Sunday, December 28

Although it’s been said many times, many ways...

... Merry Christmas!

This last week was to be easy, which it was, but far easier than intended.

One can usually count on Victoria getting a dusting of snow once or twice a year, usually. This year was far from usual. Having received over two feet of snow at our place, and closer to four at me ma’s, getting out for a run was more difficult than expected, but, perhaps for the best.

Christmas morning saw my sister, her boyfriend and me out for our annual Christmas Day jaunt. Last year when Matt and I ran up Maple Mountain, we discovered fresh cougar tracks. This year, the weather, not the animals kept it interesting. After running, jogging and eventually jumping through 3’-4’ drifts we were exhausted, making it about a third of the way up. Still, with the sun shining and a hearty dinner on the way it was all good.

I wasn’t able to get out with the crew on Saturday morning so instead ran the Shadywood Mile that afternoon. The loop, not quite a mile but not quite shady either, was relatively dry, snow free and lacking cars. Perfect. What wasn’t so perfect was my perceived pedestrian pace.

Sunday. Black-ice. Not fun. Regardless, the time on my feet was well spent.

It was while talking with the missus yesterday that I confessed to feeling out of shape. Notwithstanding normal post-Christmas sensations, I feel tired and that I’m slowly slipping behind the eight ball. On the plus side, I’m more determined than I have been in weeks to focus my resolve and begin, however slowly, to wind things up toward April.

Monday: day off (scheduled)
Tuesday: day off (unscheduled)
Wednesday: day off (unscheduled)
Christmas: snowy 54:07
Boxing Day: day off (unscheduled)
Saturday: 1:03:03 with 5x5’ 10kE (1.5’)
Sunday: slippery 1:53:09

Weekly mileage: 3h50’19”, +/- 54-k or 34 miles (missed too much)

Sunday, December 21

Unconventional training... ouch

My lower back aches, my biceps are still pumped, I’m tired and my calves and quadriceps feel like I’m recovering from a late season marathon. Oh the joy of a white Christmas.

The snow has been welcomed, for the most part. Yeah, it has hindered my training (I missed about an hour this week), but rather now than March. As for the training that I have managed to squeak in, well, most of it has been left wanting.

Friday was bitterly cold, made all the more pleasurable with an accompanying icy wind.
Ian stopped by on Saturday afternoon and after ensuring we were sufficiently bundled, we slid down the back path and onto the Lochside Trail. We trudged are away into the heart of Broadmead and were able to run our workout on a partially clear, undulating but not so busy Emily Carr Dr. I hung with Ian on the first one, at least I was able to see him when we finished the interval, but was dropped like a bag of salt on the second. My last repeat was simple, unadulterated survival.

I had hoped to get out for a jaunt early yesterday morning. It didn’t happen. After shovelling nearly two feet of snow, chopping some wood and going for a walk with the family (read carrying a bundled child strapped to my chest), I was done. Perfect time to go for a run. Jon had suggested I get out for an easy two hours. That was last Monday, prior to our wintery conditions. I looped around Mount Doug, climbing over countless fallen trees, before slogging down Thistlewood, Faithwood and my favourite Maltwood. From here it was straight home and none too soon.

Friday: chilly 45:17
Saturday: hard fought 1:08:38 with 3x10’tempo (2.5’)
Sunday: strenuous 1:18:53

Weekly mileage: 7h14’45”, +/- 101-k or 63 miles (missed 1h15)

Thursday, December 18


Yesterday I left work resolute in running 80’. Actually, that’s not quite true, I was drained and heading home on a route that would normally take me +/- 60’. Yet somehow I was hoping, praying, to pick up an additional 20’ along the way. It didn’t happen.

I’ve been tired of late and yesterday was no different. Ally said it was snowing massive flakes at the house, yet as I left the office, you’d have thought she was spinning a yarn. I did. I didn’t want to run, least of all try and squeeze in a workout. Did I mention I was tired? I made my way through Fairfield, along Fernwood and up toward the Cedar Hill Golf Course. It was here, on the southern tip of the 16th hole that I was almost tripped up by a snow bank. How often do you get to say that in Victoria? I can’t remember first noticing the flakes but with nobody around I left what might have been the trail and ran straight down the middle of the fairway. Later, at the northern tip of the course while standing in the middle 8th green, I listened to nothing but the flakes falling. I still treasure the moment.

This morning I left the house a little before 6:30 and ran into town along a combination of quite city streets and the Galloping Goose. I don’t remember seeing another soul until almost in the heart of the city. There is an innocence and tranquility that 15cm of snow brings to a west coast city.

This evening I was ready to hang up the shoes before I’d even left the office. For whatever reason, I feel like I’ve been running, every day, twice a day, for months. And I’m tired of the loose footing, those almost imperceptible little slips that leave your quadriceps feeling you’ve covered twice the distance. Over the Johnson Street Bridge, along the Gorge and over the trestle, tunnel, overpass, tunnel, bridge, bridge. I hated them all this evening. I wanted to stop. Stop running. Stop everything. Why was I so tired? Why on earth was I doing this?

I walked in the house and within seconds, I could hear the slapping of tiny hands making their way down the hall. Moments later a beaming head poked around the corner and Isla was upon me, standing at my leg wanting to be picked up. A minute later still, my jaunt home was a distant memory and had you asked me I would’ve told you it had been fine. Perfect.

Wednesday: snowy 1:02:15
Thursday: A.M. soft 44:25, P.M. easy 44:15

Tuesday, December 16

"I'm dreaming of a white Christmas..."

“Snowflakes are one of nature's most fragile things, but just look at what they can do when they stick together”

The above quote is supposed to speak to the power of determination, but, given the condition of the trail surfaces this morning is also speaks to the coefficient of friction for ice, particularly rubber on ice.

[for those wondering it is apparently 0.15]

Yesterday evening I was determined to run to work this morning, that determination slipped somewhat when I realized I didn’t have any cold-weather running gear. At least not to accommodate the current conditions we are experiencing. Vest. Think long-sleeved shirt. Running jacket. Tights. Fleece warm-up trousers. Ski gloves. Scarf. Running toque.

I took my first tentative step out onto the ice covered road, it wasn’t near as bad as I expected. And the wind wasn’t near as strong as it had been the previous two days which probably saved me from getting frostbite.

With the moon still hanging bright in the sky, I headed into town along the tree-lined Galloping Goose Trail with nothing but the bitter air to keep me company. I adjusted my stride to compensate for the ice and snow, and although I probably didn’t get the workout I would’ve if I had been on a treadmill, I enjoyed myself. And with the temperature forecasted not to get above zero for over a week (and another 5-15 cm of snow expected tonight) I’d best get comfortable with the environment.

“… just like the ones I used to know”

Carter, if you’re reading this I hope you have a sunburn.

Monday: day off (scheduled)
Tuesday: A.M. snowy 48:48, P.M. easy 42:14

Sunday, December 14

Snow Day

I’ve been feeling weary for days and regardless of the reason (work, running, the baby or a touch of a cold) the snow that arrived last night couldn’t have come soon enough.

Up until this week, Isla hasn’t been sleeping longer than 2-3 hours (and in the early morning typically not more than 1) before standing up in the crib and crying. At a recent check-up, the doctor had even told us that Isla was one of those children that just needed a lot of food and subsequently the missus would have to endure with the countless late night feedings. Understandably, though, after 7+ months of this Ally, Isla and I were becoming tired with the practice. So, after speed-reading through three books on Monday night, Ally & I put our plan into action. Said plan appears to have worked as the babe has cut her wakenings from 5-6 down to 1-2. Alas, for me this has meant an extremely long week, as I’ve been the one getting up with her. Still, I’d gladly trade one week of heavy eyelids for months of sleeping through the night… and a happy wife.

Thursday and Friday were filled with trouble-free commutes to and from work, just steady easy miles.

Saturday morning saw me back on the grass of Beacon Hill Park, and Jon having returned to coach the gang through the workout (afterwards sharing a few tales from Japan). I’d give myself a B+ on the day, I built through the 10-k segments but faded on my ME recovery.

Last night, conditions that the weatherman had been threatening all week arrived with vengeance (20 cm of snow accompanied with 90 km/h gusting winds). Typically, I’d be overjoyed and head out into the snow setting as many fresh tracks as I can. This morning though, I was drained before I even left the house, and after making a loop through Bow Park I knew I was going to end early, either that or pay in the days/weeks to follow.

I found myself fatigued and devoid of enjoyment. Trying to make the most out of the morning, I turned off my music, put away the earphones and then stood under the tall trees in Mount Doug. For a good minute, I listened to the wind howl, watching small birds fluttering busily from tree to tree and then traced a snowflake as it fell, catching it on my tongue. The last 20’ were a real struggle but I returned home with a smile on my face.

Thursday: easy 39:35
Friday: A.M. steady 37:02, P.M. easy 41:45
Saturday: 1:18:37 with 10x3’ (continuous) alternating between ME & 10-kE
Sunday: desperate 1:15:25

Weekly mileage: 7h09’37”, +/- 100-k or 63 miles

Wednesday, December 10

The Return

Feeling fast, running slow; that statement pretty much summed up how I felt yesterday.

With my backpack in place, I set off for work along Quadra. After tracing this darkened route at least three times a week, it has almost become part of my morning routine. Almost.

The rolling hills no longer bother me, and as the run nears its end, me weaving through the downtown core, I typically feel good. And yesterday was no exception. I felt fine, what with a smooth stride and a relaxed arm carriage. What I couldn’t help but notice though, and this was confirmed on return home, was my rather pedestrian pace. But then again I suppose it’s better than feeling like crap and running slowly. Frightening.

When I read Wednesday’s workout on Monday afternoon, I received an instant reminder of what was down the road. Yup, I suppose, and at this point I can only guess, but this is probably the start (however slowly) of some marathon preparation. Nothing marathon specific as I’d need to be in much better shape for that too occur. Still, there was no escaping the feeling this evening as I was 30’ into a 40’ ME piece. I was ‘running’ again, and feeling good.

Tuesday: A.M. easy 39:31, P.M. easy 38:50
Wednesday: 1:18 52 with 40’ marathon effort (ME)

Monday, December 8


Meant to post before now (my bad). Last weekend was the AGSI Canadian National Cross Country Championships, held in Guelph, Ontario. Marilyn ran in the Senior Women's event, a 7-k race.

The weather: 0C and snow covered.

The result: Marilyn placed 6th overall with a time of 25:59. Well done my friend! As for me, today was about commuting/racing to and from work... I won.

Training: day off (scheduled)

Sunday, December 7

Holiday Cheer

Yesterday I met Ian, Jim and The Toddler down at Beacon Hill for a workout on the grass. I’ve been enjoying the group training the last few weeks and this weekend was no different. With Jim and Todd out for only an easy run, they sat on my shoulder for most of the session, typically passing me in the last minute or two and quickly disappearing over a never-ending series of hills. Although I’m only running one speed w/o a week, I feel I’m slowly coming around. Slowly.

Last night was all about holiday cheer, and in my case perhaps too much. After coercing my mum to baby-sit, Ally and I skipped out of the house and after visiting my sister we attended a party that wouldn’t have looked out of place on the “Rich and Famous”. After driving downtown, we smartly caught a taxi home, which meant I had a chore to do in the morning. I cursed that last glass almost every step of the run. Retrieving the car was made much more difficult on the heels of excessive wine and an unsympathetic child.

Congratulations to Jon and Dave who ran 2:12:27 and 2:27:28 respectively at the Fukuoka Marathon in Japan. Jon made the Canadian A+ standard so will be pleased but given he split the half in 1:04:04, he clearly wanted more. Dave sadly won’t be quite so happy with his performance but you’re not going to reach your goals unless you try. Hard fought Dave.

Saturday: 1:10:44 with 5’ (2’), 10’ (2’), 5’
Sunday: tough 1:39:36

Weekly mileage: 7h26’08”, +/- 104-k or 65 miles

Friday, December 5

The same but different

Much like Wednesday evening, Thursday morning was frigid only this time I was appropriately dressed. A light jog along Cook St. to work, followed by another easy double today. At least that is the plan, with one down and one still pending (the day isn’t turning out to be quite what I had hoped). My only solace can be found in an improving back.

All the best to Jon and Dave racing in the 62nd Fukuoka International Open Marathon Championship on Sunday.

Thursday: easy 45:20
Friday: A.M. hilly 40:45, P.M. easy 36:16

Wednesday, December 3


Tonight was the first evening in weeks, perhaps months where I felt I could have used my running gloves, any gloves for that matter. Sadly, said gloves were at home resting nicely in front of the fireplace and my not quite long enough shirtsleeves just didn’t cut it. On a much more positive note, my back is getting incrementally better as is my achilles/heel.

As for the running, yesterday I enjoyed what is fast becoming my typical mid-week double. In this case, an easy jaunt to and from work. Incredibly, although I took slightly different routes I was surprised that my morning running, when still half asleep, was the quicker of the two.

This evening called for an easy but hilly jaunt, unfortunately with it now dark when I leave work in the evenings my options are limited. Tonight then, I ran more than my share of the seven sisters, up and over Mount Tolmie and home. I didn’t feel like I was pushing the pace at all, in fact if anything I made sure my effort was on the pedestrian side of the street. Still, as I was cresting the far side of the mountain (read hill), I was surprised to find that despite an elongated start, I was left with 10’ to make up.

And yes, our tree is up; more photos to follow.

Monday: day off (scheduled)
Tuesday: A.M. easy 36:40, P.M. easier 39:46
Wednesday: 1:17:01 hilly