… Jim, this one's for you. I wasn’t looking forward to this mornings run, and unfortunately I had nobody to blame but for myself (and Joe, the bastard). For the first time since I can remember, Ally was out of bed before I was. I didn’t get up until I’d reached my 7h30 sleep quota, coincidentally arriving at the same time as Jim’s phone call.
After grunting at each other, Jim laughing at my miserable state; we agreed to push back the workout 90’, I love the guy. Nevertheless, 10:30 rolled around fast enough, and we made our way to BHP to begin the festivities, the plan: 45’at MP (5:55-7 mi/pace) + 10’ at HMP (5:46 mi/pace). We opened the first mile with leisurely 5:55 (151, 163) which I was happy with (no more opening 5:40s). After that we looped along the waterfront averaging 5:54 mi/pace for the next 39:14 (160, 164) returning to the park to finish with the HMP, the first mile a 5:41 (163, 165), and then easing back to a civilized 5:44 mi/pace (161, 165).
My legs felt comfortable and strong throughout, almost disengaged from the rest of my foggy body. That said, the w/o didn’t feel as easy as I’d hoped but then I suspect running a 2h35 marathon isn’t going to be easy. I was grateful for the company; you have to love having friends who can pace you through “your” MP, while they easily jog beside you without breaking a sweat… ah, you just have to love having friends.
A.M. 1:14:27, w/ 45’at MP + 10’ at HMP, AHR 151, MAX 165
P.M. a smooth 43:27. Started out with an enjoyable 7:45 mile, but after warming, the legs settled in at a comfortable 6:34... what's with that? I passed by three elite popsicles as they iced their legs in the ocean. I decided to stop the run a few minutes early as my heart felt exhausted. I don't know how else to describe it, my body felt fine, I had energy, but my heart felt as if it was working to hard (HR seemed normal though). The plan is to go to bed early tonight, made that much easier as the Canucks are losing 3:0 at the moment... to Calgary?
Saturday, March 31
… Jim, this one's for you. I wasn’t looking forward to this mornings run, and unfortunately I had nobody to blame but for myself (and Joe, the bastard). For the first time since I can remember, Ally was out of bed before I was. I didn’t get up until I’d reached my 7h30 sleep quota, coincidentally arriving at the same time as Jim’s phone call.
Friday, March 30
It was a tad nippy again this morning but it didn't stop me from enjoying myself. Still quite early on the run, as I was jogging down a slight rise at St. Charles and Richardson, The Who's Baba O'Riley started. Minutes passed and as the chorus kicked in, I found myself swinging my arms over my head like a mad man (playing the air drums) and punching upwards with my fist held high... yes it was still dark out! The best part, I found myself daydreaming about London!
A.M. a pedestrian 29:51
P.M. a moderately easy 44:50 with B-rad... all the time in the world with no particular place to go. My legs felt good which is a lot more then I can say for my stomach. I think I've nailed it though, it has to be the afternoon coffee, and it has to go... starting Monday. I hope everyone has a good weekend.
Posted by Michael at 6:41 AM
Thursday, March 29
Today, Mike wrote about “not wasting a good day”, a statement I couldn’t agree more with; my question though, what do you do when the reverse occurs? Can you waste a bad day (perhaps I should’ve stayed home)? Throughout the day I could feel my limbs growing heavier, a strange sense of fatigue was setting in and my legs definitely didn’t have the strength to respond. I headed out this evening then with a sense of apprehension rising amid every stunted stride. I trudged my way through BHP, down along the waterfront and through both the Ross Bay and Chinese Cemeteries… the locations seemed fitting. Not being able to shake my leaden pins, I decided to throw in a few strides building from MP through 5k; it was when I hit 10k pace that I felt the most relaxed. Whether a) I’m fighting a mild bug, b) the effect of a few easy days or c) the effect of a few hard weeks, I hope this lethargy is gone by Saturday.
On an unrelated note, I seem to be single-handedly keeping the postman busy as today I received my Boston Marathon Guide & Number Pick-up Card. Alas, it’s not going to happen this year and I’m going to try rolling over my entry to 2008… that and live vicariously through both Mike and Mark.
Last night, while flipping through the London Marathon News, I discovered the following regarding the aid stations:
(1) Vittel Water is offered at every mile from 3 through to 25 in 330ml plastic bottles with the top removed; and
(2) Lucozade Sport is available at miles 5, 10, 15, 19 & 23, offered in a 330ml pouch with the top removed.
What is Lucozade, it sounds like a cough syrup? Has anyone experienced racing with the drink? And, is the pouch similar to a child’s juice box? Either way, I’m quite happy as with both water and Lucozade (?) provided in bottles, I won’t have to run the first hour with my handheld water bottle as I’m completely horrible at trying to drink out of cup while racing.
Training: an easy but awkward 42:47 w/ 4x30”
Posted by Michael at 6:22 PM
Wednesday, March 28
I continued to flip and found the final instructions for the start. This has been an area of discussion ever since Jim found out that he didn’t qualify for elite status; where would we be starting? What was our chance at coming close to the front among the 45,000+ athletes?
151 to 1,000 are Championship competitors (blue number, white background and start at Blackheath, the Blue Start).
1,001 to 28,000 and 54,251 to 59,000 at the Blue Start.
28,001 to 33,250, the Green Start.
33,251 to 54, 250, the Red Start.
After checking my registration form, my number… 991, apparently I squeaked in with the Championship competitors… fan-bloody-tastic!
Posted by Michael at 10:22 PM
Looped around the Graveyard Route and was surprised by the number of other runners I saw... at 6:00 a.m. I can only guess they’re training for this years TC World Championship 10k, either that or we're in the midst of another running boom? Off to work…
Posted by Michael at 6:40 AM
Tuesday, March 27
“Too many sad days, too many Tuesday mornings
I thought of you today, I wished it was yesterday morning
I thought of you today, and I dreamt you were dressed in mourning
But I knew that you, with your heart beating
And your eyes shining, would be dreaming of me
Lying with you, on a Tuesday morning”
The Pogues had it all right… last night after receiving the upcoming weeks schedule I went and poured myself a not so wee dram of Longmorn and returned to the computer.
When I began training for London, I mentally broke the weeks down into blocks. After finishing Sunday’s long run things were supposed to get easier as I’d arrived at the end of a significant block. I expected things to be easier. Rather, I was sifting through the details taking note of how the next six days were going to be shaped by the ten scheduled workouts. And, to ensure I wouldn’t get complacent, the weekend would be filled with 4 hours of running (1h55 at MP or faster).
I feel like a small child who has just been informed that Christmas has been postponed a week. The kicker is, I know Bruce is right; starting a taper four weeks out would leave me flat come race day.
Ahh, what’s another week?
Maybe I could open one present early?
Patti Sue Plumer said, “Workouts are like brushing my teeth; I don't think about them, I just do them. The decision has already been made”… if I’m to get through this, I couldn’t agree more.
A.M. another bloody 30:55, I felt… f-a-n-t-a-s-t-i-c
P.M. a leisurely 42:29 with JB, unfortunately he had to wait twice as I had a very unsettled stomach this evening; what is with me and my stomach? I even tried, for the first time, soy milk on my cereal today... maybe that was it?
Posted by Michael at 6:47 AM
Monday, March 26
Even though I was recovering from the Comox Half-marathon, this last week was one chock-a-block with volume. It was while I was out with Rumon yesterday, trying to validate my heavy legs that I started the math; total time on the feet was 10h00’, approx. 143km (90 miles). The only week with more miles (94), this build was at the beginning of March. I haven’t received this week’s schedule yet, but I imagine the volume will decrease from here on in (along with a slight increase in quality). I like this part of the training, you’re fit, the goal is in sight, but not so near that it has your stomach doing back flips.
Monday: day off
Tuesday: easy 1:02:33
Wednesday: A.M. easy 41:43, P.M. easy/steady 1:20:52, with 6x strides
Thursday: A.M. easy 45:12, P.M. steady 55:29
Friday: 1:29:23, with 62’ at MP
Saturday: steady 1:16:29
Twelve weeks into the New Year (& eight weeks into a marathon build), it’s amazing how much ground you can travel. It’s been five weeks since I’ve updated my Across Canada travel log, but in that time I’ve treked and additional 634km for a total of 1399km! Last time my journey ended just north of Ripple Mountain (not too far out of Creston) and since then have traveled through Cranbrook, up and over the Crowsnest Pass and into Alberta, through Lethbridge and Medicine Hat stopping just outside of Irvine and only a stones throw away from the Saskatchewan boarder!
When he decides to update his bloody blog, check out Brad’s recent race report. Yesterday he completed the Around the Bay 30k, the oldest road race in North America, in 1:49:05 (I believe 14th overall), well done Brad!
Sunday, March 25
I lay in bed this morning as the sunlight seeped through the blinds, sunlight? I swear it has been at least a month since Victoria has seen anything but rain. Still, I lay there trying to ignore the inevitable; I wasn’t sure how I was going to get to the start line let alone finish the task that lay ahead of me. Rumon called shortly after I’d poured myself a cup of coffee (yes, I’m back drinking the stuff) and although he tried to inspire me with a new route he’d envisioned, encompassing trails I’d never heard of, it only confused my troubled mind. Thankfully, he arrived on the back porch 30’ later, my long run gradually becoming a reality. After two failed attempts at beginning, once returning to change tops (the sunshine had us befuddled) and a second time to find some misplaced sunglasses we headed north toward Cedar Hill Park.
The first 45’ of the run was absolute shite! I felt exhausted and the prospect of an additional 1h45 was disheartening. Thankfully somewhere between Mount Doug and Rithet’s Bog I found my stride settling into a rhythm that was gong to see my through. After an additional hour, we parted ways, Rumon telling me that I should really stretch my legs as I’d been forced to run at a snail's pace with him (the bugger was just trying to boost my ego, before leaving me in his wake). Regardless, I hopped up onto the Goose and just before the Switch Bridge focused on finding a smooth stride for a few kilometers:
3:59 (149, 152)
3:50 (149, 156)
3:55 (149, 150)
Once off the Goose I had the joy of tracing the waterfront through town on what was the first sun-drenched Sunday in March, i.e. it was hectic, cursing Rumon the entire time. There is just no way to look calm and fashionable with salt stains in the hollows of your cheek, 2+ hours into your jaunt. I did manage to find some humor in the situation. I slowly approached two girls who were sauntering down the sidewalk in front of me, only to have one of them step out to the left as I was trying to pass her. Reacting instinctively (& with some luck), I managed to sidestep her moving up onto the grass boulevard pardoning my actions with a quick “excuse me” (not wanting to startle her). Well, my best intentions aside, she let out a bloodcurdling scream, frightening her friend into doing the same… and my heart to skip a beat. Apologizing between laughs, I continued home with a huge smile on my face.
Training: 2:28:03, AHR 136, MAX 156
Saturday, March 24
On what was an exceptionally sodden, west coast morning, Ally, Rumon and I (along with over 200 other brave souls) assembled on the grounds of Hatley Castle to participate in the first GutBuster race of the season. You may recognize the castle as it has been the home to Professor Charles Xavier and the rest of the X-Men during the recent movies. But, don’t be fooled by the building’s splendor as the grounds are more akin the Forbidden Forest surrounding Hogwarts. Though vastly dense and wild I have never enjoyed myself as much in recent years running through kilometers of thick rainforest, on incredibly mud soaked trails. With a huge grin on my face I jogged the course feeling like a 10-year old and out on an unplanned adventure: sliding down clay banks, passing gushing waterfalls and crawling up massive graveled slopes.
The plan had called for 65’ of easy running (given yesterday’s workout and tomorrows long run), but with a gentle push from Carter, resisting the temptation wasn’t all that difficult. Surprisingly enough, resisting the urge to race wasn’t that difficult either. I settled into a comfortable rhythm and befriended a local trail runner, Pano, who was also just out for a light jaunt as he has an epic long run scheduled for tomorrow.
Congratulation goes out to Ally, as she finished her second race (& run) of the season, partaking in the shorter (but equally challenging) 6km event. Rumon finished a very impressive 8th, but that only tells half the story as he is running a track workout this afternoon (talk about a rough double). Results.
Training: 1:16:29, with 11.7 km trail race (1:06:14)
Friday, March 23
Me: I know… but it’s cold out, and raining
Ally: How long do you have to run?
Me: Only an 1h30 but it’s not going to be easy
Ally: Well just go because you’re cutting into my cooking time
Me: Your what?
Ally: The longer you take, the more likely your dinner will be cold
The first 20’ minutes (the warm-up) felt pretty good, the rain had turned to a steady drizzle and my achilles wasn’t acting up. That, and after yesterday’s fiasco, my stomach was behaving itself (I’ve come to the conclusion that I run better on a moderately full stomach, who would’ve thought). After tracing the coastline along the grass, I couldn’t delay any longer and after passing the crosswalk, I hit start looping through BHP. The initial effort seemed reasonable and after reading Eric’s account of his workout earlier in the week I was determined not to go out too hard… I failed. I was supposed to run 65’ at MP, aiming to hit 5:55 - 5:57 but my fleet footed tendencies didn’t let me down on the first mile.
Although the splits are decent, they don’t reflect the battle that raged in my heart, lungs and mind (my chest felt constricted in the latter portion). It was a struggle out there and I found it difficult to relax, my effort level was much higher then I would’ve liked. If this had been race day it would’ve been U-g-l-y! The last few minutes I fixated on a street corner, deciding that I was stopping there regardless of time. The rain stopped when I did. The miles splits (AHR, MAX) are as follows:
1 - 5:41 (155, 160)
2 - 5:55 (157, 161)
3 - 5:51 (156, 159)
4 through 7 - 23:56 avg. 5:59 (154, 158)
8 - 5:54 (154, 160)
9 & 10+ - 14:30 at 5:58, 5:57, 2:35 (156, 157)
Training: 1:29:23, AHR 142, MAX 163 with 62’ at MP
Thursday, March 22
After warming up (and my stomach settling down), I was supposed to ease into a steady run. Unfortunately, I didn’t give much thought to it until out the door, when I suddenly realized I didn’t know what steady was.
stead·y, pronunciation [sted-ee]
(1) even or regular in movement;
(2) free from excitement or agitation; or even
(3) a person of the opposite sex whom one dates exclusively; sweetheart.
I have all sorts of “steadies”, there is the 5:45 a.m. steady shuffle (not so much fun), the enjoyable babbling steady ramble that Rumon & I get into, and I even do this little steady shoulder shrug that I try to pass off as dancing. In the end I dialed up the pace to what felt comfortably fast (with minimal effort). My legs have been recovering well since the race. That said, I’ve been having pains/tightness in my heals during the first 10’ of my runs but then it dissipates. Tomorrow will be the test though; I’ve got 65’ at MP which will be interesting… comfortably fast (but with additional effort).
A.M. easy 45:12
P.M. steady 55:29, AHR 140, MAX 147, 6:17-6:20 mi/pace
Posted by Michael at 9:48 PM
Wednesday, March 21
Jim, Rumon & I will be leading a low-key, fun and informative symposium on marathon training tomorrow night in an attempt to raise money for the Runners of Compassion Shoes for Youth Program.
Where: Frontrunners Victoria, 1200 Vancouver Street
When: 7 - 8 p.m.
Cost: $2 donation to Runners of Compassion; oh, and a little sweat too, when you yourself catch the marathon bug. For more information visit this link.
A.M. easy 41:43, left heel tight for the first 15’ but otherwise legs felt good
P.M. an easy/steady 1:20:52, 6:44 mi/pace with 6x strides
Posted by Michael at 7:38 AM
Tuesday, March 20
I saw Janet today and she gave the legs a good flushing; I was pleased to hear her say that my legs didn’t feel bad (although both calves were sensitive). There was a little extra time so I asked her to work on a crook in my right shoulder (big mistake).
After work, I met Rumon at his place and we headed up to UVic and ran the surrounding trails, looping back through Henderson, Mystic Vale and small set off Arbutus. My legs felt sluggish and heavy for the first ten minutes but as we bantered back and forth like two gee-eyed eejits, the legs slipped into a comfortable pace and we rambled on. The discussion revolved around debriefing the weekend’s performances. I had run 1:15:29, which corresponds to a 2:38:21 marathon. Carter had run 1:19:22, corresponding to 2:46:30. With less then five weeks left and given we want to run 2:36 and 2:45 respectively, where does this leave us?
With both appreciate there are a few solid weeks of training left along with a nice taper which both bode in our favour. The next decision I found myself asking was whether I had the guts/desire to aim for 2:36. Do I seek 2:36 and risk running 2:41, or, ease back and aim for 2:38 with less risk? The question reminded me of a quote I recently saw on a painting, “if you could do anything & be guaranteed not to fail, what would it be?”… the decision becomes easier.
Training: an easy 1:02:33
Posted by Michael at 8:03 PM
Monday, March 19
Okay, who wears split shorts? I’ve been considering wearing them in London, thinking it might almost be expected, custom perhaps? I reckon that much like wearing a Speedo while on the continent is mandatory (if at a beach), I assume wearing split shorts would be equally obligatory if running a race… no? Secretly I’m going for the euro look, and unfortunately I paid the price. I hadn’t worn any split shorts in almost nine years, but yesterday in Comox I decided to break tradition and give them another go. Today, as I hobble around on tender legs, I’m bearing the scars from my failed experiment.
The last seven days have been all about recovery, adaptation and tapering resulting in a nice reward. Having run a PB definitely gives me confidence going into the remaining five weeks; I can almost feel the excitement. But no, I’m pushing it back down and staying focused on the task at hand, recovery this week and then another solid few weeks of quality before we start the taper.
For those of you who paid any attention to last Monday’s entry when I mentioned “cutting myself off from the Times”, well it didn’t last long, four days in fact… pathetic! Total time on the feet was 6h55’, approx. 100km (63 miles).
Monday: day off
Tuesday: A.M. easy 33:54, P.M. easy 41:37
Wednesday: A.M. easy 29:47, P.M. 1:02:24 with 4x (2'H, 1'E, 1'H, 30"E, 30"H, 2'E)
Thursday: a steady 56:02
Friday: easy 42:46
Saturday: 28:45 with 4x strides
Sunday: 2h with 1:15:29 Comox Half-marathon
Thanks to everyone who has cast a vote in support of the Runners of Compassion Shoes for Youth Program; as of this morning we’d received 98 votes, 1 shy from making the program a reality! If you haven’t voted and would like to please check out this link.
Sunday, March 18
“Something inside of me just said “Hey, wait a minute, I want to beat him,” and I just took off. You have to wonder at times what you're doing out there. Over the years, I've given myself a thousand reasons to keep running, but it always comes back to where it started. It comes down to self-satisfaction and a sense of achievement”.
Rumon and I drove up to Lantzville on a wet Saturday afternoon to stay with Ceri and Stefan, enjoying a superb pre-race meal of spaghetti and meatballs. In fact, I enjoyed it so much, that Ally and I made it for diner this evening.
Race morning I found myself toeing the line, feeling confident in my fitness but questioning my limits. I’d raced on this course twice, and last year wasn’t pretty. I’d decided to play it conservatively and aim for 3:36/8 k (1:16:00-1:16:30). That said, I was eager to race with a small amount of reckless abandonment and that stimulus held more weight.
When the gun sounded, I slipped in behind Hicham’s right shoulder; I knew he was faster but I was up for the challenge and was also prepared to pull the plug if things started to get out of hand. I could hear Cliff sitting just behind me & I smiled; like a water drop in a sugar bowl, a pack had formed and the games began. After 3k Cliff eased off and I stayed with Hicham, aware that we were splitting faster then what I had intended but amazed at how easy it felt… had we been at Elk Lake I could’ve mistaken our effort for a Sunday long run. It was just before 5k that we passed the first aid-station; I went to grab some water and must have inadvertently stepped of the conveyor belt b/c when I looked up bloody Hicham had but 10m on me. I think this was partially my subconscious deciding running 3:30 min/k was outside of what it was prepared to do, either way; the pace that he pulled away from me was astounding.
From 5k through to the turnaround I tried to run relaxed and not take notice of the splits. The turnaround through 16k is predominantly downhill, but remembering last years scribbled legs, I relaxed on the hills and decided to save my effort for the last quarter. At this point Hicham had put 150m on me but the gap wasn’t growing. I focused on keeping him in sight and realized that we were slowly gaining on some runners that had started out faster then us. Reeling these people in kept me focused through the remainder of the race, that and realizing that unless I exploded a PB was in the bag, the only question left, “how big?”
The results are a tad misleading as you’d think we’d run in a tight knit group, rather following Hicham’s lead, we were able to reap our reward. Crossing the finish line I had a huge grin on my face and found myself punching the air, there is something special about deciding on a goal and then setting about achieving it. Thanks to everyone who was out cheering and I apologize for not say hello back (for those who know me this will sound like a broken record, but I wasn’t wearing my glasses & I had no idea who you were). A BIG thanks goes to Ceri and Stefan for a great pre-race meal and to Rumon for his encouragement.
3:43 – a short sharp hill that if you’re not ready for will leave your HR redlining
3:40, 3:55 & 3:43 – 7 through 9k suck, it’s one long hill that grows exponentially; rather then dig a hole making my splits I ran by effort
3:38 (36:13, 18:40)
3:27, 3:22 & 3:29 (53:49, 17:36) – remember that hill, 7 through 9k, much better on the way back
3:36 (1:11:48, 17:59)
3:41 – 1:15:29!
Training: Comox Half Marathon, 1:15:29, a 2:02 PB, 8th overall and 5th in my age group
Saturday, March 17
Yesterday over a London Fog, I got together with Bruce to discuss strategy for the upcoming weekend and overall plans for the remaining 5 weeks; the marathon now seems that much nearer.
The half-marathon in Comox will be my first race in over a month and the only remaining test before race day. The plan is to take advantage of this weeks rest and see what I can do. I’ve run there twice previously, once in 2003 (1:21:25) and then last year while preparing for Ottawa (1:19:58); neither races particularly enjoyable. I had a chat with Jim today and he reminded me of what it takes to run fast. He reminded me of my first breakthrough 10-k performance, the first time I went sub 36’. I’d split the half thinking I was gong excessively fast and on a collision course with disaster… it never happened. Perhaps Rolf Arands said it best, “There will come a point in the race, when you alone will need to decide. You will need to make a choice. Do you really want it?”
With almost 7 weeks of specific marathon preparation complete, I have a significant bulk of the build behind me. Bruce said that it’s now time to focus on recovery and quality vs. volume. I’ll be staying in closer contact with him over the remaining weeks, offering feedback to make any necessary adjustments. I think there is a time to be a workhorse, turning off your mind & putting in the miles; there is also a time to pay close attention to your body, particularly when you’re walking toward that edge.
Friday: an easy 42:46, 6:42 mi/pace
Saturday: my achilles was the best it has been in 2 month, legs felt very smooth, 28:45 with 4x strides
Posted by Michael at 2:43 PM
Thursday, March 15
I’ve been a grumpy sod this afternoon, okay that’s a tad harsh, perhaps antisocial is more fitting. Given my mood I called the two people I knew would understand only to discover that they’d already run. Bastards! At least with Ally away, I had a chance to use the car so drove up to UVic for my run… given it was raining I was looking forward to my mood spiraling downward. Unfortunately, as much as I tried to wallow in my petulance with Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7 in A major playing in my ear and long familiar ground underfoot I left a new person. While up there, I also managed to retrieve my two hand-held water bottles that I’d stashed during my last two long runs. I wonder what else is hidden up there?
On a completely unrelated story, and only because I was dreaming about being elsewhere, last September while on holiday I ran the Maui Half Marathon… but that’s for a different story. That said, the day afterwards I had the opportunity to relive my roadie dreams & ride a rented road bike (I brought over my peddles & shoes) up the 10,023 ft Haleakala volcano; the road up holds the distinction of climbing the highest altitude in the shortest distance (38 miles). It was shortly after this point (8,000 ft) that singing and riding became difficult.
Training: a steady cruise for 56:02
Posted by Michael at 8:04 PM
Wednesday, March 14
Wow, even with my looses, two T-shirts and gloves, I was ill prepared for the wintry wind this morning. Having just checked the weather, it is 2C with a bitter wind that made it feel like -2C, I’ve made note of this for this afternoons run.
Having to drop Ally off at 5:20 a.m. made it that much easier to get my run in, and no, I’m not going to Maui. And yes, I’m having a difficult time justifying my decision. But with a) me going to London for two weeks next month, b) Ally & I getting married in July and c) the fact that we were in Maui in September makes it a touch easier. I’ve also been looking at the photos from our trip and will be reliving the experience for the next few days.
My motivation has been good the last few days and I feel light on my feet when out running. That said, I’ve been receiving a nagging twinge in my left hamstring for the last few weeks. This is the same hamstring that caused me grief in Sacramento and I’ve decided to book an appointment for some A.R.T.
After work I swung by Frontrunners, saying hello to Jim & Rosheen, and picked up the rest of my adidas kit, Christmas had come early for me! I raced home a dumped the loot onto the bed, it was ridiculous, I didn't know where to start... socks, shorts, technical shirts, more shorts, tights (not to be confused with the above looses), hats and "the" jacket!
THANK YOU ADIDAS!
So like a young, proud child wearing all his new clothes at once while attending his first day of classes, I put on a new pair of socks, shorts, undershirt and laced up the Supernova Light 6s and headed out to the Park for a structured fartlek workout. Having never worn the shoes before and with the half-marathon this weekend, I wanted to make sure all the systems were compatible. As it turned out, everything was exceptional. Now I just have to take care of my hamstring.
A.M. another easy stroll, 29:47
P.M. 1:02:24 with 4x(2'H, 1'E, 1'H, 30"E, 30"H, 2'E), AHR 138, MAX 162
Posted by Michael at 7:18 AM
Tuesday, March 13
Ally leaves tomorrow for a glorious 4-day sun filled trip to Maui, to meet up with a good friend of mine and his wife. I could be going, I should be going. But, no. I’ve elected to stay here and forego the pleasure of the suns warmth, the enjoyment of our favourite hike and Magnum P.I. Burgers at Lulu’s. Rather, with limited races available in the remaining six weeks, I’ve decided to run the Comox Half Marathon this weekend and make the most out of my training… don’t think for a second I didn’t check to see if there was a similar race available in Maui (it’s in September). What happened to my priorities? Tell me I'm making the right decision?
This mornings run was fine, even if I was heading out into the darkness… again. Achilles was “toight” but I think that had more to do with not being warmed up given it was 5:00 a.m., I mean 6:00 a.m.
A.M. an easy 33:54, pace: leisurely but consistent
P.M. thoroughly enjoyed listening to the Offspring; ran into Cam and then later Jim while out for an easy 41:37
Posted by Michael at 7:48 AM
Monday, March 12
Well, as far as the last six weeks go this one was good (A-). My body seems to be adapting to the training load and my legs are coming around. Not only that, but my shoes and kit adidas have come in (very excited). A fortnight ago I was truly dreading heading into the heavy two week build as the prior week left be feeling tired and desperate. However, with focusing on the smaller battles, and supported with some great friends I’ve surprised myself. I remember talking with my coach after Sacramento and telling him that I thought I would benefit mentally & physically from some longer interval workouts; he agreed and seems to have listened. I was apprehensive about Wednesday’s w/o, but came away feeling pleased and thanks again goes to Carter for keeping me company.
On a sad note, I think I’m going to have to cut myself off from the Times, at least until after London; I was fortunate this week that the many pints and later nights didn’t interrupt the training. Bets on how long I last? Total time on the feet was 9h50’, approx. 141km (89 miles).
Monday: day off
Tuesday: A.M. easy 41’, 6:58 mi/pace, P.M. 59’, 6:54 mi/pace
Wednesday: A.M. smooth 41’, 6:46 mi/pace, P.M. 1h32 w/ 4x 2-miles
Thursday: pedestrian 1h43, I think we averaged closer to 7:25 mi/pace
Friday: A.M. 48’, 6:26mi/pace, P.M. easy 28’
Saturday: 2h14, with 3x 8’ at MP
Sunday: 44’, 6:26 mi/pace
If you haven’t read the post earlier today, please swing by this site and indicate a vote of support by hitting the red button in the upper left, and help support a great cause, the Runners of Compassion Shoes for Youth program. Sincere advance thanks for helping us out with this project and best wishes for whatever goals you're chasing at the moment.
[ah, one other thing/assurance comes to mind: ALL the money we raise is going to Shoes for Youth - NONE of it is going to the three runners who are each individually funding their trip]
Rumon said it first; I just changed the pronoun…
By now, many of you know that along with my two friends and training partners, Rumon and Jim, I'll be running the Flora London Marathon in April. Though we're excited about the race itself, that is not the purpose of this post. Instead, I'm writing regarding another, non-running goal we've set for the event, to raise awareness about and money for Runner's of Compassion's Shoes for Youth program.
In essence, ROC and Shoes for Youth are affording underprivileged kids the opportunity to do what Rumon, Jim and I are doing: to know the passion of running, the satisfaction of chasing goals and the enjoyment of doing so with great friends.
Which is all a very long-winded way of getting around to "the ask" which, for now, has nothing to do with your pocketbooks.
One of the means by which we're hoping to develop funds is via a Give Meaning page (Give Meaning is a charitable giving site that allows users to make donations and receive tax credits in the knowledge that none of their donation is being siphoned off to cover the administration of the service). The kicker is that in order to get this page rolling, we need an indication of support to the tune of 99 (latest check actually 70) 'votes'. In essence, Give Meaning is trying to ensure they only get genuine projects posted to their site; the 99 votes is a way of validating the project. When you vote, you're making no commitment to donate at that time or in the future, you're basically just saying "these guys are for real."
So, what we're asking is for you to swing by this site - http://www.givemeaning.com/donate/p-project.aspx?gg=979 - and indicate a vote of support by hitting the red button in the upper left. If you'd like to make a donation at that time or some later date, please do so, but this is more about getting out the word about Runners of Compassion and Shoes for Youth than anything else.
Sincere advance thanks for helping us out with this project and best wishes for whatever goals you're chasing at the moment.
Ah, one other thing/assurance comes to mind: ALL the money we raise is going to Shoes for Youth - NONE of it is going to the three runners who are each individually funding their trip.
Our thanks again,
Michael (also on behalf of Rumon and Jim)
Posted by Michael at 4:19 PM
Sunday, March 11
Having to turn the bloody clock forward to account for daily light savings time on a race evening was bad enough; the fact that I did so as I hopped into bed at 1:30 a.m. was repulsive (damn Tony, Trevor, Seamus and his papa).
There was a reversal of roles in our household this morning. Ally had entered to run the Bazan Bay 5-k and as she followed her yet-to-be-established pre-race routine, I found myself on the outside looking in. I was the one left standing in the rain, an umbrella in one hand and her warm-up kit in the other, searching among the 1,146 athletes and cheering as she looped through Sidney. The fact that she hadn’t run since joining me at the Run Through Time on December 31st wasn’t going to deter her and she finished with a respectable 29:40, 29 of 96 in her age group. Congratulations to everyone who participated including Ally, Carter, Kirstie, Donald, Chris, & Lawrence… nice showing.
Once home and up from a greatly needed nap, I timed my run with medical precision, heading out late this afternoon into a torrential monsoon. The saving grace among the gusts of wind was the temperature, a balmy 14 C (57 F); who would’ve guessed that less then two weeks ago I was running in a snow storm?
Despite the rain, or perhaps because of it, my run felt incredible. I clipped along the barren waterfront feeling smooth and light on my feet. Whether a) raising my game to meet the inclement conditions, b) my new adistar control 4, or c) the body adapting to the volume I’ve been putting in, I felt good! The sensation reminded me of something Jim mentioned yesterday. I felt as if I’d overcome a plateau, moving up to the next level, my reward being an efficiency and freedom I’d never before experienced. I absolutely loved it, the fact that I’d been given the new pass card at the end of a two week build peaked my curiosity but I wasn’t looking back.
Training: an extremely wet but thoroughly enjoyable 44:22, 6:26 mi/pace
Posted by Michael at 10:45 PM
Saturday, March 10
“I met my love by the gas works wall, dreamed a dream by the old canal, I kissed my girl by the factory wall, dirty old town, dirty old town…”
80’ easy at 6:50 mi/pace (4:15 km)
3x8’ at 5:55 mi/pace
30’ easy at 6:50 mi/pace
The execution (a bit sloppy):
I headed out of town on the Goose and used the kilometer markers to (try &) set my pace. Although the effort felt easy, my HR surprised me as I expected it to be lower:
4:07 (149, 151)
4:06 (145, 152)
4:11 (149, 156)
4:12 (146, 151)
4:01 (144, 150)
Once off the Goose, I looped back towards UVic and down into the Uplands. I felt my pacing was better and concentrated on feeling relaxed. I arrived at the Jack Wallace Memorial Track exactly 1h20 into the run and had no problem starting into the tempos, as the track was empty. My split through the mile on each of the segments is as follows:
5:51 (147, 156)
5:53 (149, 153)
5:51 (149, 158)
My legs felt fine but I was surprised at my breathing, it was more rapid then I would’ve liked (it seems my legs have adapted to the training but my lungs and heart still have work to do). While keeping me company on the track earlier this week, Rumon noticed that a) my shoulders crept up as I became tired and b) when that happened my breathing increased. This is something I’m going to have to pay attention to in the next few weeks.
After the workout, Kirstie Hudson met Rumon and Jim at my place and we answered a few more questions. I’m quite excited to hear how the piece comes together. Best of luck to everyone racing the Bazan Bay 5-k tomorrow!
Training: 2:14:02, with 3x 8’ at MP, AHR 142
Friday, March 9
I’m blaming it all on Carter, Seamus and his bloody papa. After our interview last night, we stayed out longer then I expected as Shanneyganock was back in town, one pint turning to five and my recovery window shrinking (along with my memory).
That said my run this morning was a lot more enjoyable then anticipated (and perhaps more then I deserved). I headed out to the park and ran a couple laps of an 18’ loop I’ve constructed before returning home along the waterfront. I can only attribute it to the miles I’ve been putting in, but I was surprised at the way my body responded (regardless of the lack of sleep). My legs strided out comfortably beneath my body, while I focused on spending as little time as possible on the ground.
After the run, I stopped in at Frontrunners to grab my new kit; my adidas sponsorship had come through and I felt like a child discovering an ancient treasure. I left with a huge grin and more shoes, shorts and kit then I ever expected… a thanks goes out to Frontrunners and adidas.
A.M. 48:28, 6:26mi/pace, one-too-many-the-night-before effort
P.M. an easy 27:37
Posted by Michael at 1:55 PM
Thursday, March 8
For all but the first few minutes, I was shattered, completely done in. Running as much as I have recently, I was confident my legs would see me through, but the rest of my body was spent. How is it possible that my forearms & elbows were tired, you’d think I’d been running on all fours?
Once home, we had only minutes to clean up. As Carter posted last week, “we’d received some very cool news (at least for a treble of boys raised on a regular diet of Canadian public radio): The Three Roads to London lads were being interviewed this evening by CBC Radio, the first of two meetings before we go to air. The best part, this first interview was taking place where it all started - The Snug at the Irish Times Pub”.
Having never been interviewed before, I didn’t know what to expect. Fortunately, our host, CBC Radio’s Kirstie Hudson (a retired 1500m varsity runner) was extremely professional and her style and questions were comforting. It was that, coupled with my delayed recovery from the run… patiently waiting for food and nursing my hunger with Guinness. The kicker for me was Jim’s face, when Kirstie mentioned that not only would the story be airing locally, but she’d also pitched the tale nationally, and it looks like a longer version be will heard countrywide on The Inside Track… I’m already regretting most of what I can remember saying.
Training: a leisurely 1:43:16, AHR 128, MAX 146, pace: unhurried
Posted by Michael at 6:47 PM
Wednesday, March 7
Ally was up early this morning, and as awake, I decided to get a couple hours of work done (my efficiency at that time of the day is incredible). Once complete, I was out for my morning jog. I can remember not too long ago when after a 40’ run I’d call it a day, now it’s only a prelude to the main event.
It was overcast, spitting occasionally but depending when I looked I could still make out the sun through the clouds, a typical spring day in Victoria. After yesterdays massage and a light stretch last night, my legs felt good and I needed to remind myself to ease up, saving it for tonight. While running through the west side of the park something caught my eye and I looked up to see over 30 Great Blue Herons gliding off the tree tops, it reminded me of something out of Jurassic Park (all I had to do now was watch out for the Velocoraptors). If interested, here is a link to a live webcam of the birds.
I’m still recovering from the workout so you’ll have to forgive me. First off, I need to thank two people, 1) Carter for helping me through some critical portions of the workout and 2) Ally, for making dinner this evening… thank you both!
The workout called for 4 x 2-miles on 11:10 with 2’ recovery. As I was discussing with Carter on our jog over, I didn’t quite no what to make of the times, or the w/o for that matter. I suppose it was of little consequence as I was about to find out. Arriving at the track, we changed into our flats and couldn’t help but feel the steady the effects of a storm system blowing over the island, running down the home stretch was gong to be attention-grabbing.
I quickly dialed in the rhythm on the first rep and enjoyed the perceived half-marathon pace (11:08).
The second one was a tad off-putting, whether losing focus or not relaxing I was a bit off the mark. It could have been that I was trying to figure a way to make the 8 loops manageable, breaking them down in my head and trying to fool myself into thinking I was doing less. But, whatever way I sliced & diced it always came to 3200m. This rep felt more like 10-k pace, but less then 10-k effort; I was conscious of having a couple extra gears (11:13).
The third rep was the workhorse; this is where the fun began. I felt like I was running 10-k pace at 10-k effort, painfully comfortable… numb. Closing the last 200 I thought I had time to make up, I’ll have to pay more attention next time (11:05).
The last lap as Carter said, “was gravy”, the work had all been done. Jogging home mind you was an entirely new experience. I can only assume it was lactic acid, but every joint and muscle in my body was anesthetized and had the responsiveness of molasses (11:01).
5:33 (158, 163)
5:35 (163, 166)
5:35 (156, 163)
5:38 (161, 163)
11:05 (161, 166)
5:33 (160, 166)
5:28 (166, 169)
A.M. a very smooth 40:24, 6:46 mi/pace
P.M. 1:31:41 with 4x 2-miles, AHR 146, MAX 169
Posted by Michael at 8:59 AM
Tuesday, March 6
Last night Ally and I went to one of our favourite late night bookstores, and for the first time in a while, I walked out with two books bundled under my arm. Unfortunately, they have three unfinished companions already on the nightstand and the kicker; I “know” I already own one of the books (but just wanted to make sure). Then, after receiving this week’s schedule and being reminded of the need for proper nutrition, sleep and recovery I opted for my new book with complete disregard for my 5:30 a.m. run.
After work, I received a massage from one of the good people at James Bay Chiropractic. Lindsay pointed to a connection between my left achilles and the intermittent cramping I’ve been having in my left hamstring (I’m thinking of having some A.R.T. done… thinking).
My heel really flared up during the first 5’ of this afternoons run, something I’ve never experienced before; I’m not surprised though given the work I’d received. I spent the next 50’ on soft grass and trails, the legs feeling good and reminding myself of Eric’s words (ensuring I had a day or two of slow recovery to allow the past couple of weeks to sink in). I never noticed the heel again bit I’m icing it now.
Given, tomorrow is going to separate the boys from the men and my need for sleep will be paramount; I’ve got some all consuming reading to achieve in the remaining few hours.
A.M. an easy 40:47, 6:58 mi/pace, the sunrise was absolutely spectacular, I never knew red could be so vivid
P.M. a comfortable 59:16, 6:54 mi/pace
Posted by Michael at 6:19 PM
Monday, March 5
Forty-nine days, somehow that seems far too close, although I don’t know that 7 weeks is any better.
A fortnight ago, I questioned my body’s ability to absorb the recent training. I’d even gone so far as to post a quote from Sue Luke, “Even if you fall flat on your face, at least you are moving forward”. This week, particularly late in the week, I swear there were times when lying motionless, facedown in the mud would’ve been the preferred option.
Walking home from work this afternoon I knew spring had finally arrived, it was palpable. And, not because the sun was shining, but rather because it wasn’t, it somehow seemed more spring-like. Yet swallows were still frittering around, busy searching for a food and nesting material, shoots were sprouting and the air was saturated with possibility. Passing the park I yearned to be out running, just an easy 20’, surely that would be okay? I’ve got friends who would question the necessity for a day off, choosing rather an easy jaunt, you know, just to keep the blood flowing. As much as I wanted to run, I opted for a lazy, late afternoon tipple, gazing at the birds flying around our plum tree (see picture) in the back yard. I remembered hobbling about last night with the mobility of some 50 years my senior. No, I’d made the correct decision, this past week was my first outing at 100% volume; total time on the feet was 10h30’, approx. 150km (94 miles) and I needed to rest.
Monday: day off
Tuesday: 1:14:07, AHR 136
Wednesday: A.M. 50:57 with 4x strides, P.M. 1:28:05 with 60’ at 5:45-5:55 pace
Thursday: A.M. an easy 32:57, P.M. 47:53
Friday: A.M. 45:38, P.M. 1:18:30, with 10’ at 10-k effort, followed by 6x800
Sunday: 2:32:19, AHR 137, MAX 165, 6:50 mi/pace
Sunday, March 4
"Out of the silver heat mirage he ran. The sky burned, and under him the paving was a black mirror reflecting sun-fire. Sweat sprayed his skin with each foot strike so that he ran in a hot mist of his own creation. With each slap on the softened asphalt, his soles absorbed heat that rose through his arches and ankles and the stems of his shins. It was a carnival of pain, but he loved each stride because running distilled him to his essence and the heat hastened this distillation."
- James Tabor, from "The Runner," a short story
It felt like a mini-training camp this morning, having the boys meet at my place; it had been ages since having company on a long run and this was a rare treat. Jim arrived early looking like a ninja in his black and grey adidas kit. Once the treble was complete, we set out, me intent on dragging Rumon around last weekends route and Jim along for part the ride.
The conversation flowed smoothly, and the miles passed by with ease; over the Johnson St. Bridge, and out of the city on the Goose and Lochside trails. It was about 47’ into the run when I turned to question Jim, “Dude, what are you doing? How are you getting home?” Rumon and Jim both stopped in their tracks seeing the humour in a normally uncomplicated question. Jim has been having tendon troubles for a few weeks now and if he was to return under his own steam, at this point, he was in for the long haul.
We parted ways with Jim behind Mount Doug, Rumon & I heading for the ever daunting Ash hill and Jim bee-lining for home. I truly hope his tendon wasn’t too aggravated, but if so, selfishly, I’m glad I was along for the ride. Seamus, the next drink is on me.
Fast-forward an hour; it is usually here that I like going within myself, taking pleasure in the loneliness and wallowing in whatever pain I’m experiencing, hopefully finding enough strength to finish my journey. Unfortunately, today Rumon wasn’t going to allow me to internalize the remainder of our jaunt, rather, he kept pulling me back to the present, asking very opened ended questions; ya’ bastard, where was my carnival of pain?
Training: an epic 2:32:19, AHR 137, MAX 165, 6:50 mi/pace. A note of caution was raised by my achilles at several points during the run and it was definitely sore at the end. This isn’t entirely surprising given I’ve just completed 10h30’02” of running for the week (including one rest day) totaling 150 km or 94 miles.
Posted by Michael at 4:07 PM
Saturday, March 3
Carter joined me for a late afternoon run in Mount Doug; almost an hour of uninterrupted trails, conversation, laughter and mud, so much so I almost forgot we were running. The contrast to yesterdays track w/o wasn’t lost, and couldn’t have been more varied; today, the legs felt O-kay.
Additionally, I enjoyed the comfort of what may turn out to be my best purchase this month, my new adidas RSP Short Tights. The advertisement says, “This product has been designed to give you performance, comfort and style. For over 50 years world-class athletes (Seamus) have been relying on adidas to meet their training and competition needs”. Me, I say I felt like I was running naked – without the chafing.
Oh yeah, if you haven’t already you have to check out the latest Norah Jones album Not Too Late, particularly the second track, "sinkin’ soon".
Training: an utterly invigorating 59:36, AHR 128, MAX 159
Posted by Michael at 7:18 PM
Friday, March 2
Heading out the door, I turned to see my tea still on the counter; I hadn’t touched it since I had a sip to see if it was too hot, it was.
I felt like a boxer this morning, a prizefighter preparing for the main event. Stepping out onto my canvas, the street, and turning left down an already worn path only to find a punk deep into his tempo, leaning his punches with the discarded skittishness of a boxer on the way to making his fortune by knocking out a champion.
What was he thinking; surely he saw the fire burning in my eyes? Had he mistaken the efficiency of my movements for a sign of weariness, aging? Couldn’t he feel the white-hot furnace burning in my chest?
He stepped up and threw a right, but while doing so, dropping his left. I really didn’t need this disruption, but with determined motion, I swung back. He folded up and went down as if pre-set, like a light on a timer. He didn’t stand a chance.
I have nothing left to prove, not even to myself.
I no longer feel like that prizefighter, perhaps instead more reminiscent of Simon & Garfunkel’s Boxer:
“In the clearing stands a boxer, and a fighter by his trade. And he carries the reminders of every glove that laid him down or cut him til he cried out in his anger and his shame I am leaving, I am leaving, but the fighter still remains”.
The warm-up was jovial enough and I even felt good on the tempo, that’s where the enjoyment ended.
I felt smooth rounding the first 200 and despite the wind expected to see my usual fast start reflected in the split. I’m not sure if I was comforted or disheartened, when expecting a 36, I was rewarded with a 39 (high). That’s when I knew I had me a battle. I wish I could tell you that at some point I settled into a rhythm, I didn’t. It’s not that they were a struggle though, but, it’s just all I had. I felt flat.
2:36 (154, 167)
2:35 (158, 165)
2:37 (157, 165)
2:37 (155, 163)
2:35 (155, 166)
2:34 (155, 167)
My appreciation goes out Brad, Chris and Sylvan who braved the wind on a chilly Friday evening, when I’m sure they had more enjoyable things to do.
I need a Guinness…
A.M. an effortless 45:38, I opened in a 6:47 & closed in a 6:44
P.M. a war was waged and I’m not sure who won. 1:18:30, 10’ at 10-k effort, followed by 6x800, AHR 136, MAX 167
Thursday, March 1
- Emil Zatopek
This is what it is all about isn’t it? Not what makes it worthwhile, the achievement, but being in the muck? Conscious of your choice and regardless of the outcome, you’ve rolled up your sleeves and decided to wade, waist deep into the mud to fetch what is yours. Nobody said it would be easy.
Tell me I’m right?
Tell me I’m supposed to feel like I do?
I was numb when I left the house on my run. Conscious of my surroundings, I enjoyed the warmth of the sunshine and the soft yielding grass. I smiled at a bride and groom posturing for pictures in the park, and laughed at the cackle from the ducks as I disturbed their late afternoon slumber. These are positive signs, signs that tell me I was right in heading out. However, to say I was tired wouldn’t quite capture the new feeling I’ve discovered. I’m not at risk of falling asleep, but my muscles carry a heavy burden. My arms would argue that they’ve been doing most of the work. At least there is no doubt that I’m training…
A.M. an easy & enjoyable 32:57
P.M. 47:53 (five down, four to go)
Posted by Michael at 7:00 PM