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Attackpoint - performance and training tools for orienteering athletes

Training Log Archive: Bash

In the 7 days ending Oct 19, 2012:

activity # timemileskm+m
  Running1 15:01:32 62.14(14:31) 100.0(9:01) 3361
  Orienteering1 57:05 2.53(22:36) 4.06(14:03) 107
  Mountain Biking1 37:00 4.54(7.4/h) 7.3(11.8/h)
  Power Yoga1 25:00
  Total4 17:00:37 69.2 111.36 3468

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Friday Oct 19, 2012 #

11 AM

Orienteering race (Middle Distance) 57:05 intensity: (20:00 @2) + (37:05 @3) **** 4.06 km (14:03 / km) +107m 12:25 / km
shoes: Salomon S-LAB FellCross

North American Orienteering Championships
Middle Distance - Adams Creek

Fun day at Delaware Gap! It rained on and off - sometimes quite heavily - but it didn't dampen the awesome event atmosphere. The weather was warm, the people were friendly, the courses were great and there were a few tents to duck into when the rain got really hard.

It was so great to chat with old friends and new. I finally met my Swedish Attackpoint friend Bubo, and I had several nice conversations with athletes who introduced themselves after recognizing my messy hair from photos on my AP log! It was also nice to chat with Cristina after reading about her adventures in Norway.

My goal this weekend was to be in the upper half on average over the three races, probably with a disaster in one race; I haven't been orienteering competitively enough lately. Today's technical Middle Distance was the most likely candidate for the blow-out. It turned out to be very challenging nav with many areas of low visibility due to leaves on saplings crowded close together. Even when two controls were 100 m apart, I often took a bearing to be 100% sure that I was heading in the right direction. There were lots of controls in the woods that belonged to other courses so accuracy was essential. In many cases, there weren't big features to catch you if you made a mistake or to relocate from if you got disoriented. A lot of good orienteers had troubles today. The maps and courses were excellent; it was just really easy to mess up.

I moved cautiously - no hard running other than the finish chute. My nav wasn't perfect, e.g. I overshot #3 and arrived first at #4 a short distance beyond it, but there were no huge disasters. I was very happy with my result - 6th of 21 in my very competitive age category, and 6.5 minutes out of 2nd place. But I couldn't have touched Peggy's awesome 1st place performance - 16 minutes ahead of me! Ironically, if I had entered any of the next three age groups younger than mine, who all ran the same course, I would have won a North Am Champs medal but I didn't stand a chance against my talented contemporaries. (And it would be cowardly to hide from them!) Actually, it was a real treat to chat with Kissy and PeggyD in person - it's been a long time.

As expected, last week's 100K race played no role whatsoever in this race. Maybe I'll feel it in the Long or the Sprint but I think everything this weekend will be dictated by nav skills (or lack thereof), not the fatigue in my legs.

A few photos from the day...

Here's the view from our hotel near Delaware Gap. A good reminder that these maps have a lot of cliffs to watch out for!

Live results were displayed on flat screen TVs. In addition to finish times, we could see how long current runners had been on the course. Unfortunately, the heavy rain put a kibosh on the network after awhile but it was great while it lasted. Awesome work by the organizers to provide this for us in the middle of a field half a kilometre from the nearest road.

Sudden and Hammer both ran too fast down the finish chute for me to get good pics on a cloudy day. Serves them right.

Isak and AdventureGirl! were happy to finish.

And no wonder... Turns out they were both North American Champions in their respective categories!

Here are just a few of the many familiar faces. Sorry I missed getting pics of Valerie, Mick, Nick, Cristina, Clive, Kissy, Peggy and many other friends. Maybe tomorrow.



James, OOA Treasurer Extraordinaire


Sudden and Isak

True to his ARK roots, Pat-hectic arrived at the finish line with his heel outside of his broken shoe.

He seemed pretty cheerful when I saw him, in spite of a race that could have gone better.

But had clearly lost his mind by the time he ran into Wil Smith later.

And last but definitely not least is a guy to whom we all owe a debt of gratitude: Ken Walker Jr., aka Mr. Attackpoint who works hard in his "leisure" time while juggling work and family to give us the best training log / social community around. Thank you Ken, and congratulations on your North Am silver medal in the elite category on today's tough course - yay!

Speaking of which... the control numbers from my course auto-magically appeared on my Garmin download. Cool! :)

Thursday Oct 18, 2012 #

Mountain Biking (Single Track) 37:00 [2] 7.3 km (11.8 kph)

Such a beautiful autumn day that I had to do a brief tour in the Palgrave single track. Unseasonably warm, or - as we would have said a few weeks ago - unseasonably cool. I'm about to pick up Sudden, Isak, Hammer and AdventureGirl! for the looooooong drive to Milford, Pennsylvania (close to New York City) for the North American Orienteering Champs. 700 athletes from 20 countries - wow! And they'll have live results and live video coverage of the finish line - see the main AP forum for deets. They've even arranged to have wi-fi hubs at the event venues! This will be a totally new experience.

It's also the first time I've competed against 22 women in my 5-year age group, 4 of whom are past members of the U.S. national team. I'm not sure how many Canadian team members there are. This will be very humbling indeed, as in "arse handed to me on a platter" humbling. I could blame last weekend's 100K race but the truth is, this is a competitive field and I haven't orienteered nearly enough this year, or - let's face it - in my life. I've printed out the sprint map standards since I really need to study them in particular. I think a top 20 finish is achievable! ;)
9 AM


With more than $600 million raised, this cancer foundation associated with an inspiring athlete hero is a model of how to keep administrative costs down and give the most to the research that counts.

That would be the Terry Fox Foundation, of course.

Wednesday Oct 17, 2012 #


And it had to happen... Lance Armstrong has resigned as chair of the Livestrong Foundation, and Nike has severed its relationship with him but will continue working with Livestrong.

Btw if you haven't read the Outside article on Livestrong before, it is interesting to read about what the foundation does. Some people have felt that Lance shouldn't be punished because his charity does good work. Clearly, the distinction between Lance and the foundation needed to be made, and Lance has now done that. But what is less well known is that the foundation's work is not what many people think it is.

"If Lance Armstrong went to jail and Livestrong went away, that would be a huge setback in our war against cancer, right? Not exactly, because the famous nonprofit donates almost ­nothing to scientific research. BILL GIFFORD looks at where the money goes and finds a mix of fine ideas, millions of dollars aimed at 'awareness', and a few very blurry lines."
12 PM


I finished the Oil Creek 100K in the dark but it appears that the 6th place runner finished in time to get some important things done before dinner!

Tuesday Oct 16, 2012 #


So... remember that 100K race I did Saturday where after 15 hours of pushing hard, I finished 92 seconds over the Western States 100 qualifying time? Well, haha, funny story... I last read the website in June and it said (and still says):

"In completing a qualified event, one of the following minimum times must be met:

a) 50 miles in under 11 hours
b) 100 kilometers in under 15 hours
c) 100-mile trail race within the official cutoff

No adjustments or modifications can be made to the qualifying standards to accommodate non-standard distances. For example, the maximum qualifying time for a 55 mile event remains as under 11 hours, the 50-mile maximum."

The Canadian Death Race was on the qualifier list but it is 125 km - a non-standard distance - and only a few top men finish under 15 hours.

But when I checked the list of qualifiers for the 2013 WS100 just now, it says: "Canadian Death Race - 22 hours". I was 21:45. I'm in the lottery, baby! :)

6 PM

Power Yoga 25:00 [1]

Rodney Yee Power Yoga for Flexibility plus some Frog Pose, as per Ang.

I'm feeling good and if there weren't so much else going on, I'd definitely be biking; I even considered a short run today. My Inferior Extensor Retinaculum is improving but I suspect it would act up again if I tried to do a long run right now. After the North American Orienteering Champs this weekend, it is time to visit Thumbs-of-Death and talk rehab for my gimpy foot. Ski season is coming and I need my retinaculum to function flawlessly, now that I know I have one.

Sunday Oct 14, 2012 #


Drive home from PA. Lots and lots and lots of coffee.

Saturday Oct 13, 2012 #

6 AM

Running race (Trail) 15:01:32 intensity: (12:01:32 @3) + (3:00:00 @4) 100.0 km (9:01 / km) +3361m 7:43 / km
shoes: Salomon Speedcross 3 - Purple

Oil Creek 100K trail race
Motto: "Strike oil or move on!"

Run in the valley where the world's first oil boom began in 1859 when 'Colonel' Edwin Drake drilled the first commercial oil well. This is how John D Rockefeller amassed much of his fortune.

I'm recommending this event up front. I've done seven trail ultras now (holy crap, how did that happen?) and would recommend them all. I'm sure there are ultra duds out there but I haven't stumbled on one yet. Each ultra has a distinct character with different highlights and advantages.

Oil Creek is super well-organized. All my ultras have had great aid stations but Oil Creek dials it up a notch. I didn't check out the full spread but each aid station had very helpful volunteers with coffee, soup, a variety of sandwiches, fresh fruit, other hot food (e.g. pizza, grilled cheese, mac & cheese, potatoes) and chocolate covered espresso beans in addition to the usual drinks and sweet/salty snacks. The course was well-marked with lots of feel-good markers even though most of the route followed a continuous hiking trail with yellow-blazed trees. Each marker had reflective tape so at night I could see a series of little white lights showing the trail ahead winding up and down hills, even though the terrain wasn't visible.

The trail itself is interesting and moderately technical. I've read race reports that describe it as highly technical but compared to some rocky sections of the Bruce Trail, most of it is runnable. The elevation gain/loss per kilometer is a little more than Hockley Valley so the feeling of constant up/down is similar. This weekend the trail was leaf-covered with lots of rocks and roots so I couldn't gaze at the scenery but it was fine if I watched where I put my feet. We mostly ran through mature, hilly deciduous forest with occasional views of autumn colours in the main valley.

Photo by Dennis Kavish (Osteo)

The race starts in Titusville, PA and runs southwest along the west side of the valley in Oil Creek State Park before descending and crossing a bridge over Oil Creek. There's an aid station at that point, a little less than halfway around the 50 km loop. That's the only place other than the start/finish where spectators and crew are permitted, and runners can send a drop bag there. Then the trail heads uphill and runs northeast along the east side of the valley back to Titusville Middle School where runners either cross the finish line or visit an aid station and head out to do it all again.

There are 50K, 100K and 100-mile courses. Registration opens in mid-March, and the shorter distances were sold out in 10 minutes (50K) and 1 hr 45 min (100K). Tim Grant (Tiny) and I got into the 100K event. Unfortunately for Cathy Gallagher (Mrs. Gally), she visited the website two hours after registration opened and ended up registered for her first 100-miler without intending to. Denise Rispolie (Dee) came along to support us all and pace Mrs. Gally on her final 60 km. Dennis Kavish (Osteo) was out there too, knocking his first 50K race out of the park, but we didn't see him. He graciously agreed to let me use some of his terrific photos in my report.

Photo by Christine Kavish

The weather forecast was "a little of everything", kicking things off with a frosty -3C at the start line. Mrs. Gally started at 5 a.m., Tiny and I started at 6 a.m., and the 50K runners slept in for a 7 a.m. start. There was mixed sun and cloud all day as the weather got warmer, then sporadic rain and wind gusts after dark. It rained heavily in the wee hours when Mrs. Gally and Dee were out, then by Sunday afternoon, it was sunny and almost 20C.

I had some trouble getting my mind and body into this race. I'd registered for it as a back-up plan to earn UTMB points in case I DNF'ed one of my other ultras - but since I didn't, Oil Creek was now just for fun. I'm still kind of new to the idea of doing a 100 km race just for fun. I like having some goal to motivate me and keep me focused. Although it wasn't a particular goal of mine, Ang had pointed out that a finish under 15 hours would qualify me for the Western States 100 lottery. However, in previous Oil Creek 100K races, only the top three women had finished under 15 hours so that was unrealistic. Mind you, I couldn't figure out *why* the times were so long on this course because 15 hours should be just in the ballpark for me for 100K with 3300 m of elevation gain, but there had to be a reason. Even the day before the race, I wasn't feeling inspired, and that's not good before a solo race of that length. I think part of my usual motivation had gone to Georgia with Richard. I would have liked to be there to support him at his first 50-miler, and it felt weird to head off in a completely different direction.

Photo by Dennis Kavish

The one idea I'd considered was to try pushing outside my comfort zone for the entire race and take the risk of a DNF in exchange for the learning experience. I'm not much of a runner but I'm good at pacing myself to a finish; what would happen if I went a little harder and tried to "race" for 100K? I'd had a taste of it in the first 60K of the Canadian Death Race when I had to rush to hit a cut-off, and it stressed me out. But I didn't blow up, and I was still running OK at the end. At Oil Creek, I'd have to start the race and make the call based on how I felt. It took about an hour to warm up, then I decided to go for it.

I ran much of the first section in the dark while chatting with Lesa Snider of Pickering, who eventually placed 3rd female. Over a kilometer of trail around Aid Station #1 at the 11K mark was set up like a Trek or Treat race with skeletons and monsters hanging in the trees, funny signs and tombstones with "punny" inscriptions.

Photo by Dennis Kavish

It was getting light but was still very cold. I grabbed a strawberry, thanked the volunteers and started up "Switchback Mountain". With the Death Race fresh in my mind, the hills at Oil Creek with signs like "Never Ending Climb" were quite manageable - just long enough to eat and drink while walking, then I'd start running again at the top. A lot of the hills had moderate slopes, and Dee had encouraged me to run as many easy uphills as I could. Somewhere around 15-17 km, I started passing the slowest of the 100-mile racers who had started an hour earlier.

Photo by Lee Ann Reiners

At 22 km, I met Dee at the "halfway" aid station, and she was awesome, filling my bladder while I dumped my headlamp, refilled my food and adjusted my layers. It was great to see Kristen Harrison (Mrs. Tiny) and Aubrey (Teeny Tiny) there.

Photo by Christine Kavish

I learned that Mrs. Gally was quite cold and that Tiny was in a lot of pain from a recent groin injury and was not certain he would finish. But they had both forged on ahead.

Photo by Lee Ann Reiners

I was offered a hot, gooey grilled cheese sandwich by the volunteers which I took with me as I headed back to the trail. How did they know exactly what I needed?

Photo by Christine Kavish

The next 28 km had one full aid station and a few unstaffed water-only stations. A Boy Scout troop was camping at one station and had posted a bunch of funny and inspirational signs along the trail for us. E.g. "Does your girlfriend know where you are?" A few trees later: "Does your wife know about your girlfriend?" And finally: "They're both waiting at the finish line for you!" Etc. Here was my favourite.

Photo by Dennis Kavish

Some of the top 50K runners flew past me in this section. I kept reminding myself to improve my posture - to think about tilting my hips forward, straightening my spine and neck, leaning forward from the ankles and kicking back toward my bum. This isn't how I naturally run but it really helps. Note to self: Do more planks over the winter. I took another grilled cheese sandwich from Aid Station #3 and ate it as I climbed the hill. Who knew that grilled cheese was ambrosia? In between aid stations, I ate my own Honey Stinger energy chews and drank a couple of Boosts to get quick calorie hits. A lot of ultrarunning is about getting food and drink down.

Photo by Dennis Kavish

We were reminded occasionally of the history of the area when small oil pipes crossed the trail.

Photo by Dennis Kavish

The last 2-3 kilometers of Loop #1 were on a paved bike path and roads leading back to the school - ouch, ouch, ouch! Dee had my drop bag ready. She refilled my bladder while I prepared food and gear for the next stage and got updates from Mrs. Tiny.

Photo by Denise Rispolie (Dee)

The first 50 km loop had taken 7 hours, and I had pushed out of my comfort zone on purpose so I knew the second loop would be slower. Alas, the 15-hour limit for Western States was not out of reach yet so I was going to have to keep working hard. I'd promised myself that if I took over 7 hours on Loop 1, I would put that silly idea out of my head but I was right on the borderline. (Arggh!)

I started Loop #2 with yet another grilled cheese sandwich in hand. On the trail about 4 km from the school, a runner approached. She had somehow missed the turn to the school at the end of her first loop, and now she was heading all the way back. Poor woman. I'd done this section in the dark the first time so it was nice to see it. It had seemed more technical in the dark than it actually was, and I'd also been in a conga line watching other people's feet most of the time. I looked at my Garmin and thought happily, "Yay, I only have 42.2 km left." And then I laughed out loud at how skewed my perspective has become.

I hadn't taken any photos yet so I pulled out my iPhone a couple of times and took three photos. I thought, "Wouldn't it be ironic if these two minutes spent on photography ended up making any difference in such a long race?" Hahahaha. At least I didn't send over 20 texts, take 20 photos and update my Facebook status twice, as I did in my first 50-miler.

In my first 50K race two years ago, I was concerned at how sore my IT bands were, starting at the edge of my hips and radiating down the outside of my legs toward my knees. In my first mountain race, I suffered from painful quads. In this spring's Sulphur Springs 50K, I was bothered by piriformis pain behind both my hips caused by poor posture. By the time the Death Race rolled around, those problems were largely gone but today a brand new pain appeared on top of my gimpy left foot. Dr. Mueller (Leanimal) says it sounds like the inferior extensor retinaculum. I could tell that the inflammation resulted from modifying my running form to accommodate my injury, and it eased up when I forced my foot to move properly - although I wasn't always able to do that. The pain plagued me until the end of the race (and is still plaguing me now).

When I hit Aid Station #1 for the second time, I got adventurous and had a piece of salted baked potato and some restaurant-quality potato and carrot soup. I still took some grilled cheese for the hill climb - no sense messing around when you've discovered a salty, high-calorie food that still tastes delicious as it goes down. By now, I was passing 100-milers on a regular basis, many of them hiking. Ultrarunners are a friendly crowd, and they often said something nice like "You're moving well". And since I didn't want them to feel bad, I would smile and say apologetically that I'm *only* running 100 measly kilometers, and they would nod knowingly (and maybe a little enviously!) as they chuckled about how far they still had to go.

I got to Aid Station #2 at 72 km, and Dee had everything ready for me again. It would be dark in 2 hours so I packed my lights and layers and grabbed some macaroni and cheese from the aid station - yum. I often feel a little spaced out on these long runs so I left the aid station with coffee and tried to drink it as I speed-hiked up a hill. It was sloppy but I felt my brain kick into gear soon afterward; I should probably use caffeine more often in long races that don't go overnight.

Photo by Dennis Kavish
Note: This is the trail - not a view from the trail.

When I passed friendly racers in the next section, a few of them responded to my apologetic comment saying, "Well, we're only running 100K too." Oh. So maybe I wasn't doing too terribly. I really had no idea since I'd started well back in the pack and I'd assumed that everyone I passed was a 100-miler. Shortly before Aid Station #3, I turned on my new BashBlaster light that 'Bent built for me. Even on level 3 of 5, it was bright enough to scorch leaves off the trees. Nice! I put on a light toque but didn't add any other layers, and that ended up being sufficient for the rest of the race, even through some rain showers and wind gusts. I grabbed Ramen soup and another half grilled cheese sandwich and guzzled it as I climbed out of the aid station.

Only 14 km to go and - damn it - there was still a slight possibility of breaking 15 hours so I couldn't relax. Headphones were discouraged so I started playing tunes through my iPhone speakers. It was dark and I was mostly alone so it was my "bear bell". I was running pretty well on the final kilometers of trail. As I approached town, the odds of the 15-hour finish got lower but the possibility was still there since the last part of the run is flat, and maybe my GPS distance on forested single track wasn't 100% accurate. As I started the Drake Museum loop - a grassy detour before the bike path - two men flew past me, probably aiming for Western States, and they made it by 2 minutes. I was thinking: how the heck could two strong runners like that be behind me for the first 97 kilometers? Do they enjoy sprint finishes?

I willed my legs to turn over faster on the final kilometers of pavement but it wasn't quite enough. I was around the corner from the school when my GPS said 15 hours, and by then, there was no point letting up so I kept running and crossed the line at 15:01:32 (gun time). And then I laughed and rolled my eyes at myself. The truth is, I'd be nuts to do Western States next June as my first 100-miler, even if I succeeded in the heavily subscribed lottery. The best way to qualify for WS100 is by finishing a 100-mile qualifier race, and the only time requirement is that I'd need to finish before the cut-off. It was just the principle of the thing...

After considering dropping out of the 100K early with his groin injury, Tiny roared back up in the pack on the second loop, finishing 13th overall of 85 starters in 12:51. After his strong, consistent performance at the Toad 50K two weeks ago, it was nice to see his preparation pay off even though he wasn't 100% today. About 25% of runners failed to finish the 100K.

I was 21st overall and - to my shock - 4th of 22 women and 1st masters. So it was an interesting experiment in my approach to ultras. There is always ebb and flow in these long races but my last 10K was the same pace as my first 10K so even though I went harder than I felt comfortable doing, I didn't empty the tank. I'd aimed to have a positive split but 7 hrs/8 hrs wasn't too ridiculous. (Not like my only road marathon - 2:00/2:49!) It's more fun to do an ultra without time pressure but if necessary, I can increase the effort a little. Maybe this will open up some ultras with time cut-offs that had previously seemed out of reach.

After picking up my very first belt buckle - the traditional ultra finisher prize - I stumbled around and chatted with a few Ontarians who were hanging around the school cafeteria. I was very, very tired and completely ineffective but now I was on duty. Mrs. Gally and Dee would be on the trail overnight so it was my job to get some sleep so I could pick them up at the finish and drive us all back home to Ontario.

I found where Dee had parked Mrs. Gally's van, somehow drove back to the hotel and took a ridiculous amount of time to change, shower and get to bed. If you've ever been truly exhausted, you will know what I mean. "Okaaaay, I've removed *that* shoe and sock. Now I need to, Oh yes, remove the *other* shoe and sock - zzzzz - whoops! Where was I?" Note the Bashblaster headlamp in this pic, which I'd inexplicably continued wearing for the past hour since I finished racing.

Of course I couldn't sleep, and I needed to get back to Race HQ around 4:30 a.m. Dee texted me updates when they got cell signal. They were moving slowly so I could stay in bed longer.

Photo by Denise Rispolie

I tried to feel sad about that for Mrs. Gally's sake but oh, I really enjoyed re-setting the alarm later - both times. In the end, Mr. and Mrs. Tiny, Teeny Tiny and I headed to the finish line around 8 a.m. and cheered the ladies in.

Mrs. Gally was amazing, completing an extremely difficult distance with less training than she would have liked due to work and family commitments. It was a great performance too - she was 7th of 33 women who started the race and only half an hour behind 4th.

Photo by Kristen Harrison

Congratulations! Dee was a rock star, getting up early to drive us to the race, supporting us all day, then spending 12.5 hours on the trail with Mrs. Gally while still fighting the remnants of an upper respiratory infection. Thank you so much, Dee!

Photo by Kristen Harrison

Post-race debrief: I'm happy with my relatively consistent pace and better-than-expected finish. All muscles are slightly sore but that's dissipating quickly. Feet are in great shape blister-wise; I just need to deal with that inflamed retinaculum (and google to find out what it is). And of course, I didn't lose any weight at all. Running doesn't do that for me - even 15 hours of it. Grrr.

So for the UTMB accountants, I now have 10 points including 8 earned this year, so I can enter the lottery for the 2013 or 2014 event. I am starting to work on my French already!

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