Sunday, September 20

Royal Victoria Marathon (4-weeks out)

I’m extremely glad that I started to re-read Running with the Buffalo’s last night, and I quote “All that remains is thirty minutes to ‘man-up’ and take the pain, one last time. They are not afraid…” I had about half an hour left to race and I told myself to ignore the hurt; it was comforting to know that I wasn’t alone.


Today was the last significant tempo piece in my preparation for the RVM. Under clear blue skies, the girls and I drove out to Sidney this morning as I had planned to run the Lands End Half Marathon. I wanted to use this race as a dry run for the marathon and so wore my (planned) race clothes and shoes.


After my usual 20’ warm-up, which always includes 3’-4’ at near race pace, I changed into my kit including my new shoes and made my way over to the start line. It wasn’t long before the countdown started, and within seconds of the gun sounding I was out front and leading. Now this wasn’t planned. I turned around to look for Hicham and couldn’t see him anywhere, and it was what felt like an eternality before the only Kenyan in the field pulled up beside me and then proceeded to drop the hammer which sent ripples through the field.


After splitting 1k in (3:23, way too fast) I was running comfortably in second place and it wasn’t until the mile marker that I could hear Hicham pulling up beside me. He’d planned to start alongside Phil but seeing me up the road l had left him wanting. We ran quietly together for about another 400m before I told him to drop in behind me so that we could work together. We continued to alternate positions for the first 5k (all slightly downhill) before I was rudely spat out the back on the first of many, many climbs. 3:23, 3:30, 3:40, 3:35, 3:53 (18:02)


It briefly flattened out around 7k and I used the opportunity (and subsequent downhill) to reel Hicham back in, help in part by his slowing. We continued to run together through 10k at which point he could see 4th place gaining and ventured out on his own. I had no response. I also didn’t see the 4th place runner. 3:52, 3:33, 3:34, 3:55, 3:44 (18:40)


The following 5k was relentless series of climbs, which despite a strong effort, saw me log a 4:12 kilometer closing out 15k. 3:36, 3:48, 3:49, 3:45, 4:12 (19:12)


The closing 5k had the runners circle back onto the opening stretch, and as much as I willed it to be flat, the slight grade felt mountainous. It was with 3k remaining that Phil passed me, after which I ran scared through to the finish. Despite wanting to run 1:17:XX, I’m pleased with the result. I had no idea the course was so hilly, and on a flatter route I know I could’ve met my goal, if not 1:16:XX high. 3:39, 3:33, 3:44, 3:46, 3:52 (18:36) 4:05


Lessons learned: 1) I sweat a lot, I must remember to drink more come race day, 2) it’d be nice to find shorts that don’t chaff, 3) the shoes worked, Fastwitch it is, and 4) I’m not sold on the compression socks, they’ll be a game time decision.


Full results here



Friday: A.M. steady 37:43, P.M. easy 38:00

Saturday: easy 26:28 with 6xstrides

Sunday: 1:48:36 w/ 1:18:37 Lands End Half Marathon 4th OA, 1st AG (winning time 1:12:18)


Weekly mileage: 7h15’47”, +/- 102k or 64 miles


Thomas said...

Congratulations on a very solid performance, that spells well for the marathon.

Did you wear the compression socks during the race or just afterwards?

Mark said...

nice 1/2--I loved reading that book, your timing is excellent!

Grellan said...

Great race Michael. You certainly "manned up" to the challenge which should give you great confidence for Victoria.

Anonymous said...

Running in compression socks or just recovering after your workouts - Steve Osaduik won the 2007 Royal Victoria Marathon, just qualified for World Cross Country Championships ...and he runs in SmoothToe Energizing Socks exclusively. (
I wouldn't run in anything else, they feel awesome ... and my recovery has NEVER been faster/better.

Love2Run said...

Sounds like you're primed for Victoria. Good luck with the final weeks!

Michael said...

Thanks guys. Thomas, I used compression socks during the half. It was my first time racing with them and my second time wearing them. I'd wear them again during training and after a w/o or race, but I'm not sure about racing.

Cliff said...

Hi Michael,

That's a very exciting race. It looks like you are ready for the marathon.

Wayne said...

Congrats. You've got to be satisfied with the result and performance considering the tough course. Looking forward to you running the marathon. Best of luck.

Anonymous said...