Tuesday, 20 October 2015

New half marathon PB of 1:08 at STWM and what's next.

So, we did it folks! I pulled off the 1:08 I was looking for in Toronto this past weekend at the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon (the half). I couldn't have asked for a better day weather wise, and I got the taper just right so I'm really happy with how that went. I'll break it all down in this post as well as my training leading into the race and what's coming up for the rest of the fall and leading into the new year. Before we start on all that though, I'll talk about a few notable performances from Scotiabank this past weekend.

Stand out performances from STWM weekend 2015

1 - Eric Gillis, what can you say about this guy? He's the beacon of consistency and he proved yet again why he's one of the best Canadian marathoners we've ever produced. The job for him was simple, not easy obviously, but strait forward. Punch a ticket to Rio by running under the Athletics Canada standard of 2:12:50. Well, he got that done no problem and rolled a 2:11:31 to secure a spot on his 3rd Olympic squad and to take the national marathon championship.

2 - Lanni Marchant, also a big time gamer. When Lanni is on she's going to run fast. I believe she split her fastest ever first half in this marathon in 1:12:24 or there abouts. She slowed a little after some calf cramping but still ran well under the Olympic standard and ended up only 7 seconds off her own Canadian record, running 2:28:07

3 - John Mason, this guy is a gem of a human being and he's as tough as they come. I'll attach a couple pictures below of me running with him during the first half. But John went out hard looking for that big breakthrough and was rewarded with a PB. I've got no doubt he will be running 2:17-2:18 this coming spring. He also ended up as 3rd Canadian which is a stellar achievement. Way to go pal, that beard is legendary!

4 - Jeff Costen, my boy Jeff won the half and really executed an awesome race from wire to wire. He ran 1:08 flat and beat some game opponents in the process. It seems like he's really peaking at just the right time. Now, 6 weeks out from cross country nationals he can put in another cycle of hard training and I think after that he's going to be ready to really shake things up in the top 20. Keep an eye on this guy folks.

5 - Leslie Sexton, now with most of the talk being on Lanni's run I feel like we are all overlooking the awesome performance that Leslie had. She came in with a 2:39 PB, but we all knew there was much more in the tank and for her to discover in the marathon. She rolled a perfect race, pacing wise, and dropped a 2:33. I think she's going to be the next one under 2:30 if the winter treats her well. Way to go Leslie!!

6 - Rachel Hannah, after a busy spring and running her debut marathon in Ottawa of 2:33 then coming 3rd at the Pan Am games at the distance, Rachel got right back to work and toed the line in the half on Sunday. She ran a big time PB of 1:12 and this show's progress is definitely being made and that she's getting ready to threaten that 2:30 mark as well. Look for her to make a push to hit that standard for Rio in the upcoming months.

Thoughts on my half and new PB.

So, going into the race things had gone well as I had mentioned in my previous couple of blog posts. I was confident in my training and finally had a solid 10k result last weekend. The only thing on my mind was the fact that I hadn't ever really produced a good time at a distance over 10k. Even this year my 10 mile was pretty pathetic given the level I'd been training at. But I tried to put that out of my head and just focused on the fact that I'd been nailing long workouts as big as 2X35' at really quick paces. Anyway, after I got a shakeout in with Jeff and Ryan, we got on the start line ready to roll and the confidence was high. I saw Nick Senseri and he told me Mason was looking to go through in 1:08 so that was glorious and I made a note to find him right away. The gun goes off and as you would expect everyone takes off crazy fast. Knowing the first 2km are uphill I wanted to settle right away and just roll the first mile really controlled and not get too anxious about being so far back. I found John and Josh Bolton right away and we immediately settled in. Our first mile was 5:19 which was right on the money and after getting past that uphill section around the university it was go time. We locked into a good grove and started rolling every mile between 5:10-5:12. We came through 5km in 16:12 and the effort felt right. I made sure we didn't get in the way of John getting his bottles as he would need the fuel later in the race. Whenever I could, I'd try to do as much leading as possible, the last thing I wanted to be was that guy drafting off a marathoner and turn off half way leaving him by himself fighting it while starting to tire. Anyway, we rolled through 10km in 32:36 officially and it felt really easy so that made me feel good about things as last year I was already suffering at this point. We just kept it right there for a while and when we hit the turn around Mason moved up to run with another marathoner while Josh and I just kept working our pace together as we still had lots of running to go. At this point we were still clicking off 5:12/mile like clockwork. We split the 15km in 48:39 and I came through 10 miles in 51:48. All I could think about at this point was why am I so awful at the tely 10? Clearly I should run at least 50:45 or so given the nature of the course. Maybe I'm just better off racing the tely and going for the win regardless of who's there and get a PB that way. let's hope I finally put a decent tely race together next season and drop that ridiculously slow 52 minute PB of mine. Back to the race, things were going well. At that point I clicked off another 5:12 for the 11th mile and told myself I'd try to make a push to catch a guy about 100m up the road and ran a 5:08 up a little grade coming back into the city. This drained me but I got about a 20 second gap on Josh and had dragged myself up to a runner from England who was running the half as well. We battled that last mile and had a sprint to the finish for 3rd/4th. He edged me by a couple tenths of a second as the 12th mile really put a sting in my legs but at that point I didn't care. I crossed the line in 1:08:47, officially and it was good for 4th overall. I saw Jeff there with flowers and a medal so I was pretty pumped he had won. When the dust settled the top 4 were all in the 1:08's so I was competitve which was the main goal after setting a PB. Props to Jeff though for the win, he was by far the strongest runner out there on Sunday and I couldn't be happier for the guy. I'll attach the splits to my race here - https://connect.garmin.com/activity/931919599 and the official results here - http://www.canadarunningseries.com/results/2015/stwm/scotiah.htm .

Obviously, I'm really stoked about the race but I also feel even more hungry to get that PB down even further into the 1:06 range. There's so much room for improvement over a race that long and I've decided to go to Huston in January to take another crack at a fast time. Huston is a great course that attracts lot's of fast guys so it will give me the motivation to train hard after cross country and make sure I stay focused. Running a decent half also gives me hope for when I do eventually move up to the marathon. Now, I've got no interest in running one until I can produce a 1:06 half but when the time comes at least I'll be able to run something somewhat quick. My half converts to 2:24 flat and that's about where I'd expect to be if I trained with one in mind right now but I'll hold off until I get my 5, 10 and 21.1k times down to where I want them and then make the jump up to the big show.

Week that was in training.


10 miles easy - AM
10 miles easy - PM


15 miles easy with Fraser + Strides - AM


Workout - Just a small workout to keep the tension in the legs 2X2km off 3' at 10km race pace. I went 6:10 and 6:09. And it felt super smooth and effortless so I figured this was a good sign as I was only 2 days removed from a 31:07 10km race effort.

8 miles with workout - AM
6.2 miles easy - PM


5.5 miles easy + strides - AM


3.2 miles easy on the treadmill in my hotel with 3X1' at 4:45/mile pace - PM


4 miles easy on the treadmill with 3 minutes of 5:00/mile pace at the end - AM


Race - Felt great, did a 15 minute warm up with Jeff and Ryan followed by some drills and strides, raced the half in 1:08:47 then cooled down with Jeff and watched the end of the marathon after spotting our buddy Garrett.

18.5 miles with warm up, race and cool down - AM

So, that's my little recap of the weekend. Like I said, I'm really pleased with the race and I feel that I've finally started to post some times reflective of my fitness. I'll jump right back into training and will look to build upon this for cross country nationals and then into the new year for Huston in January.

Thanks for reading friends, I'll catch you next week, same bat time, same bat place,


Helping out at the booth with my Saucony family. That's Tyler, back on helping someone get into the new Everun Triumphs and Ben in back.

Blue Jay Fever!

Shakeout at the hotel, beauty facility.

They had a pool up on the upper level of the hotel so it was awesome just hanging there and relaxing all Saturday before the race.

Ready to rock and roll.

Picture from a scary moment on my way home, our plane started smoking and we made an emergency landing. I was thinking "You can't go out like this, your PB's are still too slow..." :p

Rolling with Josh and John Mason. We all ran PB's. I was 1:08, Josh was 1:09 and John ran a 2:22 marathon good for 3rd Canadian overall.

John draws great power from that epic beard. But on a serious note, he's an awesome dude! Congrats on the run man.

Early on, trying to get settled.


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