Friday, November 30

A long(er) road home

This evening as I ran home along the waterfront, I was treated to the most spectacular sunset; unfortunately, I was heading in the wrong direction and found myself constantly trying to sneak a peek over my left shoulder. Despite yesterday’s sluggishness, coupled with heavy legs during the first 10’ of the run, I quickly loosened up and decided to go with the flow, opening up the gates just a tad, and rolled over the hills on the way home feeling strong.

A.M. easy (relaxed) 39:28
P.M. strong rolling 56:27

Thursday, November 29

Must remember to stretch

If I was clunky yesterday, today my legs were tied-up and unresponsive. I’m not too surprised given yesterday’s workout amidst arctic conditions, and a complete lack of stretching on my part. Quickly recognizing the state of affairs, I worked in a few seat kicks and a couple 400m strides but couldn’t shake the lethargic sensation, and so settled in for the long haul… every stride feeling a Herculean task. I’m thankful I wasn’t wearing a GPS as my pedestrian pace would’ve forced me to unnecessarily question my training. Rather, I decided to stick with the trails leaving Rithet’s Bog and weaving my way towards, up, and around Mount Doug.

Training: sluggish 1:43:08

Wednesday, November 28

Just the facts

I don't have much time this evening so I'll be brief. It was wet, and very cold, two of my least favourite conditions. Regardless, I decided to go ahead with the workout. I don't think my calves ever warmed up and I felt rather clunky; it didn't help with my head not being in the game, too many other distractions.

Training: 1:11:24 with 10x800 tempo (30")

Tuesday, November 27


I was running home from work this evening, the sun slowly setting over the Olympic mountains, as I weaved my way through the old neighborhood allowing my mind to freely wander, truly unconstrained, when it dawned on me that “I” was “running” and loving it. My legs were clicking along like a piano metronome, tick-tock-tick-tock, shoulders relaxed and my breath at ease.

It seems I started training only yesterday and although I don’t feel fast, or remotely race ready, I’m content (and surprised) with how my body has responded. Compared with my previous three builds which integrated weekly speed work (5k-10k pace), I’ve decided to incorporated slightly slower paced tempo (10k-HM pace) workouts into the current program that I’ve constructed. Unfortunately, there are too many other variables that have changed to draw any comparisons but this evening as I sit here, I feel okay, and that speaks volumes.

A.M. easy 37:26 but cold, -1C… and damn icy
P.M. easy/moderate 1:06:09

Monday, November 26

Where dreams are made

Tonight’s run was good. I managed to find some time yesterday evening to do a little stretching. You know, arms at shoulder height, bent out at right angles, followed by a few twists of the trunk, perhaps even looking behind to exaggerate the rotation. Next, arms straight above, followed by that dreaded reach for the floor only to arrive at your shins?

Shins, what?

Back up, down again this time with speed… all-most there, once again, this occasion throwing your weight (?) and smiling as your arrive at your destination, the floor, only to be reeled back in like a bungee jumper having leapt toward the Nanamio River. That was me. Tonight then, I felt marginally supple, smirking at the headlights, as they illuminated the freezing rain, and me, enjoying the refreshing shower hoping (and getting) a brief respite.

Once home the rain turned to snow and with smiles on our faces we hopped in the car, driving off in search of our ideal Christmas tree, the one dreams are made of.

Training: easy 42:34

Sunday, November 25

What’s the sense in hurting my pride

Waking up this morning, I was subjected to a voice far too cheerful for that hour of the day and who didn’t posses half the ability that Ella did, but unfortunately shared the same message, “baby it’s cold outside”.

Today’s long run had some intensity early on to start the ball rolling, 3x2-miles tempo (2’). After putting on a toque, gloves, both long and short sleeved shirt and half tights I was out into the bitterly cold day (-2C). I made my way over to Rithet’s Bog where the undulating trail around the marshland is +/- 3k, not 2 miles but close enough. I started the first interval trying to rein things in but found myself questioning the pace after not too long; I recall my watch reading 5:02. The second time around I focused on keeping my strides light, quick and smooth, and was amazed to shave off 5”. The last lap I paid attention to keeping my effort consistent and was further surprised with the last lap being the fastest (10:53, 10:48 & 10:45).

I’m pretty happy with how my week shaped up, the total being 10h20’52” (roughly 148k or 92 miles).

Saturday: easy 1:10:21
Sunday: 2:14:16 with 3x2-miles (2’)

And tonight, to facilitate easing everyone into the holiday season, I’ll leave you with these few words:

“The neighbors might think - Baby, it's bad out there

Say, what's in this drink - No cabs to be had out there
I wish I knew how - Your eyes are like starlight now
To break this spell - I'll take your hat, your hair looks swell
I ought to say no, no, no, sir - Mind if I move a little closer
At least I'm gonna say that I tried - What's the sense in hurting my pride
I really can't stay - Baby don't hold out
Ahh, but it's cold outsid”

Friday, November 23

I spoke too soon

I’m in the midst of a busy day so I’ll be brief, I’m tired. Remember yesterday when I mentioned that I wasn’t physically or mentally fatigued, well I’m still mentally in the game but during both my runs today my legs felt as if they’d been put through the wringer. Just now, for a brief second I contemplated having an epsom salt bath but I wouldn’t have a clue where to begin searching for the salt and I know that we don’t have a bath plug… two more items for the list.

A.M. easy 30:12
P.M. easy 39:49

Thursday, November 22

The solitude of a lone runner

With the Weather Office forecasting colder temperatures (it was -2C when I left the house), and me leery of riding to work on slick streets, I decided to run to work… again (more unplanned mileage).

I took a more direct path this morning, opting away of the scenic Galloping Goose Trail (it’s pitch black), but subsequently having to shuffle my sleepy body along a seemingly endless succession of hills. You defeintely get a different

With a longer run originally scheduled, I decided to take in the sights and smells of the old neighborhood, kicking leaves in Beacon Hill Park, passing along Dallas stopping to admire a gorgeous sunset, eventually making my way to UVic and home only after skirting Mount Doug. As enjoyable, and cold as the journy was, I was happy to see that my ankle wasn’t aggravated even though I wasn’t wearing my flats.

Despite increasing the mileage faster than I would’ve liked, I’m surprised that the physical/mental fatigue hasn’t hit me unlike previous builds (London in April). I wouldn’t advocate being under prepared but if the alternative was being over trained, well, I’ll take the former.

A.M. easy 37:36
P.M. easy 1:27:26

Wednesday, November 21

Running to work

With the weather increasingly more frigid in the morning I thought I’d try a different form of commute, and so late last night I was down in the basement rummaging through unpacked boxes searching for a small rucksack that I could squeeze some clothes into.

On the tail of a restless sleep, and after fueling the body with two pieces of peanut buttered toast, I strapped on my pack, laced up yesterday’s saviors and set out the door. In short, a) running is just as cold as cycling, b) takes almost twice the time and c) was surprisingly efficient, even if my body wasn’t.

Late in the day I dreaded the journey home as my lunch at Earls wasn’t sitting well, fortunately, and uncharacteristically, my stomach settled and the uphill journey verged on pleasant.

A.M. easy 41:09
P.M. easy 38:45

Tuesday, November 20

Still hanging (on)

First, it was bloody freezing out there this evening. I don’t know where they take the readings but it felt far more chilly than the reported 2C.

Riding to work this morning, my foot rolling in side my riding shoe, it wasn’t long before I was favouring my left stroke trying not to aggravate the ankle. Necessity being the mother of invention, this annoyance gave me an idea… this evening I compared the heel cup (and supporting sides) of both my regular shoes to find that they were similarly high. I grabbed my Supernovas from the shelf, last worn on a three-hour adventure hike on a Hawaiian lava field, and was happy to discover the sidewall was considerably lower. Recognizing the risk that sporting worn flats probably wasn’t smart, I decided to wear them hoping that running the planned workout on the Lochside Trail would help mitigate any exposure.

From the moment I slipped my foot in, until the long seconds where I pathetically tried to untie my laces with frozen hands, my ankle couldn’t have felt better.

The session called for 12x1k tempo, off a minute. As I’m still hopeful to run a descent (2h41-2h40) race in Phoenix I decided to aim for pace times between 3:37-3:40. Running on a marked two-kilometer section of uneven trail without the constant feedback of the track, I found it difficult to dial in my pace and became frustrated with my inconsistency despite feeling relaxed and comfortable.

3:27 (153, 161)
3:36 (155, 160)
3:33 (155, 159)
3:30 (155, 162)
3:29 (154, 160)
3:37 (156, 161)
3:36 (156, 162)
3:37 (157, 162)
3:37 (153, 161)
3:39 (156, 165)
3:40 (150, 161)
3:38 (158, 162)

I managed to find some uniformity over the last seven, and after returning home couldn’t help but wonder if I sold myself short and should’ve been aiming for 3:34-3:37. I’ve convinced myself I did the correct thing given that I started this training block from a undersupplied cardiovascular position.

Training: 1:20:04, AHR 143, with 12x1k tempo (60”)

Monday, November 19

Hanging on

I had to pop into work this evening only unlike the mornings this time I had the luxury of our car. Without anything else to do other than listening to Bruce Springsteen’s Santa Claus is Coming to Town, I decided to time the journey. The result, car ride = 15’, my bike commute in the mornings = 20’ (not taking into account the post-cycle change).

Coming home, I couldn’t help but notice that every second vehicle appeared to be driven by a complete idiot. When did I drastically age?

I had entirely forgotten about my sore foot until I was lacing up my shoes, when the shoe wall instantly aggravated my ankle. I found the sore point and it was definitely tender to the touch, but didn’t feel muscular. I decided to switch footwear and lace up my old adistars minus the top eyelet but this didn’t seem to work. Undeterred, I left hoping that I wasn’t doing anything foolish. My ankle was intermittently sore for the first 15’ after which things improved. On the back of yesterday’s long run, I was actually quite surprised at how good my body felt which is comforting given the week ahead.

With that, I’ll leave you with some fine words from Theodore Roosevelt, “When you get to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on.”

Training: 1:01:14 with 5xstrides (1’)

Sunday, November 18

The baffled king composing hallelujah

Following Thursday’s workout, I wasn’t surprised at the weariness in my legs come Friday; what did surprise me was just how heavy, verging on cumbersome, they were. I jogged down the dirt hill from our place and onto the trail, taking note as I leisurely passed the first kilometer marker… 5:02 later I decided not to press the pace, but rather convinced myself that today, merely moving was an accomplishment.

Yesterday was uneventful and the pins felt particularly good as I stretched them out with a few 30” strides towards the end of the jaunt.

This morning I wrapped up an easy week with a not-so-easy long run. I was hoping to cruise through feeling graceful and in control; unfortunately, this was not to be. The first hour passed quickly enough but my perceived effort was very much real, with emphasis resting unhappily on the effort. As misery loves company I begun the up-tempo session fully expecting he worst but was pleased to discover that with the pace quickening, and efficiency gains realized, that same perceived effort remained the same.

On a disturbing note, my left foot was giving my grief toward the end of the run. It feels as if a bone has become jammed resulting restricted movement and some discomfort (the camber of the terrain being influential). I noticed it first yesterday but didn’t think much of it at the time, perhaps it’s a result of Thursday, the twenty quick accelerations?

Friday: slow 29:37
Saturday: easy 43:30 with 5xstrides (1’)
Sunday: 2:07:10 with 60’ up-tempo (4:10 to 3:48 pace/km)

Thursday, November 15

My (other) Girl

This afternoon amid grey, wet and dreary conditions, Ally and I went to the ultrasound clinic. Minutes after arriving, we were ushered into a very comfortable room with soft indirect lighting and a warm soothing colour on the walls; it was a room that couldn’t be more conducive to long winter naps. A moment later Ally was up on the bed, after which all I could think of was one of the original episodes from Star Trek. My center of attention on a monitor showing glimpses of white among a black background and then… we had contact. A human head, mouth slowly opening and closing, the unhurried raising of an arm followed by a indolent stretch only to recoil into a position that would make a sleeping cat envious. I don’t remember talking for ten minutes, my world full of pictures of our daughter; even now you might think I’m blasé but you’d be mistaken, for an endless reel of images and corresponding emotions is running through my mind.

My run this evening was good although my right calf remains a little to-ight! I decided to wear a small headlamp, which interestingly enough turned yesterdays Sleepy Hallow into today’s Creepy Hollow. I followed the Lochside trail out into the farmland perusing my 1’ intervals, the rate of the first few akin to my 800m pace (standing tall, long relaxed strides with an effortless turnover)… this changed, my pace settling, but my form remained true. I’ve been very happy with how my body is responding but the real test will come next week.

Training: 1:22:23 with 20x1’ hard (1’)

Wednesday, November 14

Searching for the way

Nothing of note tonight, apart from enjoying a brief moment alone while out on the trails. With the rain clouds having settled in for the season, ruling out all possibility of a setting sun, the darkness creeps up slowly while changing through mottled shades of grey. At this time of year, running home along the trail at the base of our house is like threading a needle through Sleepy Hollow, tall overarching trees creating a claustrophobic corridor lined with a veil of shifting fog.

I’m going to have to find another way home.

Training: easy 21:54

Tuesday, November 13


This afternoon I decided to stop pretending and register for the damn race, and with that, I was in. I found it exciting; as I’ve mentioned previously I thoroughly enjoy this part of the build where possibility & hope thrive. Where the destination is far enough away that nobody can question your path and yet close enough to feel the gravitation pull. My next act was to email the elite coordinator to see if I could still be seeded in the preferred coral. As the deadline had passed I wasn’t optimistic so I played the my-wife-is-pregnant-and-have-had –to-change-my-race-schedule card (not to be used lightly) and through the compassion of Heather everything looks like it will work out just fine (I’m forever grateful).

Now, as I type, my run this evening couldn’t seem farther away. I remember feeling okay, I had an upset stomach but my legs were fine. And, as the light faded and then the twilight weakened further still I remember feeling even better, my pace and confidence crept up leaving a trail of complete and total satisfaction.

I now wallow in fatigue with only self-pity and lethargy as company.

Training: 1:11:05 with 5xstrides (1’)

P.s. Mike, thanks for the code, much appreciated!

Monday, November 12

The prudent person

A prudent person would be forgiven for thinking that that with only nine weeks left to train, and having only started last Monday, that it could conceivably be a tad premature to schedule a recovery week. Regardless, that’s what I’ve done.

My body feels solid (perhaps better than it has in months), my motivation for this race is at an all-time high and most importantly I have a deep burning desire to train, that yearning you get when you’ve decided to focus all/most of your energy on one event. That said, after reflecting back on my training throughout the last five weeks, coincidently beginning with my most recent race on October 7 (the RVM where I ran a 1:20:40 half), the timing couldn’t be better (week ending, time, approx. km):

10/14/07 6:31:25 92
10/21/07 2:32:18 36
10/28/07 1:17:50 18
11/4/07 5:35:09 80
11/11/07 7:22:39 105

This next week will be relatively light then, the focus being on maintaining my motivation and preparing for the following two weeks. I’ve scheduled one VO2 max workout for Thursday and a long run on Sunday, the rest, gravy!

Training: scheduled day off

Sunday, November 11

CIS Cross Country Championships 2007

Between running errands, watching the CIS Cross Country Championships and preparing for my mothers visit, I had only a 30’ window of opportunity to run and ended up pushing the boundaries at that. I savored every moment while out on the trails and my body reacted correspondingly, each stride feeling effortless and more powerful than the last. I began comfortably, heading out along Lochside and into Broadmead, only to slowly wind things up to on the return to a relaxed 6:35 mile/pace.

This morning, with heavy grey clouds threatening rain, and wanting to give myself enough time to make it back for the Thetis Lake Relay (observing only), I didn’t hesitate for a second and was out the door earlier than usual. With necessity not allowing any room for contempt, I felt unexpectedly comfortable throughout the run (however cold), with the first hour passing quickly. Given the abbreviated training schedule (and I know the risk in trying to make up for lost time, you can’t) I decided to add some up-tempo segments to the run, 1x10’ (2’) + 2x5’ (2’) + 5x2’ (1’) + 10x1’ (1’); if nothing else they helped keep me honest and made the second our pass in seconds.

I was surprised that I was able to hold form throughout the run, expecting the combination of the intensity and distance to force a more pedestrian effort.

Saturday: easy 38:25
Sunday: 2:15:06 with 1x10’ (2’) + 2x5’ (2’) + 5x2’ (1’) + 10x1’ (1’) up tempo

Friday, November 9


I don’t think I had been out for more than five minutes yesterday when I knew the run was going to be a struggle. It might have been the four slices of pizza in my stomach, regardless; I pulled the brim of my hat lower (narrowing my focus), dialed it back and continued onward… Cedar Hill, Mt. Tolmie, skirting Mt. Doug and home. It seems that whenever I start to build for a race I invariably have a run like this, one that tests our character and fortitude more than any aerobic ability. I could have easily pulled the plug early on, the depressingly dark grey clouds certainly didn’t aid any.

It wasn’t until I had walked in the door and was grabbing a glass from a cupboard so that I could have some water when I noticed there on the fridge, was v3. What I didn’t realize until then, was that on v3 (unlike any of its predecessors) I had scheduled 2x20’ MPE for yesterday’s run. Who knew?

So today, in an attempt to make up for yesterday’s lapse, I decided to squeeze a (variation of the) workout in on the Lochside Trail. The plan was, 2x4k at MP (approx. 3:36-3:48/km).

14:49 (3:28, 3:46, 3:45 & 3:50)
15:05 (3:42, 3:52, 3:47 & 3:45)

The first interval was okay but I was starting to tie up during the last kilometer. After splitting 3:52 for the second kilometer in the second interval, I considered stopping as I felt, or I thought I did, that I was falling to pieces. I picked up the effort slightly and managed to hold it together, feeling relatively smooth for the last 2k.

Now, we’re off to Zambri’s as soon as I find a way to wake Ally up without disturbing the bear?

Thursday: easy 1:20:06
Friday: 59:12 with 2x4k (2’) at MP

Wednesday, November 7

Old Speckled Hen

Perhaps not the most beneficial recovery drink, but the “Old Speckled Hen” that is quietly sitting beside me, tiny beads of moisture clinging desperately to the side, makes for some good company.

It rained again today.

On Monday I mentioned having made a new marathon program, today I am on version three (v3). I love tinkering with race programs; at times I’ve questioned whether I enjoy preparing a program (where the possibilities remain limitless) more than I do the race itself (definitely more so that the training). V3 then, a couple more MP efforts and I’ve introduced a little speed work into next week, the volume remains the same. At times like this, I almost wish I were coached.

Arriving home it was still relatively light, that is subjective as the uncomfortably close clouds were a depressingly flat grey hue, regardless, I decided to explore the neighborhood discovering a new park (Playfair) and four new trails… success in my books.

Training: relaxed 43:05

Tuesday, November 6


It took a little over a week before I was able to thoroughly revel in what will likely be months of fine west coast commuter weather as today, it rained. And, after looking at the long term forecast it appears I will have plenty of time to adjust to these inclement conditions. No, this evening as I biked home I was treated to an inky damp blackness occasionally riding through a shroud of mist hovering atop the warmer ground.

With it getting dark an hour early, and not being familiar with my surroundings, I was at a bit of a loss as I headed out the door. So, like the creature of habit I am I decided to skirt Mount Doug, detouring through Ritchet’s Bog before returning home. I decided to wear my HRM for the first time in months and was surprised at the relatively low readings I was getting… when I was getting them, 125-135. I decided to ignore the watch, and after convincing myself I wasn’t going to fade, was surprised that my frequency and stride length held for the better portion of the run as I lightly pressed the pace.

Training: wet 1:06:26

Monday, November 5

Phoenix (abridged)

I love my new house. It dawned on me this evening as I was standing in the kitchen; I’d just finished making cheese sandwiches on our new butcher’s block, and after putting tomorrows lunch in the fridge, I decided to grab a bottle of Jura down from the cupboard for a nightcap. The lights were dim, a soft jazz tune floating up from CBC Radio 2 and some scotch in my hand. As I said, I love my new house.

A comment Mike made has been eating me up inside for about a week now. He called me a veteran marathoner, which completely caught me by surprise and then suggested that with only 10 weeks to prepare for Phoenix, I still might be able to pull myself together. With Ally due in April, and a severely truncated spring marathon window, I’m wrestling with the idea of setting aside my ego and racing regardless. How fit can you get in ten weeks? Somebody once told me, or at least I seem to remember, that you can’t over-train in twelve weeks. With these thoughts in mind I’ve decided to recommit to the race (although I still haven’t registered) and have made myself a ten week marathon race program.

With no time to lose, and hot on the heals of yesterdays run, I decided to go with the flow (or in this case my enthusiasm) and head out this evening to stretch the legs. I’m sure the run achieved little or nothing at building any aerobic capacity, but I’d made a conscious mental shift as I left the house. No longer was I allowing myself to wallow disappointment, no, I was focused, I had purpose and I was going to run.

Training: easy 20:19

[photo: Mount Doug]

Sunday, November 4

When it rains

I had just finished disposing of a grimy load of scrap at the dump, remnants of our renovations, when one of the workers pointed out that the right front tire was low. I had borrowed a friend’s truck and convinced myself I could make it to the nearest station, I didn’t. Five minutes later, I found myself laying in a puddle of brown muddy water underneath the box while struggling with a broken security release so that I could lower the conveniently placed spare tire down… I couldn’t. Such was the beginning of my Saturday, which only proved to get worse.

Despite a weekend full of unplanned surprises, I managed to squeak in a few runs, and salvaged the better part of a troubled week. Yesterday morning saw me skirting Mount Doug, something I imagine to become routine given my new abode. And today, Hicham dragged me through Rithets Bog and out of town, looping around Elk & Beaver Lakes and home, but not before we managed to get ourselves lost in Broadmead. I didn’t deserve to feel as good as I did, but graciously took what I could. I still haven’t decided whether to race Phoenix given the extremely undesirable build and ten brief weeks remaining, but think I’ll see what I can make of the next few weeks and then make my decision.

Saturday: hilly 1h10’30”
Sunday: easy 2h00’05”
[photo: Beaver Lake]

Friday, November 2

No such luck

I didn't get the job.

I'm frustrated and disappointed, apparently I don't have enough experience which makes me wonder why I was screened in? Once again, they see so much potential. It’s a bitter pill to swallow, much like asking a girl out and being told, "you're a really nice guy...”

Once home I decided to go for a run in an attempt to release some of the dissatisfaction and/or give me something to really whine about; up Mount Doug I went in an attempt to gain a new perspective on life.

On my ascent I fell, and truly hated myself for realizing the irony as I picked myself back up.

My head hurts again.

Training: an irritated 54:51

Thursday, November 1

New beginnings

The fatigue is so ingrained that a night’s sleep doesn’t manage to wash away the previous day’s filth, leaving me with a deficit that is growing perilously close to complete exhaustion.

My head hurts.

I like change, but, given my tendency for orderly fashion, I like predictable change, change that I have some semblance of control over (whether real or otherwise). But with the moving, renovations, now having to bike to work, preparing a Treasury Board presentation, all the while waiting to hear on a new job (ask me tomorrow)… I’m tired, no excuses, just tired.

And to rub salt further into the wound, given looming deadlines and my limited capacity, last week I decided to put my running on hold and have inadvertently jeopardized my plan to run Phoenix in January.

The pain in my head has intensified now sitting directly above my right eye socket.

But I now see that long looked for light-at-the-end-of-the-tunnel. For the first time ever we have high-speed internet, the painting is finished (almost), the renovation (significantly) complete and I have begun to explore my new surrounding. And the kicker, Carter just called and we’re considering the idea of running to work (in the future)… the possibilities are endless.

Thursday: day off
Friday: day off
Saturday: day off
Sunday: day off
Monday: day off
Tuesday: day off
Wednesday: 49:53 easy
Thursday: 39:50 easy