Sunday, July 30, 2006

There is Strength in Numbers.

It was hot here today. I don't know what the actual high was, but yesterday set a local record. The course had some shade, but not nearly enough. I covered myself in Darcy's SPF 50 sunblock, even still my nose got a little burned.

Jake and I ran well and chatted together for the first eight km. We passed a few people, we got passed by a few people and we played tag with some others. We tried to run through the water stops, but we quickly realized that it was more important to get the water in us then to splash it on us. At about the eight km point Kelly, one of the people we'd been playing tag with, joined us. She has run eight marathons, including Boston twice. I was impressed. During the rest of the race we found out that she is turning 40 and has two kids, 7 & 9. She didn't look like it! So now there were three of us running together. The chatting we did really helped take the focus off the heat.

We got to the half way point (10.5km) in 50.44. I was very happy with that time, considering the heat. Sue, Darcy and my in-laws were waiting for us at the turn-around and gave us some bags of oranges that I had prepared. The oranges really hit the spot. I was having trouble drinking Gatorade (some mild nausea) and was only able to take in water without feeling sick, so the oranges helped get rid of the sugar taste left by Gatorade and gave me a bit of a boost too.

At about 14 km I started to have trouble. I was running well, but couldn't keep cool. It was here that I was most glad for having these two more experienced runners chatting. Even though I couldn't say anything, the conversation really kept me distracted from the task at hand and I knew that I couldn't let them get ahead of me. If they had dropped me, I surely would have crumbled. I really learned the truth to the saying 'there is strength in numbers'. At 16 km, as I walked through the aid station, I got my wind back and started to feel better. "5 km left. I know I can run 5km." That was all that was going through my head.

With about 4 km left things were starting to turn for the worse again. Jake is a very nice guy. He was in a really good mood today and thanked every single volunteer and police officer on the course. As he and Kelly joked with each other I thought to myself, "Jake is really in a good mood. But, that good mood is really starting to p!ss me off." I gave myself a little head shake and thanked him for keeping me in the race. With 2 km left Kelly said that she wanted to pass the girl that was in front of us and she took off. She went by easily and it completely crushed the other girl. As soon as Kelly went by, the other girl started walking. She was broken. When Jake and I went by, with about 1.5 km left, she looked really disappointed.

We caught Kelly again at the last turn and pushed her to keep up with us for the finish. But once I could see the line, I just let everything out and Jake and I sprinted for the line. I heard the announcer say, "Here come two guys who can feel the finish line!" I crossed about a step or two ahead of Jake. Our second half was done in 52.34. A very solid split.

Our splits were very steady throughout the race. Right around 4:45-5:05/km. Our first one was too fast, 4:24. But our last one was just as strong, we finished the last one in 4:25. For the record, I beat him to the line. But officially, he is listed ahead of me in the standings. I'm okay with that because if it wasn't for him, I wouldn't have been where I was. He did all the work, I just tagged along for the ride. Total time: 1.43.18, 19/55 overall & 10/17 in age group.

I feel great about it. For the first time this race has ever been held, it was top notch. Things were very organized and the aid-stations were pretty well done. My biggest beef was that plastic cups are really hard to drink out of while running. But that didn't matter, because I walked through most of the aid-stations. And I got to meet Shelley in person. It was an honor to get my finisher medal from someone who's completed five Ironman races.

Great to meet you Shelley, thanks for putting together such a great event!


Official time: 1:43:18 (7:54/mile)

Something like 18th overall. Jake really help me through some tough times. The heat was insane.

Full report to come.

Thursday, July 27, 2006


So what do I think I'll run on Sunday?

Goal: Finish the race.
Must beat this time for my own pride: 1:45
I know I can beat this time is I run well: 1:40
If conditions are ideal would like to run: 1:35
The forecast is for 33C on Sunday. So if it's hot and sticky first thing in the morning, I'll run slower so that I don't totally fade in the second half. If things go well, I'd like to run the first half in 46 minutes and the second half in 50 minutes.

I've done my last short run already and will rest for the next two days (while travelling back home). My legs should be pretty fresh Sunday morning.
--- UPDATE: It is sorching hot here in Windsor, so I'm going to add at least five minutes to all of these. I'd rather finish on slowly on my feet than not at all.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

12 mile break down

I did my last long run on Monday. As if a 12 miler isn't long enough, the weather made it feel longer. I started at 8:10 pm, so at least the sun was behind buildings and I didn't have to roast, but it was still 31C. I ran slower, as planned, in the heat and I drank a lot more than usual. I was done my bottle by mile 7 and used the city water fountains along the river to refill. I stopped three times to soak my head, the last time I did a full head-dunk into the Bert Weeks Memorial Fountain. That was really nice. I only lost one pound on this run.

I ran well enough for the first four miles, done in 34:36. The next four were hard. I was going into the wind and the heat was getting to me, finished those in 37:50. The last four miles were hard to run because my legs were feeling pretty tired, having already put in ten miles on the bike getting to and from work. But with the sun now completely gone and the temp dropping, I got through them in 34:36. The last four miles were exactly the same speed as the first four miles. Weird. Total time was 1:47:16 @ 8.56/mile.

My schedule has me taking it easy this and next week (which is good,because I'll be on vacation) short runs of 3, 4, 6 & 2 miles before the1/2 Marathon Sunday July 30th.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

8 miles - hot and sticky

I did an early morning run today. Jake & I started at 7am, which is good practice for me because I don't normally run in the morning and I've been wondering what I'd do to fuel myself before the half-marathon. Jake suggested that I eat before bed and drink a lot too. It worked great. I had a bottle of Gatorade for the run and never had any problems. Except for the heat.

We did a 4 mile out & back. The first 2 were shaded, very nice and comfortable. 3 & 4 were with the sun at our backs, but into a stiff head-wind. Not bad, but it did make us work. I was happy when we hit the turn-around, or I thought I was. 5 & 6 were possibily the worst two miles I've ever run. Not for pace, but for suffering. It was early enough that the sun was right in our eyes and it was already very hot. The wind was now behind us, so it felt like we were running through a sauna. I don't think I could have done another mile into the sun. Neither one of us said much during that time, we could afford the extra energy. Miles 7 & 8 were back up through the shaded streets and we both recovered right away. We were soaked and dripping, but it was a great run. I lost about 3-4 lbs. in sweat.

8 miles - 1:01:43 @ 7.43/mile

Thursday, July 13, 2006

I'm the flatman

While biking to work this morning I heard a sound that I'm not at all familiar with, PPsssssssttttt. Oh man, I got a flat.

Fortunately, I was only 2 km from work, so I made it there by slowly riding on the rim. I honestly can't remember the last time I got a flat while riding. I do remember having a tube explode on me while filling it, but not while riding. After taking the wheel apart, turns out my tire blew the side wall and the tube popped. Oh well, I suppose I should be satisfied with eight years out of that tire...

Tuesday, July 11, 2006


I hate using Bell Canada. It drives me crazy that we use them for both phone and internet. So recently the option of internet phone came to Windsor and we signed up with Vonage. So far it couldn't have gone any smoother. I've called their help line and actually been able to talk to a human.

Yes, shocking, I know.

Thanks for the crappy service Bell. I hope you don't miss ripping me off too badly!

Saturday, July 08, 2006

One slow stroke at a time

I did a swim today (my first this year), got to the pool early and was the first one in. My plan was to do an easy 1000m, not worry about time, just put in some time and get my strokes in. I was doing sets of 50m with 15 seconds break in between.

The first 200m felt fine. Hard work, but not too bad. When I hit 500m I knew that I wasn't going to be able to do the full 1000m. My stomach was starting to turn and I knew that fighting through just wasn't worth it at this point. So I decided to stop after 800m. I was pretty beat.

What really bugs me about this pool is that it is WAY too hot for swimming lengths. Last year they'd post the temp. and it was always above 85F. I'm sure it was at least that hot today. Swimming is hard enough work, doing it in a bath is just plain uncomfortable. I tried to cool down with a shower, but after ten seconds, that even turned hot.

By the time I got changed and left for home I was sweating. You shouldn't sweat after swimming.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Decision Time

Maybe you remember me writing that I might have to wait up to two years to hear about getting a new job, maybe not. Well, as I posted, I forwarded the last bit of paper work that they needed last Tuesday. I was ready to sit and wait for how ever long I needed. Well the wait wasn't very long. I had an offer emailed to me the very next day. So over the last week I've been in contact with them, getting info about where I'll be staying for 13 weeks (just outside of my home town Montreal), how the program runs, how if I fail one test I'm immediately sent home (yeah, no pressure!) and of course, when I'll be taking the program. I'll be in class M-F all day, but I'll have my evenings and weekends to myself. Which will be nice because I'll be able to spend time with my parents and sibs. I've been given two choices, neither are great, but I think I've made my decision. I can go from Aug 21-Nov 16 or Sept 5-Nov 30.

Two weeks difference that really makes no difference in the long run. If I go in August, I get to miss our anniversary. If I go in September, I get to miss Sue's birthday. Either way, I'm in the dog-house. The Sept option has a bit of an advantage. One of my goal races is the Montreal Triathlon (Olympic distance) on Sept 16. If I go in Aug it means that I'm going to lose almost a month's worth of biking and some crucial swims before race day, I could still do the race, but I wouldn't be satisfied giving it a half baked effort. If I go in Sept I can use the two weeks before the race to taper and be in great shape to give it my all on race day. What to do? This is where I've realized that the 'advantage' of going with the Sept option is actually a disadvantage.

I'm going there to train for a new career, not race a triathlon. I've got to be focused 100% on learning new material, not on how my training for an inconsequential race is progressing. If I don't do the triathlon this year, will I regret it? No, not at all. It would have been fun, but my life won't change either way. If I do the triathlon this year and get injured or fail a test because I was focused on the race and then lose my shot at a great career, will I regret that? Yes, forever. I cannot mess up this opportunity. I have to be focused for 13 weeks of intense learning and the triathlon will only be a distraction.

I'm going to go in August and not do the triathlon. It's not like the training I've done so far is wasted. I still have the 1/2 marathon at the end of July and the Windsor Triathlon in the middle of August, before I leave town.