Sunday, November 2, 2008

My New Adventure: The Ride to Conquer Cancer

An estimated 164,000 new cases of cancer and 74,000 cancer related death will occur in Canada this year alone. Those of you who know me better know that cancer has also touched my family and that the support for cancer research and the betterment of the lives of those living with cancer is one of my passions.

Another passion of mine is leading a healthy and active lifestyle that includes cycling. Now the bike has become even more significant. I discovered that riding my bike could not only be my favourite activity, but now it can help fight against cancer in The Ride to Conquer Cancer on June 20 and 21, 2009 benefiting the BC Cancer Foundation.

I have officially signed on to ride from Vancouver to Seattle, and raise a minimum of $2,500. My goal, however, is to raise more than $4,000. All proceeds go to the BC Cancer Foundation, who uses the money for world-class research, as well as cancer treatment and education. And they use it as soon as they receive it, not when the bike ride happens.

Please join me in the fight against cancer by sponsoring my participation in this challenging ride. If you'd like to find out more about the event, you can go to

To sponsor my participation, you can make your personal and/or corporate donation online on my personal webpage. Or you can print off a donation form and send your contribution in the mail. A tax receipt for the full amount of your gift will be issued by the BC Cancer Foundation.

Whatever you can give will make a difference - it all adds up! The Ride to Conquer Cancer is so much more than a weekend ride - it’s part of the journey to a World Free from Cancer and with your help we will reach our destination.

This ride is going to be an unforgettable adventure, and I hope you'll be a part of it with me.

I greatly appreciate your support and will keep you posted on my progress on this blog.

Thank you!!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

RVM 2008 Race Report

To say it right up-front: I finished in 3:45:48. About 10 min slower than my goal time and 8 min slower than my personal best. And I am super happy with the results! Really!

Now anyone that really knows me - and listened to me whine and moan after my abysmal race in May - must think now that there is an impostor writing this blog! Clearly the Klaus we know is now obsessing over everything leading up to the race and during the race; comparing charts of weight gains and losses and last long run mileages; looking at food and cross-training logs and cursing the idea of having had spelt flour pancakes on Saturday morning instead of white flour pancakes...

Well my friends, this was the old Klaus! We are now dealing with a new and much improved Klaus -- Racing Klaus 2.0 so to speak. Yea, right!

OK, so to make the above make sense then I do have to go back a few weeks and perhaps also ask for your forgiveness when I obsess a tiny bit.

In early September I came down with a bit of a stomach flu or maybe it was food poisoning or whatnot. This took me out from running for about a week. One of the first runs I did when I started feeling better was a hill repeat I did early morning Friday, September 12 at the Spanish Banks hill near UBC. With me feeling better, brand new shoes, and the most glorious weather that morning I really hammered that hill. OMG! It was so much fun!

Then on my next long run the following Sunday, still full of stored up energy and exuberance, I ran the first 2:15 much faster than I should have. And I was still running in my old shoes that I really should have retired a week sooner.

I also like to do some Yasso 800's coming up to a race. Just to see where I am... So off I go to badger my coach Lara who I know is not a huge fan of them. She replies: "Yes, but not 10!!! Do 6 on your goal time, so 3:30 right?" On Friday, September 19 I get up early in the morning, drive to the Brockton Oval and do my 6 sets of Yasso's. Only I ended up doing them on more like a 3:20-ish than a 3:30 pace. I found it hard to really notice my exact pace.

Following the Yasso's I went to play a round of Texas Scramble with the nice folks from WPCG at their annual client charity event. I hardly ever play golf and being on my feet most of the afternoon at this point in the training with only 22 days before the race was probably not a super fantastic idea.

The very next day I was running some errands when all of a sudden I feel a sharp pain in my right knee. Typical runner's knee kind of pain. Dang! I got a 3:30 run coming up the next day. Alright, don't panic now! Massage around the knee cap, stretch quads, hamstrings, and glutes thoroughly and generally try not to think of this too much.

For the 3:30 run on Sunday Lara had planned a real treat for us: leave no hill south of False Creek untouched! Well, the Victoria course is quite undulating. The knee pain did flare up every now and so often and even to a point where I had to hobble a bit instead of casually jogging along. But I managed to get through it and at the end I was just glad that we were done with those hills. After the run I did everything right: I refuelled with a PowerBar Recovery Shake, stretched well, took an ice bath, had a healthy lunch, and rested. After about an hour of lazying around I got up and could not stand - or walk - on my right foot. It was as if it just does not want to properly bend they way it should. And it hurt. I chalked it up to those damn hills and that in a matter of hours it'll be fine again.

The next day I rested hoping that the foot would repair itself somehow. On Tuesday it felt a little bit better and I took the bike to work as the running group would meet at 16th & Sasamat for a trail run in the evening. Running hard in the trails smarted at first but got quickly better and did not feel all that bad. Until we were done and I was back on the bike that is. Now it really hurt!

That was Tuesday, September 23 and the last time I really ran before the race not quite 3 weeks later. On the following Sunday we had an in-clinic 10k that I attempted but had to bail on after 2.5k. I then completely cut out all my mid-week runs and even the last 1-hour run on Sunday, October 5 and instead did some cycling, swimming, and water running.

I saw Steve Wong from Treloar Physio six times in the last two weeks and also checked in with Dr. Aaron Case of Fast Track Chiro twice in the last week. Their combined efforts along with lots of icing and general active rest got my foot to the point where I thought I could attempt the race.

While I had to contemplate the possibility that I may not be able to run Victoria, in my mind this was not really an option! I had a piss-poor performance in May and this was my Redemption Run. I trained hard, did a lot of cross-training with the triathlon training and lost 20 pounds to boot. I was fit. I was in shape. And dammit, I was not only going to run Victoria, I was going to kick ass doing it!

The first test was the Thursday before race day where I ran some easy - very easy! - 20 minutes in the morning. The foot felt by far not 100% but manageable. Most importantly I did not have any residual pain during the stretching after the run. I made that out to be a quite good sign. I was going to Victoria for sure!!

On Saturday I felt quite pain free for most of the day on the trip over to Victoria. We arrived just in time so that we got to see Simon Whitfield being interviewed by legendary race announcer Steve King at the Race Expo. Very inspiring indeed!! Steve asked Simon about a quote by Shakespeare on Simon's blog: "Our doubts are traitors and make us lose the good we oft might win by fearing to attempt." I decided then that I will not doubt my ability to put a good race on any longer and go all-out the next day.

Another story Simon told was about a race early on in his career where he just fooled around and didn't really try hard. After the race his dad got angry with him -- not for not winning the race, but for not giving it all he got. It is not about winning every race - or, in my case, not even about making the goal time - but about knowing that you gave it all you had!

We had to leave the interview with Simon at 3:00 PM to meet with the group for a quick 30 minutes shake-out-the-legs run. Having already decided to not doubt my ability to run, I tried to not pay too much attention to the pain discomfort of my foot. All was well after the run. And after an early dinner at Luciano's with the gang I watched a little of the Canucks-Flames game while icing the foot one last time.

On race day the weather could not have been more perfect! Nice and cool and sunny later in the morning. After a nice and relaxed breakfast I packed my stuff together and checked out of the James Bay Inn. I would be back well after the 12:00 PM check-out time but they are nice enough to store your gear and offer a shower room for after the race. Serge who stayed at the JBI as well with Carmen (who was gone already for the earlier Half Marathon start) met me at 6:30 AM and we headed down to the gear check area near the start to meet up with Ken for our warm-up. This time around it was only the three of us from our group who did the Full Marathon.

The race start was strangely anti-climactic this time. But nonetheless, off we were! My paceband was set for 3:35 and my goal was to stick slavishly to that pacing -- especially in the beginning as I have gone out too fast too often in the past and did not want to make that mistake again. For a while I was bang-on or a few seconds behind. That is good! My thinking went that I want to be on pace or slightly behind until the turn-around point at the (roughly) 23k mark. Then I would pick it up some and try for a nice negative split.

At the 15k mark I was a little over a minute behind and at the half-way point I was almost 3 minutes behind -- 1:49:55 instead of 1:47:10. And forget about negative splitting. I managed to roughly keep the pace at that time for the next 10-ish km and it felt still OK. I even had the idea that I would not worry too much now and basically stopped looking at my watch and paceband. With 10k to go I would then really put the hammer down and put on a good 10k time to finish. Yeah!!

Dang! I forgot that right at the 20 mile mark you turn the corner and go uphill for a block. OK, we'll put the hammer down after the uphill then! And I did! At least for the block-and-a-half downhill that followed the uphill. And that was all she wrote... I realized that I have barely enough to keep the pace.

All through the race I tried to not pay any attention to the signals from my right foot. And I fared pretty well overall putting this out of my mind. Now with less than 10k to go I pushed as hard as I could, as best as I could, when I could. But with about 6k left all I could feel was the pain in my entire right leg and how my left quad is on fire. So now it takes all my mental energy to just keep telling myself to keep running. The last 3k seemed almost insurmountable!

When I finally rounded the seven corners leading into the straight-away to the finish I was so done! There were all our friends from The Right Shoe Run Clinic shouting encouragements -- at least I think that is what they did... for all I know they could have been hurling insults as I really did not hear them and certainly did not have the energy to look up. So now finally I am in the last stretch! Time to sprint it in... Yea, no; not going to happen. I tried picking it up but there was no way. When I finally reached the pre-finish timing mat I think I picked it up for the last 15-or-so meters to cross the finish line in 3:45:48.

I am happy! Because I gave it all I got!!

I finished the race with a foot that was far from 100% and I know that I can achieve the 3:35 and even 3:30 if I can abstain from stupidities that get me injured just before a race.

The morale of the story: if you run too little (almost nothing) within 3 weeks of a race you may not lose your fitness -- but your muscles are in for quite the surprise! :-)

I Love Running!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Races I have participated in

This is a reverse chronological list of all the races that I have participated in.
Total: 14 10k's, 14 Half Marathons, 8 Full Marathons, 5 Sprint Triathlons, 1 Olympic Distance Triathlon, 3 Half Ironman, 1 ITU LD Triathlon 1 Trail Run (view in Google spreadsheets view)

October 10, 2010
Portland Marathon (26.2m 3:51:45)

August 1, 2010
ITU Long Distance Triathlon World Championship (Final: 9:45:21)
[4k Swim: 1:19:00 | T1: 0:04:39 | 130k Bike: 5:13:16 | T2: 0:03:20 | 30k Run: 3:05:06]

July 17, 2010
Summerfast 10k (10k - 44:56 [true time - official 45:07])

June 6, 2010
Oliver Half Iron (Final: 5:28:10)
[2k Swim: 39:24 | T1: 4:53 | 93k Bike: 2:50:38 | T2: 2:00 | 21.1k Run: 1:51:18]

May 2, 2010
Vancouver International Half-Marathon (13.1m 1:42:12)

October 11, 2009
Royal Victoria Marathon (26.2m - 3:47:01)

September 13, 2009
Subaru Sooke Triathlon (Final: 5:17:36)
[1.9k Swim: 33:04 | T1: 2:36 | 86k Bike: 2:48:10 | T2: 1:57 | 21k Run: 1:51:36]

September 7, 2009
MSC Vancouver Triathlon
(750m/18.8k/5k - 14:21/39:02/21:44 = 1:15:06- transitions are included in the bike time)

July 18, 2009
Summerfast 10k (10k - 44:59)

July 12, 2009
Subaru Vancouver International Sprint Triathlon
(500m/26k/5k - 10:30/3:13/47:30/1:37/21:40 = 1:24:30)

June 7, 2009
Oliver Half Iron (Final: 5:33:06)
[2k Swim: 36:46 | T1: 4:27 | 93k Bike: 2:50:10 | T2: 2:51 | 21.1k Run: 1:58:54]

May 18, 2009
North Shore Spring Sprint Triathlon (Final: 1:12:12)
[740m Swim: 13:28 | 20k Bike: 35:55 | 5k Run: 22:50 - transitions are included in the bike time]

May 3, 2009
Vancouver International Half-Marathon (13.1m 1:37:43 PR!)

April 19, 2009
Vancouver Sun Run (10k - 45:44)

February 15, 2009
"First Half" Half Marathon (13.1m - 1:44:41)

November 16, 2008
Fall Classic Half Marathon (13.1 - 1:43:52)

October 12, 2008
Royal Victoria Marathon (26.2m - 3:45:48)

September 1, 2008
MSC Vancouver Triathlon
(1.5k/37.6k/10k - 33:30/1:28:09/53:54 = 2:55:33 - transitions are included in the bike time)

July 19, 2008
Summerfast 10k (10k - 46:39)

July 13, 2008
Subaru Vancouver International Sprint Triathlon
(500m/26k/5k - 10:45/4:04/53:35/2:00/24:05 = 1:34:27)

June 22, 2008
Scotiabank Half Marathon (13.1m - 1:51:04)

May 19, 2008
North Shore Spring Sprint Triathlon
(740m/20k/5k - 16:10/44:02/26:45 = 1:26:57 - transitions are included in the bike time)

May 4, 2008
Vancouver International Marathon (26.2m - 3:59:29)

April 21, 2008

Vancouver Sun Run (10k - 47:37)

March 23, 2008
My First Trail Race (Run The North Shore - 10k - 1:14:29)

February 10, 2008
"First Half" Half Marathon (13.1m - 1:49:10)

November 18, 2007
Fall Classic (13.1m - 1:48:44)

October 7, 2007
Royal Victoria Half Marathon (13.1m - 1:44:19)

July 21, 2007

Summerfast 10k (10k - 50:34)

April 1, 2007
Mission Spring Ahead Half Marathon (

February 11, 2007
"First Half" Half Marathon (13.1m - 1:43:37)

November 19, 2006
Fall Classic Half Marathon (13.1m 1:49:10)

October 8, 2006
Royal Victoria Marathon (26.2m - 3:38:03 PR!)

September 23, 2006
Canucks Fan Run (10k mostly trails - 45:49)

July 22, 2006
Summerfast 10k (10k - 48:36)

June 25, 2006
Scotiabank Half Marathon (13.1m - 1:46:18)

May 07, 2006
Vancouver International Marathon (26.2m - 3:39:14)

April 24, 2006
Vancouver Sun Run (10k - 44:25 PR!)

November 27, 2005
Seattle Half Marathon (13.1m - 1:51:48)

October 9, 2005
Royal Victoria Marathon (26.2m - 3:54:33)

May 1, 2005
Vancouver International Marathon (26.2m - 4:09:04)

April 18, 2005
Vancouver Sun Run (10k - 52:07)

October 11, 2004
Granville Island Turkey Trot (10k - 44:12)
I honestly think that this loop is not quite 10k -- more like 9k. This is why this is not really a PR.

June 27, 2004
Scotiabank Half Marathon (13.1m 1:45:55)

May 2, 2004
Vancouver International Half-Marathon (13.1m 1:46:51)

May 11, 2003
Pacific Spirit Run (10k - can't find my time any more but I am sure it was 49:xx)

April 13, 2003
Vancouver Sun Run (10k - 50:03)

Monday, July 14, 2008

My First Ocean Swim Triathlon

I am so glad that Lara got me into Triathlons! Initially I just signed up for the Sprint Distance Clinic because I thought I get a to learn how to swim better, but I was not super keen on the whole Triathlon bit. I knew how to "not drown" -- I really didn't know how to swim. Well, actually, I thought I was better than I really turned out to be. Urgh!

As we started the training I totally got to super enjoy the variety of the training. And once I completed the first sprint distance race in May I was hooked! Don't get me wrong... I still love the Marathon and the strict road races! But there is something about Triathlon races that makes them so much more interesting. Maybe it is all the things you have to think about - so many different areas where you can fail. With running a lot of things can go wrong too; they are all somehow connected though. In Triathlons you not only have to do well in three disciplines, rather you have to do well in five disciplines! And trust me... I suck in the transitions!! Especially from swim to bike.

Also, I got a loaner bike from my friend Tim. It's a really cool Masi Team 3V road bike. I added some aero bars and it totally rocks!

Yesterday I completed my second sprint distance tri -- my first one with an open water swim. We had practised open water and wet suit swimming before, but having people swim into you, over you, bump you, kick you, and you do the same to them is something completely different.

My time yesterday did not materially improve from my first tri in May - in fact it remained almost exactly the same. The swim pace was something like 3s/100m faster, the bike was almost bang-on the same, and the run was a bit faster but still slower that I should be able to run. The transitions were a complete and utter disaster! I could not get my wetsuit off at first, then I could not get my socks on until I gave up and sat down and in the bike/run transition I started running out of the transition zone without my bib on and had to run back to put it on. Doh!!

The race overall felt somehow much better though. I am not sure why that was. Maybe because I was more prepared or the weather was so nice. Maybe the race course was so much nicer? Or maybe it was because it was an open water swim - I really quite enjoyed that.

My next Tri: Multi Sports Canada Vancouver Triathlon on September 1, 2008 in Stanley Park. This time the full Olympic distance. The first two sprints were just to get used to the whole idea. For this race I want to have a goal! I am thinking the following:
Swim: 30 min for the 1.5k - 2:00min/100m pace
T1: certainly less than 3 minutes!
Bike: 1:15 for the 37.6k - averaging 30km/h
T2: I have to be able to do that under a minute!
Run: I'd like to go for a 45min 10k but that might be stretching it - I am happy even with a 48min
Total: 2:37 -- OK, so anything under 2:40!

Let's see how I can swing that.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Spinich Sage Ricotta Ravioli

I feel like making pasta today. Tomorrow I am going to participate in the 10k "My First Trail Race" at the Lower Seymour Conservation Reserve in North Vancouver. So naturally I want to have a pasta dinner tonight. I love making my own pasta and I prefer ravioli as regular pasta almost does not seem worth the trouble of making the dough.

This morning I made the dough and then went to the market where I got, among other things, some spinach, sage, and ricotta. The combination of spinach and sage frankly seems a bit odd to me, but both sort of jumped out at me and so I thought 'what the heck'. I'll update the post later to write how it ended up.

When I got home I washed and dried the spinach and sauteed some shallots and garlic before wilting the spinach in the pan. Seasoned with salt, pepper, and nutmeg and fresh chiffonade of the sage added to it, the spinach mixture is now cooling. I'll then finely chop the mixture before adding some ricotta to it.

When this is all done I'll make a good batch of ravioli for some time next week and probably will make some simple thin noodles for tonight for which I am planning some sort of Arrabiata sauce with it - but not too spicy as I don't want to have an all funky tummy running in the North Shore Trails tomorrow ;-)

Now I need to get some eggs and cooking wine and continue cooking. More later...

UPDATE March 23: I The spinach with the sage went really well. But I had too much filling and so I made all raviolis and not regular pasta. With it I made a light arrabiata (style) sauce which was delicious but maybe overpowered the raviolis a bit.