Funny that love should appear as the title of this post, the first in a long time for me. It is not one I throw around lightly, saving it mostly for my darling wife. There is so much to say, so many feelings to share and so many stories of both the mundane and exciting variety, and indeed some profoundly sad ones. The loss of my dear mother would seem to be the number one thing to write about, goodness knows I still think about her all the time and never go very long without wishing she was still here. So many thoughts and words spinning around my head, being comforted by the pain she no longer feels and the struggle she no longer faces. It took me a while but I eventually stopped being selfish and found comfort in the fact she no longer suffers. Have I mentioned I think about death more now? Not my own, to be honest. But the thought of losing my darling wife scares the daylights out of me, not wanting her to feel any pain nor be short changed on life and knowing that would be another void that could never be filled. But there are also feelings of being lucky to still be here and in very good health. I have the opportunity to be a person who is worthy of being my mother’s son, a person intent on taking full advantage of being on this beautiful planet and seeking opportunities to broaden my comfort zones, eat new food, see new places, visit old friends and strive to be a better person. I would go as far as to say it is my responsibility to do so, to live this spoiled life I have to the fullest. The irony is that I would easily argue that spending less time on the computer is a good place to start.

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The Reward

As I approached the unofficial finish line, accompanied by some of my nephews, it was hard to believe this was coming to an end. I leaned in, gave my mom a big hug, and thanked her. This, my friends, is the reward, the best possible kind. And sounding like she was feeling a little guilty, like she had done something wrong, she asked me if she had forced me to do this. Forced, I asked? You inspired me to do this. I am not sure she was completely happy with my response, but she seemed

The reward

The reward

content for the moment. Rob had a medal made and engraved for the occasion, and my mom happily handed it to me after our initial embrace. And when she was kindly complimented on having an amazing son, her quick and completely honest reply was this. “I know, I have six of them.”

Stats: 268.08 kms, clock time of about 34:10 (this may be off by a few minutes, give or take, it appears I forgot to record the clock time for one of the runs … sorry)

Thank yous: Matt Sylvain, for guiding me wisely through my first marathon over four years ago and opening my eyes to the ultras; Bill Jones, for the wisdom and experience you so willingly share; to the Kemps, your unwavering support in every way throughout this adventure and pretty much all the time is so appreciated and never goes unnoticed; the Carrieres, you are indeed the best family around, and thank you for all the running solidarity and cheers; to our friends and complete strangers alike, thank you for sharing and supporting this cause that is so dear to all of us; to Jason and Andrea for being so willing to pick me up. I feel like I am short changing so many of you, but please know I will do what I can to thank you in person in the coming days.

Amanda, I know you feel like you have only had a small part in this, but in reality you played the biggest part. You are always there, always supportive, always cheering me on. Remember that time in the spring when I had given up? I was convinced that I would never be able to do this. You calmly talked me into simply changing the plan a little, assuring me that I would indeed do this. I owe you so much gratitude, so much goodness, and may I be this good to you forever.

To mom, your grace under duress continues to impress and amaze. Thank you, merci, de me donner milles et une raisons de toujours essayer d’en faire plus, de toujours essayer de devenir une meilleure personne.

I am relieved, so very satisfied and very much overwhelmed. Life is good.

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Am I really doing this?

Marathon number six is in the books. I have to say it went very well, and that is not to say it did not come without its tough spots. Cooler temps, a little cloud cover, a nice breaze, all helping me keep cool as I headed down La Route Verte and La Route des Champs from Carignan to St-Paul-d’Abottsford. The path is well maintained and used.

Thank yous: Duncan and Joan, your are treating me like nothing less than a primce. I promise not to keep this up beyond tomorrow! Thank you for the early drop off, the pick up, as well as the cheering along the course. Gerry, Jade, Marc, Joshua et Jesse, your very timely cheering stops and hydration help was so much fun and so much appreciated, Merci d’avoir pris le temps de venir me rencontrer en chemin, et plusieurs fois!! And to all of you who are reading, I am overwhelmed by your support, especially my brothers and sisters that I clearly take for granted.

Stats: clock time of 5:21:30, distance of 42.89 kms

Tomorrow’s plan is here. The departure time is not set in stone but will be confirmed tomorrow morning. It will likely be between 11:00 and 11:30.

I have heard the word transcendence a lot lately, in particular when it comes to running. Now I am not sure what transcendence really means (English is my second language), but I think I may be a step closer after today. As I process what I have done so far, what I hope to complete tomorrow, I am realizing exactly what I have gotten myself to do these past six days. No seriously, I am doing this? I do realize how much of a physical and mental challenge this all is, but am I really capable of doing this? I am having a hard time writing this part because I am afraid this comes across as arrogance, which is really not the case. But sometimes I think that this cannot be me, that I am not really capable of this, like I am seeing this from above. I am feeling so supported, so loved, with family and strangers sharing the story so happily. I am feeling proud, to be honest, that as long as all goes well tomorrow I will complete the biggest challenge of my life. I am realizing how much a source of inspiration can motivate me, can get me to dig deep and push well beyond my physical and mental limits. Transcendence? Likely not, more likely the realization of what is going on.



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Sometimes, you just do things

Super run today. It was hot, damn hot, but with lots of help and a conveniently located depanneur, hydration was not an issue. Off to a bit of a late start, with some sore feet and legs that are starting to wonder what is going on. I am learning that with minor pains, I simply need to keep moving and it will eventually go away. Go away it did.

Stats: clock time of 5:30:23, distance of 42,51 kms, 40 minute forced rest at the Victoria bridge as a cargo ship went through (not part of the clock time)

Tomorrow’s plan: departure time at about 7:00.

Thank yous: Rob and Jenn, for your warmest hospitality, support, pick ups and drop offs. Rob, for running 22 kms with me today in challenging conditions. Gerry, it was nothing short of amazeballs to see you with 6 kms left!! I cannot thank you enough for taking the time to do that, it means a lot. And to Duncan and Joan, for biking out to meet us with timely gatorades and waters, for the wonderful surprise of the post run massage at the Euro Spa, and most importantly for your patience and unwavering support.

I was rather reflective this morning as I headed out along the Lakeshore then a left turn along the Lachine Canal. Being reflective is kind of what I do on a semi regular basis, trying to take in the moments in time as much as I can and making sure I realize what is really going on, where I am on the planet. I thought of Scott Jurek, a vegan utra marathoner whose book has provided me with inspiration, tips and recipes that have helped me get healthier along the journey running is taking me. I find myself remembering two things in particular. One is, pain only hurts. Self explanatory but goes a long way. The other is something his dad told him when, as a young boy with two younger siblings, Mr. Jurek questioned why he had to do certain things around the house that most children his age did not have to do. A grouchy fella, his dad would answer, “Sometimes you just do things.” It may be the truest of truisms for me at the moment, as I am two days away from completing this part of my journey. I highly recommend his book, Eat and Run, to all runners, and by all runners I mean anyone who puts on their runners, heads out the door and runs, regardless of distance, pace or ability, because anyone who runs is a runner.

One marathon to go, one 11 k to go.

“Sometimes, you just do things.”


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Getting there

I will stick to my process of thanking people first. Amanda, I cannot thank you enough for everything, right now most notably for  putting up with me last night as I lay restless in bed until far too late. Your efforts to calm me down and to focus on other things are so so appreciated. Eventually I was receptive … To Jenn, thank you for starting the run with me this morning. Your company was terrific and put me in a positive frame of mind right from the start. And thank you also Rob, Jenn, Libby and Jack for being amazing cheerleaders, gatorade providers and picker uppers. I am sad to have missed your cheering station, complete with pots and pans and the friendliest of neighbours. Daniel et Nicole, seeing you there was a complete surprise and much appreciated shot of adrenaline so close to the finish line. I cannot thank you enough for driving all that way to put a rather large smile on my face. To all of you leaving messages of encouragement and support, and to those who have donated to my Team Fox page, I will say it again, thank you!!!

Tomorrow’s run looks like this, with a start time of 6:30.

And so I found myself in bed at 9:20 last evening, ready for the sleep of my life. Turns out that lasted about 20 minutes. Tossing and turning, worrying about my feet, wanting so badly to fall asleep so I can be better prepared to go as far as I can on day 4. Amanda being so great in trying to calm me down, think about other things. She also needed a good night’s sleep for her drive to Ottawa far too early this morning. Eventually we fell asleep, but I am not so sure we even got four hours. This of course sparked the debate of whether or not I would run today. When 5:30 came around, we got up and figured let’s see how far I can go. Jenn started with me and ran 13.5 kms, and her company was exactly what I needed after three days of mostly solo running along a seldom used bike path. We ran through Hudson and along le Lac des Deux Montagnes, seeing many beautiful homes, properties and views. I also appreciated the old town centres of Vaudreuil-Dorion and Ste. Anne de Bellevue, and of course the lake sides street that took me through Baie d’Urfe, Beaconsfield and Pointe Claire. Again, I appreciated the bike path for days one to three, but today’s settings were welcome. And to see my brother Dan and sister Nicole with four kms left was literally uplifting. To have my younger brother’s company for the end of the run with my sister cheering us on was invaluable. Physically, things held up pretty well. The blisters are not getting much worse, if at all, and the left arch is hanging in there. It feels a little more tender today with very minor swelling, and hopefully it holds up for three more days.

I apologize for the rather grim report on yesterday’s run, but getting through day three and four was clearly so important to me, and sadly to my ego. I feel much more positive today, and if for some reason I have to abort this run at any point moving forward, I will have set new limits and be proud of what I have managed to do. Thinking of what my mom is going through on a daily basis helps me get over the small pains. After all, rising above the pain, both physical and mental, is the victory.

Forward and onward.

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So …. hard ….

I am not sure why I still think I can run any distance and assume it is going to be smooth sailing and pain free. Today reminded me that this is supposed to be difficult.

Stats: 8:22 departure time (too late), clock time of 5:35:07, distance of 43.13 kms according to Garmin, a mere 300 metres off the walkjogrun distance, average pace is not what I think it is because my math is terrible. Please disregard this stat for the previous posts. One of these days I will figure it out.

Tomorrow’s run looks like this. There may be a potential change if I cannot cross Highway 40, going back to Harwood Road and heading to Dorion that way.

Thank goodness Amanda was out there at many different points. She is the best support/drink station/distraction/pump up music player/photographer I can ever ask for. Te quiero, Sweet Pea! And another big thank you to Rob and Jenn for putting me up for the next two nights. Your support is invaluable.

It was tough to avoid a later start this morning. I needed sleep after a last minute effort at getting myself sorted out last night. I did not get enough, and I managed to get started at 8:22 ish. That might be okay for the first little while, but I certainly felt the heat and had some minor sun burns to prove it. Today was one of the toughest runs ever. I needed the extra hydration, and based on how I feel post run I am really thinking that the biggest battle today was mental. As much as I appreciate that bike trail, I was quite happy to get off of it. As I neared Rigaud the path just sort of ended … I backtracked a tad and added some distance to my run …  why not? Anyhow, I will not go on and on here but the run was tough. The struggle was certainly physical, too, as the feet started to hurt today. The blisters did okay, one got a little worse, but I also felt some pain in my left arch. It was quite tolerable, but I am a little concerned moving forward. I will be none too pleased if this is what makes me stop. A little ice, a good soak in some salt water and hopefully it feels better in the morning. They do say that, in ultra running, the hardest things to manage are the feet and stomach. They can also put an end to your efforts in an awful hurry. My stomach is great so far, but my feet will need some TLC to make sure I complete this thing.

No turkeys today, and one human.

Tomorrow brings uncharted waters. Day 4 is not something I have ever done before though I managed three in training. As long as my feet stay strong, it should go fairly well. Mentally it should be okay with some variety in my route as I get onto the island of Montreal.

Ouf ….


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More turkeys than humans

At 6:30 I started out from Bourget, heading to Vankleek Hill. A large thank you to my darling wife Amanda for getting up way too early to drive me out there. And also for dealing with my lack of calling at important times with such grace. And kamsahamnida to Jason for picking me up. Vankleek Hill is not that close to Ottawa, and I appreciate him taking three hours out of his day to meet up without a pit stop at the Beau’s Brewery. I felt fresher than I thought I would, less stiff than yesterday in many ways. This is good, this means I did all the right things yesterday to make sure I was as prepared as I could be. My back felt looser, my abs tighter. This definitely makes it easier to keep my form as sharp as possible.

Today’s stats: clock time of 5:13:34 covering 42.72 kms according to the Garmin (42.5 according to walkjogrun), making it an average pace of 7:33. And yet, the pace alarm went off more than yesterday – the one that makes sure I do not go too fast. I did stop to cover up blister number one, adding a minute or two which may skew the pace time. Bla bla bla …

The entire run was on the Prescott Recreation Trail today, with another 22 or so kilometres ahead on one’s way to Quebec. Bourget still has its old train station that is now a private residence, a lovely historical building that reminded me that my mom spent a good deal of her childhood living in such a place. Forging ahead the path never looked so straight and for such a long distance. The mental challenge is certainly there, to not look too far ahead, relax and focus on the running part. The flies were unbelievable. It felt like I had a swarm buzzing around my head for at least 10 kilometres. Not to mention the Garmin alert buzzing every ten seconds because I was running too fast while trying to swat them away! One either bit me hard enough or flew right into my temple area hard enough to leave a small bruise … This made the sections going through beautiful farmland with less shade a welcome reprieve. The only bad news with that is it also meant less shade. Thankfully I had that extra water bottle which proved essential in the last few kilometres. I did walk about 500 metres today … tisk tisk … but only to make sure the animals I was approaching were not going to bite my head off. They turned out the be wild turkeys. They did their thing, I did mine. It is worthy to note that I saw more turkeys than humans on the path today. Those quiet stretches were great in many ways but also too quiet at times. I do not pretend to be an outdoorsman, and so at times I did worry about what creatures could maybe run out of the woods. Turkeys, hedgehogs and birds. And flies. Blister numbers one and two today, which  may become an issue. I am stealing Amanda’s trick and have covered the bigger one up with the silver duct tape. We shall see how I choose to cover it up for tomorrow’s run. I will gladly take suggestions!

All in all I feel good. I am discovering that I quite enjoy veggie sushi, and it also makes for good recovery food. Heading into Quebec tomorrow and spending the night in Beaconsfield. Here is what the route looks like for day three , with a start time of 7:00 am.

I cannot thank all of you enough for your support. Amanda is right, I do not always find the right words to say to thank you properly. But please know how much I appreciate it, and how far it goes now and when the going will get tougher in the days ahead.

I know, so many links!


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