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markc7

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  1. Thanks guys, glad to you enjoyed reading it! Well, Wolf trail requires good running technique to move quickly without planting your face in the dirt. Roots, rocks, loose dirt, tricky footing. That's what makes a trail technical. Ridge Route, on the other hand, is an easy and non-technical trail. Although it's not a road, it's really no more challenging (from a technical point of view) than running on pavement. Penguin is also non-technical, but quite difficult because of the steepness of the hill. My trail race in May will be about 85% non-techincal, 5% road, and 10% technical, so this run on the weekend was a reasonable approximation. Today I did a short back and legs workout in the gym. Smith squat, deadlift, bent over barbell rows, back extensions, 1-leg standing calf press, and a couple pull ups for fun.
  2. I haven't played in years, but used to love it. badminton is a great workout, espeically if you're playing against someone who is better than you. Check this out, I got sweaty just watching! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RZ2k-tsX5KE
  3. After being hit by a car five years ago and dislocating my shoulder, I wasn't able to run or do my regular work outs anymore. I was still able to use the stairclimber at the gym, as well as a few of the leg exercises like leg extensions. It may not be a great workout, but it's something and kept me in shape for when I got back into running and weights.
  4. In the morning when you wake up on an empty stomach. After taking a whiz.
  5. I'm the opposite right now; my weight is done, and although my legs are still big I think I've lost a bit of muscle. The definition in my arms and chest and back is great. I think in the last month of the contest I'll increase the intensity of the weights and try to put on a couple pounds. Overall, I'm feeling good.
  6. Well, I had quite the adventure last night! Part of training for a 100-mile race is getting used to running when tired and in the dark. I left the house just before 9:00pm, and caught a city bus heading out of town. I got off at the last stop, at a college next to a large park. I started running at 10pm, and kept going until this morning. I ended up covering almost 60km, which included over 3000m of elevation ascent and descent! Here’s a blow by blow, if you’re interested. The first trail was a couple km of non-technical trail leading straight into the park. A couple whole sections were flooded out, but for the most part this was easy running. I turned onto a short paved section that would connect me with the main trail system. I was able to turn off my lamps and run by the ambient lighting (which was mostly the light pollution from Ottawa, it was a cloudy and starless night). When I hit the trail system, I quickly realized that this run would be different from what I had imagined. The trails were wet, muddy, and covered with a layer of slushy snow. I hadn’t excepted that much snow to still be there, but would have to contend with it all night. 10 km into the run and everything was going well. I was keeping my pace down, walking the steepest hills, and drinking regularly. I took a bit of a rest stop at the Mackenzie King estate and ate the first of many Clif bars. I was also carrying with me two handheld bottles of sports drink and a backpack with 2L of water. After Mackenzie King, there was another short road section connecting trails. I picked up the pace just a little bit, but was cautious not to overdo it since I had just eaten and my body would need to digest the food. I soon reached the Kingsmere parking lot, and would not have to run on roads again until morning. At Kingsmere, the trail takes a sudden turn upwards, climbing around 50m less than 1km. At the top of the hill, I was rewarded with a view of Ottawa and Hull. It was nice to see how far from home I was, although I can’t say I like the orange barf glow of the city lights. I also heard something rattling in the bushes nearby, and blew my whistle a couple times to be safe. This peak also represented the top of a hill affectionately known to runners and mountain bikers as “The Penguin”. It’s a very short piece of trail that descents 100m in only 1km. Let me tell you, running quickly down slippery snowy trails is quite an experience. I felt just on the edge of losing control, and would often slide a couple feet with each stride. The descent was very quick, and then I turned around and power hiked back up. At this point my stomach was just starting to give me some issues. I think the many uphill sections were taking a toll on me. But I kept eating and drinking. Back at the top of the Penguin, I turned on Ridge Road. In the summer this is a fairly easy, non-technical trail that runs (surprise) along the ridge of the escarpment. It has a number of tough hills, but is generally fairly runable. I followed Ridge for a total of 17km, passing lookout points and a few empty log cabins (in the dark these looked and felt like a scene straight out of a slasher flick). I stomach was holding up, and I was very happy to see that I was peeing regularly and clearly. Hydration has always been one of the toughest issues for me to manage on the really long runs, but today it wasn’t a problem at all. At some point along here, I lost one of my handheld bottles, and despite it’s reflective material I didn’t see it on the way back. My lamp is very bright and last forever, but it doesn’t cast a very wide beam. Running in the dark always becomes a very focused experience. Although my mind was wondering, my eyes were always fixed a couple meters in front of me, looking for rocks or roots or puddles. I was also starting to notice the first signs of fatigue, both physical and mental. The gray haze started to creep into my vision, probably in part because this section didn’t require a lot of thought to navigate. At 25 km I past the last trail connected to Ridge. From here on, there would be no landmarks until I reached my turn around point, a cabin called McKinstry. To be honest, I was considering turning around a bit earlier. The trails are well marked and there are distance markers throughout the park. Although I knew that they were wildly inaccurate, at one point I was a bit bummed out to see how far away McKinstry was. But, like the song says, the only thing I knew how to do was to keep on keeping on. After a couple of tough hilly sections, I reached McKinstry at 2:30 in the morning. I let out a howl of celebration, took a picture of myself with my camera phone, and turned around for the long run home. About 5km from McKinstry I decided to take a detour on a route called Wolf Trail. Among trail runners in Ottawa, Wolf is kind of fetishized for its difficulty. And not without reason; it has steep hills, pointy rocks, lousy footing, and several water crossings. There are several point when running it in the summer that runners have to stop and carefully pick their way up or down hills, hanging onto trees or whatever else is nearby. With this in mind, I knew that I would need all my wits about me if I was going to run it at night in the snow. I was glad to find that when I tried to call up my inner reserves of mental energy, they responded. The grayness was gone from my vision and I was alert. This was the muddiness section of the run, as for some reason the snow was mostly clear from this trail. I took a couple of near tumbles but stayed on my feet the whole way around the Wolf loop. Returning to Ridge, I left my mind wander again and allowed myself to relax in my acceptance of the mental fatigue. My vision started swimming a bit, my thoughts became less linear and the songs playing in my head become weird jumbles. At around this time, it started to rain lightly. It was refreshing, but I hoped that it wouldn’t start raining any harder. Luckily the rain held off for the rest of the night, and I didn’t get any wetter than I already was. I picked up the pace quite a bit on Ridge road, and continued to eat, drink and pee regularly. Overall I was descending slightly, and this helped me keep the pace up. Finally, I reached Kingsmere once again. Although it was still hours before sunrise, I could feel that the sun would be up soon. Maybe being outside in the dark all night made me more sensitive to the slightly brightening of the sky. As I ran the road section I turned off my lights and enjoyed the knowledge that I had made it through the whole night. Back at Mackenzie King estate, I saw a deer munching on my grass. I said hi to her, but she just wiggled her ears and went back to her breakfast. At this time, the sky was becoming bright enough that I could see well enough to run on the trails without my lamp. I was surprised to see just how technical this final stretch was; it hadn’t seemed that hard when I was running in the dark. But now I saw every jagged rock, every potentially ankle twisting dip and root. To keep from falling I brought back my focus, which was easier now that the morning had come. Believe me, there is no better second wind than running into a new day. Somewhere along here my GPS lost track of my distance and pace. But it didn’t matter much to me, I was looking forward to getting back home and having a nice relaxing bath. The final road section was surprisingly difficult. I kept wanting to stop and walk, but forced myself to keep running by reminding myself of how close to the end I was. Eventually, just before 7:00 Sunday morning, I reached the college where I had started my adventure the night before. I called home to check in with my wife Wendy, and waited for the bus. Less than an hour later I was home, sitting in the promised bathtub and letting Wendy help me get refueled. I weighted myself and found that I had lost only four pounds on the run. Pretty good, considering the problems with hydration that I mentioned before. This is definitely going to go down in my memory as one of the best solo trail runs I’ve ever done. It felt so good to get out of the city, away from people and to just be a part of nature for a couple hours. All the boring, run of the mill runs that I do feel so worthwhile after a run like this; if I didn't train regularly on boring routes I would never be able to do runs like this one. I may do one more night run before my race in May, and I hope it’s as good as this one was. Thanks for reading! http://i87.photobucket.com/albums/k123/markc7/100_0160.jpg
  7. Yep, I do quite a bit of stretching, especially my legs. I made it into the gym this afternoon for a back and shoulder workout. I increased the weight on my deadlift, and changed bent over dumbell rows to bent over barbell rows. After the heavier deadlifts, my grip felt weak and limited what I could do on the other exercises like pull-ups, shrugs, and seated cable row. I may need to add in some specific forearm exercises soon. Long run coming up but I'll wait until after the fact before I tell you about it; I don't want to jinx it.
  8. Nice and quick, slightly uptempo run this afternoon. Feelin' good.
  9. Welcome aboard! I know what it's like to be competing in sports while doing a PhD; I'm about two years away from being finished by degree in clinical psych. Glad to hear that you're making the vegan transition. I found that taking it a step at a time was helpful, and before I knew it I was completely vegan. Good luck and welcome to the site!
  10. Glad you like the books! Sounds like you're pretty busy with the move but still keeping up with some workouts. Once stuff settles down again I'm sure you'll get back into it just fine.
  11. Short run in the rain and snow this afternoon. Nothing special. I had planned to go the gym this afternoon after leading a short tutorial, but the students just kept asking questions! By the time I was done, it was time to go home. Oh well, at this point (less than 45 days until race day) running is more important than weights.
  12. After my fun run on the track yesterday, I decided to do an interval training session on the same track today. It felt good, although I generally don't run as hard when I'm on my own. I like having other people there to push me when I'm doing speedwork. But today being my first speed training in months it was probably a good idea not to push it to the max.
  13. I did a run of about 9.5km this evening, finishing with a few laps around the track. I have done an ultramarathon on a track before, and there's always something relaxing for me about running in circles. Strange, I know, but I like it sometimes. When I got home I did a short workout on the BOSU ball.
  14. Thanks guys, it was fun to take pics and put them into the video. The weekend ended up being quite different than I had planned. I wasn't feeling 100% on Saturday, and so cut my run "short" to about 32km. Sunday and today I just relaxed and tried to get back on track with healthy eating and a bunch of walking. I had also planned to do a trail run for one of my long runs this weekend, but it started snowing on Friday and I thought I would play it safe. The trails will still be there next weekend, and so will I.
  15. OK, so I'm just putting off going for my run this morning, because it's such a crappy day outside. But while wasting time, I put together a movie of the vegan borscht I made for a potluck tonight with Pamela and some others. Let's see if this works: http://i87.photobucket.com/albums/k123/markc7/th_58a24d09.jpg Sigh, anyways, I'm going for my run now.
  16. I went out for a 21km run this afternoon. I felt great, although it was windy and cold for the first half of the run. Although my big race for the year is still 7 weeks away, I plan to make this week my highest mileage week in this training cycle. I did something similar on easter weekend last year, and then started a very long and gentle taper. I'll still do plenty of running after this week, but the next three days are going to be huge. My plan is to run around 40 km tomorrow, 30 Sunday, and around 20 Monday, for a long weekend total of over 100km.
  17. Good luck with your hard training in the next three weeks, and in the competition itself. I wish I could be there. Have a great time and I hope we get to see pictures afterwards.
  18. I did a short whole body workout today. When I got to the gym I didn;t really feel like doing anythign other than squats, deadlifts, chest press, and bent-over rows. I threw in a couple extra exercises, but not much. I'm going to go for a 10km run this afternoon or evening.
  19. I did a quick 5.5km run this afternoon. Wendy might want to run together this evening, so I kept it short. We'll see.
  20. The encyclopedia is a very good book. Be warned though, it's name is a misnomer and it's not actually an encyclopedia. In other words, you can't just look up a concept by flipping through the book alphabetically. It's got tons and tons of different programs, and is a bit overwhelming at first. The programs are based on various bodybuilding/strength training goals; so if general fitness is the goal then this probably isn't the best choice. At the back of the book there are descriptions and pictures of dozens of common exercises. For the price (15$ on amazon), it's a great deal. I ran 10km this evening. Nothing special to report.
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