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Goodlife Fitness Victoria Marathon

Photo of Brock by Craig Gauld

I was feeling great when I arrived at the Victoria Marathon race expo. Ready to put this high intensity / low mileage training to the test. When I PBed (3:31:48) last fall, I had been putting on some serious kilometres (occasionally as high as 120 a week). This season, my longest run was 28km and I had only done that once. That "4x5km Progression Run" was done at varying paces, some of it at pretty high intensities - not your normal LSD - and all the science backs this strategy up. So, as much as I felt under-prepared, I wasn't and Coach Ben was behind me.

I was on pace for a 3:35:00-ish finish until I got to the 33km mark. Then my hamstrings and calves started cramping. Not quite as violently as the did at Ironman Syracuse but still bad enough to pull me over to the side of the road to stretch 4 times and slow me down to an occasional walk. I finished in 3:57:24... sub 4 hours isn't terrible, I guess. I placed 603/1725 overall, 440/960 in men, and 87/141 my division (men 40-44). My splits were: 10k 49:24, 21.1k 1:45:37, and 30k 2:32:22. So you can see, I had actually been doing pretty well.

I didn't bonk but I did run out of steam eventually... cramps have a way of doing that to you.


I was in Boston from Sunday to Thursday, speaking at and attending the Business of Software Conference. It wasn't the best way to spend the week leading up to a race but you do what you have to do. I wasn't eating terribly but I was at the mercy of the conference hotel for the most part. I got a decent amount of sleep and did a lot of standing and walking but only got one real workout in while I was there. That's fine - I was tapering.

Once I was finally home, I cleaned up my act/diet. For the 3 days before the race I drank 500ml of beet root juice. I have tried having beet juice the morning of the race in the past and have had decent luck with it. I don't think the 3 day load was all that helpful but who really knows. It certainly didn't help my cramping.


I brought my usual sweet potato, beets, quinoa, spinach and salmon bowl with me to Victoria and had that in the late afternoon after a light 3km jog. Later that night I had a smattering of what was on the table at my aunt's house. I was smart and didn't eat too much or try anything weird.

In the morning, 3 hours before the race, I had a piece of toast with almond butter and half a banana with a nice strong cup of black coffee. Pretty standard fair when I am out of Living Fuel.

After Ellie started the half marathon (an hour before the full), I found a coffee vendor and sipped a small amount of black coffee (more to warm my hands up than anything else). I took one Gu Roctane 10 minutes before the race started and then another one every 30 minutes during the race. I sipped 2-3 ounces of water at every aid station. It was a cool morning so I wasn't that worried about hydration... though maybe I should have been. When the muscle cramps came I could feel them in my sides, abs and back. Not as intense as in my legs but close.


I don't think I have ever been in so much leg pain after a race. I just wanted to lay down and cry a little but my cousin was circling the block in his car, trying to take me back to my aunt's house so I rallied and made it to the corner. Once I was sitting, with my legs stretched out across the backseat, I started to feel better. Yesterday I watched the video of me crossing the finish line and it looks like I am running with invisible flippers on... very odd.


On November 4th, Ellie and I are running the Hamilton Road2Hope half marathon. This is the race where I set my full marathon PB last year. I am tempted to try again but I am worried that I won't have time to recover from a full marathon before we embark on the Double Triathlon Thailand Adventure... and that would not be good. I think I will stick with the half... this time.

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