As for my training thus far in 2017 I've run 476miles in January with some fartleks and harder long runs, so I'm ready to get into specific training starting tomorrow, Feb 1st. I've committed to run the Vancouver Sun Run again so that's the first big one on the books and then another crack at the Marathon on May 4th, at the Goodlife Toronto Marathon. Mike C, the elite coordinator was gracious enough to host me and put my bottles out so I'm excited to finally put down a decent time next to my name, hopefully something between 2:24-26. It's a nice course with great support, I ran the half there in 2016 in 1:09:16 on a pretty brutal day so if all goes well I think it's going to be the perfect race to bridge me to where I'll want to be in the fall for STWM to try to compete with some of the great marathoners we have in that 2:20-2:26 range like Jeff Costen (who's in fine form already this season going 25 flat last weekend at Robbie Burns 8km), Aaron Cooper, (also threw down a stellar performance at the 8km in sub 25) and there are lot's more like Matt Suda, Josh Boltz et all who are tremendous competitors and athlete who I'd be honored to be able to hang with if training goes according to plan. Those boys are always so consistent that if you don't show up ready to rock then you'll get waxed which happened in my debut there in October. 2:33 might as well have been 3 hours, I wasn't involved at all after 25km.
So yeah, I'm actually feeling very fit currently and am already at my race weight so I'm doing a 5km on Feb 24th in Holyrood, I figure I should be able to solo something a little under 15:20 by then on the roads and anything 15:10 or under I'll be elated with given it's Feb, so that will give me a gauge on things. Then we can put in 2-3 good months before Vancouver and Toronto. I actually contemplated Ottawa race weekend marathon but I felt I wouldn't have enough time to turn it around for the Tely 10 on July 24th. Last year I finally figured out how to run that race and I'd like to aim for a sub 50:30 next year as I feel like that always has a shot to win, it just depends on how fit the others are. I don't think I'll have enough time to train for sub 50, and to be fair, it's a big jump from 51:22 so this year anything under 50:30, run evenly and sticking with my own game plan like last year will be the goal.
So, before I get out of here I'll just give some details on how the first marathon experience went and then mention a couple things I'm excited for on the pro scene in the first half of 2018.
What happened in the Marathon debut
I was trying to be conservative the first half, came through in 74 which was a little slower than I wanted but it felt like I was easy running which was good, I picked up the next 5km a little too fast and the american, Alexander (also his debut, 67:53 half marathoner from NY) who I was running with dropped out and things got hard and lonely after I burned through my fuel. I ran 2:33 and was honestly 9 minutes slower than I wanted. But looking at the results after, I know where my fitness was, I wasn't beating guys like my bud's Jeff Costen and Aaron Cooper who both showed their racing chops and heart out there going 2:24/2:26. That said, I felt like I was easily fit for sub 2:30, likely 2:28 flat on that day, but I'm proud I stuck it out. A lot of guys took the easy way out on that fateful Sunday. If an organization like CRS and Alan Brooks are going to be nice enough to offer me a place to stay and put bottles out for me every 5km, we owe them to finish......on our worst day we aren't suffering like most people. I didn't want to see a 2:33, but I'm not going to drop if I'm not hurt, it's not fair to the guy's who beat you fair and square. That's part of the beauty of this sport, each and every guy who beats you was better that day. Looking back now, I was definitely very half marathon fit, but wasn't muscularly capable to fighting the fatigue after 32km on my first time out over the distance. Areobically speaking even 2:23/24 pace is sustainable for me and is pretty comfortable, I just didn't do enough hard long running, or workouts like a lot of Steve's athletes do, 120 minutes easy followed by 30 minutes at marathon pace when your already tired and depleted. This build up I'm going to run several 20 milers at sub 6 minute pace, and cover the marathon distance 2-3 times at 90% of race pace like Canova has his athletes doing so I'll be callused for the pounding.
Things I'm looking forward to in the first half of 2018.
1 - World Indoors, this is always such a fun meet as you don't get the very best normally or you get 5km specialist coming down to the 3km going against some strengh based 1500m men. You also get cool tactical races over 800m as pole position is just so important on the tight indoor oval. On the women's and men's side I'll be watching closely everything from 800-3km. I feel like Hassan and Keljelcha are going to be VERY hard to beat at 3km, in the 1500, if Dibaba is healthy she's the best indoor runner of all time so she should easily win the 1500m, but on the men's side with some guys skipping indoors like Centro and Willis, and most big Kenyan's not known for running indoor seasons in favor of summer or diamond league peaking I'm unsure of how that will go down. In the 800 if any of the big 3 ladies and Ajee are competing they will be the favorite and for the men I might favor perhaps an NCAA guy who's sharp and has raced allot indoors. Either way it'll be fun to see.
2 - USA Cross Champs, mainly because Rupp and Hasay are now running. Not that either were killers on the mud/grass but the last time Rupp ran in Edinburgh he was second to Farah and he was an NCAA champ. And I mean Hassay just ran mid 68 and has the strength of a 2:20 marathon so if she made it hard from the gun and there's no Huddle or Flanagan than i'd be shocked if she didn't win.
3 - Boston Marathon, Rupp vs Geoffrey Kirui, round 2. If Rupp is healthy he's not losing that race, as great as Kirui is being last years champ and the World Champ, Boston won't be any faster than a 2:08 type race if history tells us anything and Rupp will eat him up the last few miles like he did Abel Kirui in Chicago, as his speed is much better than Geoffrey, I mean he's training with Keljelcha and jogged a 13:34 with him last weekend. (Granted in a fast race I think this would be VERY interesting and I may give Kirui the edge if this was to take place with pacemakers or in Berlin. On the women's side, I don't think an american woman will win but I do think it'll be a beauty battle for top American with Flanagan, Huddle and Hassay. (Desi is in there too, but isn't going to be a factor if the american woman run under 2:23 type pace).
4 - London Marathon, this is THE marathon to watch, I'll never bet against Kipchoge, I think he wins and if he's pushed the WR may actually go, even if he isn't planning on it, just based on how he ran there in 2016, that 2:03 flat looked pretty easy even off a vicious first 10km. What will be interesting too is Mary Kaitany going for the WR with male pacemakers, I mean if she hadn't of gone on out 2:13 pace through half last year she may have very well done it, and maybe T. Dibaba could threaten as well, she ran 2:17 and 2:18 last year in her two outings over the distance with a 2ed in London and dominant solo win in Chi-Town.
Anyway, I'll get out of here, but I do hope to be back blogging regularly now as the new year is settling down and I'm getting into a good schedule with work, coaching, family and my own running. I hope you are all well and that your 2018 is off to a great start.