Wednesday, February 28

Climate Change Sucks!

I hate running in the morning. Okay, that’s a bit of an exaggeration, more accurately then, my stomach hates running on weekday mornings; I’ve yet to figure that one out.

Ally was off ridiculously early this morning, which made getting up at 6:00 that much easier. My feet were sore, so I made my way for the waterfront and ran what I could on the grass. It was bloody brisk along Dallas, -1C, with that damn wind again.

I headed west through the dog park and then looped back up through Beacon Hill Park a couple times. After about 30’ my legs started to wake up and the stiffness faded. On the way home I pulled off onto a side street to stretch the legs out, wow, why hadn’t I done this earlier, they felt smooth.


This evening… I don’t even know where to begin. Thinking back, there were times when I’d dread a workout like this, today, I was curious. I checked the weather before heading out, it was reportedly +5C, I thought I dressed accordingly.

I leisurely warmed up for 20’ making my way to BHP. I didn’t want to run 10x mile, but thought I’d periodically return to the park, ensuring I was on pace. I hit start and set out at a comfortable tempo hitting the mile loop after about 5’, 5:45 (158, 162). I returned 10’ later and clocked 2 miles at 5:50 (157, 162) & 5:56 (156, 162). Leaving the park again, I headed west into James Bay for 20’, returning for a closing 2 miles, 5:55 (156, 162) & 5:45 (159, 161).

The kicker though, during the last 15’ of my run, and almost exactly as I started the last mile… it started to snow (MASSIVE flakes)! I returned home to find Ally had prepared dinner with a mixed bottle of Gatorade on the table, I owe her huge this evening. It took me a good two hours to warm up; I was so cold I even wore my toque in the tub when I had my epsom salt bath!

A.M. a meandering 50:57 with 4x strides
P.M. a wintry 1:28:05 with 60’ at 5:45-5:55 pace, AHR 147, MAX 187. Don’t know where that MHR came from (101% of max). It’s probably inaccurate, but if not most likely during the last 5’ when out of nowhere a little rat dog tried to bite me, if I had half an ounce of energy…

Tuesday, February 27

It's Only 26.2 Miles

With the daylight growing longer, I set out for this evenings run feeling fantastic. I know I’ve run throughout the day several times this month, but today seemed special. I’m not complaining, but it definitely wasn’t the temperature as it was only 5C on top of a cold north wind (I didn’t dress warmly enough). However, with the profusion of sunlight, colours jump out (and thankfully nothing else). Whatever the reason, I enjoyed it.

I’d stashed an empty handheld water bottle up near UVic on my recent long run and set out to retrieve it, via Mount Tolmie. The run up there cruised by effortlessly; it always amazes me when your feeling good during marathon training how 10’ block pass by in seconds.

With bottle in hand, I turned back, looping through the Uplands. My legs had felt fine up until this point, which I was pleased with. I imagined myself a weather-warn freight train, but one still with a lot of momentum. After about 55’ though my left hamstring cramped, nothing that caused me to stop, but I eased back for a 100m and reflected on the similar experience I’d received during the CIM. Perhaps I hadn’t replenished my electrolytes since Sunday’s jaunt? I’m considering this a blessing, and a useful reminder to rehydrate. Now if I can only remember what Jim recommended.

A few days back I came across an interesting Running Times
article written by Jonathan Beverly. Have you ever wondered how many miles you need to run in order to race a marathon (pace dependent)? Long runs; how far and what pace? How much speedwork? Jonathan draws from Mark Conover, Jack Daniels, Mark Winitz, and yes Galloway, as he attempts to collate a response.

Apparently I’m running too much.

Training: 1:14:07, AHR 136, MAX 158 (one down, eight to go)

Monday, February 26

London Week #4 (56 days and counting)

The last seven days comprised my first “easy” week in my current marathon-training schedule, and I thoroughly enjoyed them. After coming off a relatively big week, the first few days were more reminiscent to the end of a taper, my legs were great… but then reality set in alongside a lack of sleep, which didn’t assist with the rest and recovery.

This next week will be a test of my endurance and fortitude with a heavy volume week scheduled (100% max) coupled with another long run (100% max). In preparation, I’ve stocked up on Epsom salts and aromatic foambath (hops and bergamot extract – for a restful & calming feeling).

I managed to stretch and perform my achilles exercises 3 or 4 days which is an improvement on last week. Total time on the feet was 7h01’, approx. 100km (63 miles).

Monday: day off
Tuesday: a steady 40:53
Wednesday: 49:04, AHR 138
Thursday: a smooth 59:43, AHR 137
Friday: 1:29:04, with 8x (4’ H, 2’ E)

Saturday: easy 30:20 (tight calves)
Sunday: a hard fought 2:32:31, approx. 35.2 km (6:57 pace/mi)

Ally planted a bulb a few weeks back and it has since blossomed into a flower, the likes of which I’ve never seen before, it’s mammoth. What’s more amazing, is given the recent inclement weather I’m surprised the growth hasn’t been stunted.

Sunday, February 25


Apparently, I’m a slow learner. Last night, actually early this morning, I once again found myself weaving my way home after spending the evening with the boys at our favourite pub. Unsurprisingly then, the prospect of this mornings 22 miler was rather disheartening.

Not wanting to delay the inevitable, I headed out into an unsettle morning. I knew I was in for a rough one when the first 10’ were more reminiscent of the final 10’ from last weeks long run. A creature of habit in times like this I sought out familiar terrain, getting out of town on the Goose and Lochside trails, around Mount Doug and this time up Ash, hugging the waterfront down by Cadboro Bay and back through the Uplands.

After half an hour, my legs and energy level hadn’t improved but they didn’t worsen either. With two GUs, I spread them out at 50’ and 1h40’.

Despite feeling less then stellar, I enjoyed the methodical, straightforward numbness that my mind had settled into… everything was nonnegotiable.

While cruising along Beach, at the end of the run I remember checking my watch. Only a moment later, I passed by a mailbox to turn and see a demonic, undead black cat with wings jump out toward me. Too tired for words and more intent on conserving energy, I let I silent and unimpressive “whoa” echo through my head, while leaping sideways. I turned back to see the cat had turned into a pile of black rocks… must remember to hydrate and store that conversation I had yesterday with my brother about gargoyles in the far recesses of my mind.

Training: a hard fought 2h32’31”, approx. 35.2 km at 6:57 pace/mi

Saturday, February 24

Working (it)

Plodding home from the office yesterday, the last thing on my mind was a Friday afternoon workout; who sets this schedule? I’d been down the pub the night before with the boys trading stories and having a laugh. Unfortunately, at the end of the night I found myself walking home three sheets to the wind and morning rolled around far too early. I only have myself to blame.

As luck would have it though, Brad volunteered to keep me company, and I’ll be forever obliged. The workout, 8x (4’ H, 2’ E) at 5km - 8km pace. Not wanting to stroll too far from home I decided to head to Beacon Hill Park and run the mile loop. We started at the crosswalk near the Petting Zoo, and ran the first interval hard for 4’, pulling up perpendicular to a 30 km/h signpost (this was to be our finish line in an effort to keep us honest). From there we completed the loop, jogging back to the start in the remaining 2’ (therefore, 8x mile on 6’ with 4’ H, 2’ E).

[Brad ran the last interval at pace clocking a 5:27, therefore 1600m in 327”, which means we were covering approximately 1175m in our 240”, assuming my math is right]

The first 1 felt effortless, almost too easy, the next 4 okay. I started to come apart on 6 & 7 and I was very happy and proud to finish the last one… 9.3 km at 5km - 8km pace, done as dinner. It seems that, a 5:27 mi/pace corresponds to a 16:56 5-k; perhaps I was doing the intervals a tad fast? My splits were as follows (time, AHR, MAX):

3:59 (158, 165)
4:00 (161, 165)
4:03 (161, 164)
4:04 (161, 165)
4:04 (161, 164)
4:05 (163, 166)
4:05 (164, 166)
4:03 (162, 165)

After making it home, I didn’t have much time to spare and my calves were not pleased with the result. Ally kindly whipped up some great homemade chicken strips while I showered and then we dashed down to the McPherson Playhouse to see my
friend (and fellow London bound runner) star in a fundraiser based on the book Working by Studs Terkel.

"The hopes, dreams, joys and concerns of the average worker are the focus of this unique, extraordinary musical".

The kicker… he was r-e-a-l-l-y good, and has a fantastic stage voice… who knew!

Friday – 1:29:04, 8x (4’ H, 2’ E)
Saturday – an easy 30:20 (tight calves)

Thursday, February 22

His name is Alexander

I had to work late again this evening; while in a meeting, I found myself staring out the window at the setting sun, watching the long golden rays colour the room… yearning to be out running.

It struck me odd then, when arriving home I discovered my enthusiasm was back at the office (arrg, hardly fair). The last thing I wanted to do now was run; perhaps it was listening to the Cure on the walk home. I think I managed to slip into a pool of bitterness, wallowing in depression and for whatever reason I found it comforting at the time. That was going to have to end.

I quickly dumped the Cure from the Shuffle and loaded Save Ferris, an old favourite Ska Band. From there I let, routine take over and without much protest, I was out the door and standing on the sidewalk. We reached a compromise though; the body would see me through the run and I promised not to push too hard.

From there it was up Rockland, twisting through Brighton and before I knew it, I was bounding down the old stone steps toward Narnia (it’s an old lamppost at the end of a narrow path). I even managed to rouse a chuckle from two girls I’d passed. It was either a) the result of my foolish hurdling or b) my baggy, not so tight, tights… “looses” as Ally calls them (thanks Carter, she’s been amused for almost two weeks now).

Before I knew it, I was feeling great, and bounced out onto Beach Drive almost directly in front of a fountain I’d desperately needed a few weeks back. I took a few seconds to catch my breath, and have a sip of water… and this time, note his entire name - Alexander Ian MacMillan. That is twice now I’ve thought of him, I wonder if he was an Al, Alex or Alexander.

Training: a comfortable and smooth 59:43, AHR 137, MAX 169

P.s. Lawrence, it’s nothing spectacular, but it got me thinking, check

Wednesday, February 21

Goal Setting

“The greatest danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it”.

My coach sent me an interesting article on goal setting today. The methodology prescribed was nothing I haven’t heard before, however, it was the category of goals discussed that peaked my interest.

Outcome Goals are those that focus on the end-result of a competition that depends on how well you perform compared to opponents. Control Level = LOW, since the actions and behaviours of your competitors cans significantly impact whether or not you achieve your goal.

Performance Goals are those that focus on achieving a certain standard of performance or an objective measure that is comparable to your own previous results. Control Level = MEDIUM to HIGH, since these are determined primarily by your actions and behaviours, although some external factors may impact you (e.g., environmental conditions, race strategies of others, equipment issues).

Process Goals are those, which focus primarily on the ‘quality’ of a skill, technique, strategy, behaviour, etc. These goals are the fundamental building blocks to achieving both performance and outcome goals. For example, to improve your personal best, you may need to improve your stride length, etc. Control Level = HIGH, since these are generally things you can work on and develop independent of your competition and in a variety of environmental conditions.

I had to work late this evening and as a result started my run as dusk faded to black, a perfect companion for thinking… what were my outcome, performance and process goals for London.

I will finish within the top 150 overall (top 30 in my age group),
I will run a sub-2h37 marathon, and
I will descend my workouts ensuring I finish strong and in control.


Training: a relaxed and comfortable 49:04, AHR 138, did I mention I love recovery weeks?

Tuesday, February 20

London Calling (the Clash)

Brad called me this afternoon to see if I was up for a light run after work, he was looking at heading out around 4:00. Unfortunately, work had been busy and I wasn’t able to get away at the usual time… Brad should not have waited.

A few days ago it was +14C, today, shortly after I met up with Brad it started to rain, the rain turned to sleet, the really big heavy stuff and if you squinted it looked like it was snowing… who would’ve thought. Along with the blossoms on the tree outside the back door, I also am confused, when is spring coming? Ever the optimist, I evidently had been counting the chickens a tad too early (and now “they” are calling for snow on March 1st).

I booked my ticket to London this morning, which was pretty thrilling. After much discussion with
Jim, my coach and Ally (she had the final word), I’ll be arriving in the UK on the Saturday, eight days before the race, which should be more then enough time to get over any jetlag.

Training: a steady 40:53, AHR 148, MAX 197 (?) I’m not putting too much stock in the AHR as I’m not sure my MAX has ever been that high, and if so, it was decades ago. The legs felt great.

Monday, February 19

London Week #3 (63 days and counting)

After feeling tired and rundown for most of last week, my energy level increased during the last seven days. Don’t get me wrong, I certainly don’t have an overabundance and after three solid weeks of training (72, 85 & 81 miles), I’m definitely looking forward to this recovery week.

Throughout the next week, I’m also looking forward to resuming my stretching routine. I’d been diligent while my achilles was bothering me but have since stopped; my achilles was sore again this morning. Total time on the feet this week was 9h04’, approx. 130km (81 miles).

Monday: day off
Tuesday: A.M. a moderate 45:34, P.M. easy 1:00:24
Wednesday: A.M. easy 39:59, P.M. 1:18:39 with 20x (1’ hard, 1’ easy),
Thursday: 46:40
Friday: A.M. 31:01, P.M. 1:08:20 with 3x (10’ H, 5’ E)

Saturday: 43:33
Sunday: 2:09:44, approx. 6:50 mi/pace, 30km (19 miles)

Four weeks ago, I discussed virtually running across the country (I thought it might give more meaning to the otherwise uninteresting task of tracking my weekly mileage). At that
point I’d run 297km and was soon to be arriving in Princeton. Since then I’ve traced an additional 467k that has taken me along Hwy 3, through Rock Creek, passed Grand Forks and Castlegar and just north of Ripple Mountain (not too far out of Creston).

With some solid weeks of training on the horizon, I fully expect to make it up, over Crowsnest Pass, and into Alberta when next I report.

Sunday, February 18

Relaxed and Rested

We returned to Victoria this afternoon, after spending a relaxing long weekend on Galiano. Apart from enjoying two days of veritable feasting, the company of great friends and the humor of a young child, the highlight for me was discovering the 4-km long Bodega Ridge trail (rising to 328 meters) with fantastic views of Vancouver Island and the Strait of Georgia.

I had originally feared having to run today’s jaunt on Galiano but with a change in plans (opting for the earlier ferry), a new arrangement was in the works. Coming off the ferry, I hopped out of the car just south of Sidney, at Cy Hampson Park. After kissing Ally goodbye, I ran along the
Lochside Trail, to Mount Doug, and then home along my usual route via UVic.

I completely enjoyed the point-to-point run through the heart of Saanich farmland and with the sun on my face it made it that much more pleasant. Unfortunately, along with the sun, I reluctantly had the company of an incessant cold wind but at least it wasn’t raining. In fact, considering it was initially forecast to rain all week, we got off easy.

I was scheduled to run for 2 hours and having to guess where to start left wondering. As it turned out, I couldn’t have been that much closer. The kicker though during an otherwise satisfying run, was a gradual bonk over the last 25’; given a much later then usual start coupled with a light (2 piece of toast breakfast) left me wanting.

Friday (P.M.) – 1:08:20 with 3x (10’ H, 5’ E), AHR 137, MAX 169
Saturday – an easy 43:33
Sunday – a mostly comfortable 2:09:44, approx. 6:50 mi/pace, 30k (19 miles)

Friday, February 16


It really felt like spring out there this morning; the smell in the air has completely changed, it’s much more sweet, the cherry blossoms are pushing out and the temperature is almost balmy. What a difference it makes running at 7 a.m. vs. 6 a.m., it’s much more civilized, but then I’m not working today.

The plan was for an easy 30’, and so I decided to pick back up where I ended last night and head to BHP (I even managed to catch the sunrise). I wanted to see if I could run at a more leisurely pace, taking advantage of morning’s stiff legs, to get a better understanding of my AHR vs. pacing.

7:11, AHR 132 (71%)

I think I ran too fast when I was out of shape?

More on Sunday, we’re off to Galiano again …

Training: 31:01, AHR 127, MAX142

Thursday, February 15

A Devil’s Dream

Given Tuesday & Wednesday, today, with only one run (and at 46’ to boot) I felt like I was bloody tapering, I loved it! With Leahy playing Devil’s Dream/Mason’s Apron, I jogged on the grass around Beacon Hill feeling as if I’d won. Won what? I don’t know, but it felt good.

Lately, I’ve been noticing my AHR lower then what I’m use to during my recovery runs and thought I’d investigate. Do I need to a) run faster at the same HR or b) maintain the same pace at a lower HR? Either way, I set out to trace a couple “easy” mile loops around the park. Unfortunately, as the loop isn’t entirely flat and the winds were howling out of the west I found it difficult to run “easy”, either way:

6:25, AHR 143
6:35, AHR 142

The jury is still out. For arguments sake, if I split the difference and run a 6:30 miles at 142 (77%), that would equate to a 2:50:25 marathon, who knew (I think my current MP HR is in the high 150s)?

Do I really run that easy in the mornings? Given perceived effort, I’d beg to differ. I think further testing is needed, unfortunately, in the morning.

For those interested check out this
link, Carter has posted a good picture of the start at last weekend’s race.

Training: a very enjoyable 46:40, AHR 136, MAX 151

Run Drenched

Do you ever feel all you ever do is run?

Don’t get me wrong, I like running, but, getting up before the 5:30 alarm goes off so that you can have some tea prior to heading out into the damp blackness for that early morning jaunt. Arriving home, hopping into the shower and changing quickly into work clothes. Work. Coming home, changing again into your running gear only to find they haven’t dried out; new running gear, and off back outside for that second run before the eerie blackness returns.

I’m starting to look like a runner, smell like a runner. No, not my clothes, but me (and yes I shower, at least twice a day now).

Where does everything else fit in?

It was Ally’s birthday yesterday (Happy Birthday); she helped me cook a new favourite dish of hers, Fisherman’s Pie.

A.M. an easy 39’59”, AHR 123, MAX 136 (very upset stomach during the last 5’). Where are these new lower HRs coming from, I feel like the last race has shifted my ticker into a new zone I’ve yet to experience before.
P.M. 1h18’39” with 20x (1’ hard, 1’ easy), legs felt great, thoroughly enjoyed being out there

Tuesday, February 13

Chicken Soup for the Runner

“Happiness is not in our circumstances but in ourselves. It is not something we see, like a rainbow, or feel, like the heat of a fire. Happiness is something we are.”

Today couldn’t have been further in sensation then what I experienced on my run last Wednesday. Not because I managed an extra hill repeat, or because I finished the Beacon Hill mile faster then the week before; no, it was because I enjoyed being out there.

The morning jaunt was pleasant; I decided to head downtown and run along the harbour, passing in front of the Legislature. It was amazing to think less then an hour later the streets would be filled with bustling commuter traffic. I was startled running through an intersection when I was honked at. What, who cares if the light wasn’t green? It was only when I was feet from the car that I realized it was my coworker and friend Jim on his way to work. Don’t people have anything better to do at this hour of the morning? I stretched my legs out on the grass along Dallas, they felt good, go figure?

After work, I headed out into Beacon Hill Park, down along the eroding coastal path and onto the beach. I couldn’t believe that there wasn’t a single other person out there, I loved it… turning back one last time to look over my shoulder at the setting sun.

A.M. a moderate 45:34, AHR 139, MAX 151
P.M. a very easy 1:00:24, AHR 128, MAX 140

Monday, February 12

London Week #2 (70 days and counting)

Whether my body trying to absorb the resent training or a touch of a cold, the previous week wasn’t without its hiccoughs. Wednesday left me licking my wounds and beaten, dreading the remaining five workouts. But, like Sue Luke said, “Even if you fall flat on your face, at least you are moving forward”.

Wednesday came and went, Friday was solid and Sunday even better. Total time on the feet was 9h33’, approx. 135km (85 miles).

Monday: day off
Tuesday: A.M. easy 47:02, felt good, P.M. easy 49:48
Wednesday: A.M. a comfortable 41:26, P.M. 1:35:34 with the 25’ of tempo, felt shattered
Thursday: easy 1:03:28
Friday: a steady and relaxed 1:57:05, 6:39 mi/pace, felt fantastic!
Saturday: a slow 29:45
Sunday: A.M. 1:34:30, with 42:32 at the Cedar, AHR 162, MAX 166. P.M. easy 34:03

The high note this week was definitely the feeling captured during the race yesterday, the feeling of racing. Being able to push yourself and having the body respond, knowing that it hurts to a point, and then it stops. I’m looking forward to my next race.

(the picture was taken during the last 500m of yesterday's race)

Sunday, February 11

Bon Race/Bad Movie (Cedar 12-k)

I was tired this morning, too tired. We decided to watch Bon Cop/Bad Cop last night, the first third okay but then it slid into something comparable to Bob & Doug McKenzie’s Strange Brew, minus the beer and humor… I should’ve gone to bed earlier.

There was no run around the block to stimulate the legs this morning, every ounce of energy instead focused on remaining awake. In an effort to relieve recent stomach predicaments, I also decided to forgo coffee for the first time in months (two changes to a pre-race routine, yikes).

Ally was kind enough to drive up, allowing me to feign sleep for a few more minutes. Once there it wasn’t long before the usual gang arrived and 45’ before the start we headed out for a casual warm-up. During my pre-race 4’ tempo session, I couldn’t have felt more uncomfortable, Friday’s run was going to be my downfall. That said, after missing the pack at Mill Bay I wanted to “race” Cedar, irrespective of legs, I was sticking with my plan.

The start was fine, the first few kilometers passing quickly and with relative comfort. Just after 4-k, I took a mental snapshot, shoulders were relaxed, chin down, my legs felt… smooth? Having never worn a HRM during a race before I decided to check my status, HR 163? I was confused, I expected to see it in the high 160s at least, was I not working hard enough? I ignored the data instead focusing on the moment; for the first time since April I felt like I was racing, not fast, but racing.

The pace felt comfortable, and when turning around at the half, (the low point) and heading back into the hills, I was surprised to see my level of comfort/discomfort remain the same. Finishing the race today left me feeling happy, happy that I split the 10-k in 35:30 (16’ faster then Mill Bay), happy that I felt in control and happy that I raced.

My only query is whether I raced hard enough? Obviously, I couldn’t have done faster otherwise I would’ve, but, do I need to learn how to hurt? The race today felt more akin to half-marathon pace not 10-k, I guess that bodes well for Comox in a month.

3:27 (159, 166)
3:26 (163, 165)
3:31 (163, 165)
3:38 (163, 166)
3:26 (160, 163)
3:36 (163, 164)
3:32 (162, 163)
3:32 (162, 164)
3:40 (161, 163)
3:42 (163, 164)
3:37 (163, 165)
3:25 (164, 165)

A.M. 1:34:30, with 42:32 at the Cedar 12-k (15th overall, 6th in my age group), AHR 162, MAX 166
P.M. and enjoyable 34:03 around Beacon Hill Park and every grassy boulevard in between (my feet were sore on the roads)

Saturday, February 10

Mount Doug

It has been sunny, on day forecast to be wet and cold. While downtown completing errands with Ally, everyone looked to be in a good mood, buoyed by the suns warmth… everyone but me. I felt weary, incompatible, too many times caught starring off into the distance completely unfocused.

After just skirting the park yesterday, I thought I’d reward my legs and take advantage of the softer trails in Mount Doug. I used to spend a lot of time there, at least twice a week, and hoped the giant trees, wet earthen paths and serenity would breathe life back into a tired body.

Although I enjoyed the myself, capturing a feeling similar to that of pacing the hallway of long forgotten childhood school, the reality of yesterday afternoons 2-hour jaunt wasn’t going to be swayed by the chirping of a Wood Thrush.

Participating in tomorrow’s 12-km road race is going to be interesting.

Training: a sluggish 29:45

Friday, February 9

I want some more

“Please, sir,” replied Oliver, “I want some more”.

I wasn’t looking forward to the run this evening as, a) it was long, b) Ally & I had a date and c) I was frightened after Wednesday’s debacle… things couldn’t have turned out more differently.

Perhaps it was the porridge I had this morning, or the fact that I ate more then my usual today (a friend brought me a great muffin and I had a working lunch, wraps were provided). But, I’m going to attribute it to the additional sleep I’ve been getting (11 hours after the nightmare run and 9 last night, and no, we don’t have children, yet). Either way, during the run I started to feel r-e-a-l-l-y g-o-o-d.

The first 25’ were awkward as I weaved my way through town, playing Frogger while crossing the Blue Bridge. I hopped onto the Goose, over the Gorge and out toward the Lochside Trail. It was while stretching things out around the back of Mount Doug that I noticed I felt good, my stride length seemed longer, more fluid then normal. Down Shelbourne to Feltham, around Ring Road at UVic and then home via Cadboro Bay Rd.

Have to run, figuratively.

Training: a steady and relaxed 1:57:05, approx. 28.3 km, AHR 144, MAX 159, 4:08 pace/km (6:39 pace/mi)

Thursday, February 8

A step in the right direction

"Your training partner's name is pain. You start out trying to ignore him. Can't do it. You attempt to reason with him. No way. You try to strike a bargain. Hah. You plead. You say "Please stop, please go away. I promise never ever to do this again if you just leave me alone." But he won't. Pain only climbs off if you do. Then you're beaten. "
- Scott Martin

I received an email from a friend early this morning asking if I wanted to run with him tonight. After yesterday’s miserable slugfest, I was skeptical of how things might unfold and declined the invitation, sometimes misery doesn’t love company.

As events would have it, there was a knock on my door just as I was kissing Ally goodbye. Rather then soldier on alone, I was having companionship (sporting his new Adistar Cushions)… and thankful for it.

For fear of realizing how slow I might be going, we/I decided to head for mixed terrain: the predictable and always enjoyable Beacon Hill Park, a cliff side path along the lower edge of Dallas, the beach, and even King George Terrace. I loved every minute. Unlike last night when it was wet and dark, we set out early enough to enjoy the fading light and catch the sunset across the Strait.

Although I didn’t feel quite myself today (slightly achy), the run was good. I thought my HR was +/- 5 bpm higher at the start but the average (134) doesn’t reflect my initial concern. With a little luck, a bunch of vitamin-C and some quality food perhaps I can enjoy some normalcy, as tomorrow, I’m really going to need it.

Legs felt good, no cramping; stomach mildly upset (an improvement).

Training: a relaxing 1:03:28, AHR 134. MAX 157

Wednesday, February 7

The Fast Path

There is something entirely wrong about running by your work at 5:57 a.m., only to know you’ll be back there in 90’ with a suit and tie on. The jaunt this morning was okay, the legs took a little longer to wake up then the rest of the body, but the last 20’ felt smooth (comparatively).

If you haven’t already, check out
these guys. Most of you will know that we’re tracing Three Roads to London, but these two seem to be on the fast path… buggers!

Training: a comfortable 41:26 around James Bay & along the waterfront

Mother {beep}, {beep}, {beep}, God {beep}, {beep}, {beep}, {beep}, {beep}, son of a {beep}, that was hard.

This evening was all about one foot in front of the other, putting in the miles of trials. It has been a few months but once again, “I felt like 10 lbs of shit, in a 5 lb. bag”. The fact that once home from work and changed into my running gear, I proceeded to head out the door with my black work socks on speaks volumes.

The plan was for 25’ of structured tempo at a subjective “hard”. As it was hard to head out and even harder finding my way home, I’m sure the pacing/effort was fine. The legs were cramping (twinges) a bit this evening; perhaps my electrolytes are down again? Stomach was a bit off but that probably has more to do with lunch.

Once home I felt like Frodo after he’d been stabbed with the Morgul-blade, thin and lifeless, speaking took too much energy. I’m very thankful for the amount of patience and understanding Ally showed me.

My motivation for tomorrow:
Running is real and relatively simple - but it ain't easy.

Training: 1:35:34 with 24:48 of structured tempo, AHR 131 (71%), MAX 169 (91%)

Tuesday, February 6

Variable Cloudiness

I’ve been working with my coach now for almost a year. I’ve trained through two marathons, London my third, and each program has been different, adapting to match my strengths and weaknesses.

Every Monday evening I feel like a child at Christmas, wondering, “What’s in store for me this week? What new workout will he have me doing, anything but the alternating 800s, please!” As I was winding down last night, I checked my email…

“You have 1 new message”

The plan for the week looks simple; run. I haven’t totaled up the mileage but it looks further then the last, including two structured workouts (one a race). The most disturbing read was learning that I was to do a double, today, which meant I should’ve been to bed much earlier.

On a happier note, I see that Environment Canada has changed the forecast for the week; we now are due three days of “variable cloudiness” not to be confused with “cloudy with sunny breaks”.

A.M. a leisurely 47:02 through the darkness and mist, started at 7:00 mi/pace and finished the last 15’ at 6:37 mi/pace; felt good
P.M. felt as if I’d already run once today; Brad called and we headed out along the waterfront taking us passed the Chinese Cemetery for an unhurried 49:48, AHR 138, MAX 152; I was overdressed (I took the picture last weekend)

Monday, February 5

London Week #1 (77 days and counting)

Despite the return of the rains (have a look at this), my first week of London training has been sound. I left behind the mental baggage from a disappointing Mill Bay performance and took to the roads where frustration is best put down. My body has adapted well to the increase in speedplay, and undoubtedly, this will be followed by a return to volume.

During eight sessions, I cranked out 8h09’30” of running over approximately 115 km (72 mi.) of blacktop and trails.

Monday: day off
Tuesday: 1:10:55, 6:55 mi/pace, my achilles is feeling markedly better, 89%
Wednesday: 1:30:58, 4x (1600, 90”, 800, 3')
Thursday: A.M. 30:02, 6:59 mi/pace, P.M. 28:11, 6:33mi/pace
Friday: 1:27:30, with 7 miles of progressive tempo
Saturday: A.M. 29:09, P.M. a slightly more directed 28:03
Sunday: 2:04:42, 6:51 mi/pace

On a different note, something I
read a couples days ago has be thinking, “how fast should I do my long runs?” If understood correctly, apparently, Lydiard believed marathon training had as much to do with pace (91%-97% of your goal time) as it did with the length of the run (20 plus miles).

With my goal time for London corresponding to a 5:55 mi/pace, that would make my long runs between 6:30 mi/pace (91%) and 6:06 mi/pace (97%), please correct me if my math is wrong.

Flipping open Daniels’, and with a
61 VDOT, he’d suggest my long run should be around 7:01 mi/pace… hence my quandary.

Where does this leave me?

Well, after having trained for a few ultras I have seen first hand the benefit/efficiency gained from many miles at a slower pace. That said, I felt quite comfortable two weeks ago when I banged out a 2h run at 6:46 mi/pace, and I am considering knocking my next long run down a bit further. So, (1) how fast do you run your steady state long runs (% of marathon goal time), and (2) do you tend toward distance or speed?

Sunday, February 4

Better luck next time suckers

Ally and I spent the early part of the morning trying to find and then decide on a quote for our wedding invitations. While out running I thought of my own, I’m titling it “A We(s)t Coast” and it goes like this:

May the air always be colder then you think and the ground beneath your feet more sodden

0h04’ – it’s going to be a long one

0h14’ – jump on the Galloping Goose and head towards the Switch Bridge

0h34’ – GU #1, damn water fountain is off, where is Ian MacMillan when I need him?

0h37’ – leave the Galloping Goose behind and start out on the Lochside trail

0h49’ – I’m thoroughly soaked now and a long way from home

0h55’ – run near Carter’s new house. The bugger said he wasn’t feeling well this morning and thought he’d be better off not coming out, he’ll pay one way or another, he’ll pay…

1h01’ – Mount Doug; I love these trails, I really need to get out here more often.

1h12’ – GU #2, I’m chilled

1h18’ – I’m at the highest point in my run, I can see my breath and my hands have lost all feeling. It’s noticeably colder and for a while, I contemplate stopping by Ally’s Grandfathers house to warm up.

1h25’ – stop for 30” at the UVic Law Library, ring out hat, try to ring out gloves but my fingers lack the mobility and strength

1h41’ – run by Oak Bay track, at least the rain has melted the ice. It stops raining.

1h42’ – I’m determined, warmth has returned to me fingers. I turn right onto Oak Bay Avenue; I see Tower Bridge again. I head into the City of London and continue along the Embankment and past Cleopatra’s Needle.

1h56’ – The sight of Parliament Square and Big Ben are a good indication that the finish is near. I reach Spur Road at 26 miles and hit London’s great ceremonial avenue, The Mall.

2h04’ – I sprint across the finish line, punching the air. I look behind to see Gebrselassie and Tergat battle for second, Tergat wins. I congratulate them both; to myself, “better luck next time suckers”.

2h05 – my hands are cold again

Training: a wet but surprisingly enjoyable 2h04’42”, AHR 137, MAX 176, 6:51 mi/pace

Where is My Sunshine…

I went to bed last night feeling tired and rundown; I woke up this morning feeling not that much better, but at least having slept 9 hours (thanks Ally).

After a week or two of sunshine, the rains have returned and my mood has decided to matched the grayness. I’m not looking forward to heading out this morning, and it’s taking all my courage to get ready. I also just finished folding the laundry...

Earlier this morning Ally asked, “When are you going running?”

“When I’m ready”, I replied, “I feel like I’m on a death march”.

Training (for Saturday):
A.M. an easy 6.92 km, 29:09, AHR 134, MAX 148
P.M. How do you fit a 40' run into half an hour? You Don't. A slightly more directed 28:03

Friday, February 2

Running Scared

I’ve had the luxury of enjoying an average of 9 ½ hours sleep, per day, for the last two days; apparently I needed it (my regular 6 missing the mark).

I woke up feeling rested, although somewhat anxious about the upcoming run. After a quiet morning, involving a leisurely read of the paper, vacuuming, sweeping and laundry, delaying the inevitable had run its course.

It was cool as I stepped outside, 2C, but the sun was shining and only a whisper of breeze. Not being able to make the Galloping Goose or Lochside trails, and fearing the insanity of running innumerable loops on a partially frozen track, I turned left down the street to visit an old friend, Beacon Hill Park.

I planned a progressive tempo run, starting at 6:02 mi/pace and finishing up at 5:48 mi/pace; that was the goal. With the 128-foot Kwakwaka’wakw totem pole looming overhead, I depressed start.

Lacking the constant feedback of the track, and with a notoriously quick first few steps I began conservatively, or so I thought, my legs turning over comfortably and my breathing steady.

The accountant in me was excited to see I’d split the first mile 10” fast. Unfortunately, having earned much experience (the hard way), I knew this sort of funny business at the start of a marathon can be catastrophic. I was ultimately disappointed. I eased back a tad for the second mile but picked up the Fear of God as I split 6:01. How is it possible to be disappointed with something I was aiming to do? I was becoming intimidated now. Instead of easing back further, I unknowingly hastened for fear of clocking a 6:03.

As the next two miles were intended to be at marathon pace (5:55), I can’t begin to express what rattled through my head when I cracked a 5:58. “I’m doomed”, I thought, “I should stop the training now”. With a 3” effort to make up I overcompensated, digging my hole deeper still.

5:52 (156, 162)
6:01 (158, 162)
5:56 (157, 162)
5:58 (157, 162)
5:46 (159, 163)
5:45 (161, 163)
5:34 (162, 165)

Although happier then having run too slow I’m disappointed with my self-discipline. Rather then run scared, next time, my goal is to run confident and controlled.

I had oats for breakfast; my stomach behaved itself; it is continuing to do so.

Training: 1h27’30”, with 7 miles of progressive tempo, AHR 145, MAX 165

Still Under Construction

Our Three Roads to London site has slightly more content... more coming this weekend.

Thursday, February 1

Really, no peanut butter?

My stomach is still unsettled (noticeably so after my second jaunt). Following a chat with my sister, I’m considering seeing a nutritionist or naturopath. To say I’m skeptical would be an understatement.

I can imagine them asking me to track my diet for a week; fair enough. Then they’ll tell me I don’t eat enough fruit & vegetables (not surprising, but something I’ve known for years). After which, they’ll hand me a pamphlet which suggests I avoid any food that is high in fat, insoluble fiber, caffeine, coffee and even… alcohol. When I read the fine print, I’ll see that I should steer clear of:

Red meat;
Poultry dark meat and skin;
Dairy products;
Egg yolks;
Anything battered and deep-fried;
Anything not battered and deep-fried;
Anything skillet-fried in fat of any kind, in fact all oils, fats, spreads, etc.;

Olives; and
Nuts and nut butters.

No peanut butter, is it really worth it? Has anyone had a positive experience with a nutritionist?

Toward the end of this evenings run, I was treated to a gorgeous sunset. I turned around to observe the full expanse as the reds faded into blues and observed a very full moon rising over the mountains to the west… it’s the small things in life.

A.M. an easy 30:02, 6.92 km, 6:59 mi/pace
P.M. an easy 28:11 over the same 6.92 km, 6:33mi/pace, AHR 133, MAX 144