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I’d like to fly, but my wings have been so denied

March 17, 2014

I’m in a hole right now. These things can happen during marathon training.

Going into New York City Half I had a couple good workouts but one really bad one 9 days out. There were a couple other runs where I felt more tired than normal too. My hope was that two easier training days going into the race would let me perform on the day and I could wipe out any doubts that I was having.

Yesterday at NYC Half I ran 64:53, about a minute and 45 seconds slower than I expected and pretty much a PW (personal worst). If anything it casted more doubts.

It was pretty cold in NYC yesterday morning and after standing on the starting line for a while the race started out slow. I felt really good in the first mile, which was no surprise when I saw 5:10 on the clock. I knew someone would push the pace and Jake Riley took it upon himself to get the race going at an honest pace.  I was ready for the pace to pick-up and ran with the lead group for a couple more miles before it broke apart on an uphill at the North end of Central Park.

I found myself in a group with Gillis, Brett Gotcher, and a handful of Ethiopians and Kenyans. By 12km I was feeling flat and tired. Shortly later I dropped off that pack but still kept an honest pace for a couple km.  Close to the 15km mark I started to slow a lot and was dejected when I saw my 15km split while everyone was running away from me. I knew it wasn’t my day out there and I could have fought harder but didn’t have the motivation. At some point I decided that this was going to be a good marathon workout, not the fast fast set-up race I was looking for. I know this isn’t how I should be thinking in a race, but it is what it is.

By 20km I was over a minute slower than anticipated and that’s where I really threw in the towel. It’s frustrating to know that I can run that pace with a lot less training.

After the race my shoulders, chest and diaphragm were really sore. It’s not something that overly bothered me during the race, but I’ve never felt so uncomfortable up top like that after a race. I seem to have recovered fine, I felt good running today. Too good for after a half. I’d trade fresh legs for a good race in a heartbeat.

The result was a downer but, I believe it is still beneficial that I raced. I’d rather know where I stand and get things right before the London marathon. This is a wake-up call. It’s made me ask a lot more questions than I would ever ask myself after a decent performance.

Although my confidence is low right now I have no doubt that I can turn things around with three weeks of solid training. Plus being at home in my routine, getting the proper rest, recovery and nutrition. I say three weeks because I’ll need to feel solid going into my taper week.  My confidence is low but my outlook is positive. I know things can change quickly. I have been training consistently for two and half months, I know there is better fitness in me somewhere, I just need to be able to bring it to London.



  1. March 17, 2014 10:52 pm

    Don’t take it too hard, I saw the temperature and that was bound to be a bad day. I’ll blame the temperature 🙂 Just keep workin’ at er’ and you’ll get there. We all know the saying from the first year of running, “what you get out of it is what you put in.” I think that remains true here. Put in what you’ve got over the next 3 weeks, and you’ll get out what you expect 🙂

    Keep your stick on the ice!

  2. Aaron permalink
    March 18, 2014 2:30 am

    Tough break, Reid, knowing that you were expecting more from yourself. Get in the hard work you’ve planned and hopefully a full taper will set you up for a great race in London!

  3. March 18, 2014 6:43 am

    Bad days happen, sometimes for difficult to understand reasons. Don’t stop believing in your marathon, you’ve had a great training cycle. It’s not like you suddenly turned into a “slow” runner. Keep up the good work!

  4. March 18, 2014 8:47 am

    hey reid – we still believe in you and know that you can trust your training. keep fine tuning that computer between your ears and london may well surprise you in all good ways!

  5. March 18, 2014 9:54 am

    We all believe in you, Reid! Sorry the NY run wasn’t what you wanted it to be, but you have turned it into a learning experience and that is the right thing to do! Hope this snow goes away soon so you can have some good Spring days to train – Know we are all ‘behind’ you – we surely couldn’t be ‘with’ you on the race, but our spirits will keep up with you and you’ll feel our support each step of the way.

  6. Tim Uuksulainen permalink
    March 18, 2014 12:02 pm

    sometimes less is more. Also I remember Wayne Yetman Canadian marathoner for the Toronto Olympic Club running a tune up marathon in February in preparation for the 1976 Cnd olympic marathon trial with a disappointing 2.47. He could have panicked but he didn’t. He had a couple of short 10km races and then won the trials in 2.16 and represented Canada with Jerome Drayton and Tom Howard.

  7. Shane Lavell permalink
    March 18, 2014 1:17 pm

    One solid session will erase NYC. Didn’t Ryan Hall run not much faster a few weeks before he went 2:04 in Boston? Kudos to Gilles… 29:40 last 10k good running!

  8. Ruben C permalink
    March 18, 2014 2:18 pm

    I have to commend you, even though it wasn’t your day, you were still able to look back at everything and chalk it up to “it is what it is” and not further beat yourself up. Here’s hoping you find answers to those questions you were asking yourself after the race. Keep calm and Canada On!

  9. March 18, 2014 6:19 pm

    Another well written, honest description of a day in the life of a dedicated racer. Thank you Reid and best of luck with your up coming training. Looking forward to cheering you on in London.

  10. March 19, 2014 8:10 am

    Tough race, way to grit out! Being healthy with London a few weeks out is still a great result, even if you couldn’t race hard. Looks like you are rocking the 1400 V2, I used them for the first time in a race on Sunday and thought they felt great over a half.

  11. Philippe V-D permalink
    March 19, 2014 10:27 am

    You wil be fine Reid for London. Don’t forget that your are an example of regularity. You always perform super great in races. You just had a bad day, a lot of us had a hard time Sunday (if was right behind you had the start and said hello…). It was really cold and for me anyway it never felt easy….my 10k split was 45 seconds behind what I was expecting and a time that I do almost every other week in my tempo runs and I feel great. KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK you are an inspiration for a lot of Canadian runners!

  12. March 19, 2014 2:13 pm

    Unless you tapered for this race, you shouldnt worry.

  13. March 19, 2014 7:23 pm

    Hey Reid – I totally respect all of our other top runners in this great country Eric, Rob & Dylan are amazing athletes and getting better every day but when push comes to shove – My money is on you – You are mentally strong and can get the job done – Good luck in London and recapture that fire buddy…..The marathon life is short so get after it

  14. chicken little permalink
    March 19, 2014 8:18 pm

    I don’t know what is your take on it, but the best grandmother recipes when your are in a down is to take a daily tiny scoop of beta alanine during 2 or 3 weeks. It cast the demons away of your body for days… I don’t swear by this supplements but years ago was looking into something to support vegetarian training. It sure is the most efficient and legal supplement for running. It’s the only one I will use once or twice a year when I am a low. As your body recover, so is your spirit. A great value I suppose.

  15. keldog permalink
    March 21, 2014 12:00 pm

    I wouldn’t read too much into a B race result… take is it shows that your training is right on the edge…predicting a race day performance from a race result 4 weeks out is not an accurate gauge…if anything it should give you the confidence to do a full taper knowing you’ve done the work… Best of luck in London…Hope your representing with maple leaf on race day…

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