Tag Archives: St. Albert

St Albert Road Race, formerly the 10 Miler..

I took the opportunity to take what should have been a Long Run with Speed Play training run into a 10 mile (16km) race today. My thinking was to try and push the pace to see how my training is paying off. I had no expectations, I had never ran this race before and I would just see how things went. In my mind, a 1:30 or so time would have been nice.

This was the 31st running of the event and with such a beautiful morning ahead of us, me and 238 others lined up for the 10 mile run. I was surprised by the course. It had some nice hills (there is such a thing) that were not too steep. They were easy to get up, it was nice to pick off a couple runners on each one but coming down the hills was much better. I used my ample gravitational force to propel myself down and the gradual slope of the hills took little toll on my legs and knees.

I went waterless and took no gels on this run. I would not have taken anything with me if I had done my scheduled training run. I did consume a gel about fifteen minutes before that start of the race, something I had never done before. It was just a test to see how it would affect the start of the race as well as my stomach and I don’t think it did any harm.

The long run with speed play training session I was supposed to do consists of several sprints taking me into my HR zone 3 during a 20km run. I chose to do the Road Race at a faster pace and try and maintain that pace throughout. In the end, my average pace was 5:08. I was surprised, and encouraged by this as it is not a pace that I am accustomed to maintaining for a lengthy time. That pace if I could sustain it, projects to 3:36:36 marathon time, well below my best time of 4:01. But, I’m also realistic and understand that a 16km race is far from a 42.2km race.

At the end of the day, I finished with a 1:22:13 chip time, 111th out of 239 runners, 68th out of 108 men and 19 out of 36 in my age group (M50-59). I’m happy with this result.

Here’s the data…


Thanks to Joel Maley, the Race Director, STARRT and all of the volunteers who looked after the runners and made this a great event!

All in all, I am pleased with the way training has been going. My weight is coming down and with my average pace of this race, I’m encouraged that the 80/20 training plan is working for me.

the results are in, and…

On a crisp and cool October 25th morning the MEC Race #5 was held in St Albert. My chip time was 1:57:49 for a distance of 21.46 km’s but my Garmin time was 1:55:44 for the half marathon distance of 21.1 km. I would have liked to have been a bit faster but I’m not disappointed in my finishing time. In terms of total runners, I finished 78th out of 163 half marathon runners. My pace was 5:29/km.

So, lets take a look at the results.

As I mentioned in my last post, I started to train using the principles laid out by Matt Fitzgerald based on his 80/20 formula. I stepped into this program at week 11, which really only gave me 5 weeks to train before race day. Initially, following the training plan, I had a very hard time adapting to the theory of “slow”. Not that there is much speed in me to begin with, but running at these paces made me want to tip over. I also seemed to pick up little nicks here and there. This, I understand is normal for this process and after about two and a half weeks into the plan I was starting to get the hang of it.

Let’s recap. I ran a half marathon on April 27th which fell into my full marathon training schedule. Although I didn’t run it as a long slow run which would have been the training run that day, I ran the half in 1:56:33 at a pace of 5:33/km. I also weighed somewhere around 222 lbs.  On June 8th I ran the Edge to Edge Marathon, weighing 215 lbs in a time of 4:04:17 at a pace of 5:48. This was after a full training plan leading up to the marathon produced by the Running Room.

Comparing the numbers, they aren’t far off from the three races. Everything was pretty close overall including my weight for the MEC race where I ran at 223 lbs. Was the 80/20 plan successful? To be honest, I don’t think giving it 5 weeks was enough time to form a true opinion since I started in week 11. Did I lose that much endurance from the Edge to Edge at the beginning of June to mid September and starting the 80/20 training? I’m sure my fitness level dropped somewhat in that time frame as I had no goals, but I’m also not willing to throw the plan away. The key points that have emerged from this summer of running are;

– I need to start the 80/20 plan from the beginning to realize it’s full value. Although I had been running sporadically before starting 80/20 on Sept 22nd, it was just running for the sake of running and I had no goals to aim for

– I’m relatively injury free, my hip (osteoarthritis) is becoming more noticeable as I run more, although not painful, it every so often reminds me where we are going to be in the future

– I turn 55 next month, although that older guy who passed me yesterday at about 15 km gives me inspiration (despite the fact it really pissed me off!) that I couldn’t keep up with him

– My body weight needs to be lower. It’s hard dragging 223+ lbs. around for 2 to 4 hours, so I need to work on weight, and getting rid of old eating habits. But I do like bad stuff, beer, chips and cookies. Not so much carrots, apples and green beans

– I think I can recover from the longer runs/races fairly well, as long as injuries don’t creep in

Looking at 2015, my idea is to run the Calgary Marathon on May 31 which would mean serious training would start on February 9th. The Edmonton Marathon is on August 23 (is 3 months enough recovery time enough?) but the Okanagan is run later (more recovery time) on October 11th which is also Thanksgiving weekend. Before these races take place, there are also a couple of half marathons that might fit into my training schedule, but they may be weather dependent here in Edmonton. Ah yes, the weather. In Edmonton, it’s coming, cold and snow for the prime training period!

Winding down the training…

With only 3 weeks to go until marathon day, training has started to taper off. Today was really the last long run for me. It was a 27km and change slow and easy run while last Sunday was a 38km romp. Next week will be a 23km run to really wrap things up.

I decided that speed training is not for me. Just the whole premise of changing your stride to a shorter length for the sake of going a bit faster in the training session seems dangerous to me. Last time out I aggravated a left quad injury that occurred some 30 years ago playing hockey. I guess I have a fair amount of scar tissue remaining and to me its just not worth the risk of severe injury at this point in time. After the last 2 speed sessions I had to nurse myself back each time with ice and heat.

Last week I was in Spokane at an IAVM conference

IMG_0123and was still able to get my training runs in. There are ample trails to run along the Spokane River which runs through town. Running out to and through the Gonzaga University grounds was awesome. I ran by the soccer and baseball facilities and they look to be first class; the grass looked immaculate on both playing surfaces.

Spokane is a really nice city, clean and friendly. I was staying right near the convention centre and had lots of time to walk, and run around the beautiful area near downtown where the river is. The river seemed to be flowing at a high level and there were several falls in a short span of a couple of kilometres.

Yesterday (May 18), after my morning run we were able to get our kayaks into the water in the afternoon. IMG_1804We put in at the launch just behind St Albert city hall and paddled up the Sturgeon River to Big Lake.


It was a nice 2 hour paddle on a great day. Perfect for the first time out this year. We saw lots of nesting ducks and geese, a couple of muskrats and 2 herons on the banks.

With this being the long weekend, hopefully we can also get out on our bikes on holiday Monday or maybe play some tennis at the Broadmoor Tennis Club.



the cold came back, and so did my cold…

Winter reared it’s ugly head again this past week. After close to 2 weeks of nice spring like weather, I awoke to a blizzard on Thursday morning. Not a huge amount of snow, but it was blowing hard and caused lots of drifting from open fields and yards. What did fall from the sky was being blown almost horizontally.

Temperatures took a dip as well, down to the minus 20c’s again. Time to get the winter coats out again.

Also, the cold that took me three weeks to shake decided to come back this week after leaving my head and chest for a week. I never really get sick, but having two colds in less than a month is really taking its toll on me. My nose feels like mush.

The week started with a 23km run as I previously mentioned in my last post. We continued on our regular routine which included hills on Tuesday evening. The hill we are using is 600m long with an elevation increase of about 34m in that length. This week we did 4 trips up the hill. Thursday, due to the snow storm I ran inside at work on our track here at Servus Place. Thirty two laps to do about 8.5km. Round and round and round. My Saturday morning run was glorious. Out at 730am on a nice cool morning, I headed east and as the sun rose as a great big ball of blinding orange it felt really nice on the face and you could feel the heat in it, even at that time of the morning.

My calves had not given me any problems all week, just an ache and stiffness but as I ran through the weekend they really seemed to get better with no problems at all while running. After our long Sunday run yesterday, and up to me writing this ,my legs feel really good. I rated our 26km run yesterday as an “A”. The only issue was I might have been a bit under dressed as the wind had a good bite to it and it never really warmed up like I thought it would from the -15c that we started with.

I’m looking forward to this week being a good one although the temperatures are still to remain about -10c for about the next 10 days or so and maybe some snow next weekend.