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Road2Hope Marathon

It seems that every year, by the time I finish the Road2Hope (first Sunday of Nov.), I am so burnt out that I simply can’t be arsed to write up a race report. Even last year when I had a major PB and only ran the half, I simply vegged and my motivation to do a write-up was nowhere to be seen. As such, I still feel obligated to post this (horribly late) for posterity sake.

Road2Hope Marathon – 42.36 km – 03:50 – 5:26/km pace

What a mixed bag this race was.

On the bus ride to the starting area, a chatty dude from Windsor sat down next to me and happily talked away the entire trip. It wasn’t a bad thing, he was quite nice, but one of the last things he said before we left the bus was how much he hated wind while running…I should have seen the foreshadowing but hindsight is 20/20 so…

headwindsThe first 20km flew by and I stuck pretty closely to the 3:45 pacer until he stopped to use the washroom. Right around that time we hit the significant downhill and I was determined to use it to my advantage, but Murphy did his best to throw a wrench into the works. As we turned onto the Red Hill Parkway, the cold wind coming off Lake Ontario became a massive headwind which negated some of the advantage. I probably pushed too hard on this section trying to bank some time, and when the 3:45 pacer passed me at 33km I was kicking myself for not racing smarter.

I ran a pretty decent race; hitting most of the tangents, fueling well etc., but ultimately I didn’t have enough fitness to hold my position. My right leg (glute, groin, hamstring quad) had been barking since the 15km mark and by the time I reached the mid 30’s I was in some serious pain. My lower back joined in the pain parade as well, but the major contributor was my feet; they were simply aching, and I’m not sure why. My feet hurt so much that I seriously considered taking off my shoes and running barefoot at one point, but quickly realized that was desperation talking. Finally, I knew things were a train wreck when a lady in a puffy winter coat passed me at the 37km mark and I couldn’t catch her…the shame.


maybe not quite that puffy…

This race was still a PB by a couple minutes, but I wasn’t really happy with how I ran it. My mental game was ok, and I thought my fueling was decent, though I felt hungry at the 12km mark, and had finished all my gels etc. by the early 30’s. I thought I had carb loaded effectively the days before the race but something was definitely off.

It’s all in the books now (especially with this significantly delayed race report), time to move onto new challenges.

Road2Hope Power Anthem!

When going into a race, I usually try and pick a kickass song to drive me home in those last lonely miles; for Hamilton’s Road2Hope half marathon I decided that it would be fitting to choose a band from Hamilton.  Home town race, home town band (it doesn’t hurt that they’re awesome).  So with out further adieu I present: Monster Truck – Runnin’

“Come on, fire it up, I keep on runnin'”

Tomorrow’s Half Marathon anthem! #Road2Hope

Road2Hope Half Marathon Goals

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, children of all ages

After much deliberation, consolation, postulation, inspiration, hesitation and perspiration I’ve finally decided on a race plan for Sunday’s Road2Hope half marathon.

Short version: I’m going to shoot for a 1:45
Long version: Go get a coffee this could take a minute to get through….The feedback from my pacing inquiry a few days ago was split 50/50.  Half of you suggested I take it easy, then make a push near the end if I was feeling good, the other half called me out and told me to go for it.  Essentially, it came down to my gut.  When I decided to actually RACE this half (instead of merely running it) the idea was to see what I was capable of; to dig deep, to push my limits and leave everything out on the course.  To do this I can’t just back away from a time that scares me, it’s time to step up.

With that being said, it’s time to set the definitive list:

A – 1:45 (5:00 min/km)
B – 1:50 (5:15min/km)
C – 1:52:30 (My current HM best although it is from 2008)
D – Don’t poop myself (always a plus, stolen from Claire)

OK, maybe it wasn’t that long, but at least now you have a coffee: you’re welcome 😉

As with any race prediction/result; If I hit my goal I’ll do a happy dance, and if I don’t it makes for good blog material.

Wish me luck!

Pacing & Racing…What to Do?

Morning folks!

Looks like this year’s Road2Hope race weekend in Hamilton is quickly approaching, and I should probably talk about it since it’s become a yearly tradition for me. To be honest, the race has kind of snuck up on me. My training has been pretty good despite (or maybe “because of”) using a lighter training plan and incorporating more rest & cross training. Regardless, I’m feeling pretty good and looking forward to race day.

For the past two weeks I’ve had a friend of my wife join me for my long runs, she’s in great shape but mostly focuses on short-medium distances. She’s MUCH faster than me but has no experience over the long haul so it’s been mutually beneficial (she pushes me, I keep her even-keeled for the long run). She’s never run anything longer than a 10km race and even our longest training run (12.4km) is well short of a half marathon, but she’s decided that she wants to run the half marathon this weekend with me despite all this. Unfortunately, there’s a problem: I told her that I wanted to run at a steady 5:15/km pace, which I THOUGHT was a 1:45 half marathon…unfortunately it’s not. It’s actually a 1:50 half marathon pace. Not a big deal right? Welllll…after finding my mistake (math was never my strong suit) apparently she’s still married to the idea of a 1:45 race. It’s more aligned with the pace she’s used to training at so I see where she’s coming from, but I’m not so sure. Moreover, I’m not sure if I’m reluctant to jump on the faster pace because I’m scared to push through/hard or because I’m trying to be responsible veteran racer and trying to keep us both from blowing up.

We’ve had some great paces on our training runs and I’m right on the cusp of making the move to the faster race pace in my own right, but right now I’m in limbo. SO: Do I push for the faster pace and hope for the best or hang my hat on the race plan I setup 2 months ago when I didn’t know how I’d feel on race day?


What would you do?

Road2Hope 2011 Recap

I’m please to announce that I managed to keep my runner somewhat alive and somewhat healthy at Sunday’s Road2Hope half marathon!

Sorry for the delay on the race report folks.  I’ve been trying to find the best way to talk about Sunday’s race, and despite my vast wit and charisma I’ve decided to keep it simple.  So here goes:

After Special K’s ITB issues on our last “long” run before the race, we agreed that the plan should to run as conservatively as possible; take walk breaks every 10 minutes, and hold on as long as possible before taking evasive action.  Since his goal was simply to finish we didn’t have the pressure of hitting any specific time goals/paces/etc.

Ignore the elevation line on there, I'm not sure why it's like that...

Looking at the KM split paces it seems like we were very close to the speeds we had agreed on.  The first 8km were really good, the walk breaks seemed to be working well, but by 9km SK’s ITB was starting to bark.  The pace dived and the walk breaks became longer.

SK stretched it out a few times when it got really bad, but from 13km onwards we were slowing considerably.  At the 18km point SK winced hard, apologized and we walked a significant portion of the last 4km.  Having been in his position before I had a pretty good handle on just what he was dealing with, and despite him insisting that I leave him for dead we managed to truck on to the finish line without killing each other.  With 400m left an enthusiastic fan managed to get SK moving again and off we ran, around the final corner and down the finishing chute.  I pulled back to give him his moment in the sun (and a good finisher’s photo), and crossed the line well behind my personal best but ultimately feeling better than I ever have post race.

After some eats, and some terrible watered-down dill/cabbage soupish abomination, we discussed what how the race had played out with SK’s wife.  When asked, SK admitted that perhaps some training might be in order for next year’s race.  I raised my eyebrow and slyly replied “next year?…definitely”.

Road2Hope Pre-Race

The weather forecast for this Sunday’s Road2zHope Hamilton Marathon.

Sunny, High’s over 10C and a low that’s above the freezing mark?  Awesome!  Yes, it’ll be a tad nippy at the start line, but what better way to prevent overheating?  Seriously though, I do appreciate a nice sunny, cool temps. run.  It was day like one forecasted (maybe a tad cooler) that I set my own marathon PR at this race, but Sunday will be a much different this year.  This year is about managing someone else’s time, effort, water, fuel, expectations.  I hope I’m up to the task or Sunday could be a very long day.

Good luck to all those running this weekend!

Back on Track as a Pacer!

Just a quick note before I post up my weekly progress report.  Special K is registered and running the Road2Hope half marathon!  After belittling him thoroughly on the weekend he informed me that after a problematic online sign up process, he eventually called up and had them do it the olde-fashioned way; by hand!

Regardless, my delusions of racing the course this year have been put to bed and barring some unforeseen incident I’ll be coaxing the dumbass to a successful (or eventful?) half marathon this coming Sunday.

Stay tuned, and I’ll have the weekly report for my Nerd Fitness 6 Week Challenge posted ASAP.

Have a good one kids!

Road2Hope is 10 Days Away, and I’m Afraid I’ve Lost My Pacee

Gather ‘round the fire kids, I have a story to tell.  Have I ever told you about Special K?  He’s a neighbour of mine, and former running compatriot.

The fall before I was beat senseless by my first Road2Hope half marathon, Special K and I would run 4-5km loops of the neighbourhood and banter on various topics (beer, music, women, movies, etc…you know, the really DEEP stuff).  However, after my HM debacle I decided I wanted to kick this (and other) race’s ass and the best way to do it was to train in earnest.  Eventually Special K’s run’s  with me became fewer and further between, occasionally he’d join me for 4km then I’d drop him off and finish my allotted kms solo, but more and more he was absentee.  That was two years ago.

This summer Special K, a few of the neighbours and I were having a few drinks when the subject of running came up in conversation. I slyly implied that I didn’t think Special K could run anymore let alone do the Road2Hope HM with me, to which replied that not only could he complete it, he could do it with only 4 training runs.  The game was afoot.

Fast forward to this past Sunday, I had Special K out on what was supposed to be his peak long run before next Sunday’s race.  Spirits were up and the pace was nice and slow (or so I thought), we discussed race strategy, conversation paces, etc. when at 6km (almost exactly) he had to stop.  His IT band was screaming, and my mind suddenly flashed back to my first marathon where IT band issues forced me into a hobbled run/walk for the final 10km.  I showed him a stretch that would help, and few minutes later were back on our way.  Keeping the pace exceptionally slow, we talked about injuries etc. as I eyed his stride/foot falls with suspicion.  After a few more stops, and a walk up a large hill I made the suggestion of trying a 10:1 run:walk  for the race, he seemed receptive to it but the sound of his voice told me that disappointment and embarrassment were foremost in his mind.

It’s now 4 days later and I haven’t heard from him regarding the run, the race, or his injury.  My gut is whispering the notion that he’s pulling the chute on the HM, and really I wouldn’t blame him.  Who wants to go into a race under prepared, and knowingly subject himself to repeated/acute pain (aside for me, that is…)?  Being the overly-prepared boyscout that I am, this leaves me in a predicament: If K drops out, how do I approach this race?  I need a plan!

Do I race this HM?  –  Pushing myself to my limits and possibly imploding in the process?
Or do I Fun Run it?  –  I can run 21.1km, but can I party for 21.1km?

What do you think I should do?  Guts?  Glory?  Fun?  Ease? Let me know what you think in the comments.

Have a good one kids!

Progress Report – Week 1 – Full Week

As promised, here’s my progress report from the past week (full week this time):

Not too bad overall, but there are some areas that could use some improvement…but that’s what this whole process is about.  Continual Improvement.

Thoughts so far:


– 35km of running last week with a solid speed workout and a 11.6km trail run over the weekend. This is a plus, sure the mileage isn’t huge but with the added strength work and swimming/rock climbing/hockey I think it’s a good fit.  Enough to keep things at a good base, but not too much that I’m going ot burn out.
– It was my hope to get in at least 2 (or 3) days of strength training this past week but that didn’t happen. I took Friday as a much needed rest day instead. It’s not an excuse, but it was reality.
– I was happy about getting in a solid swimming workout, which I made a brick by sandwiching it with a short run before and after. Wed. are usually another strength night but the timing was right to hit the pool.  It felt great, glad I did it.


– Surprisingly, it was the water consumption that was hardest to maintain. I have a feeling it was displaced by my coffee consumption.  Increased fatigue from ramping up my overall training, and coaching two 7am hockey practices were catching up to me.  It’s something to keep an eye on in the future
– Not much fruit on the weekend. Gotta fix that too.


– 1 day of 7…and only 10 minutes at that…bad, bad news

 Last night I completed another weight/body-weight session to get this week off on a good note. I took it easy due to fatigue (I fell asleep on the floor for a half hour before putting the kidlets to bed), but still made use of my time when I finally got into it.

3 x 20 Pushups
3 x 10 Decline Pushups (feet up)
1 x 5 chinups
1 x 5 pullups
3 x 15 leg extensions
2 x 10 deadlifts
2 x 10 barbell rows

I usually do 3 sets of both Chinups & Pullups but by the end of the first set I knew there was no fuel in the tank for them. Surprisingly I added the Decline Pushups, and Barbell Rows this week without issue…but for some reason Chin/Pullups just weren’t happenin’ last night.

I’ll be keeping the weight down and reps high for the next two weeks because I’m pacing a friend in the Road2Hope Half Marathon ( more on this next post) at the start of Nov., and I’d hate to bail on my commitment due to soreness/poor performance/injury etc. Once that’s complete I’ll be adding weight to the barbell exercises much like the 5×5 Stronglifts program.

Some of you might be asking “why” the sudden shift in training focus?  I’ve run (somewhat) consistently for the past two years, and my times are getting better.  Why shift to weights/strength training?  The answer is pretty simple: If I want to get really fast, I need to be strong and healthy.  Over the past two years I’ve done some good things, but overall I wasn’t in the best shape I could have been.  Muscle imbalances from only doing one sport all the time were driving me crazy.  I could run a sub 4hr marathon but couldn’t do ONE one-legged squat.  Runners aren’t known to be great cross-trainers, but after the crappy racing year I’ve had, I decided now was as good a time as any to make a change.

Anyway, don’t fret running fans, there will be plenty more running posts coming but hopefully this new foray will add some much needed balance to my life.

Have a good one kids!

What, Me Worry?

We are now officially 18 days out from the Run for the Toad 50km trail race, and I haven’t run a step in nearly a month.  This might worry some, but not me…not in the slightest.


  • It’s not like I’ve run at all in the past month when (ideally) I should have been peaking my mileage and putting in back to back 20+km long runs.
  • It’s not like I’ve done a run over 20km in past 4 months, let alone a long trial run.
  • It’s not like I’ve ever run over 42.2km, so why not try it without much training, it’ll be easy!

What’s there to worry about?

In fact if I HAD done any of these things in preparation for my race I might have an idea of how much pain I’m going to be in, but ignorance is bliss, and this is one blissful cat.

In reality, I’m not worried about this race for a few very good reasons; as suggested by a friend on dailymile I’m simply going to try and change my race distance on race day.  Yes, I know the notice on the website explained there were no more race changes allowed but I can always hope that my charm and charisma will sneak me into the 25km race.  Seriously, how can they resist?  If the organizers stick to their guns then I have no choice but to sob uncontrollably and create a scene…or just run 25km and DNF (shudder) the 50km portion.  Regardless, I’m not putting a whole lot of stock in the outcome, instead I’m going out for the experience…and the race schwag, I paid for it after all.

Moving beyond the Toad, I have signed up for the Road 2 Hope ½ Marathon in early November.  Initially I had debated doing the full marathon again as the course is a fast one (flat, downhill, then flat again) and the temps are usually cool enough to make PRing a definite possibility, however after running 50km race 4 weeks before this one I had serious doubts if I’d be recovered in time to crush the R2H course.  The clincher was when while having a few wobbly pops with the neighbours, my former running partner thought it’d be funny to tell me he was going to run the ½ marathon with almost no training (I think we settled on 4 training runs before race day).  Special K (my neighbour) and I started running a couple of years ago to get back in to shape, then after a few weeks he disappeared and I was left running solo.  It’s going to be a lot of fun to hit the road again with him…and watch him suffer.  What’s for dinner? Mmmm…Schadenfreude, my favourite!

 The situation isn’t ideal but this is where I’m at…have a good one kids