Tuesday, December 23, 2008

And we're here...

We have some intermittent internet here so I will post when I can.  

After crazy flights and running across Terminal 1 of Toronto to catch a flight that was leaving without us, we ended up in Barbados only two hours behind schedule, but a little more worn.  

Barbados has been nothing short of spectacular so far - clear ocean water, white sand, sun with just enough cloud to give a short respite from the heat.  

I went for my first run today.  The traffic here is a little more crazy than I remember, but fortunately we are close to the Garrison race track, a thoroughbred race track with a running trail around the interior.   A three minute jaunt up to the track and a few loops around the less traveled roads around the track and back to finish with a 15 minute barefoot run along the beach - a 54 minute run in all.  I kept it very controlled and slow so as to not overheat on the first day and and so that I would feel good at the end, but how can you not feel good when your run ends in the Caribbean Sea?

That's right, it can't.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

En Route...

 Sonja and I sit in the departure lounge of YVR wondering if the snow storms will subside prefectly and allow us free passage through to Barbados.  Yes, that's right...Barbados.  I know some of you are jealous, but don't feel too badly - I will think of you when I am running sans chemise.  Did you know that YVR has free internet?  I KNOW!  It must be one of the only Canadian airports to have allow its passengers the opportunity to surf without gouging them.

For the flight I have two peanut butter and jam sandwhiches, some Camino chocolate, Sour Patch Kids, Swedish Berries, almonds, and movies (Revenge of the Sith, Strictly Ballroom, and I rented Run, Fat Boy, Run from iTunes which was an altogether painless process).  

I also ran into the venerable Kelly Guest, an unexpected Christmas treat, as he and Amy head back to London to see what real snow looks like.  What was even odder than seeing Kelly was finding a random copy of The Way Of The Peaceful Warrior lying on the table where you are supposed to bag your liquids before going through security.  What makes it odd is that about five years ago Kelly told me to read that book.  I did.  And while it doesn't reach its claim to be life changing, it is a thoughtful book and one that should be sitting randomly on a table outside security in an airport, waiting for someone to pick it up.  I left it for that person to find.

I am not sure what internet access I will have in Barbados, but I will update the blog when I can.  I would like to take this chance to wish everyone who follows my humble blog (and thanks to those who have recently let me know!), a safe and wonderful holiday season.  

Friday, December 19, 2008

From ESPN...

Worth the watch when you have 10 minutes to sit quietly....

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Four seconds

A lot can happen in four seconds.

You can take a picture that will change the world.  

You can flip through 8 channels.

You can make a buzzer beating basket.

You can run 10 meters.

You can die.

Sorry for the seemingly melodramatic ending to that, but tonight four seconds, 10 meters, separated me from the car traveling 120 km/hr over the curb and into a tree.  I didn't see it coming as I was running west along the Hastings St sidewalk uphill.  What was unseen was a Dodge Viper weaving through traffic, losing control, careening toward the sidewalk at a 45 degree angle at over 100 km/hr.  I heard it and everything was done in less than 2 seconds.  From out of my peripheral vision into my path, the car jumped the curb, bounced of one tree and ricocheted off another back into traffic, crumpling and losing tires and panels in the process.  I came to a stop, confused at how the car could be driving at that angle on that street and, then a moment later, how the person in the car was able to walk away unscathed.  It was only in speaking to another witness a few minutes later that I came to understand the reckless driving that lead to the event and how lucky I am to be at home and not in the hospital.  Her words were "You are the luckiest person in the world right now.  I thought he was going to hit you."  Apparently someone was looking out for me.  

Thank you.

I am fine because I really didn't see the event unfold.  Had I seen the car coming at me and been unable to move and/or just got out of the way, I might be a little more shaken, but as it is, it looked like a movie and similarly to watching a film, I feel a certain distance from it.  But when I got home I thought things through a little.  If I was looking for a sign about what to do, I don't think I could have received a stronger one than this.  So, as it stands at this moment, I am working on my application for the Marathon of Hope 2009, with the caveat that there are many things between now and January 8th that may necessitate that I not apply.  Until those things materialize, if they materialize, I am going to put my name into the ring.  Whether it gets chosen is another thing, but once in a lifetime means that you only get one chance.  Seems like tonight I was given my chance.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Hmmmm...Should I?

This just came across my email today and I am kind of considering it.  For those of you who have been around the blog awhile, you know my respect and admiration of Terry Fox runs deep.  Vote for what you think in the comments section.  I am on the fence about the possibility, somewhere between concern for health and financial well-being and once-in-a-lifetime opportunity....

Greetings Canadian athletes,

Are you a passionate athlete who draws inspiration from Terry Fox’s Marathon of Hope?

At CBC Television, we are presently creating a program which would illustrate in detail what Terry accomplished in 1980. The event will reacquaint new and existing generations with Terry’s example of athleticism, determination and self-sacrifice.

A team of twelve runners will start the marathon in St. John’s, NFLD on April 12th. Each participant will attempt to run 3,339 miles in 143 days - matching Terry’s daily mileage - arriving in Thunder Bay, ON on Labour Day weekend. Our camera crews will document the journey from the first day of training through to the end of the run, providing viewers with updates on the participants and their fundraising efforts.

Our first episode, to air in April on CBC, will see the introduction of the participants and the stakes set for the run. Terry’s enduring and building legacy will be highlighted. We are working in conjunction with the Terry Fox Foundation, who in the past have declined proposals where the intent is to symbolically or literally finish the Marathon of Hope. This concept does not infringe on that wish.

If you are interested in participating in, or supporting, this initiative — we want to hear from you. We welcome any questions at any time along the way.

An ideal candidate would possess the following:

1) They have been inspired by Terry’s story and have a history of supporting Terry’s vision and principles
2) They have the ability and willingness to fundraise
3) They believe and offer evidence that they are capable of physically attempting the run
4) They are willing and able to put aside work/other commitments for 4 and a half months to document their personal journey.

Do you have what it takes to go the distance?

If you would like to participate as a runner in this historic event, please reply to marathonofhope2009@gmail.com, sending us your contact information and telling us why you are the ideal candidate for the show.

In addition, we ask that you please create a 3-5 minute video so we can see you in action. Your video should include: Your name, age, hometown and why you want to be a participant in the Marathon of Hope 2009.

Please upload your video to YouTube.
Need extra help uploading your video?

Deadline for applications:
January 8, 2008

Please notify us immediately by sending the URL when you’ve uploaded your video.

We look forward to hearing from you!

Michelle & Lara,
Marathon of Hope 2009

Saturday, December 06, 2008

When someone writes what you think....

This helps a little to explain the love that some people have with some tech things.  I am not saying that I am this way, but I am not saying I am not either.  

An excerpt from the article "The iBook is dead, Long live the Macbook" written by  Leah McLaren on globeandmail.com

Buying a new laptop is an emotionally harrowing experience. Never mind the expense, there's also the research, which requires reading a lot of eye-glazing stuff about new software developments, external hard drives and DOS RAM thingies. And finally, there is the matter of change, something I avoid at all costs, particularly where technology is concerned.

Despite my aversion to progress, my laptop is the only constant in my life. In the whir of travel, work and social drama since my university days, my laptops have been loyal companions - a stalwart series of Tinkerbells to my Paris Hilton.

While I used to forbid laptops in the boudoir, this rule has softened. Where else am I going to jot down a dream or check e-mail if insomnia strikes? Like Tracy Ullman's impression of blog queen Arianna Huffington, I am a woman irrationally attached to technology. I may not kiss my laptop goodnight, but I often fall asleep with it warming my belly like an hyper-intelligent hot water bottle.

Looking back, I count the chapters of my adult life not by relationships or jobs but by microchipped companions. There was the orange clam-shaped iBook on which I began my career writing nightclub listings and résumé cover letters. Then, a brief, ill-fated affair with a buggy Sony VAIO, which I never forgave for eating a 3,000-word essay while we were on assignment in Bosnia (I had to retype the whole thing from memory in half an hour). And of course, my most recent love: a 12-inch Mac workhorse in old-school white. My laptop holds not only the contents of my recent working life (one and a half novels, several dozen drafts of a pilot script, countless furious e-mails I didn't send), it is also as physically close to me as any object I own - its keyboard literally soiled with the grease of my toiling.

No single person is there for me like my laptop - ready and eager to flip open and hum to life when I want to check my e-mail or dash off an idea. Who else would I carry through customs in a dozen different countries, even insist come with me on holiday?

Thursday, December 04, 2008

The Score

Running and Hiding - 1
Standing up and taking responsibility - 0

Inertia - 0
Me - 1

Scratch and Win Ticket - 1
Sonja - 0

Surprise - 0
Amazon.ca - 1

Guitar Hero World Tour - 0
Me Playing Bass on Hard - 1

Red Wings - 6
Canucks - 5

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Odds and Ends

With the arrival of December, the to-do list has grown exponentially at the exact moment that motivation is beginning to drop.  The darkness descending at 4:30pm today did nothing for my desire to do, well, anything, but I did make it out on a run.  And as it has been a while since I last posted, I will update in a manner befitting my state of mind right now, which is to say very random in nature.

- The Victoria version of Gunner Shaw went well.  This was the race that I wanted to refocus on after breaking my foot in July and I glad that some friends kicked my butt and made me go over as I was balking at the idea.  It was a new and tougher course, but running around Thetis Lake never gets tiring.

- The Vancouver Gunner Shaw is this weekend and I will be participating in that one as well.  A very different style of race but same atmosphere.  This will be the last race of my season and I am looking forward to just running around.

- Jay MacDonald, of whom I speak often on the blog, raced at the National Cross Country championships this past weekend and acquitted himself quite well in the process.  What is scary is that he has come back with a renewed since of dedication and motivation to improve even more than last year, when, you know, he dropped about 2 minutes from his 10k time.  And not the "easy" two minutes going from 54 to 52 minutes, but from 33 to 31 minutes.  We are all in for a world of hurt!

- If you have ever played Mario Kart, please watch this video.  I almost cried.

- The next five weeks are my "down time" according to Coach John.  Although I am only about 2 months back into training, the combination of work, darkness, and training has me a little worn out, so I am welcoming the time to run freely.  The proposed schedule is to run when I want, as hard as I want, for as long as I want (and the converse being true as well - as easy as I want, as short as I want).  

- I had the chance to walk out of Thetis Lake holding one hand of PK's while her Dad held her other one.  Honestly, that was cooler than the race.  She is one cool kid.  And her Mom raced very well.

- Sonja and I have been IN LOVE with 30 Rock of late.  If you haven't given the show a chance, you REALLY need to.  I am not sure if I have said this before in this forum, but Sarah Palin is the best thing to happen to NBC in a long time.  Tina Fey is brilliant, as is the rest of the cast, including, surprisingly, Alec Baldwin.  I mean, what other show can get AL GORE to come on an parody himself!?!?

- I may or may not be partially distracted by Guitar Hero World Tour.  It is empirically demonstrating to me that I have no drumming ability.  Maybe not quite none, but if I was filling out a survey, which I am wont to do, in the ability section I would be ticking off the slim to none box.

- My last two longer workouts with VFAC have been the better than they were at this time last year.  My 2 x 3 miles in 16:09 and 16:05 and the 4 miles, 1 mile, 1 mile in 21:30, 5:03, 4:54 was a bit of a breakthrough for this time of year.

- I am forcing myself to read Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood.  I am not sure how I made it through high school and a minor in English without ever having to read Atwood, but I figure I have to do it to legitimize myself as a consumer of Canadian literature.  I would rather be reading the new Joseph Boyden novel, Through Black Spruce, which just won the Giller Prize.  If you haven't read Three Day Road, and you are at all interested in WWI, you need to read it - beautiful and devastating.

- I am enjoying my new iPhone.  I use it to read Kafka on the bus to work.  And listen to music.  And get directions.  And sometimes, I use it to talk to people.  Sometimes.  

- And lastly, if what is occurring in Ottawa of late isn't a call to become more involved in our democratic process, I don't know what is.  For the record, I support the coalition, but mostly because of the arrogance of the Prime Minister in playing partisan games in these times.  I am not sure that the coalition is the best thing at this juncture, but it is better than the about-face that Harper pulled just after delivering speeches in which he said he would work with the other parties in the best interest of Canada.  It is that hypocrisy that really fires me up.  If he were to step down and allow someone else to lead the Conservatives, someone who would truly offer a more diplomatic approach to governance, then I would support that, but as The Dude said in The Big Lebowski - "I do mind, the Dude minds.  This will not stand, ya know, this aggression will not stand, man."

Monday, November 17, 2008

Putting in time!

Tonight didn't feel great, but I think that is good.  Getting a little tired from the quality runs in the past week, so time to back off a little this week and absorb that goodness.  Tomorrow has my staying late a school, so I will miss the tempo this week, and I am not entirely sad about that.  An easy 35 minute run listening to the 60 Minutes interview with the Obama's with no rain - it's all good!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Round and Round we go...

Back to the track this morning for the Saturday edition of the VFAC runaround.  As there is a half-marathon tomorrow, many of the usual faces were absent this morning, but one new one showed up and did quite well in his early return to training.  It was great to have Nick Hastie joining us for 9 x 300m, but what a shock to the system it must have been, as it was definitely one for me.  I saw Nick last week at the Haney to Harrison relay and talked up the VFAC group, so he is "dating" us to see if it works out - but I think it will.  

As mentioned, we were told about the 9 x 300m as John walked onto the track.  The first three had 300m recovery, then next 3 had 200m recovery and the last 3 had 100m recovery, so things were going to progressively get more difficult.  However, when John told me that I was to run 47 seconds for each, I laughed.  That would equate to about a 63 second 400m, which I don't think I can do right now.  However, in that small microchip in John's head, he knew better what I was capable of than I did.  I held 47's for the workout and while I wanted to puke a little after the last one, I completed the workout.

With this past week now in the rearview, I am definitely pleased with where my training is at.  It was a big week of racing and hard training and through it al I have been running the same times as I did last year and not feeling any ill effects of it - either in the foot or elsewhere in the body.   I have two races left on the calendar - the two Gunner Shaws - and after that it is base running and snowshoeing for me until the new year.  I am pleased to have recovered back to the point I was at this time last year AND have times to empirically demonstrate that.  

I hope that the rain holds off tomorrow morning as I head back out into the trails and start to my winter dosage of long, long hills.

Friday, November 14, 2008

The Good News and The Bad News

The Thetis Lake relays were fun, but difficult.  I remembered why it is supposed to be a relay - four loops was fun at the start, but crushing at the end.  

It was great to see friends - Hicham and Jaymie were gracious and wonderful hosts - and run together for loop at least (Hi Mike!).  I don't regret going in the least, but I really wish the VFAC boys had been able to come over, especially after our workout last night.

Coming back from 4 x 5k on Tuesday, we had 2 x 3 miles on Thursday with the VFAC crew.  3 miles is 4.8 km, so not quite the 5k, but since we were running in the dark on a hilly course, we can say that is close to 5k in time, although this futile exercise in trying to equate times is a habit that runners find hard to break.  I was not looking forward to the workout after suffering for the last two laps of Thetis.  This was even more the case when John said that I was to run 5:20 miles for the workout.  I looked at Mike Wood, our final runner for Haney to Harrison last week, and openly scoffed.  I was quick to follow up that John had this way of somehow knowing what is within you even when you don't.

I went out with Ynuk, Simon, and Jay for our first of two loops.  We joked for the first kilometer before settling in (read: Simon and Jay left us).  Ynuk and I ran together for a bit before he left me on the first of the three longer hills on the Stanley Park loop.  I ran more conservatively for two reasons: not knowing how Tuesday would play into the latter stages of the loop and knowing that I could make time up on the downhills.  This worked well as I stayed at the high end of comfortable and pushed through the remaining two hills, finishing in 16:10.  This equates to 5:23/mile.  I was even more surprised when I finished the second loop within spitting distance of Simon (he of the newborn baby and 3 hours of sleep each night), in 16:04.  

I was impressed with these times because I felt strong throughout the workout, I am coming off two races in 4 days, I descended the workout (ran faster during the second loop), and both times were faster than 1 year ago (when I ran 16:15 on a similar night).  That night I was shocked and excited about the time.  This year is more relief that I am back to where I was a year ago, which means I can be fit come spring!

OH!  The bad news.  My phone died on me whilst I was in Victoria.  The good news?  I got a deal on a new iPhone.  That, my friends, shocked and excited me!


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Relays Abound

Saturday saw me up at 4:22 am in preparation for my second crack at the Haney to Harrison 100k Relay and Ultra.  For some, my wake up time was their start time as they ran the first 3 hours of their 100k race in the dark.  For those of us who are little less inspired, we were meeting our teammates in Haney, BC for our 6:30am start.

The Haney to Harrison is an 8 person relay that covers the 100k distance between the towns of Haney and Harrison, BC on the rainiest, most miserable November Saturday of the year.  A point to point race, it has a mythical status in BC, with hundreds of teams racing, some for pride, some for glory, and some for ridiculous fun.  VFAC had 4 teams in the race (Open Men, Open Women, Master's Men, Open Mixed).  It ended up being a great day for them all as we had two firsts and two seconds.  My team, the Open Men, ended up second overall on the day after an exciting battle with the Running Room team for the second spot; the first spot was claimed by an all-star team assembled to go for a course record, I can only imagine.  The VFAC Open Women and Master's Men won their divisions and the Open Mixed (men and women) came second.  Coach John was very pleased with his minions after that day.

Today finds me in Victoria preparing for the Thetis Lake Relays.  I have often said that this is one of my favourite races of the year as it brings out most of the island running community and it is always fun to run for people other than yourself.  With that said, I couldn't find anyone to run for other than myself, so I am running by myself.  That's right - team So Low is comprised of me.  The VFAC boys, understandably, didn't want to make the trip over after the long day on the road on Saturday, which left me scrambling to find a team; but on further reflection (and the fact that Coach John had me running an 11k tempo today anyway), I decided to go it alone.  I have never run this one solo, so it will be an exciting day for me!

A few more points, Hicham and Jaymie are making Sonja and I a wonderful breakfast as we speak.  Our friend Drew Mackenzie won the singlespeed World Cyclocross Championships. (I am not sure if that is a good thing or if he will end up getting the requisite tattoo).  And if you live in Victoria, please be sure to get out to vote on November 15.  Visit Runwithrob.ca to see what Rob Reid would do as Mayor of this great city.

Lastly, and moat importantly, take a moment today to remember, reflect, and appreciate.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Falling darkness

The past two runs have been in the afternoon, which is now more like nighttime.  I was out the door by 4:30 for both runs, btu came home in the dark.  The extra hour of sleep was welcomed, but it is time to break out the headlamp again.

Tonight was a 10k tempo which I did up at Lower Seymour.  I had my geeky tech toys ready to go this time, but with the darkness descending my watch became useless and about 4k into the tempo I turned the podcasts off so I could concentrate on the run.  This time, it was my choice to remove the technology.  Feeling a little off at around 5.5k, I decided to run faster.  I had been told once that if you are not feeling good, run faster.  I have tried that in the past without much success, but tonight it worked.  I increased my cadence and focus and the last 4.5k went very smoothly.  The goal was for 3:35-3:40/km, but with the darkness and the watch running out of battery, I haven't yet looked at the splits, but I felt good.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Weekend Update

Not the funny Sarah Palin kind, but rather the running kind.

This week of running was all about intensity.  Coming off two weekend races last week, I jumped into an 11k tempo on Tuesday.  Sonja and I headed over to Lower Seymour to run along the paved riding/rollerblading/running road that I used briefly last year for my tempos.  It was a beautiful night and the colours of the leaves out here are reminiscent of Ontario.  As I started my run I hit play on my iPod shuffle, prepared to listen to my podcasts, only to find that the iPod was not ready.  Whether it was the battery or just the fact that I had sent it through the washing machine, it didn't work.  Oh well.  I looked down to my watch to see that it was low battery which means that it would die if I didn't turn off the GPS.  Since the kilometers were marked along the road, I shut down the GPS, turning my watch simply into a, er, watch.  A stopwatch, but no pace or distance or elevation or anything.  Before my first steps I had been rendered technologically impotent.  

And I had my best run yet.  I hit my pace times dead on (3:40/km for those keeping score at home) and felt strong throughout.  I was able to focus on my pace and form, letting my mind stay in the present rather than drifting off to the ideas posed during the podcasts.  It was good.

Thursday saw the 4 - 1 - 1 workout again with VFAC.  This would also be a good workout, but not feel good.  I started the first 4 mile interval with Ynuk, ahead of Paul and Jay.  Paul caught us around 1 mile in and I went with him.  Trying to match Paul's quick cadence, I hung with him through the turnaround and most of the way home.  It was about 3.4 miles in that I cracked.  I lost contact with Paul and watched Ynuk, who I had left when I went with Paul, fly by.  Jay had passed us like a train whizzing by gridlock traffic just prior to that.  Even with blowing up, keeping pace with Paul was a big step.  The same workout on October 2nd had me at 22:39 for my 4 mile piece; this week was 21:47.  A 50 second drop in a month is decent.  The following 1 mile repeats were pretty ugly.  I cracked on the first one and ran a 5:17, but pulled it together for the second one and ran a 5:04 (wind at my back this time).   A good night overall.

Today was 5 x 800m as I introduced myself to the track again after a prolonged absence; I am not sure my heart is any fonder.  I ran consistently, which was good.  I held the 800s between 2:24 and 2:26, but not without some discomfort nearing the end of the workout.  It was good to be going in circles again, and the speed will help with muscle fibre recruitment prior to heading into my base training in December.  This was something that Paul reminded me of on Tuesday; I had been a little concerned about the amount of intensity I had been doing in place of base.  Paul reconnected me with the idea that doing intensity allows for the recruitment of more muscle fibres, which means that when it comes time for base training and I will be able to affect change in more of my muscle than if I had not done the intensity.  It is a little opposite of most "traditional" training pyramids, but has worked with African runners.  We'll see how it works for this Wet Coast runner (yes, Wet on purpose).

All in all a good week of training.  

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Hallow's Eve 10k

Two races in two days.  I love the Hallow's Eve race, not only because it is a beautiful course, but because the costumes are pretty amazing.  I am not one for dressing up - I went as a runner - but I appreciate those who do find the time and inspiration to do so.  Kudos to the Harry Potter look-alike! 

Last year I ran the Half-Marathon portion of this event, but this year I chose to race the 10k.  I haven't run more than 15k yet in training and the incredible number of stairs in the Half would knock me on my butt.  As it turned out, the stairs in the 10k version did that - I can't imagine what I would have felt doing more than double in the Half.

The race started out in perfect conditions.  Just like yesterday, the air was crisp and you felt fall in the air.  The course winds through Lower Seymour Conservation Area, which is my running backyard, so it was wonderful to be back in the trails for the first time since July.  I felt a little frisky at the beginning of the race, so on the uphill run to the trails I put in a surge and tried to gap the group of five at the front.  With the big boys running the Half, I didn't know who was in the 10k, but since I felt good I pushed it a little.  Into the trails I had a little lead, but it wasn't long until one of the group crossed the gap and was with me.  I thought that this would be good because it would keep me focussed and it is always fun to race.

I had forgotten that it is fun to race when there aren't hundreds of stairs in your race.  As we hit the stair portion of the course, the guy behind me was all of a sudden in front of me and running away.  I was starting to go lactic as a result of my push early on and was losing contact quickly.  Fortunately, the now first place runner made a wrong turn which cost him about 15 seconds, putting me back in contact.  Unfortunately, there was another set of stairs immediately in front of us, and that would be the last I would see of him until he was standing on the street corner cheering me into the finish.

I know that I don't have the endurance needed to really compete yet; however, being reminded of that in a middle of a race isn't always fun.  Having said that, this race was fun and it served as a motivator to get in some more base and hills.  My time was faster than last year's winner, so that was a good a consolation.  Also, it was great to be with the trail running community again.  And IronLung always puts on a good race, so it was a wonderful way to spend a fall morning.  Onwards and upwards - the hills that is.  This winter will definitely be spent doing that!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Sonja's Day at BC Cross Country

What follows are pictures from Sonja's afternoon at the BC Cross Country Championships.  I ran well and finished where I thought I would.  I am pleased with the effort, especially since it was the  longest race I have done in my return to running.  Enjoy the best of Stanley Park in October....

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Frank Reynolds Memorial Cross Country Race

The Totem Pole at Cates Park in North Vancouver (Photo Credit - http://tjguy98.blogspot.com)

6.3k of cross country bliss today at the Frank Reynolds Memorial Cross Country race at Cates Park in North Vancouver.  It was a good race for me as I felt strong throughout, building throughout the first lap, being conservative during the second lap and pushing throughout the third and final lap.  Not a blistering fast time, but a solid effort coming off the 2 x 3 miles workout on Thursday.

The day was perfect, what fall should be like for everyone everywhere.  Crisp, clean air and coloured leaves, just enough dotting the ground to remind us that we are approaching the end of a cycle.  I ran into Mike Murphy again with whom I am quickly becoming cross country friends.  

The race went out quite quickly with a number of the young bucks who were only doing two laps racing to the front.  There were also two Open Men up there as well (and by up there I mean 100m out in front after 800m).  I wasn't sure of anyone there, so I worked my way slowly up to the front, jostling and being jostled through the twists of the curvy course.  It was a great course and a lot of fun with enough variation to make each of the three laps enjoyable.  By about 5 minutes in I was back up to fourth, but that quickly became third as we passed by one of the leaders who had twisted his foot while navigating the root-filled single track section.  Unfortunate break for him as he seemed to be going well.  The other guy with him was no longer visible, so I sat on the shoulder of the second place runner for as we finished the first lap and started the second.  My pace had slowed as I ran on his shoulder, so after taking a little break, I made a move on the uphill and pushed the subsequent downhill to create a gap.  The fact that Sonja was sitting on a rock watching my on that uphill might have a had a little bit to do with my decision to throw in a surge.

Having created a bit of a gap, I decided to not work too hard on the rest of the lap, instead waiting for the third lap to turn the screws a little more.  The third lap passed much as the second, but with me running more of a time trial, unsure of whether the person in front of me was (he was that far ahead).  I passed Sonja again, making sure that there was no snot on my face so as not to gross her out too much and dissuade her from attending any more of my races.

I finished second on the day and ran a 22:22; I am beginning to get a knack for these double numbers after my 27:27 last weekend.  Maybe my Gunner Shaw will be a 31:31?  Turns out that the guy who won the race is Norm Tinkham, he of the 1:10 and 4th place  in the half marathon last weekend.  That would be a reasonable explanation as to why I didn't see him at all during the race.  However, I felt good on the course, my foot felt strong and my lungs are beginning to catch up to my legs.  A good day.  Tomorrow I hope to be in the trails a little bit, but I'll see how everything feels in the morning.

PS.  If you don't have the new Macbook, you really need to get it.  It is a little piece of amazing.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Coming to you from somewhere new....

Yes, at this time, I am writing to you from my new Macbook.  I went to the Vancouver Apple Store tonight to get it, but the one I was going to buy was sold out by the time I arrived.   Ten minutes before I arrived to be exact.  I wanted to get the 2.4 ghz Macbook, but had been waffling over it as the only true advantage was the backlit keyboard, which I don't think that I would ever really need.  There is a larger hard drive and slightly faster processor, but I can upgrade the hard drive later and the processor won't make a difference for what I use the computer for.  So, after sucking it up, I got the more inexpensive version and I am happy for that.  It was the smarter, but not as sexy, choice.  So, I am writing to you from the new Macbook and I am happy.

Oh yeah, the 8k went well.  My shoe came untied - rookie mistake.  I raced in new flats without trying them first (they are little small) - rookie mistake.  But the race went well and I ended up running 27:27, mostly to impress Sonja's parents who were there for the race.  I pushed hard but didn't dig deep.  I am pleased with the race and the result.  Tonight's VFAC workout was 2 x 3 miles along the seawall in the dark and rain.  I went 16:26 on the first (with the wind) and 17:05 on the second.  I was on my own the whole time and was not very motivated as there was a new Macbook in my trunk I wanted to get home to play with it.  Things are coming along nicely and I am looking forward to getting back into the trails this weekend.  I am also going to race a cross country race on Sunday - good times!


Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Brief Update

As in short, not as in underpants (although I just picked up some new Icebreaker merino wool ones - fantastic, let me tell you!).

Running has been going well.  I did not race this past weekend as I was in Whistler with Sonja and her parents.  It was a relaxing weekend, and gave me a little rest from the race circuit.  However, the VFAC workout on last Thursday was encouraging.  It was 4 miles followed by 2 x 1 mile.  I held about 3:30/km on the 4 miles and then the mile repeats were 5:06 and 5:02 along the seawall in the first moments of night.  The workout felt good and Coach John was pleased, but when I got home and looked at the times in comparison to times from earlier this year, I wasn't as encouraged.  However, that is my being unrealistic and wanting to be ahead of where I am.  It is good for me to remind myself at moments like this to be patient and not look at any of the races happening in the next few weeks, but in February and March.  

In the recovery portion of the blog post I get to say that the foot is about 97% pain free.  I feel very small twinges every so often, but never anything that I would term "pain".  I will start to introduce runs on back to back days next week, three months after the fracture occurred.  That is something I must remind myself - I am only three months removed from sitting on the side of a road watching people run by me as my foot rested on the back bumper of a Ford F150.  To be running 5 minute miles in a workout ain't that bad.  

This weekend is the Royal Victoria 8k.  Having done their marathon twice and the half-marathon four times, this will be a drop down in distance for me during this weekend running extravaganza.  I have not done the 8k before and I am looking forward to it, especially after learning that Liam will be competing in it as well.  I am not sure of what time to expect, but if I am around 28 minutes, I will be pleased.  27:30 would be amazing, but I am getting ahead of myself in thinking about that time.  Patience, young grasshopper.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Cross Country Saturday

Just a quick note to say that the race on Saturday went well.  I ran within myself and had a decent result.  I held a faster pace than the week prior; however, the course was much easier and very runnable.  I finished second, running most of the race with the two guys I did the week before.  It is cool to see the same faces and have fun battles week in and week out.  This week was the first week I didn't feel strong - it may have been from the VFAC workout on Thursday and then the Turbulence Training workout on Friday, but I didn't have it on the little hills that we did each loop.  Not a big deal - I'll just make sure I don't workout as hard the night before a race.

Friday, September 26, 2008

VFAC Thursday

Last night was my return to the VFAC fold as I met up with the crew in the dimming light of Stanley Park.  After the cross country race on the weekend, I knew that I was able to run the workouts, but I was unsure as to how well I would be able to run them.  Survival may be the order of the day, or the evening as it were.

I was pleased to see Jay again after hearing about his running exploits.  What I hadn't heard was the he had been invited to participate with the big boys at the National 10k Championships in Ottawa.  Apparently they had been watching him from afar and an unsolicited email showed up in his inbox.  Suffice it to say both of us were pretty excited for him and I have no doubt that he will rise to the occasion on the day.  Paul Krochak was also there so it definitely felt like not too old times.  

The workout was 1 5/8 mile loop and then a 2k loop and then a 1.8k loop.  I thought I had heard Coach John say that we may only get the first mile and 5/8 in before it got too dark, so I was pleased about that.  Nothing like a shorter workout to start the comeback.  Much to my dismay, we got it all in.

The 1 5/8 mile loop went quite well.  I started out slowly and controlled, focussed on being strong throughout.  Like last weekend, I found the hills not to be a problem, but the turnover was proving to be tougher to maintain.  I ended up finishing the loop in 8:31, which I think is a decent time considering what I thought I would be.  

Paul and Jay and I jogged up to the start of the 2k, but after a couple of minutes of waiting, we realized that no one was following us.  The others had opted for the safer (more well lit) 1.8k loop of Lost Lagoon, while we stayed in the rapidly darkening forest.  To say I was concerned about the loss of light would be accurate.  Running on the trails of Stanley Park is not treacherous, but being my first workout back, I didn't want to twist my foot on a rock or fallen branch in the low light.  This made me a little wary as we started out 2k loop on our own, but didn't really slow me down too much.

The 2k loop loses elevation from the start to the finish - not a lot, but enough that it makes for a quick time.  I felt good for about 1200m, lost it for about 300m, found it again for 100m when Jay, who started 20 seconds behind me, passed me, and then lost it for the last 400m.  When I say lost it, I am speaking about control and running form.  I felt wobbly and gangly - two words that I don't usually use to describe my compact frame.  The lack of running was showing up in my form.  However, I still ran a 6:24 for the 2k, which was a little shocking for me.  I didn't think I was moving that well, but the clock doesn't lie and the GPS had the loop at 1.99k.

The 1.8k was another story.  We made our way over to Lost Lagoon to find the rest of the crew and joined in the last interval of the evening.  I was able to run well for about 600m, but then the wheels started coming off quickly.  I decided to listen to my screaming hamstrings and calves and so I backed off my pace and ran more comfortably.  This was the first workout back - no need to break myself again.  But when Roy and Coach John passed me, they encouraged me to stay with them, which was the motivation I needed to finish the interval well.

The workout was definitely a success and I was pleased with my showing.  I recognize that I have lost endurance, but the speed is still there which is important for me heading into the shorter distances of the cross country season.  It was my longest run since July 12, and there were no ill effects from it (at least in regard to my foot - my hamstrings are still sore).  I am still going to be smart about the back to back days of running (read: not do it), but I am confident that come the spring I will be faster than I would have been had I not been injured.  The forced rest and the focus on strength training are going to pay dividends as I regain my endurance.

On another note, Sonja and I went to the play Doubt tonight at the Stanley Theatre.  It was very good and thought provoking.  We became season ticket holders for the ArtsClub Theatre and I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the play and the acting.  I am definitely looking forward to the next play - Cyrano de Bergerac.  If you are in Vancouver, and want to go to a show, I would definitely recommend it.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


I was doing my daily perusal of blogs when I noticed that Liam has a new blog list on his blog.  The sidebar actually indicates when the listed blog was last updated.  I appreciate that Liam has my blog on his list, but when I saw that I last updated my blog four days ago, I felt shame.  Shame lead to action and thus this update.

The recovery from the race has gone well.  It was only an 8k race, so it isn't like a marathon in terms of recovery, but I have been pleasantly surprised at how good my foot felt in the days following the race.  There has been no pain in the foot at all and if I was not being "good" about not running on back-to-back days, I feel as though I could have run on the Sunday.  

Tuesday was a gym day and I got to start a new Turbulence Training workout, having finished my first four week program last Thursday.  The new one looks to be fun, with lots of chin-ups and barbell lifting - definitely no machines.  As I mentioned in the last post, I am noticing a difference in my core strength and leg strength during my running, so I am excited to move onto a new program and continue to see the benefits.

I have also signed up for another Cross-Country race this weekend.  However, before that, I have my return to VFAC tomorrow evening.  I am excited to be back with the crew, but I am in for a rude awakening during the workout.  I will have a good time and I am definitely aware that it will take some time for the fitness to come back.  Paul Krochak made an insightful comment about that on Saturday, mentioning that it is actually pretty inspiring when coming back because you get to see yourself improving on a weekly basis.  As Mr. Miyagi would have said, "Patience young grasshopper."  

Time to wax on, wax off.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Pinetree Classic X-Country Race Report

Abstract: I completed my first race since breaking my foot on July 12.  The race was not fast, but it was successful in that I was in it and my foot felt good. 

Yes.  You read correctly.  Race report.  That would indicate that the foot is feeling good after the first outdoor run at Burnaby Lake on Wednesday.  It did.  And I raced.  And it was hard.

(Follow this link to the see the GPS and map and HR data and other cool stuff)

Mundy Park on a nicer day than today. (Photo credit: Random Synpase - Flickr.com)

After two weeks of Summer weather, Fall made its intentions known to Vancouver this morning.  Complete cloud cover and misting rain greeted me when I opened the door to make my way to the race.  The rain intensified as I drove to Coquitlam for the 10:00 am start, but thankfully subsided for the start of the race.  

After the realization that the ENDURrun was not going to happen for me this year, I decided to really rest and rehab my foot well.  I have been patient and done what I was supposed to do.  I had great doctors and chiropractors giving me valuable and, in my eyes, correct advice for my situation. 

(Long Sidenote: Kirsten Sweetland, the alternate for the Women's Olympic Triathlon Team, suffered a similar injury as mine to her foot in the week leading up to the World Championships.  It was more stress related, but she ended up racing on it and in a show of strength, courage, and pain tolerance, she completed the World Champs on a what turned out to be a broken foot.  After the race, her doctors put her in a walking boot.  I met up with Kirsten at a pub in Victoria a few weeks ago and we compared broken foots.  Yes, foots.  When discussing the fact that I didn't have a walking boot for my broken foot, she said she wished she hadn't had one.  The recovery from the recovery was taking longer than she had thought and it was frustrating.  Scar tissue, muscle atrophy and loss of proprioception were factors that I haven't had to deal with as a result of the a smart ER doctor at Lions Gate Hospital and Dr. Pelly, my chiro.  I have known Kirsten for a number of years now and know that she is fiery and inspired and will be fit sooner than later, but I was pleased to realize how fortunate I was to have received the advice I did.  With all that said, our injuries were different and Kirsten may have had no other choice than to have a walking boot - I know she has great practitioners helping her out.  I am just pleased that I had great practitioners as well.)  

Where was I?  Right.  Patience.  I have been in gym staying strong while my fitness has slowly been slipping away.  I have reintroduced running systematically and listened to my body.  And today, 10 weeks to the day since I broke my foot, I raced.  And it was glorious.

Mundy Park is beautiful, so I was excited to run in the park regardless of the race.  I have always loved cross-country, so I was excited to make it a focus for regaining fitness.  And when I got there and saw that my VFAC teammate Paul Krochak was there, I was excited.  Even the rain was somewhat fitting for the kick-off to cross season.

The warmup was good.  We approached the start line and we started with almost no warning.  I settled in quickly, but kept my race plan securely in the front of my mind.  The course was essentially two loops of the park, with a 800m from the start to the beginning of the loops.  I wanted to try to negative split the two 3k loops.  This meant that I would need to be very patient on the first loop as many people would run away from me.  So, it was at the beginning of the race, when I was starting to settle in with the leaders that I had a quick reality check.  SLOW DOWN!  I did.  

The first loop passed well.  I was running with Mike Murphy, a former national level triathlete from the days when Stefan Timms and Mark Bates were racing, who is now a track cyclist.  I knew that he would be smart because he had not been training for running recently, so I decided to pace off his shoulder for much of the first lap.  I felt strong on the uphills which I attribute to the gym, but I really had to focus on form.  I slipped past Mike on a downhill and moved a little closer to the group of five guys who had been running about 30m ahead of us for the lap.  

The second lap saw me draw a little closer to the group, making up time on the hills, both up and down.  I noticed that my running rhythm was breaking up.  Until today, I have not run more than 30 minutes since July.  That 30 minutes includes a warm up, some base pace type of running, and maybe a little bit of faster running in the last 5 minutes.  The loss of form was to be expected, especially as I fatigued in the second loop.  Most noticeably my stride rate felt slow.  I pretended to be Simon Driver with his little strides in order to counter this.  It actually worked and I began to reel in the last guy I had a chance to catch.  Two others were now out of reach, so my focus was on the guy in the white shirt.  As before with Mike, I sat on his shoulder for a little while, until we reached the last long hill.  I have to say, I am impressed with how much the strength training I have been doing with Turbulence Training paid off on the hills.   I relaxed and opened up a gap by the top of the hill and maintained that for the downhill run back to the start (caveat: While I felt strong on the hills, my HR was 189 at the top of the last hill, so I have a lot of aerobic base to rebuild, but the strength is there).

I finished unofficially in 29:00 (official results to come tomorrow).  I wasn't sure that I would be able to hold 4:00 min/km, so to run 29 flat was pleasing.  It was an undulating course with three good hills each loop, so it wasn't a fast course.  It may have been a little short according to my GPS, but I feel like that time would be pretty accurate on a flat road course.  If so, then it is very similar to the time I posted at the Pioneer 8k in 2007 (28:48).  The Pioneer 8k is the first race of the season in Victoria; a January tradition where everyone realizes that they have not raced in awhile. I bring this up because I ran that time after a full winter of training.  I got faster that year, but if I can run a similar time when I just coming back from 10 weeks of injury rehab, then things are looking good for next spring.  I held to my race plan and was very aware that I am stronger than I was when I was on the start line of the Knee Knacker.  I was also aware that today I was running a slower pace with a higher heart rate than I would have 10 weeks ago.  That was expected but is still a good reminder of the work to come.

Paul, who is also recovering from being hit by a car while commuting on his bike earlier this summer, ran to a third place finish.  It is great to see him rounding back into form as he has been working diligently to get to this point.  His injuries were so much worse than my little broken bone, so he gives me lots of hope for my own path to fitness over the next few months.  I was patient in letting the bone get strong again; I must now be patient in letting my fitness return.  Today was a great first step toward that.    

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

And, we're outside

Burnaby Lake trails

Unfortunately, due to a cold, the friends that Sonja and I were to meet for our run had to send their regrets.  However, that did not stop Sonja and I from making our way to Burnaby Lake for a little run - my first true run outside since the morning of July 12.  

Vancouver has been blessed recently with summer weather, but it is supposed to disappear tomorrow, so we enjoyed our 24 degree afternoon while we had it.  In advance of a cross country race this weekend, I wanted to see how my foot would handle being outside.  Sonja and I started our run together, navigating our way through swarms of little bugs that decided to gather in the way of all oncoming runners.  Lemming-like in their desire to die, the bugs attached themselves to our skin, only to be crushed as we tried in vain to brush them off of us.  

After deciding we had had enough protein for the evening, we decided to head back to the parking lot.  I wanted to try some race pace running, so I went ahead, and to my pleasant surprise my foot felt great.  That is not to say that I wasn't aware of it, but it was much better than I had imagined it was going to be.  That was the good news.  The bad news was that tonight was a reminder of the fitness that I have lost during my downtime from running.  3:30 min/km was a struggle this evening when not two months ago that was tempo pace for me.  I know that it will all come back in time, but it was humbling and reminded me of the consistent work that I am going to have to put in this winter so that I am ready for the spring races.  I am not afraid of the work, but it is always difficult to look at the mountain from the bottom.  That means it is time to start climbing.  And I am glad to be able to be outside to do it.

Monday, September 15, 2008

School's back for the fall!

That was supposed to follow the tune to "School's out forever!", but doesn't quite work.  Oh well.

As a result of being thrust back to the front of the classroom, removed unwillingly from my summer, I have been remiss in updating the blog.  I have, however, been training still, going to the gym for my every other day dose of Turbulence Training, followed by 30 minutes on the treadmill.  I have been waiting for my foot to improve to the point where I have little to no pain during or after the run, especially the next day, and I am proud to say that I think I have reached that point.  I am going to go for my first true outdoor run on Wednesday with Sonja and some of our friends, and if that goes well, I will sign up for a Cross Country race this coming Saturday.  The x-country race is more for my soul than for training.  There is a series of cross races in the Lower Mainland and while I have raced one off races, I have not done them consistently since high school.  I am looking forward to running around hill and dale and feeling good about it again.  There are no illusions of going fast (my HR was at 180 bpm when I put the treadmill to 2% at 6:00 min/mile.  I used to be at 165-170 bpm), but I am looking forward to having fun with running as I get back into shape.  There is no real need to be fast until March, so it is definitely playtime for the fall and winter!

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Weekend Warriors

As I stood in circle with Ross Taylor, Kelly Guest, and Jordan Bryden comparing war wounds (Ross once had a 17 inch rod in his femur; Kelly and Joran both have had broken elbows with pins and wires; my comparatively wimpy non-displaced fracture of the 5th metatarsal), I realized that overall I have been quite lucky in my athletic career.  I have been involved in many different sports and all I had to contribute to the conversation was a broken toe.  I would love to believe that I am a warrior, but I will settle for cannon fodder at this time.  Seeing Kelly, an old training partner from Victoria, as well as Ross, Melanie McQuaid, Stefan Jakobsen, and Norm Thibault, well, it felt like I was back on the Island.  It was unexpected but quite welcomed.  Stefan and Mel won the races, while Kelly, recovering from the nasty broken elbow, won the 10k trail race.  Seeing them has added some fuel to my training fire, especially talking about Gunner Shaw with Stefan and the Thetis Lake Relays with Kelly.  

  The mountains look big here, but they are bigger in real life!

This conversation took place at the Canadian Off-Road Triathlon Championships at beautiful Buntzen Lake in Port Moody.  The venue is absolutely gorgeous and is the site of one of my favourite runs of the year - a two and a half hour epic trail run with Simon Driver as he lead me through about 6 of the 10 vistas around the lake (Buntzen Lake is also home to the ultra Diez Vista and a stop on the 5 Peaks trail race series).  I was at the race volunteering as Gray and Teri Taylor, my Brooks sponsors, are the race directors.  They were hoping that I might race the associated trail run, but I opted for the volunteering instead.  It was a difficult thing to not jump in the 5k run, but I am going to be good and not do something silly that might jeopardize the healing that has occurred to this point.

I came home reinvigorated and had a nap.  But then I went to the gym and did Workout B of the Turbulence Training program I am using, and then ran 30 minutes on the treadmill.  I wore my Garmin 405 for the first time since I broke my foot so that I could see my heart-rate.  It was a little higher than I had hoped it would be for 4:40/km (it settled in about 155 bpm).  I recognize that it is going to be a little while before my heart-rate drops back down, so I will diligently put in my base miles to help facilitate that.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

The treadmill is getting boring

I think that is a good sign.  When I first got back to running, I loved the treadmill.  The 10 minutes passed quickly and with a smile on my face.  Even the next few times I went on the tready it was easy and fun.  Just running was fun at that point.

Tonight I began to watch the clock.  I wanted the minutes to pass faster.  I wanted to be done and off.  This is good because it means that I am settling back into running and as such, I am no longer satisfied to be just running, but rather, I need to be running outside.  I am not going to do anything crazy, but I think the time is nearing where running outside will become my reality again.  The foot felt quite good during my 25 minutes, so I am encouraged.

I also completed Workout A from the Turbulence Training program I am following.  Lots of core and legs tonight, but I also threw in some of the chin-up/knee-ups that Craig has written about.  The one thing that I am really enjoying about this program is the noticeable difference in strength each week.  I recognize that the increase in strength is as a result of more neural connections with the muscle, but that works for me.  I am definitely not looking to gain mass, but rather use what I have more effectively.

I am going to try a little outdoor run (not just to get my dinner) on Saturday.  I am excited.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

The Real First Day

Today was the first day of classes and it went well.  My throat is a little sore, as it usually is after the first day of teaching.  So much talking after a summer of relative quiet wears the vocal chords out a little, roughing them up.  They adapt pretty quickly, but until then it is zinc lozenges.

Not much activity today - a day off.  Some Wii Fit games and maybe I will challenge my virtual training to a plank contest?  But a needed day of rest otherwise.  Back at it tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

A new home!(?)

Hurried for time due to our chance at winning a new home in the PNE draw tonight, Sonja and I quickly completed our Turbulence Training workouts.  It was good because we have wanted to see how quickly the workouts could be done, but never had incentive to rush until this evening.  
I was done the strength part of the workout in little over 30 minutes, but then went to buy salmon from the fish market, only to find that they were sold out of fresh salmon, which meant that I had to run the 1 mile to Safeway to wait behind a guy who wanted to know how much a whole frozen salmon cost, much to the chagrin of the fish counter girl who didn't know the code for a whole fish so when she told him $35 dollars he said "Forget it! I'll go catch my own fish for that much!" and promptly left, but meanwhile I have been waiting for 5 minutes, sweating and worrying, and all I wanted was a fresh Coho fillet, which I finally got, and paid for and then ran the mile back to the car to find Sonja, who had finished her intervals in the gym, looking for me at the other fish shop, which didn't have the fish.  I was out of breath by the time I got back.

Suffice it to say that dinner was divine and we do not have a new house.

And I ran outside for the first time in 7.5 weeks!

Monday, September 01, 2008

T-minus 11 hours

Welcome back, Kotter!  A show that was on while I was alive, but too young to watch.  I have been told that my longer-haired self resembles Kotter, and it is said that I work with the Sweathogs, but I should watch some of the classic television series to see the comparisons for myself.

Tomorrow is the first day of school and while I am excited, I am sad to be leaving vacation mode.  I had a restful summer and I feel ready to begin anew, but the unresolved runnning goals of the summer are starting to haunt me a little.  I definitely wanted to run today, but heeded the advice of Dr. Leblanc, "Don't run two days in a row until there is no pain."  I didn't really feel any pain today, but I should allow my body to continue to heal, rather than give into the mind's desire to push it.  

I was glad to see that Hurricane Gustav didn't do its worst, but sad to see that we are going to polls in the near future.  Can't we all just get along?

Today's activity was playing on the Wii Fit, which is surprisingly good.  I was very skeptical when we first got it, thinking that I was too good for it, but I got my butt handed to me when it pronounced my Wii Age as 49!  I have since lowered my age, but there is some gold in that game, especially when considering that it will be getting people off the couch.  I am most impressed with the strength and balance games, but the yoga and the aerobic games are fun as well.  Not as challenging as Turbulence Training, but fun for an off day when I wouldn't have done any core work if it wasn't there. 

Sunday, August 31, 2008

I am not a religious man....

but may whoever oversees this planet please be merciful on New Orleans.

Moving On Up!

2% grade for 22 minutes, with the least amount of pain thus far. I wanted to step up the pace to faster than the 4:23 min/km I was going, but held off, keeping in mind that I am not building fitness at this time, but rather I am trying to get my foot used to running again.

I also completed Workout A from The Original Turbulence Training program by Bally. I am kind of getting back into the idea of working out, but more so because it is not the traditional Chest and Back program that I knew in university. The workouts are dynamic and quick, full body movements that mirror many traditional sport movements, especially running (I guess you don't do many Chin Ups in the middle of a 25k trail run, but the core strength should keep me more upright). I will continue to detail my workouts as well as my running and see how Turbulence Training benefits me throughout the fall and winter. If you are interested at all in it, please drop me a line or follow the links.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Want to see inside me?

I have been able to pull my x-ray images off the disc I was given, and they are now here for you to enjoy.  The fracture is in the 5th metatarsal (the long bone of the baby toe).  I have a hard time seeing it, but if there are any medical professional who care to comment, please feel free.

July 12 - the day of the fracture

August 23 - 6 weeks after the fracture

And for those that are interested, registration for the ENDURrun 2009 is now open.  When I did it in 2006, there were 5 of us.  Two days after opening the registration there are already 4 people!  There is a cap of 50 this year, so don't delay!

Friday, August 29, 2008

The Last Day of the Last Week

before school begins anew.  I am looking forward to being back, but will miss the summer.  It takes about 4 weeks to really settle into the lack of bells and routine, so I have been basking in unstructured life for the last 3 weeks.  It seems to soon to be subservient to the relentless ringing of the computerized bell; two days back it will seem as though we never left.  However, that is not to say that I dread school or the kids - in fact, I am looking very forward to both - but rather than I will miss this schedule-less life I have just become accustomed to.

Part of the benefit of being unstructured means that I am able to do things on short notice.  Sonja and I were able to go over to Victoria for a night earlier this week to say hello to the triathletes coming back from Beijing, and goodbye to two close friends, Adam and Trevor, who are moving to the East Coast for school (Law and Physio, respectively).  The pictures that follow are from the very cool Fernwood Inn Pub (highly recommended).  It was a very fun night being around some of the old training group, but bittersweet as we realize that these gatherings will become fewer and farther between as we, cough, grow up.  

Simon and Jasper during their tame moments.

Kirsten and Colin trying to feign interest in what Adam was saying.

Adam really wanted to see the medal.

Adam's reaction to being denied the medal.

Trevor stepped out when Drew and Jen weren't looking.

As for my training, I got x-rays back and spoke with my chiropractor, Dr. Pelly, about them.  He thinks that the foot is pretty healed and that it is now up to me to listen to my body as I come back to full training.  I am waiting to hear back from my M.D., but until then I am going to stick with the Turbulence Training gym routine I have been using for the past weeks and add in running over the next two weeks until I can get up to 30 minutes on a treadmill.  After that, I am going to take it outside and increase the frequency of 30-40 minute runs over the following two weeks until I am back running 4-5x/week, at which point I will start to increase duration.  I figure I will be at full training within a month, which I think is still a conservative projection for healing.  I will be aware of my foot and I will not jeopardize the healing at all.  I am hoping to race a bunch of cross country races, and while they will not be pretty races, they will be fun.

UPDATE: Just got off the phone with the MD and he said that the foot looks good and that I can begin to run again, but not back to back and wait until I am pain free when running before going too hard.  I detailed my plan and he thought it was a good one.  He also added that running is the worst thing I could do for my foot, but you have to do what you have to do.  So, I will give it a go tonight and give you an update. 

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Ten Minutes

After finishing my workout from Craig Ballantyne at Turbulence Training at the gym this morning, I wandered over to the treadmill to see how things felt today.

I started conservatively, but slowly turned up the speed, topping out at 8 min/mile this time. My running felt relatively smooth and fluid, surprising for the amount of time that I have not been actually running. I think that the combination of the strength training and the swimming have been quite beneficial, but having said that, it is only 10 minutes on a treadmill. The real test will come when I get back outside and back with VFAC.

Last night Sonja and I rode our bikes at Lower Seymour Conservation Reserve, enjoying the fleeting summer evenings. Tomorrow is a quick trip to the Island to see off some good friends and welcome another back.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Nine Minutes

Sonja and I had decided to go to Tofino for a couple of days this week, but after looking at the weather forecast, we decided that staying closer to home might be better. Dryer, warmer, better. Tofino is amazing, but we will go in better weather (or go specifically for the storms).

That means that I will get the opportunity to continue with my cross training and RUNNING. Yes, you read it here first (although I am not sure where else you would read it), but I ran for 9 minutes on the treadmill on Saturday. It was not pain free, but the pain I felt would be better described as a dull bruise. It was a treadmill run, so the impact was greatly reduced, and I was running 10 minutes/mile, so it wasn't too speedy. But it was left-right-left, for more than 20 meters. Small victories, but important ones. For the past six weeks, my sanity has been saved by the wonderful strength programs given to me by Trevor and Craig Ballantyne. My enjoyment of their strength programs has motivated me to keep working the gym even after I can run. As I have mentioned before on here, if you want fantastic strength programs that are well-developed and research based, I would highly recommend both of these fine gentlemen. They are honest and extremely good at what they do. In fact, athletes that Trevor worked with, both currently and in the past, had top 6 finishes at the just-completed Beijing Olympics! Anyway, enough with the advertising.

I had another x-ray done on my foot on the weekend, so I will hear about my healing this week from my doctor and chiro. I am looking for their blessing to begin the return to running program as there are a number of Cross-Country races that I would like to do this fall. I am not going to rush back to training before I am ready, but I hope that I am ready.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Riding Coattails

From an email I just sent to Mr. Whitfield....

I was in renewing my car insurance and when I mentioned to the agent helping me that I had just moved to Burnaby in the last year. My agent, of Chinese descent with perfect yet slightly accented english, asked me where I had lived before. I told him Victoria. He queried me further as to why I had lived there - "Education?" he asked - but I told him I that I had moved there to train at the National Triathlon Centre, but that I was only at the NTC for a couple of years and that was definitely a while ago now. Well, you can imagine where that went on the heels of your race. Smiles, talk about Beijing, and questions filled the air. He asked if I trained with you; "Well, training with and racing with are two very different things, but we did train together some of the time," I replied. His face lit up.

"Are you trying to go to the Olympics, too?"

I thought to myself, 'Dude, I am standing in front of you renewing my car insurance just having told you I moved AWAY from Victoria!', but said, "No, no, no. I just run now." He smiled and continued taking my money for another minute or so, leading me to believe that the exchange was over. During that time he and the other the employees had great things to say about your race, as did I. I signed my name about fifty times on thirty different pieces of paper. I had been lulled into a comfort when he dropped his final bomb. The flame that lit the wick was a co-worker reemerging from the back of the office.

"Hey, Steve! This guy is an Olympian!" my agent's finger firmly pointed toward my chest as he yelled across the office.

My head about exploded. What?!? Where, in the details of my life that I shared with him, did he determine that I had been to the Olympics? Steve's eyes lit up and my agent's smile grew ever wider; there was no doubt in his mind that what he said was the truth.

I returned the pointed finger, aimed at the my agent's heart, and with a smile said, "Hey Steve, this guy's a liar!"

We figured things out and I cleared the air and everyone continued to gush over your race. I left the ICBC office, much lighter in the waller and heavier in debt, but with a smile on my face. Riding coattails can be quite funny sometimes.