitting in second place after the climb of Georgetown, but already about 10 mins down on the lead runner. Surely he couldn't sustain that pace for 50km?

The trails were sloppy and muddy with all the recent rain, but I had scored a pair of Salomon Fell Cross from Phil Villeneuve, and they were the bomber. People were falling and sliding everywhere, whilst the traction on the Fell Cross never failed me. Definitely a good choice for the conditions.

Lap 2 was a steady affair, a couple of minutes slower than the first lap, but as I came through the transition I got word that the leader, about 5 minutes ahead by now, wasn't looking great. There was no one else in sight behind me, so all I had to worry about was the guy in front who 'wasn't looking great'. Of course it could have been that my pit crew were simply saying this to spor meon, but it worked, and I charged up the first hilly half to lap 3 at 100%. By the first feed, I had gained back almost 4 minutes, and I caught my first glimpse of the leader, who wasn't looking comfortable, no doubt having gone a little too hard off the start.

As I picked my was down the single track of EKG he suddenly seemed to see me and his pace noticeably quickened. I spent about 15 minutes watching him 50 yards ahead of me, and try as I could to make gains, I seemed to be losing ground on the descents and flats.

I knew my climbing was good though, and as we hit the climb up Georgetown for the third time I caught and passed the leader, who was intermittently slowing to a hike, whilst I was still able to run all of the climbs. I put in an extra burst as I passed him, a psychological blow if I passed by quickly, I thought.

By now I had the bit between the teeth as it were, and the thought of a win, allowed me to charge around the final lap. By mid way I knew I had a lead of well over 5 minutes, so I eased off a bit, to ensure no sudden bonk, and to ensure that i could continue to run all of the climbs.

When I crossed the finish, my first victory in an ultra, I had a lead of 12 minutes. Victory is oh, so sweet!

Ha Ling - not the usual way up

Last weekend I took a little jaunt up Ha Ling peak, the iconic peak overlooking Canmore. It was a busy weekend and whilst most of the hundred's of hikers vying to summit head up to the gap and around to the Goat Creek parking lot, a way more adventurous route is to take the Directissima!

Bear in mind, that this route involves exposure, some moderate scrambling with some reasonably serious consequences, and a cool head is needed. Having said that, it is a blast if you're confident on your feet. Watch out for tourists on the col knocking stuff down on you though!

The route is very approximate!

Ha Ling from the climber's approach. The standard 5.6 climb takes the L hand skyline

A view down to Whiteman's Pond from the climber's approach to Ha ling.

Looking back down the bowl that brings you to the shoulder

View across from the shoulder to the final congested summit slopes on Ha Ling

Grand Canyon, Rim 2 Rim 2 Rim

It's been a while since I've posted but what with one thing and another it's been hard to find time. At the end of May I was in Scottsdale for a medical conference, and the opportunity to have a go at the Grand Canyon R2R2R was too good to miss.

This one has been on my bucket list for some time, but with temps in Phoenix of 42 degrees C, it wasn't looking good. But right on cue, the forecast improved, and after a sleepless night in the Best Western Tusayan, I hit the South Kaibab trailhead running, a cool 34 degrees F and a daytime predicted high in only the mid 70s F.

 The descent down the South Kaibab was stellar, with only 2 mule trains and a whole bunch of early starting tourists to slow me. I hit the river in just over an hour and was at Phantom Ranch in about 1h 15m. From there the trail was a beautiful gradual climb to the North Rim, most of which I was able to run, to hit the North Rm summit at 4h precisely.

I was feeling pretty good aside from some big toe soreness, and after picking my way somewhat gingerly down the initial steep switchbacks it was a blast back to Phantom ranch, well ahead of my hoped for 10 hours.

 As I came into Phantom Ranch I was a bit too excited to be back so quickly having been clocking sub 7 minute mile times in the last few miles before the ranch. As I sprinted in looking for the water tap for a quick bottle fill, I caught a rock and went headlong down a gravelling/rocky slope. I hit my right hand and knee hard, and bruised my hip. I was a bit stunned, especially when I saw the amount of blood I had spilt, and even more surprised bt the reaction of the 15 or so hikers sitting there watching me. Not one offer of help, or even so much as an 'are you OK?'

 I picked myself up, and got cleaned up with the help of one of the Ranch staff, who was the only one who appeared in the least bit concerned by my dirty grazes! After the nausea had passed, and I had gulped down one of the ranch's famous ice cold lemonades and hungrily wolfed down a Snickers bar I was off again, feeling sore, more due to the fall than the miles logged.

 The jog out was more of a hike/jog for the first few miles, slowing to a nauseatingly slow hike for the last couple. I was pretty much running on empty as I hobbled the last few metres to the top of the South Kaibab.

The pain was very temporary however, when i realized I had eclipsed my estimated time, finishing in 8 hours 51 mins. This is definitely an epic run, not to be underestimated, but it's certainly one that should be on every ultra-runners list of runs that just have to be done!