Sunday, June 29

Goals and Goal Setting

Every ceiling, when reached, becomes a floor, upon which one walks as a matter of course and prescriptive right” - Aldous Huxley

This is one of my favourite quotes and never fails to offer insight and motivation.

I’ve all but completed my autumn schedule; unfortunately the finishing touches won’t be done until I decide where to rest up. I want to allow myself a few weeks recovery between this build (focused on 5k-10k speed and intensity) and Boston. The other wrinkle in the plan is the limited number of (local) quality races in November/December. Back to the drawing board…

As for the last week, I’ve really enjoyed my running. Not for a second is this to be confused with being fast, but there wasn’t a day that didn’t leave me feeling exuberant and playful. Tuesday had me out for my first visit with the “Tuesday Night Late Workout” squad, which coincidently left my knackered. Whether it was a) the continuous hills, b) the duration, c) the timing, or d) nought for recovery, I awoke the next morning feeling like my favourite bag of smashed assholes. Regardless, the route was interesting and the company pleasant.

Saturday was the inaugural training run for some friends hoping to complete the 56-k Great Lake Walk later this fall. I hadn’t seen a few of them in months and it was great fun trading stories. I’m not sure that they fully comprehend what they’re signing themselves up for, but the same might have been said for me when I registered for my first marathon almost fourteen years ago. The poor girls.

After suffering through a prolonged winter/spring, the last few days have been nothing short of epic with temperatures hovering around 30C. So it was that yesterday morning I began a favourite route of mine under clear blue skies and awfully enjoyable warm conditions. I’m not certain what triggered it and I wasn’t one to object, but I couldn’t help but notice the pacing rising and me hanging on for dear life as I traced my way along favourite trails and epic climbs; around Mount Doug, through Broadmead, up Cordova Ridge (twice) and back along Lochside Trail. I loved every minute of it. I’ll have to remember to bring a camera next time out.


Monday: day off (scheduled)
Tuesday: TLNW very hilly 1:50:56
Wednesday: easy 21:47
Thursday: undulating 55:14
Friday: day off (scheduled)
Saturday: EZ 1:14:38
Sunday: up-tempo 1:18:14

Sunday, June 22

The Big Easy

Much like the quote from the movie, “This is the Big Easy. Folks have a certain way o' doin' things down here”, and as such I’ve made sure to adjust my pace accordingly and leisurely reacquaint myself with planned runs.

Without any concrete goals over the next 3-4 months, I’m not in a hurry to jump back into a routine thick with workouts. That said, a “plan” has begun to formulate from shadowy threads of training plans one that will take me through the autumn cross-country and trail running season, focusing predominantly on 5k-15k races until Christmas.

As for the recent weekend, when I wasn’t rebuilding our garden shed (I now have a sanctuary) I did manage to sneak out for a workout with Paul’s group on Saturday morning. While everyone else set off around the lake for a good tempo session, I kept Ian company as we cycled our way through some shorter intervals. The legs felt great, the lungs struggled to keep up.


Wednesday: easy 41:38
Thursday: easy 40:17
Friday: day off (scheduled)
Saturday: 1:05:18 w/ 4x(30” H, 60” H, 90” H, 30” H) (30”)
Sunday: hilly 1:10:22

Tuesday, June 17


… I’m back.

After enjoying a great vacation in Maui where the typical daily high was 30C, I received a very rude reintroduction to reality on Monday morning when I biked to work (it was 10C). On the heels of the Ottawa Marathon, the timing of the vacation was perfect and I definitely feel relaxed and rejuvenated. I did manage to sneak in a few jaunts in-between the sessions at the beach but I kept them under 45’. Besides it was damn hot, I don’t know how Mike does it?

As for the future, my next “A” goal is Boston but that is also next year. I wanted find a shorter late season race that I could focus on but with us away for a few weeks in September/October it throws a huge wrench in the plans. Still, I’m not without complete focus. I received an email today from some people that I coached last fall asking me to put something together for them, as they want to run the 56k Great Lake Walk. Always on the lookout for free beer, I obliged and told them I’d keep them company on every second long run… that ought to keep the legs moving (however slowly) for the next 12-weeks.

Onward and upward then.

Training: easy 42:29 (felt great)

Wednesday, June 4

Newport Marathon

Last Saturday a good friend (and training partner) ran the Newport Marathon in Oregon. He was competing in his first marathon in seven years and prior to leaving had the energy of a young boy on the first day of school (apprehension and excitement).

His strategy was gutsy, run the first 20-miles at 6:04 pace, the next 4-miles at 5:55 and then pick it up. Despite 23+ miles of near perfect execution his race didn’t go exactly accordingly to plan but he still finished in a respectable 2:43:56, 7th overall. More importantly, we’ll be training together this winter as we prepare to run a sub 2h40 in Boston next spring. This is going to be fun!

In the short-term, I’ll be taking a short pause over the next week as we leave for vacation. Oh and the photos, me in Ottawa.

Tuesday: easy 27:10
Wednesday: day off

Monday, June 2


… or perhaps I should say “go maire tú!” Although I’ve never met them, both Thomas and Grellan took part today in the Cork Marathon where they were aiming to qualify for Boston with times of <3:15:00 and <3:20:00 respectively.

As luck would have it, and I’m dieing to hear about Thomas’ race, they achieved their goals with times of 3:09:38 and 3:17:11. Well done to both of you!

On this continent, Brad and Mr. Bites took part in what is one of my favourite trail races, the epic 25k Iron Knee. I know Brad was hoping to run faster and his spring fitness certainly indicates that he is capable of doing so, but he still finished with an impressive result. As for Rumar, he was out enjoying himself as he and his wife prepare for their Trans Rockies adventure later this summer.

Congratulations to everyone!

And me, I’ve completed two runs since Ottawa. The first was a short 10’ stroll in which my calves hurt like a bugger. The second, marginally better as the pain worked its way up my legs into the quads… it’s all good and I enjoyed every step of the way.

Monday: day off
Tuesday: day off
Wednesday: day off
Thursday: day off
Friday: easy 11:13
Saturday: day off
Sunday: easy 19:49

Monday: day off

Sunday, June 1

2008 Ottawa Marathon (Director’s Cut)

My goal on the day was to qualify for Boston (<3h15); given this was accomplished I’m happy. Truth be told, I was also looking at running a more consistent albeit slower pace than last year and if lady luck shone perhaps pull off a negative split.

Last year, if you discount a few early hilly kilometers, I only maintained pace until 20k, every consecutive kilometer was slower than my 3:47 goal/pace. This year, I was good to go until 26k and didn’t start losing chunks until 32k. A stark contrast was during the final 4k when last year I was dropping 30”/km. Regardless, I feel I was only marginally successful in achieving my second objective and as a result, I’ve given myself a B+.

The temperature at the 7:00 a.m. start was 8 degrees but without any cloud cover whatsoever it rose to 20 degrees by the finish. Standing on the start line, I was more relaxed than any previous marathon. I really enjoyed the energy from the other participants and couldn’t miss the contrasting faces of the 50+ elite athletes – those with confidence versus people oozing fear and self-doubt. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to see anything but the remnants from the men’s race, passing the occasion individual as they’d dropped out, but I had a front row seat to what became pure carnage in the women’s field.

Km 1-5 (3:49, 3:47, 3:57, 3:59, 4:04) the start was uneventful, and I slowly slipped back into the crowd as over exuberant runners passed by, determined to build up their respective cushions. After a gradual rise the course takes a sharp right, leading passed Parliament and a statue of Canada’s most inspirational athlete (Terry Fox). Unlike last year where I slid into a nice group, I found I was being passed for the first 10k, held me own for the next 10k and then, despite slowing down managed to reel people in during the remained of the course. I couldn’t believe how light and comfortable I felt and it took almost 5k before I could settle into something nearing my goal pace of 4:00 km/pace.

Km 5-10 (3:49, 3:51, 4:11. 3:47, 4:11) I ran with a handheld water bottle again and enjoyed my first Gu at 9k. I definitely feel odd running with it but I believe I benefit from the additional hydration. Last year I wrote that the next 5k was nasty with several hills from 5-7 & 8-9, this year though they didn’t seem nearly as bad.

Km 11-15 (3:58, 3:57, 3:57, 3:50, 3:59) I caught up to a certain individual at around 12k as he was plodding along. He was having an off day but couldn’t restrain himself from respectfully reminding me that he should be far faster than this. I remembered that kilometers 12-14 were reminiscent of an uphill section of pavé at Paris-Roubaix and suggested that he adjust his pace accordingly. He continued to whine and I couldn’t help but think he had three choices: a) shut-up and race, b) relax and make the most of the day, or c) drop out. He faded on the first hill and I wouldn’t see him again for 5k.

Km 16-20 (4:00, 3:57, 3:58, 4:03, 4:02) these 5-k were reasonably flat, if not boring, and the race thinned out by this point and I ran alone from here on in. A certain weary soul caught back up to me at around 17k, mumbled something about needing water and then slipped back (apparently he dropped out shortly after the half). I had my second Gu at 18k and then tossed the water bottle a indication to me that the race was about to get serious.

Km 21-25 (4:00, 4:00, 3:57, 4:02, 4:01) I split the half in 1:23:37, passing the crowds in town around 23k before heading out alongside the Rideau Canal in what is a hot, exposed and lonely remainder of the race.

Km 26-30 (4:07, 4:08, 4:10, 4:11, 4:09) last year I found this portion of the course lonely and discouraging. At 27k, I had one of the two remaining Gu that I had tucked into the key pocket in my shorts and then desperately tried to hang on. Although I managed to split 30k (2:00:04) on pace for a sub 2h50 finish I had already started my gradual decline.

Km 31-35 (4:07, 4:13, 4:23, 4:16, 4:22) I hate this part of the course; with the second of two high points (Prince of Whales) strategically placed at the 35k.Km 36-40 (4:21, 4:13, 4:31, 4:24, 4:25) unlike previous races where I’ve been forced to walk, despite my gradual I never had to face that dark nemesis that has plagued me in the past.

The Finish (4:26, 4:25; 0:53) finishing a marathon always brings a smile to my face. Of course there’s the instant relief in stopping, but before that there is the always funny attempt at watching exhausted runners on the verge of cramping trying, desperately trying to pick up the pace… I was no exception.

Thanks for all the kind words and the promise of an IPA (India Pale Ale); Marc I’m looking forward to Boston and having a natter over at least a pint.

Training: 12-week (interrupted) marathon build

Cumulative time/distance: 79h36'37" approx. 1,100 km
Number of runs 32km or more: 4 (2 were in the same week)
Highest weekly volume time/distance: 11h20'51", 159 km (includes two long runs)
Average weekly volume time/distance: 6h38'03", approx. 91 km
Injuries: none

Result: 2:53:05, 4:07km/pace, 9 AG, 39:31 10k, 1:23:37 21.1k & 2:00:04 30k