January 06, 2009

Game On!

I guess it's taking me a little bit longer to get back into the blogging swing of things after the holidays, and although I feel I've already fell behind on here, I am definitely off to a great start in my build up to Western States.

On New Years Day, as you may have seen in the video, I ran 50k and hopped in the ocean. This is now the 5th year in a row that I have completed this run and although I am puzzled as to how, it has become a necessary tradition for me. When I initially ran it in 2005 it was my first ever 50k ultra run, so I guess it has a certain sentimental appeal to it now. This was my 17th ultra, meaning that almost 30% of my experience has come from this one event alone!!

The course this year was an even mix of slush, ice, snow, and pavement. It consists of an out and back 25k and has virtually no elevation gain as most of it follows the very scenic Sea Wall in Vancouver's Stanley Park, and the beaches that splay out from there. In the four years prior to 09 I had brought my time down from 6h37m to a course record 4h04m in 2008, getting consistently faster annually. 2009 ended up being the first year that I drifted backwards in terms of my finish time, but given the course conditions, the holiday weight I was carrying (11 Lbs since MM!!), and the lack of training in the last two months, I was quite pleased with how my 'race' went. In the end I finished third in a time of 4h27m. As implied, this course definitely favors a road runner, something I have never claimed to be. In fact if not for the nastiness we had to endure upon the day I am sure that the top two runners, Ryne Melcher 4h12m and David Papineau 4h17m, would have eclipsed the magic four hour barrier.

In brief, The Good:
-No cramping, which in this race is a first for me! Thank you Thermolytes and CP 1200!!
-Didn't take a single wrong turn, again a first for me (no course markings in a 'Fat Ass' event)
-I have a great running base to work off of right now as I felt amazingly good in the days following the run
-I finished much stronger then I had in previous years and physically felt really good throughout the entire run

The Bad:
-I'm carrying way too much additional weight right now and it's time to focus on training and racing again
-That's it really. Overall I took nothing but positives away from this run

The Days Leading Up To New Years

When I saw the digits on the scale staring back at me, after my fifth annual x-mas re-wrap party on Dec 27th, I said then and there that it was over. Party time was over, I had consumed more food and alcohol in the eight weeks since Mountain Masochist then I did in the six months prior, or something close to that at least!

Mon 29th 15k skate ski up on Cypress Mtn. I tried skate skiing for the very first time last season and was instantly hooked! I loved it so much that I bought my own gear this fall and then fell into a corporate after 3pm (open till 10pm) seasons pass was just $135! This was my second time out this year and it's one hell of a workout, especially when you have ZERO technique!!

Wed 31st I headed out for my longest run in eight weeks, 17.5k with a set of Kahtoola Microspikes on my feet, a necessity upon the day. These things are phenomenal for traction in frozen icy terrain. I was literally holding pace on two inches of slick frozen ice. I loved it...Roxy on the other hand did not seem to be having as much fun as I was!

For New Years Eve we decided to snowshoe up Mt Seymour and in the process we actually found an igloo!! It was just big enough for four people and one cute puppy. We cracked some wine, had a countdown to midnight and hung out inside for about 45min. From there we 'shoed' up to 'Dinky Peak', a mini cliff of about 15-20 feet, which is perfect for snowshoe cliff jumping! After half a dozen loops we did some deep powder bush whacking before coming across a younger crowd who were packing 'crazy carpets' and sliding over a small jump. We commandeered their gear for an additional thirty minutes of fun before finally heading back to our friends truck. We called it a night at 3.30am, with one exhausted puppy snoring on a pillow next to the bed!

Thurs 1st Happy New Year, now go run 50k! By the time we returned to bed that night, on just 3.5hr sleep, we were both absolutely toasted, and Roxy hadn't moved an inch all day!

As mentioned the two days following the 50k were surprisingly good for me, no 'Robbins shuffle' whatsoever, and although I did not run, I easily could have had the motivation been there!

Sat 3rd While watching one of the most RIDICULOUS FINISHES in Canadian Hockey history, I improv'ed a great home workout...adrenaline goes a long way when pushing yourself!

Sun 4th My Montrail teammate Ryne Melcher and I headed out for what ended up being a snow run, in up to knee deep powder at times! I forgot my camera which is a shame because it was a gorgeous morning to be out playing in a completely silent, snow covered, forest canopy. Minus snowshoes, it took us a full 2h35m to cover a very intense and tough 22.5km

ALL IN ALL, a solid week 'back at er'. 105km and feeling great so far...Western here I come baby!!

Oh yeah, my adventure racing teammate Todd Nowack and his girlfriend Kim are moving to Norway for a year!! Here are a few pics from their visit over the holidays as well. Looks like I'm gonna have to learn how to read a map finally!!



Anonymous said...

Dude, this is so cool, you are like totally my idol! Best of all, you've saved me the trouble of putting together my own Gary Robbins fan site!

Seriously though, you've got a lot of great stuff here and I look forward to following your progress as you prep for Western States. Keep it up!

garobbins said...

Thanks 'Paps', great running with ya on New Years Day, looking forward to Chuckanut already!