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!