Success at The Fall Classic

The phone was buzzing at 4:48 to wake me for the big day.  The uplifting memo on the alarm I left for myself was “Leave house by 5:15. Fly at 8:30”.

It was chilly but at least not raining. Yet.  I got to UBC  with plenty of time to park the car and get my bib. At about 8 the rain started and I was only wearing my singlet, shorts and the Vibrams.  This was my first race in the rain and I didn’t mind it as much as anticipated, though I thought my nipples might cut through the singlet. 

This year The Fall Classic had pace bunnies, so I found myself the 1:45 guy and decided to stick with him until about 15k and  pull ahead then.  The gun went off, and I was on my first goal race.  

For the first 3k as I warmed up 5min/km was a good pace.  Once in my groove though, it wasn’t enough and I started to pull ahead until disaster hit at 6k.

I had to pee.

This was to be my goal race and I had to pee!  

Which I did just before starting as well!  My home route are trails and rural farms.  Easy for me to do business without exposing myself to some poor unsuspecting person.  Of what I could see there are only 2 port-a-potty spots on the route and I couldn’t wait, so into the bushes I went.  Given the pressures of, A-I wanted to get back on the run now! and B-I hope I’m in far enough in so no one sees me!; I’m surprised the task got completed at all.

I emerged from the hedge trying not to look any runners in the eye, to see my pace bunny a good 200m ahead of me. I caught him at 7k and left him behind from that point. 

 Given that; the rest of the race felt great!  I was slapping hands, clapping to the bands and having a good time.  My pace stayed pretty steady between 4:44/km-4:47/km.

The last 2k I was pushing for all I had.  I knew I was going to be close to finishing at 1:40 and wanted to beat the mark.  I was soaked and I could hear the water slop in my Vibrams with every step.  The last 300m I tried to sprint and my legs said, “No F#@king Way!” in the form of becoming what felt like two steel rods had replaced my muscles.  There was no accelerating beyond that pace.  The reality of the stiffness of my legs was so intense I failed to see my comrades cheering me on at the finish line complete with barefoot cheering sign. 

Hardy Comrades on a wet & cold Vancouver day. 

I finished with a chip time of 1:40:19

I couldn’t feel more accomplished at that moment. My PB from 2012 had been shattered by 9:50!

Now I am quite literally halfway to qualifying for Boston in a minimalist or barefoot format. 

My toes after the race were about as cold as the nail polish suggests.

The Fall Classic

This is where it all started for me. A 5/10/21.1k held mid November at the University of British Columbia and I’ll be running it this weekend (for the first time) with several goals in mind.

My first race was a challenge to a half marathon in 2012 and ran I it in 1:50:09 in my old cushioned shoes.  Since running in my Vibrams I have never bested that.

Four years on now, I’m glad I’ve taken this long to start improving my times. Until recently my runs have been simply for the enjoyment of completing a distance, and the time to myself to do it. Now that I have a solid base in the simple enjoyment of running, new goals and ambitions (such as qualifying for Boston) have worked their way into my psyche.

This Sunday’s run, I hope, will be the turning point where I beat that time in the more natural way we are designed to run.

This is my first ‘Goal Race’.

Instead of just one time to beat I’m setting several goals.

First, I’ll be happy with beating my original PB back in 2012. Second, I will be ecstatic if I can do the whole race at a BQ (Boston Qualifier) time.  For me that’s 1:45.  Anything beyond that is pure cream.

I will probably be running it in my Vibrams.  I so want to run it barefoot, and still might, but it will be a last minute decision.  Last year I started in barefoot, but temperatures were about 7c and wet.  At about the 8km mark my toes started to get numb and I put the Vibrams back on.  I finished last years race at a paltry 2:06:09.  This Sunday is projected to be about 5c higher.

Wish me luck and see you on the flip side of the finishing line.




This one felt good.

In my quest to get to a Boston qualifying time incrementally this 12k was great!

My Vibrams feel more like gortex socks now that I’ve taken out the insoles, and most of the trail I run is crushed gravel. Starting out I stepped on a rather large protruding rock with the ball of my right foot. There was a bit of pain, but nothing to feel concerned about. 

I paced below 4:50 for most of the run, dipping above at 7k. The last kilometer I still had gas in the tank and gave it all I could finishing in 56:26 at 4:40/km. 

A good 10 seconds faster than I need to pace at for qualifying. 

While I didn’t feel the pain during the run, that rock came back to haunt me with a sore foot the day after. 

I’m feeling hopeful and confident, I can complete the next run of 13k below 4:50/km. 


11km at a pace 4:45/km!!

Lately, I’ve thought about whether I have the ability to qualify for Boston.  I’ll be 50 when its run in 2020.  Qualifying time for that race is currently set at 3:30. 

Because of limited entry, the last 3 years, just running the Boston qualifying time at an authorized event didn’t get you in. In 2016 the qualifying cut came in 2m28s faster. For me thats a time of 3:27:32. 

I prefer to give myself a little more space than that and would shoot for a time of 3:25. For that I need to run a pace of 4:51/km for the whole 42.2km. 

Along with my distance runs and strength training; I’m  trying to run the Boston pace one click at a time. Yesterday, I broke the 11km barrier with a pace of 4:45/km. 

My next shot will be for 12k. 

Maybe it will be possible to see me barefoot in Boston 2020.