Wednesday, August 27, 2008

35k is still 35k!

Wow -- its been a while since I've made a post. Probably because I didn't have much to report, I guess. Since Virginia Beach, I've still been running, but I haven't been as singularly focused on my time. Instead, I've been working on personal bests in shorter distances.

I set a PR in the 2nd Annual Canada Day Lucan to Exeter or Exeter to Lucan Invitational Shamrock Half Marathon (ACDLTEOETLISHM - Gaelic for: will run for beer) with a time of 1:39:43. I set a PR in the Ailsa Craig Gala Days 5k of 21:07 -- taking a full 4 seconds off my time from the previous year. So my speed was, apparently, not waning.

But then came the A Midsummer Night's Run in Toronto and I was to pace Paula and Jenny who, I thought, were both going for a 3 hour time (6 minute k's x 30k). Jenny had been training very well and the day of the race announced that she wanted to do 5:40/k -- enough to bring her in in under 2:50. Pretty aggressive considering her last 30k run was the Around the Bay Road Race in Hamilton which she did in 3:06:18. So it worked out that Paula would run with Bob and Wendy Fraser, who were looking for the same pace, and I would pace Jenny.

Well, it was an education. I hadn't been training like Jenny was and by 20k, my hamstring was talking to me in the form of cramps. I tried to run loosely but I was eventually running with power from only one leg -- shades of Virginia Beach. At 26k, I gave Jenny the GPS and told her to go ahead -- that I would just slow her down from here on in. I walked for about 200 m. through some of the nicest Toronto real estate along the Toronto beaches -- stretching my thigh as I walked -- and then started to run at my typical pace and it felt okay. Before long I was within a few hundred metres of Jenny and with about 300 m. to go, I finally caught up to her and we crossed together in 2:47:55. But I definitely knew I wasn't in the same shape I was when I ran in Virginia Beach.

The next real test was a 35k training run with Paula just this past Tuesday (August 25). We ran around Ailsa Craig and then from A.C. to the Tim Horton's in Lucan, and then made our way back. But by 28k into the run, I was starting to feel the effects. Paula even asked if I was okay -- a bit bizarre for the pacee to be asking the pacer. But by this time we'd been out for about 3.5 hours -- and it was starting to wear on me. We kept going and ultimately finished very strongly -- both of us.

Paula said afterwards that it was one of the better training runs she'd had, which made me feel good considering how I felt in the middle of the run. But even after the run, Paula was chipper and upbeat, and I felt less than optimal until a few hours later.

Soooooo... the lesson is that training matters, irrespective of your typical running speed. And that a 35k run is still a long run, and 4 hours out on a road is a long time. Certainly no taking it for granted.

This pacing is an excellent way for me to keep relatively fit leading up to Boston. The ideal situation is for Paula to get her BQ, me to be pacing her every step of the way -- the same way Brian did for me -- and for us all to be running in Boston in 2009. Just that thought alone is keeping me motivated!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

I'm goin' to Boston in 2009!

We qualified for Boston at the 2008 Shamrock Marathon in Virginia Beach, Virginia.

I say 'we' because, while I was the person wearing the timing chip, Brian Watson ran with me stride for stride both during the race (okay -- a bit ahead of me for the last part), and my wife Jenny was our 'support team' who kept us stocked in jelly beans, ibuprophen, Eload tablets and Eload sport drink, and even had a special treat of orange slices at Mile 22.

My time was 3:29:01 -- 1:58 under what I needed to qualify for Boston.

Brian and I agreed on a plan and kept to it -- pretty much. The plan was that we start off at roughly 8:00/mile, get a bit of time 'in the bank' during the first half, on which he could draw in the last few miles. What he didn't tell me was that once I hit mile 20, his plan was to keep me to 8:00/mile for the last 6.2. (Not sure if he had that plan in advance, but I was still relatively coherent by mile 20, so I think he felt he could push me more.)

The course was pretty much ideal. Other than a small mountain at miles 3 and 10 (an overpass across the harbour entrance), it was very flat -- right along the Atlantic coast, only 1 or 2 streets in, so we had a buffer from any east-west wind.

Speaking of wind, what we didn't have any control over was the weather. What we were looking for was no wind. Boy did we _not_ get what we were looking for. There had been tornados a few hundred miles away in Atlanta yesterday, and the forecast was 15 to 25 mile-an-hour winds from the north. Yet it had been a perfectly windless day in Virginia beach yesterday! Arrrgggghhhh. If the wind was from the east or west it would have been fine -- but the course runs pretty much north-south. The only saving grace was that the most direct wind would be from miles 10 to 16 when I would still be relatively strong. After that, we would be in a forested area for 5 miles with next-to-no wind, and then for miles 21 to 26, the wind would be at our back.

The overall target pace was 8:00 per mile to achieve a 3:30 BQ. Here is how the times went:

Mile 1: 8:10
Mile 2: 7:54
Mile 3: 7:51
Mile 4: 7:55
Mile 5: 7:55
Mile 6: 7:49
Mile 7: 7:56
Mile 8: 7:55
Mile 9: 7:50
Mile 10: 7:52
Mile 11: 7:52
Mile 12: 8:02
Mile 13: 7:46
Mile 14: 7:56
Mile 15: 7:58
Mile 16: 7:59
Mile 17: 7:50
Mile 18: 7:57
Mile 19: 7:58
Mile 20: 7:56
Mile 21: 7:58
Mile 22: 8:06
Mile 23: 8:04
Mile 24: 8:12
Mile 25: 8:23
Mile 26: 8:10
Mile 26.2: 2:00

(I've adjusted each of the full miles by 4 seconds up to account for the 1% difference between what my Garmin was reporting and the 26.2 miles I ran -- so this won't quite add up to 3:29:01).

As you can see, I was pretty strong up until mile 21 -- but then I got slower. There was a good reason for this: leg cramps. It started with a cramp in my left leg right around Mile 20. I worked through it and tried to keep the leg loose. But at mile 21, I got it again. Just a 1-second "aggghh" pain in the hamstring area. Kept working through it. By this point I could see my whole race going down the tubes. Brian asked me if I could keep with an 8:00/mile pace for the remainder and I felt that I could. But he could see that I was having issues keeping up.

It was crunch time. 4 miles to go. I'm now starting to see my pace times wane -- but running with basically only one strong leg was, well, challenging. Then in the middle of Mile 25, my right hamstring had a cramp. 'Holy crap!', I thought to myself. This isn't good. Must finish. I tried to keep both legs loose while keeping the pace Brian was trying to set -- and I popped my 4th ibuprophen of the race. I'd had a couple of Eload tablets along with more of my Eload sport drink at Mile 23, but it wasn't working yet.

I'm not sure if it helped, but for whatever reason Mile 26 was better. It was possibly psychological as I knew -- barring some disaster -- I was going to make my BQ. And for the final 0.2 of a mile, I was able to get a finishing kick to come in at an 8:00/mile pace (although it felt faster at the time!).

I forgot to hit the Stop button on my GPS at the finish so by the time I did, it said 3:29:13. And the clock time was definitely under 3:30 so there was no question I'd made it. It wasn't until I returned to the hotel and Jenny said she'd chatted with my youngest daughter Tori who had seen the results on the web site that I found out that I'd done it just a hair over 3:29.

So, when we get back home, we'll be looking for hotels/bed-and-breakfasts in Boston for 2009. It feels good. It's taken 8-and-a-half months since I ran the Lucan-Exeter half marathon in a sufficiently fast time that I thought I could do a BQ marathon time. And a ton of credit goes to Coach Brian who tweaked my Runners World training guide and paced with me on some unbelievably brutal winter runs to get me to this point.

I'm looking forward to joining as many other Shamrocks as can make it -- and I'll definitely volunteer to do what Brian did for me by pacing and supporting any others in the group who want to give a BQ qualifier a try.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Ready to Race...

Since my last post, I've done a number of 'taper' runs, typically at a 8:30 to 9:00 per mile pace. Tomorrow we hit the road to drive to Virginia Beach (taking 2 days to get there -- 14 hours of driving according to Google Maps), so today was my last chance to do a training run at home.

My knee has still been bugging me -- hurts like hell when I bend it a full 90 degrees -- but its generally fine when I run. I've been blasting it with ibuprofen for the last 3 days, which has definitely helped. 5 x 200 mg. evenly spaced throughout the day. 2 days of sitting in a car probably won't help!

Today, Brian wanted me to do some tempo runs -- something faster than race pace. Just to make it interesting, we headed out on William Street from our place with 1 mile of warm up and then 1.5 miles out of tempo run, turn around 1.5 more miles of tempo run, and then a mile cool down. Lots of hills on that route, and the wind was noticeable in some directions, so it was not going to be an 'easy' run by any stretch of the imagination.

Brian suggested I target 7:40 per mile, but be prepared to bail altogether if my knee starts talking to me. As we headed out for tempo speed, I had no problem exceeding 7:40. And despite the right knee, right heel, left shin, and any other part of my body that was sore when I started, by the time I was done the tempo part of the run, I definitely felt strong -- and had knocked off times of 7:24, 7:32 and 7 :18 -- with much of the last mile being uphill and into a fairly strong wind! In fact, over the 5 mile run (including warmup and cool down jogs), my pace was 7:55 -- just a bit faster than race pace for a BQ -- and right on what we want to do for the first 13 miles of the Shamrock Marathon in Virginia Beach.

I checked the weather forecast today and they're saying between 3 and 12 degrees C (37 to 53 F) with a 10% probability of precipitation. If the wind can stay down, this will be a perfect race day!

So, we'll head out tomorrow with me feeling fairly confident. The training is there. Despite the knee issues, I'm feeling healthy enough to finish strongly. Jenny will be there for additional support (Eload, jelly beans, ibuprofen). I've got Brian pacing me, which is perfect since he knows every motivational tool in the book ("A nice cold beer just 2 miles ahead, buddy!") to keep me going strong right to the finish. And I have lots of friends and family rooting for me to hit that Boston Qualifier (BQ) time of 3:30:59 or better.

I'm looking forward to it!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

I survived 'Killer Week' - 59 miles

Between my 20 miler last Wednesday, a 12 miler on Friday, a 9.1 mile run on Sunday and the 18 mile tempo run with Brian today, I've done 59 miles in the past 7 days. The longest 7 day running distance I did when training for Corning and Niagara was 53 miles, so I've definitely taken the training up a notch.

And it feels like it too. Maybe its the weather (a bit warmer -- around -2 C/28 F. today) or the fact that that we aren't running on snow/slush covered roads as much, but I just feel more confident about my running in the past week or so.

Today was the long tempo run that I've been dreading. The plan was to do 18 miles, including 1 mile of warmup, 5 miles each at 8:40, 8:20 and 8:00 per mile (marathon pace), and then 2 miles of cool-down. While a week ago, I could barely keep up to Brian and we finished the 20 miler with an average 8:32 pace, today I had no problem keeping up.

Because of the snow-covered gravel roads, we decided to stick with paved roads for the run. The paved roads were wet, but generally clear of snow because of all the sunshine we've had the last couple of days. There was a slight wind -- about 10 km/hour -- from the south, but by the time we were done, it was coming from the north. But it wasn't really enough to be much of a factor.

Our first mile was easy at just under a 9:00/mile pace. We then stepped it up to 8:40 and, looking back at the GPS results, its amazing how close we kept to that pace for the next five miles: 8:32, 8:46, 8:38, 8:39 and 8:38. This run was also generally uphill, but we were able to keep the pace pretty consistently.

The next 5 miles were to be at 8:20 pace. We instantly stepped up the pace and had to actually slow ourselves down at the start until we got into the 8:20 "groove". We did 8:20, 8:19, 8:15, 8:14 and 8:19 miles -- again, surprisingly consistent. This particular run was a net "flat" since it was an "out-and-back" part of our route.

Now the tough part: Marathon pace for 5 miles. But, in fact, it wasn't that tough. The first 3 miles at marathon pace were relatively flat and we knocked off 7:54, 7:56 and 7:53 miles. The next 2.5 miles was generally downhill so I stepped it up even further and knocked off 7:39, 7:32 and 7:41 (half mile).

Finally, we did a mile-and-a-half of cool-down at an easy pace of roughly 9:20/mile.

Overall, we did the 18 mile run at an 8:21 pace -- but if you take out the warm-up and cool-down, our "running" pace was 8:14 per mile. It was the ease at which we transitioned from one pace to the next that amazed me -- not to mention the fact that I still had lots of "gas in the tank" at 16 miles to keep rolling along at a much better than marathon pace -- even during the uphill segments.

So, at Virgina Beach it will likely come down to the weather (again). I'm certainly feeling confident in my training. I have Brian coaching me along to keep my pace in check. We have a strategy that make sense, aiming for a couple of minutes "in the bank" by the halfway point (i.e. run 7:55/mile for the first 13 miles to give us a little wiggle room at the end). And with the training we've done, I'm hoping we'll hit mile 23 and _know_ that we have my BQ in the bank, and we can step it up at the end.

That's the plan, anyhow.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

'Killer Week' - Part Trois

After my really good run on Friday, I wasn't ready for anything overly strenuous today and so the 8 to 10 mile easy run that Brian suggested worked out perfectly. It also worked out well for Jenny, who joined us for our 9.1 mile run, and then ran home for a total run of 13.9 miles (22.25 km) with a very consistent pace of between 6:12 and 6:15 per kilometer. She had an excellent run, despite being frozen at the end of it (fingers and toes, mostly) and the fact that she was running alone without a pace bunny or GPS to help her keep pace.

My run was good too -- especially considering that my right knee started bothering me after my Friday run. Jenny did some research and we believe that I'm experiencing "patellofemoral pain syndrome" since I'm feeling pain under and around my kneecap. The funny part is that when I run, its not an issue. But an hour after I've stopped running and I try to climb stairs or something is when it starts to bother me.

Anyhow, I've started to put ice packs on it regularly (a couple of times a day at least) and I've popped a couple of ibuprophen and both tactics seem to be doing the trick. I'm taking it easy on the ibuprophen (just had 1 today) since I don't want to overstress anything by 'working through the pain'. If it hurts too much, I should just stop. At the same time, I know that ibuprophen should reduce the swelling which should help it heal faster.

Next run... the long (18 mile) tempo run that Brian has planned for me on Tuesday. I'm really not looking forward to it!

Friday, February 22, 2008

'Killer Week' Part Deux - "Bring it on!"

I emailed Brian last night to get him the running schedule that my Runners World chart was suggesting. I was sort of hoping he'd agree that a rest for the rest of this week followed by another 20 miler on Sunday would do the trick. But my hopes were dashed at 7:41 this morning:

"I'd suggest you go ahead with a run today if it's around 20 k at an easy pace,, rest Sat and then Sun we'll run something like 8-10 miles. If Tuesday is good weather wise let's then do 18 miles with a warm up, 5mi at mp +40sec, 5mi at mp+20sec, 5mi at mp, then cool down. Then 1-2 easy runs of 4-7 miles before your hockey weekend. See you Sunday."

20K today!? That was what I had planned. I simply wasn't psyched up for that long a run -- at least not this morning -- so I looked at the weather forecast and it looked to be pretty good this afternoon -- around -4 C (25 degrees F) with a 6 mph wind out of the north -- and sunshine!

So I got a fair bit of work done in the office and then at around 3:00 I took off early to go for my run.

What happened after that I hadn't felt for months. I started looking for 8:58/mile pace, as my chart was suggesting for long runs. But I started knocking off 8:30 miles fairly easily along the gravel roads and so I decided that would be my target pace for the run. But when I hit pavement that the sun had actually dried off, I was all-of-a-sudden doing 8:07s and then sub-8's. My GPS recorded it like this:

7:27 (1/10th of a mile)

I was actually getting progressively faster as the run went along. And the last 3+ miles were on a slight uphill grade and into a slight wind!

Ultimately, I think the difference was the dry paved roads on which I was running, combined with cool weather, sunshine and just an ever-so-slight breeze. But mostly the dry roads.

It's funny how one day you wonder how you'd ever make the full 26.2 miles, and another day you're thinking, "Bring it on!".

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The 'Killer' Week of Long Runs

This is always the part of the marathon training that I dread -- that high-mileage week (relatively speaking, of course) three weeks before the marathon. And because of schedule conflicts, this is going to be worse than normal.

My schedule called for a 20 miler last Sunday -- but I had been in a hockey tournament that weekend and, while we didn't end up playing on Sunday (because we suck), I wanted to run a 10k race in London Ontario as part of the Really Chilly Road Races. I did the 10k run as a training run and, because of the slippery conditions, set out to just do 'marathon pace' (5 min./k.). As it turned out, though, I felt pretty good and as the run went on, I stepped it up a bit and ended up finishing just a hair over 48 minutes for a 4:48/k. pace.

Anyhow, the point is that I didn't intend to run another 22 k after that race to get in my 20 miles, so Brian and I decided to do the 20 miler on Wednesday. This was the official start of 'killer week'.

Brian met me at my house at 8:00 am on Wednesday and we started our run. It was a cold -13 Celcius (8 degrees F.) outside, and there was a slight wind coming out of the southwest. We headed off towards Lucan where we did a couple of 5 mile loops on the country roads. But by the time we were done a half-marathon distance, I was getting tired.

To Brian's credit, he kept motivating me on -- and I dug deep to keep up a strong steady pace -- but by that time we were heading west and the wind was right in our faces. Have I mentioned that I hate wind? Anyhow, I kept chugging away, concentrating on every step as well as I could, to keep pushing myself forward.

By this time I had screwed up my GPS and was, quite frankly, too tired to see what I had done. It was showing me a pace of 8:05/mile which I knew wasn't right. So I just kept trying to keep pace with Brian and while I was unsuccessful, I was certainly giving it everything I had.

Brian had a finish time in mind for us and, while I don't know what that finish time was, I do know that we had a substantial 'negative split' -- where the last 10 miles of the run were faster (1:23:30) than the first 10 miles of the run (1:27:10) by a good 3 minutes and 40 seconds.

My legs ached when I was done -- and I couldn't face an ice bath to prevent them from stiffening up -- but a warm shower with some cold water on the legs at the end seemed to be a not-bad compromise.

Our overall pace was 8:32 -- not bad considering our first 10 miles was at an 8:40 pace, and the last half was basically into the wind. But I still had to wonder how I'd keep an 8:00/mile pace for 26.2 miles in a marathon.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Been a while since I've posted...

We've simply been super busy. I should be working now, even. But I had a relatively good run today, so I figured I'd update my blog.

I've been putting in lots of miles -- staying on track with my schedule. Today was a 'speed work' day, which I always 'love'. I had to do 4 miles of 7:02 or better pace, but the closest I got was 7:07 on the first mile. I'd like to blame it on the wind or hills, but (as much as they were both factors on my route) I think that I just didn't have enough strength to keep it that fast for that long. My 'speed' laps were 7:07, 7:14, 7:13 and 7:22. The warm up, cool-down and mid-speed miles jogs were at an easy pace -- but my overall pace for the 8 mile run was 8:05 minutes per mile -- almost my marathon pace! I worked hard, though, and my muscles certainly felt it. But I probably need to do more.

We've had some brutal runs over the past couple of weeks, though. Last weekend, five of us ran from Parkhill to just west of Lucan in -13 degree weather with 45 km/h winds at our backs. I may have got a bit of frostbite on the back of my neck which must have been exposed a bit. It was a 2+ hour run over 16 miles -- including a couple of segments back-tracking into the wind -- and a couple of runs in, basically, white-out conditions on the roads. Lots of fun!

Another weekend (with similar winds) we did 15 miles in McNaughton Park in Exeter, trying to stay within the trails (and trees) within the park. We had company, meeting up with Rita Lewis and Mary Ondrejicka for a few miles, and then later Ian Trotter who wisely decided to battle the trails rather than the wide open roads.

On another windy day, Brian and I did hill work and kept a pretty reasonable pace considering winds that were so strong I had to run on an side-angle -- or at least how it felt.

Anyhow, suffice it to say that there have been some brutally cold and windy runs that we've done over the past several weeks. But, both Brian and I are booked for the Shamrock Marathon in Virgina Beach -- and Jenny, Bridget, Brian and I will be making the trek to Virgina Beach in exactly 1 month!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Arrrggghh -- Back to speed work

We had 4 Shamrocks running today -- pretty good for a Wednesday. Brian and I met Rita and Val at Val's gym to go out for a 5k run.

It all started out easily enough with lots of chat about last weekends run, both at Disney and in Lucan. But then I mentioned that my race training chart said I should be doing 3 miles at 7:06/mile separated by 1/2 mile jogs. Well, Brian and I started to pick up the pace and before long we decided to try to achieve that pace.

The first speed work mile was at just under 7:00 -- not bad for running into the wind. By the time we had started the second speed work mile, we had the wind behind us and we started off far too fast -- roughly 6:15/mile -- so we spent the next few minutes slowing down to get closer to a 7:04 finish. But it was the third speed work mile that had me working the hardest. I struggled the whole way, but particularly in the last half mile. Brian was great -- giving me a target to pass in order to stay on pace and urging me to dig deep to finish. Certainly this was the toughest running I'd done since Niagara and my coach's help allowed me to get the most out of the run.

My muscles are still feeling the effects of the run which I'm hoping means that they're working to get stronger.

I'm down to just over 8 weeks until the Shamrock Marathon in Virginia Beach, so the training is going to get tougher and longer quickly!

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Disney World Half Marathon 2008

Its hard to believe, but I think the last time I ran before the Half was on New Years day! We had a hockey tournament last weekend, and then I played hockey Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of this week, so there was no time (or energy) for a run!

The Disney Half was quite an experience. We registered at the All Star Sports complex yesterday, which was an impressive basketball arena -- not a hockey rink converted to one. Tons of volunteers -- and lots of lines, but generally things moved quickly. There were something like 16,000 runners registered for the half (although just over 12,000 actually finished) and there were similar numbers for the full marathon. That's a lot of people to process!

We prepared everything last night so that we would have to spend minimal time getting ready. We wanted to get up, get into our gear and warm-up clothes, grab our stuff and head out the door.

Even still, the alarm went at 3:00 am (although I slept for a few more minutes) and we were on a bus to the start at Epcot by 3:45. Karen was her normal chipper self -- but Jenny and Tori were also chipper which was nice since neither are 'morning people'. I think everyone was excited.

The number of buses was impressive -- lined up around the huge parking lot at Epcot. Too many to count. Thousands of people were streaming into the staging areas. By now it was about 4:15 am.

They had a band playing in a band shell so we found a hunk of tarmac and tried to choke down some bagels, chocolate, etc. An announcer directed people to the bag drop-off tent just before 5:00 am and after going through the tent, we were in another courtyard lined with port-a-johns, which got a healthy workout. Again, long lines but they moved quickly.

At about 5:30, we were directed to walk out to the starting line which must have been pretty close to a mile. I'm sure it took about 15 minutes to get there. We had been allocated into different corrals with the faster runners in corral A, and slower runners (progressively) into corrals B through F. I was in A and the girls were in corral D so we all did our hugs and best wishes as the girls stopped off at their corral. It was very well organized -- particularly considering the huge volume of bodies. If you want a means of managing the movement of people, leave it to Disney!

After chatting with a few runners in my corral who were looking to break 2 hours, I moved up to about 1/3 of the way back from the start. That worked out well since there were few people passing me or that I was passing, again, considering the volume of people in the race. Certainly it was no worse for congestion than any other race in which I've been.

I wasn't sure what to expect for topology or heat before arriving at Disney, and both conspired against me to ensure I wasn't going to attempt a personal best. I think it was the humidity that was the nail in the coffin for a PB. By the end of the first mile I was already sweating and could feel myself labouring with my breathing. Still I managed to knock off the first mile in about 8:06 so I set my goal at completing the race in marathon pace (8:00/mile).

The next miles came steadily -- but I'd forgotten to figure out where the backlight is for my GPS, so I had to wait until I was directly underneath street lamps to try to make out my pace. And even then, I could only see the 'instant' pace, which isn't generally accurate. Anyhow, I managed to knock of the next four miles at between a 7:48 and 7:59 pace. Overall, the 5K track put me at 24:50 or 4:58/k which equates to 7:57 per mile. The 10k split (roughly 6 miles) had me at 49:36 -- again at 4:58/k (7:57/mile). Talk about consistency!

Through miles 6 to 10, I was starting to labour a bit more. My times ranged from 8:05/mile to 8:10 per mile. So by the time I was done 10 miles (roughly 16k) I was a bit behind the pace I wanted. The 15k split had me at 1:14:43 or about 7:59/mile. With 3.1 miles to go, I was slipping.

Things didn't get any better -- now thanks to the topology. Miles 11 and 12 were at 8:12 and 8:18, mostly due to the interchanges that we were going over on the way back to Epcot. But in the last full mile, I dug deep and pushed with all of my might. I knocked off a 7:47 last full mile winding through Epcot, and then turned it up a notch higher even going into the last 0.1 mile to finish at 1:45:04 for the entire race -- 8:00:31 per mile! Double that finish time and I'm going to Boston!

But the real story wasn't my race -- it was that of my girls. Tori finished in 2:24:49 (with her pace bunny, Jenny, close behind) and Karen in 2:49:17 -- and both with smiles on their faces (eventually)! They both had lots of stories to tell -- photos of Disney characters they passed, running through the castle at the Magic Kingdom, the sprint at the finish -- and were quite pleased with finishing their first half marathon. Jenny and I are pleased and proud as well!

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

New Year's Eve run...

For the second year in a row, a bunch of Shamrocks did an easy run from Lucan to our house, leaving Tim Horton's at 9:05 pm and pulling into our driveway about 9:55 pm.

It was an absolutely beautiful night -- perfect for running -- and perhaps a wintery example of how nice it can be during the Shore-To-Shore night-time runs.

Paula's husband, John, paced with us as did Heather Marr's boyfriend, Leigh, so we had plenty of light on the road and identification for oncoming traffic. The escort by John and Leigh was definitely appreciated.

All told there were 7 runners -- Paula, Heather, Jed De Jong, Jenny, Karen, Tori and me -- so with all of our headlamps and reflective gear, I think we looked fairly impressive out there.

Jed's wife, Cathy, and my mother and her friend, Annie, joined us after the run and we sipped champagne (and beer), chatted, and toasted the new year at midnight.

In the morning, seeing as I didn't have a hangover (!), I ran back into Lucan to get our Jeep. We'd had about 5 inches of snow overnight, so I think some drivers thought I was nuts (as per usual). Again, very similar to the Shore to Shore! :-)

Hopefully an annual event!