Tag Archives: marathon

Lightening Strikes Twice

In case you hadn’t figured it out, I’m a sucker for punishment. As my last blog post pointed out, I shouldn’t have even started the last race I did. Well, surprise surprise, I’m now here writing about yet another race that I potentially should never have started. However, I went in with eyes wide open, knowing it would be a PW (personal worst), and that I would likely need to walk a good chunk of it (or limp, as the case may be). The race in question? The Gatineau Parc Marathon. Why was I insisting on participating? Pride. And a silly award that I had my mind set to pick up this year.

I can say one thing for this race. I wasn’t forcing myself to run based on sunk costs. The total cost for me to race in this event ? $25. No shirt, no medal, no swag bag, just a grass roots marathon through the parc. I wasn’t covering it for the magazine either, I was just doing it for me, and for a Rudy Award. In fact, it would be the second time that I clinch this local endurance award. It is given to those brave few that in a single calendar year complete the Winterlude Triathlon, either the CSM or a Gatineau Loppett (in fact, I complete all 3!), participated in the Rideau Lakes Cycle Tour (or another double century official ride), an Ironman triathlon (full), and an officially sanctioned marathon. Since I’d already done all the other events, and then some, I figured I’d pay the $25, trot my way around Gatineau Parc, and collect my Rudy Award later in November.

At the time of my original registration, things were going pretty well for me physically, so I figured it would be a piece of cake. In fact, I had secretly hoped that after my strong summer of racing, and spending nearly a month at elevation in Nepal, I might come back to crush the course. Instead, I arrived badly broken, and the course crushed me. But then again, as I said, I knew it would be by the time it rolled around. However, since we already had company coming that weekend to stay with us and take part in the race, and because lots of other people I knew were taking part, I decided what the hell. Of course, I only found out later that most of the people I knew were doing the HALF marathon, not full. D’oh!

There really isn’t too much to say about this event overall. If you’ve ever biked a loop in the park, or skied the parkways in the winter, then you are already quite familiar with the course. Last year, it was listed by Get Out There Magazine as the toughest [road] marathon in Canada, thanks to the rolling hills that add up to some decent altitude gain/loss. Thankfully, at the time of the year that it is put on, the roads are closed to traffic, so we have wide, smooth, traffic-free roads for most of the race. For those interested, the actual course starts on the north loop near the P9 connector trail, winds around to P8, then follows the parkway back through past Penguin and Pink, all the way to Gamelin. From there, you make your way all the way back up Pink, left onto Champlain Parkway, and run all the way to Champlain Lookout, around the turnaround, down Fortune Parkway, then loop up from P10 to finish at Camp Fortune. Plenty of rolling fun there, right?

The race took place on Halloween, so some racers actually dressed up. I had toyed with the idea or wearing all black spandex, using my Hydra-Quiver double barrel, and carrying a plastic sword, thereby being a ninja. However, I opted to go as a straightforward injured runner. Great costume, right? The morning ended up being pretty damn cold. Somewhere around -8C I think. The race was set to start promptly at 8am, and since the clocks weren’t changing until that night, it still wasn’t light yet. That all added up to a chilly start. Before race start, I huddled around with Deanna, and wore a giant down parka, knowing I’d be cold at the start on account of dressing for slightly warmer temps. I knew I’d warm up a bit.

Annie and Steve Ready

I believe there was originally 150 or so marathon runners registered, but when we actually lined up and started running, the numbers were more like 60! Not sure if it was the cold, or mass change of plans, but it was quite odd. I think it probably had to do with the fact that the race only cost $25. At that low price point, if you weren’t feeling good on race day, it was easy to just scrub it at the last second. For my part, I did recognize a few other runners. Annie Jean was there (and of course won the women’s field) in addition, my friends Laco and Dave were running. Although I got out ahead of them at the start, they’d make they’re way past me in due course.

I tested the foot right before the start, and could tell right away running would be very tough. I was in pain after about 50m of warming up. Damn! So much for the hope of a miraculous recovery! In spite of this, I put on a brave face and started the race at a reasonable running pace. I was in the top 20% and wondered if endorphins might kick in and keep me going. The first 5k weren’t terrible. Up to 10k still not terrible. At the 15k mark, I made a mental note that I was now quite obviously limping, and the pain was much more distinct with every footfall. I should note that I was doing everything I could to improve my chance of success. Namely, I was running 100% in the grass on the shoulder rather than the pavement. It was wryly noted by one runner that I would probably be the only participant that ran fully in the grass. I took no solace in this fact. It helped, but really nowhere near the point I wished.

From 15k onwards, the battle intensified, as did the pain. I was now getting passed by many people, and started taking walking breaks on occasion as needed. I decided to plaster a ridiculously large grin on my face, reasoning with myself that smiling would lessen the pain. Once again, good thought, but vastly ineffectual. But at least I looked happy, and in my mind, I reminded myself that I was still incredibly fortunate to be able to do these things. As I slowly ground my way up the hills of Champlain Parkway, stopped at every aid station to thank volunteers, take in some nutrition and drinks, and rest a bit. By now, at most of those stops, I got concerned looks and comments from the first aid people. I simply assured them that I’d make it, albeit at my slow pace. I did eventually give into the desire to get some pain killers and bummed some Advil from one aid station. It, too, did little to alleviate my discomfort.

By the next 1/2 marathon peel off point (where they had 5k to go, and we had about 16k to go), I briefly considered throwing in the towel. However, I’d already come so far, I decided that even if I DID have to walk most of the way (or powerwalk), I’d get it done, and get that damned Rudy Award. That put me on track, and even got me to dig a little deeper and develop a new hobble run technique that limited the impact on my left foot. By now, I had been passed by most runners, including Laco and David, who had both cheered me on and complimented me on my perseverance in the obvious pain I was running in. 33k in, and there was no way I’d be quitting. 9k is honestly chump change to me in most circumstances, but at this moment, it felt like a ridiculous way to go still.

Thankfully, the terrain was mostly flat or down hill now until the final 1.5k of the course, so I let gravity ever so gently work its’ magic on me. I finally got to the bottom of Fortune Parkway, at P10, when I spotted my dear wife waiting for me. She knew it would be bad, based on the overall time it had taken me to make it that far, and was there to lend whatever support she could (or give me distance). Since I had expected the worst, I wasn’t actually in a bad mood, just a resigned mood. The worst part was that even though I thought I was ‘running’, she was just walking along beside me. Lol indeed. She snapped a few pictures of me, followed me to the finish line, and hung back to let me cross the line in peace.

Crossing the Finish

It had been, by far, my slowest ever marathon. And that includes the marathons I’ve had to run at the END of Ironman races! By some twist of fate, my timing chip didn’t even trigger at the finish mat, so there is no official record of my time, but I did it. The finish line was also rather anticlimatic. Just some volunteers and timing folks. I basically walked through, and just kept walking, heading back to the lodge to pick up the one thing I had been looking forward to. My pre-paid post-race poutine! It was as amazing as you might expect. I could have eaten 5 of them I think, but limited myself to drowing my sorrows in a single bucket of gravy, cheese curds, and fries. After all, it was Halloween, we had company, and there were parties to dress up for and drink at! The day ended up on a very high note on account of those last few things, culminating in sitting in the hot tub at around 2:30am with one final drink before a peaceful sleep.

That concludes my story of how lightening struck twice, I made another bad call, but at least finished what I set out to finish this time. And for what? A little local recognition, and a nice little plaque to put up on my ‘I love me’ wall with my other shiny trinkets from the many races I’d taken part in. I have now sworn off all forms of racing until I can get this issue sorted. I’ll be seeing podiatrists, sports doctors, medical technicians, and even chiropactors on my road to recovery. Rest assured, I’m taking it VERY seriously at this point and WILL come back as strong as before. I’ll be giving it the time it needs, and in the meantime, still doing low-impact training and dreaming about what’s next for me. Stay tuned for all that exciting stuff in the future. Till then, keep getting out there, and embracing whatever passions you have!

Journey to Jamaica – The Story

Greetings race fans. Welcome back to another riveting race tale. This particular narrative comes from the sunny and warm skies found in Negril, Jamaica, where I have just come back from participating in the 14th annual Reggae Marathon. So how exactly did I find myself in Jamaica for a brief 4-day reprieve from the Canadian winter? And how did I do in this hot weather? Well read on for the answer to those questions and several more that you haven’t even been asking yourself!

A few months ago, a simple call out came via Get Out There Magazine, whom as you know I do work for now and again. The call was to see which reporters might be interested in covering this event for the magazine and product 3 videos for it. Even though I was just back to work after 2 months of time ‘off’, and in spite of the pending move AND trip to Belgium for the holidays, I simply couldn’t ignore the call. I threw my hat in the ring, and was lucky enough to get picked! So now you know how I ended up toeing the line down there.

As to how I might actually perform in the event, I had high hopes at the outset, but life got in the way, and by the time I was flying down there, I had to come to grips with the fact that this would likely not be a very impressive performance by me. I’ve been having some ankle issues, rolling it a fair bit in the late fall on leaf-strewn and dark trails at night. One in particular had been sidelined for a good 3 weeks. Then, just when I felt I was getting better, I headed out for a very short, innocuous trail run, and ended up rolling the same ankle THREE TIMES!!! This was a week before boarding a plane. To add ultimate insult to injury on race morning, on the warm-up, in the dark, I couldn’t see a drop-off on the side of the road, and ended up badly rolling my OTHER ankle, forcing me to let everyone else head off ahead before I felt I could at least hobble across the start line and start my own journey to the finish. More on that later.

Despite the poor lead-up, there was no way I wasn’t at least going to have a great time while down there! I was again almost sidetracked the day of my flight, as the plane was delayed so much that they re-booked me on the NEXT DAY! That would shorten my trip to less than 3 days. Luckily, some quick work on my part and sweet talking had the airline re-booking me on another airline and getting me I Montego Bay only about 30 minutes later than originally scheduled. Crisis averted. That put me on the ground in time to catch my transportation to Negril, but didn’t get me to my hotel until round 5:30pm on Thursday night, with the sun already setting. But still with enough light to exit the hotel grounds, find a grocery store, and grab some local cold beers to sample. Yum. No problem, right?

So began my whirlwind 3.5 day visit to Jamaica. The next day, I grabbed a cab to the registration area to meet up with the organizers and some of the other international media folks. I picked up my race kit and took in the surroundings. Gorgeous blue skies overhead. Temperatures hovering around 30, and pretty high humidity. Pretty reminiscent of the hottest summer days in Ottawa. You know, the kind of day you’d really rather NOT run a marathon in? Before dwelling on that too long, I piled onto a shuttle bus to whisk us off for a ‘tour’. Sadly, it didn’t work out that well for me First stop was supposed to be at a school to witness Jamaican high school kids in the middle of a track workout. I was looking forward to getting footage of this. Unfortunately, we arrived too late, and the workout was over. The majority of media folks were staying elsewhere and had arrived earlier and caught the fun. From there, we were supposed to go to Mayfield Falls, a nice natural place nestled in the hills and wilds of Jamaica. Unfortunately, once our largish bus got the road we planned to take, we were strongly encouraged not to even try. 4x4s were okay, and MAYBE smaller cars, but definitely not a bus. So another strike on the tour, which instead turned around and headed right back to where I’d started my day! In other words, my tour was about 3.5 hours of sitting on a bus going nowhere.

Oh well, I certainly wasn’t going to sweat the small stuff. We ended up at Cosmos, a restaurant right on the 7 mile beach in Negril, and spent the rest of the afternoon there, eating first, then having ‘free time’ on the beach. In other words, they just off-loaded us there, a mere 500m or so from registration. On the plus side, I was getting to know some really cool media folks who do this stuff for a living, and heard some pretty wild stories. In the end, a writer with the LA Times and I bargained with a resort dude to get our hands on one of those oversized aqua-tricycles you may have seen. We figured we could squeeze in a leg warm-up. Hilarity ensued, with the resort eventually sending a speedboat after us in a mere 30 minutes. I guess they weren’t used to seeing people actually trying to locomote somewhere on those things. I don’t know if they thought we were making a break for it or not, but they basically shepherded us back to the start point. Either way, we’d had a good time out there, and were ready to end our fun!

Next up, back to the registration area to attend the World’s Best Pasta Party. Unsure what to expect, I can honestly say it pretty much lived up to its self-aggrandizing name. There were probably 1300 or more racers and local in attendance, but that wasn’t a problem. There were a ton of unique pasta booths there, manned by many of the excellent chefs from the various resorts in Negril. I was blown away when I realized that each ‘booth’ had its own twist on pasta and fixings, so you could truly get massively gluttonous there. Knowing we’d have to get up at around 3am the next morning, I tried not to gorge myself too much. They also entertained us with an excellent steel band as well as circus-type performers including aerialists, contortionists, and fire jugglers. It was pretty spectacular. Oh, and did I mention there was beer too? Luckily, it wasn’t free for unlimited, so I was good (in fact, I had only 1 beer that day!). Soon enough I was back in a shuttle, and at my hotel by around 9pm.

Good thing too, as I had to get all my race and filming gear sorted before heading to sleep. I was getting up at 3am, eating at 3:30am, and picked up by 4am to catch a 4:30am shuttle bus to make the 5:15am start! That’s a whole lot of scheduling for a country that operates a bit on ‘island time’ isn’t it? Turns out, my 4am taxi also didn’t show up until 4:26am, stressing me out just a little! However, I made it just in time to do a little shooting, stash my gear in the media tent, and head out to the darkened roads for my fateful warm-up disaster. Given that I had already planned on a pretty slow running day, the rolled ankle confirmed it even more, and dare I say even cast doubt on my chances to finish. Luckily, the whole course was flat and fast, and was double out and back loop, which meant in theory I could easily pull out at the ¼, ½ or ¾ mark if I really had to. But you know me, I really had no intention of stopping no matter what. Having just finished reading ‘Born to Run’, I was tapping into my sheer fun of being there, pasted a non-fading smile on my face, and got busy with the task at hand.

At 5:15, it was still pitch black out, with the rapidly sinking full moon our main source of illumination. This was simultaneously exciting and terrifying, as I couldn’t see potential ankle busting potholes as I dodged around armies of walkers and shufflers taking on the 10k and ½ marathon course. You see, it is a free-for all at the start, with all distances starting at the exact same time. Owing to my warm-up mishap, I literally started at the very back of the pack, so as not to risk anything. However, I soon realized this was a pretty big mistake, as I was in the middle of the slowest-moving mass of humanity for the first 5k or so. You see, all these people seemed petrified of the dark and apparently were devoid of any desire to actually move quickly in this RACE. Oh well, no biggie, this way I was also guaranteeing myself that I would push too hard at the start!

Let’s just cut to the punch line now shall we? This marathon ended up being the absolute slowest I have EVER run in! I was even slower than my first ever marathon. Oh course, I have a myriad of excuses, so I’m not really disappointed at all. Amazingly, it still nabbed me something like 26th overall! Nuts, right? The first half was also my slowest ever at that distance, but what really killed me (and all others around me) was the fact that when the sun finally rose in the sky, the temperatures becoming unbearable, and running in that heat was a true slog, Looking a the stats though, it appears it didn’t hurt me as much as others, as I was consistently moving up the rankings with each subsequent checkpoint, passing people all along the way. In spite of that, when I did finally cross the finish line (as the first place media runner I might add ), I was overheating and beat. Not to mention that once the endorphins were switched off, the ankle pain kicked in nicely. Thank goodness for fresh coconut water and beers!

Another sad consequence of the early mass start was that although there were all sorts of things planned out for the finish area, but the time the marathoners were wrapping up, of which there were less than 200 of us, the party had already subsided. Most of the free ‘stuff’ was all gone, and most people had already buggered off to escape the heat and continue their day. After all, it was only around 9am!! I stayed around to cheer on more finishers, including the media types I had hung out with the day before. Then, I tucked in to my 2 free Red Stripe beers, and had a fresh coconut. Afterwards, it was back to the hotel to pick up the pieces of my day. With the 3am wake-up, the effort of the marathon, and my ankle issues, my day was pretty shot. I dozed in a hammock for a while, finally had a nice big lunch at around 1:30, then showered and continued to just relax and read magazines. I was BEAT. After a late-ish 7pm supper, I basically returned to my room and crashed around 9:30pm, after sorting my luggage for a pending room change in the morning.

To avoid any sort of disappointment on my final day, I planned NOTHING. I was just going to have a straight-up relaxing day drinking beers idly, swimming, exploring, and doing some filming. After breakfast, I changed rooms, and then did some ‘work’, ironically filming a gear review for some thermal gear in the 30 degree heat! From there, it was back to my favourite cliff jumping spot at my hotel, to do some filming there too and swimming. I cruised around in the water till I decided I’d had enough exercise (and seen the neighbouring resorts from the water). That meant it was time to enjoy beers. I later also scored some snorkeling gear, so I popped back in the water for another 40 minutes. Upon emerging, I met a group of 4 couples who had just arrived. I befriended them quickly enough, and by later that evening, we were drinking up a storm and playing ‘Cards Against Humanity’. It was a great ending to my short Jamaica Jaunt. I closed out the night by myself at the water’s edge watching the stars and moon playing games in the sky while listening to the restless ocean crashing into the cliffs below. I turned in at midnight, happy with the end of my trip. One Love indeed. Everything always ends up the way it should when you just let life happen.

As I type this, I am high above the ocean in a plane bound for Ottawa. Forecast is calling for 20-25cm of snow in the next few days, so thoughts of waxing my skis are top of mind, as is returning excitedly to our new home. Looking just a little further out, I also just realized Deanna and I really have to start a little bit of planning for our Belgian holiday coming up way too soon!! So till the holidays, I hope everyone is doing amazing and enjoying life to its fullest. Respect. See you all back on the ground! To close, below I’m embedding the three videos I pulled together as part of my coverage.

Video 1: The Preparation

Video 2: Around Negril

Video 3: The Race

Milestones and Mile Markers

A mere 1 month after I ran in the County Marathon, I’m finally putting the words down to tell you the tale of the event. However, much more importantly on that weekend, Deanna and I celebrated our 1 year wedding anniversary. I know, we’ve got a long way to go to catch up to many of you, but it was still pretty awesome to us! In case you are wondering, the notion of running a marathon that weekend actually came directly from Deanna. The idea was rooted in the fact that we first met while racing, and are always looking at new adventure to embark on together. Also, we like wine, beer, cheese, and the County 🙂 With all that in mind, we decided that it might be fun to celebrate our first anniversary doing some wine touring, and finishing off with running a race [sort of] together.

Let me state off the bat that this was definitely NOT a personal best for me. I have rarely set foot on pavement for running in the past couple years, instead focusing my effort on off-road running and multisport racing. Also, I’d just taken the last 2 months off, and in that time, despite best intentions, didn’t squeeze in as much training as I might have liked. However, I did make some amazing trips, and managed to get our house sold and buy a new house, so at least I was doing SOMETHING :-). Along the same lines, Deanna had originally intended to run the marathon herself, which would be her first full length marathon run. However, with also getting in less training than she’d hoped, she opted to drop down to the half marathon distance, which was totally understandable. As I had also agreed to provide video coverage for the event, I stayed at the full length race.

To make it a special weekend, we actually decided to rent a trailer near Sandbanks Park near the water. I figured it might be nice to build a little fire, watch the sun go down, and sip wine with the love of my life the day before racing. Unfortunately, mother nature had other plans. Friday and Saturday were cold, windy, and wet. Definitely not romantic wine touring weather! But as always, you change and adapt your plans, so we made the best of it and still managed to visit our favourite spots in the area, including the County Cider Company, Black River Cheese, Lake on the Mountain, a few wineries AND Barley Days Brewing. Along the way we snapped some pictures, and also picked up some groceries to prepare our own pre-race meal in the comfort of our private getaway. As it was only out first anniversary, we didn’t want to go overboard!

As far as the race goes, the course is a point to point race starting in Wellington and winding it’s way through the county until in reaches the finish line near the Crystal Palace in Picton. The half marathon actually started at about the halfway point of the marathon course AND 2 hours after the marathon started. That meant that barring any unforeseen really bad luck, I’d get a chance to see Deanna before her race started too! Both races featured buses to get participants to their respective start lines. However, in a stroke of luck, the 1/2 marathon course actually started about 400m away from where our trailer was located! That made race morning logistics much easier, as I’d be able to get up early, and take all our stuff to the finish line before catching my shuttle bus to the start. Deanna, for her part, could sleep in a bit and then just wander over to her start line. Perfect planning, right? 🙂

Morning came far too early for my taste, especially after the big supper and bottle of wine we’d consumed. The wind and rain had been howling all night, so I braced myself for the worst. However, I opened the door to find that although it was chilly out, it was no longer raining. As for the wind, it was still pretty strong, but based on the direction it was blowing it looked like 3/4s of the course would have cross and tail winds, with only 1/4 (10-11km) forcing us to run directly into the headwinds. I drove to the finish, and piled into the shuttle bus. In no time, I found myself at the start are. Luckily, we had a whole rec center to use as a warm up area, and it even included an indoor track. I did a little warm-up run, where I actually shared the track with the eventual winner of the race as he warmed up too. There weren’t many of us up there, with most racers just relaxing in the lobby areas below.

At 8am, with very little fanfare, we were off. Having not run a marathon in a while (well, other than running things like 100k trail races…), I opted to try and maintain a steady yet reasonable pace the whole way. I didn’t know how my legs might react to pavement pounding for 42.2km, and I was somewhat leery and dreading it. After about 15 minutes I fell into a pretty steady rhythm, and reminded myself to keep the energy up and not let my pace wane when others started fading. Of course, it would be a while before i had to think about that.

The course wound it’s way along country roads, passing through Wellington and Bloomfield before taking a right hand turn to head towards Sandbanks. That’s when we hit the headwinds. I didn’t realize just how taxing that would be, nor how much it would start impacting my pace. I had unofficially decided that my goal was 3h30mins, and up to that point, I had 30 seconds to a minute in the bank, and was feeling good. As the kilometers ticked by in the headwind, I saw that banked time slip away and eventually see me ‘in the red’ for time. I hoped that perhaps once back in a crosswind I could make up time, but of course, the winds took their toll on overall energy levels. This is when I dug into my earlier mantra of keeping up the pace. At every possible moment, I’d just push myself harder, knowing I was really only keeping the same pace I’d had.

My new goal was to pick people off in the distance, and see if I could reel them in. Happily, when I had reached the halfway point, Deanna was there, waiting on the side of the road for her race to start. I stopped running and gave her a big hug and kiss and wished her good luck, as this was our official wedding anniversary, October 5th! She ran along beside me for a few hundred meters then told me to just go for it. I had been toying with running the second half with her, but in the end, she knew it would likely be painful for me to do that, as I’d be waiting at least 15 minutes there for the start, then have to match her pace. Instead, I decided I’d get the run done, then get the car ready, and be at the finish line to film her cross the line.

Apparently, there are 2 ‘hills’ on the course, but given the amount of trail running I do, nothing really registered as anything overly challenging to run ‘up’. I could obviously tell they were hills, but they didn’t impact my pace. However, it did allow me to pass a few more people (not that it really mattered). the final 9k of the run was a nice run back into Picton, where the small, but very energetic groups of spectators were concentrated. I finished the race feeling fine and not a moment too soon. Shortly after crossing the line, collecting my medal and space blanket, it started raining. I felt a bit bad knowing that Deanna would have to run in the rain, and hoped she wouldn’t get too cold. In solidarity, I stayed outside in the rain the whole time waiting anyway, slowly freezing until I finally accepted another space blanket from a volunteer who saw me waiting and shivering. Sometimes having a low body fat percentage really sucks!

I was elated to see Deanna in good spirits as she came into he finishers chute. She busted out into an all-out sprint as there was another girl catching up to her that she didn’t want to ‘lose to’ at the line. Looks like I may be rubbing off on her ;-). When the race was wrapped up for us, we grabbed some of the post-race food, and hung out a bit longer. We also wandered over to the rink for showers and a change of clothes before snapping our final pictures and heading home. All in all, it was a great weekend, and a memorable way to spend our first anniversary. Who knows, perhaps we’ve started a new tradition? And in case you haven’t seen it, below is my video from the event for Get Out There.

Video from the Race

Slaying the Beast for a 6th Time

Two Runners, One Love

42.2km. 28,133 strides. 2,400+ calories burned, 12 small cups of gatorade consumed. 2 gel packs consumed. Several pounds of sweat. 3hrs 16mins and 30seconds. 1 giant smile, and a cool medal. That, in a nutshell, summarizes my efforts on Sunday, May 29th at the Ottawa Race Weekend where I ran the marathon. It was my 6th time running a standalone marathon, and I can still honestly say the running a marathon is one of the toughest events I do. The effort required to run nearly flat-out for 42,200m can not be understated. We all know people who glibly say “I could run a marathon”. I just smile and agree with them. But those words generally haunt anyone who has taken it upon themselves to prove it. Particularly in those who attempt to prove it with any sort of respectable finishing time. Now don’t jump on me, every single person who crosses the line has accomplished something few have, but there is ‘participating’, and then there is ‘running’ or ‘competing’. Me, I run, I don’t compete. I am my only competition in this event. If you are so inclined, I invite you to read the rest of my thoughts on this race following the link. Also, you can check out just a few snaps I have post-race of the event. As you’ll see, I wasn’t the only one to toe the line at the ORW!

I might as well get the results out of the way now, since I’ve already spilled the beans in my opening salvo. My training regimen and plan was focused on completing the marathon in 3hrs 20mins. However, I knew that 3:15 would be a Boston Qualifier. So come race day, that’s what I pushed for. As a wise person once said “Plan your race, and race your plan”. I firmly believe that and always tell people you will finish exactly where you should finish in a marathon. Just ask Kev and Greg, who got the times they trained for right on the head. With my 3:16:30, I secured 283rd place overall. 64th in my category (of 436) and 259th in my gender (of 2733). My pace was very consistent, as the splits show in the results, so I was tickled pink with that result. Sadly, my efforts did not net me a Boston Qualifier. However, since I’d ran it last year, and likely wouldn’t get in next year anyway, it was sort of secondary. I still beat my target goal, and this ended up being my 2nd fastest time ever, so apparently I’ve still ‘got it’.

So why did I not get the BQ? Glad you asked. I had paced myself with the knowledge that a 4:37/km pace would give me a 3:15 finish time. My watch consistently read 4:35/km (Garmin 305). Awesome! Nope! Lesson learned here: NEVER run to a GPS average pace statistic, ALWAYS run with a time reference for km splits. Had I done that, I would have known my time had run out. Reason? Well, my GPS read that I’d covered 42.467 km by the finish line. That is 267m over the official distance. A 1/4 km works out to almost 70 seconds of extra time. The distance on the GPS is always a little off. Silly mistake on my part, but I only realized it on the last couple kilometers where I actually looked at my time! Oh well such is life.

However, as a slight boost to my ego, I’ve decided to play a little bit with statistics here. Yes, it is a bit egocentric of me, but I’ve earned my right to brag a little. First, let’s use the generally held view that between 0.1% and 2% of the population will ever run a marathon (Google it). Next, let’s take a look at the distribution of finishing times for a marathon. In 2009, the numbers for the US show that 9.1% of finishers fall in the 3h to 3h30 bucket of finishing times (BTW, average time is 4:35). That’s where I live. With some fancy-pants multiplication, that tells me that only 0.091% – 0.182% of the world runs that fast. Assuming a global population of 6,775,235,700 for 2009 (World Bank), that makes me faster than 99.82% to 99.91% of the WORLD! Pretty sweet! Just call me rocket man people 🙂

Now that I’ve got that out of the way, what else can I tell you about the marathon this year? Well, this was the first year for a brand new course for the National Capital Marathon. The new route wound us through many of the neighbourhoods of Ottawa now, including the core, Chinatown, Little Italy, Hintonburg, Hull, Manor Park, RockCliffe, New Edinburgh, Ottawa South. My verdict? Loved this new course. Overall, it was pleasantly flat (as opposed to where I did most of my training, in the Gatineau hills!). In spite of the grey skies and early 7am start, the majority of the communities had pulled together to have cheering sections, and each and every one of them was welcomed by the runners. Add the live music along the route to that, and you have all the makings of a truly worthwhile ‘destination’ marathon. The numbers have proved it out as well. The events for the weekend sold out in record time this year. In spite of the numbers though, everything went very smoothly as far as I can tell.

I was lucky enough to be cheered on by different people at all different parts of the course, but every time I saw someone I knew, it was the same amazing feeling, which fuelled my drive to the finish. Speaking of which, the last 2kms were definitely the hardest for me this year. I had to retreat to my pain cave and push hard, as I still hoped I’d magically get the 3:15 on chip time. Happily though, on crossing the finish line, my legs didn’t completely give out. I managed to limp along on my own steam and even chat with other finishers I knew that ended at about the same time. It was also great catching up with old friends that I saw on both the course, as well as after the race in the athlete’s village, including the amazing Ryan Grant, who managed to finish 4th overall in the 1/2 marathon. Apparently he’s gone ‘pro’! Big congrats to him. I also managed to beat a mentor of mine, Dave McMahon, ski and trail-running guru. Mind you, it was his first ever pure ‘road’ marathon, AND he’d raced hard at the 5k the night before. Also great to see my friends Kevin and Greg again.

Of course, the marathon is not the only event, and Deanna also decided to take place in the weekend fun by lacing up for the 1/2 Marathon. She’ll be the first to tell you that she really didn’t train for this race, but still managed to finish with a better time than her first foray last year. Her race started a full 2 hours after mine, so after completing my own race, I put on extra layers and went to watch the runners coming in. That entailed standing around in the pouring rain for about an hour. I was worried about her mood running in such rain, but when I finally saw her, she was fairly beaming with happiness. That was at the 400m to go spot, so I jumped in and ran with her for about 50m and tried to snap her picture while telling her that I was proud of her.

With medals around necks, smiles on faces, and slightly wobbly legs, it was time to head home to host my annual post-race BBQ where I invite friends that raced, their families, and any cheering friends to come over and celebrate our accomplishments. Also doesn’t hurt that my b-day was only a couple days later, so this was like a birthday bbq as well. Unfortunately, we were quite delayed, as we’d parked at the World Exchange Plaza, and there was really no way to get out in a hurry. We literally waited well over an hour before we made any progress. It was extremely annoying. Turns out they only had one exit actually open, and the confusion over that made for a loooonnnnnngggg wait. Once home though, having good friends over made all the pain and annoyance disappear, if only for a while. The sun actually came out, so we all stayed outside, with kids (and Rob) playing in the yard while we all sipped drinks and I played Grillmaster cooking fresh burgers and sausages for all. By 8pm, things were winding down, leaving only a small mess for us to clean up!

4 days later, looking back, I am completely happy with how the race turned out. We both came out with the results we’d hoped for, and are no worse for wear. In fact, we’ve still managed to bike to/from work every day since then. Stiff legs be damned. I also managed to hit the Parc Wednesday night for a good 50k time trial on my Tri bike that felt awesome. After all, it’s time to start prepping for all my other races and events. Next up is the 370km round trip bike tour that is Rideau Lakes in a mere week and a bit! The other thing to be happy about? Well, I’m now 60% of the way towards my Rudy Award for the year. With the 52km Ski Loppett, Winterlude Triathlon, and Marathon done, all that remains is the Rideau Lakes Bike Tour (in a week), and to do an iron-distance triathlon (which I’ll do Labour Day weekend). Good times. Till the next event, may your stiff muscles never stop you from enjoying the world around you! Summer IS here!

Crossing One off the Racing ‘Bucket List’

Holy Cow! I now realize that it has already been three whole weeks since I ran the venerable Boston Marathon! I guess I’ve been putting off writing the blog post as I really don’t know where to start and where to end with this post. Usually, I’ll just go through the whole process of the lead-up, the race itself, then the post-race re-cap, but it just doesn’t seem like going through the normal motions would do justice to what this race represented for me. So instead, I’ll beg your indulgence as I wax a little philosophical about the entire ‘journey’, both my own as an individual, as well as my own as an athlete (of sorts). As I had already aluded to, there are some photos that you can browse at your leisure, as well as a custom map of the race from the day that I threw together. These sort of make up the ‘tangible’ of the race, but come far short of the actual story behind it. So, read on, dear friends, and maybe you’ll get a little more insight into the entity known as ActiveSteve 🙂

First, let’s get something straight here: There is no such thing as an easy marathon. Running a full 42.2km at the hardest pace you can muster is hard regardless of whether it is uphill, downhill, flat, or rolling. It takes a lot out of you. But you know what? You get out of it exactly what you put in. A local fellow I respect always expounds on his pupils that you need to “Plan your race, and race your plan”. For that very reason, my actual performance on race day was no more and no less than precisely what I intended it to be. I had trained for a 3:30 marathon, and cruised in comfortably at 3:26:32. Where did that put me? Well, officially, 6,074th out of 22,645 finishers. 5,139th out of 13,112 males, and 2,726th out of 4,656 in my age category. But who cares, right? I did it! I RAN BOSTON! This is a race I had to qualify for with a time no more than 3:10. I’ve proven myself as a worthy runner, and am 100% satisfied with my performance at the race.

The conditions were nearly perfect. The crowds were absolutely amazing. The boost of seeing my family at km 36 was immeasurable (well, perhaps measurable, based on the sprint I managed after stopping to say hi). The race itself was everything I had read it would be. The Newton Hills (including Heartbreak Hill) were barely registered as speedbumps in my quest for the finish. Wellesely College, and it’s throngs of kiss-hungry young females certainly cost me a few minutes, but again, totally worth it to have the ‘full experience’. Crossing the finish line, arms in the air, tears in the eyes, not replicable ever again if I were to re-do this marathon. Mingling with about 24,000 other runners at the race expo, all in top form, an absolutely crazy experience. Blitz weekend in Boston sharing experiences with my sister and her family, totally fun, even though it almost made me miss the race! In brief terms, my nephew was a bit upset the night before, I used earplugs, missed my alarm, was awoken with precisely 10 minutes to get out the door to catch a shuttle :-). You want more actual race details? Drop me a line at bostonmarathon -at- activesteve dawt com. To me, this single paragraph sums it up enough. The other details, I’ll keep to myself, locked away in my footlocker of amazing memories of my life to date.

So, where does that leave me? Well, it leaves me looking back at how I got here. The things I have done, the sacrifices I’ve made over the years, and yes, even the things I may have lost in my quest to…. ‘succeed’ at the things I do. As I get just a little older, I’ve definitely become much more self-aware. I’ve learned who I am, and what makes me tick. That alone took years to understand, but I’m okay with it. My friends seem okay with it, and have always been supportive, if not a touch making fun of me 🙂

Am I OCD? Yup, a bit. I like to know where to find things, and I like to find efficiency in the things I do. I think that’s why I love racing, training, and the outdoors in general. Outside of the walls that contain me on a daily basis, is a world that I have no control over. The rain may fall. A tree may block my path. I may get a flat tire or twist an ankle. I have to overcome those things, and push on through my own discomforts, mentally or physically, in order to reach the end goal. Training is a metaphor for life. After all, the only sure thing in life is death, and every day that I take a breath is a day that I’ve cheated death, and a day that is worth living to the fullest and enjoying. I intend to live with no regrets, and go through it all with that same shit-eating grin you’ve all seen me with, and with the energy of a thousand children. I don’t know any other way to go through this life! As Iggy Pop puts it best, I have a lust for life!

For years, I found escape in music and partying. Then, less than 8 years ago, I turned a new leaf. I got interested in adventure racing, and discovered I was horribly unprepared for those rigours, so I backed up a step and spent a couple years running and building an endurance base. As those years progressed, I spent more and more time training, much of it alone, in the theater of the mind. You are never as open to your own thoughts as when you are training long and hard on the roads. My focus and energies gradually changed, and along with it, a lot of me also changed. I am not the same person as you may have known 8 years ago. Granted, I’m substantially the same person, but not completely. My life expectations and my outlook and my desires have certainly changed. You may recall my 4-month cycling tour of NZ. Well, that too was a bit of a mental trip as well.

As most of you are now aware, all of this has also ultimately led me to make some rather major life changes this year. The truth? For all to hear? I am 100% happy with the past 10 years of my life, but made a very difficult decision to depart from the comforts of what that life had, and now seek new paths for myself. There are no harsh feelings or catastrophic events resulting from those changes, simply a new page in the book of my life. I’m excited for the new chapters that are yet unwritten, and hope everyone understands that. Judge me if you will, but know that I am happy with my decision, and it was not an easy one to make.

So, back to Boston. A race. A marathon. A need to qualify to get there. A goal. A journey. As I ran the race in the midst of thousands of others, I felt free, and I felt happy. I would be naive to say that I got there alone. I have had the support of countless people, from mere well-wishers, to those that would come out and watch me race and cheer me on. Even more encouraging were words from friends who would confide in me that my actions were prompting them to be more active as well. Who would ever have thought that my own personal actions might actually get people outside riding a bike, or going for a run? It was very humbling, and in some ways, made me even more determined to maintain this lifestyle.

So, at the start of my 35th year on this planet, I am still looking for greater challenges, more amazing adventures, and making even more connections with the people around me. I plan to continue sharing my adventures with all of you, even though it may take me a few weeks to get around to writing up the posts 😉

Hmm, well, as I started typing this post, I had no idea where I’d go with it. In the past few weeks, I’d rehearsed in my head all the details I wanted to share about Boston, but my fingers just wouldn’t let me go there tonight. There are still a myriad of thoughts swirling around in my head at the moment about all of this, but re-reading what I’ve put above seems like a pretty good place to stop. I would like to once again thank you all for stopping by and reading my thoughts, and hope that you too are all happy, and able to find what you want in life. Good night to you all, and stay tuned for my race report on my first adventure race of the season, where I totally screwed up. Yup, it’ll be an entertaining one…. 🙂

The Long Lonely Road to Boston

Wow! I can’t believe I’m finally writing this blog post. In truth, this one has been quite a while in the making. In fact, I’d say that it’s been in the works since I first started running many years back. So what am I talking about here? How about a Boston-qualifying marathon time of 3 hours and 10 minutes? Although this post is mainly about my race, don’t think for a moment that a marathon is limited to the 42.2km that you need to run. In truth, a marathon is a journey that starts long before the starting pistol is fired, and requires sacrifice, perseverance, and dedication. In the spirit of that, I’m going to have to ask your indulgence in my post as I’ll probably wax a little poetic at times about how I got to this point. As my title implies, I had to complete this journey over the weekend on my own. That unfortunately meant that my usual race photographer wasn’t with me 🙂 However, I did manage to take a few pictures on my own, but nothing from the race. I also had my GPS with me, so I put together a nice little map of the day that you can check out. Afterwards, wander on back and read the rest of my story.

So for starters, you may be wondering where I ran this race. Well, it was in the fine city of Hamilton, at the Road2Hope Marathon, which raises a lot of money for charity. But why Hamilton? Let’s start answering that question by clearing one thing up. There is NO such thing as an easy marathon. Running 42.2km hurts no matter where you do it. That being said, there were a few basic reasons I chose Hamilton; proximity, timing, and reputation. Hamilton is just over 5 hours away. It took place late enough in the season that I had time to prepare for it properly, and allowing me to run in cooler temperatures. As for reputation? Well, it has recently been rated the number one Boston qualifier in Canada, due to it’s terrain. The marathon starts at the top of the escarpment, and makes its way to the waterfront, which is significantly lower in altitude.

However, I’d like to point out something that I pieced together after the race. Although there was a nice stretch of almost 7km of significant descent, the rest of the course was your typical ‘rolling terrain’. In fact, according to my GPS, I still managed to ascend over 740m in altitude over the entire course. Although that works out to probably 20% or so less climbing than the Ottawa marathon, is still requires some work to push hard over the whole course. Overall, the course basically had 3 sections in my mind. The first 22km or so were rolling terrain. Then we hit about 7km of downhill running which took place on a highway of all things! Wrapping up the misery train was a final 13km or so of rolling terrain near the water. More on how that all worked out for me in a few paragraphs.

In the final few weeks leading up to the big event, I was increasingly paranoid about getting sick, and got into a fairly normal routine of hand-washing and using purell at every opportunity. It all paid off, as in the final few days, I was still healthy and felt relatively well-rested. It’s not unusual to get a little sick in the final week, but I avoided that this time. Great start to the attempt. This was to be my first standalone marathon since 2006! Granted, I’d kept training, and ran an Iron-distance triathlon in 2007 which concludes with a marathon, but I ended up taking all of 2008 off due to nagging knee issues. However, I was back in racing form, and plan to tackle a Rudy Award in 2010 (in honour of my turning 35). As part of that award, you need to complete a marathon, and I decided that what better marathon to race than Boston? In order to do that, I needed a qualifying marathon beforehand, and my time was running out, since Boston is run in April.

As I counted the days down, a few things got in the way of Jody being able to join me for my adventure, so that meant I’d have to make the drive down and back on my own, especially since it was Halloween, and most of my friends had already made other plans for that weekend. Instead of making the trip in one shot, I opted to stop at the halfway point, in Belleville , to get a good nights sleep, and not have to spend 6 hours in a car on the day before the race. Both hotels I stayed in had hot tubs, so in a way, this was a pretty good option, as I had no distractions whatsoever, and could focus purely on resting and soaking my weary body in hot water 🙂 I also managed to find a nice Italian place within walking distance of my hotel in Hamilton, and had a great pasta feast for mycarbo loading.

The arrival to Hamilton itself on Saturday was the cause for some concern, as the electric signs before the skyway (big bridge) were warning of high winds and that we should be cautious of. How high? Well, how about gusts of 55+km/h! Can you imagine how that could impact the race if the winds were that high the next day? It wouldn’t be pretty, I assure you. At the race expo, which was located outside in tents, it was a wild site. Merchandise was literally blowing away as I wandered around racks of clothes. I ended up helping to pick up some of the things that were tumbling away. On the plus side, it was clear there would be lots of room at the end of the race to cool down and for parking as well.

After my pasta meal, and a final soak, it was time to settle in for sleep. I set a couple alarms just in case, because I was unsure how the time change would affect my blackberry or iPod . In the end, it was a good thing I set 2 alarms, as the one I expected to wake me up didn’t go off at the right time! Whew. I had a quick bowl of oatmeal at 5:30am, and then made my way to the finish line to grab a bus to the start line with other racers. We were the first bus to arrive, and got to congregate in a high school gymnasium as the darkness slowly melted into light, and the temperature starting rising a bit higher than zero! Eventually, the gym was packed with half- and full- marathoners waiting to get their races underway. As a special guest, Simon Whitfield (Olympic Gold medalist in Triathlon) was on hand to give us some words of wisdom. However, it humourously backfired, as when he was asked repeatedly for advice, he kept saying he probably wasn’t the best person to get advice from in this event, as he’d never run a half, or full marathon in his racing career 🙂 He just said to do what you normally do. Sounds about right to me.

Time for the starting line! This wasn’t a tiny marathon, but it also wasn’t anywhere near the same scale as the Ottawa marathon. At the starting line, there was supposed to be about 1000 marathoners starting the course. I seeded myself a little ways back, but in conversation with others in the area, it looked as though I should have just started pretty much at the front. When I said I was shooting for 3:10, most others around me were 3:20 or 3:30. There were no pace bunnies at my pace, so I really wasn’t sure what to do. I opted to follow some sage racing advice I’d heard around Ottawa. “Plan your race, and race your plan”. Basically, stick to your pace, and don’t worry about what is happening around you.

When the race started, I basically fell into what I was sure was a comfortable pace. I soon realized I was starting a touch too hard, as my pace was that of a sub-3 hour marathon. Oops. Typical problem at the start of the race. You feel so good, and are so rested, and with all the people around you, it just happens. I called out for other 3:10 hopefuls, but again, a lot of the people claimed they were shooting for 3:20 or more. Boy, were they going too fast or what? I did a mental check of my choices for clothes and nutrition, and decided that I’d made all the right choices. It was all going to be up to me at this point to pull it off. Time for the hard work to begin.

After ticking off the first 5 or so kilometers, I felt like I’d definitely found my race legs and had the right pace. I was tracking to about a 3:08 marathon, which meant I should be able to bank at least a minute or two by the time I got to the wall at the 32+km mark, which is when things always seem to go wonky for runners. I made a few friends around me, and we just turned over km after km in relative comfort. I knew all to well that things would change later in the race, but for now, all was good. I had chosen not to wear headphones or carry music, so I was really just listening to everything around me. Every 3km or so, we’d have mini cheering groups, as that is where the water / eload stations were. I made sure to grab at least a half cup of electrolyte replacement at every one of these, as that is how I’m used to training.

At about 21.5km, we finally turned off the secondary country roads, and found ourselves running on a major highway. Really. They had a 7km stretch of the highway closed for us. It was really smooth, wide pavement, and this is where the gradient went very much downhill. Now, you might think this would be the chance to turn on the jets and speed up, but I opted to just maintain my pace. Some people clearly tried this strategy, and a few cocky people went flying by. Believe me though, 6km of intense downhill is a sure-fire way to burn your quads. Sure enough, one of those lads ended up walking on the side of the road, and I cheerfully ran by at my steady pace. Check another good idea by me in this race. The end of the highway was at about the 29km mark.

At this point, the race truly felt like it had changed. My running partners were nowhere around me anymore. We had all been spread apart. Also, I was now really starting to feel the pain and the enormity of the task ahead of me. I still had 12km to go, and I had to start digging deep already. I really buckled down and tried to regain my focus, but things were definitely getting tougher. You might be tempted to think that I ‘hit the wall’, but I’d that wasn’t quite the case. You see, in order to meet my goal, I couldn’t afford to think about that or get sucked in by ‘the wall’. Instead, I’d like to say that I ‘ran through the wall’. More poetic, isn’t it? We were now running closer to the water, but there still weren’t many fans on the course. It was a very lonely feeling. Suffering badly, with nothing to push me on except for my own stubbornness.

At the 35km mark, we made a sharp turn, and I knew that the final 7km was basically the finishing leg. We were running on a paved path along Lake Ontario, and i just had to drop the hammer the rest of the way. I focused on a few faster runners ahead, and kept telling myself not to let them drop me. The problem was that others around me were dropping off now. Suddenly, my pacers were slowing, and I absolutely knew that I couldn’t give in with them, as I was too close to my goal. I didn’t work this hard and come this far to lose out on my goal. Granted, anything under a 3:15 would mean I could run Boston in 2011, I really wanted to do it in 2010, and be able to say I ran a 3:10. Push push push, Meyer! I kept chanting things over and over in my head. I had complete tunnel vision, and found another reserve to draw on. At the 36km mark, I grabbed a final chug from my gel flash, then decided to just throw it away, along with the gloves I’d been wearing. Every gram seemed to matter now. My hands were now free, and I could feel the nice cool air as I worked harder than ever before.

Okay people, here we are, the dramatic concluding kilometers. I’m within 3.5km of my destination, and it was clearly going to be a tight finish. My legs were definitely feeling like lead, and I wasn’t sure how I could pull this off. Every fiber of my being was screaming, ‘just take a little break, and walk for a minute’. The problem is that if I did that, I would have to kiss 3:10 goodbye. I couldn’t, and wouldn’t, give in to it. 39km mark. Looking at my watch, I have over 15 minutes left. Okay, so even at 5 minutes per km, I’d make it. No problem right? After all, my race pace was 4:29 per kilometer. Remember the pain though? Yeah, that pace was a big much for me now. 40km mark. Ok , 2 more to go. Time check. 10 minutes to go! Shoot, I now had to run sub-5 min/km to finish on time, and my last km was slow. Push hard Meyer!

Kilometer 41. Is it a mirage? Only a kilometer to go now!!? Time check. I barely have 5 minutes to do it. And guess what? A marathon is not 42km. It’s 42.2km. Exactly. What does that mean? Well, how about an extra 1/5th of a kilometer. Or put another way, a minute! The clock was already at 3:05. At my current pace, it would take 6 minutes, or put another way, just a touch over 3:11!!! Shit! Now, you might think that when you’re that close, adrenalin would kick in and you could easily do it. Well, not quite. Basically, adrenalin ran out a LONG time ago. I don’t know exactly what chemical process was going on in my mind and body, but it was something different. I seriously turned on the jets one last time. I was passing people again now, and each person I passed, I let them know that they would have to pick up the pace to get a 3:10 time. Amazingly though, no one seemed able to respond. In a way, I felt sorry for them, since I knew they’d be disappointed at the end to see how close they were.

I made the final turn, and came into the final 100m finishing chute. I could only partially see the official race clock, and the numbers I saw were 3:10:xx. The seconds were obscured, but it meant I was dangerously close to missing the goal. When I finally crossed the line. Time for me stopped at 3:10:41. In terms of the Boston qualifying rules, that meant I had qualified with a mere 18 seconds to spare. You see, you are given the :59 seconds of the minute. I suspect it’s because of those final cursed 200m that get you every time 🙂 At any rate, I had done it! I had conquered the course, and came out victorious. I was overcome with emotion at the finish, but had no one to share it with right away. I made my way to my bag check, and grabbed my Blackberry to Twitter the result as soon as I could, and let the world know that I’d done it!

And so ends the race story for all my dear readers. Yup, it was a long tale, but one I wanted to make sure I captured so that I could look back on this day years from now and fondly remember what I went through on that day in Hamilton. The rest of the day is somewhat boring. Basically, I had a quick snack, then got behind the wheel to undertake the next event, my 5.5+hour drive back home so that I could be at work the next morning 🙁 No rest for the wicked. I stopped only once on the way back for food and gas. Once home, I chilled out a bit, and had a nice shower. 24 hours after that, I was online, registering myself for the 114th Boston Marathon, which I will run in April. And now, one week later, I feel fully recovered, and ready to get back into training. I was really surprised how quickly I recovered. By Wednesday, I was going a bit of jogging already with the dog, and up and down stairs at work. Sweet, that’ll come in handy when I race my next race in a month! Yup, that’s right, no real rest for ActiveSteve , although I will take much of November off. Till then, take care folks, and never give up on your dreams and goals, whatever they may be.