Archive | March 2013


So with the Around the Bay race behind me and a wee break from training, now it is time to focus on the next race. The next race on my list is the half marathon at Ottawa Race Weekend on May 26. This will be my third race at this distance (not including the Around the Bay). My first attempt at the half marathon distance was last year and that race did not go as planned.

Seven weeks prior to the race I had emergency surgery to remove my gallbladder and that put a crimp in my training but I was still determined to do the race. Race day came with a lot of excitement and nervousness. Things started out well, as I had a lot of energy and had a very good pace going up to about the 11K point of the race, it is at this point things started to get weird. You see, not long after my surgery, I developed a post op infection and at the time of the race, I was taking the antibiotic Ciprofloxacin. When I picked up my prescription from the pharmacists, they did not tell me anything about the drug nor did they put any labels on the bottle, though I should have read the info they put in the bag.

Apparently, when taking Cipro, I should not have been in direct sunlight nor should I have been exerting myself for more than an hour. Well the sun was certainly shining and I was most definitely exerting myself being my first half marathon. The effect of the drug was causing me to lose focus and I began to wander all over the course. Being the typical male, rather than stop and call it a day, I kept going. I did finish the race in just under three hours which was well off my training pace of two hours and fifteen minutes.


Close to the finish. The expression on my face is a sign that things are not good.

The next attempt at the half marathon distance as blogged about earlier, was the Disney half marathon. The goal of this race was to just finish it upright and smiling which I did. My time for that race was 3:08:16, though I did stop a number of times to take pictures with the Disney characters and at Magic Kingdom.


Lots of fun and I was feeling good

With my third attempt at the half marathon distance, I am going to have a lofty goal. Having just finished the Around the Bay clinic at the Running Room, I am now going to jump right into the half marathon group clinic. One thing about the Running Room clinics is that people will do them over and over again, not because they do not know how to run, but for the accountability and friendships. It has been over a year since I took my first clinic at the Running Room and I am still seeing and training with many of the same people each week and many of the Around the Bay group are joining me in the half marathon clinic.

I am determined to make my next half marathon race the best yet. So what is my goal for the half marathon at Ottawa Race Week? The picture says it all.

2013-03-29 07.50.41

So until next time…..

If Your Goals Don’t Scare You, They Aren’t Big Enough


Top 10 Reasons ‘All-In’ Runners Must Read “Born To Run”

Run5kaday's Blog


A Review of Born To Run

by Patrick Reed

I am nearly finished with my second consecutive listening to Christopher McDougall’s masterful running “must read” Born To Run. And I am loving it as much the second time around as I did upon first listening. Fellow mountain runners over here on the central coast of California who hear me suddenly burst out laughing just as I round the crest of the long haul up Madonna Mountain must be scratching their heads. How can he be laughing while he’s still plugging up the mountain? My excuse, McDougall’s narration of yet another one of “Barefoot Ted’s” beatnik discourses on art or McDougall’s recounting of Ultra prodigies Jen and Billy’s insane antics… And one late morning, as I was coursing around my favorite mountain for the third time before beginning my final ascent to its summit, my expression was an aghast…

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Back in the Saddle Again

Well after much waiting, Clyde and I finally got out for first ride of the year. It was not a long epic ride but it was certainly nice to be out on the roads for the first time since October 26. The bike lanes were as expected a little rough and had a fair amount of loose gravel from the winter snow clearing operations.


The purpose of the ride was, one, to get out and enjoy the nice weather even though there was still snow on the ground. Secondly, I really needed to get my legs moving again without impact after the 30K run on Sunday just to loosen them up a little. Lastly, the destination of the ride was to check on a property I have listed to make sure the sign was still in place as with all the melting snow, real estate signs have a habit of falling over.

2013-03-27 13.20.09

This ride was not meant to be a hard workout or to set any new land speed record but just to get the feel of the bike again as well as to make sure all was working well. The Trek DS 8.3 preformed very well though it did take me a few minutes to get use to the shifters and the weight of the bike again. The reason for this was that for the last two months of the 2012 I rode exclusively on my Cervelo S2 road bike which is much lighter and the shifters are the paddle type.

Though I cannot wait until I can get Bonnie (Cervelo S2) back on the road, I will certainly enjoy riding the DS 8.3 on the rough roads and trails this year. The weather for the next few days and into the Easter weekend looks very good so I will be back on the road again very shortly, maybe even today if the package I am waiting for shows up early enough.

Until next time……..

For instance, the bicycle is the most efficient machine ever created:  Converting calories into gas, a bicycle gets the equivalent of three thousand miles per gallon.  ~Bill Strickland, The Quotable Cyclist

Around the Bay, Oh What a Day…. 4 for 4

I am happy to say that I completed the Around the Bay 30K and that makes 4 for 4 off of my race list for the year. This was my second road trip run of the year and this one was a little more exciting, mostly due to the fact that I knew so many of the people who were in the race with me. Further more, most of my training group made it down to Hamilton for the race, even those that were injured came along to cheer us on.

About the Race

The Around the Bay Road Race is the oldest long distance road race in North America, held in Hamilton, Ontario since 1894, more than two years before the first Boston Marathon, though it is not marathon length. This 30 kilometre race is also known as the Billy Sherring Memorial Road Race. It is also called the 30K Around The Bay. This year marked the 119th running of the race which consisted of the traditional 30K, a 5K and a relay done in 3 person or 2 person teams. The race starts in down town Hamilton at Copps Coliseum before heading through residential, industrial, through the City of Burlington before heading backing into Hamilton finishing inside Copps Coliseum.


The Trip to Hamilton (The Hammer)

We had a large group heading down to the race from the Bank St Running Room, so car pooling was the order of the day. I traveled down with fellow clinic member, Heather Wall-MacDonald. It was a bright and sunny day which would be pretty much the weather we would have all weekend. We encountered very little traffic en route so that allowed for a fast trip to Burlington and the Holiday Inn where a number of our group were staying. The hotel was pretty good but the beds were a little firmer than I would like.

Saturday morning it was off to the race expo and race kit pick up at Copps Coliseum. There were some great deals on end of season running clothing and a lot of other race organizer promoting their upcoming races. I went to the expo hoping to score a deal on some New Balance 1080v3 seeing that New Balance was a major sponsor of the Around the Bay race. Boy did I score, New Balance reduced the price on 1080s to $159 from $169 and couple that with the 20% off coupon I got from the Running Room, the net price was $127. At that price I had to get two pairs. I also ended up buying a race felt because I forgot my bib buttons at home, d’oh!

The expo was also a meeting place for us to meet up with those that decided to travel to the Hammer on Saturday. It was also a great place for many in our group to connect with friends they have made over the years at other racing events or people who have relocated outside of Ottawa. For me, one of the highlights of the weekend was finally getting to meet Lori Christopher. I have been following her on Twitter for over a year and we were supposed to meet at the Disney Race Weekend in January but unfortunately we did not. Lori is a Running Room Instructor, a fellow blogger and an all round great person.

Saturday evening saw most of our group come together for a pre-race meal. Mother Tuckers was a great choice as it was a buffet that had many types of food to choose from and for those that were inclined, an adult beverage.  With full bellies and some pre-race nerves, it was time to call it a night at 8:30 pm so everyone headed to their respective hotels for a good nights sleep.


Race Day

We awoke to sunny skies but cool temperatures. As we were located in Burlington, it was time to pack up the cars to head into Hamilton before the roads closed and parking too hard to find. The one nice thing about the race is that Copps Coliseum is the start and end point of the race so we could all wait inside were it was warm before heading out to the start coral. As with most races, it is always interesting being in the coral. You feel the excitement, nervousness and a sense of relieve as the starting gun goes off. As the gun goes off, those people like me, that wore what we call disposable clothes to keep us warm before the race starts, shed them and toss them to the edge of the road. This clothes gets collected and finds its’ way to local charities.

And Their Off….

The first leg is from Copps Coliseum to the bridge is pretty much a straight flat route with the odd turn here and there. This part of the course is a great place to get into your rhythm and pace. The road surface was in very good shape given that we are in the freeze-thaw  season which can create a lot of potholes. As with most races, the largest cheering sections are at the beginning of the race and in Hamilton this is the first 8k where you run through mostly residential areas. The people are great with their signs and their energy.

At the 8K mark, you mark a 90 degree turn toward Lake Ontario and this is where we started to feel the cool breeze coming in off the lake. We were lucky this year as it was only a breeze and not a strong steady wind like in years past. This area is pretty industrial and there are not a lot of people out cheering in this section. By this point as well, the big pack of runners have pretty much thinned out into their pace groups.

We turn east at 11K which goes right along the shore line and some pretty impressive homes/cottages. I loved the locals in this area as they were out sitting in their lawn chairs and fur coats! From this point it is a straight line to the half way point at the Burlington Lift Bridge. I was feeling great and I was extremely happy with the pace my running buddy Jenn Hood and I were maintaining. Jenn and I had a goal just to finish but subconsciously we both wanted to come in under four hours. If we kept our pace, we would certainly come in under the four hours. Again, in this area, you could feel the coolness of the wind and I am glad that I wore a wind layer.

The second leg of the race is where the fun really beings, the famous hills. Round about 17k we hit the first of the hills. The first hill is a 3k gradual climb before going down a very steep hill. This first hill was not too bad as we trained on harder hills during our clinic. The downhill was nice after that first big climb but this would be the beginning of the end of the dream of coming in under four hours. I could feel my hamstrings tightening up and this was my biggest fear going into this race. Heading into the hills, I knew that it was only going to get worse for my hamstrings. So the plan at this point was to walk up the hills and run down the hills. So for the next 7k we did just that do varying degrees. Though I was in pain, my spirit and energy was high.

When you run into difficulty in a race like this, you just take it one KM at a time and focus on the good things around you. Like seeing Stan the “Little Man” blasting out “We Will, We Will Rock You!” from his boombox as you head down into Spring Garden Valley. Stan has been a fixture at this point in the race for many years. Giving Stan a low five as you go by will put a smile on your face for a few hundred metres, that is until you get to the bottom of the valley and you see the hill that you have to go up. This is by far the nastiest hill on the course but you can take comfort in the fact that once you reach the top of the hill, that it is all down hill from there.

Another fixture of the race is the grim reaper who waits for you at the top of the hill right beside a cemetery at 27K. The signs this guys puts out will once again put a smile back on your face.reaper2

If you have made it past the reaper then you are home free. At this point I looked at my watch and realized that there was an outside chance of making it in before the four-hour mark. I looked at Jenn and said we might just make it and I started running again. Unfortunately I was only able to do this for about 1KM before my hamstrings decided enough was enough and the goal of getting in before four hours went out the window.

What was frustrating was that I had lots of energy but my legs just did not respond to my efforts. With 1K left before the finish, you can see Copps Coliseum and the entrance to the finish line. I gave it another go but it was just not there and I wanted to keep a little in the tank to run across that finish line. Jenn and I turned the corner into the entrance of Copps Coliseum, the steep ramp and the transition from daylight to darkness proved to be a bit of a challenge. This was the last challenge of the day.

As we turned the final corner and saw the finish line, we gave it our all with a sprint to the finish. It was a great way to finish an awesome day regardless of the challenges.


I will update this photo once I purchase them from the race photographers

Highlights of the day and weekend

Crossing the finish with my friend Jenn

Running beside a Canadian soldier running the race in full combat gear and full pack

Seeing some great personalized shirts such as a family was wearing “CPR saved my life”,”CPR saved my wife’s life” and “CPR saved my mom’s life”. I made it a point to acknowledge them.

The funny kilometre marker signs. All races should have these.

Seeing so many children out there cheering and giving high fives

Having the company of so many friends this weekend encouraging me along the way

Seeing so many of these same friends reach or beat their goal time

Scoring a great deal on new running shoes

Great weather


Not taking the time to take more pictures

Not having my wife Renee there cheering me on (my biggest cheer leader)

Looking Forward

So with this race behind me, I am taking this week off to rest before getting back to training for my next race, the half marathon at Ottawa Race Weekend. One of the first things I will be doing is trying figure out what is going on with my hamstrings and what I can do so that I will not have the same issue in races to come.

Oh, I will return to Hamilton in 2014 to better my time!

Until next time…..

“The miracle isn’t that I finished. The miracle is that I had the courage to start.” 
― John Bingham

Mind Over Matter

You put your mind to anything, you will succeed.

What others think or tell you, does not MATTER!!

I Am Part of a Cult(ure)

When I tell people that I am going to do triathlon with the ultimate goal of completing IRONMAN KONA, people tell me I am crazy. Then the next question is, WHY?  Well this video kind of explains

If you get a chance, watch the Ali’i Drive series, it is very good and explains what drives people to compete in triathlon.

T- 5 Days and Counting


Well the training is done for the most part and now to get into race mode. The training was not the best due to bad weather and some injuries but I had a great group of people to train with.  Even with the less than ideal training, I feel ready to take on the longest distance road race I have attempted to date.

So it is race mode time which means proper eating and drinking lot of water between now and race day. I am going to start to drink some alkaline water as it helps reduces Lactic Acid and lessen muscle cramps which I seem to be having a problem with lately. Supplements will also be part of the pre-race routine which will consist of veggie green, glucosamine, omega-3 oil and CLA. The most important part of any pre-race routine is getting enough sleep, so the plan is to be in bed each night by 10:00 pm with lights out and tv off.

As this is a road trip race, laying everything out before packing will be important. Having a packing list will not hurt either as getting to a race and realizing that you forgot something will cause you to lose focus on the race itself. I kind of learned that lesson the hard way in January at Disney when I forgot my fuel belt. It is important to also pack two separate bags, one just for what you need for race day and the other for all other items for the trip.

The biggest part to any race preparation is being mental ready. So I will hand off my business to a colleague to take care so I can totally detach and enjoy the weekend. I have already done the route virtually using google earth which is fun to do but I will drive the course on Saturday to get an even better feel. Seeing the course and identifying some land marks will help mentally on race day. Nothing worse than running a race cold and not knowing where you are going or what to look for. It is going to be an interesting run as the route starts off in core of the City of Hamilton, then makes its way out through an industrial area, then along the water, through some what appears to be very upscale neighbourhoods, through some park land, then back into the outskirts of the city before finally ending up back in the core of the city.


So far the weather does not look too bad ,at least it will be sunny but the temperature will not overly warm. I had hoped to wear shorts for the race but I am going to follow the old adage, below 10 degrees, do not bear the knees. I will pack shorts and t-shirts just incase the weatherman is wrong and the temperature does go into the plus side of double digits.

The excitement is building and I cannot wait for the weekend to get here.

It’s a good life. Until next time…..

“I tell our runners to divide the race into thirds. Run the first part with your head, the middle part with your personality, and the last part with your heart.” – Mike Fanelli