Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Ottawa race weekend, the good, the bad and the ugly.

Well, I made it back to my fair island of Newfoundland safe and sound after a beauty weekend in the nation's capital. When I got on the plane in St. John's on Friday morning it was 2 degrees and when I returned it was 4 degrees. Yet the average of my time in Ottawa was over 30, beautiful for walking around downtown but horrible to try to run fast when the hottest it's been here since last year has been in the high teens. I simply wasn't ready for that kind of heat and humidity. Last summer I trained for about a month in Florida during July when I was on vacation and I couldn't tell much difference between these two outings. I'll break down my race a little below but I'll just say I had an absolute beauty of a time and enjoyed every moment of the trip. Ottawa race weekend truly is one of the premier race events in the world. 49,000+ people took to the streets and the organizers did a bang up job of making us all feel at home and things went off without a hitch. From the expo, the hospitality suit, race day execution to the awards, it was top shelf all the way. I want to say a huge thank you to Manny and his team for inviting me and I'll certainly be back next year for a fast time.

So yeah, there were so many good times over the weekend, it's hard to know where to start. I guess the first people I have to give a shout out to are my Saucony Canada family. I'm sure any of you who were at the expo saw the show stopper of a booth they had set up. I got to meet the newest member of the rep team Kelly and spent some time chatting with my faves, Catherine, Ben, Linda and Joe. They are all so supportive of my running and are people I consider really good friends. I can't thank them enough for their continued support and friendship. I'll attach a pic below of the signs they had made for us athletes. Speaking of the team, we had some great representation. Along with myself in the 10km there was Lisa Brooking, Kate Bazeley, and another one of coach John's athletes Laura Batterink. Then in the full the next day my boy Kip Kangogo took home the honor of first Canadian finisher in 2:21.

The next highlight had to be getting owned by Garrett (De Jong) in the cool down. He really put the boots to Jeff (Costen) and I pretty bad and beat us up after we had left part of our souls out there on the 10km course, running the beauty trails of his hometown. After that we rolled through the streets in his parents Buick which had rosary beads hanging from the rear view mirror as we cranked some classic tunes from our youth, most notably some Offspring and Sum 41. Anyway, after we established we had the most street cred around that night we showered, changed and hit up Minx, a beauty little pub with Reid, Marie, Friesen, Kev Coffey, Kyla, Amy, Natasha and Jeff M. Later in the evening to my great surprise Mr. Alex Wilkie made an appearance with Cousin Rob....all the ingredients for an excellent Saturday night which it proved to be. There were stories floating around that Steve Boyd and Colin Fewer once shut that place down after a race weekend for the ages, I'll have to get all the details next time I'm out with Fewer.

Sunday, after I got some strong coffee in the system I hit up some sights and more coffee with Amy (Friel). We were kinda bummed Hodge didn't make an appearance but that kid is up in the the back woods of Quebec making a comeback for the ages. I heard he crushed some 2/1's. Give that guy a couple months and I'll be hanging onto his coat tails for dear life trying to get him to drag me to a fast time. Good luck with the training big guy, I'm sure you'll be showing me a clean set of heels in no time.

As for the race itself, what can you say. You've got to own it when you don't reach your goal. I'm not going to sit here and say I'm thrilled when I'm not. I'm training at the highest level I've ever been at and last year at the same race I ran 31 high as a 71 minute half guy. I'll chalk it up to the heat and know that I'll have another opportunity to run that 30:XX 10km at the Waterfront 10k on what looks to be a super fast, perfectly flat out and back course on June 25th in Toronto. I'll give a quick breakdown of how my race unfolded. So my plan was to stick with Jeff and Paul. The boys just ran 30:52 and 30:34 respectively two weeks ago on the track and I feel like my fitness is very similar to that, maybe 5-15 seconds off. So the gun goes and we settle in, the first mile goes by in 4:56 which is where I wanted to be under ideal conditions. The pace felt really smooth in terms of turnover, I've been doing my workouts at that pace and it's familiar and comfortable but I was already drenched in sweat, overheating and breathing like I was running a 5km. I stayed with the group and we clearly were slowing down as we made our way to 5km. There was around 15 of us who split the 5km between 15:57-16:05. I remember going through in 15:55 last year and then picking it up, but this time I was suffering like non other. I knew it would be a fight so I just kept telling myself to move forward. At 6km I saw my boy Alex Neuffer pull off with some bad cramping. (In that heat, that's not uncommon at all). He was running like 5 strides ahead of me and was pulling me along so when he dropped I was getting into a dark place, I tried to put in some hard yards to pull up with Paul Rochus or Jeff Costen who had about 5 and 10 seconds on me at this point but it seemed like I was doomed to run 5:25/30 a mile at that point no matter how hard I tried and couldn't close the gap at all. I got rolled up on by Jeremy Pellerin at about 9km after I'd passed him at 6km so I knew things were going bad in a hurry, then Kyle Wyatt came up on me. I'd put 90 seconds on him in a half just a month prior so I tried to dig down and at least jump on their train. We seemed to start to close down Matt Loiselle a little at the end but I just made it to the finish and colapsed on the sidewalk. An official started dumping ice water over my head, I couldn't talk to him to say thanks, but I did give him the thumbs up. Either way, it was just a grind man. I've never felt that kind of pain running so slowly, I wouldn't have made it 10.1k. I was super greatful to have gotten there and when I saw the guys just a 10-15 seconds ahead of me who I had planned on running with, it wasn't as dreadful as I had first thought. However, that 10km time is closer to marathon pace then half marathon pace, but what can you do. Reid said the same thing in his interview so it's all relative I guess.

Regardless of the outcome, I had a blast and within 20 minutes was eating some cookies and sandwhiches in the elite tent while taking a picture of Coffey and Kyla with his face on a sign...yeah, you'll see the picture below.

Anyway, I won't include my training for last week as it was just some race prep stuff. 1 workout of 1k-2k-1k off 3/2, and another of 10' of tempo and 4X400. Next week we will talk some pro news and each of the next 3 weeks I'll toss up a review/breakdown of 3 new shoes that are coming out from Saucony. One you'll definitly have to get your hands on is the Zealot ISO2, an amazing update to a fantastic shoe.

My Saucony fam, always showing the kid some love!

I was trying to close it down on Kate Bazeley in the last 200m, the elite women had a 3:15 head start and we had a battle royal of the Newfoudlanders, She just held me off by 2 seconds .

Kyla and Kevin with the best sign in the world.

Came home to a big box of new shoes! Thanks Saucony!

These are some I've been testing and will break down in the next 3 posts. The ride 9, Zealot ISO2 and XODUS ISO.

Some of my favorite people. Catherine, (She's such an inspiration and beyond amazing!) Joy and Craig, also both tremendous athletes and human beings.


When you stay an extra day in Ottawa and all your friends leave....you eat ice cream solo and take a selfie...yeah, I'm not lame at all.

Where is Ryan Noel-Hodge? I could have sworn he said he'd be here...


  1. Hey, Have you used the peregrine 6 from saucony? thoughts?

    1. I have tried the Peregrine 6,

      The upper is very similar the the last version and feels almost identical on foot. With the new Everun topsole however, you will find it's more responsive and bouncy.

      Personally speaking, and this is just what works best for me, I like the Nomad TR for trail running, that works best for my foot and running style. But the Peregrine is also a great shoe.