Wednesday, May 25, 2005

And the Song Remains the Same

Back to running in my routine. Four days a week. Did just under 10 miles on Sunday, plus three more 10K, give or take a K.

Have still kept the pace down except for the occasional surge.

Have added in some cross-training. All weights for the upper body and a little core training.

I'm down three pounds, back to losing a pound or so a week. Have heard a few comments that I look leaner.

Haven't decided whether or not to participate in another marathon clinic at the Running Room. The politics of the place is just too much these days. A endless revolving door of underpaid staff and the bizarre "Cult of John Stanton" is enough to make you wretch. And it just keeps getting worse...

It would be nice if Stanton quit trying to pass himself off as Jeff Galloway and realized he's simply a reformed smoker, formerly grossly over-weight Al Bundy shoesalesmen who started out in his garage. An impressive tale of entrepreneurial endeavour, but the man is no former Olympian. Nor a former athlete of any merit whatsoever. It's great that John-Boy quit smoking and lost some weight and took up running to feel better about himself. He shares that in common with thousands of other people. Congratulations on a positive and inspirational life-style change.

The worst part of the "Stanton Cult" his ceaseless attempts to pass himself off as a running guru through his book, which is so poorly written it's a bit of an in-joke among his staff,and other runners, and his terribly trite, so short you have to blink to make sure you don't miss them newspaper columns on marathon training. It's one regurgitated running cliche after another. He has yet to write a single original thought on running or training of which I am aware.

He's simply an astute businessman who cashed in on the second-wave of running for fitness in North America. You'd think the money he rakes in by selling over-priced merchandise would be enough.

But I guess not.

In case you haven't gotten it by now, Stanton and family, Little Johhny Junior himself by the way, fired one of the best managers they ever had. That of course is their perogative. They own the keys to the kingdom. Hey, when it's your ball you can always pout and take it home.

The worst part is the way they have been lying to everyone about what happened.

I think I'd prefer to buy my runners from Al Bundy. At least he knew what he was doing.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Licking My Wounds

Hey Vince,

It's getting boring without the ranting of a drunken Canuck!

Have a LaBatt's and rant for us!


Scooter and company have roused me from my lethargy or perhaps it has just been a prolonged pout.

I am blue, exhausted and working around the clock to find a job.

I am still in a lot of post-marathon pain. I ran 17.5K on Sunday, the longest sojourn yet since the marathon and my heart rate was still elevated considering my low level of effort and after 14K my legs were just dead. I might as well have been running on dead wood.

I have tried to post a Blog three times and that f***king piece of shit AOL server has failed on me every time. I have gone under a dozen times with crashes and lost conections.

Like an old dog, I have just crawled under the porch to lick my wounds.

Do not worry.

Thank you for worrying.

I will survive.

And not running is not an option.

I am laying in the weeds and considering my best strategy to attack Boston...

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Post-Partum Blues

As after nearly every race, no matter how well you do, I am experiencing something of a let-down after the Vancouver International Marathon.

My physical stiffness was gone within a week, but the psychic aches and pains have not. I have run just about every day, short distances, easy speeds, but my heart is not in it. What the f**k have I gotten myself in to?

I can not help feeling that I have bitten off more than I can chew in my Boston attempt, and let me tell you, there are plenty of folks out there who will attest to the size of my mouth...

And speaking of which, I now have to watch everything I put into it. With the sole exception perhaps of the nectar of the fruited grape.

I'm down a pound or two, but feeling hungry all the time. I have resigned myself to the fact that this is pretty much going to suck between now and October.

Getting down to 180 pounds that is...

There just seems no other way to address my conditioning and my stamina. I can't qualify for Boston at around 200 pounds. It is just pounding the s**t out of me.

I'll continue to work on speed and endurance, but a light race car is a fast race car.

Time to tear the rear seat out...

Friday, May 06, 2005

And the Data Debate Begins

I received my latest posted comment from Scooter. Interesting, and worthy of dragging on to the front page for a couple of reasons...

OK, Vince, if we apply the 2 sec/mile/lb formula, just getting the weight off should buy you about 940 sec or 15.6 minutes! Not a ton, but a big percentage of the differential.

Also, for something a little freaky, you are one year TO THE DAY younger than I am.

Scooter, are you really EXACTLY a year older than me, as in, you were born on August 8th, 1959?

Also, and I am expecting Michael to chime in here, my research of the available data shows that losing a percentage of body fat generally translates into a one percent increase in performance, ie; speed. Where are you getting your formula from? What is the source of your research?

And as for how my body fat effects my MAX VO2 - at 203 pounds (22.3 per cent body fat) with a maximum heart rate of 204, Michael calculated my MAX Vo2 at 57.4. As your Max Vo2 is a measurement of oxygen utilized, militres per kilograms, the lower your body fat, the greater your Max Vo2, because of course it is independent of your body weight, not your cardiovascular capacity. At 180 pounds, or ten per cent body fat, my MAX VO2 would be in the 70 range.

At 28 years of age, and not particularly well-trained I might add (I ran a 10K 5 or 6 times a week every morning for exercise) I ran a personal best 10K in 36:10 at 178 pounds. So that is where I am headed for. Well, that's the plan anyway...

Just as a point of interest, Rachel and I ran the first 10K of the Gibson's Half Marathon Race on April 3, in 44:14.

By all that is Holy, in other words, Jesus Christ, if your birthday is August 8th, that certainly explains a lot!

I wonder if Dustin Hoffman is reading our Blogs, Scooter?

And finally, Scooter - I have read your Blog with interest - mostly because of the excellence of the writing - but also because of your weight loss - and no where could I discern your current weight.

If I may be so bold, what did you weigh when you ran this past marathon that qualified you for Boston?

And congratulations once again on a job well done!

August 8th in History - This Day in History > August 8th

1786: Mt Blanc, the tallest mountain in Europe, climbed for the first time
1940: Battle of Britain
1960: Militray coup in Laos
1963: The Great Train Robbery, in which 2.5 million pounds are stolen
1974: Richard Nixon resigns as US President, the first to do so
1981: US announce plans to produce the neutron bomb
1983: Militray coup in Guatemala

August 8th birthdays
1937: Dustin Hoffman, American actor

Thursday, May 05, 2005

After the Marathon

I received a ton of comments and e-mails after the Vancouver Marathon where I failed in my attempt to qualify for the Boston Marathon. I need a time of 3:30:59. Although I ran a new personal best (by the slimmest of margins) my time of 3:53:14 is a daunting 25 minutes away from what I need. But I'll address that in other Blogs to come.

Scooter said... Vince, I'm sorry to hear that you did not make it. I too had a difficult day, but in my case, the goal was attained. On a rain soaked course, in a race marred by the need to "hit the woods" at 18+, I PRed by about 10 minutes, got a 3:29:22 and my BQ. I chose not to wear my HRM and just listen to my body. I think I was wearing earplugs. After a reasonable first mile, I started banging out 7:30's or so for most of the first 8 miles or so, then started latching onto people to try to get pace under control. By 15, I was 5 minutes up on the Boston pace, and about 2.5 up on taget. It turned out that that cushion made the difference when I needed the pit stop and struggled a bit between 21 and 24.

The legs are pretty beat up and I have a lot of those bizarre little injuries that marathoners get...underarm chafing, shorts liner chafing, thighs that whine (not whinge!) on stairs.The marathon is the most unforgiving of races.

I couldn't agree more!

As (I think) Don Kardong said, "Why couldn't Phidippides (sp?) have died at 20 (miles)? As you say, there will be another day. I think the process of grinding it out helps you to understand the issues involved. My hat's off to you.

Congratulations, Scooter on a job well done. My hat is off to you. And I want to thank you for all your comments and encouragement over the past few months, it has meant a lot to me. I fully intend for you to be buying me a round in Boston next year...

Anonymous said... (an e-mail from a great friend whose identity shall be protected)

Vince, you are a magnificient runner. Most humans on the planet could not do what you did today. Congratulations, sincere congratulations.

Anonymous said... (ditto)

Congrats on sticking it out Vince, I can't imagine what it's like running for 10k with horrible cramps. Well done.

Anonymous said... (ditto)

Would be tough to keep telling people that the most important thing is to finish if I didn't do the same thing myself... It was a valuable learning lesson (I'll keep telling myself that :) ....)

This follwing note was from a great friend who bought me several rounds after the race. He is a Prince among men!

You have a great outlook. Although you were disappointed with your marathon, you handled yourself with grace, dignity and class. The sign of a true champion!I have done a lot of competitions in cross country skiing. The most important lessons I have learnt was when I did not meet my personal expectations. What it taught me was how to become stronger. I have no doubts with your determination and ability you will do very well and achieve your goals.Continue to keep the faith. Your commitment and enthusiasm is an inspiration to all of us.

This note the day the marathon after meant the world to me.

Hell, they all did, which is why I am posting them. Scooter, is right, they may sound occasionally like a "poor Vince" litany, but they're really not. The people I have met and the friends I have made are one of the main reasons, if not THE main reason I keep running and leading a pace group.

Anonymous said... (ditto)

Congrats of your finish and under 4hr achievement, life is not always what the desired end result is in our minds, however, it is just the challenge in others. You are getting closer and closer. I missed qualifying by 1 min, but luckily this was not the objective of Vancouver for me.

Unfortunately, finishing under four hours is now becoming a little bit like kissing my sister. Amazing what happens once your ambition is whetted isn't it? I am going to CRUSH 3:30:59 and I'm also going to do it at 180 pounds. You heard it hear, just watch me...

Anonymous said... (ditto) Congrats on a great race ! I spoke to several runners after the race and they too found it challenging, but perservered through the last couple of miles in the warm sun. Thanks again for getting us motivated and trained, especially during the add-ons..... Talk to you soon.

It was almost always a treat for me to serve as the pace group leader. Besides, with my control issues, who else was I going to let do it? And I can't imagine stopping now. And it wasn't the heat that was too blame for my time. I pushed too hard. But I will have to do that in order to get close.

Anonymous said... (ditto)

You gotta reach for the stars if you want to land on the moon!

We all know that I went out to qualify for Boston and I was on the edge of not finishing at all... But one thing was even more important than time: Going out and be the best I can be.

That's why I'm very proud of Vince because, in my opinion, he was living the 'Steve Prefontaine Dream': Go out as hard as you can and hold it for as long as you can.

Vince, awesome job!!!! You work harder than anybody else I know - you are a f*cking freak!

It's tough for me to argue with logic like that....

Anonymous said... (ditto)

Hey Vince,

Well my time sucked, but I made it to the start line & then I made it to the finish line. And most of that I owe to you.

Thanks !!

I am off to buy a book on nutrition and (once I can walk again) I'm going to the gym. I still think I have a 3:45 marathon in me, but I have a lot of work and maybe a few more races before I get there.

Hell, I'm young, I've got time.I'll catch up soon for a glass of wine or two.Keep running (as if you could stop) I firmly believe you will qualify for Boston!

Count on it. I may have to get serious now! And the folks who finished, finished because of all the tremendous effort and hard work they invested in their training. My part was easy, waving the stick around on occasion...

Anonymous said... (ditto)


I was never more proud of you as a friend than I was yesterday.

I know you were terribly disappointed with your time (but I never would have known from the way you acted after the marathon!) and yet you stuck it out to the finish line.

You never quit.It meant a lot to me and to other people that you stuck around the finish line for over half an hour and welcomed us in with a smile and a hug.

You made us all feel like champions.At the pub afterwards you made everyone feel great, those who did well, those who didn't and those who were there just to cheer.

You have a big heart and a bigger spirit. I love the fact that you care about and treat everyone the same, whether they are three hour marathoners or four hour marathoners or five hour marathoners.

This was the best clinic I ever took part in and you were a big reason why. You and Paul and Seymour and Anthony are all very special people and we all appreciate all that you do. I will miss all of you! What will I do now?

And Vince, I KNOW you will qualify for Boston. You are my definition of tenacity and determination.

But please don't get rid of your red fuzzy jacket because you will still be a huggable teddy bear!

You can never have too many hugs. And after having felt like I was behaving like a bear with a sore ass for the weeks leading up to the marathon it was a relief just to have it over, regardless of the result and to spend some time with friends and to be able to enjoy everyone's company.

Frankly I don't understand those runners who are snobs about finishing times (and trust me, there are more of them than you think). I think of all marathoners as great athletes with a common goal and a shared love. I have witnessed some real cliques over the years where only people who can run a certain time hang out together. These people are morons. And they should thank God and their parents for their genetic gifts, the skinny little geeks... :)

The hilarious thing is that these were the same people who couldn't make the football team or the hockey team or the basketball team in high school and they must have felt terrible about it at the time. Now all of a sudden their God's gift to running? What happened to their memories? And we're not talking about people who are getting up on the podium after the race either, folks. Grab a little perspective, my friends. Chances are, you could probably learn something about dedication and committment and perseverance from that five hour marathoner... I sure do. And I have nothing but admiration for them.

And Anthony, Seymour and Paul epitomise all that is best about the marathon.

Anonymous said... (ditto)

Dude, nothing to feel bad about!

An ambitious goal, and merely trying is the victory.

You'll do it next year, and will appreciate the success all the more.

As for the last 4 months being wasted, you've never looked better. It's spring. And you're still fast enough to run down some hot tail!

This is a friend! First, the congratulations, then the pat on the back, and then the delicious lie about how the ladies won't be able to keep their hands off me. Stop it! I'm getting all misty here....

Anonymous said... (ditto)

I am going to insert a prologue here. This ravishing young lady is French. So there may be something lost in translation. Art, as they say, is in the subtext. Although I will be the first to confess I am prone to sarcasm, it of course being the lowest form of wit, I did not intend for their to be any sarcasm in my last e-mail. I really did want to go on the record that as a recreational or lifestyle runner who is totally enamoured with marathons, it is important not to lose your perspective about the important things in life. I really meant that - and still do. This is what I wrote -

"Well, if I had done well in the Vancouver Marathon, I'd certainly be crowing about it. So, despite the less than stellar results for yours truly, here is what happened. (Link to Blog)

But first, looking on the bright side:

I did work on my tan. Steve asked Steph to marry him on the course and she said yes. Everyone in my pace group finished the marathon. Almost two thirds made their time goals. And everyone is talking about doing it all over again. Not too bad a day, all in all, when you put things in perspective.


Look at you, so sarcastic.

I am not the best runner but I was competing a lot as a figure skater and I know how you feel. Totally, because at that time my life was all about skating.

My ice dancing partner and I failed 7 times an exam. Each time for different reason. And after each test, we were practicing what the judges mentioned to us and test after test they found something else to improve.

I cried so many time and poor Bruno, he did not know what to do. (man does not know what to do when a woman cries)

One day Bruno and I were crying together and we decided that it was fine:

To be mad

To be sad

To be frustrated

To cryTo scream

To hit a punching bag

To do anything you can thing about to let the bad energy goes.

You should have seen us in that room. We were throwing a tennis ball against the wall, we were screaming, we were crying, I made a huge hole in my dress, Bruno broke one skate, we fought and tried to tell each other it was the other's fault. Yes, figure skater couples are sometimes like old couple...

And after few days, we laughed at each other, calmed down and tried again.

I will always remembered this f... dance. It was a tango. We had to pass this dance in order to compete in the next category. We were stuck for 2 years. We were so discouraged.

And one day, Bruno and I went on the ice again. We were nervous but we knew we could make it. And we danced like we have never danced before. It was the strongest, the fastest and the sexiest tango I had never danced in my life. We were so beautiful that our parents almost wanted us to get married.

We finally succeeded. And you know what? We kicked ass in the next category!!!

So all this story, Vince is to tell you that it is fine to be frustrated, mad, sad, disappointed, jealous, envious, want to kill somebody, cry, fight, get drunk, eat, whatever.

But don't forget, when It will be your day, you will know it and you will kick ass...

You know Vince. You will make it and run the f... Boston marathon.

Take care Vince

I love this note! This is French passion.

Anonymous said... (ditto)

Mr. Hemingson,

If you never qualify for Boston.

If you never run another marathon.

If you never run another race.

You will still have accomplished more at your age than most people, make that three people, ever do in their entire lives.

You did your best.

That's all you can do. Don't ask more of yourself, or expect more from yourself, than you do of others.

Thank you.

And as always Scooter has the final word... (well, actually I do!) But here is his final posted comment.

Did Vince go on a drinking binge to drown his sorrow after the difficult marathon?

Perhaps binge is too strong a word. But I certainly had a few drinks. And there are a few more on the way!

Did he snap and is he currently tied to a bed in a padded room?
Do his legs hurt too d&*^$d much to walk over to the computer and bang out a few lines?

Only time will tell - though I suspect he's uncomfortable with the "pity party" tone of some of these posts. And if he's tied to a bed somewhere, will one of the attendants please bring him a glass of wine (with a straw or he won't be able to drink it). How are the legs?

See, I actually do get the final word! As of Thursday, the legs are still sore. They will recover. I will recover. After a sensible period of recovery, I will start again.

Scooter, I will see you in Boston. And I'll introduce you to some of my great friends, like Michael and Rachel and Seymour and, well, the list of people who are going to qualify for Boston next year is too long to list here!

Sunday, May 01, 2005

The Vancouver Marathon in a Snapshot

This is my Polar S625X chart for the entire Vancouver Marathon. What an incredible peice of technology to help you break down a race. Posted by Hello

As you can see my heart rate trends upwards for the first two hours and forty minutes. It is at about mile 18 that I get my first cramp. I grit my teeth and bear it for a bit, but from three hours on I am clearly struggling. The last 10K was heart breaking. I seriously thought of dropping out, but it wasn't a choice I could defend to either myself or the kind of example I wanted to set for the people in the marathon clinic.

You have to respect the distance. You have to respect the race. That is what makes the marathon so compelling. As in life, not every day can be your day. Some days you have to take the cards that life and the race deals you and make the best hand of it that you can.

It was a beautiful day in a wonderful city and I was surrounded by friends and people I love. A spoonful of sugar can help make even the most bitter medicine go down a little easier.

There will be other marathons and other opportunities to qualify for the Boston Marathon.

The Best Laid Plans...

There is many a slip twixt the cup and the lip.... I am covered with something.

I went out for a 3:30 pace and knew by the first 10K that I would have to adjust my pace, although Rachel and I did it in 48 minutes. It was clear sunny day and the temperature was quickly rising. My heart rate was pushing 170 a good hour ahead of schedule, but I felt great.

My time at the half was 1:48 and I was on target for a 1:40-42 pace which would have been a 12 minute improvement that I could live with on my journey to qualify for Boston this year.

At 18 miles I was still on schedule for a 1:40 but got my first twinge in my guadriceps muscles.

I was well-hydrated, had gone through my normal gels, taken my electolytes and my heart rate was fine, but my legs were seizing up. Badly. In fact, I've never experienced anything like it before, even in an ultramarathon.

At 22 miles I had to walk 400 meters (yards). From then on in my cramps were so severe that I could not get my heart rate above the mid 150s. My breathing and heart rate were fine but the wheels had fallen off my race car. Even on downhills I couldn't increase my speed.

Finished the race around 3:52 or 3:53. (actual time - 3:53:16)Probably a new personal best by about a few seconds.

Back to the drawing board. Kelowna here I come.

You have to respect the distance. You have to respect the race.

Patrick, Micheal and Rachel finished in 3:25, 3:26 and 3:27. Brilliant work on their parts. I was so proud of them and my other runners that it almost made up for my own time, or should I say, lack thereof...

Trying to keep it all in perspective is going to take an effort. I am very disappointed and trying to overcome the feeling that the past four months of training have been squandered.

Morning of the Marathon

It is 5:51am. My alarm was set for 5:30am. I was awake at 5:29am. I mean my eyes opened one minute before my alarm was to go off and I am wide awake. I am still not sure if that is prescience on my part, eery or just full-blown paranoia. It is not that unusual for me, though.

I went to bed at 11:00pm. I intended to go to bed at 9:00pm but I just wasn't tired. I slept all through the night. This has NEVER happened to me before a marathon or an ultramarathon.

I am a strange mixture of calm and hyper-attentive. I am not so much nervous as incredibly in the moment. A flurry of phone calls to make sure people are awake. I want this to be over with.

I can write this because everything I need is laid out, packed and ready to go.

I couldn't stomache the idea of my usual muesli breakfast before a race or a long run. Knew I needed calories, so I choked down a protein bar and a power bar. There, 500 calories.

I drink a litre of water.

6:05am. Time to pull on my running armour. New, freshly broken in Asics Nimbus Gels, fresh battery in my Polar S625X, my lucky Stormy Trail 67K Ultramarathon Tril Race singlet and just a smidgeon of apprehension.

There is nothing left to do but run.

See you at the Finish Line, folks.