St Albert Road Race, formerly the 10 Miler..

I took the opportunity to take what should have been a Long Run with Speed Play training run into a 10 mile (16km) race today. My thinking was to try and push the pace to see how my training is paying off. I had no expectations, I had never ran this race before and I would just see how things went. In my mind, a 1:30 or so time would have been nice.

This was the 31st running of the event and with such a beautiful morning ahead of us, me and 238 others lined up for the 10 mile run. I was surprised by the course. It had some nice hills (there is such a thing) that were not too steep. They were easy to get up, it was nice to pick off a couple runners on each one but coming down the hills was much better. I used my ample gravitational force to propel myself down and the gradual slope of the hills took little toll on my legs and knees.

I went waterless and took no gels on this run. I would not have taken anything with me if I had done my scheduled training run. I did consume a gel about fifteen minutes before that start of the race, something I had never done before. It was just a test to see how it would affect the start of the race as well as my stomach and I don’t think it did any harm.

The long run with speed play training session I was supposed to do consists of several sprints taking me into my HR zone 3 during a 20km run. I chose to do the Road Race at a faster pace and try and maintain that pace throughout. In the end, my average pace was 5:08. I was surprised, and encouraged by this as it is not a pace that I am accustomed to maintaining for a lengthy time. That pace if I could sustain it, projects to 3:36:36 marathon time, well below my best time of 4:01. But, I’m also realistic and understand that a 16km race is far from a 42.2km race.

At the end of the day, I finished with a 1:22:13 chip time, 111th out of 239 runners, 68th out of 108 men and 19 out of 36 in my age group (M50-59). I’m happy with this result.

Here’s the data…

Thanks to Joel Maley, the Race Director, STARRT and all of the volunteers who looked after the runners and made this a great event!

All in all, I am pleased with the way training has been going. My weight is coming down and with my average pace of this race, I’m encouraged that the 80/20 training plan is working for me.

You want me to run how fast?

An interesting week just came to a close. Seventy five km’s with a couple of runs that included sprints and elevated heart rates.

Friday’s Short Interval session wants me to do 10 minutes warming up then 12 repetitions of 1 minute in HR zone 5 and 2.5 minutes in HR zone 1 with. Zone 5? You’re kidding right? Zone 5 for me, as I have calculated is 161 or more beats per minute. For a minute and a half? Got it.

At best I hit was 151 bpm for about a minute on each run (x12). I am not built for speed, let alone long speed. I don’t know if it’s a good thing I can’t hit 161 let alone maintain it for 90 seconds or not.

Then Sunday’s Long Run with Fast Finish called for 23km in zone 2 then a 2.4 km finish in zone 3 (146-152). I could hit that target, it was tough after 23km, but a lot of it was into that strong wind we had. Luckily I went out early this morning before the winds really picked up.

Finally, after 20 consecutive running days, Monday is a rest day. It’s also my monthly massage with Nadine at Got Knots.

#10 into the books…

Seventy five km’s over 7 runs put week 10 to rest. The longest run was a 26 km “long run with speed play” lasting about 2:35.  Just click the link below for my run details;

Garmin Connect

Other runs this past week were three foundation runs, a cruise interval, a recovery run, and a short interval. My runs this year are averaging about an hour.

I’m up over 600km for the year but still trying to find my shoes. I had mentioned a while back that I had made the switch from a stability shoe to a neutral style. That meant going from the Asics Gel Kayano’s to Brooks Ghost 7’s. I ran in the Ghosts a few times then someone suggested that I try the Asics Nimbus 17’s. I went out and got a pair but had to go up a size to 13 as the size 12’s seemed a bit tight.  I just can’t get comfortable in them! They have a lot of toe room and when I run in them it feels like the forefoot is very wide and and my foot spills out to the sides. Speed work in them is a tragedy! I wore my Ghosts this morning and they feel so much more compact and snug.

I have one toe about to lose the nail already. My second toe on the left foot. In truth though, it never recovered from last year and was an easy mark to shed the nail again this training session.

Also, I picked up a pair of 2XU elite compression shorts. I like them. I have to get used to wearing tights but thats just me. They provide a nice snug feel, stay in place and keep things in their place! When running in them they are unnoticeable, almost like you are running in nothing. Even running into a cool breeze, they keep my thighs and quads warm.


It is my hope to run the Calgary marathon without wearing a water belt. I’m hoping to strictly use the water and gel stations placed around the course.  They are using PowerGels and I have been training with them to ensure my stomach can handle that brand and so far so good. I have to make the transition from tangerine to chocolate though. In my training so far I have determined that I need to start taking a gel at about 90 minutes

All of a sudden, week 8 of training ends with week 9…

It’s now week 8 of training. And before I knew it, week 9 ended too! Things are going well, but I did pay a price for interrupting training with a trip to the Dominican Republic for a week. Punta Cana called and the 30c weather was a welcome break from a cold Alberta winter. I did run four times, but only for a total of about 30k. There were a couple of runs around the resort grounds and the surrounding area, a beach run with shoes on and the best run of all was the barefoot run in the sand. Here’s the proof;

just some random thoughts;

– what’s with that little blob of slush that spurts out from under your lead foot then lands on the top mesh of your other foot as its motion passes it to the front, freezing toes when you really don’t want that!

– is it just me or are shoe laces getting shorter?

– races really should customize their racing numbers, no more generic Running Room numbers please

Trying to make up for lost time with the blog, week 9 just ended this morning (I have to get more consistent here). It was also the last week of hill training and I have to admit my hills were less than satisfactory. I missed two weeks while on holiday, one week was a washout, literally as the hill I run was a flowing river of snow melt and one week was lost to a dump of snow. So I really only did two weeks of hills which probably really did not do anything for me.

I also missed a long run of about 32km (last Sunday) due to a heavy snowfall which I stressed over but I don’t think you can make up lost mileage so I just moved on from it.

So now I move on to the Peak Phase of training which is seven weeks and will incorporate more speed work into the runs. I have some little nicks, all foot related but nothing that I can’t put up with or run through.

Week 3 is over…

Running a very tedious, and boring, almost 2 hour run inside was how the week ended today. Round round and round! We had a fair dump of snow on Friday night, about 5 inches and it made running outside really difficult. The paths and trails had not been cleared for Saturday’s 45 minute run but I tried to push on. It was tough and I should have probably run inside, but you know, I hate running inside so out I went. It was much easier to run in the fresh snow than to run in the few tracks that had already been made on the paths. It was a tough run, slogging through the snow on a beautiful day but my distance was down about a kilometre and my feet were sore after. That was due I think to the ruts and unevenness that others had created.  I showed much more restraint on Sunday for my long run, sucked it up and went inside!

So far so good. Nothing major to worry about physically at this point. I weighed in at 217 lbs after the run this morning so I was happy with that.

I had a gait assessment done earlier in the week. I was surprised by the results. But then again I wasn’t. What prompted this was I just couldn’t get comfortable in my new Asics Gel Kayano 21’s. They just seemed tighter. Even the laces were much shorter. So I had moved from the Kayano’s, which is a stability shoe, into a neutral Brooks Ghost 7. I don’t know why, other than to look at a bit less rigidity and weight. With the assessment, the physio noted that I was very much a heel striker but after the assessment he felt I could easily move into a neutral shoe. One comment he made was that just because you pronate doesn’t mean you need to be put in a stability shoe. He felt that over time the neutral shoe would reduce the heel strike and bring my lead foot back under my body. What I thought really interesting was after running on the treadmill barefoot (at the same speed and incline as I had run with shoes on), my stride length shortened and my cadence went up from 150 to 164. My hips are weak and need some work, especially on the right side so the physio gave me a few of exercises to do to strengthen the hip muscles.

So today was the longest I had run in the neutral shoes, 16km, and I feel ok, a few hours after the run.  There is a bit of discomfort in my left foot but that will go away and is probably caused more from the stress of continually turning left on the track today.

Week four of the nine week Base Phase portion of training presents the same schedule of runs except there is the added bonus of hills which kicks off a six week span of them until the end of the Base Phase.

Training tragically delayed…

Very early Saturday morning, January 17, RCMP Cst. David Wynn was senselessly shot while on duty in St. Albert. He passed away from his wounds on January 21st.  Immediately after Cst. Wynn’s passing, it was almost certain that my place of work would be the site of Regimental Funeral.  Right away we started planning to turn Servus Place from a community recreation facility into a church that would hold 6500 first responders and public to pay their respects.


After a couple of planning days and then set up, the funeral took place on January 26th. 6800 people attended the service to say their final goodbyes.


My Calgary Marathon training was scheduled to start the day of the funeral, but with many long days at work and hours on my feet, I was not feeling up to the training. So instead of starting Monday, I began Thursday. I was not worried about missing a couple of days; they were just basically slower, longer runs. My concern was that I had not run in about 10 days, and how would I feel when I finally got back out there?

My first couple of runs were fine and I seemed to be over the soreness countless hours of walking on concrete created. The weather was not bad but Friday night it got windy, the snow started to fall on the already icy paths and the temperature started to drop. Bad weather however, doesn’t bother me, as I have the gear for it. I do dislike pathways that have not yet been cleared. I find that slogging through snow aggravates my hips, groin and ankles but nothing some stretching doesn’t fix. This week ended with a Saturday timed 45 minute Foundation Run and then a Sunday Long Run just over 16km.


I just picked up a new pair of Asics Gel Kayano 21’s. I have worn the same shoe right from number 17, and thought it might be time for a change and looked at several stability shoes. In the end I came back to the Kayano. Kind of like “if it ain’t broke, don’t change it”. I just can’t figure out why Asics comes out with a new Kayano every year. 21's

My training program is based on the 80/20 Running plan authored by Matt Fitzgerald which I have talked about previously. Lots of distance at slower paces with a smaller level of intensity over the 18 weeks of training.

I started at this week at 220 lbs. I would have liked to be a couple pounds lighter to start but that didn’t happen. In the past I have lost about 15 pounds during training so I should be around 205 on race day. I’d be happy at 208!

So, next week, week 2, sees the following plan;

Monday – Foundation Run, 45 minutes

Tuesday – Fast Finish, 35 minutes low intensity and 12 minutes high, cross training

Wednesday – Foundation Run, 45 minutes

Thursday – Foundation Run, 45 minutes with cross training

Friday – Speed Play, 15 minutes low intensity, 28 minutes high

Saturday – Foundation Run, 45 minutes

Sunday – Long Run, just over 19km

I will run all of my slower runs, usually those set in my heart rate zones 1 and 2 by heart rate and any run that would be zones 3, 4 or 5 will be run by pace. The reasoning is that when changing zones, there is a certain amount of lag in heart rates being picked up by the monitor so it is easier to adjust by pace when there is greater intensity.

RIP Cst. David Wynn

Phlegm be damned…

After laying on the couch for the better part of a week, having not gone for a run in six days, I decided to throw on several layers of clothes and head out on a crisp, -18c morning with light snow falling.  Thinking that a nice easy run in the cold might free up some of the mucus ball that has become resident in my chest much like Sigourney Weaver’s alien embryo, off I went!

Despite the cold, there was no wind and the paths had been bladed by the city snow crews. Footing was good and I went out at an easy pace for about 6.5 km in 45 minutes. I was surprised how good I felt despite still being quite congested and hacking up phlegm balls. It was good to get out again and my legs were really good which made me quite satisfied at the end.

I’m going to chalk this up to a well deserved rest and break from running as I get back out there and gear up for a January 26th training start for the Calgary marathon.