Monday, March 19, 2012

Marathon runners are arrogant, narcissistic, self centred babies

Hello Marathoners, hows it going? Right now many of you are preparing for Boston a race you have wasted countless hours on and or years in training to finally get that qualifying time for. Congratulations, it takes a certain type of sucker to swallow the Boston pitch hook line and sinker. I know you think you have achieved something, working so hard to get some made up arbitrary time that gives you a false sense of accomplishment. Its amazing that you can run a marathon in a time that is actually by any real standard incredible slow and still beam with pride just because some race director tells you that your awesome. Its really pathetic that you need such a thing in order to have those feelings of being better then others. But hey now you can strut like a peacock waving your Boston bib around and propping up your arrogantly swollen head. For those of you that failed to make your BQ or were so slow you didn't even try don't worry you still have many years of wasting your time jumping for the brass ring like a trained seal. Maybe someday you will make it too and be able to prance around in your Boston Jacket letting everyone know just how incredible you think you are.

So did that make you mad? No, then maybe you should go back and read it again, I will wait. How about now? Did this make your blood boil? Are you ready to track me down and lynch me, leave a nasty comment or stop following my blog. Good welcome to my world as an ultra runner.

To be clear everything you just read is a lie. I don't believe any of it but I wanted to see your reaction. I wanted you to understand that words are a powerful thing. Even though I am telling you its a lie some will still be pissed off at me but I wanted you to step into my world for a few minutes. You see according to some out there in the running community I am not a real runner. Apparently because I run trail and love ultra racing I somehow am of less value than a marathoner. I mean we all know that those guys are the real runners. Oh sorry only the marathoners that are fast. I am not talking to all you slow marathoners, in fact if some had their way you wouldn't be allowed to race at all. Oh sorry did I say race, my mistake in the view of some you are not racing. Hell you are way to slow to race.

Apparently I missed the board meeting of the Running A-Hole club which oversees the running world and decides who is a legitimate runner and who is not. I wish someone had told me earlier before I wasted my time running on average 6 days a week and more then 13,000 km in the past 3 years. If I had known I would not have punished myself with all those hill repeats, tempo intervals and track sessions. What a waste of time when I could have been warming my ass on the couch.

In the last few months I have dipped slightly back into the road world and although there is a great deal that is good about road running there is also a holier then thou ugly side that you rarely see in the trail running world. It seems that the endless pursuit of shaving seconds or minutes off of a race time causes some people to go a bit mental.

First there was a blog by Tim Tollefson crossfit vs ultrarunning. which is more nauseating, then a blog/article in Canadian Running Magazine called 5 prescriptions for saving the sport. Then most recently a blog by a runner in my club called Slow Down

For the life of me I cant understand why runners feel the need to attack other runners. Maybe they want attention or it makes them feel superior. It's even worse when the claims fall to stand up to any kind of real scrutiny. So lets try that.

Tollefson Article
This one didn't bother me much at all but it sure upset a lot of Ultra Runners. He tries to play the whole thing off as a joke and I took it as such. The only problem is that its not funny, not at all. Maybe if you found Full House or Saved by The Bell funny you laughed at this one too. I see this as funny the same way a jock bully at school finds it "funny" when he gives the smaller less athletic kid a wedgie. Its not funny its just pathetic but it sure makes him feel good.

Houston we have a problem. Oh and Tim you know all that crap you wrote running down the ultra elites? You are a great runner but I saw the results from the Marathon Olympic trials in Houston and you finished behind a number of crappy ultra guys. Some running times from some "crappy ultra runners" at the Houston trials:

Josh Cox (US 50k record holder) 2:13:50, Max King (2011 US Mountain Running World Champion) 2:14:36, Michael Wardian (2011 IAU 100k World Championships silver medalist) 2:21:50, Ryan Bak (Second place team at 2011 GORE-TEX TransRockies Run (with Max King)) 2:15:12, Chris Lundstrom (3rd 2009 The North Face Endurance Challenge 50 mile championships) 2:22:03.

Kind of Ironic don't you think? Oh well you will get them next time.

I am not going to comment on the Canadian Running Blog right now as I have devoted an entire blog to it. I was going to be posting that one today until Dan Ways recent blog. I will put it up in the very near future but will add that I didn't realize that the sport was in trouble and needed a cure. I was out on a run yesterday and everything seemed fine.

So then we had Dan's blog. Now I don't care to much about the barefoot running part or most of the other content. The part I care about is what was said about Ultra Running and Ultra Runners. I have included this in Italics below.

The doc also highlighted another fad in running; that being the ultra-‘running’ craze. Calling this running being a stretch. There are a number of 'real' ultras like Comrades and Two Oceans, in which people actually race and run fast for long, consecutive periods of time. Some people have come to be very good at them and I have a great deal of respect for these athletes. Then there are 'other' Ultras which involve climbing up mountains, through forests, across deserts, the Arctic, or the Amazon. These events don't really emphasize running at all and are really just a combination of walking, hiking, jogging, mountaineering, and orienteering at a slightly faster pace than most normal people would do them and an excuse to eat and drink as much as one desires. They are unnecessary and unnatural acts of attrition that feature elevated egos, delusional self-discovery, masochism and melodramatics. And they too are growing in popularity.

So clearly a lot here to get even the most stoic Ultra runner fuming. Relax there ain't nothing in this opinion that a little bit of factual deconstruction cant expose. Maybe you think this opinion is brilliant or maybe you think its moronic but I leave that up to you.

Ultra Running is a Fad - Sure it is just like marathoning. The Western States 100 was first run in 1977. The NYC marathon was first run in 1970. Boston was first run in 1897 but was not open to be run by the general public. Boston allowed women to run in 1972. Are we to argue that womens marathoning is also a fad? I would not call anything with a 35 year history a fad but hey to each his own. Comrades was first run in 1921 but for some reason thats a "real ultra".

Two Oceans and Comrades are "real ultras". So I guess that's because they are run on road? Or is it the distance? If someone walks in Comrades are they disqualified? What about if they walk in Boston? What exactly defines these as real? As far as I can tell these are only real because road runners tend to run them. I guess for some that makes them more legitimate then Leadville or UTMB. IF you think that some don't run fast and long at Western States well that is just a product of ignorance. Also fast is relative someone running a marathon in 2:10 would not see a 3 hour marathoner as fast at all. Oh and just for the record one of the best Canadian road runners out there M. Leduc ran Comrades and was reduced to walking at 45km although he still finished in 8 hours. He walked some, my god what is wrong with that guy. I don't know how he looks at himself in the mirror in the morning.

Other "ultras" - These don't emphasis running. According to who? Just because you say it and you don't get it doesn't make it true. Almost everyone in these races runs as fast as they can in order to complete the distance. If you think they do it slightly faster pace then most normal people would then well I got no reply for that one (except that all runners are normal people). If you want to ignore what happens to ones body in these events thats fine but it leaves me with a simple question.

If I can run a 15 minute 5k then I can run a 1:03 HM right? I mean I just have to run the same pace. If I can run a 1:03 HM then obviously I can run a 2:06 marathon right? No? Why not? Why is it that the marathon crowd can understand that physiologically a runner is not able to run their 5k pace for 42.2k. Its widely excepted and we all understand that this is because physically the way our bodies work make this impossible. Yet the same people seem to not understand the same biological rules when it comes to ultras. They are run at a slower pace because they have to be. You could run them faster at the start, tearing up and down every hill but you will crash and burn. Just like you could race out of the gate at 5k pace in your next marathon, I say give it a try and see how that works out for you. Why is pacing in a marathon (read going slower then you can run) totally alright but having to do the same thing in an ultra something different?

They are unnecessary and unnatural acts of attrition that feature elevated egos, delusional self-discovery, masochism and melodramatics
Kettle meet pot, pot meet kettle.

And they too are growing in popularity. - Yes they are and its making it really hard to get into Western States. The reason they are growing is many Marathoners eventually come to a place in their running lives where the importance and or obsession of clocking a slightly faster time holds no value for them. They are actually more interested in running to run instead of clock watching and there is no where more natural to do that then on a trail.

So if you are one of those out there that seem to think that you are somehow superior to those that choose to run other races, other distances, different terrain or happen to be slower due to age, injury or genetics I would suggest that you reread the title of this blog. Its actually meant for you.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Free Gu, Leadville training week 3, Slainte 5k?

Free GU
You read it right. Free GU. All you have to do go to and join the GU challenge.

Its free and easy. For the next month you log your miles (it downloads from your garmin or Iphone) and depending on mileage you get free GU. Just go there and check it out. God do I have to hold your hand all the time!

Leadville Training Week 3
Another good week of training but with tired legs from the Chilli HM it was a challenge. Managed to get in 130k including a good hill workout and took my long run up to +40k for the first time this spring. I also ran the Slainte 5k on Saturday. I managed to put in 5 days of strength training at the gym and 40 min on the bike.

In what I call kind of training on Saturday Kim and I went out for dinner with a number of fellow Ultra Runners. Food, beer and a pretty good time, it's always nice to see people after the winter hibernation. I got some really great advice from Stephen, Kinga M.and Charlotte V. on their training and some things that I could add to mine. Thanks Guys and Girls. I know girls should be implied under guys but I am trying to become a more sensitive, metrosexual man. I am guessing you didn't buy that crap at all did you? Well don't feel bad, I threw up in my mouth just typing it.

Slainte 5k
So no real race report from the Slainte as I was not racing it. It became clear after only 1k that my legs were totally shot which was not unexpected after a HM 6 days earlier and a 90k week up to that point. If I had it in me I was going to run it hard and if not then just take it as a quick run. Well not having it in me was an understatement. My legs were so fried that the 3rd km was actually as slow as my slowest km during the HM .... Yikes.

Then there was the extra 500 meters that we had to run. Supposedly the lead motorcycle officer took a wrong route making this 5k into a 5.53k race. I am sorry but extra mileage in a race is not giving me " more bang for my buck". However I did enjoy the beer, chilli and great company of other Longboaters at the end of the race so it was all worth it. Thanks for including me George, thought I would put that in to see if you are reading this thing or not.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Chilli Half Marathon Report ... Leadville training week 2

Chilli Half Marathon Race Report

So last week I mentioned that I would be running the Chilli Half Marathon on Sunday and that I planned to most likely not race it. This claim was met with some amount of scepticism from most of my running friends. In fact JD left a comment that he didnt believe I would not race the HM. Turns out the guy was right. No he does not have the power of Kreskin he just knows me too well.

That means this is an actual race report but lets just try and stick to the facts and not ramble on. Quite JD I know what you are thinking.

Fellow Longboater Tony picked Kim and I up early Sunday morning and in no time we were at the race site in Burlington. Weather was sunny but cold, not stupid cold, just cold with 20km winds. Had a coffee, did the thing you need to do before racing (I like to call it my own fibre challenge) and then Tony and I did a decent warm up.

We managed to get into the coral without much trouble and were in the right pace area for the race. It was about this time that I realized that I actually haven't run a Half Marathon in 2 years. Seriously how did that happen? I also realized that the race course had been radically changed from the last time I ran this race. Facing the opposite direction at the start line was a dead giveaway. I should have really looked at the course map before hand but what can you do.

Then we were off with 3000 other people. The plan was simple enough I would run the first few Kms at what I figured was my HM pace and see how I felt. If I felt good I would keep racing but if not I would drop down to a hard but slightly slower pace and keep it as a good training run.

Things went well right from the start. Once I got out on the course I didnt have to do too much weaving around people to find a bit of an open space to run in so I fell right into pace. I wanted to keep my HR just a little below my threshold and my pace between 4:30 and 4:41.

The first 3 km are out west along the lake and then a 180 and you head back the same way that you came from. I stayed right on pace and by 5km we where headed east with the wind behind us and not much of a factor. I felt good so decided that I would try and hold this pace and see how it went. I could see another Longboater about 100 meters ahead of me but wasnt sure who it was. I just tried to stay disciplined at this point and keep the pace.

I managed to catch up to fellow club member Christine eventually, it only took about 4km to close the gap on her. I took this as a good omen for me as it meant I was running a consistent pace so far and because Christine is around the same speed as I am although she is probably a little quicker to be honest.

Soon I am at the halfway point. We are still headed East along the Lakeshore and my Garmin tells me I am just slightly ahead of my PB. The course is an out and back and soon I begin to see runners on the way back in. I see a lot of Longboaters in the front area of the pack (6 guys go sub 1:20 on the day).

So far so good but its been a long time since I have run this hard for this long and by the time I hit 13km I am beginning to feel it. Nothing major, still on pace, but I know its going to get tougher from here on in.

Around 14km we make another 180 degree turn and head back west right into the wind. Oh goody the hardest part of the race is into the wind how thoughtful. It's not horrible but it is strong enough to play a little bit of a factor. My pace starts to drop slightly so I begin to push a little harder.

Its 16k into the race and I am now suffering the inevitable as I am wearing down. I have slowed some as the HR has begun to creep up with each new KM. I remember this now its what we like to call the painful part of the race where I attempt to hang onto pace. I do an okay job of pushing as hard as I can but am still slowing down slightly. At 18k I am just where I expected to be hanging on for dear life.

As I approach the 19km sign I see a bunch of the faster Longboaters. They are running their cool downs having already finished. Rob Campbell sees me and jumps in to help pace me (push me) to the finish. He keeps me working hard the whole way in when I am struggling the most. Thanks Rob! Although I didnt know it at the time Rob had won his age category and set a new club record all before he came by help scrap me up off the pavement when I was doing my best impression of road kill.

Finally after what feels like an eternity I make the final turn towards the finish. I can see the big arch of the finish so I start my finishing sprint quickly passing 4 people. I am almost there, oh crap. I realize that my oxygen deprived brain had me looking at the wrong archway and after sprinting like a madman I still have another couple hundred meters to go. Wow way to go dummy. I try to keep up the pace as best I can but the next 30 or 40 seconds are the most painful of the race. Only one of the people I passed catches me so that ends up being okay.

I am finished and I am done as well. I resist the growing urge to puke which if you have read any of my road race reports before you know that this is how I measure a successful hard effort. If I feel like I might puke at the end then I feel pretty sure that I have given it everything and left nothing on the course. I lean over the coral fencing just in case which attracts the attention of an EMS guy. He asks me if I am all right and I tell yeah I just dont want to puke on anyone which gets a good laugh. I think once he got close to me he saw that I was just a guy trying to figure out why there is no oxygen in downtown Burlington and not someone in actual trouble. Christine is right there as well having finished 14 seconds ahead of me.

After catching my breath I waited for Tony who finished his first HM in just over 1:45 and then grabbed my jacket to keep warm as I waited for Kim to come in. She ran really well and ended up PBing by more then 7 minutes. Way to go Kim!!! Then it was off to get some food and beer.

I am really happy with my race. It ends up being my second fastest HM and less then 30 seconds off my PB. It looks like my speed is almost back to where it was a few years ago. I was also happy with how I ran staying disciplined early and working really hard at the end. I dont think I could have run it much faster or better at this point in my training and with no taper.
Final finishing time 1:39:17.

Leadville Training Week 2
Training went well again for week 2. It was a recovery week so it was time to drop the mileage some. I got in my scheduled 80k (50 miles) and that included a day of hill sprint repeats and a tempo day. No long run but made up for it by running the Half Marathon hard.

This week its back to higher mileage with a 5k race on saturday thrown in just for fun. It ends at a pub ..... sweet. Sorry JD but it looks like I will be drinking even more beer without you.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Leadville training week 1, Feb totals, Chilli Half Marathon this weekend

Leadville training week 1 is in the bank
Oh, Ah, okay not really but its done. I managed to put down my first week of training for Leadville quicker then that little kid put a bullet in Old Yellers head. Just 25 more weeks to go. Seems like a long time from now but its going to go quickly. Thats what happens when a race you're registered in actually scares the crap out of you.

Last week managed to get a solid training week in getting my mileage up to 130km for the first time this year. That included a solid hill workout, a bit of a tempo run and a decent 37k, hilly long run. I also managed to get 5 strength training days in at the gym which I then tried to undo with a few to many beers.

The month of February went well as far as training goes and was a nice build on the offseason. I was worried that I was going to have a issue when I developed some heel pain but it appears to be fine for now. See the totals for February below.

Runs - 26
Distance - 302.5 miles or 486.8km
Weight workouts - 18
Cycle - 1 hr.

This week has been a recovery week for me so I have dropped the mileage down to give the legs a break before I start to work towards those 100 mile weeks. Less mileage doesnt mean less intesity however so its will still be a couple of quality days and a Half Marathon to end the week.

The Chilli Half Marathon this weekend
Okay I got to be honest about it. I am really not a big fan. I have run this one twice before and had some issues with the race. I figured I might as well run it this year (after skipping it for 2 years) as its easy to get to and makes for a good hard run. I have no intention on racing full out but then again once you get going who knows. All that hill training I have been doing should come in handy on this super flat course. NOT.

Up next week - a return to high mileage and a nasty blog about the assholiness of "Elitism"

PS - If they did a remake of Old Yeller do you think they would actually show us the dogs head exploding. You know they would!
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