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!


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.

Not quite there yet…

This was supposed to be the post where I describe how—after making the tough call to take an extended, two-week break from running—that the tendon in my ankle was no longer an issue, I had made the right decision in skipping the races I was looking forward to, and I was happy to be back running regularly. Sadly, that is not how things went…

About a week and a half into my rest period, I was feeling great. I had received a favourable evaluation from my physiotherapist and I no longer felt any pain walking down stairs (a positive change). Still, I waited it out and took the full two weeks off and started back extra slowly with a 5 km run. Things felt good enough to run 7 km and then 9 km, after which I took a day to rest and cross-train on a bike. I then came back for an 11 km jog and felt the tendon start to get cranky with only 500m to go. It bothered me for the rest of the day walking so I tried to stay off it as much as possible. 

I then had to decide how to react. Do I try to continue running conservatively to see if it stays manageable with short runs? Do I stop running to avoid making it worse and take an even longer, 4-week break? Do I switch to cross-training for 2-4 weeks seeing as the tendon has never bothered me while biking? I decided after a rest day to try one more short jog and it got bad enough that I turned around early (and it’s still bothering me a day later). That pretty much settled it. 

My plan now is to cross train for four weeks. With any luck, this will keep me mildly in shape so that starting back up in October is easier. Because I need something off in the distance to keep me motivated (especially while cross training), so I’m considering the Glass City Marathon in Toledo, OH which is April 24, 2016. I like the sound of an April marathon (instead of May) as that timing works out better for lead-up races (Chilly Half is March 6; seven weeks out) and allows for some recovery time in May before the summer races start.

I have to mention briefly the Beijing World Championships which were streaming live on YouTube over the past couple weeks. Taking a break from running was made a lot easier by having a bunch of races to watch. The highlights for me were the Kenyan marathoners completely falling apart in the men’s marathon, Mo Farah cleaning up in the 10,000m and 5000m, and Asbel Kiprop seemingly in a class of his own in the 1500m. Of course, there were some incredible Canadian performances as well (Andre Degrasse, Derek Drouin, Melissa Bishop, and others). Canada gathered a record number of medals (seems I jumped on the athletics bandwagon at the right time ;)!

That’s it for now. Good luck to everyone running a fall marathon over the next few months. I’ll be watching eagerly to see how things play out. Here’s a list of races to watch and the guys who have announced they’re running (still plenty of guys who haven’t said if/where they’re running):

  • Berlin (September 27): Reid Coolsaet. 
  • Chicago (October 11): Rob Watson, Kevin Coffey.
  • Toronto (October 19): Eric Gillis, Matt Loiselle, Sami Jibril, Calum Neff, John Mason.