Monday, April 5, 2021

Base Training in 2021

 So we are now three months into 2021 and what a year it has been at least for exercise. Yes, we are still on lock down in many areas (in Nova Scotia we are quite lucky that our lockdowns are minimal) but staying fit is still something we can aim for. 

One thing I opted to do this year was really focus on a good quality base training season. With no events to taper for, I was able to just hunker down and put the time on feet in, with the aim of building a really strong base of aerobic fitness. 

While I say three months, in reality, we need to go back a little further into December with my goal of achieving a 100+ km week of running during the BLT Runner Xmas Marathon Challenge. From there, I took an easy day of just hiking on January 1st and then began training hard.

While I say training hard, I really mean training smart and pushing my body slowly to adapt to a much bigger than normal work load. This meant being very cautious with things like running hard. While I still did some tempo work and the occasional time trial, for the most part, my efforts were "easy."


Running certainly made up a huge portion of this base training (25% of distance and 41% of time) with almost 840km of running in. In general I run around 60-80 km a week. This is the biggest producer of training stress for me as well, being a full body activity. Stress is a good thing when it is planned for and you allow for recovery.  This accounted for 61 hours of workout time.



While cycling on the indoor trainer was the exercise I undertook with the greatest distance covered (or really didn't cover if you count not moving forward) at over 2100 km, it was only slightly more than the time I put in running. I cycled for 64 hours in the first three months. While this certainly added a lot to my training stress, when measured using metrics from my Garmin watch, it was actually half as stressful on my body. But this is good. This meant I could really push the effort level on the bike much harder and get some top end aerobic work in while minimizing the physical damage to my muscles. 

I do suggest cycling to runners as a great way to occupy days off. As well, I have been pushing the distance a lot more than normal on the bike due to a virtual fundraiser ride around the coast of Nova Scotia called Route541. 




All my other activities together account for 23 hours of workout time.  Speed skating was a big part of it. I really enjoy getting out and doing some fast laps, even if my skill level on the ice isn't that great. It is a fun alternate form of exercise for me and really works new muscle groups. That is a good thing.


And for once we had enough snow that I was able to get out for multiple snowshoe adventures.  Trust me, moving quickly on snowshoes is a great push for the aerobic system. Add in poles and you get back to that full body work out, but with low impact.  

And speaking of full body, I have managed to just start to add back some jump rope as well. Whew!

Now, I won't say that I didn't also put in a  few fast efforts to test the legs. It is always good to do a little bit of speed to change up which muscles are working hard. You just have to be really mindful during a hard base training session. So I would do a fast 5K or tempo run on Saturdays as part of my effort to get a parkrun in and or race in a virtual series hosted by VDot2. While these are races, the concept is actually set up for coaches to be able to use these as fun tester workouts for athletes. 

I even managed a few runs to pace some friends, and got one to his new PB in the 5K. 

So, while I am glad to have done this big base training period, I am also happy to be tapering down a bit and focusing on some speedier goals to come in late May. This means stepping back the cycling particularly so that I have more rest time. 

I have a couple of Ambassadorships to chat about, but that is for another post.  

Saturday, March 27, 2021

Shoe Review - The New On CloudSwift

 

So I got the opportunity to try out the newly launched On CloudSwift. This was my first real time running in the Swift, so I can't compare it with the previous generation. I can compare it to the CloudFlow, which I loved and spent a large part of last year running in.

On markets this as an Urban running shoe. I live in the suburbs and can say, it is just at home here. Perhaps the concept is protection from constant running on the hard unforgiving sidewalks of the city center. 

So, compared with the Flow, the first thing I noticed was a lot more shoe. It is physically bigger, though the extra weight it comes with is not very noticeable. While I did read some other reviews that claimed to order up in size due to a snug fit, I found it was fine in the same size for me. Perhaps I didn't mind it as the upper in this shoe is quite supple and forgiving. I found that with the Flow as well, it really lets your foot and the upper work together, rather than trying to contain and prevent movement of your foot. Various shoe companies come up with interesting ways to do this same thing, I find Ons works well for me. 

The upper also is unique in two ways. The tongue is actually part of the main shoe, so it is not an independent piece. This makes the upper feel snug and form fitting (see above). It is interesting. I am not sure if this is really essential to me, but it certainly isn't a problem. 

The next interesting piece is the "plates" on the sides that hold the upper portion of the laces. I really like this in these shoes as it seems to almost provide for two zones of lace tightening. I can make it quite snug at the top while leaving it looser nearer the toes. I personally like this. I am not sure I want this system on all my shoes, as I suspect it adds a little weight.

So after a few weeks of running in this here is my Pros and Cons list:

Pros: Peppy but cushioned. While I have been mostly running easy in these shoes they haven't slowed me down. They have a perfect bit of squish into the ground but pop off the surface. I am guessing this is a combo of the Speedboard and the Clouds. On recovery runs, I come home feeling refreshed.

Nice looking. So this is subjective for sure, but I find On shoes quite nice to look at. The colour palate is very "Urban" I guess, so muted and designed to fit in after your run is done and you head to grab some food or coffee. My pair are denim coloured. 

Laces stay tied. This seems hit or miss on some shoes I own. I don't have to double tie these shoes, and they just have simple flat laces. Up to 15km of running and no issues. Maybe it is the upper side plates? Not sure. But very nice.

Cons: The heel isn't that secure "feeling." Now I say "feeling" because it feels like my heel is sliding around a bit when I run faster, but it doesn't really seem to affect the way I run. After a kilometer or so of easy running, I don't notice it, so ultimately it isn't that big of an issue. I haven't done any speed work other than a couple of strides which went well. So I doubt I will reach for these when the night calls for a tempo run or intervals. But I would totally reach for them for a recovery after a hard tempo run or race.   

On claims these are designed for shorter runs. I have taken them up to 15km and had no issues. 100 km in and they aren't showing any wear yet, and since I likely won't be using them for harder runs or really long runs, I suspect they will last a good amount of time. 

Saturday, January 2, 2021

2020 Year End in Review - The Events

 So 2020 started out for me in Colorado. I never get to take part in events when I travel there but this year we found a parkrun event in Boulder. We attended the event right after Christmas (2019) but then managed to get in on the Jan 1 event. So it was a great way to start the year. Elevation and a snowy course made for tough running. While I had hoped to see if I could get under 19 minutes, I did manage a second place run in 19:23. It was a great time (as parkruns are) with a fun group. 


I continued some parkrunning after returning home through January, achieving my goal of a sub 18 minute 5K each month. Later in the month I got to head to the indoor track. I have never taken part in a Masters indoor 5k before, but Paula needed a little support to achieve her goal of a indoor Masters Women's Canadian record. We ran together and pulled out a 18:08 and the record.


In February I helped Luke host a 5K fun run in support of Team in Training. 


March started with me volunteering at the parkrun on Women's Day and that was the last parkrun before the world kind of shut down. The next week we were on our own. Craig and I opted to try a parkrun by ourselves, but in reverse. We all had assumed going uphill first then finishing strong downhill would be faster. We were not correct. It was just as hard, if not harder.

Working from home meant I got  a few neighborhood Litter Runs in.


I basically started doing time trial every weekend, playing around with distances from 1 mile to 10k. I found courses that ranged from downhill only, to up and down and as flat as is realistically possible around here. Paved and trail seemed to get equal time. 

With few real races to be seen, I worked on grabbing a few virtual PBs and started racing the Vdot virtual racing series. Throughout the year I won my age group (45-49) frequently against racers all over the world. It was fun to use this tool to push myself.

My 10k virtual PB for the year was a 36:15, set on the parkrun course with good downs and harsh ups. 


I got approached by the local rep On Running shoes to see if I would try a pair out for a few weeks and then give my impressions on a Instagram live event. It seemed fun, so I said yes.

I pushed those shoes hard and ran exclusively on them for 4 weeks. In the end, I really enjoyed the feel and will definitely add them to my shoe rotation going forward. 


In the midst of trying out the On Cloudflows, I helped organize a virtual fun run, the #MyHomeCourse5K for Northend Opportunities Fund. We raised some funds and got to run, with a course dictated as a 5K from our front door. I opted to run my favorite 1k loop from home with is a crazy uphill followed by a long gradual downhill. I through down a nice 18:19. 


On a whim, I ran my third fastest half marathon on day. 


The Bluenose Marathon weekend was postponed until the Fall and moved to virtual. I will say that I had not been doing as much longer distance stuff, opting for short and fast and decoded instead of the 15K to virtually run the 10K. It was by far not my best virtual run. I felt really blah by the end, even walking home when I was done. Still I put down a decent time for a crusher dust run that ended going uphill. 


Shortly after and another Vdot race, I bounced back with my fastest 3k. This is a tough but really fun distance.


It isn't all serious racing. I helped put together a virtual 1 mile racing series for the canicross group. Newt and I entered and came last in every event. We also did not in fact break a 20 minute mile. But I believe our Instgram live stream of race 1 was a hit.


While the BLT Runners were not holding in person group runs, we did feel the need to celebrate our club birthday. So we set up a sign for group members to run by and get a selfie with, while they could grab some cake. It was a hit.


Craig was training hard for the Johnny Miles Half Marathon and doing really well. When it was finally cancelled we shifted that training to a personal effort. We opted to run on a good flat course (slightly negated by crusher dust which is slow) but chose a day with great weather. I ran with him to pace him and help motivate through the rough patches. His wife Stacey was there for his support with water bottles along the way. We pushed hard at the end and blew away his previous best time with a new PB of 1:24. He really put a lot into that and t was great to see. 


On my birthday I had hoped to do a trail run I worked out, but throughout June, my ankle was nagging me and I didn't get a ton of trail running in. While it was feeling decent, I felt that doing that run would be silly and instead opted for a 100km bike ride to celebrate the day with my buddy Sheldon.  It was a great choice and I loved getting a real long distance ride in a again, which I hadn't done in awhile. 


A the lock down rules were eased a little by the end of June, I got to start organizing some small group cycling rides for Sportwheels. It was nice to get out and chat live with some people. We do a weekly 25k ride through the summer and early Fall each year. 


I went out almost every week to the parkrun route. Some weeks I pushed hard, others I just enjoyed the outdoors. This particular week I went for it, giving everything I had on the downhill and pushing hard through the return back up the hill. While I ran a few faster 5K runs this year, I count this as a true PB.


I finally got to do my planned trail run. I opted to head to the Bluff hiking trail system and run the whole thing. While I had done this before , I had never included the paths the complete each loop, instead just running the perimeter. I opted for the hottest day we had seen for awhile, could barely see the final loop due to the over growth and ran out of water with 10k to go. While not my best performance, it was a blast, and I will be back! 



Three times through the year I did my hat run. This is a 7.5 km loop with massive hills, where I change hats on each loop. While I had asperations of hitting a 5 hat run, 4 hats was were I maxed out. Again, I chose the hot day for some reason.


Two weeks later I joined in the fun of the Virtual Boston Marathon. We hosted some of our club members who had qualified but couldn't run Boston due to COVID. My part was to pace the faster runners through 21km. Instead I paced them through the whole thing to a 3:05 marathon. My second marathon. It was fun running it at this pace, but I still don't have the bug.  


Then it happened, a race appeared! The Riverport Duathlon is one of my favorite events and we got to do a version of it live. It had some funky rules of course but overall it was great. I managed to start off with a 17:30 5K on the fastest 5K course in Nova Scotia (well not including downhills of course). Ultimately I finished 4th overall. 



I am an ambassador for Nuun, an electrolyte drink. Due to COVID, they opted to host a Virtual Half Marathon for their athletes. I wasn't sure if I felt like pushing hard at that distance, but when the week arrived, I decided to get ready for it with a nice taper.  I used Craig's Half Marathon course and on race day, I was given perfect weather (it had rained during the night, but cleared up and was slightly cool). My MP3 player broke a few hundred meters into the run, I had to contend with squishy crusher dust, but pushed hard and pulled off a 1:19, which was a PB for that distance.  


As the end of November / Movember was approaching, I was lucky enough to be able to hold my event, The Halifax Movember 6K Fun Run. We didn't go virtual and managed to sneak in a few days before a new lock down. We played it very safe though and everyone had a great time as we raised money for Men's Health. In fact we raised the most money we had ever done.


A few more Vdot races and pushes to sub 18 min 5K runs (I managed at least 1 a month as I had planned), some pacing opportunities, and all of a sudden the year end was here. 

The BLT Runners hosted a virtual Mile run (downhill!) to kick off our BLT Runners Xmas Marathon event (run a marathon worth of distance over the Christmas break). In the Mile I managed a 4:57 (compared to my flat Mile time of 5:04).

For the Marathon I opted for the Ultra distance and planned on doing 15K every day as something that was hard but manageable. I finished the 8 days with a total run of 127.85 km. 


So thanks 2020. Yes, you were a year with more downs than ups but as a runner, I found a way through it and pushed myself to explore my limits while staying healthy. I found new ways to mentally push through hard efforts as well, which is a great skill going forward. I can't say what my favorite moment was, as each month seemed to bring with it, some shining time. I eagerly await 2021.







Thursday, December 31, 2020

2020 The Year End Review Part 1 - By the Numbers

 So I usually like to do a little review of the year that was. As I don't see myself heading back out for a run or bike ride tonight, I think I am safe to do my annual, By the Numbers on December 31. 

As everyone is aware, 2020 was an odd year in some ways. Without major events to create a destination for training plans, things were a bit open. This meant you coudl train and train and train and not really do anything with that. 

I opted for a year of virtual racing, time trialing and some extra adventures. I tried to be consistent in some areas, but totally fluid in others. What came about was interesting. This won't be a long post but I will add pictures!

Running


 

Now cycling is often my big number, but not this year. Running took over things. While I didn't do a lot of in person event, I did do a lot of racing. Most of my running was actually on the shorter side with load of intensity. My weeks generally were not huge, though occasionally I would do a bigger run. My hills were down somewhat, as I ran from my front door more than ever, especially during the earlier part of the year when we were in a lockdown. I'll go over specific events in another post. 

Ultimately I ran 3195km this year. It was a combination of roads, paths and trails. It was fast and slow and was the most running I have ever done in a year. I even finished with a streak of almost 200km in a row without a day off (I don't do that often). Last year this number was 2643 km. 

I did have a short 3 week period with extremely reduced running as my ankle was not being happy. Some physio, a few visits to my go to Chiropractic and Massage care group, Seaside, and I worked back into a steady running week again.

We were lucky in Nova Scotia and we were able to run with small groups of friends for a lot of the summer. We are also lucky to have some great trail systems right near were we live.



 Cycling


With work from home, I rode my bike a lot less when the weather wasn't great. I usually bike commute, which does add up. Instead, I did some trainer based cycling, a few solo fast rides a week, and was able to get the Sportwheels Group rides going again for a few months in the summer. 

This year I rode 4704km while last year that number was 6356km. A huge difference. But those rides were fun and a great break from running.

Swimming


 

With pools closed for most of the year and no triathlons in sight, my swimming was usually once a week at the lake. I relished it and even though it was probably the slowest swimming I have ever done, it was really great to get out on Saturday mornings. We had great weather at least and our local lake is superb with buoys placed for swimmers and boaters. I managed just 14231m of swimming this year, compared with 21366m (which frankly was a low year as well).  

Skipping



I actually have no idea how much skipping I did. I just figured out that my watch would record this part way through the year. But it was a great way to start my mornings, or finish an easy run. I think it was a perfect form of cross training, and I look forward to entering 2021 with more types of cross training like this making up a significant part of my week. 

So yeah, it was a different year. I like to think I figured out the best way forward for me in dealing with what we were dealt. 

Tomorrow I will do a post about my year and the events and adventures I did. Until then, Happy New Year. See you in 2021. 

 

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

The (Virtual) Nuun Half Marathon 2020

A few years ago I hit my goal of a 1:20 Half Marathon. It took a lot of effort and it wiped me out for weeks. I was happy with my result and didn't feel the need to go chasing new and faster times, deciding to give 5Ks and 15Ks my focus. 

So this year I had a few plans initially which of course did not happen. Instead I have been doing a lot of Virtual racing and seeing how much I could push myself mentally as much as physically. I did one half marathon hard effort in the Spring testing out my new On Running shoes and did a 1:21. I was very happy with that. Later I would pace my buddy Craig to a 1:24 half. 

Then in September, Nuun (of which I am an Ambassador) offered us the opportunity to race virtually in a half marathon. Unlike a lot of Virtual runs, we all had to do it on the same day, which was kind of fun. I entered, though I wasn't really sure if I wanted to go for it or just have fun. 

I picked up the distance training a bit more and things seemed to be going well. The week before the Half, I even ran a practice race, with the first half at an easy pace then race pace to finish and did a 1:25. So, I kind of decided that if the conditions were decent on the day of, I would give it a good effort. 

We received our virtual bibs in an email shortly before the race: 


The morning of, I woke up early as I wanted to get started as soon as I could. My route had a few road crossings and I wanted to get going before the traffic would get heavier. My course was a point to point that started with a mild down hill, then slightly up and ending with a nice mild downhill to the finish. Only a couple of kilometers were paved, the rest crusher dust as this is a converted rail bed. While generally a good flat route, the crusher dust certainly isn't a fast surface, but I knew that the few mild downhills would counter the soft slippery surface. 

The weather was perfect for November. 10C, no wind and the sun was behind the clouds to start at 7:30.  Craig showed up for my start to snap some pictures and wish me well.  He then biked off to meet me at the end.

I packed very little, and chose my lightest shoes, the New Balance 1400s. All I had was a mask (for the post race drive home), a house key, and my MP3 player to keep me sane.


And I was off
 



The start was on a bit of a downhill, but I took it quite easy to not burn myself out. The plan was to be around a 3:50 min/km pace at the halfway point, ultimately seeing if I could get below that by the end. Ideally I needed a 3:47 to reach my goal of a 1:19. If I don't burn out early, I know I can usually muster up a fast pace to finish.  

Well, 100m into the run my MP3 player stopped working completely. So, I had to choose, call it and go home to replace it or forge on. I opted to keep running.  Somehow the some Let it Roll by BTO popped into my head and that was there for the rest of my day. Oh well, not the worst song.

As far as the run goes after that, things were pretty good. The trail can be iffy when it comes to current pace on a GPS watch, though average pace is spot on. So what I needed to do was basically run by effort. I used the first 1.5 km in the open and on pavement to set my effort and pace and tried to keep as close to that as possible. As I was nearing the halfway point, I was still at 3:49, so I was happy and felt pretty good. I just ticked over to 3:50 at the half way point. So I did accomplish my goal. 

There was a nice little couple of km on a slight down hill at this point before a really soft/sandy uphill section (though uphill and down hill are never much more than a max of a 1% grade on this trail). I pushed a bit harder now.

As I was approaching the main road crossing which lead to the finish kick, I had dropped my pace to an average of 3:48. No cars in sight and I zipped across the road. Now it was just 6 km to go. I really didn't want to push too hard though, 6 km is still a good distance. I held my effort level and did my best to keep a good posture so that my stride wouldn't suffer. 

With 2 km to go I was still at a 3:48 average but let loose. The sun was now out and I could feel the heat whenever I popped out of the shade. Still, not a problem. Now it was just a mental game, I knew I could run fast. 

With 1 km to go I pushed as hard as I could. My form was failing slightly, but I just pushed through that. I ended up doing that last kilometer in 3:28, dropping my pace to a balmy 3:46. I'm not sure exactly when it dropped below 3:48, but it did and I crossed the GPA finish line at 1:19:36 (21.11 km).   



Craig was there to snap a few pictures. The temperature was a lovely 14C and sunny. Perfect for just hanging out for a moment. We drank some coffee and waited for a rescue from Stacey. Normally, my wife would have popped out to get me, but she had embarked on her own Half Marathon on the same route a little after me.



Thanks to this lovely pair of shoes for carrying me the whole way. They did this route earlier when I paced Craig in June. They will have a few more efforts in them as well.  Now to just relax for a bit with no specific races on the horizon. Definitely no big distances for a bit. 

Monday, November 2, 2020

Riverport Duathlon 2020

 So this was my in person race this year. I had previously done some parkruns in the first few months. And wow, yeah, I am late writing about this. Initially I was hoping to get some pictures of the event (which I failed to do other than the start), then I just got really busy. 

So here is a brief summary of my event. 

Due to COVID restrictions, the field was limited to 50 entrants. I was lucky to get a spot and had to do a little last minute bike training to get myself ready. 

Another change due to COVID was a staggered start. So we lined up spaced 6 feet apart, then went off with our race time not starting until we crossed the line. 



 I had listed my predicted 5K finish time to start the event at 17:40 and was placed in the first position. I knew that I likely wasn't going to stay in that spot by the end of the bike ride, but my goal was to get that first run done in first place. 

Soon we were off and I took a hard start. I didn't look back and just pushed through on this super flat course. I stayed up front the whole way, and after all was tabulated, I managed the fastest first run of the day. The course was about 100m long and I crossed the line in 17:41 (17:25 at the 5K mark). A good run indeed. I managed to get on my bike quickly (with the fastest T1 time) and then was off. 

I managed to stay out in the lead of the bike for about 6K before getting passed, so I was happy with that. The course was 10K long, out and back twice and included a good long hill climb. I only managed the 10th fastest time on the bike, but with an avg speed of 33.6km/hr, we had some fast people out there. 

I came in close to a couple of riders in front of me and hit T2 with a vengeance, beating my T1 time of 23 seconds with a 21 second switch to running gear. Again the fastest time. 

The second run is tough and with only 2.5km to work with, it is hard to make up spots. I chased down the runner in front of me and passed him at the end, but since he started further back to start the race, he ended up finishing a few seconds ahead of me in the standings.  My second run was only 3rd fastest, but the top 3 runners were separated by 5 seconds, so that was pretty close.

I finished 4th overall and had a great time. It was fun to get out to a favorite race venue of mine. I realize that in one form or another I have raced in Riverport for 15 years. 

How was the race format? I have had to race this way a few times in the past. Multisport can often be tough, especially pool swim triathlons. You can only start so many runners at once. In some ways, it is like doing a virtual race with other people around you. It is hard to use others to fight for positions, because you really don't know where they are in relation to you. So ultimately, not my favorite system of racing. But all in all, a smart choice for the race director.      

Monday, September 14, 2020

BLT Runners and the Virtual Boston Marathon 2020

 

Earlier this year the Boston Marathon was postponed until September due to COVID-19. As that date approached, the choice was made to not hold the event live and instead do a virtual version for those who qualified. A tough choice, but being such a huge event, it was unlikely to be possible for an in person event. 

While not all runners chose to do the virtual run, some did and received a race kit by mail. Our run club, The BLT Runners,  had some members who did decide to run: Marg, Bruce, Pat, and Matt. So the rest of the club decided to step up and help them by hosting the marathon with all the support they would need.

A huge shout out first to Craig who got the ball rolling with group emails, organizing volunteers and arranging for a porta potty to be at the start line (thanks to Iain Rankin for that added support). 
 Together we arranged for a route that was a 10km out and back and a nice downhill finish of a few kilometres. This route did have road crossings and some volunteers were on hand to help the runners through. We also arranged for 2 official water stops, where racers could have their own calories and hydration set up.  While running on the "official" route wasn't mandatory, it was where the support was.

Aside from some logistic support, I opted to help out as a pacer and was willing to run up to 30 km with our faster runners. I am by no means a marathon guy but I can run long enough and this course was pretty flat. Other pacers would pop in at assigned spots for other runners. 

Race morning came, the porta potty was on site and the weather was perfect, cool with a slight breeze. I lined up with the racers as my pacing was starting from the beginning based on that mornings discussions.  I was going to be running with Matt and Pat. 



At give or take 8 am we were off and set a comfortable pace in the 4:20s per km. Bruce quickly went a different direction. 

Aid station 1 was at the 2.5 km mark (see the jackets, it was chilly), I zipped ahead and got the water and Gatorade ready for my 2 runners, had a sip of my Nuun and went off. 



By the 6 km mark we were all still smiling and happy and Marg was right on our heels. Our fans were out as well.


Aid station 2 was just a little ahead and the pattern of me zipping ahead a little to get the needed hydration / calories ready was well in hand. This also gave me a moment to stop and drink a little of my Nuun (I think this one was the caffeinated Cherry Limeaid).  Lots of cheers and support for sure.


A little past the aid station 2 was our turn around. Part of the course was paved and a little less than half was on crusher dust. While not as fast as pavement, the crusher dust areas were really shaded, which was a super bonus and mostly flat.

We would hit the same 2 aid stations a total of 8 times and while some people coudl only volunteer for a 2 hour shift, we had a lot of great club support from the same people the whole time.



Marg still wasn't that far behind us.

I don't have a lot more pictures, but I decided to stay with the crew through the aid stations at some point. They were really appreciative of the help from me zipping ahead and getting them refreshments. As well, up through 27-29 kilometres we were having great chats and keeping a good pace. After about 30 km, the guys were certainly starting to feel it. Normally a crowd would be there to spur them on. While the club support was great, it was sporadic and Matt didn't have the greatest summer training due to an injury. So I stayed with them to make sure they got through the last push.

I guess it was at that point as we hit the final aid station that I realized I was already at the 36 km mark and while the next kilometre had a bit of a climb, it was all down hill after that. So I knew at this point I may as well finish. I felt fine (yes, the legs were definitely a little heavier than the start).  

Pat's friend Jeff jumped in to make sure he was paced at this point, and I made sure Matt had the encouragement he needed to get up that final climb and get to the steepest part of the final decent. Once we hit that  I knew he was fine and I opted to run ahead and really stretch my legs a bit. I had hoped that my running a little faster would pull Matt along, as I know that in pacing if the pacer slows to the runners pace, the runner tends to slow themselves. 

The finish was on the parkrun downhill, and I love that downhill. I had one street crossing to go and it was clear and I finished at 42.3 (I went a little long just in case the GPS screwed up) and finished at 3:06:04. Oddly, my moving time was 3:04:40. So I actually spent over a minute standing still at the water stops getting things together.  

Matt would eventually pick it up, Pat came on with a strong finish. Both had great finishes right behind me. Marg would soon follow and looked fabulous, she had great pacing sup[port from Stacey for her final push. 

Bruce finished somewhere and then had to run back to his car. He had great pacing support from Wes and Jill.



It was amazing to have the BLT Runners step up and support this event. Sorry I didn't have pictures of everyone involved. While it was "only" a virtual run, it is obvious what the Boston Marathon means to people. I was happy to add the support to the guys that I did and get them through their final dark moments. Running the while thing ended up being a bonus, and feeling good afterwards was event better. 

I still don't have a huge desire to train for marathons going forward. Never say never but it certainly doesn't have a huge draw.