Sunday, May 25

2:53 ish

I just finished necking two beer and my legs feel decidedly better, or at least they did when I was sitting down. I found a great pub on the edge of By Ward Market but despite all the beers on tap they didn't have any IPA... unless you like Keith's. I don't like Keith's. That said, after quaffing a pint of Murphy's I discovered a great local brew called Cameron's Auburn Ale. Brilliant!

It was warm and windy, but I can't blame it all on the weather. Still, I've successfully qualified for Boston which was the reason for me coming here. I've also realized that despite the pace you set out at it still hurts.

The Highlight
Passing the 2:30 rabbit with just a mile left in the race; I only wish he was on pace.

A Disappointment
Prior to the start I met a fellow runner from Victoria who proceeded to tell me that he wasn't feeling great. I suggested he should adjust his pace accordingly (particularly given that Ottawa isn't flat). Anyhow, he took off like a bat out of hell but I caught him at about 12-k only to have him tell me three times that "respectfully" this was slow and he should be much further ahead. Admittedly he is a much faster runner but next time I think he would do better to stop comparing himself to others and put his money where is mouth is if he thinks he can run faster. He caught me at around 17-k, slipped back and I was told later that he dropped out.

More details later, for now I'm catching a flight back to Toronto to visit with my sister.

Training: leisurely 2:53:XX

Saturday, May 24

Ottawa Marathon (less than 24 hours)

After a fitful night I managed to sleep in until 8:30 this morning, it wasn't the evening I wanted but I've enjoyed a relaxing day and feel as good. With my racing flats on I was out the door around 9:30 a.m., the temperature around 11C (with the sun on my back I swear it was hotter). It looks like the weather is going to cooperate but if wind patterns are the same as today we'll be charging headlong into a wall during the last 8-k of the race.

Breakfast was a couple of bagels, lunch a shawarma (Ally and Hicham I thought of you) and I returned not that long ago from the same Italian restaurant I was at yesterday (spaghetti, meatballs and a glass of wine). I've borrowed a bowl from the hotel restaurant and plan to make porridge in the morning (using the coffee machine to heat the water, it worked last year). I hope to be up at 3:30 a.m. and out for a short (10') jog and as such will save much of my final preparation until the morning.

The race plan
I didn't manage to get in the training I'd hoped, at least not enough to PB and the TC 10-k four weeks ago only confirmed this. Still, I'm more excited about this race than when I ran here last year. My goals then:

C: sub 3h15 as I want to qualify for Boston, the reason I'm here
B: sub 3h
A: sub 2h50

I plan to head out at 4' km/pace. I'm sure this will feel easy, or at least it better, for the first half of the race. Without any real assessment of my fitness I'm unsure what will transpire during the remainder of the race, which I suppose is why I'm so excited. I feel like I'm racing old school. There might be a few out there rolling your eyes at my slower than usual times but I'd rather be save than sorry. If, and only if the wind is at my back, I might try and pick it up during the last 10k-15k and if so, and it's a BIG if, I might try and PB on this course.

Thanks for all the comments and until the morning ~ ciao!

Training: easy 27'

Friday, May 23

In Ottawa (random thoughts)

Yesterday was a long day, we left at 9:00 a.m. but didn't arrive in Toronto until 9:30 p.m. Thank God Isla loves to fly. Brad Pitt had nothing on me as I walked through Toronto Pearson International Airport, everyone woman in there was smiling at me (or so I thought Until I realized it was the baby). Ally humoured me and secretly loved the attention the kid was getting.

The taxi driver traveled far quicker than I'm comfortable with, that said he gave us a deal. I'm getting old.

After a short visit with my sister last night, I was up early this morning (said a quick goodbye to the girls) and arrived in Ottawa without any trouble. The weather is warm but no hot.

My friend Rebeca picked me up at the airport and then we toured around town only after picking up my race packet. I purchased a new running singlet (green) and despite knowing better, plan to wear it on Sunday... it'll go well with my eyes.

I'm really looking forward to the race! I hate Polar, particularly my RS200 (?), after checking into the hotel I discovered that the display is all black. POLAR sucks, that's it, I'm switching! Oh yeah, the elevators in the hotel aren't working, lucky I'm on the third floor.

Just had a great dinner at a small little Italian restaurant, liked it so much I made reservations for tomorrow. A creature of habit, me?

Ally - give Isla a kiss goodnight for me!

Thursday: easy 27' with 4xstrides
Friday: day off (scheduled)

Wednesday, May 21

Ottawa Marathon – 4 days and counting

Tomorrow morning I’m boarding a WestJet flight bound for Toronto and then Ottawa. With Monday a bank holiday the race, or at least my departure has snuck up on me. Still, now that I’ve finished with the laundry, returned our overdue DVD (I ran it in) and cut the lawn I can start to focus on the race. Unfortunately, I tweaked my knee while mucking around in the garden but I’m sure it’ll be fine.

Today was light and easy and also the fastest return trip to the video store, that has got to count for something?

Training: easy 37:44 with 4xstrides

Tuesday, May 20

Ottawa Marathon – 5 days and counting

Over the long weekend, Victoria enjoyed a heat wave of sorts as the thermometer recorded highs hovering near 25C. Typically, this wouldn’t be so monumental but as the temperature has loitered around 10C since October, this recent rise feels unusually balmy. I’ve tried to soak up as much of the rays as responsibly possible, but Sunday’s long run only reminded me how I do “not” perform well under hot conditions. It also reminded me how much a sweat.

Ottawa is forecasting a race day high of 23C.

I’m planning on starting the race with my water bottle and downing it in the first 1h+ to ensure I’m hydrated. It’s time like this I wish I was faster and could benefit from using the elite tables. Regardless, running with my own bottle means I don’t have to fight for a cup at the aid stations and also means I won’t get served an over concentrated dose of Gatorade, at least not until the latter stages.

Race Number

I received my race number today and consistent with prior years I have a great one, #191 (I’m just glad it isn’t #911).

Final Preparation
Today I ran my last workout prior to the big show and for some reason I’d got it in my head that I was to run 4x1-k on 3:20. I managed to convince myself that I was ready for the test but was very grateful when I realized my pace times were supposed to be 3:40-3:45.

After a slow warm-up (my feet are sore from my cycling shoes), I began the first repetition smack into a headwind. I told myself to relax and imagine I had the fluid stride of Simon Whitfield; it was a huge surprise to me then when I split the first marker in 3:24 more akin to an inexperienced marathoner hoping to build a buffer. I couldn’t help it though, I felt smooth. I told myself to pull back on the reins but it wasn’t until the third interval that I found the mark. Still, if I had a choice I’d rather feel fast and in control five days before a race than the alternative - 3:24, 3:38, 3:42 & 3:38.

For those of you who are unaware, Eric won his first marathon on the weekend with an official time of 2:30:34 – well done! The first half of his report is up here.


Friday: easy 27:03 with 4xstrides
Saturday: easy 42:27 with 4xstrides
Sunday: easy 1:28:24
Monday: easy 1:00:10 on damp west coast trails
Tuesday: 55:16 with 4x1-k tempo (2’)

Thursday, May 15

I Am the Champion - Of the World

I’ve paid my dues, time after time
I’ve done my sentence, but committed no crime
And bad mistakes, I’ve made a few
I’ve had my share of sand kicked in my face, but I’ve come through

Today was brilliant on many levels; it was just one of those days. For starters, I decided to take Quadra Street to work and beat the bus, this is always satisfying. Then, both girls (Ally & Isla) popped by to say hello just before lunch (that and the missus brought me a sandwich from the Italian Deli). Then, and I almost forgot, today was hot, almost tropical by Victoria standards (16C).

[I’m not sure that it has been that warm since September, if it’s hot in Ottawa I’m doomed]

And, prior to going for a run I changed the oil in the lawnmower, cleaned the sparkplug and kicked the thing… it worked and I gained some macho points. Lastly, and not least, I had great company for my workout this afternoon and I rocked it.

We are the champions my friends, and well keep on fighting ‘till the end
We are the champions, we are the champions

No time for losers, cause we are the champions - of the world

We were supposed to do 2-mile repeats, but as I couldn’t make it to Beacon Hill, Hicham joined me for a session on the Lochside Trail. After a hilly but gentle warm-up we eased into the opening kilometer (me aiming for 3:55 km/pace) and split in 3:23 feeling like I was running downhill with a tailwind… I have no idea where that came from.

I’ve taken my bows, and my curtain calls

You brought me fame and fortuen and everything that goes with it, I thank you all
But its been no bed of roses, no pleasure cruise
I consider it a challenge before the whole human race, and I ain’t gonna lose

Tonight was just one of those evenings that I couldn’t slow down and I was feeling no pain. After each marker, I would relax and shake my shoulders, confident that I had made the necessary adjustments to my pace… but just kept on rolling on.

We are the champions my friends, and well keep on fighting ‘till the end
We are the champions, we are the champions

No time for losers, cause we are the champions - of the world

3:23, 3:43, 3:51 (10:57)
3:39, 3:52, 3:48 (11:19)
3:42, 3:49, 3:53 (11:24)

I realize the danger in running a marathon like this, but today, today I enjoyed the sun on my face and the helium in my shoes.

Training: 1:19:02 with 3x3k MP (2’)

Wednesday, May 14


“A perfect summer day is when the sun is shining, the breeze is blowing, the birds are singing, and the lawn mower is broken” ~ James Dent

On a day where there was a genuine warmth in the air, I laced up my shoes and headed north along the Lochside Trail to stretch out my legs. My last key workout will be tomorrow, but today was all about active recovery. It felt great.

Oh yeah, I managed to cut the lawn, most of it anyway. That was until the damn lawnmower stopped working. I hate machines.

Training: easy 23:53

Tuesday, May 13

Inclement Weather

"A mirror reflects a man's face, but what he is really like is shown by the kind of friends he chooses."

On a day when my spirits were low and the clouds were lower, an old friend of mine joined me for a run and lightened my mood. With the clouds having nestled nicely on the peak of Mount Doug, we looped our way around the lower trails trading stories and solutions to life’s mysteries.

I didn’t feel particularly spry early days, but after a couple rolling hills and some spirited strides towards the end of the jaunt I felt decidedly better. Today was a good day.

How can you not like this girl, reminds me slightly of E.T. but she's still adorable.

Training: easy 1:03:08 with 5xstrides

Monday, May 12


Early Saturday morning, I met my Half Marathon Clinic at the Oak Bay Marina and led them along the last half of their race route in preparation for the big day (the same day as Ottawa). I haven’t been able to make it out for a few weeks and it was thoroughly enjoyable seeing so many welcoming faces.

[Okay, in-between preparing for a presentation and looking after a newborn, I’ve been trying to compose this narrative for almost one and a half days; this is not working well. In an effort to post something, anything, I’ll be brief]

The run on Saturday was a welcomed easy jaunt and I lived vicariously through the group as they traced the end of the race route, their enthusiasm extremely contagious as we talked strategy.

On Sunday, Hicham kicked my ass. The idea was to bookend and easy run with MP sessions, unfortunately his MP is faster than mine and so I enjoyed, then suffered through two up-tempo pieces.

With the race less than two weeks away there is little time left the positively influence the result and more than enough to wreck it. I’ve scheduled one remaining workout this week and then it’s taper time (I’m not including next weeks tune-up as a workout). From here on in it’s all about, rest and recovery, and should I choose perhaps the odd stretch… but then why would I want to break a streak that has extended for two months now?

Saturday: easy 57:48
Sunday: 1:52:50 with 20’ tempo + 1h easy + 20’ tempo
Monday: day off (scheduled)

Friday, May 9


“One that travels regularly from one place to another, as from suburb to city and back”.

I realize the absurdity in admitting this, but prior to cycling to work I never considered myself a commuter. Now though, since the birth of Isla, I once again find myself wearing hidden layers of spandex as I travel daily to and from work.

Something that has caught my attention, and subsequently become amusing, is the way in which people get sucked along as passage ultimately becomes a contest. Yesterday morning I was determined to enjoy a leisurely ride at a pace dictated by me, not others. I was hugely unsuccessful. My failure hit home as I walked up five flights of stairs to my office (an effort to promote a healthy work environment), my legs throbbing as the lactic acid was pushed further into my muscles.

The true effect of my commuting negligence wasn’t fully transparent until after returning home and beginning yesterdays run, a warm-up that has never felt so rough.

[it reminded me of the brick (bike/run) sessions I would do while preparing for Ironman]

With little time remaining until race day, I was determined to make the most of the situation and made sure to ease my way into the first interval. Although I felt fatigued and was running with heavy legs, the session was probably one of the more controlled I’ve done in months. I slowly wound things up as I traversed my way along an undulating route of road and trail, saving the best for last and completing the final repeat feeling strong.

This weekend I’ve got a tempo filled long run on the taps, and then it’s one final workout next week before I start to wind things down. Fun and games.

I’m so freak’n tired.


Thursday: 1:16:03 with 4x2-miles (2’)
Friday: 36:58 with 4xstrides

Wednesday, May 7

Mount Doug

On the heels of Sunday’s solid run I was looking forward to heading out yesterday. I had even emailed a friend earlier in the day telling him that I was eager to squeeze as much as possible out of the remaining 19 days. So it was with confusion and then resignation that I plodded my way to Mount Doug, lingering fatigue weighing heavy on my feet.

With the legs sore I decided to keep the day’s entire run on the trails. With that in mind, and knowing that my old running group (Prairie Inn Harriers) trains in Mount Doug during the spring, I set myself a goal of finding them and began looping my way along the miles of paths within the 450 acre park.

Familiar with there favourite locations it didn’t long before I recognized some of the frontrunners barrelling down Whittaker. My goal completed I continued along my favourite trails and then during a momentary lapse of reason I decided to jog up the 850 ft climb (the view is always spectacular).

With the time left, my focus will be to hit the remaining three workouts and to ensure that I’m fully recovered. Rather than complete shorter intervals as I have in the past (8x1k – Ottawa, 10x800m – Sacramento & 20x400m – London), I will be making my current preparation as specific as possible opting for 2-mile tempos and longer.

Monday: day off (scheduled)
Tuesday: hilly 1:17:22
Wednesday: 31:26 with 6xstrides, felt aggressive

Monday, May 5

I Decided To Go For A Little Run

I have a handful of moderately long runs under my belt (2h-2h10). Regrettably, given the abridged schedule and as I’ve missed both of my “long” runs, I’ve been experiencing the feeling of standing on the precipice of a mammoth chasm, one that I don’t want to familiarize myself with on race day. I wouldn’t normally suggest running this long three weeks out, but if nothing else I needed a confidence boost and promised myself to keep things in check.

With Cricket and her mother fast asleep, I snuck out of the house early Sunday morning and went for what would unfold to be a brilliant jaunt. Not even a dozen steps into the run and I swear I was on the set of a Disney film, what with blue birds singing and plenty of sunshine life couldn’t get better. I weaved my way through Broadmead making sure to hit every trail that presented itself, around Rithet’s Bog and then looping about Elk Lake before heading home.

It was the first time in months that I’d brought any supplements during a long run and whether the Gu or just the day I felt steady and relaxed. So much so, that even though I had set out to log just an easy run on the day, I decided to change the play on the fly and added some decreasing tempo during the last 30’. I was surprised at how I felt during the last 5’, I definitely had that “I’ve just run 2h25” feeling but if I could feel that strong toward the end of Ottawa, 2h50 will become a reality.

Oh I almost forgot, congratulations to Seamus who despite having to keep steady pace (and not race) managed to win the Vancouver Half Marathon... ya bastard! And congratulations also to Thomas and Grellan who ran a different half, on the other side of the Atlantic.

Saturday: easy 1:07:57
Sunday: 2:35:27 with 2h easy + 15’ MP (1’) + 10’ tempo (1’) + 5’ hard

Friday, May 2

Boulderwood Park

I think the Rolling Stones said it best, “Look at me, I'm in tatters, I'm a shattered”.

On a rare warm and sunny Tuesday evening I headed out after work, map in hand, hopeful to discover two new trails. The first was relatively uneventful, not the sort of thing you’d want to blink while crossing but a welcomed change of scenery. The second left me winded and speechless. I’d run by the trailhead on several occasion but as it’s fairly unassuming it hadn’t piqued my interest (my loss). After a dozen stairs the path narrows into a bark mulch funnel that climbs over 400 ft. in a few short lung searing minutes. The trail emerges at Boulderwood Park, complete with natural wishing well and spectacular views of the Sooke Hills to the west and the Gulf Islands to the east. This loop is definitely the discovery of the year for me and ranks as one of my favourite trails in the city!

Unfortunately, my exploration left me running 20’ late and I had to hotfoot it home not wanting to leave he missus waiting. It was during this homeward stretch that my calves made it known that they were still recovering from the race on the weekend.

With my legs still grumbling about insufficient recovery, I geared things down on Wednesday opting for a pedestrian loop around the Blenkinsopp Valley.

Yesterday was brutal on all accounts. I couldn’t shake the feeling of having dead legs which was only compounded having to run 2x20’ intervals. This was made worse as I finished the first session with the same climb up Cordova Ridge that I’d discovered only two days earlier. The second half was a pure piece of desperation that has left me wondering where my speed and strength has gone. Still, with the marathon less than four weeks away I’m trying to make my works as specific as possible, hoping to make race day more manageable.

Wednesday: rolling 54:03
Thursday: 1:35:09 with 2x20' tempo
Friday: easy 31:21 with 4xsrides