Boston: I Owe You A Qualifying Time

In 6 weeks, I will be running in the 116th Boston Marathon. This will be the 3rd time I will make my way to this, the `Holy Grail` of recreational, and even elite marathoners. This time will though, and for a reason that I do not talk about much. I owe this prestigious event a proper qualifying time.

What possibly could I be talking about?

Well, you surely know that it is not the easiest event to get into.

For me, there’s more to it than that…
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Boston Simulation Number 1

It’s simple, if you’re going to seriously train for a marathon, it takes more than just running hard some days and easy on others. There’s a science behind it all that stretches beyond our imaginations. We can tackle the marathon time and time again and find new ways to train better. Better, smarter, and not just harder.

This time around, I have finally decided to devote a portion of the year to my goal. No talk, just do. And I have talked about what ‘I am going to do’ a lot less, and I am just doing it. That’s the way it should be. So every once in a while, I get to say say what I have done and some of this year’s training has been quite impressive (to me anyway)

Aside from the mundane mileage reports (averaging well over 100km per week in 2012) and how well I have been eating (not perfect, but damn close) and how I have been finally making strength workouts and cross-training more regular (I’d still like to fit more in) I am happy to report that I have really been mixing up the types of runs and thoroughly enjoying running.

Today’s Boston Simulation Run is a good example of what you can do to train for a specific marathon. My running buddies and I devised a plan, to schedule a run later than usual as does Boston’s start time of 10am and to map out a route that closely mimics the route from Hopkinton to Boston as it will when we run on April 16th.

We are lucky to have a city that generally runs downhill from the north to the south. Our friend Nir drew up a route that begins at Yonge and Sheppard and heads downhill to our destination 32km later at the Beaches Running Room. In 3 segments of this route, we climbed back up hills to take care of the fact we have to tackle the Newton Hills during the marathon.

Carpooling was necessary and we were fortunate to have some volunteers to drive, and some to take the drivers back to their cars. Most guys did this yesterday but I had to delay the run a day and went out with Sean, one of out Beaches Runners Club Members. My lovely Anita was kind enough to drive up to tour starting point before heading back home to do her own run. Thanks Anita!

The weather was perfect, the sun was shining and the route was fantastic, and was a perfect scaled down version of Boston Marathon landscape aside from the constant line of screaming spectators. I tell you, I could have used some of them today!

The timing was good to practice eating, both the day before, and breakfast. 10am is a weird time and I think I made better choices for this run than I did in my 2 previous Boston attempts. I feel I was eating too soon and by the time 10am rolled around, breakfast was too far digested casing stomach distress. Today, I got up early enough to simulate the need to get to the buses and start line, and ate 2 hours before the run, which works best for me. What I ate was something I can prepare before and eat on the bus to the start line in Hopkinton which is where we will be 2 hours before. It worked out well, no gourmet brekkie but what I need before a marathon. It was;

1 banana
Bagel with 2 egg omelet (fine to eat cold)
1 small yogurt
Water / Gatorade

During the run, 2 gels – race day I will use 4 gels – 2 less than last year.

This was the best my stomach has felt on a long run in a while so I was happy with this execution. Legs wise, I am a bit tired, I can feel the downhills lingering in my quads, my hamstrings are a bit tired & tight from holding down a decent pace for the entire run (4:50 average per km) and my calves are feeling great thanks to my new compression sleeves.

Click here to view the route we chose

Next time we do this will be Mid March. It will be more of an affirmation that what I did today was right. I don’t plan on changing a thing. Until then, there is some hard raining still to do – but I won’t talk about – I just have to do it. The saga continues and it’s another exciting road to Boston!


First Snowy Run Of The Year

Well, it took until February 11th and I can now say my Yak Trax which I purchased 2 years ago were a worthy buy. I have stumbled across them several times this winter thinking about how nice it is that I haven’t had to strap them on yet. And also happy that I haven’t had to. We woke up to a good dose of the white stuff along with -11 Celsius temperatures and wind chill on to of that to contend with. As Boston marathon training is in full swing, I am know about to let a little inclement weather stop my good momentum. So I suited up strapped on the Yak Trax to my new Saucony Cortanas and hit the roads with full intent on seeing if the parks were as ni ce as I envisioned them to be. Generally, fresh fallen snow is nice to run on. My hopes were met with great conditions albeit, hard to muster up a decent pace. But, this being and easy day, I was fine with floating along in the 5 and half-minute per km range.


It was an awesome run on the fresh-snowy trails of Taylor Creek Park and the Lower Don trail here in Toronto. I planned on 15, if it was not to be too cold and was perfectly willing to forgo the distance and head in early if it was too nasty out. 18km made much better thanks to my yaktrax! For the most part I ran along the trails through deep snow, packed snow, ice, slush and winds. But the sun was shining and it was not as windy in the lower setting of the parks so it actually turned out quite nice! In fact, this was one of the nicest runs of the year!

So now it is Saturday, and I am already at 95km for the week, with Sunday’s long run still to complete. 25km tomorrow will put me at 120km total topping my previous highest week I ran a couple of years ago when I made it to 118km. That puts me at 621km for the year with the previous 5 weeks being – 113, 109,  90, 101, 100 – this is definitely the most consistent I have been and touch wood I have no aches or pains.

I’m feeling better and stronger than ever now and enjoying every step! I hope your training is going just as well.