Thursday, February 26

Turning the Corner

Although my knee is still bothered, I feel that progress is being made and I’m continuing to take steps to get it sorted. I was lucky enough to see a massage therapist yesterday and I have a follow-up appointment with Jaymie this evening.

Not wanting to shy away from the training, I decided to put the leg to the test yesterday night. The session called for 10x2’ and although not called for, I contemplated running 600s on the track but couldn’t line up the logistics. Consequently, after warming up on the Goose I proceeded to wind it up on the Lochside Trail. I tried to keep my pace steady and controlled for the first few repeats but was surprised how desperate and uncoordinated I felt. Still, by the time I began the back half of the set, my stride was coming around and for the first time in months I felt like I was chewing up the ground.

This weekend’s w/o will be the real test. I think the plan is to run a session similar to one completed a few weeks back, if nothing else I hope to see some improvement (I’m cautiously optimistic).

Wednesday: 1:15:28 with 10x2’ (1’)
Thursday: easy 1:01:00

Tuesday, February 24

A Storm Approaches

I’ve been anxious about my running lately, what with my knee continuing to cause me grief a week after the knock. That alone isn’t too bad, but with the next few weeks crucial to the marathon preparation it has forced me to take drastic measures.


Last night, I gave my legs a good once over and then continued to work on my calves and quads for almost an hour. I felt marginally better this morning but rather than put things to the test I chose to walk around tentatively with crossed fingers. After work today, I also managed to sneak in with Jaymie McGowan, a physiotherapist and my new savior. She didn’t think my meniscus was bruised but rather that the kneecap wasn’t tracking properly (I believe there is a much more technical name but it escapes me at the moment).

The true test came 40’ after the session when I went out for my run. My knee was sore (acutely) for the first 2’-3’ but then the pain faded and I carried on. I slowly began to wind things up, and on a blustery evening when the skies were on the verge of opening up I experienced what was my most enjoyable run in weeks. For the first time in a long while, my right leg felt as if it was firing properly. And now, I’m eagerly anticipating tomorrow.

Until later…

Monday: day off/core (scheduled)
Tuesday: steady 1:16:35

Sunday, February 22

Boston Marathon (8-weeks out)

“I do not wish to treat friendships daintily, but with the roughest courage. When they are real, they are not glass threads or frost-work, but the solidest thing we know." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Do you remember that day you hopped out of bed, only to hear that fateful melody which would then spin through your head like a skipping 45? And just like the idea you had in 5th grade, when you placed a tack on your friends chair, it seemed good at the time.

Not willing to leave it to fate, I chose my tune as I stepped out the door on Sunday morning. A song written in reference to Salford, England, which paints an evocative yet ultimately bitter picture of industrial Northern England. But for me, this tune speaks of dreams, Guinness and lasting friendship.

And so it was that as I traced my way up Mt. Tolmie, through my alma mater and into the hills of Ten Mile Point, that I once again, “met my love by the gas works wall, dreamed a dream by the old canal, kissed a girl by the factory wall…”.

If it wasn’t for my right knee I’d be telling you how there is a fire burning inside me that can only be consumed by the trial of miles. In its place, I’m continuing to deal with the effects from last Saturday’s crack on my knee. All this when Jon said the next couple of weeks are crucial. With those words ringing in my ears, I booked a physiotherapy appointment for tomorrow and another massage for Wednesday.

Until later…

Thursday: steady 1:00:06

Friday: 54:00 with 2x8x30” (30”/3’)
Saturday: day off (scheduled)

Sunday: easy/steady 2:34:48

Weekly mileage: 6h19’28”, +/- 88k or 55 miles

Wednesday, February 18

Recovering, Physically and Mentally

I had a chance to chat with Jon about my recent half marathon. We both agree that my lack of sleep during the 5-6 days before the race was less than ideal. That, coupled with 4 of the first 5 miles being quicker than my fitness would support didn’t help. Regardless, I managed to persevere while at the same time logging 21k at close to marathon pace… two important pieces to build upon. That said, I’m surprised to find myself a little nervous about next month’s half marathon. I’m not trying to be overdramatic, but rather honest about the thoughts that race through my head at times. Still, I think Comox is 4 weeks away.

I’ve spent the last few days allowing my body to recuperate, I even treated myself to a massage on Tuesday. With rumours swirling around about this weekend’s long run seeing a significant increase in mileage I’ve been keeping the pace easy. Sadly, my right knee is still sore from the crack on Saturday but I’ve been able to run through it and I don’t believe I’m making it any worse.

As for the picture, you’d never guess she’d been ill.

Until later ~ cheers

Monday: day off (scheduled)
Tuesday: massage, easy 50:55
Wednesday: easy 59:39

Sunday, February 15

Boston Marathon (9-weeks out)

A Natural Disaster: Isla had finally gone down, but not before I managed to crack my right knee on the corner of a nightstand while soothing her to sleep. This clearly was an unfortunate drawback of not being familiar with your surroundings, that, and not having the light on. The croup appears to have left us but in its place we have a snotty, unsettled and irritable little girl… who hasn’t slept for more than 90’ straight in the last week. I digress.

With Isla down I began my last minute preparations, including formulating a race strategy. Based on my recent 10k, a predicted 1:20:00 (3:48km) was called for, but I was hoping, willing for an improvement and instead settled on 3:42-3:45 goal pace. My decision ended up being a moot point as I quickly discovered during the first few minutes that the course was measured in miles (stupid mistake). I did the math in my head and based on old marathon goals, I knew +/- 6:00mile/pace would get me what I wanted. Sadly, a 6:00 mile was as elusive as a blue moon.

Despite being up six times the night of the race, I had toed the line hoping the excitement and adrenaline would see me through... it last about 3 miles. I’m embarrassed to say I ran the slowest half marathon (1:21:29) in probably more than a decade, the wreckage is detailed below:

5:37, 5:56, 5:55, 6:07, 5:56, 6:05,
6:10, 6:17, 6:26, 6:25, 6:40, 6:36,
6:40, 0:34

The only racing that occurred on the day was the negative thoughts swirling around my head, “Why am I doing this and when does it become fun? If I were to cancel our flights to Boston, I wonder where else we could travel, Maui? Could I train half-heartedly and tell everyone that I went there to soak up the true experience the race provides?”

I hope everyone had a better week than I, until later...

Thursday: easy 36:50
Friday: easy 28:57 with 9xstrides
Saturday: day off (unscheduled)
Sunday: 1:40:34 with First Half Marathon in 1:21:29 58th OA, 3:52 pace/mile

Weekly mileage: 4h49’45”, +/- 67k or 42 miles

Wednesday, February 11

Running distilled him to his essence

The following is a piece from one my favourite quotes, “It was a carnival of pain, but he loved each stride because running distilled him to his essence and the heat hastened this distillation." Though it wasn’t hot yesterday, in fact given the +2C temperature, blowing wind and freezing rain, it was anything but, regardless, running home with Carter along the Galloping Goose and then Lochside Trails provided me with much the same feeling, the pure unadulterated enjoyment of running.

The workout itself was simple and my pins (legs) felt great. We eased into the first few but buy the end were comfortably clipping along at sub-3k pace.

Yesterday was a welcomed blessing given how tired I have been feeling. Both girls have had a cold since the weekend and we were up at the hospital with Isla until after midnight on Monday… croup. Still, with the half marathon this weekend, the missus was kind enough to buy me a new bottle of vitamin-C today and I’m washing my hands as often as I can. The difficult part though is convincing a 9-month old baby to cover her nose/mouth as she sneezes/coughs.

I’m not sure what to make of this weekend. Based on my 10k time, an equivalent ½ mar. would be 1:19:58… if I didn’t achieve that I would be hugely dissatisfied. A few years ago when preparing for Sacramento, I ran 1:18:29 12-weeks out and then 1:17:34 9-weeks out. I might be setting myself up for disappointment but I hope to at least run 1:18:XX.

Until later ~ cheers

Monday: day off/core (scheduled)
Tuesday: 1:12:15 with 10x1’ (1’)
Wednesday: steady 51:09

Sunday, February 8

Boston Marathon (10-weeks out)

Commitment: my weekend didn’t quite go according to plan, does it ever, but if nothing else it brought clarity to the work that needs to be done between now and Boston.

The workout on Saturday called for 8x1k continuous, alternating marathon pace/10k pace. I’d done something similar in 2006 when training for Ottawa, although that session was 2x5k. I wanted to hit 3:45 & 3:30 but was surprised with a) the inconsistency in my running and b) the difficulty I had getting my head in the game. Granted, I believe this was my first time back on the track since last March but still, ouch.

I took the workout for what it was, a solid training session, and it has allowed me to focus on what needs to be accomplished. Times and HR (AHR, MAX) as follows:

3:47 (154, 160), 3:33 (164, 165)
3:48 (160, 164), 3:36 (162, 163)
3:51 (158, 161), 3:33 (162, 164)
3:50 (159, 162), 3:28 (164, 167)

As for today, I enjoyed a much-welcomed jaunt with the boys on what was once a routine loop out at Thetis Lake. Carter, Tim and Hicham even lulled me into thinking it was going to be an easy run; they even had me convinced for the briefest of moments that I’d be setting the pace. Why do I never learn? Regardless, thanks boys for a truly enjoyable run.

I hope everyone had a good weekend and until later ~ cheers!

Friday: easy 1:03:53
Saturday: 1:23:12 with 8x1k continuous, AHR136
Sunday: easy 1:43:42

Weekly mileage: 7h37’15”, +/- 107k or 67 miles

Thursday, February 5

So what is self motivation

The last couple of days have been relatively easy, or at least that was the way they were scheduled.

After promising to run to work with Carter on Wednesday morning, I had to change my plans last minute and ended up jogging home by myself. I’d much prefer the company. As good as I felt on Tuesday, yesterday I was running with legs that weren’t mine but rather belonging to an individual much more… profound than I.

As for today, I picked up right where I left of on Wednesday. Slow but steady. I wore my HRM again and was surprised by the average reading. Not that I think it was wrong, but that it was so low. I remember, God I sound old, when I would return from a run and my AHR would be 142-144 but then that was 10+ years ago. Ouch.

All the best with your running this weekend. As for me, Saturday will see me return to the track for the first time in almost a year. Ah, the fun and games.

Until later ~ cheers

Wednesday: easy 45:25
Thursday: easy 1:16:24, AHR 127

Tuesday, February 3

Well that was interesting

Given the scheduled workout, I decided to wear my HRM hoping to get some feedback on my perceived “marathon effort” pacing. I also wanted to compare the data with similar workouts I did in 2006 & 2007. Unfortunately, old age must be setting in as I completely forgot how FRUSTRATING the Polar RS 200 is. I know it’s not polite but the manufactures of the RS 200 can kiss my sweat stained shorts!

As my MHR is around 186 the information on the first set is misleading, the next two are probably (and I can only guess) more accurate. The times and HR information (AHR, MAX) is as follows:

15:00 (160, 221)
15:03 (148, 159)
15:02 (148, 160)

I feel better now (sorry).

Following a visit with the chiropractor, I started my run later than usual. The sun had set and whatever warmth the day might have held was gone. Still, +2C on a clear and windless night isn’t anything to be shaking your fist at. After a gentle warm-up, I arrived at the start of my special Broadmead Loop (read undulating). Easing into the first interval, I was amazed at how smooth I felt and couldn’t help but question whether I was going fast enough. I decided to let experience win this debate and trusted my senses and rather just enjoyed feeling good.

The second piece was remarkably like the first and it wasn’t until half-way through the third that anything changed. I was running in a particularly dark stretch of road, towering conifers overhead, when without any notice I swore I was being attacked my a flock of vicious owls. Do owls travel in flocks? The hooting and hollering almost had me in hysterics; I dropped the pace for a few seconds before dialing it back into my comfortable rhythm and grinning at the darkness.

Monday: day off/core (scheduled)
Tuesday: 1:24:39 with 3x15’ ME (3’)

Sunday, February 1

Boston Marathon (11-weeks out)

“The greatest results in life are usually attained by simple means and the exercise of ordinary qualities. These may for the most part be summed in these two: common-sense and perseverance.” – O. Feltham

A change in the wind: I rounded out my week with three different yet extremely enjoyable runs, the sort of experiences that leave you coming back for more. And so after unlacing my shoes yesterday morning and placing them beside the fireplace, I could only be happy with the last seven days. Still, my training continues to be in a holding pattern of sorts, but with the first of two preparatory half-marathons on the horizon, the landscape is undoubtedly going to change.

Despite frigid temperatures on Friday afternoon, Carter was kind enough to meet me in town and keep me company on the way home. We traced our way along the waterfront and through Oak Bay only to part ways at the edge of the forest surrounding Mount Doug. Running with this guy is always good fun particularly when he’s out of shape (which I fear won’t be for too much longer).

Saturday on the other hand was brutal and left me yearning for more runs with Carter. The schedule called for three sets, alternating 5’ at 10kE and 2.5’ at 5kE. I should be recounting how strong I felt, but sadly all I can speak of is watching Marilyn leave me in the mud; the girl is damn fast now. I had to keep reminding myself to run my w/o while eating more than enough pride. After that session, I’m looking forward to something where I can catch my breath rather than run in gasps.

After the previous day’s session, arriving at the trailhead on Sunday morning and hearing that Hicham had a sore chest and was worried about his asthma was music to me ears. The man is in top form and I was concerned he’d burry me out on the course, but instead I experienced what was probably my most pleasant run out at Thetis in the last few months. We reached the car after 1h50 and fearing an imminent increase in the duration of my long runs, I left Hicham and tacked on a few additional minutes.

I’m off to see the chiropractor tomorrow, it appears the bike accident a few weeks ago may have caused more damage than expected. Here’s hoping I mend quickly.

Friday: easy 1:17:50
Saturday: 1:15:29 with 3x(5’ 10kP (1.5’), 2.5’ 5kP) (1.5’)
Sunday: easy/steady 2:03:28

Weekly mileage: 7h41’13”, +/- 108k or 68 miles