Race Report – Hypothermic Half and Training Update

Late last month Nicola ran a half marathon “race” as part of our marathon training for Ottawa. Since the training is a long haul and sometimes you need a reward in the middle we decided to run the Hypothermic half in Saint John. We wanted a bit of swag, a medal and a night out of town…even though SJ is only an hour away.

We lucked out in a big way as the race day had light winds and was pretty mild for the end of February. Of the two hypothermic half marathons in New Brunswick held every year, SJ always has better weather. Of course you pay for it with the difficulty of the course as SJ is very hilly.

The Race

Now, we were not in any type of a hurry so when everyone else left us in the dust we were content to just run our slow pace and enjoy the day. We, however, were not in the mindset to run all of the hills; call it fatigue, call it rebellion, call it denial…whatever….we were not ready so we ended up walking a lot of the hills.

At the second water station we met a couple of our very good friends, Rod and Jo, shared a few laughs, hugs then we were on our way again. We were both wishing that we could have met them at every station as the burst of energy was awesome.

 

In the end we finished with a very slow time but honestly, based on our training, we were right where we should have been; the run just felt like a lot more work than it should have been. We did manage to arrive a few short minutes after the brunch buffet had started so we didn’t have to wait around to get fed, always a bonus to me.

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I think the photo of us after the race tell a story, we were both tired, physically but also mentally, which would be a theme for the next month up to now.

 

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Training

Our training since the half marathon has been very spotty. Both of us caught the bug going around and I got quite sick for a week, add this to a work schedule which included some weekends and we have postponed a few weekends of running. In addition, our runs during the week have also suffered. I am hopeful that as it gets warmer in combination with the later sunsets that we will get more of our intermediate runs in. Right now we are both sick once again, having caught the “boomerang” bug as it seems like a lot of people are getting sick with the same symptoms twice this winter. So, this weekend, which was supposed to be 30km, has been moved to next weekend. I managed to get 27km in last weekend and Nicola 22km, so we are not far off, it just sometimes feels like we are missing too many long runs.

Which is why I schedule us for a 16 week training plan. First, we are both masters runners, so we need more time to recover, second, the winter is a hard time to train, runs get missed, third, illness can pop in and derail your plans so it’s best to put buffers into your plan. Some may argue that such a long training cycle causes the fatigue to which I would say to each their own. This cycle has been fraught with numerous speed bumps and the longer cycle has allowed us to take breaks when we have needed them. I am not worried as it is the end of March and we will be running 30km, so with almost 2 months before our race we are in good shape.

I do hope that your training has been going along smoothly and if it hasn’t that you aren’t panicking about where you are or where you need to be, stay the course and follow your training and if you must deviate, make smart decisions.

Chris

One Foot in Front of the Other

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Recipe of the Week -Pan Seared Maple Trout with Apple Turnip Compote

It’s been a long while since Nicola and I have had a chance to whip up a Friday recipe. This week however, despite battling colds, we produced a very yummy recipe that is also easy to make.

From the book, “This food, that wine”, we made Pan Seared Maple Trout with Apple Turnip Compote.

Now, don’t get too excited about the term “compote”, according the book it’s a culinary term for fruit cooked slowly in a syrup (in this case Maple) so that the fruit can maintain shape for visual and textual appeal.

Now the main component of this dish, the Trout, was in short supply this week in the grocery stores. We managed to grab the last 2 fillets at the local Sobeys; mind you we only checked at two places. They were beautiful fillets and we were excited to cook them. Nicola isn’t a big fan of red fish but Trout is an exception as it is both gentle enough in taste and texture to mimic white fish.

Ingredients

  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 3 rainbow trout fillets, halved vertically
  • 11/2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 cup of turnip, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 cup of unsweetened apple juice
  • 3/4 cup of any type of apple (spy is recommended) diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • salt and pepper to taste

Recipe

The recipe was broken down into parts; first to prepare the compote and then to prepare the trout.

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Compote

Place a medium-sized skillet over medium hear then add turnip and apple juice and cook for 3-4 minutes or until turnip is just tender. We found this to be very underestimated in time as turnip is dense, we would recommend that you microwave the turnip a bit first to soften it up, otherwise your apple juice will boil off before the turnip is just tender. If fact, our turnip never did get tender.

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Next add the apples, thyme and lemon zest and cook for about 2-3 minutes, or until the apples are also tender but not mushy. Pull the pan from the heat and keep warm.

Trout

Pat the fillets dry and season with salt and pepper, put the skillet on high heat and ad oil. Allow for about 30 seconds for the oil to heat through.

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Add the trout skin-side down and let it cook for 1-2 minutes for the scales to get crispy. Flip the trout and add the maple syrup and lemon juice. Try to add the syrup and juice to various parts of the pan to spread the flavour around. The recipe says to cook the fish for another minute but I will suggest that you cook it to your preference. Remove the trout from the pan.

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Place part of the compote on the plate and add a piece of two of trout, then drizzle it all with the juice from the pan. Voila!

Wine

The recipe calls for Vidal to be the grape chosen to pair with this dish but any fruit-forward wine can be used; we used a Vinho Verde from Portugal.

Success!!

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This was a delicious dish due to the contrast of the turnip to the apple and maple syrup, it was very easy to make and the ingredients are readily available, highly recommended!

Chris

Running Plans for 2017

Seeing how it’s already the middle of January, I reckon it’s time to lay out my running plan for 2017; there will be new races, familiar races and a race to celebrate Canada.

Next month I will be running the hypothermic half in Saint John for the second time. When I mention that I will be running this race most people ask me if I’m nuts as this is a hilly course. The alternative would be to run in a boring industrial park in Moncton and that just seems like a waste.

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May will see myself, my partner Nicola and a host of people gather in Fredericton for its race weekend. This time around I will be running the half marathon. This will be my second or third time running this distance in Fredericton…interesting side note, this was where I ran my first half marathon in 2011.

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Later in May will be the big, destination, celebrate Canada, race for the year, the Ottawa marathon. This is one of the biggest races in Canada and with it being the 150th birthday year for Canada we expect the race to be extra special. I will be running it with my love Nicola and our good friends Rod and Joanna, the excitement will be hard to contain as the date draws near!

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Then….crickets.

Yup, I have nothing planned for a number of months aside from training. I really want to focus on my distances at the half level and lower.

In Septemeber I will be running my first trail race in Fundy national park of 10 km. This is also a hilly course but I am looking forward to mixing up my race experiences and there won’t be any mosquitos in September!

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In October Nicola and I will head to Nova Scotia to participate in the Valley harvest weekend, again over the half distance. It will be my second time at this distance and Nicola’s first crack. This year the race is celebrating it’s 25th year so we are again hopeful that the swag, which is usually quite good, will be even better! This race occurs over the Thanksgiving weekend which will give me a chance to visit my parents.

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Tentatively, I may run the new 1 mile race in Saint John in August and perhaps run the beer run again, also in August. I would like to run the 10k race in Moncton in October after a good summer/fall of training to see if I can set a new PB. I set my current PB for 10k there and really love the second half of the course.

Who knows what small races I may wake up and drive to over the summer ,however I would really love to enjoy my weekends this summer with minimal racing intrusions, so they may be few and far in-between.

Right now the spectre of winter training continues to gnaw at my brain but as the weather improves, my excitement for this year will grow.

Where are you racing this year?

Chris

One Foot in Front of the Other

Running Year In Review – 2016

Well 2016, a lot of people are happy that you are gone. I am relatively pleased with how my running year unfolded.

Numbers

I’m not always a big fan of numbers as I prefer quality over quantity so the fact that I logged ~900 km of running this year makes me happy. Truth be told it’s probably closer to 1000 due to unlogged or dropped runs but again I’m not too concerned….the bottom line for me is that I still ran a lot and was INJURY FREE! That last point is always my biggest accomplishment every year, if I can run consistently without injury, I know that I am doing right by my body.

I ran a total of 9 races last year; my 4th marathon, 3 half marathons, a 16km, 13km, two 5km races and a 4km race. 

Lorneville

In April I ran the 4th annual Lorneville Loop, a tough, hilly, 13km course which gets your blood and legs pumping for the new racing year. 

I wasn’t pumping much however as I had a horrible race, which more or less mirrored my winter of running…I just wasn’t feeling energetic and felt off all winter long. As a result I was about 15 minutes off of my time from the year before. Add in the fact that there was a howling gale and the race didn’t do much for my confidence.

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YFC Runway Run

In May we ran the 2nd YFC Airport run to benefit Mental Health in New Brunswick and Canada. The course is run on the runways of the local airport which is flat and fast. Unlike last year when it was cold, this year was warm with no wind. I had a much better race this time around and as always got to run with a lot of my friends for a great cause.

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Shipyard Half

In May I ran a new race for me, the Shipyard Half Marathon in Maine. My partner and I were looking for new races and had initially looked at the Bay of Fundy race in June but the course details had not yet been published when we were planning our calendar, so we registered for this race instead. Funnily enough shortly thereafter the course was published for the Fundy race so we registered for that one too! 

This race was held in Kennebunk/Kennebunkport Maine, south of Portland. As Nicola and I both enjoy craft beer we decided to run this race and then sample a few beers from the area as Portland is a hot spot for craft beer.

The race was warm for May in Maine, with little wind, even though we ran by the coast. The views were spectacular and support of the course was also very good. Nicola had a bout of vertigo sadly which knocked some wind out of our sails but overall we would rate this run as excellent and recommend it to anyone looking for a new, close-by destination race.

 

Bay of Fundy

Towards the end of June we ran the half marathon on Campbello Island in New Brunswick. This race begins in Canada and ends in Maine, which makes it somewhat unique. The island and the town really get behind this race which shows in the volunteers with their enthusiasm and knowledge. I wouldn’t say the on-course support as far as cheering was concerned was excellent but overall I thought it was a well-run race. 

And brother, let me tell you, it is hilly!!

This race has been, so far, the hilliest race that I have run over the last 5-6 years. It was, once again, pretty warm for June and there wasn’t much wind. However, the views were amazing and when you finally finished you knew that you had accomplished something. This was one of those courses where you thought to yourself,

“this must be the last hill!!”

When, of course, it wasn’t.

The finish line area and the food were both excellent, the medals were hand made and are different every year, normally in the shape of a sea animal; this past year it was a Starfish. It was a lot of fun running through both border stations without having to show your passport too!

A funny side story to this race..we almost missed it.

Due to the proximity to the USA, our phones had slipped, quietly, onto Eastern time. So when our alarms went off we thought that we had more time that we actually had! Luckily Nicola ran into some friends in the campground who alerted us to our error and we managed to make the start…sadly without much breakfast.

Travel and running should be an adventure, right?

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Canada Day 10 Miler

About a week later we travelled to Grand Bay to run the Canada Day 10 miler on Canada Day. Maybe it was the fact that we had run a tough race the week before or that the race was pretty bare bones but neither of us really enjoyed the race. There weren’t any people cheering on the streets and other support, i.e.. water stations didn’t seem to be adequate. I can safely say that we won’t run this race again the future.

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Beer Run 4km

Over the long weekend in August Nicola and I ran the 4km distance at the Fredericton beer run. Though it’s not a serious run for us, we tried to treat it as a speed workout. Nicola, in fine fashion, somehow managed to step on a rock and twist her knee a little. If she hadn’t, she might have finished ahead of me, she can really scoot!

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Marathon By The Sea Half

This may have been my best race of the year. Nicola and I were treating it as a training run for our fall marathon and were running a prescribed pace which I had no trouble maintaining. This course is also fairly hilly but I never really struggled. It was a cooler, drizzly day which I’m sure really helped moderate the summer heat. This race had paired earlier in the year with the Bay of Fundy race to offer a challenge medal, which ended up being very nice.

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Terry Fox Run

In September we met our friend Ahmet and ran the Terry Fox run to benefit his cause. Nicola and I had already run 15km on this day, then turned around and ran 5km with our friend on what was definitely an emotional day.

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Run For The Cure

This was my first year running the Run for The Cure to support Breast Cancer. It was an easy run/walk around Halifax. I had a lot of fun on this day and could really feel the emotion of the women present.

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Prince Edward Island Marathon

My last race of the year was my 4th marathon, the PEI marathon. A short few hours drive away on the island of PEI, Nicola and I tackled our latest marathon. The weather was almost ideal and we were in good spirits because we had trained well, hard and smart. We stayed at the Great George hotel which is always a lovely place, however their pillows caused us no end of grief and played a bit of havoc with our sleep. Note: bring your own pillows to away races.

The course was a point to point race which required a 45 minute bus ride to the start line which turned out to be enchanting due to the moon setting on one side of us and the sun rising on the other. We started in Prince Edward Island national park then ran back towards the capital city, Charlottetown.

Things started out well, we felt good and were running with one of our good friends, Rod, who was taking part in the marathon relay. We then ran with Joanna, Rod’s better half for a few more km allowing for the first part of the race seemed to float by! 

At this time the wind picked up a bit and a few of the rolling hills made their appearance, honestly they were a bit inhibiting but compared to the hill work we put in during the summer, they weren’t an issue.

At about the half way mark we turned onto a crushed gravel trail and started a lengthly, 12-14km slow descent towards the city area. My left leg started to give me problems near 21km and only grew increasingly tight on the trail but I managed to maintain our pace.

At about 32km Nicola had a bout of vertigo, she dropped to her knees for a short period then popped back up and we continued. Despite this we were still on pace for a personal best for Nicola.

We finally exited the trail and started on the road towards the downtown core. In front of us were 3-4 large hills then a downhill finish. We ran the first without any problem but walked portions of the others and for portions of the road between the hills. During this time Nicola and I didn’t communicate well, each was walking to give each other a bit of a rest when neither of us was really wanting or needing one!!

At the finish we discovered that we had come in slightly over a PB for Nicola and she was devastated! After a while, and a few pints Nicola was feeling better and we both agreed that we had trained and had run a solid marathon AND that we needed to communicate better, no guessing and no assumptions about each others physical/mental state was to be tolerated from now on.

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Due to my work schedule I didn’t get to run any other races after the marathon but I am satisfied as to how it all progressed, especially considering how I felt in April.

What’s up for 2017? All will be revealed in a future post but let’s just say that marathon #5 and Canada’s 150th birthday will be involved.

Thanks for Reading

One Foot in Front of the Other

Chris

 

My Shoe Decision – For Now

When last I published a blog, seemingly ages ago, I was searching for replacement runners for my Saucony Mirage 5’s…RIP fantastic shoes.

To refresh our memory I was looking for a tempo run/long distance shoe with a 4-8mm drop and neutral to mild pronation support. After much research I ventured out one fine afternoon and tried on a number of shoes to try to narrow my choice down.

  1. Saucony Ride 9 – First shoe that I tried on, felt great, snug and responsive but stiffer than I normally wear. Has a 8mm drop and was the second cheapist shoe that I tried
  2. New Balance 880 v6 – Felt great as well, more cushioned and my ankle was wrapped by the collar, however my foot seemed to move around during my short test runs, also a 10mm drop
  3. Nike Pegasus 33 – Too narrow across the whole foot
  4. Brooks Ghost 9 – The best feeling sole hands down when I ran in them but they were too narrow in the forefoot…so sad!
  5. Mizuno Wave Rider 19 – Good fit but it was the most stiff of the bunch due to their construction.
  6. New Balance Vazee Pace 2 – I tried these on at a different store and they felt great but would be better suited as an up tempo/race shoe.

After all of that I selected the Saucony Ride 9‘s due to their fit.

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The Results So Far…

It has been a few weeks since I started running in these and I really notice the stiffness and also the chance in drop from 4mm to 8mm, it doesn’t seem like much but it really alters your running. At first I had a bit of calf pain, sore shins and sore feet in general from the change in striking point however lately it is only my feet that are still a bit sore and even that is going away. I managed to get to a 5 min/k pace on the treadmill the other day so hopefully I am getting accustomed to the shoes.

It is now winter though and I have been wearing my Skechers outside for the few runs in the snow that I have been doing. For consistency I will probably have to buy an additional pair of 9’s for my winter training, assuming that I can completely transition to them and that I like them over long distances. If not I plan on looking at the New Balance Zante 2 which have a lower drop and might be better suited for longer distances.

As they say, stay tuned!

One foot in front of the other

Chris