the results are in, and…

On a crisp and cool October 25th morning the MEC Race #5 was held in St Albert. My chip time was 1:57:49 for a distance of 21.46 km’s but my Garmin time was 1:55:44 for the half marathon distance of 21.1 km. I would have liked to have been a bit faster but I’m not disappointed in my finishing time. In terms of total runners, I finished 78th out of 163 half marathon runners. My pace was 5:29/km.

So, lets take a look at the results.

As I mentioned in my last post, I started to train using the principles laid out by Matt Fitzgerald based on his 80/20 formula. I stepped into this program at week 11, which really only gave me 5 weeks to train before race day. Initially, following the training plan, I had a very hard time adapting to the theory of “slow”. Not that there is much speed in me to begin with, but running at these paces made me want to tip over. I also seemed to pick up little nicks here and there. This, I understand is normal for this process and after about two and a half weeks into the plan I was starting to get the hang of it.

Let’s recap. I ran a half marathon on April 27th which fell into my full marathon training schedule. Although I didn’t run it as a long slow run which would have been the training run that day, I ran the half in 1:56:33 at a pace of 5:33/km. I also weighed somewhere around 222 lbs.  On June 8th I ran the Edge to Edge Marathon, weighing 215 lbs in a time of 4:04:17 at a pace of 5:48. This was after a full training plan leading up to the marathon produced by the Running Room.

Comparing the numbers, they aren’t far off from the three races. Everything was pretty close overall including my weight for the MEC race where I ran at 223 lbs. Was the 80/20 plan successful? To be honest, I don’t think giving it 5 weeks was enough time to form a true opinion since I started in week 11. Did I lose that much endurance from the Edge to Edge at the beginning of June to mid September and starting the 80/20 training? I’m sure my fitness level dropped somewhat in that time frame as I had no goals, but I’m also not willing to throw the plan away. The key points that have emerged from this summer of running are;

- I need to start the 80/20 plan from the beginning to realize it’s full value. Although I had been running sporadically before starting 80/20 on Sept 22nd, it was just running for the sake of running and I had no goals to aim for

- I’m relatively injury free, my hip (osteoarthritis) is becoming more noticeable as I run more, although not painful, it every so often reminds me where we are going to be in the future

- I turn 55 next month, although that older guy who passed me yesterday at about 15 km gives me inspiration (despite the fact it really pissed me off!) that I couldn’t keep up with him

- My body weight needs to be lower. It’s hard dragging 223+ lbs. around for 2 to 4 hours, so I need to work on weight, and getting rid of old eating habits. But I do like bad stuff, beer, chips and cookies. Not so much carrots, apples and green beans

- I think I can recover from the longer runs/races fairly well, as long as injuries don’t creep in

Looking at 2015, my idea is to run the Calgary Marathon on May 31 which would mean serious training would start on February 9th. The Edmonton Marathon is on August 23 (is 3 months enough recovery time enough?) but the Okanagan is run later (more recovery time) on October 11th which is also Thanksgiving weekend. Before these races take place, there are also a couple of half marathons that might fit into my training schedule, but they may be weather dependent here in Edmonton. Ah yes, the weather. In Edmonton, it’s coming, cold and snow for the prime training period!

Posted in running | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

running again with new focus…

Since I ran the Edge to Edge Marathon in early June, I have not really been out pounding the pavement too much. My distance has been low and I’ve only been getting out once or twice a week.

Finally about two weeks ago I decided I had better get going again. There is a local half marathon coming up near the end of October that I would like to run in before the year ends so I have been starting to put some mileage on.

Part of my encouragement to get back at it again was reading “Keep on Running; The Highs and Lows of a Marathon Addict” by Phil Hewitt. His is a story of multiple marathons, how he became addicted to the run and his adventures at the many marathons he has chosen to run. It’s a good read but after a while each chapter seems the same, just a different location and you can skim through the story to quickly see how Phil made out in his chosen marathon location.

I have also been reading some of Matt Fitzgerald’s books on running,  “The New Rules of Marathon and Half-Marathon Nutrition”, “Racing Weight” and currently “80/20 Running”.  I’m no speedster nor am I anywhere near a serious runner but I do have some goals and I like the way Fitzgerald lays out his plans.  I have lost a bit of weight following some guidelines taken from “Racing Weight” and I am liking what I am reading in “80/20″. It is this book and plan that I hope will guide me to run the two halfs with an increase in performance. I have run a total of two half marathons and both have been sub 2 hour times, around 1:53, 1:55. I’d like to see if I could do something around 1:45 to show that the “80/20″ system works and give me something to build upon. Using the “80/20″ book as a plan for the 1/2, I am going to pick things up in week 11 of the prescribed training program.

The training actually started today and of course the first run was a recovery run…slow, agonizingly slow, so slow people in walkers were passing by me! I feel that if I were to run any slower I’d tip over. My goal is to use the remaining weeks to train using this system and see how my finishing time plays out. If it’s good, I’ll focus on using the “80/20″ system for next seasons races. I’m quite familiar with the course we will run so that is no problem, the only concern is if Mother Nature chooses to drop snow on us before the race date. having already had a big dump of snow the first weekend of September, I’m not encouraged Mother Nature will play nice.


Posted in running | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Maligne Lake again…

Just a quick video, mostly kayaking from our latest kayak and camping trip to Maligne Lake in early September ’14.

Posted in kayaking | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Tombstone summer hike

I was out here in November with snow on the ground. I thought I better come out in the summer and see what the place looked like. It was very nice.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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.


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!


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.


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.





Posted in running | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

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.


Posted in running | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

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…


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.



Posted in running | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment