Setbacks and Progression

I guess I have to write the bad with the good.

First bad: Last week my GPS watch would only hold a charge for a half an hour. Yes its beyond the warranty date. Yes they will replace it under an extended warranty replacement plan that they sell at a cost of half the original price. With a Postal strike on, my wrist will be naked for another week or so. It’s a different feeling for sure. I now look at a clock when I leave and return to the house. I have also been running routes that I know to get the distances as well as asking friends, How far was that? What was the time? I’ll be glad when the watch is back.

Second bad: I went to physio to check out a little nagging pain in my lower legs that increased over the past month. Where the pain is and where Stephanie the Queen of Pain, and her associate Trista work their magic are two different places. On both legs my soleus muscles were getting increasingly tender during the past month. The pain was not full time until after the Manitoba relay. So I went in and Stephanie worked the calf muscles that were very tight. I thought my calves were fine, but I don’t disagree with the Queen of Pain, hoping she will take it easy on me.  The way I understand it is that everything is connected and the calf muscles are contracting and the result is a pulling on the soleus.  After two visits last week and one this week  my right leg is pain free and my left leg was pain free when I last left Trista on Monday.  I did go for a 5 mile run and the pain decided it liked its new home and stayed in the left soleus. I have another session with Trista on Thursday.

First good: I do have a core workout plan, that I’ve read. I figure that since I’m in therapy I should not overdo this strengthening thing and only work on one issue at a time. Did I mention I don’t like core workouts? I did do some work at the cottage on the weekend that should count for some upper body workout.

Second good: The pain is not affecting my runs, but I have reduced the length and pace of them. This recreational running could be habit forming.  There is a 5km race on July 9th that I will decide whether to run or not closer to the date. It will depend how my recovery is going.

Third good:  The results for the Manitoba Marathon relay were re-posted. I guess one team was disqualified and for another the category was changed.  Anyhow, we moved up a position. I have  edited the last post with the new positions. 

Three goods outnumber the two bads, this is progression.

“he’s just run himself a race is all”

The above is a quote from the book, “Once a Runner”, by John L Parker Jr., where Mizner answers Andrea’s  question, “Was he alright”, as Cassidy is lying hacking in the fetal position after a cross country race.
The Sunday Manitoba Marathon relay was a race for me.Here are my numbers. I ran the 2nd leg , 4.72 miles in 31m04s, a 6m35s average pace. Here is my story in five parts.

PART 1 My neighbor Russ was running the same leg as me on a coed team and I was running in the opens men’s category for my office team. We were driven to our relay point by Russ’s wife Susie. The race started at 7:00 am just as we arrived at our check point. We ran a warm-up mile and a half backward on the course. As we were running a few spectators clapped for us, until we explained that we were in the relay and just warming up. Back at the check point 7:15 am, Russ went off in search of the port-a-potties while I ran some sprints. In between I chatted with the Shriner’s on their motorcycles, who were concerned I would wear myself out before the race.  First through the checkpoint were two men then a woman on wheel chairs with lots of cheering from the relay runners waiting for their partners  to come through. The first runners through at 7:29am  were a Kenyan followed by Brian (my team mate’s twin brother) and another runner.  Jeremy (Brian’s twin) my teammate came through at 7:30am.

Jeremy 1st leg

Part 2 The hand off went smoothly and the crowd went wild. Jeremy telling me to watch my pace as we were at a 6:00 m/mile. I said I was going to feed off the crowd while it lasted, which was for a block. I remembered to start my watch within the relay zone and kept Jeremy in sight until he turned off onto Pembina. I recall a few people cheering,  “go David” as I passed but was not able to recognize anyone as I was focused on the task at hand. When I turned unto Pembina the front runners were not in sight. At the Jubilee overpass, where the half marathon and full marathon course splits it was a bit confusing as there was not a traffic marshal nearby.  I saw one in the distance and pointed left as I asked “Full Marathon this way?”  With a head shake as a reply I headed up the overpass. I was escorted over the overpass by an official on a bicycle, who apologized to me as he explained “the truck was late”. I had no idea what he was talking about thinking maybe the traffic marshal for the split between the courses was late. After the overpass, we run along Pembina and turnoff onto Harrow Street. At the first aid station they are still setting up. One person offers me water, I decline thinking I don’t need any I’m just running a short race today.  Half way down Harrow St before we turn onto Guelph St I hear a vehicle behind me.  It’s supposed to be a closed course but there are always idiots out there, so I turn to see who’s coming and If I need to get out of the way as I’m running the centerline of  the street.  It turns out to be an official pace truck with a clock on the back clicking away with the race time on it. (41 minutes plus some seconds.) This is distracting as watching the seconds go by makes the time seem longer.  Then a runner comes by in the curb lane and starts talking to me. I can’t make out much of what he is saying as he is running a 5:30 pace to my 6:30 pace and has a heavy Kenyan accent. What I do make out didn’t make sense as I hear him say something about 1.8.  he turned out to be the same Kenyan that came through the relay exchange first, except I didn’t know that. I thought the pace truck was for a 2nd group of runners. I find out later that the pace truck got distracted by an ambulance coming and went over the overpass the wrong way with the lead runner following. They then went over the overpass the right way adding an extra kilometer or so to his race. The 1.8 may have been that he ran an extra 1.8 kilometers. The pace truck and Kenyan running effortlessly pull away prior to me turning onto Guelph Street and the clock reaching  42 minutes. Guelph Street is nicer with the Elm trees in the residential area providing some shade from the sun which was starting to heat up. The crowds are starting to get thicker. I hear clapping behind me realizing that I may be passed again.

On Guelph Street, in 2nd place

PART 3 I turn onto Wellington Crescent ,  which is one mile to the end of the block where I live.  Knowing my family will be there I pick up the pace. (more like maintain the pace) I hear Susie call my name, I’m confused as I’m not at Brock Street yet or am I? No she had walked up the street a few blocks. The crowd is thicker now. A guy is singing karaoke. He is so bad, he is good. It is a nice distraction as I’m starting to heat up.  The clapping behind me is getting closer. I reach Brock Street where My wife Margot, daughter Lissi and neighbours  are cheering.  Margot yells “just one runner ahead”.  I hear runners coming to pass me and I give my usual, “good job guys” and look  as Mike Booth (4 time Manitoba marathon winner) and another runner pass me. This means that for the first third of my leg of the race I was the lead runner in the Marathon and for the next  third I was 2nd.

PART 4 At Brock Street there is just over a mile left in my leg of the race. I don’t remember much of this part of the race. I’m in survival mode. I think I was passed again, but don’t remember.  At the end of Wellington is a S-curve before the finish at the Rady Centre.  I rely on motivational talks in my head to carry me through. Talking with family members that are watching from above, with me saying “here we are again”. It helps. Then at the first part of the curve a bag pipe band starts up. They are awesome. A sign posted with, “500 meters to the exchange”.  I try and pick up the pace, see the crowds of relay runners and spectators around the 2nd curve,  and they carry me to the finish.

Rauf, 3rd leg

PART 5 I’m looking for Rauf to hand off the chip to. I don’t see him, so I call out his name and he just appears all smiles and fresh.  I hand him the chip and wish him luck.  I did have a thought the day before to run with him into the park.  Instead I collapse at the side of the road wretching with dry heaves in the fetal position, trying to get some air into my lungs. I’m sensing people around me but they don’t want to get to close with all the noises I was making. I was waiting for someone to ask if I was alright. My reply would have been, yeah, I just run myself a race is all.   After a short while that seemed like forever, I get up with my fingers tingling. A sign of dehydration.  I walk over to the aid station and replenish my liquids with water and Gatorade. I walk for a while and chat with a woman who will be running the 3rd leg. I realize I don’t know her and wish her luck.  I run towards the park for my cool-down run.  People are cheering for me so I go onto the side walk. I stop at the cross at the entrance to the park and pay my respects to JBT and turnaround to run back home. At the exchange I meet up with Russ who had just finished and we run back home to cool down. Our families and neighbours are cheering others on as we get caught up on the race.

Bert, 4th Leg

Our team came in 9th in the open division.  Brian came 1st and Jeremy came in 4th in the half marathon. Philip Samoei (the Kenyan) won the marathon and Mike Booth came in 4th.  Russ’s coed team came in 1st in the coed division and my other neighbor Mark’s high school team came in 1st of all the relay teams. A good day for the racers from Brock Street. (photo credits Ramli Halim)

John, 5th leg

JPT – 16 Forever

It always amazes me how some things come together. I was out for an easy 8 mile run this morning from home for a lap of the Assiniboine Park. As I was running, I was thinking of a motivational talk that Joanne asked me to give for her Half Marathon clinic.  She asked me to do the talk a few weeks ago, and as I have been formulating it, I realized that while I have asked other’s to share their stories online, I haven’t put mine up there. Those that I have run with have heard part of my story during runs, and if all the parts were put together it would make the whole story.  The clinic will be the first to hear it altogether, before I post it online.  The point that I will make in my talk is that everyone needs to have their own story for running. If I can inspire them in some small way, that would be nice.  Back to how things came together this morning. Part of my story deals with deaths of people close to me.  As I was thinking of those who are no longer with us, I happened to be leaving the park.  I decided to stop and read the inscription on a cross that was erected last month. At the exit from the Park on the south side of Wellington Crescent on the east side at the base of a tall elm tree is a white cross with the inscription “JPT May 10, 1955 – May 10, 1971”.  A bible verse is also quoted that makes me think JPT was male.  JPT died on his 16th birthday.  I don’t know any more about JPT other than the information on the cross. But he inspired me for my last two miles this morning as my pace picked up without me noticing it until I reviewed my watch after the run.

For Sunday’s race the end point of my part of the Marathon relay is 500 meters before the cross. I will be thinking of JBT and others that are no longer with us during the race and use them as my inspiration to run a good race.  I will also visit JBT’s memorial to pay my respects after.

Still Having Fun

Week 2 is now complete and I’ve already deviated a bit from the plan. I went for a training run with Jeremy and Bert from my office team that turned into speed work. I ran my fastest mile for the year (6m12s) that night.  Coach politely reminded me to save the racing for the races. With my pride still intact at the office water cooler, I promised to get back to the plan.  The remaining of the weeks runs did go well and according to plan.  Two early morning runs before work in cooler weather, which were nice as the evening runs are getting hot. For core training, does riding my bike to work and back count? I also did yard work yesterday. I give myself to the end of this week to have a core training plan in effect. More promises.  My long run of 8.5 miles today, which ended the week with 34 miles has whetted my appetite for more.

I checked out the race schedule for Winnipeg and decided on a 10km Provincial Championship race in Kildonan Park on September 18th.   I’m debating between the Diabetes 1/2 marathon on September 5th (Labour Day) and the Niverville 1/2 marathon on September 24th.  A 5km race is a bit more difficult to choose as most seem to be fun runs.

The Scotia Toronto Waterfront Marathon is on October 16th which is 18 weeks away is also on my horizon.  While, I will start my training for this marathon now, I’m a bit nervous about it and not sure why? When I decided to run another marathon after 25 years since my last one in 1984, I said two more marathons. The first was to qualify for Boston and the 2nd would be Boston.  On the finish line in Fargo, I knew there would be more.  “How fast can I run?”, is the question that I need to answer.  Maybe I’m nervous about the realization of the answer.  I am happy with my results now but know I can still produce faster times. Will I know the answer when it is in front of me?

On a less heady topic, I went for dinner on Friday night with my friends that run to celebrate our achievements in Fargo. This group started out as a group that I would refer to as running friends and during the past year and a bit has now changed to my friends that run.  It was a great night of sharing stories, some even about Fargo and quickly turned into, what’s next?

Next is the Manitoba Marathon weekend (June 19th) which some friends are running in the half marathon. I will be running the 2nd leg of the full marathon relay, under my company team name “Hatch Powerhouse”, wearing new black singlets. Lets hope for cooler weather.

Start at the Finish Line

Last things first.

One day I will be on the podium placing in a race and my acceptance speech will be to thank God for my talent, my Family for their love and support, my running friends for their friendship and my coach for believing in me and putting together a plan to get me there.  I have had this speech in my head for a while but have never been on a podium. I want to be on a three tier one.  My thanks still go out at the end of each race.

April 16, 2012 race day for the Boston Marathon (Goal time 2 hr 59min 59 sec) and September 12, 2011 is my registration date.

Visualize the course, the race and the finish line during training runs. I did this for Fargo and got teary eyed as I was visualizing the finish line during a training run as I had qualified for Boston in my head. I told this to my running mates during the run. So when Lisa emailed me to say she hoped I would be crying on the finish line in Fargo, it was a good thing. Yes I was teary eyed at the finish line at Fargo, just ask Kris who crossed the finish line for the half marathon at the same time as I crossed for the full. The half started way after the full start.

Train smart.  Get checked out if injured. Stretch. Do core strength training. (yuck) Stick with the plan. Eat healthy foods. Have fun. Repeat often.

Warm- up races. I want to run PB’s in a 5km, 10km and a ½ Marathon this year. I haven’t chosen any races yet.  I’m currently registered to run the Manitoba relay (2nd Leg) with my office team on June 19th. I’m still debating about a fall marathon.

First things last.

Train. This week has been fun. Running easier paces and shorter distances with friends. Seemed a bit like a homecoming. Getting caught up with everyone’s life’s.  Some are injured, some not. Winston, you and your mother are in my prayers. Carey and Kyler who got engaged on the finish line in Fargo are moving to Calgary. We’ll miss you on the runs Carey with your distinct but fast gait. Elton will be stationed in Afghanistan for part of this year. Be safe and I hope you are still able to make music over there. We’ll go for a run when you get back.

Kris in pink on left and me on right at finish line in Fargo

Kathleen’s Story

I wanted to tell this story as David is such a huge inspiration to me. I met him when he was one of the pace leaders in the 10km clinic. I never thought I’d ever run a half marathon and actually enjoy myself and it was David that convinced me to sign up for a half marathon clinic. With my niece, I signed up for the Fargo half clinic for the Fargo 2010 race. I had a great time, met incredible people and surpassed my goal of a 2 hour finish. I’ve always been one to play team sports and through David’s organization and meeting new friends at the Running Room, I’ve been able to turn my running into a team sport. This has made it much more enjoyable. This spring, after a long, cold winter, I was off to New York City as a chaperone for a school trip (I teach grade 9). Upon learning that I would have this opportunity, I quickly checked the race schedules for the area and discovered that there was indeed a race in Queens later on in the week. I knew if would be a long tiring week of sightseeing, so part of me had no expectations. However, David handed me a silly challenge that actually motivated me during the race. I ran the New York 13.1 on April 2nd with my friend Nina. It was a beautiful day, sunny and we had the knowledge that there was free beer at the finish line. The course took us by the Arthur Ashe Stadium, Shea Stadium and through the gorgeous Flushing Meadows Park. My silly challenge was that if I had a personal best David would dye his hair red (I had previously done the same a few weeks earlier). By mile 8, I was feeling great, looking at my watch I knew I would get that time. I started composing my email to David in my head as a distraction. I knew he would be one of the first people I’d have to write to when I got back to the hotel, as he is always sending out great emails to organize and inspire us. I crossed the finish line in 1:53:56 and was ecstatic. In the back of my mind I knew David was one of my huge motivators. Upon returning to the hotel a few hours later, David had already emailed me with congratulations since he was keeping tabs on the race! I want to thank him for pushing me and getting me out to run in the sun, rain, wind and snow. I’ve stayed with a sport that I didn’t think I would and I’ve met more incredible running partners and friends. I wish David all the best on his road to Boston (I think running with my boxer named Boston has helped him!), and I think the red hair suits him!

10 Km Clinic Group plus Scott

training starts tomorrow

Well it’s been 10 days since I qualified for Boston and I haven’t run since.  Recovery week after a marathon is similar to Taper week before a Marathon, both play games with your head.

I’ve had this domain for a year, originally thinking of blogging about qualifying for Boston. Well that didn’t happen (the blogging part) for a varity of reasons. So now its about my training for the 2012  Boston Marathon. I qualified to run Boston by running the Fargo Marathon  (May 21, 2011) in a time of 3 hrs 11 min 16 sec, which allows me to register early for the 50-54 age category. One thing about running is that you have to tell your age.  During my training for Fargo I kept in touch with my running group by email, a sort of precursor to this blog and found the encouragement I received helped me during training as I was working out of town during most of the time returning to Winnipeg on weekends for my long runs.  Thus, a lot of my away runs were solo.  A big debt of gratitude to my email group for reading and replying to my emails. But more importantly for their friendship and for running with me when I was back in town. You have helped me tremendously in qualifying for Boston.

In developing this site, one thought I had was why blog about it? and the answer I have is that I enjoy writing about running. Lets see if I get better at both the writing and running part. I also thought of the people I run with and their amazing stories, that should be told as well. I hope they share them here as well.  Also as we are so fortunate to be able to run and tell stories about it when so many can’t is how I  decided on the Charity portion of the site. Some of the stories of families and friends of runners and runners themselves I’ve heard on my runs are  a reminder of how fortunate we as runners are.   See the Charity portion of the site for more. I hope you are able to support this endeavor. Well the first step of this blog is done and I will have the first 30 minutes of my training done tomorrow. I’m looking forward to this adventure.

email running group

three blue shoes

This is a story I wrote years ago for my children. Once upon a time, a long time ago, in a far away place, there lived a little horse named Blue. He was named Blue, because he was blue all over. He had a blue hide, blue tail, blue mane, and four blue shoes. You may wonder why this story is called “Three Blue Shoes” when Blue had four blue shoes. Well , Let me tell you about Blue. Blue like to explore, run, jump and swim, anything to get exercise. One day when Blue was out running he came to the base of a mountain.  “I never climbed a mountain before”, thought Blue, so he tried. At the base of the mountain was a pile of loose rock that had fallen from the mountain. As Blue started up the mountain one of his shoes got stuck in the rock.  Trying as hard as he could, Blue couldn’t get his shoe unstuck.  “Oh dear, what am I going to do?  I’m going to be stuck here forever”, thought Blue.  Then he had an idea, he would take off his stuck shoe and he would be able to get out.  Sure enough Blue was free, but his blue shoe fell down the hole between the rocks.  Blue limped home and told his mother the sad story. Farmer Brown, Blue and Blue’s mother went to look for the shoe, but with no luck.  “I’m sorry Blue, we’ll have to get you another shoe”, said Farmer Brown.  “What colour would you like?”   Blue answered, “blue of course”. Farmer Brown replied, “Sorry no blue left, we have green, red and purple”.  Blue was sad, “I’ll take purple please”, he said. So now Blue had four purple shoes. The worst thing was now the other horses teased him calling him Purple instead of his name Blue. Well, Blue sulked and didn’t go out and play anymore. Blue was so sad, he decided to run away. One afternoon when the other horses were out playing, Blue ran into the yard and jumped the fence.  “Wow”, said Blue, “I could never jump that high in my blue shoes.”  Then he ran faster and swam faster than ever before.  Blue was happy again.  He realized that the colour of his shoes didn’t matter and returned home with his head held up high. When the other horses called him Purple on his return, he said firmly, “My name is Blue”.  The other horses then asked Blue to come and play, so he did.  Farmer Brown, hung the three blue shoes over Blue’s door as a reminder that colour doesn’t matter. It’s what you do with what you have that does. ©2011