Did you just say that?

I recently took a part time position at the Running Room. I figured it would be a good way for me to learn some new skills and a good way to immerse myself in the local running community. I think it worked.

The other day I was chatting with a member of one of the 5km clinic members and mention something about my obsession with the Death Race.  A women overheard me and abruptly changed my focus in the conversation when she said that she had run in the 2012 edition of the race.  It was nice to hear what she had to say about the race, because all I have been able to do is read about it.  Now I was talking with someone and getting the low down first hand; and I was able to ask her questions too!

As the conversation went on, she stopped to ask me how many ultras I have run.


She looked at me with a confused and bewildered face.  As though I had six fingers, or two heads, or maybe she though I was totally crazy.

“No offense, but I don’t think you’ll finish. The finish rate last year was only 36%.”

Did she really just tell me that I won’t finish? She has no idea who I am!  Not saying that I am anybody special in this world.  I am not an “elite” athlete by any stretch.  That is besides the point.  I know the odds are against me. But when has that stopped a good Canadian boy anyhow?  Take the inspiring Terry Fox, who ran a marathon a day from Newfoundland to some where near Thunder Bay. Crazy eh? 

I have no choice now but to prove I can finish this race to one other person than myself. And to add to that, I now have a time goal, 21:29:00.

Train hard, win easy

It’s Jan 23 and I have been preparing all month.  I bookmarked the URL of the online registration form so that I could shorten the number of clicks required to start typing.  I learned to type fast – and type accurately.  I setup calendar reminders on both my BlackBerrys and set an alarm for 9:55 am MST just to be sure I had all my bases covered.  When 10 am MST (12 EST) struck I’d be on it, on time and diligent enough to complete the registration form quickly so I get my spot on the Canadian Death Race roster.

This morning I had a couple of minutes in between a meeting and hunkering down for the day doing what I do here at the office, so around 10 am EST I decided to try my luck on the registration form.  Astonished, the form actually came up.  I was like a deer caught in the headlights.  Really, two hours early?  I started to shake, worried that the coveted spot was full.  My first instinct I pulled out my BlackBerry.  I sent a BBM to my training partner –

“Registration open” – “PING!!!”


“The form is open”

I turned back to my computer and I fumbled my way through the form.  Typed frantically.  Clicked “Submit”.  Done.  Read confirmation email. Verified roster. Yup, I’m in.  Crap, what am I in for now?

Time to train hard, win easy.

Side note: for me completing this race will be enough for me to call this a win. 😉

The moment of truth…

Tomorrow is the moment of truth.  It is the opening day to register for The North Face Canadian Death Race.  From having been on the their Facebook page and and seeing the many comments, it seems to me like it will be a race to sign up too.  Good thing sign up is online or else I am sure we’d see the elbows, high sticks and slashes to the backs of the legs.

Think of me at 10 MST …  hoping I get my spot on the roster.


Born to run?

I often find myself trying to explain why I run. Since I have been long distance running, many conversations about this subject generally includes some sort of comment asserting that I am crazy to run 1 km let alone 21.1 km or 42.2 km.  The most common remark is something along the lines of, “I only run if someone is chasing me”.  I guess that isn’t surprising in our modern world.  If I didn’t run, many days the most exercise I would get would be the walk from to and from my car to get my butt into the office.

Fellow runners seem to get it.  Chatting with them revolves around shoes, injuries, races, new goals, etc.  We don’t talk about whether we are crazy or not (well some folks are a little crazy).  The reason why we run never really come up in conversation; I guess the most obvious reason is for exercise.  Is that alone enough to keep running?

If you were to ask me today why I run, I’d likely say it’s for the exercise.  If you were part of the Inquisition, perhaps you’d continue questioning me and you’d follow-up with why I ran a marathon, I’d say it was for the challenge. As the trial went on, you might ask why I want to run the Canadian Death Race, I’d say it is to prove that I can.  Each of those answers are true, but I am still curious to figure out why I run.

So I have borrowed the book Born to Run by Christopher McDougall to figure this out.  Are we born to run?

Pick your poison…

I started to run a long time ago, I think I started ’cause I had a crush on my 4th grade teacher.  She taught at some school in Winnipeg [found the school] that I can’t remember the name of, nor do I remember hers.  I continued to be involved in x-country meets until high school and I moved on to another poison.

I picked up smoking and later combined it with reckless drinking and abuse of my body during my high school years.  Probably a result of peer pressure or teenage angst or both.  After years of poisoning myself, I kicked the terrible habit in 2007.  In 2010 I came to my senses and decided to get serious about trying to run a marathon.  As a first step I joined a Running Room half-marathon clinic and ran my first half-marathon in Ottawa that same year.  Since then I have completed two marathons and another half marathon and of late I am obsessed with running in the The North Face Canadian Death Race.  I am on to a new poison now; I am going to ultra.

Over the last couple of months, I have been trying to figure out how to train for this kind of foolishness.  Seriously, how do you start running races in excess of 50k anyway?  As with any question, there is always an answer @ Google.ca.  My research resulted in a simple plan.  I will train as if I am training for a marathon, however, I will add back to back long runs. Also, I have an event plan for 2013.

My event plan is as follows:

  1. Pick Your Poison (registered!)
  2. Seaton Trail 52km (cancelled for 2013)
  3. Ottawa Marathon (registered!)
  4. Creemore Vertical Challenge
  5. The North Face Canadian Death Race (registered!)
  6. Toronto Waterfront 1/2 marathon

Happy new year,


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