Friday, September 14, 2012

Haliburton 100 Miler: Race Report 2012

Haliburton Forest 100 miler 2012

Sorry, it's a long one....

The week leading up to the race, I was fairly slow at work and therefore had a lot of time to pack, strategize and think about the upcoming race.  "Worrying" is a built-in part of ultras and coping with that is a huge part of being successful.  By Thursday, my drop bags were packed and all I needed to put together were my shower bag and my post-race food. It was also at this point that the weather reports had started to change from chance of rain to "yes, it's gonna rain!" So it was time to throw in some rain and winter gear too.

Friday 1pm, We started the drive up to the forest in beautiful sunny conditions, praying that the rain would at least hold off until we're there and set-up.  Felt the overwhelming urge to stop in Coboconk for a large fries and gravy. By 4pm we got to the Forest, Checked in and solved the greatest mystery of the week leading up to the run: the hoodie colour was ORANGE!

A safety feature of the HF100 is the "Weight n Rate" check by the race Medic, Corey.  It established a base line in case we ran into trouble on the trail.  Most racers take it as a little bit of added stress to the pre-race, but if you're prepared, it shouldn't be an issue.

6:30pm, Pre-race meeting and huge Pasta dinner at the cookhouse.  This meal is one of the huge parts of the Haliburton experience. It was a wonderful meal in a very homelike and intimate atmosphere. It was bit of a squeeze but it was really nice to meet new participants as well as catch up with old, familiar faces. The excitement was building as the race director, Helen, and her lieutenants, Gary and Don, went over the race briefing for us while we munched on giant butter tarts. We were done by 8 and settled down to bed by 9:30 for what some might call sleep.

4:40am wake up.  (pouring rain) Climbed out of the sleeping bag and car to get the camp-stove fired up and some water boiled for Via's and instant oatmeal/Chia. Thought about how UTMB gets postponed for weather...and wondered if Helen would consider this.

5:50am gathering time. (still pouring rain) All set to go, gathering in the darkness with all the 50k, 50M, and 100M runners.  Very mystical and private time, you could really only make out those people you came with because of the dark and all the clothes that everyone is wearing.  Soon enough it was time to say our farewells and good lucks...the bagpiper was starting and time to walk to the start line.  Just after the start line, I passed my car and threw my umbrella under it. Off we went up the road and into the darkness.

Now the Haliburton course is a modified out and back of 50 miles. There is a 10 km loop at the beginning and end of every 25 miles. There are 13 manned aid stations per loop plus the turnaround at base camp which has nothing but your own car. The longest stretch between aid stations is 10km.  It is a variety of singletrack trail, double track/snowmobile trail, and country gravel road.

The race began at 6am and the sun wasn't due to rise until 6:40am, so it was dark running down the road. The first 7km of the run is road, so normally it is light by the time we hit the singletrack on North Macdonald Lake trail (NorMac). Unfortunately, with the rain clouds being so low, you needed a headlamp for this section today. I tucked in behind Laura P and her gang at this point and was treated to some really fun conversation and banter about the day to come.  Soon enough, we were out of the loop and heading into the #2 aid station.

My drop bag strategy for the 100 miler was 2 drop bags. One at AS2 and one at AS6. I was to carry one handheld for the first 11k, 2 handhelds (1 water, 1 Clip2) from 12k to 30k, and 1 handheld (water) from 31k-50k and then repeat the whole process. I was taking Vega gels throughout the race every hour or so. The reasoning was to take in a high amount of nutrition in the middle/slower part of the course and be free to run a little faster on the road sections on the top and bottom of the course.  The final Plan was to switch to a hydration pack for the final 30km to free my hands for a handlight and grabbing trees in the night.

The next sections of the course were Poacher's, The Pass, Redstone/Ben's, Krista and Lookout. These were all trail portions with short sections of road where the AS 4 and 5 were.  The trail basically ended about a mile from AS6 and from this point became dry and runnable.

Heading out onto Poacher's, the trail was in good shape. The mud wasn't stirred up yet and the running was easy considering how wet it was.  Had some great company with Laura and Corey for a ways, and then met up with Derrick.  We ended up running together and yoyo'n for the next 50km. Unfortunately, Derrick finally succumbed to his cold and dropped in order to run another day.

I tried to focus on being conservative for the first 25 miles. A method that I had read about recently was to breath only through my nose and keep the effort level low so I wouldn't push myself early on.  Every time I caught up to Derrick after an AS, I tried to keep back and slow my breathing.  It's really hard not to chase someone who you know that you're going to finish behind. At AS6, I dropped my food bottle and looked at my hands, they were gray and pruned from holding the handhelds in all that wet, it was time to loosen my grip and dry out my hands if I could.  It was still raining off and on, but staying warm meant keeping running.

At the 25 mile turnaround there is a long stretch of road to see who is within 3km ahead of you and behind you.  I felt pretty good at the turn even though it was hard to tell who was ahead in the 100miler and who was racing in the 50M. Only recognized John and Dale ahead, wasn't sure if I had seen Pablo ahead, but all sorts of things go through your head at a point like this.  Saw some guys on the way out then and realized that I was ahead of where I wanted to be at this point.  Oh well, no changing it then.

The return trip was a little bit more muddy and trampled. The trail, in many spots, had gone from a single trail to a wide muddy bed of footprints and wrong-ways to step.  It had stopped raining but my feet were soaked already and probably pretty pruned as well.  Passed Derrick at AS4 and waited for him to catch up at the top of the first hill on Poacher's, then continued on believing that he would pop up and scare the crap out of me again at some point.

At the end of NorMac trail I continued onto the road return to AS3&2, it was here that I caught up to Dale and we compared stories of whose legs hurt worse and who wants to run hills less.  It was also at this point that it started to pour again and this time I didn't have the energy to run faster to stay warm. It was also at this point that we saw John M going back out and running as strong as he was at the 25 mile point. He was 4   miles ahead of us at this point.

Running through the Base turnaround, I stopped to put on more Body Glide and grab my goretex jacket.  Heading back out, I ran into my friend, Lesa, finishing her 50 miler. She said she was freezing and dying to be done but looked to still be in really great shape and holding down the 2nd place overall female spot (YAH!). Dale and I ran together until the end of NorMac again where he decided that he was going to walk more and conserve his energy. So I was back to running alone.  I also ran into friends, Todd and Stephen, both were calling it a day at 50 miles so as not to risk any more injury.  Now, with the thought of John at least an hour ahead of me and Dale walking behind me, I decided to drop my pace and go back to the minimal effort pace so that I could keep running through to the end.  It was nice to stop at aid stations and talk to the volunteers, I saw lots of friendly faces and heard loads of stories and profanity about the trail conditions and hardships.

My favourite aid station was Gary's B&B at AS6. I decided that even though it wasn't dark yet, I would stop and change my socks and pick up my Salomon hydration pack and my good lights and warm up with a little soup broth.  My friend Alan was gracious enough to help me do my changeover there, poor guy had 20 instructions shouted at him at once, with the first one being, "Can you switch my watch from my handheld to my hydration pack?". Unfortunately, my watch made it's way into Al's pocket and he didn't notice until my food alarm went off 20 mins later.  I noticed about 400m from the AS but figured I'd be back in 20km, so no big deal.

Approaching the final turn around I was waiting anxiously to see John coming the other way.  The closer I got to the turnaround the more nervous I was getting that I would be close to catching him and therefore had to run.  I was relieved when he passed me with more than 2 miles to go still to the turnaround.  I greeted him in the dark and congratulated him on running a great race.  The worry was over, time to enjoy myself.

When I got to the AS7, who was waiting for me? Alan from AS6 with my watch.  I was happy to have my watch back and I also sat down and had a full can of coke, some chips and a banana. It was time to refuel and get moving.  So off I went.

In another km, who do I see coming up the trail? DALE!  Haha, time to run again. So I put it into steady gear and tried to keep moving forward as long as I could maintain.  I wasn't moving very fast, but I kept moving forward all the time.  It was not exactly a race, more of a "relentless forward motion" exercise.  I did stop and talk to quite a few runners in the following sections of trail.  I was moving, but if Dale were to catch me, more power to him.

Worst section of trail was on the way back through Ben's trail.  I choose the wrong way and ended up with two shoes full of mud.  I had to stop at AS4 to dump out my shoes, so I had a coke and chatted with Ken and Ken, they were very supportive. And funny enough, I was actually looking forward to the final run on NorMac. Probably because it meant that I was nearly done.

As I left AS2, after seeing some familiar faces and dropping my coat to head into the last 11k, I could see a light on the road up ahead turning for home which I'm pretty sure was John. That is a pretty good run and I kinda wished that I could have at least been able to talk to him at the AS before he left.

The last 1.5hrs went fairly quickly, just moving forward and occasionally wondering if Dale was going to pop up on the road or trail behind me.  I passed a lone runner from the 50 miler just after passing the #3 aid station.  He was in very rough shape and literally dragging one foot.  I believe that they sent a truck out to get him before I got to Margaritaville for the last time.  All the volunteers were busy in the medical tent when I went through the aid station the last time.  I just called out my number and made sure they knew that I wasn't stopping for nobody.

The finish line was bright and welcoming as I came down the final stretch of road.  I finished in 21:10 and was happy to be done.  This was a milestone for me, my tenth 100 miler, marking off 1000 miles of racing and a total time of 216:24.  Here's to the next 1000 miles!

Highlights of the run and things that I will take home from it:
-Stopping on Normac at 89km and sitting down on the picnic bench overlook of Macdonald Lake.
-Laying down with my lights off in the huge clearing at 132km to take in the horizon to horizon stars that filled the sky.
-Coming into AS2 with 11km to go and having my friends call out to me that they knew it was me coming in.  Great to see some familiar faces. Thank you so much for waiting up for me, it meant the world to me.
-That first cup of coffee after waking up and waiting until 7:30 for the cookhouse to open was a GodSend.

Thanks so much to Helen, Don, Gary and all the other great volunteers who made this weekend a success even with the harsh conditions.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

First impressions: Nike+ SportsWatch GPS

Nike running has joined forces with TomTom GPS to bring out a Shoe pod/GPS combination watch for runners. It is currently available in the US and should be in Canadian stores by summer. The goal of this watch was to provide a "running tool" that is easy to use, straight forward in design, and of course, fashionable.

Great Video Here.

I am enjoying the watch so far, I like the simplicity and the fact that it's as easy to use as the Nike+band that I've been using for 3 years. You simply need to select "RUN" from the menu, determine whether you are using Shoe Pod or GPS or both for tracking, wait for either or both of them to link, then go...

There is also a benefit that I hadn't thought of before... I have, on occasion, left the house with shoes that I wasn't running in the day before. What this meant was that my shoe pod was in the insole of the "other" shoes and therefore I would not be tracking my speed and distance that day. However, I can now just track it using the GPS only feature. Score!

I've gotten quite a few remarks on how great the display is to read, as well as how great the watch actually looks. The backlight feature is great and just bright enough to read at a quick glance. My older daughter is a huge fan of the tap screen which activates this feature.

Other cool factors/features of the SportWatch are encouragements and "run-reminders" which either high-five you after your run, or after a few days off, pester you to get out there and enjoy some running! Also cool is the fact that all my mileage and records from my Nike+ account and Nike+Band have been uploaded to the "Records" section on the watch, showing my Odometer as well as my top finish times in various distances while using the Nike+ system.

I'm also impressed with the speed at which I've gotten satellite signal lock and the option to start running as soon as it locks onto just the Shoe pod. The fact that I run trails and satellite signal is frequently lost while running, I'm going to be happy that the new sportWatch has me covered with both angles covered.

Next up, I'm going to test out the lap and interval features of the watch. You can set up the SportWatch to autolap your run by basically any interval distance (great!) But I not impressed by the fact that once you select the "programed" lap feature, it takes over the main screen of the watch and you aren't able to choose what you want to be looking at on your home screen. You are still able to customize the "scroll thru" screen at the top of the display, but it would be nice to swap out the Big numbers at the bottom too.

I'm also going to browse through the maps and routes on the Nike+ community to set up some "routes" as well as challenge some established "routes" in the area so that I can take on some ownership as "King of the route" a la Foursquare's "Mayorship".

Lastly, I'm concerned about battery life and its use in an ultra event over 8hrs. I've taken it on one long run of 6hrs and when I synced it right after getting home, it showed less than half battery life. Also, some simple watch functions would have been nice additions (but not essential), like alarm and possibly date. But so far, everything has been good with it.

I'll keep it going and keep you posted.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Salomon S-Lab Gaiters

Product Review.

I bought a pair of these the day before I flew out for my race since I could only find one of the gaiters that I usually use. The Salomon are around $25 and are sized in S/M/L. They are a stylish black Lycra with a no nonsense type Velcro Closer. They fit with a strap that wraps under the foot and ideally, this straps sits in place in the bridge found between the heel and forefoot of most shoes. You then cup the heel of the gaiter around the bottom of the shoe, stretch the two sides over the lacing (make sure that your laces are tucked down, or in the lace garage if you are wearing Salomons) and finally do up the velcro--Simple! The S-Labs logo should be on the outside of the foot, since they are L/R specific.

I was wearing a pair of Brooks Cascadia 4's and this shoe does not have a bridge way between the fore and heel of the shoe. Therefore I needed to wedge the foot strap between two of the lugs of the soles tread. Luckily the tread's lugs are quite chunky and I was able to fit the strap well in there. I did worry that this will contribute to premature wear of the gaiter's foot strap, but it is fairly beefy so I'm sure that it will last. The problem that I had during the race was that gravel did tend to get stuck under the strap and one gaiter did come off at one point.

Overall during the race, the gaiters served their purpose and kept harmful dirt and debris out of the shoe. As we know, it is this type of material that can contribute to blisters and hot spots. The material of the gaiters is very stretchy and forms a tight and secure fit around the top of the foot, protecting not only the foot, but the shoe and laces as well. A bonus of wearing them is that you dont get burrs stuck in your laces.

  • Easy to put on and take off
  • Small, all in one Stylish package
  • Quality materials
  • May not fit every type of shoe.
  • Velcro sticks to other things like socks, grass, small animals.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Good morning!

Early Seaton View map at
Sent from my BlackBerry device on the Rogers Wireless Network

Friday, January 07, 2011

Follow me: Trying out SMS follow me software

Let's see if we can update this! First tracks Seaton! Click to open map
Sent from my BlackBerry device on the Rogers Wireless Network

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Water stop

Chalk lake Click to open map
Sent from my BlackBerry device on the Rogers Wireless Network

Horse run

Click to open map
Sent from my BlackBerry device on the Rogers Wireless Network

Friday, December 31, 2010

Follow me: Turns out to be the map to parking at Glen Rouge Campground.

Follow me Click to open map
Sent from my BlackBerry device on the Rogers Wireless Network

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Last point of run

Wow. No GPS lock? I'm at the corner of 10th and bloomington rd. Click to open map
Sent from my BlackBerry device on the Rogers Wireless Network

Made it to Vivian and 48

Sandy trails of Eldred King Forest. Click to open map
Sent from my BlackBerry device on the Rogers Wireless Network

Back on trail at Warden

Back onto trail after a looooong stretch of road. Click to open map
Sent from my BlackBerry device on the Rogers Wireless Network

Going over the 404

Going over the 404 in 6:34. Click to open map
(43.99636 , -79.3965)
Sent from my BlackBerry device on the Rogers Wireless Network

Yonge St! Heading to Timmys at Industrial Rd.

Made it to yonge st. Gonna find a timmys. Click to open map
Sent from my BlackBerry device on the Rogers Wireless Network

Weston Rd. Just out of Happy Valley.

Just crossed over Weston rd. About 33km in. Click to open map
Sent from my BlackBerry device on the Rogers Wireless Network

Off the trail, but this Wizi point is way off.

Back on some road... Click to open map
Sent from my BlackBerry device on the Rogers Wireless Network

Over 12th line now. Pucks Farm. Loads of hikers.

Not sure if the last one went thru... Well here I am. Click to open map
Sent from my BlackBerry device on the Rogers Wireless Network

First Hour down. Gel and easy trail.

4 miles in. First gel. Trail is amazing and the weather is nice and cool. Click to open map
Sent from my BlackBerry device on the Rogers Wireless Network

Start off. Big smiles!

It all starts here. Let the adventure begin! Click to open map
Sent from my BlackBerry device on the Rogers Wireless Network

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Las Vegas North Half of a Marathon

The Las Vegas North Crapper Hill Memorial Half of a Marathon

When: January 31st at 8:30 am

Where: Corner of Dixie and Finch ave in Pickering in the parking lot of the Independent Plaza.

What: A certified Organic Half of a Marathon (warning: Hot dogs may contain meat, may not)

21.1kms of rolling fat ass style hills and country roads. There will be a rolling aid station and possible spectators and entertainment. Bring your own Bib.

All are welcome, bring your friends and dress accordingly. If you have done this event before, don't miss it. Results will be posted following the race. Prizes for 1st and 4th.

Please email me if there are any concerns.

Ken Niemimaa

Route Committee.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Brain Surgery Frees Runner, but Raises Barriers

Published: July 9, 2009
A lobectomy cured ultra-runner Diane Van Deren’s epileptic seizures, but left her with an inability to remember exactly where she is going or how to get back.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Monday, June 01, 2009

Nature Walks Make You Smarter

Let your mind relax and recharge.

By Josh PetersonLos Angeles, CA, USA Sun May 31 15:30:00 EDT 2009

If you've gone green, I'll wager that you are pretty smart already. I'm not just saying that to win you over either. The climate crisis may be the greatest crisis the human species will ever have to deal with. If you are worried about global warming, then you must have some degree of foresight. And foresight is a sure sign of intelligence.
One popular green activity, the nature walk, can do more than strengthen those calf muscles. It can also nourish the old brain bin. You were going to take a walk anyway? I said that you were smart, remember?
According to researchers at the University of Michigan, taking a nature walk can sharpen the mind, but a walk around the city does not have the same effect.
How Nature Walks Make You SmarterParticipants were asked to go for walks in urban and rural settings. When the participants returned from their respective journeys, their memories and attentions were tested. Those who returned from nature walks scored 20% better on the tests. They showed no improvement after urban walks.
Walking in nature allows the mind to take a break. Think of it in terms of sleeping. If you take a nap, your body functions better with some sleep. A nature walk allows your mind to wander, to relax. Afterward, you can think more clearly.
Researcher Marc Berman:
You don't hear very many people say, 'Boy I really got tired out looking at that waterfall.'
People who walk in cities get very little mental relaxation. Their mind stays in work mode, because they don’t want to get hit by cars or bump the arm of a rough customer.
So take a walk in nature when you have the chance. More importantly, preserve nature so we have something to walk around in when we need a break. That's the smartest thing of all.
Source: ScienCentral

Jogger injured after using Twitter as he ran

James Coleman, a jogger, has become the first man in Britain to suffer a 'twinjury' - an injury sustained while using Twitter.
Office worker Mr Coleman, 23, was 'tweeting' to his followers on his Blackberry while jogging to work when he cracked his head on a heavy low-hanging branch. The force of the impact sent the dazed runner crashing to the pavement and left him with a badly bruised black eye. Now Mr Coleman has vowed to keep his phone in his pocket while jogging the three miles from his home in St. Andrews, Bristol to work. "I guess you could say I feel a right Twit," he said "One minute I was running along posting a tweet, the next I was lying on my back on the pavement in agony. "The branch came out of nowhere and hit my face hard. "I could only see through one eye for a couple of days afterwards, but the swelling has started to go down now. "I was a laughing stock at the office. I don't even use Twitter that much to be honest. "But I certainly won't be tweeting while running anymore." Mr Coleman even recorded the accident on Friday on the social networking site by posting "Running to work, very late. Smacked my face against a branch, hurts. Forgot how tall I am. Danger of twittering..." Half an hour later it was followed by: "Got to work, changed and sat at desk. Low lying branch twittering is unadvised. Best get on with some work."
Twitter was launched in 2006 but has boomed in recent months and now has an estimated 14 million users worldwide.
British celebrity Stephen Fry has clocked up 500,000 followers while Hollywood star Ashton Kutcher is nearing the two million mark.
In May, Twitter-addict Demi Moore posted a picture of herself in sunglasses with a missing tooth on her profile. And astronaut Michael J. Massimino updated the progress of the Hubble Space Telescope repair mission, marking the first time Twitter was used in space. Earlier this year an insurance company revealed the dangers of twittering whilst driving.

A great article on Hyponeutremia

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Friday, April 17, 2009

Update from my Friend Edgar.


Yes we all made it! It’s just the change in temperature of 25C that can get to you. I’ll give you more detail when I see you again, but here is a quick update.

The times you see posted on the web are gun times, there is no adjustment for delays at the start and medals are awarded according to those times, just like Round the Bay. Anyway, Denise was ahead of Rod by about 2 minutes so I think that her time was 2:45 and Rod 2:47. I crept in at, according to my watch, 5:50:39.

I did a few time checks along the way and reached the 21-1 kms mark in 1:53 and the top of Chapman’s Peak (33 kms) at :3:12. It was also the first time that I’ve had to walk downhill. I tried to slow down but my legs were so tired after the uphill that I had to stop and walk to get some life back into them. On this race there are no pace bunnies, sorry Jen, but there are time markers who have the time by which they will end the race. This was for anyone wanting to do under a certain time. So you’d see a sub 4 marker and a sub 5 marker etc. I don’t think the runners at the front of the pack needed to be told the time. I didn’t see them, but there were Russian twins who crossed the line together to win the women’s section.

I’ll try to get the full results section and bring them with me. The actual expo was poor, David’s Run the Lake has a better expo.

Anyway I must waddle off now because we are going to visit friends who live in a little fishing village about an hour’s drive away and then tomorrow we are going wine-tasting. I’ve been driving like a demon on the other side of the road and really not finding it too bad.

Edgar, Denise, Rod and Val

PS, Eduardo Bandito has been seen on some of our trips!

Post Race Recovery Foods.

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