Monthly Archives: March 2011

Around the Bay Recap

To say I didn’t have great hopes for this year’s version of the Around the Bay 30km road race would a HUGE understatement!  For those of you just tuning in, my training cycle this spring has been less than stellar.

[feel free to skip this if you heard it before] After taking a LONG time to get any training momentum and being sick on and off, I was starting to make good progress; hill-work/speed-work/long runs in tough conditions, my paces were coming down and I was feeling great.  That’s when disaster struck.  I injured my left foot playing hockey.  On the upside, it wasn’t broken, on the downside it was a bone bruise and hurt constantly.  Fast forward 3-3 1/2 weeks of no training and one missed half marathon later I was finally able to get back out and attempt some redemption.  I managed to get in some base miles and three 20km longer runs in preparation for this past Sunday’s race.

With all of that out of the way: On To The Race Recap!

The day didn’t start well, I work up at 4:50am, an hour before my alarm.  I did eventually get back to sleep though…about 10 minutes before my alarm went off….typical.  Oh well, onward and upward.  After checking the weather (-17c windchill!) and a quick breakfast I was ready for a runner’s constitutional…which turned into two…then to three, and finally four….for now.  I wasn’t sure if it was nerves or a virus, but it sucked and now I was really worried, dehydration and DNF were definitely on the radar.

Fast forward past meeting up with some fellow racers for a quick pre-race coffee, another couple trips to the washroom, and onto race time.  The weather was coldish (around -7c), but the skies were clear and the sun was out in spades.  Perfect race weather. Overall the race went pretty well, I managed to maintain my target marathon pace for the first half of the race, and my existing marathon pace for the second.  I’d like to continue my progression towards a faster marathon time, and this was reassuring to say the least.

For the first 2/3rds of the race I rant with a good friend I hadn’t seen in a while; for me it made the miles fly by as we cracked joke after joke, and for him it helped keeping his pace in check.  Much like like going out for drinks with Ned, he tends to go out fast and blow up before the finish line, so it was a good arrangement all around.  His wife was got suckered into doing the second half of the 15km relay and quickly caught up to us at the 19km mark.   We all ran together, chatted, laughed, encouraged each other until somewhere around the 22km mark when I slowed for some water and they powered through.  Bastards!  They both had their own hydration and didn’t need to stop, but up until this point Ned had slowed slightly and waited for me to catch up at each water station.  I had an inkling the course was starting to take a toll on us both.  I could plainly see him 20yards ahead, but knew if I pushed to catch him that I’d be risking a meltdown myself.  Instead I held my pace, and stayed on target.  Ned only finished a minute ahead of me in the end and that was more than likely the difference in slowing for the remaining water stations….not that I’m upset, he achieved a 25min improvement over last year’s time, so kudos to him…the turncoat…

Incidentally, around the 22km mark is where the hills start to kick in, and though I felt I had more climbing power available to me, both of my calves threatened to cramp so hard that my shoes would be attached to my knees if I pushed the pace anymore.  “Message received loud and clear!” It might have bugged me more if I had had a major time goal this year, but with my setbacks and my eyes on the Ottawa Marathon in May, it was pretty easy to convince myself that this was a fun training run.  Sure I ran as hard as I could, but there was no way I was going to let this race ruin me.

Within the last 3km I was fighting some rolling nausea, but managed to not puke my guts out….although that might have got me some serious race cred if I had chucked.  Considering I felt terrible for the rest of the day, it might not have been a bad idea either.

In conclusion, I beat my time from last year while feeling like I was in worse shape, had a great time with great people, got to get out on a gorgeous day, and participated in a well run/fun event.  As I’ve said many times, this is a great event with a fun atmosphere and a really nice course.  It’s well worth the price of admission.

Here’s a video taken by a runner over the course of the race (warning: it’s pretty shaky i.e. – think Blair Witch Project)

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Back in the Great White North

Bob & Doug

Holy crap, what happened!?  I left nearly a week and a half ago, to bask in the sandy warmth of Myrtle Beach, only to return to a winter apocalypse.  I think I’ve worked off all that holiday weight I had accumulated simply by shoveling out my driveway over the past few days.

Anyway, now that I’m back I’ve been trying to effectively taper for this Sunday’s Around the Bay 30km.  Obviously, despite Brent’s best efforts before I left,  our long run on the hilly section of the ATB course didn’t kill me.   I managed to avoid the tiger trap, landmines, offset leghold trap, Pigmy warriors hidden in the bushes with poison blow darts, and all he had left to depend on was repeatedly charging up hills in the hopes that my heart would explode.  If it wasn’t for all that coffee I chugged before our run, he would have succeeded too.

The week after that was spent accumulating mileage, in the vain hope that I could miraculously establish some baseline fitness.  A couple of sweet barefoot beach runs, a night time recovery run, and a 20km long run later and I was heading home to crank out another 20km.  I’m not too worried about finishing the Around the Bay, however I’d REALLY appreciate not embarrassing myself.

MT101RXIn other vacation related news I picked up a pair of NB MT101 which has pretty much sealed my fate for doing some trail and Ultra races this summer/fall…it also helped that I found out that the Chicago marathon sold out and I don’t have to consider doing it anymore.  Regardless, I’m hoping to have some fun tromping through the woods this summer.  I’ll get more into this in the near future.

In closing here are some crappy cellphone pics of my barefoot run on the beach:

Cheers!

I’m Scared

Tomorrow I’m doing something new.

It’s scary but exciting, awkward but cool.

I…I…I’m…I’m running with someone I met on dailymile.  I’ve never met anyone from the cyber realm in real life before, it’s kind of creepy.  It’s not that I purposefully try and keep my online and real-life friends separate, it’s just turned out that way.

I’m sure it’s going to be a great experience for both of us, especially since our goals, pacing and training attitudes seem to be fairly similar…although I’ve got to be honest…there is something unsettling about saying that I’m meeting up with some strange guy I met on the internet…in a vacant parking lot… and he’ll be wearing bright green tights…like I said…creepy.

The dailymile site has been a great motivator and the support members provide each other is phenomenal.  Since running can be a solitary endeavor the community feel has been really beneficial in keeping my training on track and focused (not an easy task).  When I see pictures from other DM members who have had DM group runs/race meetups etc. they all seem to be having a wonderful time, with giant Cheshire smiles all around, and positive comments for all.  Although I have suspected it’s merely a Stepford-Wife-esque ploy to draw in new victims members, I think it may just be genuine goodwill for fellow athletes…even more creepy.

Hide the Body In totally unrelated news, I’m heading out of town for a week so don’t expect to hear much from me for a while.  I’m sure Brent will be quite thorough when  hiding the  body, but if he’s unsuccessful, I’ll let you know how the training run went when I get back.

Have a good one kids.

Race time Approacheth

What to do…What to do….??

The initial plan was to run Grimsby in preparation for a killer run at the Around the Bay (for a short deluded moment or two, I was considering BQ pace) and roll that into another marathon PR in Ottawa.  After some initial setback I was falling into a nice rhythm with my training, getting strong and watching my pacing times drop….excellent, everything was going according to plan.  In reality I knew a sub 2:15hr ATB 30km was pushing it, but with my marathon a full 2 months after the race I thought it was a safe gamble, at the very least it would let me test my limits.

As you know by now, February didn’t go exactly as planned.  Now I find myself 17 days out from the ATB 30km trying to balance a desperate scramble to get my fitness base back, build some small semblance of speed, and at the same time NOT blow up and hurt myself…again.  I keep reminding myself that the ATB race is just a fun race, and the Ottawa Marathon is the real goal but moderation has never been my strong suit.

Well, race season has started in earnest here in the GTA.  Sure there have been lots of 5km’s, 8km’s so far but the ½ marathons have started to roll in, and for me that certainly gets the motivation flowing.  So far the spring season is nicely packaged but this leaves me with a couple conundrums:

What do I train for this summer?…which leads into…Choices

What should I race in the fall?

What to do…What to do….??

There is a small sadistic part of me that is curious about grabbing a 10hr/wk triathlon training program and giving it a whirl.  It’d give me a new challenge, plus a great fitness base for all kids of things, however running a kickass fall marathon might not be plausible with that kind of schedule.

Speaking of fall marathons, if I decide to stick with running long distance races I have a bit of a conflict brewing.  Specifically speaking, I’d like to Give New York or Chicago a try.  Traveling for a race is expensive, especially with the costs of these races, but either of them would be a great experience.  Unfortunately, both these races land on weekends where there’s another race I’d like to do.  1.) The Run For The Toad 50km (It’d be my first 50km, it’s local and I’ve heard it’s a lot of fun), and 2.)  The Hamilton Road to Hope (which is the hometown race).    To add more confusion to the mix, I may be able to run the Hamilton race for free based on charity pledges I’ve received in the past.  Not only do I miss the travel/accommodation costs, but I’d get my race entry free, AND a $100 gift certificate to the local running store.  Pretty swank…

http://www.runforthetoad.com/ – Oct1st  $83 CDN

http://www.chicagomarathon.com/ – Oct.9th $170 US

http://hamiltonmarathon.ca/ Road2Hope – Nov.6th $90 CDN (Or possibly FREE! plus $100 gift certificate if donation over $500)

http://www.nycmarathon.org – Nov.6th $281US

I need to decide soon, as the New York Marathon lottery closes in early April, and I always trail better if I have a set goal or two.  So what’s it going to be?  50km and NYC?  Road2Hope and Chicago? Or go the cheaper/easier route and go 50km & Road2Hope?  I’d like to some different races this year, but which ones?

Any  Suggestions?

Sometimes a fellas gotta dream…

dreamer

Grimsby Half Marathon & Other Disorganized Thoughts

Grimsby 1/2 Marathon Shirt

Grimsby 1/2 Marathon Shirt

Check out my awesome $55 dollar tech shirt from the Grimsby Half Marathon this past weekend!

Actually, I really like the shirt, the fit is good, nice material, and the graphics are decent.  For a small race I was pretty surprised at the quality of the schwag.  The medals were pretty hefty as well.  So what’s my issue?

Grimsby 1/2 Marathon Shirt Back

Grimsby 1/2 Marathon Shirt Back

I’m pissed off.  Pissed of that I couldn’t run this race.  Pissed off that after I finally got off my lazy ass and signed up for the race I got injured doing something completely un-running-related.  Pissed off that after 2 1/2 weeks I’m still unable to train in earnest.  Pissed off that despite my intent to cross-train while being on the injury train, I simply didn’t.

Back to the topic at hand, the Grimsby Half is a great race value.  For $55 you get great schwag, a decent course, and fun race.  Bang for your buck.  Races, such as Burlington’s Chilly Half Marathon (which runs this weekend) is $75-$85 (depending on signup date) for an out and back along Lakeshore Road.  I realize I’m cheap, but I do appreciate value when I see it and I simply can’t see myself shelling out $85 for this race.  Hmmmmm…I DO have to put in a long run this weekend, maybe I should bandit the race and see few friends who are racing.  What’s your opinion on running a race you haven’t paid for?

Enough bitching, tonight starts the next chapter.  Yes, I’m coming off the couch to pound out some speedwork with my regular Tuesday night partner!  In reality, my partner will be tearing it up, hitting her target paces while I take things super easy, plod along and heckle her as she blows by.  Should be fun!