Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Hey there,
Man I hate shovelling snow, it seems like every time I get the driveway clear it snows again. Does Shovelling count as an upper body workout? The things you do when living in Edmonton.

On Monday I started a training plan that should bring me into good condition for some indoor racing in March. Monday and Tuesday it called for a 14K run each day at a pretty easy pace. But on both days I was only able to get in 12K (at Lunchtime), due to the snowfall and the spectacular crash I had coming off the LRT bridge down by the Kinsman on Tuesday. The ramp off the bridge on the Kinsman side was pretty slick and even though I had slowed down so as not to fall, I still managed to come a cropper on the bend. Banging my elbow and my hip as well as ripping a new jacket that I only started wearing. Unfortunately these things happen in winter with the bad footing and the like. I’m sure there will be a few more falls yet this winter. (and no I don’t use those traction thingys on my shoes)

Monday (as well as a new training plan. Monday a day of firsts!!)I started a new training loop (for me at least). I ran from the office over to near the Shaw conference centre (not sure what area that is Jasper and 98th or 97th Street) and then ran down the side of that across the low Level Bridge down towards the Cloverdale bike bridge and then up the steep side 4 times and then back to the office. A good loop, which I will use more often.

Today was supposed to be a tempo run. I decided after yesterdays crash to go to the Y downtown and do my run there. Thinking 10 minute warm up and then 30 minutes at tempo and a 10 minute cool down. 10 minute warm up – Check. 30 minutes tempo – No. Instead I got in 18 minutes tempo and then the rest was recovery. I just didn’t have it today. Maybe it was the music I was listening too, or maybe (most likely) I warmed up at a faster pace than I should’ve and had run a little faster than I should’ve either Monday / Tuesday or both. Running tempo on a treadmill shouldn’t invoke fear, but I’ve got to say the this particular treadmill was moving from side to side almost as fast as I was running. Which as more than a little unnerving. This made me wonder if you can get motion sickness while running on the ‘mill?

Anyhow I’m off to the coast for a few days with the family, hopefully catch up with a few people and get some warm(er) weather running in, lets face it after this cold spell anywhere is warmer. I think it’s time to get back into the Newton’s. (I’m not sure if Newton’s + snow and Ice are a good mix, when normal running shoes with snow and ice aren’t always safe.

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Enjoy Festivus for the rest of us. Whatever you call it, however you celebrate it at this time of year have a good one and be safe.

Monday, December 21, 2009

December 21 - Winter Solstice

Hey there,
Its the Winter Solstice today, which means that this is the shortest day / longest night of the year. In many ancient traditions this was a time of celebration due to the fact that from now on the days get longer and the nights shorter, a time of rebirth. It is also a day of reflection for many people, looking back on how the year 2009 went and how they can start to move forward on what to improve in 2010.

For myself there is always something to work on each year both inside and outside of Sports. Something to strive for, something that I need to improve as a person and as an Athlete. In 2010 the Athlete in me is going to work on being faster. Having more top end speed than in '09. Not that I was a slouch in '09 its just that I've noticed that once I get to a certain speed I can hold it pretty much there for a marathon, but in shorter races I don't have that speed that is needed to do well at the 10K type distance.

So in the first part of next season I'm going to be concentrating on running a good 10K/3K/1500m but I'll also be keeping that ability to run 10 miles and half marathon at a reasonable pace and then in the second half of the year working on my marathon times. By working on shorter races and getting faster at them, my 10 mile and half marathon times should come down as my 10k times improve.

Also in 2010 I hope to add more entries to this blog and give almost a daily insight to running in Edmonton throughout the year.

The pictures are of New Grange on Winter Solstice - from

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

December - Its cold and its snowing

Hey there,
Its December, its cold and its snowing. Being an import to Edmonton the first full winter I spent here was great I skied almost everyday. I ran in the morning and skied then in the evening. I was also unemployed at the time, which is great as an athlete as you get to train as much as you want and when you feel like it. but it sucks having no money for things. Now every year since I ski less and less and its at the point that I don't even bother anymore, I don't even take the home trainer out of the box.

Its not that I hate the cold as I'm out running in the river valley most days no matter how cold it gets. Its more to do with finding time to fit everything in. Some people like to run before going to work, some people like to run after work. But I like to run at lunch time, the only bad thing about this is lack of shower facilities in the building. I do try to clean myself up before heading back to my desk, but its not the same as a hot shower. If I could get up earlier to run I would. I think 6:00am is early enough to be getting up as it is. Once the days start to get longer and warmer I can face getting up earlier to run before work, but even then its not easy to run intervals after climbing out of bed.

The forecast high for Saturday and Sunday is -27'C (Saturday) and -24'C(Sunday). I'm thinking those will be treadmill days.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

I'm Back

These photos are courtesy of

Just got back into town from my running vacation to Dublin. Things went pretty well, I brought my training down quite a bit. The jet lag and the lack of sleep due to looking after the young fella was started to take its toll. I did manage to get some training done in the week leading up to the race, as well as do quite a bit if eating to make sure I had enough carbs in.

The Race itself went well, although initially I was disappointed in not breaking 2:40 I did manage to take almost 3 minutes off my previous best marathon time, so any disappointment was quickly over taken by that. Looking through the results/splits I can see that I had one of the slowest 10K time splits in the race followed by a fastish (for me) Half way split and then it was only at around the 1 mile point that we started to make inroads on the guys that started out fast. I went through the 30K split in just under 1:53 and then I started to slow down at around the 23 mile mark. I think though I had started to fall of the pace closer to the 32K point as the 5K splits took a little longer each time (last 2 5K splits), I did end up finishing in 2:40:22. Everybody slows down, its just a question of how much, so I didn't really slow down that much.

I felt great right after the race, as both myself and my family ended up doing a lot of walking, but even the next day I did a fair bit of walking and the legs didn't really complain that much. I did have one problem, but that seems to have sorted itself out, my big toe on my right foot wasn't bending as much as it had the day before the race. This is the same problem I had just before leaving for Dublin. I'm not sure what is causing it, it may be the shoes but then it may not be.

The Dublin marathon also doubled as the Irish marathon championships, so this year I joined a club in Dublin called Dundrum South Dublin to be eligible for it. Two of the club runners finished ahead of me, the first guy finished with a 2:30 something and the second guy finished in 2:37. Both of the guys finished in the top 50 overall, with me finishing in 52nd place. The three of us managed to win the gold for the team competition, which was a real surprise both to myself and to the club as I kind've ran under the radar as I wasn't wearing a team singlet I also managed to take a bronze in the M35 age group. I had decided that I would wear my FastTrax vest as its what I'm used too.

So what do I take from this race? - I believe that I can and will go sub 2:40, how far below I'm not sure. I think that my training wasn't the greatest in the lead up to the race, but instead of adding more and more mileage I have to start thinking that I need to do more quality workouts rather than the quantity of workouts.

Where to next? Its a little early to be thinking of another marathon. Plus the next one I run will have to be closer to home, so I have some time yet before I run that distance again. In May there is a choice of 3 marathons in Western Canada (that I know of) Vancouver, Red Deer and Calgary. I ran Vancouver in 2007, that is the place I first went sub 3hrs. Red Deer..... I'm not that sure about as I ran the half there in May and I didn't really like the course. Calgary was the provincal championships last May so if its that again in 2010 then I'm kind've leaning on Calgary.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Arrrgh last minute hiccups

Well its almost time to think about going to Dublin for the race. But I've had a couple of other things to worry about this week or so. My training up to now has not been the best, not bad but not the best that it could be. Last weekend I ran for 80 minutes on Saturday and then 1:50 on Sunday morning with about an hour at race pace and then on Monday I ran for 2:30 which included a good number of hills. Tuesday I then ran easy (very easy for me) for 45 minutes, but missed yesterday due to workload, I also missed the last XC race (for me anyways) as I was still working late.

So up until Tuesday I was pretty happy with how things are going, but on Tuesday I noticed that there is a problem with my left foot that only appears when running, I can't seem to toe off as I normally would. I can't seem to bend my big toe on that foot as much as I can on the other. On Friday I'll get an adjustment and bring that up with the Chiro. Not sure what brought this on, I think it could be a combination of new Hardwood floors and not getting enough stretching in, it may in fact be the shoes that I wore on Sunday.

Once I get to Dublin, I was going to begin my taper but I don't think I'm going to cut back as much as I normally would now...(no long runs however) I'll get a few short paced runs in and a bunch of easy runs.

This last month or so has seen a number of solid results from Edmonton based runners. A couple of the guys I run with had some very good performances at the Chicago Marathon, both Kevin Masters and Marc Meunier both came home with great new PB's. A.J Rankel ran a solid race in the Berlin Marathon, made even more amazing that he ran with a cast on one of his arms, then at the Victoria Marathon Jonathon (AKA Basil) Withey from the FastTrax team ran a PB to finish in the top ten, while Stephen Toal ran under 3 hours in Victoria (not sure if that's a PB for Stephen. Also I can't forget Jason Kincaid's performance at the Hawaiian Ironman.

Great job everyone!!

I try and take these performances and use them as a positive for my own race yet to come. I would like to get on the plane with a new PB, even if its only a second faster than my previous PB, as then I would have something to shoot for in the spring.

Thanks for reading - Will update while in Dublin.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

September 2009
I know I said I’d keep this thing up to date, but it’s been really busy for the last month. So much stuff going on both with the running and with my everyday life. So I not sure where to start.....

I guess starting at the beginning would help. So far this month the training has been going well, not great but well, what do I mean by that? I think its cos I’m not sure if a)I’m pushing too hard or b) not pushing hard enough. But either way I’m feeling kind of stressed out and right now not seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. My goal for Dublin is to beat 2:43 and I think I’m on my way to do that. Although it might be a 2:42 effort.

I’ve run the first 2 of the Frank McNamara XC races and in the first I felt good even lead for a bit but ended up losing time to the first 2 guys on the way up to Keilor Road and then really just hanging on for the 3rd place. Here is why I’m a little stressed, that week I ended up running 3 tempo runs of around 40 minutes, the XC race and then a Half Marathon. All went well as I tell myself that the result don’t mean a thing as I’m building up to the Dublin Marathon on October 26th.

For the second XC race I was with the lead pack until about the halfway point and then the wheels (legs) came off, much like Mark Cavendish going up a climb in the Tour DeFrance, there was bits of calf muscle all over the trail.... and they came off in a big way, there was nothing left by the end of the race. The fact that it was about 30’C didn’t help much, nor that at lunch time I ran one of my tempo runs knowing that I was going to race that night – the weather was so good I had to make the most of it, really I have no one to blame but myself as I'm sometimes my own worst enemy. I still did my cool down run, and managed to get my 2 runs a day in for the next 2 days. On Saturday thinking I was recovered I attempted to run 10x3 minutes with 2 min Active Recovery (trying to run at my 3K -5K pace for each of these) I got as far as 6 before I had to call it a day, so I finished up with about 45 minutes of easy running. Sunday I decided to run long thinking it would be easy, I ran about 37K on the trails and then came home in a heap. Its training like this that gets you stressed, mainly due to how it makes you feel insecure about how well you’ve run so far this year.

I missed the third XC race due to the fact that we moved houses. Moving house in the middle of a project at work and in the build up to a marathon is not the greatest idea. But there you go; life sometimes gets in the way of running. We moved houses and my training suffered that week so I’m going to call that a rest week. One of the bad things about this time of year is its now dark in the mornings and since moving I haven’t felt like getting up at 6:00am to run. I think this is due to the curtains we have now, they completely block out the sun light whilst before we had a rounded window that was not covered and any light got in. It’s like I’m catching up on all of the sleep I’ve missed for three years.

I have 18 days before I fly to Dublin and then a week to ten days for a taper before the race. I’m confident that I can run at my goal pace (of 3:40 – 3:45 Per K) I will be running 2 more 37K runs with Marathon paced segments (as that will make it 5 2:30 – 2:50 runs) as well as the next 3 XC races. I’ll also keep my tempo runs going at Lunch time.

One of my concerns outside of running, but which indirectly has a knock on effect is the closing of the parking lot that I’m using. This means I have to think about getting to and from work either by public transport or on shanks mare or pay twice what I was paying to park my car per day. If I use Shanks mare (or my own 2 legs) then it’s either running home or cycling to work and back. Which works out to be either a 90 minute run one direction per day meaning I get home approx 7:00pm or it’s a 90 minute ride (round trip) on my bike. Taking the Public Transport in Edmonton can drain the life out of you if you leave out on the edge of town.

I’m thinking I’ll take my bike...will keep you posted. Well that’s my rant for this week over.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Winnipeg and back

Second Half of August 2009

After the ½ Marathon I felt really good, I think I came out of it under the impression that if it had been a flatter course I could run faster!!! So I decided to up the mileage little as I’ve been finding it difficult to get in those big weeks of training that is needed for a good Marathon, rather at staying at my consistent weekly mileage of between 60 and 70 miles a week. My wife and son went to Winnipeg for a week which meant that I could now stay in bed longer in the mornings and still get my 2 runs in a day. I was to follow them out to Winnipeg later in the week. I got in some good runs, however I may have over extended myself as the recovery has been a little slower this week, and I haven’t been as enthusiastic about training as I normally am. So I decided to take this week as a recovery week, so very little and light training only until Sunday when I’ll do my long run.

While in Winnipeg I was noticing that my I was running much faster than my usual pace and it all felt easy, trying to slow down felt hard though and going from 3 minute per K speed to 3:30 minute per K speed kind of felt like going from easy jogging to walking.

On the Friday I ran a loop that I’ve been using for almost all of my training while in town, in and around St. Vital Park, but this time I included a stretch of the Bishop Grandin Greenway(?) this a new stretch of path that runs alongside the highway. It’s here that I found that I was motoring along faster than my normal training pace, which was a good thing as the next day I wasn’t able to run due to our son deciding that he didn’t want to nap during the day and family gatherings, until I put him in a carrier called an Infantino(sp) then he slept for about 2 hours by which time I could’ve gone running but then the guests had arrived so it was too late.

The next day I ran my long run also on a normal training route that I’ve been using. Going from my Father in-law’s place over to the University and out to St. Norbert and back, except that this time I kept going past the floodgates through Turnbull and on towards Ritchot. Going out was easy enough so I turned around at just over 17K. But coming back was hard, nothing to do with the course as it was pretty flat, mainly to do with the heat and me having only one bottle of Gatorade with me. By the time I got back to St. Vital Park I was done, there was nothing left; I just wilted in the heat. I think there was about a 15 – 30 second difference per kilometre in the two halves. The temperature was about 26’C.

This week as I say has been a very slow week due to a couple of things that I have no control over. On Monday I was up at 5:00am (Winnipeg time) to catch a flight back to Edmonton and then on Tuesday morning I got a call from work just before 6:00am as there was a problem with one of the branches on Wednesday I had an early appointment at Canada place and then had to pick up the family at the airport after work in the evening, so I’ve been short sleep for a couple of days and this just added to the tiredness that I was feeling overall. I did manage to run Tuesday night, but felt like crap. I got two runs in on Thursday and Friday 2 X 40 minute runs.

Although on Saturday I was thinking of riding My Mountain bike for a bit – although not sure yet as the Temperatures are supposed to be up around 29’C for the next couple of days.

Anyways Happy running

Monday, August 17, 2009

August 17th 2009
This post has been a long time coming as things have been getting a little crazy the last couple of weeks. We decided to sell our house, which can be pretty stressful and when we sold it we didn't have a place to move into plus the fact that through all of this I'm trying to train for a Marathon.....its no wonder I have Grey hair :)

The last couple of weeks of training have been going pretty smoothly with the mileage starting to creep up to appropriate levels. I decided that rather than have a set amount of mileage to do every day I would go by time.

So far this month it has worked out well - next month may be a little different though as there is a lot of Cross Country running in town with both the Saucony/Athletics Alberta Race Series and the Frank McNamara Wednesday Fall Race Series. I'm hoping to use both of the leagues as part of my build up to Dublin in October.

Here is an example of My training plans for August / September / October

Monday = 30 minutes + Yoga am
Tuesday = 60 minutes am (inc 6x3mins building to a max of 10x3mins with 2mins AR*) + 40 minutes pm easy
Wednesday = Yoga am + 90 - 100 minute run home (with some Tempo paced running)
Thursday = 60 minutes am + 40 minutes pm easy
Friday = 60 minutes am + 40 minutes pm easy
Saturday = 90 minutes (inc 6x6minutes building to a max of 10x6minutes with 4mins AR*)am + Yoga pm
Sunday = 120 minutes building to 160 minutes am + Yoga pm

In September /Early October - I'll be running the XC races rather doing two days of intervals and will be doing my mid week long run on a Thursday instead (at an easy pace). Since I'm also doing a Half Marathon in Mid September I'll be doing that instead of a long run.

*AR = Active Recovery

Notes - There is a lot of Yoga on the schedule, as this is a good way to stretch and you need to balance the running with a lot of recovery. Most of the time this will be me and a video tape or DVD, but I will try to get in at least one class a week depending on how things are going.

Races in August - Intact Edmonton 1/2 Marathon

Yesterday I ran the Half Marathon and set a new PB for that distance. I finished in a time of 1:17:48 (gun time) I felt pretty good throughout the race, the Newtons performed as I've come to expect them to which is amazingly. I wish I could tell you about the Kenyan guys that won, but the closest I got to them was standing behind them at the start line. I think I might have seen them once on the course over near 149th street, but those guys run so fast I might have been imagining it.

I saw Jonathon at the start also and then maybe one more time in the race, but hes a couple of minutes faster than me. What I as happy aobut more than anything was the fact that I ran three minutes faster than I did at the Red Deer 1/2 Marathon. A second thing that made me feel good about the race was the fact that I didn't cut back on any mileage ,so there was no tapering for yesterdays effort, it was a replacement to a long run.

Whats next?
I'm entered into the Rotary Half out in Stoney Plain on September 13th, I think I'll be running most of the Wednesday night XC races, plus at least one of the Saucony/AA series. depending on how all of this goes I'll also try and do the Devon Turkey Trot 10K before heading to Ireland.

Happy running

Monday, July 27, 2009

July 27th 2009
Argh!!! There is nothing wore than being injured, and there maybe no worse than having a suspected case of Plantar Fasciitis(PF)!! They say running injuries don't just appear out of no where, but this one seems to have done exactly just that. The last two weeks of training have been going just great, I was steadily increasing the mileage and without pushing it I was also increasing the speed. My legs where doing just fine, calves are a little tight but then I've gotten used to that this year. I think what set the PF off is that I started to wear scandals after runs and then as my everyday shoe. This I've come to suspect is not a great idea.

So Last week was pretty much wasted, with little or no training. I did go see about the PF, but it wasn't exactly what I was expecting, I got a 30 minute massage on my calves which didn't really help that much and then I got some ART on my PF foot and on my right hip, which seems to be helping. But the biggest thing that I took away from the experience is that they recommended that I go see the strength and conditioning coach to get some tips on building strength. His tip "come back next week" this is what grates me, you go to these health Clinic's to get ART or Massage and then it turns into a whole other ball of wax and before you know it, you're down $$$. I know these guys are trying to make money, but its the attitude of "well you've gotten PF because of XYZ you know need to do ABCD+E to fix it!!

I know why I got injury, too much mileage + faster running + way to soon = Injury. I don't need someone telling me that I now need a Strength and conditioning coach. Just fix the problem and let me get back to my running, if it flares up again I'll come back.

Reading about Plantar Fasciitis there doesn't seem to be a fixed protocol for resolving it. Some say don't run barefoot others say do. Most people say get orthotics, except for the minimalist crowd that say its the orthotics that cause this type of problem. I also got a tip to run more barefoot, so I'm going to incorporate this into my routine by adding 10 minutes or so of barefoot running a couple of days a week. Rather than run for distance on my second run of the day, I'm just going to run to the Cloverdale hill and run barefoot on the grass there.

I'm my experience the problem is directly related to how tight my calves are, how much stretching I skip out on and how much I sit behind a desk at work. So for me massage does help as does the Foam Roller and the Stick and running in Newtons,as well as (surprisingly)a thermal massager from Dr.Scholls on the foot in question. I ran yesterday for almost an hour and never noticed anything before during or after. I have another Massage planned during the week, so all going well I'll be back to normal training in a week or so.

Thanks for reading

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Update to last post

Update to last post.

I ran in the Newton shoes again on Canada Day and this time I came away with a PB for the 15K distance, I finished 7th(?) in a time of 54:01 which compared to last year when I finished 2nd in 54:41 is a big improvement.

I ran the 1500m at the Alberta Provincial Track Championships, since this is the first 1500 I've ever raced in the time wasn't that bad. 1st Place in 4:34, I ended up doing my cool down run in a thunder and lightening storm which was kind've cool. The next day I ran a 3000m race in 9:51 came second this time. All 3 results indicate that the fitness level is going up.

- Saturday and Sunday where also the first time I've worn track spikes, it felt good to be running in them. Looking forward to running in more track races this summer.

Happy Running

Friday, July 3, 2009

The “Big Run”

On May 31st I completed the Big Run part of the Little Big Run, it was a 10K road race. I say completed rather than competed in the race, while I ran a good 10 for me I was further back in the field than I thought I would be. I guess that’s racing though some days you have to take the good with the bad and the 10k was one of the bad (fingers crossed).

I started out pretty well, was running with a good group for about 3.5K and we were running at a good pace but after a slight rise in the road I wasn’t able to stick with those guys and started to fall of the pace, for the next kilometre or so I ran with one other person, but even he left me after the wind turned to our backs. It was this middle section that I really slowed down, so either I hadn’t warmed up enough or I went out too fast or a combination of both, as I was really suffering and I got past again at roughly the 7k mark by at least one other person. After this I started to come back around and the pace picked up to what I was running for the first 3k. Time-wise it was one of the better times for a 10k but I personally wasn’t happy as I believe that I can run a lot faster for that distance.

Races like the Half Marathon and 10K’s are great at showing you what you need to work on to get faster. In my case I’ve been doing a lot of running up until now and most of it without any direction. The Half Marathon in Red Deer showed me that I need to increase my tempo run (i.e. start doing them) as well as running longer, the 10K showed me that I need to be able to run at a much faster level than I am right now, which will mean starting intervals.

The thing with adding speed to your running schedule is not adding too much speed too soon, as this will only speed up the chances of getting injured. For longer intervals (800m up) running them at your 10k is fast enough while running shorter intervals (up to 800m) at your 5K speed is fast enough to start seeing improvement, Yes you could run them faster than that, but running intervals faster makes the recovery a little longer and the risks of getting injured go up. Ideally Intervals should all be run at the same speed, or making the last one you’re fastest and then with a day’s rest/recovery in between each interval session (which would be something like Intervals on Tuesday, recovery Wednesday and then Intervals on Thursday) as this is keeping in the Hard/Easy tradition, but for some of us it takes more than one day to recover, so the best thing to do is start an interval session and if you can’t make the time on the first interval, turn that run into a recovery run and try again the next day. This is your body telling you that you haven’t recovered enough from the previous effort.

July 1st – Happy Canada Day!!

The Canada day race, since I started running it is one of those special races that you always put down on your calendar as a race to do. I have run this race 4 or 5 times now and each time is special. This year there was a very strong field lined up for the 15K with most of the top runners from around the city taking part. I didn’t know what to expect from the race as it was my first race since the Big Run 10K and I had upped my training in the weeks leading up til now. I started doing intervals of 7x 3minutes with 2minutes recovery and a tempo day of 3x9minutes with 5minutes recovery or 27minutes continuous tempo. So I was using the race to gauge where the training was going before committing to training for the Dublin City Marathon. The only problem I have with the race is it starts so early in the morning.. a 7:20am start, which this year did not feel too bad when I got up at 5am as this was not much earlier than the time I normally get out of bed to go running. As a warm up I cycled there with my friend Kevin Masters, I think it took us about 30 – minutes to ride over to the start and then start doing some strides.

The race itself is tough, as there is a huge drop in the first Kilometer, which people tend to go down very fast, and then around 3 or 4 in there is a slight hilly section that brings you from River Valley Road into the park. Once you come out of the park its up the Emily Murphy hill, this is a fairly steep climb. From there the race goes around the houses and along by the University until it doubles back on itself and its down the hill you just climbed and back towards the finish which just so happens to be at the top of that first hill you came down. While I wasn’t fighting it out for the lead I was locked in a battle of my own, AJ Rankel and I ran together from the bottom of Emily Murphy on the way to the finish, neither one of us willing to let the other go. That is until the hill to the finish where AJ was able to pull away from me, I tried to catch him just after we crested the top of the hill but I wasn’t able to get close to him.

I ended up missing finishing in under 54 minutes as I had a finishing time of 54:01, which is the fastest that I’ve ever ran for that distance. Kevin ran a really good solid race and ended up beating me by just over a minute. Sometimes you place higher in the overall but run slower and sometimes you place lower in the overall and run faster, one of these days I’ll place higher and run faster.
A couple of interesting things that I came away with from this race was I ran the first 10K in the same time I finished the Big Run in, I also ran fastest in the last 5k of the race and lastly I noticed that when my pulse would get over 170BPM it felt like there was nothing there although on the hill to the finish I got my pulse up to 180BPM. I managed to maintain an average pulse rate of 168BPM throughout the race. This indicates to me that adding both the Tempo and Interval workouts to the training is starting to pay off I need to keep them up.

Marathon Training
I have decided to use one of the training schedules from Advanced Marathoning by Pfitzinger and Douglas in the build up to Dublin. From now on I’ll add an update every week on how the training is going, there is approx. From Monday there is 16 weeks until the Dublin Marathon which is plenty of time to get into the best possible shape for the race, While I’m not doing the schedule with the most mileage I’ll still be running between 80 and 100 miles a week in this build up, this means that there is going to be a lot of double days. The schedules call for a lot of Tempo runs and not a lot of track work, which suits me and my family schedule.

What’s next?
I’m running a 1500m on Saturday and a 3K on Sunday and then it’s straight into marathon training for Dublin, with a couple of half marathons and 10K’s added from August onwards.

Happy Running

Friday, May 22, 2009

Red Deer Half Marathon

Red Deer Half Marathon
It was an early start to the day, was around 5:00am to give me a enough time to make it down to Red Deer and have a little time to warm up for the Half Marathon. Since I’ve never driven down to Red Deer, I didn’t know which exit to take and ended up driving a little further than I should have. I had heard good things about this race and it lived up to expectations. Lots of support, friendly volunteers and then lots of food after the race.

Newton shoes
Today I wore my Newton Distancia race shoes for the first time in a race, which can sometimes be a little worrying as you don’t know what to expect, have I tied the shoes tight enough? Should I have put more training miles in the shoes before using them in the race? But I have to say these shoes performed greatly. Running in the shoes felt very easy, so much so that I had to keep checking my watch to make sure I was keeping on pace and running hard. This is probably the biggest difference that I’ve noticed between these shoes and traditional running shoes you just don’t feel beat up after running in them, I’ve done long runs of two hours in these shoes and not felt beat up or done afterwards compared to runs of ninety minutes to two hours in traditional shoes and have felt wiped afterwards. The other difference that I’ve noticed is that you don’t feel the road as much as you would in a race flat, this is most likely due to the actuators on the soles of the shoes which again is why it feels like you’re going easier than you actually are, which leads to not being as beat up as you normally would. I only wish I had the fitness to have done them justice.

The Race
The Half marathon is a race that I guess I haven’t figured out completely yet due to the fact that I still haven’t quite gotten the pacing down. I started out near the front of the pack because it’s one of the safest places to be, you don’t end up trying to run around people or getting impeded by anyone but at the same time if you’re going to start at the front you have to be able to run as fast as everyone around you, otherwise you just look foolish (This reminds me a great joke told by Tommy Tiernan about his friend Declan who started the London Marathon). We went through the first kilometre mark in around 3:30 which was a little fast for me so I backed off a little as I was hoping to run in or around 3:45 – 3:50 pace for the entire race.

From a spectator view point it must’ve looked good as there was 3 or 4 of us from the FastTrax team in the front pack with Brian Torrance leading the way in the Half Marathon and Jack Cook leading the Marathon with myself somewhere inbetween, running in about fifth or sixth spot for most of the race. I went through the first 7km in a shade over 26 minutes. I was feeling good and was thinking that I could hold this pace for the entire race which would end up giving me a PB for the distance. But I think it was around the 10K point when Matt Normington flew past me, and left me for dust. Matt is a 2:20ish Marathon guy so he passing me would’ve looked like a sports car passing a diesel truck on the highway.

As the course went on it got a little bit more twisty and hillier so I guess I slowed down a little as I then went through 14K in 53:30, it was at this point that I got some company as I was joined by one other guy and both of us ran together for almost the rest of the race. We caught one of the early leaders around the 18/19K mark. The split from 14K to the finish was roughly around the same as it took the same time as the middle 7K, however just as we hit the 20K mark we hit the hill.... I was done, I couldn’t pick it up at all and started to drop back a little, luckily at the top of the hill it was all down to the finish and I could hear another racer come up behind me. I tried holding him off but I ended up getting passed with probably 2 or 3 yards to go which sucked. But what sucked more for me is the fact that I haven’t been able to get under 1:20 for this distance, today’s race was the closest that I’d come for a number of seasons.

The race was a mixture of Happy with how the shoes performed, Happy with getting a faster time than the last Half Marathon that I ran in Phoenix. But I was not happy with losing 2 places in the last K or so and definitely not happy about the finishing time. Hopefully as I build up to the Dublin City Marathon in October my training will help me get under this time.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

January - May 2009
So far this year, things have not gone exactly as planned. I hoped to be fitter than I actually am, but that’s ok as my A race is not until October, where I’ll be taking part in the Dublin City Marathon.

I started out the year with a sprained Ankle, but still managed to run a good (for me) Half Marathon down at the Phoenix Rock and Roll Marathon. Things where pretty quite then until March when I ran the Provincial indoor Championships 3k race, which I won the over 35’s event. In April I had one race which went alright, it was the St. Albert 10 Mile Road Race I managed to pull out a PB for the distance and get under the hour.

I’ve been trying to get control of a nagging injury that just doesn’t want to go away, since I’ve been battling this since the beginning of April. Tight Calf muscles, it started out in my right leg but now it feels like it has crept into both legs. I’ve gone to the Physio and had IMS needling done to my legs and I’ve had it taped, I started using “The Stick” as well as using a Foam Roller, I’ve started to stretch more and have recently gone back to Yoga classes as well as incorporating massage into my recovery. Some days I don’t feel it and other days I very aware of it, with all of the work done so far, it has loosened up a little as it doesn’t hurt to walk anymore. I have found that “The Stick” is very good at getting the calf to loosen up compared to the Foam Roller which I find just makes a sore Calf worse However when using the Stick its best to have something between your skin and the stick, unless of course you shave your legs. I’ve also started to use “The Strassburg Sock” which works like an ankle splint except that it’s less cumbersome, apart from it being pretty odd looking it’s not very comfortable to sleep with it the whole night.

I had this crop up on me while building up to the Kelowna Marathon last season, where I got IMS work done on it, It was suggested to me that I use orthotics as my feet/ankles roll way too much to the inside however this same Physio (six months) later is now telling me that I should do ALL of my running in race flats. In doing so I would be building the strength in my feet and helping the ankle gain stability. While I have read that this will help there are a lot of problems to the process. Interestingly enough I did start running in Newton running shoes, and yes my Calves hurt initially but I have gotten used to the shoes. Now I find that when I go back to regular running shoes without the Ortho that the calf tightness really becomes an issue.

If anyone does in fact read this: Has anyone ever tried to run a Marathon in very light race flats with their Ortho in the shoe? – I read somewhere that Ryan Hall raced the Boston Marathon with shoes that only weigh 4oz’s.

So this is how I plan to keep on top of it.

1. Go back to using my Ortho’s on a semi regular basis
2. Run barefoot for 5 – 10 minutes daily
3. Do some Yoga after running daily
4. Get in at least 1 Yoga class a week
5. Use “The Stick” in the evenings
6. Get a massage every couple of weeks
So what’s up next? My next race will be the Half Marathon in Red Deer and then I think it will be the 10k at the Big Run.

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