Death is near…

The Canadian Death Race 2014 is now 33 days away; and so I say death is near.  Needless to say I am getting a little excited.  I have the flights booked, the hotel room locked down.  With the impending travel dates nearing I pulled out the DVD I got from Scott Woodward of Barebones Productions to  produces a video recap of the race every year.  It brings back found memories of my first epic race.

To get a copy of last year’s video for yourself, click here.


Why I Run…

I have been asked, not so directly, why do you run?  People don’t get it. They look at me, amazed, or maybe perplexed.  As if running were unnatural. I suppose, it is NOT normal – not at all.  Why the hell would you want to do that?

That brings me back to the question at hand.  REALLY – why do you run… for that long?  After an epic run you walk around like you want to lose your legs.  The pain is gargantuan.  A day goes by and the pain and suffering slowly turns to STRENGTH.

You start to walk a little stronger. Your run is stronger. Your spirit is stronger. A day may beat you down, but the run makes you resilient, more persistent.

Running invigorates me; it gives me passion and meaning.  I run to feel alive, to prove to myself that I am living life.  Running gives me time with me. It provides me a sense of self.

Pelee Island Half 2014

I was sitting down enjoying the great food and wine at the Pelee Island Winery after I finished my race and my wife and our friend crossed the line.  We were being sun soaked as we sat on one of the picnic benches.  A pair of friends sat down beside us and struck up some runner banter.  One of the girls asked if I had any more races planned for the rest of the year.  They were not expecting my answer and were puzzled about why I was running a half marathon.

There is no question that anybody running 100 km  or more is an impressive feat.  The same can be said for a half-marathon.  All things are relative.  To run a 100 km or more, you pace at around 70% your maximum heart rate.  The shorter the race, the higher of a heart rate you can sustain and where the challenge is found.

That's me up front on the far right in black holding my white hat.
That’s me up front on the far right in black holding my white hat.

For the better part of the race, my heart rate pumped at 90% max or slightly higher.  There were some exceptions.  The first 3 km’s I made it up to 95% max.  During this short jaunt, I counted 15 people ahead of me.  I slowed down and let people pass me.  I re-enforced the notion that if I find my pace early I will see all the runners that pass me before the finish line.  So I gave in to my reasoning that my heart rate was too high.  To add to that,  my legs were tight, again.  At km 5 I realized that I couldn’t ignore the urge to pee any longer.  I took a quick break where my heart rate dropped to 70%.  I got out on the course and found my stride at an avg pace of 4:40 minutes per km.

From the start of km 6 till the end of the race I was very steady.  I would slow my pace through the aid stations to grab Gatorade (to drink) and water  (to pour down my neck to cool me down).  Once I was finished with the aid station, I picked up where I left off.  As a result of managing a good pace, I caught up to the folks that passed me early on.

This race is all about fun. The bib is evidence of that.
This race is all about fun. The bib is evidence of that.

In fact, it was my fastest half-marathon to date.  Which is nice, but a personal best (PB) wasn’t my motivation when I signed my wife and I up for this race.  The attraction was the winery.  Consequently, the island is beautiful and totally worth visiting.  I think there are around 450 people that live on the island.  We stayed at the Bayview cottages and were a short walk away from Conorlee’s Bakery.  We picked up a pizza from them (excellent!) and on the Monday morning when they are typically closed, they opened the shop just to brew us a fresh pot of coffee.

Sunset view from our cottage
Sunset view from our cottage

The weekend was a success. I had a great time on a mini vacation with my wife, and we got to do some of the best things in life: relax, run, eat, and drink wine!

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