Wednesday, October 29, 2008


I could cop out and say that the delay between posts is because training has left me feeling shelled and too tired to write. But let's be honest here: If Jeff and James can post within hours (minutes maybe?) of finishing incredible race efforts then the three regular readers of this blog will be calling BS on that excuse before you can say DNF. I have been putting in the work but not like those guys. I watched both of them finish on TV and I'm pretty sure that I haven't been on TV (internet or otherwise). If you did see me on TV, it would probably be because something had gone terribly wrong. Like the meth lab in the townhouse next to mine blew up and the news is doing the requisite 'stunned neighbour' interview:
"Nope, they seemed like normal folks, pretty much kept to themselves." Insert me looking stunned here.
Wow, where did that come from?
So, yeah, it's been a bit since the last post but there really hasn't been too much to report. Training has been going well. Lucho (needs new nickname now but how do you come up with one for someone who claims his new last name is 'Wolverine'? And no, I'm not anywhere near brave enough to call him 'Jog Daddy'!) used to deliver my schedule every four weeks and we would confer throughout that time. Now he sends it one week at a time under the auspice that he wants to make sure I'm not broken when he sends the next 7 helpings of 'Pain Cake'. Here you go. Eat up.
In the last four days, I've done 40 miles with about half of those at or slightly below race effort. Feeling good other than the need to eat constantly. My lunch bag for work was big before but now it's getting silly. I'm at the point where I may just shop for the week and leave it in the lunchroom fridge so I don't have to cart everything to and fro everyday. I don't know where my calorie intake stands but I have basically added a whole extra meal per day.
I've also become reacquainted with my old friend the treadmill. This week I'll have done 2 of the 5 workouts on that lovely machine. Great for leg turnover and pace control, not so good for pervy old naked guys in the changeroom and the HEAT! They keep the Y in my hood pretty toasty. Yesterday, I pulled what I call the 'Simon Classic' and fired my hat off onto the floor part way through the workout. Hey, it worked for him (and once for me, regular readers will recall). I have to remember to get a visor for Vegas!
Musically, the weather has changed and that means the iPod has pretty much gone away for the winter. I did catch an Arcade Fire song that I hadn't heard for a while and I'll try to throw that up when I get home.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Half Marathon Result

1:32:15. 8th overall, 2nd in my AG. Two loops on a winding trail. Easily the most unique surface I've ever run on. At times it felt like sand or grass. Almost bog like. A beautiful course around an urban lake.
Satisfied with the time, happier with the effort. Passed a guy to take 2nd AG in the chute in sight of the finish. Got passed by no one. On this day, on that course, I couldn't have pushed any harder.
Garmin died sometime in the second loop. I had stopped looking at it and won't know exactly when until I upload the data. Blessing in disguise maybe.
More later.

Friday, October 17, 2008

That's what I'm talking about! A post in three parts.

Part 1
Yesterday AM: Tired. Fatigued. Dark. Cold. Wet. Miserable. Slow. 8 miles.
Yesterday PM: Tired. Fatigued. Dark. Cold. Wet. A little less miserable. A little less slow. 8 miles.

Part 2
Running in the rain last night I hit a pothole so deep that it sent about a litre of water up the front of my leg, onto my belly and into my face. I laughed and thought of this person's blog header picture. Funny how two people with a common goal from such different places can be connect through the internet. Technology is cool.

Part 3-Overheard from outside FatDad's bedroom.
"That's the spot"
"Longer strokes"
"Up a little"
"Yeah, that's it"
Thanks Jamie. Calves never felt better. Best $30 I've ever spent! What did you think I was talking about?

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Weekend Update

Good long run, 22 miles in about 2:50. Felt pretty good for most of the run, last couple miles dropped the jacket and Camelback and took off a little for some 7 minute miles just for kicks. I had been running in my warm up jacket and my long sleeve was SOAKED! When I took off the jacket and the cool air hit my soggy sleeves it felt like someone flicked a switch! For a split second I felt like Simon throwing off his visor in Beijing and cranking it up.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Weekend Breakthrough

This weekend was a great weekend for me! It was super busy with work and dinner parties (Three this week! People love us!) but still managed to sneak in about 60 or so miles again. I think it was only 59 but I'll round up! That's right, I'm up here in the winter squalls fighting off polar bears and smashing out mileage in my snowshoes and parka! Cause that's how Canadians roll. We're a hearty people. And James thinks Tahoe is cold! Ha!
Saturday was a 10 mile Fartlek workout with 5 mile gradual progression then 5 miles of 1' at 6:30 pace followed by 1' easy recoveries. This workout felt amazing. Average pace for the intervals was probably closer to 6:15 and I felt like I could run them all day. One minute at a time, of course. The long warm up was key. It really woke the legs up and got the blood flowing so by the time I had to get moving it was all good. Really, I can't say enough about this workout.
By the time I was done at work on Saturday though, I was totally gassed. I don't know if running faster means I need to switch things up diet wise but I was done by 3 o'clock. People were coming to my office and then just kinda looking at me and walking out. Oh well. Everyone drools on their desk when they're sleeping. Jeeeez.
After work, Saturday night was grass fed fillet steaks, BBQ'd beets, potatoes roasted in sage garlic butter and a couple cold beers before hitting the bed early to ready myself for Sunday's usual long run. This week was an 18 miler: 3 mile w/u then 15 miles within 10% of goal pace. So anything less than 7:50 per mile for the last 15 was acceptable. Tim was pretty specific about running this on a flat course. No need for hills when you are running a pace simulation for a race in Vegas. Brian said he had a good route so we met up early and got going. Turns out that Gunner needed to cut it a little short and sent me off on my own. The course wasn't exactly flat, and Lucho wasn't exactly pumped about that, but it was a beautiful spot to run. Nice rolling trails through a protected area of forest.

We timed it perfectly and got there just as the sun was coming up. Amazing! I really have to get a camera that I can take with me on these runs. So many beautiful things to see when you run early in the morning.
I can break this run into three distinct parts: the beginning, the part where I wanted to quit, and the last 2 miles. Although my eyes could appreciate the beauty, my legs did not feel the same about the hills. It wasn't really all that bad but when I got tired I was looking for any reason to stop. I tried every excuse I could think of to get myself to stop running: too many hills, Garmin doesn't work in the trees, I might trip and fall and get hurt wah wah wah. There were two things that kept me going: Kerrie Wlad's comments to Lucho and the thought that she might own me on this blog with a similar helping of online bitch slapping and something I learned in GQ. Yeah, I read it. I have a subscription. Look for me in Vegas. I'll be the one with a pocket square.
Seriously, though, this month they published an article about a company in California (where else?) that will help train your brain by hooking you up to electrodes and then teaching you to generate certain brainwaves that are associated with the 'zen-like' state of elite athletes. It costs about 5 large and is currently used by a number of Div 1 football players and some NHL hockey teams. The idea is that you can learn to recreate relaxing brainwaves at will that will help calm you down at moments of intense pressure and stress IE: 50 yard field goal, big game etc. Like meditation and visualization but with electrodes stuck to your skull and a TV monitor that gives you feedback when you generate the desired type of waves by moving a little frog across the screen. Relax and chill, the frog hops. Pretty simple.
The thing that stuck with me, and ended up being super helpful, was a story about a stressed out super A type douche bag executive whose wife had made him come for these sessions so he could learn to chill out and not be such an ass. He was trying with no luck to get the frog to hop around the screen. Then, all of a sudden the little frog just starts booking it across the monitor! The science guys jump out of their chairs and ask the guy what he was thinking about and he says "Oh, I was just thinking about sitting at home with my toddler son reading a book" And the science team is jacked because they've figured out what calms this guy down and gets him focused: thinking about his son.
So, being a guy that has a bit of a chatter brain, and who can tend to get into his head a little and lead himself down the wrong mental road, I decided to give this a shot. Well, to say I decided is a little misleading. I'm not sure why I thought of it. Just one of a few thousand things that flicked through my brain that Sunday AM. But it stuck and I found myself working to focus on times that Violet and I had hung out, played or relaxed together. That's Violet at the top of the blog, not my much cuter conjoined twin as has been suggested. Anyways, it worked like a charm! While I was concentrating on vividly imagining Violet and I relaxing on the couch, wrestling around, chasing each other through the house or sitting watching National Geographic videos on YouTube I didn't notice my legs at all.
This is for sure a skill that I am going to work on during all my runs from here on out. Not just the tough ones either. I think that I need to hone this skill on my easy runs when it doesn't hurt so that when I start to bring the pain I'm ready.
Here's the stats from Sunday. Average pace not including the warm up was 7:40/mile.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Geeked on Sports!

It seems like this past week everyone I know (or sorta know) was just geeked out on sports. Jameson is killing it getting ready for Nationals and pumped on the 'Bolts, Beth is lighting it up in 'The Hills' and obviously isn't playing, Gunner put in his biggest mileage week by almost DOUBLE!!!!! his previous highest total, Lucho is turning into some sort of Zen master under the watchful eye of 'Bob' and Uli, Geb set a new marathon world record in Berlin (Beijing pollution my ass!), and things have been pretty sweet for me as well.
Last week was my biggest week ever at 65 miles. During the week I covered more ground on my feet than I did in my car. 4 of the 6 sessions were quality efforts, including short max effort hill repeats, a tempo run, a 3x2 miler, and a 20 mile long run with 3x1 mile at 7:00/mile on 1 minute rest at miles 7, 8, and 9 and then again at miles 18 and 19. Today was more of the same with 8x800 meter repeats in 3:40 on 400 meters in 1:55. Today I just ran how fast I thought 6:30 pace should feel and was pleasantly surprised. I was pace checking against my Garmin and almost always felt worse after seeing the pace than when I just rolled along and pushed through the interval. This whole 'external limiters' concept that Lucho has been wrestling with has some validity I think. I have the sweetest deal going: Lucho buys the books, sift through for the good stuff, and I can spend my evenings watching Entourage and Mad Men!
I posted the workout from this morning and last week's tempo run below. Today's workout really got me pumped. 11 miles including warm up, average pace 7:36 at 156 average BPM. I'll take it.

Anyways, with 10 1/2 weeks left until the race day, I am starting to get excited for Vegas!
Musically, I haven't been listening to much lately. Now that Gunner is done triathlon for the season, he has joined me on a couple of workouts and in an effort to get better handle on my internal dialogue I'm trying to get away from needing to listen to music during the heavy efforts. Today I was mindful of the cadence of my footfall and tried to keep the rhythm consistent which was kinda hypnotic and worked out out pretty well. I did download a PodRunner podcast and listened to it during last week's tempo run. PodRunner is pretty much just a hour of techno music at a certain BPM mixed by some dude specifically for running, spin class, whatever. I'm not really into techno, house music etc. but the consistent BPM was actually pretty helpful and after a while I wasn't really listening to the music anyways. It was more to try and drown out the little voice trying to tell me to stop! I counted my footfalls at 6:22 pace at 146 per minute so I dl'd a PodRunner podcast at 148. It's called Paradiddle-Drums from the Deep. Check it out. TV on the Radio has a new album out now so I'm sure that next week there'll be something here from those cats.


Things have been busy at work and busy at home but a real post is in the works for tonight. It's been a good week.