Tuesday, September 29, 2009


It is Tuesday and I have trained 5 hours already this week and I am tired.

Today I ran my tempo with a much better outcome then last week. I felt generally good through out the workout. I ran the whole tempo in Stanley Park except for a 200 metre stretch along the Seawall. I ran a lot of hills and ran up and down Brockton a couple of times and also spent some time on grass in preparation for cross country. At the 30 minute mark my quads began to fatigue quite seriously and an extra hill I decided to climb became more difficult then expected. The last 10 minutes were wonderful as it was all on grass and I was into "push" mode. My favorite part of a tempo is the last 10 minutes. By this time I can stop holding back and just let go. This is when I get to let all my cares go and run hard (but not too hard, tempo not interval). In is in the last 10 minutes when I get hit 'flow'. By this point I am concentrating on getting my feet off of the ground, I am concentrating on my breathing and trying to let myself go. In the last 5 minutes I usually get lost in my stride and telling myself to 'go', telling myself to get my feet off of the ground and see how far I can get before my watch beeps it's final call. The best part of the last 10 minutes is I do not think of anything other then running. I do not think about work, life or future. I do not think of unrequited love, loneliness or failure. I think about running and I love it!

Once I finished my cool down I quickly scarfed down some food and ran out the door to get to the pool for my workout with my swim club. Tonight was 'the set'. It is a mostly freestyle night of progressively faster sets. I was really tired getting into the pool and even worse getting out. I actually had fun in the pool and I feel my stroke coming back. I have very little strength in my upper body from all my running but I still have some feel for the water. The best part is swimming has stimulated my appetite.

'Things I hate' is really catching on and I am enjoying the new dimension it is bringing to my life. Sometimes it is fun to acknowledge how something annoys me without feeling obliged to look on the bright side. For instance, today in the pool I hit my heel on the lane dividers and then slammed my hand into it and felt like I broke my finger. When I got to the end of the pool I was able to say "things I hate! new lane ropes!", and then I felt better. Something else I hate that I noticed today, Skinny Jeans on fat people. There is a style for everyone and girlfriend, those jeans were not meant for you! Things I hate. Although I love skinny jeans on skinny people, super hot. Things I love, hipsters in skinny jeans, let me peel those jeans off of you...how did I end out on the bright side of that one?

Coming up I have an easy run tomorrow followed by my workout on Thursday in Mundy Park. I am really tired tonight so I hope to be able to hold it together through the end of this week. I only have a few weeks of hard training before taper and I am really feeling it. I think every part of my body is hurting and sore. The first few steps every morning initiate a chorus of creaks and cracks from my weary bones as I hobble the 5 steps to the toilet, a good sign that I am training well. I am happy to be this fatigued, the training is working.

Happy Training!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Link It Up



to see my workout from last Thursday. Thanks Brad for alerting me of this. I must confess that I hate seeing myself on video. I have an illusion in my mind of how I act in public and it is quickly shattered when I actually see myself. My written blog was originally a video blog but I could not bear to watch the blog to edit it so I had to stop. I should really file this under "things I hate" but I won't.

Today I had a sore/weary long run followed by some extended icing of my legs. I realized though that I only have one more long run before Nationals! Yippee! I need a long run partner for after Nationals I think.

Happy Training!

Saturday, September 26, 2009


I am now on a three race winning streak!

I ran the South Fraser Cross Country meet today and won over 8km. My time was just over 26 minutes, I think. I had a better race this week then last. I did not take any wrong turns nor did I miscount the number of laps. I ran hard from the gun to the finish.

Like last week I ran this race alone at the front. I won by well over a minute and maybe even close to 2 minutes so I was not pushed by the other runners. There is something nice about standing at a start line with a belief that I will win. It makes the race more fun and it also enables me to work on aspects of my race that I usually struggle with. I have been working on my start the past few races. Cross country is about going hard from the start and holding on for dear life. Today I worked hard from the gun and got myself into oxygen debt right away. I began to have a bit of difficultly into the third of 5 laps. I began to tell myself to ease back and just ride it out to the finish. Then I remembered that in 3 weeks I will be in Toronto racing against the best of Canada and pushed hard again. By the end of my third lap I was starting to lap people which gave me some incentive to push hard. Instead of having someone pushing from behind I was able to see how many people I could lap (I think around half the field of runners). The last two laps felt really good and I was able to push straight to the finish.

I am happy with the run today but now I have to put my head down and focus on some hard training leading into nationals. The next two weeks will be tough but I am fit and ready to pump out some long hard workouts. I am looking forward to some quality workouts and I am very excited to be with a new group for a few workouts.

Things I Hate
Loud Talkers: I have a hard enough time keeping track of my own life let alone having to hear about your life too. It drives me bananas when I am trying to get home on the bus and the person at the other end of the bus is talking so loud that I know they got laid last weekend, had tuna salad for lunch and have a scary rash on their penis. Not only are they on the other end of the bus but I also have head phones on and can still hear them. I was out for dinner last week and one individual at the table next to us, Declan, was one of these loud talkers. He knew bob through a mutual friend Chrissy, oh my god! He has been so busy lately but yet has managed to bang a few girls and is having a great time being single...thankfully we got our bill at this point in the conversation. Even more annoying are loud talkers at the beach killing my serenity. I am unsure if it is secondary to impaired hearing or some sort of insecurity that leads someone to feel they need to yell their conversation. It is really annoying when it is of the bragging type "I got a huge raise at work and now I make way more money then my parents!" (actual overheard statement) or if it is just due to lack of social awareness/self absorption "My vagina really hurts do you think it might be a yeast infection?" (again, actual overheard conversation). Listen up people, take it down a notch and think outside of your box.

Happy Training!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Freshen Things Up

I tried something new tonight.Instead of my usual VFAC workout I trained tonight with coach Richard Lee and a few very good runners in Mundy Park. I love running with VFAC but I need someone to chase, someone who can run sub 30 minutes. I am looking to run workouts with people who are faster then me and who will show me a true measure of my fitness. Tonight that happened.

Of course what would a workout be without a little stress and excitement. I work downtown. Mundy Park is in Port Coquitlam. Normally with no traffic this drive can be done in around 20 to 30 minutes. I was stuck in traffic for approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes. Total nightmare. When I got to the park I had to change into my running gear with a towel around my privates then find the nearest bathroom for by exploding bladder. By this time I was 20 minutes late for the workout and consequently missed the group. I decided to run in the Park in the hopes I would find the group while they were either warming up or running their workout. I came across a group from SFU and asked them if they knew Richard or if they saw any other groups training in the park. At first I was not sure if they spoke English, secondary to the perplexed looks on their faces. They did not know who or what I was talking about despite being on the SFU cross country team. I turned around and a thin, coach looking man came walking towards me. Thankfully I am beginning to look my age as Richard saw me run by and thought I was much too old to be running with SFU. We had a quick salutation and he sent me into the park for the remainder of my warm up on a 2 km loop which would serve as our workout route.

I began my warm up and by the time I was back to the starting point the other runners were rolling in from their warm up. We did our drills and strides and it was time to run. I was a little nervous going into the first interval as I did not know what to expect. I have seen these guys names in results ever since I moved to BC and am in awe of them in many respects. I was terrified I would be dropped in the third or fourth intervals so I was cautious to not over extend myself. The pace was nice and even and we worked together in the first interval. I was able to chase for the remainder of the workout and even managed to descend the workout. My last interval was approximately 15 seconds faster then the first. A great run for my first night out with a different group.

The workout was great. I think the best aspect for me was quick recovery. I have a funny body that recovers very quickly. If I have too long between intervals I get bored and cold and lose some of my pop and zip. Long recovery also enables me to think about the upcoming pain, question my ability and worry if I will make my times. With a quick recovery the mind is occupied with telling the body to relax, oxygenate and re-focus for the next hard effort. There is not enough time to worry.

Or maybe the best aspect was having someone to chase and people chasing, closely. It was great to have someone to hang onto then watch break away. It is inspirational to watch someone run very fast and see what it takes to run sub 30 minutes. It is inspirational to know that the person who runs sub 30 minutes has a great deal of talent but more importantly is more or less a real person with a super human work ethic and tolerance for pain. Or maybe the best aspect was that even though I was with a group of guys who have run at the highest levels in Canada, they were still just a bunch of guys out for a run in Mundy Park.

Thankfully the traffic was much better for the drive back to Vancouver and I made it to downtown in less then 40 minutes. I was even early for a meeting I had at 8:15.

This weekend I am racing another cross country meet, this one in Surrey then I have a few decisions to make. In many ways I feel like I am at a cross roads in my life in many different areas. I am getting to a time in my life when there are going to be fewer and fewer second chances. For running I am at the point where I am towards the end of my improvement. I still have drive and desire to race and train hard but what is the point? What is my goal? I need to sit down and decide what I want to do with running. Do I want to take a big risk, put myself on the line and try for something bigger? Many of my decisions hinge on running. I have a very rich and full life as a high performance athlete, good career, wonderful friends and very busy schedule. With my current lifestyle I have come to the conclusion that I am undatable. I am very busy and others just do not fit into that lifestyle. It seems the preference these days is for average, and I am exceptional. I feel I have to give up running at a high level to fit a man into my life. I have met men who I would drop a workout or two for but for various reasons we have not clicked. Maybe I have made my decision, my love of sport and running fills my heart more then any man has shown he is willing to do. It is my passion, my one and only.

This has been a ramble, easy to see I have been thinking a lot.

Happy Training!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Tired Tempo Tuesday

Today I ran my tempo all in the trails of Stanley Park. I felt the fatigue from my weekend of racing and training.
When I arrived home from work I was not feeling the best with a slight headache and some dizziness. I quickly put on my flats and headed out into the amazing Vancouver weather to run my 50 minute tempo. The warm up was a struggle and I felt sluggish and very tired. I had no pop to my stride nor was there any burning desire to run. I also continued to have a headache, not good news. Once I got into my tempo things did not improve. I felt sluggish off the ground and generally flat. After 10 minutes I thought about quitting the workout and heading home but I thought better and made a compromise with myself. I would run 30 minutes at tempo pace. I was then able to shut off the brain a bit and just hammer out the minutes until my timer buzzed it's final chime.

I thought I may try some drills and strides after the run but I was too tired and even had a bit of struggle to get home. I am not concerned with this workout as I have been training very hard the last few weeks and I have added a few hours of training into my schedule. I have also had some fit full night sleeps in the past few days which I am sure have added to my fatigue and general exhaustion.
The pictures on this blog today were taken by my friend Jenny when I was in New Brunswick and PEI. She is amazing and the photos she took of the sunsets and the sky in PEI were breathtaking. I am in awe of the color and contrast she achieved in almost darkness.

Happy Training!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Long, Long Run

Yesterday I ran a little longer then expected, and it was great!

The day started with an hour workout with EBSC. After racing on Saturday my legs were tired and I was generally feeling quite weak in the pool. As I knew I had a long run coming up in the afternoon I was content to leave the pool with 1/2 hour to go in the workout.

For my long run I decided to try something different. I ran directly out to the trails of UBC for a change of scenery and to mix things up a bit. The only issue was that it took a little longer to get there then I realized. I was rumbling through the trails without a care in my mind when I realized I had been running for over an hour and had been running along a trail for quite a distance. I decided to keep running the loop then make my way home. I ran as direct a route as possible home and wound up running 2 hours and 7 minutes. This was the longest run I have completed in years. It hearkens back to my time in university when I would pile up the miles. I was totally exhausted when I got home and so thirsty I thought I was going to drain the Cleveland Reservoir. It took 2 to 3 hours to recover from this effort and regain the ability to speak in full sentences.

I expected to wake up this morning in pain and totally exhausted. Surprisingly I woke up feeling refreshed and light as a feather. My legs felt great and if anything they felt better then usual. I was in a great mood all day today and had quite a productive day. On my recovery run today I felt slightly sluggish and it was a bit difficult to get my feet off of the ground. Although I was a bit fatigued my mood was great and I was really happy to be out in the glorious Vancouver sunshine.

I have been feeling the effects of training the past couple of weeks. I have entered "Bitter Bert" mode due to the exhaustion of work and training and some other stresses in my life. It was really nice today to have a good day of work followed by a good day of training. This is a sign I am coming out of the fog of my hard training and my body and mind have adapted to the increase in workload.

Some of the best inventions and ideas were born in times of stress and exhaustion. It was under these conditions that I thought of a new feature for the blog called "Things I Hate". There were a lot over the past few days so I have had to sort through them to pick one thing that I hate the most.

Things I Hate
Loud Vehicles: This is what inspired the feature. I was on my bike enjoying a leisurely ride through Strathcona when my ears were stabbed with thousands of tiny spikes as a Harley blasted by. The sound was deafening and I nearly fell of my bike with shock. Have these people not heard of something called a muffler? What I find ironic is that I am unable to have a small celebration with friends into the early evening hours without infringing on sound bylaws while some asshole on an overpriced, undermufflered piece of pseudo-manhood can blaze through the neighborhood waking the dead. Loud vehicles, they are a 'bad thing'.

Is there something you hate? I would love to hear about it! Misery loves company so drop me a line!

Happy Training!

Saturday, September 19, 2009


Cross country season has gotten off to a good start!

This morning I ran the Pine Tree Classic in Port Coquitlam. I won, by a lot. I ran well although I had a few errors in my race that are worth mentioning. First, I took a wrong turn, ran 10 or so meters in the wrong direction, then stopped, looked around and found myself back to the route. Although this may not have caused me to lose too much time in a race this can be quite annoying. My more major error was thinking we were to run 3 loops rather then the 2 we did run. When I was marshaled into the finish line I was convinced they messed up and I was going in too early. When I saw the time on the finish clock I realized I was wrong, again.

I am happy with the win yet the field was not as strong as I would have liked. I was not pushed during the race and ran on my own at the front for the duration. I won by over a minute which is quite substantial. What I need out of a race now is to get pushed and go shoulder to shoulder with another few runners. I need to get into a pack and hold on for dear life. I need to push past the feeling of "I am going to die" to out kick someone to the finish line. This being BC I am sure it will happen soon enough. As I totally mistimed the race I did not push as hard as I planned so after crossing the finish line I ran 5 minutes of X's on the neighboring soccer field. I am now gaining confidence in my fitness and am getting prepared to battle into the fall.

Upcoming I have some hard training and I must decide on some races for the fall. I am leading the cross country series now so maybe I will try to win the overall. To be decided!

Happy Training!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Back To VFAC

Tonight was my first workout back with VFAC after a little break for my trip home.

Initially we were to run the mile and 7/8ths loop. First interval a double, second a single loop. My pace time was given and I hammered the first interval. I felt good on the first loop and ran around 12 seconds faster then pace time. I relaxed for the second half of the interval and wound up around 10 seconds under pace time. It was a good effort and I was happy to get my legs going and the heart pumping hard. For the second interval we moved to the Seawall due to darkness. We ran a two mile piece which again went really well. I felt like my feet we not even hitting the pavement. I have been really tired recently while trying to get back into shape and tonight's feeling makes me believe I am ready to pump up the training and float out some hard and fast workouts. I ran on pace time, which was very nice. I even felt light and easy on my cool down rather then the usual "hobble, hobble, limp, limp."

Upcoming I am racing the Pine Tree Classic Cross Country race this weekend. I am training through this race (obviously) so it will not necessarily be a barometer of my fitness. I have trained very hard this week on top of work and socializing, it will be interesting. I am going to use the race as a training opportunity. I need to work on my cross country start. Cross country is much different then a road race. When racing a road race at an elite level the pace usually goes out even and there are several packs of fast runners to tag along with. There is plenty of room to run and one can work though the field if they start a little on the slow side. I like to run from behind and even split through a race so I am well suited to road running. Conversely cross country races go out at break neck speed. At a national race one has to get placement at the beginning of the race and hold on for 10km. For example; at last year's Nationals, off the start I ran as hard as I could to get placement near the front of the pack, I was around 35th. That was the position I ran through the majority of the race and where I finished. I am not suited to cross country because I do not run well with a severe oxygen debt off the start. I like to work my way into a race and power through the last half, something that is not possible in most big cross country races.

Saturday will be fun and I am looking forward to a competitive field and a good hard run!

In a totally unrelated matter and possibly reflective of how I have become totally shameless, I am opening myself to the universe and the possibility of finding a soul mate to share my wonderful life with. I have tried almost every possible venue for dating. You name it I have most likely tried it with dismal results. This leads me to believe I am undatable, though I must keep faith, thus, I am giving a giant shout out to wrangle up some eligible bachelors to date. I take my cue from Einstein who said insanity was "doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results". With this in mind I am trying something new and using my blog as a venue to get dates. I will not blog on any dates nor will I start a Fringe Fest Show with the results (although I think it could be really funny based on the results I have already had).

If you read this blog and enjoy it and know some single gay men who live in Vancouver (or are great enough that I would move to their city to be with them) then send them my way. My contact is to the left.

Happy Training!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Talk To Me

Note: The photos on Today's Blog have no relation to the content of the blog. I just want to show more of my trip East!

Runners, and the general public, need to be able to communicate. Communication is essential to enable meaningful relationships with others and also help us to build professional relationships. In many ways the key to a successful life is effective communication. For a runner communication is key for many reasons...

Doc: "Why are you here today?"
Runner: "My leg hurts."
Doc: "I need more information."
Runner: "My leg hurts when I run."
Doc: "Where?"
Runner: "On the Seawall or sometimes on the sidewalk, I really like running in the Endowment Lands!"
Doc: "Where on your body?????"
Runner: "I already told you, MY LEG HURTS!!!!"

This is an example of poor communication. As runners we need to have an intimate knowledge and understanding of our bodies, and we need to be able to communicate this to others. When I go to the doctor or physio due to pain or injury I always try to describe the issue into the most detail possible. As I do not have a current injury I will use an old one.
"I have a shooting pain when I run. The pain is on the left side originating on the outside of my hip and radiating to my asshole. Normally the pain starts when I am beginning to run until I get warmed up. There is a constant dull pain which is present throughout the duration of my stride except for toe off and when I plant my heel. Then there is a shock of pain that is very uncomfortable. Imagine someone shot a copper arrow through your hip that came out your asshole. It always hurts except when you toe off and plant your foot. At this point someone sends an electric shock through the copper arrow that comes out your asshole. That describes my pain. It only occurs when I run and in that time it is only when I am running slowly or warming up. Once I am into a workout is usually gets better."
It is always of the utmost importance that we are clear and detailed when describing an injury. Communication is key.
Runners also must communicate with their coach. If I show up to a workout feeling lethargic or over trained I need to relate this to my coach so he can alter my workout accordingly. In university I was not necessarily the best communicator. Countless times I ran workouts and completed mileage when I was over trained with no recovery. I knew my body and mind were exhausted but I was unable to relate this to my coach. The result was burnout and a dislike of competitive training. For a coaching relationship to be effective there needs to be free flowing communication, both positive and negative, between the athlete and the coach. A coach must be able to tell an athlete when to suck it up and make their times and an athlete needs to be able to effectively tell the coach when they are not able to make times due to other circumstances. This is a very difficult balance to maintain, though if it is successful great results will follow.

It is important to get our point across to the listener but it is also important for the person hearing the message to accept it. We must also be receptive communicators. If I tell my coach that I am not into the workout he has to listen and acknowledge that information. For me to effectively communicate with another individual I have to know that they are hearing my message. In the same regard, I need to clarify that I understand their response.

Work has helped me with communication, and receptive communication specifically, a great deal. When I see a patient they are often at the lowest time of their life. They are scared, confused, sick, in pain, and are usually very upset after getting a very bad prognosis. When these people tell me their goals what I may hear is something totally different then what they actually meant. At the end of an assessment I always tell them what I understand their goal to be. If I was listening well we will both agree on the goal. By now I am usually pretty good at getting it right but every once and a while I fuck everything up and get some harsh feedback. How does this relate to running and life in general?
When communicating with others ensure the message is conveyed effectively and then get the other person to repeat it back to you. You may be surprised what you hear!

I suppose the most important thing about communication is actually doing it. It is a sign of respect and decency when we openly communicate with those who are important in our lives. It is those people, the ones who matter the most, who are often the most difficult to speak with honestly. The fear of hurting someone else's feelings or jeopardizing a friendship may influence how we approach a potentially difficult subject. Learning how to talk with someone without fucking up something that was previously good is a skill we all can work on, whether with a coach, friend or family.

We communicate in many more ways then with words, body language often says more then anything. But I think I have been preachy enough for one blog so I will save body language and mixed messages for another day.

Today was Tempo Tuesday and I had a great 45 minute hard session in Stanley Park and on the Seawall. Yesterday I was very tired and sluggish so I was very happy to have a good run today. I also really wanted to have a good swim tonight but dental work kept me out of the pool.

Happy Training!

Sunday, September 13, 2009


Some things change, some things stay the same.

I have returned to Vancouver after 2 weeks in Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. I had a wonderful trip with many highlights and lots of rest and relaxation. I was able to see friends from University at a wedding, spent time at a beautiful beach side cottage in PEI, saw my family, won a cross country race and was a bit of a tourist in my home town and province. All together it was a well deserved break from the city.

Change is inevitable. We are constantly changing. One of the few truths in life is that we are always changing. I returned home wondering what changes would be in store for me and I was surprised by what I observed.

Place: Home, and the Maritime Provinces, were much more beautiful then I remember. I also remember things being much bigger. The PEI to NS ferry was absolutely tiny compared to what I remember. It was strange. There were minor changes (for instance my mom had a new liner in the pool, but there was still a pool) but for the most part things were basically the same. On a good note St.F.X. is in the process of building a new rubber track. I am excited to train on it when I go home next. Fredericton was changed with quite a bit of new construction but all my old haunts were still there including the house I lived in for 3 years.

People: It is strange, my friends seem to always stay the same. Although their life situation may differ from the last time I saw them, when we meet again it is like we just walked out of class or are going for a run like in university. I have a comfort with them that cannot be described. We share a lived experience that challenged us and brought us all together. When we see each other it is with excitement, long hugs and hours spent catching up and admiring the growth we see in each other. There is comfortable silence and a knowing. It is nice to be with friends with history, something I am starting to build here in Vancouver. Although we have all changed our lives drastically, when we are together again it is like a living flashback to the best parts of our past together. I will remember these time with happiness.

Running: I went back to my old university and won a cross country race. My running has changed, for the better. I was able to win the race easily and a friend told me after wards that it looked like I was running at an 800 race pace with everyone else running 10 km race pace. The race was 5 km over a course that I have run hundreds of times. It was a tough run but good to get the heart pumping and lungs working. I was very happy to see my former coach Tim and former team captain Scott.

My training while home was satisfactory. I did not train as much as I had wanted but I did have a few good quality workouts and a monster tempo up a small mountain. A big change that has happened is my long run pace. When I think of mileage I calculate for 7 minute miles. It turns out I am running more like 6:25 minute miles. On average I have been running 5 to 10 miles more per week then I have calculated for. A 70 mile week may have been more like an 80 mile week, oops. I guess that would explain how I am getting more fit and faster off of 'less' mileage. I do not keep exact records anyways so in the end I do not think it really matters that much.

Me: I am a different person now then when I left home, over 10 years ago. When I left the tiny hamlet of Arisaig I was quiet and shy, barely able to speak up for myself. I had no confidence and was scared of my own shadow. Now I am a different person. I have a voice and feel passionately about life and the world around me. I am not afraid to speak my opinions and will not be told to shut up, nor will I back down from ignorant opinions. I believe in myself and all the life I live, those I love and those I long to love. I have accomplished a great deal over the past years, more then I ever thought possible (I still have lots of goals left though!). It was the changes in me on my return home that I felt the most. I was happy to be home yet I knew the Jay who lived there in the past is gone. I loved and was very fortunate to have a quiet and protected life but that is not a life I chose nor one I for see myself living again. I miss my family but I know my life is here now.

Today I had my first EBSC workout this morning at the Vancouver Aquatic Centre. I think we swam around 3000 yards. At the hour mark I felt like my shoulders were going to rip off from all the breast stroke (I am not a breast stroker, go figure...) but I managed to swim the whole workout. This afternoon I ran my long run in the glorious sunshine and warm weather of Vancouver. I think I ran around 13 miles or so. I did not eat much for lunch after my swim and consequently I had a bit of a bonk towards the end. I made it home and that is all that matters. The run felt good considering the circumstances. I hope to adjust to the new swim/run schedule quickly.

Tomorrow is back to reality when I return to work. It ought to be a gong show.

Happy Training!