Canadian 10K and Half championships

This weekend has two races to watch – the Ottawa 10K and Calgary Half Marathon, both of which are national championship races and can be streamed online (links below). Start lists are out and here’s who I’m watching for:

Ottawa 10K — Start List | Stream | Results

  • Eric Gillis (1:03:49 half in March)
  • Thomas Toth (2:18:58 marathon in April)
  • Tristan Woodfine (1:05:27 half in March)
  • Kevin Coffey (14:07 5000m at the end of April)
  • Blair Morgan (2:22:14 marathon earlier in May)
  • Anthony Larouche (1:07:48 half in April)
  • Kevin Tree (30:29 downhill 10K in April)
  • Adam Hortian (30:36 downhill 10K earlier in May)
  • Maxime Leboeuf (31:40 10K in April, 31:06 10K earlier in May)
  • Paul Rochus (1:08:21 half in March)
  • Josh Bolton (1:09:03 half in April)
  • David Le Porho (DNF’d a half in April – 35:48 at halfway mark)
  • Matt Loiselle (25:36 8K in April)
  • Eric Bang (1:10:57 half in April)

Calgary Half Marathon — Start List | Stream | Results

  • Geoff Martinson (29:46 downhill 10K in April)
  • Sami Jibril (30:00 10000m earlier in May)
  • Kip Kangogo (1:06:08 half earlier in May)
  • Terence Attema (2:19:49 marathon last fall)
  • John Mason (1:07:40 half in April, 30:16 downhill 10K earlier in May)
  • Dylan Wykes (31:21 downhill 10K in April)

This is (I believe) the last weekend for folks to try for a Worlds qualifier and since all the big guns are running the 10K or HM champs (or injured), it seems the pool is set for our men’s marathon team: Eric Gillis, Reid Coolsaet (although he has indicated he won’t run London as he’s just now returning from injury), Rob Watson (although he seems to be missing the national championship race criteria), and Thomas Toth. Looks like we might just have a team of two.

30 degrees out and I'm stuck in this foot-warmer for the next 4-6 weeks 😒

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I was hoping to try the Ottawa Marathon again this year after I pulled out of plans to run Toledo eventually gave up hope as my injury worsened. The Ottawa 10K was my backup (backup) plan so you’ll see my name on the start list but I won’t be running. I’m still wearing the boot to let a probable calcaneal stress fracture heal. I’ve avoided impact for almost three weeks now, so another 3-5 in the boot and I’ll try some running again. In the meantime, I’ve been trying to get in as much cycling as I can.

For the most part, weather has been favourable. Although I’d rather be running, I’d rather be injured when I can bike outdoors as there’s not much worse than cycling on a trainer or using an elliptical. I’ve signed up for some weekly group rides which is helping to break up the monotony of my daily routes.

I’ve even stepped up my cycling ‘seriousness’ a step by purchasing some new parts for my freebie bike. I had the bottom bracket replaced as it had been squeaking and wobbling for a while and was starting to sieze up. I also found a 13-28–tooth freewheel cassette to give me a tiny bit more breathing room at top speeds compared to the 14-28 cassette I’ve been using to this point.

Just beat the sunset home after a 60 km ride! 🚲🌤👌😎

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Last weekend, I completed my longest ride to date with a 103 km loop through Petrolia, Corunna, and Camlachie. That was a fun challenge and by the end I was feeling like my reserves had been emptied.

My focus has shifted to the long-term as I didn’t want to put pressure on myself to get back to racing too soon. If all goes well, I’d like to make it to the starting line of STWM this fall (5 months away! 😩) and maybe a 10K and/or half marathon as a tune-up before then. More than anything, I just want to get out of this boot and back to running regularly.

Good luck to everyone racing this weekend! Wish I was out there, too!


Watching spring marathons from the sidelines

Since Around the Bay, I was able to get my hamstring under control but somehow hurt my heel/Achilles tendon and now I’ve gone from scratching the Toledo marathon off my list, to cancelling my backup plan to run the Ottawa marathon, and now I’m wondering if I’ll even be able to run the Ottawa 10K in 5 weeks. No running for a week and my heel is still bothering me. There doesn’t seem to be a specific movement or point that is painful so I hope that means there’s no fracture. Seems more likely to be some kind of tendon issue where it attaches to the heel. Maybe some tearing? Hard to know and, unfortunately, going through the x-ray process seems pointless since it takes so long to hear the results and half the time the results don’t show anything. So, I’m resting until it feels normal again. Oh well. I’m happy enough with my race at the Chilly Half to call that the end of my spring racing season and shift my focus to some summer 10Ks.

Fortunately, while I’ve been sidelined there have been a bunch of spring races to follow. The Boston Marathon was fun to watch. Jordan Hasay won the day after running 2:23 (fastest debut by an American woman) off a 1:07-high half marathon in Prague. Our Canadians had a rough day out there with Rejean Chiasson running 2:31:57 after splitting the half in 1:10:55, John Parrott running 2:34:30 after splitting 1:11:02, and Christian Mercier running 2:44:34 after splitting 1:15:27. I heard conditions were pretty tough on the day with some wind and warmer than usual temps. Would’ve liked to see what those guys could’ve done if things worked out in their favour.

Thomas Toth ran the Hamburg marathon under the radar and managed to dip under the IAAF qualifying mark of 2:19 when he finished in 2:18:58. That adds him to the list of Reid Coolsaet, Eric Gillis, and Rob Watson who have run a qualifying time for the 2017 Marathon World Championship race in London this August. I imagine we’ll see a few more guys take a crack at this mark over the next month. (Tristan Woodfine? Sami Jibril?) We already know three guys lining up on May 7: Blair Morgan in Prague, Kip Kangogo in Vancouver, and Seth Marcaccio in Pittsburgh. Good luck to each of those guys!

The Sunday following Boston was packed with good races – The Montreal Half, Vancouver Sun Run 10K, and London Marathon. Tristan Woodfine and Kevin Coffey ran around the 30-minute mark on Vancouver’s downhill course. (Kevin followed that up with a blistering 5000m in 14:07 a week or so later!)
John Mason set a PB in Montreal with a 1:07:40, while Jeff Costen and Josh Bolton ran 1:09-low. Check out John’s interview on The Terminal Mile podcast.

The London Marathon lived up to the hype again with Mary Keitany taking nearly a minute off the women-only world record, running 2:17:01 after a suicidal first half where at one point, she was on pace for 2:10! The men’s race was pretty good too watching Bekele claw his way back into contention but eventually coming up short.

Lots of marathoning I’ll be following next weekend. Good luck to everyone running Mississauga! Watch for fast Canadians in Vancouver, Pittsburgh, and Prague, too!

The hamstring injury that wouldn’t quit

Following the Chilly Half, I made it through one run before my hamstring seized up out of nowhere during an easy run. That injury, which I suspect was some kind of strain, took about two weeks to heal. I got back into a training groove for a week before running Around the Bay 30K (since I was already registered), knowing my legs were feeling heavy and that I probably wouldn’t be in prime condition. I didn’t expect any miracles but hoped to get in a good long run effort at marathon pace or if things didn’t feel great, I’d slow up and just check out the course for future racing opportunities. Fortunately, my hamstring had been feeling 100% all week and had no issues during the race.

I ran beside Josh Bolton for nearly the entire race and having him to work with made the kilometres pass quickly. Thanks for the help out there, Josh!

We started off around 12th place and began picking off guys who were falling off the lead pace. Eventually, we ended up in 7th and 8th positions without being overtaken by anyone behind us.

I was happy to make it through that hard effort without any hint of the hamstring issue, but four days after it struck again during a short marathon-paced tempo. I immediately pulled the plug and began the slow jog home. Last time I tried heat packs, ice packs, massage, and stretching and I think that maybe aggravated the injury a bit. This time I’m resting immediately and trying compression.

I could've sworn it felt like summer a few days ago…

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The timing of this second round of hamstring issues means I probably can’t get anymore quality workouts in before Toledo (3 weeks away) as I expect I’ll have another week or so letting the hamstring heal before just getting back into running regularly as the taper would begin. If I’m going to run Toledo, it will be on whatever fitness I’ll have managed to hang onto since Chilly 4 weeks ago. That’s not how I wanted to head into this race…

I can’t help but look ahead to the Ottawa 10K which is 5 weeks after Toledo. As the Canadian 10K road championship race, I really wanted to run a good one there and see how I stack up against that field. Part of me wonders (and was wondering a few weeks ago when this hamstring issue first came up) if pushing through with my plans to run Toledo will result in two mediocre race results instead of resting now, forgoing Toledo, and possibly running a better race in Ottawa. Hard to know. I’ll have to think on that this week as I nurse this hamstring back to health.