Making a list

In no particular order, here's how I know that this was a fantastic Christmas...
1. I spent the morning on the webcam with my wonderful family, spread liberally across four Canadian provinces, all of whom looked healthy, well, and downright festive.
2. I got some great books from the fat, ruddy-nosed, present-giving gnome. My presents to me. Deanna also bought me some books I can't wait to devour, and will set about doing so over the remaining sixteen days of this vacation.
3. In keeping with tradition, I ate enough for a Korean family of four.
4. I slept the early part of the afternoon away. And not one of those "close your eyes for a few minutes while slouching on the couch" naps. A real nap - an "in bed, clothes off, curtains drawn, telephone unplugged" nap.
5. We watched a few episodes of The West Wing, the apogee of small-screen evolution, one of only two series (Six Feet Under) I would even consider watching again in their entirety. Which I've done, working now on my third time with those zany senior staffers.
6. I received some very nice holiday wishes from friends near and far.
7. I went for a run. Outside. Wearing shorts. On the 25th of December. 
8. My amazing wife made me laugh, many times.


Going dark

That is, if Bourne spent less time running through dangerous places and doing other cool spy stuff, and more time changing the template on his blog from the white background to the black one.


Training Break #9

Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities have crept in; forget them as soon as you can.
- R.W. Emerson


Training Break #8

For me it's more intriguing, it's more interesting, because I'm climbing the mountain for what it is rather than just trying to get to the top.
- Ed Viesturs, when asked by Stephen Colbert why he prefers to summit Everest without the use of bottled oxygen.


Dust on the rust on the lead in my legs

Borneo was all we had hoped for and more. Deanna and I will be posting our chronicles at OOFALWO over the next few weeks, so that's the place to read of our [mis]adventures. As for running, well, let's just say that I was in an extended period of active recovery. That sounds much better than admitting that I was in holiday mode, when bad spy fiction and naps on the beach took precedence over logging some miles. The Warrior Board for June shows 99.10 minutes on three runs, and a whole pile of untimed walking - on mountain trails, in Malaysian national parks, around (and around, and around) tiny idyllic islands, and through pleasant cities.

The Incheon Bridge marathon we had hoped to do in September as a tune-up for the 100km run in October has been postponed, to the same day we will be doing the 100km run. So that's out, but I will try to find an alternative in late August or early September. The ultra is now fourteen and a half weeks away, which hopefully is enough time for my legs and me to get back on amicable terms. 



May ended like it started, with me resting and nursing sore parts, but did include three runs for 966.15 and 600 minutes of walking. I'll need to get my hip sorted out quickly, as the marathon in September and then the YeongDong 100km Ultra on October 10th loom large.

According to the latest edition of the British Journal of Medicine, the best remedy for a dodgy hip is to begin an immediate eight week summer vacation, with the first three weeks spent beach-laying, tandoori-eating, giant turtle-watching, and hanging out with the likes of this Iban headhunter in the wild climes of Sarawak. I'll work today, since I'm already in the building, but then this sounds like the kind of medical advice I can get behind, starting 474 minutes from now.


The Hip

Had I taken closer heed of this sign posted on the Yangjaecheon running path, perhaps I would not be taking the weekend off with an inflamed sciatic nerve in my right hip [diagnosed from the comfort of my own couch with assistance from the good Dr. Wikipedia].

But speaking of real doctors, a deeply reverent doff o' the hat to Monica [Prairie Chapter] on demolishing her Royal College exams and officially becoming the Sea Bass Running Club's in-house anaesthesiologist.


Training Break #7

You have to forget your last marathon before you try another. Your mind can't know what's coming.
- Frank Shorter



We are now seventeen weeks away from our next marathon, held to commemorate the opening of the Incheon Bridge in September. It is not often one has the opportunity to run across one of the world's longest bridges, and if this artist rendering is even remotely close to being accurate, my usual absence of hill training should not be of great consequence. Having done nothing but a few long walks since the ultra, I am itching to get out in the morning for a gentle 40 minutes. The plan is to ease back into a routine over the next five weeks (two here, three on holiday in Borneo), then start getting serious about preparing properly. Not so distantly beyond this marathon looms another stab at 100km to wrap up the year.


Training Break #6

The weeks creep past,
form clouds, lose themselves,
conceal themselves in the sky,
come to rest there
like light faded.
- Pablo Neruda



Running at its essence is an individual pursuit. A runner can ultimately be responsible only for moving himself or herself forward, for living in each moment of exertion, and for ascribing meaning in his or her own way to the entire act.

All of that is girded by a strong sense of running community. A trusted partner, clubs, teams, a cyber-network of folks you like but will likely never meet - these imbue the solitary with the social. Running then becomes a tool to take on a more global sense of purpose, something outside the personal. One need only look at the money and awareness raised by different runners for a multitude of causes and charities to understand this need to make connections where once there were none.

Last week I read on Jamie Donaldson's blog that she had chosen the National Tay-Sachs and Allied Diseases Association as her charity of choice in the run-up to Badwater in July. I have been reading Jamie's blog since her huge Badwater win last year, and had a chance to sit and chat with her husband David in October, as Jamie braved the heat and horrendous air quality that day to finish fifth in the 24 Hour World Championships. Reading about Tay-Sachs, and specifically about Elliott Schotz, the adorable little gaffer with an ultrarunning dad, moved me considerably.

Nothing beyond the idea stage yet, but look for the SBRC [Far East Chapter] to host some events in the near future to raise a pile of money for Elliott and NTSAD.



I had planned on writing a number of posts to chronicle/process/evaluate last weekend's run on Ganghwado, but will instead endeavour to get it all done in one fell swoop. Before I get into the details, I want to say how much the experience exceeded all expectations - of the humbling effects of distance, of the sense of camaraderie in the small but devoted band of Korean ultrarunners, of the levels of discomfort I knew I would feel, of the sheer pride I felt in her as Deanna ran twice as far as she ever had before, of the sense of accomplishment in moving forward for so long, and of the anticipation I now feel for future long races, in Korea or otherwise.

And in an editorial flourish, and since that was one of the most ungainly paragraphs ever written, I'll go newswire style from here:

- "Ultramarathon Festival" means just that in Korea. From the organizers to the volunteers, from the spectators to the other runners, everyone was very warm and went out of their way to make sure we always felt supported.

- Covering 100km was hard. Doing it overnight was really hard. I'm an early-to-bed, early-to-rise kinda guy, and have been for as long as I can remember. At 9:30, my usual bedtime, I still had miles to go before I slept.

- I massively overpacked. In my small running backpack, I crammed the following: my phone, my ID, a wad of cash, some ibuprofen, a flashlight and spare batteries, a stick of BodyGlide, four PB and Js, a huge bag of homemade Trail Mix (my recipe - heavy on the M&Ms, light on the nasty raisins), two bananas, a package of chocolate-covered espresso beans, a pack of tissue, two bottles of Gatorade, and a bottle of water. I needn't have bothered. There were more aid stations - each well-stocked with a goodly range of food and drink - than we thought there would be, and I ran past dozens of convenience stores.

- The organizers of this race have a fundamentally different working definition of the word flat than I do. On this particular flat course, I estimate that roughly half of it was legitimately flat - that is, flat according to my definition of the word. I usually don't require scientific precision in my choice of course descriptors, but flat to me means something between a tabletop and a slightly lumpy pancake. I'd have gone with mostly undulating, with periodic spikes of madness. There were rolling hills and plenty more rolling hills, and according to the road signage, five gradients of 7%, two of 10%, and then the heartbreaker at the 93rd km - 30% grade up for 2km, then 40% grade down for 1.5km. My dearth of hill training was very apparent.

- The three weeks of rest before the race seemed to be exactly what my knee needed. The first 22km of this run was flat, and I didn't even feel a twinge. Even as I walked up and down the hills through the night, my knee ached, but more from the distance and not from injury, I think.

- Of the 100km, I reckon I walked half and ran half. I actually sat in fifth place, just metres behind the leaders at the 22km aid station, running at the 58-60minutes/10km pace I knew I could hold for at least six or seven hours. The hills kicked in at 22km, and I crumbled like a stale cookie shortly thereafter.

- Carrying a phone and checking in with Deanna to see how each other was doing was an excellent [her] idea. We chatted plenty, and it was more than a bit of solace to know that she was dodging the traffic on shoulderless roads as adroitly as I was in the dead of the night.

- My legs hurt on Sunday and Monday, but by Tuesday felt no different than they do a few days after a marathon. I do know that I need to get back into the gym to work on my overall strength and flexibility, particularly my hamstrings and thighs.

This was the best running experience I've had in the fifteen years since I ran my first marathon. I liked how the distance negated the need to hurry. I liked that I had so much time to focus on nothing more than taking another few steps. I liked that the runners took time to take pictures, to chat, to eat, to laugh together. I liked that Deanna and I did this run and the training for it together - well, technically not side by side, but certainly together. I liked the challenge and I liked feeling small in the landscape. And I liked thinking about how to get ready for the next long run.


Training Break #5

As I run I tell myself to think of a river. And clouds. But essentially I'm not thinking of a thing. All I do is keep on running in my own cozy, homemade void, my own nostalgic silence. And this is a pretty wonderful thing. No matter what anybody else says.
- Haruki Murakami



We are now only four days away from the run on Ganghwado. It hasn't been the most textbook of tapers, as I've only run three times in the last seventeen days, then spent this weekend fighting off a nasty stomach bug. My last run, all 19 minutes of it, was a week ago, and my knee would abide no more. Buoyed by the eternally positive and optimistic Deanna, I'm hoping that we actually managed to get the bulk of the training we had hoped for done before the knee issues arose. I'm also hoping that whatever is going on with my leg is from overuse, and that these last few weeks of ice, ibuprofen, and rest have been more beneficial than padding the monthly totals (1430.08 minutes on 14 runs, plus 865 minutes walking in April).

The plan for Saturday is to do a lot of walking, then run five minute blocks, slowly, as often as I can. Fortunately, my knee hasn't been hurting too badly when I walk, making the worst case for Ganghwado then 100000 metres of walking. We have 16 hours to get it done, so I'll push as far and as long as I prudently can. Perhaps not the 100km debut I feel I'm capable of doing (knee notwithstanding), but there will be many more races to run. Knee pain or not, I am very excited for the experience of my first overnight run and the opportunity to push myself through some discomfort. And for the box of Costco cookies I plan to devour within hours of crossing the finish line.


Training Break #4

Why has the pleasure of slowness disappeared? Ah, where have they gone, the amblers of yesteryear? Where have they gone, those loafing heroes of folk song, those vagabonds who roam from one mill to another and bed down under the stars? Have they vanished along with footpaths, with grasslands and clearings, with nature? There is a Czech proverb that describes their easy indolence by a metaphor: "They are gazing at God's windows." A person gazing at God's windows is not bored; he is happy. In our world, indolence has turned into having nothing to do, which is a completely different thing: a person with nothing to do is frustrated, bored, is constantly searching for the activity he lacks.
- Milan Kundera


Best-laid schemes

With the 100km to be held two weekends from now, I've gone into temple sweeping mode. I'm officially off the skag (big time, and for real this time), will increase the amount of water I guzzle each day, will start to take down some sports drinks to make sure the electrolytes are in order, will cut back to one (giant) mug of highly caffeinated, dark-roasted earthy nectar each morning, will increase the protein consumption, and will start to focus some of my indolent daydreaming on the number of footfalls necessary to circumambulate Ganghwado in the dead of night.

I've been happy with the long runs I got in after the Seoul Marathon, and, up until last weekend, have felt that my fitness level would allow me to get to 70km in 7-ish hours. After that I would be in uncharted territory and hoped just to make it to the finish before the fifteen hour deadline, which seemed imminently possible. But since my knee went sour last weekend, plans have changed. I've been trying not to let my mind wander into WorstCaseScenarioville, where my joint is irreversibly damaged and I can never run again. Instead, I will take it very easily over the next few weeks, run more slowly on race day than I had previously plotted, take many more walking breaks, get as far as I can into the 100km before time expires, and plan to run another day. We'll see what happens.



- Just spent an hour in skypey conversation with Anna, Marshall, and some oldies in Calgary. Two-thirds (soon to be two-fifths) of the World's Most Adorable Nieces and Nephews. This tidbit posted here (running-related drivel) rather than OOFALWO (general Korea-living drivel) because a few times Marshall went blurring past the web-cam like Dash from The Incredibles.

- Have only been for one run in the last week, and the left knee still felt tender. Will give it a few more days of ice and rest, then have a nice conversation with it about doing the 100km run, now only 13 days away.

- Don't want to embarrass anyone from the legal department, but Sea Bass is 38 pounds lighter than it was January 1st, and I'm very proud of my little brother.


Training Break #3

The challenge is to myself and not to the mountain.
- Julie Tullis



I made the leap in perspective years ago to running ultramarathons. Long before I actually ran my first (and so far, only) ultra in August 2005, a 65km family affair we dubbed the Inaugural Waskesiu Fun Run, I started to convince myself that the runs I then considered long were short, just the beginning. This was a gradual and logical realization for me, just the next step, as it had been a decade earlier when I ran 30 minutes for the first time, then 60, then 90, then two hours, then three.

Traditionally, after running a marathon, I've taken time off, telling myself my body needed time to recover and rebuild. This has also traditionally been the time when I would let my prodigious love of food, especially anything fried or sweet, run amok - ridiculous really, as despite the occasional attempt at virtue when I would swear myself off the skag for an umpteenth time, it was never as though I had foregone any junky whims in the lead-up to a marathon. I've rested, and ate, and rested more until I could eat again. Maybe not so good for finding the Middle Way, but definitely enjoyable and certainly a routine that has worked for me.

The Seoul Marathon was five weekends ago. Since then, I have done at least a 50km run three of the last four weekends. Last Saturday I did over 60km. I've also been upping the minutes of my weekday runs. Perhaps inevitably then, this weekend, about four hours into a five hour run, my left knee, not yet on the same page as my ambition, decided that enough was enough. I walked/shuffled/grimaced my way to the end, and look now to take four or five days off to ice and rest the knee. And I've learned some lessons about moderation for the future.


Plenty of fish in the sea

Schedules have been drawn up. A race has been chosen. The running store has been visited. Excitement everywhere. Not much left to do but run and think of fresh fish puns.

Though they are technically not yet members, Sea Bass [Far East Chapter] is excited to welcome my colleagues - Meyer, Shaw, McCord, and Carver (no first names required, just like Beckham) to the ranks.


Training Break #2

Ultrarunning is about 90% mental, and the other 10% is in your head.
- Ray Zahab


Han River path

Last weekend was our penultimate long, long run weekend before a much-anticipated two week taper. We left the house early on Saturday, then ran the morning away. I ran 50km in 4:32, then took a popsicle/bathroom/stretch the hammies/down a Snickers/liberally reapply the sunscreen break before running and walking another 90 minutes. I reckon I hit 60km-ish, and was happy with the effort.

More importantly, I was exceedingly proud of Deanna, who officially unofficially ran her first ultra, as she too ran for the six hours. She, however, had the gall to look like she had energy to spare when we met at the end, as opposed to me, who looked and felt like the proverbial canine's nether regions.

After a very long hiatus, Deanna put some photos of last weekend's sojourn to Busan on OOFALWO. 


Speed kills

I've been trying to pick up the pace a bit on outings less than an hour, inserting periodic bursts of speed ['speed' here very much a relative term] in the middle or near the end of the run. Some mornings it has been a few hundred metres or so, others as much as a 4km 'time-trial'. This morning it was 1000 meters, kilometer nine of a twelve kilometer run, in 3.43. As it was nip and tuck as to whether my heart would explode before my hamstrings snapped, I was given a very visceral reminder that I am not built for speed.

The 100km run is now only 31 days away.


Training Break #1

I clearly have no compunction borrowing freely from others for the sake of this particular Shrine to Self. I blaze through my blogroll daily, and am often struck with how clever/committed/poignant/intense/witty/certifiable some people can be. Since I usually cite my sources, I prefer to think of myself more an advocate of free-market blogonomics than an out-and-out thief.

It is in this vein, and in homage to some guy I've never met or communicated with, but have read faithfully for years (first here, then here, and now here), that I start my own Training Break series. A few words, a short verse, a particular song lyric stuck in my head, a quote without context, sometimes about running, sometimes not, ideas germane to something, ideas germane to nothing, things that just are. And so it begins...

Yes, to dance beneath the diamond sky with one hand waving free,
Silhouetted by the sea, circled by the circus sands,
With all memory and fate driven deep beneath the waves,
Let me forget about today until tomorrow.
- The Incomparable Bob Dylan



Let me preface this post with the fact that, yes, I know this has nothing to do with my running. But I find myself with idle time, a few days left in Spring Break, having just turned the last truly dreadful page of the latest novel in the Jason Bourne series [he speaks at least seven languages to the level of native fluency, is a master of disguise, defeats two Iranian fighter jets while piloting a private jet through the valleys of Afghanistan, kills at least nineteen bad guys with his bare hands, and defeats the mastermind behind a worldwide terror network in a hotly contested best-of-seven match to the death of Rock-Paper-Scissors. OK, I may have made one of those up].

While wandering around the Interweb a few days ago, I saw that someone had links on their blog to the blogs of others with the same name. While my name is undeniably rare, I was able to unearth a few more of me - the former Major League Baseball all-time saves leader, a prolific novelist and O. Henry Award winner, an Academy Award-nominated film editor, the drummer for the band currently at the forefront of the burgeoning Bulgarian Surf movement, and some English rugby player with the inexplicable nickname of Alan. There may even be more of me, but I thought that five fetches were enough for now.

My legs have felt a bit heavy and stiff the last few mornings. They are bound to feel even more so after this weekend, when Deanna and I head to Busan to explore the mountain paths and beach trails along the south coast.


Let it be known...

...that I'm posting 1432.16 minutes of running (on 14 runs)  and 300 minutes of walking to the Warrior Board for March. Let it also be known that I stole that sentence unabashedly from Lance Armstrong, in what has to be the funniest series of commercials ever made - the other two are here and here. Let it also be known that I am very happy with the way March went, despite wimping out of more than a few runs - once for rain, twice because I felt I needed an extra recovery day after a weekend long run, and once because I just didn't feel like getting out of a perfectly warm bed at 4:20a.m. Let it also be known that, and this is from personal experience, while it may be fun to start every sentence with "Let it be known", one's spouse may tire of the game quickly.

The 100km run we're getting ready for is now only 40 days away. On Saturday I decided to run 50km, and felt strong throughout. With no tapering, no pre-run carbo load, a bagel, a banana, a box of chocolate almonds, some Gatorade, a few bathroom breaks, and a few km of walking mixed in, I finished in 4:42. I'm still trying to find a pace I feel I can hold for the full 100km, but was buoyed by the fact that I felt I had at least another 20km at the pace I ran on Saturday in me.

We've had ideal running weather in Seoul over the past few weeks, that one day of rain notwithstanding. Breezy blue skies, morning temperatures around 5 or 6 degrees, the hills surrounding the city beginning to green deeply and trees and flowers blooming - very pleasant indeed.


The Greatest Desert

We downloaded Running the Sahara from here this weekend. The documentary was fascinating, with stunning cinematography and a beautiful soundtrack, as it chronicled Charlie Engle's, Ray Zahab's, and Kevin Lin's epic run across six countries in 111 days. They ran to raise awareness and money for H2OAfrica, in order to provide potable water to mostly nomadic people through a series of well projects. For Deanna and I, fledgling ultrarunners both, the film also provided insight into the dedication and spirit necessary to push beyond one's own perceived limits. As if all that wasn't excellent enough, it was narrated in the round by Will Hunting, Jason Bourne, and Mr. Ripley.

And if there isn't yet an official Ray-Zahab-is-The-Coolest-Guy-on-The-Planet fan club, I want to start one.


Eyes on the prize

An excellent photo of Mr. A4748 as he covers the last few hundred paces of the race on the track in Olympic Stadium. Immediately off his right shoulder, that haggard chap casts a glance into the bleachers for either an oxygen mask or a giant, frosty can of Dr. Pepper, both of which he looks like he needed.

Allegedly, photographic evidence of Deanna's run exists too. Knowing me as she does, I opened my email at lunchtime to this, verbatim and unmistakable in tone: I do not give you permission to put my photo on your blog. Not much room for interpretation there.

And while no photographic evidence (that I have) exists, Greg had an eventful time in Hangzhou. From cobbled-together post-race email reports of dehydrated teenagers, muddy mountain trails, wrong turns taken, diesel fumes, and idyllic temples, it sounds like the ready-for-boar, tonic-drinkin', Snickers-eatin' runnin' fool had a fine day.



Deanna and I completed our second Seoul International Marathon on Sunday. While not as memorable as the 2008 edition, thanks that year to the fine company of the other half of Team Howard and a Smith, we had a great day nonetheless. All concerns of foul weather were unfounded, as we had cool temperatures, blue skies, and light winds throughout the morning.

This event, like the other races we've done in Korea, was well organized and well supported. Thousands of volunteers and spectators kept our energy levels high with stocked aid stations (bananas - yep; sports drink - got it; choco-pies - check; cherry tomatoes - of course; acupuncturists - naturally) and screams of encouragement. The course is flat, which is great for these transplanted prairie folk, and the road closures ensure near silence on usually chaotic Seoul streets.

We haven't received our official chip times yet, but our trusty watches have Deanna taking ten minutes off her PB to finish with aplomb in 4:16, and me crossing in 3:26, also ten minutes faster than I've gone before. My colleague Altay managed to run 18k, which was about 8k farther than he had ever run before, and felt justifiably proud of himself.

We look forward now to May 9th, when we undertake our first 100km run. As if the distance was not daunting enough, the race is also done at night, starting at dinner time on Saturday and finishing at noon on Sunday. With that run only eight weeks away, we'll have to eliminate our usual post-marathon recovery fortnight in order to get our weekend miles in. Next week will see us adding a fifth run to the weekly routine, all but eliminating what meagre social lives we already had. But we're very excited for this new challenge.


This little piggy

It looks like we'll be facing a touch of inclement weather this weekend. The rains rolled in just in time for this morning's commute, and the forecast calls for more bluster on Sunday. In the summer, I usually don't mind running in the rain, but with a race-start temperature likely around 2 degrees, plus the expected 40km/h winds, it could be a chilly morning.

But I count us lucky. With only Mother Nature to contend with, we have nothing on our friend Greg. This Sunday finds him in the woolly wilds of the Middle Kingdom to run the Hangzhou Mountain Marathon. Meteorologists there have also promised wind and rain, while race organizers have advised runners to carry a sharp stick, lest they meet up with a porcine 朋友 on the trails. And for once, Greg's years of whittlin' pay off.


Life Lesson #216

While delicious, the three item combo platter (chicken enchilada, soft chicken taco, and beef empanada) with sides of Mexican rice and black beans does not an ideal pre-run meal make.


Of Beaver and Sweet Wine

We were thrilled on Sunday to find out that Ali's tummy holds identical twin boys. That means more nephews for Uncle Lee to permanently disfigure [see: Marshall and The Great Wrestling Match Meets Coffee Table Incident of 2008], and two more Y chromosomes in Sea Bass. Until I hear otherwise, any and all correspondence regarding these not-yet-fully-developed humans will find them labelled Castor and Pollux. And after seeing some baby pictures of Chris, I expect them to have flaxen locks a-flowin' too.


February numbers

February was an excellent month - mostly pleasant weather, a good routine with three short weekday runs and one longer weekend slog, plenty of walking, and even a little bit of stretching. Final numbers see 1275.44 minutes on seventeen runs, plus another 390 minutes of walking. I only skipped one scheduled run, but managed to lay on the couch until the guilt abated.

Next weekend we'll join about 21000 of our closest friends for the Seoul Marathon. Last year's edition was a great time, due in most part to being joined by Chris and Ali. Despite our pleas to continue the streak this year, Ali decided to follow the advice of her obstinate obstetrician and forego the twenty hours of travel time required to get here from Calgary. Since she's got identical twinlets in there, we'll let it slide for now. Next year, she better come up with a decent excuse.


Spinny McSpindleshanks

This weekend saw Seoul basking in ideal running weather - highs around 8 degrees, bright blue skies, and a bit of a breeze. Just for gits and shiggles, I decided to do my 180 minute run on a 400m outdoor track. I've read of many timed events, from six up to 48 hours, done on indoor tracks, and wanted to try to get a sense of the mindset this would require.

I started counter-clockwise, switched after an hour to clockwise, then after 120 minutes back to the way I started. After two and a half hours, I felt dizzy, which really was an odd sensation given that I was hardly running a tight circle, was getting plenty of fresh air, and was nowhere close to setting any land speed records. I was going to try and just stick it out until the end, but thankfully Deanna came by and I joined her on the paths of the mighty Han for the last thirty minutes or so.

All this to say that I now have an even deeper respect for those ultrarunners who compete and excel in the track races. I'll take the non-vertigo option anyday.

I meant to add up the February numbers to post here today, but forgot. It will have to wait until I get home and get off The Company dime.


Mid-month, plus four

Over the first eighteen days of this month, I've been out for twelve runs for a total of 951.o7. Another 210 minutes of recovery walking, for a February 1st to 18th total of 1161.07.
Weekend runs are now sneaking back up over three hours, which means I can stop, guilt-free, at one of the many convenience stores on the river path for a bottle of Gatorade and a box of chocolate almonds. Hey, I gotta keep my energy up, even at 7:00am.


Hot off the presses

Undaunted by -19 and plenty of snow underfoot, Deis finishes his first ultra, demolishing the 52km in a downright sprinty 5:51. Now on to the good stuff - a few weeks of guilt-free gluttony and plenty of rest. Outstanding work, J!


Who wears short shorts?

I wear short shorts. Starting this morning. Hopefully both winter and the winter running pants are done for the year. The humidity is starting to creep up, which may mean some spring showers soon.

I seem to have settled into a nice routine this month. Four runs, one of them long, a day to do some arm-pumpin', sweatband-wearin' walking for recovery, a few trips to the gym for weights, and two days off to make sure the mighty Achilles doesn't get agitated again. Weekday runs done between 4:45 and 5-ish minutes/km, and the long weekend run up around 5:30/km. The plan is to post numbers here at mid- and end-month. History has shown, however, that I am much better at making plans than following through with them [see: scuttled attempts to learn Russian, become a veterinarian or the Crown Prince of Denmark, grow my fingernails longer than a metre, and the like].


January numbers

January was a cautious but successful return to running after time off with the dodgy wheel. Since I started back on the 12th, I ran twelve times on eleven different days, for a total of 653 minutes and 55 seconds. Deanna and I have also just started to pencil in recovery walks for the day after our weekly long run. If you have ever had the good fortune to walk with Deanna, you'll know a few things: she is a fantastic conversationalist, an incredibly kind spirit, and her conception of 'gentle walk' differs from the rest of ours -not for the faint of heart or the Birkenstocked. So I'll add the 120 minutes of 'walking' we did last weekend, for a grand total of 773.55.

My heel feels fine, so I'll try to up the average time spent on my feet in February. As for pace, I haven't really tried to get back under 4 minutes 45 seconds per km, and seem to have found a comfortable pace in and around 5 minutes per km. I'll work to maintain this pace as I increase the distances covered.

In SBRC news, I just heard from our lone Middle East Chapter member, and am excited for Matthew as he readies for the Madrid Marathon in April. From the Homeland [Mountain] Chapter, Jason will be doing his first ultra this month in Calgary. If he runs as well as he looked like he could at Christmas, should make for a blazing time.


A Lee Sandwich on Jurek and Girard Bread

Going for my daily spin through the websites I like to haunt, I see that multidays.com has redesigned their site. Perhaps by using one of those fancy reverse-algorithmic thingys, they seem to have discovered that I had added a link to their site from here. And so they have responded in kind, placing me alphabetically on their blogroll between Scott Jurek and Serge Girard, two of the greatest ultrarunners ever. Hands down the best cyber-stalking result I've had, next to finding a picture on Facebook of a fantastically bouffant Deanna, circa 1990.

I'm six runs back into it, after almost seven weeks off. My heel doesn't quite feel normal, just rusty, and thankfully is pain-free. I'm easing back in, nothing fast (speaking in relative terms of "fast for me", which is a brisk walk for many) and so far nothing more than an hour. After this weekend's action, I'll post some numbers here, as I had instinctively gone back to the paper on the fridge. I did decide to complete my registration for the Seoul Marathon in mid-March by sending those fine folks some cash, cutting my usual 16 week program in half, and altering my goal from sub-3:30 to not finishing after the course closes.

Erratum: It was brought to my attention recently that a goodly number of Sea Bass members live in Calgary, which nestles into the foothills of the picturesque Rockies at an elevation of 1048m. I'm officially adjusting the criterion to snag the prestigious Lungfish Bassie to 2000m, as it seems unfair that one may technically earn the award by going on a slurpee run.

Happy New Year, or as is said in these parts, 새해 복 많이 받으세요!