Lost Soul 100 Mile Race Report

cropped-image1-1-e1505187024979.jpgI’m not a smart man at the best of times but I got this brilliant idea to commute down to the race on foot, run the 100 miler then return home on foot the next day. Now settle in and pour yourself an adult beverage cuz this story might drag a bit.

WEDNESDAY

My race before the race started at sunrise on Wednesday. I laced up my roadies and headed south on highway 2A from Okotoks arriving at my parents’ house in High River only 2 hours later. My darling mother fed me her famous egg sandwich and saw me on my way now heading south on highway 2. I didn’t want to look at my GPS but only run by feel, staying completely in the “all day, all week zone” as at this point I wasn’t racing, just a lonely wagon wheel heading south. Approaching Nanton I saw two image1friends alongside the road. Marty and Bridget pulled out a cooler full of popsicles, water, and wait for it…a dozen doughnuts! I filled up my 2.5-litre bladders and bid them ado. The smoke was thick but didn’t bother me much at this point but the heat of the day along the exposed highway started rising and I found myself gulping at my water supply to stay cool. About 5 km before hitting Stavely I emptied my water supply and began feeling very dehydrated. My father saved the day by finishing his golf game an hour early in Claresholm (Thank god he shot in the high 70s instead of his usual mid-80s) with his buddy Carl. They rolled up as I was starting feeling the dry ridges in my lips crack. He filled my bladders and gave my two ice cold ginger ales and wished me luck. I arrived in Claresholm around 3:30 pm hungry and wanting an ice bath. Sharon and the monkeys met me there along with my buddy Hubbs. I ate my body weight in food and hit the hay. 88kms, average pace 5:05min/km.

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THURSDAY

Day two started the same with a sunrise start. I was surprised my body felt as good as it did. I ate a huge breakfast then headed south on 2 to Granum. When I got to the Granum general Store I bought these two beauty peaches that I quickly devoured. They tasted AMAZING but I think I drove the fibre train a bit fast a proceeded to have “troubles” for the next few hours. Now I deeply apologize for any victim that saw me drop trow on the very flat open Granum high way but on a positive the grass ditches along the highway are now well fertilized. Along with that goes chaffing and that started to become my only worry going into tomorrows race. I lubed the best I could and trucked on. Now countless friends stopped along the road to bring me food, drink, encouragement. Words could not describe how I felt running from oneimage2 pit stop to the next with friends arms stretched and trunks full of goodies. Grateful, humbled, loved, spoiled, not worthy of such friendship and support, I love you all. At 3pm now wheezing from the smokey air, I stumbled to the green space in front of the Lethbridge Lodge and just laid there for a minute. My only thought,” Dave you are 1/3 done your weekend.” I smiled at that thought. 80kms, average pace 5:21min/km.

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FRIDAY

I awoke on race day I did as I always do I checked my resting heart rate. 75!! Crap!! My normal resting rate sits between 48-52bpms. Without getting too technical this tells me I must adjust my effort level accordingly so for instance if I was running a hill at a sustainable 160 bpm I would now need to run it slower to accommodate my new normal which on any other day feel like 135 bpm. This doesn’t make me running 100 miles today impossible, it just means I’ve gotta be super smart about it. My game plan was this: start super slow, play to your strengths ie technical downhill and long flat sections, go painfully slow on all the climbs, use trekking poles late in the race if needed, and most importantly don’t run anyone else’s race.

At 9 am we left the start line and I found myself in a very unfamiliar position. Well back in the pack and no butterflies, I have to admit it kinda felt good. I arrived at the HQ aid station about 5 minutes slower than I normally do. There I saw my crew for the day Stephanie Gillis-Paulgaard and Dan-the-man Bowie. It meant the world to me that you two would pause your busy lives and help support this Lost Soul for the weekend, love you guys!

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10-20-30 miles rolled by relatively comfortable but once again the heat of the day started and I knew this was gonna be a cooker. The Waterton raging fire to the SW of us produced a thick particle rich cloud that made breathing more challenging from hour to hour. I knew deep down this would affect my day but was unclear how at this point. Now the Lost Soul course consists of three large loops of 54kms. I passed Jay Kinsela only 40 km into the race and he was not looking so well. He mentioned he was having some early GI issues but I was thinking he may not be recovered from his last race as of yet. 4 weeks ago he won and set a huge course record at the Big Foot 200miler in something like 55 hours! I started passing the majority of the 100km racers that may have started a bit hasty. One of them told me I was in second place behind this young guy named Ian from Kamloops I’ve never heard of. Upon completion of the first loop Stephanie told me I wasn’t far behind Ian but relax and stay within myself, so I did. Stephanie busied herself putting ice in my buff, arm coolers, and cowboy hat. She fed me iced tea and was very intuitive for someone who has never run a hundo before. She is a mother of two so maybe it’s equal to getting the kids out the door to catch the school bus in time.

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Around the 70km point of the race and in the dead heat of the day I saw Ian ahead. He tried his best to not be obvious but he was turning to see me and I could sense the `oh shit` emotion. When I came up on him he didn’t look so good so I asked him what was up. He said his stomach was turning. I suggested that he eat half my Teen Burger Stephanie got me and that might help turn things around. We pulled into the next aid station together. we split the hormone free burger and I took off expecting not to see him again. The next five hours the heat and the smoke really got to me, my pace slowed and I told Steph that I’ll get through this but something just wasn’t right. The more I think about it, the smoke particles I’ve been breathing in the past three days and over 200 miles penetrate the lungs and seep into the blood stream. without getting into it too much most of my bodies functions weren’t working well, my cardiovascular, temperature regulation, muscular system, even my digestive system which is iron clad. I’ve never thrown up in a race before but I sure as hell did on the Pavan loop! So I told Stephanie, I will take only what my body will give me.

The sun was going down and I was at the last aid station before heading out on the final and third lap when I saw a ghost. It was Ian! I whispered to Steph, is that him? She responded yes with that look on her face of what are you still doing here. I’ll admit I opened it up on the final 6 km stretch heading back to HQ. When I got back to HQ I saw my pace Daniel Bowie ready to roll. Sharon arrived at this time as this race fell on her birthday, Happy birthday Shar-Bear. She was out celebrating with the kids and friends and was so supportive to let me race on her day.  I didn’t stay long as we were now on a mission to start gapping Ian early to make him feel he has no chance to catch. We moved quickly but still stuck to my plan of taking it stupidly slow on the climbs to not max out my already maxed out heart. The two of us darted through the pitch black coulees thinking that there is no way he is holding this pace and I’m sure as of the Pavan aid station we would have gapped him enough that he would certainly pull back. At the top of  Ryan’s hill I pushed it too hard on the climb, and when I got to the top my heart felt like it was going to leap out from my chest. I leant over on my poles to catch myself. The next thing I know is I’m on the ground looking up at Dan asking how long I was out for, he said ten seconds, he helped me up, brushed me off and kept moving. As we approached the Pavan station I noticed Dan was falling back of the pace and started talking on his phone. I asked him who are you talking to and he said to not worry about it. Turns out Daniel was redlining, I needed a new pacer and didn’t trust I wouldn’t pass out again on the Pavan loop. I came into the Pavan aid station and my friend Leo Fung was there waiting for me. Leo looked at me and yelled let’s go! I musta looked puzzled, IS LEO DRUNK!? The answer is yes. Leo was volunteering all day and enjoying many glasses of wine. He had no intention of running but when he heard I needed help he put down the bottle, gathered himself and did me a huge solid.

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I have to admit running at 1 am with drunk Leo is hilarious! His pace was erratic, the conversation was random at best but the entertainment score was a 10/10. Leo got a text telling him we were 15 minutes up on Ian. I told him that’s good but I’d be happier with 25 minutes so we picked up the pace.  We were moving quite well until I made a rookie mistake. My headlamp died. With 5 km of narrow single track left to go in the loop, he ran just feet in front of me and I’d follow his foot strikes. On occasion, he would be a good guy and run in the knee deep grass alongside me to better shine his light. That would work until drunk Leo would run into large dead fall or an upright tree. When we got back to Pavan aid station that signalled we have two more legs to run (about 13 km). Dan-the-man was reloaded and ready to pace me, I drank a Red Bull, looked over and saw Leo tipping back the bottle and I was off. Now I started getting cocky thinking that Leo and I must have gapped Ian by at least another 10 minutes until I heard Dan’s phone ping. We were on the second climb of three biggies on that leg when Dan said, “Dave, Ian is only 7 minutes back!” I don’t know what came over me at that point but all I know is fear is useful at times like this. I ran the rest of the climb, ripped down the back side, hit the open section and bolted. Now my GPS was dead at this point but I’d I was holding 4-4:30 min/km. With one final climb before the final aid station, I sprinted the hill and recklessly tore down the descent. The flat field outside the aid station I looked back. I saw three head lamps, one moving slowly coming down the hill and the other two moving VERY quickly! That’s him, that’s Ian!! How did he make up all that time!?  I ran right through the Peenaquim station not breaking stride, dropping my poles and vest and yelling “38 in and out.”

If he was catching me running a 4:15 the only option was to drop to a sub 4 min/km pace. So I found myself a basket case weaving in and out of 100 km runners looking back often. I got to the final climb and started the climb. I took my head lamp off to make sure he couldn’t mark me as a was defenceless on my achilles heel (the hill). I got to the top looked back, no Ian. Turns out those lights at the top of the hill weren’t him at all. Fear and paranoia were both excellent tools that led to a surprisingly strong finish and ultimately setting a new course record. The hugs from everyone made it all worth it in the end.

image4 (2)At the awards ceremony the next morning I announced my 2018 initiative of XCanada4Rare. A Trans Canadian speed record attempt of 7200 km in 66 days in hopes to raise awareness and 1,000,000 dollars for the Rare Disease Foundation. I was intending to run the 170 km back home but I’ve decided against this as since finishing the race my lungs feel very damaged. Now I normally don’t make great choices but this choice I stand behind completely.

Announcing the XCanada4Rare

The cat is out of the bag. On June 22, 2018, at sunrise, I will embark from Victoria, BC on foot and not stop until I dip my foot in the Atlantic Ocean off the harbour in St. Johns, NL. We are calling this XCanada4Rare. The length of this run totals 7200 km with 56,000 meters of elevation and I plan to do this in 66 days. That’s 108.1 km per day with no days off. I intend to break the existing TransCanada speed record that stands at 72 days 10 hours held by ultra-running legend Al Howie set back in 1991.

My training started last Wednesday by running the 170 km’s down to Lethbridge then running the Lost Soul 100 miler the next day. My plan was to run home from the race but three days of littering my lungs with the worst smoke I’ve ever seen, I decided to skip the two legged commute home and let my lungs recover. The training will look very different than anything I have done before with the punishment of pounding pavement day after day, month after month. Later this year I’ll race the 6 days run at Across The Years in Glendale, AZ and attempt to break the Canadian record of 540 miles. All of this in preparation for the looming task of hammering hard for 7200 km next summer. My schedule couldn’t be better laid leading into the Trans Canada run, now all I need to do is execute. The physical training will be one thing but the mental training will be another monster altogether. Running 1000 km over the Rocky Mountains from Victoria into Calgary is daunting, but knowing you are only 1/7th the way through with insurmountable obstacles appearing daily with no option but to succeed is damn right terrifying.

I’ve mapped out a conservative estimate on just how much my body/mind can handle day after day and plotted out 66 stops along the way averaging 108.1 km/day. Some days will be longer than others as daily elevation will play a major role such as the run up Rogers Pass, BC, will be a significantly shorter day than the run into Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. Some other days will be shorter to accommodate speaking engagements and special events along the way (I’ll get into that later). I will wake up before the sun rises every day in a Fraserway RV with Sharon and the kids and my goal will be to get rolling before sunrise. From that point on my crew team made up of friends Wayne and Trish Gaudet will drive along either behind me or meet up along the highway to look after me as I trudge across the Trans Canada. Wayne and Trish’s demeanour, sense of humour, and knowledge spells perfection for a weary, grumpy wayward traveller like me. Sharon and the monkeys will get up on their own accord and wave as they pass me as they slowly and intimately get to know their country stopping at all the sights. Could you imagine getting to do this when you were a child? I’m getting so excited for them! At the end of each day, I will roll up to our RV and have dinner with my family. After eating half my body weight in food I’ll hit the hay only to wake early the next morning to repeat that another 65 times.

There are two reasons why I am doing such an enormous feat. The one is my love for my country and the fact that travelling across this vast beautiful country on my own two feet is a dream come true. The second reason and by far more important is the opportunity that lays before me to create awareness and raise greatly needed funds for the Rare Disease Foundation.

Over six years ago our lives were turned up side down. Our son Sam, then 2 years old was hospitalized for the second time in 12 months with symptoms the medical community did not understand. Before this, I always thought the medical community understood the vast majority of pathologies but since then have discovered they know very little. It took us 6 long years to receive a diagnosis that Sam has a very rare genetic disease called RECA. This diagnosis was made possible via the dedication of countless scientists, researchers and fundraisers in the rare disease community. Since our diagnosis peace and calm have flooded our lives, still understanding that at this present time there is no cure for Sam’s disease but knowing brings a link to best practices, future treatments, the quiet of stopping searching, and involvement in a greater community with people that understand our journey.

The Rare Disease Foundation’s mandate is to raise funds to micro grant studies benefiting the greater understanding of rare disease. Their research philosophy is as follows (taken from the RDF website):

The successful model of micro finance was applied to the problem of: How do we improve a situation where there are 7000 known rare diseases and much more undescribed diseases? The Rare Disease Foundation micro grant program provides a small amount of funding ($3500) that must accomplish a specific research goal and directly improve patient care.

Our applicants, who are usually on the front lines of rare disease care, choose problems that reflect their patients’ priorities. They choose research problems that are solvable for today’s patients and often address problems that are common to a number of different diseases. The small amount we provide fosters collaboration which leverages our funding and our low red tape approach enables productive collaborations to be formed with the best researchers anywhere in the world.

One of the major problems we see with disease research today is the siloization of research activity. Each group of scientists has a very deep understanding of their area but surprisingly there is no easy way to move a project from one silo of expertise to another. A few disease specific organizations now take on the role of research champion, one who moves an investigation from one expert to the next in rapid fashion, but the bulk of rare diseases lack their champion. Rare Disease Foundation research programs are designed to find and fund research champions.

Providing therapy for a disease requires a set of activities that start with the patient (define the disease, its subtypes, its complications, the way it evolves), goes through a group of laboratory studies (find the cause, understand it, model it), then into drug development and ends up back at the patient with a trial of therapy. Since no therapy is ever perfect, this is a circle that repeats to promote better therapies over time. We call this cycle “Translational Care”. The cycle involves translating clinical findings to the laboratory and vice versa with the objective of better care.

This cycle does not turn very well on its own so we identify research champions to crank the wheel of discovery, build bridges between silos of scientific expertise and deliver safe therapies back to patients as rapidly and efficiently as possible. The process can be sped up further if the pathway identified in step 4 already has approved therapies (or their side effects) that target it. In this case, a trial of therapy can be considered without traversing the entire circle.

The cycle takes an average of 44 years from first idea to drug trials in our system but our champions have turned the cycle in 4 to 9 years for 5 diseases and if the wave 4 shortcut is in play, treatment has been delivered 18 months to 3 years after the first patient visit for 9 diseases. We believe the Translational Care cycle is the best model for developing therapies for rare diseases and more quickly improving rare disease care for today’s patients.

To summarize, donations made to the Rare Disease Foundation address the age old issue of how are your dollars benefiting care and affecting change within the rare disease community simply makes sense. Please visit the Rare Disease Foundation website to find more information.

Our fundraising goal is $1 million which I know is a big task but equals the effort. Please visit our website to see how to help achieve our goals by donating, volunteering, and spreading the word. Believe me, we will need plenty of help with all sorts of things.

Wish me luck!

Who can afford gas these days?

Whether its a good idea or not remains to be seen. I’ve decided to better train the body and mind for upcoming multi-day races by running down to Lethbridge for the Lost Soul 100 miler then run home after. It’s a 170 km run down over two days from Okotoks stopping in Claresholm to overnight then race the most difficult 100 miler around then 170 km back home again overnighting in Claresholm. The task being made much more difficult given the recent heat wave and forest fire smoke thicker then a bowl of oatmeal.

In advance I’d like to thank all my friends on the Lost Soul FB page for stopping along the highway and helping me out along the way by feeding me and keeping me watered as I plan to do this unsupported. The closer I get to the race start on Friday the more I’m doubting my abilities to run well on the Lost Soul race course. I mean if you are realistic what are the chances after running 180kms over two days I could toe the line on September 8th and crush a hundo, chances are slim but I’m super interested to first hand find out what happens.

It’ll be super important to fuel extremely well when running and keep the pace very reasonable like 5:30min/km. I plan to eat my body weight in food every night when my run is done. Ice baths and self massage will be key to keeping the body okay.

Most of everyone I know hates running on highways I really enjoy it. I find it a mindless activity that mimics staring at a wall and day dreaming. With all the social media and instant gratification around now I feel my mind craves to be shut off and performing super simple tasks.

Since I’m the husband of the year and decided to race on Sharon’s birthday (sorry baby),Sharon won’t be able to crew me as she will be going for dinner and getting lit with friends. I’m super excited to be crewed by my great friend Stephanie Gillis-Paulgaard. I’m really hoping I don’t pout too much around her and she isn’t too annoyed with me by the end that she still wants to remain friends.

What’s next…

The Belfast 24 hour marked a change in course for me that will shift my focus from one event to another. Be it the two events might not appear too different from one another the training models and strategy will be remarkably different. This summer/fall’s race goals will be centered around multi-day racing opposed to my  usual 24 hour and 100 mile schedule. 

I believe my skill set as a long road runner with a stomach that can digest the kitchen sink will succeed in this odd and wacky sport. My main objective is to race well at the Across The Years 6 day in Arizona over the New Year. The Canadian record for the 6 day stands at 870 kms set back in 1891 I believe is an obtainable distance covered in 6 days. The other Canadian records that may fall along the way are the 48 hour (355kms) and the 72 hour (496kms).  I’ve run this race before giving the 3 day a go a year and a half ago. An injury to my knee halted progress at 36 hours. I’m super excited to give the 6 day a whirl to see what this old body can grind out in just under a week. I’ve been busy planning and coercing others and more information will come when I start understanding what the hell I am doing.

To ready myself for this race I’ve signed up for the Lost Soul 100 mile on September 8-9 in Lethbridge. This is one of my all time faves as the race organizers put on a top shelf event worth traveling for. To get in the multi-day volume I really want it’s bloody convenient that I live 190 kms away from the race. I plan to run down to Lethbridge, run the race, then run home the next day. This will be a super fun experience nothing like anything I’ve done before and a great opportunity to pile day on top of day on top of day. If you are on Alberta’s highways one of those days would you be so kind as to top up my water or drop me off a snack, thanks in advance for your kindness.

Mixed in with these races is a 24 hour in Taipei, Taiwan. I feel very blessed to be invited to this race and would feel rather stupid turning down a trip to Asia since I’ve never been and always wanted to go. Hell, since my flop in Belfast I still haven’t qualified for next year’s Canadian 24 hour team so that is definitely in order. 

All together I feel very excited about where this change in direction is leading. Hey, I’ve got an idea, let’s run around in one mile circles for one day short of a week. Laugh once if you think it’s a good idea. Laugh twice if you think it’s a brilliant one.

Belfast 24 Race Report

Let me start by saying it was a complete honour and privilege to represent Canada at last week’s World 24hr Championships in Belfast Ireland. The race took place on July 1st, the same day we Canadians celebrated our country’s 150th birthday. As the horn sounded at noon signalling the race start I knew I had done everything right in preparation to assure success only 24 hrs later. My fitness has never been better, my mindset was solid, and I really, really, really wanted this.

The first 50kms went off as planned. My pacing was a steady comfortable 4:55min/km and I passed the time chitchatting with old friends. The 1.7km looped course was very busy so winding in and out of slower racers was a challenge but right around the 70km mark I felt the stiff concrete surface tightening my hamstring. At this point I decided to change out of my Zantes and into a fresh pair of 1080s. This made a world of difference and the hamstring tightness cleared. A heavy rainfall came in but cleared within the hour; besides that the weather was moderate and perfect for running a fast race. My 100km split was on target at holding 5 min/km. The sun went down at 10pm and by 11pm trouble started. My legs felt fine, I felt motivated, but I now started yawning and my eye lids felt heavy. Sharon handed me a Red Bull which is my go to when it comes to giving me a jolt in these races. The effects were quick and within 10 minutes felt back to good and ready to tackle the world. Sadly, only 30 minutes later I struggled getting back to the Canadian tent as I was nearly falling asleep running. I sat with Sharon for a bit as she motivated me and spurred me on to get back on the course but as I sat their my eyes started closing and I started drifting. Out of desperation Sharon gave me a 5 hour energy shot, this is something I never tried before. I forced myself back on the course only to find myself 5 minutes later sitting on the neighbouring park benches asleep. My friend from the Great Britain team Robbie Britton grabbed my arm and forced me to run with him. He asked me questions to assess my mental state but quickly realized I was fine just dog ass tired. We ran two laps together until I passed by the Canadian tent again. I knew then that this was not going to be a good day. I knew that only 11 hours into the 24 and needing a nap only leads to a disastrous result but I sat there with Sharon and concluded that the only thing that would break this sleep spell was sleep itself. Sharon bundled me up in a sleep sac and I slept well for two hours.

Now I know what you are thinking. Why on earth would Dave need sleep after 11 hours of running? Is that normal? The answer is NO WAY. Truth is we had a terrible time flying into Belfast 5 days prior, I don’t sleep at all on flights or in airports and since arriving I’ve struggled getting more then 2-3 hours per night. Jet leg officially kicked my ass and I cried like a little school boy. 

I awoke after my glorious 2 hours and felt like a million bucks. Knowing my race was shit and I wouldn’t have the result I wanted from this point on I decided to just have fun out there and celebrate the fact I was in Belfast running for my country. I got back on the course running with Dan and James from Great Britain. These two chaps looked great and were cruising at this point. We had a great time chatting and talking running stuff. Both James and Dan are good lookers so all the Irish ladies were hooting and hollering as we passed. True to form it seemed like every second spectator overnight was holding a pint of Guinness. That gave me chuckle and left me wanting. We ran for the next few hours in good form. Once again like before and just as quickly the sleep monster crept up. Sharon gave me half a Red Bull and we devised a plan to hammer a Red Bull every three hours until the end of the race (probably not a decision made on a clear mind). Sadly the Red Bull lasted no longer then 20 min and I found myself in la la land once again. Sharon was very kind to allow me another nap. After waking this time I knew my race turned from shat to a heaping smelly pile of shat. Feeling the need to make myself useful I latched onto fellow runner friends to help them achieve their goals. My main focus was on my main man Wayne Gaudet. Now Wayne is an old fart, but a strong fast one at that. Four years ago Wayne set the over 55 Canadian 24 hour record and was setting out that race day to break the over 60 record. He was on pace but as we all know the pace can diminish quickly approaching the end of a 24. I latched on to him, kept the mood and conversation light and helped him focus on small little goals. Lap by lap we plugged away creeping closer and closer to the elusive mark. Wayne looked good and steady. His crew and wife Trish was calmly cracking the whip and he obeyed like a little boy in Sunday school. The last few hours are always a treat in these races as the spectators show up in hoards, the beasts become more beastly, and each runner runs holding there flag with such pride. 

When the horn sounded I didn’t have a second to feel sorry for myself. Wayne my great friend and running buddy gave me the biggest hug a man can muster. This felt good. What also felt good was embracing all my friends – some having brilliant days and others just as bad as mine. What I love about this sport is even if I had a terrible result my friends generously shared their great results with me. I left the park that day feeling like a winner and for that I wanna thank all of you who shared your wins with me.

Since then my feelings are difficult to explain. The morning after I got on my phone to the race director of Sinister 7 (a race only 6 days after Belfast24), I started to plan an early departure from Ireland to go home and race right away. This was a stupid idea on so many levels but the main one was I’d be leaving Sharon and Julia to finish off the rest of the Ireland trip on their own. I’m so glad I stayed in Ireland and got to travel with my girls. Every day had been different, some days I felt like I got kicked in the gut. I started second guessing myself and wondered what I could have done differently. Other days I felt indifferent and questioned why I do this stupid sport. 

One thing is for certain, when there is a void I always, I repeat always start planning the next move. Planning occupies my every thought. The conclusion of this 24hr race signals a change of focus for me. Up until now I have raced almost exclusively within a day. My goals from here on will change from the singular to the multi-day. 

I’ll write a post in the next few days discussing a plan to conquer the six day. This is all new to me so I feel giddy just thinking about it. 

Calgary Marathon Confederation 150K

At 10pm while the sun set to the west I toed the line at the line in downtown Calgary for a truly unique experience of running a 150km race finishing up on the Calgary Marathon course the next morning. This course would see us run a 10 km loop around the Bow River pathway overnight to complete the first 100kms at the start line of the Calgary Marathon at 7am on the world famous Calgary Stampede grounds. There we complete the 150km race by running the 50km course.

All other runners started earlier, some as early as 6pm to strategically pace the front 100. For me, I knew I’d place my first 100km somewhere between 8hrs and 8hrs20min.

My training for the world 24 hour championships in Belfast on Canada day has been going extremely well. Today was a pace test to see what pace I’d go out at, along the way checking comfort levels and practicing fueling strategy. Starting the day I was struggling with the notion of pacing at a 4:50min/km or playing it conservative like a good Alberta boy and going 5min/km. I know this doesn’t sound like a big difference but it is. Over 150kms that’s a difference of 25min and over 24 hours it’s way more.

The horn went off and myself and wheelchair athlete Brian Martin took off. As he zipped past me I settled into a nice rhythm, started a great conversation with the lead cyclist and with a smile on my face got into my happy place. Overnight looping the river I passed by friends, created new ones, had some laughs, ate a Big Mac (thanks Terry), and generally felt very good. around 2am my pace started to slip a bit and my mood started shifting, after processing this it was decided that I need a Red Bull to give me some wings. Like that, poof, problem solved. All’s I needed was some damn caffeine (and whatever the hell else is in those beautiful little cans). Around 2:30am I noticed a bright green streak of light shooting up from the west. Very quickly as the light extended to the east and started to dance the dance that only the Aurora Borealis can and wide-eyed watched the Northern lights put on a show worthy of applause. It

was one of the coolest moments I’ve experienced while running. The rest of the night was pretty uneventful, as I passed other runners I noticed the exhaustion in their bodies and offered words of encouragement. The welcoming sun arrived just after 5am nearing the completion of the first 100km and signalling me to get my ass over to the Stampede grounds for the start-line of the final 50.

My 100km split was 8hrs 11min. This was perfect, exactly where I wanted to be. I felt relaxed, comfortable and very confident about my pacing for the next 50. Both my wife Sharon and my Physiotherapist (and buddy) Shari MacDonald brought me Timmy’s coffee and breakfast sandwiches. Thanks girls! As I hammered those back I went looking for my drop bag that was supposed to be delivered from the overnight aid station to the Stampede location. I had my day clothes in there among other things. Turns out there was a problem getting the bags delivered over so with 10 minutes before the Calgary Marathon start I decided to go to the start line wearing my overnight gear. No biggie, we all must adapt right.

The thing I was looking forward to the most that day was that Sharon was volunteering as the lead cyclist for the final 50kms for the 150 soloists. I was well in the lead at this point which meant I get to share this experience on the course with the woman I love most. For Sharon to easily find me in the crowd, I ran alongside a group of my friends all dressed in pink and all ten of them tied together, These women were setting out to run the Guinness world record for fastest women’s linked marathon, along the way raising money for MitoCanada. These ladies all rock! About 3kms into the race I saw my smiling wife on her bike. I knew from this point on this was gonna be a fun day. Sharon comes out to all my races and if you have the pleasure of knowing her you’d know she is the world’s best crew. But this viewpoint was a very different one; she’ll be side by side with me checking out all the sights and sounds of something I see so often.

The marathon portion proved to be a lot of fun as we zipped through familiar streets, saw many friends, ate popsicles (thanks Glenmore Running Room) and generally had a good time. My pace didn’t fluctuate and remained feeling comfortable. This was key because in my mind that day I wasn’t running 150kms, I was running 270kms and pacing as such. The final 5km stretch brought on a great warm feeling that I now know I’m ready for the world 24’s and that all the hard work and countless hours of running has paid off. I crossed the finish line in 12hrs 18min with an average pace of 4:55min/km. I pumped my fist knowing that I’ve got another 120 in the tank, but lets leave that for another day.

Introducing my Vlog

Urban dictionary defines a Vlog as this:

A video log. A journalistic video documentation on the web of a person’s life, thoughts, opinions, and interests. 

A vlog can be topical and timeless, instructional and entertaining. The main thread is trying to communicate on a personal level with your audience.

Now I know what you are thinking. Isn’t Vlogging the definition of narcissism at its core. The vlogs I’ve researched are a bunch of know it all 17 year olds believing the world revolves around them while whining about their first world problems with sing-songy verbiage and trendy hair styles. If I ever turn into that guy I want you to slap me with a fish. My intent is to give you guys a personal view inside my life. Ever since the MitoTreadmill event a lot of people have asked me some very interesting questions about my training and personal life and as much as I think that I live a vanilla life it seems that many people are interested to find out who the hell on gods green earth would run 24 hours on a treadmill. You’ve also asked questions like “How is your wife okay with all this?”, “How do you fit in the time for family?”, “Do your nipples bleed?”, “What motivates you?”, and so on. 


I plan to answer all those questions and many more over time. I’ve got some larger than life goals coming up and I look forward to sharing these experiences with you along the way. Win or lose, laugh or cry, we are a social creature programmed to share experiences together. So thank you in advance for sharing this journey with me.

…I’ve gotta run.