Let’s start by talking about something awesome. Something that I am pumped as hell about. I got a new sponsor! Forerunners Running Company. This is the store that I have worked at since moving to Vancouver. They have always been amazing with their support, flexibility and encouragement. Now they have taken it to the next level. They have decided to make a commitment to become an official sponsor to myself and Dylan Wykes.
Peter Butler owns the shop, he is a 2:10 marathoner and one of the stalwarts of the Vancouver running scene, a good dude just looking for an opportunity to give back to the scene. Himself, Karen and Todd have made an amazing commitment that will go a long, long way in allowing me to continue to chase my dreams. I can’t really express my gratitude enough, and I am stoked to have this opportunity to represent a company that I already love and believe in. It is just so friggen ideal! So if you happened to find yourself in Vancouver come by and say hi! and if you are coming by feel free to bring cookies, we always love us some cookies.
Now let’s talk runnin’. I am already two races into my 2014 season. I’ve got an 8km and a Half Marathon under my belt .
Let’s talk about the 8km real quick. Raced the Pioneer 8km in Saanich on Jan 12th. I wanted to win and I wanted to run under 24:00. I did neither. Initially I was quite bummed. But after letting it simmer for a bit I got over it. I got beat by a really strong runner in Geoff Martinson, and even though I missed my time goal I was able to run pretty hard and was pretty darn close, 24:02 isn’t bad for Jan 12th. If anything this race was a nice kick in the pants, a reminder that this game ain’t easy, gotta work hard to get the desired results.
I recovered well from that 8km, put in a few good sessions and then this past weekend I headed down to Phoenix to race the PF Chang’s rock n’roll half marathon. The goal here was to see where my fitness was for this longer type stuff. Wanted to see how much fitness I managed to maintain after the holiday binge of crappy (delicious) food and beverage.
The tactics for the half were different than the 8km-there we just got off the line and gave it hell. For the half I really wanted to run a controlled and progressive race. With proper execution hopefully I could hit my goal of going Sub 65min.
Before I start let me talk real quick about this Rock n’ Roll series. There was a lot of news last year when the Rock n’ Roll races cut their elite support. There was a tonne of negative publicity, outrage and bad press thrown their way. That was warranted, because it was a horribly lame decision.
When I told people that I was doing a rock n’ roll event they were all like “why you supporting those lame wads?” well folks. Here’s the deal, after that cluster fluff and all the negative press and outrage over the lack of elite support the Competitor group (rock n’ roll’s boss) saw the error of their ways and promptly fired their two head dudes. These dudes were the knobs whom made the decision to get rid of support. So they’re gone now, and slowly but surely Rock n’ roll is re-introducing their elite program.
For example, for this race to Phoenix they paid airfare, hotel and meals. They also offered prize money and time bonuses. Oh yes, time bonuses, always love me a good time bonus; it was $1000 for a sub 65min half. Hence the sub 65min goal.
Now that we cleared this up let’s chat about the race. Race was good. It was an absolutely stunning day for a road race, I would go as far as to say it was as close to ideal conditions that I have raced in for a half. The gun went off and away we went. I got out nice and hard, I quickly realized that this would be a solo affair as I put 50m on the group in the 1st 400m.
I tried to settle in and relax during the early goings on. 1st mile was a bit quick @ 4:49, but after that I chilled and started hitting 4:56-4:58. I was feeling groovy and life was good.
At about 7miles the course started a gradual climb and I felt my first little hint of fatigue. I had to increase the effort to stay on pace, but it wasn’t too bad, I figured that I’d be fine. At 9miles we turned a corner and headed up this big, stupid hill. This hill was a grind, and it just happen to be right when things were starting to hurt anyways. I had to work quite hard on this bad boy, it hurt, but I managed to get to the top feeling decent. I was pumped when I crested that hill, because the course was all downhill for the last 3miles. I figured I would roll from there and crush 65min!
That didn’t happen, that didn’t happen at all! Instead of feeling great and crushing the downhill my body started to rebel. I started sucking. I was starting to suffer pretty good in the legs, but the most annoying thing was that my body decided that it wanted to poop. It happens to us all at one point or another. It’s part of the game, but man what a shitty feeling (lame poop pun win!).
Ask yourself this question folks; would you poop your pants in public in front of thousands of people for $1000? It is a tough question, and one that I had to ask myself at around mile 12…I decided no. No I would not poop my pants in public for $1000. Final time; 65:03. I regret nothing.
Those last three miles were so damn lame. I knew that I was right on the cusp of that 65:00 zone. I tried to relax, and I tried to run well, just didn’t happen. Oh well, win some lose some.
Huge thanks to Dan, Tracie, Jennifer and the whole RnR team for putting on a great show and having us out there. I also got to meet legendary badass Steve Scott, overall great weekend!
So that’s that for the early season. I would say that it’s been a success thus far. I didn’t reach all my goals, but I have managed to find myself in substantially better shape than last January. All systems are go to attack this upcoming season. Next stop will be the 1st Half, Half Marathon here in Vancouver on Feb 16th. Not gonna lie folks, I am super pumped about 2014, it’s gonna be an exciting year!
So here’s something else new, this is in regard to LeBlogDuRob. I am going to be moving the host of this blog over to CanadianRunning magazines website. But don’t worry they promised me that they would not edit or sensor anything I say. I can still talk about beer, girls, balls and boobs…I really should talk about boobs more, boobs are awesome.
Some may call me a sellout over this decision, and those that do would be 100% correct! CanadianRunning has offered me tens of dollars as my new host. Reality check here folks; in this life on the grind every damn cent matters! It’s gonna be cool though. The Canadian running people are my buds and they are also giving me the opportunity to write some stuff for their print magazine. I have my first article coming out in the next issue. How cool is that? Can’t wait to tell girls that I’m a pro writer, chicks dig writers.
That’s that, onwards and upwards my friends. Life is good.
Hey Folks, this weeks Post is a little different. This week I am pumped to have a guest blogger- My Dad!
Pops has always been a rock and he’s been there every step along the way. He has written up a history of my running endeavors of sorts. Hope you like it, Thanks Dad, love ya!
It Takes a Family to Raise a Marathon Runner
Robbie D has been running for less than 24 years … he didn’t start competing seriously until he was almost 7 when he successfully completed the London, Forest City 10k. The race officials were initially reluctant to let him enter until it was brought to their attention that his 2 older brothers, Peter and Michael, had been routinely winning their age categories for several years. Robin (aka Robbie D) was soon joined on the roads by his 8 year old brother Scott as they began a serious but friendly sibling rivalry that lasted for 6 wonderful spring-summer road race seasons. They had some classic head-to-heads at the Crim Races in Flint MI, the Huron House Boys Race in Sarnia, the Port Huron to Sarnia Race, the New Hamburg 8k, the London Forest 10k and one memorial battle at a July 4th 10k event in Ottawa. Somewhere in the attic or behind the furnace at the longtime family home there is a large dusty plastic container full of plaques and medals collected along the way. Somewhere buried in that collection is the medal from a race run in the pouring rain in Sarasota, Florida where Robin captured the under 12 age category – the medals that day were handed out by John, the elder, Kelley of Boston Marathon fame. The Robin-Scott rivalry came down to speed versus focus and determination – Robin became the grinder with relentless mental toughness that quite often overcame Scott’s superior speed and style.
Family Roll Models
Even before Robin joined the chaos on the pavement he had been subjected to several years of being wakened early, forced fed a quick breakfast, packed into the back seat of the family mini-van and trucked off to a Saturday and/or Sunday morning road race. Brothers Peter and Michael were veteran road warriors of considerable early success. The expectation of running hard and winning was passed on from the older brothers to the younger pair …. from a very early age Robin wanted to run and he wanted to win. Scott didn’t feel nearly as much pressure and gave up running when he discovered girls and other distractions. Upon reflection it has become a strongly held family belief (it has grown from a mere suggestion to a theory to an unassailable belief) that the most important single event leading to Robin’s continued focus and resultant success after those early formidable years can be directly attributed to the impulsive family trip to Peter’s Big East Track & Field Championship meet held at Rutgers University when Robin was about 16. The weather was warm and sunny, there was excitement and competitive energy in the air, and Robin was exposed to a joyous gathering of several hundred physically impressive track athletes (including long legged females in shorts) having a fantastic time – what could possibly be better? Immediately, as the myth/theory/belief goes he became obsessed with eventually becoming part of that lifestyle.
The Road Leads to ??
So far the supportive parents have been to – (the first 20 or so that come to mind) - Houston, Berlin, San Diego, Sacramento, Philadelphia, Washington, Eugene (very memorable) Ottawa, Toronto, Hamilton, Guelph, Sarnia, Windsor, Terra Haute, Minneapolis, Fort Collins, Boston, Morgantown, Storrs, Flint, New Hamburg, Columbus …. The results at these venues were mixed but always memorable. The Steve Prefontaine Classic, Eugene, Oregon, June 7, 2009 was a last minute decision, and a truly magical experience, where Rob Watson – Canada delivered his fastest career Steeplechase …. sometimes just being there was the reward for past efforts such as a World Championship meet in Berlin or an NCAA Championship meets in Sacramento or Terra Haute …. other times it was the gratifying performances at a Conference Championship in San Diego or a National Championship in Ottawa or Toronto that reinforced Robin’s will to compete, and justified the sacrifice necessary to continue. We don’t spend much time remembering the difficult days – I think Robin learned that valuable trait as an oft-struggling /slump prone goalie in his hockey and soccer days.
Coaches and Family
Coming from a family including an Olympian Aunt, a CFL uncle, a World Champion cousin, a NCAA scholarship brother and a dedicated hard running mother it can be traced to the Grandmother (aka Dodie)as having provided the athletic genes. The father provided rides to the track, some financial support and the early FFTF strategy (fade from the front) which works up until you get a real coach. And nothing can diminish the support of the family fan club lead by sister-ln-law Kristin, Aunt Jill ( of Olympic background), brothers Scott, Michael and Erik (whose lack of an in-house sibling to rival leaves him as a great natural talent as of yet untested.)
Parental evaluation of coaches and opinion about coaching strategy is of very little importance and should be avoided in the best interest of the athlete – having said that I must confess that I haven’t always (actually never) adhered to that truism …. I’ve routinely given unsolicited advice but don’t expect it to be followed …. and because I personally knew some of Robin’s excellent coaches better than others (Sean Cleary of West Virginia was very important and brother Peter, now at Virginia, coached him to his fastest 2 marathons to date) it doesn’t mean that I don’t acknowledge that Robin has obviously had quality coaching at all the stops along the route or he wouldn’t be where he is now. Great work from Dave, Paul, Del, Brian and DST. Moving forward coach Rich now is at the helm with lofty goals.
Today, December 26, 2013, Robin won the Hamilton Boxing Day 10 miler in 49:52 – a successful day’s effort … it was icy, cold with a nasty wind off the lake but a good opportunity for Robin to get in a hard run and for the parents to watch their little Robbie D run faster than all those other boys.
Hey, I’m gonna do the standard year in review here, but before I start with that let me share two quick short stories.
First off, I managed to sneak in one last race before this year came to an end. I headed up to Hamilton for the boxing day 10miler on the 26th. I have done this race twice now, and it’s safe to say it’s one of my favourites. This year was the 93rd edition, I dig all the history and tradition that this race has. I also love going back and racing on my old stomping grounds. Always fun to re-connect with old friends and to get the opportunity to meet new ones.
This race also gave me the chance to chase a win, I have run a whole whack of races this year, but I only won one of them- my first race of 2013, the Vancouver 1st half, half marathon.
So I headed up to the hammer with the moms and pops, t’was a brisk winter morning and sadly I was battling a nasty migraine (I get these bastards every so often, they are friggen terrible!) Fortunately though my legs were fine and I was ready to give it a solid roll. The goal was a hard effort and the win. Managed to accomplish both objectives. I hit 49:52 for 1st place. Hopefully within the next 12months I will be able to roll that pace for 26.2.
Thanks so much to the organizers and volunteers for providing yet another fantastic racing opportunity. Shout out to Stallion for hooking me up with a comped entry! Cheers.
This other story has nothing to do with running. It is all about beer, buds and Brian Mulroney.
I made a trip up to Guelph this past week. Plan was to catch up with my Guelph crew over a bite and some pints. Was planning on keeping it pretty low key…that didn’t happen at all…Not. Even. Close. The beers started flowing and they didn’t stop till the houselights came on and we were $526 in the hole.
There were shenanigans folks. I’ll spare the details, but a few things stick out; A guy name Lloyd owned at Karaoke. One of the dudes hit on a girl with braces. One of the dudes sang backup to Lloyd in Karaoke. And then there was Brian Mulroney.
Seriously there was a guy at the pub whom looked just like Brian Mulroney, and he was hammered! He also happened to have a walking cast on. It ws weird, I was curious. I sought out answers.
“ Hey Brian Mulroney! What happened to your leg?”
“eh? You talking to me?” Mulroney had a pretty thick French accent.
“Yeah man, you look like Brian Mulroney!”
“Yeah dude, what happened to your leg?”
French Mulroney was not impressed, not at all. He probably got this all the time and he had had enough, he snapped! “Eh, F**k you” Our belligerent ex-prime minister exclaimed as he reared back and unleashed a mighty front kick in my direction.
Despite being old as hell, drunk as a skunk and on a broken leg, I’d be damned if that kick didn’t connect! Brian Mulroney kicked me folks. He kicked me hard and he caught me flush… right in the dick. Gosh darn Brian Mulroney kicked my wiener.
The dick kick certainly hurt, but I couldn’t really be mad. It was hilarious, and I was just having too much fun with my buds. Man, what a night. When you are having good fun with good friends not even a kick to the dick can get ya down.
Okay, so anyways let’s do a year in review.
2013 was friggen rad, I loved it. I have been blogging pretty consistently, so I don’t figure that I need to go into too much detail here. Let’s just do a list of my top 5 running highlights;
5. Impromptu Ottawa Marathon; Went there to run a 10k, ended up racing the Marathon, and had a blast doing it. The Ottawa marathon is a very cool event. A world class event in one of our finest cities. Always great to win a national championship as well!
4. PB in Toronto; Great way to finish up a very busy year. I was tired heading into this one, both mentally and physically I was just holding on. Luckily we got a glorious day and I managed to hit a PB. It was a small PB, but still faster than I have ever run that distance before. And like I said before, if you complain about a PB you are an ass.
3. World Championships; Great trip overall. Team Canada was brilliant. This was my favourite national team experience to date. I also had a good race. It was a performance that I was very proud of. I ran smart, controlled and tough. My best race execution to date.
2. Vancouver scene; Stuff is coming together here. We have talent, organization and support. I can’t wait to represent my city in the coming year, things are gonna get very fast out here!
1. Boston. To this day the highlight of my running career is leading the Boston Marathon through Wellesley College. Absolutely surreal experience. Ok, ok, I blew up and finished 11th, but my time in the front, holy crap man- I can’t articulate how much fun that was, how exciting that was and how damn terrifying that was! The last 4miles of that race was absolute agony, but I regret nothing!
The events after Boston would fall as the low point of my year. The confusion, shock and fear that accompanied the attacks was terrible. But despite the tragedy, it was uplifting to see the power of the human spirit persevere in the end. It was inspiring to witness people came together in a singular effort to help and support their brothers and sisters. There will always be evil out there, but as long as we stand together, love each other and hold each up, we will never be down for long.
I could easily list another 10 highlights, but this is all in the past now. It’s time to focus on 2014. I gotta move forward and get better, I gotta get faster. 2013 was a success, and I have a feeling that 2014 is gonna be fast.
Top 3 goals for 2014;
1; 2:10:59. I gotta run a fast marathon. 2:13 is pretty good, but 2:10 is just sexy as hell. I want that!
2; 62:29. I need a faster half marathon time. I love the half distance. I wanna go to the NYC Half on March 16th and roll me a fast time.
3; Win! I gotta win more races. I race a lot, but I don’t win enough. Winning is fun. Girls dig winners.
Ok, so that’s that. No wait! Not quite. I gotta say thanks so much to all of you whom read this blog. I receive a tremendous amount of love and support from you guys. It is really friggen cool. I absolutely love this running community. It is always great to meet new people and chat with fellow runners. I dig that we can share our experience and work at this grind together. So let’s get out there folks, let’s hit the roads, let’s hit the trails and let’s own 2014! Onward to fast my friends!
Hey, It’s been a while, sorry about that. I’ve been putting this one off, but I guess it’s time to break the news.
Wait! Before I get serious let’s talk briefly about natties XC; In the slopfest down at the beach The Point Grey team defended their title, Luc pulled off the win and I came 7th. It was a good day, XC is so much fun.
The race was fun, but the weekend left me feeling kinda old. First and foremost I got beat by a whole bunch of friggen 20yr old kids. It was absurd, these young bucks were just flying around in that mud with reckless abandon, while old man Watson over here tried to find the dry spots in attempt to save my ankles and keep my shoes clean (double fail). Gotta give a quick shout out to Cassidy and his Victoria crew, great race by the kid and solid group of dudes all around.
The kids not only handled me with ease on the course, but I also got my butt kicked at the after party. I cannot handle all that beer and alcohol like I used to! I have to apologize to that one kid who bought me a shot of tequila; dude, when you took the shot I discreetly poured mine on the ground and then pretended like I took it by making that weird post shot face and eating the lime. If I had taken that shot I woulda thrown up all over ya. Sorry bud.
Overall nationals xc was a terrifically fun weekend, can’t wait till next year!
Ok, now I gotta get serious on ya.
I have very mixed feelings on this. It is exciting, yet heart breaking at the same time; I’ve switched coaches. Richard Lee is taking over my coaching duties.
In the winter of 2011/2012 I was at a cross roads in my career, I wasn’t super thrilled about this whole running things and I was floundering a bit. I was mentally shot and physically useless. This was when I left the Guelph scene. Guelph was great to me, but I needed a change, I needed to find the fire again.
This is when Pete came into the picture. Despite his full time responsibilities as an NCAA coach and himself going through some big changes (UNC-UVA) He immediately took me on as an athlete. It was a classic big brother move; The little brother was bummed and the older bro steps in to take care of his own. From the very beginning Team Watson was rad as hell. I loved working with Pete (and Kristin, she was always the heart of the team!) With Pete my career was re-vitalized, I ran PB’s, I made national teams and I got the fire back. 2013 was by far the most fun and successful year of my career, team Watson killed it.
Sounds like everything is working just fine right? Why not just keep rolling? The reason for this change has nothing to do with Pete, he is a brilliant coach and I know that under ideal conditions he could get me where I need to be, but that’s just it; conditions need to be ideal. There are two big reasons why this change had to be made; Training partners & Geography. I need to put myself in that ideal position.
Currently I am a 2:13 guy, that’s decent, but I need to be a 2:10 guy (maybe even a 2:09 guy.) To get to this level I need to get better, much better. There are many examples of people doing this on their own, just getting out there and doing the work alone. I have been on this solo grind myself for the past few years. It is fine 90% of the time. But sometimes I’m just not mentally strong enough to do it on my own.
When you’re on the 3rd lap of your 6th mile repeat you can start to crack, when you are 25km into a 30km tempo you wish to hell there was just someone there to tuck in with. I may sound like I’m going soft, maybe I am, but man oh man, It’d be nice to just not have to think so much sometimes, just tuck in with a buddy and run.
With the formation of the new BCEP group I have access to a plethora of awesome training partners. Dylan W, Kelly, Luc, Rich, Dylan G, Kevin, all these dudes are great runners and good friends, and it is nice to just roll with the boys and be part of a team again. To utilize these guys to the fullest I gotta do the same workouts as them…just follow that stream of logic to see why I ended up making my decision.
The second reason is Geography. As you may already know, I love Vancouver, I have a massive boner for this city. I will live here until I die. (I will also be renting the rest of my life! http://www.vancitybuzz.com/2013/12/vancouver-vs-beverly-hills-what-4-89-million-will-buy-in-real-estate/) Pete has a sweet gig in Charlottesville, he has a great job, nice new house, spoiled dogs and a rad wife. We are both firmly planted in our respective cities…4000km apart. I’m at the point where I need eyes on me, and Rich provides just that. He has a brilliant eye, Richard is a world class coach…once again, follow my thinking…
I should point out that despite the lamness of leaving Pete I am excited to start working with Rich. Dude is a wicked coach and I am very excited to work with him. I have total trust and faith in his abilities. He has proved himself to be top notch and we get on well. It’s gonna be fun.
This whole switch thing made me pretty sad. But in the end Pete is still my brother, I love the hell outta him. Kristin is still my favourite sister, I love her too. I won’t really miss the dogs, but I’ll miss team Watson. It was a rad ride. On to the next chapter folks.
Ok, this one is gonna be short and sweet. Well, it’s certainly gonna be short, can’t guarantee the sweetness.
1st off, huge congrats to the UVA guys and gals on some great runs at NCAA XC champs. The dudes really got their stuff together after some sketch early season performances and nailed a 13th place finish. I gave a hearty fist pump when I saw the results, great friggen job boys! Gotta send a shout out to my boy Kyle King on his 18th place finish, All American, nice.
This UVA result got me pretty pumped to get back on the grass and mud for some XC action of my own. I’m getting after it tomorrow at the Canadian XC championships here in Vancouver.
I was super excited to have the opportunity to race some cross country again, it sure has been a while. But my attitude may have slightly changed after I actually put on a pair of spikes (for the 1st time in 3 years) and did an xc workout (for the 1st time in 3yrs). Oh dear god folks, I. am. terrified! I suck at cross country. I used to be good at it, but years on the roads have spoiled me. I’m used to nice smooth surfaces with true footing. Last weekend I jumped on that course and within 100m of my first interval I was slipping and sliding all over the damn place. I might come last place, man I sure hope I don’t come last place. So here’s the race plan: get out there, give it hell and beat at least one other poor bastard.
I take solace in the fact that win or lose I’ll still have a cold beer and good friends to celebrate with afterwards. Because after all folks, it is still all about the cookies and beer. Good luck to all whom are racing tomorrow.
Oh man, I have some exciting news. Well, at least I find it to be exciting. You may be indifferent to the whole thing, but I’m right stoked. What I’m talking about here is the formation of a sexy new training group out here in Vancouver.
The British Columbia Endurance Project (BCEP), headed up by Coach Rich Lee and currently consisting of 9 athletes is up and running (pun win). I have a feeling that things are gonna get speedy out here folks.
I moved out to Vancouver for several reasons; I really dig the fact that for $5 I can get enough sushi to feed a family of 4 (or 1 distance runner in the midst of a 150mile week). I love the security knowing that I am never more than 100meters away from a coffee shop, and I greatly appreciate the fact that there is a never ending parade of cute girls walking around in yoga pants. But the biggest reason as to why I made the westward move was because in my opinion, this city provides the best training grounds in our country. Amazing trails, temperate climate and all the resources that an athlete could ever need. We even have the world’s largest ice bath right outside our door! It’s ideal!
The only thing that was lacking when I first arrived was a focused, cohesive “elite” group. There was plenty of fast people in town, but everyone was in their own groups doing their own thing. Dylan W, was a big reason why I came out here, I wanted to train with that guy, but when I got here he had jetted off to Ottawa for a year. It was lame.
Things have changed though folks. First off we got DW back. Vancouver also picked up a low stick when Kelly Weibe moved out here this summer. The scene is also benefiting by the fact that Luc B. decided to get fast and Rich Mosely has come out of his semi-retirement, and we have D. Gant and K. Friesen whom are pretty darn good once they get of their road bikes. We have all come together under this project and it is a very exciting thing.
Huge thanks to Rich Lee for inviting me to join the group even though I’m coached by Pete. If there was one thing that I have been lacking in my training over the past 18months it has most certainly been training partners. I have had lots of long, lonely workouts. No more man, no more! I can’t wait to work with these guys. Looking forward to chasing these dudes all over the trails and roads.
Huge amounts of credit to the folks at BC Athletics for organizing this initiative. Also massive thanks to Viasport for funding this stuff. A lot of people put in a lot of hard work to help this vision come to fruition. Good stuff team.
You wanna know what else is exciting? Cross country. Cross country is exciting. Nationals XC is coming up in a couple weeks. For many of us Cross Country was our first foray into the awesomeness that is long distance running. Remember being out there as a punk kid? Just running round those fields without a care in the world, having the time of our lives. Cross Country running is a beautiful thing man.
Vancouver is hosting the Canadian National XC championships on Nov 30th. Despite the fact that I don’t own a pair of spikes, and I am not particularly fit, I couldn’t resist the temptation, I’m gonna race that sucker. It’s just too much fun. I’m excited to lace em’ up and haul ass around Jericho Beach. Hopefully I can do well enough to help the team secure that team title.
Okay, so I should probably go train or something. Have a great week everyone!
Did you know that you can bake a cake in the microwave? It’s true, I’ve done it before, twice actually. It was on Sept 16th 2000. My parents had just gotten a brand new microwave, and this baby was sweet. There were the standard settings and buttons and such. But along side the popcorn, pizza and de-frost buttons there was a Cake button. A cake button? Weird right? Weird, yet intriguing.
My buddy Todd was over when the discovery of the cake button was observed; “Dude, this microwave has a cake button!”
“really? that’s amazing, wanna make a cake?”
“Yes, yes I do”
Todd and I promptly nuked up two delicious cakes. One each for my friends Eric and Brett, both of whom had just celebrated their 17th birthdays.
Todd and I delivered the cakes to the boys, needless to say Operation Nuke a Cake was a huge success. The cakes were moist and delicious, both Brett and Eric were grateful to receive such thoughtful and yummy gifts.
Cakes are always a great way to start your Saturday evening. Us four boys were all feeling pretty good about ourselves. Scrumptious cakes and good friends, what more could you want? Well, we were 17, we knew exactly what we wanted. We wanted beer and cute girls.
We were chilling out at our other buds house and we hit up ICQ in attempts to search out leads on beer and/or girls. After a little digging we caught wind of a party going on. The party was across town however, one of us would have to forgo the beer and just stick to girls. Eric agreed to drive, he had his eye on a cute little 10th grade ditty and he had to be on his game (note, none of us had any sort of game at all). We all packed into Eric’s Pontiac Sunfire and headed west.
We were rolling down Comissioners Rd. Weenus’ Teenage Dirtbag was on the radio, we were chatting about boobs and just being generally weird. The Sunfire was about 100m behind an SUV as we crossed Wonderland rd. All of a sudden off a side street came a random car, a car with a horrible driver. How do I know that said car had a horrible driver? Because this dumbass slammed the gas as he took the widest damn turn in the history of turns. Idiot car clipped the back of the SUV. The impact caused idiot car to lose control and he was now barreling right towards us. There was no time to react, bright lights, screeching tires…this was gonna suck.
I clenched my teeth as I braced for impact. Idiot car slammed into us head on. I was jerked around a bit and I slammed the hell outta my head on the head rest in front of me. I mean, I smashed that sucker hard! It was lame.
After a few moments Eric was the first to speak “oh man, I hit my head on the steering wheel so hard!” Brett then chimed in “arghhh! Get out of the car!” I had never been in a real car wreck before, but Hollywood had taught me that the car would probably explode soon. So we all piled out of the car and threw ourselves on a random lawn.
After a few seconds of rolling around and being dramatic we realized that we were all pretty much fine. Todd spoke up “I’m good guys!” I assessed my own situation “Yeah, I’m good too!” Eric; “Smashed head, but all good here!” (Eric was probably concussed, that kid used to get concussions all the time!) Brett was a little banged up; “ahhh, my shoulder…ahhh”.
Cops rolled over, an ambulance showed up and a whole lot of hoopla ensued. Brett had to be taken away with a separated shoulder or something, Brett was a wuss.
Luckily all of us had worn our seat belts, a paramedic informed us that if were were not for the seat belts he would have been “Scraping us off the road” The massive welts on my shoulder and hips could attest to that. It was the seatbelt that had caused Brett’s shoulder separation, but those things also probably saved our lives. Shout out to Ralph Nader!
One by one each of us were interviewed by the cops to take our statements. I had a nice chat with the cop, he pretty much agreed that driver of idiot car was indeed an idiot, and he had almost killed us. To end the interview the police man asked if I had anything to add, anymore comments?
“Yeah! Canada won our first gold medal today!”
Cop;“Really, which event?!”
Me; “Triathalon, it was awesome!”
Cop; “Well, that’s just fantastic”
Me; “Go Canada!”
I remember that day like it was yesterday. I remember watching Simon Whitfield hammer that 10km to finish off that triathlon and win the gold. I was pumped, my friends were pumped, the whole damn country was pumped up.
Simon Whitfield became a Canadian hero on that day. That was just the beginning. Over the years he continued to be a relentless warrior, role model and overall fantastic ambassador for endurance sport in Canada. Dude could tear it up on the track and it was so cool to see him lace em’ up and get after it at the National Cross-Country Championships. His race in Beijing was one of the most inspiring and badass performances I have ever seen. He has done it all, and he did it all as a true Canadian and gentleman should. Always humble and courteous yet tough as friggen nails and ready to fight to the bitter end.
Simon retired a couple weeks back. It is always sad when one of your role models hangs em’ up, but that’s part of sport. Just wanted to say thanks to Simon for everything he has done. What an absolute beauty!
Alright folks, so in other news. I have dicked around the last couple weeks. Spent some time in the hometown of London Ont. Headed to Colorado and then jammed out with the family in Palm Springs. I am back in Vancouver now and ready to get back to work. Time to get back on the grind. I will run another marathon in the spring. But first and foremost I am going to really focus on tapping into my speed. I want to get in a pretty full track season in which I will race a few 10.000′s and 5000′s. I can’t wait let’s get at it!
Have a good one.
Post race blog, let’s get at it!
The Race: Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon
The Goals: Awesome; Sub 2:12 & First Canadian. Good; PB & Top 10 overall. Mandatory; Finish. Come hell or high water I had to get that damn finisher medals this year!
The Plan: ”Give’r.”
“That’s a plan?”
“You’re damn right, that’s a good plan right there.”
Beautiful morning in Toronto. Good opportunity to run fast. Anthem is sung, Doug Ford is heckled, Gun fires, race starts, and the following events go down;
I felt fresh and snappy from the get go, so for the first few kilometers of the race I decided to just tuck in with the group going at Canadian Record pace. It was quicker than I wanted to go, but I had to do it. Why? Two reasons.
Reason One; Science. There was a headwind coming from the west, the direction we’d be running for a big chunk of that opening 12km. Science says that even on a calm day running behind someone cuts wind resistance by 2%. On a windy day having those bodies in front can make a massive difference. Running behind people at 3:04km would be better than trying to solo 3:08’s into a wind. Science said I had to roll with those dudes, so I did.
2nd reason; I wanted to give myself just a taste of the pace, put myself in the position to do something special. You never know, maybe I was going to get out there and just feel unbelievable. Have one of those once in a lifetime races and just destroy one. It didn’t happen, but man that would have been rad!
The opening 13km was brilliant. I just sat in the back of that pack and rolled. I didn’t do any work, I didn’t worry about any splits, I just ran. It was nice. I hit 10km at 30:43. I felt good and it was easy, but it was still so damn early and I knew this was a pace I knew that I could not sustain for 42.2km. The wind was now at our backs and I felt comfortable easing back and getting into my own rhythm.
I was supposed to have a rabbit out there, I told him of the plan and I was hoping to just tuck behind him after I let the pack go. Sadly that didn’t happen. My rabbit was a nice enough dude, but I don’t think he was in very good shape. He didn’t even make it 8km with the group. I appreciate the effort by the CRS to bring in some support, but man, that guy was not very fit at all.
As a lone combatant I continued to forge on along Lakeshore as Gilly Boy and his crew floated away into the distance. This stretch along Lakeshore Blvd. is my favourite part of the STWM course. I was running west as thousands of other runners were heading east towards the turn around. The support and encouragement I received from my fellow competitors here was unbelievable. It gave me a huge boost and kept me pushing forward. Thanks so much to all whom helped me along at this point.
All day I was continually pumped up and pushed on by the amazing crowds whom had come out en masse all over Toronto to cheer on the runners. It was friggen awesome. It also helped that NewBalance had taken the initiative create a beauty of a singlet for the Canadian guys to wear. We really stuck out and people got even more excited and loud when they saw the home team out there rolling.
I came through the half at 65:04, I felt great at this point. I was in complete control and I was getting excited about pulling off a big one. I tried to remain cautious though. A very common marathon mistake is for racers to come through the half ahead of their pace and feeling great. They get all excited and proceed to pick up the pace between 20-30km. These are then the same people you see crying and throwing up on themselves at 38Km. I really wanted to be conservative from 20-32km, I wanted to be ready to fight hard and finish strong over that last 10km.
Things got a little lonely from 21-28km. It is a quieter part of the course and it is also where the legs start talking to ya a little louder. I had plenty of time in the bank so I just listened to the body and chilled during this section.
Turning onto the beaches at around 28km was a big relief, the crowds there were gnarly. Those folks were very loud and rowdy. I tried to utilize that energy and just soak it all in. I hit the turnaround at 29km feeling groovy. I was licking my chops, all I had to do was float the next 3km then attack the last 10km. I was certain that I was going sub 2:12. I passed 30km in 1:33:08.
The beaches however are also a little rolling, not terribly so, but just enough to do some damage.
I felt the first twinge at 33km, just a slight little tingle, a small spasm. I had felt this before, I was a bit concerned.
By 36km they had hit in full force. Started in the right calf and then moved to the left. Full on cramps and frequent spasms. Damn. Same thing that got me in Boston. I was pretty annoyed. My energy levels were great, my head was clear and I was on for an awesome day.
I guess complaining about cramping during a marathon is pretty stupid. I mean, they kinda come with the territory. We’re out there for 42.2km beating the crap out of ourselves on hard pavement. What the hell did we expect was gonna happen?! It’s like complaining about being too full during a pie eating contest.
The last 6km I was digging so damn hard. I still had a chance at sub 2:13, but the cramps just rendered my calves useless, and boy did it ever hurt. Some people talk about the bear jumping on their back, or hitting the wall and things like that. I’ve experienced those feelings as well, and they suck really bad. These cramps sucked just as bad, but in a different way. Once you get over that 30km mark in a marathon there are many different ways in which your life can suck. On Sunday it felt like I was being chased by a very mean little goblin whom just kept stabbing me in the calves. I call him “Stabby the Marathon ruining Goblin” and he is a little bastard.
As I crossed the line I stumbled past the photographers, past the VIP’s, and I was on the verge of going down. Out of nowhere comes this big bear of a man to catch my limp, lifeless body. Clif Cunningham, what a guy. Clif is the west coast head of the CRS, he has been a constant supporter and friend of mine ever since I relocated out west.
Clif has also been known to bust my balls about dropping out of STWM…twice. This race has had my number. Finishing this STWM race was ridiculously important to me.
Clif catches me:
“Great job Rob, good effort”
“Oh shit, oh god…*incoherent rumbling*….”
“You alright rob?”
“Yeah, man. I did it, I get my medal!”
“Yeah you did man, you want this one?” *pulls out finisher medal that he just happens to have in his pocket*
“F**k yeah I want that one!”
*Impromptu medal ceremony followed by man hug*
Thanks Clif, you’re a good man.
My finishing time was 2:13:29. An 8 second PB. I am thrilled with my new PB, that 8seconds capped off an amazing little stretch. 2013 has by far been the best of my career.
I am so lucky that I get to continue to live this life, continue to live this dream.
Thanks so much to Coach Pete. Thanks for putting up with my mood swings, messy room and crazy ideas. Thanks for having my back and continuing to push me forward.
Thanks to Kristin for being my training camp Mom. Thanks for cooking me delicious glutenfree meals, hooking me up with gym and strength connections and always being the first to tell the haters to go eff themselves.
Mom and Dad; Words cannot express how much you rock.
Aunt Jill, Jim, My Grandmother, my brothers, and the rest of my family. Thanks for always being there to share these experiences with me. I Iook forward to many more.
Robin Truxelof TurPilates and Chris Napier at RestorePhysio (Nice little 2:35 himself out there!) You guys have played a huge part in keeping me healthy and in one piece. This little marathon binge would not have happened without ya.
shout outs to New Balance, CEP and E-Load, your fine products keep me fit, healthy and ready to roll.
Thanks to Alan Brookes and the CRS for continuing to put on such great events and going out of their way to help us run fast.
Gotta give a huge shout out to Lanni and Krista, simply amazing work out there. Inspiring stuff.
Lastly, thanks so friggen much to each and every person out there whom has taken the time to offer up a kind word and show their encouragement. Be it out there on the course Sunday, on the twitter, facebook or even here on the blog. Your constant support has been so amazing and tremendously uplifting. You guys rock.
Onwards and upwards friends.
“You’ve gone from the crappiest I’ve ever seen you, to the best I’ve seen in a long time.” –Coach Watson
That pretty much sums up my last 7weeks. Holy crap man, this build has been silly. I’ve been all over the damn place, both mentally and physically. Up, down, fast, slow, and everything in between, but here we are now folks. 10days out and I am right where I need to be, feeling fresh and frisky. Hells yes, can’t wait to give it a go on the 20th.
I had my last big workout on Saturday and it went swimmingly. I was supposed to do a 25km tempo run broken down into 20km steady with a 5km “kick” but due to an unplanned break we had to change it up just a bit. And when I say “Unplanned break” pretty much every runner knows exactly what I’m referring to.
Workout ended up being 18km at 3:10-11ish pace, 5min break then a hard 5km kick. I was annoyed about having to take that break so I hit that last 5km hard! Ended up going 14:29 on it, made me feel much better about taking that poop. I have not run a 5km that fast in quite some time.
Coach Pete made a pretty cool little video of the workout. Check it out; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vw5vnabqnLE&feature=youtu.be&a If you don’t have time to watch the video let me break it down for you; it starts off with me running down a road, then some music starts, I continue running down the road, then the music stops and soon thereafter I stop running. Oh, and did I mention that I am shirtless the whole damn time? It’s a pretty special video, it’s won a bunch of awards.
I did another little workout on the track yesterday and that too went very well. So here we are, and as the most overused saying in our sport goes; “The hay is in the barn” (seriously, around this time of year you’ll hear that damn phrase 8-12times/day) It’s full on taper time. Generally I hate tapering, but this time around it’s different, I’ve been looking forward to this taper big time. My training and racing schedule has been pretty crazy this year. I am more than happy to sit on my butt, watch movies and let all that work absorb into the ole’ body. Trust the training, trust the work and get to that line as rested as possible.
Come Oct 20th I will be making my third attempt at the STWM, but this is the first time I am actually fit, healthy and ready to get at it. The other two times I attempted Toronto I got there and I was kinda like, ok…let’s see how this goes *closes eyes and takes a wild swing…nope…dnf* This time things will be different…I hope…oh god do I ever hope!
Big weekend of races coming up here folks. This is a great time of year to be a fan of the sport. We have the VictoriaMarathon over there on the west coast. Can’t wait to follow my man Kip at that one. Kelly Weibe will also be giving it a go in the ½ there, good luck buddy!
But the biggie this weekend is the ChicagoMarathon. Chicago is one of the biggest and best marathons in the world. I have a bucket list of 7Marathons I have to do before I hang up the flats. Chicago is one of those races. (I’ve done 2of7 w/Boston and WC’s, the other 5 are London, NYC, Chicago, Fukuoka and Olympics).
I’m very keen to see how the American studs do in Chicago. I think Ritz is gonna smash another one, dude is nails, and he’s fit. Fit Nails- That’s a gnarly combo. Also really looking forward to following Teg in his debut at the distance. I really hope he does well. I’m a big fan of coach Schumacher and his entire crew. Good luck to those guys!
Also pumped to follow the BlackLungs crew. These are my boys from blog#73, and I think that they are primed and ready to do battle in the windy city. Great group of guys whom just love the sport and continue to work hard and push each other to new heights. Best of luck to Darren, Mike, Dan, Robert, Anthony and crew. Do work men!
Well, that’s all I have right now. I am going to go jogging now.
Have a great weekend everyone.
I went down to Lynchburg Virginia this past weekend and raced in the 40th edition of the Virginia 10miler, I hadn’t really planned on doing this race, but the assigned workout was a hard 9miles. Lynchburg offered a 10mile race in which I could run with other people and maybe pick-up a little cash to boot. Some may call this road whoring, I call it strategic economic advancement.
Before I headed down to Lynchburg I did a little research on the race. Initially I was a bit apprehensive due to the hilly nature of the course. I am a gangly son of a gun and I tend to lack power, and thus hills generally kick the crap outta me.
I also noted that the finishing hill had been given a name: “Birdsnest Hill” While that name itself is not very intimidating, the simple fact that the hill had been given a name scared me. Generally if the hill warrants a name, then said hill is gonna be a ball buster.
I managed to push my fears aside, I figured that the added benefit of having people to run with would outweigh the difficulty of the course. I had also found this video on YouTube featuring the 1975 race: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kxnZRm-WT50 Rodgers and Shorter rolling that sucker together! So cool! I obviously had to do the race.
I woke up bright and early on race morning and drove down to Lynchburg. It brought back sweet childhood memories of waking up early on weekends and travelling to various races all over southern Ontario with the Family. I was feeling quite nostalgic. Reminded me of reasons why love this sport and how lucky I am to be living this life.
I arrived in Lynchburg, collected my gear and settled in. For my warm up I jumped on the route and ran out and back on the first/last 1.5 mile stretch. I wanted to get a sense of the course. When I finished that little jog it was safe to say that I was intimidated. You see, for the duration of that 1.5mile jog out on the course I failed to reach any sort of flat spot, it was downhill the whole friggen way! Geez louise, this sucker was gonna sting.
I quickly formulated a plan for my run. My primary goal was to get in a solid, consistent effort. Key word was consistent, I could not afford to do anything stupid and risk blowing up. That’d ruin the purpose of the workout, and just put me in a hole for future training.
I figured that I’d just chill out at the start and let the opening two miles happen, not run too hard, just try to find a flow. I was gonna have to gauge off effort, because pace is irrelevant whilst flying downhill. From miles 2-8 I wanted to roll the tempo effort at around 5min/mile. Then when I hit 2 to go I was just gonna have suck it up and make it to the finish. Pretty simple plan if ya ask me.
I mentioned before that I was really looking forward to running with some company. For this event that company came in the form of about 30 East African Runners. Seriously, of any race I have ever run this had the most Kenyans and Ethiopians I have ever seen. The race had offered up cash bonuses for hitting certain times, this resulted in what seemed like every African runner in the Eastern United States converging on Lynchburg for this glorious event. It was a cool scene, I love racing these road warriors.
The gun went and immediately a swarm of runners just took the eff off. After 400m I was in like 40th place…and getting dropped with every step. I wanted to give chase, but had to check up and remind myself of the plan. I tried to find my flow.
I hit the mile in 4:36, the pack was 4:28. I settled in during the 2nd mile and came through 2 in 9:30. I was hoping for some company, but I was all alone well off the back of a big lead pack. I was okay with that though. I have been in this game a long time folks. I knew well enough what was about to go down. I just had to relax, be patient and let it happen
Sure enough at right around the three mile mark it began. Slowly but surely, one by one runners starting falling off the lead pack. The Africans are very, very good runners, but they are also fairly predictable.
I may have adopted the fade from the front strategy, but the Africans were born into it, molded by it. They didn’t learn pacing until they were already men, and by then it was nothing but a hassle. They simply run until they implode, and on this day it really helped me a lot! I spent the last 7miles simply running down one straggler after another. Really helped me to keep focused and pushing.
I ended up executing my plan pretty well. After hitting 9:30 at two miles I rolled the next 6 between 4:57-5:03, then when I hit two to go put the head down and ran up that big ole’ hill. I finished in 49:48. I was actually pretty happy with that. I had come into this race on the tail end of a big block of training, the legs were very tired and still managed to get in a good effort and go sub 50 on a very rolling course. I also won $200! Great little Saturday in Lynchburg if I do say so myself.
Thanks so much to Bret and everyone else involved in putting on the Genworth Virginia 10miler, such a fantastic event.
Things have really turned around folks. I have hit a really good training block and my legs are starting to feel good again. I had a really good session of 3km repeats yesterday and now just one big workout to go until we hit this taper.
I’m going to get into the taper a little earlier than usual and I’m also gonna cut back more than usual. I’ve rolled this Toronto build up on fairly tired legs. Thankfully though I have still managed to get in some high quality work and improve my fitness from where it was in Moscow. It’s been a steady consistent grind.
People keep asking me my goals heading into the race on Oct 20th. To be honest, I don’t know yet. A month ago I just wanted to make sure I got there alive. Two weeks ago I would have been happy with a PB. Now as we are getting closer and closer, I keep feeling better and better. Who knows man? Let’s just hope for a nice day on Oct 20th. I’m friggen excited.
Good luck to everyone with your training and racing. Victoria and Chicago Marathons next weekend! I have lots of friends running in both, can’t wait to see some sexy new PB’s across the board!