Battles Fought and Won



Today, I really got my ass handed to me by the run. I went out this morning with good intentions and a positive attitude but it was never to be. At 500 meters, I could feel the shit falling apart. I hate running in multiple layers, but to fight the cold I had no choice. – 27 is cold no matter how you wrap it up. 

I have little tricks I do sometimes when I get into the mental battles. One of those, is to change route. Sometimes it works…sometimes it gets worst. Today it didn’t get worst, but it made no improvement either. I stopped thinking in terms of the entire run, and brought the scope in to just a few KM’s at a time. 

My pace was way off and I felt like I had bricks attached to my knees and shoulders. I was working hard to enough to sweat, so when I paused at 45 minutes to try and find where my gels had disappeared to, I got cold and wet really fast. I was 7K from home when I started back up. Teeth chattering.

Mentally, I was taxed, but I let the pace go and focused on trying to maintain form. I decided it was time to head home and try something else. I needed to take my dog for a run anyway, so I might as well pull my snowshoes on and run the final portion of the run. 

Got home after 90mins, did a complete clothing change and went back out. I was supposed to run for 2hrs 20 minutes, with the last 20 minutes at 4:00 pace. ( just under my marathon goal pace )

I hit the trails in front of my house and it sucked! I was breaking through the crust and the added snow made it hard to see where the holes were. I did 3.3K in 30 minutes. To compare, I ran Frontenac snowshoes race last weekend and did that 6.7K in 32 minutes. I came home, cold, tired and battered. 

I ended up with a 2 hour run, no speed training and a slight case of hypothermia. 

But as tired as I was, I was not frustrated. These days come and go, and winter is what it is. Being frustrated about things that are out of control gets us no where and we have to learn how to control those types of thoughts. I had a day that beat me down, but it did not break me. I’ve been down this road before, so I knew that as uncomfortable as I was feeling, it would pass and someday within the next week or two I will be having one of the best runs of my life. 

I also balance the negative by thinking about that April, sunny run when it is about 12 degrees with buds on the trees. Bring it on baby!!! 

We will never, ever find a series of those perfect conditions to run and train. Training is about learning to adapt mentally and physically to controllable and uncontrollable variables. If we allow frustration to build during our training, it will inevitably beat us when we race. Take a good day as a gift, and a bad day as more so. The battle is a personal one, and at the end of the route it’s only you who needs to answer to yourself. If you can look back and say “I gave it my best, honestly and truly” then the frustration should go and you should be able to smile. 

If you can’t smile, then you need to ask yourself why you’re doing it to begin with. There is just no sense in doing something you cannot enjoy. 

Run free!

Switching Gears

Teaching the body how to switch gears is important. Both up and down.

There are always times within a race whether climbing a hill or passing someone that you will be required increase your power. This will inevitably cause the heart rate to go up and the breathing to increase. Typically, this could also be a period where you begin to feel uncomfortable.

By doing speed intervals (Fartleks or whatever you label them ) and then slowing the pace to 80 – 85% of normal you are teaching your body to recover on the fly. This is important because you don’t want to have to walk every time to you run up a hill or increase your speed slightly. ( There are certain times this is acceptable, but by in large we try to avoid )

It can also help you learn to handle that uncomfortable feeling of an elevated heart rate.

These are things you can do on your own during your long runs with no assigned times. Pick your pace up slightly..and then bring it back down. On a hill, run through the top of the hill…don’t slow down at the top.


Cheers and Run for FUN!

Dream, Believe and be Fair!


It’s inevitable, that once you start running and get to a point where you add endurance…a seemingly endless amount of doors open up. They’re new, bright and flashy like a new car. 

The trouble is, like a new car, getting it is easy. Learning how to handle it may be the hard part. I’m not much a role model when it comes to what I am about to preach. In fact, I can honestly say that most of what I caution you not to do, I have done. That’s why I think I can preach this. I have miles and scars. 

In 2010, I ran my first marathon. I followed that up, with my first Half Ironman in New Hampshire. I followed that up, with my first Ultra in September, followed by another marathon one month later in October.  By the time I finished my marathon in October, I was wrecked, sick and on the verge of injury. It took me weeks and weeks to totally recover physically and mentally.

The problem was, I was physically up to the challenge (more or less)…but I was not mature enough to realise that it was incredibly stupid. I did not respect the distances or the training. I figured now that I had this base, I could go anywhere and do anything. I was going to be “one of those guys’  who never get injured and seem to race all the time.

Well, those guys don’t exist. If you talk to the people who you think do that, you’ll learn that what you think is not the reality. In fact, they are more careful then anyone, with very select races…carefully planned training and an ultra conservative base and team behind them. 

Last year, I raced less then I ever have. 

April, June, Aug and Sept.  With these races, I trained specific and focused without getting distracted. What I wanted to do and what I needed to do were two very different things.

I spent a lot of time trying to get my form right and learning about my body. I learned the importance of core, of flexibility and real nutrition. I rushed nothing and I had what I consider my most successful season ever. There was not 1 KM I took for granted, or wanted to do “just because” I could. It was because I trained for it and I could see it all ahead of me as part of the plan. 

My point to everyone, is that when I ask you to write your goals down! Go Big!!! But be realistic and fair to yourself. Respect the training and time that goes into it these things and allow yourself to do it the right way. Enjoy your journey and the lessons along the way, some of those will not come from the physical activity. 


Cheers! Run happy.