Monday, December 14, 2009

Run for the balls

It's that time of year again and the many preparations for the season are under way. Lights and decorations, candles, stockings, little tiny reindeer and even tinier pace bunnies (can you spot him?) have now all been hung up with great care. But there is something very important still missing... Is it beer? Ice cream? No, it's chocolate balls!

Part way through Sunday's run with Andrew I let it slip that I had some difficulties getting through the border because of some things (gifts) that were going to be left behind and he immediately determined that we needed to run faster. Mind you with the cold temperatures of -15C we were already moving as fast as we could but we did manage to speed things up a little bit and finished our 13 mile run in about 1:50. A quick dash down to the Strawberry Patch for coffee and we were soon in chocolate heaven! Mmmm, something about running and chocolate just seems to go together.

These tasty treats have been a feature on this blog for many years now and I even revealed the complex recipe of peanut butter, dates, icing sugar, eggs and chocolate in an old post but can't seem to find it right now. Once again, we forgot to save any for Thomas so he'll just have to make his own, or is he still allergic to them?

Anyway, it was still a good if not shorter long run as I'm still having issues with my endurance which will only be fixed by a more regular routine of more running. Of note was my Santa joke which really got Andrew's funny bone and his idea for a new book about the various exploits around Boyden lake. He had an excellent title which I can't remember right now (am I losing my memory?) but maybe he can fill us in with a comment.

So, another short post as I haven't been doing that much but keep on running and enjoy the season.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

The Moose are Back!

It was a great day for a run, once we shoveled our respective driveways and made our way over greasy roads to the usual meeting place at Boyden Lake. We had our 1st real taste of winter overnight with about 5-6 inches (10-15cm) of nice fluffy but sticky snow to deal with.

I was initially little nervous about going out in this and so sent a couple of emails/tweets to Andrew with my waffling noises. Need to check the roads, time to try out the new snowblower, maybe we should wait another hour...

But finally I get this message:

The snow blower is fine...get your maple leaf over here. I didn't drive 5 hours to have a little snow flurry keep you home! Marc



"Uh, OK, yes Sir, Captain Marc!" You see, the missing Blind Moose came up to visit and there's no stopping him once he gets going, and so there was no choice but to get going and make the trek.
The co-conspirators...
I was glad I made the trip and we had a great run, although it seems the running is often secondary when we get together because the stories, politicking, and jokes run fast and furious. They were really bad today with the dog jokes and blond jokes which will never be retold by me on pain of severe punishment and a permanent chocolate ball ban. Andrew did retell his 3rd chicken joke and it was even worse in the retelling. However, I think that Marc did get it because shortly after he was crossing the road and heading deep into the woods (I'm not kidding here).

It was a nice 13ish mile run and we were joined by Jon (what's his name) at the beginning for a few miles and saw Stephanie A just starting out at the end of the run. The roads were a little slushy and the snow kept building up on the soles of my shoes, causing my running style to be more of a scuffle/kick and drag your feet sort of a pace.

Lately my running has been slow, very easy low mileage with only 20-30 miles per week. Curiously my total for last week was exactly 26.2 in 3hr 55 min and Andrew had an interesting theory on this. "Aha, you're in 3:55 marathon shape because your fastest (and my only) 26 miles predict that." I wish that was so, but know that I need to start upping the mileage over the next month so that I can really get started on the training for the spring marathon.

That's all I got, need to run more so I can run more. Makes total sense doesn't it? Have a great week!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Tired

First, I was taken entirely and totally out of context by Andrew once again. The smallest comment made gets blown entirely out of proportion and I'm left defenceless. And yes, he did choke on his water and it serves him right!

re: Mile 7 comment "My wife wore me out yesterday." - I was raking leaves for several hours and then spent the afternoon cleaning up the garage so we can accommodate up to 2 cars, a motorcycle, power tools and a new snow blower. I spent the evening lying exhausted on the couch and then went to bed early so I could get up early to run with you know who!

re: Mile 8.5 comment "That dog reminds me of my daughter."- I saw a German Shepard dog which reminded me that my daughter is waiting for her new puppy which will be weaned in the next few weeks and is very excited

re: Mile 11.5 comment "I'm glad I kept my pants on."- A very low blow and he really did choke on this. It was a cool morning at about 0C/32F at the start and the light breeze during the return miles made me comment that I was glad I hadn't worn just shorts. Sheesh!

video

But seriously, it was a good thing that Andrew was with me today or I would have stopped the run after only a mile or two. For whatever reason (and I can think of several but none are obvious to me) it was just not my day today, feeling very lethargic and tired. Despite Andrew's great stories and bad jokes we still ended up cutting the planned 17 miler short to only 12. The chicken jokes as bad as they were deserved retelling at least on poor Ewen's behalf.

Chicken Joke #1:
Why did the chicken cross the playground?

Umm, why?

Because it wanted to get to the other slide!

Ouch, shoulda seen that coming.

Chicken Joke #2:
Why did the chicken cross the basketball court?

Hmmm, should know this. OK, why?

Because it heard the referee call fowl!

Double ouch, groan!!

Chicken Joke #3 will not be retold because I still don't get the punch line.

That's about it, it's been a slow week as I had to take several days off due to the dentist having a go at me once again. The details are too gory to go into, suffice to say that 4 days later my jaw is still sore. Hopefully next week will be better and I can slowly start building my base mileage up in preparation to start training for Big Sur.

Take care, have a nice week and make sure your dog wears their hunter orange when they go outdoors!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Back at it

Can you believe it?
And I didn't even get a chance to have 2nd thoughts about bowing out. There goes my streak after running this race for the last 10 years.

But at least my Plan B was already in the works and I'd registered for Big Sur a few weeks ago, just to be sure to get in. They have a 4500 runner limit for the marathon and are already near the 50% mark. I already know my bib number of 1981 which is a number I should be able to remember for certain personal reasons.
"If we were told that we could run only one marathon in our lifetime, Big Sur would have to be it." Bart Yasso, Runner's World

I've had a nice little holiday from running and blogging over the last several weeks as I had been out of communication while on a research survey aboard a chartered boat. We worked the waters of the Bay of Fundy for 2 weeks, doing tows with fine mesh nets for just hatched herring larvae as well as the other plankton in the water. Here's a shot of the boat safely tied to a dock but we spent more time bouncing around on the water with little opportunity to run. There was also very little inclination to do so because when I did hit the land it was harder than normal walking a straight line with my 'sealegs' not coverting to 'landlegs' very readily.
I couldn't resist throwing in this shot of a purse seine fishing boat passing by on a not so nice evening which made for a pretty picture at least.Anyway, I'm now back on land for the better part of a week and have put in a couple of short 4-5 mile runs in preparation for today's longer run with Andrew. We did the Boyden Lake loop today for a total of 13 miles and it was really nice to get back into action with my good friend. It was a nice day for a run despite the steady rain with temperature around 12C.
video

Andrew is now touting a new (conservative!) running plan that will only do base-building work through the winter and then morph into race preparation in the early spring once he decides on a target race. Myself, I'll be along for the ride on Sundays as we do the long runs together. Today's run went surprisingly well for me and we even tossed in some (5 or 6) 20-30sec striders over the last 3 miles. I told Andrew it was good for his fast twitch muscles and he went along with me or at least humoured me and jogged along as I tried to run fast.

That's it! Have a nice week and stay healthy out there!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

PEI marathon report

I'm not sure where to begin. Maybe I'll just start at the start and see where this goes. I arrived at the Brackley beach area about 1/2 hour before the start and only had a few minutes before I ran into Trevor and his lovely wife who also ran the marathon today. After determining that Trevor was going to be totally at my mercy today with no watch or other aids, I hustled him over to the starting area so he could be introduced to the various pace bunnies, all of which we hoped to never see again and did not.
As Trevor so nicely describes in his blog (which has a wonderful blow by blow of the day's run) the course is simply picture postcard perfect if you have time to look around and enjoy the scenery. Here we are a few kilometers in, along the beach where we had to deal with a slight headwind of 10-15mph. Did I mention getting passed by a baby stroller? #$%& relay runners!

Here's Trevor and I at the 12k mark about to unload our sweaty gear on my wife and daughter who took this great picture. We had a great day and for the most part it felt like a nice long run as we just cruised along at a very easy pace. Or at least that's how it felt like to me but I think Trevor might beg to differ on this opinion later on in the race.
You might wonder how the heck we got this picture (about 18k) but a girl we had just passed kindly offered to take the camera off my hands and snapped this decent image of the two of us. Still feeling good from the looks of it. It really did feel easy for the two of us and I was constantly reminding my buddy to slow down or dial it back because I wasn't planning on letting go the reins until the 30k mark.
Woo hoo! Still having fun in PEI, somewhere between 20-30k on the trails.
But I think Trevor was having a harder time as we worked our way through course. Besides keeping his pace under control I kept on him about using different muscles and changing his stride once in awhile. The different terrain and gentle ups and downs of this marathon course make it nice for allowing you to do this but it's still a marathon and it gets to be a long way after awhile.
Thank goodness for the jokes and riddles at each kilometer when you don't have Andrew along for company. Even Trevor had to admit that many of the jokes were Andrew worthy (meaning really corny or bad but still made you chuckle). From 35k to the finish things got a little tougher for me and a lot tougher for Trevor but he never complained except to say that his stomach was bothering him. We worked together to tackle each section of the road and the stupid hills and more of those &%$#@@ relay runners that I kept wanting to trip or at least challenge them to a short sprint and just kept plugging away. I knew the key for getting us in under 4 hours was just to keep moving and not allow any walking and that's how it went.
We crossed the line exactly together but I forgot to check which foot our chips were on and so we got a 1 second differential in our times despite being in step. You beat me Trevor! Just wait till next time!!

It was a great day for a marathon and now 3 days later I'm feeling pretty well back to normal and may put in a few short runs to loosen up the legs a bit. I've been biking back and forth to work (which is only 2k) and the hills aren't bothering me any more. I'm also pretty much topped up on the post-marthon beer and ice-cream and so 'life is good'.

Take it easy on the roads and have a nice week!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

PEI

We did it! 3:56 according to my Garmin and the race info is on my sidebar at RunningAhead.

Great race, evenly paced and I think we're even still friends after all the bad jokes and stories. Fun day and it was 'almost' a breeze though my legs beg to differ right now. Heading home and longer story later...

Cheers!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Winding down

It`s getting colder here lately and we`re running out of time to get all our chores done before the big freeze. I snuck home an hour early yesterday so I could help Jo out with the pond. I needed to take the pump apart and then get into the hip waders with some warm clothes and move the pond plants around so they can be put to sleep for the winter. It was a long process and I got cold by the end and needed a nice hot shower to get warmed back up.

This week has been really easy with the running as I only did 2 short easy runs to complete the taper for PEI, both of which were run at the progressive paces I`m planning to do with Trevor on Sunday. The runs didn`t quite go as planned and I found it difficult to hold back the pace. We`ll have to pay very special attention to this in the 1st critical 5-10km. Aside from this I`ve been feeling a little under the weather (achey, soreness, bit of a cough, headache) which I`m blaming it on the flu shot I got on Monday. It seems better now but not what you need just days before a marathon.


Sat

Chance of showers
  • 5°C
  • 60%

Sun

Cloudy
  • 10°C
  • 1°C
Tonight
Cloudy. Periods of rain beginning this evening. Amount 10 mm. Wind northeast 40 km/h gusting to 70. Low plus 1.
Saturday
Cloudy with 60 percent chance of showers. Wind northeast 30 km/h gusting to 50 becoming north 20 in the afternoon. High plus 5.
Saturday night
Cloudy with 40 percent chance of showers early in the evening then cloudy periods. Wind north 20 km/h becoming light near midnight. Low plus 1.
Sunday
Cloudy. High 10.
As long as the winds that another forecast is predicting don`t come to pass we should be all right. May need an extra layer for the 1st 10k or so but from there we`ll be warmed up and will just roll over the beautiful course. Wish us luck but all the hard work has been long done and it`s just time to collect our due reward!

Have a nice weekend!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Back to Back

It was a beautiful looking morning for a run today but looks can be deceiving when it comes to our fall weather. The starting temperature of todays run was only 1C (33F) and barely warmed up to 3C (38F) about 2 hours later when I was finally done my allotted punishment. At least there was little wind and it made for a couple of nice photos as the sun was coming up over the Bay and across the golf course.

My legs were very heavy this morning as my most recent run of 7.5 miles (just over 1 hour) was only 15 hours old. The thought for today was having a couple of back to back harder (longer than 1 hour) runs that would give my body the last little training impetus needed to get me through next weekend's marathon in good shape. It certainly had that effect as most if not all of the run felt like the 2nd half and/or end of a marathon. It was slow going but I still managed to average 5:38/km pace which equates to a 3:58 marathon that is right on target for what Trevor is shooting for. At least I hope to be able to keep up with him!

So last long run in the books but then what do I see when I arrived back home but these guys!
At least they were on the outside looking in and were eating our neighbors apples instead of Jo's prized garden plants. Shortly after this the mother deer gave a snort and they went bounding away at a slow deer-jog pace, stopping after only about 50m run. Lazy things!

That's it! One more week of pseudo taper (feels like I've been tapering for months) and it's time to play once again. Have a nice week!

Sunday, October 04, 2009

My lucky beercap


I happened to glance at the ground while doing my mid-run stretches during today's long run and noticed this.... that's my favorite beer, good old Maritimes Moosehead. Flipped the cap over and was astounded to read ...
That's crazy! I can use that I thought, "this just has to be my lucky beercap". Slipped it in my belt and it kept my company for the rest of the run. It even clinked me a few times at the end of the run when I was starting to tire and helped me cruise on through what was a tough 17 mile run. Seriously though it was a bit of a lonely run without my good buddy Andrew on a not so nice day. The log said:

'Bit of a tough run due to the conditions of wind and steady drizzle and rain. Ran a steady effort which ended up right on the planned PEI marathon pace of 5:30/k but it got a bit tough the last few miles as the body got a little tired and some mild cramping with the cold. Part of the problem was my shoes were drenched and about 2x the weight! Found a luck charm beer cap which made my day! "

The running has been going much better the last few weeks as my build to PEI is almost complete. I've been getting the long runs in as well as a few more shorter easy runs with a tiny bit of speed included when feeling like it. All that's left is a few weeks of taper and I'll be good to go the distance with Trevor.
On the home front we've been busy getting the yard ready for the winter where the main goal is not to grow things but to keep the evil deer on the outside looking in at all of Jo's tasty treats. To accomplish this we recently started installing a 7 foot barrier that is almost guaranteed to achieve our goal. The only thing missing are motion detectors and searchlights but they can easily be added. But I hear that those deer can jump almost as high as kangaroos! It actually is meant to be nearly invisible from a distance and we hope it will do the trick.
Well that's all I got for now. Have a nice week and be patient out there!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

The Long Run Back

I've been getting complaints that there are too many pictures of someone who shall not be named and so decided to come up with this one of me instead. It was shot at Sandhammaren in beautiful southern Sweden. I remember it was hard to drive more than a few kilometers at a time before we'd have to stop and take in the sights and of course a few pictures.

Which reminds me, I felt a lot like stopping often on today's long run as I prepare to run the PEI marathon but was able to fend off the urge and keep plugging away and it went really well. (33k or 20.5 miles in 3:02 which is 5:30/k or 8:50/mi)

My Running Log entry went like this:

"Last long run before PEI to test out my pacing speed of 5:30/k worked out very well. Some hills and wind slowed me up for a few k but mostly just rolled easily along. 3 bottles gatorade & 1 gel at 16k. Ran into a runner from BC doing a 2 hour run for Kelona but he stopped at hotel after about 1k. Cool and windy, jacket for 1st 1/2 hr, then carried & ditched it at home before heading out of town to finish run. Had some highs and lows during the run but mostly able to stay 'within myself' and not push too hard except for last few k. Good/great run with quick dip in the pond at 13C to cool the legs and prune some plants. Looking great for PEI!"

I'm feeling good about running PEI and am looking forward to helping to pace Trevor through his 1st marathon. Today's run was right on the mark that he's aiming for which is about a 3:50 marathon although his fitness and recent race results point to something slightly faster. Unfortunately I don't see Trevor's results in the Saint John 1/2 marathon today and have to assume he either did not start or had to drop out because of some foot issues that recently cropped up on him. I'm hoping it's only a little bump in the road and he'll be ready to go in just 3 short weeks!

Speaking of bumps in the road, my running and training are finally coming around and I'm almost starting to feel like my old self once again. For most of August and early Sept I was feeling fine (though a little tired) doing regular daily activities but my running was just the pits. I had no energy, was tired from start to finish while running and my heartrates were at levels normally reserved for tempo runs. Thankfully this has at last receded and the easy runs are starting to feel 'easy' and my heartrate no longer climbs as the run get longer. Even on today's long run it stayed relatively low and only climbed slightly over the final few k's as the hills, wind and mileage started to have an effect. I guess it just takes time and patience.

That's it for now. Have a great week and keep putting one foot in front of the other!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Grainy Picture

I hope that I won't get in too much trouble for this but after Andrew's 'Grainy' post I just had to show the picture along with the story which he forgot the details of.

This picture was from one of our very nice meals during our holiday in Sweden and the main story was how the Swedish tradition is to eat outdoors in the evening air for as long as possible into the fall/winter. In order to accomodate and make this odd habit more palatable for the customers blankets are provided at the door. At this particular seaside restaurant we couldn't even get inside the door if we wanted despite the obvious empty tables inside. "No, no! Outside only", the waiter told us. So we had a lovely romantic outdoor meal but I was rather chilly in my shorts, sandals and t-shirt with only a small blanket protecting my bare legs. But isn't it a nice picture?

On the running front, I had another great run today. For the first time in a long while I just couldn't wait to get out the door to get running. This was despite a lack of sleep recently and a long day at work but after the wonderful long run I'd had on Sunday with Andrew I wanted to see if it was a fluke. Not! Ran a nice easy 10k along the back streets and trails and even slipped in a single faster kilometer at 4:30/k pace. It felt really nice to float along for a change instead of usual plodding. After the fast k, the legs were a bit tired but recovered nicely and the rest of the run was a nice easy float. Give me more of this and PEI will be a breeze!

Can't wait for my next run... Hope your day/week is going well!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Back in the Saddle

It's been a long time since I've had the urge/time/desire/inclination to post something here but since we got back from our wonderful holiday in Sweden, it's just been too busy. I'm now back to work full time and this had contributed to a lack of free time but also has affected my energy levels and my running.

For the last month or so my running has been dismal at best and some of the blog titles that I had considered included 'Dead in the Water', 'All Washed Up' and even just plain 'Tired'. My weekly mileage since returning to Canada have been a measly 13, 27 and 25 which does not bode well for doing a marathon in just 4 weeks. Besides not putting in the miles, it has been a tremendous struggle just to get out the door and even the short 4-5 mile runs have been tiring and painful with elevated heartrate and no desire to keep going. But... all hope is not lost and this past weekend has seen a couple of runs that gave me encouragement and a new plan is emerging.

First, Andrew has pulled out of Vermont Green Mountain marathon because of work issues, saving me from pulling out first due to lack of training or commitment. I had warned Andrew of my possible drop out last week but he then beat me to the punch with his announcement during our Boyden 17 miler this morning. So, with no other Blind Moose participating I had little option but to cancel as well. However, today's long run went exceptionally well and gave me hope that I'll be able to run well again someday and so now I'm seriously considering doing the PEI marathon as my plan B. Surely 4 weeks is enough time to get back on track for the training enough to complete it in good shape? What do you think Thomas?? Also PEI will be a great chance to visit my daughter and I might even give Trevor a hand with his pacing for as long as I can keep up with him. Check out his tremendous improvement in his 10k race today.

So that's all I've got. Things are good, even looking up and all is not lost. Have a great week and keep on running!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Quick and Dirty

A bit of time this morning to relax and cool down in the pond but things are busy as we're about to head off on our trip to Sweden for my son's wedding.

I've updated my sidebar with Swedish weather as well as my Twitter feed and Running Ahead log so you can follow my updates if you're so inclined and have plenty of time on your hands. I can't wait to map my runs in a few more new countries. Do you think they'll let me run around the airport in London?? I can hear my wife screaming already...

The past week has been hellish since my nice long run with Andrew and Trevor. My dental surgery from 2 weeks ago came back to haunt me as my jaw got infected and the whole side of my face puffed up like I had the mumps or something. This all started on Tuesday and put an end to my running for the week as I pumped the antibiotics and tried to rest and heal. Thankfully the swelling has receded and I'm clear for the flight overseas today (not what I needed just now).

So very little running to report as my plan went off the rails for a few days but things are looking up for next week. We have a full week to meet and greet and get to know the other side of the new family and will be staying with Anna's parents who have a cottage on a lake. It sounds like heaven already, relax, visit, run, swim, drink Swedish beer and repeat!

See you on the other side!

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Inspiration and perspiration

If you need some inspiration just watch this video of Joan Benoit running and winning the 1984 Olympic marathon, the 1st time this event was held for women.


It gives me chills to watch this!

Meanwhile, on the perspiration side of things it's been hot here as our summer has finally arrived! It looks like we might get a good 2-3 weeks of summer weather before the fall (which is usually very nice) starts to creep in. Still, the morning temps have been around 11-12C and the highs are only in the mid-20's, which some folks would consider downright cold.

The running is going reasonably well with last weeks mileage in the mid-40's but I had two botched runs due to a combination of heat, humidity and the legs/body not quite yet ready to work as hard as the plan is asking. On Tues I attempted to do 8 miles with 4@1/2 marathon effort but after 2 miles in the 7:20 range I started to overheat in the 25C plus humidity and canned the run jogging home via a water stop in the downtown core.

On Thurs the 'plan' called for a 12 mile progression but it was another 24C afternoon and the legs were just too tired to do any more than slog along for 9 miles including some walk breaks in order to struggle back home. Obviously I'm lacking in both endurance and speed but it's slowly coming back as seen in Saturday's 5 mile non-race.This was my 3rd non-race in the comeback and so I was happy with my race number. It also helps to get a low number by mailing in your entry early for the free t-shirt that goes along with the ridiculous $10 fee. This was the 30th running of this very unique international race but the race director expressed worries as to how long he could continue to put it on due to difficulties with border security. My non-race went exceptionally well as I clocked a time of 40:06, very close to my target of 40 minutes and yet I barely took note of the time except for the mile splits which were all over the place due to the hilly terrain. I was once again nipped at the line but this time by the under 17 female winner and felt proud of resisting the urge to race her. There were about 60 runners which is typical for this race and of note were 3 of top 5 runners in the over 50 category with times below 32:00. The winning time was 30:15 and so Andrew could have had a field day if only he had shown up.
Speaking of Andrew, another reason that I needed to take it easy in my 'race' was the planned 20 mile long run for the next day. Also along for the ride was our new friend Trevor who is training for his first marathon and this was also going to be his 1st 20 miler. I think he was a little worried about the run but his fears were quickly put to rest when Andrew assured him that we always run 'wicked slow'! And so it went, a beautiful sunny but not too warm morning, a nice easy pace which averaged out to 9:20 with the water stops, walk breaks, stretching and of course nature breaks. Trevor is now an official honorary Blind Moose and we hope to entice him out this winter for a true test of endurance (against the elements).
Here Trevor and I are not waving but instead are showing how many miles we've covered thus far and so it takes extra hands. We were starting to get a little tired, maybe even a little loopy as much of Andrew's stream of conversation and jokes were starting to go right over our heads.
A couple of miles later and a bit of extra distance so that Trevor's Garmin would show the correct total (never turn off your watch when tired) and we were done 'like dinner' and ready to suck back some food and drink. A great long run which I couldn't have done this easily with out help from my buddies!

In other news, there are only 6 more days before our entire family heads off on vacation to southern Sweden for my oldest son's wedding. We'll be spending the week prior to the wedding visiting and getting to know his new wife's family and of course getting all those last minute details done. Jo and I are then planning to spend an extra week seeing some of the country before flying back home and my going back to work full time again (Oh noooooo!). I'll be bringing my running gear and am eager to get some new runs mapped with the Garmin but won't be stressing about running every day or following the plan blindly. I can't wait!

So, have a great week and keep on running, it's good for you!

Monday, August 03, 2009

Bumps in the Road

I know it's old news but my number for the PEI 5k was very appropriate given my recent birthday. The race was very low key for me and I made an effort to not make an effort or to 'race'. My time was 23:57 according to the official results and I came in 29th overall and 3rd in the 50+ crowd (not that I was keeping track). This was an improvement of some 1:30 since my July 1 5k and my focus today was to go at a nice steady pace that didn't put me into oxygen debt (no gasping) and to not have to take walk breaks. The dirty details for the run are all here but the mission was accomplished and I didn't even respond to being passed in the last 100m.

The next day was scheduled 15 mile long run around Boyden Lake with Andrew and Jon, seen here enjoying the remnants of my cake at the end of the run. Notice that I lost my shirt during the run due to 'nipple' issues and the humidity. Normally I wear protective bandaids to prevent the bleed but I had neglected to remember this (and I also needed to shave)! For a really funny version from the woman's perspective check out Runnrgrrl's post on this subject which had us cracking up over Andrew's new jokes. Anyway, nice run, good fun, walk breaks every 15 minutes despite complaints from A and a great way to top off a 43 mile week.

Speaking of 'bumps' this past week has been tough due problems in the form of dental work and the resultant lack of running. The week started off nicely with the Sunday long run (above) and then a nice fartlek run of 8 miles on Tuesday doing my favorite 1-2-3-4 minutes hard/easy using progressively slower paces as the time/distance increased. It's a great workout you can run on any course adjusting the efforts to how you are feeling on the day. However, later in the day I didn't feel so great after my dentist had at me, doing some surgery in preparation for some implants down the road. And worse news was no running for 72hrs (insert appropriate !&#%$)! Plus pain killers, antibiotics on a 6hr schedule and resulting lack of sleep and you get the picture that my running week was shot. Just a couple of easy runs on Friday and Sat allowed me to squeeze in a measly 32 miles.
Fast forward to yesterday's long run around Boyden with Andrew. This time we did the full 17 mile loop and it was a beautiful day, though a little warm and humid for these 2 northerners at about 20C. Despite taking proper precautions with shaving and band aids my shirt still came off mid-run as I started to overheat and my heartrate was getting elevated. All this seemed to help was the deer flies which were out in full force and were able to get better spots to attach. This turned out to be a difficult run for me in the last few miles as my energy levels waned despite the walk breaks every 20 minutes or so and lots of fluid intake. I'm slowly getting my endurance back but this run was hard on me and I took the rest of the day off to recover, mostly on the couch in the horizontal position.

Next week we're hoping to introduce Trevor to the wonders of Boyden as we attempt to do a 20 miler, which will be my 1st in this training cycle and Trevor's 1st ever as he trains for his 1st marathon. We're hoping for nice weather and good fun all around. Andrew will bring the jokes and I'll be bringing the extra drinks and brownies.

Also coming up this week is the Calais 5 mile international race on Saturday. It's a very unique course with 2 international border crossings and a challenging hill at mile 3-4. My plan is to again 'not race' but to put in a steady controlled effort with no walking and to save my energy for Sunday's long run. Wish me luck and have a great week!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Onward and upward !

The holidays are still rolling along as well as the running. My latest adventure puts me in PEI for a few days as we visit my daughter Stephanie. She lives close to the Confederation Trail which winds from one end of the Island to the other and is one of my favorite running places. No matter the weather, from good sunny conditions to rain or even cold winter with snow and wind I always enjoy my runs here.

The running is going reasonably well as I try to follow "The Plan" that I've put in front of myself to build for a fall marathon. I'm still working my way back to the old normal, slowly increasing the distances for all my runs and working at reducing the walking breaks as well.
This past Sunday I got together with Andrew for a Boyden run, which was the 1st one we've had since way back in April. We did 13.5 miles which was the longest since my operation but I needed short walk breaks every 10 minutes to allow me to go the distance. My endurance just isn't there yet but it will come. The breaks were only about 1 minute long to let my heartrate get down to about 130 or 70% of max and really seemed to throw poor Andrew off his game. Hopefully, we'll get back to continuous runs before too long. I'll be aiming for 15 minutes running this weekend for our long run.

Here on PEI I took a timeout today for a pose during today's birthday run of 4 miles. I'm 54 years young and will be celebrating with a nice family supper here in Charlottetown tonite. I'm also looking forward to running in a 5k race on Saturday morning. It'll just be another fun run for me as I'm a long ways from being ready to race yet. Since it's a nice flat race in the downtown core my chances of improving on the previous race time should be good but again, I'm 'not' racing!

Have a nice weekend!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Holiday Adventures

Busy, busy and no time to blog with sporadic access to internet and so there has been a certain lack of updates here. Still running on most days and trying to follow my marathon training plan which first is a simple build back to regular running and long runs. My current fitness is obviously much reduced with the 6 week layoff but it's slowly coming back.
My 1st fitness test was a 5k run (race) on Canada Day, July 1st in nearby Grand Bay/Westfield near Saint John, NB. You can see my time above and the 10 year old that I nipped at the line! It was a hard run for me and required a couple of walk breaks (can you believe?) in order to finish without collapsing in a heap. Results for the race are here and some pictures here. Followed by a visit to my bro's for a nice brunch and BBQ.
The next day we headed for Vermont to stay at a bed and breakfast which was located right on the Vermont Green Mountain marathon course. With support from my co-pilot I ran/walked the 1st 1/2 of this out and back course while taking pictures and videos. Still haven't had time to edit them into anything worthwhile but you can see the route and pictures here. If you have Google Earth this site also has a cool feature so you can see my trip in 3d and also see the 'Street View' pictures with 360 degree views along part of the route. Very cool!
On to Ontario and Ottawa where I just love running along the Rideau canal and the many nice paths and trails that they have. I'd be tempted to move here just for the running... When I took this particular picture a couple of walkers commented on how I was able to 'multitask'. My reply was "No, I just like any excuse to take walk breaks". These little breaks have been a great way to extend my distances run and are a very welcome respite that allows my heartrate to return to a reasonable level. I'm now doing 1 minute or less breaks every 10 minutes of running and restarting when the heartrate is down to 130 (75%) or less.
Latest run this morning of 10 miles (with the short walk breaks every 10 minutes) went really well. I was only attacked by a protective red winged blackbird and had a coyote encounter that was kind of interesting. He crossed my path along the highway and then could be seen in a nearby field poking his head up watching me before taking off. No chance at a picture though.

So, a few more days in Ontario with family before heading back east. Planning to do a longer Boyden run next weekend with Andrew which will be a nice change of pace. I just hope that he can get used to my little breaks but he knows my camera is always at the ready in any case.

Take care and have a nice week!

Monday, June 29, 2009

A man with a plan

It's not that I've been sitting on my behind all day doing nothing but there just hasn't been a lot of news to share lately. Our Father's Day race last weekend went really well with about 70 runners in the 5 miler and a dozen or so kids in the shorter races for them. That's a picture of my running friend Sylvio Bourque who is also race director of the highly successful Grand-Digue 15k in south eastern New Brunswick. He did well at our race clocking 35:49 for the 5 miles coming 2nd in his age group. In breaking news, Sylvio just won 2 national titles at the Canadian arm wrestling championships in Summerside, a good guy to have on your side!
Meanwhile, my walk-running has progressed to mostly run-walking with the latest run of 4.3 miles with only a stretch break after 1 mile (as for all runs) and a 1 minute walk break at the 3 mile mark. You can see the details of my runs in the sidebar of the blog under 'My latest workouts' if you're so inclined... Over the past 2 weeks, the progression has been from mostly walking (with 1 minute running each mile) to now mostly running with 1 minute walk breaks at every mile or so. My running heartrate is still much higher than I'd like for the paces and for some reason my easy pace is dialed in around 8:00-8:30 or so. I'm not able to run any slower and will just have to work on that. Maybe Super Andrew will have some hints the next time we meet.

Speaking of which, I've penciled in at least 7 Boyden long runs with Andrew in my latest attempt at a marathon plan as shown here. Do you like all the pretty colors? I think 'quiet' Grellan appreciates it. The yellow days are my rest days and I'm trying to give myself at least 2 per week in order not to do "too much too soon". The green shows my scheduled holiday travel trips where getting a workout in might be more difficult than usual and flexibility may be required. The trip to Sweden in August for my son's wedding will be the big one and the whole family is anxiously awaiting that adventure.

The red letter days are planned races and most of them are 'coach' approved but I might try to slip in another one if things fall into place. I wonder if there are some races in Sweden?? The trickiest one will be the Saint John marathon on Sept 27 which was scheduled as a 22 mile run in the Pfitzinger plan. I'm hoping that I can run it as an easy long training run with some marathon paced bits and then just jog it in at the end but my record at doing that is not very good. I've also got the Canada Day 5k race in just 2 days in Saint John and the plan here is to just do the distance and leave the competitive juices for another day. Again, that remains to be seen. I think this plan is quite do-able, the mileage build is gradual, lots of rest days, slow build of tempo stuff over the weeks and long runs which are frequent and long enough. The overall weekly mileage is low (max 51) but again I have to go carefully with this and see that rest and recovery comes 1st. I'm not looking at setting any PR's this year and just want to get back at it and enjoy the process.

Speaking of enjoyment, we're off to Ontario to visit our 2 sons and most of Jo's relatives. Besides the usual scheduled running on Ottawa trails and Orangeville country back roads we've booked a B&B in Vermont which sits right on the Green Mountain marathon course. The plan will be to run and document the course using my usual camera and video tricks for all to see and enjoy. The nice feature of this marathon is that it's an out and back and so I only have to run 13.1 miles to get it all in. It should be a fun run!

Well that's all I got for now. I'm feeling almost 100% (which can be dangerous) and looking forward to the next two months of travel, holidays and some running too! Take care and have a great week!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Moving along

It's been six weeks and now the restrictions on my activities are starting to loosen up just a little bit. I'm still limited from lifting much over 10-20 lbs or riding my bike but can now start up with some easy running at last.

During the past week I've been walking 4-5 miles every day outdoors and have started mixing in a short jogs during each mile. It began with 1 minute running and have worked up to 4x5 minute running during today's 4 mile treadmill run (because it's pouring rain today)

One thing I have noticed is how much out of shape I've got in just 6 weeks. My resting heartrate is now approaching 50 where it used to be in the low 40'ies. I'm also seeing my exercising heartrate shoot up to near max while just doing easy running. The 4 minute runs above were at an easy pace of 8:30 to 9:00 but with 140-160 heartrate which is 80-95% of max. I'm expecting some improvements here in short order though.

On the home front things have been fairly quiet. I'm been spending most of my time on the computer, watching sports on TV and lots of reading. However, with the freeing up of many of my restrictions there are now a number of honey-do chores to be tackled. It looks like my painting and carpentry skills will come into play as we spruce up the yard and house.

This weekend is going to be busy with our local 5 mile St. Andrews Fathers Day race being held on Sunday. This is the 31st edition of this race and it's part of the Run New Brunswick racing series. Typically we get about 100 runners with some impressive speedsters and age groupers showing up every year. My job this year is to take care of the registration and results and will also find time to snap as many pictures as possible for the website. The only thing to worry about is the weather with heavy rain forecast for the overnight. Hopefully it will slow down to just a few light showers by morning. My co-race director affirms that we've never had rain in the 30+ years during our race but I seem to remember getting wet over the years! We can hope though, so wish us good luck!

That's it for now. The plan for next week is to gradually extend the running while reducing the walking so as to get back to continuous running in a few weeks. I must say that the little walk breaks are getting to be rather pleasant and might be hard to give up totally as I go forward.

Also, be sure check out Garry's progress tomorrow at his 3rd full Ironman at Coeur d'Alene in Idaho. He's ready willing and able and I'm hoping the weather will co-operate this time.

Have a nice week all!