Saturday, October 10, 2009

Free Stuff (if you are in Victoria)!!

This stuff works and I use it daily.  Don't take my word for it, though - ask Kyle Jones (or Whitfield, or Lauren Groves, or Jasper Blake....)

Tomorrow I’ll be spending the day with 7Systems at Frontrunners Victoria. We’ll have a booth set-up from 10-5. Come down to see us and you can sample 7Ssytems for FREE!
I’ve been taking 7Sytems for about 10 months and have noticed a significant difference in my recovery and overall energy throughout the day. I would strongly recommend it to anyone looking for that extra edge on their competition!
Come see us tomorrow and find out why 7Systems is the choice supplement of Olympic Champion Simon Whitfield, Olympians Lauren Groves, Erinne Willock, and Malcolm Howard, Ironman Champion Jasper Blake and many other notable endurance athletes. (from Kyle Jones' blog)
And great luck to Jasper in Kona and everyone racing (VFACers notably) in the Royal Victoria marathon races this weekend.  Not for me this year (slight hamstring pull and being careful about it, thus the lack of running updates, well, that and swamped teaching) but I will be thinking of all of you tomorrow morning!

Thursday, September 03, 2009


Having felt a little twinge in the hamstring nearing the end of Sunday's workout, I have tried to be the smart athlete and take some down time to allow it to heal.  My training has been solid for the past few weeks and a few days of rest and easy running is not going to affect the 8k in October.  So with that in mind, I have gone out for an easy run (where I ran into Gord and Sarah, in whose basement I used to reside) and gone to the mainland an back to watch Sonja's defense of her Masters thesis on internet usage in BC classrooms.  It is always amazing to watch people who excel at something, whether it is a pianist playing Beethoven, a swimmer slicing through a 400m freestyle, or an Ethiopian gliding effortlessly over the ground.  To watch Sonja in the academic environment was humbling and inspiring, as she was able to converse easily and with incredible depth about the work she had done, yielding no ground to the examiners and impressing them with her study and her understanding of the subject.  She is now a full fledged Masters of Arts (MA), and I am a proud future-husband.

Speaking of future husbands, congrats to Adamo and Lauren!   It has been a good couple of days around Victoria and and tomorrow I will ease back into things and see how the hammy is going.

Monday, August 31, 2009

A Sunday at the Lakes

It has been a long while since I showed my face at Elk/Beaver Lake, but Sunday felt like 6 years ago. I pulled up to the gravel parking lot, meeting Simon to help him out with a workout. What I didn't expect to see was the rest of the triathletes preparing for the Grand Final in Australia. Old training partners with new coaches and all of us, older and wiser(?). My schedule called for a long run of 18k or so, so I decided to run the 18k with some fast km's thrown in. Earlier in the week, I had mentioned to Simon that if he needed a running partner for some workouts, I would be happy to help however I could. He emailed back syaing "Great! 6 x 1 mile on Sunday. See you there!" What that ends up looking like is me running 1k repeats while Simon completes 1 mile repeats on 1 minute rest. This means I run less and get more rest which allows me to stay just ahead of him for the middle km of the mile repeat (and I give myself a 150m lead as well). I ran hard and to try to stay away, trying to stay with him as long as I could each time he caught me. It was fun to run with a purpose greater than just trying to get faster.

But, man, it was hard. And it was fun. The day definitely reminded me of why I used to love training at the NTC; working hard with friends in the pursuit of excellence. I know that sounds cliche, but after watching Jasper and Tereza (both old training partners) have great races at Ironman Canada this past weekend and seeing Jordan Rapp (who trained with Simon and Team BAMF last year) win it, there is definitely a way to find excellence. Knowing that I would never attain the highest echelons of sport, I relished the role of teammate, doing what I could to help my friends in their pursuit. And Sunday reminded me of those times as I was, once again, happy to be a teammate.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Guitar Hero World Championships (and a track workout)

It was too bad that Simon left early, because I am pretty sure he would have wanted to play the drums. We had a bunch of friends over last night to hang out with Craig during his short visit out to Victoria. We shared BBQ and guitar, and for the brave, some Guitar Hero World Tour. Good times were had by all - especially Mr. Dags who demonstrated some mad drumming skills.

Today's workout was on the track with a group of what appeared to be Bootcamp participants. I wasn't sure how this was going to play out as they were taking up all the lanes on the small Oak Bay track (only four lanes wide around the full 400m). As I performed my drills and strides, the group finished their warm up and began to line up for the 100m sprints, opening up the inside lane for me. This was a pleasing development as I didn't want to run anyone over, nor did I want to pull the track etiquette card out either - thankfully, neither occurred.

The workout today would have been a lot of fun with VFAC. Lots of fast running at different distances, with the boys, in the sun, on a good track, good times would have been had. As it was, I was on my own at Oak Bay and running the intervals, imagining what it would be like to be Usain Bolt.

The workout was a 400m warm up lap, followed by 200m all out, and then an 800m and then a 400m and ending with a 200m all out. I was excited about the workout as a chance to see where I was at on my own. I knew pretty quickly, on the warm up, that I would do alright when I split the first 200m of the 400m warm up in 29 seconds. A little fast for a warm up, so I settled down to run a 65s first 400m. The recovery between the intervals was anywhere from 400-800m, but sufficient to feel pretty recovered.

The first real interval was the 200m, which worked out well because the back stretch had a bit of a tailwind. I am not sure that it would have negated a world record had I come close, but it was nice to have the little push as it was getting difficult. I ran the curve with purpose and then imagined myself to be Bolt, and tried to accelerate along the back stretch. The interval was a self-timed 26s, which is pretty good for getting into the workout.

The 800m was interesting. After two good opening intervals, this was supposed to be run bewteen 2:13 - 2:17. I tried to go out controlled, but apparently it was a little too controlled because I split the 400m in 69s, which was a little slow for the 2:15 I was hoping for. I tried to push the pace in the final 400m, but pretty much held my split, finishing the second 400m in 70s for a 2:19 - a little off the goal time, but not too bad. This meant more motivation for the upcoming 400m.

Coach John had me down for a 59 if I was running with someone and a 61 if I was on my own. I knew I wanted a little bit of redemption for making the mistake of going out too slow in the 800m, so I really used the tailwind on the backstretch to push the pace and focussed on remaining relaxed and smooth as I came down the home stretch into the headwind. Breathlessly, I hit my watch, crossing the 400m in 58s. This was more pleasing and I cast my thoughts toward the final 200m.

Knowing that I had run 26 previously, I wanted to try to match that at the end of the workout. This is the part where it would be easier to let up, convincing myself that it is ok to be slower at the end of a workout. While many workouts are structured in such a way that times will become slower as you get toward the end, I had plenty of rest and this was all supposed to be fast stuff. So, once again, I ran the corner hard and focussed on being smooth down the back stretch, hitting 26s again in the process.

A good workout overall and nice to be done quickly. While I miss the VFAC crew on days like this, I much prefer my 12 minute run to the Oak Bay track vs my 40 minute drive to the Pt. Grey track. Based on the 5k of a few weeks ago, I have also turned my sights towards the Lands End Half Marathon and 10k. In past years, I have used Lands End as a tune up for the Royal Victoria Half and Full marathon and I will do so again this year; however, I will race the 10k this time as preparation for the 8k at RVM. I have not run the 10k here before, but I know that there have been some fast times run by friends, so I will definitely be looking for a PB here. As with every race on the island, you never know where you will place because if everyone shows up, I would be fortunate to be Top 20; with that in mind, I am only looking for my own time and hopefully there will be some people that I will be to work with on the course in order to achieve it.

I must now go practice Guitar Hero so that Scotty Dagnall doesn't get better than me in that as well.

Friday, August 28, 2009

The last week of summer

Unofficially, of course. But this will be my last full week of summer vacation and it has been a good one, to be sure.

1. New (old) town.
2. New house.
3. New kitten.
4. New 5k PB.
5. New job.

The last one occurred yesterday, when I received the long hoped for call from the Victoria School District offering me a position at Reynolds Secondary. I will once again be teaching English and Social Studies, but will have some Phys Ed thrown into the mix as well. I am very excited about getting to once again work in the Flex program at Reynolds and with the great staff there (although I will miss my crew from New Westminster Secondary).

We are currently in the midst of beginning to host a number of friends and family members over the coming months. Craig Taylor is the first to come out west to visit us as he helps prepare a couple of his athletes for the World Triathlon Championships. After that we have some cousins and parental units and more friends. Exciting times!

The Ogden Point stretch of Dallas Rd.

Yesterday was spent running along the Dallas Rd area of Victoria. Coach John had an 11k tempo on the schedule, so while Craig and Sonja spent time enjoying the sun on the banks of the Pacific Ocean, I warmed up out to Willows Beach, before turning back toward town for the tempo. It started well as I went 3:29 for the first km, but schedule called for 3:35/km, so I eased up a bit. The path I was following is the end of the Royal Victoria Marathon, the Times Colonist 10k and about every other race that Victoria puts on. It is scenic and devoid of stop lights, so it makes for perfect running. But is it not flat. It is not hilly, but it is not flat. So as the km's piled on, I was pleased to see that I was holding around 3:33/km on this pitchy terrain. I turned around once I reached the Inner Harbour and ran back out to Clover Point, where I ended my run and promptly soaked my legs in the ocean while Craig and Sonja worked on crosswords (which Sonja and I are getting better at - she better than me, but what is new?).

After that it was home before a walk back downtown for some food from the Market on Yates (yeah, big containers of Red Curry Paste) and another great meal prepared by Sonja before Guitar Hero - World Tour. We rocked!

Running is coming along and the summer is going well, and contrary to other years (and, I am sure, people), I have felt that this summer has been a perfect length. We have definitely been blessed with weather out here (sorry, Ontario) and that has made the summer feel complete.

Today is an off day before some fun track stuff tomorrow!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

2 x 3k on Lochside (part deux)

I could regale you with stories of my 2 x 3k redux of last week's workout, but this is way cooler. I'll leave it at this - without Shawn I went 9:45 and 9:50 - not bad, but not amazing.

Anyway, listen to Adam Campbell!

Adam and Aaron also finished 2nd in today's stage and are now in 4th overall, up against some pretty amazing runners (which goes to show that they are pretty amazing runners!) Kind of wish I was there....

Saturday, August 22, 2009

9 x 300m

The track. And soccer.

These are two places I spent much of my childhood. From my 5th year of existence until the end of high school I spent the Ontatio summers running up and down grass pitches across the province. I was ok, as good as someone might be spending 12 years playing a sport, but not ever did I have a chance of playing for the youth team of Moscow Dynamo or anything. Definitely, though, a love of the sport was developed and has stayed with me throughout my adult life. So, after a two year hiatus while on the mainland, I played my first organized soccer game last night with the Gordon Head Div 3 team. It was fun to be on the field and although all the finesse I may have one time had (and it wasn't much as I was more of a runner/hard worker than a subtle touch player), all of it was gone. I had some good plays and just as many poor choices and/or moments where I was undressed by the other team. The game was just a friendly as we go through try-outs, and the score ended 3-3, so the night ended with everyone feeling ok.

This morning I revisited Oak Bay track for a 9 x 300m workout. During my soccer years, I also spent a lot of time at the Oshawa Civic track, running with the Durham X-L's, working with the same hurdling coach that Perdita Felicien worked with in her youth. Durham was a hotbed of hurdlers (as you can see Priscilla Lopes-Schliep comes from Whitby) and again, I was ok. I was able to to do well when my clubmates weren't at races, but we would often sweep medals in many provincial competitions. I also ran the 400m and 400m hurdles, so my background on the track allows my to run workouts on the track that are not consistent with my other times in races. This has always been fun when I am with others, but alone on the track today, it did nothing for me. The workout, as Coach John had written out, was 3 sets of 3 x 300m with my jog recovery descending from 300m to 200m to 100m. I was also to hold 47s for the 300m's which is the pace of about a 63-64s 400m. Jeez. So, with a Radiohead concert on my iPod, I began the circling of the track.

The first interval is always about getting cobwebs out of the legs, and this was not different, unfortunately. I was hoping the second one would be better, and it was, but not much. And thus it continued. The lactic acid started accruing earlier and earlier into each 300m and thus I had to fight to relax more and more, but all the while I was hold between 45 and 47s. I was happy at the end of the workout, but running on my own, without Jay or Paul or Mike to push me was difficult.

After the cool down home and a great breakfast, Sonja and I met Rumon at Koffi for some catch up time and conversation. As we walked up, Rumon was dismounting his steed and all I could think was "I hope Sonja still comes back home with me, because that is pretty cool." I then had my hair chopped off at Uomo and then had a cat nap with Liev, who was pleased to sleep on my neck. Now hosting the neighbours for dinner and Fernwood has definitely shown itself off today. A most pleasing day.

Now, if only I could get a job teaching....

Thursday, August 20, 2009

2 x 3k on Lochside

This workout, on the heels of the 5k last Friday, was going to be tough. It was always a hard run with the VFAC boys and now that I was without the group, it wasn't going to get any easier. Fortunately, Shawn Nelson, he of the faster 5k time than I, was up for the workout. So it was the two of us that met up at the base of Lochside Trail before making our way into the canopied stretch of crushed gravel that would be the place of our mutual hurt.

I worked with Shawn at Frontrunner a few years ago and a more subtly humourous person I have not met. Everyone was excited to work with him because we knew the time would be spent laughing. Not to say that he is all jokes, as he can be quite serious as well, but it is always good times hanging out with him. Shawn comes from a running family and he is very strong at this moment, although he claims his training has not been that structured of late and the 5k he kicked my butt at was a surprise for him. I was glad to have his company for this workout.

We caught up on life events and warmed up out to Lochside School before turning around. While Lochside is canopied for much of the length, there are definitely open spots, including a long boardwalk over a bog, that heat right up. The workout called for running 3k at about 3:10-3:13/km pace. Considering we had just ran 5k at a little under 3:10/km, we knew this was not going to be easy. No spikes, soft surface, hot night, and heavier shoes (I know, not that big a deal, unless you are tired), and lack of spectators, we were not looking forward to the hurt.

We started well and on pace. Lochside has km markers, but apparently my GPS disagrees with the markers as it said the marker wasn't long enough. As we passed the marker we were anxiously awaiting the beep of the watch, but alas, it did not arrive for another 12 seconds, making us feel badly about ourselves. But we kept on, pushing as we could, and the passed the second km marker, again, anxiously awaiting the beep. It was a little before this that I realized we should turn around after the 2nd km because we might run out of trail before 3k. So when the beep came - late - we turned right around and ran back for the last km. We finished the interval at 9:45, a little slow, but not too bad considering the turn and what we think was a long 3k.

We jogged back to the start and chatted, a little bit pleased with the effort and wondering what lay ahead. Shawn suggested not turning on the second 3k and I whole heartedly agreed. So when we began again, after a six minute recovery jog, things felt good. We knew that we were literally running to the cars. The first km was faster than the first interval and felt easier. But once we got out from under the canopy, things got harder. I started to slow down as the effort from the race on Friday and long run on Sunday started to creep back in the legs. Shawn held pace and pulled away a little and I fought to stay on his shoulder. This is why running with someone is so great. We passed over the boardwalk and hit the pavement a little bit further on, and what I was worried about previously, running out of room for the 3k, I now realized would actually occur. As we got close to the end, running through the Tim Horton's parking lot, Shawn made the brilliant suggestion of cutting the interval. I was going backwards at that point and the only place we could have continued would have been up a decent hill - not something I wanted at that moment. So, at 2.8k, we called it in. We were on pace for about 9:50 (I think), but with the hill I am sure it would have been a little slower than that.

So, the workout went well. These workouts are about effort more than time or distance. I was working hard with Shawn and we both agreed that we "banked" that workout - meaning, while it didn't feel spectacular, it would benefit us in the long run. I am excited about the chance to train with Shawn more often as we are running right around the same pace right now and he is a great training partner.

Yesterday was an easy 12k around Oak Bay and tonight I am going to join in with Paul O'Callaghan's group for their Thursday night tempo session, rather than doing it on my own. There are a bunch a very good runners there, so hopefully I won't get left behind!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Basking in the glow...

The Victoria sun has been shining brightly and strong in the past few days and I have had a good couple of days. Sonja and I have pretty much finished setting up the house, with mirrors and art being thoughtfully placed on the walls yesterday. One more bolt in a door and we are done.

Liev is getting increasingly confident and crazy. I think I can hear him trying to get out of the bathtub right now. I thought cats had an aversion to water. Wait - no he is playing with his ball with a bell. And now he has crashed into a wall. And now he is on his cat tree. And now he is eating something.

I had a good, but surprisingly long, 22k run with Hicham on Sunday. I realized that a lot of my long runs have been based on time in the trails, and the distance covered in those is about 2/3 of that which you would cover in the same time on the road. This means that while the time wasn't hard, the distance seemed long. Reminds me that I need to get the distance in this winter.

Tonight I am running with Shawn as we do 2 x 3k out at Lochside. I am glad that he making the trip in from Langford for the workout because holding the times that Coach John has set out would be difficult were I to be on my own. After that, it is right to soccer try-outs; the team is really good!

But in other news, I am going to redirect your eyes to some good web surfing... - from the renaisance man of men, Mr. Carter - interesting perspectives from another Victorian - watch as adam and fellow very fast runner aaron heidt tackle the six-day transrockies trail race - and you were just looking for a reason to start using twitter


Saturday, August 15, 2009

Race Report - Black Press 5000m

The last time I actually signed up for a race on the track was in Grade 11. I was a hurdler and a 400m runner, which explains my love of trail running (jumping over things) and track workouts (at least 400m workouts). So it was with a bit of trepidation that I made my way over to Oak Bay High for the Black Press 5000m. As people who graciously read this blog with some semblance of frequency, you will be aware that my race season has not met the heights of my workouts. While running the best times I have ever run in workouts, my races (in particular my half marathons) have been downright disastrous. So it was with hope that I looked for something shorter, something that mirrored more my workouts rather than longer endurance based races.

The Black Press 5000m was an event that arose of the desire of the Victoria running community to have a high level 5000m track event. The evening had three heat: Heat 1 - 18:00+, Heat 2 - 16:30-18:00, Heat 3 - sub 16:30. I was pleased to see that it was a sub 16:00 heat three because that would have caused me some trepidation. What if I didn't end up sub 16? What if I was last? Ultimately, neither of those thoughts would have stopped me from going in Heat 3, but they would have given me pause to think about it. So sub 16:30 was perfect because I knew I fit comfortably in that heat.

The evening began with a great 12 minute jog from house to track. I have to say that I do love our house and how central it is to pretty much everything in Victoria. The jog was dead flat and I arrived to find Marilyn sitting with her coach, Jon Brown, and her hubby, Joey, who would have a great run in Heat 1. It was great to catch up with her and chat about living in Victoria and running. I then went over to the entry table where I saw parents of two former students, one participating in the event and the other organizing it. When Sonja and I moved over to the island, we were excited about reconnecting with a community, and Victoria has yet to disappoint in that regard. Registered and with number and chips in hand, I went over to the bleacher, to realize that my belief that I would be racing at 6:30pm was wrong. It was 6:15 and there were very few people on hand. It was then I learned that Heat 3 would go at 7:30pm. This meant that I had over an hour to wait, and the sun was falling as the wind was picking up. This was going to be a cold hour for me. All me prep had been for a 6:30 start, so I sat on my butt on the grass in the sun and chatted with Richard and watched Karen race to a sub-20 minute 5k. This would be the first of many great races this evening.

Heat 2 was great to watch as both Marilyn and Lucy Smith ran strong behind the pacing of Jon Brown, both breaking 17 minutes and looking great doing it. I went for my workout during the middle part of this race. It was great get warmed up by running but it saddened me a little to leave all the friends that had come out to watch the event. As mentioned on the Prairie Inn Harriers chatline, there were just as many people watching the race that could have gone sub-16 as there were running it. Again, community was overflowing as people took time from there evening to come watch and encourage other people running in circles.

My warm up passed uneventfully and as I sat to spike up, Shawn Nelson and Nick Walker and I chatted about goals for the race. Turns out that Shawn and I were hoping for similar times, so we talked about working together. Nick, who is getting back to fitness but is still a fantastic runner when not completely fit, decided to have a go and see what would happen. Moving toward the start line for final strides, I felt good that I would have someone to key off of in Shawn.

The race started and quickly we fell into place. I wanted to start conservatively, and Coach John had suggested 75-76 for my first 400m; I hit 78. I was pleased with this as it reaffirmed that I hadn't gone out too fast. The pace felt good and quick, but still comfortable. Shawn, at this point, decided he was going to slowly and left me behind. I was left with a friend of his, Craig, who I was able to pace off for the next few laps. Running 12.5 laps can start to make your mind go numb, so I resolved to myself not to count laps, and I was surprisingly successful at it. I just focussed on Craig and turnover and pace and the time just seemed to pass. This was workout out well until two things happened in quick succession. First, Craig dropped at 2.2k as this was all he was going to be running. Damn. Pacer gone. About 300m later, at 2.5k, my time was called out and it 8:00 flat. This was also no good because it meant that I would have to negative split the second half of the race if I was to achieve my goal of sub-16. And I would have to do it alone, running into the wind on the homestretch.

I decided that it was time to go for it. 2.5k was a distance we had run often with VFAC and I had run it well in the past. I just thought of running a mile and 7/8ths and running with the boys and I picked up the pace. People started to come back to me. I eventually caught the person ahead of me and started to see Nick coming back to me as well. This definitely gave me motivation and I moved up to him. Once I caught Nick, I eased for a moment before moving on.

With three laps to go (I think, although it might have been two laps) I was lapped by the leaders, who were, well, a lap ahead. I didn't mind this as I came to the track to run my race and my time. But, by this time, I was counting laps and knowing that I had one more lap than the card said made me a little sad. My hip flexors were starting to tighten and I began to feel ploddish in my running. I started to look at the times and try to do the math. I had run the second half well enough to put myself in a position to break 16, but my math wasn't that strong at that point. I knew I had to run well to get it, but that I was back on pace. The problem was that the lactic acid was now in my forearms and it was everything I could do to hold form. The last 400m approached and I saw that I had about 90 seconds to get under 16 minutes. I knew I was going to do it, but I wanted to get as far under as I could. This meant lifting my heavy legs and arms with a synchronicity that was near impossible to hold. I watched as Shawn ran further and further away from me and Nick sped by me with a blazing fast final 400 (65 seconds!). I held on with a final 73 and finished in a now official 15:49.

It was amazing to have so many friends and Sonja there cheering me on. I heard them often but they seemed farther away as the laps piled on. I am happy to have run a race commiserate with my training and I think this definitely puts me in the 8k camp for the RVM. I want to thank all the volunteers at the race and special thanks to Chris Kelsall for all the arrangements and sponsors of the event. I hope that this takes on a life of its own, with different races at different distances over the course of the summer. It was definitely a welcome re-introduction to the Victoria running scene.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Round and Round

12.5 times to be exact. I was a little dizzy after 5k on the track.

More to follow, but thanks to the cheering of many good friends and a great evening, I was able to dip under 16:00 for the first time.

I think the official time will be 15:48, but we will have to wait and see.

More details to follow, but I am pleased and a little surprised.

In lieu of the race details, read this and this. Both good blog posts and worthy of 2.5 minutes of your time.

More in the morning...

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Ups and Downs

Not so much in life, but a little bit in running. As has been detailed in this blog of late, my workouts have been up and my races have been down. Overall though, I would have to say that I am happy with my running. This was reinforced today with a light jaunt around Mt. Doug, an old stomping ground. Adam was done work and ready for a run, so after a quick scooter over to my place, we drove up to the Mt. Doug and proceeded to meander around, not set route, plan, nor purpose save enjoying the company and the trails. We got lost without ever really getting lost and ran in circles in different directions. I was reduced to walking only once and Mr. Campbell showed off his new downhill running skills. An enjoyable evening run with a good friend - hopefully the first of many more over the course of the next year.

Tomorrow is a light 6k with strides and then having a go on the track Friday night. The body is feeling good and I am looking forward to Friday, if nothing else to see what happens...

In ENDURrun news, Bob has established a little lead after three stages and the battle for second and third is heating up for the men, with first timer Dave challenging veteran Jeff right now. It appears that Joanne had a rough day in the humidity as Jackie extended her lead and April made a strong challenge. Tonight is a ten miler which doesn't usually do too much to the standings and is more about fatiguing the runners for what I believe is the most critical stage, Chicopee. The 5th of 7 stages is a 25k mountain run and if you are not on, lots of time can be lost. In the past years, this is where the winner will assert themselves. I hope everyone is able to run to the best of their ability and have a good result!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

2 x 2k, 1 x 1k

Just a quick update on the workout before heading to the new living room for some movie watching in our new setup!

The workout went quite well. Unlike my VFAC counterparts who were likely tempoing today, I had intervals. I decided to go to Beacon Hill Park to complete the workout as there is a mile loop with which I am quite familiar. I had my trusty Garmin 405 to let me know the distances and Sonja on the bike as my pacer. WIthout the group it is tougher to run hard, but it helped having someone yell "Pick it up! You're slowing down!" on the last interval of the workout.

Coach John had set out times for me, similar to what I had run in my last workout before leaving Vancouver. The workout looked like this....

2 x 2k, 1 x 1k with 5 minutes rest, 6:05-6:10 for the 2k, 2:53 for the 1k, 5 seconds slower if I was running alone.

Technically, I was RUNNING alone, but then I wasn't all alone for my pacer/yeller on the bike, so I figure I will take a reduction of three seconds.

Turns out I pretty much hit the times anyway. I went counter-clockwise for the first loop and split 3:03 and 3:04 for 6:07. The second loop was clockwise and I went 3:04 and 3:09 for 6:13. Not bad considering the Beacon Hill loop is much hillier than the Beaver Lake loop in Stanley Park (which is not to say Beacon Hill is hilly, but rather that Beaver Lake is very flat).

The last one was going to be tough, but with Sonja berating me (not really, it actually helped!) I was able to sneak in a 2:55 for the last 1k. Considering that 2:54 was my PR at Beaver Lake, I will take the 2:55 and be happy with that.

With this workout in the bank, I will take a shot at the Black Press 5k on Friday evening. I am not sure what to expect as I have never run 5k on a track before, but hopefully I will be able to break 16:00 and feel good (or as good as one can feel going all out for 5k).

Settling In

It has been 10 days since the move. It seems like a long ten days, but we have been getting a lot done, with the help of some amazing friends. Sonja and I have met the neighbours (who are great on both sides) and we have visited the local coffee shop, appropriately named Koffi. I have yet to try their hot chocolate, but their food is amazing and the atmosphere is prefect - I could see many a walk to get something warm to drink.

In kitten news, we have finally come up with a name. Thank you to those who gave suggestions and answered the poll, but we went with something completely different. Liev. It is a russian boys name which is also the russian word for lion. The proper spelling is Lev and is russian for Leo, but we have gone with Liev so that, in writing, people will understand the pronounciation a little easier (Lee-Ev). He is a little rascal, loves loves loves people and being held, and is currently laying in the sun, rolling around, and trying desperately to learn how to open a door. I am not a cat person by any stretch of the imagination, but Liev is a pretty hilarious cat.

Running has been getting back on track. After the workout with Mike, I have gotten out for a few longer, exploratory runs. I ran up towards Reynolds (hopefully, my school this fall) and meandered around through the side streets that I have never been on before. Yesterday was a shorter one and I realized that I am a mere 12 minute jaunt from Hicham's house! I am pleased to be so central! I know that Lauren and Adam are looking at houses in Victoria, and I really do hope that they are able to find something in this area. We could start to build a running group like they have in Guelph! The Fernwood Fastees - or something equally ironic and lame.

Got my next two weeks from Coach John last night. Fast fast stuff. Today is 2 x 2k, 1 x 1k all on 5 minutes rest, at FAST pace. I am still trying to figure out the best place in town to do these kind of repeats. I am thinking Lochside trail would work well, except that it is a tad long of a warm up to get there, being about 7k from my house - I think. If it was 5k, that would be perfect, but I will consult google for the answers - it always has all the answers! Following that is prep for the 5k on Friday. I will see how today goes before committing to the race on the track, as I am not sure what my little break has done to my edge. I am feeling good on the runs so far, but the workout today will give me an indication of where I am, especially since I essentially did this workout the day before I left the mainland.

Other than that, the house is almost done. I think that we have about 5 boxes and one futon left to unpack/put together. We have the spare bedroom all set for guests and the media area is up and running. Liev is now allowed in the basement, so we hope to make the upstairs living room a little more human and less cat. The garage is now clean and organized and the kitchen is put away. Man, I don't know how people move in the middle of work! I am glad that we chose to do this in the summer (well, we didn't have much choice, but I would choose to do so again). The one sad thing is that I missing my great friends in Waterloo as they are competing in the ENDURrun this week. As much as I wanted to be there, it wasn't in the cards this year. Jeff is doing great in keeping tight with Bob and I am excited to Joanne and Jackie battle it out for the gold jersey! Although I think the Boultbees have something up their collective sleeves - they are the Schleck's of the ENDURrun! I will be following the race closely....

Friday, August 07, 2009

Lots going on, but not running

Wow. I can't imagine what it would be like to have purchased a home that needed a lot of work. I would like to take this moment to thank everyone we spoke to and encouraged us to get a house that was already reno'd, rather than doing it ourselves. Even with very little to do, we have painted and replaced a hot water heater, cleaned a tonne, and have been putting together the house in general. This has taken A LOT more time than I thought it might. As such, with moving days and unpacking and cleaning up water from busted water heaters, I have only made it out for one run.

I was fortunate that Mike put out a call to me for a track workout. It was a great "haven't run in a while" run. The workout called for 6-8 x 800m on 2:40 with 2:00 rest. Due to an abbreviated warm up as I was out at new home triumvirate of RONA, Home Depot, Canadian Tire, and the new kitten store Petsmart, the first interval was a bit tight. Things loosened up as I got to know the dirt track that is Vic High (although Mike was telling me that there are plans for a new rubberized track) and we began to hit solid times. We completed seven intervals and then ran back towards Mike's place. I dropped him off at the top of Cedar Hill Golf Course and turned home.

It was great to be out and running with a good friend. I am looking forward to helping Mike and other friends with key workouts, as best I can. I think that is what will get me through the fall, reacquainting myself with Victoria and helping friends achieve their goals while I continue to build my base.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

O Victoria!

It has been very much a hurry up and wait kind of last couple of weeks. The waiting was hard. It always is. Sometimes, it can be a sweet anticipation, but not this time. It was a series of daily tortures. Originally, when we put an offer together for our new house, we had a JUly 20th closing date. This worked well because it gave us time to pack and get ready after school finished while allowing time for Sonja to finish her thesis. The counter included an August 1st close, which we agreed to because we did have some flexibility. However, those 11 days between closing dates were hard. We (read: Sonja) were essentially done packing by July 21st, so it was doing little bits of finishing things off each day - necessary but not enough to fill the day. But with the heat wave (sorry ontario!), going outside really wasn't an enticing option as any movement caused me to sweat. The final week was difficult because of the heat, the lack of things to do and I had lost motivation to run (1. because of the heat and 2. because of the frustrating race performances). I guess it is way better to have too much time to pack than too little, and the result was that we were well organized in boxes. So it was with great anticipation that we awoke early yesterday morning to a break in the heat and a day full of moving.

I'll spare you the details of the move save that our friends our incredible. Damien and Leanne on the mainland side were at our house early and let me tell you, I would never want to play Damien in Tetris after seeing the way he was able to get all our stuff into the truck. There was room left for maybe one more golf club and that was it! And on the island side, David and Cindy not only met us with a balloon on the door and fresh squeezed orange juice, they were heroes in unloading the truck (Dave is half man, half ox, half horse - yes, I know, three halves, but you should have seen him). To top it off, they then had us over for an incredible dinner! Truly an amazing send off from our old home and a welcome to our new home! I cannot express how amazing they were and how it really made the trip successful.

So, I back on the island and feeling ready to run. My last VFAC workout was great as the most of the boys were out (Driver?) and we ran well in the heat. It was 1k, 2k, 2k, 1k at Beaver Lake and, after a four day heat/motivation break, I cam back and ran that workout faster than I have before, ending with a final 1k of 2:54 (a PB for that loop). It felt good but what felt better was being doused in cold water at the Stanley Park kiddie water park! That was amazing after a good workout! I will miss the weekly meet up with the boys, but I am going to continue with Coach John for the next three months via email and see how that works out. I am also excited to meet up with Liam and Hicham and Kelly and the whole island running crew and get reacquainted with Beacon Hill and Thetis and Mt. Doug and a much less intimidating Mt. Finlayson.

In the end, we made it home. And now the race is on to see how long it will take to get out of the boxes!

Friday, July 17, 2009

I found what you were looking for!

If you weren't aware, I am a transplanted Ontario boy. Born in London (birthplace of Jim Finlayson) and growing up in Pickering (hometown of Sean Avery, yeah, not proud of that one), I still self-identify as Ontarion (yes, that's right, that's what I am calling people who live in Ontario). Growing up playing soccer, I spent many a summer afternoon baking in the sun of a weekend-long tournament. This is all to say that I am used to the "it's not the heat, it's the humidity" of Ontario summers.

Speaking with friends and loved ones still in Ontario, there has been much whining about how wet and cool this summer has been. With lower temperatures and lots of rain, the Ontarions have been wondering where there summer has gone!

This post is to let all the people in Ontario know that I have found it!

It, like a smart Ontarion, has moved out west. Yes, that is right, Toronto's summer is in Vancouver. And man, have I weakened while living on the left coast. It is HOT here! I am sure that if I had just moved out from Ontario this year, I would not bat an eye at this weather, but having been out here for almost 10 years (YIKES! Almost ten years!), I have weakened and now find anything over 25 degrees hot.

Running has been fun, and a little wet at the end of the run. This afternoon was a light run with drills and strides as I prepare for the Summerfast 10k tomorrow morning. I am hoping to run well, and although it will be warm in the morning it shouldn't be too bad as the race starts at 8:00am. Jay will be riding lead bike so that is incentive to run hard so that I can have my own personal cheerleader but the race has been won in low 33/high 32 for the past few years, and with some money on the line, people come out of the woodwork, so I don't expect to be at the front. Maybe Jay can just let the leader know where to go and then he can come back and hang out with me!

If you are still an Ontarion, I hope that summer finds it way back to you, and if you are in Van or Vic, make sure to drink water and wear sunscreen!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Super Hilly University

That's what SFU should be renamed. No longer SFU, but SHU.

For a change of pace, and because I have been living here for almost two years and still haven't really explored the trails at SFU, I decided to go out and run around Caprica City (ok, blatant Battlestar Galactica reference, but if you don't know, go watch it). I drove to the base of Burnaby Mountain and parked in front of a home being reno'd. I almost decided to forego my run and see if I could get a job helping on the site, but I didn't think that my running attire would put me in good stead with the foreman. So, with dreams of becoming the next Mike Holmes put on hold, I ascended the mountain as my warm up.

I have always felt that SFU had a connection to McMaster, but running the trails here I was really reminded of Cootes Paradise, the trails which line the back of Mac. I spent many hours running in there many years ago and I was transported back there as I ran the North Road Trail. Windy and soft with lots of little (and I do mean little for this was at the base, after the initial ascent and subsequent descent from the peak) hills, twists and turns and some mountain bike trials to run over. To finish the run, it was another 20 minute ascent to the school before the fun run back down to the car.

The day was much warmer than I had expected and I was thankful that I had brought along my handheld water bottle as the circumnavigation of the SHU trails took about 80 minutes, much longer than I had accounted for at the beginning of the run. But being on the trails and with good podcasts and in the heat made the run seem much shorter than the time and it was fun, which is the goal of the summer.

Packing is coming along well with Sonja doing most of it, but I trust her spatial skills more than mine. We are fortunate that we don't have THAT much stuff and all our furniture is apartment sized. We will be done what we can pack at this time by the end of today and I don't think that there will be much more to do until the final week.

Oh yeah - saw the midnight screening of Harry Potter. Good, but not bedazzling. The difficulty in the translation to the screen is the amount of backstory that can be fit into 2 hours and 30 minutes. I am looking forward to the double movie for the 7th book. Good times!

Monday, July 13, 2009


The time of naps, and runs, and HGTV.

I think that many people, including myself, underestimate the absolute volume of emotional energy spent during the school year. I am sure this is the case in many professions, especially those which centre around helping others. I find that the first month of school is about getting back into school shape, much like the first week of the Tour de France is about getting into "Tour" shape. In what seems to be the most counter-intuitive proclamation ever made (yes, EVER!), the riders in Le Tour proclaim that they are feeling best and most fit in the closing stages of the three week race. Yes, after thousands of kilometers of riding, they feel better than they did in the first few hundred. I feel school is similar in this respect. By the end of the year, while tired (and no doubt the riders are fatigued), I am better equipped to deal with the fatigue and the rhythm of the weeks. But once it all ends, once hte kids are gone and I have decompressed for a week, the fatigue hits. Naps left, right, and center. On the couch, on the floor, and sometimes, if I am going for a long one, in bed. The recovery process has begun.

After the Scotiabank result, I ran for fun. Sonja and I ended up in Calgary for the Stampede (and may I say, it was much different than I thought it would be - I have never been at a more patriotic event in my life). I took the time to enjoy the company and hospitality of Sonja's extended family and to run around the city a little. Upon returning to Vancouver, I have gone to two workouts (both went very well, the last being 12 x400 on 100m rest averaging 68 seconds - low of 71 and high of 66 - for the 400m). Other than those workouts I have been running and listening to podcasts, enjoying the freedom to go when and where I want. I even completed my first double run in about two years, starting with an easy 10k in the morning and going to VFAC for workout in the evening. I have decided to race the Summerfast 10k this weekend to see how it goes. I may stop fighting distance.

Yesterday was the one year anniversary of breaking my foot at Knee Knacker. Since then I have recovered well only to re-injure it in December to recover again. In the grand scheme of life, this is minor, but in the hyperbolic world of running, it is a huge setback. While I have regained speed, and I am running workout times faster than I ever have, the translation to longer distance running is not forthcoming. My two half-marathons this year have been my slowest in years and I have not felt strong. The injuries have kept me from building a strong base which has made my house of speed a little wobbly as the foundation upon which it is built is precarious (yes, too much Mike Holmes). I am flirting with the idea of abandoning everything beyond 10k racing for the rest of the year and focussing on really building speed this summer, using the winter to rebuild my base and then approach the new year with a one-two punch. I think this weekend may go a little ways to determining whether or not I follow through with that plan. Either way, the summer has been good to me so far.

I will see how this weekend goes and then nap on a decision.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Scotiabank Half

This is going to be short, but not because of anger or frustration, but just that time is seeping away from me...

The half was what I was hoping for, for about 16k. Looking back at the Garmin, I was on pace up until that point. Even through 17k, I was still on 1:15 pace, but in the last 4k, man it got ugly. Heart rate dropped, no strength in the legs, eyes starting to cross. Not even the vision of Lauren and Simon could get me to move my legs any faster.

The finishing time was 1:16:56. That time is about 5 minutes faster than the Oak Bay half, but about 3 minutes slower than what I was hoping for. As I have said, I am not frustrated or angry, just accepting of it as where I am right now. I know that in my workouts I am running faster than I have before, but it has not yet translated to longer distances. Maybe I should focus on 800m races for the rest of the summer? Last year, before the injury, I had a HUGE base, coming off of an ultra in Iceland and a fall marathon and then the build for Boston. But since Boston, I have injured my foot twice, six months apart, which effectively took me out of running for 6 month of the last year as I healed. It is time for me to rebuild my base and continue to have fun running. Without any goal races until October, I will be able to do that without any concerns about being fast at a particular time.

And for those that are following my running more closely, you will recognize that there is no goal race in August. I have made the difficult decision to miss the ENDURrun again this year, although this time it is by choice and not due to injury. With the move back to Victoria being made on August 1st, and then needing to get a teaching gig over there, leaving Sonja and the house and the new kitten for 10-12 days is not something that I want to do. I LOVE the ENDURrun and will be saddened to miss seeing all my friends there this summer, but with our budget and the necessity and desire to be in Victoria, it just isn't in the cards this year. However, every winter, it is the thought of Bob training that gets me out the door for the long, cold, wet runs in preparation for the ENDURrun. I will be following closely every day and I will be in contact with the runners, but this year my place is in my new home.

I would remiss if I didn't mention that many of my VFAC teammates had AMAZING races and I am proud of then all for it. It is honestly an honour to be part of a club with such great runners who are great people.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

News,news, and other news...


Things are going well, even thought last night's tempo with Simon was tough. But I can figure out the reason for that; staff luncheon. Yesterday was the final staff lunch for the school year at school and there was a great spread! Samosas, sushi sandwiches, pasta, AND deserts! I couldn't help but go up to the buffet three times! Thus, when I met Simon at 4:30 at Burnaby Lake to run a 6k tempo at 3:30/km pace, I felt a little tired, a little fat, and a little uncoordinated. We warmed up for 2k and then launched into the workout. While not feeling great, we were able to hold 3:30 for the whole 6k, uncomfortably to be sure, but held nonetheless. While it wasn't a great feeling run, it was encouraging that it was no slower than a week previous and my heart rate was a beat lower on average. This is encouraging because heading into Scotiabank Half-Marathon on the weekend, I know that even if I am not feeling great, I will still be able to run well. I have an abbreviated workout tomorrow night and then a couple of runs before the race on Sunday.


Almost done. Tomorrow should be the wrap up of my packing and prepping for next year. I have everything filed away and after working with a colleague tomorrow on planning for her class next year, I am pretty much done. I can't believe that two years at NWSS have come and gone, and I am very different teacher leaving than I was arriving, and for that I am thankful. The staff and students at school are great and I am going to miss them, but I am excited to go back to Victoria with new skills and views on teaching and share that with people on the island.


On the right side of the blog are pictures of a kitten than Sonja and I are going to bring home in August. He is a Siberian Forest Cat and he is pretty much the cutest thing ever. For those that know me, you know that I have never been a cat person, save for Fluffy (my grandma's cat) and Elmo (Jay and Danielle's cat). I had a wonderful dog and love the idea of running with a dog through trails, so a house cat is pretty much the opposite of that. However, this little kitten has changed my mind. The biggest thing is that the Siberian Forest Cat breed is pretty much hypoallergenic, which is important for me as I have allergies to cats. When the breeder brought him out for us to meet and test for allergic reactions, he was shaking and mewing. Within two minutes of being on my lap and on my chest, he was calm and quiet, eventually feeling comfortable enough to fall asleep on Sonja's lap. After an hour of playing and hanging out with him, neither of us had an allergic reaction and he didn't want us to leave, as evidenced by the claw marks in my neck when the breeder tried to take him away from chest when it was time to go. He is too little to come with us now - he still needs his mom to feed and teach him - but we will go back to Seattle to get him in mid-august. We are very excited to get him, and as the breed is described as "dog-like" in nature, I think I will teach him to play fetch! We are still unsure of a name for him, so please vote on the right as to the name you think he most resembles. For those Harry Potter and Battlestar Galactica fans out there, you will recognize the first two names.


OK, I am watching too much lately, now that marking and prepping no longer consume my evenings. I am generally splitting my time between HGTV (Mike Holmes may be my new hero) and Battlestar Galactica, which Sonja and I are close to finishing the series. I have always enjoyed sci-fi stuff (I watched two episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation every night in grade 11 and 12, which might explain my lack of girlfriends and parties during that time). I didn't have much backstory on the original BSG, but this new one is quite good and smart. We only have a few more episodes until the end of the series, so don't spoil it for us if you know who the final cylon is!


I have submitted the ten thousand documents the mortgage company needed from me. It was a bit of an ordeal, but it is done and know we wait for the lawyer to call. We have also booked our Uhaul, so if anyone wants to come over on August 1st, we would love to have your hands!

So, I think that is about it for now. Good lucks to my friends racing this weekend in Des Moines and to those recovering from injury. I am off to finish watching Holmes on Homes!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Tempo Tuesday - Burnaby Lake

Since the race on Friday I have run up and down Mt. Seymour (Sunday long run) and cruised a 10k recovery run (Monday). Tonight I was meeting Simon at Burnaby Lake for a 10k tempo. I ran in the new Brooks Glycerin last night for the first time and loved them. I am not sure if it was the shoe that made me feel good or if I am just starting to feel more like a runner, but the easy run last night was fun. I was buoyed by the way I felt last evening, but was unsure of how 10k at 3:30/km on the trail would feel, especially since holding 3:24/km in a race was difficult a mere four days ago.

Sonja and I got out of the car around 4:30, meeting Simon, Katrina and Lucy in the parking lot of Burnaby Lake. After some catch up, Sonja set out for her workout, Lucy and Katrina made way to the playground, and Simon and I began our 2k warm up. I like Burnaby Lake, although it is no Elk/Beaver Lake in Victoria. The loop is very twisty with very soft ground and a few very long straight-aways. This makes it a challenging loop as there is never really any point at which you feel rhythm, which is Jay's secret to success.

Simon and I fell right into 3:30 pace from the start and it felt good for me. This was a little surprising because after the past few days of running, I would have expected a little let down. What I found was that I felt strong and comfortable, although the run was not easy. I was able to hold pace throughout the run, although I had to do a lot of self-talk in the last 2k to keep it together. The run was a solid confidence builder heading into Scotiabank in a couple of weeks and one I could not have done it on my own.

I am looking forward to workout on Thursday and meeting up with the rest of the blue train after their great showing last Friday. 3rd through 8th and a bunch right after that. What a group.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Longest Day and other stuff

EDIT June 13 - 5:34pm: Thanks to a comment, please substitute "the guy in the white shirt" with "Facundo", which is his actual name, not "white shirt." Thanks to Jeremy Hopwood for letting me know! Check the comments for the link to Facundo's blog. It sure was a fun race with him!

For teachers, the month of June is tangible and tactile. There is a distinct feel of it that you can reach out and touch. I am not sure if this is the same for other people, but the school year is so rhythmic and ordained that June has its own shape and personality. There is excitement mixed with stress and in some cases, melancholy. June is also very busy, many last minute assignments being handed in and report grades being compiled alongside exams. It has been busy and that has left me AWOL for the past week, although I have been out and about running around the city.

Last Sunday saw my long run out to, up, and around SFU reach 1:45. It was a good go and I am starting to feel comfortable again with long runs. Monday was another 45 minutes followed by a (very) short tempo on Tuesday, which was starting to feel tough as I don't think my quads had recovered from running down Burnaby Mountain on Sunday. Wednesday was off before VFAC on Thursday, which is where this story will pick up.

Getting downtown just in time to meet up with the group as they left for warm-up, I was suprised by the lack of people. I am not sure why I was surprised, I mean, most everyone was racing the 5k at the Longest Day Run the next evening; most normal people don't do a workout the day prior to a race. However, in defense of my seeming madness, I was racing the 10k at Longest Day and this was all in preparation for the Scotiabank Half-Marathon at the end of the month. So, it was with Phil, Paul, and a pick up of Patrick from another club that we ran the 5 x 800m hills at Stanley Park.

I believe I have mentioned this before, but the one great thing about repeating workouts every 8 weeks or so is it gives you empirical evidence of fitness gains that have been achieved. To demonstrate my lack of crazy, I only did 3 of the 5 repeats, but they were all the fastest times I have run in this workout, yet none of them felt stressed. I didn't reach into the tank to finish one out, which is good because I would need that tank the following night. Splits of 2:42, 2:38, 2:39 were great and I felt that I could have held that average if I needed to for the full five repeats, but I choosing smart over nuts, I jogged out to the car, picked up thai red curry from Tom Yum Thai and went home.

My first exposure to the Longest Day Run was last year when Sonja and our new BVCFs, Leanne and Damien, were going to run the 5k as the culmination to their training with a run clinic. I got to play "race mom" and cheer them on and carry their gear and generally enjoy the atmosphere without having to be sweaty. They all did amazing and I was very proud of them. The course also intrigued me as it was on both road and path, with some hills and a long downhill finish. It was a bit of excitement that I signed up for the undercard of the evening, as the 5k was the premiere race of the event - a Timex Series race with some good cash for the top 5. The 10k is just two loops of the 5k and is less well-attended. To say that I wasn't thinking about the possibility of winning the race would be to lie to you and me, but I was also well aware that for me to win two things are needed: me running well and faster people not showing up.

The 10k went off at 7:00pm, 45 minutes prior to the start of the 5k. This was also appealing to me as it would mean that my teammates would be able to see me racing during their warm-up and I would be able to watch them as they raced. The whole crew - Jay, Graeme, Phil, the other Phil, Peter, Paul, stealth training Ynuk, Mike and Capel - were racing the 5k, so it was going to be a fun evening. Sonja played the role of race mom this evening as we set up a beach towel in the shade of a tree along the finishing stretch, which became everyone's home base. Good people, warm evening, last day of teaching behind me, and I was feeling good.

Warm-up completed and I was on the start line. The hills from the previous evening reminded me that they were in my legs during my strides of the start line. A long downhill comprised pretty much the whole first kilometer so I knew it would be important to not blow out my quads on it in the first three minutes of the race. With the looped course, I wanted to take advantage of the hills, both up and down, on the second loop. And so a minute into the race I found myself about five places back from two guys off the front. Looking at my watch, I saw that I was running 3:12/km pace, which was fast enough. My goal was to come in around 34:00 minutes for this race - anything under that would be amazing, but too much over (34:45+) and questions would start to creep into my psyche. The two guys of the front must have been running around 3:00/km, which they were not going to keep up because there are only a few guys around that can, and they were not those guys. I chose to bide my time and run steady, bringing them back along the hills. The hills in the race, which are not too harsh at all, but consistent, felt good. I conjured images of Simon Driver and his little stride that allows him to float up hills and tried to match the his stride as he ran around inside my head. This seemed to work well as I started to draw the leaders back closer, moving into third place. After the cresting the hills, the two guys in front, were running about 20m ahead. The guy in the white shirt kept checking his should even the the younger kid (who turned out to be 17) was right there. My conjuring was of Jay and his light stride as the course opened up to a long straight away. I moved to the far side of the course and focussed my sight beyond the two of them and tried to be fluid like Jay. In my peripheral vision the two guys became larger and larger until I was alongside them heading into the first aid station at about 3.5k. This was going to be fun; I was working hard but knew I had enough in reserve to race.

Through the aid station I took some water as it was a warm evening and got back in with the leaders. A little downhill after turning right at the top of the course allowed the guy in white to make a little move and I stayed back a little, holding some in reserve, knowing that there was a lot of time in the race and a very long downhill grade leading into the finish area. We turned and start the trek back toward the start, and I moved away from the young kid with my sight on the leader. The top of the course is a little square and it was coming out of the square that I pulled up on the should of the leader. There was a very sligth headwind so I tucked in on his shoulder. This did not please him. Looking over his shoulder, we started to play cat and mouse.

An example of the cycling tactics employed during the race (and one of the most exciting stages of the Tour de France ever)

I followed him as he went side to side on the course, trying to get me off his shoulder. This is more of a cycling tactic as the draft is more significant on a bike, but I was willing to play along. I pushed the pace for about 20 meters and the slowed up to allow him to catch me. I knew that this was an important part of the race for first because there were only really three of us up front, and I didn't know about either of these guys. The young kid had a very fluid stride and looked smooth; I was concerned he would not know that he was tired and run through us both. This guy was not wanting me to sit on his shoulder and with the long downhill coming, I knew that I would be able to put in a pretty strong surge when the opportunity provided itself. We continued to jockey and try to figure each other out, but as we hit the downhill leading to the end of the first loop, and later the finish, he moved to the left again and this time slowed up, forcing me to either slow down or take the lead. As it was the downhill and I knew that the long downhill from the start of the race was coming, I decided it was time to see what I had in the tank. It was at 4.6k I made move. With him slowing down and moving left, I moved right and pushed into another gear. Using my strength in downhill running I silently challenged him to come with me for the next 3 minutes. Seeing Sonja cheering alongside a whole host of other people, knowing that I was going to see my teammates on the second loop, I prepared myself to run hard. I was told early on in my running career that looking back was a sign a weakness. If you look back, you are concerned about the people behind you, not in front. This is not good as now when I see someone look back, I know that I am going to catch them. As I took the lead, I was not going to look back. I pushed through the 5k mark (splitting 16:54), and then the long downhill. I was slowing down as compared to my first lap, but effort was getting higher. I ran as though the other guy was only 10m back. In my head I was trying to break him, especially once we hit the uphill section again. With Simon in my head, I knew that this would be the make or break part of this move. If he was able to maintain contact through the hills, he would be confident in the final 3k. If not, then he would have to start looking back and worrying about the young kid. The other thing about looking back is that there is nothing good that can come of it; if they are close, it is discouraging and if they are not then the urge to relax comes to the fore. It is for those reasons I ran as though he was 10m back the whole time. I sweat I heard footsteps the whole time but as I began to run through people still on their first lap, I began to listen to the clapping and cheering. Leading a race is not something that one gets to experience that often, so I was happy to take an existential moment to absorb it. Someone told me I had 15 seconds on second place, so I started doing math. With 3k left, he would have to run 5 seconds/km faster than my current pace to catch me. With each passing kilometer that number became higher and with 1k left and the long downhill I felt comfortable with my position, I saw Sonja cheering. It was a pretty cool moment.

I crossed the line in 34:06, essentially tying my personal best time for 10k, and taking 1st place. What followed was fun. I got to watch my teammates race the 5k and take every position between 3rd and 8th. It looked like a VFAC workout with Jay, Peter, Graeme, Ynuk, Paul (all under 16 minutes), and Phil (16:13) coming in in that order. Ian Druce (16:14) was 9th, Mike (16:26) was 12th, the other Phil was 14th - all of them under 17 minutes. Kapil finished in 17th with a PB.

It was a great night for the VFAC crew. Lot of fantastic efforts, and results, and this bodes well for us a group heading to Scotiabank two weeks from now. Lots to look forward to!

Friday, June 05, 2009

VFAC Thursday - 1, 2, 2, 1

Last night was a warm one. With Vancouver hitting record temperatures of 30+ degrees throughout the week, I was actually looking forward to being out and running sans shirt. There is something freeing about running a hard workout with teammates, baking in the evening heat, sweating out the work day.

We jogged over to Beaver Lake and found out from John that tonight was going to be the infamous, 1k, 2k, 2k, 1k. Beaver Lake is an almost perfect 1k loop of a lake in Stanley Park. It is hard pack gravel, with a few turns and a few slight grades. It is a favourite workout venue for many of the faster runners in Vancouver as you are able to accurately judge distance and the surface is forgiving on the joints.

I was not sure of what to expect going into the workout. The first two days after the Iron Knee I was walking with a noticeable limp due to the twisted foot I suffered on the final (long) descent into the finish. But with lots of icing and traumeel, my run Wednesday felt very normal. I was pleased about the healing, so I think that the two days of forced rest allowed for a mini-taper for the workout.

The last time I did this workout, it was the first one back from my December injury. The April workout had me running a very well paced workout of 3:13, 6:43, 6:43, 3:13. I was pleased with that workout coming back as it demonstrated that I still had some residual speed in the legs. This, however, has never really been an issue. The short and fast has always been a strength; it is the long and fast that has been the concern.

Last night's workout was a great barometer of my fitness since April. In the last 8 weeks I have seen some significant growth in my running. When Coach John told Peter and me that we were to go 2:55 and 6:10 for the workout, we thought he was a little bit crazy, but his crazy always seems to be pretty much bang on. Peter and I ran the first 1k in 2:57. I am not sure the last time I went under 3:00 for 1k workout, but to do it on the first interval was good, but I was worried about how I would hold up. Turns out I shouldn't have. The first 2k went great as I negative split the loops and ran a 6:08, followed up by a tougher 6:14. On the last 1k my goal was to stay as close to Jay as possible. This strategy was a good one for as he went through the loop in 2:48, I was dragged along for a 2:55 - right on Coach John's predictions. I was definitely pleased to be able to run my fastest loop on the last interval, but also that it wasn't killing me. I never lost form or control. My mantra, which I took from a Kenyan or Ethiopian coach, was fulfilled - run fast, not hard.

A great workout with great running teammates on a great night. Nothing like a little injury to give you a taper into a workout. Tonight's run was a little heavy, but I churned out the 10k and got the miles in. I am now playing with the idea of running a 10k next Friday evening, but I am not sure about it as it is about a $40 entry and that is a little steep for me as a new homeowner. And nothing says new homeownership like a trip to Ikea, which is where I just got home from. Do you know that they have toilet brushes for a dollar? A dollar! Crazy.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Run Swim Run

I have never participated in an Aquathlon, but today was my mini-version. After 2.5 days of icing and traumeel, my foot was feeling better so I tried out a short run. Sonja was at Brighton pool when I got home from teaching, so I ran down to meet her there. The pool is about 10 minutes away and it is amazing - the view of the North Shore is incredible. We swam (read: waded and splashed) for about 20 minutes and then made our way home. The run home didn't feel as smooth, but there was no pain in the foot which is great news as it means I will go to workout tomorrow night and that the two days of rest will not turn into ten.

Oh, and Vancouver is experiencing Ontario-like weather, which makes Sonja happy, but reminds me of days on the track in Hamilton with Jon Moncreiff, dropping 5 pounds during workout. This is not what I signed up for, but I am sure it will soon be 21 degrees with a cool breeze.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Iron Knee 25k

This was the race that started it all. I had been running trails before this race, but once I had run this course, it was love.

I love point-to-point races because you actually feel like you have gone somewhere. The big joke with non-runners is that we spend a lot of energy to go nowhere. The point-to-point is fun to run and gives a sense a satisfaction that looped or out-and-back routes don't.

After last week's disappointing half-marathon, I was looking forward to my first race back in the trails. This race is essentially two huge hills separated by a 3k flat stretch. Also, it is more like 20k than 25k, but no one really complains because it makes you like a hero when people see your time.

The plan this year was to start out conservative and build through. I had tried this last week, but it didn't really work very well. On the trails, you can't fake it - if you get cocky, the hills will remind you that you are insignificant. I relaxed in the first few kilometers, actually walking part of the initial hill, a mere 1km into the race. Walk early, walk often. It was important for me to maintain a lower heart rate on the day, so there was no shame in walking, but it is difficult to watch people run away from you. As usual, I tried to take note of the people passing me, with the mind to pick them off as the race progresses.

It was a few km in that my snowshoeing partner, Tom, pulled up beside me. We ran together for pretty much the first half of the race, getting caught up on our past couple of months and generally having a great time. I appreciated the company and pacing that Tom gave me, as he is veteran of many an ultra-marathon. We also caught up to eventual female winner, Katrina Driver, who is a climbing legend. I know that if I am anywhere near Katrina at the top of a hill, I am in good shape! It was at the aforementioned flat stretch that we parted ways and I started to make the move to bring back some of the people in front of me.

I was feeling great at this point of the race, which was the goal. I was starting to see groups of people in front of me, slowly watching their bodies increase in size as I approached. I moved fluidly and easily, but Powerline Hill, a 15 minute climb, was waiting for me. I had a decision to make at this point. I could keep pace with the people I had just run back to, or I could conserve my quads and legs and hike the hill, relying on my downhill running to make the time up again. I chose the latter a gamble to be sure.

The day was very warm and there is not much shade on this long, steep hill. I am not built for long climbs, so the decision to hike it kept me in a positive mindset, rather than suffering through the lactic acid of trying to run the whole climb. I crested the climb having lost about 6 position on the ascent, but with fresh legs. It was time for some fun.

It is the single-track downhill running that I love about trails and I was about to get 20 minutes of that as I descended from the apex of Powerline. I was able to make up a couple positions pretty quickly, and then two more guys came back. I knew that there was one more person that I could catch, as the leaders were far out of reach, but I had no idea where this person was. I had only caught a fleeting glimpse of him at the base of Powerline, so I was only guessing that he would be suffering after Powerline. In the past two years, I had lost positions on the last small climb in the trails, about 2k from the finish. It was with great pleasure that I saw my target at the same spots where I was weak in years past. I made my move and passed him, emerging from the trails and onto the road only to start feeling my calved seize. This was no time for cramping. I did the best I could to prevent a full on cramp, which would have stopped me completely, and sprinted-shuffled into the line. I was pleased with the result - a 4th place finish, but an enormous eight minutes behind 3rd place, which was Simon Driver. It was also 5 minutes slower than last year and 9 minutes slower than the year before that. I know that I hiked the hills more than I have in the past, but I didn't feel that much slower. Oh well, it was a training race and I had fun.

But here is the kicker - I twisted my foot during the race. My left foot, so that was good. And I didn't really feel any pain during the race nor for the rest of the day. At 3am, I woke up to an ache on the top of my left foot. No swelling, but I couldn't walk. I iced it that night and went back to sleep. I have been on an icing and traumeel plan since and it is feeling pretty good as of this evening. I am hoping that it will be better by Thursday so that I can go to VFAC, but these few days of rest are not a bad thing.

I am feeling good about running right now but I know that Scotiabank will be tough. I don't think that it will be a PB, that may need to wait until October and the Royal Victoria Half-Marathon, but I know that I will be fit and in the race.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

VFAC Thursday

It has been a busy week, and after the race that was the Oak Bay Half, I wasn't super stoked to get back into training. But, one foot in front of the other, and out the door I went and got in some decent runs.

Workout on Thursday was what is the called the double-single and it is much better than the double-double. The references are to the 1 mile 5/8 loop in Stanley Park. Double means we do it twice and single, well, once. So essentially, the workout is a 5k followed by a 2.5k a mere 15 minutes later. I wasn't sure what to expect as my legs were feeling a little heavy from the previous weekend's half, but with Simon and Jay, and the new brits Pete and Phil, there was a solid group to work with.

Jay, as usual, left 15 seconds behind us for the first interval, the 5k. We use a staggered start for at least the first interval of every workout so that everyone finished somewhat close. It is also great motivation as you are constantly catching people as well as being chased. I left with Pete and Simon and we settled in pretty quickly, feeling better than I thought I would. We worked well and came through the first lap right on pace, which was good. The long, but not steep, hill that resides at the beginning of the loop, seemed much larger the second time around. The three of us spread out a bit and Jay joined the group shortly thereafter. I felt good, but was beginning to struggle as Simon and Pete showed good form. Focussing on form and staying relaxed, I held things together and finished the double in 16:45. I was pleased with the time and recognized that the effort was a little high. The second lap was much lower than the first, something that Jay commented on in his recent blog post, but Coach John indicated that everyone should expect to slow down. He is eerie in his ability to predict performance in Stanley Park and I have long since given up on trying to figure how he does it, having moved into a place of acceptance.

The recovery was a full 15 minutes and then we were unleashed once again for a single loop. The mental difference of running a single vs. a double is amazing. And, for some reason, my body responded really well to this second loop. Often, after our first interval, we will start as a mass group. This was the case for the single loop. Jay went off the front pretty quickly and, feeling good, I settled into a quick pace up the initial hill. I visualized myself as the person beside me, Simon, as his quick turnover allows him to be a dominant hill runner. Cresting the top of the hill I felt pretty strong and decided to visualize myself as the runner in front of me, Jay, he of the running on the toes and strong arm movement. After struggling through second lap of the first interval, I was surprised at how I felt. My feet were gripping the ground and I was pushing it backwards, rather than moving over it. I felt strong in body and mind. But, as with any "flow" or "zone" experience, once you recognize it, it leaves you. That is the irony, as Simon pointed out on the cool down, to be in the zone you can't really know you are in the zone. The last 600m of the 2.5k loop was a bit of a struggle, but I held things together quite well, to come in only 3 seconds slower than I ran the same loop a few weeks ago, but at that time it was the first interval of the night.

Overall, a strong workout. I am pleased with my speed right now - in fact, I am not sure if I have ever run consistently fast workouts times like this in my past. However, the half last weekend is a reminder that while my speed is ok, I need to focus on hour-long tempo efforts if I am to run to my potential at Scotiabank in June.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Oak Bay Half

Having found myself in Victoria this weekend, I decided to jump into the Oak Bay Half Marathon. With the Scotiabank Half Marathon only a month or so away, I knew I needed some longer race efforts to help prepare me for it. I have been running well of late, with last week's VFAC workout being another strong workout over shorter distances (2 x 1 mile 7/8 = 9:21, 9:30), but my longest tempo since December has been 30 minutes. It was with this in mind that I decided to try out the Oak Bay Half.

I ran well for about 14k, trying to be conservative and slowly working my way up through the field, but the lack of endurance fitness became very apparent when in 3 short kilometers I went from 3:35/km pace to 4:20/km pace. The rest of the race was about getting home. A very humbling and all together unspectacular 1:21 for the half, my slowest time since my first half-marathon over 5 years ago. This has definitely shown me that the speed I am carrying is not an easy cross-over to the longer stuff, but I will be looking at building the duration of my tempo runs over the next few weeks. I am not sure how Scotiabank will go, but at least this kick in the pants will keep me honest in my training.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Tempo Tuesday

Simon before his speedy running days...(the one on the left - oh Google Images, you will never let any of us be politicians)

With the threat of a thunderstorm looming, Simon and I left my place for our tempo run. It is a rare occasion that I get the chance to run my tempo with someone. The weather forecasters had said that the rain was coming, but the sun and wind were more prevalent than any rain that was to come. In fact, as I sit here writing this many hours later, the rain has yet to arrive.

After a warm-up around the neighbourhood, showing it off to Simon, we headed down to the Trans-Canada Trail and set out for our 30 minute tempo. After the workout last week, a 20 minute tempo, I wasn't sure what to expect coming into today. Last week I struggled to maintain the pace throughout the tempo, but having someone with me this time would make things much easier.

We set out to try to hold 3:35-3:40/min pace for the workout. The amazing thing about having a training partner is that you are never allowed off the hook. Not having run many tempo workouts recently, I am still struggling to find the feel of certain pace efforts. As such, we were a little quick off the start, but the effort felt good. As well, it was all downhill, but we won't worry about that now.

The rest of the workout went well with Simon and I not racing, but rather pushing each other to maintain the workout. In 30 minutes of tempo, we covered almost 8.5k, averaging 3:32 min/km. I am definitely pleased with this run, much more so than last week as it was a quicker tempo, but also felt easier. This is no doubt the result of running with a teammate, but it is something that I happy to build on going into Thursday's workout.

A good night with no rain...yet.

Monday, May 18, 2009


You can tell that I am getting back into running by the sheer number of updates that are coming out of this blog. It is a result of inertia.

Inertia is an interesting concept. An object will maintain its state or motion, either not moving or moving, unless acted upon by an external force. To overcome the inertia of an object at rest more than the usual amount of energy is required to begin its motion. However, once in motion, that same force, inertia, keeps that object moving. And now, I feel like I have finally overcome the inertia of rest and moved into the inertia of motion. (note: any physicists or grade 11 science students out there who will find fault with the terminology, please feel free to correct me as I am going off of memory.)

Inertia forced me out the door this afternoon. After helping to move friends into their house, Sonja and I turned our focus to our place and did a good clean up and cleaning. So, with clean clothes I went out and felt pretty good. I had been perusing blogs of friends and heros earlier today, so motivation to run is rising with the temperature. An easy 45 minute jaunt after the longer run with Mr. Driver yesterday and with this inertia, small steps are being taken toward running well again.

Buntzen Lake

Saturday was spent helping to move friends to their beautiful new home. As reward for a job well done, we were treated to an amazing dinner on the new BBQ, seated on an enormous raised deck, where we were able to watch the sun fade away and share in good food, good wine, and good company.

It was after the steak and tuna were cleared and the wine glasses were near empty that I asked the two engineers working for BC Hydro about their work. Like asking a teacher about a classroom, what I got was a long (and very interesting) answer. Turns out that BC is very clean in the way it produces electricity as it is 97% from hydro-electric dams. I didn't realize that was the case, a little because of ignorance and a little because of growing up beside the Pickering nuclear plant I always assumed that there was diversity in the generation of power. I also learned that the proposed IPP (small, run of the river generating stations on rivers leased to private corporations) was really an inane idea. I really suggest BC residents look more into this one.

I also learned that Buntzen Lake was mostly created by BC Hyrdo and is a major source of power for the province. That was interesting as it was the plan to run at Buntzen with Simon the next morning, so I was going to have a little more understanding of the area as we circumnavigated the lake.

The morning unfolding in all its glory and the parking lot was just beginning to fill up as I got there around 9:45am. I didn't know what Simon had in mind as we had run here last year in our preparation for the Knee Knacker, which neither of us would finish. This was also my first true trail run after the December injuring of my foot, so I wanted to be careful, but afraid of the trails.

Early on I remembered why I loved and hated Buntzen - beautiful trails and scenery, lots of uphill. Simon was very gracious with me as I was reduced to hiking very early on in the climb to the ridge we would follow for most of the run. Simon is an incredible runner, both downhill and uphill, and so it was kind of him not to lose me on the way up. However, this is also what I want right now - long runs with a lot of climbing. For me, speed is something that I can get back quite quickly, but strength and endurance is something that takes some time to build, so that is definitely the focus for me right now. And Buntzen is a great place to get that.

Once I regained my ability to speak, Simon and I talked for the rest of the time, avoiding hikers and dogs, looking out over the incredible vistas, and just enjoying the morning. After the 1:45 of running, soaking in the lake with Simon, as Katrina and little Lucy hung out on the beach, was fantastic.

And the day ended where it had began 24 hours earlier, back on an amazing deck in a now cleaner house, eating a wonderful BBQ with new and old friends alike and having fun Banging each other. (note: not what you are thinking!)

Saturday, May 16, 2009

A new slideshow from an old race

Playing around with a website Sonja showed me called Animoto. Made this video as an experiment to see what it could do. Not bad...

Friday, May 15, 2009

About that last post...

Yesterday I felt like a runner. Today, I felt like a runner who felt like a runner yesterday.

An easy 45 minutes jaunt along the daily Trans Canada Trail route, out around Kensington park and back in time to go for sushi and Star Trek. Everything was good, except the run. I think I need to pick up new shoes as these ones are running out of time.

Another couple of long runs this long weekend and then just 4 weeks of teaching left. Teachers always talk about how quickly the second semester passes, but it is actually unbelievable that every year I think "Wow, that went really quickly." Every year. You would think I would learn.

Happy long weekend!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

VFAC Thursday

Having missed lunch today was a cause for a mini-celebration - namely, I don't have to make my sandwich for tomorrow as it is already made!

I also filled a water bottle to take to drink in the car on the way to workout (after having eaten my Clif Bar) and I promptly left that on the kitchen table.

The lesson here kids is to not eat much and not drink much if you want to have a strong workout.

After the soul-sopping rain that we experienced here on Wednesday, I wasn't sure if I would want to go to workout tonight. However, if you don't like the weather in Vancouver, wait a day. Today was beautiful, sunny, and a brisk 15 degrees by the time workout commenced. Paul made it back into the fold tonight after a some time away to heal an injury. He had a heck of a return workout, stepping in just barely a step behind where he usually is (that step behind was behind me for the time being, but that won't be for long). Our new British recruit, Peter, is a welcome addition to the group as I believe both Kevin and John are behind this influx of Brits coming to VFAC.

The workout tonight was an interesting one - 1 mile 5/8, then about 1.95k (we'll call it 2k), and then 1.3k. We run the same loop, but start in different places each time. The last time I ran this workout was in September in similar circumstance to tonight (coming back from a foot injury, still trying to round into form). I ran that workout in 8:31 for the first interval and then 6:24 for the second. The last interval that night was run in a different location due to waning light, so for comparison purposes it won't count (it was also 500m longer, so really no ability to compare).

I felt good in warm up tonight, chatting with Jay about blogging and "then vs. than" and my inability to spell brief (which I always get a red underline on my screen for). Strides and drills felt good and when we began our first interval, I felt like I was holding back. I was concerned coming into the workout as I had only had a green tea latte (with soy milk, no syrup - yes, I have become what I hate), and an apple fritter to eat and drink all day. Oh yeah, and an apple. Then after forgetting my water to wash down my Clif Bar, I was definitely concerned about how my body would hold up throughout the workout.

About 400m into the first interval, I followed Peter outside of Kevin and Paul and stuck on his shoulder. I have been trying to match cadence with my teammates of late, trying to get my turnover to become a bit quicker and more efficient, reducing the amplitude of the high heel kick that Paul commented on during the first section of downhill tonight, so sticking on Peter's shoulder I focussed solely on his turnover. He was very smooth and seemingly effortless as we finished the interval in 8:01. I knew it was fast because Jay didn't catch us (although he ran a flu influenced 7:56) and I was pleased that the effort was hard, but controlled.

The next interval followed the same pattern. Stick on Peter's shoulder and don't let Jay catch us. Again, the interval felt controlled and fast, with me and Peter finishing in 5:59. Kevin and Paul were running very well and finishing just a couple of seconds back, if that. The crew was starting to come back together again!

The last interval was decidedly downhill, which is always a good thing by me. We all started together (usually Jay starts behind us because he is faster), and as there was a slight uphill for the first 500m, I tried to be controlled, knowing that the downhill would be fun. As we rounded the last uphill corner and began the long downhill, I really enjoyed running. Not that I hate running otherwise, but tonight I felt like I was a runner. I pulled alongside Jay in the last 20m of the interval and, although I knew that the flu he suffered from last week was still lingering, it was nice to feel like I was back. Coach John made note of the workout being one of my better ones and I feel confident with my speed right now. I was about 30s faster than September's workout and at around the same heart rate. (Tonight's workout is here if interested

So, I am stating to feel good again. Strong workouts come along often enough to keep you wanting to find them again and again, and yet they still maintain their elusivity (yes, I made up a word.) I think that the back-to-back long runs on the weekends are starting to pay dividends and I am hoping that the tempo runs will get better as I know that is the weakness I need to improve for the Scotiabank half-marathon in June.

But tonight was a good night for running.

(And for getting caught up on the Lost season finale - who is John Locke? I have theories...)