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Baby, be good, do what you should, you know it will be alright

June 3, 2014

I put off writing this blog until I could properly explain my injury and prognosis. Last week I had an arthrogram and MRI to check for a labral tear and sports hernia. Turns out I have a slight labral tear and an avulsion which has similar signs to a sports hernia.

The tear in my labrum is probably not affecting me much, if at all. The main problem is a “thin linear fluid cleft separating the pubis from the rectus abdominus-adductor aponeurotic plate, with a tiny avulsed periosteal or osseous fragment, in keeping with a right aponeurotic plate tear/adductor avulsion,” at the right pubic bone. When I first read the report I didn’t understand much. After google searches I understood a little more. This morning my doctor made it all very clear to me. Basically my rectus abdominus ripped off my pubic bone and took a little piece with it.

I’ve been feeling this pain in deferent degrees for years, I’m not really sure how long I’ve been carrying it. It’s similar to a sports hernia and it would be great to run without it. At the 2014 London marathon the muscles around my injury tightened up and it would be swell if that didn’t happen in the future.

This is an injury which needs 4-6 weeks of rest (1 week rest down) to let the bone re-attach and the muscle repair itself. That means complete rest for at least 4 weeks, no cross-training. I could elect to cross-train after four weeks but I’d rather not test it too soon and risk re-injuring myself.

Why did this happen?… It’s an repetitive overuse injury that affected my right side due to having a shorter right leg. In the future I will be running with some sort of lift in my right shoe. I still need to see an orthopedist for that.

In the past few years I’ve devoted myself to the marathon, often neglecting other aspects of my life. I have the mindset that if I’m going to pursue my dream that I’m going to do it 100%.  When running is going well it makes sense. How much more could I put on my plate? Would I have made the Olympics if I had spread myself thinner? However, when I’m stuck with six weeks of no physical activity it’s a lot of free time. I’m even weary to cruise around on my skateboard, leisure bike rides or kayak down the Speed River. The other problem is that I eat out of boredom. I don’t even own a scale but it might be a good tool to keep things from getting too out of control (a little out of hand is fine).

There are a few projects that I’ve had in the back of my mind that I might go forward with now that I have ample free time. Building a 3-D printer, planting a vegetable garden, learn how to edit video and finish Road to London, start personal coaching… I also thought about travelling, but would have to consider therapy too. The reality; lots of reading, watching movies, World Cup and full stages of Le Tour.

I’ve already sketched out possible future races (long-term outlook) depending on when I get back to running and subsequently back into shape. My main focus is 2015 when the Olympic marathon qualifying window will surely open. Speaking of teams, I think it goes without saying I won’t be going to Commonwealth Games this summer. I’ve qualified but when the team list comes out this week don’t expect to see my name on it as I already told Athletics Canada I won’t be going. That was a decision I made after London when I ran 2:13 and would have rather attempted to improve on that time in the fall.

Blog updates will be infrequent over the next couple of months. Thanks for reading.

 

I met myself in a dream

May 20, 2014

Slowly but surely my fitness is coming back. My right hip/groin/abdomen injury has been been improving except for a little setback yesterday. We did a track session (8 x 800m) that went well. I eased into the 800’s and felt good throughout and then my right hip tightened up on the cool-down. It’s a little better today after a bunch of foam rolling and I think/hope it will keep improving. Next week I have an MRI to see exactly what’s up.

This weekend I’m going to pace Gillis at the Ottawa Marathon. I feel I’m fit enough to help him out and hopefully pace him past halfway. It’s a good thing I decided to pace Gillis because it motivated me to get in shape despite my injury constantly annoying me. From Ottawa I’ll have four weeks to get in some good sessions before I head to Vancouver for the Scotiabank Vancouver Half Marathon #SVHM.

I ran SVHM in 2012 and missed the record by 6 or 7 seconds. There is a bonus for the record so it would be worth it for me to pay a little more attention to the clock this time around. It’s a fun course, running from UBC to Stanley Park with a tough go over the Burard street bridge around 18km. Press Release.

On May 31st we have the Speed River Inferno Presented by New Balance at The University of Guelph’s Alumni Stadium. If all goes well I’ll pace the 5000m at the Inferno. That depends on my recovery from pacing Ottawa. Everyone is welcome to join the Road Mile 7:30pm on the 30th and the fun run 8am on the 31st

I’m looking forward to these pacing duties. It’s a fun way to get in a solid session and I get to help out my teammates. If things are going well I can stay in longer and if I’m having an off-day I can pull the plug early. There is of course pressure to hit specific paces and I feel confident with marathon pacing. Hitting 65 second 400’s is harder because I rarely run that fast anymore.

When this party is over it will start again

May 5, 2014

What have I been up to since the London marathon? Well I took a week off and ate a lot of junk food. Speculoos on croissants was the highlight.

The following week I started running again. 5km, 6km, 7km, 8km, 9km, 10km and Sunday off. Last week I ran 144km. Starting back up was brutal, for the first three days I couldn’t run properly. My psoas and groin had seized up and I couldn’t run a comfortable stride. With time it got better but it’s still lingering.

This is an injury that I’ve had since after Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon in 2011. Every time I start back up I think I have a bad injury, but it gets better. I never felt that it affected me much. When I broke my collarbone I thought the silver lining was that my injury would finally have time to heal. Even after 6 weeks on the bike it was bad starting back up. That time I went to the doctor thinking it could have been a sports hernia. It wasn’t.

After mid-Spetember it didn’t affect me at all training for Fukuoka 2013. Once again it was tight and sore upon returning to training after the marathon. This past build-up for London 2014 I felt it affected me somewhat. Especially since it got uncomfortable on long runs. I think I was able to get away with it with all the extra core work I do around that region.

Starting back up this time it’s even worse. I made a doctor’s appointment (scheduled for tomorrow) and want and MRI to get to the bottom of it. On Friday I came to the conclusion that I can’t train with this pain anymore. After the Speed River manure sale (Friday afternoon we shovel and bag mushroom manure compost and on Saturday we deliver it all over Guelph to raise money for the club) I went running again and it was much better. This morning it was almost non-existent, we’ll see how it goes when I do a little fast running this afternoon…

I have two main worries. The first is that time-off alone won’t cure it.  Taking extended time off is no problem if I know it will be better. My previous time-off included stationary bike, so maybe it will have to be total rest. The other thing that worries me is that over the years it’s gone from an annoyance to impeding me. Maybe I can get away with it for another marathon or two but I don’t want to find myself needing time off when I try and qualify for the Olympics. So now is a good time to get it sorted out.

Other than that I’ve been hiking, house hunting, dealing with haters on trackie.ca message boards, HotDocs film fest in Toronto, Dylan’s wedding, 2048, watching a lot of bike racing and the Payton Jordan track meet.

Mouton sent an email to watch the Payton Jordan at his house with PJ being the email title. His wife thought PJ stood for pyjamas remembering how late I was over the year before. Once again there were many huge performances at Stanford. Lots of PB’s from the Speed River crew. Basically if you take off and leave shovelling manure to your teammates you better run fast!

 

Dylan’s wedding. Lots of fun!

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Guelph hike.

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Hamilton hike.

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There was still lots of snow/ice at the bottom of Tews falls at the end of April.

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Not a WWE fan but the Iron Sheik’s documentary was great. And Q&A with his was cool.

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A highlight while delivering bags of manure: We saw this car dodge another car, skid, hop up a curb and come very close to the fire hydrant.

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Chicken dinner.

 

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Picture show

April 21, 2014

Meb! Wow. The field in Boston was loaded this year and Meb comes out with the win and a 2:08:36 PB. At the age of 38 (39 in a few weeks)! Such a nice guy and inspiration.

In lieu of writing this week I’m going to post some pictures I took of Eric and Sunseri from their tempo workout on Saturday.

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Maybe I couldn’t catch up, no

April 14, 2014

I’ve never felt so relaxed going into a race. It felt foreign not being amped up, feeling pressure and nervous. There were a few reasons why I was laid back; it wasn’t really a qualifying race and there was little media speculation on the record (which was nice!). Most of all, my calmness stemmed from having a disaster of a race in NYC one month prior. After NYC my confidence was so low that I wasn’t excited at the idea of racing a marathon in a month. As I turned things around it was as though I got a second life on this marathon.  I shouldn’t have been in a position to try and run 2:09-2:11 one month after running 64:53, and yet I felt I had a shot. In the end my last few weeks of good training was probably too little too late.

Going into Fukuoka in December 2013 my training had gone so well I wasn’t sure if I’d ever get in that sort of shape again so I put a lot of pressure on myself to capitalize on that fitness (ended up 2:11:24). Whereas going into London this weekend I felt it was a build-up I could easily replicate, and most likely do better.

The thing I had going for me in London was a great group (Scott Overall 2:10:55PB, Ryan Vail 2:11:45PB, Chris Thompson debut but has run under 27:30 twice and 61 for half), a good course and ideal weather. We had a pacer in Fernando Cabada who just ran 62:54 two weeks prior to London. His job was to take us through halfway between 64:45 and 65:00 and hopefully go to 30km.

The crew the evening before the race.

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On the bus to the start line.

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The morning of the race the wind was actually stronger than we expected but the temps were perfect.  The Virgin Money London Marathon is well organized and they put on a great show. Needless to say I was pretty pumped to race on Sunday morning and in a good frame of mind.

When we were standing on the start line with less than a minute to go the crowd started counting down and I was worried someone was going to go on their “one.” How cheeky of the crowd. Luckily no one jumped the gun and 15 seconds later they had the official countdown with a horn to signal the start of the race.

Four hundred metres into the race we had our group in order, Fernando leading the four of us plus one other Brit and one Ethiopian. The more the merrier. We cruised through 5km in 15:09, which might seem fast but there is long downhill in there.

At one point a guy from the crowd ran on the course and ran beside Fernando taking a selfie video. Fernando lunged for the phone and missed, I wish he would have grabbed it. And then Nick (I gathered his name from people cheering for him) ran up to the kid and pushed him aside, we had a body guard! (The Ethiopian had already fallen off our pack).

We went through 11 miles right on pace and then slowed a bit to pass half in 65:05 where Fernando dropped out. We were hoping Fernando would go further but he was knackered and did give an even effort through 20.5 km. Nick took it upon himself to lead the group until mile 14 before pulling up, good on him! After that we were on our own and to tell you the truth I’m kind of surprised with two Brits in our group we only had one pacer.

I took a pull for a few minutes but worried I was pushing the pace so dropped back in the line and tried to get a feel for the pace before I took the lead again. By mile 15 there were just three of us (Overall was fading) and I was getting a little tired. Chris led a 5:06, Ryan led a 5:03. I didn’t feel like leading but I thought if I beat these guys and didn’t do my part I couldn’t live with myself. From mile 17 to 18 I led a 5:06 and it was then that I started to get into trouble.

I settled in behind the other two and quickly lost a bit of ground. My hips and upper quads were getting tired, tight and sore. This was going to be a problem.

For the next couple of miles I kept Chris and Ryan in sight and was going alright. Somewhere around mile 21 it became very hard to keep pace and I was unable to fight the fatigue in my hips and started to slow. Real bad.

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I caught up to Jeilan (World 10km champ) and felt good going past him and tried desperately to keep that momentum going. I kept a good pace long enough to bury him but not much longer. Passing Paulo from Brazil who finished 8th in the 2012 Olympic marathon was also a spirit lifter and also short lived. He actually started walking as I pulled up beside him. I passed one more Ethiopian and didn’t see anyone after that. He too started to walk. It’s a though I have the “pass of death.”

In the final 10 km I was doing a lot of time checks which resulted in a lot of realizations that today was going to be a 2:12 day.. and then a 2:13 day.

In the end 2:13:40 does not make me happy. Finishing 13th and one spot out of the prize money doesn’t make it any better. At the same time I’m not overly disappointed. One month ago I raced 64:53 for a half marathon and I went through halfway about 10 seconds slower and didn’t completely die.

Ryan Vail ended up 10th in 2:10:57 and Chris Thompson was 11th in 2:11:19. 12th place was the 2012 Olympic and 2013 World champion marathon Stephen Kiprotich.

Many thoughts go through my head after a race as I try to make sense of it. Sometimes I think that maybe my best days are behind me, that I can’t hack it anymore. I don’t believe that though. That thought also crossed my mind after Rotterdam last year and I went on to achieve my best fitness ever last fall. I know where I lacked in my training and I know where I can make gains. I’ve come to learn more about what works for me in these marathon build-ups and what I need to focus on more and what doesn’t work.

The timing of a small injury in Kenya, my travel dates and timing of races were not optimal and caused me to miss or adjust key sessions. This is something that I can learn from and do better next time. I also got very tired and had a few weeks where I needed all the recovery I could get and cut out my altitude tent and fasted runs. If I detect the signs of over-training sooner I can keep up with all the things I need to do. Strengthening my hips will also be something that I will look into.

Talking to Scott and Chris after the race they too had specific problems with their hips (we couldn’t figure that one out?). We found out that the other groups were further off their halfway targets than we were showing that we may have fought the wind too hard. Anyone who found themselves running alone felt the wind. Looking over results you can see that many guys were a few minutes slower than expected. Of course Wilson Kipsang made it look easy, running 2:04:29, one minute off his world record. Surprisingly 5th place was only 2:08.

Pos. Name Diff Time
1 Kipsang, Wilson (KEN) - - +00:00 02:04:29
2 Biwott, Stanley (KEN) - - +00:26 02:04:55
3 Kebede, Tsegaye (ETH) - - +02:01 02:06:30
4 Abshero, Ayele (ETH) - - +02:02 02:06:31
5 Mekonnen, Tsegaye (ETH) - - +03:37 02:08:06
6 Mutai, Geoffrey (KEN) - - +03:49 02:08:18
7 Mutai, Emmanuel (KEN) - - +03:50 02:08:19
8 Farah, Mo (GBR) - - +03:52 02:08:21
9 Lilesa, Feyisa (ETH) - - +03:57 02:08:26
10 Vail, Ryan (USA) - - +06:28 02:10:57
11 Thompson, Chris (GBR) - - +06:50 02:11:19
12 Kiprotich, Stephen (UGA) - - +07:08 02:11:37
13 Coolsaet, Reid (CAN) - - +09:11 02:13:40
14 Nimo, Pedro (ESP) - - +09:46 02:14:15
15 Livesey, Ben (GBR) - - +13:15 02:17:44
16 Tsegay, Samuel (ERI) - - +14:41 02:19:10
17 Overall, Scott (GBR) - - +15:26 02:19:55

The overall experience at the London Marathon was awesome and I would jump at another opportunity to race there again and would recommend the race to anyone.  The crowds were amazing and very supportive.

What I need is the weather from Toronto 2010, the pacer from Toronto 2011, fitness from Fukuoka 2013 and the group from London 2014. Too much to ask? haha!

Right now the thought of consistent, hard training gets me excited. But my mind is ahead of my legs because they’ll need a couple weeks of recovery.

Scott Overall’s London Blog.

5km Splits

0-5km:       15:09
5-10km:     15:33
10-15km:   15:27
15-20km:   15:34
20-25km:   15:23
25-30km    15:41
30-35km:   16:19
35-40km:   17:04
last 2.2km: 7:30

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Not in Knightsbridge anymore

April 7, 2014

A little shake-up on the blogroll… Watson now blogs on Canadian Running Magazine (there is a link to the mag). I also added two blogs which I frequently read. Ryan Vail details his, impressive, training. He’s gearing up for London too. In the past I hesitated to put Mike Woods’ blog up because it’s not a running blog. However, it’s one of my favourite blogs and I enjoy delving into the cycling world. Oh ya, I also reinstated teammate Chris Winter after a blogging hiatus.

Now that I’ve taken down my volume I’m feeling better everyday. By ‘better’ I mean those little aches and tightness are disappearing and I feel good in the first couple minutes of my runs, as opposed to taking 10 minutes to feel comfortable.

I’ll get my stuff organized today, packed tomorrow and take-off eh on Wednesday.

Sportsnet One is airing the marathon on TV starting at 8:30am on Sunday. Avoid Twitter Sunday morning if you’re going to go that route. Of course there will be live feeds too and Trackie.ca is usually a good place to start. The Men start at 10am London time (5am EST), 45 minutes after the women.

Here is the updated (April 2) start list for the elite men:

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The way I see it, it’s very possible that there will be 5 to 7 of us running in a second (or third) pack.

 

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It’s not too late to feel a little more alive

March 31, 2014

Less than two weeks to go, I can start to bring down the volume and get my body ready for 42.2km on April 13th.

The past week was a pretty typical week: 200km, 2 specific sessions, one stride session and one long run (30km).

On Thursday we did 5 x mile on a road loop. I went into this workout conservatively because the last time I did a similar session it was awful. That particular poor session was about 10 days before the NYC half marathon down in Auburn. There were a couple reasons why it was a pitiful workout. It was windy, but mainly, I was tired. I already wrote in a previous blog about being tired going into this session but I left out the awful travel experience with VIA rail hoping they would reimburse me once I wrote to them. No such luck.

My trip to Auburn, Alabama started with a trip to Detroit. It was my Dad’s 60th birthday (my parents live outside of Detroit) and I was able to book a Detroit to Atlanta flight and then Atlanta to NYC flight for $5 using Delta points. My flight after NYC was back to Toronto so I decided to book a train down to Windsor for comfortable travel and I wouldn’t need to leave my car stranded.

Friday Feb 28th was a nice sunny day but for some reason VIA rail cancelled the train and put us on a bus (it sucked, but fair enough). The bus departed 2 hours after we were scheduled to leave. The bus stopped at all the train stations so it was a long bus ride. In London they put everyone who was continuing their journey in taxis. The taxi they asked me to ride in was already occupied by three other passengers. Two large people in the back with their coats and carry-on bags left with me a few inches between them for a 2 hour taxi ride. I told the VIA rail employee I didn’t want to cram in there so I decided to wait for the next train. Well the next train wasn’t coming for five hours, I would completely miss my Dad’s birthday if I waited. So I jumped in a taxi and paid $250 figuring VIA might reimburse me since they were paying for taxis anyways, not the case. They replied that cramming into a taxi was or waiting for a train were my options. Had I waited for the train my trip would have taken 11.5 hours, it’s a 3 hour drive!

In the end a 3 hour drive took me 7.5 hours and cost me an extra $325 because by the time I arrived in Windsor I no longer had a ride and hired another taxi. (The first taxi driver didn’t have his passport).

The next morning I took out my frustrations on a 35km run and then flew to Atlanta en route to Alabama. A few days later I had a 75 minute tempo run. Needless to say I was tired a few days later for the track session.

Back to last thursday’s mile session… I purposely started slow (4:37) and then averaged 4:29 for the last four. Perhaps I could have pushed harder but more than anything I wanted to keep progressing faster and knew I shouldn’t take risks.

Today the temperatures finally cracked 10C, and yes, I shaved after the workout.  It felt good running without extra layers and seemed much easier run fast. 25 minutes at 3:04/km and then 15 minutes at 3:00/km and 10 minutes at 3:00/km. I just have to keep this momentum going into London Marathon.

 

A cool little piece on the 1976 Olympic Marathon.

 

A cool pic of us running though Central Park.

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