Monday, November 16, 2009


In 48 hours, Steve and myself will be en route to Costa Rica and I can't tell you how excited I am! We signed up for a fairly new multi-day running race called La Transtica

We'll be running from one side of the country to the other so we should get to see lots of interesting countryside from the ground up. It's got a bit of everything; beach, rainforest, coffee plantations and dirt road. Plenty of elevation gain/loss and and lots of heat, humity, mud and possible rain ... my body won't know what's hit it! And instead of bears, cougars and wolves, it's got venomous frogs, snakes, jaguars and goodness knows what else! I hope I don't need to step off the trail for a poop at any stage because it might be ugly; it's a jungle out there!

The other great thing about the race is that there is a humanitarian aspect to it as we'll be helping to deliver medical and school supplies to the local villages that we pass through. I think that's neat as I'll be the first to admit that I get pretty self-absorbed with this running lark so it'll be good to be involved with helping others rather than being focussed on my own self.

It sounds like a unique event. The Race Director is French, as are most of the other runners, except for a half dozen Costa Ricans and one Aussie.. It was hard to know if to learn Spanish or brush up my French! Luckily, speaking Aussie comes naturally!

Anyway, wish us luck! I'll let you know how we get on once we're back.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The Wildest Dream

The Banff Mountain Book and Film Festival is one of my favourite local events. Located at The Banff Centre every November, the campus is transformed for the week with prayer flags hanging outside the buildings and world class adventurers and explorers catching up with old friends and swapping stories. I attended a talk by Chris Sharma who is probably the best sports climbers in the US, if not the world. And later saw Mike Fay who has just finished walking through the Redwoods in California.

I also bought a ticket to see Dean Karnazes who had been invited to the event to talk about his running accomplishments but I was disappointed; he's got a very polished act which I thought was cheesy and superficial. Nothing like I expected. I take my hat off to him for his athleticism but I wouldn't pay good money to see him speak again. However, the evening wasn't a total right-off as they were screening the premier of The Wildest Dream which is a beautiful documentary and well worth seeing. Below is the description of it.

In 1999, Conrad Anker discovered the frozen body of George Mallory on Mount Everest. For years afterward, he wondered about Mallory's quest for the summit. Mallory and his partner, Andrew Irvine, were last seen in 1924 only a few hundred meters from the summit. Had the pair tackled the Second Step successfully and made it to the top? How much was Mallory torn between his love for Everest and his love for his wife Ruth? What was it like to climb a mountain as cold and brutal as Everest in the relatively light, flimsy gear of the 1920s?

The Wildest Dream sets out to answer these questions with archival video footage of Mallory and Irvine on the mountain, love letters between Mallory and Ruth, and a bold attempt to reenact their bid for the summit by modern-day climbers Conrad Anker and Leo Houlding. The new National Geographic feature film got its premiere Canadian screening Saturday night at the Banff Mountain Film festival.