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!
I ran the Toronto ZooRun this past weekend. These were the thoughts going through my head during the race;
1st km: *Gun goes off* “Alright, let’s get out nice and hard and then settle in with the group…boy oh boy, Dylan is getting at it! Man, these other guys are flying too! This is insane, everyone is sprinting!…alright ya bastards, guess I’m just keep sprinting as well.”
2nd km: “That first km was silly, I wonder how fast we went? Shoulda worn a watch…Man, we are still going really fast, and we’re going uphill! Sure hope we settle in soon because this is already kinda hard… Oh look, we dropped everyone else already. Sweet. might as well just keep up with these dudes as long as I can.”
3rd km: “Ok, let’s just keep contact, relax…relax…relax…Oh man, it burrrrnnnnsss.”
4th km: “What is going on here? Why are we running on a dirt road? Oh man, I just stepped in a puddle up to my shin! What the hell!?…oh crap they’re getting away again…eff these guys. I’m gonna chill out a bit, just gotta keep it close enough so if one of those dudes falters you can run them down.”
5th km: “Dear god this is uncomfortable…I wonder how fast I’m going…I don’t think I’m going very fast…”
6th km: “Where’d the guys go? I can’t see them anymore…*look behind* There is no one back there either! Did I take a wrong turn? Am I even on the course anymore…this course is weird”
7th km: “I have a big workout Tuesday, maybe I should just coast it on in…umm, you’re in a friggen race right now idiot! Keep pushing! Besides, you’ve been coasting since like the 4th km anyways ya wimp”
8th km: “arghhh….oh look, a Zebra!…arghhhh….”
9th Km: “Can’t believe I gotta run a marathon in 4wks…”
10th km: “Alright, let’s kick it on in, here we go! *40meters later* “Seriously? That’s all ya got? Weak rob, so damn weak…”
Yeah, so needless to say, this was not my finest performance. But that’s ok, It was a fun weekend in Toronto. Got to see some of my buddies, got in a good workout and saw an Elephant. Can’t really complain. I’ll be ready when it matters.
Congrats to Reid on the win, great to see him back in form. Also big congrats to Kip Kangogo on his 2nd place. Kip is one of the best runners on the scene, I don’t think he gets enough respect. He is always solid and he always runs tough as hell. He is running the Victoria Marathon in a couple weeks. I sure hope he nails it, good luck Kip!
I have been racing against Kip since my university days. We were in the same conference, he was at TCU while I was at Colorado State. Kip plays a pretty big part in one of my favorite/shameful races;
Mountain West Conference indoor championships, 2006. Men’s 3000m. This is one of the last events of the meet, I had won the 5000m the day before and I’m looking to double back for more points in the 3k. The race starts, this is the old days folks, this is when FFTF Rob is in full effect. I was a brash & cocky son of a gun. I get off the line hard, looking to punish fools. By halfway it is a two man race. Myself and Kip.
It should be noted that also in our conference is BYU. The Mormon school, very conservative, very straight laced, BYU were a bunch of angels. I couldn’t stand them! They were also the dominate team in the Conference, they won every damn meet, it drove me bonkers.
The race between Kip and I is heating up. We are just hammering each other around that 200m track. With about 1000m to go I come around the top bend and I hear a faint chanting. Next lap the chanting is louder. The entire BYU men’s team has gathered on the bend, they are pounding the track and chanting “kip, kip, kip” in unison. What the hell?!
Maybe I completely forgot the fact that Kip had actually attended BYU for a year. Maybe I forgot that those were his friends simply cheering him on. And maybe I thought BYU was cheering against me, as much as they were cheering for Kip. You see, BYU and I didn’t get along very well. We’ll call it a rivalry, but this wasn’t just a sport rivalry. Also a lifestyle rivalry, sinner vs. angels.
As the race progressed the chanting grew louder and louder. I was working my hardest to drop Kip, I now wanted to win more than ever. 400m to go. Time to kick, but first…I swing wide on the bend out to lane 4 and in I proceed to flip off the entire BYU team as I run by. There is an audible gasp from the crowd as I unleash a furious kick on Kip…He covers, easily, and destroys me over the last lap.
As soon as I finished I knew that maybe I over reacted a bit. Coach comes over, “Nice race Watson, now let’s see if you get disqualified ya bonehead.”
I managed to avoid disqualification, but as punishment for my crude actions I had to go face the entire BYU team to apologize. It was brutal. They immediately accepted the apology with handshakes and smiles. Those Mormons, man they are so damn nice!
Hey, so back to the Marathon stuff. I bounced back from the ZooRun and rolled my best workout in a long time on Tuesday; 3x6mile, 1x2mile w/5min recovery jog. Nailed it. Onward to STWM, 3.5wks to go! Happy training everyone!
Blog #100! It seems like only yesterday I wrote that very 1st BlogDuRob. Actually no, that’s wrong. That was a long ass time ago! If I do recall correctly Blog #1 was about my dead blueberry plants. Sure did set the bar high there.
This blogging has been fun man. It has provided me an awesome opportunity to share my experiences and most importantly allowed me to connect with all you great people. I have met some great folk through this blog. You guys have always been so supportive and positive. Thanks so much! Let’s keep this blog thing going.
Anyways, so blog #100, here it is, let’s get a little serious for a few minutes;
Yeah, so umm…Holy crap folks. That last week was rough. Almost lost it, almost broke. Almost said eff it to this whole damn thing and ran off to Patagonia to herd Llamas.
I have been doing this running thing for a long time. I think have a pretty good handle on it, I know what to expect. There are gonna be ups, there are gonna be downs, just gotta ride the waves and let it flow. But last week, man, last week was a downer. I was on the edge, I almost cracked.
To run your best marathon you have to prepare fully and completely. There is obviously a huge physical component to this game, but there is as also that equally important mental aspect. One of things I love most about this sport is that it is the ultimate collaboration of your body and mind working together as one.
When you prepare correctly the marathon can be a glorious thing. You toe that line ready to take on the world, you can feel unstoppable, invincible. It is great, every runner longs to reach that pinnacle.
But there are occasions when things go the other way, sometimes things just aren’t right. There are instances when you are just not there physically, hampered by injury or just failing to do the work. You can’t perform to your optimal level.
You may also be off mentally. Intimidated by that daunting 42.2km grind. Those feelings of doubt or fear can sabotage the months of hard work and ruin your race.
Then there are the times when neither body nor mind are right. That is a crappy place to find oneself. That’s when things are no fun, that’s when things get ugly. That’s where I was headed last week.
Physically exhausted and mentally fried. I just felt bad, oh so bad. We’re not just talking running bad here either, this was life bad.
I brought it on myself really. I didn’t give myself enough of a mental or physical break after Moscow. My fitness was great, all I needed to do was chill and relax a bit. 9wks is plenty of time to rest and reload. I’d be fine for Toronto! But after Moscow I was so amped to get back into things that I rushed it. I mean come on, a 130mile/wk followed by a 155mile/wk the 2nd and 3rd week after a major marathon? That was just dumb!
Monday last week I wake up and feeling achy, sore and tired. Usually a cup of coffee provides a quick fix. No dice. Morning run is a write off. Afternoon workout not much better. Feeling pretty down about the whole day, digging a hole.
Next day, another couple crappy runs in the stupid heat and humidity. This heat is really starting to bug me. I am growing more and more irritable and grumpy. There is a general haze just fogging my brain.
Wednesday, 5x2mile…Brutal, just brutal. Come home from the run;
Coach Pete: “How’d it go?”
Grumpy Rob: “Horribly.”
Coach Pete: “why?”
Grumpy Rob: “Because it is too effing hot to do any work in this s**t and my legs are done!” *sulks the day away*
I was grumpy, I was tired and I was not in a good space. Before things got too far outta hand I had to do something. I consider myself to be a very positive person, and optimist to the bone. So when I start having a tough time seeing the glass as half full a change has got to be made.
I decided to just shut it down. If only for a few days I needed to recharge. I simply laid around and did very little. I did some very slow jogs and skipped the gym. I ate some junk food and slept 12hrs/night. I reflected on why I do this and what I want out of it. Took some Rob time.
I had a workout Saturday, a hard 9mile tempo. I was still feeling a little lethargic and indifferent towards things. The little vacation had helped a bit. I felt a bit better, maybe? I thought I was pulling through. This 9miler would tell me a lot.
It is very easy to convince yourself of something whilst sitting on the couch sipping coffee. You can tell yourself over and over to just suck it up and work through it. But it’s when you are out there on the roads, when it starts to burn, and float turns to fight. That is when the truth comes out, that is when you find your answers.
I had a very simple plan heading into this workout; Go hard and see how the body and head responds.
I started the tempo and my legs felt alright, wanted to find that steady, hard rhythm. From the get go I was actually feeling decent, had a little pep in the legs and my thoughts were positive. I eventually looked down at my watch after a few miles, dear god was I happy with what I saw; just rolled past 3miles at 4:58/Mile pace.
Couple more miles go by and I am holding the pace. 6mile at 29:49. The burn is getting hot, time to answer some questions.
Ended up running 45:04 for 9miles, fell off the pace the last few miles, but kept the effort full on. Man was I happy. The legs felt so much better and my head had stayed focused and strong.
Marathons, man, these things are serious business. The race is a war, but there are so many battles to fight along the way. Keep fighting friends, keep pushing. Onward to STWM!
Greetings from Charlottesville Virginia. Down here sweating my balls off, trying to grow a sweet beard and training for Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon. It is good stuff.
What should we talk about first? How about some marathon stuff? Building towards STWM on Oct 20th. This build is weird man. We find ourselves in an interesting situation. (just for the record, when I say “we” I am referring to myself and Coach Pete, we’re a team, we’re tackling this stuff together…I also don’t want to take full responsibility for all the stupid stuff I do, even though any stupid thing I do is purely my fault) Anyways, so here we are, fresh off a very successful World Championships run, but hungry for more. The goal in Toronto is simple; run fast!
I know I am very fit, but at the same time this will be marathon number 4 on the year, there is a lot of shit in the legs. What’s the plan on how to tackle this sucker? How are we going to maximize the fitness and make sure we hit that line Oct 20th ready to rock?
The initial plan was a good one, it was simple. Be conservative and ease into this cycle. Go by feel. Obviously I have a tonne of fitness in the ole’ body, but it’s also kinda tired due to the beatings it’s taken over 3 marathons in 4months. Just be conservative and let it flow. So simple!
This plan has hit a snag though folks. What was the snag? Me. I am stupid, stupid Rob is the snag. I didn’t approach this conservatively at all. To my defense we did do the ease week…but the ease week was 210km…then last week I ran 250km…just kinda happened. Dammit… *shakes head in disappointment*
Now don’t get me wrong, the training those two weeks was quite fantastic. I rolled pretty well, but it was unnecessary to run that much. The aerobic base is not the issue here, that sucker is solid. We need the speed, the quality, we need the sexy stuff to be rocking! Basically I have to smarten up. I sound like a broken record over here. Coach made me promise no more than 200km this week. If I go over 200km he’s going to evict me.
Another curve ball here in this build up is that fact that apparently Charlottesville is located firmly on the surface of the Sun. Dear god, it is hot here! The heat is annoying, but it’s manageable. What I can’t deal with, and what is really causing immense amounts of suffering is this gosh darn humidity. It’s brutal man, it’s kicking my ass.
Whilst in Moscow, Dr. Trent told me that I have the 2nd highest sweat rate of any endurance runner he has ever seen. I sweat at a rate of 1.8L/Hour. Not sure exactly what that means, but I think it’s the reason why 15min into every run it looks like I have fallen into the river. It’s also the reason why easy days can become death marches. I come back from an easy hour just drenched. A sopping wet, disgusting, broken man. It is so gross. I finish and even my shoes are soaked. My shoes! I sweat so much that I have to change shoes! Who does that? Need me some more NewBalance 890’s, my current ones are all water logged.
Okay, that was a lot of complaining, sorry. I had to vent. Want some good news? Good news is that I caught my mistakes before I destroyed myself and put myself in a big hole. I have gotten in some great work so far, gonna chill here a bit and let that simmer. The weather is also supposed to get somewhat less horrible, and I think that when things cool off a bit I’ll be ready to fly!
Other good news is that Pete and Kristen have continued to be amazing hosts. They take such good care of me. I’ve been tagging along with Pete a bit during his day job as the UVA coach. Good kids he has there, I watched em’ crush a solid workout the other day, I think that they are gonna be pretty good.
I’m also all caught up on Breaking Bad. Holy moly, such craziness going on in that there show eh folks? That Walter White sure is a trouble maker!
Okay, so that’s that. 5wks out from Scotia and all is good. Life is great. Let’s do this. Cannot wait to hammer on Oct 20th.
However, before we toe the line at STWM I’m going to head up to Toronto for the National 10km Championships next weekend. I have absolutely no idea what to expect there. I figure I’m just gonna put my head down and run hard. Should be fun.
Ok, talk to ya later. I’m going to go apple picking now. Yep, just a 30yr old dude going on a solo apple picking mission on a thursday afternoon. Completely normal.
Hey there, so this here is the plan; I’m gonna do the Toronto marathon. We are two weeks on since Moscow and seven out from Toronto. Feeling healthy, happy and ready to have some fun. It is all systems go my friends. Why Toronto? Well, it’s simply a great Marathon. The organization is great, the spectators are nice, the course can be quick and there is always a top notch field of international and homebred studs to throw down against. Gotta give a huge shout out to Alan Brooks and the whole Canadian Running Series crew, they really do amazing things for our sport here in Canada, gotta love it.
Little more on Toronto here; http://runningmagazine.ca/sections/news/rob-watson-to-run-scotiabank-toronto-waterfront-marathon/
As I embark upon another marathon build. I’ve been hearing some murmuring, I’ve heard some chatter. Some folks don’t really think that I should be tackling another marathon so soon after Moscow, they are not really keen on the idea at all. Fair enough. I can see where they are coming from, usually one would take a little more time between marathons, take a little more recovery. I get it. Go ahead, talk away my friends. Talky, talky, talky. Geez Louise. Chill dudes, I’m good. I got this. The legs feel great, my head is right and I’m ready to get at this cycle. Oh well, like my Grandmother always says; “Haterz gonna hate”
Besides, I growing a beard. Beards immediately make ya hard as hell. It is a scientific fact that people with beards can train harder, recover better and handle tools more efficiently than their non-bearded brethren. The East German women used this bearded training method to dominate the world of track and field during the late 70’s and early 80’s. Beards are rad, the only downfall is that it itches like the dickens and I look like a haggard bum.
For this build I find myself back in Charlottesville Virgina with Pete and Kristen. I’ve been here for two weeks and things have been great. Kristin has continued to act as a top notch personal chef and dietitian whilst Pete is back cracking the whip as the Coach. I’m also technically a volunteer assistant with the mens XC team, but I don’t really do anything. I just run with the guys and try to impart some wisdom on them, but that too is futile because these kids are all smarter than me and they are also way faster than I was in University. Anyways, here’s a pretty cool video that one of the kids made about running in these parts; http://www.flotrack.org/coverage/250896-Cross-Country-Season-on-Flotrack-2013/video/720293-UVA-Mens-Cross-Country-Weekend-work-at-Keene *note, it wasn’t raining the day that this video was made, it is just that damn hot and humid down here right now. After every run it looks like I fell in the friggen river, it’s gross and chaffy. Good for heat training though!
Like I said before, I’ve set up shop here in Cville, I have a solid routine and I’m excited to keep moving forward. After Moscow I took a week down and then another week to ease back into things. I like the ease week. The ease week is used to test the legs, see if they are still there. The ease week is very important. After Moscow I felt like I recovered very well, there was minimal soreness and I felt ready to roll again after like 3days. But ya never know how the legs are gonna respond until ya actually try to put in some work. That is when the ease week comes into play. I did two little test workouts during the ease. Had a very successful track session with the UVA kids on Wed, and then on Saturday I was back on good ole’ Keene for a tempo effort. It was an interesting tempo. The good news was that my legs felt just fine, no concerns there. The problem I encountered was the fact that it was hot as balls out there, not just hot but also humid, man oh man, so humid. I didn’t like that part at all. But I did what I had to do. Overall I proclaim that the ease week was a great success! Onward to Toronto my friends! I’m excited about Oct 20th, I just wanna run fast, I need me a sexy new PB. Let’s get at this!
Cheers folks. Have a good one.