Back on track

I can hardly remember where I left this blog. Back in August, I had several weeks off due to a stress fracture in my foot and then life got really busy and running had to take the backseat for a while. Finally, I’m just now getting into a routine that’s working and have run my biggest week in 5 months at a measly 95 km. Hopefully I can keep this up for a while and get into shape for some spring races. I’ve signed up for the Robbie Burns 8K in January, Around the Bay 30K in March, and hopefully my spring goal race will be the Ottawa 10K in May. The plan for now is no spring marathon and instead I hope to make it to the starting line of the Toronto Waterfront Marathon in October.

Spring fitness is built on snow-covered roads. #RunGCM2016

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Since we’re just about done with 2016, I thought I’d recap the year. Heading into January 2016, I was coming off a strong race at the Boxing Day 10 miler in Hamilton and a series of solid workouts. I took a down week to prepare for a marathon build but had injury trouble coming back after that. I tried to manage things by biking (in January!) but the tendon flared up in February and ended up resting for three weeks. I had to scrap my plans to race the Glass City Marathon in Toledo, OH and instead made a last minute decision to try for the Ottawa Marathon. I had only 11 weeks to get back on my feet and get some miles and workouts in the legs. I made it to the start line and ran a 3 minute PB but was short of my goal.

Not bad trail conditions for February!

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After Ottawa, I took a week off and then started gearing up for some 10Ks races. After three weeks back at it, I ran a new 10K PB of 31:21 at the Waterfront 10 with the help of a stacked field of fast guys. I made it another three weeks before my foot started bothering me and I eventually got in for an X-ray and bone scan, confirming a stress fracture. I had to endure seven weeks of rest or very light biking to let my foot heal and I missed the chance at a fall marathon for the third year in a row (yikes!).

Newly groomed Howard Watson Nature Trail, east of Mandaumin. Can't wait to run it once it's open!

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Once the stress fracture had healed, I got in four weeks of very light mileage before I started sprinkling in some mild workouts. After another four weeks, I had a vasectomy which required yet another week off before I could even consider jogging. Finally, just now, I’m on my second week back running and things are feeling great!

In total, I’ll have run only 3500 km (245 hours) in 2016. I ran 4800 km (330 hours) in 2015, 4500 km (330 hours) in 2014, and 2750 km (220 hours) in 2013. I did get a lot more biking in this year — 2000 km (73 hours) compared to 1600 km (60 hours) in 2015.

Getting in some early morning miles #seemyrun

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Overall, 2016 was pretty disappointing when compared to my expectations heading into the year. Despite running PBs in the marathon and 10K, I ran a whole lot less than I would have liked, only managing to string together 18 weeks of consistent, regular training over the course of the entire year. I hope to run more consistently in 2017, perhaps logging more miles than I’ve run before. 5000 km seems like a good goal.

These early afternoon sunsets 👌

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2016 was kind of a weird year for the marathon in Canada. The top guys performed well but there seems to have been a drop in depth. (For comparison, the 2:28:12 I ran this year would have ranked as the 32nd fastest time by a Canadian last year but somehow was the 20th fastest this year.) Reid Coolsaet ran another 2:10:55, this time in Fukuoka. Eric Gillis had an incredible performance in Rio–finishing 10th–and won the national title. Kip Kangogo seemed to have an off year, running 6 or 7 minutes slower than his best on two occasions. Robert Winslow ran another consistent 2:19-2:20 marathon at CIM. Terence Attema broke through the 2:20 barrier for the first time in Twin Cities. Our national championship race in Toronto claimed a whole lot of casualties – Tristan Woodfine (due for a sub-2:20), Kevin Coffey (2:21 PB), John Mason (2:22 PB), and David Le Porho (2:19 PB) all DNF’d. We also had a few strong debuts. Evan Elder ran 2:24:56 at CIM, Abdoul Aziz Kimba ran 2:25:44 in Berlin, John Parrot ran 2:26:10 in Ottawa, Anthony Larouche ran 2:27:08 in Philadelphia, and Adam Hortian ran 2:29:54 in Hamilton. Maybe we’ll see some other guys like Trevor Hofbauer, Thomas Toth, Brandon Lord, or Josh Bolton step up (and complete) a marathon next year. Lots to look forward to!

Anyway, that’s it for now. I’ll try to post again at the end of January when (hopefully) I’ll have a rust-buster race behind me!

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