"If something is boring after two minutes, try it for four. If still boring, then eight. Then sixteen. Then thirty-two. Eventually one discovers that it is not boring at all." - John Cage


On "Freedom"

I've been road running a lot lately. Superficially, one might feel constrained by roads. Their linear and grid like structure definitely suggests it. Intersections. Traffic lights. Stop signs. Rules.

Those who run the roads frequently have observed the indignant attitudes and looks of some motorists. Based on experience, a number of my (victimless) actions seem to evoke this response. Running on the road instead of the shoulder. Blasting through a red light when no traffic is there to hit me. Stopping to (discretely) pee. Taking a random diagonal across the middle of the road to cross to the other side. Often though I can’t think of any reason; sometimes “just running” seems to demand being honked at, almost run over, yelled at, flipped the bird, or to become the target of projectiles. At the very least, shot a glance.

It might be easy to chalk these responses up to jealousy. “They just wish they had the moxie to bang out an hour in the pouring rain instead of stopping for some Taco Bell on the drive home”. But I don’t believe that. Not for a second. If that were my attitude, then I might be the most offensive aggressor of all. [Disclaimer: !Yo Quiero Taco Bell!]

Sometimes it feels that the more I run, the more running becomes not about running at all. I am bound by the “Grid”, and yet I feel truly free. There are a myriad of ways to run down the road, and the only real constraint is my imagination.

Perhaps the response of motorists in observing this freedom in movement is indeed a form of jealousy, albeit subconscious. Some people seek “freedom” by traveling the world, others by relinquishing material possessions. In these contexts, freedom is defined as being unbounded. I've always felt that freedom is a state of mind.


2015 Jogging Review

2015 Miscellaneous Debris

I started this crazy sport in 2009, so this was my 7th year of hobby jogging.
  • 5,633 km jogged (A personal best; 2014 was previous best at 3,744)
  • 582 hours jogged (A personal best; 2014 was previous best at 425)
  • ±161,000 m climbed (A personal best; 2014 was previous best at ±133,000)


Through the Heart of Strathcona - Phillips Ridge to Elk River Traverse (In a day)

By all accounts, I should be sleeping right now, not writing a blog post. I took two 20 minute naps on my drive home from Strathcona this morning, as I was simply not safe to drive after being awake for 30 hours and completing one hell of an adventure. But I can't stop thinking about the past day, and really want to get my thoughts down. This might be for the best anyway given my procrastination when it comes to trip reports! I have a lot I want to say, but realize different readers will have different interests, and so I will try to break it down into bits, so feel free to take or leave what you may!


Diez Vista Race Report – My First Strong Ultra


I had wanted to write this race report sooner, but I have to admit that I lost a bit of my mojo. Six days after the race I rolled my ankle pretty hard, and so I went from riding the high of my best raced ultra, to feeling a bit like a lame duck.
Straight from Bag End - I did this AFTER the race on a training run
DV50K was undoubtedly the strongest I have felt in an ultra, and my most satisfying racing win, particularly because I was so diligent in my buildup. I wrote a post last week summarizing my training and lead up to the race. You can find it here.

This report gets a bit lot lengthy, but as I said, this was a really big victory for me. I finally got an ultra right. It was the first time, and so I want to give this milestone in my running career the attention it deserves.


Catch Up

So I haven’t written a blog post in over a year. But before I get to a Diez Vista Race Report (which was the reason I felt compelled to write a new post in the first place), I feel it necessary to get a bit more into the buildup to the race. My running and fitness went completely sideways about a year ago, and it has been a long patient process to build to where I am with my running right now (which is to say very happy).


New Balance MT110v2 Review (July 2014 Release)

Having completely exhausted all 6 pairs of last year's version of the New Balance MT110 that I had in my cache (can you tell I loved that shoe!?), I was anxious about the fact that I had an upcoming 50k race, and no shoes to wear. The 2013 MT110 was sold out in my size everywhere in Canada, and the upcoming v2 2014 July release was a long wait away. 

Luckily, my awesome friends at Frontrunners (Vancouver Island's superlative running shops) were able to coerce their contacts at New Balance Canada into sending over a sample of the MT110v2 just in time for my race. I got in one 10k run in them, plenty to head into a long race with confidence in an untested shoe!

Review Caveat: This is likely a pre-production sample and may not represent the final product!


2013 In Review

I am not exactly what you would call a prolific blogger. As with the road to hell, I have the best of intentions, and the least of time... or rather I haven't made this blog a priority. I would like all that to change. I would also like financial excess, but hey. No promises.

2013 did not yield the running results I hoped, but all in all it was a good year of hobby jogging. I ended 2013 strong, and look forward to pursuing some big goals in 2014 that will be sure to challenge me. More on that in another post.

Before blogging in 2014, it felt wrong not to mention a whole year, so here is a quick look at 2013 in photos.

Bliss - December 2013


Mt Benson Summits 2012

Running up and down Mt. Benson was the absolute staple of my running diet in 2012. I managed to tag the summit 74 times during the year, sometimes multiple times in one day. I attribute a great deal of my running success in 2012 to the training challenge it provided. Steep climbs, technical descents, and all manners of conditions from bone dry dirt to flowing waters, snow, and ice were found on the mountain.
Spending over 100 hours on it, the vast majority without seeing another soul, I felt I got to know the landscape in an intimate way not likely experienced by many others. I knew every rock and root. I knew every time a new tree blew down, or a rock was removed from its place. I saw the seasons change. I knew the good and the bad. Sure I had plenty of summertime runs that were bliss from the first step, and got to see dozens of incredible vistas, sunrises, and sunsets. But I also had plenty of runs in the cold, rain, dark, and snow with no promise of a view.  Headlamps, frozen feet, treachery underfoot.
Just as with life, I think the most challenging outings made the heavenly ones that much more rewarding. The first warm spring breeze of the season was surely that much more meaningful after of dozens of rainy outings by headlamp.


This is why... (2012 in review)

This is why I run.

A quick jog before work. October 2012.

I have had a somewhat quick ascent (pun intended) from slob to competent hobby jogger. A little over one year ago, I won my first race ever, the inaugural Bear Mountain Half Marathon in November 2011. I ran that race through an injury, and subsequently had to stop running.

In December 2011, still injured and in no condition to run, I found myself able to take on a HIKE up Mt Benson one evening. We were blessed with incredible views.


Berg Lake Trail - Mount Robson Provincial Park

In August 2011, I had the pleasure of completing one of the most incredible trail runs I have ever experienced. If the runner's high exists, I lived in it for over 8 hours that day. In September 2011, I was lucky enough to return and run the Mount Robson Marathon, an event I cannot use too many superlatives to describe. This run report is of my August 2011 excursion.
Mount Robson Provincial Park - "Mount Robson Provincial Park, the second oldest park in British Columbia's park system, is truly one of the world's crown jewels. The mountain for which the park is named guards the park's western entrance. At 3,954 meters, Mount Robson, the highest peak in the Canadian Rockies, towers over the lesser surrounding peaks; winter or summer, this is one of the finest views in the Rocky Mountains. Just as the early trappers, hunters and explorers felt in awe at the mountain's magnificence, travelers today experience the same feelings."

 View of Mount Robson from the Mount Robson Visitor's Centre. This was the start location of the Mount Robson Marathon I would subsequently run in September. 


Purposeless Play

So... I have a blog. The reasons for which are varied and likely uninteresting. Forewarning: the focus will be running centric with the odd whodunit and what-if. Sometimes I get to run cool places and might want to share a few pictures and words.

Others have discussed the inherently selfish nature of running vis a vis the time subtracted from other pressing matters (family, work etc.). Admittedly a good lump of my time spent running could be filed as such.

Sometimes when out on the trails, one enjoys sights and sounds that are blatantly invigorating with little need for an explanation of the time spent seeking them. At other times, this prolonged and repetitive activity can appear tedious. Early morning rises to pursue a dark, rainy and cold embrace. And for what. And to the detriment of what?