…Finally, I’ve Got Myself a New Goal

How many times we find ourselves saying, “How on earth did this happen?”  I feel a bit of this as I contemplate a year of training for the 2015 Grizzly Ultra Marathon.  For some reason last month, I bought an entrance into this event.

Looking back, I trace this madness to a poor showing  running up Sulphur Mountain in late fall.  I didn’t beat last year’s time and it kind of erked me.  I doubled down on improving my endurance.  On a big Saturday run with the Canmore Trail Culture crew I found myself at the back running with Suzanne’s co worker who had just finished a 160km race last month.  We ran the same pace which gave me a sense that somehow extreme endurance running was not a mystical feat performed by demi-gods but by real people. It’s true, I would be exhausted in an hour and a half, and she could run that pace for 30 hours (really!) but somehow I felt as though a mental barrier had been breached.

And that is how I ended up where I am now, looking with some excitement and dread at the year ahead of endless miles, stretching, ice baths and soreness!

The “Grizzly Ultra” is an “easier” ultra marathon that takes place on October 12 2015 at the Nordic Centre.  It is a trail course (as opposed to a road course on pavement) over some pretty hilly country.  The 50km course has 4600 vertical feet of climbing.grilly stages


Above: An elevation profile  of the race.  It’s pretty much a 10km race plus a full marathon with a 415 story building to climb up along the way!

Maintaining a training schedule over the next part of winter is difficult.  My work days are long and out in the cold so when I get back to camp I have little energy to train.  But I will try as best I can.  My training goals for now are to stay uninjured while I slowly increase my endurance.  In the spring, a more rigid mileage regime will begin in earnest when I am done winter work.

It is quite fortunate that I have so many inspiring people around here to keep me going when the task seems too hard.  I know a half dozen other people in next year’s race so perhaps misery will indeed love company!






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3 Responses to …Finally, I’ve Got Myself a New Goal

  1. Kevin says:

    You could probably do 50km on flattish ground tomorrow if you wanted. It wouldn’t be easy but you could plod it out at low pace and still without resorting to walking. Its the 4600 feet that is going to really tough especially as it is more back end loaded on the run which is a very cruel thing to do.

    This is the kind of thing that I could sign up for also in a moment of self confidence and adventursome spirit and the timing is good as it gives a whole 6 months for outdoor hill training which is key for this. But I can just as easily hear myself muttering to myself, “Why did I ever think this was a good idea?” as the trail starts really biting back usually around km 23 or so once the exhiliration of “being half done already” has warn off and the realization that the worst is yet to come, you are not half done yet and you are already feeling your legs and hips and knees and feet beginning to protest in cycles of increasing frequency and greater intensity!

    But then you just gut it out to km 37 when you can start ticking off the kilometers to hit 40, then the marathon distance and then that last agonizing seconds-seem-like-minutes bit to the finish!

    Being an Ultramarathoner is so much more cooler than being a run-of-the-mill marathoner!

  2. Mike Diakuw says:

    very nice. I’m intimidated just *thinking* about you doing it. I’m adding the event to my calendar… Not to do–you understand. Just so I can listen. In case I can hear your barbaric YAWP all the way to the prairies.

  3. Dave says:

    Yes, it’s the vertical that is the intimidating part. I almost never run without a good sized hill en route now but I’m discovering that it’s the grade and not the total that is a limiting factor. Steeper than 5% feels like I’m draining total reserve quickly but less than that can be just absorbed up to a point. A key will be attaining a thorough understanding and estimation of the course gradients and adjusting pace accordingly on the trail. It is no coincidence that part of my race selection criteria was that it is a local race so I can build up that knowledge in preparation.

    And yes Mike, perhaps if you put a shoe up to your ear, you’ll hear a Yawp!

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