Register | Login
Attackpoint - performance and training tools for orienteering athletes

Training Log Archive: STORM

In the 31 days ending Jul 31, 2010:

activity # timemileskm+m
  racing2 20:56:00
  running8 9:45:00
  mountain biking1 7:00:00
  course scouting1 7:00:00
  Total12 44:41:00

» now

Saturday Jul 31, 2010 #

racing (Canadian Death Race) 16:37:00 [5]

Last year was my first attempt at Death Race, and it unfortunately didn't go as planned. The 30-degree heat combined with my total inability to restrain myself from going out too hard in the early stages of long-distance races knocked me out at the 90km mark. Despite being extremely disappointed, I vowed to return and conquer this beast of a race.

Fast forward a year later, and there I was at the start line. My long-run training had been consistent until about April, when it admittedly fell off the rails due to event organizing stuff wreaking havoc on my routine. This year's field included some incredibly strong athletes (including the whole of the Adventure Science team, which I had the honour of being a part of), and I knew my focus had to be strictly on simply finishing and running my game plan if I was to avoid a repeat of last year. "Race my own race" was my mantra, and I was determined to stick to it.

Stage 1 felt great - I caught up with Wayne Gaudet who I had run Stage 3 with last year, and it was great to keep distracted from my anxiety through chatting and catching up. Wayne is a consistent top 10 Death Racer, and winner or podium finisher of numerous 100-milers (not to mention the Alberta Ultra-running points champion for the past 3 years). I had NO business trying to keep pace with him last year, and doing so was ultimately what caused me to blow up so badly on Stage 4. Running with someone with such extensive experience in this early stage I figured would serve as a good check on my tendency to go out hard off the start. We came through the first TA in around 1:40. Mighty Mouse arrived just behind me and blew through the transition – man she’s fast!

Stage 2 involves summiting both Flood and Grande Mountain, and it is absolute murder on the quads and feet. The climbing starts almost immediately, and while I knew Wayne's game plan would have him taking it easy on the ascent, I just couldn't stop myself from at least trotting while feeling so strong. Off I went, alarm bells sounding in the back of my head (especially when I caught up to Bender near the top of Flood), but with the self-assurance that my pace was would be sustainable. My only concern was the fact that it was considerably warmer than I had expected, and I had foolishly decided to go with tights rather than shorts (which I also did last year – clearly I just don’t learn). I actually whipped out my knife on several occasions ready to hack off the bottoms, but just couldn't bring myself to it. By unzipping my packvest and taking off my cap while in the shade, I was able to keep my temperature and a reasonable level, but I knew that wouldn't last as the day wore on. As I made my way down the miserable foot-destroying other side of Grande and back to the host site, I began planning for how to avoid same predicament as last year.

Stage 3 just sucks. It's flat and boring and runs through a valley into which the heat just funnels and sits and beats the hell out of racers. This is where it all went wrong for me last year. In the 2nd TA, I hacked apart my tights, transforming them into some seriously ghetto-looking shorts, and dunked my head in ice water to prepare for the misery ahead. All I had to do was to make it through this stage without blowing up and I was confident that I'd make it to the finish. The heat was miserable and access to creeks or streams was virtually non-existent – I found Hansel dunking his head at the only one we came across. As I ambled along the beating-hot railway tracks paralleling the road to the 3rd transition, I knew I'd have to force myself to take recovery breaks if I wanted to keep the contents of my stomach intact. This would set the tone from this point forward.

Stage 4 - Mount Hamel. 7,000 feet of relentless climbing (I’m not sure what height we started at) that just kicks the cr@p out of you. Last year I threw up all over this damn mountain, and I was absolutely determined to avoid the same fate again. This entire slog was all about going until I hit the verge of exploding, and then taking time to recover and settle my heart rate. Turbo caught me as we made our way up and up to the sub-alpine, and then back and forth around the switchbacks on the final climb to the summit. Getting to the top without having puked and feeling relatively strong was everything I was aiming for, and I was actually able to enjoy the spectacular viewscape from the hogsback ridge. No excuses now - I was finishing this b_itch no matter what!

Unfortunately, despite best efforts, the heat had taken definitely its toll. I discovered that the speed at which my exertion level would approach the point of no return was getting quicker by the hour, and I was constantly having to take recovery breaks to keep from overheating. I would be passed by five solo racers between the descent off of Hamel and the finish line, but just couldn’t keep my stomach happy enough to do anything about it. The Ambler Loop (where I had pulled the plug last year) was an especially bad low point, and I pretty much walked the whole of this 5km make-work loop. Run and recover, run and recover – this was pretty much how it would be for the next 5 hours...

Stage 5 – all-new territory, as I hadn’t seen this section last year. Dee had warned me of the sharp climb right off the start, and I suffered badly through the first 4-5 kilometres despite the dropping temperature. An unexpected strong recovery allowed me to push the pace through to the river crossing, where we were ferried across via jetboat after relinquishing the “Death Coin” that racers must carry throughout the whole of the race. Once across, the trail went straight up again, and my strength really started to fade. These last 10km were absolutely miserable, made worse by the fact that an old kilometre marker (obviously placed a long time ago when the course was laid out differently and just never removed) indicated 9km to go at the point where I calculated there were only about 4 left. Finally hit a road, which mercifully led directly back to town, and to the sound of the finish line. 16:37 – good enough for 13th place overall.

While I was disappointed to fade so badly in the final stages, I was generally pleased with how I managed my exertion levels and kept stomach issues in check (although I admittedly threw up in the nearest garbage bin shortly after crossing the finish!) I clearly don’t have the stomach for longer ultras – I hear that you can train it to work better over time, but I can’t say that I’m particularly eager to try. Not sure if I’ll commit to another long race for a while - I miss adventure racing...

Congrats to Zoolander for his awesome 4th place finish, not to mention fellow Adventure Scientist Ellie who was not only 2nd overall, but smashed the previous women’s course record by close to an hour! Big thanks to Dee and Ally for crewing, and to KBomb and her Mom for knitting the awesome personalized Death Race toques!

Sunday Jul 18, 2010 #

running 50:00 [2]

Easy road run

Saturday Jul 17, 2010 #

course scouting (elapsed) 7:00:00 [2]

Final checkpoint flagging for RockstAR up at Bark Lake on a gorgeous summer day - this is always my favourite race task of the year. Pure awesomeness...

This should be a very interesting RockstAR. Phatty and LaFemme vs. Bash and Bent. PhattyJr and Frankenjack against the RaceDayRush team. Team Funderstorm, the Swamp Swimmers, the Connell Clan...lots of navigation skill and experience being showcased in a very strategy-heavy race. Can't wait!

Thursday Jul 15, 2010 #

running 1:25:00 [4]

11km run with hill sprints in the Don Valley. SOOO muggy out! I noticed after I finished the hills that my shoes were making squishy sounds and moisture was draining out of the lining on each step, like I had just ran through a deep puddle. The trails in the Don are bone dry - nothing but sweat. Ugh...

Wednesday Jul 14, 2010 #

running 1:20:00 [4]

11km run with hill sprints in the Don Valley

Sunday Jul 11, 2010 #

running 1:15:00 [3]

18km road run

Saturday Jul 10, 2010 #

running 1:25:00 [4]

11km run with hill sprints in the Don Valley

Thursday Jul 8, 2010 #

running 50:00 [3]

Easy road run

Wednesday Jul 7, 2010 #

running 50:00 [3]

Easy road run. Too stinkin' hot to do anything more...

Tuesday Jul 6, 2010 #

running 1:50:00 [4]

17km run with hill sprints in the Don Valley (or should I say "Death" Valley - it's hot out there!)

Saturday Jul 3, 2010 #

racing (Creemore 50k) 4:19:00 [5]

While it wasn't how I had planned it, this was actually to be my first solo race of the year (and only the second race I've done of any kind since November!) Training had been consistent and going really well from December through to April, but 3 events in 6 weeks since the middle of May have totally thrown everything off, and I had no idea going into Creemore how well my base training would serve me. As I looked around at all the super-fit-looking people around me at the start line (including Bash - looking lean and mean!), I had some serious race jitters as the gun went off...

Bash had told me that the views from the high points of this race were truly spectacular (and they were), and friends had mentioned beforehand that the post-race lounging in the Mad River with pizza and kegs of Creemore made this the best finish line experience of any race in Ontario (and I wholeheartedly agree). One thing that I didn't care for though was the simultaneous start for the 25 and 50k racers, which (for me anyway), makes it really difficult to judge who to pace yourself against. I marked one racer (who I internally nicknamed "red shirt guy") at around the mid-way point of the first 25km loop as a 50k-er who I would want to keep in my sights. I pushed harder than I should have, but I couldn't reel him in until the end of the lap, where a quick burst on the sweet singletrack put me just behind him. Mission accomplished for Loop 1...

Sure enough, as soon as we crossed the line, red shirt guy pulled off to the side - clearly indicating his completion of the 25km race. $ht! Now I've overextended myself at a 25km pace with a full lap to go. I dropped my packvest in the transition zone (horrible, horrible idea to wear a packvest on a scorcher like today), and took off into the trails, hoping that I could maintain at least some level of consistency in my pace without someone in front of me. However, when I hit the first lengthy stretch of road, it suddenly occurred to me that there wasn't ANYONE in front of me, nor was there anyone behind me. Could this be? I restrained myself from asking the volunteers at the first few aid stations how far ahead the next racer was in front, until curiosity got the better of me...

"Dude, you're the first one that's been here for a long time."

Holy cr@p! Off I went, now facing peak heat with some big climbs ahead. Started to really feel the brutal temperature at around the 41km mark, but recovered by walking some hills and forcing myself to down some food and Endurolytes. By the time I hit the final 5km I knew I had it locked, and picked up the pace through the last stretch of trail leading back to the host site - happy to finally be off the sun-beaten roads. Soon as I hit the finish, it was straight to the river which runs immediately behind the RD's property to lay down in the knee-deep flowing water, where I literally could have stayed for hours. Forget fancy resorts or extravagant finish line set-ups - absolutely nothing beats the opportunity to sit in the sun on a camp chair submerged in a running river with a cold beer in the cup-holder. Absolutely perfect...

Thursday Jul 1, 2010 #

mountain biking (elapsed) 7:00:00 [2]

Awesome day of mountain biking and running around Stony Lake with Heather B. Started the day from Warsaw Caves and headed northward to hit the awesome ATV trail networks north of the lake (a la the former Stony Lake Tri), follwed by a quick jaunt on foot into High Falls. Very embarrassed to have found two Storm the Trent markers from the last Warsaw race back in 2008 - not good.

« Earlier | Later »