Sunday, March 29

Boston Marathon (3-weeks out)

With March almost in the books (and hopefully the accompanying foul weather), I glanced at the calendar and noticed that we begin our odyssey to Boston 2-weeks Thursday. I suppose the odyssey began ten weeks ago, but the penultimate leg has definitely snuck up on me.

With the training taking a back seat to recovery this week, I couldn’t be happier with the early season miles that I logged with Hicham, Carter and Ian; I’m comforted in remembering the hilly miles I (s)logged at Thetis.

I rode out the week in similar fashion as the beginning, switching up a declining health for one that is recuperating. With the thought of running long on Sunday, I decided to wake the legs on Saturday morning and pulled an old w/o off the shelf, deciding to run some Moneghetti strides. The session calls for 2x90” (90”) + 4x60” (60”) + 4x30” (30”) + 4x15” (15”). Run properly, the effort is supposed to descend from 3kP to mile/pace with the recovery a controlled float at MP... not wanting to run myself into the ground, I opted for a more leisurely rest interval.

After staying up later than I should, Sunday morning rolled around far too soon and I was hard-pressed to get out of the house as early as I did. I started down the Lochside Trail cognoscente of the need to register one last long run, while not burying the cold into my chest. After a hilly loop through Mount Doug, I headed up Ash and toward Ten Mile Point hitting all the hills along the way. I returned home feeling strong and relaxed, and better or worse knowing that I’d finished a chapter in this book.

The week ahead holds one of two remaining key workouts, a long ME session on an undulating (Boston specific) loop. It’s fun and games from here on in, and for a change I’m feeling fresh and fighting the desire to run more; a feeling doesn’t usually accompany me at this stage of the training. I’m happy.


Friday: (sick) easy 38:22
Saturday: (below par) 36:49 with Moneghetti strides
Sunday: hilly 2:35:08

Weekly mileage: 5h08’31”, +/- 72k or 45 miles

Wednesday, March 25

Man Cold (still)

Yup, I’m sick. And without asking her, I can tell you with almost complete certainty that the missus wishes I was back at work. The last two days I’ve been able to appreciate the experience of looking after a sick child while you yourself are sick. This is a first for me. I have a lot of respect for those who have already done so. I have a lot of respect for my wife.

I touched base with Jon today, his words echoing the comments I received yesterday. After looking at my 5k splits, it appears they seem quite reasonable for the Comox course. And even though I was a few seconds off my target pace he didn’t think the race should be seen as a total disappointment. Having completed the hardest part of the marathon training, and with some higher quality running and reduced mileage he thinks I’ll come around more for Boston. That and it's likely I was carrying the bug 2 days ago too.

Truth be told, I think I’m struggling with wanting a result in Comox that was similar to my performance two years ago, something that just wasn’t in the cards on Sunday. I’ve got to learn not to be overly critical.

Grellan had asked, “what was your Boston goal before the race (Comox)”. The answer: I don’t know, I’ve yet to go over the details of Boston with Jon. I was looking to use my two recent half marathons as an indicator. Truthfully, I was hopping to run as close to 2h40 as possible. Based on my current conditioning and with a solid performance I’m looking at 2h45. If last Sunday wasn’t a true indication of my fitness, than perhaps 2h42.

Monday: day off/skiing (sick) (scheduled)
Tuesday: day off (sick) (unscheduled)
Wednesday: (sick) easy 38:11

Thursday: (sick) 40:01

Sunday, March 22

Boston Marathon (4-weeks out)

Disappointment. I recognize that this may come across as overly critical, but I don’t think my expectations were unrealistic. Note: In 2007, I finished in 1:15:29.

My race plan was simple. Having run an uncharacteristically sluggish 1:21:29 at the First Half in February, I wanted to complete the Comox Half Marathon feeling strong and in control. My goal was to run 3:44 – 3:41 km/pace, hoping to finish between 1:18:46 – 1:17:43. Faster if luck would have it.

Within the first 500m, a pack of about seven runners settled nice behind the first main chase group. We opened quickly but given it was slightly uphill, and the second kilometer slow, I wonder if the markers were off. Regardless by about 4k, we had reeled in three runners as Walter, Steve and I traded positions at the front. Heading into the hills (6 – 9km), I pulled away from the group with only Walter and Steve able to join. Reflecting back, I think I ran these hills too hard, as on the return trip wasn’t fully able to take advantage of the downhill sections and watched my two companions quickly open up a gap that I wasn’t able to close.

3:38, 3:49, 3:36, 3:43, 3:42 (18:30)
3:53, 3:48, 3:58, 3:52, 3:44 (19:18)
3:47, 3:48, 3:35, 3:28, 3:41 (18:22)
3:39, 3:46, 3:49, 3:48, 3:47 (18:51)

Results here.

If I look for a positive aspect, I felt comfortable for almost the first half (8k) and was able to negative split by almost a minute. As for Boston, I’ve now readjusted my goal with a solid performance bringing me across the line around 2:45:40. More tomorrow.

Thursday: steady 47:50
Friday: 27:54 with 10xstrides
Saturday: 17:33
Sunday: easy 1:58:43 with Comox Half Marathon 1:18:58

Weekly mileage: 5h04’18”, +/- 71k or 45 miles

Thursday, March 19

Boston Bib #1809

After reading a friend’s account of his marathon preparation and noticing that the BAA have assigned numbers for this year’s race, I quickly followed the link to see where I would be seeded. 1809, and I can only assume that means I’m in the first corral?

I’m markedly more excited. There is something about the reality of a number (for this accountant) that makes an upcoming race more tangible, and frightening.

With the Comox Half Marathon this weekend, my training has been relatively light this week. Monday was a scheduled day off, and despite having only core exercises scheduled, the only lifting I accomplished was the couple glasses of Old Speckled Hen. Tuesday saw me running some comfortable intervals on the Lochside Trail before imbibing a few pints in support of St. Paddy’s Day. And yesterday was an opportunity to get some fresh air.

Monday: day off (scheduled)
Tuesday: 46:11 with 12x1’ (1’)
Wednesday: steady 46:07

Sunday, March 15

Boston Marathon (5-weeks out)

Always carry a flagon of whiskey in case of snakebite and furthermore always carry a small snake.” - W. C. Fields

My training this weekend went well, not as well as it did three years ago but I took a multitude of steps in the right direction.

On Saturday, I was down at Oak Bay track running kilometer repeats off 90” rest. More than anything, I wanted to build into the session and I believe I accomplished that:

3:34, 3:29, 3:28, 3:27
3:26, 3:27, 3:29, 3:24

As for Sunday, well it snowed once again and Hicham and I found ourselves halfway up Mount Doug dreaming of warmer weather.

As for this week, a friend of mine is out from the UK. And not coincidently I forgot how much I appreciate Ardbeg.

Here’s to a good week.

Saturday: 1:16:17 with 8x1k
Sunday: easy 1:32:59

Weekly mileage: 6h24’59”, +/- 90k or 56 miles

Thursday, March 12

The Big Easy

It is either easy or impossible” - Salvador Dali

I don’t know whether it was because of Tuesday’s hard effort, the cold weather, or a combination of the both, but my run home on Wednesday was borderline painful (and if nothing else slow). The redeeming feature was that Jon had labeled the jaunt easy. It wasn’t until crossing the Gorge Trestle, having just clocked a 4:49 km (7:45 pace/mi) that I realized just how easy I was going. I don’t believe I looked at the watch again until I made it home. I loved every minute.

Today was good. Enjoyable. With the sun shinning and the weather marginally warm (8C), I traced most of the waterfront home and managed to keep a solid, comfortable clip underfoot.

As for tomorrow, that’s where it gets really fun… nista, niets, nichts, niente & nothing.

Enjoy the weekend.

Wednesday: easy 54:29
Thursday: steady 1:16:55
Friday: day off (scheduled)

Tuesday, March 10

Game On

"You miss 100% of the shots you never take." - Wayne Gretzky

Damn it was cold out there this evening, a person in their right mind might say too cold to complete a workout… and definitely not warm enough for blue Saucony shorts. I stared blankly at the thermometer once I’d returned home, -1C. I think it was broken.

The session called for 45’ of tempo, a leisurely 30’ of ME to warm-up with followed promptly by 15’ of HME.

I left the office horribly underdressed but wearing more than one would normally sport in mid-March. After bouncing around for 20’, I started into the marathon effort, rolling along Maplewood and down the Blenkinsop Valley. Keeping in mind the run on Sunday, I was pleased at how comfortable I felt, but also recognizing the effect artic air can have on ones senses. Still, whether it was an imagined wind or the rate at which I traveled it wasn’t until beginning the HME that I really began to feel warm.

During my cold down, as I traversed across the playing field at Beckwith Park, it dawned on me at just how … dare I say, good I felt. In an instant, I was taken back to my days of street hockey, waiting impatiently as a car slowly rolled along before you could once again resume play. I was filled with that same enthusiasm and anticipation this evening.

The week ahead looks good, more of the same meat and potatoes and with yet another scheduled day off this Friday. With the volume staying roughly the same and more planned rest, I almost feel like I’m cheating the system.

Here’s to the week ahead…

Monday: day off/core (scheduled)
Tuesday: 1:24:19 with 45’ tempo

Sunday, March 8

Boston Marathon (6-weeks out)

"There will come a point in the race, when you alone will need to decide. You will need to make a choice. Do you really want it? You will need to decide." - Rolf Arands

I found myself deadly tired as I approached the backend of the workweek. Consequently, Friday evening as I contemplated running home the thought of a 60’ push was too much. Rather, with a small pack on my back I slipped out the building and gently ran down the Goose as effortlessly as I could manage. On a route often takes me 42’+ I was surprised at the time, so much so I started to berate myself for not running the scheduled distance. Any guilt though was quickly pushed from my mind as I walked down the driveway, seeing the girls sitting on the porch step.

Saturday was a scheduled day off. The time with family was appreciated, and I felt great.

The plan on Sunday was to run my second 2h30 jaunt but this time on a hilly course and holding a steady pace. With Hicham participating in the Bazan Bay 5k (16:37), I was on my own, well not completely. For the first time in months I loaded up the Shuffle with an appropriately motivating mix of songs (Filter: Hey Man Nice Shot) and after a light meal (porridge), set out into a frigid -4C morning with my water bottle in hand.

I don’t know whether it’s due to an aging body or a favourable memory, but while preparing for Boston long runs seem more… complicated than I remember. The prospect of running a steady 2h+ on a hilly route weighed on my mind, but as I looped through some of my favourite trails in Mount Doug, the heaviness lifted. From there I spent the last 1h40 on the road, looping around the often trodden streets of Brodmead. I broke down the workout into 5x30’ sections and the last one passed as effortlessly as the first. The session was a good confidence boost and I feel more secure with my preparation.

With 6 weeks of training remaining, I can only imagine the next 3 weeks being crucial. The plan is to run the Comox Half Marathon on the 22nd but outside of that I’m in the dark. But also, for the first time in 2-3 marathon builds I feel energetic and undertrained.

If I had a bit in my mouth I’d be chewing on it and raring to go. I like this feeling.

Until later…

Thursday: easy 39:11
Friday: A.M. 37:04, P.M. 38:27
Saturday: day off (scheduled)
Sunday: steady/hilly 2:28:22-2:33:22

Weekly mileage: 7h32’27”, +/- 105k or 66 miles

Wednesday, March 4

How Did I Get So Busy

I’m tired and I promised myself that I would get to bed early this evening. I had a chat with Jon on Monday and we decided to add two additional easy runs to the schedule (Tuesday and Friday morning). I’m happy to report that both my achilles and my knee appear to be better so the timing seems good.

Yesterday was an easy double and as good as I felt on the run in to work, I felt even better later that evening. I had to continue to remind myself to ease up and to save the energy for when it’s needed.

It was needed today.

The session was simple, 6x5’ at 10k effort. Despite the first interval feeling ragged, the rest were good and I was very pleased with the w/o. For the first time in weeks, I found myself pushing into the hills and really challenging the pace.

Okay, until later…

Monday: day off/core (scheduled)
Tuesday: A.M. easy 38:03, P.M. steady 59:28
Wednesday: 1:27:52 with 6x5’ (1.5’) at 10kE

Sunday, March 1

Boston Marathon (7-weeks out)

Given my right knee has been bothering me for almost a fortnight, I’m happy to have closed the door on the recent week. The soreness still persists but it’s not nearly as bad and I’m confident that with a few more physio sessions (along with continued stretching and icing) I can put this injury (finally) to bed.

A few days ago, I was reflecting on my preparation for the London Marathon in 2007. When I compare the equivalent week to the one just completed there are stark differences; in ’07 I ran nine times and logged over 94+ miles. This approach also saw me peak at Comox and unfortunately, in part I’m certain, contributed to a less than model performance in London. Still, I’m amused as I find myself sitting here fighting the urge to wonder “what if”, and “shouldn’t I”.

I push back the doubt and reservation and instead focus on what is in front of me now, and what I hope to achieve in Boston.

Saturday saw us return to Beacon Hill Park for another epic session of mixed tempo. After spending the last two years running intervals on the road or track, I’m really enjoying the subjective nature of the challenging XC course. The terrain there definitely makes the w/o tough but I was able to keep my legs moving, most of the time, on the quicker pieces. Still, finishing 6’ of hard running only to land yourself at the bottom of a sharp hill seemed to be the order of the day.

On Sunday, Hicham and I joined Ian for what seemed like a 40’ TT before saying goodbye to the bugger and easing into something more pedestrian in nature.

The week ahead looks good, nothing too complicated just some steady miles.

Until later ~ ciao!

Friday: easy 46:18
Saturday: 1:31:34 with 5x(3’ ME, 6’ 10kE)
Sunday: easy 2:00:36

Weekly mileage: 7h51’31”, +/- 110k or 69 miles