Looking Back, Looking Forward

2017 is almost a memory, and that means many runners (myself included) are taking a look back at the year in running. It’s always interesting to write up one of these, and to look back at last year’s post.

I had high hopes for this year in terms of mileage. My usual goal of running the year number in kilometres was set and I was on pace to make that number again…until March.

Mild Winter

The winter was a mild one and that made training a bit easier than usual. I had a good thing going in the first couple of months of the year, including the start of hill training. With 184km and 187km in January and February respectively, the miles were stacking up nicely heading into the meat of the marathon training program in March and April.

We extended our usual March Break vacation with a few days in Florida in addition to the usual week in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina (HHI). I was looking forward to getting a couple of long runs done in the warmth of the US south.

My first long run on HHI featured a bad fall at 14km while running 29km. I finished the run with things getting tighter and tighter around my ribcage. The next morning it was clear I’d done some damage and running was out of the question for the rest of the week at least.

When we got back to Toronto, I headed to the doctor and was told I probably had a couple of broken ribs.

Sore Ribs, Don’t Care

Call me stubborn…I wasn’t about to let this get in the way of my Vancouver plans. Thanks to some great work by Adriana at Athlete’s Care in Liberty Village, I was back running again just 16 days later.

It hurt like heck and it was slow going, but I was running again. The BMO Vancouver Marathon on May 7, 2017 would be a tough one, but I was determined to be standing on the start line ready to run.

I gradually, but fairly quickly ramped things back up and got in a couple of 30km runs that were confidence boosters before I made the trek out west.

Race day in Vancouver was perfect, and my training was adequate…for about a 30km. When I hit the Seawall, the legs said they were done and while I did a fair bit of walking over the last 10km, I still came in with a decent 4:04:13 time for my eleventh marathon.

Easy Summer

After that, it was time to rest a bit and take it easy over the summer. I tried to keep up some amount of regular running, but without a fall race on the schedule, it was tough to stay motivated. In 2016 I coached the marathon clinic at the Canary District Running Room and ran two marathons that year (spring and fall). I resolved to not to that anymore so I didn’t have a fall marathon on the schedule.

A Fall Half

To stay in the game, I signed up for the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Half Marathon in October and got to work again in September with some more regular training. Race day was hot (again) and I ran sub-1:50 which was good enough for me on that day.

It wasn’t long after that Ginny decided we should both do the trip to Vancouver in 2018 to run the spring races. Nothing gets me back into a regular routine better than having a RUNVAN countdown on my Garmin.

Mid-November was the start of pre-season training and I rolled back into running five days a week heading to the official start of the 18 week BMO Vancouver Marathon training schedule on December 31st.

Assuming I run the schedule in the next couple of days, here’s how 2017 will end up:

Stats:

  • Runs: 196
  • Mileage: 1,683km
  • Hours: 145

Races:

  • BMO Vancouver Marathon: 4:04:00 (Strava)
  • Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Half Marathon: 1:49:53 (Strava)

Training Update – Less than 19 Weeks to Go

It’s less than a week now until things kick off for real and the training program for the 2018 BMO Vancouver Marathon begins.

This week was a bit of a step back week for me with the Christmas holidays taking some of the usual runs out of the equation. Still I missed only one run – the 13km Sunday run on Christmas Eve. That was a bit by design to get a little rest in after 5 weeks of solid building of mileage and strength.

The weather here took a turn and it’s now full-on winter running. First we got a couple of snowstorms that put about 25cm of snow on the ground around our end of the city. Then the temperatures snapped to the frigid end of the temperature spectrum with daytime highs around -10ºC.

I’ve been using the treadmills over at Variety Village for my weeknight runs as it’s both cold and dark after about 5:00 P.M. these days. I’ve never felt especially safe running the streets in the dark. Last week a woman was struck and killed by a drunk driver along my usual running route.

There’s a makeshift memorial of flowers and notes where she died that serves as a reminder that things can go wrong in a real hurry. I passed it on Tuesday afternoon on my run and thought of my own accident back in 2011 that could have ended up far worse than it did.

Happy New Year

I’ll get a few more runs in this week and then as 2018 arrives on Monday, so does week one of the training schedule. Things start slow as usual, but by February the Sunday runs start creeping up in length and the weekly mileage starts to grow.

Here’s hoping 2018 brings some milder weather and some good training as I embark on the 18 week journey that will culminate with my 12th marathon overall and fifth BMO Vancouver Marathon.

Just a little snow when we go home last night. And then the system dumped another 10cm overnight on top of that. I can’t remember a Christmas with this much snow around here in a long time.

Something about the lake in winter. It disappears into misty darkness.

Gloomy day as the morning snow turned to rain. Still enjoyed walking around our busy city getting some shopping done.

Training Update – 20 Weeks to Go

Another week closer to race day and things are really starting to come together nicely now.

This was the first week I ran the marathon weekday plan of 6km on Tuesday, 10km on Wednesday and 8km on Thursday. That gets me up to the “normal” weekly mileage of 30km not including the Sunday run.

Speaking of Sunday, tomorrow’s 13km run will be a cold one. The forecast is calling for temps around -13ºC at run time with a windchill making it feel a bit colder than that.

It’ll be a bundle up kind of day, but we’ll survive. Here’s hoping the sun will make an appearance to help warm things up.

From a fitness perspective, I’m in good shape as well (no pun intended). Strava says I’m at a 42 now on their scale. That compares favourably with where I was at last year heading into the new year.

That fitness number is climbing steadily and if I can keep the trend going, I think my goal of being above 70 on race day is attainable.

Snowy morning and King St. is looking great. Smooth ride across in the pilot area.