Running Faster in 2022

Chicago Marathon

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Location:

Garson - Sudbury,ON,Canada

Member Since:

Apr 20, 2013

Gender:

Male

Goal Type:

Other

Running Accomplishments:

I ran my first marathon in 1998: "The Friendly Marathon" in Massey, Ontario.  I was 32. I had never raced in a shorter event, and I trained really poorly - ended up running it in 4:00:30.  After that, I gave up running for the most part for 6 years.  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 every so often.  As a priest, entering weekend races always meant having to book a holiday, so it just didn't happen much.  My holidays were primarily focussed on various canoe and kayak trips.

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 middle 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 (12 run):      Guelph, ON.     October 10, 2016   (50 yrs.)   20:10

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

Half Marathon  (25 run): Cleveland   May 18, 2014  (48 yrs)  1:33:08

Marathon (12 run):  Ste-Jerome, QC  October 3, 2021   (55 yrs.)  3:22:10

Ultras (5 run):   

Run for the Toad 50k Trail   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

Sulphur Springs 50 mile Trail   May 25, 2019  10:37:27

Haliburton Forest 100 mile Trail   September 7-8, 2019  26:46:27

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Pacing my sister in her 1st Half Marathon.

Short-Term Running Goals:

P'Tit Train du Nord (Little Train of the North) - October 3, 2021 - Training has gone very well; I'm thinking of pushing for a PR here.  A new PR by nearly 2 minutes, a BQ by almost 13 minutes, and a New York City Marathon Qualifier by 50 seconds.

For 2022, in the Fall I'll look to shaving 130 seconds off my Marathon PR in order to break the 3:20 mark.  The Half Marathon I'll run hard as part of my training, but not for a PR - maybe in the 1:35 range.

Mississauga Half Marathon - May 1, 2022    (1:35:27)

Marathon P'Tit Train du Nord - October 2, 2022 (sub 3:20 attempt)

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 28 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 11 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.

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Miles:This week: 8.00 Month: 52.00 Year: 1303.10
Mizuno Wave Sayonara 2 Lifetime Miles: 412.40
Brooks Cascadia 11 Lifetime Miles: 299.00
Salomon Speedcross 4 Lifetime Miles: 160.25
Brooks Ghost 13 Lifetime Miles: 607.50
Brooks Launch 8 Lifetime Miles: 153.00
Triumph ISO 5 Lifetime Miles: 394.00
Saucony Triumph 17 Lifetime Miles: 429.25
Brooks Glycerin 18 Lifetime Miles: 331.50
Saucony Triumph 18 Treadmill Lifetime Miles: 262.00
Asics Metaspeed Sky Lifetime Miles: 19.10
Total Distance
99.20
Hoka - Rapa Tarmac Miles: 15.00Brooks Ghost 6 Green Miles: 31.00Brooks Glycerin 12 Miles: 27.00Mizuno Wave Sayonara Miles: 26.00
Weight: 156.80
Total Distance
7.00

7 easy miles in the morning frost.  Brrrr.  8:45/mile average pace.

Hoka - Rapa Tarmac Miles: 7.00
Weight: 154.00
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Total Distance
8.00

Another frosty morning - just 2C/36F.  But clear and a gorgeous sun rise.

8 easy miles; 8:51/mile pace.

Hoka - Rapa Tarmac Miles: 8.00
Weight: 155.00
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Total Distance
8.00

8 easy miles; 8:56 pace.  

Just 6 mile runs now until race day a week from tomorrow.  Long range forecast looks like excellent running temperatures in Chicago - just need to kill that wind.

Brooks Ghost 6 Green Miles: 8.00
Weight: 155.50
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Total Distance
6.00

6 easy miles; 8:56 pace.  Light rain and cool; wore my race day stuff one last time.  All is good.

Brooks Ghost 6 Green Miles: 6.00
Weight: 154.00
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Total Distance
5.00

5 easy miles; 8:56 pace.  

This will be my last report until I get home from Chicago on October 16th.  I leave tomorrow - a 2 day drive.  Tomorrow is a rest day.  Wednesday (in Grayling), Thursday & Friday (in Chicago) are all 6 mile easy run days.  Saturday just 3 miles.

I'm joining the 3:25 pace group in the marathon.  If I just stick with them, I'll have a PR and another BQ (hopefully enough to make the cut off this time).  But I'm hoping I can pick up the pace in the final 3 miles or so and come in around 3:23.  That's my 'plan A' goal.

Full report when I get home.

Brooks Ghost 6 Green Miles: 5.00
Weight: 156.00
Comments(1)
Total Distance
6.00

Drove as far as Grayling, MI yesterday.  No really great place to run, so did 4 'laps' of a 1.5 mile route which took me down a dead end road in the pitch black, back to my hotel and around the parking lot.  Good enough to get my 8 miles in, which I ran at a 9:01 pace.

Brooks Glycerin 12 Miles: 6.00
Weight: 0.00
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Total Distance
6.00

Made it to Chicago last night.  I'm staying in a nice apartment in the West Garfield area which I'm renting through AirBnB.  It's inner city, but the place is nice and walking distance to the Green Line rail which will take me anywhere in the city.

Started off running in the dark and just around the corner found a highschool with a very modern track.  So, I decided to get my miles in there.  Ran them at an 8:55 pace.  Just as I finished my final lap, one of the teachers came out to let me know the track is only open outside of school hours.  So, good timing.  Found out the gate opens at 6am and school starts at 8am, so I'll be back tomorrow and Saturday for my final runs.

 

Brooks Glycerin 12 Miles: 6.00
Weight: 0.00
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Total Distance
6.00

Back to the track.  Ran my 6 miles at a 9:00/mile pace.  I'm heading to the expo today so that I can rest on Saturday.  They have issued a 'yellow alert' due to the expected higher temperatures on Sunday.  NOT what this cold weather Canadian runner needed to hear!

Brooks Glycerin 12 Miles: 6.00
Weight: 0.00
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Total Distance
3.00

3 very easy miles at the track; pace was 8:50/mile.

Hit the expo yesterday.  HUGE event.  I'm bib #622 and in the B corral of wave one - so close to the front.

Tried to limit the time I was out.  Got my package and bought 2 new pairs of shoes and then left soon after.  Today, I plan on resting as much as I can.

Brooks Glycerin 12 Miles: 3.00
Weight: 0.00
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Race: Chicago Marathon (26.2 Miles) 03:24:07, Place overall: 3207, Place in age division: 315
Total Distance
26.20

Nailed it!  3:24:07.  Cut 4:01 from my last year's PR, and beat my BQ time by just under 6 minutes.  If THAT is not enough to get me to Boston in 2017, I'll go nuts.

It was a good race for me, despite a few challenges along the way.  I joined the 3:25 pace group (two very good pacers - Mike I remember - can't recall the name of the second one).  Their goal was 30 - 60 seconds under 3:25, so I planned to stick with them until the last couple of miles, and then move ahead.  That didn't work out exactly as planned, but the end result is what matters - and it worked.

It was quite a long walk from the train drop off to the starting line.  I arrived at the Balbo Hospitality Tent around 6:10.  I had decided to pay the extra for this; not sure I would do it again.  The plus is the heated tent (would be great on a wet or really cold/windy day), LOTS of food (not used by me - but great for the non-running guests), basic comfort (inside/tables and chairs/no grass), and private bathrooms.  NO lines at these!  That was the biggest plus, but I didn't realize it right away.

Having a long walk to the start corrals, I left at 7am.  In hindsight, I should have stayed until 7:10 and made one more bathroom stop.  But the corrals closed at 7:20 (sharp), and I didn't know exactly how far I had to go to get to them.  I figured I'd make that stop closer to the corrals (silly me).

45,000 people makes for quite a crowd - wow!  Well organized though - very impressive.  I stood in line for the bathrooms closest to my corral, but it was obvious I was not going to make it.  So, I figured I might be okay once the race started.  Ha.  One obvious problem at big races - no privacy!  But I was in my corral, and the 3:25 pace group was just 20 feet ahead and to my left.

I guess it was cold enough before the sun came up - most people were ditching their outer layers just a few minutes before start time.  I was cool, but not cold.  Word to the wise - do NOT stand at the edge of the starting corral.  People around me were throwing their clothes off, trying to get them over the fence, and missing terribly.  Those at the edges were getting pelted.  Just soft stuff though, so no injuries :)

With 4 minutes to go, the woman on my left asked if anyone would be offended if she squatted.  Okay, early morning brain fog, it didn't register right away.  I mean, if you want to stretch, just go ahead and stretch.  She didn't mean stretch.  So, I had to step a bit out of the way as a puddle formed, and I couldn't help think how much I wanted to do the same thing but didn't.  Not sure in that situation, when you are stuffed tight shoulder to shoulder, if guys or gals have the advantage.

Anyway, the race started right at 7:30; it took just under 4 minutes for me to hit the starting line and I was off.  I was surprised how much further the pace group was ahead at that point, but they were within sight and I was keeping pace, so that was fine.  There would be no use trying to pass people for the first few miles when the course was this tightly packed.

I didn't anticipate the tunnel, and of course I lost my GPS signal, so it turns out that having the pace group was a bigger factor than expected.  Every mile (all of which had timing clocks, which was great) they announced how we were doing.  It seems every mile we were sitting at about 20 seconds ahead of overall pace, so I felt comfortable trusting their pacing.

Another unexpected problem was the noise - I don't think it abated much anywhere on the course.  I had NEVER seen spectators like this before.  Even during the 18 - 22 mile sections where I had read we might get 'lonely' - there were crowds lining the whole route.  It was nuts.  I loved it, but the problem was I could not hear my GPS 'beep' at the kilometer marks.  I had trained to eat a chew at those beeps.  They are quite loud and obvious, but not today.  So, I had to remember to take them, and it turned out I ate only 22 of them, instead of the planned 38.  But I did eat all four of my gels, and I don't think I was in danger of hitting the wall - but still.

Oh, and as great as the spectators were - smoking?  Cigars?  Gimme a break.  Twice it was obvious and disgusting.  Once early in the race, and then in China Town.  In that second place, it just seemed to linger for the longest time.  Yuck!

The volunteers at the aid stations were superb.  No complaints.  Elvis was out somewhere in the early miles too - I think he was singing "Love me Tender", but I can't remember for sure.  I didn't read many of the signs - as great as they were.  By mile 5 I realized I just HAD to pee.  I also realized that, unlike any other race I had done, you could not just pull off to the bushes by the side of the road.  The crowds were five deep on both sides, and they did not let up.  So, I was really focussed on keeping things under control.  

I don't normally have to stop midway for a bathroom break, so I didn't bother noting where the bathrooms were in relationship to the aid stations when I studied the course.  So, it took a couple of miles to note that they were at the beginning.  Drat, I missed that one.  Next one!  It seemed to take forever.  Oh, I SO hope they are not too far off the course.  I had pulled ahead of my pace group a bit, but I didn't know by how much.  There - on the left - just off the road!

Two unused (green).  First one occupied by a guy who didn't bother locking.  Second one occupied by a girl sitting, who screamed loud enough that you COULD hear her over the crowds.  Sorry!  (she should have locked it).  Drat - I can't wait - what to do?  Guy exits!  I go.  Man, did I ever have to go.  My bladder was pushing up on my stomach.  I figured I lost a minute and change there.  I assumed my pace group was past.  I also figured that would put them about 250 or 300 meters ahead.  So, I did some quick math and picked up my pace, thinking I'd take about 3 miles to catch them. 

I actually caught sight of the pace sign about 3/4 of a mile later.  I HOPED it was my pace group, and not the 3:30 group.  Another half mile and I could see it WAS my group!  Wonderful.  It took less than 2 miles to catch up with them.

At this point, we were still about 20 seconds ahead of pace.  I decided to stick more closely with the group in order to make sure I was not running too fast at this point of the race.  Besides, the pacers were very encouraging, and the crowds were extra encouraging too when they saw the 3:25 pace sign.

Even in the later miles, the course was tight.  That is especially so at the aid stations.  I took water at every one.  It had been 15C/60F at the starting line, but got up to 25C/77F by the time I finished, so my biggest concern was staying hydrated.  But there was some inevitable jostling at those stations, and at one point part of my bib got ripped off.  I had to do a little repair on it as I ran.  No harm done.

For a flat course, you DO have a couple of hills.  They are bridges, actually.  Grated, but for the most part the organizers had laid carpet over the grates.  At first I thought it was because we were special (red carpets), but then realized it was a safety thing.  Oh well.

With just 3 miles to go, I WANTED to pick up the pace, but my legs would not cooperate.  Darn legs.  I THOUGHT I was going faster, but the pacers were right there, and they were keeping a steady pace.  They were VERY encouraging at this point ("Hey slacker, pick it up or be forever shamed!").  No, just kidding - they were postive in their encouragement.  They pointed out the camera section, so I was able to smile and give a 'thumbs up'.  

With just 1 mile to go, I was still thinking of going faster.  But my body still had other plans.  I LOVED the count down signs:  800 meters to go.  400 meters to go.  200 meters to go.  And I think the last 100 was marked too, although I can't be sure.  There IS that final hill (bridge), but I knew that once over it, we'd turn left onto Columbus and the finish line would be within sight.  

I did manage to pick up the pace a bit here, but not by much.  I ran the final 2000 meters at a 7:34 pace.  Hardly blistering, but at least I finished strong (sort of) :)

I'm guessing I didn't look my best after I finished - 5 different people came over and asked me if I was okay.  Truth be told, I felt great.  I mean, I could hardly walk at that point, but I was on top of the world.  

I made my way back to the Balbo Tent (another advantage - it's right at the finish line) and tried to eat as much as I could.  My stomach was not happy, of course.  With the Balbo Tent comes private gear check - no waiting - and private massage area - again no waiting.  I don't often get a post race massage right after an event, but chose to do so today.  I've never had 2 people work on me at the same time - they were great.  And I do think it helped, as I had very little muscle soreness the next few days, and didn't even have problems navigating the 2 flights of stairs at my apartment or at the train stations.  

The Balbo Hospitality puts on quite a food spread at the end, but I could not take advantage of it, unfortunately.  Just could not eat more than the bare minimum.  But it was hot and sunny and it felt great to go outside and just soak it all in.

Eventually, I made my way back to my apartment.  One bus ride and one train ride later - I had 5 different people in Chicago see my finisher's medal and congratulate me on the race.  One man was downright effusive in his praise.  Amazing.  Chicago was nothing but friendly and hospitable to me the entire time I was there.

That night I took in a Ricky Martin concert - was not sure it was a wise thing to do, but I had the tickets and so went.  It turned out to be just what I needed.  Sitting I found difficult, but it was mostly standing and a little bit of dancing, and I think that's exactly what I needed at that point.

As far as physical issues:  2 small blood blisters on my left foot - one on the outside of my big toe, and one at the end of the toe next to it.  One black toe nail on my right foot.  This was the first marathon, in fact, where I did not lose ANY toe nails in training.  So, losing just 1 after the race is pretty minor to me.

My mile splits as recorded by my GPS are pretty useless due to the long tunnel and shorter tunnel, plus the bathroom autopause, but here are my 5k split paces as recorded via mats on the course:

5k 7:44

10k 7:42

15k 7:47

20k 7:56

Half Marathon 4:41:58 (7:47)

25k 7:38

30k 7:54

35k 7:58

40k 7:46

Last 2.2  7:34

Overall Marathon Pace = 7:47/mile

So, I started training thinking of running a 3:30 marathon, changed that partway through to aim for a 3:25, and pretty much nailed that by coming in 53 seconds faster.  All good stuff.

What's next - well, I'm not sure.  Initially I was SUPPOSED to gear up for Boston in the Spring, but that ship sailed without me.  So, I'm thinking of doing some speed work this winter on the treadmill and maybe aim for a fast Half in the Spring.  Not sure which one yet.

Then I'm thinking of running a Fall Marathon - maybe Toronto - a year from now.  We'll see how my body holds up.  I SHOULD be in for Boston in 2017.  The BIG problem there (for me) is it falls on Easter Monday.  As a priest, it's not very good for me to be away from my Parish on ANY weekend, but especially Easter.  So, I'll have to get creative with that - I'm thinking of being here for the Vigil Mass on Saturday (the really important one), and then flying out Sunday morning.  It's not ideal, I realize, but I think it's workable.

Mizuno Wave Sayonara Miles: 26.00
Weight: 0.00
Comments(1)
Total Distance
3.00

Back to running this morning, after a 2 week recover break post Marathon.  I'm back to the treadmill for the Fall and Winter.  Much safer in the dark and a lot more comfortable in the coming cold and snow.

Took it easy today by running just 3 easy miles.  I wanted to see how all the body parts felt.  Seems okay.  The arthritis in the hip is more painful than usual, but I chalk that up to the lack of running over the past 14 days.  Motion is lotion!  Knees a little stiff, but no lingering issues from the race.

I'll keep it slow over the next 2 weeks and also slowly pick up the mileage.

I registered for the Ottawa Half Marathon - last Sunday in May.  I'm going to work on my speed a bit more over the winter.  Haven't decided yet if I'll do a Full Marathon next year, or just run a number of Halfs.

Brooks Glycerin 12 Miles: 3.00
Weight: 158.00
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Total Distance
3.00

3 gentle miles on the treadmill.  Easing back into running.  My hamstrings are tight.  I'll keep going easy for a few weeks before picking it up.

Brooks Ghost 6 Green Miles: 3.00
Weight: 159.50
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Total Distance
3.00

3 very easy miles.  Took yesterday off, as my right hamstrings were very sore.  I'm not sure if it was the return to running, or the plyometric jump squats I did the night before.  However, today's run felt fine.  I'll lay off the strength work for a while, until I'm sure I'm completely okay.

Brooks Glycerin 12 Miles: 3.00
Weight: 158.50
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Total Distance
4.00

4 easy miles.  Thankfully, the hamstrings seem okay.  I'll take it up to 5 miles tomorrow, and then start throwing in some 10k runs next week.

Brooks Ghost 6 Green Miles: 4.00
Weight: 158.50
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Total Distance
5.00

Decided to take it outdoors today, since I was able to start a bit later, so it wasn't pitch black out.  4C/40F, but no wind and it didn't feel cold at all.  Ran an easy 9 minute/mile pace.  That's a bit faster than I've been doing on the treadmill.  Everything seems fine - hips (arthritis) a little sore, but that's about it.

Brooks Ghost 6 Green Miles: 5.00
Weight: 159.00
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Total Distance
99.20
Hoka - Rapa Tarmac Miles: 15.00Brooks Ghost 6 Green Miles: 31.00Brooks Glycerin 12 Miles: 27.00Mizuno Wave Sayonara Miles: 26.00
Weight: 156.80
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