Fall Vassupdate

 

Opposite to what most people think Fall is getting hot over the West (best) coast. A major heat wave is incoming this next week. It’s actually as cold as a witches tit but workouts are heating up, our group is starting to roll and we’ve added a couple more studs to the stables for winter training.

My good buddy Chuck PT finally decided to escape from your typical Canadians winters. I’ve never actually experienced a Canadian winter, but I hear they’re brutal. I actually don’t know how most of Canada’s running population handles it, the two days of snow we get a year make me question why I run. We on the West Coast prefer the much more wet tropical climate. Joining CPT in Vancouver is Yves Sikubwabo. For those of you that don’t know Yves’ story I recommend checking out this article from a couple years ago.

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/sports/more-sports/emerging-school-star-guns-to-run-for-canada/article15368070/ 

Our group is already ripping it up, getting real fit. And when you add in another two guys of their talent level it makes it that much more exciting. Not only does practice get quicker but sessions get easier when you’re only leading every fifth or sixth rep… Oh! And don’t forget about Mr. Wykes, he’ll be back with us after Japan. Man our group is legit.

Things are continuing to progress well in regards to my fitness. When Fall began I was sucking wind after taking my break but chasing around the rest of the guys gets you in shape quickly. I’m continuing to click off the miles, getting in some very consistent volume. Today I completed my longest run ever, 18.3 miles (brag much). I raced at BC Clubs a couple weeks back, which had to be one of the funnest races I have ever been a part of it. It was a good battle back and forth with Chris Winter, with good ole Deccy hanging on. Chris and I tested each other a couple times with a few surges, eventually we dropped Declan. BUT! little did Chris and I know that Declan would unleash a ninja kick from way back. Luckily I was still able to beat him to the line, literally by a banana. Our group did not taper heading into the race, so with some rest heading into Canadian XC I think we are going to do some damage.

PC: Erin Burret, BC XC Champs

ps I know funnest isn’t a word, but it should be.

pps Strava is fun. Check out my profile to see some of my training: https://www.strava.com/pros/7519999

Some smart person once said better late than never…

Because I procrastinate like no other, the ship has long set sail on the ‘annual recap of track season’ season – to some this may be known as the period of similarly written boring running blogs. Unfortunately mine is not any different… Actually I don’t think I’ll do a proper recap, I just want the eleven people reading this blog to know I haven’t quit running and gotten fat, and yes I am still chasing down the dream.

Here’s a quick little list of my five favourite moments from the 2015 season just to give you an idea of what went down.

  1. Frites, Mayo (& Beer)!!! – Best part of Europe. This combination of godly goodness is a delicacy that I ate daily while staying in Belgium. They also have the best beer in the world.
  2. Competing at the Pan Am Games – this was my first major games team and it was incredible to experience on home soil. My favourite moment from the games would have to be the 400m I led during part of the final 1000m of the race.
  3. Running a personal best – This was a huge relief! This outdoor season had so many ups and downs, dealing with injury and shear stupidity, it never seemed like I was going to run fast. That all changed one star night in Belgium when I ran 13:29.79 for a (nearly) four-second personal best.
  4. Finishing the year healthy – Not only did I finish the year healthy but basically everyone in my training group did, which makes the starting point for the upcoming year very exciting… By the way it is an Olympic year.
  5. Crib with Gary Brockerville & JRae – Jeremy was horrible. This was very close with mystery meat kebabs, also with Gary & JRae

I came away from this particular season having learned a lot – what sort of training I need to do, the volume I can handle and definitely what I should stay away from. Going into such an important year with the Olympics, it will be crucial to try and use all the lessons I’ve learned over the past year. And if I can’t do that I’m very fortunate to have a great coach and some veteran training partners who can keep me on track.

After the racing season finished this year I took some time off – it is very nice when you’re not forced to take time off because of injury and can guiltily get fat. My girlfriend and I spent some time drinking cheap wine in Spain before we came back to Vancouver together… for good. Yes she has moved in, which means I can no longer poop with the door open. Dammit! But in all seriousness the pooping thing gets cancelled out by all the baked goods she makes.

Fast forward to current times and things are going well. I’m in the base phase trying to get in those miles and miles. I plan on running the BC Cross Country Championships as well as Canadian Nationals.

I want my title back. 

A Few Weeks of Firsts

Since my last post a few weeks back, I’ve managed to try a couple different things both in training and racing. Some went well, some not so well, however one thing for sure is that they all took me out of my comfort zone.

I have two conclusions from this last little block of racing: 1) I do not like road races, they friggen hurt! (yes I am a wimp); 2) 25 laps on the track is a long way, but is much more enjoyable than road racing.

The first of firsts was some road racing. Back-to-back weekends saw our group head to Stanley Park for some fun death. The first being St. Paddy’s Day 5km followed by Canadian Running Series Modo 8km. Both of these races were my first real foray into the painful world of road racing. I am definitely not a person who enjoys physical activity first thing in the morning, most days I take my sweet time to get out the door for the first session of the day, so perhaps that was the first major red flag! Not that these races were at the crack of dawn by any means, but 5:30 pm sessions really are my zone of running-awesomeness. The St. Paddy’s 5km was an awesome environment! A thousand plus people running through the causeway in Stanley Park dressed in green, followed by beers post race! Doesn’t get much better than that. I finished second to training partner (and roommate) Kelly Wiebe at St. Paddy’s in 14:35, with Geoff Martinson, another BCEP training partner a couple seconds behind me. Quite the group, eh!? Modo didn’t seem to have quite the same hype to it, that being said the CRS folks know how to put on a great race, and definitely do an awesome job of putting some of Canada’s top guys on the start line. Can’t say I liked dodging all the muggles on the Seawall during the race though! Safe to say I was servé(d) le lunch in Modo, finishing 4th just under 24:30. And despite this conservative time, it never felt very comfortable to be honest. Something about these road races has me feeling like the I’m sprinting the whole way.

Moving on, the second of firsts was making my 10,000m debut on the track. As somebody who came out of high school thinking I was predominantly an 800-1500 guy this was totally at the other end of the spectrum. If somebody would have asked me last year when I thought I would run my first 10, I probably would have laughed at the question! The weird thing is I was actually quite excited going into the race, and thought, “hell why not give it a try.” I was very fortunate that my first 10k was at Stanford, which always seems to be near perfect racing conditions. The weather always seems to cooperate and the fields assembled are always top notch. Other than my excitement for the race, I didn’t really have any expectations going in. Sure I had been telling friends I wanted to run 28:30-40, which I’m sure they thought was ambitious for the first one out, but I really didn’t know what I was capable of. I had a bit of and inkling from Rich on what would be a good run, and where the spectrum of ‘good’ started and finished. Thankfully I was at the upper end of that spectrum. With a first 5,000m of 14:30ish, I managed to close really well and finish off with 28:36.74 for 10th. Lots of people gave me different advice for the race, but one consensus seemed to be not getting caught up with splits or the lap counter. I think I did a pretty solid job only glancing at the lap counter with 16 and 9 laps remaining. I did check the clock around five and eight km as well as a few times during the last two to three laps but other than that all I did was follow, which made it much easier. The one thing about these Stanford races is that all the runners come to run fast times, and there are always some guys willing to dictate the pace. I didn’t even make the first page of results on the scoreboard! One interesting factoid, my lovely lady (Kendra Pomfret) has correctly predicted my time at my last two races at Stanford. This past race and prior to my 5km pb last year at Payton Jordan she wrote me a good luck note one withe 28:36 and one with 13:33. Potential coaching great? Simple luck? All I know was that it was pretty cool and impressive (once I pull the letters out of the closet, I’ll post them for all those people who think I may be blowing smoke).

I envisioned posting two blogs after the road races and another after Payton Jordan. But we all know how busy the life of a full time athlete is, so many things to do! Lots has happened over the last four weeks (?). Training has gone quite well. It took a few days to start feeling normal after the 10, but things are finally coming around. One cool thing that happened this past week was that I was awarded the graduating athlete of the year at the annual UBC awards banquet. Yes, I graduated last year, however because NAIA outdoor track championship finishes in the summer after the school session is completed I wasn’t eligible for the 2014 award. I was grateful enough to be nominated this year and even more grateful to win the award. Apparently I am the only athlete in the history of UBC to win all three major (male) athletic awards (Rookie of the Year, Athlete of the Year & Graduating Athlete of the Year). Pretty cool!

Next race on the calendar is a 1500m at Oregon Relays (April 18th). A little sharpening race before my 5k season opener at Payton Jordan at the start of May. It’s funny to think I’m dropping nearly nine tenths from one race to the next. Fast twitch muscles – ASSEMBLE!

Cheer$$,

Luc

End of Feb Update

Training has been going well the past couple of weeks. Sessions have started to come around after the 3000m race two weeks back. I’ve had a couple workouts on the track, getting after some shorter intervals. Paces that initially felt like all out sprinting have turned into something that is much more controlled, smooth, and familiar. It has also been nice to get back into a proper routine across all aspects of my training program after kind of floating along in the weeks leading up to Dempsey. Not to mention the added bonus of the amazing weather we’ve had in BC the past few weeks. It seems like almost everyday is sunny and at least ten degrees. Training is much more enjoyable when the weather cooperates. Forecast: HOT & SO HOUNY

Saturday our group got in a really solid session in Stanley Park. Beaver Lake to be exact! This 1km loop has become pretty famous in the Vancouver running community for sometime now. There were three different training groups hammering out loops yesterday. I imagine if Strava was around in the 80’s & 90’s it would be quite tough to even be in the top-10 for fastest Beaver Lake loop. We used the lake to do our variation of a workout that the famous Italian runner Salvatore Antibo used to do. For those of you who don’t know who he was, Antibo finished second at the Seoul Olympics in the 10, 000m and ran 27:16.50. The typical workout goes, 3000m – 3x1000m – 2000m – 5x400m, however we switch out the 4s for 4x500m when we aren’t on the track. There isn’t really an easy part to the workout. Every time I have done it we usually hit out the 3km somewhere in the 850’s and follow that by running the km repeats in the low 250’s, maybe a high 240 if you’re really feeling good. Now it usually goes well until the 2k. The only instruction I ever recall having for the 2km is “try and run as quick as you did for your 1km’s”. Now I don’t know if I made that part up, but the 2km repeat is always where that Anthony Romaniw (shouts outs ANTHONY) sized monkey jumps on my back. Then the 500s to finish got me like !!

 Just kidding I rolled them so hard.

Yesterday some of the men of BCEP had a nice long run from our coach’s house in Port Coquitlam. We are very lucky that our coach and his family often invite us out to run from their place, and cook us brunch afterwards. Out of all the times I have been invited I always seem to work, however today was the day! I was super pumped to be a part of my first long run, brunch combo! A great run with great people, followed by great food!

As training continues to progress I plan on testing my fitness with a couple of road races in the following weeks. Up first, on the 14th of March is the St. Paddy’s Day 5km. I’ve heard rumours that the beer garden actually opens before the start of the race… pre run fuel? Regardless of when the beer is consumed, racing and beer are two of my favourite things. Eight days later I will be lacing up for MODO 8km. The folks at Canadian Running Series seem to put on great events, and I am really looking forward to finally being apart of one. I’m excited to see what I can run after some consistent, solid weeks of training, but what’s even more exciting is that these are my first real road races. TIME TO CASH NECKS AND BREAK CHECKS!

Race Recap – Husky Classic 3000m

Valentine’s Day showed me no love… on the race course that is. This past weekend I took to the track to test the legs, which was the first hard effort since the Canadian XC champs as well as my first go since returning from Australia.

Going into the race, I don’t think my coach or myself really knew what to expect. When the gun went off I had been home for just under 2 weeks and those weeks were filled with a tough adjustment back to track sessions. Not to say they were horrible sessions, but they weren’t exactly measuring up to the stuff I’ve done in the past. There was one positive, especially from a mental standpoint, from the build up to the race: each session I did on the track was better than the one before. The pace felt more comfortable, I was running quicker and running in circles felt a bit more normal. But still going into the race I had no expectations for time or place… though like every competitive runner, the cynical part of me obviously wanted to run a personal best.

I ran 8:01.41 and placed nearly last.

I cannot say I am disappointed. Rather impartial. It would have been nice to have broken 8 minutes again. It would have been nice to be competitive for the win. It would have been nice to carry on my winning streak at Dempsey Indoor from 2014, but that wasn’t the case. It wasn’t even close. However, that’s the way our sport is. It’s time to get back on that grind HOMIES!

I know what has worked in the past, and training in Australia was definitely different that what I have done over the past couple of seasons. It obviously showed in the race this past weekend. I still think the work I put in down under will go a long way this year. I put in some great strength/base work and that will come in handy in what I hope is a long summer season.

Although my doors were blown off, it doesn’t mean there wasn’t anything positive to take away from the race. The pace did feel fast, but not uncomfortable or out of control. Other than one 400m split I was bang on even the whole way, and I was in no-mans-land chasing for a decent part of the race. Further, I didn’t give up! Even though I was eating the lunch (a very big serving) I finished hard the last lap.

It is crazy how fast all these Canadians are running this indoor season. Everybody is stepping up their game, big time and it is really impressive to see. It would have been nice to be apart of that, but the summer season is the big focus this year.

Word to your mother

Conclusion of Falls Creek Camp

32 days of running in Falls Creek has come to an end. It has been pretty quiet up here over the final two weeks. The first 20 days of the camp I had been staying with a training group called the Sydney Running Academy, very welcoming hosts. The group of athletes were awesome! They made the long way from home feel not so far and hanging out made the time fly. However, after they left, and as the numbers of others on the mountain continued to dwindle it became apparent that boredom could, and probably would set it.

The final 13 days consisted of running, eating, recovering and Netflix. But mainly Netflix.

This 4-week period is the highest mileage block I have ever put together. Littered with some solid workouts and long runs, my body seemed to handle the workload pretty well. I must say it was quite unique how the Australians training on the mountain actually train. There is pretty much a rotation of 5 workouts that are recycled for 15-20 workouts. Every Tuesday is kilometre repeats, 8 to be exact, 90% of the runners do this workout. A small portion, mainly one training group will opt for a Mona fartlek (named after Australian distance running legend Steve Monagetti). Thursday the only option was ‘quarters’ or 8x400m with a 200m float. I never experienced this, as I was always doing a mid-week long run. Saturday was either hills (sprint and long options) or Fitzy’s Hut. Now Fitzy’s Hut is a very interesting run, one with the luxury of potentially getting lost in the Australian wilderness. It is a 10+ mile threshold, that is essentially 30 minutes of easy running, then a 18 minute climb feature 200m of elevation gain over the first 2km, a few miles across a single track trail across the snow plains, down a large hill a mile long littered with heaps of rocks, only to finish with a screaming last km along the road. If you’re reading this you should ask Kelly ‘Number 11’ Weibe about his Fitzy’s experience. As you can see there aren’t many tricks to the training and it seems to be turning out some pretty solid Australian results. With that being said I’m ready for some variation!

Now I said my body held up pretty well earlier because my last long run in Falls turned into somewhat of a running horror story and caused a pretty average last week of training. The night previous to the final long run I had somewhat of a stomach ache, a little overeating I thought, it will be gone in the morning. When I woke up on long run morning it was still evident, but nothing major, not nearly like the night prior. Long run started out well, pace gradually quickened, but 7 miles in things started to take a turn for the worse. What had seemed like a little stomach cramp hard began to grow and was bringing the pain! Now you must understand this isn’t a looped long run, it is basically one large circle taken you by all the mountainous area near Falls Creek – once you start there isn’t really the option of turning around. And because all of our Aussie friends were gone I would not be able to hitch a ride back from the car park. This meant I would have to take the short way, coming through the car park in around 13 miles and run that last 3.5 back to the village on the road. Wow! Did it never turn out that way. After 7 miles things were getting much slower, around 10 miles I tried to force myself to puke to no avail. I jogged the last few miles to the car park – to most it probably would have looked like drunken stumbling – at which time I decided to try and hitch hike back to the village, rather than die a slow death. My hitch hiking car-passerby ratio is really solid after my first attempt, 1:2 to be exact. I have to say it was a pleasant trip as I still have all my body parts. The long run from hell, turned my final week in Straya to more of an easy week as it took a few days for the stomach too feel good, and took even longer for the legs to feel good.

Now I’m back home in Vancouver, breathing that fresh West Coast air! I’m looking forward to getting back to into normal training with the BC Endurance Project. There are a certain many things I missed, two things most of all, having access to training on a track and the easy access to so a variety of quality fruits and veggies. Man I love me some penis shaped veggies. Had the first session on the back from the trip on Tuesday night, first time on the glorious red rubber since Christmas Eve. I guess only time will tell how fit I really am, I feel like there is a bit of a transition out of altitude back to sea level. When I run it feels like I’m over breathing, the oxygen is just too damn high. Just over a week until I test the fitness at Husky Classic, I will be lining up in the 3000m. The goal is to light it on fire, but if I’m still hyperventilating, 8 minutes of running is easier to hurt for than 14 minutes.