15 01 2012



HURT 100

23 12 2011


I wonder why im drawn to races with words like Death or Hurt or Bad in them?????  Since my 100 mile sulphur run and my failed attempt to drag my sore and sorry ass to Death Race july 2011, my training has been sketchy at best….doing enough to keep a bit of a base but dealing with injuries, and a sick work schedule have made it a rough fall.   I know im always harping that there is always enough time to work in a training run however, there actually wasnt for several weeks.    Since October ive had several 24 hour work days a few 30’s and dozens of 18’s     there was no time for a run in those.   It was my own doing taking my perfectly good consulting business and adding not one, not two but three new companies to my life in which i have varying degrees of ownership in shares……………ive been around long enough to realize that type of accelerated growth is dangerous in business but……..anyway,   Enough of that boring stuff.  

My wife told me we needed a vacation, and although i said i didnt have time somehow or other i landed in Hawaii on Sunday.   As soon as i got to the beach i slept for several hours and that night i was in bed by 830 and slept through until morning….balcony door open to the sound of the waves

Alot of people enjoy vacaions by sidling up to the bar or buffet, but for me vacation is a time where i can “detox” my system.  Get in all the runs and gym time i want without worry of a schedule.

Eating only Fish ( mostly RAW Hawaiian POKE style) and fresh fruit……no fried foods or empty carbs

Ive known about the HURT for sometime and had seen some pictures and heard about the infamous 25,800 feet of Elevation change over the 100 miles.   Also knowing a bit about vegetation i imagined the network of roots and volcanic rock, slippery mud and bamboo groves…..perfect for a trail run.

Today after a great breakfast of pancakes and pineapple, i drove to one of the Aid station markers at the top of one of the high points on a 20 mile loop.  Brand new trail shoes, my lucky Sulphur Springs t top, two hand held water bottles, and i was off and running.   Immediately i knew that this was going to be fun and that i may break an ankle or something if i wasnt extrtemely diligent and not day dreaming of racing the  course in record time.

It s exciting stuff for a Canadian boy to be running through a rain forest and hear all the strange Parrot noises, the eerie bamboos clanking in the wind……….One thing I know for certain is that with in those first few steps the stress of work was shedding off like a layer of skin from a snake.


I know I was running to fast for such a technical trail and being alone without appropriate gear but I was having so much fun.  Its been raining an unusual amount in Hawaii these past weeks/days so the trail was ankle deep mud over 40% of it…the rest was exposed roots, baseball size lava rocks, and fallen bamboo.


One thing about running technical single track trail is you need to look immediately at your feet, 3 steps ahead and 20 steps ahead all at once…make nano second decisions about where your foot will land…….my decision making seemed a bit slow as I jammed both toes and ankles into rocks and sharp sticks……barrelling down a section of dry creek bed I had a thought that the rocks were very slippery and I should…..too late, from one boulder dropping down onto another a meter below and trying to turn at the same time I was down!    Thank goodness for my well rounded Gluteus maximus ( fat ass) from all the unhealthy eating id been doing this fall as I landed squarely……stood up…checked things out……car keys still in hand held…nothing broken…..ok lets go.




I was smelling ginger (a favourite smell and taste of mine) when I realized I was running over the exposed roots of hundreds of wild ginger plants…..this gave me a smile as one item I always carry on ultra runs is ginger to calm an upset stomach….none of that required here…just tear up a hunk of root on the run and gnaw at it


I barrelled out of the woods at the Manoa falls surprising a group of Japanese tourists who had hiked in the 800 meters from the Nature Center…….once back in my hotel I realized why they looked so wary… face was full of mud like war paint and my legs had blood and mud all over…….wearing my death race skull cap and eyes blazing wide open I must have been quite a site…..quickly mumbling and confirming directions with their trail guide I was on my way up the mountain…..a much slower pace on the 1900 foot climb.


I only managed 10 miles of the 20 mile loop and im a beat up……I can only imagine running 10x that distance and through the night on the crazy technical path of roots and rocks and strange eerie noises………..Yup, gotta put that HURT 100 on the list…………first better get this carcass back into shape.


This is pre-training….training for Sulphur50 starts Jan 3rd, 2012


Now tomorrow……………the other half???   See how sore my butt is first…..



Death Race Quest is Dead!!!!!!!!!!!! Creemore 50km

3 07 2011

Thats it thats all.   I simpily cannot continue to run on these feet!   They are shot.  Caput.   My right ankle is permanently swollen.  Right shin muscle in a constant state of tightness.  Left Planteur screaming, left big toe tendon angry, right big toe is at the point where i may cut it off to get rid of the pain!

PK and i went out to Creemore yesterday morning bright and early.   I broke all the rules of pre-race prep that i usually adhere to.   Late night the night before.  An un healthy meal ( no pasta!!!), only a banana for breakfast.  up at 4 AM and drove out to the race site.

An almost perfect morning with promises of a hot day.

An extremely well organized race with a small group of about 200 of the usual suspects.

the 50 KMs set off at 8 AM and after runnin g about 8 km, i found myself thinking….”im not up for running 5 hours through the woods today!”……………i settled into an easy pace in the middle of the pack and enjoyed the scenery.  A very beautiful setting along the river.   After several fairly decent hills, we came to a sign saying first hill!  WTF?   ok so this is a hill.  1.8 km of climb up 400 meters of vertical to the top of the Niagra Escarpment………..a decent hill.  A few more of these big hills with corresponding decents.   I noticed i made a few small gains on others on the up hills, but passed many on the down hills where i would hit speeds of 3:25 min/km………..apparantly my down hill running has improved considerably.

At 15 km i just wasnt in it mentally.  PK was running a 25 km ( hes a bit smarter than me apparantly) which started at 9 AM.  I found myself thinking…”i’ll just run a loop of 25km and call it a day”    well of course i came in decently strong with a 4:26 km at number 23, and i knew without serious injury i wouldnt intentionally DNF, but it felt good to pretend i would for a few moments. 

With one lap down it was time to go at this thing and finish up.   I had a good strong start of the secound lap and passed several other runners.  I ran most of the up hills and all the down hills as i knew no matter what i could muscle through another 20 km or so.  

The heat and humidity had built up now and was becoming a factor.  Also my skipping breakfast was starting to take its toll.   Id been sucking back a Hammer Gel, every 30 minutes and drinking Carbo Pro and Heed religiously but i was feeling weak.  Starting to “bonk” from lack of glycogen.   with all the hill running id been averaging a heart rate of about 148 which was a bit high and realized id better slow it down a bit.

heat in the open corn field and up on the 3 km stretch of un shaded gravel road was getting quite extreme.  Id estimate it was 38 C with the humidex and i was really suffering at 44 km.  I was putting ice cubes under my hat at each aid station with was helping a bit, but i was definately suffering.  My right foot was in quite considerable pain from the injured tendons ( from the Sulphur 100 miler last month) and badly swollen.  I was starting to favor it considerably and that was really messing with my stride which in turn was having a bad effect on the right hip flexor.

Even though it was “cool” to be out with all these other runners and doing a 50km trail race, i cannot say i was enjoying myself.   In fact this was a whole lot like a job i had to get done…another task on the never ending list of many.  

I stumbled in at 5 hours and 39 minutes…slow but in a decent palcement on this hilly course.

At this exact moment i knew i was finished with running Ultras for this year/summer………………………..thats it!   No Death RACE

I realized i just dont have the desire, hunger, mental fortitude left to go up to Alberta and run through the mountains all day and night!   

The Creemore vertical challange had 5800 feet of climb and decent in 50km, where the CDR has 19000 feet in 126!!!!!!   The longest climb on Creemore was about 1.8 km, where the longest climb on CDR is about 6 km up leg 2!!!!!

Im done!  Packing it in for another year.  I will do some nice early morning 6-10 km runs and swim the rest of the summer.

My feet are going on vacation!          

i started the running for a hobby which would promote good health but on top of my insane work schedule im becoming un healthy, burnt out and exhausted.

I must tell anyone in Ontario who is contmplating CDR to go out and do the Creemore vertical.  Its the only local race which even gives you an INKLING of what it will be like in Grande Cashe.

Good luck  to all you Death Racers and part of me will wish im there…..that part will NOT be my feet!

Run Forest Run

3 04 2011


There comes a point in training for any distance that you just get tired of the repetitive nature of running.   I think if i worked less or not at all it would always be such a pleasue.  i also find when i run more with friends its far far easier.  I am saying this because todays 32 was a tough job.  Im not saying it sucked im just saying i was spending alot of time counting down mileage.   I felt fairly fine after yesterdays 52…..maybe a bit stupified…………but all in all pretty good.  i was falling asleep at 8PM and finally gave in at 10 pm….diana was up and off to the airport at 530 and the smell of coffee got me up.  We have excellant NSpresso coffee machien and its one of the biggest pleasures in my day.   I didnt have oatmeal, my first mistake, but opted for Ceam of Wheat………….C of W doesnt have the holding power of good ol oatmeal!

Legs werent sore at all, but i felt ???drained??  empty………………I set off at 730 and it was a beautiful day.   I enjoyed the run but it seemed like it was requiring soooo much energy.  By 8 km i was feeling alot better, but from 16-24 i was working.  Patrick met me at 24 and we ran back to his car, walking ALL hills, and i was honestly so glad to be finished running until tuesday.

We met up with the gang of Boston hopefulls at Starbucks and walked down to our all day breakfast spot where i ate the whole menu.    Felt much better after!  All in all a good day.

Dont get me wrong i love running but holy crap, sometimes i get a bit tired of …well…….all the running!

8 weeks…..way to long……..not long enough!

16 weeks remaining

7 02 2011


16 weeks may seem like a long time, BUT when you have a 100 mile run facing you its really not.  I mean i used to get pretty nervous training for a Marathon with 16 weeks to go!   Its all relative BUT………………….same old thing…”am i doing enough?”   ” Am i doing too much too early and risk peaking early and/or getting injured?”…………………..we made a plan when were of sound mind ( because by week 5 or 6 the brain wont be reliable) and we need to adhere to the plan and make adjustments for how the body feels……………..this weekend was a perfect example.

Saturday i was scheduled to run a 28 km at a slow pace and hit my target low heart rate of aprox 140 per minute.   I was feeling extremely strong and found i could run considerably faster then the prescribed pace but still keep my heat rate in that zone.  The geart rate target is far more important than the pace so thats what i did.  i also ended up with a 32 km run instead of 28.

Sunday we were to run 22 km slow on trails.

The trails were so technical with knee deep snow and a completely uneven surface under the snow that i ran the slowest pace in my running life but my heart rate was averaging 135!

Also the run took almost 2 hours so we only did the 14 km as 22 km would have been too much.   The old Stefan would have run the 22km no matter what and possibly pushed it too far.

Today i can see although extremely sore, there arent any injuries.  So it was an awesome workout with 2/3 of the distance.

I guess what im trying to say here is my runs have specific targets and this is what i try and achieve each run.  i no longer get hung up on the exact distance etc.

Having fun training this year.  Listening to my body and hoping this will see me through to the starting line injury free.

16 weeks left to Sulphur Springs

Sunday                          22 km slow turned into 14 km super slow

Monday                        Off

Tuesday                     1.5 km warmup, 12 hills of 750 meters or more on a 8% to 12% grade, 6 km run after

Wed                              Bike 20 km, core training 45 minutes, swim 1.5 km

Thursday                3 km warmup, 15 km tempo run, 2 km cool down

Friday                      off??  swim??  Light gym

Sat                               32 km run medium pace

About 83 km…………….decent week.  mileage is still very managable while working 65 hour work weeks.

Feeling great.   Weight steadily dropping 200-300g a week.

Pushing past the pain

22 01 2011



Break on through to the other side…………………..The Psychological game of Running

I have often heard, and scoffed at, that ultra running is 20% physical and 80% mental.   Although I still don’t agree with this in its entirety, after my Hill Repeats training run on wed evening in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, I can see there is a lot of validity to this statement.  Watching the elite Ultra Trail Runners like Jurek, Tony Krupicka, Zahab, Ulrich, Ferg, Diane van Duren and the list goes on, you can understand there is a lot more going on then just fast strong legs pumping efficiently.  They look like they are “in the zone”.  A peaceful trance like state where the pain can’t get its full grip.

Well I finally experienced a bit of this.  I mean I have had some good hard races where I had a taste of this, but on wed I had the whole deal.  Closest I have had prior to this was when I was looking for a sub 320 marathon in Philadelphia ( ended up bonking at 36 km and finished with a 3:28) but I was hurting from 28 km and just ignored the discomfort.

So back to Wed…………..

First of all the Hill is a monster ( in Eastern Canadian standards!!!) of 680 meters climb at a grade of 12-15  percent. 

As I did my warm up I was already cheating mentally by saying.  “This hill is much bigger then old mill so I don’t need to do all 10” etc.  At any rate after 2 repeats  I was already struggling.   I had worked two back to back 15 hour days in the kitchen.  My legs were tight and tired!

At the top of number 4 I actually threw up from the exertion. My HR was up to 174 at the top of 3 and 4.

At number 5 a young runner ( 22-25 years old in cotton track pants and a hoodie with no water bottles) passed me mid way up the climb……I held on to him as he past and at the top when he was ahead of me he stopped and doubled over to hug his knees!  I turned and ran back down for another…………

At 6 I was definitely done mentally but all the sudden I was thinking of all those elite runners and how they manage after they have nothing left but pain…and thought to myself that ” I’m not actually in any danger of injury, it’s just really tough”. 

Somehow I was able to tell my brain to “shut up”.   I started to think about how strong my legs are now, and how I used to struggle to run one of these without walking, and that the more I struggle now the less I have to on the Death Race!

 I actually increased my pace and focused on my breathing so I was able to actually reduce my HR to 168.  I don’t remember the last 4 hills but I ran them easily without walk breaks and finished for a total of 17 .2 km for 10 hills. 3300 feet of elevation change ( marquis du Sade is 2000 feet). It took 100 minutes or an average pace of 5:48/km !!   Exceptional run!

My pre run meal was a baked sweet potato with a pinch of sea salt and a drizzle of organic honey!  mmmmmmm.  

It was one of the best runs of my life and I discovered the mental possibility to push way past the “pain” and the sub conscious trying to stop me.

So now I have had a glimpse of how to push past the dis-comfort.  I mean I have had small tastes of this before but this was a completely new level.

I finished the last km run from the hill to my brother’s house at 4:45/km.  I felt amazing.  I just sat down on my brothers steps when I arrived…..i was happily tired and contemplative.  I realized afterwards I sat there for 30 minutes!  Haha…I was day dreaming.

This was like that hole in one golf shot that brings you back thinking you are a good golfer or that there is a possibility you might be!

Looking forward to testing this “new” method on my next run

Snow running

15 01 2011

Lots of these beautiful bright Cardinal’s along the path today!    Even a dark black mink on the ice taking a look for a fish under the ice.  

Path…..well thats a bit of an exageration…..maybe a dog path….a rabbit trail…..windblown powder 8 cm deep over the previously rutted and frozen 20 cm of snow made for an interesting run!  Run is also an over statement…perhaps agressive jog and hike!

What a great training day.   When i first started running again a few years back, i was always hoping for the perfect conditions.   My training with my sister Ava in Halifax was always an adventure.  winds so strong on the bridge you felt like you weren’t moving, asphalt so hot on the Bedford loop that the pavement shimmer.  Then for a while i was always hoping for  the flattest course, the smoothest surface, no wind, no rain, not too hot, not too cold………………………its the complete opposite now.  Day like today are so much more valuable for training.  When you aren’t fast you need to be strong and consistent. Running in the snow like today on a slippery under-surface,   dressed heavy and wearing Yak Trax, it was easy to keep an elevated Heart Rate even while moving at a fairly slow pace.  Sometimes the pace slowed to a brisk hike, but the point of a day like today is the strengthening of all the small connective muscles around the ankle, and calf.  You get so much benefit from the uneven surface as it constantly changes the angle of the foot, stretching and contracting the muscles.  This is the perfect type of training for running a technical Trail run.

I can’t take the repetitive pounding of training on asphalt. This is why i started trail running in the first place.  Well that and the fact that it’s so completely peaceful and spiritual.  Something so good for the mind to be out there in the fresh air and see the animals and just run the powdered single track.

1200 calories on the run. So i loaded up on oatmeal with raisins and honey 1 hour before the run.  I know a lot of runners who like oatmeal but because it takes 15 minutes to cook they buy the instant.  Instant oatmeal is decent but not nearly as beneficial as a fuel source as the complex carbohydrate of dry unprocessed  oatmeal.   So if you want to eat the real stuff but don’t have time in the morning do this shortcut.  

 Mix together 1/3 cup of oatmeal and 1/3 cup of milk or water, pinch sea  salt, pinch cinnamon, squeeze of honey and a scattering of raisins or dried apricots,.  Put this in the fridge the night before.  Put a pot on the stove with 1/3 cup of water in it.  When you stumble out in the morning turn on the pot of water and when it boils ( in 1 minute) stir in the soaked oatmeal until it returns to a boil ( 3 minutes) and now you have Instant oatmeal but of a much higher quality.    I love eating this for any run over 1.5 hours and especially when its cold out.