Thursday, November 30

Big Portions, Big Day

It has been a very long day. I was up at 3:30 this morning in order to get to the airport by 5:00 so that I could catch my 6:00 flight. Damn icy roads! Unfortunately for me, due to the runway being 80% covered with ice and the plane having to be de-iced for over 2 hours I didn't leave until... 11:00. Wow!

After arriving in Seattle I hopped on three trains, rushing to my connection only to be told there was a mechanical problem with the plane resulting in me being delayed for another 2h30... it was a long day. That said, I did enjoy a comfort of home (a great Chai Latte in Starbucks).

Arrived at the hotel (Holiday Inn, very nice people, letting me use their computer) only to find Ally knocking at our room door 10 minutes after I arrived. The catch? Ally had to work today and left Victoria at 2:00 p.m. The lesson? I should always travel with her:(

Managed to get in yet "another" run on a treadmill, but only because were staying right downtown and it was dark when I arrived. That said the hotel athletic center is fantastic, one could hold a training camp in there. The treadmill was state of the art and was far faster then I could handle (I stopped at 12 m.p.h.). Tomorrow I'm running on a bike path just across the street, no treadmills I promise.

Just came back from dinner, Fat City in Old Town Sacramento (very cool place with cobble stone streets and wooden boardwalks). It is the only place where when ordering a pasta dinner I had more chicken then pasta, you wouldn't believe it if I showed you a picture.

Tomorrow I go for an easy run, a few strides and then pick up my race packet. Oh yeah, tomorrow I also decide on the pace I want to go out, but... more on that tomorrow. Until later then, enjoy Kitangus this weekend and have a Guinness for me, buggers!

Ciao for now!

Wednesday, November 29

Searching for 10.0 +

If I keep this up for an additional 28 days to the passer-by it may seem a habit, or conceivably a vice (it’s a matter of perspective isn’t it). Today was my last workout, and it was to be short and sweet. The plan was to sharpen the legs, get them turning over, but unfortunately I wasn’t going out on the roads:

20' wup, workout at 1% grade: mile (11 mph), 2' jog, 1/2 mile (11.4 mph), 2' jog, mile (11 mph), 10' wdn

Towards the end of yesterday’s workout I played with the treadmill, I was curious to see how fast I could go… it could go. Regrettably all the treadmills at the YMCA are capped at 10.0 (6’ mile pace). Bugger. After some research, I discovered that several of recreation centres have treadmills capable of going 5'/mile pace. Commonwealth (about 5), Henderson (2), Gordon Head (2), Cedar Hill (2) but as a rule prohibit intervals, Crystal Pool (1) busted as of last week and Oak Bay (about 4). I planned to go Recreation Oak Bay (ROB).

I had never been to ROB in the morning (5:48 a.m.), having to wait at the bottom of the stairs with 15 of my closest early morning enthusiasts. Much like yesterday, made my way upstairs, disrobed, pressed start and jumped on. There were at least four of us, our reflections cast out over the road almost teasing me. Come on, I dare you. I felt like an ethereal spirit, my face undistinguishable, just the clip of feet holding me to this world. With detached enjoyment I started the workout; there was no sense of speed, no wind in my face, just the ceaseless whir of the machine. The exercise came and went.

When I left the building I looked back over my shoulder, there was a line of people running and going nowhere, conceivably a nightmare, but in amongst them there was a space, one treadmill was idle. I was glad to be finished. I pulled my toque down further and turned back around.

P.s. Watched Saint Ralph last night (again), a fantastically inspirational movie! There is no doubt that I’m in great shape and should I race as well as I’ve been training… it is pretty reassuring to know that you really don't need to do anything more spectacular than you have been doing.

Tuesday, November 28

Brass Monkey, That Funky Monkey

I did something this morning that I haven’t done since the spring of 1997 and something that while living in Victoria I thought I’d never do again, I ran on a treadmill. Given the current inclement weather and slippery roads conditions, I was warned to be careful.

“The risks of stressing muscles or having a fall this close to the race are just too high. You should use a treadmill for the next few days. Fortunately, the runs will be short.”

With yesterday a scheduled day off, I was to run 45’ today. Prior to going to bed last night, I went online and checked the schedule for the YMCA, they opened at 5:30. Perfect.

I’m not sure of the exact point at which the monkey’s tails becomes at risk of freezing, but as I stepped outside this morning at 5:28 a.m. on my way downtown it was bitterly cold and the wind didn’t help.

Bundled up, I tentatively made my way down the middle of the street. This wasn’t too bad, it was cold and the wind brisk but… whooah. Alright then, to the Y it is. It took me 6’ to get there, paid the nice man at the front desk and then made my way upstairs. Disrobed, pressed start and jumped on. I felt I was going reasonably quick (8.2) given my HR so I increased the elevation (1.5) and settled into a very, very boring groove for a long 35’. I looked longingly outside… across the road… past the old church, I wished I was out there, running.

Total time today was 45:03, AHR 130, AHR while on the treadmill 139.

Monday, November 27

Snow Day

Closed the bedroom door last night with the cat (Timone) on the other side, felt I needed a peaceful night’s rest… I succeeded in having a relaxing sleep.

Woke up this morning to find it had snowed, a lot. I bundled up and went to work only to find I was one of few, one of the minority that made it in. I spent most of the day lost in thought, distracted, unfocused, preoccupied, trying to decide how best to get to Seattle and more importantly Sacramento.

The predicament… I’ve booked return confirmed flights from Seattle to Sacramento and decided to fly stand-by from Victoria to Seattle (don’t ask, it’s a long story but ended up saving me a lot of money). Back to the quandary, today, because of the snow, all the flights from Victoria to Seattle were canceled. Bugger. Given the forecast on Thursday is calling for a 90% chance of rain or snow, SE winds at 10 km/h with a high of 3C and a low of -2C, the day I had planned on flying out, should I:

a) Take my chances flying stand-by on Thursday afternoon possibly missing my connection in Seattle;
b) Buy confirmed tickets from Victoria but inevitably still roll the dice concerning my connection;
c) Leave on the 5 p.m. Clipper to Seattle on Wednesday night, spent an evening “Sleepless in Seattle”;
d) Drive down the I-5 to Seattle, leaving the car there; or
e) None of the above.

My mind is still spinning.

Perhaps my bewilderment stems from the fact that I haven’t run today. Like most of the preceding Monday’s, today was a scheduled day off. Unfortunately, running calms me and given my decreasing volume of running and I’m beginning to feel restless. Double bugger.

Okay, I’m off to shovel the girl’s car out from behind a small snow bank and perhaps run a few strides up the street. Perhaps.

Epsom salt bath. Stretch. Bed.

Sunday, November 26

Winter Wonderland (Victoria, B.C.)

When I woke this morning I reached over and furtively pulled aside the curtain looking to see if it had snowed, I was disappointed, not unlike a child waking up on Christmas to discover it was the 24th. After spending so many formative years of my childhood in the Canadian North, snow is synonymous with Christmas for me, you can’t have one without the other. “It’s okay”, I told myself reassuringly, “there are 30 more days until Saint Nick comes, still time”.

Up, grabbed the paper, fed cat, put the kettle on, coffee in the bodum, bread in the toaster and sat down to start the Sunday Sudoku. I think it was while finishing my second cup of Grizzly Claw (Kicking Horse Coffee), that it started to snow. Bonus.

I helped the Missus finish putting up some Christmas decorations and then called a friend to see if he was up for keeping me company on today’s run, he was. I bundled up, headed outside and made my way up the street. The plan was to make our way in the direction of a particular links course, “with its breathtaking seaside scenery and craggy coastline”, child’s play. Had we followed through with our plan, we might have jumped on at 17, run over 1, 12 and 11, crossed the road, up 3, 4, 5, 6, and 10 and out to the tee box at 9, Gibraltar. It would be at this point, with the wind whipping the snow horizontally across our faces and the large grey waves breaking onto a craggy outcrop that we most likely would have retraced our steps. Most likely.

The run was bittersweet; although incredibly enjoyable my friend had an untimely exit as a nagging grievance reared its ugly head. For those reading outside of B.C. (Saudi Arabia, Indonesia and Mexico) and unfamiliar with snow, enjoy the picture. 1:07, AHR 134, AHR 155.

Saturday, November 25

Seven Days and Counting

The run today was pretty straight forward, 20’ easy, 15’ at marathon pace/effort followed by a 10’ cool down. After a leisurely morning, one cup of coffee, Saturday’s Sudoku and 20’ of stretching, I opened the door and was greeted to an arctic air. Apparently it was +1C, with 25km/h SE winds making it feel like -1C. After living in Yellowknife for seven years it reminded me of winter; I was loving it.

I jogged down Linden to the water, turned right along Dallas toward Beacon Hill for a leisurely loop of the park (could’ve sworn I saw a fast moving Finn in the woods, perhaps an apparition). I noticed my HR was elevated on each rise, ouch, but I’m sure that not getting to bed until 2:30 a.m. didn’t play in my favour. After reaching the start of the mile loop I hit lap and quickly settled into my groove:

1st mile, 5:58, AHR 153, MAX 159
2nd mile, 5:57, AHR 158, MAX 161
Last 3’, 3:01, AHR 159, MAX 161

I definitely didn’t feel spry and was happy not to be racing Sacramento today. That said, I was pleased to see that I found my pace with relative ease (unlike a few weeks back where I opened in a 5:40). The total running time today was 46:33, AHR 143, MAX 161.

After the run Jim, Ally & I headed out to Thetis to watch the 22nd Annual Harriers Gunner Shaw Memorial Cross Country Classic.

Prior to the race start I was able to catch up with a few old friends, the infamous Padraig McCluskey currently completing his residency here in town and Alex Coffin, former Manager of the Running Room, visiting this weekend from the Maritimes. Alex ran the Marathon by the Sea in Saint John N.B., August 13th of this year.

Considering the reputation and history of today’s event the weather didn’t disappoint as it was cool, threatening to snow, and the puddles were overflowing. According to one friend who stepped off the beaten path, the puddles were deep enough to have her swimming, nice one Claire. It was great fun being able to cheer on one’s friends… congratulations Rumon, Larry, Brad, Alex and everyone else participating.

Friday, November 24


This morning I was reminded of something that at times I think we overlook as adults, childish abandonment of all things sensible; the idea of wading into a puddle with absolute disregard to the water level and corresponding height of your boots. Jack didn’t care whether he got wet, not when there was excitement to be had. His behavior also surprised me when he inevitably fell face first in the pond. Although shocked, with modest encouragement he was on his feet and standing proud. Life for him is fun and adventure.

I headed out the two by four this afternoon with this mornings memories still strong, trading Chris Botti for Josh Ritter, and a goal of running off the beaten path, off the worn trails and instead through the grassy fields, connecting urban pathways and lost alleys. Apart from my left heel being a tad tight the legs felt cracker and my body was ready to race. The outing totaled a relaxing 30:51, AHR, 136, MAX 151.

Note: For those running tomorrow’s self-described, “all trails, many tough hills, rocky, rough, always wet course with roots, rocks, stumps, puddles, branches & boulders - no whining!” fall classic, have fun!

Enough of my blathering…

Thursday, November 23

Chris Botti, Again

After a restless sleep I woke up this morning happy to find my legs in amazingly good spirits. The inside of my left heal has been giving me a varying degree of grief the last 2 months and although it had settled down, I wasn’t surprised to see it aggravated slightly given the workout last night. To help settle things down, I managed to get in another massage, this time with Lindsay (James Bay Chiropractic & Massage). After an hour long, 45’ massage (thanks Lindsay) I left with the pins feeling relaxed.

This evening I was scheduled for an easy run and with the holiday season fast approaching I again slipped in Chris Botti’s December and kicked about the neighborhood for and easy 30:51.

P.s. For those of you living in and around the Capital Regional District be sure to checkout tomorrow’s Times Colonist, rumor has it that a local athlete (& promising young writer) has composed an article concerning this weekend’s Gunner Shaw Cross Country Classic 10-k.

Christmas Lights: 6 set

Wednesday, November 22

Yasso 800

The workout this evening: 20' warm up, 10x800m with 2' rest run at 5-10k effort, 20' warm down. This was my last hard session and I was instructed to “train, don't race, but run hard”. I wasn’t quite sure what that meant but figured I’d leave the contemplation to the track.

I was very excited when I first saw this workout, I love 800s.

After one of my training partners pulled the plug to attend a hair show (don’t ask, he better have a good reason) I sent an email out looking for company. A friend,
Brad, replied informing me that he couldn’t make it but pointed out that I was doing the Yasso 800s. Wait a minute; this workout had a name… my excitement quickly turned to apprehension. I only know one named workout and it is spoken by better runners then I with hushed reverence (The Michigan). What was I getting myself into?

I was dropped off early at the track with my flats in hand. Running unaccompanied wasn’t to be as shortly after I arrived Judith pulled up and I was also pleasantly surprised to see a Mr.
Rumon Carter, the man himself pull in (the buoys are back in town).

We jogged around Ring Road twice to warm up, changed into our flats, and stretched the legs striding up and down the back stretch. We discussed strategy for a bit, Rumon was going to lead Judith, and then toed the line. I had initially considered running 2:44 to 2:40, but after reading up on Yasso I thought I’d see how the body found the first quarter and then adjust accordingly. This was supposed to help predict my marathon right?

After opening in a 0:36 200, I could hearing Rumon calling at me to pace my self. A furtive grin crept over my face, it was going to be one of those nights and I was to love every stride. I opened in a 2:36 and decided to set the bar there. I was amazed how effortless the first four were, scarcely breathing hard and my HR dropping below 130 in a few paces. It was after the 5th one that I was conscious that it was taking me 50m to recover… so this is how it works. The last three were fantastic, I felt like I was in the closing stretches of my own race. I was intently aware of my surroundings, my breathing, the one dark puddle at the north end of the track, the breeze hitting your face before turning in front of the stands… the last few strides. The scores (time, AHR, MAX):

1 2:36 (162, 169)
2 2:35 (161, 169)
3 2:35 (162, 169)
4 2:36 (162, 170)
5 2:35 (163, 170)
6 2:34 (160, 171)
7 2:33 (163, 172)
8 2:33 (164, 171)
9 2:33 (163, 171)
10 2:30 (163, 172)

I couldn’t have had a better workout, on a more enjoyable fall evening, or with better friends.
My Average Time for the 800s: 2:34

Tuesday, November 21

I Own This Street

It was a tad crisp when I stepped outside for my run this evening, but more enjoyably it wasn’t raining. My intention was to see how many sets of Christmas lights I could find and to put me in the mood I had loaded up the shuffle with Chris Botti’s December.

The legs felt energized and clicked over effortlessly, jogging down Linden toward the park, I love tapering. I received the weeks schedule last night and was smiling as I read through the events, it dawned on me that all the hard work was behind and it was time to get ready for the Grand Old Party.

I skirted the park and then headed toward Ross Bay Cemetery, toward an all too familiar street. You see, I own this street. Not because I live there (we live three blocks west) but because shortly after 6:00 p.m. this evening I was the fastest runner present. There exists an old bollard at one end preventing cars from coming down the east end. Just in front, a yellow 12 foot square, my starting block. About 100m down the street on the right hand side a basketball hoop and the space in-between… is mine.

The last few weeks my right gluteus/hamstring has been bothering me intermittently and although I was aware of it tonight I wasn’t concerned. I put my head down, leaned forward until gravity took over and kicked in the overdrive. Tonight I did six strides and they felt progressively faster, I was happily surprised not to feel the ill effects from Sunday’s race. The scores on the boards: 46:01, AHR 141.

Christmas Lights: 1 set

Monday, November 20

Rest and Recovery

Well, after volunteering to baby-sit for a good friend this evening I received a phone call just after getting home to find out that my services were no longer required. It turns out that Joe wasn’t feeling well and as a result, we, are going to the symphony! Karma, providence, fortune… what goes around comes around, thanks Joe.

“What does going to the symphony have to do with running?”

Nothing specifically, but today, like the previous ten Mondays, is a day off, i.e., no running. Therefore, attending the symphony this evening will only aid in my rest and recovery (both physical and mental). It was soon after completing my first Ironman in 1995 that I fully comprehended the benefits of proper recovery. There was no coincidence in my trying to get a leg up on training for the subsequent year (two weeks after finishing Ironman Canada) and being diagnosed with mono the following week. We live and learn.

Proper recovery is crucial in allowing your body to absorb the work you’ve been putting in. Not only did I have a scheduled day off to aid in my post race recovery, I also had an appointment with my witchdoctor. Janet works as a massage therapist at James Bay Chiropractic & Massage and saved me from what I thought might become a huge setback while I was training for Ottawa earlier this year. Since then, and as the volume of running increases, I’ve been scheduling regular sessions (it also helps to compensate for my lack of stretching). Don’t get me wrong, Janet’s a wonderful woman but the treatment she imparts doesn’t leave you with that warm fuzzy feeling (not at least until she stops). Most sessions involve her laughing, perhaps at me, while I squirm face down trying to reposition myself so that she cannot reach what ever body part she is working. After 45 minutes today, my shins and right gluteus were singing her praises.

The previous week was pretty solid, 7h17 (approximately 63 miles) of running, just over 70% of my maximum volume, with 12% quality, e.g., races, intervals, hills. Tomorrow, irun.

Sunday, November 19

Evening Run 11/19/06

Just returned from a delicious Sunday dinner at the little sisters. Who would’ve thought salmon and prosciutto would make a good such an agreeable pairing? I didn’t, but why would I ever doubt my sister.

On the way home from the race, and with my legs feeling… tender, I decided to stop in at London Drugs and buy myself some Epsom salts. The jury, my jury, is still out on the benefits of the salt bath but I’m not prepared to forego any potential benefits just yet. Lucky for both of us I thought I’d do a little investigative research. Previously unknown to me, studies show that benefits from the major components of Epsom Salt may:

Ease stress and improves sleep and concentration
Help muscles and nerves function properly (nice)
Regulate activity of 325+ enzymes (didn’t know I had that many)
Help prevent artery hardening and blood clots
Make insulin more effective
Reduce inflammation to relieve pain and muscle cramps (okay, now we’re getting somewhere, I like this one)
Improve oxygen use

Flush toxins
Improve absorption of nutrients (does that imply vitamin G would be better absorbed while in the bath?)
Help form joint proteins, brain tissue and mucin proteins
Help prevent or ease migraine headaches

After the bath then, and prior to dinner, I laced up my reserve shoes and headed back out the door. I bee lined for the waterfront to take advantage of the grass along the coast. Looped around Clover Point, said hello to Terry as I skirted the edge of BHP (it was dark) and slowly retraced my steps home. It was a pleasant night and a relaxing way to end the day; the stars shining, a warm (really) breeze coming off the water and Simon & Garfunkel playing in my ear. The legs were feeling surprisingly good, really, who would’ve guessed. At one point I even enjoyed the company of a young Great Dane as he bounded haphazardly beside me, tongue wagging.

39:59 easy, AHR not applicable (it was easy and I was supposed to shake out the legs).

Morning Run 11/19/06

It dawned on me as I was driving out to the race, “drafting behind a lean, perhaps skeletal runner might be as fruitful as applying Hawaiian Tropic SPF 2 to stop you from burning”. It’s just not going to happen. As best laid plans usually end up, I needn’t have heeded the wind warning but perhaps the race organizers might have considered a TREACHEROUS TERRAIN WARNING, wow.

After signing up for the race I asked one of the
organizers to point me in the direction of the course so that I could get a taste of things to come. Finishing my 20’ warm-up, including 4’ at or near race pace, I decided to change “out of” my flats and into my trainers as I was going to need all the cushioning I could get if I was hoping to arrive in Sacramento in one piece.

The course is scenic and had the concrete cart path been substituted for a chip trail this runner would’ve been that much happier. My plan was to take the first few kilometers (and hills) comfortably and then put the hammer down at the 6-k mark. Unfortunately unbeknownst to me, also at 6-k was an unbelievably (Mount Finlayson like) hill that wielded a bigger hammer. Bugger.

In retrospect I am pleased with the race and felt very solid throughout, not fast, but relaxed. I did start comfortably and eased into the first 3-k (the hilliest part of the course) deciding to instead concentrate on turnover, love those baby steps, rather then grunt up the hills. I continually passed people during the first 5-k and moved up from 14th to 8th. I passed runner number 7 at 6-k only to listen to his deafening footsteps for the remaining 15 minutes. Zach ensured I wasn’t going to coast to the finish line. My
final time was 37:29 good for 7th overall and 3rd in my age group (M3039). Coincidently I ran the same pace, 3:45 km, which I hope to hold for Sacramento.

I ran, 1h59 this morning (did an easy 61’ as part of my cool down) and my splits for the race are as follows (km, time, AHR, MAX):

1-k 3:23 (156, 165)
2-k 4:03 (165, 168)
3-k 4:35 (166, 168)
4-k 3:18 (164, 168)
5-k 3:32 (165, 167)
6-k 3:27 (163, 166)
7-k 4:15 (164, 167)
8-k 3:41 (160, 165)
9-k 3:27 (161, 164)
10-k 3:45 (164, 167)

Until later then…

The Wind at Your Back (and in Your Face)

The good news is we’re to receive merely 1-3mm of rain this morning, Sunday morning. The bad news is I’m racing on the summit of a local mountain and there is a WIND WARNING for Greater Victoria.

I can hear Annie Lennox now, “Here comes the rain again, raining in my head like a tragedy…”, you know the song.

Okay, just like the guy next to me I could use a little help a times, and a stiff wind at my back makes me feel like I’m flying. Trouble is, when you’re not running a point to point (not to be confused with a pint to pint, thanks RC) route, I’ve only described half the battle, and there exists… the other half, the back half. And it turns out that Mother Nature tends to the fickle side: a headwind slows you down more than a tailwind speeds you up.

“Studies have determined that a 10 mph tailwind will nudge you ahead about 5 percent faster, while a 10 mph headwind slows you down by about 8 percent.” My strategy then, lean into the wind, and stay as relaxed as possible… conserve energy. And there's always drafting.

I'd best finish my coffee and prepare to leave (have to hit the bank on the way out there, forgot to register).

Until later then...

Saturday, November 18

Strides – and One Huge Step Backwards by Athletics Canada

Two items of interest and I’ll begin with the one of most import or possibly, absurdity, take your pick.

Athletics Canada announced today the selection criteria for the 2007 IAAF World Championships taking place in Osaka, Japan August 25 to September 2. What they were thinking is still a mystery, something along the lines of the Da Vinci Code perhaps?

Of interest to me are the new standards for the men’s marathon:

  • A 2:11:34,

  • B+ 2:13:03; and

  • B 2:14.13.
To put it in context for those (myself included) where achieving those times might best be done on a bike, going downhill, with a slight tailwind… to attain the Canadian men's A standard one would have to run the fifth fastest time in Canadian marathon history and when compared to past world championship results would have guaranteed an individual winning seven of the ten world championship marathons.

Yeah… that's what I thought.

On a more unsurprising topic, I ran this morning. Seamus saved me from what would have been a mindless effort, following what is now a worn path, a large rectangle around the neighborhood. Rather, we set out on the grass along Dallas Road, hooked through Beacon Hill Park to the cricket pitch where I stretched the legs (4x strides) in anticipation of tomorrows
Bear Moutnain10-k. I’m uncertain about the race as Seamus was told it would be challenging and should he not partake he would wake Monday morning the fastest harrier in Victoria as all the other top dogs would be injured.

The statistics - 33:10, AHR 138, MAX 158 apparently I also burned 380 calories. Coincidently a pint of Guinness has 190 calories, therefore I ran two Guinness today (in some circles known as a Bird). Let me anticipate your next question, “isn’t Guinness is high in vitamin G?” Unfortunately, there is no vitamin G! However, the folklore surrounding Guinness has often lead to it being called vitamin G.

Recommended Daily Allowance: 3 pints a day.

Friday, November 17

Setting the Stage

After racing Ottawa in late May I proceeded to thoroughly enjoy my summer with relaxing vacations in Maui, Mexico and a return trip to Ontario. Maui hadn't been a top ten destination but with the clear tropical water, warming sunshine and vacant beaches I was hooked. And Toronto, okay it wasn’t a holiday but while there I attended my first Major League game complete with hot dogs, beer and cantankerous fans (they lost).

Coincidentally training for Sacramento and summer vacation began in the same place, Maui, although four months adrift. While there in September, I snuck out of bed early each morning and enjoyed the cool(er) air before the events of the day were set in motion that once started were not to be interrupted with running. That said, while there I participated in the
Maui Half Marathon and loved every minute of it (I'll save that one for another day).

The subsequent nine weeks weren’t as tropical but filled instead with an increasing volume of running that at times has left my shattered. The last two weeks have been no exception:

  • October 30 to November 5 – peak overall volume, 10h07 running, approx. 89 miles
  • November 6 to 12 – peak quality volume, 8h40 running, approx. 75 miles

This week, November 13 to 19 continued where the previous two ended:

Monday – Day off. Felt okay, didn’t stretch… I really need to though; I should begin tomorrow.

Tuesday – 62’ easy run with
Seamus, kept him company on his way to UVic to coach his run group. Left him near Ring Rd., ah, my old stomping grounds. Picked up the pace a tad on the return journey via Foul Bay. Legs felt okay but the body was tired, when do I start to taper? AHR 134, pre run HR 41

Wednesday – 1h23 with 1600, 5’ E, 2x (5x300, 100 float), 3’ between sets, 800 hard. It was a blustery evening, but I felt solid, better then I expected: 5:14, (:53, :57, :56, :55, :57), (:55, :56, :56, :57, :57), 2:27. What impressed me most on the evening was Sylvan, I'll let him tell his tale.

Thursday – TIRED. I need more time in the day so that I can nap. Dragged the body up Rockland, then Richmond up toward UVic, up and over Tolmie and then back once again via Foul Bay (a creature of habit). It was my first time in what seemed like years that I’d run up Tolmie and the views didn’t disappoint. Upset stomach, some things never change.

Friday – 31’ easy. Legs felt f-a-n-t-a-s-t-i-c unfortunately I wasn’t mentally in the game. Was supposed to run 40’ easy but I had a date with a hot girl and mouth watering Guinness, both waiting for me at the Penny. “You sit back in the darkness, nursing your beer, breathing in that ineffable aroma of the old-time pub: dark wood, spilled beer and ancient whiskey”.

Okay, a rather abbreviated tale but the stage is set… tomorrow I run.

There and Back Again, a Runner's Tale

"So you're going to go through with it, then."

"I am, I've been planning this for a long time. It'll give me something to talk about for the next nine days - or ninety-nine, more likely. Anyway, at least I'll have my race."

Traveling "there and back again" assumes a) you know where you're starting from, b) you have a vague idea for a destination and c) once finished, you'll want to revisit where it all began. Having not trained for a marathon since
Vancouver 1996 (03:02:00) I decided this spring to return to my beginning/ending and strike out on a fresh path in an attempt to see how fast I can run 26 miles 385 yards, my destination (again).

2006 ING Ottawa Marathon proved to establish the foundation, 2:45:29.4. And now, I've set out to find that place, there. For weeks now, I've been running around the peninsula preparing for the Grand Old Party. Tempo sessions at Beacon Hill Park following in hoof tracks long since faded, countless miles on the gridiron and painfully seductive sessions at the hands of my masseuse in an attempt to change, becoming fast(er).

To borrow a phrase from John L. Parker, "The Trial of Miles; Miles of Trials."

At 7:00 a.m., December 3rd, I will be toeing the line to compete in the 24th annual
California International Marathon. This is my account of the lead up to the race and subsequent journey in my efforts, there.