Hey everybody, let’s talk about running. Where shall we begin? Oh I know. How about that Eric Spence eh? Some of you may not know who Eric Spence is, so let me introduce him; Spence is pretty much my best bud. Okay, so that covers that. Why is Eric so special? Well Eric ran his 1st ever road race this past weekend at the Toronto Yonge St. 10km, and he was quite brilliant.
Spence and I started doing a running PodCast this past year and as part of it Eric agreed to train for a 10km road race. Eric has never been much of a runner. He is more of a drinker/floor hockey type. Under the guidance of Dylan Wykes, and his Mile2Marathon training program Eric started chipping away at this running thing. He managed to make it through the truly horrible Toronto winter as his fitness slowly but surely began to take form. This past weekend was the big test; Eric had his big debut race- He friggen smashed it! Dude ran 43:20! In his first race ever! Needless to say I was fairly shocked, and super pumped. I am very proud of my buddy, that run really made my week.
As for myself, I’m just stuck into this training camp pretty good. I ran me a 10,000m race on the track this past weekend. Pete and I figured it’d be good to get in a solid race effort to see how the fitness is coming around. I laced up the ole’ NB’s and gave it a go at the UVA Challenege (brilliant meet by the way- Justyn Knight, don’t even get me started on that guy, calling it now- We’ll see him in Rio) . I was pretty nervous before the race, I hadn’t run a track race since 2010 and I really didn’t know how the legs would feel after hitting 150miles the previous week. It was a beautiful night, there was a great group of guys to run with, and it ended up going pretty well as I rolled 29:27. Not amazing, but I can definitely live with that.
5weeks until the Ottawa Marathon and it is all good folks! I am in substantially better shape than I was last year at this time and the body is really coming around. Next up is the BMO Vancouver ½ marathon on may 3rd. Ok, let’s get to the training log;
Last two weeks;
Mon- 11miles w/ 2miles straights/curves, 9:50 (4:51, 4:59) ran too hard that first mile and kinda blew up. Who blows up in a 2mile workout!? Stride feeling good though, legs are coming around.
Pm. Easy hour. 9miles.
Tues- Workout; 10mile on the road, cutting down to a bit under 6:00min/mile pace. Right onto the track for a 6mile tempo; 30:41(5:10, 5:09, 5:09, 5:09, 5:03, 5:01). 10min jog then 3xmile (800m jog) 4:44, 4:45, 4:43. 3mile cool down. Pretty good session! A lot of good work done here. Tempo felt controlled, but that 3xmile on the end was gnarly- Legs were pretty fried by that point. Nice having the UVA kids for the tempo & Sean was great to follow on the miles. 23miles total.
Wed- 10.5miles easy on the treadmill. Doing a thing where after a hard session I’ll just jump on the treadmill for my next run-less pounding and also flat (Charlottesville is hilly as balls!). Hoping that saves the legs a bit.
Pm. 10.5 easy with the dudes down at riverview park.
Thurs- 8miles chill
Pm 13miles nice and relaxed, legs feel pretty good.
Fri- 14miles w/ 12x100m strides. w/UVA.
Pm. 8miles nice and chill-got caught in a big ass rainstorm!
Sat-Workout; 3mile warm-up, 3xmile (800m jog) 4:32, 4:31, 4:30/ 12x500m (100m jog) avg 86-87, had to take a longer rest after #7 to avoid blowing up. Great session, legs felt really good on the miles, 500’s stung pretty good. w/UVA. 15mile total.
Pm. 7miles on treadmill
Sun- easy 8 before watching ManUtd destroy City!
Pm. Nice 13 to celebrate ManUtd destroying city!
Week; 150miles. Awesome week, got in some really good work. Solid volume and also some good quality sessions. Nice.
Mon- Workout; steady 16miles @ Keene (nice rolling 7mile loop, fairly challenging) 2miles chill to get into it and then started progressing, down to 5:20/mile by mile 7 and held I there for rest of run. 1:29:50 for 16, last 10 in 53ish. Good run, legs were pretty heavy from the start but was able to find good rhythm.
Pm, 7 easy on the treadmill.
Tues. am. Gentle 8mile run- my legs are tired.
Pm. 12miles, again, tired legs. Gonna take a few chill days before this race. I don’t wanna suck.
Wed. Just one run today-73min for 11miles. Felt better.
Thurs. 13miles w/8x200m thrown in. 200’s in 31-32 (200m jog rest) felt quite good, nice and relaxed.
Fri. easy 8miles
Pm. 6chill. Ok, feeling lazy, time to get back at it.
Sat. am easy 5miles shakeout
Race! 10,000m @ UVA Challenge, 29:27 (5th) 14:39/14:48. Felt decent, 2:56km felt super chill, but had no gears or any sort of pop in the legs, just settled in and rolled. Tried to roll the last km but as soon as I tried to pick up the pace I blew up! That last km was lame. 20min jog then 2xmile (400m jog rest) 4:46, 4:45- Felt pretty good. 17 miles on the evening.
Sun. am. 8miles on the treadmill. Felt fine.
Pm. 13miles-eff this run! Legs were sore as balls and it poured rain the entire time, least favourite run in a while.
Week; 124miles. Another good week. Needed to take a few chill days in the middle because I was starting to redline the training a bit. Helped quite a bit and was able to give it a solid effort for the race. This time last year I only managed a 30:30 10km, so fitness is obviously much better! Onward!
This post is essentially just going to be a training update. I wrote an actual post with original content and such last week, buuut I am really dumb and I managed to erase it. I was pretty enraged over this. I said a bunch of swear words and spent a good 30min pouting about. It was pathetic.
I’ve been in Virginia for four weeks now and things really couldn’t be going much better. Pete and Kristen have been amazing (as always), the dogs have been manageable, and I have myself a great group of guys to run with- My man Sean K. is a pretty gnarly training partner, dude is a 13:38 5000m guy and he just recently ran a 62:50 in his half marathon debut. He is getting ready to drop a sick 10,000m here soon, thus I have no shame in getting hammered by him out there on the trails. There is also a great group of Uni kids kicking about, shout out to Zach H. for dropping a very nice 29:08 10,000 at Stanford- I’ve been chasing him around a whole lot as well, dude is quite fit he’ll go 28:40 next time out.
I have gotten my off track situation sorted pretty well as well. Pete managed to score me a free membership to the student rec center (eyes down Watson, those girls are only 20yrs old!) and I am back on my stretch therapy routine with Robin at TruPilates. I love the stretch therapy, it’s so good for my hips and hammies. I’ve also enlisted the help of this dude named Getty to help me work through the little aches and pains that are bound to pop up during this cycle. Getty is trained in Airrosti- a tremendously uncomfortable, yet very effective form of treatment. Between him and Robin the body is feeling pretty good. Getty is also a big Manchester United fan which is a plus, I don’t think I could let a Liverpool supporter work on me, can’t trust em!
My initial goal when I got here was to simply survive the first 3week block. Upon my arrival I was not very fit at all, we kinda just adopted a “Throw Caution to the Wind” training approach and gave’r hell from the get go. Not gonna lie, that first 3weeks was a grind! I spent, most my time chasing the crew around whilst trying to force some fitness to come about. At first I was fairly useless- I blew up in literally every workout! I would start with the crew and try to get stuck in, eventually I would crumble, but not before getting in some quality work and experiencing a good amount of suffering- I gotta re-learn the fine art of the suffer, the ability to suffer is one of a marathoners most important skills.
Finally though as the end of that 1st block approached I started to feel my legs waking up and I started feeling like a real runner again. I am not killing it on the stop watch yet, but I can feel the fitness developing and this excites me greatly. I am friggen stoked to get into the meat of this marathon build-up. Onward to Ottawa! (did I mention that I am doing the Ottawa Marathon on May 24th? Well yeah, that’s the plan!)
Last 3weeks Training;
Monday; am easy 6mile shakout
Pm: Fartlek; 7miles of 3min on, 1 off. Felt good through 3miles, decent through 5, then struggled last 2miles. 37:15 for the loop. Decent session, 13miles total @ Keene.
Tuesday; am easy 7miles followed by 1hr of stretch therapy
Pm 12miles in 1hr18, felt alright. 20min plank routine after.
Wednesday; am easy 6mile jog, 40:00.
Pm; 11miles w/ 2miles of straight/curves in the middle. 2mile in 10:20 (5:10, 5:10) kinda stung!
Thursday; 17miler, was supposed to be a progression, managed to progress a bit, but man I felt kinda shitty today. Ran at PineyRiver, it’s hard to run fast out here (soft) did 13.5 before getting dropped by the group, backed off and reloaded, ran another mile hard…and then blew up for good! 1:45total, got in about 6miles @ 5:30ish.
Friday; am; 9miles on treadmill, legs were kinda achy so hit the ole’ mill. Trying to get the volume up- I’m gonna use the treadmill to help in that process, it’s so soft and relaxing!
Pm; 65min, nice gentle 10miler. Legs felt better!
Saturday; am hour easy, nice 9 nothing much to report here.
Pm; 11miles, again, fairly uneventful.
Sunday; 1hr38, just one run today. 15around town and some drills/strides at the track.
Week; Solid week. Not a whole lot of quality, focusing on getting the volume up to a proper marathon training level and getting the legs accustomed to all that pounding. Managed to hit 125, which is a good start. Next week we get sexy again!
Monday; Big sexy track session. 3xmile (200m jog rest)/2mile jog/ 10x500m (100m jog rest)/1mile jog/ 2x1000m (400m jog rest); 4:39 (61) 4:38 (64) 4:41 (ouch!)/ avg 88-89 and 28-30 for rest/ 2:57 (2:02) 2:57. Good hard session! Was redlining pretty hard, tipped on mile 3 & after 500 #5 (took 400m jog). 1000’s were good- legs were jello! 18mile session after all was said and done.
Tuesday; am easy 8miles at riverview, legs were pretty blah.
Pm; 10miles, 1:06 legs felt better.
Wednesday; am 14miles at keene, 2 looper, start chill then workdown a bit. 5:50 by end of loop one, 5:30 avg for loop 2. 1:23 total time. Felt pretty good!
Pm; easy 7mile treadmill roll. 45min
Thursday; nice little 7mile morning jog, felt good.
Pm; 13miles 1:26. Last two miles I was dragging ass
Friday; 12miles w/2miles straights/curves; 9:56-458, 4:58. That is a tricky little 10min, gets quite uncomfortable.
Pm; 9miles on treadmill, 60min
Saturday; am 92min around Washington DC, such a cool city! Love this place, so much history. 14miles.
Sunday; Long run w/ Progression, 11miles chill then 6mile cutdown on the track; 5:21. 5:19, 5:13, 5:10, 5:05, 4:52. 3mile cooldown. That was awesome! Very happy with how that went, smooth and controlled on the track, last 800m got kinda hard. So much better than 3wks ago. Progress! Survived the first block! Pretty knackered now though. Looking forward to a few chill days coming up.
Week; Great week to finish up the 1st block, some solid workouts and good volume-132miles. Good stuff, body is coming around and mind is happy.
March 30- April 5
Monday; 8miles, 54min. That’s it, that’s all for today. Couple easy days here to let the work settle in the legs.
Tuesday; 67min, nice little 10mile jaunt.
Wednesday; 11miles w/10x30sec strides worked in. 72min
Thursday; 72min, 11miles. Well those 4easy days were very nice. Back to work tomorrow!
Friday; 6mile tempo+ 4xMile, @ riverview park. 6miler-30:00 (10min rest) 4xMile (800m jog rest) 4:41, 4:41, 4:41, 4:44. Good session. 6miler was harder than I woulda liked, but was happy with how the miles went, although my life did come crashing down the last 800m of mile 4, ouch! Good effort today. Rolled w/Sean, Trevor and Thomas. 16miles total
Pm 4m; 46min treadmill shakeout
Saturday; 8miles, 53min. Legs were tired
Pm; 12miles 1hr19, legs were tired.
Sunday; Early 8miler before watching the soccer game. ManUtd won again, they are playing great right now. Top4 is looking very possible.
Pm; 12miler, went exploring up to ragged mountain reservoir, very good run, quite hilly though.
Week; Started with 4nice relaxing days and then hammered a really good session. Good week-Block 2 has begun! 103miles.
Hey, long time eh? I figured that it’d be sad for the blog to die, so I’m gonna write some stuff. I currently lack any sort of creative spark and my life is fairly boring, so I’m just gonna fill you in on the goings on of my training. God I hope this blog doesn’t disintegrate into bland, generic running drivel…
I am down here in Charlottesville Va. w/ Coach Pete and Sister Kristen. Been here 2 weeks now and it’s coming along. These two take pretty good care of this 31yr old child. The basic goal of this camp is to get fit and stop sucking. Last year I sucked, and then I got hurt and also became unfit. Unfit and sucky is generally a terrible state for any runner to find them self in, especially one trying to make the damn Olympics. Gotta rectify that situation asap!
My first week here I was still just getting my legs back under me after a 6wk hiatus due to some achilles tendon issues. My entire Jan-Feb were basically write-offs. I did manage to get a few weeks of jogging in back in Vancouver before I came here. Oh yeah! Big shout out to Dylan and Francine for letting me crash on their couch for a whole friggen month whilst I was dealing with my achilles thing. You see folks. Initially I was supposed to arrive in Charlottesville in mid Jan- then I got hurt and had to stick around Vancouver for all my treatment and such. But, in anticipation of this camp I had sub-let my apartment for Feb and March. So when Feb rolled around and I was still stuck in Vancouver I found myself homeless. It was dark days my friends. Thankfully I have some amazing friends in Dylan and Francine and they took me in for the month. I love those guys! Oh also shout out to their amazing little baby Sasha, I love that kid.
Where were we? Oh yeah, I arrived in CVille march 3rd ready to get stuck into some work. Sadly though the first thing to happened upon my arrival in CVille was that this place received a solid dumping of snow. I really hate snow. My first four runs in town looked a little something like this; Run1- Easy run, started snowing & by the end I was slipping and sliding all over the damn place. Run2-Loops around the corridors of the basketball arena. Runs 3 &4-Treadmill. Sweet camp!
Since then though things have really turned around- the weather has gotten much better and my legs are coming back. Fortunately there is also a really solid group of guys here that are gonna pull me along and whip me into shape. The uni kids here are legit, and Sean is no longer fat and slow. I’m pretty optimistic about this whole thing.
Let’s talk some actual training now shall we? My 1st workout back was a longer run with a bit of progression on the end. Ran 10miles nice and chill and then jumped on the track for some progression. I went 5:20, 5:17, 5:14 and 5:12 on the track before my legs called it a day. The crew kept rolling and progressed down to sub 5:00’s, very impressive but way too rich for my blood, these university kids are good! After shutting down the fast stuff I jogged another 2miles for 16 total on the day. Nothing to write home about, but it was my longest run since December and it felt good to get some quality in there. That run right there was the start folks, can only go up from there.
For the rest of last week I basically just threw myself into the fire. I ran a lot, struggled through a couple more workouts and established my training camp routine. Training camp routine is actually super sweet, it basically consists of Running, gym sessions, coffee breaks, naps and netflix. I friggen love it.
Ok, so this post is done, just getting warmed up here, hopefully I can keep at it for a little while. Below is a quick recap of last weeks training;
Monday- am; 10miles easy/ pm; 7miles + Strength work. 17day
Tues- am; 14miles w/9miles at about 5:30pace, 1:21 total/ pm: 5miles easy + gym. 19day
Wed-am; 52min, 8miles, sore legs!/ pm; 10miles + core work. 18day
Thurs- am; really easy 9, 60min/ pm; 6miles + strides&drills. 15day
Friday- am; Interval workout 6xmile (100m jog rest) 4:49, 4:47, 4:47, 4:49, 4:52 4:52 (rest avg= 67sec) Bloody hell that was hard! Slow, but good effort, can live with that. pm; easy 6 shakeout. 18day
Saturday- 46min chill. pm; 65min easy, 10miles. Nice relaxing day, 15day.
Sunday- am; a very windy 11! pm; 6miles+ Gym. 17day
week=120, pitter patter let’s get at’er!
Respect your parents.
Well, what an interesting week it has been in the business of track and field. Seriously, what the hell is going on? If it isn’t a huge doping scandal (I’m looking at you Russia and Kenya) then it is more reports of corruption and greed coming from the highest levels (looking at you USATF and IAAF). Then as though this wasn’t enough, we have to deal with just plain stupid bullshit (looking at you IOC, don’t you dare touch the 10,000). Folks, our sport is kinda effed right now.
I could rage on this all damn day, I really could. I could state my opinions on Lamine Diack and his entire corrupt and inept organization. I could accuse Stephanie Hightower and her USATF cronies of being scheming, unethical tyrants. Hell, I could even rant about the IOC and how they have transformed into little more than a soulless corporation, more concerned with lining their own pockets than supporting the excellence and beauty of sport in which they were originally formed.
I can’t help but be mad, get frustrated. But ya know what? For every idiot in a suit, we have thousands in sneakers. We cannot let a few cancerous bureaucrats corrupt our sport. Despite all this BS, running is still a beautiful thing. We have an amazing sport, we will keep it pure, it won’t change.
Whenever I feel the cynicism build I like to think back on my early days in this sport. Why did I fall in love with running in the first place? I fell in love with the beauty of running, the freedom of running and the joy of just pushing yourself to new heights. It is a very personal thing, they can’t corrupt that.
I also fell in love with the scene that us road runners have. There is such a positive vibe within this community. One of my favourite things to do is run a road race. Special things happen on those roads.
One of my favourite things in the world can happen during a road race. There isn’t a name for it, it is something you have to experience to understand. This would happen every so often when I was younger, I’d be running a 10km race, at km 7 things would start to hurt. I’d be grinding hard and eventually roll up on someone, or maybe they’d roll up on me. Either way, we’d begin to battle each other. We’d push and we’d fight, neither letting the other get away. After about a kilometer of this something would happen. Through some sort of unspoken agreement we would stop fighting, we would lock into stride and we would become a team. We would support each other, we would push each other. Very few words were spoken, but we both knew that we were going to keep hammering together to get to that finish line. Eventually we would cross that line, exhausted yet euphoric we’d share a fist bump and a smile. I was just a punk kid, and they were, well hell, they could have been anyone. It didn’t matter. For those 3km we were just two runners working together as one to reach our goals.
Experiences like those are special, they are genuine and pure. Experiences like that are exactly why I love this sport . There is going to be bureaucracy and politics that will corrupt the outer surface of the sport. It is up to the rest of us to lace up our sneakers and make sure its soul stays intact.
Tuesday was a big day folks, for the 1st time in 6wks I attempted to do some fast running. The last time I ran fast was at about km 22 of the Toronto Marathon. Needless to say I was a little apprehensive as I jumped into a fartlek workout with Dylan Wykes.
I usually don’t get anxious before workouts, but man I was stressing before this one. I was scared that my hamstrings would fail me, and I was nervous that my fitness would be non-existent. Essentially I was just really scared of sucking. I am lacking running confidence right now, I really wanna stop being slow and get fast again. I haven’t had this much pre-run anxiety for a long time. I almost took a dive and chickened out last minute.
We met out in Richmond and jumped on the dyke. The dyke is flat and soft, not a bad place to ease back into things. We did an easy 5km warm-up jog, to be honest the pace felt a little quick, but I was committed at this point. The goal was simple, just get 20min worth of hard running in the legs. No sucking out allowed. I used to be a pretty tough bastard, easily an 8 out of 10 in my ability to suffer and grind. Last year that dropped to a 5 at best. I am currently a fairly large wimp and I have become accustomed to sucking out, it’s embarrassing.
We started the 1st interval, a 6min pickup. I really had no idea what to expect, I was just hoping to keep Dylan close and not to blow up. I was pleasantly surprised when I was able to fall into stride with DW, and just let the running flow. We finished up that 6minuter with minimal damage done.
We jogged a little rest and then got into a 2minuter followed by a 1minuter, the pace was a bit quicker, but my stride felt alright. The 1st set was complete and I was feeling pretty happy.
Set 2 started with a 5minuter. Dylan got off the line a bit quicker on this one, and by the 2nd minute things were getting burny. Pride was quickly swallowed as the 2:10man ran away. I just focused on relaxing and letting my stride flow. That 5minuter hurt, not gonna lie. Couple minute jog, 2minuter and a 1minuter. 2nd set complete, damage had been done. I was drooling a bit.
I was still breathing hard and in some discomfort as we started the 3rd set. 4minuter, my last interval. I tried to get stuck in and finish it up strong. I looked at my watch when it first started to hurt…54sec. Oh man. I definitely ran harder than I should have for a simple farlek run. I finished up that 4min with hands on knees and a foggy head.
21min should not be that hard, but Eff it man, gotta start somewhere. My hamstrings felt fine, my stride felt smooth and I had fun out there.
There we go my friends, the comeback has begun. We’ll build on that 21minutes, nowhere to go but up. 2014 was a disaster. 2015 is gonna be fun. I can’t wait.
Quick shout out to all those whom busted balls at Natties XC last weekend. Props to Chris Winter for a brilliant run for the win, Great job buddy.
Be good folks.
Hey, welcome to the new place. Why has LeBlog moved to a new place? Well the old place up and died, just stopped working. I’m not 100% sure what happen to LeBlogDuRob.com. All I know is that it died a tragic and unexpected death.
Why did LeBlogDuRob die? To be honest I don’t really know, but here is what I figure happened; LeBlog was initially set up by a 3rd party. They signed up for the domain, they designed the site and then they gave me free reign. This third party was planning on making money from advertising and stuff from the blog. However, the business plan based on trying to make money off modestly visited, niche blogs didn’t really pan out, and these 3rd party folk quickly lost interest and moved on to some other venture…
Eventually it came time to renew the domain address, but the third party had all the technical stuff and probably got all the correspondence from the site host. Obviously it was never renewed, and eventually leBlog went into default and everything got erased.
That’s my theory anyways. There is a good chance that I am completely wrong and some other internet phenomenon caused the demise of my beloved blog.
RIP LeBlogDuRob, I’m really gonna miss that place, also pretty bummed that 116 blog posts are gone! Now I know how Romans felt after the burning of the Library of Alexandria. Oh well, so that brings us to now, and that brings us to the new home; LeBlogDuRob2. Sequels are rarely as good as the original, but maybe we’ll get lucky and have our own Godfather2 here.
That’s that. Let’s get going.
Quick update on my goings on. Slowly but surly I’m getting back into the running grind. My hamstrings are still fairly useless. I am taking it fairly easy and easing into things. My volume is pretty decent, but I am being cautious when it comes to quality work. I’m gonna be posting my training here at LeBlog2, just click the link up there at the top to see what I have been up to. I reckon it will be quite uninteresting until the new year. Come 2015 it’ll be time to get sexy again, all systems go as the attack the Olympic qualifying begins.
Something that I am kinda stoked about is a new PodCast thing that one of my oldest buddies and I started. You can check it out here; PodCast
This PodCast came to be after a bunch of beer and mutual boredom. Eric is really good at the radio and media stuff, and I am kinda a specialist in this running game. We basically just combined forces and created this fun little DIY PodCast. If ya have 30min or so. Give it a listen and let me know what you think.
Ok, so that there is a little update. I’ll get after a proper blog next week.
“Congratulations Rob, you continued your incredibly consistent performance of dropping out of the Toronto Marathon.” – Tim Hutchings, post race…That cheeky Brit.
So what happened? As you may already know I have had a history of Hamstring issues. These friggen things are the bane of my running existence. They have been acting up pretty good the last few weeks, lefty was causing some serious worry heading into the race…
Warming up; “Gah, left hammy is still pretty achy, hope it loosens up…”
100m into race; “Gah, left hammy, why you gotta be like that? You better loosen up…”
10km into race; “Left hammy…eff you, you friggen jerk. Well, hope we can get through this…”
16km; “Okay, the ache is not getting much worse, we can deal with this! Sweet!”
22km “Oh god, I think I just got stabbed in the leg, WFT! Stabby, is that you, you little bastard!?”
24km “Okay, your hammy is effed dude, what do you wanna do?…”umm…let’s try to pick up the pace and see what happens…” 200m later…”welp, that’s all for me today…sonofabitch.”
26km; Walking down the road in defeat, nice young women turns to me and is holding a sign that declares “Rob is our Champ.”…FML:(
So yeah, another STWM another DNF. Man, I have had such a shitty year! Sorry guys.
Don’t really have a whole lot to talk about here, so a few quick words before I head out; Congrats Eric Gillis, the most consistent runner I have ever met, what a friggen champ!
Congrats Jason Faber, my buddy from Ottawa rolled a 2:59 out there. Huge PB and a BQ, congrats dude!
Thanks STWM, another amazing race. The Canadian Running Series is top notch, Alan Brooks and his team know how to throw a party.
Huge thanks to everyone for the kind words and constant support that y’all have shown me. I have struggled, there is no doubt about that. I don’t wanna suck, and I promise that I will unsuckify myself soon. Gotta tweek a few things here and there. I’ll be back and rolling soon enough.
I guess the only good thing about being as inconsistent as I am is that I can deal with the disappointment of crappy races. Gonna brush it off and move forward. In the immortal words of one of the greatest one hit wonders of all time; Chumbawumba…
Okay, let’s never talk about this again. Onwards to better times!
Well, that was a fun little weekend in Berlin. My last blog post was about my desire to find more fun in my running endeavors. I can safely safe mission accomplished. This weekend was definitely one of the most enjoyable experiences of my running career.
A few weeks ago I received an e-mail from brother Pete, he had been talking to Shalane Flanagan’s husband Steve and her agent Tom. The Flanagan camp was in search of some capable pacers to help Shalane at the Berlin Marathon. She would be attempting to break the American record and she was looking for some escorts to help her along the way. My name came up and Pete contacted me to see if I was interested. I pretty much accepted immediately.
I am a decent runner, but more than anything I am just a huge fan of this sport. So when the opportunity came about to be a personal pacer for one of my favourite runners, at one of the biggest marathons in the world, there was really no other choice than to pack my bags, dust off my 10th grade German skills and get on the plane.
It was a quick little trip, but man was it ever rad. I arrived in Berlin late Thursday after a long and arduous travel day. I love going to all sorts of different places, but good god, the process of getting there grinds my gears. It may be a pretty big 1st world problem, and I’m sure Louie CK would disapprove but man the travel process may be my least favourite thing in the world. Elon Musk has gotta get going on that Hyper Loop thing.
After the combination of delayed flights, a missed connection and some other snafu’s I arrived at my hotel at 10pm Berlin time. A nice little 18hr travel shit show. I was kinda wired so I snuck in a quick 45min jog to try to shake the travel. I ran through the Tiergarten, around the Brandenburg gate and down the barren Berlin streets. By the time I was done my jog I was happy, refreshed and excited to partake in this adventure.
Early Friday morning I met up with the other pacer, Ryan Vail and Coach Jerry Schumacher. We ran the last 12km of the course. It was immediately obvious as to why this course has had so many world records set on it. Sucker is flat as a pancake, the roads are smooth and the turns are gentle. It is a marathon runners dream.
The energy and atmosphere around the meet hotel was pretty electric. Berlin in one of the 6 World Marathon Majors, and it has a tendency to produce some special races. I was feeling super excited to get going, but I was also feeling a bit of pressure. There was a lot of media buzzing around, and the internet was quite active with pre-race thoughts and analysis. This race was clearly a big deal and I didn’t wanna be the knob that screws things up! It was super comforting knowing that I would have Ryan Vail right there helping as well. Dude is a stud marathoner in his own right with a 2:10:57 PB.
On Saturday I met again with Ryan and Jerry as we covered the first 10km of the course. Again, flat, fast and awesome. As the race drew closer the nerves began to increase. I knew I was fit enough to get the job done, but at the same time there was a very small tinge of doubt. To break the American record of 2:19:36 we would have to average 3:18/km, and I was committed to a minimum of 35km at that pace. As I was thinking about the numbers behind this effort I got kinda scared, holy hell this was going to be a pisser of a long run!
Sunday morning arrived and we were presented with a perfect day to do some marathon running. This was the most nervous I had been before a race in a long while. I have missed that pre-race emotion and anxiety. Man, I was fired up. Ryan and I warmed up together, reconfirmed the strategies and laced up our boots, we were ready to take our girl on a little tour of Berlin.
I have met Shalane several times before this race, and each time I have been so impressed with how down to earth and genuine she is. She is literally the sweetheart of American distance running. She has an Olympic medal, several American records and an endless list of other accolades. And now here she is on the start line of the Berlin Marathon, she has a ridiculous amount of expectation and external pressure on her, yet as the starter announces one minute to start time, she turns to Ryan and myself and expresses her sincere thanks to us for rabbiting for her. It was quite humbling.
The gun goes and it’s on.
Ryan and I immediately went to the front and established the pace. We were also joined by a Belgian runner whom was there to pace the Japanese runner. What I was not expecting was the hordes of other dudes whom decided to latch on to our pack. Fair enough, sub 2:20 is a pretty big milestone, so ya can’t fault them for getting in the pack. Still, they were kinda annoying at times. All those dudes owe Ryan and myself a beer at very least.
After the chaos and confusion of the 1st few km dissipated we were able to settle in and get to work, 33:00 at 10km, 66:00 at 20km, 69:38 for the half. The Belgian was long gone, the pack had settled, and the record attempt was on, Shalane was looking great and rolling strong.
But like it has happened to thousands of other runners, in thousands of other marathons, at around 32km the pace began taking its toll. We backed off briefly in attempts to regroup. Just as that was happening a train of Ethiopian women came streaming by. For a lot of runners this would be pretty demoralizing- Shalane was already in her own little world of hurt, then these ladies just show up and float on by. This is when Shalane showed just why she is one of the best in the world. She kept completely calm and focused, she didn’t flinch. She waited, regrouped and then she dug the hell down! she began to fight back! (I have no idea where this strength came from, when this happens to me I usually start whimpering and drooling on myself.)
Over the course of the next few km’s we caught the girl in 3rd (Bekele), then at around 38km we caught the girl in 2nd (Tadese). It was awesome man, Shalane was suffering, but she was competing so damn hard, she was even attacking. I couldn’t help but get excited, my fandom started to emerge. I was running and cheering at the same time. I have to apologize to Shalane for anything I said here, I was getting a little worked up.
Shalane and Tadese locked on to each other and for a good 2km these girls fought each other tooth and nail. Finally the toll of the early pace caught up and Shalane was bankrupt. Shalane ended up finishing 3rd overall in 2:21:14. A big PB and 2nd fastest American woman ever. It was an amazing effort. When you come into a race like this looking to do something so special it can be easy to become demoralized and give in when it starts to unravel. Shalane ran until she physically broke, but at no point did she ever mentally waver. It really was an amazing thing to see.
Ryan and I ended up taking Shalane 41km (we were strictly instructed to step off there). It was great having Ryan there, because that was a friggen hard effort. It got quite difficult at times, hell I even doubted my ability to keep going at points. At 32km I was really cursing my decision to not taper just a little for the race. Shit man, that really stung. It was so damn good to have another guy there to help monitor the pace and keep things steady.
The physical exertion was hard. but the most difficult part for myself was the mental side of the effort. Usually during long runs and long races it is nice to just shut off the brain and run. The less thinking the better. We didn’t have that luxury on Sunday, we had to be aware and alert the whole time. It was kind of exhausting, but I that was my job, so no complaints there and in the end that was a really cool experience.
Gotta give a huge thanks to Shalane, Steve, Tom and Jerry for inviting me to this event. I was honored to be given such responsibility. They are an awesome group of people, The Bowerman Track Club really has a special thing going there in Portland.
Also huge thanks to the Berlin marathon for being such great hosts.
Kudos to Ryan Vail for being a cool dude and great co-worker, best of luck to him at the NYC Marathon, hope he kills it!
Also shout out to Shalane’s Dad, Steve Flanagan and the rest of her support squad, such nice people.
Finally big ups to the fine folks at the Boston Marathon (Mary Kate), London Marathon (Dave Bedford) and Mr. Tim Hutchings for the delicious post run Pilsners. Always great to hang out with these people. One of the highlights of this trip was a heated, 4pint deep debate on the prospects of the 2hr marathon.
Okay, so that whole endeavour was awesome.
I have heard a bit of criticism, and it is apparent that a few folks had their reservations as to whether it was a good idea for me to do this 3weeks out from my own marathon in Toronto. Fair enough, but the run itself was not an issue, sure it was quite a hard effort, but got in a great long effort out there, I would have been doing something very similar back in Vancouver anyways. It also allowed for perfect practice for race day planning; I did my exact pre-race routine, experienced race day emotions (I was friggen nervous man) and was able to get to practice race fueling and get a taste of that atmosphere.
I was able to roll a couple steady runs on Monday. No worse for wear there. It was the travel that beat me up a bit. But to be honest I’ll take 3 or 4 days of heavy legs and slight fatigue in exchange for the HUGE mental and emotional shift that has occurred as a result of this weekend. I needed that and now I can’t friggen wait to line up and give it a go of my own in Toronto. Onward to STWM my friends.
So I decide to get the blog going again and then the first thing I do is run a terrible race. Lame. I could talk about the race, but that really wouldn’t be too much fun for anyone. I think I’ll just make 3 quick points and then move on;
1. Kelly Weibe, frick yeah!
2. Another great event from our friends at CRS.
3. It was hilarious being heckled by addicts and homeless folk during the race, gotta love East Van!
Ok, so that race wasn’t so awesome for myself. Actually pretty much all of 2014 has lacked a certain level of awesomeness. So what’s my deal? Why have I become a crappy runner? I’m not 100% sure why, but I have a theory. Can you lend me an ear? I have some things I wanna talk over. This may get weird, but sometimes you just gotta talk (write) things out to try to make sense of it all. I apologize in advance.
*Note before going on: This is all on me. I made all these decisions and choices on my own. Obviously there are outside opinions and such, But in the end I decide the things I do and how I do em’.
2013 was an awesome year for myself. I ran PB’s in the Marathon and Half Marathon. I placed well in big races and I had a lot (a lot!) of fun doing it. It was a spontaneous, exciting and free flowing. I did what I wanted, trusted my gut and lived in the moment. 2013 was pretty friggen rad.
After 2013 I figured I was on the verge of a big breakthrough, I figured that 2:10 was right around the corner. I just had to be more focused, more disciplined, be more “Professional”.
Coming into 2014 I changed my approach and took on this mindset of “professionalism”. I tried to do everything the “right” way. There were things that I wanted to do this past season, opportunities I wanted to take *cough, commonwealth games, cough*. But I chose not to because I thought they would interfere with my ultimate super elite goals. Fun took a back seat, but that was ok because I was being professional, and in the end I was gonna run wicked fast. Well, I have yet to run a good race in 2014. It has been frustrating because in my head I am thinking “what the hell? I’m doing this right, I’m being professional, why am I running like a ballsack?”
I’m just trying way too hard to be a proper pro. I’m doing this, that and everything else in an attempt to do things the way I think they should be done. It looks good on paper, but in reality there is a big problem. The problem is simply that it’s being forced, it’s not natural. It’s all so regimented and serious. That approach is lame. I have always run for the simple joy and love of the sport. I happen to have become decent at it, that’s pretty rad, but what’s the point of doing it if I can’t have some fun at the same time?
I have been influenced by what others say about me. You know how many times I’ve heard people say things like “Rob could be good if only he were more serious.” Or, “If Watson would just focus more on running and less on cookies and beer he could be really good…”
I read those things and I let it influence my mindset and decision making. I went against my gut and tried to conform to this industry standard of how an “elite” runner must act. I’m annoyed at myself for letting that get to me.
Everyone works differently. Everyone has different motivations, driving factors and goals. Along that same vein, there are also many different ways to approach things. Many different ways to tackle your goals. I strayed from my natural flow. I tried to force a different path. That clearly has not worked. I have to stick what has worked for me in the past. I have to stop trying to be a pro runner, and just run because it is what I love to do.
Don’t get me wrong. I work my balls off, and will continue to do so. I want to run a 2:10 marathon. That will take a lot of hard work, that will take a lot of sacrifice. But given the proper mindset, hard work is fun, sacrifice is necessary. I don’t mind being sore and tired all the time, just as long as I am doing it right, doing it on my terms and the way I want.
I will continue to chase my dreams and I’ll keep living this running life. I just have to remember, although running fast is fun, there so much more to this sport. The people I meet, the places I go and experiences I gather, these things can be just as rewarding and fulfilling as running a PB.
Okay, so that is what I’m thinking. I’m gonna right this ship. Onward my friends.
Well, hello there.
Recently I have been getting quite a bit of flack about my lack of blogging. I guess this flack is fairly well deserved. I mean, I did just pretty much quit outta the blue. No warning, no farewells, just straight stopped, went for milk and never came back.
I have thought about this blog a few times since I stopped. I like this blog, I miss this blog. I miss connecting with all you fine folks. I have come to a decision- I figure that it’s about time to pull up my boot straps and get back on this blogging horse.
So without further ado. Let’s blog this shit.
Alright, I’m not even gonna bother trying to catch y’all up with what I have been up to since my last post. Just go ahead and assume that I have been training a lot, dating tonnes of sexy ladies* and pretty much just killing it all around.
Let’s talk running. Right now I am stuck right deep in a marathon build. The Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon is a little over 5wks away. Once again I’ll be lacing up the boots and giving it a go there on the mean streets of Hogtown.
I’m excited for STWM2014, I think this will be a good one. I am super stoked about the new course layout for this year. Last year the course was awesome…up to 36km, then it was pretty lame. There was a sharp 180degree turn at km39. Seriously, who the hell has the physical or mental capabilities to navigate such a hellacious manoeuver 39km into a marathon. It was bogus man.
This year though, this year they got it right. They got rid of the lame parts and this new course is looking right sexy. There is pretty much a straight shot home from 33km, and better yet, much of that is run coming back the opposite direction of other runners. I love when courses do that. The latter stages of a marathon can be fairly lonely. After 30ish k I often find myself in no mans land running solo, slowly dying both mentally and physically. I love seeing the other runners out there, my brothers in arms, fighting the good fight together. I pull energy from them, they pump me up. It also makes me feel better about myself when I am suffering mightily at 37km and those poor bastards on the other side of the road are only at 28km (I kid!…kinda.)
So yeah, Toronto, October 19th. New course is gonna be rad.
I am also excited to be joined in Toronto by youngblood Kelly Weibe. Now, I will never give predictions for 1st time marathoners. The race is just way too gnarly and you never know how people are gonna respond come 38km. But this kid has been preparing very well and I think he could run himself a good one. Kelly has the fire, I would know, homeboy has been scorching me on the regular out there on the roads.
Well, I’m exhausted. My writing over the last several months has been confined to 140 character bursts. I’m cramping up here, carple tunnel or something. I’m gonna stop, but this time I promise I’ll be back. I have a little race on Saturday, maybe I’ll tell ya about it next week.
*got matched with a girl whom may, or may not have been sexy on Tinder. I’ll never know because I didn’t actually attempt to talk to her…