ALTRA LONE PEAK 1.5 REVIEW

I’m a little conflicted as to how much I can add to the myriad of reviews on this shoe. It’s been reviewed a LOT. The fact that so many people have written about it should give you some idea as to it’s popularity.

I’ll try and keep this succinct.

Altra Lone Peak 1.5

Altra Lone Peak 1.5

As I’ve grown into this sport of ultrarunning I’ve gravitated towards more natural ways of doing things. Generally as I age I think I’m adopting a less is more attitude (except dessert).  Keeping that in mind it was a matter of time before ALTRA got onto my radar.

Altra in a nutshell (forgive my paraphrasing good Altra people) is making shoes that are ZERO DROP. In traditional running shoes you have an elevated heel that is “stacked” to cushion a heel strike impact and actually encourage it because of its height. With ALTRA you have shoes made to position the foot in its natural state – heel and forefoot at level ground, with protection (cushioning underneath/material around foot and toes) &  a natural “last” or an upper  SHAPED LIKE YOUR FOOT

I purchased the flashy red and white pair you see pictured here. Since then, there has been an “all black” colour-way released but this combination trumps in my opinion.

Out of the box these shoes felt pretty great. I have a “normal” foot width and found these to be UBER comfy with a relative snugness around the heel (locked down not tight) and the open toe box that allowed for a natural splay. My only initial beef was and is the incredible LENGTH of the shoelaces. I didn’t measure but the laces were SO long I had to run the extra lace down the front of my tied shoes and tucked back under the criss cross to keep them out of the way. (You can see I actually opted for no-tie triathlon style lacing that work well for me with them).

The next thing you’ll notice that is unique to these shoes is the tail “rudder” – like extension from the heel of the sole of the shoe. The claim is that this extra piece should aid in steep downhill traverse or loose downhill running sections. I actually TRIED to employ the trail rudder when I thought I could and I’ll be damned if I noticed any real difference. I believe we may see this evolve into a nub-like nod to its heritage and eventually disappear. Trail-Shoe Darwinism.

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Second feature that’s obvious in the rear of the shoe, on the upper’s heel, is a Velcro patch for securing trail gaiters. This is pretty ingenious and I’ll bet more will follow suit. Not surprisingly I hear ALTRA will be manufacturing their own gaiters soon which makes sense.  Other nice things are drain holes in the toebox of the shoe and a sturdy but comfy and light feeling upper. I find that when using a weaved material a shoe can often be stiff, “creaky” and general feel like a shoe sweater (see the Torin 1.0). The Lone Peak 1.5 and all subsequent shoes employing a “weave” like upper in the ALTRA stable feel good, light and very wearable as well as durable.

So running in this shoe is in a word, AWESOME. I feel light, natural, protected and fast in the Lone Peak 1.5’s. Quick and easy transition with very good traction on all types of ground. I’ve actually used them fairly often on hybrid training sess’s in the city of Toronto here that has been getting killed with snow and they were a dream.

I’ve found with the roomier, anatomic toebox design, my feet feel fresher – longer. (sound like a shampoo or chewing gum commercial):). It’s true though – these shoes left my feet feeling great which is kinda key in ultra running in my books.

Try these shoes and you will not be disappointed. They come in some other cool colourways for ladies and are actually built differently for women. NO JOKE – they have engineered their women’s shoes to be FEMALE specific – that’s pretty badass in my opinion – well done.

Lone Peak 1.5 Women's

Lone Peak 1.5 Women’s

Good Job Guys – can’t wait to try the OLYMPUS

Altra Olympus

Altra Olympus

What are your fave trail shoes? Do you run in a more natural or stacked heel shoe? Why? What are your experiences with the Lone Peak 1.5’s?

Happy Trails:)

A lesson from an unlikely source…

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I fancy myself an ultramarathon runner so some things I generally do NOT like are :

- Running on the road

-Road running races

- Short races

-Short road races

….in no particular order. SO it should come as a bit of a surprise (or not if you know me well enough), to hear that I ran the Chilly Half this past weekend in Burlington, ON Canada.

I originally signed up for this race with my wife. E was looking for her first half marathon and wanted it soon, so this was all hers and I was going to happily pace her out on her first go at the distance. Injury intruded on E’s plans and I was left to decide whether to run this thing or not. My mind was made up in short order when I realized some awesome people from my run group where taking part this year as usual. I offered to drive a few of us and everything was a go.

As I mentioned earlier, a road half is NOT my kinda race and my wife could tell the morning of, that I wasn’t exactly JAZZED to be running it. Waking to a fresh layer of snow and -15C wasn’t helping either. My run group mates helped warm me up a bit and we were in Burlington in no time. We were also lucky b/c a few of us had a hotel room basically on TOP of the start/finish – so awesome to have a place to change and prepare – thanks guys!

SO I had ZERO plan for this race and realized it as the gun went off. After  the first couple of k’s I felt I had a decent pace which turned out to be a 4:35 km/min. Felt comfy and that was my new plan – hold this pace.

The route was basically an out and back along the lake shore that was, forgive me, a long stripe of pot-holed slushy, icy, shit. The footing wasn’t horrible but it was SO bloody nasty – my god. In short order I found my apparently VERY sensitive toes were losing their sense entirely. Tips of all 10 of them TOTALLY numb. I was wearing a very fast and light pair of New Balance RC1600’s that did nothing to protect me from the elements but they felt pretty fast.

At about 8k I started to feel a little burn in the calves/quads and also felt a little out of comfort because the feet I was running on – I couldn’t feel so much. I hadn’t run a half in a long time, I was going faster than I normally race in a trail ultra and I was losing feeling in my body. My brain started immediately planning an exit and rationalizing a slow down or a quit. This was met opposite thoughts of “F that – I’m not going to die – suck it up ya big baby”. The pain and irrational frostbite fears were real though and they were playing with my head. I decided that in the meantime I would maintain my pace as I acknowledged my fears and the pain AND numbness. These played out for a while until I was able to set them aside and frankly, just run.

I found a place of acceptance and was just able to get forward progress happening until about the 19k mark. At this point my nose closed up, as in I couldn’t inhale or exhale – my nasal passages were I guess frozen or cold to a point that they literally swelled shut.

I normally, like most human beings, panic a little when I can’t F#$!%ing breath but I calmed right down as I kept cranking away into the home stretch. Deep mouth breathing and a mantra of “light & fast” carried me into the finish.

My feet were totally numb, my thumbs where numb, my nose was frozen shut, my calves where beaten up and my garmin said 1:38. Not bad  for crazy conditions like these I thought.

I hobbled over to my friend’s hotel room and found the speedy couple had blazed some serious times. My nose began to thaw almost immediately as well. We chatted and laughed as 2 other friends came in…frozen..with stories of falling at 11k, getting up and finishing (i woulda called a golfcart and packed it in) – that grit inspires me. The feeling in my feet came back as my soaked shoes and socks came off and the rest of me warmed with a saintly cup of coffee that was bought for each of us by our speedy friend. Other than the fact that I had the soft warm post race “body buzz” feeling, you would never have guessed I had just been through the suffer fest I described.

Physically I was totally fine – great even – mentally I had changed though – ever so slightly but still different than when I started. I was reminded how tough I can be when I get out of my own way and how things are rarely as bad as they first seem when I’m in the midst of them. This half marathon of the road variety had taught this ultra trail runner  a few things and I’m glad for it.

As I sat reflecting on this I checked online to see if actual finish times were posted and found them. Found my name. Scrolled across to confirm my 1:38 finish. What I found was a 1:37. My Garmin was off and I was reminded that things are also often not as good as they first seem either – sometimes they can be better:). PB.:)

Happy Trails.

F@#K YOU WINTER:)

F@#K YOU WINTER:)

Being Canadian, I have had to deal with training in some seriously inclement weather of late. This year the snow and cold has been in a word – brutal.  Some snow, slush, cold temps don’t bother me all that much but when a sustained “POLAR VORTEX” swirls over our heads for weeks at a time, pushes come to shoves.

Being Canadian I like to think of myself as coming from hearty stock but this, my friends, is Bullshit.

Maybe I should bring Earl Grey - HOT instead of gatorade?

Maybe I should bring Earl Grey – HOT instead of gatorade?

SO. For the past weeks I have been judging my rocks and hard places and have ended up doing short, interval and long runs on – YUP – you guessed it – the treadmill.

Before you say anything – I agree with you. You’re right. The treadmill is a soul-sucking, mind warping, bastard child of the Inquisition that is second only to the Pear of Anguish in it’s fiendishness. It’s all these things and each time it was a better choice for me than running out in the cold grey bucket of post x-mas shit that has been the weather around here until basically today.

Perhaps greatest among it’s ghoulish qualities, the treadmill is, in my opinion, dreadfully isolating. While we step onto one often sandwiched between two others in what can be a wide bank of “‘mills” – the disconnect is obvious to anyone. Personalized incline, speed, towel placement, time, TV channel sometimes, music ALWAYS, headphones in, ME, ME, MINE, GO AWAY, ME.

When I’m on a treadmill its an antiseptic speed exercise.  Get IT done as fast as possible and hit the showers and move on with the day. It’s pure work and the antithesis of why I run. While I feel I train as hard as anyone out there I do NOT choose to slave and the mill feels that way to me.

 

This past Sunday after one last Saturday long run on a treadmill – I finally could take no more and manned up to join my group’s Sunday long run. What a difference. Sunny, sweetly sarcastic frosty faces smiling at & with me as we loped along Lake Ontario’s frozen shore.  A complete pleasure and a feeling of reconnection with my tribe and my world. Joyful warriors all of us.

300-Spartans-running

My steps were light and fine form found me easily –  effortless. That’s why I run – all that.

Spring is just around the corner and I can feel my rut melting away….with a little help from my friends.

 

Ps – Go F!@K yourselves treadmills. All of you. :)

 

RunBlog = Epic Humblebrag?

By even describing what I’m doing here as epic is a lovely display of lack of humility. Me with the 8 followers (max?) who read this (see scan:)) does not equal anything epic. I suppose I can include that in my hyperbole rant.

I’ve recently found myself in a conflict of feelings as to why this blog exists. I’m questioning myself and my motives as well as the act of writing this itself.

The question I’m asking myself is  whether this blog is just one big humblebrag veiled in helpful, ultra-runnery informativeness. IS it?

HUMBLE-BRAG
Definition: Subtly letting others know about how fantastic your life is while undercutting it with a bit of self-effacing humour or “woe is me” gloss.
Example: “Uggggh just ate about fifteen piece of chocolate gotta learn to control myself when flying first class or they’ll cancel my modelling contract LOL :p #humblebrag”
humble

As I’ve matured in years I’ve grown to realize how important humility is to me in my life.

Humility is the the only place for me that gratitude can take firm root and flourish. While gratitude may be fleeting like blossoms on a tree – it comes back as do they-  to a healthy host with strong roots and branch. When I’m in that “attitude of gratitude” I can’t be anywhere but in the moment – present. When I am present I enjoy my life – which is really JUST that moment – to its fullest. I’m better in every way to everyone and that’s why it’s so important to me.

Humility based gratitude, the real stuff in my books, is a big reason why I run.  There was a time when I thought the mere presence of my gazelle like self running trails or the city streets could inspire awe in those looking on.  Viewing one 5 second video of myself running smote that fantasy like a bolt from the heavens.  I suppose that was the universe’s way of guiding me to the essence of what’s good.

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When I run outside I feel like a small piece of the world deeply connected and flowing through it’s space. I’m invited, allowed and encouraged to play in our world and it’s wonder and it’s amazing. I can’t feel the way I’ve just described truly if I’m mired in self centred promotion of my unequalled awesomeness. Nor can I when I’m slipping a little humble-brag into a tweet, blog or IG post.

I’m not sure I Can answer my question here but I can say this – I DONT want this to be a humble-brag and I DONT want to be a humble-bragger and the only way I can be humble is to ACT with humility. No mileage “just” updates, no detailed tweets of my workout making sure to include killer stats- just honest to goodness passing of info, humour, race reports and hopefully something good.

That’s where I’m at today – with this.

Pete

VERMONT 100 Mile Training

So I got in. Awe-SUM!!

That was a week of hand wringing and a morning of coffee and checking in waiting for the 10am sign time to hit.

I get SOOOOO anxious and FOMO-y nowadays with races selling out so fast that signing up is a semi-traumatic experience. On this occassion I was very happy to get into a legendary, grandaddy of an ultra – the VERMONT 100.

Below is my training sched for those interested in distances and days etc. This was taken almost verbatim from Bryon Powell’s epic “RELENTLESS FORWARD PROGRESS”  which I feel is a MUST OWN for any hopeful ultramarathon runner. It helped me a shit ton. I post this ONLY to display what a potential training sched would look like to someone looking for one and that’s all -

VERMONT 100 MILE TRAINING SCHEDULE (miles)
Week Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun Total
1 Rest 6 5 6 Rest 12 5 34
2 Rest 6 5 6 Rest 14 5 36
3 Rest 6 5 6 Rest 16 5 38
4 Rest 5 3 5 Rest 14 5 32
5 Rest 6 5 7 Rest 16 7 41
6 Rest 6 5 7 Rest 18 7 43
7 Rest 6 5 7 Rest 18 10 46
8 Rest 6 4 6 Rest 14 7 37
9 Rest 7 5 7 Rest 63* Rest 24
10 Rest Rest 5 7 Rest 14 12 45
11 Rest 7 5 7 Rest 24 5 48
12 Rest 6 5 6 Rest 32* Rest 17
13 Rest 7 5 7 Rest 18 7 44
14 Rest 7 5 3 Rest 31 Rest 46
15 Rest 5 4 7 Rest 14 10 40
16 Rest 7 5 7 Rest 24 5 48
17 Rest 7 5 7 Rest 18 14 51
18 Rest 5 4 7 6 Rest 50* 22
19 Rest 6 Rest 3 Rest 20 12 41
20 Rest 6 4 6 Rest 14 5 35
21 Rest 7 Rest 7 Rest 24 14 52
22 Rest 5 5 7 Rest 18 Rest 35
23 Rest 5 Rest 7 Rest 10 5 27
24 5 Rest 4 Rest 2 100* Rest 11

* indicates a race.

FARTLEK! BLESS YOU!

Those who have just begun running/training and those who are head shaking, eyebrow raised observers, encounter this term and are instantly offended, worried, giggly or all of the above. Is it some strange practice developed on Gulags to run prisoners into submission? Is it a particularly flatulent hang-over run?

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WHAT is FARTLEK??

Here is the required wiki explanation:

Fartlek, which means “speed play” in Swedish, is a training method that blends continuous training with interval training.The variable intensity and continuous nature of the exercise places stress on both the aerobic and anaerobic systems. It differs from traditional interval training in that it is unstructured; intensity and/or speed varies, as the athlete wishes. Most fartlek sessions last a minimum of 45 minutes and can vary from aerobic walking to anaerobic sprinting. Fartlek training is generally associated with running, but can include almost any kind of exercise.

So that’s a pretty good and dry explanation but all the points are there.

Now – what does fartlek training mean to me? One word – AWESOMENESSTIME!!!

Have you ever been cruising along at a comfy pace and had a great song come on your mp3 player or seen an inspiring view or even had a happy thought, that made you pick up pace for a while? You’re smiling, flowing, grooving for 5-6 minutes then the song or thought or view disappears into the ether and you find yourself back at your comfy pace….THAT was a good example of what fartlek can be.

Think of a baseline run of about an hour and within that time you find 3-4 x 3 min bursts of inspired speed with it – THAT is a simple fartlek training cycle. The principal of Fartlek that I find the most important to stress is – speed PLAY. Play and enjoy and discover your joy through it. Training is difficult and punishing at times, yes, but it is also our passion alight and directed.

Try some speed PLAY in your next workout with a simple Fartlek progression of 60 min run with 4 x 3min PLAY bursts:).

I suggest trying a fartlek workout with some music in your ears. A favourite of mine is Curtis Mayfield’s Greatest Hits – a great combo of groove and funk and energy and just all around BADNESS and fun.

“Only in play can you have both. In play you realize simultaneously the supreme importance and the utter insignificance of what you are doing. You accept the paradox of pursuing what is at once essential and inconsequential. In play you can totally commit yourself to a goal that minutes later is completely forgotten. Play, then, is the answer to the puzzle of our existence, the stage for our excesses and exuberances. Violence and dissent are part of its joy. Territory is defended with every ounce of our strength and determination, and moments later we are embracing our opponents and delighting in the game that took place.           Play is where life lives, where the game is the game. At its borders, we slip into heresy, become serious, lose our sense of humor, fail to see the incongruities of everything we hold to be important. Right and wrong become problematical. Money, power, position become ends. The game becomes winning. And we lose the good life and the good things that play”

- George Sheehan

Race Report – Fire On The Mountain 50k – Flintstone , MD

FOTM

Ho-Hum. I’m kinda bored. (IPad opens).

Click (Ultrasignup.com). I’ll just take a peek – I’ve got one more race for 2013 and that’s totally fine don’t need ANY more – just nosing around ya know.

Ya there’s no more races near here ‘till spring. I wonder what’s going on south of the (click), border.

Oh well that looks kinda (click), (click), interesting. See these folks in warmer climes are SO lucky, they can race whenever they want. (Click).

See even JUST 8 hrs. drive south of here there’s a really cool looking (click, click, click) race called FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN 50k! How Bad ASS does THAT sound? (Click, Click)

Man I’d totally crush this race I bet. It’s SO close by!(Click, Click). Hmm…Maryland? What’s in Maryland? (Click, New Tab, Click, Click).

(Click, Click, Click, Click, Click, Click, Click, Click, Click, Click, Click, Click, Click).

“BAAAAAABE, How would YOU like to go to an AWESOME RESORT in The Lush Potomac Highlands of ….  Maryland?@!$?!?@% Awesome right???”

Several weeks later we are booked into the Rocky Gap Resort and Casino for 3 nights and we’re on the road to wilds of northern Maryland.

The 8 hr drive from Toronto was a smooth one with nice views of wooded hills and some changing leaves when they weren’t totally blown off the trees.

One thing we did begin to notice along the way, (about halfway through Pennsylvania) was a lack of….people….outside.

It started with my wife slowly looking around then it seemed she was really LOOKING for something…”What’s up babe?” I asked, as we careened through some very quiet road splitting a town…

She looked back at me, eyes squinting, “do you notice that there’s no…like….no….”

“People?” I asked as we both nodded and eyes widened waiting for some “dum-du-duu-duuumm-dum-duuuummmmmmm” It was true though. Each and every town we drove through sported driveways, small driveways, of small houses, FILLED with cars and not one live person afoot in sight. Creepy folks, Creepy.

SOMEHOW – we made it to the hotel and checked in on the Friday – two days before the race. Nice place if you like casinos:).

RACE DAY:

We pulled into the open field which would serve as parking lot, tailgate party, bonfire locale, campground and finish area. My anxiousness as usual began about 15 min before getting there. I have a problem – I like to get to races EARLY – I’m talking like an hour ahead of start at LEAST. My amazing and supportive wife likes to take things easy and drive me CRAZY during this tender period with a newly re-acquired chillax attitude to deadlines etc (LOVE YOU DEAR!!:).

My fears were assuaged as we rolled onto the grass by the sight of buses lined up to take us to the start line and a line-up of bobbing headlamps making their way to them. Kisses and hugs and “don’t die’s” out-of-the-way and I climb onto the bus for our 45 min trip to the overlook and start area.

The ride was pretty uneventful other than hitting a crazy bump along the way somewhere that shot me directly up, out of my seat and flat on my ass in the middle of the aisle. This would normally be the place for me to have some ridiculous injury that kills my race but I was surprisingly fine and continued chatting with a few dudes sitting around me after some laughs.

Once we arrived, I had the chance to peek at the beautiful overlook view of our terrain in the dawn’s rosy light. Gorgeous is all I can say. The RD had some funny and informative stuff to send our way (Course is broken up into a Red Trail follow red markings, Green Trail follow green marking, Fire Roads – follow roads – hey sometimes you need to say this stuff and finally Purple Trail – follow purple markings).

View of overlook at startline

View of overlook at startline

The  group of us gathered together for warmth on the frosty mountain top and to make some sort of start line.

Red Trail

Starts with a happy mile or two on a forest road.  Not very technical but a nice little warm up for later because – well- she gets technical folks. This is also when I like to find a super comfy pace at what I know is a teensy bit fast but comfy and conscious that I’m not ripping a start that will cause a blow up later. Any of you who’ve raced might know what I’m talking about.:)

Once we really “tuck” into the forest we were met with our first dose of sweet single track. The trail lifted and dipped here and there and soon enough we were faced with our first creek crossing (our – meaning the small merry band of trail freaks I had joined). What I didn’t know was this creek crossing was a foreshadowing of crossings to come. Many. Like – a LOT. I have raced my share of trail races and nothing prepared me for the amount of water about to be introduced to my shoes. Speaking of shoes – GEAR CHECK!!!

Hat – Sulphur Spring 2012 Trail Race Free Hat/Buff wrapped around ears which dropped to around neck

Top – Long sleeve Nike compression under Sugoi WEST TORONTO PACERS Short Sleeve

Bottoms – Salomon S-Lab Sense Exo M Shorts

Socks – Dry max super thin running no shows

Shoes – Salomon S-Lab Sense Ultra

Hydration Equipment – 1 x Amphipod Handheld (the bigger one:))

On Course Nutrition – Genuine Health activfuel+, PowerGel Double Latte (x4)

The trail was fairly well-defined even with some rather leaf covered sections and the larger DRY challenges at this point came in the form of WALNUTS if you can believe it – they were EVERYWHERE. Lots of little sharp rocks etc  too but the walnuts where kind of an interesting obstacle underfoot and I’m guessing pretty unique to races in this part of the world.

There were 2 aid stations in this section that were well stocked and full of nice folk – I’ve seriously yet to meet a jerk at an ultra aid station.

Green Trail

The green trail is not all that different from red but there seemed to be a lot more uphill along here. I also laughed at the fact that we had to follow GREEN blazes on a course in a forest in order to not get lost. Green paint on trees. Green. Couldn’t they have just had “BARK” markers and make it really interesting? The green blazes were pretty darn hard to spot at times but luckily and not uncharacteristically, I wasn’t leading the race so I could follow folks or at least a bobbing head far off in the distance:). There were some really steep grades along here and some sheer traverses. I recall at least one downhill where a fellow in front of me literally had to baseball slide DOWN the hill – that steep. Another instance I recall was running along a shelf approximately 60cm wide looking down at least 300 feet of sheer wall into a forest below. Scary and super fun. This green section is also where we crossed creeks what felt like approximately 4,000,000 times. It felt JUST as my foot was drying out and warming up (always my right for some reason), I would have to perform another unsuccessful leap into the creek. I will say this – the S-Lab Sense Ultra’s REALLY drained well. Brava Salomon people, Brava.

The Oasis

This is the halfway, home away from home, aid station if you couldn’t already tell from its name. It’s a spot chosen by family and friends to gather and urge runner’s on that has another spectacular view of the Green Ridge State Forest. I had a nice chat with a guy named Ryan running his first ultra there and we picked up together from there.

Fire Roads

Running along here was made a lot nicer being able to run with Ryan. He was eager to chat and I was super happy for the company. A tall, slim, smiley guy, Ryan was at a stage of his race where he was a little unsure about being able to keep going. He was a serious athlete – (mountain bike) – but this was his first ultra. He was really loaded down with a big hydration pack that I suspect carried other things and I felt for him. As with most the pack was admittedly his security blanket out in this race but was quickly becoming a penance or burden.

I have been that guy with the big pack and I have chatted with many who’ve been in the same boat. I think we all need to go out as far as we need to in regards to equipment, training, nutrition and work our own way back to what makes sense for each of us. We’re all different. What I CAN say in my experience is NOBODY races faster or more comfortably with carrying more than they need. It appears that for most of us, we get to leave the genius of hydration marketers behind as we discover we really need the trail, trail runners, and, ourselves to have the best time.

De Niro said it best about big hydration packs

De Niro said it best about big hydration packs

 

Purple Trail

The purple trail saw us heading up and into the forest and leaf covered trails in what would be the final leg of the race. I lost Ryan at this point and managed to pick up a fellow by the name of Scott. Scott was a local guy who was running as a personal challenge to himself – a triathlete. We exchanged training stories and I listened eagerly to what he had to say as I believe training within and for 3 different disciplines to be just totally whack. He echoed the same about ultra runners running so damn much so we got along well.;). We could both feel the races finish coming and were happy with where we were until “BOOM”, a gun shot. I’m talking an actual gun was going off. I was shocked and more than a little scared. I explained to Scott that I was from Canada and we don’t really shoot guns and he laughed. We both did. Until – “RAT-TAT-TAT-TAT” . A Machine GUN???? You don’t hunt with a  machine gun!!!! “Do you hunt with a Machine Gun SCOTT??””” I asked. He looked freaked out – we both were. So the pace quickened as we just wanted to get out of the area and away from what was probably a few yahoos, cheap beer and automatic weapons in the Maryland Forest.

The distinguishing part of this Purple Trail has to be the crazy downhill somewhere around the 40k mark. A steep, wooded downhill that is covered in leaves, under which is nothing but sharp rocks. This hill was quite literally an ankle breaking machine. I didn’t so much run or walk down it than do some weird sliding motion with my feet the whole way down. I got to say it was pretty freaking dangerous and the only way down.

At some point the trail opened up and a familiar feeling came over. I’m sure most of you feel it who have run an ultra. The promise of the finish. It’s almost always at this point my second wind comes and doesn’t let up until I’m done. My “kick” arrived and I warned Scott that my pace was gonna start to roll and he said “get at’r dude – I’ll try to follow”. This was followed by a “dude you’ve lost me” yell behind me. I knew Scott would be fine and I knew I was going to get this done. I pounded out the final 8k passing a few people (carnage), along the way and finally popped out into the clearing. I was heading straight for the finish when I was handed a log of wood and told I got to do a traditional victory lap of what was about 400m around the parking area. I took it and ran, happily. Coming around to the final 50m there was my beautiful wife smiling and clapping along with some seriously happy and enthusiastic folks at the finish which was a big giant campfire that I was asked to place my log of wood on.

Finishing up!

Finishing up!

As it ended up I managed a 39th place over all and top Canadian at the race. I was happy with my race and really hope this race goes on again next year – it’s special.

happy fella and a cool medal!

happy fella and a cool medal!