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Secwécwpemc-ken ri7(I am Shuswap), Chief, Economist, Distance Runner, and Secwepemc Health Researcher/Co-ordinator/Policy guy. I've run a 30:24-10k, 1:06:23-half, and 2:19:55-full marathon but am most proud of the World Peace Prayer Day '06 relay run to Anchorage from Vancouver I participated in. This blog is primarily about running but I will post photos of the many places I like go on the tmícw of my maternal ancestors, Secwépemcul'ecw.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Crunch Time

Wow. It's been nearly a whole year since I wrote about running last.

Despite my good intentions and trying to start training many weeks ago, I have only achieved a mediocre level of fitness to date. There are 7 weeks left until the Vancouver Marathon. 6 weeks of training time left. I have run well with such a short build up before but every year I age and that I don't train regularly for at least 8 months of the year such a feat becomes more difficult. Nevertheless, I plan to run significantly faster than I did last year at Vancouver, a time which I was somewhat disappointed with.

The plan? No big plan, run for at least an hour a day, with maybe one day a week at only 30mins, 75sec hill reps at least once per week, and an extended long run on the weekend.

Last year I was actually in quite good shape for Vancouver however I did not put in the requisite long runs on the asphalt, so after 34km my quads were destroyed and couldn't get my legs moving, it was not an energetic issue but a muscle massacre issue. The remedy will be to pick up some road trainers (I only have trail shoes and road racing flats) and hammer out my long runs on the asphalt/hard pack dirt roads.

The key: Not getting sick and not getting injured. The sick part is going to be a hard one as my time commitments will be in the level of extreme. I've recently been elected Chief of my community, will carry on part time with my job and running each day. On the positive side I still have a lot of sockeye in my freezer, also deer and moose meat, canned berries and various medicines, I just need to get a reasonable amount of sleep. Not getting injured. This is a tough one because I will be ramping up the volume in a short period of time. This is not an area I am unfamiliar with, and my IT bands are already starting to get a little tight. The remedy is consistently doing strength work; yoga and workouts. The strength work is preventative however having strong hip flexors goes a very long way in a marathon. In Victoria Marathon a few years ago my hip flexors were very strong and it made a huge difference in the late stages of the race and surprising myself with a 2:26. That's it.

- single leg raise: 3 x 10
- plank: 90 sec
- lateral single leg raise: 3 x 10
- push up: 15
- glute single leg raise: 3 x 10
- crunch: 25
X 3

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Comin' around

I've often said when advising first timers about marathon training that its all about being tired all the time. While this is somewhat of a generalization it holds true for the vast majority of marathon training. If you want to get the volume of training in necessary to run well you wind up being pretty tired, most of the time. That being said, I have been doing nowhere near the volume I have in the past. Nevertheless I am feeling pretty tired lately and this upcoming week is looking that way after the great session I had today.

Backing up a bit, I ran a trail half marathon last week in order to get a good hard training shock in. I had planned to do a 10k on the road the week before but nixed that plan because I hadn't done the necessary speed work to knock of a decent time. I figured the trail half would be closer to the training I had been doing since 100% of my training is in the hills behind my place. The race for me was defined by a single event of me running off-course. Starting the race out I went out fairly hard and put a gap on the second and third place guys, taking advantage of my ability to run the trails with rocks and snow at a fast clip, particularly the downhills. Somewhere around 11 or 12k I was working away up a hill and completely missed a hard right turn onto the gas pipeline route, that was very clearly marked. I continued to run for probably another kilometer until I got to a main intersection of the race where there was a water station and the attendee was very confused that I came from that direction. Fortunately the race director Phil Hiom happened to be arriving there and was able to direct me back onto the course. At that point I was way behind the next 3 guys. I worked hard to see if I would have any hope of catching them but only the 3rd guy was even in sight. I was able to catch him but had put in so much work trying to catch up I was bagged. Coming in to the last 5k which was a mud pit I just put in the work and finished the race in 3rd. Fairly embarrassing state of affairs but was a really good workout and I was happy with how fit I seemed to be.

After that effort I took it easy for a few days then hit the hills on Thursday doing 3x4x60s hill which went really well. This morning I headed out to do a long run with some long tempo work. What I ended up doing was a 25min warm up then 3x30mins hard off 5mins jogging, then a 50min cool down. Truthfully I set out to do 4x30mins but I hammered a little too hard on the first two which are mostly uphill. I was able to run fast and pretty strong on the third one but it helped that it was mostly rolling and downhill. At any rate it was a really good workout and I was moving fast. I was actually really surprised at how strong my hip flexors were. I was able to drive up hills and really stride out on the flats. In fact my hamstrings really took a beating because my hip flexors were enabling me to drive forward so powerfully. I presume this is on account of the hill work and all the hills I do on my easy runs. I take this as really good news because when i ran 2:26 at the Victoria Marathon in 2011 my hip flexors felt like this, very strong.

Next week is a half marathon race in Kelowna where I definitely want to be in under 70mins. Then I have two more sunday long runs to get in some marathon specific work. If I can nail those, i'll be in good shape to run fast in Vancouver on May 4.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Re sqéxe

So I decided to get a sqéxe (dog) last week and  as one would expect it has changed my training a bit, some for the better some for the worse I suppose. It is nice to have a partner to run with but its derailed this week a bit because she has been sitting at the SPCA for a month and was not in very good shape. She handled the 1 hour runs in the ice and snow but I think maybe her foot pads were getting sore so I didnt want to take her for a long run on Sunday. Because I just got her I didn't want to leave her in the apartment since she is a bit of a barker. So, I nixed the long run and opted to do some hill work on Sunday that way she would put less miles on her feet. The other challenge is that the ground is thawing and its a mucky muddy mess, so we hopped in my truck and drove up in elevation till it was ice and snow still. Finally, my 'go-to' route has several loose dogs on it so i'm not running that way anymore. This is a flat route and I cut through someones yard (with the dogs). My alternative route is...up.

Anyway those are relatively small challenges to overcome and I'm happy to have a running partner. As with any running partner it makes lack of motivation to get out and run disappear because she needs to go outside first thing in the morning anyway, she knew after just a few days what it meant when I pulled my tights on.  I am even contemplating doing some doubles since I take her out for an afternoon/evening walk too. Furthermore, after the Vancouver Marathon is over, shes still going to need exercise so I might become a year round runner again after all!
p.s.  35 days in a row!
p.p.s. I have decided not to run the Kamloops 10k next weekend. No racing till I can knock off a decent time.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

91 days

When I was doing my coursework at UVic I had the pleasure of going for a few good long runs with Joe Grant ( and at the time he had instated a policy of running every day no matter what; doing at least one mile of running. I've decided to take this up on my Vancouver Marathon build as kind of a mental trick, if you will. In the past I had a bad habit of taking a needed day off then sometimes ended up taking two or three off. By committing to running everyday I have put out of mind breaking the momentum of training. This is not to say I'm making the error of not recovering but that even on a 'day off' I'm doing at least 15mins of running. So far its worked out well and I've actually relied on days where I REALLY didn't feel like running. So i'm at 21 in a row. The build is 13 weeks so that makes 91 days.

Today, I finally went for a decent long run. It's been kind of a slow build the last three weeks. I had intended to do a good hill workout this past week but the conditions sucked. In the mornings it was icy and in the afternoons a sloppy muddy mess. I may have to find a different place and do it on the road, or change my plan to doing repeat miles or something. I'll make that decision on Wednesday. It's feeling pretty great to be gaining some fitness and not too many aches and pains. Time to step it up a notch and see what I can do over 10k at the Kamloops Spring run-off at the end of this 3 week cycle.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

The Fog has lifted

I've been running for the better part of 18 years now and I never seem to learn  how much I need it.

Through December and much of January it seemed like it was really foggy in this part of Secwepemcul'ecw. I was also feeling similarly until about a week and a half ago. The weather cleared up and got sunny and cold and it was time to start training for the Vancouver marathon. So, I started running and the fog of my own brain and existence also cleared along with the weather. I don't know why it is that when I'm not running I don't realize I'm not operating at my best but when I get back to it everything seems to fall into place. My body physically feels better and my mind is clearer and sharper, everything starts clicking. So I'm happy. Feeling great. I've run 9 of the last 10 days for an average of an hour which has gotten me back to some basic fitness. This week coming up I'll add in a hill workout and probably do a long run next Sunday. Additionally its time to do some maintenance work to ensure I don't get any injuries like stretching and a few yoga poses to strengthen my stabilizers along with some basic core work. This last week my left knee has gotten a bit sore due to the uneven and often slippery surfaces I've been running on. The knee ache isn't the kind that is right inside my knee but the feeling of things tightening or pulling on the inside. I've had this before and its on account of not having strong enough stability muscles, the fix in the past has been an "Eagle" yoga pose. I highly recommend doing this pose as well as the tree pose to ensure your stabilizers are sufficiently strong when doing such a linear movement such as running. Anyhow, things are going well and its time to see if I can pick a tune up race a few weeks down the road.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Compulsion for Flight

I've never been able to really put into words what running is to me in the psychophysical sense. At times I have called it addiction however I understand the definition of addiction to be a practice or action which affects normal function and when removed causes physical and/or emotional withdrawal symptoms. To a degree this holds true for running, however I find it rather easy to stop running without feeling withdrawals. That said, when I start running again after a period away, it takes only a couple of runs for my body to be compelled to continue. When I have stared running again, I get a feeling like I feel today where while I am sitting I actually feel my body wanting to get up from the sitting position and run, to feel that sensation of moving quickly and often moving up a hill, feeling of movement, not just any movement but one that is smooth and powerful. Then, when I think of this I feel grateful for the gift of motion. Not so many people are able to feel powerful and efficient in such a natural form of movement.  Then, despite how smooth, efficient and powerful I can feel when I am very fit, land movement is still cumbersome compared to flight. I cannot imagine how that would feel, to fly under your own power.

Friday, January 31, 2014

And so it begins

-14 plus wind. 60mins run. Into the rising sun.  I've been trying to get started for weeks now but have been struggling to get out and run in the dark. The sun is now rising close to 7am, which makes this easier. 13 weeks till Vancouver marathon starts monday, so it is good timing.

The way the last couple of years have gone i've come to accept that I am too busy with gatherings and subsistence gathering in the summer and hunting in the fall to really train properly for a marathon in those season. So I am taking this winter and early spring as an opportunity to run a fast marathon. Although I am still very busy, it is a different kind of busy. When you are busy doing things that are dependent on the weather and growing season your schedule is dictated by those things; the warmth of the sun, amounts of rain, coldness of air, mating seasons, and optimal times of day to hunt, among other things. You must schedule around them. In the winter season time is spent in preparation, and doing other work that is mainly indoors, in a controlled environment with artificial light, which makes scheduling more flexible. So, that's the rationale.  This also helps with the motivation; it is the one chance I have in the year to get a good solid amount of training in and run a fast marathon. I will still run the Kamloops Marathon and attempt to defend my title, however it will be off maintenance of the fitness I develop for Vancouver and a few focused and specific workouts. Here we go.