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.


Training Update: A 100km week – The Plus And The Minus

photo by evelyne.frank.hullerThe week ended with a fabulous long run under wonderfully sunny skies and relatively balmy temperatures for mid January. Our group did 35km along the eastern waterfront route to the top of Brimley, then headed north and west to St Clair, then Warden Woods trail and Taylor Creek before heading back to our starting point at the Running Room. Read more of this post

Ain’t No New – New Year’s Resolutions Here Yo

Boston Marathon - One of the reasons I bust my butt on the roadsJust to clarify – I do have some resolutions, they’re just not ‘new’. These resolutions have been rehashed from earlier years and I’d like to think of them as this year’s ‘goals’. See the bottom of this post for a complete list of 2012 Resolutions, which I’d rather call, “My 2012 To Do List”. Read more of this post

The Off Season

I consider this the Off Season, time spent between Fall Marathon(s) and Spring races. Normally, I would keep the mileage up to remain fit and hit the next training cycle ready yo rock, but this year was a bit different. here’s how it’s played out so far.

Recently, we went to Hawaii (work, not family) for a short trip. Long enough to spend 1 day indoors ‘working’ and 1 day of outdoor activities. It was nice to be there but the 2 days spent traveling to and fro makes it a rough ride. You have to make the best of it while there, so I signed up for a surf lesson. As you can see from the photo, I was an instant expert. Actually, that’s not true. It was hard and although I managed to get in a few good runs, I spent a lot of time swimming back to the board and trying again. I enjoyed it and if not for the coral, rocky bottom, I would have stuck with it longer. I’d like to try it again on a sandier section of water.

As for running….

Read more of this post

The End Of Movember

November is done, has been for a couple of weeks. But the Movember aspect has just recently come to a close. For those of you following along, you know that I was busting my butt for the cause: To raise funds and awareness for Prostate Cancer.

It was a successful campaign and I reached my fundraising goals. I smashed them actually, raising a whopping $3,541.00 putting me at the top of the list for my work-team at the Flight Centre. The bonus for top fundraiser was a price of 2 Airfare Tickets from Air Canada, good for anywhere they fly in Canada. Halfway through the month, when I was close, but losing steam, I decided to use the tickets as an incentive, offering them up as a draw prize for anyone who donated to the cause in my name. Of course, I would have to win in order to give the tickets away. Read more of this post

Is There a Road to Hope – Marathon Report

I kind of get quiet when life as a runner is not going well.  So it takes a while to gather up the motivation to put into words what is happening. But here it is.

I trained hard this Summer. I pushed myself, ran about the same mileage as my previous highest mileage period where I ran my PB of 3:18:20. I ate well, not perfect, but well. I cross trained, but not that often. I got more sleep than usual. I cut out alcohol, but not as much as I did when I ran my 2 PBs.

Read more of this post

Movember Is Upon Us – Here We Mo Again!

Please read on, and donate whatever you can, small or large. Every little bit helps!

You may have heard of Movember. We are participating in Movember here at work.

About Movember

The Movember Foundation is a global not-for-profit charitable organization which runs the men’s health initiative, Movember.

The Mo (slang for moustache) and Movember, the eleventh month of the year (formerly known as November), come together each year to create the world’s largest movement for men’s health – bringing much needed awareness and funding to men’s health, specifically prostate cancer.

To Donate to Prostate Cancer Research in my name – Click Here

The Story Must Be Told, the Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Many hours were spent training, Many miles of road covered. They say the
marathon can break your heart just as long as it doesn’t break your
spirit. That’s the exact truth and applies to me today unconditionally.

Many factors were at play here, the stars needed to align to reach my
original goal of 3:10. And many stars did in fact align. My Achilles was
feeling good; I slept well last night and the previous few nights, I
rested well, ate well and remained fairly relaxed in the lead-up to the
race. The weather behaved as far as temperatures go but the headwinds
going west were brutal.

I felt pretty good and decided I would stay with my plan and stick to a
4:30/KM pace. I choose to run alone and just focused on my goal and got to
10k on pace, maybe a bit fast, in 44:30. I continued on, past the
Windemere turnaround at 12KM and headed back happy to be out of the wind.
The eastbound portion of the run that took us back into downtown along
Queens Quay went well, I passed the halfway mark a little over 1:34 and
was still feeling good. then the lights went out.

At 22KM I felt a twinge of fatigue that reminded me I was overdue to
consume some nutrition. I was coming up to a water stop where I could wash
down a gel pack so I stopped momentarily so I wouldn’t choke on it and
when I went to start running again a pain, an older injury that hasn’t
bothered me lately flared up. No warning signs at all, just sharp pain
from deep in my left butt muscle that streamed all the way down my
hamstring. I couldn’t even come close to the pace I had been running. I
was a bit shocked to be honest and continued on hoping it would pass. It

I continued along, suffering and slowing, and demotivated by the hoards of
runners passing me by. At this point I started wondering if I could, or
should continue. I decided I’d run the the eastern most part in the Beach
where my kids were and shack up with them where I would wait for my wife
to come by and then finish with her.

In the Beach, my home turf, the support was amazing and I felt bad and a
bit embarrassed that I had fallen behind where they were expecting me. My
kids and a few mates were sure to tell me afterward that I did not look great. I decided to continue on and tough it out, hoping to maybe still
get in around 3:20. At the turn around to head back west downtown, 9KM to
go, I made a surge that actually felt good but didn’t last long. The
headwinds were nasty and the pain flared back up and I made the decision
to take it easy from 35KM to the finish. I ran easy, walked a bit, chatted
up the spectators and volunteers and tried, best I could, to enjoy the

I passed through downtown with my head down just wanting to finish and get this
done. The last turn and the view 200m from the finish was a welcome sight.
As always, the last kilometre of the marathon is somewhat enjoyable no matter how you tired and depleted you feel. It
may not have been a personal best but it was a feat of endurance and
perseverance and I felt pretty good about not quitting. I can rest now,
regroup and look to the future. I am not done with this craziness.

My finish time was 3:32:23 a good 22 minutes shy of my goal. Not too bad
all things considered. Fear not, the burger and beer after the race tasted
Great. Looking back, I know I trained well. Maybe hard enough on
the runs but not well enough in the non run disciplines. It is was it is, I know where I cam improve
and there is nothing I can do about this race now. I am disappointed and heartbroken
but as the title of this report says, my spirit is not broken.

Thanks for following along with me. My next goal marathon is Boston in April, where I plan to attack it the
same way I did for this one. There’s work to be done, but not before a couple
weeks of rest of course!

It doesn’t matter if you are a first timer or if it’s your 25th marathon, as this is for me – you get antsy when race day is only a week away. There is a certain amount of anxiousness in the buildup to the event. It is hard to decipher whether it is confident excitement or second-guessing doubt. You just have to embrace it and go on with your day. It will eat you up if you let it.

Read More about 1 week to go.