Category Archives: Running

Going slow

It’s really easy to get out there and give it everything you have.  It’s even rewarded in our culture.  When’s the last time you heard someone say, “Go out there and give it 20%!”?

Fact is, just like you can’t get your car un-stuck from a snowbank by flooring the pedal, you can’t expect success by giving your full effort.  That’s a certain recipe for burnout.  Mind you, if I’m being chased by a ravenous bear, I might go all out until I pass out from exhaustion or until the bear gets me.  But that’s not what I’m on about.  I’m talking about long-term success.

I’ve signed up for a half-marathon in May.  And for the next few months, I’m subscribing to the 80/20 principle when it comes to my training.  This week begins a 15-week structured training plan: 80% of my workouts will be done at low-intensity, and 20% at moderate-to-high intensity.  I’ll be using heart rate as my primary metric to help manage my effort.

Going slow is hard!


I had a really stubborn cough that just wouldn’t go away.  Still have a bit of it.  It comes and goes.  I’d like for it to go away, really.  This cough started around the beginning of July, and caused me to miss a lot of training, and even a few days’ work.  But of course, I had gone through the trouble of signing up for Seawheeze, and I wasn’t about to give up a ridiculously heavy carrot medal just for a cough.

My respiratory system is feeling much better than it was a month ago, when I could barely walk a few blocks without going into a coughing fit.  And I know that my physical form can take a half marathon — or at least, I’ve successfully run them in the past.

I’m not going to talk about my performance, but rather how this race became a step in my recovery from injury to health.  Yesterday’s race was about a few “moments” that really stuck out to me.

  1. Spin class on the Dunsmuir viaduct.  Maybe they shouldn’t tear down that thing after all.  Turn it into a gym!
  2. Running off the Burrard St. Bridge onto Cornwall: Wall-to-wall people, all running, all being amazing.
  3. Band on a barge, making up running-based lyrics to well-known songs.
  4. Legs hurt, can barely walk home.  Can’t wait to do it again.

Personal Record by Default: First Half-Marathon

Distance 21.1km
Gun Time 2:04:55.1
Chip Time 2:04:16.6
Place Overall 829/2197
Place in Sex 492/829
Place in Age Group 82/115

Niagara Falls International Half Marathon

It wasn’t the 1:55:00 I was hoping for, but it was longer than I’d ever (continuously) run ever before. Three of my ten toes hurt, my knees are sore, my tibialis anterior hurts, I’m having trouble with stairs. Pretty much everything hurts.

The day started early. Got up at 6:30am to get my race gear on and get down to the buses for the start line. At this point, everything was wonderful. It was a bit chilly, but I was dressed warmly enough. I enjoyed some conversation with a few fellow runners, and hopped on a bus. A 20-minute bus ride. 20 minutes, traveling in a bus, to the place where we start the race. About halfway along the ride, I realized: I have to run back to where we just got on the bus. When I got off the bus, I couldn’t even see the towers in Niagara Falls, except for a very faint outline of one building, and a tiny bit of barely-discernable mist over the falls; on the distant horizon. Yikes.

I kind of see this race in four parts: The first 9k, the next 9k and the next 3k, and the final 100m.

The first 9km were pretty much awesome.  Everything was smooth; heart rate was good. Solid.  I focussed on keeping a steady pace, without worrying too much about people passing me. I was running kilometres in 5:30 or so, and it felt good.

Next 9k, my legs felt like lead.  I relaxed into an endurable pace, told myself I’d just relax for a little while. My legs kept yelling at me, I’d yell back, but they just wouldn’t listen. So I ended up hovering around 6:00/km for the rest of the race.

The 3k leading up to the finish chute was probably the worst. Mentally, anyway. I could see Skylon Tower, and the towers near the finish line, and I knew it was almost over. At the same time, it was amazing. Emotionally: some new ones, at least for running. If I could have cried through this 3k, they would have been tears of joy.

100m to go. “FINISH” in GIGANTIC letters over the roadway. And then I see… 2:04:50… 2:04:51… I actually said, “Clock? YOU ARE NOT GETTING TO 2:05 BEFORE I GET THERE”.  So I pulled together what little I had left and just gave it everything.

And now I am sore, and it is past my bedtime. And the last 19 weeks of training have been put to good use. Now, onto the next race. It’ll probably be a 5k or something really short.