Wednesday, October 29

Feeling Better

It wasn’t half as cold as I expected it to be when I left the house this morning, I’ll take 9C over 2C any day. Not only that, but it wasn’t raining. Brilliant! It didn’t take more than a few strides for me to realize my right calf was still to-ight, more so the right side of the leg, and so I opted to postpone yesterday’s workout for yet another day. This of course means today’s workout will have to wait until the weekend.

But rather than a mundane sleepy stroll, this morning was different. I hadn’t been out for more than five minutes when I came across an accident. Apparently, the intersection wasn’t big enough for both vehicles at that hour of the day (everyone seemed fine). And then it was the Italian Bakery, God knows what hour they set up but the smell, wow, it almost had me running around in circles Sadly, they weren’t open.

All the best of luck to Mike who leaves for NYC, run well!

Training: easy but undulating 37:19

Tuesday, October 28

The Aftermath

My calves hurt.

They are forecasting rain in Victoria over the next four days. Whenever the weather office gives that sort of prediction from now through March, four days could easily turn into forty. No really. With that in mind, I left the office determined to enjoy what might be our last sunny day for a while.

It didn’t take me more than a few steps, one actually, to realize that my aforementioned calves were still sore and incredibly to-ight from the XC race. As a result, I opted to postpone (perhaps permanently) today’s workout and rather enjoy the evening for what it was… absolutely gorgeous.

My journey home took me up and over Beacon Hill, and along the waterfront soaking up a breathtaking setting sun. From there I weaved my way up Lotbiniere, before making a beeline for Mount Tolmie and finally a saunter down the Blenkinsop Valley.

[the photo is from the XC race and despite how I felt, I apparently did have enough energy to get both feet of the ground at once]

Monday: day off (scheduled and much needed)
Tuesday: easy undulating 1:10:09

Sunday, October 26

BC Cross-Country Championships (2008)

As Thomas not only ran a marathon today (congratulations mate) but also posted a race report, I can’t help but feel a tad remiss as my event was three days ago.

Saturday morning I was up early and after some obligatory coffee, Ally dropped me off at local legend Bob Reid’s house where the rest of the Prairie Inn Harrier Team had arranged to meet. From there, the twelve of us squeezed into a rented van and like a tin of briny sardines made our way down to the ferry terminal and later Vancouver. The morning was everything I dreamed it might be, sunny, cool and reminiscent of a school day-trip with friends. Having never run a XC race before, let alone on a team, I felt I was being treated a special occasion.

Not seconds after arriving at the venue, we were treated to one of the school events and I had goosebumps watching 200+ juniors dash along the opening stretch, everyone vying for pole position leading into the first corner. After grabbing our race numbers at the rugby club, Hicham and I jogged the course. It, the route, was ambitious and larger-than-life.

Having not run a XC race before I’m very bias, but the course reminded me of the attached picture. After a short flat section along the grass, the path constantly climbed looping through the edge of Stanley Park before ascending still as it made its way around the rugby pitch and track oval. It was like walking to and from school in the snow, uphill, both ways.

While stretching on the grass, we watched a few of the races the most pleasing seeing Marilyn win the Senior Women’s title (well done). Before I knew it though, I was toeing the line with 100+ athletes and… bang, we were off.

It felt like mayhem as everyone surged away from the start, before converging on the first corner and fighting for the coveted inside track. Mud flew, elbows raised, feet slipped, and I loved every minute of it. I repeatedly reminded myself to relax on the first lap and despite trying to get my gasping under control, I don’t recall breathing comfortably until after the race was finished.

With the Senior Men and Masters being run at the same time, it was difficult to tell who I was racing against but as three men passed me at the beginning of the next lap I knew it was now or never. Sadly, after dropping almost 20” between the first and second loop I knew it was going to be one of “those” days. Despite leaving everything on the course and clawing one of the men back on the third lap, I never managed to run the other two down but if nothing else they kept me honest. My splits were as follows: 7:11, 7:29, 7:41 & 8:08.

Congratulations goes out to Hicham as came third in the race! Oh, and as for my key goal, lady luck was on my side as I had time to spare crossing the line 33” before the Senior Men’s Champion Jon Brown, who ran 10-k in 31:06 (he was a bloody machine, but after going to the Olympics twice I suppose it’s par for the course).

Saturday: 1:10:17 with BC XC 8-k 30:33, 10th OA (Master)
Sunday: undulating 1:28:45

Weekly mileage: 6h49’21”, 95-k or 60 miles (I need to run more)

Friday, October 24

The Storm before the Calm

Coasting home this evening the world was quiet and undisturbed. I don’t recall seeing another soul on the trail but I do remember it being awash with golden leaves under and patchwork achromatic sky. IT would have been a perfect day to race, it was also a perfect Friday.

My run to work this morning felt fantastic, not that I my stride was light, but due in part to a late night with Isla and my desire to not over extend myself, my run was a much welcomed relief. It was almost on par with yesterday’s first sip of coffee while sitting outside Habit and watching the early morning traffic stumble by. Almost, but not quite.

I don’t remember feeling a) this excited while b) incredibly under prepared for a race in quite some time, perhaps ever. My running gear is out and nicely folded on the dresser and my new shoes are nestled inside my kit bag. Here’s to option #6 and whatever it requires.

[due to Isla’s new found love of watches I’m exactly sure of the duration of today’s jaunt, oh and we now have two teeth]

Training: easy 37:XX

Thursday, October 23

BC Cross Country - the plan

My last few days of running has been good and quite enjoyable, not great mind you, but at the very least consistent enough to move me in a familiar direction. Tuesday evening saw me returning to CHGC where I ran a series of short(er) intervals. During each segment I gave myself something specific to focus on, e.g., a quick turnover, running strong out of the corners... breathing. The session went by without any hiccoughs although I couldn’t help but notice that my lungs were a limiting factor. Oh to be fit again.

Running home from work today, I detoured once again over to CHGC and ran a 2-k race pace time trial. More fun and games.

With the race only two days away I’ve been giving some thought to strategy and have come up with a few options:

1. Run as hard as I can for as long as I can – unfortunately I only see this tactic working for the elites and those insufficiently fit where the race becomes pure survival... a distinct possibility.

2. Start in the middle of the pack and move up - my thinking is that mentally it’s better to gradually move up during a race then to repeatedly be passed (as happened two weeks ago).

3. Surge on the down hills – I’d like to think this option favours me but I’d be kidding myself, that and without seeing the course the hills may not be significant enough.

4. Surge on the up hills - I think this requires more guts and fitness than technique and as I lack the latter (fitness) I would probably end up digging myself an early grave.

5. The final sprint – now we’re talking... sandbag most of the race and then surge 500 meters from the finish, still accelerating over the line.

Although the jury is still out, I’m leaning toward a combination of options #1 and #2… aim to build throughout the race, but I can guarantee I’ll feel like hell the way. Isn’t that what XC is all about? My real objective though, and I recognize it’s slightly out of my hands, it to finish before the first competitor in the Senior Men’s race (they run the Masters at the same time, we do four laps, 8-k, and the Senior Men do five, 10-k). This may not sound all that ambitious, but with the likes of Jon Brown competing with his 27:18 10-k PB, and my 8-k PB of 27:28 I could be thoroughly humiliated. Still, it’s bound to be fun.

Tuesday: 1:06:57 with 4x [2’ (1’) + 1’ (30”) + 30” (30”)]
Wednesday: easy 53:00
Thursday: 58:24 with 2-k TT

Monday, October 20

Cruel and Unusual

Random thoughts…

While sipping a cup of day-old coffee, I checked the weather forecast, “a chance of rain”. Bugger. I then proceeded to get ready for my jog into work in between spending a few precious moments with the baby, and letting the cat out... wasn’t raining yet. Ten minutes later I was out the door and cursing under my breath as a light rain had started to fall. Damn it. To make matters worse, once reaching work and making my way over to the gym where I shower, I noticed a piece of paper tacked to the change room door, “no hot water”. Feck. Though I suppose the real kicker was hearing from a colleague that water issue was fixed not 30’ after I left. Still, my legs felt good and I can guarantee being the most alert individual in the office this morning.

I signed up for the Provincial Cross Country Championships this weekend in Vancouver. This will be my first sanctioned XC event and although my fitness isn’t there, I’m really looking forward to the experience. I was so excited on the way home that I swung by the running shop and picked up my first pair of XC flats… the Saucony Kilkenny (spikes and all).

Fun and games.

Oh yeah, if you have either:

a) run the Ottawa Marathon;
b) run the Dublin Marathon;
c) are about to run a marathon;
d) own a pair of running shoes; or
simply need a good laugh, check out the following link as columnist Andrew Braithwaite prepares for Dublin.

Lastly, I’d be remiss if I didn’t also congratulate Cliff who ran a Marathon in Toronto last weekend and in so doing smashed his PB and a few mental barriers along the way.

Training: easy 34:28 2xstrides

Sunday, October 19

Good to be Back

Congratulations go out to Mike for his solid performance at the PEI Marathon where he finished with a stellar time of 3:21:06 and to Grellan who despite having difficulties with his calf persevered for a 3:45:07 in Amsterdam. I want stories.

After forcing myself to endure an easy week in an attempt to kick this dastardly cold, I decided to wind things back up this weekend. With Carter lacing his shoes with far more frequency, it wasn’t too difficult to convince him to join me for a workout. We jogged our way over to CHGC and after warming up under a hot autumn sun began what unfolded into an enjoyable session: 4x2’ (1’) + 6x1’ (30”) + 10x30” (30”). It was great having someone to keep me honest whether in my attempt to chase him down or having him shouting encouragement. Notwithstanding my laboured breathing, my legs felt smooth and I started to feel like my old self again.

Fast forward a few hours, and I woke up Sunday morning with a stiff back and an equilibrium that was cockeyed. Like the Irish Rovers say, “it might have been the whiskey”, but this time I assure you it wasn’t. I walked around the house for a good hour feeling remarkably like you would after a beer mile. Easing into the morning with some Neocitran and coffee, I later decided to give my long run a go, picked up Sam, and made our way over to Beaver Lake. From there we looped around what has now become old faithful, but not before me breaking out into an unnatural sweat after running for only a few minutes. I know I’m not in top shape but it was ridiculous. The run was good but Sam unfortunately rolled his ankle half way through and had to make his own way home, flagging down a good samaritan on the back roads of Thetis. I continued (he told me to, honest) and felt surprisingly strong if it wasn’t for the last hill on our route… it’s a bastard.

Thursday: easy 41:18 with 4xstrides
Friday: easy 36:34
Saturday: 1:09:33 with 4x2’ (1’) + 6x1’ (30”) + 10x30” (30”)
Sunday: easy 1:39:05

Wednesday, October 15

Brass Monkey

… okay it wasn’t that cold, but riding into work this morning I lost most of the feel in my fingers. I checked the temperature once I’d arrived, 2C. It must’ve been colder than that.

Given I’m still recovering from a cold I opted for a light run home rather than repeat the past and say, run a bunch of intervals burying myself into the ground in the process. Surprisingly, my legs felt light and my stride was comfortable. The only drawback was the bucketing icy rain during the last five minutes that once again left me chilled.

Oh yeah, I received my official acceptance from Boston today. What I’m looking forward to now is finding out whether I’ll be in the first or second corral. For those who have done it before, where would a 2h53 qualifying time land me?

Training: easy 35:44 with 4xstrides

Tuesday, October 14

Like a Creature of Habit

"I can’t believe the country elected another Conservative government… ‘nough said."

Although I no longer have a sore throat, the cold has moved up and entrenched itself in my head resulting in plugged sinuses and tired eyes. I can’t begin to tell you how much I enjoyed being in an all-day council meeting with no room to escape. To make matters worse, it was my first time attending in my new role… and there was absolutely nowhere to hide.

Returning home this evening I walked in the door with my head pounding and wanting nothing more than to fall asleep. Unfortunately, the girls were snoozing on the bed and being a creature of habit I laced up my shoes and was out the door before I knew what happened. In the end, it all turned out for the best as I was treated to a gorgeous sunset and returned home with a clear head.

I had originally planned to do a double workout (today and tomorrow), but I think I’ll keep things light for at least another day. I’ll see how I feel on Thursday.

Monday: day off (unscheduled… sick)
Tuesday: easy 29:42

Sunday, October 12

Royal Victoria 8-k

Perhaps I should’ve done what Thomas suggested, “It's probably too late now, but only run the race if you're feeling ok”, if nothing else I would’ve saved my ego a beating. I crossed the finish line nearly two full minutes slower than I did in the spring, and had I run an equivalent 10-k, 37:17, it would’ve been my slowest in nearly twelve years.


The race started okay, running only a few steps off Brad’s shoulder for the first kilometer and splitting in 3:23. From that point onward, my pace started to go askew and unlike most races where I find the positioning settles during the first third, Sunday was nothing but a slow bleed.

I tried a few times to hook onto the heels of passing runners but found I lacked strength. I’m willing to attribute some of my sub-par performance to my cold, maybe 20%, but most is due to a lack of conditioning. Truth be told, I only finished 22” off what I feared might happen.

All is not bad though. The race was an honest assessment of where I’m at and although a rude awakening will only help keep the fire stoked as the winter rains settle in.

Race results here.

I hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving.

Training: 1:02:08 with Royal Victoria 8-k in 29:22, 3:41 km/pace, 4th AG

Saturday, October 11

Unwanted Guests

Busy. The last few days of work have seen me hanging about later than planned, and that’s after an early morning start. I don’t expect this to continue much into next week. Here’s hoping.

My running since Tuesday has improved, but that’s all relative. Wednesday morning was cold and crisp and having left my only gloves at work, I was able to experience more of the frigid air than intended. The plan was for 2x10’ tempo and although more fluid than the previous day, there is still much room for improvement. I think I’m trying too hard and my focus over the next few weeks is to run fast but with greater emphasis on control.

With the 8-k race on Sunday, the last couple of days have been easy (and learning from Tuesday, I ran to work yesterday with socks on my hands). That said, my throat started getting sore yesterday afternoon and despite pounding vitamin-c I think I’m going to be carrying an unwanted guest along for the ride during the run tomorrow.

The big news on the home front has been Isla’s crawling (and a bottom tooth). What began as sheer excitement on our part has faded as our world has suddenly crashed down around us as Isla’s continues to grow exponentially.

Wednesday: 49:14 with 2x10’ tempo (2’)
Thursday: easy 34:49
Friday: easy 37:18 with 4xstrides
Saturday: out the door after I post this…

Tuesday, October 7

Malay Style Fried Rice

I was supposed to take yesterday off, but after leaving my bike at work last Friday (and not wanting to take the bus), I laced up my shoes and enjoyed a relaxing jog into work it what was my fastest time yet.

Today couldn’t have been more different. At best, it was fecking tragic. Worst, I needn’t go there.

I believe it started with the Malay Style Fried Rice I had for lunch. Jasmine rice, wok fried prawns, chicken and egg with (not so) mild curry spices, Asian greens, sprouts and herbs; you might think it to be a perfect combination? I certainly did.

I wasn’t out the door more than 30” and my stomach was already grumbling, it hasn’t stopped.

Unlike last week where I mentioned, “turning a figurative page in my training”, today the wind blew, my placing was lost and after bumbling the book in my hands I found myself back at the beginning of chapter one.

The hard pieces today felt more like marathon pace, and I felt like a chump. With the wind gusting and me underdressed, I struggled to find form, each minute passing excruciatingly slow. Still, one fortunate thing about running is tomorrow will bring another day and hopefully and much improved experience.

Monday: easy 34:40
Tuesday: 1:18:29 with 6x3’ hard (3’)

Sunday, October 5

Boston 2009

“This is to notify you that your entry into the 113th Boston Marathon on Monday, April 20, 2009 has been accepted, provided that the information you submitted is accurate.”

I’m in!

I enjoyed a solid weekend of running, nothing groundbreaking but consistent enough to build a foundation. Saturday saw Rumon, Hicham and I retrace the route that Ian showed me last Sunday. This course still stands as my local favourite. I was surprised at my pathfinding ability as we only strayed off course twice and given the perverse nature of the route, I consider it quite remarkable.

I’m contemplating running the BC Cross Country Championships in a few weeks (as a Master). My fitness level isn’t even close to what I had hoped it might be (I always seem to run faster when I’m alone) but it would be a good experience and provide some entertainment (for others). With this in mind, I’ve signed up for an 8-k road race this weekend which is going to be a very rude awakening.

Onward and upward, right?

Saturday: undulating 1:41:31
Sunday: easy 1:01:44 with 4x gentle strides

Friday, October 3

Cross Country Preparation

It always amazes me the tricks my body can play. Typically, but not always, prior to a workout I feel like crap.

This morning was no different.

Once awake, the upcoming session was playing in the background of my mind like a frighteningly sinister orchestral tune. The jog over to CHGC was no different what with my legs feeling heavy and once again unresponsive. Still, with the literal line in the dirt drawn and my watch started, my legs kicked into drive and I was away under truly West Coast fall conditions. Running around the upper loop, I could hear a foghorn in the distance as a steady drizzle poured down. I felt strong, rabid and wet.

I hope everyone has a great weekend. For those racing, Mike and Thomas, all the best. As for me, it’ll be back out onto the trails to try and retrace last weeks epic route.


Thursday: easy 51:10
Friday: 1:10:32 with 2x4’ hard (4’) + 8’ tempo + 2x4’ hard (4’)

Wednesday, October 1

Turning the Page

My jaunt on Monday was relaxed, at best. After raising the bar during my long-run on Sunday, my legs were heavy and unresponsive as I meandered down the Lochside Trail. There is a fork that I usually reach after running between 9’ to 10’; I set a new benchmark crossing a good minute behind.

Pure bliss.

As I described to a friend this morning, during yesterday’s run I turned a figurative page in my training and started a new chapter. Nothing profound, but I felt better than I had during the previous few months. It could have been the weather, my new shoes or even the route but regardless, I felt good about my stride and my minute repeats might well have been kilometers.

This morning I didn’t expect much from my legs, and during the first few minutes they lived down to my expectation. But after a few unavoidable hills, the pins loosened up and I surprised even myself.

Still, I decided to forego the strides this time around.


Monday: EZ 28:33 with 6x gentle strides
Tuesday: 1:08:22 with 12x1’ (1’)
Wednesday: easy 36:47