Friday, 20 January 2012


Well here I am down in sunny Costa Rica just getting ready for the coastal challenge route of fire (a 6 day 245km running stage race). We head out on Saturday morning towards the Nicaraugra border for the start.
Staying at a hostel in San Jose right now (awesome place with a pool and surrounded by palm trees, cheap at 13 bucks a night). I met up with King Richard (one of the main race organizers), and Dougie the Irish foot doctor, it was great to see some familiar from last year. Jude Ultra came in last night as well, for a whole different experiance than her last 2 years down here; She will be working as a volunteer this year instead of racing which I know will kill her, but she will be such a huge asset to the race with her experiance as an ultra racer and all the energy that she brings as well, so I´ll know she´ll work her butt off and be just as exhausted.

I ran a couple easy hours yesterday through dowtown San Jose to the soccer stadium and park, and what an adventure that was. I know zero Spanish and did not know where I was going, I dont reccomend it but I had a blast dodging cars (felt like the old arcade game frogger), people, snarly dogs, and sidewalks with huge cracks and holes in them (if youre ever down here please watch your step cause im not kidding about those large holes swallowing you up).

I feel pretty good and just getting ancy to start running (thanks Jonathan again for the sweet compressport trail socks and calf sleeves). I hope the feet and stomach hold together, so wish me luck and I´ll fill you all in when I´m back in civilization. Updates can be found on the leadmedia website and the 2012 coastal challenge website as well. Hi Brendan if youre following Dad!


Monday, 16 January 2012

Costa Rica Bound!!

What a busy time for me right now, but exciting. In two more days I'll be heading down to Costa Rica for the Coastal Challenge Route Of Fire (a 6 day 245km staged trail race through the jungles). I attempted this last year as well but had to miss 2 days of the race with a horrible stomach virus (I.V. in the jungle is quite an experience). I absoulutly fell in love with the beautiful country, race and people down there, so I feel like I have unfinished business down there now. I really went there last year not giving the race enough respect and under trained as well, and boy did I suffer for it.
I will be a little more prepared this year as I've got about four 50k trail races under my belt, some longer training runs in, Bikram yoga, plus I will know a little more of what to expect (rivers, mountains, mud, food, heat, and everything else that race will chuck at you), and of course an all together better attitude. I have really fallen in love with the whole trail running/racing thing now, and continue to look forward to improving, learning, and meeting all the great people along the way. I really have to thank Jude Ultra, Rob Thompson, Paul McGowan and Mark Cryderman for all their help, support, encouragement, and generally changing my attitude into loving running, it really is what makes this sport so great.

Training last week went well, I did get a little behind a couple weeks back with that bad stomach flu (well, hopefully its all out of my system now for the big race). Did over 100km in 4 days with a couple run commutes to work and back, hill and stair reps, plus I even fitted a Bikram session and soccer game in there to (yep, my training is a little unorthodox).

I've also been getting things together for my upcoming run clinic's at the Delta New Balance shop starting Tuesday. Things are looking good (thanks Bro) and there does seem to be lots of interest as we get closer to the start date (really seems to be a last minute decision for lots of people). I'm looking forward to starting them again as I really do get inspired by all of the motivated runners.

Check out the 2012 coastal challenge link for race updates, and I'll do my best to update you guys as soon as I can. I do hope to get more consistent with my blog, share more about me, and  fill all of you in more with  all my adventures and stories. Well, time to pack and head down to some sunshine, warmth, oh yeah......and maybe a little suffering :). Ya Whooooooooooo!!!

Pura Vida, Chris Barth (hope that's spelled right, my Spanish not so good)

Saturday, 7 January 2012

Happy New Year

Wow, how time flies. So I decided to start the New Year off with a blast and run the Fat Ass 50k in Vancouver (only mildly hungover). I headed down with my son Brendan for what would turn out to be a perfect day for a run (they were calling for some pretty nasty weather), what a great supporter he was to come and cheer Dad on for a 50k out and back race. I did give him a break though and sent him to the aquarium to pass the time.
I arrived at 8am for the 9 start and was actually the first one there for once (I do have a habit of showing up just in the nick of time for races...saves me from sitting around getting nervous). I panicked a bit thinking I had the start wrong at Brockton Oval, so phoned up my friend Jude to double check, and of course she was running to the start from her place about 10km away (yep, that's why she's called an ultra runner).
There ended up close to being 100 keen people for the start. 

-stayed with the front group for the first km then settled into my sub 4hr pace with Craig (who turned out to be a great running partner for the race) as we wound our way through Stanley Park. We gradually pulled away from the group as we headed onto second beach.
-I didn't have a choice but to stay with Craig since I was clueless with the course route (what a great stragedy, eh?) and figured out it was just going to be a two man battle to the finish. We had great conversations along the way as he was hitting every water fountain along Jericho for a quick drink since he decided to bring no water (those South Africans are tough), this was great as it forced me to rest a bit.
-we got a little turned around in the endowment lands, but managed to make it to the turnaround ok. Really started to feel crappy on the way back (4x400metre track intervals the night before with the late night drinking probably didn't help). Now I was in trouble as I was just barely hanging on to Craig weaving through the road and trails knowing that if I got dropped I would never find my way back to the start.
-well at about 15k to go I could not hang on anymore and he slowly drifted ahead of me at Jericho. Noooooooooooo, I had to keep him in sight but boy was I slowing down quick, good thing he was wearing a bright white shirt so I could just focus on that in the distance (just in survival mode now, and thinking that 50k is a really long way to run).
-somehow I managed to miss the exit onto Burrard St. Bridge and backtrack back a bit. Once at the top I could look down on the seawall and already see Craig heading off in the distance. I was on my own now as I dodged the New Years resolution and polar bear swim crowds (all part of the experience). Good thing I remembered Craig saying to turn towards Lost lagoon to mile zero then towards Brockton VIA the lighthouse.
-To my surprise with less than 1km to go I could see Craig, so I got the eye of the tiger, picked it up a notch and caught him with less than 10 yards to go to the mighty fire hydrant. He more than deserved to kiss that fire hydrant before me since he was such an awesome tour guide and pacer. How do you tie after running 3hrs57min? Not too sure, but there was only one way to decide it......yep, that's right, first one in the fridged waters of the burrard inlet. Craig was more than willing to dive in first, wow do I hate cold water, but I couldn't let him show me up so I followed suit after a few deep breathes and jumped in, and out just as fast (that was almost as tough as the 50). Congrats Craig!
-turned out we were actually racing for second as I found out someone finished with a faster time, I guess anything can happen in the Fat Ass 50km and he must have bypassed us somewhere in those endowment land trails. All in all it was a great day and race (my first sub 4hr 50km), thanks Club Fat Ass and we'll see you next year.

Thanks for reading guy's and I'll get back soon on my prep for the upcoming Coastal Challenge Race on January 21.