Note: After reading Eric Langhjelm's blog, I felt that I needed to add some more about the Hallow's Eve Trail Half Marathon. See the update in italics below.
After a hiatus from posting due in part to having not enough time to write, I am going to try to blog more often. In fact, there is a whole initiative amongst the blogging community call NaBloPoMo in which you are supposed to post every day for one month. I am not saying that I can complete this event (especially since I missed the first day yesterday), but I will try.
(Yeah yeah, I know I have said that before.)
So, since we last spoke, I have come 8th in a trail half-marathon on the North Shore of Vancouver, a mere 15 minutes from my new residence. In most cases, I would be disappointed with 8th, but this was one of the deepest trail race fields I have seen. In fact, I was running right around where I though I should be, but there were many many fast people there which always makes it fun. I had been prerunning parts of the course in the two weeks leading up to the event, and I didn't think it was going to be that difficult. There were some difficult parts, but nothing that I thought was too insane. However, I did not run one very, very important part of the course, the Baden-Powell loop.
Before the race, Eric, the race director, told us that there were 1700 total stairs in the race. I still find that hard to believe, but I believe that Eric would go out and count them. The course started with a uphill road run through a nice cemetery (very appropriate for the theme of the race - of which there were many costumed runners; I wore orange and black). A group of about 12 people jumped out to the front, with Adam Campbell, Simon Driver, and Mark Bates in there. I sat back as the uphill start was going to be about 2k long and I could do some serious damage to my race if I tried to stay with those guys going up.
We got into the forest and I quickly caught back up to what was now the second pack, the leaders having already distanced themselves. The race was a windy trail through open forest and then a steep descent to a boardwalk and the first stairs. It was a race of two peaks, the first one coming about 8k in, after a grueling climb of stairs. I was not expecting that, nor was I expecting the dirt road climb AFTER the stairs. But the downhill made it all worthwhile!
The second climb I was ready for only because I had stumbled across the route two days prior, but in reverse direction. Again, it was a steep climb up, but it was good. I was fortunate to be around Katrina Driver (Simon's wife and one heck of a runner) and another guy who I had caught. At the end of the this climb in Lynn Valley, it was essentially a downhill 4-5k run to the finish - some technical stuff at the start and then road running at the finish.
As usual, Eric puts on a great event. The atmosphere was great and the course was well chosen. Eric had said that all the races he does are his favourite training routes. My race went well, but at this time of the year I am looking for the races to be fun and I am not too concerned about the results.
While the race was good, the most intriguing part of it was the cool down. I ran with Adam Campbell, a good friend form Victoria, and Simon and Katrina Drive, the overall male and femal winners. In fact, I barely held off Katrina for 8th place - the girl can climb AND descend. Anyway, the cool down was intriguing because Simon told me about his run club, Vancouver Falcons (VFAC), and invited me to come out. I listened politely and asked a few questions, but wasn't really too interested. I have been coaching myself to some good results in the past two years and didn't really want to commit to weekly runs. I was more interested in somehow convincing Simon to let me join him in some of his trail running training. We finished our cool down and I came home and persued the VFAC.ca site. I have been looking at some different coaching options of late, mostly reading more about Lydiard and Daniels and looking to incorporate their philosophies into what I believe about Maffetone (the real running geeks will understand all that). But after spending some time on the VFAC site I began to change my mind. The tone of the site was very supportive and there were some very good athletes training there. As well, many people were setting personal bests in a number of different distances. I emailed the coach, John Hill, and after an hour on the phone I decided to give it a shot.
That decision has landed me on the VFAC relay team for the Haney 2 Harrison 100km relays race. It is an epic and infamous race held about 45 minutes from here and while I have heard a lot about it, I have never had the chance to be a part of it. Some unfortunate injuries left the VFAC Open Men's team short a runner, so Simon put forward my name and now I am waking up at 4:00am to drive out to the 6:30am start. This will be fun, but I will be a tired boy tomorrow night.
So there is the update and my commitment to post more this months has begun.