Archive for December, 2010

Running on the Road – Latest Version


As readers might have figured out by now, your intrepid editor has been travelling in SE Asia and Australia (with wife and old friends of some 45 years – not one of whom is a runner, though).  One of the big posts prior to departure was about “running on the road”.  As it happens, we are back, but here are some thoughts on one of my favorite topics and activities.

All the running I did on this trip was totally and absolutely for pleasure with no other objective than just to do it, and in one instance, to be able to say I did.  As we lived in Malaysia for nearly two years, many of the places we visited on this trip were places I have run before.  However, although I had visited Hong Kong several times, I had never found a way to get a run in there. 

Green Oasis in Kowloon

 That changed this time, and to my surprise, I found a wonderful little green oasis in the heart of Kowloon, where I could enjoy a run through trails and parks while others did Tai Chi or their own version of morning exercise.  It was very pleasant, met my goal of adding another country to my list of places, and was so enjoyable because I never thought such a thing was likely.

Beachside path near Nusa Dua, Bali

I knew I would run in Bali, as we were staying in a familiar place and had already been informed that a new running path (OK, some probably thought it was a walking path) had been constructed along the beach since I was last there.  It was a significant path and I managed to do almost 10K without exhausting its potential. 

A morning run, just after sunrise, along that beach was a wonderful thing, so I did it five times during the week we were there.  Why not?

Other locations did not lend themselves to easy running and combined with time available and the fact we were travelling with friends, it meant that my next runs were in Australia.  I have run a bit in “Oz”, but only on the east side. 

Seaside boardwalk and path, Caloundra, QLD

This time we visited Perth and Western Australia and although I couldn’t add another country, I certainly got to bring in another region with several runs in Perth and Busselton.  Coincidentally, Busselton was just gearing up for the Ironman WA competition a couple of days after we left.  The town was crawling with fit looking Iron-People.  It was great fun for me.  I may have had the props kicked out from under my primary excuse for not “Tri-ing”, though – namely that I would drown in the first event.  A New Zealander staying right beside us, and preparing for the Ironman on the weekend informed me that he couldn’t swim just three years before!  I mean, I CAN swim, just not well and I don’t find it fun – I’m a “sinker”.  My son-in-law took up triathlon a couple of years ago and our daughter says, inspired by him, that she will do her first in 2011.  Oh dear!  Have I started down a track here?  I may need to quickly go for a swim and get my head back where it belongs!

Being someone who likes to make lists, I was thinking about how many regions of various countries there are where I have done some running and racing (especially the big ones like Canada, the US and Australia).  I have run in some 20 countries but raced in only three.  As just mentioned, I have run in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and now Western Australia but that only just scratches the surface when it comes to actual places.  Still waiting to find a race, though.

Only slightly off the main topic, under the major heading of Canada I have run in BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec and Nova Scotia.  I have raced in numerous locations within BC and Ontario.  In the US, I have naturally run in more places than I have raced, but a lot of my travel to the United States over the last years has been, at least partially, for the purpose of racing, so the lists are more similar than for other areas. 

The following is a list of places I have raced: Washington State, Oregon, California, Hawaii, New York State, Massachusetts (yes, it was at Boston, but just the inaugural 5K they held in 2009 when I went to support our other daughter who WAS running Boston).  Of course, this doesn’t totally tell the story, because I have some favorites, like the Hood to Coast Relay (6 times) and the California International Marathon (twice) that bring me back to certain areas.  Were we not in travel mode, there would have been a good chance I would have done CIM again (just run on December 5). 

Dan Cumming at 9 miles - Eugene Marathon, May 2010

In 2010 I think I just added a new favorite to that list, the Eugene Marathon.  Great race team, nice course with good potential for a quick time, nice time of year and on and on, not to mention the “running in the footsteps of legends” theme.  They had me at “legends”!

So, if this sounds like it is a lot about me.  It is.  But, it is also about my theme of “running on the road”.  Anyone can play this game, and that is my point and reason for illustrating it with my own experiences.  While I often run alone, a major aspect of running while travelling is that you can meet some great people too.

I guess that ends this chapter of “Running on the Road”.  I will be looking forward to my own “next installment” of this saga and look forward to hearing comments from others who enjoy similar pursuits.

Never Too Late to Be Great – Final Report


Well, it is all over but the shouting, and frankly, most of the shouting has kind of died down, too.  But, not here!

Rod Waterlow CIM Finish - 3:54:44

We promised a final report and impressions from Rod re his experiences at the California International Marathon and here it is.  We want to thank CIM and for allowing us to use these action photos of Rod on the day.  Since this is Rod’s story, I will turn it over to him, but not before congratulating him on a very impressive third in category (M70-74)finish.

Well Rod, you did it.  Number 25 is in the record books.  Tell us about your race and how it went.

 The whole experience (from the first “welcome to Sacramento” in the hospitality suite the evening I arrived, to the farewell hugs of new-found friends in the hotel lobby when leaving in the morning after the race) was an unbelievable thrill.  The CIM was the first marathon to which I was invited as an “elite” senior runner, and I felt a little embarrassed by the VIP treatment which I received.  Since I didn’t run my first marathon until I was 47, winning or placing in races is a relatively recent experience for me, one which I really appreciate.  I like to keep things in perspective and I’m well aware that as I get older there will be fewer competitive runners in my age group, and I’m becoming a “bigger fish in a smaller pond”.  However, I have to admit that I enjoy the element of competition and I get a kick out of having better times than many of my younger running buddies!  [Ed. Note: that would include me!]  Unfortunately, my time on the day (3:54:44) was quite a bit slower than I had hoped, and I breathed a big sigh of relief when I learned than I had still managed to place third in the Men 70-74 division. 

I had taken a tour of the course the day before the race and my impression was that the hills in the first half were quite gentle and would not present a problem.  Big mistake – I completely underestimated the cumulative effect of one “small” hill after another, and after fifteen miles my legs were sending out distress signals! 

Rod passes mile 23 with a smile on his face and spring in his step!

Starting at the front (with the real elite athletes), it was demoralizing to be passed by one pace-group after another, and to constantly be reassessing what a realistic finish time might be – under 3:45:00?, under 3:50:00?, under 3:55:00? – will it never end?!  But nobody said that running a marathon was easy – if it were, everyone would be doing it.  I’m just happy that I still have what it takes to go the distance and, as the saying goes, “the pain is temporary but the pride is forever” – I can’t wait to run number 26. 

Editor’s Comments.  Well, that ends the saga of Rod Waterlow at CIM.  Despite what he said about the difficulty of the race, he looks pretty good at Mile 23 and at the Finish.  That is the sign of a real marathoner!  Well done Rod.

Should anyone reading this series have a question for Rod, send it along via “comments” and we will see if we can get Rod to tell us a bit more.

As for #26, I am pretty sure we won’t have to wait long for Rod to find that challenge.  I have personally already been poking him about another of my favorite marathons (one he has already done with some success) so we will see what we will see.  Maybe both of us will give that one a go come May.

Never Too Late to be Great – Race Report


Well, I’m not sure what to say first! 

We have been following Rod Waterlow to the California International Marathon, so I guess we need to start there.  Rod, who is 73 placed in his category (3rd) with a time of 3:54:44.  Nice work!  The category winner, Hans Schmid, a mere strippling of 70 years, dashed off a most impressive 3:36:38, but the second place finisher, Carl Petersen, was just a couple of minutes in front of Rod.

With me travelling in Australia just now and Rod in California, we haven’t touched base yet.  What I know is from following his splits on the internet feed and then checking the final results (which are still listed as unofficial, by the way).  When Rod sends his final report and impressions we will find out more about the day.  I don’t know if Rod knew who his competition was (possibly) but with a race as big as CIM, it is possible to run without ever actually seeing who you are racing.  More on that later.  For now, Well Done, Rod!

The other matter of note was the overall Canadian performance, with Dylan Wykes coming home as the race winner in a pretty spritely time of 2:12:39.  For whatever reason, CIM has been a very successful race for Canadian marathoners.  The first was Peter Butler who held the course record for several years and his is still just the second fastest time, with the record at about 39 seconds better than what he did.  Dylan joins just four other individuals who have now won the race 7 times.  One of those winners was Bruce Deacon, who liked it so much that he won it three times, all by himself!  The other two Canadian winners were Graeme Fell and Peter Maher.  This was the 28th running of CIM, so Canadians have won it 25% of the time.  Not bad, eh?

And, in today’s race another Canadian, Richard Mosely, placed ninth overall with a time of 2:19:57, also very commendable.

From time to time some speedy Canadian ladies attend at CIM.  It is noteworthy that Canadians almost swept the W55-59 category with Lynn Kobayashi taking first and Janet Green, third.  Very nice!

This is a popular race with Canadians so there was a liberal sprinkling of other results on both the men’s and women’s side and a couple even finishing just one or two spots “out of the money” in their age categories.  Never mind, you’ll get ’em next time.

Congratulations to one and all and to CIM for what I am sure was another spectacularly successful race.

Never Too Late to be Great – Last Report Pre-Race


Rod Waterlow with 2010 Olympic TorchThis series is about and by Rod Waterlow who has been invited as a senior elite athlete to compete at the California International Marathon (Sacramento) on December 5.  We are following Rod’s approach and process as he prepares for and runs this popular and still growing event.  For more background on Rod and the Race, see the first post in the series.

Due to the travels of the editor, this post is quite late and within a day or so, Rod will actually be running CIM.  I have learned that the weather should be pretty good for a Vancouver marathoner and that Rod has made his way to Sacramento to prepare for the big race.  CIM is a personal favorite of mine and I am looking forward to checking Rod’s results and getting a final post from him on his impressions of the race.


With less than two weeks to go before the CIM, how are you feeling?

Generally, I’m feeling pretty good about my level of training, but when you are this close to the big day there is a tendency to focus on every little ache and pain and wonder if it will be a factor in the race. I do have a slight twinge in my back, the result of helping my son move into his new apartment, but I’m confident that all will be well by race day.

How is the taper going?

Having completed the hardest part of the training over a week ago, the taper now comes as a welcome relief. However, the relatively short 15 miles (25km) on Saturday (Nov 20) coincided with the first snowfall of winter – running in freezing temperatures in wet shoes is not one of my favorite things! Vancouver is experiencing record low temperatures for this time of year (-10 degrees C. or 15 degrees F.) and, although I gave it my best shot yesterday (Nov 22), I had to give up during my run because the wind chill was freezing my face and fingers. Training through the winter months is always a challenge, but it is part of the discipline necessary to complete a marathon – my running buddies and I call the bad days “character builders”. The good news is that there are no more long runs in my schedule and, hopefully, the present weather conditions will improve and not interfere too much with the final days of training before the CIM.

What is your pre-race routine when you must travel to the event? Do you have any “rules” you follow about how soon you arrive, what you do the day before – things like that?

A problem with some destination marathons is the need to adjust to a different time-zone. When I ran the Boston Marathon in 1997, I had anticipated the time change and planned to spend a night in Montreal, but my sleep cycle was completely disrupted due to bad weather en route which resulted in my arriving in Montreal six hours late. However this is not a factor with the CIM, because I live in Vancouver which is in the same time zone as California. A good rule of thumb, particularly when travelling east, is to arrive at least a couple of days early. I have found that even traveling to destinations within the same time-zone can be problematic because of the stress and constraints of plane or car travel. If possible, I like to have a full day to relax and settle in before a race, and prefer to leave any sight-seeing until after the race.