Wednesday, December 18, 2013


I haven't posted anything since my pre-Leadville post. Quite frankly, it's been a tough end of season.

Leadville went exactly like last year, except worse. Actually, things went great until Twin Lakes. I got there pretty close to my planned time but after that things went down the toilet. It was really hot (for the Rockies) and my plan to run to the base of the pass didn't pan out. I ran some but walked quite a bit. As soon as I started climbing, I knew I was screwed. The climb was horrible, much worse than last year and I knew I wouldn't be able to finish. Took a breather at the Hope Pass aid station where they were starting to run out of stuff. Then I started going down. The trail was just PACKED with runners coming up and the trail is very narrow.

To make a long story short, when I got to the bottom I decided to stop at Winfield. I slowed way down and took breaks because I knew that if I got there before the cut-off they would try to push me back out and I didn't want to have to argue. I got there something like 5 minutes after the cut-off, out of energy and out of water. Found a ride and got out of Dodge. That's the story.

You might have heard the horror stories about the organization. They are all true, but that's not why I didn't finished. I was undertrained. I don't think it's physically possible for me to train for this race in Toronto. I think I could have done it last year but those extra miles screwed me. This year, the course was back to it's original length but my training just wasn't there. I doubt I'll be able to spend another summer training in the mountains so basically, I don't think Leadville will happen for me. Another issue is that I refuse to give those guys any more money. When I got to Winfield 5 minutes late, the aid station was packed up and there was no water left. I showed up with no water left and I was PARCHED. There must have been a few hundred runners behind me and when they showed up, they were all screwed. The next day, we waited FOREVER for our drop bags. For people who DNF, waiting until 1 or 2 PM for drop bags is not fun. I was ready to leave by 8 AM.

If you have a crew, forget about it. Access to aid stations is a nightmare, with people having to park miles from the aid station. They say there's a shuttle, but it's a joke. There are hundreds of crews and the shuttle is a small 10 or 12 seater that fills up immediately.

So that's it for Leadville.

Three weeks after I came back, I tried to run Haliburton but I dropped after 50 miles. I wasn't recovered enough and I was hurting too much, or I didn't want it enough.

I'm currently in Arizona, in the runner's land of milk and honey. I try to run as much as I can on beautiful trails, perfect weather and nice 15-20C temperature. We will see what 2014 brings.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Leadville 2013, Pre-Race

.... cricket, cricket ...

I got nothin'. My brain can't come up with a post.

All I know for certain is that I will suffer and that this year, there are no excuses.

'nuf said.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

JD vs Leadville : Here We Go Again

I thought I’d give you proof of life, three weeks before the race.

A few weeks ago, I ran the Creemore Vertical Challenge, in oppressive heat. It was horrible. I don’t want to talk about it. It’s the second time in a row that I stagger through 30C+ weather while baking under the sun on those fucking rural roads. This is it. I’m never going back. Even the joy of sitting in the river after the race felt wrong. It reminded me too much of the joke: “Why do you keep hitting you head on the wall? Answer: Because it feels so good when I stop!” I love the people there, but enough is enough. One can only take so much character building.

My training is actually going pretty well. Compared to many other ultra runners I know, my running volume is a bit on the low side but when I look at my racing history, I don’t really see a big correlation between volume and performance in ultras. I mean I do run quite a bit, but let’s just say I have NO hundred miles weeks on my training log. I suspect that this will translate into a long, painful recovery after the race, but as long as I get my belt buckle, I don’t care. I’ve booked two weeks of vacation as soon as I come back from the race, so who cares?

About three weeks ago, I started sleeping with my head enclosed to a plastic box connected to an infernal machine that sucks the oxygen out of the air. As the machine is pretty noisy and it also warms up the air, it gets a bit clammy in there so I’ve been sleeping in the basement where it’s nice and cool. The hose that brings the air in the box makes this continuous “pfhhhhh PFIIIIIIIISSSSHHHHH”, as if I’m on a ventilator, which I suppose I kind of am. I’m currently sleeping at the equivalent of 9,500 feet. My skull feels as if it’s filled with cotton balls and I’m grumpy as hell but I’m feeling better every day AND my running is great. Who cares if I lose my friends, wife and job, as long as my running is great, hey?

I decided to go for the altitude tent because I don’t want to have any excuses, should my resolve waiver during the race. I can’t afford to think: “the altitude is killing me, I’ll just come back next year and I’ll get an altitude tent”. No. This is it, this is the year where I throw everything I have at this race. I am not going back.
This weekend is my last big weekend of running, which means that I’m starting my taper on Monday. I love tapers. My running is really strong right now. My legs feel great. My mind is a bit slow, what with the oxygen deprivation, but when I run I feel like I’m in a really good place. For a long, long time, I’ve been battling some kind of running boredom where I just want the run to be over almost as soon as it starts. Touch some wood, but things have improved quite a bit lately and I’m actually enjoying my runs, even if it’s on that goddamn bike path.

I got a few toys for the race. First, I got me some hiking poles. I didn’t think I’d be a big fan of the poles but they are kind of growing on me. Last week, I went to Sulphur for a couple of loops and I ran the second loop (20km) with them and I quite enjoyed it. When I lived in Quebec, I used to cross-country ski quite a bit and I settled into a rhythm similar to skating (but didn’t really push hard) with both poles swinging pretty much together as opposed to alternating. I found this oddly relaxing and this makes me wonder if maybe I won’t keep the poles all the way to the finish after I pick them up at Twin Lakes, just before Hope Pass. I had planned to dump them when I got back, but I think I’m going to keep them at least until Half Pipe. Sure would be nice to have them going up Power Lines, though… Anyway, this is where I am with the poles.
The second toy is a Garmin Fenix GPS watch. Ever since I started running ultras, I’ve been bitching against the fact that no GPS watch could last anywhere close to enough time for a hundred miler. Once your batteries are a few years old, you sometimes can’t even last long enough for a 50 miler. Comes two new watches: The Garmin Fenix and the Suunto Ambit2. Both watches claim a battery life of up to 50 hours. At first, I looked at the Ambit2 but the $650 (with HR strap) seemed a bit steep. The Garmin Fenix is $400 without the HR strap, but the two Garmin straps I already have work fine with it. Garmin is the company that everyone loves to hate but to be fair, my Garmin 305 is a work horse and works really well. I used to have a Garmin GPS for my car. Some crack addict in need of a fix (probably Rob Ford), broke into my car to steal it and I replaced it with a Tom Tom. What a piece of shit! To make a long story short, when I got to Montreal on my first trip with it, I threw the Tom Tom in the garbage, bought a Garmin Nuvu at The Source and got home safely. I also had a brush with Suunto. Last year before Leadville, I wanted a good altimeter watch so I got a Suunto-something, can’t remember the model, not a GPS watch. Didn’t feel great on my wrist but it looked pretty cool. I tried the timer to see what happened when it went passed 24 hours and it just friggin’ stopped. Didn’t roll over, it stopped. I guess I’m not Suunto material, since I can’t finish most 100 milers under 24 hours. Returned it to MEC. What I’m trying to say is that despite all the bad things I read about Garmin on the Interweb, it’s the only company that hasn’t failed me, so I’m going to give the Fenix a fair shake despite its silly name.

So I have a Fenix. How I justify it is that I’m worried about missing a turn on the way back. When I ran Burning River, I ran most of the night alone and I must have stopped 100 times looking for some kind of markings, wondering if I had zoned out and missed a turn. With my Fenix, I can fire up the TrakBack function when I get to Winfield. Any time I’m not sure if I’m on the course, I just look at the map. If I’m on the route, it’s all good, if not, I go back. The Fenix has a magnetic compass, so when I face a fork, it’s easier to pick the right one. With my 305, you had to be moving for the watch to know what direction you were heading so when you stopped to figure things out, the map tended to move around because the 305 would lose its bearing. Not so with the Fenix. I’ve un-lost myself many times with the 305 in the past when running on unknown trails and I expect that the Fenix will be even better. I’m actually using it as my day to day watch. It runs 6 weeks on a charge in non-GPS mode, so now I will never forget to bring it with me! It’s a bit big, but I can just pretend I’m a rich Bay Street banker wearing a ridiculously expensive Bulova.

That’s about it: Leadville in 3 weeks, I’m pretty much ready, I have new toys.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Sulphur Springs 50K 2013 Race Report

I was a bit nervous about this race. I had to go to the well at Bear Mountain, so I was wondering how I was going to do since I wanted to run it reasonably hard. I hadn't run a 50k since Pick Your Poison 2011 and I mean run, not race. Can't even remember last time I actually started a 50k with the intention of running hard. That's the thing with training for 100 milers, it takes the fun out of everything else. All the other races end of leaving a bit of a sour taste in your mouth because you know you could have done better.

Not this time. My plan was to run my best trail 50k ever. My fastest 50k will always be Niagara, which was on road. I will never beat that time (4h46) because I will never run a 50k on road again. Of all my other races of that distance, my best time was at Creemore in 2009 with a 5h45. Sulphur is an arguably easier course so beating that time should not be an issue, especially if the weather cooperates.

The mental aspect of my running is not going great this year. I'm working hard at my job and it's hard to be 100% commited to both. You have to cut the apple somewhere and this year, the working piece is bigger than the running one. It's especially hard when you see your friends pulling 50 or 60 mile weeks. So I have to be reasonable and I will only run one 100 miler this year so Sulphur had to be a shorter distance. By the time I decided to run Sulphur at all, the 50 miler was full so I decided I would run a solid 50k.

All week I dreaded the race, even though it looked like the weather would be perfect for racing. I didn't even look at the web site for the start time until Friday afternoon. I got up at 4:30AM, got dressed and drove off to Ancaster. A huge full moon hung just above the road. I got there too fast. I really didn't feel like running. It was freezing but I had dressed warmly. It was weird. Even though I didn't want the race to start, there was no way I was going to run easy. A few people mentioned I should just go easy and enjoy the race, if I didn't feel like racing. It somehow felt wrong. If I started, I wanted to give it a good effort. Talking with Chris H, who was running his second 50k, he mentioned that he'd be happy with a 6 hour time. I told him that my plan was more something under 5:30. I knew that anything under 5:00 was basically not realistic. Under 6:00 should not be an issue. I wouldn't be unhappy with 5:30.

I hadn't raced since the new location and I didn't know that the start was not at the finish line, so I almost missed the start. I rushed to the small road with maybe a minute to space. Quite frankly, the race went almost perfectly, so I don't remember much. The first short 10k loop went by really quick. By the time I got back to the start/finish, I was hot as hell so I left my long sleeve shirt at my chair and kept only my cinglet on. I raced with my hydration vest but only filled it half way with water/Nuun. It was so cool that I didn't need to drink too much. I ate a gel every 30 minutes. Those 30 minute chunks give me a nice feeling of time moving forward. Eating a gel become kind of disgusting so knowing you have to eat another one in 30 minutes somehow makes 30 minutes feel shorter so time passes faster. Some people run aid station to aid station, I run gel to gel. I didn't stop at a single aid station except one to talk to Russell B., who was volunteering there.

Second loop, I can't remember a thing. I ran a solid pace. Power walked the bigger hills. Swore internally when relay people blew by me. There's something depressing about those guys being so fresh as the race goes on. After the second loop, I have 30k in. I drop my vest, take two Excedrins because my right foot is barking pretty hard. I start running and just as I start going down the big hill I notice that I forgot my hand held. Fuck. I consider fuelling at the aid stations but decide to turn around and grab my bottle.

That last loop is identical to the previous one, except more painful and a bit slower. Still, I know I'm doing well. I pass Chris and Morgan, who are doing the 100 miler. They looked good. I get to the lollipop, up to the field, down the long hill. I see Chris and Morgan again. I'm on the home stretch now with about 4 km to go. I see Chris H. and he seems a bit tired. He still has almost the full lollipop ahead of him. I'm so happy not to be him. Yes, I admit it. I took pleasure in the misfortunes of others. I'm not proud of it but still, whatever works! I feel energized and get a burst of energy for the finish ... until I get to the big ass hill about 500m from the finish. I power-walk that.

As soon as the incline becomes reasonable, I sprint to the line and I'm done. Time on the clock is 5h20m, well at the top of my expectations. I'm spent but I feel great. I remember thinking that I couldn't have gone much faster. Sure, maybe I shouldn't have slowed down to chat with a few friends, or stopped at the aid station to talk to Russel, or maybe I shouldn't have forgot my damn bottle, but as a rule, I ran as fast as I dared in the first 30k and as fast as I could stand in the last 20. I've had very memorable blow-ups in 50k races (CVC 2010 and Seneca Creek 2009) and I know shit can happen in shorter distances too.
So a most excellent race. It's nice to to be completely thrashed after a race. I have to admit that I still have some reservations about whether I can actually finish Leadville. I was very tempted to sign up for a 100 miler before Leadville, just to make sure I can still do it. A stupid idea, to be sure, akin to the "in order to save the village, we had to destroy it" logic. I'm happy I resisted. I won't run anything longer than 50-ish km until August. Then, I'm going to give her all I got.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Bear-rely made it

Get it? Barely, bear, bear-ely? Riiight...

Being a complete moron, I signep up for TNF Bear Mountain 50 Miler again this year. This is a stupid sport, so I guess stupid people do it, ergo, I am stupid. So last Friday I ended up in my friend Steve's car, travelling toward New York City. I was supposed to camp with a bunch of other people I know, but due to a last minute personal crisis, Steve just happened to have a spare bed available in an honest-to-god hotel with a shower and a coffee maker. I immediately ditched my ex-friends and Steve became my BFF.

Fast forward to Saturday, 2:30 AM. I'm actually awake when my phone start its wake-up song, volume slowly increasing. I do not want to get up. The thought of running until 6 PM tonight fills me with dread. I know what to expect: total devastation. My biggest training week this year has been about 6h30min. I don't think I've run more than 50km in a week. I've had a few solid long-ish runs of about 4 hours but that's it. On the other hand, the running I did do was sweet. All trails, tons of climbing. I hang on to that thought.

A couple of hours later, I'm standing in the freezing cold with Chris, looking at the first waze go. A wave start! What is this, a triathlon? Anyway, Dean Karnazes, heard but not seen, says go and we do. I guess I'm going to run after all. Damn it. I immediately decide to DNF at mile 20. I think I'm addicted to DNFs. I haven't finished an ultra since this very race exactly a year ago. We run in the dark. Fuck, were there that many rocks last year? That being said, the terrain seems a bit dryer. The race is what it is. Of course, I overdressed and I ditch my light shell and headlamp in Chris' drop bag at the first aid station. Steve was in the first wave, but he decided to wait for us so all three of us are running together. I guess my plan to run by myself and drop quietly is out the window.

We run. It's actually kind of nice. I feel good, but then again it's early. We run.  We drink. We eat. Every 30 minutes my watch beeps and I eat a gel. We pass aid stations. First thing I know, it's a bit before 10:30 and we're at the 20 mile aid station. If I quit now, I'm going to have to spend all day at the start/finish, waiting for these two guys and I don't have any money with me to drink beer while I wait. I decide to keep running. I'm actually feeling pretty good.

Suddenly, a black fly flies straight into my eye. Than one in my ear. From that moment, until late afternoon, we are surrounded by small clouds of black flies. When one gets in my eye, I try to get it out with my finger but then I push salt from my profuse sweating right in there and my eye burns like hell. Did I mention it's also getting quite hot? It's not unbearable but I'm definitely sweating.

One things that is different from last year is that I'm not busting my toes on rocks. I've run a lot of trails in the last few months and the combination of that and my new Cascadia 7s seems to do the trick. When we finally get to the top of the infamous river of rocks, I'm actually in a pretty good mood compared to last year. The race is coming to an end, I've stopped thinking I'm quitting at the next aid station and my feet are in decent shape as far as my toes are concerned. My ankles are a different story. My right ankle is a ball of pain, but I've come to accept it.

We carefully run down the rock pile and get to the last aid station, which is a bit further than I remember. I think that at that point we have something like 2.7 miles to go. The three of us are trying to figure out if we have a problem. Our math skills are gone. All three Garmins are out of juice. I think we have plenty of time to finish but the other two idiots running with me keep getting worried. This is not how it was supposed to be. I was supposed to run faster than last year. I felt I did but I'm definitely going to finish later than last year. WTF?

Anyway, we stop even trying to figure out the math and we just run at what is now a solid pace for us. There are a few heartbreaking uphills but nothing serious. We eventually see the tunnel that tells us we're extremely close. A few minutes later we cross the line, in 13h32min, an extra 15 minutes compared to last year. We drink ou beer and get out of there as fast as we can.

Bear Mountain is definitely the hardest 50 miler I've ever done. There are very few easy trails. Most are covered in rocks and when they aren't, there are leaves hiding some rock spur waiting to trip you. There was even a big rattle snake right by the trail on one of the climbs. I'm sure there are a few tougher courses, but it doesn't mean this one is easy. It's a bitch. I wish I'd had a bit more volume going into it but with work and regular life being what they are, I did what I could. I went into it without having even run a 50k this season and mentally, I felt the strain of wondering if I could finish. Running so long while self-doubting sapped my energy a little but in the end, I did it. It was nice having Chris and Steve there to shame me into finishing. I knew they had no business running as slow as me, but they had raced two 50k races in the previous two weeks and were feeling the strain. I only raced 25k last weekend so I was a model of restraint compared to those two idiots.

As much as I hate to admit it, except for the time and brain farts, the race went perfect. I ate all 25 gels that I was supposed to eat. I salted just enough. My piss was beautiful and plentiful. My feet didn't get banged up too bad, I don't even think I will lose any toenail. Everything went fine.

I don't know if I'm going back next year. I wish I wasn't but this race is really well placed in the calendar. Early May is nice and cool and it's also a good time to give a first big effort so I guess it's possible that I'll be back.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Mesquite Canyon 30K, 2013 Edition

I ran the 2012 Mesquite Canyon 30k last year and it kicked my ass. The climb totally surprised me and I ended up pretty much walking the last few miles. This was a day of reckoning for me: my climbing and downhill skills weren't just bad, they sucked. 

Fast forward one year to Mesquite Canyon 30k 2013. After getting up at 4:15AM and driving to the White Tank Mountain Regional Park near Phoenix, here I am standing at the start. I haven't raced since Leadville. I'm not sure I want to be there. I'm afraid of what's going to happen. I was pretty confident last year. My training volume was way up and although I didn't admit it, I was hoping for a solid race. That didn't happen. What if the same thing happens again? My training is going well, but I'm not running as much although I'm running faster. I know my trail skills have improved. The times for my various training run courses have been going down dramatically in the last few months. I feel good. I felt good last year, too. Gulp.

The weather is perfect, around 65F and the temperature should go above 75. It's sunny, as usual. My goals for this race are: one, try not to fall and two, try to finish under 3h30. That's a 23 minutes improvement over last year. On the exact same course. I haven't PR'd at ANYTHING in years. Why do I think that I can shave almost a minute per km for the whole 30k? I'm not sure but I just feel like I should be able to run this course un 3h30. Which would make it  a huge blow if I fail.

The gun goes off and I start running. I'm wearing my Garmin, my Nathan hydration vest and my new-ish Cascadia 7. I mis-seeded myself and I have to pass a few people. I don't want to start too slow. I remember running the first 10k, which is all runnable, pretty hard last year. To beat my time by such a big margin, I need to run it faster and then I need not to bonk. I run the downhills as fearlessly as I dare, I power up the uphills. After the fact, I'll find out that my pace varies between 5 and 6 minutes per km for the first 9 km, depending on the incline. Then the climbing starts. I settle into a more conservative climbing pace. I know that this will get progressively worse until I get to the top at km 14, after climbing 1800 vertical feet. After a while, probably around 11 km, I have to stop running. I power hike up the hill. I get passed by three people but that's it. I climb as fast as I can so that I don't have to stop. I only stop every 30 minutes to open a gel and stow away the garbage. Walking without looking down is not a good adea when you're on a two feet wide trail on the edge of a cliff.

I keep going up, running the few less steep sections. I'm tired but I feel ok. I get to the first false summit, take a quick look around and start running. I have a bit of a side stitch. The next few kms are rolling, all of it runnable. I pass the 15km mark at almost 2h00. I can't remember what I did last year. This gives me 90 minutes to come back down. That sounds short! I see one of the guys who passed me, not too far ahead, hiking up the next climb. Ah, ah! That one was pretty much my age and he wore COMPRESSION SOCKS! God, I hate compression socks. I keep running and after 30 minutes, a bit longer than expected, I pass him. He knew I was coming and resisted a bit but you can only push so hard with almost 10k to go. We've merged with the half-marathon course and that gives me a few rabbits to chase. 

I start coming down. I remember being a bit freaked out last year. I remember the course as being crazy-rocky and impossible to run fast. This time, I'm powering down at a decent clip. For me. At least, I'm not breaking much so my quads are feeling good. I blow through the aid station without refilling. The trail is getting steeper and more rocky but I go as fast as I dare. I get to a switchback section where I remember last year I was afraid that my quads were going to fail. I'm feeling great. Down, down, down. Then, it's flat and gravity reasserts itself. Arrrggghh. It's also much hotter down here. Quickly, the trail starts going ever slightly up. Not a lot of downhills, but a lot of slight upward inclines. I've been passing quite a few people but I'm pretty sure none of them are running the 30k. I don't dare turn around and look at their bib because that's a sure way to fall on my face. And yes, that's true, I haven't fallen. At least not yet. I get to the last aid station, which is not really for my race distance and I know I have a bit over 2 miles to go. I'm at a shade past 3 hours. Add 2 miles at 10 minutes per mile... Holy shit! I have an excellent shot at beating my A goal!
I keep running. In the last 10-15 minutes, I'm hot, tired, I want this to be over. It seems that the course keeps veering away from where I think the finish line should be. I refuse to walk. I don't remember walking since I crested the summit (except to eat). I think I hear music. I turn a corner at the top of a small incline and YES, I see the finish about 300m ahead. I cross the line and I'm done in 3h23min and change. Holy smoke, this is 30 minutes faster than last year! I'm totally wiped out, but then again, why wouldn't I be? 

So here we go. Mission accomplished. You CAN teach an old dog new tricks. I've improved my trail running skills substantially over the last few months. We're going back to Toronto in 3 weeks and hopefully, I'll be able to build on top of this. I've signed up for the 50k at Sulphur Springs, the 50 miler at Bear Mountain and, of course, Leadville 100. I'll probably sprinkle a few 50k races in July.

See you on the trails.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

A New Year

I hate stating the obvious, but it's been a while since my last post. Leadville, and the way it happened, really screwed with my mind. When I came back, I actually signed up for Virgil Crest but I just wasn't there mentally and even physically. I had quite a bit of pain in my right ankle. That's the physical part. The thing is, I always have SOME pain there but usually I can ignore it but for some reason, the thought of running 100 miles with the constant pain is something that I couldn't bear. I took a few days off running the week before the race and I went for a short run the day before I was supposed to leave for V.C. No change. I pulled the plug. That left me with no qualifying race for Western States so I couldn't even put my name in the lottery. I did finish Bear Mountain but it took me more than the minimum time for WS so it was no good for me.

I started a new job on October 1st, after being off since June 1st. My previous employer needed to lighten their payroll. It had not been unexpected, since many of my co-workers had suffered the same fate over the last couple of years. What was unexpected was how much it affected me at first. One nice thing about my ex-employer is that they know how to fire people, so they gave me a decent package. I decided not to even look for a job until the Fall, so I spent a really nice summer once I got over the initial shock.

OK, so I started my new job in October and it was pretty intense. My running was shit, so I decided to take a month off running, which I did, couch potatoing for 5 or 6 weeks. Don't do it. I know I won't. In retrospect, I should have gone spinning a couple of times a week but I don't have a gym membership anymore and I hate cycling, so I didn't. Starting again after the break was just horrible. I felt like I had lost all my fitness. To add insult to injury, after a couple of runs, my ankle felt just as bad as before the break.

So here I am, staring 2013 in the face, the ghost of Leadville hovering over my head like a dark cloud. Leadville registration opens in 3 hours. I'm going to sign up. This is the last time I'm going to Leadville. I can't believe I'm going to give them my money again after what they did last year, but I just have to know if I can finish that damn course.

For now, we're in Arizona for a while and I'm enjoying the snow-free running. I'm thinking about running the Sedona Marathon next month even though I would be way under-prepared. If not, there's a sweet trail 15 miler near Phoenix, the XTERRA McDowell Mountain, that same weekend.

Last weekend run up Munds Wagon trail.
Looking forward, my goal for 2013 is obviously to finish Leadville but also, I need to look into what is wrong with my ankle/Achilles. It's obviously not getting any better. I actually bought a pair of Cascadia 7, hoping that the additional cushioning (compared to the Crosslites) will help. We'll see what happens. I like them, but they don't feel as "tight" as my Crosslites. I'll give them a chance though.

Another race I want to do this year is Bear Mountain. I want to go back and run it a bit harder. Try to kick a few less rocks, you know, although losing those pesky toenails early in the season was nice. I was able to trail without worrying about them all summer! Now they're back and I hate caring for them, trying to grow them straight.

This is it. We're all caught up. Happy New Year to all of you!