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Update from the Coast – August 2009
By:  Tom McCarthy   (2009/09/02)


 It’s been a while since I’ve updated ya’ll with the goings-on on the West Coast.  A lot has been happening.  I went to Europe and chilled on a sailboat in the Adriatic for a week…  it was unbelievable, and some pictures are below.  I then returned and hopped back into helping (in a manner of speaking) Ed prepare for the World Mountain Running Championships.  We’ve done four workouts and one race since then. 

(click on photos to enlarge)

My first track workout after the vacation was one of the most interesting workouts I’ve done in a while.  After our warm-up, I started trembling and felt very weak and hungry, like I was running out blood sugar.  I almost threw in the towel and ran home, but decided to see how the first intervals went.  I wasn’t expecting much (a yacht is not conducive to leg speed), but was extremely surprised.  My best 400’s were 4 seconds faster than my previous best all year (65 instead of 69).  The rest of the workout was very decent too.  I suppose I was relaxed and rested, and this made all the difference.  Ed ran fast and consistently, and got away from me gradually, but I was able to push him at the start of the workout. Weird that in the end, my hunger didn’t seem to matter. 

Our second workout was a set of 200 metres at the track.  It was good – here’s a distance I can push Ed on, and we traded leads back and forth.

Our third workout was on a short hill loop that I engineered out of the park near our house (Queen Elizabeth Park, incidentally the highest point in the City of Vancouver and an old volcano).  We were joined by old Nakkertoker Eamonn Watson.  I felt good running, but the times gradually got slower by about 3 second each interval.

Then last week, we ran Ed’s final prep race before leaving for Italy – the 5 Peaks race in Whistler.  This was epic – it started at the Roundhouse near the top of Whistler, at 6,000ft approx.  It’s a 10k race with a lot of climbing and a lot of technical descending.  It was a blast – or in my case, a blast for the first 4k.  I went out too hard, as usual, chasing Ed.  Was in third for the first third of the race, then hit two tough hills (the last of which was a 2.5k slog up a wide open alpine traverse to Whistler’s ‘Saddle’).  Ended up 9th, which was disappointing, but worked very hard.  XC Ottawa alumni Lee Churchill, now coaching the Callaghan Development Centre, came ripping by me up the hard climb doing a very efficient ski-stride, and ended up in 4th

Our final hard workout together was another workout at our hill loop in the Park.  Our legs were both still slightly tired from the Whistler race and the next day’s fairly up-tempo road-ride (during which Ed decided to turn the pace up for the entirety of the Burnaby Mtn. climb).  I felt good though, and most importantly, stayed very consistent throughout my intervals, with a fastest time of 2:27 and a slowest of 2:32.  Not metronomic, but a vast improvement over the beginning of summer.

Tomorrow will be a sweet 3 or 4-hr run in the mountains above Squamish, and then I think Ed will start to rest.  Here’s his schedule and the links for the World Championships, and the Commonwealth Championships later in September in England, which he is also running:  


Here are some pictures of Ed and myself at the Whistler race, as well as an image of the lap profile for the World Champs. The other guy in one of the pictures is James Richardson, a great guy, terrific runner, and the perennial runner-up to Ed in this year’s 5 Peaks BC series.  Oh yeah, and a couple of pictures from my vacation, just because.

Go Ed! 

Race Race Date Link Course
World Mountain Running Champs, Campodolchino, Italy September 6th, 2009 http://www.wmrc2009.org/home/ 13k, 3 laps, 825m elevation gain.
Commonwealth Champs, Cumbria, England September 20, 2009 http://www.cumbriacommonwealthchampionships.org/ 12k, 3 lap course.
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