First things first...
I am happy and proud and excited to announce that I'm teaming up with three great running brands in 2015: Inov-8 (footwear and clothing), Nathan (hydration),and Balega (socks). For anyone who knows me though, this announcement isn't really much of a surprise, since I have been using many of their products for close to a year now. I'm quite particular about the gear that I race and train in. Before this deal was in place, I was purchasing many of these same items, because they perfectly fit with my style of running. In-Sport has become the new distributor for Inov-8 (as of 2015), and I'm excited to see the brand get a real push now...especially out here on the West Coast. Thankfully, I had a couple good results in 2014, and I was able to get my foot in the door with them!
I hesitate to use the word 'sponsorship'. I find that it sounds one-sided. 'Partnership' seems like a much more accurate way to describe things. I'm not under the delusion that I am a big enough/fast enough name in the running scene to warrant being paid to run...there are very few who are. But... I do feel that I can be a great ambassador for Inov-8, Nathan, and Balega. The trails that I love to run on are rugged and rocky and steep and slippery. Technical terrain requires technical gear, and that's why this new partnership works great for me. I'd like to believe that the success I have in 2015 (and that I had in 2014) will bring some exposure to the brands that support me and allow me to run my ass off!
Now for some running...
It has been no secret that I am heading to Costa Rica (in about a month) to race The Coastal Challenge (TCC). It has been on my bucket-list for a couple years now, and I'm pretty damn excited about it: six stages over six days, 230km through the southern rain forest and mountains of Costa Rica! I don't have too much trouble wrapping my head around the toughest of single day trail/mountain runs...but six of them in a row is a bit intimidating. I'm familiar with the compounding damage that stage racing does to the body, but add in heat, humidity, and camping, and there is potential for a train-wreck.
I've mentioned this before, but I love the preparation process as much as the actual racing itself. Given that my wife (Jodi) helped to get me into TCC for 2015, it wasn't too hard to convince her that I needed to put in some big miles in December to prepare for it. The last month has been a thing of beauty (training-wise): more milage than I have ever done before, and a ton of great adventures with friends. I have been building a solid foundation of strength and durability. The only real glitch in my plan is that North Vancouver in December is not a very good analog for Costa Rica in February...but I'm definitely doing what I can with what I have. (I'm pretty sure I could pin it down BCMC blindfolded, given how many laps I've done of it lately).
One of the surprising fun aspects of prepping for TCC has been sorting out gear for my trip; not just racing gear, but camping gear too. It's a bit of a mystery what exactly I will need, but I know that recovery between stages will be as important as the racing. Which means, I'll probably be taking way too much crap with me, most of it 'just in case'. I'm not looking forward to the excess weight charges the airlines are going to hit me with.
I feel like my training is right on track. Over the next few weeks I will swap out some volume and put in some pretty hard back-to-back efforts. Top things off with a couple short/fast XC races, and hopefully I'll be a finely tuned trail running machine. Plus, I've used up a lot of family time in December, being selfish and running in the mountains. As I taper the volume down, I'll be soaking in as much time with my girls as possible. 13 days away from them will be heartbreaking (3 days away is as long as I've had to go before).