26 days to go...
Although it may seem like there's plenty of time left, these last 3+ weeks before the 2009 Gore-Tex TransRockies Run will fly by - Guaranteed!
After a bit of a shaky start, I feel like I'm more or less back on track, at least in terms of base training - That said, my focus over these final weeks will be to work on my top end and try to fine tune the ol' ticker as much as possible...Besides, I have to keep up to my new partner!
Yes, finally, I've found another skier, wannabe runner - he goes by the name of Gavin Hamilton. After throwing a bunch of hooks out into the running world in late spring, Gavin gobbled up the entire worm and committed to the challenge. He's motivated, very fit and super keen to get after it - a big ingredient for success in this event.
I've known Gavin for a few years through skiing for which he's achieved good success as a development level skier while completing his Masters Degree at the University of Calgary. His best performance was at the World University Games in China last winter where he posted Canada's top results, including a 19th place in the 10km Skate event. On the trail running side, he's also proved that he can mingle with the best posting a 7th place in this year's Canadian Mountain Running Championships in Canmore, AB (Canmore Challenge Trail Races), one of the most competitive fields ever assembled at a Canadian trail/mountain event!
Canmore's Ivan Babikov, (far left) and Edward McCarthy from Vancouver, (middle), chase Gavin Hamilton, from Calgary, on a downhill stretch of the 12 km Canmore Challenge mountain running race at the Canmore Nordic Centre on Saturday. Photo: Pam Doyle/Canmore Leader
But, as I've come to realize over the past years, mountain running is a very unpredictable sport - anything can happen, regardless of your running abilities. Now imagine doing 6 days of racing back to back, and having to stick by your partner through 'the good, the bad and the ugly'...Not as easy as you may think.
The field at this year's TR-Run is full of competitive teams from both sides of the border and will be as challenging as ever. The only thing we can control is our own preparation, and as such, Gavin and I are focused on improving our weaknesses so that we can be as equal as possible on the start line - again, easier said than done!
Over the past few weeks, we've been able to hook up for some great runs, completing two training blocks together, which I think is a very important part of our team's preparation - the more you run together, the more you are able to figure out each others' strengths/weaknesses, habits and patience thresholds...this is important because when day 4 rolls around and you're not feeling as 'lively' as your partner, then you're patience is the first thing to go - Either way, I've been saturating Gavin's brain with TR tips, tricks, tidbits and anecdotes of my TR experiences...he's obviously got a bit more grey matter (to absorb all my BS) than me because I would have snapped on him a long time ago: "...Yes Phil, I know, you've told me this story about 50 times already...", or maybe he's just too nice to pipe back at me.
Gavin showing off his skillz...
Fun times ahead......