Five years later: Victoria again!

In about one month I’ll be running the Victoria Marathon again.  This will be my fifth marathon.  Since I returned to running I’ve covered a lot of miles. Most of them in Vancouver (see heat map below). But in a lot of other places as well. It’s been a lot of fun. Some pain (a few pulled muscles here and there). A lot of hard work. A handful of races. Overall I’m enjoying it.  🙂 Heat map all time

Victoria in 2012 was my first marathon.  It’s nice to come back in 2017 for my fifth marathon. For the past several years I’ve focussed on half marathons, 10k and 5k races. Late last spring I decided it was time to do at least one more marathon but this time, rather than shoot for BQT I’d just aim for around 4 hours and see what happens.  My training has focussed more on endurance than speed this time round.  We’ll have to see how it goes.

But before Victoria I’m doing another half marathon.  This one is on Bowen Island and is called the Handlogger’s Half Marathon.  It’s a trail run with a fair bit of elevation gain and (to be honest) some rather terrible sections. The sections of the route that I have walked and/or run are all pretty mountainous, narrow, trails.  By all accounts is a small friendly field.

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Back on track

The 2015 Fall Classic snuck in between rainstorms.  We had a great morning around 7C with a light breeze.

With this run I seem to be back on track.  The 1:50:16 time was by no means a record for me (far from it, PB is 1:37:59 on the First Half, 2014).  Falling off of my Oct 2014 10k PB  (0:43:04) and then a solid 2014 Fall Classic (1:39:39) I didn’t give my self enough time to recover and by January found myself at a very reduced training level. Having worked myself back to where all is recovered I’m set to slowly ramp up on the training toward the 2016 First Half.

Ultimately the goal is to run for life, not a particular record. But, honestly, we all like to set goals that are just a little beyond our reach.  Mine had been a several year hunt for a BQT (sub 3:30:00 42.2k).  I’m thinking that I might target the next age group QT: 3:40:00 or even give it a bit to go for the next age category of 3:55:00 😉 In terms of my next half my target is 1:40:00 – 1:45:00.

 On the road again …  

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Mid-year Review

Six months into 2015.  Two half marathons, one full marathon, one five k race.  The new year began with having to scale back on the volume of running as I allowed my body to catch up to my training.  An early January training run turned into the start of a series of physio appointments and worries about injury.  While nothing was specifically wrong I came to the realization that I needed to slow down the training pace and restructure my training a bit.  Essentially hip flexors and lower abdominal muscles were telling me: “slow down!”

The first run after cutting back was the First Half where I clocked in one of my slowest times ever: 1:55:19.  Only to be topped last week during my heatwave ScotiaHalf time of 1:58:37.  The First Half was physically painful as I essentially limped over the final km of the run.  The ScotiaHalf was excruciating due to the heat. As it turned out by the end of June all the aches and pains of early January were gone but now the cardio was below par. The unseasonably hot and humid Vancouver temperature (around 28C by the end of the race at 9:30 am) had some impact, but I can’t place all the blame on the weather. 🙂

Sprinting across Burrard Bridge.

Sprinting across Burrard Bridge.

Meanwhile I managed to have a great Canada Day Run here at UBC.  My 5km time was a personal course PB at 21:34 (15th place overall, 1/13 in age category), about 50 seconds off my 5km BP of 20:41.

Now it’s time to start building back.  My next two goal runs are the Fall Classic in November and the First Half early in 2016.

Half Year Running Totals, Jan. 1 – June 30, 2015.

  • Total km = 1129.
  • Median distance = 8km.
  • 122 individual runs.
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New Year’s Eve running wrap up

Running to the finish, BMO 2014

Running to the finish, BMO 2014

2014 came to a close with a great 9.7km run through Pacific Spirit Park at UBC. A modest fun run to cap a great year of running.  This year I put in 3,536km with 325 individual runs (last year was slightly more at 3,574km and 328 runs).  Running races is fun, but to be honest it’s the regular runs that I do along the year with family, friends, and collegupges that are the most engaging.  Also nice are the runs that I manage to do while travelling for work or for pleasure.

This year I’ve been able to run in the following locales: Albuquerque, Calvert Island (Haika Institute),  Juneau, Lach Klan, Osaka Japan, Prince Rupert, Portland, and Washington D.C.. It’s a fun way to get to know a new place or to reconnect to a place one has visited before: seeing a place from the vantage of a run transform a location and always serves up surprises.

I’ve also added four personal bests this year.  Three overall PB’s and one race PB.  I’ve shifted my times for the full marathon to (finally!) under four hours: 3:59:15 (BMO May 2014).  The First Half  (Feb. 2014) brought my half marathon time to 1:37:59.  I pushed into new territory with my 10km time at the fall Rock & Roll  (Oct. 2014)with a 0:43:04 time.  Earlier in the year I set a personal best in the SunRun with a 0:44:15 time.

My goals for the coming year are fairly modest.  While I do plan on running the May Vancouver Marathon again, this year I am looking to simply meet or modestly beat last year’s time.  For the half marathon I’m currently training for the First Half in February again.  If I can run between 1:36:00 & 1:37:30 I will be pleased.  My primary goal, however, is just to keep running and aim for accumulating 4,000km total distance in 2015!

Happy New Year!

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1391: days on the run!

1,391. The number of days running since the end of what I jokingly refer to as my two decade anomaly. That is, the decades of my 30’s and 40’s when my focus and life shifted toward career and children and my weight drifted up and my fitness fell down.

I’ve recently skimmed a book, Go Wild, that describes very closely the approach that I gravitated to almost naturally once I said no sugar (not an absolute ban, but a general rule).  As Ratey and Manning point out weight falls away once one cuts out sugar.  Sugar and many of the processed foods that we eat today are in fact little more than recycled waste from the industrial agriculture industry.  But. My point in cutting sugar really wasn’t to drop my weight – that was a happy unintended consequence.   My point was to deal with the headaches and assorted pains and discomforts that comes from consuming an industrial poison.

People ask me if my running doesn’t cause my knees to hurt.  That misses the point.  My knees have never hurt so much as when I was eating industrial processed foods.  Running takes me into a new domain of health and wellbeing.  Earlier on in my renewed exploration of running I read Born to Run. A page turner first person account of discovering long distance running and an informative handbook rolled into one enjoyable read. Here was described an account of running without injury and at near elite levels. We are born, evolved, to run.  Any other conclusion is one rooted in corporate ad campaigns and disinformation.



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Four years later!

Four years back on the running path.  I jokingly refer to my 30s and 40s as my two decade anomaly.

Since August I’ve chalked up two more half marathon personal bests with my First Half run in February taking my time down to 1:37:59 (chip time), 26/118 in age division and 364/1930 overall and my Fall Classic run of 1:38:43. I ran the Skagit Flats Marathon, enjoyed it thoroughly, but still managed not to cross the 4 hour barrier (4:10:32): next time!  The next big race on the schedule is the Vancouver Marathon.  Last year I ran it 4:03:30 (my current marathon PB).  While I would like to run close to 3:30:00, I will be pleased to cross the 4 hour mark and bring my result into a sub-4 time, 3:45:00 would make my day. 🙂

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Trust your coach, trust your training!

Trust your coach, trust your training, trust yourself! A nice sentiment from a Canadian Olympic runner.  In teaching, something similar could be said: trust your teacher, trust your learning process, trust yourself.  At the start of any process, academic or athletic, one needs to be able to count on this triangle of learning – mentor, process, and self.

Since I began training with a running coach over a year ago now I have seen my overall fitness and running capacity incrementally build.  This can be seen tangibly in the personal bests (PB’s) that I have been adding up these past six months.

In March I ran my first competitive 5km course with a 21:06 gun time finish (21:02 chip).  Then in June I was able to pare off a few seconds to cross the 21 minute barrier with a PB time of 20:44 gun time (20:42 chip).

My Vancouver Sun Run times have been slowly improving over the past few years.  This April I set my new 10km PB with a time of 44:37.  My previous Sun Run time was 47:16.  I’m looking forward to pushing the time down closer to 40 minutes next time I run a 10km race.

My best improvement has been my half marathon time.  My previous half marathon times were around 1:46:00.  Running the Scotia Half this May I not only did a a PB, I pushed my time below 1:40 with a gun time of 1:39:28 and a chip time of 1:39:11.  It was arguably my most enjoyable run of the period.

In the Duathlon category – that strange combination race of running (2 sets of 5km) plus biking (20km)- I made a serious improvement cutting my overall time by about 5 minutes from my first time with a 1:24:58 time in March and then a further improvement of a minute faster to PB at 1:23:54 this past July.Eventually these times will plateau and then as time takes its toll slowly recede.  But for now I am still building up and improving my running fitness.  In three weeks I’ll run my third full marathon where I hope to continue adding to my PB list.

Ultimately this success comes from trusting my coach and my training.  I still have doubts in my self from time to time, but when I set that aside and listen to my coach improvements come forward.

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