Thursday, September 30

Out Front

Yesterday, in what was probably the first time in over two years, I participated in a group track workout. What was more surprising was that I showed up early. In the past I might have wondered where everyone was, stretched or even started an early warm-up. Okay, it’s doubtful I would’ve warmed up early, but you get the picture. Yesterday was different. Without a second thought, I lay down beside the track, propped up my head with my flats and soaked up the warmth from the sun. The following 10’ were priceless.

Fast-forward 30’ and I found myself half way through the first interval with the sound of multiple footsteps behind me. It was in that moment, I realized that a) I’ve been running by myself for too long, and b) I like running out front, away from the crowds.

Jimmy had prescribed 8x1k at 10k pace. The only wrinkle was that I didn’t know what my 10k pace was... the disappointing 37’ run recently at Landsend, the missed by targeted 36’, or the longed for 35’. I was feeling nostalgic and enjoyed (I use the word loosely) the speed.

The first repetition felt too easy, loose. I picked it up slightly on over the next two eventually settling on uncomfortable yet relaxing 3:30’s: 3:37, 3:32, 3:32, 3:30, 3:30, 3:27, 3:30, and 3:22.

The evening was capped with the 3Ps, pizza, a pint and the Penny Farthing. Priceless!

Sep 27: easy 44:12
Sep 28: steady 51:41
Sep 29: 1:11:40 with 8x1k 10kP (1’)

Monday, September 27


With the 2008 Beijing Games fast approaching, Athletics Canada lowered the qualifying standards for the marathon to 2:11:31. Given that the national marathon record was set almost 35 years ago (2:10:09), this new target seemed rather... steep at best. Two days ago, under near perfect conditions a young Canadian athlete took a big step toward achieving a lifelong dream... participation in the 2010 London Olympic Games.

After suffering through nearly two years of injury, Reid Coolsaet crossed the line to finish the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon in a time of two hours, 11 minutes, 23 seconds — six seconds under the qualifying standard, and fastest time ever recorded on Canadian soil by a Canadian. In his own words, “When we hit 200m I looked at my watch and knew that I was going to break 2:11:29. With a few steps to go I saw the clock and started to celebrate, I had my time. It’s hard to explain all the emotions that were going through me because of my injuries back in 2008 so I’ll let this picture do the talking”.

As for me, I’m slowly working toward my next goal (the GoodLife Fitness Half Marathon) and the hope of regaining some of my former speed. With the race less than two weeks away, I’m quite curious at my level of excitement and anticipation. My preparation continues.

And so, on cold dark Tuesday morning I left the house in near darkness, turned left at the trailhead and slowly made my way north (away from town). There’s something about having to run a workout before the sun comes up that seems almost unfair. Still, beggars can’t be choosers and in this case the alternative was not running at all. Following a few months of track 3,000m preparation and with minimal time available, I’ve scheduled more than my fair share of tempo sessions in training for the half. This morning was no different. That’s why, after looping my way around Rithet’s Bog, and over to the Colquitz River it was game time. My time (thoroughly enjoyed). I can’t guarantee the 1’ intervals were any quicker than my tempo pace, but the effort was there. Two weeks and counting.

Sep 20: A.M. easy 23:22, P.M. easy, 42:27
Sep 21: 1:15:00 w/ 20’ tempo + 4x1’ (2’) + 2x6’ tempo (1’)
Sep 22: 56:16
Sep 23: A.M. easy 32:16, steady 1:10:51
Sep 24: 1:09:41 w/ 6x30” (1’) + 3x3’ (2’) + 3x80” (2’)
Sep 25: day off (scheduled)
Sep 26: 1:36:05 medium-long run

Tuesday, September 21

Almost There

Red Ten: "You'd better let her loose. They're right behind me."
Red Leader: "Almost there."
Red Ten: "I can't hold them!"
Red Leader: "It's away!"

Finding that quote brought me back to a time when life was uncomplicated. Daily decisions involved choosing between Han or Luke, and Cheerios or Shreddies. Life was good.

With the Landsend 10k a distant memory my main autumn goal/gaol is quickly approaching, the GoodLife Fitness Half Marathon. I’ve got a little over 2 ½ weeks of training left, most days I wish I had more.

My recovery from the 10k went well, so much so that five days later I dipped into my bag of “training secrets” and plucked out a killer session I once ran under Jon Brown. At the time I was preparing for the Boston Marathon and struggled through a painful 5x (1k MP, 2k 10kP). Last Friday I opted to complete the circuit 4x, I made it through 3 2/3 before reaching the trailhead and pulling the pin. A success of sorts.

I capped the week off with what was arguably one of the wettest runs I’ve ever experienced. In two hours I experienced more weather systems than I had in the previous two months. I wasn’t five minutes from home, ambling quietly along the Lochside Trail when I could see the trees shaking up ahead. Within seconds I was standing in the midst of a torrential downpour, and less than ten paces later it was over... but the damage was done. I was sopping. Still, I’ll take an invigorating 16C run on quiet trails any day.

Sep 13: 47:36
Sep 14: 1:09:02 w/ 2x8x30” (30”) (3’)
Sep 15: A.M. 1:05:20, P.M. 27:03
Sep 16: 1:08:50
Sep 17: 1:03:40 4x (1k MP, 2k 10kP) continuous
Sep 18: day off (scheduled)
Sep 19: 1:46:36

Monday, September 13

Landsend 10k

When I began my four-week vacation the sun was always up before me, the daytime temperatures hovered around 27C and I enjoyed a voracious thirst for Speckled Hen. Last night after lighting the fire for the first time in months, I sipped on red wine while cooking coq au vin; this morning running to work amidst darkness and with naught for company but a light drizzle and my own wandering thoughts. Autumn has clearly arrived.

Yesterday morning Ally and I bundled up the kids and drove out to Sandown Park for the annual Landsend 10k. Although the rainfall didn’t stop until later that afternoon, there was no wind and it wasn’t that cold. Some consolation perhaps.

After the usual warm-up (10’ easy, 3’ tempo, 7’ easy) I ditched my rain gear and slowly made my way to the start. The announcer proceeded to inform us that a) the kilometre marks were not accurate, and b) the course had been amended. Stretched. I didn’t pay much attention to either of these details until after the race.

The gun cracked and I quickly fell into step behind the race leaders only to watch them rapidly fade away into the mist, my nearest competitor finishing nearly full two minutes before me. I checked with MC (McMillan Calculator) the night before and based on my recent 5k performance, settled on a 10k time of 35:54 (3:35 pace/k). I split the first marker faster than expected but quickly settled into a comfortable stride, perhaps a little too comfortable as I dropped some precious seconds over around 3km.

The course is relatively flat out-and-back along very rural roads with a sharp steep hill shortly after 4km. Previous routes were measured to be approximately 150m short and we were assured this year’s route was accurate. That said I was quite surprised to hit the turnaround in 18:22 after completing a 4:03 kilometre.

3:25, 3:35, 3:42, 3:35, 4:03 (18:22)
3:55, 3:39, 3:44, 3:46, 3:23 (18:29)

At about 7k I was struggling to maintain a relaxed rhythm and was surprised to find myself remembering my previous 10k PB, perhaps taking some console in the familiarity of discomfort. I snapped back to reality to hear quickly closing feet only to recognize it was the raindrops falling off the trees. I ran the last few miles like a frightened rabbit closing in a time over a minute slower than anticipated.

I’m not too concerned about this race or the result as I had planned to use it in preparation for the GoodLife Fitness Half Marathon next month. But it has left me pondering my fitness and questioning a goal time for the next race, 1:19:53 vs. 1:22:00.

Back to reality, ouch!

Training: 36:51, 3:41/km, 5/91 OA, 4/14 AG