The Edge to Edge Marathon is complete, and…

IMG_1833After some post race R&R and vacation I’m finally back at my computer and able to report in.

In the end, 4:04:17 was my chip time. My goal was sub 4 hours. It was a great day for the run, but the course was very hilly.

Ninety marathon runners lined up (with some deer) just prior to the race start and at 0830 we were off. The first half of the course shared the streets of Ucluelet and the Wild Pacific Trail.

On the trail E2EAlthough beautiful to run, the trails offered some views of the Pacific, they caused me some problems as I was unable to get up to my desired race pace. I also have issues with not knowing where I am going and I was anxious to get out onto the road part of the course. The WPT came into play twice during the race. After about 5.5 k, we headed onto the Lighthouse Loop of the trail for about 2.6 km before coming back out onto the roads.

Another jaunt through the streets for about 6km, with lots of support from the community, volunteers and relay racers, we headed back onto the trails for another 6km or so before finally getting out onto the roads again.

The course from here was basically out and back, with the marathon runners, marathon relay teams and the half marathon group sharing the course. I had an inkling that I was in trouble when I finally got out onto the road. My pace was down and the hills had already sapped a lot of energy.

Ocean Run

There were more hills to come however, and still a good deal of distance to cover.

The relay team runners played havoc with your mind! Because they were only running about 1okm each, they tended to go by you pretty quickly. That could be really disheartening if you let it get to you and I tried to not focus on the passes that were occurring. One other big factor that came into play was a discrepancy between my Garmin gps and the course distance markers. The difference between signage and my gps was about 4.5 km and that really made things difficult in terms of not only figuring out where you were in relation to the finish, but also trying to set up a final kick (if there was one left in me?). There were also a number of other runners who had the same issue with their gps and the road distance signs so I know it wasn’t just me. At the end, my Garmin says I ran 38.65 km in 4:03:13 versus my chip time of 4:04:17 and 42.2 km.

There was one point that my mind started playing tricks with me and it did have an effect on me. On one stretch going down the Port Albion Road, where we would turn around and come back up the road, there were two bridges. The farthest bridge, at about 28km was the turn around point. The day before the race I had driven the road to get an idea of what it was like and noticed that there was a small narrow bridge on the road as well. For some reason, during the race I forgot that there were two bridges and when the first narrow bridge came into view at about 26km, I was mentally crushed to see a hill beyond it with runners heading up and returning down it. I had it in my mind that the first narrow bridge was the turn around point and I now had no idea how much farther up the road I had to go. When I finally reached the second bridge and the turn around, it dawned on me that I had mentally screwed up. The Port Albion Road was a tough section with lots of gnawing hills, mostly short but there were a couple of longer ones…in both directions.

I had taken lots of water, used the water stations and had plenty of gel carb to get me through the run. I had no problem with any of that but did have to refill one of my water bottles (I wore a Nathan trail belt with 4 @ 10oz bottles) near the end. Another mistake I made was what I ate the night before the run. Steak. Probably not the best choice since it’s protein and not carbs. I know better than that, don’t know what I was thinking and I won’t make that mistake again. At the end of the day I think this may have affected my performance to a small degree but I’m not going to blame a steak. It was a bit warmer than I would have liked, 12c. I would have liked it cooler but still conditions were good.

As the end neared I had to figure out what I thought was the true distance and I tried to visualize the last bit of the route. I tried to pick up the pace with about 3 or 4 km left, based on the road signage. Finally, after almost 4 hours of running, and after making a sharp left turn, there it was, the finish line. It was a little uphill with a slightly steep, quick incline right before the line and I was able to muster a little more speed to get across in my time of 4:04:17. This was a hard race and took more out of me than I thought it would.

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At the end of the day I was happy to have been able to finish close to my goal time. I can brag that I finished 36th overall in a marathon…out of 90 runners!

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The injury I suffered to my right foot and big toe the week before the race had no bearing on my ability to run at all. But boy my feet were sure sore after the race. I had to go soak them in the freezing Pacific (just like icing them) within an hour of finishing the race. An interesting point I noticed about the results is that in my age group, 50-59, six out of seven runners in that category finished in the top 36. That I think is a pretty good showing for us older guys. Also, as a bit of weird information, the song playing on my ipod as I crossed the finish line was, and I kid you not, Led Zeppelin’s “In My Time of Dying”, which happens to be one of the great guitar songs of all time in my opinion.

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A big shout out goes to the race organizers of the Edge to Edge as well as the volunteers and community who supported the race. I was surprised by the turn out and show of support along the route from such a small community. They really embraced the run.

Also, I have to thank my wife Sylvia who supported me and was my biggest cheerleader through almost 6 months of training and put up with my aches and pains just as much as I did. She was a big factor in this race for me. Thank you for your support.

 

 

 

 

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Is my marathon run in jeopardy?

Since my last post, in fact about 2 hours after I posted it, I had an accident. I dropped a metal cart, all 150 lbs of it on my right toes. I have a high tolerance for pain but this made me want to puke. I thought I had broken all my toes.

Luckily, or maybe not, the brunt of the impact was absorbed by my big toe. This is the result right after impact…IMG_0132

It got worse as the day went on as I had to spend a lot of time on my feet. I didn’t run on Monday but played a bit of tennis in the evening to see how it felt. Turns out it didn’t feel too bad but it did bleed just a bit.

Today, Tuesday, I went for a 6 km run at race pace. This would be a big test of the toe. To my surprise, there didn’t seem to be any issues. No pain, no bleeding and my running form did not seem to be affected by the toe.

After the run I noticed that quite a bit of blood had pooled under the skin just at the base of the nail. I decided to try and get rid of it. Here’s how that went…

Getting rid of the blood and pressure has seemed to help. I have a 10 km run tomorrow as my last run of any length (just a short 3 km jog on Saturday) before Sunday’s marathon. Hopefully all stays well.

 

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Taper week…

This is the start of my taper week. 6 days away from the Edge to Edge Marathon and it all starts to come to an end. Just four short easy runs this week with nothing over 10km.

This whole training process started at the end of January and some 865 training kilometers and 90 plus hours of running comes to an end at the start line in Ucluelet on Sunday morning. Looking back I realize that I was pretty lucky on the injury front. No twisted ankles from wintery conditions, just some general achilles and calf heart attacks to deal with. Then of course there are the runners toenails. Here’s mine…

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Not pretty! And normally I really dislike photos of peoples feet in sand, in a group of other feet or freshly painted toenails, but I had to show mine off. Two black, the little one and the second and the big one isn’t looking so good either. Interestingly, all of this on the left foot. The right foot remained relatively unscathed.

 

My running mates are, as I write this, are taking part this morning (June 1) in the Calgary Marathon. I wish them well and hope they stay healthy and meet their race goals.

 

As we trained, our coldest day we faced was on February 23. It was a Sunday morning long slow run that was 16 km’s. It took us about an hour and 50 minutes with a windchill of -34c. Yesterday, I ran my last long run, 16 km’s at race pace and completed that in one hour and 29 minutes.

I think I’m ready for next week. I’ll let you know how I make out.

 

 

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Winding down the training…

With only 3 weeks to go until marathon day, training has started to taper off. Today was really the last long run for me. It was a 27km and change slow and easy run while last Sunday was a 38km romp. Next week will be a 23km run to really wrap things up.

I decided that speed training is not for me. Just the whole premise of changing your stride to a shorter length for the sake of going a bit faster in the training session seems dangerous to me. Last time out I aggravated a left quad injury that occurred some 30 years ago playing hockey. I guess I have a fair amount of scar tissue remaining and to me its just not worth the risk of severe injury at this point in time. After the last 2 speed sessions I had to nurse myself back each time with ice and heat.

Last week I was in Spokane at an IAVM conference

IMG_0123and was still able to get my training runs in. There are ample trails to run along the Spokane River which runs through town. Running out to and through the Gonzaga University grounds was awesome. I ran by the soccer and baseball facilities and they look to be first class; the grass looked immaculate on both playing surfaces.

Spokane is a really nice city, clean and friendly. I was staying right near the convention centre and had lots of time to walk, and run around the beautiful area near downtown where the river is. The river seemed to be flowing at a high level and there were several falls in a short span of a couple of kilometres.

Yesterday (May 18), after my morning run we were able to get our kayaks into the water in the afternoon. IMG_1804We put in at the launch just behind St Albert city hall and paddled up the Sturgeon River to Big Lake.

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It was a nice 2 hour paddle on a great day. Perfect for the first time out this year. We saw lots of nesting ducks and geese, a couple of muskrats and 2 herons on the banks.

With this being the long weekend, hopefully we can also get out on our bikes on holiday Monday or maybe play some tennis at the Broadmoor Tennis Club.

 

 

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Speed kills…well, it sure feels like it!!

With hill training having finished, we started speed training last Tuesday. Now let me say this right off the top; there is no such thing as speed in this body. And let me also say, speed training is worse than doing hills.

This is a totally different set of muscles we are going to use here. I have never done any speed training before and after the first training session I don’t know if I want to do any more. Our instructor Don told us what we were going to be doing then took us out to practice what he preached.

At first, to warm up we did a 10 minute easy run. Then we did a quick succession of high steps, butt kicks and what I would call “prancing”, all to a count of 10, then repeating the process two more times. After a short easy run the speed part started. Basically we sprinted one set of street light posts, let our heart rate come down, do two sets of post, heart rate down and then three posts. This process was repeated three times but really we should have done for repeats.

It was a tough run home. My groin ached, my quads burned and my back was sore. WTF is going on here. Quite simply, it was using muscles we are unaccustomed to using. The next night our group met up for a 10km run and we all mentioned how sore we were. We headed off on the run and any stiffness and soreness seemed to dissipate as the run went on.

At about 8km I started to feel a very slight twinge in my left hamstring, then all of a sudden the hammy seemed to catch fire and instantly hurt. I had to walk for a bit and tried to very slowly run through the pain but couldn’t. A bit more walking then another attempt at a running pace just above a brisk walk seemed to work and I made it back to the start point. I immediately iced and put heat on the hamstring when I got home.

The next day I could barely move. Even my arms were sore from the swinging we put them through during the sprinting portion. The stride we used was a shorter choppier movement which certainly would add to the muscle pain and stiffness I was enduring. I did not run on Thursday and Friday was a rest day, thank god. I continued a pattern of heat and ice and light stretching and headed out on Saturday for what I hoped would be about a 10km easy run. I felt some tweaking in my left hamstring again and only did about 7k. Sunday was a scheduled 29km long slow run and I didn’t want to push my luck and hurt my chances of a good Sunday run.

It snowed slightly through Saturday night and when I got ready for my Sunday morning run it had become a light rain and snow mix with a temperature of about -2c. I threw on a heavier (220) merino long sleeve with a short sleeve tech shirt over top and out I went. Despite the conditions I was able to stay dry and warm and was able to get in 29.75km without any issues. It seemed that all of the ice and heat and stretching worked to make the stiffness and soreness go away.

Now my only issue is getting ready for another round of speed training again on Tuesday!

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Edmonton Police Foundation Half Marathon race as part of training

On Sunday as part of our training, we were scheduled to run a long and slow 23km but it was also the day of the Edmonton Police Foundation half marathon. So taking advantage of the race opportunity that was pretty close to a training run I decided to run in it (beside, you get a shirt and finishers hat!!)

The race was run out of Fort Edmonton Park and after a night of light rain and waking up to a dusting of snow on the ground it was time to head out to the race.  My goal was to finish under 2 hours as I hoped this would be a good gauge of where I was in training. The rain had stopped and it was actually good running conditions. I’m amazed at the amount of clothing runners wear when conditions don’t appear good. Once they warm everything starts to come off and they have to find a place to tie down all unneeded clothing.

My pace to start seemed good and I didn’t have any issues starting about mid pack. I had run this race in 2009 in a time of 1:54:57 and was hoping to be under 2 hours and close to this time.

As the race started I noticed a drone just up a head of us past the start line. This is the very cool video posted on YouTube by KainX from that drone;

The race itself was fairly uneventful. The first rather lengthy hill at 5km was a bit of an effort for me and it took some time to recover from it. I tried to keep my pace up about 5:30. Continuing on the run was just a run but at a faster pace than I was used to. I carried my water bottle with some Nuun electrolyte replacement in it. This has seemed to work for me okay in the past but I had some stomach issues starting about the 16km point. The Nuun tablets are a bit effervescent and I think I closed my bottle to soon after putting the tablet in. This allowed the pressure to build up in the bottle and unbeknownst to me the pressure in the bottle was forcing the water out of the spout. I also thought the bottle shook up a lot during the run and created a bit of foam inside the bottle. Another thing that I did, which I never do, but did because I didn’t think it would come affect me over this distance was to eat a GU gel right before the race start. Like I said, I didn’t have any issues until the 16km point so I’m not sure if the mixture of gel and Nuun was the cause. The tough point for me was the last 2km when I thought I might puke. I was thinking that would make a great finish line photo.

All said, I ran the race in 1:56:33 with an average pace of 5:32. I accomplished my goal of a sub 2 hour run and did not puke!! On my scale of how I rate my runs, I gave this one a “B”. This is how I looked at the end;

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Just one of those runs…

This week started with a nice long run, 35km. It is getting near the end of training with only a few weeks left to go before it’s island time and the Edge to Edge Marathon. But back to the run and awesomeness!!

Everything was going well, no aches or pains, no struggles, just a nice easy pace. I noticed that my two running partners were starting to labour with about five km to go and then they started to walk. I walked a bit with one of them but since I was feeling so good I decided to continue running. Off I went and because I was going so good I decided to pick up the pace for the last three km. The wind had picked up and we were running right into the cooler air it was bringing. My pace quickened from about 6:35 to 5:55.  Not a huge increase but after about 32 km I was pleased to know I had it in myself to give a little more. It took 3:52:45 for me to complete 35.12 km’s.

At the end of the run I felt pretty good, exhausted and elated at the results. This week will see our last hill training session, and with all the rain we’ve had that session was put back a day.  Sunday I am running in the Edmonton Police Foundation half marathon which is based at Fort Edmonton Park. That will be a good gauge of where I am in my training.  Below you can see the route of last Sundays long slow run;

35km

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Things are looking good and with the success of the weekend there is much optimism to keep moving forward. I hope I haven’t just jinxed myself!!

 

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