Wednesday, May 11

Giro d ‘Italia

My enthusiasm of cycling and passion for racing began over 15 years ago while living the life of a triathlete. What began as supplemental training quickly morphed into a developing obsession. Although I never committed to the sport, my ability on the bike quickly surpassed that of my running and I was fortunate to win a few races. Those events taught me more about suffering and commitment than I experienced in the subsequent 10 years. All this ended however when my focus shifted and I embarked on a career as an accountant.

Despite my bikes being relegated to commuting mules, I still continued to follow the sport. A decade or more later, I found myself beginning to prepare dinner on a warm summer evening in July. I was starring out at our garden, absorbed in the light as it played on the leaves, all the while listening to the highlights from the day’s stage of the Tour. At that exact moment I opted to combine my love of cooking with my continued passion for cycling.

My compulsive personality only added fuel to the fire, and several years ago I began a tradition of only cooking: Italian food during the Giro, French throughout the Tour de France, and Spanish cuisine while the cyclists raced the Vuelta. Only a few stages into this year’s first grand tour and I haven’t missed a beat.

As for my running, the legs took a surprisingly long time to recovery from the TC10k. I’m not sure if it was the aggressive downhill running or some well-worn flats, perhaps both. Regardless, I didn’t attempt any speed work until the following Friday and even then I pulled up short, only completing 2.5 of the scheduled 3 reps. Yesterday felt much better, borderline fast!

Following through on an earlier commitment, I’ve registered to run the Oak Bay Half Marathon this weekend. My main objective is to mix up my training this summer, i.e., race unfamiliar events, in an effort to run myself into shape. Now, if only the sun would come out:)

May 2: day off (unscheduled)
May 3: easy 45:38
May 4: A.M. easy 32: 11; P.M. easy 26:14
May 5: steady 1:02:02
May 6: 1:06:20 w/ 3x(5’ 10kE (2.5’), 2.5’ 5kE) (2.5’)
May 7: day off (scheduled)
May 8 steady 1:38:11

May 9: easy 40:37
May 10: 1:04:47 w/ 12x1’ 5kE (1’)

Tuesday, May 3

TC10k Report

A few nights ago I watched an old Billy Bob Thornton flic, ‘Friday Night Lights’. The film is based on H.G. Bissinger's book, which profiles an economically depressed town and their heroic high school football team. As I lay in bed that evening, I couldn’t escape the stark contrast between football and running. The following morning as I toed the line for the 22nd Times Colonist 10k, I would have nobody running interference or blocking competitors from my path. There would be no time-outs. And, as this wasn’t a relay event any midrace substitution would be frowned upon. Luckily I find the loneliness of a runner quite intoxicating.

After taking some extremely harsh drugs two weeks earlier, I finally kicked the bronchitis and accompanying ailments from my system (over the course of four months, and three doctors, it has been a long time coming). And so, as I stood on the far right of the second row, ahead of an estimated 13,000+ participants I couldn’t be happier to be racing in the event despite a truncated training program (that's me in the green singlet, 800m in).

Starting at the pointy end of the race typically means being surrounded with athletes lacking a sense of humour, and Sunday was no different. That said, I remember Brad asking Shawn (?) what he wanted to run that morning. His response, “10k”… a dozen or so runners instantly cracked up, and Brad was left red in the face (thanks B).

The start was quick; apparently the beautiful Inner Harbour added more than a touch of inspiration to the morning. We were running a new course which rolled for the first few kilometres. Knowing this, I ignored my marathon ‘steady-as-you-go’ mantra, and instead attacked the downhill sections as I tried to maintain rhythm and pace. Despite the aggressive start, I was surprised at how comfortable I felt but apparently I wasn’t the only one with the same game plan. At this point there was a small group of four dangling 100m in front and notwithstanding my best efforts they continued to stay there.

With the Sooke 10k (38:35) as a recent guide, I didn’t know what to expect from my body. Sooke is a harder route and I was unsure how much my ill health had played a role. This would be the first time in years where I had no expectation and instead ran unabated.

Typically between 5k and 7k the race starts to ‘feel’ hard, this is made doubly difficult at the TC as the only major hill of the race appears right after the 5 km mark. I was prepared for this, and although the elastic stretched I hung on for dear life as I desperately tried to maintain contact with the group.

As the race entered the final stages I slowly began to reap the rewards of my desperation and passed over a dozen people. With 3k remaining I let gravity take over and pushed hard on the long gradual downhill passed the Coast Guard station and toward the finish. As I crossed the finish it was the first time in ages that I was truly happy. Running can be such a fickle sport, and your happiness can easily be measured in seconds or someone else’s result. For me, Sunday was all about enjoying the freedom to run… nothing else.

3:22, 3:47, 3:42, 3:34, 3:46 (18:11)
3:48, 3:45, 3:32, 3:30, 3:38 (18:22)

Training: TC10k 36:33, 12/401 AG, 55/10,214, 3:40 pace/km

Monday, May 2

Times Colonist 10k

I ran the TC 10k this weekend under fantastic conditions. I'll report more later, but in the interim have a look at this video that Chris put together.