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Run for the Toad Trail Race

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Location:

Garson - Sudbury,ON,Canada

Member Since:

Apr 20, 2013

Gender:

Male

Goal Type:

Other

Running Accomplishments:

I was never a runner.  I mean, I ran some when I was in university, because it was the thing to do, but it was never that serious.  In highschool a little before that too, but it was a bit of a joke, because I smoked (not heavy, but still) and never took my health that seriously.

I ran my first marathon in 1998 in Massey, Ontario.  I was 32.  It was kind of stupid - I had never raced in a shorter event, and I trained really poorly.  Ended up running it in 4:00:30.  I gave up running for the most part for 6 years after that.  I got into karate a bit more seriously, until I got my knee kicked out and had ACL surgery.  Then I became a 'fair weather runner' and started to run half marathons as I paid more attention to my health.

At some point, I started training more consistently, and started to think of myself as a runner.  I guess doing that in your 40's is better than never doing it at all.  I even started to wonder if I had it in me to qualify for Boston.  Well, I did - twice.  First time didn't count, I suppose, since I didn't make the "cut".  But the second time was a charm, and on my sixth Marathon, run in Chicago in 2015, I beat my BQ by almost 6 minutes.

Through it all, I've made tons of mistakes - and have had lots of injuries to show for it.  Hopefully, now that I'm in my 50's, I'm a bit wiser and can use that to my advantage to continue running for a very long time.

My PRs:

5k (11 run):      Guelph, ON.     October 10, 2016   (50 yrs.)   20:10

10k (9 run):    Collingwood      October 5, 2013  (47 yrs.)  43:37

Half Marathon  (22 run): Cleveland   May 18, 2014  (48 yrs)  1:33:08

Marathon (8 run):  Chicago       October 11, 2015   (49 yrs.)  3:24:07

Ultras (3 run):   

Run for the Toad 50k   September 30, 2017 (51 yrs.)  5:31:23

Niagara Falls 100k   June 17, 2018 (52 yrs.)  12:26:30

That Dam Hill 24 hours   September 15-16, 2018  Completed 100 Miles in 23:20:44

Click for Options

Pacing my sister in her 1st Half Marathon.

Short-Term Running Goals:

The Disney Dopey Challenge in January, 2019.

Sulphur Springs Trail Ultra (50 miles) in May, 2019.

The Haliburton (100 Miles) in September 2019.

The Toronto Marathon in May 2020 (qualify for Boston).

The Sinister 7 (100 Miles) in July 2020 (big maybe).

125th Boston Marathon on April 19, 2021.

Long-Term Running Goals:

Run until this old body of mine won't let me run any more.  I was inspired in the Spring of 2016, watching the start of the Ottawa Marathon.  Near the back of the pack was an 'old man', running with his walker.  I loved it!  I thought ... there's me in 20 years.  Maybe.  

Personal:

I am a Roman Catholic priest of 23 years, ministering in the Diocese of Sault Ste. Marie.  I spent 8 years ministering in the small town of Wawa (where I helped establish the annual Blackfly Run) and 9 years in Sault Ste. Marie.  I have been in the Sudbury region now for 7 years.  Currently I Pastor 2 small Parishes:  St. John the Evangelist in Garson, and St. Bernardine of Siena in Skead, covering the area just Northeast of the city, surrounding the Sudbury Airport.

Favorite Blogs:

Miles:This week: 31.00 Month: 145.00 Year: 2335.27
Mizuno Wave Sayonara 2 Lifetime Miles: 215.00
Brooks Cascadia 11 Lifetime Miles: 167.50
Saucony ISO Triumph 3 Lifetime Miles: 302.28
Brooks Glycerin 13 Lifetime Miles: 324.23
Brooks Glycerin 13 Treadmill Lifetime Miles: 159.00
Total Distance
162.00
Zoom Vomero 10 Miles: 51.00Brooks Ghost 6 Gold Miles: 41.00Saucony ISO Triumph Miles: 53.00Saucony Kinvara 6 Miles: 3.00Skechers GoRun4 Miles: 8.00Mizuno Wave Sayonara Miles: 6.00
Weight: 160.56
Race: Run for the Toad Trail Race (15.534 Miles) 02:11:59, Place overall: 48, Place in age division: 6
Total Distance
15.50

My first trail race.  Where to begin?

Well, this is probably one of the biggest and best organized trail races in Canada.  This was the 15th anniversary for it.  Started by a couple 15 years ago - Peggy and George - and they have built it up to a premier event which sells out every year.  That number was 1,220 - included the 50k run, 25k run (my event), the 50 relay and then 12.5 and 25k for walkers as well.

I was incredibly unprepared for it!  I mean, I'm obviously fit, but I honestly never imagined trail running to be like this.  I did not expect it to be SO different from road racing.  But more on that in a bit.

Cambridge is about a 5 hour drive from my home.  Of course, major traffic on Friday going down and with stops along the way - it took closer to 7 hours to get to my hotel.  I decided to go a bit lighter on the beer and pasta that night!  Not easy, by the way, as I watched the Toronto Blue Jays blow the ball game late (again!).

Anyway, it rained all night.  Pretty hard at times.  So, I knew the trails would be slick.  And they were.  I decided to run in the shoes of which I had cut out an opening for my left big toe - the one that always blisters.  Not trail shoes - I'll have to buy a pair for my next race.

The event was a 20 minute drive from my hotel, and I got there in lots of time to pick up my number and kit.  EVERYONE was fabulous - friendly, engaged, helpful - the volunteers here were top notch.  The race headquarters was in "Tent City" - a huge tent which hosted the registration, expo, stage and dinner afterwards.

So, the opening ceremonies were interesting - a marching military band played their way to the starting line.  Raising of Canadian and American flags.  National Anthems.  Amazing Grace.  A few short speaches.  Moment of silence.  And with a cannon blast, the 50k runners were off as the band played on.  All very dramatic.

So, that was 9:30 on the nose.  My race started 10 minutes later.  Just under 600 of us lined up.  I positioned myself about 30 runners back and kept repeating the mantra:  go out easy, go out easy, go out easy!  The cannon blasted.  We were off.  The band played on.  And ... I actually went out easy!

For me, this was 2 laps of a 12.5 km course.  I figured I'd run it at marathon pace - around 7:50 - for the 1st lap, and then pick it up on the second lap.  In truth, I figured coming in under 2 hours would be easy for me.  Oh, I was SO naive!  It only took about 1 mile of running to realize just how naive.

SO different from road racing.  I mean, dirt path and close to trees are nice.  But the constant up and down, coupled with the uneven surface and sharp turns, means there was just no way to get into an even rhythm.  There was one section on a road - maybe a half mile - and here I could get into a rhythm and keep my pace.  But beyond that, forget it.  I had read to go easy on the uphills and attack the downhills.  I tried.  I failed.  And I'm pretty good at aggressive downhill running on the roads.  Here, it was all I could do to keep myself falling flat on my face.  Almost did a couple of times as my foot slipped out.  My legs really took a beating on those downhills.

I watched some of the faster relay runners - they seemed to be able to move with ease over the terrain.  I think it's a matter of training on these types of trails.  I had thought my running on the local snowmobile trail was effective.  Hah!  Not even close.  I'll have to do my training for my next trail race on the local x-country ski trails.  That would be the closest terrain to this.

My left foot turned over on a root or something on my second lap.  It took a few strides to figure out if I was done or not, but I worked it out and kept going.  That foot swelled up on the drive home and I had to drive without a shoe to relieve the pressure.

Beyond that, I finished the race relatively unscathed.  My pace ended up being 8:30/mile - about 45 seconds/mile slower than I had 'conservatively' figured.  Humbling.  My quarter splits (6.25km) were:  31:53  32:34  34:24  and  33:08.  The slowing pace as I went had less to do with being tired, and more to do with being careful.  And reasonable.

This is now almost 48 hours since the race.  My left foot is still a bit stiff, but not as bad as I feared it might be.  My shins seem to be the worst off.  That's new for me, as they are never an issue on the roads.  I'm guessing that's from the downhills.  My quads too are feeling it.  But overall, all is good.  Feeling worse than I do after a road Half, but not as bad as after a Marathon.

I'm going to take another day or so off from running, and then get back into it - want to go easy and keep my base for the next couple of months before I start gearing up for Boston.  I have a couple of 10 k events I might do in that time:  Hamilton in early November, and Detroit's Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving.

As far as future trail runs:  I have my eye on another 25K next Spring, about 8 weeks after the Boston Marathon, but that as a prelude to my 1st Ultra - which will be the 50K Run for the Toad one year from now.  Four loops of the race I just finished.  

Zoom Vomero 10 Miles: 15.50
Weight: 160.00
Comments(1)
Total Distance
5.00

Easy recovery run.  8:45 pace.  Feeling pretty good, actually.  Still a bit sore in that left foot, and the right shin.  I'll be keeping it easy for a while.

Zoom Vomero 10 Miles: 5.00
Weight: 163.00
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Total Distance
5.00

Easy run at an 8:49 pace.  Still a slight tinge in the left foot, but the right side is 100%.  Go Blue Jays!

Brooks Ghost 6 Gold Miles: 5.00
Weight: 160.00
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Total Distance
5.00

Easy run; 8:32 pace.  Left foot feeling much better now.

Saucony ISO Triumph Miles: 5.00
Weight: 160.00
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Total Distance
6.00

Easy mileage, on the faster side; 8:22 pace.

Brooks Ghost 6 Gold Miles: 6.00
Weight: 159.50
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Total Distance
8.00

Easy run; 8:28 pace.

Saucony ISO Triumph Miles: 8.00
Weight: 160.50
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Total Distance
5.00

Easy run; 8:45 pace.

I'm leaving later today for Southern Ontario again ... running a 5k Turkey Trot in Guelph tomorrow morning.  Five races in 5 weeks - must be a record for me.  But then that will be it for a while - want to just run easy base mileage leading up to the start of my Boston training which begins in 2 months.

Brooks Ghost 6 Gold Miles: 5.00
Weight: 159.00
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Race: Guelph Thanksgiving 5K (3.107 Miles) 00:20:10, Place overall: 22, Place in age division: 2
Total Distance
3.00

Long story short:  I nailed a new PR.  Actually blew my old one out of the water ... cutting off 26 seconds from my previous best.  I'm VERY happy!  20:10 official finish.  22nd overall and 2nd in my age division.

The long version:  After running 4 races in 4 weeks, I hadn't planned on this one.  But I was nudged to when I heard of 3 races on our Canadian Thanksgiving Day.  The first was a 5k trail race, and that was my 1st choice until I couldn't find a hotel nearby at a decent price.  My second choice was a point to point road 5k, but when I went to register, it was sold out.  So, I went for this one ... a series of road runs of various distances following a route around Exhibition Park in Guelph, Ontario.  I opted for the 5k.  I actually wanted to see how fast I could run this distance to help give me some idea of a goal time for Boston.

So, I left Sudbury on Sunday afternoon and arrived in Cambridge (of 25k Trail Race fame last weekend) just as the sun was setting.  I checked into my hotel, and then went to Boston's Pizza to eat, drink, and watch the Blue Jays take on Texas in game three of their series.  WHAT a game!  Lasagna, beer and baseball.  Works for me.  I remembered that 4 beers helped me a few weeks ago in my Toronto 5k, so 4 beers it was.  Of course, that previous game saw Toronto slaughtered.  This time, it was high fives all around with complete strangers.  I didn't get to bed until almost midnight, but the race didn't start until 11:30 the next morning, so all was good.

COLD morning!  Had to scrape my windows.  At 8am it was -3C/28F, but it warmed up to an ideal 7C/45F by race time.  It was clear and no wind.

The race was only a 20 minute drive from my hotel.  The route around Exhibition Park is 1800 meters, so my race was about 2 3/4 laps of the route.  I checked it out on google maps ahead of time, and I walked it the morning of.  The long stretches of the block are about a half mile long, and the shorter ones then are a little more than 100 meters.  That's where the hills were.  Both were uphill; one was 50 meters up sharp, while the other was 100 meters up.  Both downhills on the long stretches were gradual.  Not a difficult course.

I positioned myself pretty much on the line.  There was no timing mat at the start - just at the end, and I wanted an accurate official time.  Turned out it was a good position for me.  I came in 22nd out of 272 runners.  The first mile was my fastest - run in 6:25.  The second I ran in 6:33 and the third in 6:29.  The final 200 meters I sprinted at a 5:18 pace, peaking at 4:54.

When I saw the clock on the home stretch, I could see it approaching 20 minutes.  I knew, based on my mile splits, that I would not break 20, but I was still sad to see it turn.  However, I was pumped at my time.  A good race.  And in looking back, I could not think of where I might have picked up the 10 seconds.  If I attacked the hills harder, I would have gassed.  If I ran the straights harder, I would have faded more at the end.  As it was, in the final 200 meters, I passed a number of runners, but had one final runner in my sights.  I couldn't find an extra gear to catch him, and he ended up finishing a half second ahead of me (and a 27 year old, so I don't feel bad).  But the fact that I knew I could not run faster than I did tells me that I ran the best I could this day.  I'll take it.

And, having a 20:10 5K under my belt today, tells me that my Boston goal time of 3:25 or less is very achievable.  I've decided to go with the Hanson's program again.  Officially starts in 9 weeks.  Between now and then I'm going easy with base mileage.  Maybe a 10K Turkey Trot on American Thanksgiving .  Maybe.

Saucony Kinvara 6 Miles: 3.00
Weight: 160.00
Comments(1)
Total Distance
3.00

3 recovery miles; 8:55 pace.

Brooks Ghost 6 Gold Miles: 3.00
Weight: 161.50
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Total Distance
5.00

Easy run; 8:41 pace.  Actually warm enough to run in shorts and without gloves.  Dark, however.  I'm back to running with my head lamp.

Zoom Vomero 10 Miles: 5.00
Weight: 161.00
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Total Distance
5.00

Easy paced run in the cold morning mist; 8:46/mile.

Saucony ISO Triumph Miles: 5.00
Weight: 161.00
Add Comment
Total Distance
6.00

Easy run in the dark; 8:49 pace.

Zoom Vomero 10 Miles: 6.00
Weight: 161.00
Add Comment
Total Distance
7.00

Easy run; 8:51 pace.

Saucony ISO Triumph Miles: 7.00
Weight: 160.00
Add Comment
Total Distance
5.00

Easy run; 8:46 pace.

Zoom Vomero 10 Miles: 5.00
Weight: 161.00
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Total Distance
5.00

On a pilgrimage to the Holy Door in Quebec City with a bus full of parishioners.  Yesterday was our travel day - 12 hours to get there.  Today I ran in the Plains of Abraham.  You'd think with "plains" in the name, they would be flat.  They are not.

The old city where we are staying is built on top of cliffs that overlook the St. Laurence River, about 300 feet below.  I ran along a forested trail in the Plains of Abraham park - lots of ups and downs.  At one point, I came to stairs that I decided to take to the bottom.  I ran along the river for a bit, and then doubled back and ran up the stairs.  All 300 feet of them.  Pretty steep climb too --- my GPS went into 'pause' mode during the climb.

Anyway, I guess this would not qualify as an easy run.  But it was fun.

Brooks Ghost 6 Gold Miles: 5.00
Weight: 160.00
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Total Distance
5.00

Our tour today took us to Montmorency Falls, a 276 high waterfall.  I had been there before and had climbed the stairs to the top.  This time, we rode the bus up and had lunch, and then everyone took the cable car down.  I took the stairs.  Then, since there was time, I ran back up on a trail to the top, and then took the stairs back down again.

That afternoon, my run.  Our tour guide said you could walk along the top of the old city walls and that it was 2 miles around.  So, I figured I'd do a few loops.  Unfortunately, it was not the flat trail I imagined it would be.  LOTS of ups and downs.  Lots of cannons too - like everywhere.  Cool.

Anyway, after half a loop, I decided to run up the stairs to the Plains of Abraham again, and just finished my run on the forested trail there.  Still lots of ups and downs, but not as sharp as in the old city.  My legs were pretty gassed after 2 days of hills and stairs, but tomorrow is the bus ride home, and so no running.

Brooks Ghost 6 Gold Miles: 5.00
Weight: 160.00
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Total Distance
7.00

Back home again.  7 easy miles on the flats of the valley.  Nice, for a change.  My easy 8:32 pace felt super easy today.

Saucony ISO Triumph Miles: 7.00
Weight: 160.00
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Total Distance
8.00

Easy run; 8:38 pace.  A few flakes of snow, and a cold north wind.  Temperature hovering around 0C/32F.

Skechers GoRun4 Miles: 8.00
Weight: 161.50
Add Comment
Total Distance
5.00

Easy run; 8:56 pace.  Just -3C/27F with a bit of a north wind.  So, cold.

Brooks Ghost 6 Gold Miles: 5.00
Weight: 161.00
Comments(1)
Total Distance
8.50

Easy run in the snow, then sun, then back to snow.  8:44 pace.

Zoom Vomero 10 Miles: 8.50
Weight: 162.00
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Total Distance
6.00

Easy run in the morning frost; 8:47 pace.  -2C/29F.

Saucony ISO Triumph Miles: 6.00
Weight: 161.00
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Total Distance
6.00

Easy afternoon run (work day started too early today); 8:35 pace.

Saucony ISO Triumph Miles: 6.00
Weight: 161.00
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Total Distance
6.00

Easy afternoon run (another crazy morning); 8:33 pace.

Zoom Vomero 10 Miles: 6.00
Weight: 161.00
Add Comment
Total Distance
7.00

Easy run in a light mist; 8:49 pace.

Brooks Ghost 6 Gold Miles: 7.00
Weight: 158.50
Add Comment
Total Distance
6.00

Easy run; 8:48 pace.

My sister is running her 2nd Half this morning up in Temiskaming Shores.  The Haunted Hustle.  Wish I could be there to cheer her on.  I'm so proud of her!  Go Cindy Go!

Mizuno Wave Sayonara Miles: 6.00
Weight: 160.00
Comments(1)
Total Distance
9.00

9 easy miles; 8:44 pace.  I had to bring my truck in this morning for a recall on the air bag, and so ran a city route along a trail section I had been wanting to visit.  About 2 miles to get there, and so 4 miles of road running and 5 on the trail.  Turns out it is a well cared for trail along what's known as Lilly Creek in New Sudbury.  A nice change.

Saucony ISO Triumph Miles: 9.00
Weight: 161.00
Add Comment
Total Distance
162.00
Zoom Vomero 10 Miles: 51.00Brooks Ghost 6 Gold Miles: 41.00Saucony ISO Triumph Miles: 53.00Saucony Kinvara 6 Miles: 3.00Skechers GoRun4 Miles: 8.00Mizuno Wave Sayonara Miles: 6.00
Weight: 160.56
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