What’s on your mind?


When I log into my blog, it asks me “what’s on your mind” for the next post.

I’m thinking, take it easy for the first 6 miles, don’t let the downhill take you out too fast, do I stop and visit at Wellesley College, dig deep at mile 20 for Heartbreak hill, enjoy the crowds on Boylston Street as I cross the finish line.

The Boston Marathon is not until April 20, 2015. Registration is September 10, 2014. Hotel room is booked. 20 week training plan starts December 1, 2014. I need to book my flights by January 15, 2015.

I do have other things on my mind, but they are usually deferred to the question, “Will this help or hurt me in my training for Boston?”.

On This Run

One of my favorite runs is not very scenic. It starts from the Running Room at Kenaston Mall and we have to wait for the lights to change green to cross four lanes of traffic. It is a 6 mile loop that also ends with us waiting for the same lights to finish up. Most of the course is on a sidewalk along side a high traffic street. There are not many redeeming features for this run. Yet we show up every Wednesday evening at 6pm for our group run. The group is called “Your Pace or Mine” and does not have a membership list or fees. We meet after the run for refreshments at the local Boston Pizza. This group is a great example of the statement that running is cheaper than therapy. I incorporate this run as an essential part of  my training plans because,
On this run,
I learned about races completed that were victories just by starting them.
On this run,
I learned that exercising the brain/body and diet is a good way to ward off Alzheimer’s disease.
On this run,
I learned how awesome members of the Canadian Forces are.
On this run,
I learned that rain during a run adds to the tears when learning of a loved one’s passing.
On this run,
I learned about the courage of a survivor of breast cancer.
On this run,
I learned about battling depression.
On this run,
I learned about the world from stories shared during the run.
On this run,
I learned of the relatives battling and dying of diseases.
On this run,
I ran with a runner, running across Canada for others.
On this run,
I ran with a woman who had lost over 200 lbs. She just decided to do it.
On this run,
I ran a race, hearing my name being called from behind as I ran past a turn in the course. I remember that turn fondly each time on this run.
On this run,
I am part of a community.
On this run,
I learned how blessed I am to be able to run with such a great group that I’m proud to call my friends.

The Length of a Wellington Mile

So a Scientist (let’s call him James) and an Engineer (let’s call him David) run a race (say the Wellington Mile) and David finishes first in 6 minutes and 5 seconds and James finishes second in 6 minutes and 2 seconds. How fast were they running? Right, it is a trick question. Yes, it was the same race and the both started at the same time. Answer, it doesn’t matter as they both had fun.
The inaugural Wellington Mile race held on June 29th, brain child of Kristen from Minneapolis who participated (and had fun) in similar race held in St. Paul’s wanted to bring that fun to Winnipeg where she now resides and runs. She has planned two more mile races this summer to put into your race/fun calendar. (July 27th and August 24th, both at 9am). It is an informal race or casual run, with no: fees, registration, medals, shirts, loot bags, bag checks, fees, start line banner, live bands, water stations, aid stations, posted results, chip timing, timing, certified course, finish line and to re-empathize no fees but lots of fun.
Yes that’s right no finish line. It’s a time yourself race, and if your GPS watch beeps a mile then you’re finished. So the question you asked earlier, how did David get to the finish line before James, if David’s time was slower than James’s? Well, David ran farther than James and got to his line before James got to his. Confused yet?  Don’t worry. Come run and tell your own story after.
Mark July 27th and/or August 24th on your calendar, start line at Wellington and Guelph for your chance to have fun at running your version of the mile. For those not trusting their own GPS watch, a Scientist and an Engineer will have the course measured before then. Expect the finish line at or near Borebank.

Technology is not running

Leaving my blog for the past 2 years, (has it really been that long) and having a very weak password had left it open to hacking. Some additional words were added to earlier posts and access to all posts were compromised. I have attempted to read all my posts and correct them, changed my password and added captcha security to get into the blog. So hopefully none were offended by seeing the occasional out of place pharmaceutical word in my stories. If I have missed any please email me: [email protected] and let me know.

I’m also trying to make the site more user friendly for smarter than me phones. Help! All this while I try and figure out how to correct Garmin’s problem in downloading my runs to Garmin connect. It worked for two weeks, then it didn’t. After numerous back and forth emails with Garmin and a few hours of not running while trying to follow the instructions they gave, I still haven’t got it working. Which may be a good thing as I tend to over analyze the results. Now, I just type in the basic info onto a spread sheet (date, distance, time, pace and shoe) and look forward to the next run, which will be tomorrow morning at 6 am.

Starting Again

Do we ever stop being a runner. Life gets in the way. What other excuse have I used in the past to not get out there and run. The same can be said for my writing. Just like my legs were willing to run, my mind was full of stories. My legs didn’t get the exercise they wanted and my stories collected cob webs as they bounced around my head.

So today is the start of my blog chronicling my training for the 2015 Boston Marathon.

Yeah, I tried this before. In 2012 my kidneys decided that I needed to spend a few months in bed so no Boston that year. Then in 2013 a blood clot as a result of the kidney disease sidelined me a month before the marathon. This time the Doctor ordered me not to run. So I did have one valid excuse not to run. But like any good runner I just found another Doctor who told me what I wanted to hear. Well after a satisfactory bone marrow biopsy. Note, do not ever volunteer to have a bone marrow biopsy. Both Doctors were involved in the decision to let me run again. What a happy day.

So in May 2014 I ran the Vancouver International Marathon and qualified to run Boston in 2015. So here I am starting again. Welcome to my journey.

Getting it wrong

I’ve decided to hold back on racing till I get in better shape. Hopefully a ½ marathon in October will see me back at race pace. Until then I will cheer from the sidelines. So far this year I have watched one race and followed two others online.  Watching a race is lots of fun, even online.  As I talk with others who are preparing for a race, I remember the excitement of the unknown. Lots of preparation goes into a race, then taper week hits and we have lots of time for the self doubts to come in our head. Have I been getting it wrong before all my races?

Why am I so nervous about this race? What’s going to be my final time in the race? Will I hit the wall? Can I really do this?

All these questions come to me before every race. Never mind my reoccurring dream about sleeping in and showing up to the starting line late. I have had this dream before every race, causing me to wake up every hour during the night. I have never been late to a race, because this dream has me up and out of the house hours before the race starts.

How to do it right?

Maybe instead of visualizing the race and course, visualize that last long run during training where everything went right. I have reviewed my training log and remember quite a few of these. I have good memories of the training runs.  I barely remember the races.

Recall the training run when you are facing rough spots during the race. You have done the work, now the race is your reward. I think we have all heard this line before. Maybe it’s right. Just remember how much fun that training run was and try to recreate that during the race.  Let me know if it works for you.

Run Slower to Run Faster

I sent out a group email to see if anyone wanted to go for a run. I’ve been experiencing a runner’s high after my runs that leave me giddy for the rest of the day. I wrote the email after a 10 mile run in the rain that was my best run of year. Not the fastest, just left me feeling good. This may explain the unusual invite. The replies I received follow after the interview. Everyone replied to all, so inboxes were filling up that day. The replies made me giddier (if that’s a word) and glad for my friends.

an excerpt of an interview with David by David

David: So David, whats up with this new training technique that guarantees a PB in your next race?

David: Well David, there’s no guarantee, but it has worked with three runners so far.

David: How’s it work?

David: Being old and slow these days and not wanting to run alone, I invited Kathleen for a run. Scott happened to be there as well. We ran at my new slow pace. Another thing that happened was that at my new pace I couldn’t talk while running. Running and breathing was about all I could do, so Kathleen and Scott did all the talking.

David: And this worked?

David: Yes. After one workout, Scott obtained a PB in the WPS 1/2 marathon and Kathleen a PB in the Physio Fit 10K. After another Tuesday workout, Kathleen obtained another PB in the Fargo 1/2 Marathon.

David: You said three runners, not three races.

David: Yes, the third runner was Joanne who obtained a PB in the full Fargo marathon. She didn’t run with me on a Tuesday night run, but on her last long Sunday run.

David: Surely, they had trained hard for these races on their own and one run with you is not going to change things.

David: I can only speak to the results, but all are welcome to try.

David: OK! When is the next run?

David: David I’m glad you asked. The next run is Tuesday May 29th at 6:15pm at the Duck Pond. We will run at least one lap of the park (3.2 miles) and for those who want more we can add on another 2 miles.

David: Thanks I’ll be there.

David: Your welcome I’ll be there too, and please invite a friend.

Email repsonses

Awe…nice story…look forward to running with you soon!! MS

Cute David, I may try and make it. EK

Love your interview David! WS

Wow! Sounds great David, see you at the Duck Pond on Tuesday at 6:15 pm. PS

You are too funny! What’s my next challenge, last year was the red hair, this year the shirt, let’s keep going! I’ll see you Tuesday unless it’s pouring. How wet did you get this morning? My eggs were great!!!! Glad to be running with you again! KE

I can’t make it this week but please keep me in the loop- I want to try a run not on the “dreadmill” soon! SD

I can’t wait!! Sounds too good to not be there. KW

Anyone feel like a glass of wine after running slower to run faster? It’s half-price house wine at OJs night. PS

You had me at the wine part, half price is just a bonus!! KW

This is great!!! I can’t believe that Scott did all the talking!!! That does not sound like him at all! L&D

Yes my interest peaked on the half price wine lap too. I have company this Tuesday but have it on my perpetual calendar for next Tuesday. GK

Your Pace or Mine

Race Recap from the Physio Fit 10km Race

After we got our excuses out at the start line, my feet were swollen in the morning (I’m only out for a run), Kathleen had that 2nd glass of wine and some ice cream and Scott still recovering from a cold and his PB at the Police 1/2 last weekend.

It was a perfect day for a run (me) and race (Scott and Kathleen).

The horn sounded and off we went, Kathleen and Scott in the lead with me 10 feet behind. The pace felt good until I looked at my watch, seven something per mile. I decided to slow down figuring I would see the two speeders later on. Scott’s plan was to wear Kathleen out early. My first mile was 7:57 with a max pace of 7:07

I was able to see them during the first part of the race running side by side. Then somewhere around the parking lot after the service road Kathleen took the lead. I declined the water station at this point which I think now was a mistake. I caught up with Scott somewhere after the Formal Gardens. Kathleen was still in site at the 5km marker when I yelled out at her that I was near, hoping to put her in panic mode. She turned and didn’t see Scott as he was in camouflage wearing black shorts and the white race shirt along with the majority of the racers. After which Scott and I took a walk break, which hadn’t occurred to me but was what I needed badly.

I managed to run with Scott or slightly behind him to the parking lot after the service road, when I noticed he picked up his pace. I thought he’s making his move. I stopped in the parking lot and walked with some water. Scott also stopped at the last table (I stopped at the first table) by which time I had started running again. Soon after my watch beeped 5 miles. My breathing was similar to when I do sprints. My chest was on fire. I figured less than a mile to go. Then I saw Randy from Road Kill who is in my age group, so he now was my motivation to beat so I could move up one in my age group. I looked back for Scott on the corners and didn’t know if it was him or Randy as they both had similar clothing on. The last 1/4 mile was hard, but knowing the finish line was near and the pain would be over soon was the motivation to finish.

Kathleen set a new PB for the 10km and Scott graciously presented her with the Faster than U shirt. I got away with no pie in the face. Lots of great draw prizes given out but we didn’t win any.

My time 51m19s 8m10s/mile pace

In the 5km race Joanne, Connie and Christie ran a great negative split race.

Is the shirt a good luck charm? Scott wins it with a PB in the Police 1/2 and now Kathleen wins it with a PB in the Physio 10km.

We need to find out when Kathleen’s next race is to see if more PB’s can be obtained and will she retain the shirt?

Thanks to Scott and Kathleen for putting up with my trash talk this week and dragging my butt to the finish line. I’m 12 minutes off my time from last fall but so much more happier to be out running now.

Trash Talk

Over the past three years, I have run with a regular group of friends.  We have named our group “Your Pace or Mine”, to obtain Boston Bucks as we socialize after our Wednesday night runs. The deal at Boston Pizza is that we get a percentage of our bills back in the form of Boston Bucks to go towards a party at the end of the season.The group name is appropriate as there is some difference in every-ones normal pace, which changes due to injury, time of year or which race each is training for. The pace of the Wednesday night runs really doesn’t matter. The social aspect/therapy/(insert emotional stuff here) of running with friends is a significant part of the reason we run together.

Sometime over the past few years some friendly trash talk arose in the group about who beat who in races. It was in this friendly vein that when I saw a t-shirt that read “Faster than U” I thought of the group and purchased the shirt to give to the winner of any race that we were in. If the current Owner of the shirt lost a race to someone in the group the shirt was to be given to the new winner. Kind of like the yellow jersey in the Tour de France, in which the leader of the previous stage wears the yellow jersey in the next stage. My thought was to motivate the group to train harder for the bragging rights of wearing the shirt, but the shirt was ugly enough that one really didn’t want to wear it, so the consolation of not winning the race was you didn’t have to wear the shirt.;One stipulation is that the shirt must be washed before the next race in case it has a new Owner. Another stipulation is that not all in the group qualify for the shirt, as we set a faster than time for it.So anyone with a time faster than 1h50m in a ½ marathon is not qualified for the shirt. I think we set a 50min time limit in the 10 km distance.

This past weekend the Winnipeg Police Services ½ Marathon was held and Scott has retained the shirt, for his second ½ marathon race of the year. He also got a PB in the race. A great start of the season for Scott. Kris who came in second also had a great race, and commented “What an Awesome day to be alive! Even thou I got beat by a boy!! If they could bottle this feeling!! Priceless”. The trash talk still remains friendly, which is great.

I don’t qualify for the shirt as I have surpassed both the ½ marathon and 10km time limits. Except now that I’m in recovery mode because of my illness due to my kidney disease, I’m not sure of what my race pace is. When I was healthy, to motivate Scott I suggested that he could throw a pie in my face if he ever beat me in a race. Some more friendly trash talk which may come back to haunt me this Saturday. I’ve entered in the Physio-Fit 10km race and my goal is to finish the race. I looked at who has entered this weekend’s race and Scott’s name is not on the list. However, you can declare to not have your name displayed when entering the race and a blank is submitted for your name.  When I did a search for Scott’s name a blank response was returned. So Scott, are you in the race? Do I need to work on my speed this week? Maybe I should try and limit my trash talk in case I have to eat it this weekend.

If I do have to eat it this weekend, I like lemon meringue pie!

The Perfect Storm

Upon reviewing my last blog of 2011, I realized a few things.  One, I missed at least six personal experiences that I could have added for not obtaining a personal best including my shoes coming untied three times during a 10 km race in the rain and two sometimes a PB doesn’t really matter. Sometimes everything does come together for that perfect race. I’ve had a lot of races where I’ve produced new PB’s, but more often than not in those races I’ve felt that I could have run faster. However, the perfect race is one where there are no buts.

It’s like a surfer riding the perfect wave. Waiting week after week, sometimes years for that “perfect  wave”, and then when it comes having the strength and ability to ride it out. That one wave executed perfectly makes it all worth it.  Always searching for it, and when it comes you better be ready for the thrill. You relive the experience after, numerous times, remembering the rush and your whole body glows in the excitement. When is that next perfect wave coming?

I had one race like this, way back in 1983. The Khatsalano 15km Road Race in West Vancouver. It was a hilly course through the residential area of this suburban community on the north shore of Burrard Inlet, overlooking the City of Vancouver.  Large homes set back from the streets hidden by 100 year old cedars towering over the roads. This was the 3rd year in a row that I ran the race. It was a must do on most runners list just for the shirt that was given out for completing the race. A long sleeve cotton shirt with some spectacular and unique native artwork on the front.  The name and the year of the race written in a small font also appeared in the border of the artwork. I don’t remember if there were any sponsors other than the organizer who put on the race. But the artwork was the only thing on the front of the shirt, with nothing on the arms or back of the shirt. (once I find the photo from my archives, I will post it here) Compared to most shirts these days where the sponsors take over the shirt, thinking runners want to be a walking billboard for their product.

It was my 2nd time being injured after four years of running and the race was two weeks away. There was something happening to my right knee, so my training in the last two weeks before the race was minimal. However, if I wanted that shirt I had to run the race. In those days I had two pairs of the same shoe that I alternated running in giving one pair a chance to dry out while I ran in the other pair.  It wasn’t until the morning of the race that I realized that for the past few weeks that I had mixed up the pairs. The left shoe of one pair was matched up with the right shoe of the other pair. I guess I had used one pair more often as the wear patterns on the shoes were quite different. So on race day I wore the pair with the least amount of wear on them. I clearly remember sitting on the curb at the start line double knotting my shoes. A warm up run and no pain in my knee. Was this the solution to the problem?

The race started and I was off hesitantly. It was a hilly course and in the first ¼ mile I was passed by a lot of runners on the first downhill. After that I realized that I was going to be pain free and picked up the pace.  I then proceeded to pass on the next few up hills all those runners who had passed me, never to be passed again in the race.   The weather was perfect, I can still smell the cool air and fresh cedar forest that we ran through.  The common practice these days is to slow down on the uphills, rest at the crest and then pick up speed on the downhills. Then, the worry was on hurting your knees in going fast on the downhills.  My strategy then was to pass on the uphills to add to my mind games. I imagined the other runners thinking they were being passed by a superior runner if they could be passed on the uphill, which would defeat their mental game.  After about 5km the pack thinned out and I was running alone. I would then focus on the runner ahead of me and reel him in until I passed.  If I could wait to pass on an uphill, I would. This continued for the remainder of the race until suddenly it was over. I had just run a pain free race, received my shirt and found out I had came in 9th place. I don’t remember my time, but it probably was under 60 minutes.  I couldn’t compare it to the other two races as each year the Khahtsalano race was on a new course. Could I have run faster? It didn’t matter as I remember that there was no way I could have improved my placing in the race. I had no regrets. A perfect race!

What also added to the day was my training partners, Dennis, Brian, Sharon, Paul, and Lloyd all had a great race as well.  I am currently searching for the group photo of us wearing our coveted shirts after the finish line. We proceeded to the English Bay Café with family to have brunch and celebratory champagne and orange juice.

The thrill of that perfect race is still with me. This is not to say that I haven’t had great runs since. Every training run is a perfect run. Something about not having the pressure of a race to worry about. Maybe it was because I was injured before this race and had no expectations of doing so well that it was the perfect race. I’m anxiously waiting the next perfect race.