I am 8 days out from finishing the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon and feeling pretty good. I am satisfied with my time of 2:11:21, I have recovered well, been enjoying the downtime with my family and ,….. I have time to think over the race and the build up and here is what I have come up with….
I came back from NS early Aug ready to get to work. Wasn’t in the best shape ever 11 weeks out, no sweat though, knew a lot of that was still to come. Settled into a new routine of 4:30pm workouts with club and UofG guys on Mondays, can’t beat the atmosphere of 20 athletes out for 16x500m on a XC course. Thanks for allowing me to jump in guys! Longer marathon sessions came Thursday mornings with new training partner Robert Winslow, 2:22 marathoner and fellow StFX alumi (+ a Chiro at HPC on campus, check him out). Rob was shooting for sub 2:20, came ever so close 2:20:11, excellent build-up and race! The long run came Sat or Sun depending on family schedule and how I felt.
As the weeks ticked away, found fitness came as I’d hoped. Only thing holding me back was a bit of inconsistency with alinement causing left hip to get cranky. This settled down around the half way point, helping move from PB goal, to low 2:10. I rely a lot on consistency in training to gage fitness, this build-up was running pretty smooth. The numbers were favourable too, in a couple key workouts, 90′ straight and 5xmile, each were better then I’ve ever done.
I was feeling pretty confident heading in, more so then any race in the past. Coach Dave Scott-Thomas and I talked twice about race plans. First, half way through, Dave come up with two potentials, one more conservative with PB as main focus, a higher % chance of feeling good last 7k. The other, get after first half and take shot at the ol’ record. Having options that far out was important, able to focus on day to day training and see where fitness gets too. A few weeks later we met up again. With workouts going so well, and personally feeling on my game, decided to aim for upper limits of what thought possible. We both believed 2:10 low was it for STWM 2014, after a bit more discussion on why, plan A was set. Plan B was to get under 2:11, and Plan C was a PB.
Once plans were finalized with Dave, I then worked on visualization and execution with Kim Dawson, a professor of Sports Psychology at Laurier. I’ve been working with her for some time now on mental skills training. I consider it one of my keys to constancy and continued enjoyment of the sport. On this occasion we dialled into visualizing each unique section of the ‘marathon’, and the STWM 2014 course. We did this almost three weeks out, timing was not accidental. Mentally running the whole race in my head took some energy, not something you want to be starting night before. It helped to think clearly as race got closer and gave me more confidence in believing in the process and my ability to execute.
Once again the organizers brought in strong pacers which I’m very grateful for. Alan Brookes and his team at Canada Running Series do amazing work for our sport in this country, thanks guys!… The first couple k was up hill, pace was good, 3:06ish.. 3:04 would get us to goal half split of 64:45 (2:09:30), gotta leave a bit of room for fade off back end. We then headed 3k down Bathurst, this section is quick, and so were we, got to bottom on 2:07 pace.. Vitaliy Sharaf of UKR, a 2:09 guy from Boston this year was right behind pacers and I bet he could have run faster if not for me keeping pacers on pre determand pace, he finished 2:09:52. It was interesting to run 25K+ with a guy who went on to run a time I’d like to run. In hindsight I learned, sub 3′ k’s down Bathurst, and 3:02-03’s along Lakeshore with wind at our back is simply necessary, and you have to be comfortable rolling with it on this course. I can’t say I totally was. That wasn’t totally in my control but this was, so I also wore a GPS watch for the first time in a marathon, it’s a great training partner in long temp session and I thought maybe it’ll relax me out there on long straightaways that way can look at pace any time. Only thing is, and Reid warned me about this, GPS is not always accurate enough, especially in the city, turns out he was right. It was reading a second fast most of the time, and it measured course at 42.56, I will not be wearing one in my next race.
Photo by Pace and Mind
All that being said, I was pretty pleased with my run. The body felt good for 35k, last pacer dropped out at 32k. 10k to go and still on pace for 2:10. It got tougher without help, but the thing that really slowed me down starting with 7k to go, was my quads! It’s the first time they’ve felt that sore at the end of a marathon. I slowed down more in 2013 but it was more overall body fatigue, this time my breathing, arms, and head were still in it, just couldn’t move the sore dead quads fast enough. Despite the soreness and slowing down late, I’m taking a lot of confidence from not throwing in towel and giving up on plan C, a personal best, got it by seven seconds and it feels good!
Want to give a special thanks to Brenda Scott-Thomas at Speed River Physiotherapy for helping me feel my best thought the build-up!
Also big thanks to others for their support New Balance Canada, PowerBar, CEP, Coach DST, PhD Kim Dawson, RMT Lance Dawson, Physio Ron O’Hare, Speed River T&F Club, + a big hug and kiss to Emily my wife for all her amazing support!!!
I start running again later this week, and working toward my goal of a spring marathon.
First to recap the Scotiabank Ottawa Marathon: 2:13:47, First Canadian, 8th overall. I was happy with the result, executed well, a slight negative split. Pleased with how managed training in a “harsh” winter. Previous winter had been in Kenya- big difference in weather but happy to be at home with spouse, daughter and new son Luke this year. Ottawa left me confident and looking forward to Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon in October.
Reid pacing me, Rob’s pacer far right
After Ottawa it was time for a little adventure. With my wife, Emily, on maternity leave and me running it gave our family some flexibility this summer, we decided to spend 6 weeks at home in Nova Scotia. Emily and I had purchased property on the ocean just 20 min outside hometown of Antigonish 8 years ago. This was the first year we were able to build on the property and stay there for longer than an afternoon! Added photos of bunkie (day hangout) & camp; yurt (sleeping quarters). Had no electricity, didn’t miss that so much as no running water, did have hand pump on top of drilled well. We used hanging shower bags heated by the sun to wash, and cooked everything on a BBQ. Lots of time with friends and family, lots of time on the beach and watching our kids have a great time. I kept fit running once a day with one or two workouts a week. With the length of time we were there I able to catching up with old running pals, high school friends, and coach Bernie Chisholm. I ran the local Highland Games 5miler mid July – felt in a completely different place mentally and physically this year than last year at the same time, 25:11 2013 hard effort, 24:21 in control this year. Looking to carry that forward into late summer and fall marathon training.
The Yurt, our home for five weeks
Windy, Ballantynes Cove
wind got the fries playing washers on beach
Sunset & Luke after lunch
here is a little video of snorkelling at the cove
We broke the return trip home to Guelph into 3 days to allow me time to run and keep the younger members of the family happy. How to train while driving 1950km- book hotels with pools to keep the kids happy, a cooler full of food so you don’t eat car trip junk food the whole time, keep roller and stretching band on hand. Marry someone who is supportive enough to encourage you to go out for a two hour run while she watches the kids, replenishes the coolers, and takes a strategic turn driving so that you can nap, thanks Em 🙂
on our way
EnRoute in ON
Now that I’m back in Guelph, I am really enjoying focusing in on the “details” that make a difference in training and racing. My hip flared up the last week in Nova Scotia and has hampered training a bit. In Nova Scotia I was able to get some help from physiotherapist Chris Mackinnon. Glad to see Brenda ST after the long car ride to unwind and to reconnect with Kim Dawson to help put the slight setback in perspective and refocus on the work ahead. Coach DST has the plan set, time to execute it! Plan is to run the 10k at the Oasis ZooRun September 20th, and then Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon October 19th.
With just under nine weeks until Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon I like where I’m at. This morning’s workout was my fourth straight feeling back to my old self, in control and running quick. It’s been a long haul since London. Consistency has eluded me for the better part of last 10 months. I’ll tell yeah, it doesn’t take much to lose form, and man oh man it can take a lot of work to get back. I recommend investing time into ‘the little things’ to prevent this whole scenario yourself. It’s not worth breaking down too much to find out which part could have prevented this. My attitude now is to ‘simply’ (not simple at all) do all parts, and do them well. Being apart of translating, and now bring VICSYSTEM to Canada, was an excellent reminder of all the smaller things in training I was skimming over. Using VICSYSTEM on a daily basses helps keep those in my routine now.
Couldn’t have gotten to this point without an excellent support team fully committed to seeing me running happy again. A big thinks to Coach Dave Scott-Thomas, physio’s Brenda Scott-Thomas, postural alignment specialist Heather Finn at Speed River Physiotherapy, and Ron O’Hare of LifeSprings Physiotherapy in Aurora which is also hometown to my always supportive wife Emily. Thanks Kim Dawson of Wilfred Laurier University for mental skills training, and for being only a phone call away! Also to her husband, RMT Lance Dawson for treatments at Waterloo Sports Medicine. Thank you everyone for your support. Looking forward to good times ahead!
Cooks & Carter summer 2013 party crew #STWM (Reid still on mend when this was taken)
Me, Johana Kariankei(Kenya now), Nick Sunseri, Terence Attema, John Mason
A week ago I confirmed my entry in the 2013 Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon Oct 20th, feels so good to be back! Training has been going well of late after a rocky past ten months. Nice article about announcement here by Paul Gains here
I wasn’t 100% confident in my hip, it was a very hard decision not to run the Ottawa Marathon but Dave and I think it’s the mature one. I’m sticking with elite marathon for a few years more so want to treat my body well and hopefully it can return the favor in the near future with a fast time.
I’m now in Ottawa and will still be apart of this great race weekend. I’ll be at the following.
2:00pm, Expo for a Q&A with runners and to talk about your experience as an elite in the media booth – see Star on the map: http://www.runottawa.ca/exhibitors/expo-map
6pm-7pm, 10K Finish Line for live broadcast of the Ottawa 10K – you’ll find info about the roster here: http://www.runottawa.ca/media/registered-elites/2013-elite-news It will be my first time ever doing commentating a race, should be fun.
8:30-9:30am – Marathon Finish line for Marathon broadcast with Mark Sutcliffe and Krista Duchesne
The Ottawa Marathon and Ottawa 10K will be broadcast worldwide at www.runottawa.ca and locally on Rogers-TV (channel 22).
When in Kenya this past winter I met Johana Kariankei, a runner and bracelet making who owns a small shop called Olympics Corner located just outside High Altitude Training Center.
Over my time there I got to know Johana, buying bracelets and going for runs with him. Upon my return to Canada and deciding to run the Ottawa Marathon I inquired about getting a pacer, it worked out and I asked Johana if he was interested in coming over to pace me, he haply said yes. We worked it out so he would come over two weeks early to get in a race. That’s what he did, and ended up winning the 10k run in Toronto.
With me no longer running the Marathon race officials were kind enough to switch Johana over to the 10k, runs Saturday night at 6:30pm. Johana is very excited to get the chance to compete in this IAAF Silver label race, only second time racing outside of Kenya, and first was in Toronto!