It’s been awhile since I put some thoughts into full sentences for this blog. I considered a couple of topics, which I scratched out and had to restart – hey, you might even call them false starts!
I was chatting with a wonderful customer at the Vancouver Running Room the other day about — you guessed it — running! She is preparing for the Victoria Marathon in October and she asked if I had any tips. I told her a little about myself and she laughingly said, “yeah, like you would know what it’s like to run a 4 hour marathon.” I responded, “Actually I do know what that’s like. My first marathon was close to that time, at around 3:47”. I was really surprised that she thought there would be a big difference in how we each approach our sport, which got me thinking. We both put in roughly the same amount of time in our Sunday long runs, 2 to 3 hours, and we do this in hopes of achieving a personal best on race day. We also both get to explore a number of wonderful host cities from the unique perspective of a running. (I bet I could be a tour guide for the best washrooms and drinking fountains in a Vancouver!)
I have already announced it on the Gram and Facebook, but why not put it in the blog! I am running the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon on October 16.
I don’t want to jinx it, but this could be the smoothest build I have ever had. It took a few dismal marathon builds for me change the way I approach a race. Here are a couple of simple lessons I have learned:
- Never use a marathon build to gain fitness and endurance. This seems so logical but when I am in the build and starting to work hard, I always feel like I can give more. As a result, something tends to give, injury, fatigue or peaking early. You never want to go to the well in July, August or September and be a dud in October. The old August stud, October dud! You want to sandbag to the moneybags!
- Don’t stress the small stuff — a lesson I’m still learning (every session/run doesn’t need to be perfectly paced). Sometimes a relaxed run is good for the body and the soul.
- The watch doesn’t have to determine your pace every run. Pay attention to your body and let it tell you how fast it wants to go.
East Side 10k
Just last Saturday, I strapped on my pair of Mizuno Hitogamis for a race in East Vancouver. It’s a cool event, the Vancouver Eastside 10k, which acts as the BC 10km road championships. During a high volume, intense training build for a marathon, a runner never really knows what to expect when participating in a race mid training cycle. However, I have been feeling pretty good in most sessions so I knew I wasn’t going to completely blow up. I approached this race with the same mind set I have for all the races I do now, a quiet mind.
The field was pretty deep for this event. There were multiple Olympians as well as a handful of other speedy guys and gals. My plan was to stay in the mix and at no point lead any of the packs. I had it in my mind that I didn’t want to go under 30:30.
Just before the race, I went for a warm-up jog with Eric Gillis (all around great guy!). We both figured the weather was the thing that was going to control the pace of this race. It was pouring rain, making the footing sure to be a problem.
The racers lined up and were eagerly waiting for the race to get underway. Unfortunately there was a false start because the race command was vague and was misinterpreted by a couple of runners. Finally, BANG, the race was underway. I was in a pack of 10 or so runners through the first 3ish km and I was feeling pretty smooth, so I started talking to the runners around me to see how they were feeling. Sometimes this goes over well, but I have to warn you, often it does not! At about 3.5km, Eric put a little jimmy in his step and pulled ahead of the group. At this point Justin and I fell in together. We hit Gastown where the cobblestone roads don’t really leave much room for missteps on a dry day let alone when it’s pouring! One needs to play it safe, stay in your lane, and give a little space between runners. Note to the Mizuno brothers: I enjoy racing in the Hitogami shoes, but damn they don’t have much grip in the rain! One of the lead cyclists actually fell pretty hard. Thankfully he was able to shake it off and get back on the saddle. At 5km, Justin had caught up to Eric and the gap between me and the lead group had increased to roughly 30m. At about 7km, I heard footsteps. It was Geoff Martinson. I think to myself, ok, I am going to stay with him for a bit and see what happens. I stack with Geoff for 1200m and then he started making a push. I looked behind me and saw I was far enough ahead to stay comfortable and decided not to push it and get into a dog fight.
I only checked the time in the last 5 seconds of the race when I could see the finish-line clock. I ran 31:01 (ouch, that always hurts!), placing 4th (3rd BC runner – thanks BC athletics, you have all been so welcoming!).
I didn’t forget to thank the wonderful people that have helped me. I just had to tell a few stories and rant a little before. Thanks goes out to my friends and family, my sponsors (Running Room and Currex Insoles), training partners (Dylan and Rob – bet these guys are sick of getting my, “soooo this is my week – these are all open sessions”), coach – Steve Boyd, and my supportive girlfriend!
Only a month to go before the Toronto marathon and I am still feeling fresh. I am excited to see everyone back home and hang out with my amazing girlfriend, Kyla. I plan to take some time off after the marathon and Kyla and I are going to explore the west coast of the US between LA and Seattle, Can’t wait!