Friday, May 28

Panama Flats

In what seems like a rare moment these days, earlier this week I found myself sitting down to a quiet house. Isla was asleep in bed still wearing her new “I love NY” t-shirt, Ally was puttering on the computer and I was basking in the joy of recently finished renovations. It wasn’t until then that I realized my legs were aching. Not in a shocking or sore manner, but rather the pins were vibrating with that comfortably numb feeling you get after a solid workout. The session today will no doubt add to that numbness.

Despite the incessant clouds and accompanying rain that has been blanketing the southern tip of the island; I wasn’t at all deterred when I left the house this morning. After a gentle warm-up along the Lochside Trail and through Boradmead, I found myself clipping across the Panama Flats feeling... what was it?


A sensation that two weeks ago would have been entirely foreign, if not unworkable. And if the rest of the week continues to unfold as planned, I could round out the week with mileage not seen since last September (109 km or close to 68 miles).

I still have a lot of work to do if I want to try and PB over 5k later this summer. But given that I took time off this autumn to deal with a tear in my hamstring, followed more recently with an ankle injury, I’m quite pleased with how my body has adapted to my recent increase in running.

Upward and onward... happy trails.

[photo: Panama Flats]

Tuesday, May 25


The transition out the door is relatively uncomplicated; leaving work isn’t difficult but always takes more time than expected, particularly when juggling the bike/run commute.

After an injury related absence from running I’m keen to again feel the exhilaration and exhaustion that accompanies training. I was diagnosed with a partial 2nd degree tear, but after carefully monitored recovery, coupled with a few easy jaunts my ankle is surprisingly sturdy.

I use the busy stretch of corridor between the office and the Tillicum Rd to relax into the session. The sun is shining bright overhead and the afternoon air was unexpectedly warm and still. I test my legs with some relaxed strides before entering the cooler, shaded creekside trail along the Colquitz River to begin the workout.

Fast-forward ten minutes and I’m nearing the end of my first tempo piece, now cruising the mostly gravel path across the Panama Flats. “Mw-tweet”, my focus is broken by the piercing call of a red-wing black bird. I use the stirring to pass through a mental checklist; stand tall, hips forward, light on my feet. I power up a moderate hill, my breathing laboured as I crest the top.

Sweat now tricks down the side of my face. I concentrate on the pat-pat-pat of my cadence as I travel across the small stones. My reintroduction to running has been brilliant, if not a rude awakening. I’ve missed the second race in the VTS but with the next event (the mile) only three weeks away my preparation will be desperate.

I’m glad to be back.

[photo: Colquitz River, Victoria, BC]

Wednesday, May 5

Then that happened

It amazes me the capacity of one particular sense to completely capture a moment. The sight of a leaf lazily floating in front of your face on a cool autumn morning. The pungent smell of urine and nerves as you stand impatiently waiting for the start of a race. And then there was yesterday.

Work has been particularly busy of late and yesterday was no exception. When not in meetings with executive, I was left to deal with the pesky auditors, finalize our 2010/11 budget and prepare for estimates (now delayed). Surprisingly, or as luck would have it I managed to accomplish much of what I had intended. Rare at best.

With the day’s work complete and an accompanying sense of satisfaction spread across my face, I left the office turning left and running over the Gorge trestle. Over the last few weeks, I’ve been unsuccessful in finding a particular video, Sweet Home Alabama (you needn’t ask). With my options dwindling, I put my faith in a truly unique shop in the heart of Cook Street Village… and was rewarded.

I didn’t stop here. After a jaunt on Sunday, I noticed that a pair of shorts were worn through and so decided to swing by Frontrunners on the way home to pick up a couple new pairs. Again I was triumphant, and as I ran steadily down Quadra for home I couldn’t help but reflect on how truly productive the day had been.

Nearing home, I spotted an extended stretch of grass alongside the road and opted for the forgiving grassland. This is not out of routine figuring that when you run as much as we, a few precious steps on the soft ground can be a difference maker. What I remember next is the sound of uncooked linguine snapping, the sharp cracks in quick succession still echo in my head. Why me, not now, please.

And so, after limping home and participating in the usual dinner/bedtime routines and watching previously mentioned movie, my allotted time for denial had passed. I grabbed the car keys, my Blackberry and a book off the shelf, and then proceeded to carefully drive myself to the hospital only to confirm I have a torn anterior talo-fibular ligament (4-6 weeks). Bugger.

Training: steady 58:52

Monday, May 3

VTS Race #1: 5,000m

“... go, go, go, daddy... wait”

With daylight waning, those were the words I heard twelve times as I fought my way around the track in what was my first race in the Victoria Track Series (VTS).

Saturday was to be my first true test of conditioning since running the RVM in October and injuring my hamstring. With less than a handful of workouts in the last seven months I wasn’t expecting much. Based on my recent (soft) 10k performance, the McMillan Calculator suggested a 5k equivalent of 18:19. I sincerely hoped I was capable of running quicker, but with a frigid wind lashing my back I approached the start line with more than a handful of doubt.

Shortly after the gun sounding, and a moment’s hesitation, I fell quickly into step behind the towering figure of the second placed runner (not too shabby). With the wind continuing to howl positioning was paramount, but after having my heels clipped I lost one position (covering the opening kilometre in 3:35).

After a ‘relatively’ comfortable start and the race leader running solo about 10 meters off the front I decided to shift gears and found myself out front at the mile marker. Unknowingly, I had also dragged along a few fearless souls and we closed the second km in 3:25.

It was at this point that the eventual winner made his move, and despite my best efforts I found myself gradually losing contact. Having previously raced only once on the track, 5,000m last summer, I don’t have much to draw upon but based on my limited experience I found kilometres three and four (3:36, 3:37 respectively)... desperate. I wasn’t in pain, but neither could I escape the feeling I was running up a sand dune, i.e., I struggled. But with the antics of my daughter to keep me focused I managed to close out the race with a solid 3:25.

Entering the event I didn’t expect more than an honest effort... I achieved my goal and also took home a t-shirt and a silver (second place) VTS bottle opener. Clearly a resounding success. My aim for the series is to improve my 5k PB, to do so I need to find 50 seconds by August. I have my work cut out for me. Next up though, my first attempt at 3,000m on May 15th which if McMillan holds true will see me around 10:08.

Training: VTS Race #1: 5,000m 17:40, 3:32/km, 5:42/mi, 2nd OA