Thursday, July 26

Back running

I ran… and I loved every minute, every footstep!

After what was approaching three weeks, and felt a great deal longer, on Monday I ignored the doctors orders and snuck out for a small jog (before Ally arrived home from the office). I cannot even begin to tell you how much I utterly enjoyed it, “standing on the top of Linden, just feet from my doorstep, I looked south down the length of the tree lined lane, through Fairfield, across the Strait and onto the Olympic Mountains… I love that view. The clouds were heavy with rain, and although it didn’t pour, the drops that did land were the size of golf balls, instantly soaking a disproportionate amount of the body”.

I had originally hoped to run a fast, if not PB, half marathon in Maui this September but given the recent training (or lack there of), I’m going to have to revisit the program in a few weeks and choose an alternate autumn goal.

With the wedding only two days away now, and not one to be disheveled easily, I’m surprised at how excited I am and the anticipation that has been building is reminiscent of a decade of childhood Christmas’. This is going to be a fun weekend.

Monday: therapeutic 27:02
Tuesday: easy 55:43
Wednesday: easy 27:12

Monday, July 23

Forgoing the mill for misery

After enjoying last Monday's run, I went out the following Tuesday and pushed the boundaries even further deciding to run a workout. Given ten days without activity I wanted to keep it simple and ran a 20' tempo (10' out and back) trying to pick it up on the return. After about a minutes recovery I through in four one-minute hard pieces, allowing the legs to open up. Everything was fantastic... that was until Wednesday morning.

Ally and I went to the hospital for more x-rays which confirmed (I couldn't rotate my arm far enough when I had the original x-rays taken) that my radial head was broken. The kicker was having three doctors stand around, one with the nerve to say, "it's a lot worse than I thought". The long and short of it is a) the radial head is fractured, b) the arm/elbow is compacted (moved and isn't moving back... yet) and c) I can't run, feck!

The last point (c) isn't entirely true as he said I could run on the treadmill with my arm in a sling but as a) I don't own a mill, b) I don't want to pay to run and c) it's freak'n summer, I'm forgoing the mill for misery. With our wedding in less than a week, perhaps having some additional time on my hands is a silver lining, but, the fact that I can do squat negates the cup-half-full theory. More x-rays tomorrow and with some luck, the approval for a desperately needed run...

Monday, July 16

Catharsis can be, and was…

… a run. After ten, yes t-e-n days devoid of running, more time off than after either of my recent marathons, today, Monday, I decided to put my arm to the test, and it was beautiful.

Once out the door, I turned left and headed down toward the park. I figured I’d give myself a fighting chance and run a much as possible on softer trails. Although my arm never hurt in that “you shouldn’t be doing this” kind of way, I was reminded of the break about once every 20” when my left arm would bounce out of sync with rest of the body.

It didn’t take long before I was on the chips and as I clipped along at what felt like a decent pace, I was surprised at how smooth, effortless and comfortable I felt. The sweat begin to build after only 10’, and shortly after that beads would run at a regular interval down my face and into my eyes… and I loved every minute of it. Whether it’s a case of distance making the heart grow fonder (I don’t think so), or just being intensely appreciative with what you’ve got, I thoroughly enjoyed the run.

I’m seeing the surgeon on Wednesday, and figured what could one, or two, runs do that he couldn’t already fix (if needed).

Training: easy 27:57

Tuesday, July 10

Broken... but not beat

Sorry for the delay in writing, and I can't seem to get the "title" option to work... what is with that? Okay, NOW it works, anywho...

I'm going to be brief for reasons that will present themselves shortly. Last weekend was my stag, I loved every minute of it. Friday started with an easy jog, a great 3-hour ride, brunch, disc golf dinner and surprisingly enough we ended up atop Mt. Washington as my friends had rented a chalet for the w/e.

Saturday we mountain biked, downhill mountain biked... until then I've never downhill mountain biked. I loved it. But, unfortunately my ego and/or vanity got the best of me as I tried to show off for a friend, over cooked a berm "way too fast", got shot out and then... B-A-M! I was on the deck, my head ringing, hands cut and my left arm sore (but not so sore that I stopped riding).

Alas, when I returned home Sunday evening Joe and I stopped by the emergency ward and yes, I broke my left radial head (near the elbow). Ummf! To make matters worse Victoria is in the midst of a heatwave, it is 33C and counting (hot for us). Luckily, the doctor is an acquaintance who at one time raced mountain bikes professionally and he only laughed when he saw me. He assured me that even if I needed a cast for a long time (which I hope I don't), that he would cut it off for the wedding (in two weeks... as expecting, and hoped, Ally has been very understanding and only questioned why I did something so cliche).

Training: none (I can't wait)!

Thursday, July 5

The paving was a black mirror reflecting sun-fire

Holy cow was I tired when I arrived home this afternoon, who am I kidding, I was tired well before I ever arrived home. I was a weary, lethargic soul desperately in need of some sleep, rest and perhaps a cold beer. My hair even hurt, and that is saying something given that on Tuesday I received a haircut (#5 on top and #2 on the sides).

Thinking back, I don’t know how I ever made it out of the house. I wanted to go for a run but if there was ever a day in the last month/year that I was clearly tired and would’ve benefited from rest this was it!

Alas, like the creature of habit I am, and forever will be, I put on some old ratty faded blue shorts, leaving my favourite running shirt on the shelf, and headed out to bask in the heat! Ah, this reminds me of a quote I found earlier this year, you know the one, “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

Despite expecting a carnival of pain, I surprised myself and although I did experience a parade of hurt, it was a welcomed hurt. The sort of hurt that reinforces the fact that you’re not fit, but still allows you to carry on… where you’ve paid your dues and slowly, painfully, you’re allowed to reap the rewards.

Bring on the heat!

Wednesday: easy 42:38 with 6x strides
Thursday: 1:02:05 with 2x 6’ HMP, 2x 3’ 10k pace and 4x strides

Wednesday, July 4

Summer has arrived

When I arrived home from work yesterday, I don’t imagine I couldn’t have felt more lethargic or weary. I wanted to run, I think, at least I was supposed to (?) but my limbs seemed longer than usual and I was feeling the affects of an additional gravitation pull that wasn’t luring me outside. Luckily, Carter had agreed to meet me, and even more fortunate was the fact that I had a leisurely hour in which I hoped to a) uncover my motivation and b) work my way into the heart of the Death Star and turn of the damn gravitation shield.

With a 3-mile tempo on the menu, we decided to take the long way to the Park, instead opting for both hors d'oeuvre and dessert prior to serving up the main course. Summer had started to show her face and when we arrived at the beginning of Circle Drive, we were already glistening with sweat as we stored our shirts in the lower branch of an ancient maple.

Having not run any intensity in over six weeks I had no idea what to expect, or what to aim for, but figured I might be in 34 high shape and therefore settled on 5:50s. I “eased” into the first mile feeling relaxed and comfortable, splitting the mark in 5:39, not quite what I had anticipated. Rather than set myself up for a slow painful death, I beat my lack of fitness to the punch and instead opted to run the hillier lower mile loop during my second mile, 5:56. With one mile remaining, I switched back to the upper loop, trying not to pick up the pace but rather maintain a steady rhythm, clocking a 5:55 (I swear I was running faster). After the tempo, Carter and I jogged over to the all-weather pitch and ran a few diagonals, just to stretch the legs out (felt great)... I love summer, and tomorrow (today) they're calling for highs of 28C!

Training: 1:04:04 with 3-mile tempo and 4x strides

Sunday, July 1

Happy Canada Day!

Today’s run was heroic, well almost, another 10’ and this write-up would be appearing in the Local Interest section of our daily paper and conceivably Trail Runner, but alas… we ran too fast.

After picking up Tre, a certain other friend who wishes to remain anonymous as his coach would certainly guard against what we did, and Carter we drove out to Willis Point Road, turning left at Ross-Durrance and then pulling into a secluded parking lot to embark on our Canada Day festivities… let the games begin.

With no rest or warm-up for the wicked, we began our journey in Mount Work Regional Park, and with launched ourselves into the days looped route, beginning with a solid 300m climb to the summit of Mount Work covering the 2.5km in a shade over 17’. From there child-like screams we thoroughly enjoyed what is probably my favourite single-track trail on the peninsula as we ran, blurry-eyed down the backside toward Ross-Durrance. I can only imagine we/I sounded like a youngster running with more than a hint of madness (and dirt) in my eye, plummeting down narrow single-track switched back trails, finding purchase on every angled rock so as to redirect our drop, grabbing out for tree limbs using them like you would an apartment handrail swinging uncontrollably around on a wing and a prayer. We continued our freefall down to the inlet, the quads screaming at this point after descending 450m faster than they would’ve liked.

From here, we jogged passed the main trail back up to the lot, instead following an ever-narrowing trail north, only to veer off on a small deer path that climbs relentlessly back up to the peak of Willis Point Road topping out in excess of 400m. Today was all about friends, trails and finding fitness when (and where) you least expect it, thanks boys!

Training: a gnarly and almost epic (but not quite long enough) 1:35:18