Suntrust National Half Marathon

22 03 2010

As planned, I raced at the Suntrust National Half Marathon this weekend. When the gun went off, it was still dark out. That’s because it was only 7am! It certainly seemed unusual running in the dark, but Washington is a hard city to shut down (even at 7am). I went into this race with only a general idea of my fitness, and how I would fair at the half marathon distance. My mileage had only started to reach the low 80’s a few weeks before, and that is not what I would consider significant base to work with for a half. I say low 80’s as an estimate, because some of you may be shocked to know; I don’t keep a mileage log. Instead, I try to listen to my body and I rely on coach Terry Goodenough to give me the day by day.  As Iona College Coach Mick Byrne was often quoted as saying; ” I just try to enjoy the journey.” I found that in past, I would fixate too much on hitting the mileage, and I would base my confidence of the mileage. Coach Byrne recognized this. It was silly really, because I could hit 90 miles and feel like shit, but still be pumped that I got that sweet # on paper to look back on in the future. Now, I find the best method for me, is to “just run.” And ya know what, I still get in around the same mileage I had been running before, but with no mental stress or false belief of fitness.

Anyways, back to the race! So it was my first time racing the half and I didn’t know what to expect. There was a pack of about 10 guys together for the first 8km, but by 10km there was just 5 of us. We went through 10km in 31:12, and I felt more and more confident the longer I stayed with the Brooks guys. As we passed the 10km split we were actually running up a hill. Then after that hill, came another hill, and another hill. The field really spread out quickly after 10km. The hills really tested my strength, and the downhills were even worse because of the heavy pounding. I was really hurting just 3km’s later at about 13km into the race. The demographic of the race changed so much in just 3km. The course was flat and fast up until 10km, and a nightmare from 10km to 21.1. The magnificent historical monuments and the waves of enthusiastic supporters kept me going though. I ended up crossing the line in 4th place in a  time of 1:07.18.

After the race I spoke with the other competitors who were also in agreement that the course had been extremely challenging the last 11.1km. We had also wondered why the last 3 miles had not been marked. Nobody knew how far they were until the finish!?! Despite this, we all agreed that it was a pretty neat race and worthy of the hard effort.

I think this race was a good experience for someone who has no experience at the half. I will go into the Canadian Half Marathon Championships expecting a hard fight, and Suntrust has done its job in preparing me to do just that. God willing, I will finish the Canadian Champs with a place fitting of a sub 1:06 half 😉

Hortian out!

Race link:



Training in Virginia

15 03 2010

 Training has been going well as of late. I think it might be due to a couple of factors. The long winter is coming to an end, and I am spending some time training in Charlottesville, Virginia. I find new surroundings lead to exploring, and exploring leads to easier mileage. And, mileage seems to be key right now, as I am beginning to train for the 10k/half marathon. In fact, I will be racing the SunTrust National Half-Marathon on March 20th and will head back home to the motherland from there to gear up for 1 more month of hard training before the Canadian Half Marathon Championships on April 18th. 

This is my 3rd trip in the last 2 months. The first to Edinburgh, Scotland, followed by Tampa, Florida, and now Charlottesville, Virginia/Washington DC. I have always wanted to combine running with traveling and I seem to be doing that. Example; today I ran in the morning and then spent some time checking out Obama’s pad before eating, napping, and running again. What a day! 


Obama's Pad


cat napping

Trip to Edinburgh, Scotland

8 03 2010


  In January of 2010, I, as well as several other athletes were invited to compete at the Bupa Great Edinburgh IAAF XC Meet in Edinburgh, Scotland. There were several distance runners (male and female) from across Canada who were contemplating racing. In the end, I was “the only” individual to accept the invite.

I didn’t decide to go to Scotland because I was in peak physical condition, but simply because I couldn’t let such a wonderful opportunity pass me by. My thinking was that you never know if you will get injured (which is a high probability in the risky running business). Turns out, I did not regret my decision. Not only did I get to race against world record holder Kenenisa Bekele, but I also met a whole bunch of top European runners. It was a humbling experience to say the least.

Looking back on the two weeks I spent in Scotland, I thought about how wonderful it was to race, travel, and spend time with my relatives. Yet, there was also something else circulating in my mind. I recalled that during my stay at the meet hotel, Andy Caine (meet director), as well as the many european athletes I met asked me the same question; Where are the other Canadian runners?

After my answer of “drinking Canadian beer and watching hockey”, I realized it was a pretty good question! Where were the Canadian runners? Why would they not have taken advantage of this opportunity? As I had experienced personally, the meet director had been accommodating in every way. Is Canada such a distance running power that we can sit back and let an opportunity like this pass us by? I think not. I am forced to wonder if something is a rye here. Whether it surrounds the athletes or with Athletics Canada I don’t know. What I do sense is that the athletes are pissed at Athletics Canada and Athletics Canada is pissed at the athletes.  I also know that when we as a nation, or as a sport, pass up an opportunity such as this, a meet director thinks, bahhh why bother with sending Canadian runners  invites.  I think this is something we distance runners should seriously think about.

In closing, I would like to mention that in 2009 Canada was well represented at this meet by two Canadians; Marilyn Arsenault & Derek Nakluski, which paved the way for the invites received in 2010. I owe these individuals and probably several others a great thanks.

For those seeking experience racing abroad the Bupa series is certainly a great way to go.

Bupa Great Edinburgh International (IAAF)