Thursday, August 30

Days remembered, a beginning

I wasn’t going to run today, not that I didn’t want to or that it wasn’t on the schedule, but with work busier than it has been in months and the days quickly booking up with meetings, well, I left the office closer to 5:00 rather than my standard 3:00 and as such I’d lost my running window. That said, after watching a rented episode of Rome (thanks Lawrence), and the missus fast asleep, it appears an alternate “late night” window has presented itself.

Running when it’s dark reminds me of a) running in the late afternoon during the wet coast winters we all so dearly love and b) days remembered, days when my life as a runner was forged.

It was during the second of year of my university career, and although I ran, I wouldn’t have called myself a runner. Runners were fast, or if nothing else, defined by qualities and attitudes that I didn’t then posses. As fortune would have it I befriended a graduate student who was living in our dorm and who was (or at least used to be) a runner. The informal nods in the hall turned to casual conversations (I can only guess disguised as opportunities to assess one another’s ability). Regardless, with defenses down, we began weekly jaunts, which then progressed to a weekend night long run. First 15k, which felt much longer back then, but not near as long as the first time Eric dragged me around his favourite 21k loop… tonight I remember it like it was yesterday, the first time in my life that I ran half-a-marathon. If I only knew then were that road would take me.

As so, as soon as I finish posting this, I’ll be lacing up my shoes for a late night stroll, nothing epic, but enjoyable all the same.

Thanks Eric.

Training: I’m just leaving, I’ll complete this in the morning

P.s. 23:47 easy, I didn't say it wasn going to be long (felt good)!

Wednesday, August 29

In desperate need of conditioning

“Vision without action is a daydream. Action without vision is a nightmare.”

As I walked to work this morning, Americano in hand, it dawned on me that my fitness is nothing short of, well, it is just short. This is all fine given my current long-term goal, but as the Royal Victoria Half Marathon is fast approaching I’m a wee bit apprehensive.

I haven’t been doing a fraction of what my clinic members have been putting themselves through. With this in mind, and in desperate need of some conditioning, I registered for the Maui Half Marathon in mid-September. I raced there last year while on a short holiday, and given we’ll be there on our honeymoon in a few short weeks (and yes I cleared it with the missus first) I thought racing would ensure me at least one solid effort while on vacation.

This evening I met the clinic and led them on one of their last Herculean efforts, 4x 10’ (2’). I’ve been thoroughly impressed with their training and tonight was no different.

Re: house hunting, we drove around and looked at four more houses and have decided to follow-up with one. That said, we have our eye on one that hasn’t come on the market yet and are crossing our fingers as the kicker is going to be the listing price.

Training: easy 1:08:45

Tuesday, August 28

The Big Easy

I left the house today wanting to find my rhythm. I'm not sure where I left it, perhaps on the armchair beside Kawabata's The Master of Go, or at the hospital while I was having one of my many x-rays. Regardless, my lack of rhythm has once again reared it's ugly head just like it did in grade 4 during my first school dance. It was my first ever slow dance, Anna Hibernick had placed her hands on my shoulders (still at an arms length apart), and not knowing any better I followed her lead and did the same. I'm forever thankful for Anita running out onto the floor, grabbing my hands, and putting them on Anna's waist. Alas, I digress. No... when I was out on Sunday I couldn't help but notice that my rhythm, my easy gait, was missing. I miss the fluidity that is gained when putting in the miles, the way the shoes seem to glide along the street and the smooth carriage of ones arms, I miss it all. So today, I set out to try and recapture that rhythm.

Today was pretty simple, 5 strides was all the schedule called for; done and done.

Training: 37:07 with 5x strides (1')

Monday, August 27

In need of fresh air (and my old habitual ways)

I was surprised by my determination last Thursday as despite having a stomach chock-a-block full of pizza, one Speckled Hen, and the late hour, I dusted off my shoes, laced them up and headed out for a moonlit stroll along the waterfront. Given the days previous six hours, I couldn’t have needed the fresh air more… I guess there’s hope for all of us.

With the arrival of the weekend, I longed for some reprieve in the housing hunting, but like a nagging homework assignment, I couldn’t escape the task at hand. Even as I drove out toward Mattick's Farm to meet my run group, I couldn’t help but notice the ubiquitous “For Sale” signs littered around town. Needless to say, we didn’t find anything but at least, if not wiser for it, I acquainted myself with a few areas of the city never before explored.

Now with the arrival of the new week and the loss of any semblance of what might have been a runner’s body, I find myself reflecting back on my training (if you can call it that with a whopping volume of 4h35’32”) and I’m heartily thankful that the Arizona Marathon is still over four months away.

I miss my regular running routine.

I miss the chase, the hunt and the pain, but I’m welcomed with the thought that it’s out there waiting for me. The next few weeks will undoubtedly pass like a hurricane, but I’m comforted that my honeymoon is only a fortnight away.

Thursday: 31:00 easy
Friday: 28:10 with 5x strides (1’)
Saturday: 1:50:27 easy
Sunday: 42:52 with 5x strides (1’)
Monday: day off

(The picture was taken while walking along the beach off Dallas)

Thursday, August 23

Swing batter, batter

No run... or fun this evening. Ally and I spent the better part of this afternoon (and evening) putting an offer in on a house only to find out another offer went in tonight as well, $15,000 higher than ours and $5,000 over what they were asking.

I'm disappointed we didn't get the house but happy to have gone through the process. Perhaps if I really loved the place, I mean really, I would've considered giving more? Regardless, I was really amazed how Ally and I came together and how we stuck to our guns on what we were prepared to offer. The driving around and looking at houses in addition to today's offers is helping to crystallize what I'm searching for as I don't want to be put into a position where I have to settle. I'm also "very" happy with our realtor, particularly given the hoops she jumped through this evening (and it was her b-day).

So where does this leave me? Well, a small part of me is considering going out for a run, nothing big, maybe even just an easy 20', I don't know? I need and want some fresh air, in additional to my life (read "normal routine") back.

Do you think I should (it's 11:03), bets?

I have an eye appointment tomorrow, 7:45 a.m., if she doesn't get food poisoning.

I feel old, weary.

Training: day off

Wednesday, August 22

... and so it continues

In the last few days we've managed to look at more houses than I care to think, way too many. Yesterday after work, rather than running, I came home and found myself searching a private listing site for new houses... year, neighbourhood, square feet (finished & unfinished), bedrooms, bathrooms, lot size, price, prior price, days on the market, all stats that I've never really cared about until know. Who knew? Whatever happened to miles repeats, shoe size, VO2 max & marathon pace?

In and amongst and the madness, we did find two houses that we're interested in, unfortunately one has an offer pending, and the other, well we can get in to see it until Saturday, but I digress, where was I, yes, running.

Yesterday, I had every intention of running, I'll do it after we drive around in circles, really. I even went so far as to get dressed. There I was, I'd changed into my running kit (it was 9:10 p.m.) and was at the backdoor lacing up my shoes.

"What am I doing I thought, this is crazy", I sadly put the shoes back and didn't run. I'll switch Tuesday for Friday and as it's my program this time I don't have to answer to anyone. Today though was a different matter, I was down at the shop at 5:15 and we were all out the door 20' minutes later for what was a great workout, 7x800m (2'). The road loop isn't actually 800m, about 756m, but close enough. What I was impressed with was that my group did something I rarely do, they descended to intervals: 3:21, 3:11, 3:15, 3:12, 3:09, 3:09 & 3:08.

Tuesday: day off, wanting to go running, really
Wednesday: 1:03:03

Monday, August 20

And so it begins, house hunting...

I wish you could enroll in a course on "How to Purchase Your First Home", as today was reminiscent of the first day of swim lessons, where I was thrown into the deep end with a bunch of kids who already knew how to swim. I looked around, wide-eyed, searching for a hand to grab a hold of, anything that would give me some purchase, and sadly, as the chlorinated water splashed into my eyes, all I saw were smooth tiles and a ledge that was out of reach.

All this, while not wanting to look scared.

I am a man, I should know what I'm doing... shouldn't I?

Today was just an introduction, just something to whet the appetite, tomorrow, we're back for more, and oh, I pray this is a brief exercise. You see I'm torn, not only do I get Buyer Guilt when I make any purchase over $100, hence my over analyzing cautious tendencies, but I also hate shopping. I detest shopping. Now, the fact that I'm shopping for the LARGEST (notice I didn't say most important) acquisition of my life, well, that just makes it even more interesting.

To make matters worse, and for those who are not from around here, I have the distinct pleasure of living and searching in a very over inflated market. It seems Victoria was discovered about eight years ago, the same year I completed my last Ironman and decided to pursue a career in accounting.

A week in review, 4h51'51", for a total of about 70km (nothing stellar, but just what I wanted as I ease back into the running realm):

Monday: day off

Tuesday: 35:42 easy

Wednesday: 51:35 easy

Thursday: 1:12:25 easy/moderate

Friday: day off

Saturday: 1:30:45 easy

Sunday: 41:24 easy, Mount Doug, I loved it!

... and today, Monday: day off

Sunday, August 19

It was perfection… happy birthday!

I wasn’t afforded the luxury of sleeping in yesterday as I had to meet the clinic for our scheduled morning run.

[Sleeping in is relative though, 6:00 v. 6:20]

Instead, I awoke at my normal time, stumbled out of bed, punched on the computer and then made my way into the kitchen to make some coffee. Making coffee has become even more of a routine since receiving our first coffee grinder as a wedding present; I love the thing.

Armed with a delicious warm cup of coffee, in my favourite mug, I made my way back to the computer and was startled as Ally yelled out, “Happy Birthday”!

Wow, that was a first, I’d forgotten my birthday and I loved it, it was everything I’d asked.

After two weddings, one job interview and a funeral, when asked, I’d told Ally that I didn’t want to do anything special for my birthday. I wanted to sit back, hibernate from society, and enjoy our time together… just for one evening. The fact that I’d forgotten about the day only proves I’d made the mental leap, it was the perfect start to a great day.

As I’m easing back into running I’d scheduled myself a second day off this week, which worked out for the best as it allowed me time to find ourselves a realtor. With Victoria home to the highest average house prices in the country, buying is something that Ally and I, okay at least I’m looking forward to as much as you would a final exam.

Yesterday, I met the group at Caleb Pike and for all but one of them, introduced them to my favourite trail on the peninsula, the ridge trail that runs north from Caleb Pike, over Homes and Jocelyn Hill and down toward Mount Work. They loved it… the photo was taken one evening in June when Ally and I were out there.

Friday: day off
Saturday: 1h30’45”

Friday, August 17

Look at his poor ankles

Last night I enjoyed the closest thing to a midnight run in years, probably since leaving university in the 90's, and it didn't disappoint. We'd received a late summer shower earlier in the evening and the air was still think with energy, but not nearly as hot and humid as at midday. I strolled up Rockland and wove my way through the darkened streets of Oak Bay, making my way to a familiar fountain looking out over the marina. For some reason I expected the streets to be busier but as I glided down the middle of the road I was thankful, this was just what I needed.

This was going to be my longest (solo) run in weeks and believe it or not I was hesitant, not wanting to get stranded 30' + minutes from home. I remember looking at my watch 45'+ minutes into the run realizing only then that I was okay, making the brave decision to marginally pickup the pace.

Up and over King George Terrace where the light over the bay were reminiscent of Monet's Sunrise painting. At the bottom of the hill I met some young teenagers heading down to the beach.

"Hi", one of them yelled, I'm sure in an attempt to bolster their courage and status.

I waved back and clipped along only to hear "look at his poor ankles". "Poor ankles", I thought to myself, what's wrong with my ankles? Ally has mentioned on several occasions that they were thicker when I was trail running...

Oh, that's when it hit me, "look at Port Angeles", I guess my ankles were okay for another day.

Training: 1:12:25 easy/moderate

Wednesday, August 15

Why did I feel so good?

I was only going to nap for ten minutes, just relax back onto the bed and shut my eyes and allow my subconscious to take me on an adventure, anywhere, I wasn't fussy... just ten minutes max. This wasn't too much to ask, not after having to spend the morning at the hospital for more x-rays, working from home and then attending a job interview this afternoon? No, I deserved this.

I remember looking over at the clock and shielding the sunlight so I could read the faintly lit red display, it was 4:47.

I'm not sure what woke me but I remember feeling extremely relaxed and yet trapped. It was as if my body was encased in concrete, surrounding me completely. I wasn't on the bed but underneath it, and I found this strangely comforting.

Where was I?

Why did I feel so good and... shouldn't I be somewhere? My mind snapped to attention with the force reminiscent of the dried turkey wish bone snapping at Christmas, CRACK!

5:23... SHIT!

I'm not sure what happened next, but it occurred all at once; I was phoning my sister at the store informing her I'd be there in 5', while throwing off a T-shirt and leaping onto a pair of black adidas shorts. I turned around to find Ally walking in the door, bonus.

I made it to the shop with time to spare (but not much) and led the group out to enjoy a warm summer's day. This week is about recovery for them so the workout was short 3x(2'/1', 1'/30", 30"/30), and by most accounts they loved it.

Training: 51:35 easy

Tuesday, August 14

An Arizona Snowbird in training...

Today was my first official day of training for the 2008 Arizona Marathon. Yes it's a long way off but as I'm a goal oriented individual I wanted something I could focus on, something tangible, and well, we all have to start somewhere. It's all about the baby steps, just like I was telling a few clinic members on Saturday as I took them up a very abrupt hill, baby steps.

As I hopped out the door set on enjoying what is fast becoming a rarity this summer, the nice warm day, I was already thinking about this post. How I would share about my enjoyment of a casual jaunt, the first of many, and how I would dream, wonder, if they would all feel this good. Twenty-seven minutes later I was reminded that one should never count the chickens too early. The lethargy, fatigue and heaviness that crept into my legs might have stemmed from either of the graveyards I passed, but no, I don't think that was the case. Regardless, things can only get better, right?

Training: 35:42

[thanks for the title idea Carter]

Monday, August 13

215 North

If you haven't already done so, and I realize many of you probably haven't, check out the following site that my friend has put up, 215 North.

215 North is a web-based documentary project chronicling the life and training of select Canadian distance runners as they chase their dream of flying the Maple Leaf at the 2008 Olympic marathon in Beijing.

Currently, the site is following a good friend, Jim Finlayson and Steve Osaduik (another local Island runner) as they have just over one year to race faster than they ever have, to run faster than two hours fifteen minutes for 42.195 kilometers, to run at least 2:14:00 for a marathon, the minimum Canadian Olympic standard for the distance.

Sunday, August 12


This weekend was ushered in on the coattails of an emotional hurricane, which leaves me now drained and with a nearly empty glass on Scotch by my side. Saturday afternoon and evening, Ally and I attended the very lavish wedding of her cousin Marcia but not before I managed to sneak away and run with the clinic early that morning.

My group and I met at a small coffee shop amidst the rural Saanich Peninsula where we wove our way along the better portions of the Lochside Trail, up pastoral Central Saanich, over Bear Hill, around the Lakes… taking us back to our cars. I was so impressed with the route that I’m going to have to retrace our steps soon by myself. Unfortunately, we lost a few brave souls on the run, Andrew who bailed early after falling twice and Heather.

After being away from my group for the last 4 weeks the progress they made in my absence has been amazing and I have every confidence that they will all succeed in reaching their individual goals come race day.

Although I didn’t run today, I did find some time to map put the next few months and I’ve tentatively scheduled the Arizona Marathon (in Phoenix) as my next big race. As I’m no longer working with Bruce, I had the luxury of playing around with a half dozen programs and a lot of experience and I’m eager to see where my new program takes me (rest assured that the program I made today will morph many a time in the next week).

On a sad note, Ally and I attended the funeral of her Godfather who passed away this week after battling cancer. I’m fortunate not to have attended too many funerals and so today’s ceremony was something that will leave a lasting impression with me. Listening to the friends and family speak of Graham was heartbreaking, comforting and yet could only inspire me to become a better person. But, judging from the hundreds in attendance I think he inspired more than just myself along his journey.

Thanks Graham.

Friday: 39:43 easy
Saturday: 2:00:05
Sunday: Day off

Thursday, August 9

Short but sweet

After yesterdays epic 70’+ run, and having to whip up Island this evening to say goodbye to some relatives before they fly back to England, I decided to ease things back a bit and take it out for a short, leisurely jaunt.

Although it was short, I couldn’t help but notice the pace picked up, even if just subtly. Perhaps it was the benefit of last nights stretching, or the gentle tail wind on the finishing stretch, regardless, I felt good.

Concerning future races, I’ve narrowed it down to a list of around eight (not quite so narrow), and currently I’m leaning toward the Phoenix Marathon in mid-January. I've never been to Arizona and have heard good things about the city, course doesn't look overly arduous (looks like a semi-circle of the north side of the city) and the elevation starts at 1095' and plateaus between miles 12 & 18 (1230'), before falling to 1140'.

Have to run… cheers!

Training: 21:30 easy

Wednesday, August 8

Familiar faces and new acquaintances

Tonight I returned to the clinic for the first time since breaking my arm, almost four weeks ago now. It was great to see some familiar faces and catch up with new acquaintances. I would've thought at this stage in the program the Wednesday group would widdled down a little but it hadn't.

What impressed me the most though was the endurance and strength that every member of my half marathon group has gained. I'm not sure what this says about me not being there... probably has more to do with their effort and a solid program.

The workout this evening was 3x10' tempo (2'), and every loop finished within 5 ft. with the last one being the furthest; that sort of pacing is something I still haven't learnt.

My left achilles has been sore the last two days which I think is due to the sever lack of stretching on my part. I couldn't remember the last time I stretched, perhaps pre-Ottawa, but managed to remedy the situation this evening.

CIM... interesting?

Training: 1:10:46 easy

Tuesday, August 7

One guaranteed sorry backside...

Thinking my life, my running life to be more specific, would slip back into some sense of normalcy post-wedding appears to be wishful thinking. After a routine of irregular running due to my arm (which is still broken, more x-rays next week) and preparing for and recuperating from my wedding, my running, and perhaps rightfully so has taken a seat... as has lethargy and complacency, which have pulled up a footstool, turned on the tele and are content to watch reruns of Seinfeld.

In an effort to keep my legs moving (a little) and build up some stamina as I'm due to return to the clinic tomorrow, I've been trying to fit in a few easy runs between playing with my cousins from England, swimming in countless potholes holes and counting stars on my mothers porch (she lives atop a small mountain well outside the city limits). The last week has been fantastic! That said, as I operate countless times better when driven by a goal, I need to spend some time over the next few days, sooner rather than later for fear of hopelessness pulling up aside along the other two monkeys, and set out a plan for the next few months.

Unfortunately, after my honeymoon in September, I'll have little to no vacation left and I haven't been able to find a good local race to peak for in late fall/early winter. I could aim for the Stewart Mountain Cross Country 10 Miler in December but... well I've done that one before. Perhaps beggars shouldn't be choosers. Can anyone recommend a late fall (Nov/Dec) interesting (fast/character building/fun) race? Additionally, I do have the luxury of traveling on WestJet so larger Canadian cities are fair game. Any ideas?

Here's to tomorrows clinic and one guaranteed sorry backside...

Thursday: 21:31 easy
Friday: day off
Saturday: 33:11 easy
Sunday: day off
Monday: 40:26 easy
Tuesday: 50:42 easy

Wednesday, August 1

Just married…

I’m sitting here sipping the remnants of a great bottle of Leyva Agave Reposado that Carter left with me on my stag, silently reflecting on the whirlwind of events that have swept over me the last few days.

My arm is still recovering (I have more x-rays scheduled in two weeks) and I have been given the green light to run on the roads, although my doctor (and bride) probably wouldn’t have liked to learn of me trail running the morning of my wedding… or of me falling on my arm.

The fact that Rumon was with me is mere coincidence.

My training will continue to take a backseat for the remainder of the week until I have some time to revise my fall schedule (Boston is still on the cards for spring).

I’ve posted a few pictures from the wedding for the sentimental folk among us, but will refrain from going into literary detail save for a few brief words. The ceremony, reception, dinner and Celtic band went off without a hitch, were more enjoyable, and passed faster than I ever could’ve imagined.

Ally looked lovely!

Thank you to everyone who attended the wedding and made the event as wonderful as it was. Again, thank you to everyone who has extended words of congratulations, they’re much appreciated.

Until later then, cheers!

Thursday: 51:20 with 20’ tempo
Friday: 27:06 easy
Saturday: 1:06:51 easy (apart from falling, this time not Carter’s fault)
Sunday: day off
Monday: day off
Tuesday: 26:29 easy
Wednesday: 38:15 with Moneghetti fartlek, i.e., 2x90” (90”), 4x60” (60”), 4x30” (30”) and 4x15” (15”)