Saturday, August 25, 2007


It was a great weekend for a trip to PEI and I had plans and thoughts for a great post about all the fun things we did but before I could say "Cody!", I was scooped by Stephanie! Well, not really but she did steal all the best pictures, though I am partial to the family group shot we took. The silly look on my face was due to the cat snake that you can barely see in my hand after it was flung out to make the cat look at the camera!Another silly cat photo, drinking out of the flower vase.

The weekend was busy and fun with a wonderful dinner and ceremony as Steph was inducted as a new vet school student. They also impressed upon us how there will be difficulties and hard work with very stressed out students, but it will all flash by in no time at all. It's hard to imagine 2011 when she graduates as Dr. Power as being just around the corner.

Did I mention that Charlottetown is home of the PEI Marathon, and now tentatively scheduled as the 3 Blind Moose Strikes Back event for 2008? This also turned out to be a great opportunity to explore the territory and some of the race route. On Sunday it was 20 miles as an out and back run from near the university which is about 1 mile from the finish line. The run started early for me (around 7am) on another humid but at least overcast to keep the direct sun away. The 1st 5 miles were on the Confederation Trail before crossing Hwy 15 and picking out the marathon route on the way out of town. I went for about 5 miles, reaching Sufolk before turning and heading for home. This part of the course is great terrain on a nice flat wide trail with fine crushed rock base. There are lots of farmland and scenic views all along and I enjoyed the quiet solitude this morning with very few runners, walkers or bikers to be seen. Coming out to the Route 15 again, this time I followed the 'thon route which goes the rest of the way to the finish along the open highway. I'm glad to have tried this because there are a number of hills and open areas where a prevailing westerly wind would be of concern as the miles pile up. Nothing too serious but after 15+ miles my legs and body weren't happy with the ups at this point. If you were feeling good, I'm sure you could cruise along, but ... when not up to par, the last miles will drag. Anyhow, finished the 20 in 2:43 and I was beat up pretty good and very thirsty despite carrying a bunch of gatorade.

Other running last week included 6 runs with a total of 62 miles for the week ending on Sat. Mostly just 1 hr runs each day and was unable to put any real hard workout's together except for a few faster repeat miles during a longer 12 miler on Friday. That's about all I've got to say about the so-called training for now. Getting the miles in, sort of and sort of training but not really and it's now 7 weeks and counting... There's still time to put it back together, I hope.

Have a nice week!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Nothing much to say

It's been harder and harder lately to find things to say and then to make the time to post. At least my running hasn't suffered the same fate, as I was able to manage 64 miles in 6 runs last week. It started off well with a decent (but tiring) 3 hour run last Sunday where I learned that the new Nikes are not friendly to my feet on long runs. The easy run and the cutdown runs were also good as the temperatures have moderated nicely here lately. It's been mostly in the 20's during the day (60-70F) and has been dipping down in the single digits at night already (40's). Perfect!

Thurs - easy 1 hour run after work. Ran into a buddy from work and it was a real slow relaxing recovery run as we chatted away.

Friday - got off work early with time for a longer run including some hills at the end. I did 3 repeats of the Bunny hill at what felt like a strong controlled pace but my watch begged to differ. I'm getting of the opinion that there's something wrong with my watch (take last weeks race for instance) but unfortunately it rarely lies. The end result was 9 slow miles with 3 miles of even slower hills.

Sat. - legs still a bit sore from the 'so-called' hill workout as I cruised along for another 8 miles to get the weekly total up to a nice square 64 which was way better than last week's pitiful 46.

Sunday - up early to send off our Ontario visitors and then on the road shortly after for my long run. It was another perfect running weather day with cool temps ranging from 10-15C and low humidity. Things started kind of slow and it took a few miles to get the stiffness that's been hanging in the legs lately. Maybe it's finally time to start a nightly regimen of stretching and strengthening like I always say I'm going to do. Maybe... But after awhile the running felt much easier as I cruised through 2 loops of our downtown before heading out of town for the planned 'fast' finish. Ha! After 12 miles of running there was no fast finish happening today! It felt like I was working and pushing the pace but at every mile split the watch told me a different story. The fastest mile was a 7:50 and it was downhill from there and a relief to find the end of my driveway after 20 miles in 2:45. At least I got the run in.

Monday - rest day with no aches or pains worth writing about in my log

Tues - (today) a mid-day lunchtime run from work as I delayed departure until all the traffic was gone. The temps were a bit warmer today at 24C but still lovely for running. This started out as a slow easy run but because I did it as an out and back the 2nd half became a bit of a race to beat my time going out 4 miles (32:12). Despite vainly trying to hold back a little to save something for my speed runs planned later in the week, the return leg came in at 30:30. It's amazing sometimes you feel so stiff and slow at the start of a run but before you know it, you're cruising and feeling good. It didn't last for long but it was nice while it lasted (on the downhills at least ;-).

Not much else to write home about I'm afraid and it's now only 8 weeks to go. I'm not overly pleased with how my training has been going but then again I'm not unhappy with it either. I seem to be flailing away but nothing is really happening. There are couple of trips planned over the next few weekends that will keep things interesting with some new places to run.

Meanwhile, have a great week and while you're at it go visit Wild Man Bob where you can always Dream Big!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Calais International 5 miler

While listening to episode 109 of Phedippidations: Dr. George Sheehan - This Running Life:

"Either what we do every day is important or nothing is. In a sense we can live our entire life every day. I see this most clearly the day of a race. Then the full cycle is evident. The planning, the anticipation, the anxiety, the tension, the worry that fills my life comes before every race. This is followed by the race itself, the soon evident inadequacies, the continuing failure, the falling behind, all the while knowing pain and fatigue, suffering and despair and finally the finish and joy; and the peace beyond understanding." Dr. George Sheehan

Saturday, August 11, 2007: race day for the Calais International 5 mile race

Reality is much less poetic than the Doctor but there were still all the same feelings that he describes. I was more nervous than usual today, despite arriving in plenty of time after parking my car on the Canadian side and making the easy walk across the border bridge. The customs lady was friendly and barely looked at my ID, waving me through with "Have a good race!". After collecting my number and t-shirt there was time for an easy warmup which I did with Anna who used to live in my town. We had even more time than usual today because the race organizers were surprised by the unexpected number of runners (almost 90 instead of the usual 50 or so) and some issues with the Canadian and US customs. This was the 28th running of the unique race which starts in the US, goes across to Canada, then up the river about 2 miles before crossing back into the US and finishing back near the start by the park in Calais. I've done the race many times and enjoy doing the run through the 2 borders and also like the nice t-shirts with the Canada/US logos.

The race: more nerves, quick bathroom stop at a local garage minutes before the start and a good shot of gatorade had me primed to go. In the small crowd we had today it wasn't a problem being near the front of the pack and we were quickly off after a "Ready, Go!". The 1st mile felt pretty easy as I tried to get into a rhythm and sailed through in 6:34 with Virtual Marc close on my tail. Did I mention my race with Virtual Marc? Since he couldn't be there in person to be beat, my goal and challenge was to beat his time of 33:59 from last year. Little did I know how tough he was going to be... The next mile felt good with some jockeying for position as I was passed and then repassed a couple of runners but only managed a 7:14 with the hills. VM had now drawn even. Damn! Time to get serious, and started to press the pace as I pulled away from the runners around me but not able to hold onto speedy the VM. Despite not being passed again for the rest of the race and being able to pass a few more runners the next mile was only a 7:04 with V-Marc now about 20 yards ahead.

And did I mention the hill? Mile 4 is all uphill and it starts shortly after coming through back into the US. The hill starts out very steep for the 1st 1/4 mile before leveling a touch and then shooting back up some more. At this point my HR had almost maxed out and it was just a game to try to hold the effort to a manageable level. Top of hill and end of mile 4 in a painful 7:23 and now V-Marc is almost out of sight! From here on it's all downhill to the finish and I was able to make up a tiny bit with a final 6:28 mile and finish in 34:53. A sound beating I'm afraid but the finish line was a bit of heaven as I was finally able to stop. It was a good race but I was somewhat disappointed in my time. I thought that all my marathon would have helped me but it looks like the lack of faster running is starting to show.

Other running notes as of late:
Last week was mostly easy running with a measly total of 46 miles. I'm still not on track being back to work and haven't worked out a schedule to get the running in that I want.

Sunday - another 3 hour run but this time home alone as I got 21+ miles in with an early start. No real problems but the last 1/2 hour was tough once again.

Tues - easy 1 hour run after work

Weds (today)- nice 10 mile progression run in 75:00 working the pace from 8:00 down to 7:10 and some marathon'ish pace at the end. Despite starting this run feeling like I wasn't going to make it even one mile things went very well for a change as I progressed the pace by 10 sec per mile until it was at MP or better. Slowed over the last 2 miles but I'll blame it on the hills!

There! I'm up to date. Have a good week all!

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Three Blind Moose Do Moosehorn

The boys were back in town today for our 1st run together in quite awhile. Between the Three Blind Moose adventure and the day We Tried to Kill Marc a lot of water seems to have flowed under the bridge and so it was high time to get back together and plan the next escapade. Sorry, but there are no pictures (because my camera has been hijacked for equine related events) and so a quiet garden interlude will have to do for this week. This was taken in our garden about a week ago now and our latest pastime in the early evening has been to sit out in the gazebo with a glass of wine to watch the hummingbirds 'fight' or chase each other around.
Back to Moosehorn. I got the late breaking news from Andrew on Thursday that Marc was going to be in town and was looking for a little run. My initial idea of another 3 hr slogfest was quickly squashed and replaced with a much more realistic 2 hr run either around Calais or in the Moosehorn National Refuge which is only a mile outside the town limit. My trip to Calais and the border crossing was relatively uneventful, although the border guard had a chuckle when he asked how long my 'little run' was going to be. He almost fell out of his chair laughing when I said 'two hours'! I guess it's all relative, right?

On arrival at the hotel parking lot I found Marc dressed and ready for action and Andrew was only a little late coming in on his motorbike (delayed by the detours and sunrise I think he said). We quickly decided that with lots of time the Moosehorn option with all it's lovely trails and lack of traffic would be the perfect option for the day (little did we know) and 10 minutes later we were there in the wilds of this lovely park. Our first loop from the park headquarters along the wide wooded road trails was perfect in the morning's nice temperatures in the mid 60's (18C) and light breezes with plenty of shade at 7AM.

However, it soon became apparent that the deerflies were much more numerous than expected and quite likely to carry us off in bits and pieces. No amount of swatting (and beware of being swatted by a blind moose with limited depth perception) or running faster seemed to make any difference. After about 1/2 hr of this we finished one loop back to the start and after a quick water stop decided to try out the secondary highway which runs through the park. It turned out to be much better in terms of flies but quite bad in terms of traffic. Instead of the one car per mile that we'd come to expect on our Boyden Lake route it seemed like 10 times that today but we made do and avoided being run over. The scenery was still fabulous with marsh, lakes, eagles and osprey and the perfect temperature, though a little bit humid. And of course the running company couldn't have been better as we talked about our training or lack thereof, plans and goals for the coming marathons and plans for our marathon together next year (have to plan ahead). Before we knew it our time was up, 2 hours and some 14+ miles covered and still happy and refreshed. And there was no Hands On Knees required after this run, especially with some special order double chocolate fudge brownies waiting for immediate consumption. Mmmm!

Andrew and I then delivered Marc back to his awaiting family who were now up and about and said our goodbyes until next time which we hope to be a pre-marathon weekend long run on the MDI course in mid September 15-16. The hope is that we'll get a chance to run over the final portion of the course to put the fear of god into us before race day. Marc and A are old hands with this marathon but I have yet to experience it and all I've heard is how tough the hills late in the course are. I'm looking forward to this but will have to see if I'm able to make the trip.

Things have now come around substantially with my mini-rest break and this latest run with the 'boys' has also helped to recharge the batteries. A few other running notes on the past week.

last Sunday - 16 mile, 2hr 10 minutes around town late in the day after church. It got warmer than I would have liked and was humid and tiring with the heat.

Monday - rest

Tues - last day of my month of holidays celbrated with a 10 mile cutdown run but only managed one mile at marathon pace (7:15) before I had to shut things down due to the heat and humidity. The run started fine with a nice warmup and I was able to progress the pace up by 10 sec per mile from 7:50, 7:40, 7:30, 7:20 and then goal pace but my heartrate was immediately through the roof (over 150) and it became pointless to continue. Despite being only midmorning the temperatures were up and humidex was close to 30C which didn't help things.

Weds - Thurs - easy days of 5 and 7.5 miles in my 1st back to work days. It's hard getting back in the saddle after an entire month away. Running in the evening after a full meal doesn't make for an easy run either.

Friday - 8 miles with 4 x 2:30 hill climbs. This was again an after-supper run that took about 3 miles before the legs stopped arguing with the stomach for control of the necessary blood supply. The run then went very well and the hill climbs felt very smooth and strong. What made the biggest difference was the cool air and fog that also rolled in making for the best conditions we've had in awhile.

Sat - legs a little stiff, but a good soreness indicating a desirable workout in the recent past. Ran an easy 8.5 miles to reach a total of 55 miles for my cutback week. Finished the run off with another cool dip in the pond to do some plant maintenance for Jo and to cool the legs down as well.

Things are coming around nicely I hope. Have a great week everyone!