During scheduled downtime when the weather gets nice and I’m healthy I have to force myself not to run. And just like when I force myself not to air drum when I hear In The Air Tonight, every once in a while I crack. So I ended up running twice during my two weeks “off,” no big deal. The next week I ran a little more (~100km) and last week I ran 160km, just easy running. This week I will add in some quality (grade C quality) which I call “training to train.”
I have the luxury to ease into training because I’m not peaking until the fall and my first race effort will be the Scotia Vancouver Half on June 23rd. In the meantime I’m really looking forward to going to the Saskatchewan Marathon (May 26th) with Dylan Wykes to talk at the pasta dinner. A couple of days later (May 28th) there is going to be a great track meet at the University of Guelph. Despite the ridiculously long title (The Speed River Inferno presented by New Balance), the lack of website and a satellite website to purchase tickets this will be a quality track meet.
What a week its been for Boston, the running community and, frankly, everyone. Before I boarded my flight on Monday out of Amsterdam I was tracking the Boston marathon on Twitter. My good friend Rob Watson was in the lead 24km into the race so I waited to the last minute to board the flight in order to maximize my updates. When the plane took off I was already anxious to see the results seven and half hours later.
The second we landed I turned on my phone and my text messages popped up on my screen. There was an unusual amount of messages. One from my mom read “I’m sure you are aware of the Boston tragedy…” and others asking if I was in Boston. One from the CBC asking for comments. My first thought was that someone I knew died because when I think of a tragedy at a marathon my first thoughts are to Ryan Shay and Danny Kassap. My mind was scrambling to make sense of what was going on and as I started to scroll through Twitter it was quickly apparent that there had been bombings at the Boston Marathon. I scrolled though tons of tweets gathering all sorts of information in reverse chronology. I couldn’t believe that actually happened.
As I held the finishing banner for yesterday’s Yonge Street 10k race and watched many runners come through the finish I thought about the Boston tragedy. The finish line is a place for celebration and as you watch people cross the line you witness lots of emotions, it’s a beautiful thing. Why would anyone want to cause harm to these people challenging themselves and to their loved ones who are there supporting them?
I’m off to Boston tomorrow for a few days for a New Balance engagement.
It’s been a week since Rotterdam and I’ve managed to clear my lungs (with the help of antibiotics and plenty of rest). I will take another week off of running, which will be pretty hard because the nice weather has finally graced us in Southern Ontario and my body and mind are ready to go. Some people who have come up to me this past week to talk about the race have expected me to be pretty down about having had to drop out of Rotterdam, which is not the case. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not happy with the way things went but some things were out of my control and I learned a lot. I was sick going in but I never would have known how it would have effected me unless I pushed my body really hard, so I tried.
When I walked the last 5km of the Rotterdam course I was replaying what just went down and thinking about the future. My level of excitement for a fall marathon trumped the feelings of disappointment from Rotterdam. What is to come, and the fact I am not injured, are the reasons why I’m not dwelling on the misfortune of Rotterdam. It was also a relief to be able to move on from this particular marathon build-up.
My build-up was not perfect, I was not completely happy, I was questioning a lot of things and contemplating very big changes. My coach Dave Scott-Thomas was in Rotterdam with me and it felt like old times, productive and positive feelings. Over the race weekend I got the feeling that the changes I needed were possible without making any drastic changes. My confidence to get back to where I want to be, the training I need to do and the support group to help me get there are in place.
My focus is on a fall marathon and the goal is to chase a fast time. The first step is to build a big base and enjoy running in the trails. I will start to race in June and I will focus on a few competitive road races over the summer. I want to race a little more and mix it up with some guys who will take me out of my comfort zone.
A shot before the race, when I still had hopes of running well.
A big fat DNF for Rotterdam. My first DNF in a marathon and my second DNF ever. Both DNF’s have come a few days after being quite sick. Sick to the point where a few days out I didn’t think there would be any chance of racing and then convincing myself the day before the race that I was ‘good enough.’
After being sick three weeks ago I never totally got back to 100% as my cold lingered, although my energy levels felt pretty good over the past two weeks. Perhaps it was the dry air on the airplane that caused my congestion to cloud my lungs again. By Wednesday my body was fighting pretty hard and I felt shelled. On Thursday I couldn’t even think of going for a slow jog and just laid around all day thinking about trying to get into the Hamburg Marathon a week later. On Friday there was some life coming back and decided that if I saw more improvement on Saturday then Sunday could be OK.
On Saturday night I committed to racing Rotterdam and decided I was not going to budge with my goal of sub 2:10. Up until then I hadn’t cared about weather, pacing and other stuff that I normally think about because it seemed trivial compared to feeling like complete crap.
The race went off at 10:30 under cool conditions and I quickly got into the pack which was targeting 65:00 for the first half. The plan was to pick up the pace at 21km when the wind would be at our back. We split 15:25 for the first 5km. The next 10km was 30:24 and it felt very good. We were heading into the wind again after 16km and we had a few slow km splits but because we were ahead of pace at 15km it was fine. Well I thought it was fine but a Dutch coach didn’t and yelled to the pacers to run faster at 19km. They picked it up and ran 2:56 for that km which caused Koen to fall off a bit, myself a bit more and Gotcher a little behind me. Gotcher ran that km in 2:59.
I didn’t think running the second half of the race solo was going to get me the time I was shooting for so I made a big effort to catch back up to the pack. I hitched back on but it was a lot of effort and when I rolled through halfway in 64:50 doubts started to creep in. I fell off the pack, the ‘elastic broke,’ as they say, but I was still able to keep it honest until the bridge (uphill) just past 25km. That hill took the wind out of my sails and I started recalculating my goal to a sub 2:11 if I could get back onto a decent pace. I had some good patches and some rough ones. The rough ones started lasting longer and longer. It also started to get pretty warm, especially relative to the recent Canadian weather.
By 30km I was feeling rough and when I saw 1:33:19 at 30km I lost my motivation and could tell by the way I was feeling it was going to get ugly. Before it got too ugly I decided to just jog back to the finish. I jogged 5km but then my SI joint was getting a little sore and I decided it was not worth injuring myself or digging a hole.
I walked the rest of the marathon, stopping to watch the race on a big screen and grabbing some drinks. I actually came by the finish line at 3:04 although I didn’t actually go over the finish line. The Dutch guys who have PB’s of 2:09 and 2:10 ran 2:13 and 2:12 today. Brett Gotcher (PR 2:10) also stopped running around the same time as I did.
Maybe I shouldn’t have started the race, I knew it was a gamble considering how the last month had gone but sometimes you just have to see what you got. Now it’s time to take a proper break and get a full recovery.
Thanks for tuning in. And thanks to Mike Morgan for suggesting the blog a title.
This video is from March 8th, right after two months of solid marathon training in Kenya and before I had my foot injury and got sick.
Another boring blog…
Two out of three of my sessions this week were good, I’ll take it. The Monday and Saturday sessions on the roads went well but Wednesday’s track session was sub-par. Wednesday was windy and cold and times were slower for everyone, but my 1600m intervals were even slow for the conditions. Fortunately I came back with some solid 10 minute intervals on Saturday, which were close to the same pace as my 1600′s.
The plan this week is to leave Tuesday night and get to Rotterdam by mid-day on Wednesday. The real taper began today and this week will be very light leading up to the marathon. As of now I don’t know of any live race feed.
They are calling for seasonably warm weather on Sunday with some forecasts as high as 22C! Let’s hope it doesn’t warm up until later that afternoon (race starts at 10:30am local time).
Looks as though Paul is getting close to finishing Road to London… From his twitter:
I can’t recall ever putting as much pressure on myself to execute one workout as I did on Friday. In my head I know it’s never about one workout, it’s about the combination of workouts over a period of time which really matters.
In my past three marathon build-ups I’ve always nailed my half marathon race and had marathon specific sessions week after week. During this build-up the half marathon wasn’t quite what I wanted and since then I haven’t felt like I’m training for a marathon, partly because my foot flared up and then I got sick. Since last Sunday I started feeling better and I got a nice little session on Wednesday to make sure I felt good enough to tackle a longer effort two days later. I felt as though Friday’s marathon specific session was going to tell me a lot about my marathon fitness.
On Friday I had a 70 minute tempo run. I usually do a 90 minute tempo a little earlier in the build-up and perhaps I could have handled a 90 minute tempo but then I would be rolling the dice in regards to digging a hole and not fully recovering. Anyways, the plan was to drop the pace down every 20 minutes, hoping that the last 10 minutes would be under marathon race pace. Luckily the weather cooperated (maybe a little windy but nothing too bad) and I was feeling pretty good. I ran the first 20 minutes at 3:10/km, right where I wanted to be. Unfortunately my progression was not as steep as I wanted and I only ran faster than marathon pace for the last five minutes.
I was pleased enough with the session even though I was hoping for something a little quicker. There are still a few more hard sessions to go before I fly to the Netherlands, have to keep the momentum rolling. And get the nice weather rolling too!
Here are the elite men’s entries for the Rotterdam marathon
|10.||John Nzau Mwangangi||Kenya||debut|
Atsedu Tsegay (Eth, debut),
Joel Kimurer (Ken, 2.08.18)
Gidena Gebremedhin (Eth, 2.08.28)
Brett Gotcher (US, 2.10.36)
Reid Coolsaet (Can, 2.10.55)
Birhanu Melese (2.12.38)
Alebachew Debas Wale (Eth, 2.13.37)
Mike Morgan (US, 2.14.22)
Willem Van Schuerbeeck (Bel, 2.16.14)
Stijn Fincioen (Bel, 2.17.57)
Benjamin Barbier (Bel, debut)
Dieter Vanstreels (Bel, debut)
Javier Guerra (Spa, debut)
|Christiaan de Lie||2.24.46|
Check out this picture, look for the little Canadian flag on a toque (slightly right of middle). I didn’t do myself any favours picking a spot on the start line two weeks ago!
Last Sunday I was nursing a foot injury so I decided to put off writing a blog so I could deliver good news.
I recovered from the half marathon fairly well and felt fine on my runs the following few days. It was cold and snowy back in Guelph so we did some km repeats on the indoor track last Wednesday and the workout went well but when I went to cool-down there was a pain in my foot. I’ve had the same pain before, once in 2002 and once in 2008, and knew my cuboid bone was ‘locked up.’ A couple of chiro sessions before the weekend didn’t fully get it in the right place and by Sunday I was getting a little worried. After a four more chiro sessions in two days it felt pretty good and I was on my way.
This past Wednesday I had another good session which was a little short to set-up a long session for the weekend. I had a sore throat which turned into a lot of congestion so I took it really easy for a couple of days. Unfortunately it got worse, I have a very congested chest, and there was no long marathon pace session this weekend. I believe it’s gotten better since yesterday morning but that might just be wishful thinking. It feels very similar to the bronchitis I had last year and with three weeks to go until race day I can’t afford to take that much time away from any fast paces. By the time I would be ready again it would be too close to the race for any big sessions.
The best option is that this clears up in the next day or two and I can get a decent session in 18 days out from the race. If it’s bronchitis and I need to go on antibiotics then I can run Rotterdam off a month long taper, or find a good race once week later so I can reload with a couple of good marathon sessions before I taper. Until next week…
Gotta get some sleep.