Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Planning My Self Supported Ultra

This is fun! More fun than actually signing up for a race because when you plan your own you get to do all the course planning and timing. The route planning can be a lot of fun.

1) I travel at least once a month for work and the night times are long. So these times are the most probable time to hold a self supported ultra.

2) I can run as fast as 8 minute miles on roads. It goes slower from there depending on the steepness and technical difficulty of the trail. 
3) The amount of available sun increases until June 21st, the summer solstice, then the days get shorter. The highest the sun gets is 9:20 pm for Vancouver.

So taking these factors into account, I can run about 4 hours maybe 5 hours in complete sunlight. Even at dusk there is still a significant amount of sunlight. A 50K takes about 6 hours. A 50 mile takes almost double that.  I'm leaning towards 50K first

My Route:
The start is the backdoor of my hotel which is typically the Holiday Inn Express in Kelowna (elevation 1150’ or 350m). After a quick right and right again down some back streets into Mission Creek, ‘The Greenway’. The Greenway is flat and follows the creek for about 5 miles but I’m turning after about 2 ½ miles at Casorso Road taking a left. At the roundabout stay left and keep left. Casorso Road turns goes up steeply to Bedford Road. The elevation tapers off a bit but Bedford then turns into Stewart Road East. At the end of Stewart Road East is the parking lot for Myra-Bellevue Regional Park. The elevation at the parking lot is 1750’ or 533m.

Believe it or not the trail has recovered from this devastation
Inside the park my route follows the Scorched Sole 25K course from 2010. I say that very specifically because the Scorched Sole course changes almost annually either due in part to snow, fires or some other unforeseen circumstance. (True enough at this posting the Scorched Sole 2011 course has changed again) The 2010 course follows the Lost Lake Trail to the end where it picks up the Kettle Valley Railway trail. The Kettle Valley Railway or KVR was this old defunct railway built after the turn of the 20th century. It’s famous for these gigantic trestle bridges which spanned these beautiful canyons. Even today these trestles are considered quite a feat of engineering. In 2003, the Okanagan Mountain fire (hence the name Scorched Sole) many of these trestles mostly wood burned to the ground. It was only through the efforts of interest groups that these marvels were restored to their original splendor. (wow that sounds like it should be in a brochure).

The bottom line is I’m truly excited about this. It doesn’t impede on family business. Although there is no pomp and circumstance, I’m thinking there won’t be as much of the low that follows a grand event either. I’m already ruminating about a second and third ultra closer to home. The mojo is back!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Where did the Mojo go?

I’m having a bit of a crisis getting my mojo going for 2011. Maybe it’s the fact that there was so many people who I follow were doing the Goofy Challenge and my vicarious life has been satiated through there accomplishments. Or that some of these same people have yet another marathon or big race planned less than 16 weeks out. Or maybe it’s the fact that after working my ass off qualifying for Boston I came up short in the funding and was a no go for this year and most likely next year as well. The fact of the matter is these races cost a lot of money, hell, shoes cost a lot of money. But my passion is running and therefore to keep my sanity I must run.
I was listening to the DDRD, that would be Dirt Dawg’s Running Diatribe Podcast last week and I had a bit of an epiphany. His guest interviewer was a fellow blogger/runner who made the comment that she could not run without a goal, without a purpose. It brought to mind all the books on motivation and drive that I have read. Side Note: Why is it that people who lack it always seem to gravitate towards books about the subject matter? No matter, my research tells me they all seem to break it down into three things and depending on whose book you’re reading it comes down to:
1) Autonomy-that self driven, master of your own domain facet that must be met to keep the wheel turning.
2) Mastery – the sense that you are accomplishing your goal through endless repetition. Positive feedback loops, 10,000 hours of practice. No lie! Ask Malcolm Gladwell. A good coach doesn’t hurt either.
3) Purpose – the Why! Or better said the WHY? A lot has been written about this and I’m going to boil it down to Intrinsic and Extrinsic goals. Your goals have to be intrinsic if they are going to get you through the rough spots. They have to fulfill some need within you.
I need races to fulfill the why. A race that I had been eyeing was the Chuckanut Mtn 50K. Not to say that fate is playing against me but this year’s race sold out in 2 hours. Although the start line is about an hour from my house it filled up with the likes of Krupicka, Roes, and Jurek. Wow Ultrarunning celebs in my neck of the woods.
So I enter the spring season with no definitive goal and in essence a serious mojo problem.
Here is what I have for ideas so far:
1) Self supported Ultra. Probably a 50 miler or 12 hour. No bells no whistles, no fees . . .no problem
2) Join Club Fat Ass and enter a few of their races.
3) Find a cheap Ultra and just sign on the dotted line and open up those purse strings.
4) Get faster! Train for a 5K, 10K or a mile.
5) Take up another sport. . . Naaah!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Welcome to 2011

Like most people I’ve been reflecting on the past year, trying to sum up my highlights and accomplishments of 2010 from which to learn from. To be honest there wasn’t a lot going on. Two races in all, one of them a marathon. I want to share the highlight with you, here goes:
Run for Water – Once again I was able to do this charity run with my family or at least the abbreviated version. My wife and one son ran the 5K while I ran the 10K with my daughter in the BOB stroller.
BQ at the Okanagan Marathon – I’d be lying if I didn’t put this near the top of the list. But to be honest it was more about the journey than the destination. The race was just the execution of the plan. A 3 ½ hour blast of nirvana for sure but compare that to the hundreds of hours or prep and planning it’s a toss up to what I enjoyed more.
Social Media – I resuscitated my podcast this year after a long hiatus. I joined Twitter and the Daily Mile. I have a tough time explaining Social Media to my wife and friends. Not so much how it works but rather the group of friends I have acquired through the different avenues. It’s hard to explain how a person can empathize the sorrows and celebrate the joys of events, running related or not with people you have never met. But in my life I have very few running partners, I don’t belong to a club and yet running is a big part of what makes me tick. Social Media completes the loop. You work through a tough set of intervals or a set of hill repeats or even a killer long run and you want to share it with friends. I think everybody wants a little validation and if you are reading this blog I think you understand?
For 2011 my goal is to communicate more. I plan to open up the relationships I’ve squandered. I plan to talk more. I’m going to blog more, tweet more,phone more friends. In a nutshell I am going to share my life more. Although they are just numbers I’m a numbers guy. I made 17 blog posts in 2010 down from the all time high of 34 in 2009. This year the goal is 52 which of course is a weekly average of 1. I think this is an achievable goal.
Running goals are as yet undecided. I have got a few that I’m still thinking about but have to discuss with the better half. After all when you come from a family of six, everything has to be a concerted effort. I’ll share that with you next post. Thanks for coming along!