Sunday, September 30

Change and everything it brings along

After growing accustomed to the balmy 29C temperatures in Maui, heading out the door this afternoon was a rude awakening. An 11C blanket of wind quickly encircled me, billowing my shirt and forcing every hair on my body to stand rigid and subsequently left me scampering back into the house for a second layer. And so it begins, having missed any gradual transition, it appears that autumn (along with the wind and rain) have arrived.

Perhaps because of the darkening skies, I found my mood sullen. With the changes that the next months will bring, concrete plans that once stood out as a beacon are slowly becoming translucent and difficult to grasp. Always the realist, I’m questioning whether it is smart to commit to a spring race as I don’t want to a) look forward to something that won’t come to fruition or b) participate if I’m not at my best. Although I think there is possibly a third option that I have left out… that ego thing.

Along with the growing family, come month end (October), I will be trading in my 15’ walk to work for a 25’ + bike (& subsequent change); I’ll be officially joining the ranks of the commuting mad racing down the Galloping Goose Trail hoping to win that imaginary prize. I’ve already told myself that on the good days I’ll indulgence and treat myself to the longer, but more scenic, waterfront, perhaps reliving a past life. Is this where my future exercise will lie hidden?

When I shared these thoughts with Ally, proud and happy that I had come to terms with what fatherhood would bring, she resolutely told me not to give up on my running hopes and dreams.

Where does this leave me? Perhaps these are just the thoughts and fears of a budding father struggling to comprehend with his idea of what parenthood will inevitably bring? Or, is it just fear of the unknown and my frail attempt at compromise, desperately trying to prepare for change before it arrives? Both of the above reasons seem a little pathetic, and although the fear maybe real, appear as a cop out. No, the plan is still tacked to the fridge and will be ceremoniously packed, unpacked, and hung with pride on our new fridge.

Training: 1:07:26 sluggish and slow

Friday, September 28


After spending a fitful night sleeping in the Sea-Tac airport, Ally and I returned home today from two wonderful weeks in Maui! Our honeymoon was everything I wished for, romantic and leisurely, but also included a few surprises the least of which left me atop a 10,023 ft volcano gasping for air while trying to remember where the fun lay.

Our days usually revolved around one of three beaches where we’d passed the time away snorkeling, swimming or (my favourite) napping, ensuring that we soaked up as much of the atmosphere and sunshine that the island had to offer.

Two days after arriving I toed the line, participating in the 5th annual Maui Half Marathon and ran proceeded to run a 8-year personal worst. I started conservatively running the first two miles in 5:53 and 6:00 respectively and strangely enough found myself leading the race. This continued for two more miles until a tight pack of seven runners pulled alongside and after exchanging pleasantries left me to wallow in misery with many a 6:4X mile to follow (ouch)!

Always a glutton for adventure and subsequent punishment, and perhaps wanting to push the memories from my recent race further into the recesses of my mind, the following Sunday I rented a road bike, fastened on my peddles and proceeded to try and cycle to the top of what has been described as the worlds longest/steeped continuous paved accent from sea-level… the road to Haleakala.

I hadn’t been on a bike since last year when I did the same ride (approx. 4h20), regardless, this year I was determined to try and break 4h. This was a lofty/stubborn goal particularly since last year I found the final 500 vertical ft. very difficult, being dizzy for most of it. The entire ride is epic, but my favorite section is by far the top half where the view changes into switchbacks carved into open green pastures. The sky is usually clear enough to see the road stair-stepping up until it disappears out of view.

Upon entering the Haleakala National Park at 7000 feet, the climb is a tad less steep; the landscape changes to volcanic rock, with low-lying bushes. Rather than re-experience last years dizzy spells, this year as I watched the final seconds slowly pass, my left quadriceps felt as if they were in a vice that was gradually being tightened with each peddle stroke. Given years of racing, I have never experienced anything like the pain I did during he last 2’ of this ride and bugger if I couldn’t find a way to eak out a bloody 50”.

On a final note, a spring marathon may not be in the cards for me this year (the next two months will be crucial). Not only will Ally and I be moving into our own house, complete with renovation designs, but also as luck would have it Ally is due to have a baby in early April… Boston 2009?

Please pardon the specifics, they’re for my benefit.

Friday: day off
Saturday: 39:49 easy w/ 5x strides (1’); swim 5’
Sunday: Maui Half Marathon 1:22:24, 8th OA, 1st in AG (8-year personal worst)
Monday: day off; swim 15’
Tuesday: 40:22 easy w/ 5x strides (1’); swim 20’
Wednesday: 50:02 easy; swim 25’
Thursday: 1:09:01 w/ hills 6x 1’ (1’) + 8x 30” (30”)
Friday: 34:40 easy w/ 5x strides
Saturday: 1:24:11 leisurely along the North Shore
Sunday: bike 4:00:50 up the 10,023 ft. Haleakala
Monday: 53:31 w/ 5x 5’ tempo (1’)
Tuesday: 39:49 easy; swim 5’
Wednesday: 34:27 easy w/ 5x strides (1’); swim 10’
Thursday: day off
Friday: 55:22 w/ hills 6x 30” (30”) + 6x 1’ (1’)

Thursday, September 13


With a thick fog rolling in off the ocean, I headed out the door to squeeze in a quick workout before work. I hadn’t run hills in months (Jan/Feb) and welcomed the change of pace. I realize I’m racing this weekend rather than following the prescribed w/o but didn’t want to forgo today’s w/o in favour of an spontaneous and ill-prepared for event.

After dropping some mail off, I made my way to Lotbiniere to find that the city has recently closed off the bottom end of the street to traffic, which has turned a previously great hill into something epic.

I eased into the first set and was surprised at how comfortable I felt. My breathing was never laboured during the set, my legs being the only noticeable limitation. I have no illusions of grandeur that this will translate into something more than it is, but I did take comfort.

Training: 41:51 with 4x hills [2x 30” (30”) + 60” (60”)]

Wednesday, September 12


I’m sitting here (with Ally fast asleep) savoring a wee dram of Jura having just packed, hoping I’ve just packed everything I need for Maui. Given the recent world wind of days and weeks, I’m not entirely convinced I have everything but with scarce will to try and rectify the situation. That said, I can rest assured that I have at least a) one Jack Johnson CD, b) my racing flats, and c) the peddles off my road bike (no I hadn’t put them back on from last years ride). I can almost feel the sun on my back as I laze on the sand watching the waves roll ashore.

[insert slow reflective sip]

The clinic, particularly my half marathon group, really excelled during today’s w/o. With only four weeks until race day, they’re really coming into their own. The w/o was the same as three weeks ago, 7x 760m (2’) rest, only this time they dropped the average by 4’-5’… impressive.

Prior to joining the group I had to drop by the Realtors office and sign the final paper work lifting the conditions on our purchase and handing over the deposit. As of this evening, we are the proud owners of our first house!

[insert gulp]

Until later, and I can’t promise I’ll write much while I’m away, cheers, and all the best on the roads and trails… gone surfing.

Training: 1:00:04 easy

Tuesday, September 11

Postcard from Purgatory

Not that yesterday was much of a workout, but nonetheless I was still surprised how good my legs felt this afternoon. As I ambled through Oak Bay and along the waterfront, I was silently amazed with the evenness of my “steady” pace. I felt upright and my hamstrings seemed overly engaged (or I was acutely aware) during every stride… I was a horse trotting.

Unfortunately, any remote resemblance to the aforementioned four-legged animal ended as the timer on the watch face indicated 41:XX. Ah well, I enjoyed the saunter home all the same, unfortunately my planned 75’ ended a tad premature. I seem to remember having a similar difficulty the last time I was ramping up the mileage… desperately trying to crack the 70’ barrier but always washing up short.

So where does this leave me? Well, as a few people (thanks Thomas and Chris) pointed out, I should stick with the base miles and not get distracted with this weekends race. That said, given I was going to do a workout [4x1k (1’) + 1h easy + 3x1k (1’)], and that I’d like to race, what do I do come the day? I’ve been trying to convince myself to do the w/o mid- race but I would invariably become “that guy” the one who annoys everyone in the vicinity so have pretty much nixed that idea. So, how about race pace, given a general lack of fitness (relatively speaking) how about 10 miles at marathon pace? Oh to be fit again.

On the home front, it looks like it’s a done deal, financing, title, inspection, insurance, they’re all in the bag. All that is left to do is lift the conditions and sign away the deposit… which we’re saving for tomorrow.

Training: 1:05:05 steady

Monday, September 10

Fast action absorption needed!

No this isn't a call for some Kleenex, but rather a direct message to the body informing it that we are in desperate need of training, ASAP. Of course, everyone knows that with the race this weekend there isn't the time for my body to benefit from any key workouts, and, I know I'd probably be better off doing less rather than more, but... it never helps to try.

And so I found myself today, on a very hot September afternoon (perhaps the hottest since late June, and certainly the hottest prior to race morning), standing at "Mile 0" and launching myself repetitively into a series of mile tempo runs (fingers crossed).

I’d checked the schedule before leaving the house, heading out the door with my sights on 5:59s. That said, I wasn’t all that surprised when I split the first mile in 5:46 (I’ll never learn), 5:59 for the second, 5:47 for the third and I closed it out with a well rehearsed 5:56. Had I tried to alternate marathon and half marathon pace I couldn’t have done better.

As far as the house is concerned, well, we’ve been busy; to the lawyers regarding the title (all okay), insurance (check, new oil tank within the year though), house inspection (check, built like a tank so we were told)… financing tomorrow and we’re all done.

I tell you though, Maui couldn’t come soon enough!

Saturday: 1:26:07 easy
Sunday: 59:56 easy with Carter, couldn’t have been better
Monday: 46:41 with 4x mile (1’)

Friday, September 7

Desperate Times

Courage, it couldn't come at a worse time… as a result of my lack of fitness, and running deficit, this morning I decided to step up to the plate (with complete disregard to the program mind you) and throw in a workout for old times sake.

So, while most of the city was either crawling to work or school, I was out running circles around Beacon Hill Park desperately trying to increase my VO2 Max. I’m certain the workout wasn’t the best use of my time but at least it gave me the satisfaction that I was putting in a few miles, sweating, and with a few tempo pieces this weekend perhaps next weeks half marathon won’t be the complete calamity I fear.

There is no question in my mind that it/I will hurt, and I’m utterly confident I won’t run anywhere near the time I did in March (let alone last year), but at I’m hoping to hold my head high and perhaps finish with a grin on my face.

As expected I did fade during the session but I could see, if only briefly, glimpses of brilliance. With the sun on my face, and the salty fresh Pacific breeze on my face, I was brought back to a place to so long ago…

On the house front, we have a home inspection in 40’… have to run.

Training: 53:05 with 12x 1’ hard (1’)

Thursday, September 6

Back to school

While sitting here at the computer, I’m watching an icy fog roll off the waters and gradually creep across the neighborhood, the deep solitary sound of a foghorn in the distance. There is no doubt in my mind that the dog days of summer have left and it’s time to head back to school, or at least, back to the basics.

Since having registered for the Maui Half Marathon, this last week couldn’t have been filled with more distractions. We spent the weekend on Galiano helping Ally’s mother clean up her property. This week, in-between a hectic work schedule, we’ve put an offer on a house while also juggling doctor appointments, having additionally opened up our house to some good friends before they bugger off and move back to the UK next Tuesday.

Alas, my running, and desire to head out, has taken a back seat at a time that could not have been worse (well perhaps slightly).

More later, I just got off the phone with the realtor… they accepted our offer, got to go! This is bloody lovely!

Tomorrow then, I’ll run, I promise.

Friday: 1:09:06 with 5x strides (1’)
Saturday: 1:59:35 leisurely
Sunday: day off
Monday: 30:06 easy (late night)
Tuesday: day off
Wednesday: 57:21 with 2x 90” (90”), 4x 60” (60”), 4x 30 (30”) & 4x 15” (15”)