Sunday, March 30

Pleasantly Knackered

It’s been a long week. I’d planned this to be my 100% volume week (ten hours) but due to an Easter Sunday on Galiano, the previous seven days topped out at an impressive 11h20’51” (approximately 158km or 99 miles)… epic!

Friday was tough, my legs were sore from my titanic workout the previous day. Ally and I had arranged to have dinner at her parent’s house on the peninsula and so I set off from the house, my homing beacon already flashing, zeroing in on some promised ribs and what would be a well deserved Guinness. Unfortunately for me, my jaunt was an unwanted test as I struggled into a chilly northern breeze while being pelted with sleet and snow. Maine and North Dakota, you can keep you wintry weather.

After enjoying a pleasant Saturday morning excursion at Thetis Lake with the clinic, I awoke this morning feeling beat. This was not what I required. Making it worse, and better, I’d planned to run a portion of this morning’s run with a fleet footed friend (his marathon PB 20’+ faster than mine). My grumbling aside, the run almost didn’t happen as 30’ before I left the house Ally started having contractions, one every 10’ – 12’… they eased off but she insisted I take the cell phone.

After a short warm-up I started into the first interval and clicked off kilometers at a steady 3:37-3:40, which although is my tempo goal, felt more reminiscent of my 5k race pace. It was one of those days.

Jim met me seconds after the first session ended and kept me company for the following hour before darting up a varsity trail and leaving my flat footed.

The last interval session sucked!

Still, after enjoying a great home cooked meal and a pint or three later, my recollection of any previous discomfort is quickly fading. I hope everyone had an enjoyable and successful weekend!

Friday: easy 1:09:17
Saturday: easy 1:54:32 at Thetis Lake
Sunday: 2:24:48 with 2x4-miles tempo (3:37-3:40 km/pace)

Thursday, March 27


“This evening I ran what was arguably the most debilitating workout that I hope never to attempt again”

I’ll be brief because I’m dead tired, and sleep is something that has been severely lacking from my schedule the last few days. On a day in Victoria where the weather changed hourly, my run was completed under skies that threw hail and spat sleet, only to finish under a shining spring sunset.

Still, I was cold.

Two minutes after returning home my lips were blue and I was shaking uncontrollably. If nothing else, I’ll be forever grateful to Ally for running a bath and making 3L of Gatorade. I love this girl!

The workout was simple, a Canova classic or so I was told… x-miles tempo with equal rest in minutes. I can’t be bothered to list the mile splits at the moment (tomorrow) but I assure you I cruised the first 5 miles at closer to 10k pace, only to maintain with 3 of the next 4 on a similar path. Mile 9 was interesting, it was then I realized the error in my ways but thought to myself, “hell, I only have 3, 2 & 1 remaining… right”. The 3-mile interval was solid, the 2-miler something desperate and the last mile incapacitating.

I thoroughly recommend everyone try this at least once.

Wednesday: day off (unscheduled)
Thursday: 2:07:08 with 5-miles tempo (5’) + 4-miles tempo (4’) + 3-miles tempo (3’) + 2-miles tempo (2’) + 1-mile tempo

Wednesday, March 26

Easy miles

On the heels of Monday’s long run, I decided to take it easy yesterday. Still, with me entertaining the increasingly ridiculous idea of running a marathon in late May I was torn between a desperate need to log some serious miles, and recovery. The result was an easy loop around Swan Lake, over Christmas Hill, through Rithet’s Bog and back along the Lochside trail. I made sure to stay relaxed, happy for the miles logged under my feet.

Training: easy 1:19:45 with 4xstrides

Monday, March 24

Hummingbirds and Killer Whales

We, along with sixteen other relatives, were on Galiano this weekend visiting Ally’s parents in a house and cabin that were packed to the rafters. With her mum’s health ailing, they had organized a feast that was a huge success. I tried to contribute to the evening by making my renowned Brussels sprouts recipe but unfortunately, and I blame it on unfamiliar cookware, I was disappointed with the result (all the more for me to eat).

The Pièce de résistance occurred towards the end of dinner when we spotted a small pod of killer whales just south of Porlier Pass which caused everyone (myself included) to run out onto the deck to watch them swim alongside the rocks. The whales, the family feast and the return of the hummingbirds were clear highlights of the weekend.

Returning home after two restless nights, I was less than eager to leave the bed this morning. My resentment to start the day was only hardened when I discovered it was 2C outside. Still, after two cups of coffee along with some encouragement from the wife I headed out down the Galloping Goose and toward town.

The day was gorgeous even if it was chilly, and after a long warm up, I started the session feeling relaxed and comfortable. The change of pace halfway felt surprisingly easy, mind you, the last tempo piece 36’ later wasn’t quite as fluid was the first.

I hope everyone had an enjoyable Easter holiday!

Friday: easy 1:24:18
Saturday: easy 44:56
Sunday: day off (unscheduled)
Monday: 2:25:21 with 2x(36’ MP + 6’ tempo)

[the photo isn't mine]

Thursday, March 20

Evening Falls

I’m tired.

I experienced a tough go of things this evening. I had to dash home from work evening as a doula was coming over to give us a run down on what to expect on B-day. My excitement has been quietly building over the last nine months but after listening to Heather for an hour I felt we were about to embark on the most unequivocally wonderful adventure of our lives.

I was so excited at this point of the evening that I was disappointed in not being able to be more involved with the birth. Fast-forward an hour and I’d changed my mind.

The prospect of becoming a father is so much more real now. It’s as if I’ve purchased my ticket to parenthood and I want to get the show on the road; I’m finished with waiting around.

After Heather left, I quickly changed into my kit and was out the door with nothing but the setting sun and Enya to keep me company (that is the last time I select random when filling my shuffle). With a short window of opportunity and a brisk breeze, I started the workout after only a brief warm-up. I was a bit erratic for the first few kilometers (3:55, 3:44, 3:46, 3:53, 3:50, 3:51…) but I eventually settled down.

Oh, and I did something yesterday that most people might find odd… or stupid. I changed my training program with only ten weeks remaining. After listening to a good friend talk, and after some research I’ve decided to invest my energy in only two workouts a week (one of them being a structured long run) with the remaining days full of easy mileage. With the baby on the way, this will give me more flexibility… and I’m also a sucker for punishment.

Wednesday: easy 55:46
Thursday: 1:24:21 with 1h at 3:50 pace/km

Tuesday, March 18

My Guinness

… okay I don’t have it yet but rest assured that as soon as I’m done typing I’m going to be dashing to the fridge.

My run this evening was okay but I didn’t feel as smooth as I would’ve liked. That and my stomach was acting up on the last interval (completely unnecessary).

I’m enjoying the shift to marathon training but with little over ten weeks until race day I definitely feel a sense of urgency. Still, with the baby only weeks away me showing up at he start line on race day will be a winning achievement. My goal this time around is to run a comfortable race and qualify for Boston, which I hope to run next spring.

I’m thirsty.

A.M. easy 31:19
P.M. 1:29:20 with 3x(7’ 10kP, 90” MP, 3’ 10kP) (4’)

Monday, March 17

My Goodness

The day isn’t over but it doesn’t look like I’m going to get my wish in having a baby born on St. Patrick’s Day, perhaps it’s for the best.

On Friday I was out of the house earlier than usual so that I could squeeze in my workout prior to the heavens opening, I succeeded. With the smell it cherry blossoms and freshly cut grass in the air, Victoria was at its greatest. Jim had warned me that it was a tough workout but as I was excited, foolishly naive, I decided to opt for a rather undulating route to ensure I wasn’t let off easy. I wasn’t.

The early quick intervals snapped some life into my legs and as I started the first 30’ session I cruised around the back of the campus wondering what all the fuss was about. It was 50’ later that I was amazed at a) the distance I had traveled, and b) that distance that still remained. If there is a running equivalent please let me know, but during the last 10’ of the workout, if I had been cycling I would have described my desperate cadence as “peddling squares”.

This weekend we were lucky enough to be invited to a good friends wedding. On the wild wet coast of the Island, we witnessed a gorgeous ceremony between two wonderful people on a rare sunny afternoon. We even were fortunate to have a few spare moments to sneak in a few hours of surfing.

Friday: 2:10:16 with 8x1’ + 2x30’ MP + 10’ hard
Saturday: surfing 2 hours
Sunday: unscheduled day off
Monday: easy 1:20:24

Thursday, March 13

Round Here

With a monster workout scheduled for tomorrow and Tuesday’s descent session, I took it easy the last couple of days. Yesterday I was out running around Mount Doug for the first time since the cougar warning (two weeks ago… I scare easily). I always take for granted the accessibility and beauty of the hill only minutes from my doorstep. With the Counting Crows crooning in my ears and the sun peeking through the trees, I was lost within seconds.

Today I was fantastic. Do you ever have those days where your shoulders are relaxed, your arm carriage gentle and your feet ticking along to an unseen metronome that leaves you feeling light, in control and smooth… that was me, and I relished every moment.

On the pregnancy front, I accompanied Ally to the doctor on Tuesday for her regularly scheduled checkup. We both smiled when the doctor told us, what felt like for the first time in ages that the pregnancy (Ally and baby) were perfectly normal, almost boringly so. That said our eyes almost popped out of our respective heads when she informed us that Ally was 1-cm dilated! Who knew, we certainly didn’t. With the all the recent drama in our lives we haven’t been able to schedule any pregnancy classes, apparently I have some learning to accomplish with a dwindling window of opportunity.

Tomorrow we leave for Tofino as a good friend is getting married there on Saturday. It has been a while since I’ve been on the west coast of the island and we’re both looking forward to the chance to relax with friends in a truly wonderful surrounding.

Wednesday: comfortable 1:02:49
Thursday: smooth 38:57

Tuesday, March 11

A wing and a prayer

I found a photos from the race here. I believe I’d stopped concentrating on form at this point, either that or I really hope the twist in my upper body was a prelude to the turnaround. Regardless, I was running on fumes. I laugh now thinking back to the conversation I was having (obviously not concentrating on the race). I remember trying to persuade my body not to give in to the lactic acid, rather to try and remain fluid and relaxed, but in the end I caved and focused instead on survival.

The run this evening was good. My right calf was a little sore while warming up but after an easy 20’ on trails my body felt loose. After reflecting on the race with a friend this morning, my body feels strangely better now than prior to the race. It’s as if the race worked some kinks out… odd really.

Training: 1:20:11 with 4x(4’ 10kP, 30” easy, 4’ HMP) (1’)

Monday, March 10

The hard way

On the heels of two incomparable months, I awoke Sunday morning wishing I hadn’t had that last scotch but with three (relatively) clear goals in mind, 1) to run the Bazan Bay 5k as fast as I could, 2) to better my 11-year PB and 3) to sneak, slide or fight my way under 17:00.

Despite losing an hour of sleep having moved the clocks forward to oblige daylight savings time, we arrived in Sidney with more than enough time to accommodate my usual pre-race routine. After collecting my race number and receiving a good luck kiss from Ally, I headed out onto the quite rural streets to warm up. I felt like a heavy footed, lead-legged lopper; I was doomed. My feeling of unease wasn’t at all helped by a level of pre-race nerves and anxiety that hasn’t been seen years. So, with Bob Reid giving the 800 strong participants a five-second count down, I wasn’t at all surprised to find my first steps feeling very flat.

1k (3:09) – I’d decided to aim for 16:40 which meant running 3:20 kilometers. With high-strung nerves accompanying a slightly downhill start, I wasn’t too surprised to split the first marker a tad fast.

2k (3:23) – the sardine-like crowds at the start had strung out at this point and I settled in behind a group of five runners, desperately trying to will some energy into my legs. I remember asking myself if I could give more and hearing a resounding “no”.

3k (3:30) – the unwelcome combination of me not focusing and a 180 degree turn might help account for the less than stellar kilometer. That said, the games started to unfold here as Rob, Hugh and a few others began jostling for position. I was frantically trying to keep my form but with a mile left my head snapped back and I recognized the desperate nature of my run, me succumbing to the rhythmic gasping of an all out effort.

4k (3:23) – from a depth unknown, I began to reel in a few sorry souls in. I strangely started to feel comfortable (more relaxed) at this stage of the race. During the warm up I’d jogged out along the finishing stretch and took notice of a particular tree that lined the road with about 400m left. Approaching this tree from the correct direction this time, I unleashed the hounds only to find that they’d already escaped. Rather than delivering a devastating kick, I could only maintain.

5k (3:24) – success! Ally came to congratulate me after crossing the line, smiling as she relayed a conversation from a mutual friend as I approached the finish, “oh, he really doesn’t look well”. Results can be found here.


Thursday: easy 45:12
Friday: easy 20:58 with 5xstrides (1’)
Saturday: easy 19:45
Sunday: 1:07:12 Bazan Bay 5k (16:51)

Tuesday, March 4

Final preparations

I went down to Oak Bay track this evening for a final sharpening session leading into the race on Sunday. After a gentle warm up along the beach, I arrived back at the field just as Hugh was finishing his first circuit. After quickly disrobing, I jumped in behind him a proceeded to count off eight comfortable and relaxed laps.

1:17, 1:20, 1:16, 1:18, 1:18, 1:20, 1:19, 1:19

Half way through the workout, Hicham popped by to cheer us on as he waited for his Tuesday night group to show. Thanks to him, I will be showing up at the race “on” time. It appears that this is the only Island Series race that begins at 9:00 with all the others starting at 11:00… to make matters worse, the clocks spring forward on Saturday (just what I need).

Training: 55:50 with 8x400 at 5k pace (90”)

Monday, March 3


I came across the following quote this evening, “Some people don't have the guts for distance racing, the polite term for them is sprinters,” it made me smile.

The last few days have been relatively busy, Ally enjoying the company of her friends and family at the baby shower and me enjoying the company of an office desk buried in financial statements (the fact that I wasn’t at the shower is pure coincidence).

It began as only a slight pang, nothing more than a curious wisp, the fragrance of an unseen tress that leaves you guessing. I first noticed it two weeks ago when perusing some race results. I was positioning myself in a race I didn’t run, measuring a hypothetical performance against actual outcomes. It started innocently enough, but before I’d turned off the computer a stream of deep-rooted dreams was playing in my mind… I want to race another marathon, hard.

With the Bazan Bay 5k World Championships this weekend I feel incredibly exposed and under prepared. It’s not for lack of running, I’ve done some, but with minimal volume my body is lacking endurance leaving my mind disconcerted.

On Friday, Hicham, Hugh, the Flying Dutchman, Jen and I met at Oak Bay track for closing session. Again, the workout was simple, 1600 at 3k pace, 1200 a couple seconds faster, 800 quicker still followed by 400.

With the Dutchman setting the pace, we fell in line and given the ubiquitous headwind on the front stretch, I was grateful for the company. Alas, with fleet footed friends I couldn’t escape the inevitable jury (distance, time, pace/400):

1600, 5:12, 1:18.0
1200, 3:52, 1:17.3
800, 2:29, 1:14.5
400, 1:02, 1:02.0

Thursday: easy 39:45
Friday: 1:15:04 with 1600, 1200, 800, 400 (3’)
Saturday: 1:00:52 easy
Sunday: easy 1:24:25