Zion Canyon 2011

Zion Canyon 2011
Zion Revisited 2011

How To Approach an Ultra or Ironman

Jordan Rapp quote sums it up!

This Jordan Rapp quote sums it up.
"It's about the process. It doesn't matter what you do tomorrow and it doesn't matter what you did yesterday. It's about today, and making today count. That's especially true in training, but it's the same mentality that I carry into racing. Focus on the task at hand, not on the finish line, or the next part of the race, but what it is that is right there in front of you in the moment."





Saturday, December 28, 2013

I Almost Killed a Man Today, and I Feel Great.


Me and Jax. One of us needs to lose some weight.That is what the end of December on Vancouver Island looks like.

  I know. It's been almost a year with nothing. I won't go too deeply into it, but retiring, moving from Ontario to B.C.,falling off the diet and a death in the family proved to be a bit too much for me. Stuff like what happened today is invaluable in my recovery, I am pumped as I write this! So, on with the story.
"The Dingo" at Enos Lake. "Jaxon Bean" is his proper name.

  They say you can't get lost in these woods, but the Pylons didn't have a "Don't follow Digger" rule for nothing. It started as a simple hike with my neighbour Pauline and 3 dogs. At the trailhead, we met up with a nice lady named Natalie and her Portuguese Water Dog, and we headed out together.The trails here are nice, and after an hour or so, we wanted to keep going. So I took the lead and showed them a trail up to Dave's Lookout.
The View From Dave's Lookout.
    We had no trouble finding the trail, and up we went. We met a father/son team at the top who had been "Geo-caching, and were looking for a way back to their car. "Follow me", says I." I know a shortcut." I had been on this trail before, and didn't remember it being particularly difficult.This is a problem of mine, when I am done, I seem to forget the hard spots.


  This trail was much harder than I remembered, although I can't say for certain we were actually "on" the trail. After a half hour of slipping down cliffs on wet leaves and rocks (basically un-walkable without grabbing a tree here and there) we were past the point of no return. I know the days are starting to get longer but it was near 3:00pm, and it gets dark here around 4:15. The father of the father/son team is having a really tough time, and I'm getting concerned as he keeps falling and the son or I keep catching him. After one strenuous section, he says"I've got to sit down". And his face is grey and he is hyperventilating. Not Good. Usually when I see people that look like that, they are having a heart attack. I ask the son to sit with him while I go running ahead, trying to figure out where we are, because by now I'm pretty sure we are lost.
  And so we are.
Where's the #@%&^* Trail????

The dogs are having a great time, running up and back down the trail with me. Eventually, I see what I think is Enos Lake in the distance and sort of get my bearings. So back to the father/son (I'm pleased to see he is on his feet again) and telling them we have to pick up the pace, as it's starting to get dark and I'm having a tough time picking up the trail in the light."What did he say?", asks the dad. "We have to speed up"says the son. This is just as we hit another wet, slippery down slope.
  I asked the girls to go ahead without us, so that if we don't get out before dark they could send in a search team, and I'm not kidding. I'm shitting bricks. The father is going really slowly, and I don't want to push him, plus I have no idea where I'm pushing him to. So now it's almost 4:00pm and getting darker by the minute. The land has leveled out and the dad is now making good time.
  I spot a trail marker! We start down a  trail, and for some reason I decide to yell for the girls.
"Down here" they say. "The trail's down here!" I was about to walk right past them and head out on another wrong turn.
  So after meeting up on a very well used trail, I decide it's time I run ahead and see if I can figure out where we are, since I'm the dumb-ass that got us into this. I keep going until I hit a paved road and realize we are, once again, going the wrong way. So I run back and turn them around. DOH.  I keep running the other direction until I know the cars are just around the corner.
  I am constantly apologizing to the father/son and our new friend Natalie. It's 4:10pm and it will be dark very soon. Making a bit of small talk now that we're safe, I ask the dad if he minds telling me how old he is. "86."he says. His son corrects him, "Dad, you're 88". Pretty amazing.
   Natalie heads off with her dog, and the father/son, me and Pauline and the 3 dogs finally walk into the parking lot. "I'm so sorry", I say again."At least we won't be in the newspapers tomorrow."
  "That was great", they say, "Thanks for the hike!"
I re-started running a couple of weeks ago, but today was a workout. Lots of adrenaline, and when I got home in complete darkness, clothes drenched in sweat, I realized I felt really good.
Random Trail Scene
Epilogue: 
  We went back the next day so I could show Portage and our friend Lynn the scene of the crime. Took a couple of pitchers.
This is an Arbutus Tree.

And another.

King of the Rock. That is the trail.

We found the Geo-Stash the next day. We signed the book and put it back.

Spanish Moss

Moss moss.

More moss

An unwelcome guest found in the bathroom.
  So, I guess the diet starts on January 1st. Happy New Year !
 

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Is That Trail Runner Enough? And Tofino Sun!

Wow. THAT is an Elite Trail Runner Beard.
So I'm really getting into this West Coast hippie thing. Looking like a real trail runner! My soon to be sister-in-law says I look like I'm from Bowser Bay, which I'm pretty sure is a compliment. Anyhoo, Portage doesn't like it much.

Me: "But all the top trail runners look like this" I explain. "Krupicka, Tim Olsen, Joe Grant."
Her: "Look how thin they are."
Me:"Look how hairy they are. I'm looking like a real contender now"
Her: "You could lose some weight. Or go for an actual trail run."
Me: "But my toe hurts."
Her: What about the guy on the cover of your "Trail Runner" magazine? He doesn't have a beard.
Me: That guy is only 20 years old. He can't grow a beard. Same as Dakota Jones.
Her: "There's a good barber in Parksville. "
Oh well, I guess that's why they say Men are from Venus, Women are from Mars.

A friend of ours made us an offer we couldn't refuse, and lent us her condo just outside of Tofino for a couple of days. It was raining when we arrived Monday night, but we awoke to a beautiful, sunny day on Tuesday.
The Weather Gods were with us. We had the only sunny, warm(60˚F) day of the week. Can you see the surfers?


Sweet Oceanside single track.


 We had a really great couple of days on the wild side of the Island with The Girl. She is home from University for reading week.
This restaurant was featured on 5 star chef Lynn Crawford's T.V. show "Pitchin' In". Portage was excited.
  So we visited Gary's Kitchen in Tofino specifically for the Cantonese Crab. Unfortunately, the fishermen hadn't brought the crab in yet, and you have to give them 2 hours notice if you want to order it. DOH. So I had a burger. 'Tage had the wings, The Girl had Ginger Chicken. You can read about my awful burger experience by clicking here.

The Girls

  Tofino is on the "Wet Coast" of Vancouver Island, but we had a perfect day of warm sunshine. There is a marathon/half-marathon here that we might run in June. The route includes beach, trail and road running. It's point to point, from Tofino to Ucluelet. (you-clue-let). It's called the Edge to Edge Marathon.
We had lunch at The Black Rock Resort. Excellent food and ocean view.
  We had a tough time finding a restaurant that was open for the season, but finally located the amazing "Black Rock Resort" in Ucluelet, owned by former Beverly Hills 90210 star Jason Priestly, who happens to be from Vancouver. His father runs the place.
   We had a fantastic lunch, I put my excellent chicken burger up on the 50 Burger Challenge web site, but had to disqualify it later because it's not red meat.You can read that food review here.
Nice view, but I am lost.

 Here are some artsy fartsy beach photos from Portage
This is Long Beach. Can you see another surfer? Many of them are from Australia, and come here to work in the coffee shops,restaurants and bars. They surf when they aren't working.

Bull kelp. 'Cause it's shaped like a bull whip.

That's mist from the huge waves.

Winter Waves. People come here to see this.

The marathon goes down this beach.

Past here......

And here. This isn't even low tide

Tide's coming in, made us scramble!

The girls. Someone had randomly written "Tie Domi" in the sand. Weird.

Surfin' Bird


Oooooooohhhhhh.....

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh.....

Mussles. A fellow was filling up grocery bags with them. Great eating,and free.

I Call This Pitcher "Shoulda Been Lunch at Gary's".

Kennedy Lake on the way home. My 2nd favourite photo.
         My Favourite Photo, again, Kennedy Lake, on the way home from Tofino/Ucluelet.
OK, I couldn't choose between this one......

And This One.
Well, as you can see, we are really missing the snow in Ontario. Apparently, they are having a really bad winter! Well, gotta go fill up the hummingbird feeders.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

That's Better. And West Coast Observations.

 Well I am now up to 56K running in January, and starting to feel stronger out there. We even fit in a bike ride and a couple of swims. I have a couple of new routes, I used Map My Run to see the elevation and distance.Ignore the times, I start the thing up and then remember something I forgot and don't start running for a while. Mostly I'm running 5:30-6minute K's, can't push it just yet.
This is a double loop, I thought it was about 10k. Turns out it's 8k. DOH.

This is the "Dave's Lookout run. I figured it was about 10k. It's 8.67K. DOH.

Elevation for the double loop. I figured it would look like this.

Elevation for Dave's Lookout. Remember, these are meters people. I think that's about 1,000 ft in regular measurements, but I'm a little rusty on converting. But it sure felt like more than that....
 So, I have already set 2 FKT's out here. An FKT is a "Fastest Known Time". My two are
1) 49:50- My front door to Dave's Lookout, back to Andover,out the Golf Club Road, past the mailbox and home.
2) 46:28- My front door to Fairwinds, Double Loop-past the mailbox and home. That one might stand for a while.

Some observations from our 2+ months out here on the "Left Coast". I always thought this was where all the Hippies retired, but I was wrong. There are old Hippies here, but they seem to be on the smaller surounding "Gulf Islands", such as Saltspring and Hornby Islands.
Other things;
People here are really friendly, even the people who work in the stores and restaurants. Even the people at the Post Office.That still surprises us. Kinda like being in Tennessee, without the accents.
 A lot of people here burn their garbage. The whole household garbage/recycling shtick is so convoluted that people here just burn stuff. Especially "Up Island", which is anywhere north of Victoria.
 Nobody picks up their dog's poop. It is everywhere. Watch your step! In fairness, they do let their dogs drive them home from parties.
 People here say "Hey", instead of the standard Canadian "Eh". i.e.-"It's pretty cold out, hey"?
 Drugstores here are huge and you can buy anything in them.They're like a Best Buy,Shoppers Drug Mart and Zellers rolled into one.
 It's been 6˚C almost every day this month.That's pretty normal for January.


How did he work the stick without an opposable thumb?
   Soooooo, two good weeks of running, we are definitely looking for some races on the Island, but it looks like me might hafta hit the mainland for an Ultra. Gary Robbins has one in Squamish.  He just set a course record at the 100 mile H.U.R.T. in Hawaii, and he's from Newfoundland. Hey, maybe Ellie Greenwood and Tracy Garneau will be there?I know someone famous who will be running, Dora, who was recently featured in Canadian Running Magazine because of her strange "Caveman" diet.Pages 62-63.
  Or maybe I should just try to get to February without hurting myself.
People Shop In Scooters. This one is rain-proofed.


Wednesday, January 16, 2013

No Pressure. I Apologize in Advance for the Lameness of This Post. Nice Photos,Though.

Seagulls fighting over a "dead something". There's actually a bird out here called a "Jaeger" (German for hunter) that chases and harasses seagulls until they give up their food or vomit. True story.
 Normally, when I've done something this stupid, I  rush back into running too soon and hurt myself again and so on and so on. Oh, did I mention I gave myself "Turf Toe"?
  Long story short, my nephew plays soccer on an indoor artificial turf field. I was kicking the ball back and forth with him, and to demonstrate how superior my skills were (he's pretty good for an 8 year old) I unleashed a mighty kick at him, except instead of hitting the ball, I drove my toe into the turf and went limping off like a little baby.
A seal teases some seagulls in Qualicum Beach. He had a salmon he was flipping in the air, then he would go after the seagulls when they tried to steal some.
Anyhow,I forgot all about this until recently. I had thought my swollen foot and painful big toe was gout, but normally it goes away in a few days after changing my diet (cutting my beer consumption) and popping the NSAID's like Pez. If I could get my shoes on, I'd put up with the pain and go for a run.
Tide's coming in.
Things didn't click until we went to another soccer game, and I remembered the incident from before. A light bulb came on. "It's not gout, it's turf toe"! I'd had it before and remembered the pain.
Cameron Lake. I already have a run planned for here on an abandoned railway.
 So the cure for turf toe is R.I.C.E.  As all of us older runners know, that stands for Rest,Ice,Compression and Elevation. I can do that.
A Hooded Merganser visits the pond next door. I love the "Elvis" haircut.


The Merganser diving. That's bad news for the goldfish.
So it's been two days of rest and relaxation, we finally downloaded all our Christmas photos and tomorrow, we organize the office. Maybe. If we get time.
This is where we will Kayak when it warms up. People do kayak(and golf) all year here though.

We want to do some mountain climbing, and this is the first one on the list, Mt. Arrowsmith. You might be thinking like "Dream On", but we feel like we're on a "Permanent Vacation"....oh never mind. It's the tall peak behind the foothills.


It's wet here.



So for Christmas, we deep fried a turkey.
Before...Prepped and ready to go.

During

Now comes Miller time....

Done!

Coolest side dish ever, mashed potato snowmen. "The Girl" is trying to serve them up in one piece.

10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1, smile! I almost forgot, this is our Christmas portrait.

Anybody see a Hobbit?


Brad made an "appy" in the shape of a salmon. Cool.







I'm scared.....

Leftovers

The Boy got one with 3 eyes.


The excitement was too much for the 3 visiting mutts.


There is a unicorn farm here. They even have a "Unicorn Crossing" road sign.

Hey Moe!
  So we are getting settled, slowly but Shirley. I have my eye on a trail marathon in Moab, and it's not until November,so hopefully I'll be skinny Digger by then. Moab is one of the most amazing places I've ever been, and I think Portage would love it. Also, it will give us motivation to get in tip top shape.
 So,in the meantime, I am implementing a strict "No Beer until 5 P.M." rule.
I mean, it's not gout, after all.
Best thing about being retired? I just realized, I don't know what day it is today. Although I'm pretty sure it's either Wednesday or Thursday.
And don't call me Shirley.