Blog #104

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.

Bad Ass NewBalance Kit.

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.

Piss off Stabby!

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.

 

-rob-

25
Oct 2013
AUTHOR rob
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Blog #103

“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.

-rob-

10
Oct 2013
AUTHOR rob
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Blog #102

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.

Feeling good early, getting into that groove.

Man, that last hill really hurt!

 

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!

Cheers Friends.

 

-rob-

03
Oct 2013
AUTHOR rob
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Blog #101

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.”

50m in, right in the thick of things. Anyone's race at this point.

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.”

Come on guys, just slow down a little bit!

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!

"Great race Kip, let's dance...I'll take the lead here too"

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.

Suck it BYU

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!

-rob-

27
Sep 2013
AUTHOR rob
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Blog #100

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!

Be good.

-rob-

 

19
Sep 2013
AUTHOR rob
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COMMENTS 17 Comments

Blog #99

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.

-rob-

12
Sep 2013
AUTHOR rob
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COMMENTS 13 Comments

Blog #98

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!

Little tempo work at Keene

 

Cheers folks. Have a good one.

-rob-

 

03
Sep 2013
AUTHOR rob
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COMMENTS 19 Comments

Blog #97

Hey, I ran in the World Championship Marathon yesterday. Wanna hear about it? Okay then, buckle in because I am just gonna start rambling here folks.

Where oh where to start? Ok, first things first. This trip has been brilliant, so friggen happy that I am here. The camps have been great, the competition has been rad and most importantly all the people involved have been absolute beauties. Such good vibes from start to finish! Just wanted to put that out there.

Race recap time!

Heading into this race training had gone quite well. I rocked it pretty good until right around the end of Aug, but then I had about 10days of suck where I was actually quite terrible. I was just feeling tired and run down. So heading overseas I was a bit concerned. Coach told me to just rest up and chill. I did just that and slowly but surely my legs came back over the last few weeks of this cycle.

I got to Kamen Germany for training camp on Aug 2nd whilst I was still kinda sucky. Then on Aug 5th I just woke up and my legs had the ‘pop’ back, man was I relieved! I managed to get in a solid 6mile tempo run the next day, after that I knew I would be fine. I was also taking advantage of the awesome Athletics Canada support squad and getting a lot of physio and massage to help expedite the recovery. Huge thanks to Marilou and Al for keeping me together!

The team arrived in Moscow on Aug 7th, we encountered a bit of a shit show at the Airport as half of team Canada’s luggage failed to arrive, but it was smooth sailing after all that got cleared up. I managed to get to the track and take in a lot of the competitions. It has been brilliant. I have been keeping a daily blog covering my Moscow experience over at the Canadian Running site, check it here.

As the race approached My braintrust (Coach Pete, Dave Scott-Thomas & Trent Stellingwerth) and myself spent a lot of time formulating our plan of attack. Championship style racing is different from the regualar time trial type major marathon that I am used to. This is a race for place, time means nothing. We started off by identifying a specific goal and then we got on planning for the best way to achieve it.

When the start lists came out before the race I was the 48th ranked runner, we figured that with good tactics and solid execution a top 20 finish was not out of the question. That is what we set our sights on and we formulated our plan around it.

The first we determined was that we would have to approach this thing cautiously.  I went through  results of all the past world championships and recent Olympic races and noted that a lot of dudes whom finished within the 20-25 range were conservative at the start and then ran through the field over the last 10km, picking of stragglers and getting free spots as many overreachers dropped out. Our Canadian boys from last years Olympic race were an excellent examples of this model.

Another factor contributing to the justification of a conservative plan was the fact that the race was being held at 3:30 in the afternoon and thus the heat was gonna play a big roll. The forecasts were calling for a sunny day with highs up to 24degrees. Trent was an invaluable resource here, I let him know what kind of shape I thought I was in if the race were to be run in ideal conditions,  he then used his big ole brain to do some calculations based on temperature, humidity and so forth to find a comparable pace that would be reasonable given the conditions come race day.

I was actually hoping for a warm day. In these championship races you know for a fact that the African runners are going to go for it, they want to win and they just get on the pace and hold till they break. Even on a nice day the attrition rate of this fearless racing style is going to produce blow ups, then when you throw in the heat element,  the causality rate is going to be even more severe. I basically just wanted to be patient and let people beat themselves.

Heading into the race I was happy with the plan, I just had to execute, be smart. But given my history, this is much easier said than done! I have entered races with plans before and more often than not that plan is thrown out the window within the first few km’s as I get all horny and stupid.

So that takes us to the race itself!  Gun goes off and right off the bat I do not feel very good. I really had to pee and my legs were feeling flat. Looking back on it, this was great because it forced me to chill out. As it was happening though I was kinda freaked, kinda started feeling that I was in for a long day!

I hooked onto a little pack that included the 3 Americans and rolled with them for the first 10km, we hit 10km in about 31:50. I was still not feeling very good at all. 3:11km’s should have been a jog, but I was just not feeling it, I had to I back off and just hope my legs would come around.

One thing I did have going for me is that I had the best support crew out there. Trent, Dave and racewalking coach Jerry were on the course manning the aid stations. I had them giving me my place and how far back from 20th I was. This information was awesome to have, But the most important thing they were doing was providing me with bottles. Every 5km I would get 2 bottles, one with my fuel and then another bottle that was simply ice cold water. I would douse myself in this water.  This ice bottle was a life saver out there! It was hot out there folks, the temps peaked at 27Degrees during the race, and just being able to get even that slight reprieve from the heat every 16min made a huge difference!

At 10km I was 48th place, and even though I was struggling I managed to make my way up to 38th by 20km. At this point I was over 2min back from 20th but I was finally starting to feel good!

The race was being run on a big 10km loop, 5km up one side of the road, 5km back down. Heading up the one side it was quite windy so I would just chill in a group to help fight the wind. Then on the other side when it was calm I would press and try to catch up to the next group for the next go around. Having this little goal helped to pass the time from 20-35km. I was really starting to hurt at around 27km, but when I passed Dave and he yelled “There is Caranage up there!” That gave me a nice little mental boost and helped to keep me pushing forward. I worked up to 29th place by 30km.

After 30km I was pretty much taking it one km at a time. It was really starting to hurt, but I could see that up the road there were a few folks having a much rougher time than I was. I Just had to keep moving forward. I was 22nd at 38km and at 40km I had passed two dudes to get that 20th place spot. I was super pumped when I got into 20th!

Historically though I have been brutal over the last 2.2km of a marathon, my PB for this section is about 8min, there was still a lot of racing to be done and there was a dude who was closing hard one me! I just wanted to cruise in but I just had to keep pushing, eff that guy! I kept going and as I made my way towards the stadium I caught a glimpse of one last guy whom was clearly struggling just up the road. I thought that maybe, just maybe I could get him. I put my head down and went for it.

As I entered the stadium Chris Winter leaned over the barrier and screamed “You can get that guy Watson!” And with those words I launched into my kick…the most pathetic kick in the history of running. I tried to get on my toes and accelerate, my calf immediately cramped. I then just wildly started pumping my arms, my legs did nothing…I looked ridiculous. Then finally I just tried to will myself past the guy and secretly hoped he would fall over or something. It was ugly man. Managed a 7:20 over that last 2.2 though!

Ugly ass kick aside, I was absolutely thrilled when I crossed the line. 20th place, friggen right! Then I kinda just stumbled around and a bunch of Russians came and dragged me off the track. I was kinda out of it so they took out some smelling salts and used them to bring me back to this planet. I sat around for a few minutes before I got up and just started walking. Another big Russian man came over and grabbed me, he led me down some random hall and then left me to fend for myself.

I was just wandering aimlessly when team Leader Scott McDonald came and found me;

“What are you doing down here Watson?”

“I don’t know man, what’s going on?”

“You were 20th! Great job, follow me!”

Scott then took me up to the recovery room, I had managed to skip the mix zone, score!

I did manage to get in a couple interviews afterwards, check em here; http://www.flotrack.org/coverage/251036-IAAF-World-Championships-Moscow-2013-Interviews-Races/video/719721-Rob-Watson-Intricate-Post-Race-Beer-Plans

http://www.flotrack.org/speaker/1892-Rob-Watson/video/719722-Rob-Watson-Wasnt-Passed-the-Whole-Second-Half-of-Marathon

Gotta give a shout out to all my teammates whom made it out to the course to cheer me on. That really meant a lot. Also huge thanks to all of you for your constant love and support.

So that was that folks, overall I am very happy. This is the first time I have stuck to the plan, and this also happens to be the most successful marathon of my career. I think I’m learning. I am satisfied with today, but there is still a lot to be done. I gotta get faster and I gotta get better. This is a great step towards bigger and better things. Onwards friends!

Love ya.

-rob-

 

 

18
Aug 2013
AUTHOR rob
CATEGORY

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COMMENTS 37 Comments

Blog #96

Hey, suppose I should write me a little post here before I take off to parts unknown for the next little bit, well actually the parts are very well known, but I should still write this post anyways.

The first leg of my trip to the world champs gets going friday with a bit of a haul over to Germany. I’m not a huge fan of flying, so I am most certainly not looking forward to a 10hr flight from Van-Frankfort. But I guess travel is a necessary evil in this game. I am however super excited to get to camp and see some old buddies, also hoping to meet some new friends. Friends are fun, they make ya smile.

So before we get going off to the Europe let’s reflect a bit, let’s chat about the last three weeks and what this kid has been up to. What I have been up to is running, a shit tonne of running. Just went over 600miles for the month. Training has been intense man, holy moly! This build up has been interesting. Coach has pushed the envelope a bit, and there have been a few occasions where I have had to pull back before falling off the edge.

There have been some great workouts and some not so great workouts. Ups and downs, ebbs and flows, yadda yadda yadda. My best block came when Mr. Dylan Wykes rolled into town. Dylan, Kelly W. and myself had a glorious little training camp, gave me a big ole’ running boner over the prospects of what is gonna go down here in the future. I really gotta give a huge shout out to Richard Lee here, dude rode his bike with me for the duration of an entire 35km tempo run, bottles every 15min and everything. What a good dude!

That 35km tempo was the longest I’ve ever gone in a workout, it was pretty epic. But it did leave me pretty useless for a week or so after, took a while to get my legs back under me. That there was that enveloping pushing I was talking about. Coach Watson can be a cruel man. Here I was doing damn near 2hrs of tempo work whilst he’s in Costa Rica surfing and sipping on pina colada’s…what a dink.

So yeah, aside from running I’ve also been hitting up the gym three times a week. I have been accompanied by my buddy Todd J. for these sessions. Todd had grown a bit of a spare tire and needed to flatten that sucker, so we started hitting up the gym together.  I do my running specific stuff and he just follows along. When we first started he was…umm…how to put this politely?…He was useless folks, pretty damn useless. But that was three months ago and now Todd has lost half a tire and is rocking it. It has been a tonne of fun working out with him.

So yeah, lots of training in my life, not very much more. It has been a bit rough at times. We have had an absolutely spectacular July here in Vancouver. There has been a record amount of sunshine for the month and I can’t recall even seeing a cloud. This city has amazing beaches and a lot of my runs take me by said beaches. There have been more than a few occasions when I have been on a run and just wanted to say eff it, grab a brew and jump in a beach volleyball game with some cute girls. But alas, this is the life I have chosen. Besides, I hear the beaches in Rio are way nicer!

Let’s take a brief moment to touch upon all this doping business in our sport. People often ask my opinion on this stuff, and here are my thoughts…f**k the cheaters. I hate em’ but the sad reality is that there are gonna be snakes in our game. If there is money on the line some people are gonna do whatever it takes to get it. I hate it and it is frustrating, but I’m gonna keep doing what I do, I love this game too much to let them get to me. I have things that I gotta accomplish in this sport. The cheaters may keep some bread off the table, but they can’t touch the fire burning inside.

Alright, it was good chatting folks. I’m gonna go now, suppose I should pack or something. I’m leaving Vancouver until friggen November! (World’s then straight to camp in Charlottesville with Coach and Kristen)  How does one fit 3months worth of stuff into 2bags? That there is a lot of shoes and short shorts!

Cheers folks, be good.

-rob-

30
Jul 2013
AUTHOR rob
CATEGORY

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COMMENTS 11 Comments

Blog #95

Hey there Internet friends and family. I don’t have much to talk about right now, but I just ate a big meal and I have to let that settle before I head out for my workout. Gonna roll a 20miler with some fartlek thrown in here and there. Gotta work on fueling and hydration protocol on this run, should be fun.

In my personal opinion the biggest thing that separates the marathon from all other races is the need for a proper fueling and nutritional plan. It is also the element of training that I feel people don’t take seriously enough. Folks, if you are gonna race a marathon ya gotta have a fuel plan! If ya don’t have a fueling plan you are gonna have a bad time (pun intended)

The body is capable of storing enough glycogen and such to get ya through a 10km or a half, but when it comes to a marathon you have to take in some carbs along the way. Otherwise you are gonna bonk, I’ve bonked before…a few times…it is friggen miserable. People are always complaining that gels taste gross, or they don’t like the texture. They use that as an excuse not to take them. That is stupid. Stop being such a baby. You know what tastes grosser than a gel? Failure. And if you think that you’re gonna get through a marathon without a gel then that is exactly what you are gonna experience, big fat failure.

Then there is hydration. Sometimes people think hydration and fueling are the same thing, they are not. Gotta separate those two things. Hydration needs will change based on sweat rate and specific race day temps. You don’t need to hydrate as much on a cold day as you would on a hot day.

I am a big time sweater, it can be quite gross. The other day it was pretty warm and I was doing a long tempo. By the end of that run I looked like I had just jumped in the ocean. I was hauling ass around the seawall splashing unsuspecting tourists with stinky, salty rob sweat. it was gross. I have been known to sweat out over 10lbs of water during long efforts on hot days. Based on my heavy sweat rate I gotta practice taking in lots of water during runs. There is potential for it to be quite hot in Moscow, gotta get used to chugging the water at race pace.

So anyways, my point here is that during your marathon build you have to get in some specific runs in which you practice you fueling and hydration plans. Don’t wait until race day to try this out, because if ya do that than you are at risk of pooping your pants…and then bonking. The only thing worse than bonking is bonking with poopy pants.

Marathons man, they are hard. Let’s talk about some cooler stuff.

You know what is cool? Canada. Canada is cool. Happy belated Canada day to everyone out there, hope ya had a good one. My Canada day was pretty rad, started with a bunch of mile repeats on a track, ended with a few beers with close friends. Running, beer and friends that’s good stuff, freedom is a special thing. Those Canada day beers will be the last beers I have until Aug 17th at around 6pm Moscow time, I gotta get after this training thing, big race coming up.

Oh yeah, and happy America day to all my American friends. I love America. I find it annoying when us Canadians feel the need to bash America, it happens a lot. Canadians love to rag on America. We rag on their guns, their fatness and their government stuff. Stop doing that, no country is perfect man. America is a pretty rad place.

To sum things up, practice your fueling and hydration. Canadian is great, and Americans are neat. Gonna go do this run now. Gonna be posting my training from here until world’s in the training section, check it here; http://leblogdurob.com/training-july-1-7th/

Peace out folks. Have a great weekend!

 

-rob-

 

 

05
Jul 2013
AUTHOR rob
CATEGORY

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COMMENTS 4 Comments