About Me

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Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Trying to reach my full potential as a masters runner

Friday, December 31, 2010


I woke up at 2:30am an couldn't get back to sleep. I was planning another early-morning run before Anne went to work, but I was too tired and didn't have the energy. So now I have to find time during the day to fit my run in somewhere!

That will be difficult because Ryan has two hockey games, one at 11:15am, the other at 5:35pm. In between games the team is going for lunch and bowling. Siblings are invited and as Anne is at work, I'll be bringing Sarah and Jacob along to all the day's events.

Tonight we're all going to a friend of Anne's for New Year's Eve. So, the only time I'll have to run is after Ryan's last hockey game and prior to heading off to Celine's place.

If only I hadn't bailed on my Tuesday evening run I could have pushed this run to tomorrow.

Lesson learned....next time I'll suck it up and get my ass out the door!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

The benefits of an early morning run

Yesterday Anne went back to work so I was home with the kids. The plan was for me to get my 9k run in after Anne got home from work. Unfortunately, when 4:30pm rolled around, I just wasn't feeling it, I wanted to stay home and spend time with Anne and the kids, so I bailed on the run.

I had another rest day scheduled on Saturday this week, so I just shifted things a bit. I took the rest day yesterday and then bumped the remainder of my runs up a day.

To ensure I got the run in, this morning I got up early and went to the gym to do the 9k run I had missed yesterday. I was home by 7:30am, in plenty of time for Anne to get to work.

The 9k was another tempo run comprised of a 2k warm-up and a 2k cool-down at 5:15 per km, sandwiched around 5k at 4:15 per km. As I drove to the gym, I became a bit concerned, wondering if  I'd be able to hold that pace for 5k, especially so early in the morning. To my surprise the tempo part of the run was relatively easy.

Sure I was breathing heavy and worked up a good sweat, but it felt comfortable, my legs were strong and I was sure I could keep that pace up for a long time. In fact when the cool-down phase of the run approached, instead of slowing to the scheduled 5:15 pace, I only reduced the speed on the treadmill enough to get to a 4:45 per km pace and held that for a kilometre. Then I ran 500m at a 5 flat pace and slowed to 5:15 for the last 500m.

Although I hadn't had an early morning run in weeks and was a bit slow to get out of bed when the alarm went off at 5:45am, it felt good to get the blood pumping before sunrise. And as I sit here typing this post, I feel energized and ready for the day ahead!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010


With less than three weeks to go until race day, this week will likely be the toughest yet in terms of intensity and mileage.

Based on today's 13k tempo run, it could be a killer!

As usual, it started out easy enough with a 2k warm-up at 5:15 per km. Then I had to complete 2 repeats of 3.5k at 4:05, followed by 1k at 4:15. I knew it would be a tough run and I compounded the difficulty by consuming too much red wine last night at Ian's party and not getting enough sleep.

Interestingly, Ian kept topping up my glass every chance he got...maybe he was testing me...if he was, I failed miserably!

Anyway the first 3.5k interval felt good, challenging, but not exhausting and I was able to recover over the ensuing, slower paced 1k interval, before ramping it back up to 4:05 for 3.5k. I felt strong for the about the first 500m of the second interval, then it was as if my legs turned to stone! They felt stiff and heavy. I began gasping for air and had to consciously slow my breathing down by taking deep, long breaths in through my nose and exhaling slowly through my mouth.

I also had to focus and convince myself I could do it....I wasn't going to let the f'n treadmill defeat me. It was a tough run mentally and physically. But I made it and hit all my paces.

And while I feel tired now, I know today's run will pay divide-ends during the half marathon January 15th.

The rest of this week looks challenging, but I'm focused and ready to go!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Another day off

Today was a rest day and I took full advantage.

I slept in, lounged around the house all day, ate leftover turkey for lunch and had an afternoon nap...something I haven't done in forever!

Anne and I are heading out this evening to a party at Ian's (our coach). It's the annual Christmas gathering of the high school group of guys I mentioned in a previous post. It should be fun, but I have another tough 13k tempo run tomorrow broken down as follows - 2k at 5:15; 2x(3.5k at 4:05/1k at 4:15); 2k at 5:15 - so I'll be limiting my alcohol intake.

Glen, the friend I'm helping train for a half marathon, is in town for the holidays and he'll be joining me in the gym tomorrow to do his run. It will be good to run with someone for a change, even if it's only indoors on a treadmill.

And so week 8 of training begins!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Baby it's cold outside!

It was 7:30 am and I was getting ready for my Sunday long run. I was determined to do the entire 20k outside no matter what the weather conditions. 

According to the Weather Channel it was -11C and supposed to climb to a balmy -6C by the afternoon. I figured with the right clothing I'd be just fine. So I layered up, put on my balaclava, toque and off I went at about 8:15 am.

It was cold to start, but by the 2 kilomtere mark I was warming up nicely. Then at the 3k point, when I shifted from a 5:15 per km pace to an even 5 minute pace, the route I had chosen turned north, right into a 5 to 10 km wind.

Have I mentioned that I hate winter?

Anyway the next 7k were a bit frosty, but the sun came out at about the 5k point to help warm things up slightly. The head wind meant I had to work harder to hit and maintain my paces, bit it did feel good to be outside.

Soon I was turning to head home at the 10k mark and with the wind at my back, it was much easier to hit the faster paces the middle part of the run called for - 4:50 per km from the 9 to 11k mark, 4:40 between kms 11 and 13, 4:30 from the 13 to 14k part of the run and then 4:45 from the 14k point to the 17k point. Then it was back to a 5:15 per km pace for the last 3k of the run.

Despite the cold wind, it was a successful training run as I was able to hit and maintain my paces. I also ran a negative split and felt strong doing it, with lots left in the tank at the end.

With only three weeks until race day, I feel confident and look forward to a much deserved rest day tomorrow.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

My coach hates me!

I must have done something in the last 32 years to piss-off my long-time friend Ian. And obviously he's taking advantage of his new position as my running coach to pay me back!

Why else would he have me doing a speed session on Christmas Day?

The last two days have been solid training days of 8k each at a pace of just over 5 minutes per kilometre for a total of 41 minutes for each run. And although my legs have been feeling a bit stiff each morning, after each run and accompanying stretching session I've been feeling great!

Today Ian has me scheduled to do another 8kms, but he's added a sinister twist in the form of 2 repeats in the middle of the run broken down as follows: 500m @ 3:45 per km pace, then slowing to a 4:05 per km pace for 500m and finishing with 1km @ a 4:45 per km clip. With no rests or jogs between each set.

So we've finished unwrapping gifts, had breakfast and I'm off to the gym in a few minutes. I suppose the good thing about a Christmas day run is I won't feel guilty stuffing my face with turkey and all the trimmings later!

Enjoy your Christmas!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Next year

Yesterday was crazy busy for me - work, run, get groceries and Christmas shopping, argh!

Every year I swear I won't leave things to the last minute. That I'll buy gifts througout the year and have all my Christmas presents purchased by October or sooner and avoid the torture of last-minute shopping.

Unfortunately, I always seem to be running around on December 23rd or 24th, circling parking lots to find a spot, picking through what's left over on store shelves, fighting through crowded malls and standing in line FOREVER!

Last night Anne and I ventured out after dinner and while finding a parking spot was not that difficult, getting through the line-ups at the checkouts and trying to find the last few gifts and stocking stuffers for the kids was a nightmare!

By 10pm I was tired, cranky and after almost losing it one department store, I knew it was time to head home. Anne agreed, laughing at the state I was in...sometimes I think she feels she's gained a 4th child instead of a boyfriend.

When we arrived home, I had only one thing on my mind - BED.

As I drifted off to lala land, I swore to myself next year will be different!

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The dreadmill again!

Today's run was much easier than yesterday's. I guess that's one of the benefits of having a hard run early in the week, the other runs seem so easy!

It was 8k at a very manageable average pace of just over 5 minutes per km for a total of 41 minutes. It was easier on my body, but running slower on a treadmill sure is tougher for me mentally. Boredom sets in quick.

That's why I enjoyed my long run outside on Sunday so much, I was actually going somewhere!

I keep telling myself that treadmill running will not only benefit me physically, but also help to build the mental toughness I'll need to succeed in Georgia. Even though it's only a half marathon, I know at some point I'll experience some sort of discomfort and will have to fight through it to turn in a time fast enough to qualify for NYC.

So it's back on the treadmill the next 3 days for 8k runs each day and then if the weather cooperates, I'll get back outside for a 20k run on Sunday.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

I survived!

Ok I'm starting to hate Tuesdays! That's the day Ian usually schedules an interval run at a very fast pace...well at least it's fast for me.

Today it was 12k total, with 8k in the middle of the run broken down as follows: 3k @ 4:05 per km, then 1k @ 4:15 per km, back to 3k @ 4:05, then 1k @ 4:15. Prior to the run I had reservations about whether I could handle the pace for that distance.

I was to find out those reservations had merit!

After the usual 2k warm-up at a leisurely 5:15 per kilometre pace, I dialed it up a few notches and was enjoying the feeling of pushing myself to run hard. The first interval seemed to be over just as fast as it had started and I dialed it down to a 4:15 pace for 1 km and recovered nicely. I never thought that pace would feel "easy", but today it did!

Well that "easy" feeling was soon replaced with a lung-burning, energy-zapping pace that had me wondering why I was putting myself through this torture? I mean really, was all this pain worth it?

Somehow I was able to fight off all the negative thoughts and the urge to hit the down arrow on the speed control, hanging on for the full 3k. But let's just say I was very happy to see the 10k mark appear, where I was quick to reduce the speed to 5:15 per km and cruise home to the finish.

Now, a few hours removed from that experience, I'm glad I fought that inner voice telling me to slow the treadmill down and pack it in. And I know the effort and pain invested now will pay off on race day.

It was a hard run, but hey, no one said training for a 1:30 half marathon would be easy!


Monday, December 20, 2010

Paying it forward

I've been running seriously – i.e. training for and competing in races - for almost 4 years. In that time I’ve lost about 25 pounds and feel I’m in the best physical condition of my adult life.

Over that time I’ve shared my running experiences with non-running friends, explaining how in addition to contributing to my overall improved fitness level, running is enjoyable, rewarding and addictive. Most of them usually just laugh, not buying the enjoyment part, and/or say they could never run a marathon.  

However, recently two friends have expressed interest in running. I’ve agreed to help them develop training plans based on my running knowledge and expertise, as limited as it might be.

Glen was the first to jump into running after hearing about my Boston Marathon experience and how I planned to qualify for and run the New York City Marathon next. So, Glen proceeded to enter the NYC via the lottery process…ambitious to say the least…crazy is likely more accurate! 

Tackling a marathon without first running a few other races at 5k and 10k distances and building to a half marathon might be a recipe for disaster. 

So I have Glen training for the Forest City Half Marathon May 1st in London, Ontario and we’ll try to fit in a shorter distance race sometime in late February or mid-March. And if by some miracle he gets a lottery spot in NYC, we'll develop a plan and race schedule from there.  

You can check out his progress at http://runjoggyrun.blogspot.com/.

Now Glen was in good physical condition before beginning a running regime, playing soccer on a regular basis, eating healthy and he has youth on his side, he’s only 36. In addition, he’s built like a runner - about 5 feet, 10 inches tall and lean. I’m confident with some consistent training and barring any injuries, he’ll be able to turn in a 1:40 or under time in May.

Now my other friend, Dave, is a different story!

I’d describe him as the polar opposite of Glen. He’s 50, out of shape, loves his beer and would rather watch most sports on TV in a pub than participate. However, he has played many sports in the past, is athletic and I feel has potential.

He's not planning to run a marathon, but I believe he’s motivated to get himself back in shape and sees running as a way to do that. My master plan is to build him up to running a 5k race in the spring or early summer and then a half marathon in the fall. 

And while I think he may be a bit overwhelmed by the thought of running 21.1 kilometres now, if he commits to the process I know he can do it....now I just have to get him to buy in! 


Sunday, December 19, 2010

Outside again!

Sundays are typically the day for my long run and today was no different. Ian had planned a 17k run for me. And although his practice of varying the pace throughout runs had helped easy the boredom I had historically experienced running on a treadmill, I didn't think even that would help me get through a 1 hour and 25 minute indoor session.

So I decided to break the run up, covering the first 9k outside and finishing up inside on the treadmill. I drove to the gym at work, laid out my clothes for the inside part of the run and headed outside.

The first part of the run called for 5k at a 5:10 per km pace, followed by 4k at a 5 minute per km clip. Paces I was sure I could maintain even if the sidewalks were slippery and snow covered.

Fortunately it was a great day for Ottawa in late December, about -4C and there was virtually no wind. The sidewalks were clean of snow and ice, with only the occasional puddle or slippery area.

It felt great to be running outside again. I've been running exclusively on a treadmill for almost a month. My last outside run had been a 15k long run at the end of November. But today I was layered-up and enjoying the cool winter air as I cruised along the sidewalk.

Before I knew it I had reached the 4k mark and decided to extend the outside portion of my run to 12k. It was so nice I would have done the complete run outside, but I hadn't brought any water along and was afraid I'd get dehydrated if I ran the entire 17k, but figured I could handle 12k, so I pushed on.

The route I had chosen included a few good sized hills and although I had been varying the incline during my treadmill runs, it wasn't the same feeling as powering up a real hill!

Anyway, I felt strong and easily hit all the paces required for the run, including going 4:50 per km over the last 3k of the outside stretch. I arrived back at the gym, quickly changed into the t-shirt and shorts I had set out before going outside, threw on my indoor shoes, grabbed my water bottle and headed to the treadmill.

I powered up the machine and in no time I was running at a 4:40 pace. At the 2k mark I increased the pace to 4:30 and was surprised how strong I felt and how easy the pace felt. I was sure I could go on forever at that pace, but at the 3k mark I slowed things down to the 5:10 pace the plan called for, holding that for the final 2k.

I felt great!

As I showered I reflected on the past 6 weeks of training and although I had missed a couple of runs this past week due to a cold, I felt as though I had made significant progress since hiring Ian to coach me. I've gotten faster and my stamina has improved.

I'm looking forward to what Ian has in store for me the next two weeks and testing myself in January!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Another building block

I ran 8k again today. Nothing too strenuous, 2k@5:10, 4k@4:45 and 2k@5:10.

I mixed up the incline throughout the run, getting up to a 3 percent grade a few times. It felt good and alternating the incline like that, I believe, makes the run more realistic, like running outside. It should help build some leg strength, not as much as running hills, but it will contribute to my overall success in January.

As I said, it wasn't a tough run, but every kilometre counts.

It will be interesting to see if Ian alters what he had planned for my training plan over the next two weeks, given I missed two runs this week due to a cold. In the past if I missed a training run, I usually just let it go and didn't try to make it up later on. I'm not sure if Ian will suggest doing that or alter his original plan.

Tomorrow I have a 17km long run to get in. I plan to run the first 9K outside as the paces aren't fast and I should be able to maintain them even on the snowy sidewalks. Then I'll go inside and complete the last 8k on a treadmill as there are stretches where I'll need to run at a 4:30 per km pace.

So despite a bit of a set back this week with a cold, I'm feeling confident that I'm on track to run a 1:30 or faster half marathon in a few weeks.

Back in the saddle

Finally felt good enough to go back to work. I was still a bit congested and had a slight cough, but after two days at home I was going a bit "stir crazy" and needed to run!

So off to work I went. As usual, I was able to fit in a lunch-hour run on a treadmill at the gym we have at work. I must say I feel very fortunate to have a gym in our office complex. It's a complete facility with lots of free weights, machines, elliptical machines, stationary bikes and treadmills and the rates are extremely reasonable - $25 per month.

Anyway, I was scheduled to run 8k broken down as 3k@5:10, 3k@5 and 2k@5:05. However, I had missed what I felt was a more important run on Wednesday and decided to do it instead.

It was also an 8k run but after 2k@5:15 to warm up, I was to increase my pace to 4:15 per kilometre and hold that for 4k before cooling down with 2k@5:15. The 4:15 pace is essentially what I'll need to run in Georgia next month over the half marathon distance to qualify for NYC. So any training runs that call for that pace or faster I feel are crucial to my success in the race.

It felt great to run again, even if it was on a treadmill.I warmed up nicely and then shifted to the 4:15 pace. Surprisingly it was "easy", I was cruising at that pace, and was able to focus on form and footfalls. I felt like I could run a long way at that pace and was a bit disappointed that I had to gear down for the last two kilometres.

I was encouraged, perhaps I am making progress and getting faster. The real test, of course, will come in a few weeks, but for now I'm optimistic...and it was great to feel healthy and running again.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The year ahead

I'm home sick again today, but feeling better and should be back to work tomorrow. I always preach to my colleagues that if they're sick they should stay home. No need to be a hero and infect everyone else. I figured I should heed my own advice.

The positive to having this "down time" is that I've been able to reflect on the past year and get a jump on setting goals for 2011. As I've written, one of my goals for this coming year is to qualify for and run the ING New York City Marathon in November. Something that I'm focused on now and is important to me, but after I qualify in mid-January, then what?

Well, with respect to running, my goals are to post PRs for the 5k, 10k, half marathon and marathon distances. Ambitious perhaps, but I'm hoping with Ian's experience, direction and motivation, combined with my dedication and consistent training, I'll be able to realize all these running goals.

Since I began running in 2007, golf has taken a backseat to my new passion. However, I'd like to change that in 2011.

Now to be successful or consistent at either sport requires time and commitment. Some might say it would be impossible to adequately "train" for success in both sports simultaneously. Perhaps they're correct, but hey I'm always up for a challenge and proving others wrong.

And, my interest in golf has been renewed recently....the old "absence makes the heart grow fonder" deal I suppose, and the fact that last summer, despite reduced practice and play, my ball-striking was fairly consistent as were my scores. However, there's always room for improvement!

My goals are to dedicate more time to practice (beginning with indoor sessions this winter), increase my play from approximately 35 to 45 rounds this coming summer, lower my scoring average by 2 strokes and finally, enter more tournaments.

So while my goals for golf are perhaps more modest than those I've set for running, I believe they are equally achievable. However, I'll need to manage my time efficiently, because I still have a full-time job and family commitments to consider.

But I figure if Anne can find the time to train for an ironman, I can find time for golf and running. And aren't goals about testing your limits and pushing yourself to achieve something difficult?

So wish me luck and stay tuned!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Down and out!

I woke up this morning with my head feeling like it was going to explode and I'm sure I could have roasted marshmallows on my throat!

So I called in sick, took some more Cold FX (hey I'm not going to give up on it just because of one cold) and climbed back into bed.

I barely heard Anne and the kids getting ready for work and school. And while I didn't sleep all the time, I basically stayed in bed most of the day.

In addition to a lost day of work, I missed a scheduled 8k run today. That concerns me as my race is exactly one month from today. And while this is only my second missed run since I started training with Ian, missing a run or runs at this stage can really impact my performance in the half marathon next month.

Perhaps I pushed the issue yesterday and should have listened to my body...it knew I was sick and needed rest. One of these days I'll listen.

Nothing I can do about it now except get to bed early tonight, take more Cold FX and keep my fingers crossed that I'll b ready to go tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Deja vu all over again

I woke up at 5am this morning so I could get to the gym and get my scheduled 11k interval run in before work. To my surprise the cold I thought I had cleverly eluded by taking Cold FX had returned. My throat was sore, sinuses congested and my muscles ached. I felt like rolling over and going back to sleep, not  running.

To top things off, it had snowed over night, was still snowing and, as I would find out later while I was cleaning the snow off my car, the wind was strong and bitterly cold! Anyway, I slowly rolled out of bed, popped some more Cold FX, two Tylenol, got dressed and off I went.

The roads were brutal. I was thankful for having snow tires, as I watched others slipping and sliding on the slick, snow covered streets.

By the time I arrived at the gym my energy level seemed to be rising, my throat wasn't as sore and I was able to once again breathe. Perhaps as I predicted in a previous post (Monday, Monday on December 13) this run would be a breeze!

To remind you, I had already done this run last Tuesday when I should have been running only 10k with slower paces - see Maybe I Need Glasses! posted on December 8th.

Anyway the run started fine and I felt good, getting into a rhythm over the first couple of kilometres as I ran at a 5:15 per k clip. Then things got tough.

I'm not sure if it was the effects of the cold or just the blistering pace Ian had set for me, but my lungs started to burn at the 5.5k mark, just as I started the second interval of 2.5k at a 4:05 per minute pace. I took a deep breath, focused on fast feet, relaxed shoulders and pressed on.

I really thought this time around the run would be somewhat easier than the previous Tuesday, but it wasn't. It was just plain tough and felt pretty much as it had the last time. Maybe it was supposed to be or maybe it was because my body was still fighting a cold.

Whatever the reason, I figured fighting through pain and getting in two of these runs would serve me well in my half marathon in a few weeks. It would also make the remainder of my runs this week seem easy...at least that's what I'm hoping!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Why NYC?

I haven't really explained why I'm trying to qualify for the New York City Marathon.

In some ways I'm not really sure why either.

My last marathon was Boston in April. It was an amazing experience - the city, the history of the race, the challenging route and the crowds! However, I arrived in Boston less than 100%. I had injured my left hamstring in the Around the Bay Race (a 30k race in Hamilton, Ontario) just 3 weeks before race-day in Beantown.

Add to that being really sick for a few weeks in December and early January and the result is some very negative impacts to my training schedule.

I had easily qualified for Boston in November at the Road 2 Hope Marathon in Hamilton, besting the required time for my age group by almost 6 minutes, finishing in 3:24:45. I felt strong throughout that race and could have finished closer to 3 hours and 20 minutes, but decided to cruise in the last 7k to avoid any injuries that might prevent finishing.

My goal had been to qualify for Boston. There would be other opportunities to focus on speed and faster finish times.

So given my qualifying result in November, I thought with a good winter of training I'd be able to turn in a good time in Boston. That is until a few months later, back in the same city where I qualified for Boston (how ironic), I hurt my hamstring.

As I mentioned, the overall experience of the Boston Marathon exceeded my expectations, my performance however, did not. I struggled at times during the race, not just the usual stuff one experiences at various points of a marathon, but really struggled to the point I almost packed it in at about the 30k mark.

When I finally crossed the finish line in a very disappointing 3:46:34 I told myself, "never again!"

However, once I had a chance to recover, reflect and get over the disappointment, I realized I couldn't end my marathon career on that note! Then I read Liz Robbins' book "A Race Like No Other" which chronicled the 2007 New York City Marathon. Her descriptions of the crowds, the race route and the runners were truly inspirational.

I knew running NYC was a must. And I wanted to qualify for the race based on time, not through the lottery or running for a charity. However, a 3:10 or faster marathon time, required for qualifying in my age group, was not within immediate reach for me. So I chose another option available - use a half marathon time to qualify. it would require a 1:30 or faster time, something I thought I could accomplish. After all I had run a PR half time of 1:38....shaving 8 minutes off over a 6 month time period would be a breeze!

Yeah right! The best I could do was 1:34. So I decided to hire my friend Ian to coach me. He's a former professional tri-athlete, has run many marathons (including NYC) and has coached tri-athletes and runners for nearly 20 years.

So here I am, training for a half marathon in mid-January and setting my sights on NYC for November 2011.

After that who knows, but I hear they have a some good marathons in Chicago, Berlin and London....like golfers, we runners always come back for more!

Monday, Monday...

Another rest day. The calm before the storm really. Ian has planned my toughest week of training so far for this week.

It starts tomorrow with a repeat of the run I did last Tuesday that I wasn’t supposed to do until tomorrow. For a better explanation, see my post from December 7th.

So tomorrow it’s an 11k run broken down as follows – 2k @ 5:15, 2 x (2.5k @ 4:05, followed by 1k @ 4:15), then 2k @ 5:15 to finish. Then Wednesday through Saturday it’s 8k per day at various paces. The week is capped-off by a 17k run with intervals ranging 4k @ a 5 minute per km pace to 1k @ a 4:30 clip.

Total for the week – 60k.

Despite my two screw ups last week and the fact I fought off a cold over the weekend, I feel great today. Legs are not stiff at all and my right hip that usually gives me some discomfort, especially after a long run is 100%.

So bring it on Ian, bring it on! 

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Oops I did it again!

Ok Ian might be correct...I screwed up my run again today!

I was supposed to run 14k, I knew that, but when I got to the gym, I realized I had forgotten to write down the paces and distances Ian had planned for me throughout the run. I had looked at the breakdown yesterday, so went with what I thought the plan called for and based on my memory.

So I set out to run 3k @ a 5 minute-per-kilometre pace, followed by 3k @ 4:45, 3k @ 4:40, 3k @ 4:30 and then finish up with 2k @ 5.

The run started out great and I felt good. No effects of the cold and I felt strong. I was focussed on my form and foot falls,something I always do when running on the treadmill. As I often do during treadmill runs, I was varying the elevation between a 1 and 2 percent grade. Things were great!

When I got to the 10k mark things got a bit tougher. My breathing became laboured, my legs started to burn and I was wondering if perhaps my memory wasn't as good as I thought it was! I focussed on fast, light feet and made it through the last 2k at the 4:30 pace and coasted to the finish, enjoying the easy of 2k at a 5 minute per kilometre pace.

A 15 minute stretching session followed and after my shower I was actually feeling good. Maybe I had remembered the correct paces etc and it was just supposed to be a hard run.

When I got home and went to enter my time, pace etc into my log, I realized I had screwed up again! I was supposed to run 3k @ 5:15, 2k @ 5, 2k @ 4:55, 2k @ 4:50, 2k @ 4:40 and then 3k @ 5:15.

Oh well, I survived and took solace in the fact that what Ian has me doing is making me stronger and faster.

Tomorrow is a rest day, then 6 consecutive days of running! No rest for the weary.

I'm a believer!

Well the forecasters were correct, snow and freezing rain this morning...have I mentioned that I HATE winter!

So it's gonna be 14k on the treadmill after Anne returns from her 11k run. She's also training with Ian, but for a half ironman in Orlando in May. Then she's off to Montreal for a full iron in September. You can track her progress at http://annetypea.blogspot.com/

On the positive side the Cold Fx I took yesterday has worked...no more sore throat, congestion is gone, feeling great! A friend at work was the one who turned me onto it. He swears by it. This is the 4th cold I've avoided since I started using it.

Now I'm a believer!

Saturday, December 11, 2010


Well my 7k runs was a lot easier than I had anticipated!

Ian had me running 2k at a 5 minute per km clip, then running 2k at 4:45, 2k at 4:40 and finishing with 1k at 5 flat. I ran inside on the treadmill and varied the elevation throughout the run between a 1 and 2 percent grade.

The first part of the run was tough, but as I neared the 2k point I hit my stride and was cruising. I don't normally like running on a treadmill, and until I started working with Ian, 7k would be testing my limits of boredom. However, with the varying paces he provides for most of my runs, it makes the time fly by and I've easily run 11k without wanting to shoot myself!

I had considered bailing on this run, given my condition earlier in the morning. I'm glad I sucked it up forced myself to run as it did me a world of good. I felt great when I finished...I must have purged my system of all the toxins I consumed the night before.

Tonight I'll eat a big bowl of chicken pesto pasta and get to bed early in preparation for my 14k run tomorrow. I plan on running outside, but the forecast is calling for snow and freezing rain.

So I might be forced to use the treadmill once again!


What was I thinking?

So last night I went out with some friends after work. It was supposed to be an early night - meet at 5:30 for beers, have some dinner, home by 8 or 9 the latest...at least in my mind that was how I had it planned out.

Oh the best laid plans of mice and men....

To explain, these are high school buddies. There's a core group of about 8 of us who have stayed in touch over the years. Our main bond is golf. We played most days during summer vacations throughout our teen years and every two years we go on a week-long golf trip to Florida, that seems to be more fun the older we get.

Two of the group no longer reside in Ottawa. The six who still live in the area, try to meet on a bi-monthly basis for drinks and dinner. Included in this group is my new coach and old friend Ian - who, btw, in reference to my screw up on Tuesday's run, says I'm just stupid and don't need glasses.

Historically we've wrapped things up around 8pm.

However, last night I had invited another high school friend to join us. I ran into Ian (no not my coach) the previous Friday night while out with friends from work. I hadn't seen him in some time and while he wasn't part of the golf group, he knows everyone and I figured it would be a good opportunity to catch up.

Well one thing led to another and I didn't get home until after midnight. I feel like crap today!

Now I could deal with the headache etc if I didn't have shit to do - a 7k run, 4 hours of work on a special project I'm involved at work and a Christmas party at one of Anne's (my girl friend) friend's tonight.

Plus, I feel a cold coming on.

Getting old sucks! Back in the day, I'd be out until the wee hours on a regular basis and always able to meet the call the next day.

Oh well time to suck it up and get moving. Caffeine, Tylenol and Cold FX....the true breakfast of champions!

Wish me luck.


Friday, December 10, 2010


Another work week in the books and another day closer to Christmas.

Hard to believe really as it seemed like only yesterday I was on vacation enjoying the warm Ottawa weather, golfing, running, sitting on the deck with my morning coffee - enjoying all these things in shorts and a short-sleeved shirt.

Now the local golf courses are closed, covered in a thin layer of snow, cold north winds whipping across their fairways as temperatures have plummeted into the double digits below 0C. And I sit enviously here watching the Shark Shootout golf tournament being televised on the Golf Channel from sunny, warm Naples, Florida.

Except for long and/or easy runs, most of my training these days (and for the next 4 months) take place indoors on a treadmill, because trying to run with speed can be a hazardous proposition between December and March in these parts!

So like many fellow runners and golfers who live north of 49th parallel, I wait. I wait for the ice and snow to recede so I can once again safely run along my favourite pathways and stroll down the fairways of my favourite golf courses.

One day closer to Christmas... and one day closer to spring!

Enjoy your Friday.


Thursday, December 9, 2010

Ah Rest Day

Tomorrow is a day off. I'm looking forward to it. After my screw up with Tuesday's run, my legs have been a bit sore. Today's 7k run helped get rid of some of the stiffness and combined with a great post-run stretching session, I'm feeling good. However, a day of rest will be good.

The plan calls for 7k on Saturday, followed by 14k on Sunday. I'm planning to run with a friend on Sunday over a hilly route, so that should be interesting.

Next week coach Ian has me running 6 consecutive days so that will be challenging!

Overall my training with Ian has been great and I'm confident I'll be ready for the half in mid-January.


Living the Dream

Like many golfers I had visions of one day playing on the PGA Tour, competing against the best players in the world, winning golf tournaments and of course reaping the financial benefits.

In other words, living the dream!

Unfortunately, despite my best efforts, and as is the case for most golfers, my dream never became a reality. And as I mentioned in my initial blog post, after 15 years as a golf professional, I moved on and got a real job!

However, something happened Monday that brought back memories of those days long ago when all things golf dominated my life. Kingston's Matt McQuillan beat the odds, making it through all three stages of qualifying school to secure a PGA Tour card for the 2011 season.

A great story really. Not that long ago Matt wasn't playing much competitive golf despite a stellar amateur record and a promising start to his professional career that included a win on the Canadian Tour in 2005 at the Edmonton Open. Instead a lack of funds had relegated the then 27-year-old to playing local events when he wasn't tending bar or delivering pizzas to make ends meet.

Fortunately he was able to keep his skills sharp despite the lack of play and when a new sponsor came forward to back him in 2009, he cobbled together a competitive schedule that included a mix of U.S. mini-tour and Canadian Tour events, culminating in a tie for 16th place in the six-round, pressure-cooker that is the final stage of PGA Tour qualifying.

Now I don't know Matt and I don't profess to be as talented a golfer as he is, but I do have some appreciation for how difficult it is to play golf for a living and to make it to the PGA Tour. In fact, Henry Brunton, a Canadian PGA Master Professional and the Royal Canadian Golf Association's National Golf Coach, in his Master's thesis, explains that the odds of even the most elite amateur golfers advancing to the PGA Tour is very low.

Something akin to winning the lottery really!

So hearing that a 29-year-old from a relatively small town like Kingston can overcome the long odds and make his dream of becoming a PGA Tour golfer a reality...well it makes me wonder if maybe, just maybe...I mean someone has to win the lottery and after all, I have 4 years to work on my game before I'm eligible for the Champions Tour!

So congratulations Matt, all the best next season and thanks for giving a dreamer something to dream about.

For more on Matt  

And to read Henry's thesis http://www.cpga.com/membership/index.aspx?l=0,1,46,54,491

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Maybe I need glasses!

So yesterday was day one of my fifth week training with my coach Ian, the long-time friend I mentioned in my first post. Anyway, Ian sends me a new training schedule every two weeks and it covers a two-week time frame. So Sunday I received a plan that goes from December 6th to December 19th.

Mondays are usually a rest day. So yesterday, Tuesday, was the first run for the new two-week plan. Anyway, I copied the run onto a piece of paper and headed off to the gym at lunch to get in my run. I pin the runs on a bulletin board in front of one of the treadmills in the gym at work to help me remember what I'm supposed to run for that day. Many of the runs Ian provides have varying paces over various distances, especially the interval runs he usually schedules on Tuesdays, and it can be difficult to remember all the intervals, paces etc....well at least for me it is!

And as you might expect the runs have been getting progressively harder as my training progresses and race day gets closer.

So yesterday I was a bit anxious about what I perceived as a tough interval run. Anyway, things started off fine and as anticipated, it got difficult, but I managed. I did, however, think Ian was pushing me just a bit too hard!

Following the run I showered and head back to work, definitely felling the run in my legs. It was only when I got home after work and was logging my run into my spread sheet that I realized I had actually run the Tuesday, December 14th run, not the December 7th run! No wonder it was so hard!

Lately, as the words on my computer screen become increasingly difficult to read and I find myself holding newspapers, magazines and books farther from my face than I used to, I've been wondering if the time to get glasses was fast approaching.

Based on this experience, perhaps that time has come!

Hello blogging world!

Well I'm no Tiger and I'm sure the blogging community wasn't anxiously awaiting my blogging debut, but here I am...please be gentle!

I'm not really sure how blogs are supposed to work, but I thought I might have some ideas and viewpoints of interest to share with others on two of my favorite things - golfing and running.

First, some background. I'm an ex- golf professional that gave up the golf industry 10 years ago to pursue a new career in the federal government. Strange perhaps, but after 15 years in the golf biz, I was ready for a change and finally found a use for my college journalism diploma. So began my new life in communications for the public service. Over the years I've advanced through the ranks and transitioned from communications to our department's market development branch.

I've continued to golf and have competed as a reinstated amateur in local and provincial tournaments on a part-time basis with mixed success. In 2007, with my interest in golf waining, I found a new passion in running. With the help of a friend (now my girlfriend) who had run a few marathons, I started training for my first marathon. Since then I've run three marathons, including Boston this past April, and a number of half marathons, 10k and 5k races.

In late October, following a few failed attempts to qualify for the 2011 New York City Marathon based on a half marathon time -  1 hour and 30 minutes or less for my age category - I felt as though I had taken my running as far as I could on my own, so I hired a long-time friend and respected local coach to help me get to the next level.

So, in the coming weeks and months I plan to share my journey to NYC and talk some golf until the snow melts and I can get back to fairways.

Enjoy and I look forward to your comments.