Sunday, September 28

It Feels Like the First Time

Do you remember your first long-run? Not one of those lengthy slogs (accidental or otherwise) that returned you back to the house questioning why you went out in the first place. But your first planned proper long-run, once you knew what a long-run was. I don’t remember mine but I do recall the feeling in my legs afterwards; my jaunt this weekend brought that memory screaming back.

After a week of light drizzle and dull skies, we met Sunday morning under cloudless conditions and a beaming (20C) sun. With Ian returning from injury and Hicham enduring the tail end of Ramadan, I assumed the company was akin to my fitness level. I was mistaken.

Regardless, Ian played tour guide on what is officially my new favourite run in the Victoria area. The hills were relentless as the route was beautiful and there wasn’t a level meter (3 ft.) out there. We traversed trails that only deer might use, jogged along roads that reminded me of England and hills, hills that would make Boston seem flat. And the best/unfortunate piece, depending on your condition… everything was runable. My legs ache.


Saturday: 55:25 with 4x5’ tempo (2’)
Sunday: undulating 1:39:23

Saturday, September 27

And yet a few more

Learning from Tuesday’s mistake, i.e., not being prepared for a longer warm-up, I left work on Thursday and proceeded to take a much more direct route to Cedar Hill than I had a couple days prior.

I decided to change the workout slightly, opting for more variety than what was scheduled. The plan was 3x 60”, 45” 30” and 15” with the walk/jog back down as recovery and an additional 1’ between sets. Working these shorter hill sessions is such a stark contrast to previous marathon preparation and although lung searingly painful, surprisingly enjoyable. With no varsity teams out that day, it was just the hill and me and unlike last week, I was able to jog home on legs that didn’t feel completely wrecked.

Yesterday, I was up early and after a glass of water and a couple pieces of toast I was out the door and jogging to work, and following the previous days lead, opting for a more direct route.

I hope everyone has a great weekend and all the best to those racing in Toronto.

Thursday: 1:14:25 with 3x(60”, 45”, 30”, 15”) hills (1’)
Friday: easy 35:04

Wednesday, September 24

More Hills

Had you asked me on Monday how my weekend runs had gone I would have replied fine, the company was enjoyable and the pace comfortable. Easy. I believe the problem rests though in my thinking of the runs in isolation. Alas, as I was out for my easy jaunt on Monday afternoon it felt like the second game of a double-header, one where I went hard early on and was now paying the price.

Yesterday was better.

Slipping into my new job was been relatively easy thus far, so much so I decided to run home from work yesterday. Not thinking, I opted to run through the old neighborhood, randomly making my way through Beacon Hill Park and then tracing my way down the streets of Fairfield before taking a more direct line for Cedar Hill Golf Course. My prolonged 40’ warm-up left me good and limber (and slightly fatigued) before I even started the workout. I ran a series of 1’ repeats on a long gradual hill on the east side of the course before switching over to a brutally sharp beast on the west side for my 30” kickers. The session was made all the more challenging as both the men’s and women’s Varsity Cross Country teams were there running their own workouts which unfortunately assisted in keeping me honest. The buggers.

This morning then, on the heels of yesterday workout/long run (the furthest in probably two months), I limped my way to work all the time asking myself what I was doing. I think I like early morning runs when it’s dark out, somehow the miles seem to pass more easily. Perhaps the darkness lulls the brain into thinking it’s all still a dream.

Enjoy the roads.

Monday: easy 31:34
Tuesday: 1:23:45 with 5x1’ hills + 8x30” hills
Wednesday: was 38:57 with 6xstrides

Sunday, September 21

Coffee, Peat and Running

After returning from three weeks in the UK, it has taken almost an entire week for me to adjust to what was once my regular routine. This was of course complicated with me started a new job on Monday.

This weekend helped rest the clock.

Friday I stayed out good and late which put the end to me waking at 5:00 a.m. feeling alert and rested (mind you I’m in desperate need of some sleep now).

On Saturday, we met up with some good friends at what might be my new favourite coffee house. Jim was distracted and unsettled which was probably a result of his ridiculous idea to abstain from mochas prior to his race in Toronto next weekend. The self-denial ended the moment the cup touched his bottom lip. A few hours later Carter and I were out tracing the local trails in what established itself as my long run for the week. A frequent training partner and good friend, it was great to be able to set the tone for the season ahead. With the arrival of fall and the X-C season, I’m looking forward to rebuilding my fitness in preparation for my marathon build later this winter.

And today, Sunday, it was out onto my favourite trails around Thetis Lake unfortunately feeling not nearly as comfortable as I’d like. And so the weekend all too quickly wraps up with me sitting here nursing a wee dram of scotch and dreaming of the days and weeks to follow.

I hope you all had a good one.

Thursday: easy 31:23 with 7xstrides
Friday: day off (unscheduled)
Saturday: easy 1:18:16
Sunday: hilly 1:07:47

Wednesday, September 17


I could blame it on a multitude of things, two of which would include recovering from jetlag and too much of a good thing in the UK. Regardless, getting out of the house today required the energy of Hercules and the concentration of a gymnast while performing on the beam. I managed, barely. I struggled through the first ten minutes but slowly came around, felling almost normal on the home stretch. That was prior to the strides (still shaking out the fish & chips).

Yesterday was much better mind you. I should backtrack though (and Seamus, you’ll get a laugh out of this). On the heels of some reduced training, I decided to alter my fall training schedule and reintroduce some hills to the program (hills that I missed while in England). As such, yesterday I jogged into Mt. Doug, ran a series of long and short hills, and felt better than expected. Brilliant.

Still waiting to hear on Boston. Speaking of which, anyone else out there thinking of racing this year?

[the photo was taken while on holiday; it’s of a small fishing village in Cornwall called Mevagissey… I lived there over twenty years ago, ouch]

Monday: easy 34:13
Tuesday: 1:04:12 with 4x1’ hills (3’) + 6x30” hills (90”)
Wednesday: 44:15 with 8xstrides

Sunday, September 14

Our Last Week in England

We returned home late Saturday afternoon after what was almost three weeks of an extremely enjoyable vacation. Upon reflecting not only am I markedly more relaxed but I’ve also gained two overstuffed Cornish Pasties where my pectorals were once housed and my torso more closely resembles an inverted pint glass than ever before. I have my work cut out before me.

The last few mornings I’ve been trying to educate a five month old infant on the effects of jetlag and not necessarily having to rouse at 3:00 a.m. just because your internal clock suggests it’s morning. This is a losing battle. Still, coupled with me starting a new job, the week ahead looks like a perfect opportunity to ease back into running without too much structure.

I’ll leave you with some photos from my last run in England along one of my favourite routes.

Monday: day off (scheduled)
Tuesday: day off (unscheduled)
Wednesday: day off (unscheduled)
Thursday: 41:08 with 10x30” hills (2’)
Friday: easy 1:07:35
Saturday: day off (unscheduled)
Sunday: sluggish 1:08:54

Saturday, September 13

England in Macro

Sunday, September 7


Ally was looking through some emails this morning as I was sitting quietly in the kitchen enjoying a nice cup of coffee. It was drizzling lightly outside and Isla was still asleep; the day was peaceful.

The silence was broken though as Ally ran into the room yelling at me that I'd missed my opportunity to register for Boston. Admittedly I had forgotten that registration had opened but I wasn't that worried about getting in. It wasn't as if I was registering months later. Regardless, after 5' of forms and web searches I was registered and apparently all they have to do is confirm my qualifying time and the rest is history. As for now, I wait. Now all I have to do is convince Carter to join Hicham and I.

After taking it easy for the last few days I managed to get in a few good runs. Yesterday I headed out through the farmlands towards Denham and feeling good on the way home I decided to run an impromptu workout. I should've stopped while I was ahead.

As for today, I relaxed in the house this morning until the rain eased up and then managed to squeeze in a long(er) run without getting that wet. The fact that I didn't get was a small miracle as England has been inundated with rain all summer and apparently it isn't letting up.

Saturday: 54:34 with 4x3' (1')
Sunday: leisurely 1:23:22

Friday, September 5


I haven't got near as much running in as I would've liked but then I didn't come here to run. That said, the times I have got out have been absolutely spectacular (photos when I get home, sorry).

Monday was my first test here as we borrowed a friends car and proceeded to drive to Cornwall. You might think that the fact that the car was overheating would be the tale of the day but it wasn't. Rather it was me driving from Wales over the new Severn (sp) Bridge, this this is massive and very high up. I was frightened shitless and I'm not even scared of heights. Imagine, driving a standard, on the left, hundreds of feet above the sea on a six lane bridge with a blond women talking on her mobile only feet behind you in her little sports car... I was white knuckled the entire way! Feck me!

After finally reaching Cornwall it wasn't long that Ally and I agreed that the roads there were worse than Ireland. Thomas consider yourself lucky, really. Hedges hundreds of years old made of rock and vegetation, 12 ft. tall, and only wide enough for one small car let alone two vehicles screaming along at 60 miles/hours! Crikey.

Still, we met up with an old mate of mine that I went to school with here and followed him down to Gorran Haven where he owns some gorgeous cottages. It was from there that I was lucky enough to enjoy two runs along the famous Cornish Coastal Path (again, photos later). For those back home, imagine Mt. Tolmie, Doug and Finlayson one after another in quick secession for hundreds of miles. Now remove all the trees and imagine a sharp sea cliff to your left. Lastly, place a twisting runnable path that traces the coastline. Breathtaking. Thanks for everything Chris!

On Thursday, after enjoying far too many pasties and clotted cream (not together) it was time to attempt the drive to London. The car had another episode in Dartmoor but after allowing it to cool down and using some Bar Seal (sp) we were on our way. It was from there onto the M5, to the M4 and finally the dreaded M25. Again, feck me! We were only on it for two exits but it was then, after being an angel the entire trip, that Isla decided she'd had enough and wanted out. All Ally and I could do was laugh as 1,000's of HGVs zoomed passed us as we desperately searched out the M40 and finally Ickenham. I should get an award for that drive.

Yesterday was into London and showing the girls around. Carter, we retraced our footsteps... the Coal Hole and the Lamb & Flag. Jim, we passed Campers and thought of you. And from there it was off to see the Rosetta (sp) Stone.

Monday: day off (scheduled, driving)
Tuesday: hilly 1:02:27
Wednesday: 1:10:55
Thursday: day off (driving to London)
Friday: day off (London, I love this place)