Monday, May 31, 2010

I'm pretty sore

Wow, I did not think I would be this sore one day after the marathon. I just got four vaccination shots to top it all off, so my arms are sore too! Franck has emailed me that he is already feeling good enough to go running today.

Still, I'm feeling good about the way things went, and I can now focus on getting enough work done to be able to enjoy our upcoming vacation. We leave for Panama in five days!

Cool cars spotted:
Lotus Elise
Lotus Exige
Lotus Esprit Turbo
Ferrari F430 Stradale
AMG SLS(!)
AMG CLS63
AMG C63
Aston Martin V8 Vantage
Aston Martin DB7
Bentley Continental
Dodge Viper
Corvette Z06
Audi R8
Audi S6 V10
Audi S8 V10
Audi RS4
BMW M5
BMW M6 (new)
BMW M6 (1987)
Porsche 997 Turbo
Shelby GT500
Nissan Skyline GT-R R32
Golf R32
Toyota Soarer

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Mission accomplished!

Here is the complete story of the marathon while it is still fresh in my memory!

Alex and I left for Ottawa around 11:00 am Saturday. I had until 4:00 pm to pick up my race bib and timing chip at the race site. As soon as we exited the highway, we were stuck in traffic. There are 38 000 runners who participate in the Ottawa race weekend, in distances from 2 km to the marathon. There were more than 4 000 people signed up for the marathon. We parked at the Pfizer Health and Fitness Expo site at Landsdowne Park and I picked up my bib. I thought it was neat that our names were on the bib, so random spectators can yell "Go Vince!". I did a bit of shopping at the expo and then called my training partner Franck, who was hanging out in downtown Ottawa with his girlfriend Valerie. She explained to me where we would be able to meet up, near the Parliament buildings, and we headed out on foot (initially, in the wrong direction, thanks to my sense of direction). I hadn't realized that the expo and the start-finish area were separated by a distance of about 2 km. We walked more than I would have like to (over 3 km), but as soon as we met up with Franck and Valerie, we sat down at a Café in the Byward Market, where we spent a good part of the afternoon before looking for a restaurant where we could eat a pasta dinner (we chose the Grand, not bad). We ate early, around 6:00 pm, before dropping by the start-finish area. We chose a meeting point to meet the ladies after the race. After that, we accompanied Franck and Valerie back to their B&B on foot. While walking around, I stupidly banged the side of my knee on a fire hydrant. I hoped I would not regret this on race day. We then called a taxi to take us back to our car ad drove to our friend Hai-Dang's house, as he had generously accepted to accommodate us. We arrived there at 9:00 pm and I went to bed at 10:30. I had eaten a couple of Chips Ahoy cookies and drank a bottle of Gatorade before turning in. I wasn't too worried about lack of sleep, as I had slept very well the previous night. I checked the weather online and was happy to see that the forecast was for 22 degrees, and not the 27 degrees that had been predicted on Friday. The race started at 7:00 am and we had planned to meet Franck and Valerie at their B&B, where we would leave the car and then walk to the start area about1 km away. There were no more formalities to take care of before the race so there was really no reason to arrive more than 45 minutes in advance.

I had woken up at 4:55 am (in fact, I woke up at 12:30, 2:30 and 4:30, always thinking I had missed the ring of my alarm!). I had slept quite well. Just after waking, I ate a bagel with peanut butter and a couple more Chips Ahoy and started another bottle of Gatorade. I took a quick shower to try to wake up a bit before getting dressed: Fox River Triathlon socks (the same ones I wore at the XTrail), medium-length all-in one shorts (no need for underwear), Brooks shoes bought 3 weeks ago (updated version of the same model as my old shoes, 130 km of break-in), my lightest New Balance tank top, my Bollé sunglasses (bought in 1990!), my Garmin GPS watch and my Casio G-shock (just in case). I wore a heavy hoodie over all this, which I would hand to Alex before the warm-up.

On the way to meet Franck and Valerie in the car, I set up my GPS watch so that, instead of just beeping at every kilometer, I would get the time for that kilometer. This was the way Franck had set up his watch and it seemed a much better system than mine, which was to check my instantaneous pace and my overall average pace. I needed to test the setting to see if I had done it right, so I did simulations while we were driving. Thanks for the tip Franck!

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Waiting in front of the B&B

As we arrived at the start site, I benefited from the large number of Port-a-potties on site without any wait. Franck was impressed with the fact that there were no lineups. This was his first marathon outside Europe. We discussed with the girls where they would be cheering us on, and settled on km 23 and km 38. I left my sweater with Alex and Franck and I began a short warm-up. We ran at low speed, occasionally accelerating to race pace. We bumped into one of our running buddies, Nolin, who was in a great mood as usual and we wished each other a great race. I felt a bit heavy, as I often do when I run in the morning, but, other than that, I felt good and just wanted the race to start.

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Franck and me before the race start

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Alex and me before the race start (raining a bit)

My plan for the race was quite simple. My coach Christian had determined that I should run at a pace of 4:30 per km, which would make for a total race time of 3:10. This would allow me a margin of error to make sure I met the qualifying time for my age group for the 2011 Boston Marathon (3:15:59). I knew I could potentially lose time due to the large number of fellow runners at the start, hills ad wind. I didn't really know what else there was that might slow me down. I planned to consume a power gel every 45 minutes, as well as one just before the race. There were water/Gatorade stations every 3 km and I planned to drink at almost all of them. I figured I would try to maintain the 4:30 pace as long as possible, without going much faster than that pace, as too much pace too early is a recipe for disaster. With the training I had done, it was realistic that I could maintain this pace for a long time. I remembered that everyone, including Christian, seemed to be telling me that the real race starts at km 30 (or was it 32? I forget now!).

Runners were corralled in the start area based on their predicted finishing times. Franck and I had chosen the 3:00-3:30 group, the second fastest group (after the under 3:00 group). There seemed to be only about 200-250 runners ahead of us, leaving 3 800 runners behind us! I think we got to the starting line 12-13 minutes before the start time. I ate my first gel 5-6 minutes before the start. I was a bit nervous, but I was not really afraid of having a poor race. I was mainly curious to see what the marathon distance was all about, compared to other distances, and to see if it was really so hard. I was eager to see if I would perform to what I felt was my full potential.

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Elite runners at the start

I wished Franck a good race. We had no plan to run together and I figured it was unlikely I would see him before he end of the race. Franck is faster than me at every distance and has a best marathon time of 3:07. The start was given at exactly 7:00 am and I headed off, surrounded by hundreds of runners. This was the biggest race I had ever run in. I found that other runners were getting in my way, but at least this prevented me from taking off too quickly. I felt full of energy and, when there was room, I would accelerate. When the watch told me I had completed the first kilometer in 4:39, I was happy to only have lost 9 seconds versus my ideal time. Also, I was no longer afraid of being unable to catch up the time lost in the first kilometer. At this point, I noticed that Franck was only a short way ahead of me on the right. I didn't try to catch up to him. I managed to stabilize my times (kilometers 2 to 12 were all between 4:26 and 4:31). I went by one of the elite African runners who had dropped out of the race quite early. He must have been injured, which is sad. I felt pretty good, and my heart rate dropped from 150 to stabilize at 146-147. The course was quite flat and my biggest challenge was to refrain from accelerating, despite my enthusiasm, the crowd and the fact that I felt I was in top form. I wasn't hurting anywhere and all was going well. At km 12, I caught up with the 3:10 rabbit and his group and though that ideally, I would leave them behind and never see them again. Although I felt great, I knew I was supposed to feel great at least until km 30, or otherwise my race would not end well. When I saw my pace was too fast, I would tell myself "slow the pace, slow the heart". This became my mantra for the first 30 km.

On the course, we passed a big inflatable sort of arc that said "halfway point, way to go!", but in the wrong direction. It was in fact 6 or 7 km before the point where we would pas under it in the proper direction. That was pretty discouraging! What was encouraging was that the kilometers were going by quickly, which had not been the case during my February half-marathon, where I was suffering after only a few kilometers. At about km 18 or 19, there was a hill. I thought it was not too bad, as it was no worse that the Olmsted path on Mount Royal where I regularly trained. I was surprised that the 3:10 rabbit and his followers caught up to me there, as I had not slowed down too much. I would not be surprised to find out that this rabbit inadvertently hurt the times of his followers by not slowing enough on this part of the course. I slowed down for one kilometer, which I completed in 4:34 at a heart rate of 155. Other than that, km 13 to 23 saw times of 4:25 to 4:31. It was becoming more and more difficult to keep my heart rate under 150, which I considered my comfort zone. From km 17 on, I never achieved an average heart rate under 150 again. At km 23, I was very happy to come across Alex and Valerie, to the point where I felt a bit emotional! It's really encouraging to have someone out there who is on the course specifically to cheer YOU on.

I had realized that, to drink properly, you really had to slow down at the water stations. This did not really bother me and did not in fact affect my km split times. I drank a bit of water or Gatorade at almost every station. I took my gels on schedule. There were also sponge stations and I enjoyed pressing the sponge on the back of my neck and on my forehead. I was not too hot and I was quite comfortable.

As the kilometer count was increasing, I was still feeling quite good. I was telling myself "only 5 more km before the 30-km mark". Christian had told me that after 30 km, you can stop worrying about your heart rate and simply run the rest of the race.

I managed t run km 24 to 30 with times between 4:21 and 4:31. I was happy that I was still turning in consistent split times. My heart rate was approaching 160, but I felt I could handle it until the end of the race. I was starting to feel some pain in my left knee (maybe where I had bumped it?) and my right hip (just like in the 70 km charity run in December 2009, the only other time I had hip pain). I was concentrating on km 32, the point where there would be only 10 km remaining. 10 km is not a negligible distance, but it was a number I could get my head around and it meant the race was over 3/4 done. The kilometers seemed to be going by mush more slowly, and when I checked my pace, it was often over 4:35. Despite this, for km 31-39, my split times remained between 4:27 and 4:34. Cardio-wise, I still felt strong. My legs were beginning to tire, however. Still, I knew that with the average pace I had maintained, only a disaster could stop me from beating the qualifying time of 3:15:59. In fact, I wondered what form such a disaster could take.

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Franck at km 40

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Me at km 40

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Another photo at km 40, taken by Valerie

At precisely km 40, I felt a sudden burning from the second toe of my right foot. It was not intense pain, really more of a burning feeling. I figured I had just suddenly lost a toe nail. Luckily, the pain did not worsen. Also, I crossed Alex and Valérie for the second time. There were only 2 km remaining.

Then, suddenly, my left hamstring cramped up. I had never suffered this type of cramp in my life. I had to come to a dead stop. I literally did not know what to do, as this had never happened to me! I placed myself in a lunge position to stretch out the muscle, which seemed to work as far as stopping the painful cramp. I was still stopped on the course. A fellow runner saw what was going on and yelled "Come on!". There were less than 2 km left, for God's sake! I started running again, and after 200 or 300 meters, the cramp had become just one more dull pain like the others (toes, knee, hip). The crowd was becoming more and more dense as we approached the finish, which really helped. I ran km 40 and km 41 in 4:37 each, which meant I probably only lost 15 seconds to the cramping incident, which is far from a disaster. I caught up to the runner who had urged me along and thanked him. Together, we picked up the pace. I felt fantastic and ran km 42 in 4:25. When my watch indicated 42 km, there were still 442 meters left, as there was a slight difference in my watch's measurement of distance and the official distance. The other guy was still accelerating, and so was I, although not as fast. Still, I was flying, at a pace of 4:00 per km. There were boards to mark 500 meters to go, 400, 300. We were passed by the winner of the half-marathon, who had started 2 hours after us. I crossed the finish line in 3:09:45.

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Franck and me after the finish

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Alex and me after the finish

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Me after the finish

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Me with Franck and Valerie after the finish

This was the best time I could have hoped for, given my race plan: an average of 4:28 (for 42.4 km, 4:31 on the official time sheet), and I was very happy. I did not feel that I ever really struggled or suffered much. As far as my cardio went, I was not even very tired. However, my legs were hurting and, after picking up my water bottle just after the finish line, I could barely walk, even slowly! I managed to find Franck (3:07:30), who was with Loic, another runner from our local Running Room (3:02:17!). I tried to stretch a bit. I don't know if I had a big grin on my face, because I was not really feeling joy. I think I was more stunned, stunned by the fact that the marathon had not been that tough. I had been much more exhausted after my winter half-marathon and after the Xtrail last October. I think that this is due to the level of preparation. I often found Christian's training plan to be tough or even very tough. When the plan called for me to do a half-marathon at 4:10 pace, I thought it was impossible. Maybe the moral of the story is that, for a marathon, you will either suffer and work in your training, or suffer and work in your race. One thing is clear: will have to work and suffer at one point or another!

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Right foot after the race

Franck and I met up with the girls and we walked (slowly!) to the car. We left the city and stopped at a family style restaurant in Casselman. Alex was driving as my legs were still very stiff. I ate a poutine and a hamburger while Franck had a milkshake, a poutine, half of Valerie's souvlaki platter and a caramel sundae! The road home was long, as I could not stretch my legs. We dropped off Franck and Valerie and got home before 4:00 pm. I napped until 5:30 and then went to buy a pizza, before typing up this story... and now my hands are hurting a bit too!

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Runners with their poutines

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Alex and her dessert

I really have to thank the two people who supported me through this: Alex, by accompanying me on many runs, understanding my sometimes crazy schedule and coming along for the race weekend, and Christian, for preparing a rock-solid training plan, giving me general marathon advice and answering all my rookie questions. I also have to thank my training buddies Franck, Nico and Nolin.

As far as the emotional side of things goes, Alex pointed out that she felt the emotions more than I did: nervousness before the race, excitement after the race and even the down once the whole thing was over! Fortunately, we are going on vacation in six days and we have enough planning to do to keep us both occupied in the coming days.

Advice that I followed:
- Get a good night's sleep on the second night before the event
- Don't wear anything new for the race
- Don't start out too quickly
- Don't try to make up time lost in the first kilometer

Advice that I should have followed:
- wear a hat, even if it isn't sunny
- don't walk too much the day before the race (and don't bang your knee!)
- drink at EVERY water station (this can help avoid cramping)

What I learned:
Solid training, following a plan, and a good race strategy, can produce an excellent result, even for a novice marathon runner.

Some statistics:
I finished 214th out of 4008 participants, 41st out of 428 in my class (men 35-39 years old) with an official time of 3:09:45.6, with a half-distance split time of 1:34:27.

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Lap chart

Friday, May 28, 2010

Marathon training is over... time to run a marathon!

Last night, I went for the final run of my Ottawa Marathon training program, prepared by Christian Brouard. That's it, after 12 weeks of intense (for me) training, all that's left to do is run the darn race! I did all I could do and now we'll have to see how it goes. The race is in two days and I am loading up on carbs. Tomorrow, Alex and I head to Ottawa where we will be staying with a friend. The race is bright and early Sunday. I'm somewhat nervous, but I'm trying not to think about it too much. I thank the friends who have called or emailed me their words of encouragement.

I talked to Pascal about my transmission problem and he thinks it is simply the new tranny oil that has not taken yet. When I have time, I will try to put some street miles on the car to see if there is any change.

It took me all day Monday, but I managed to find a camera setup that worked for the race car. I ended up mounting my regular digital camera (Canon Powershot A480) as low as possible on the roll cage in the center of the car. I am really happy with the result:



The lap times in the video are not great, but my tires were toast by then. Here are some photos of my car taken by Sylvain Perreault on Monday:

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Cool cars spotted:
Porsche 997 GT3
BMW M5
Bentley Continental
Rolls Royce Phantom convertible
Audi RS4
Ferrari 328
Lotus Elise
Volvo P1800
Lancia Fulvia 1600 HF (!!)

Monday, May 24, 2010

First time attack of the year.

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The Civic at the time attack today

After having driven the race car for the first time of the year last week, I was looking forward to today's time attack. I had run a best lap time of 1:04.63 at St-Eustache last week and was hoping to dip into the 1:03's today. Alas, it was not meant to be. The car felt fine, but it was 30 degrees outside pretty much all day. My old tires never really felt good. At least I managed to turn my best lap, a 1:04.19, during one of the timed runs, and not during a practice. Late in the day, the transmission started to grind in third gear. This is not encouraging at all, as I just spent 600$ rebuilding this transmission, including the synchros. It was hard to shift into fourth as well on the driver home, which makes me think it might be the clutch (also new!). Rob came for the evening lapping and, happily, he found the unbolted ground that was causing the lighting glitch. Thanks Rob! While moving the tires around, I noticed that I had run most of the day with a 225-25-15 on the front right and a 205-50-15 on the front left. Oops! It didn't really make a difference. The front right works much harder at St-Eustache, so it was the right side to have the wider tire. As the day progressed, my lap times got progressively worse. In the last session, I had trouble getting down into the 1:05's! At least I finally found a good video setup with my Canon Pawershot A480 on my camera bracket. I will try to post some video when I can. Anyways, I'm not really happy with the tranny issue and I need to sort out some better tires if I want to get some decent lap times. The fastest overall car was a Civic that lapped in one minute flat. Quite impressive!

Only 6 days until the marathon... AAAHH! I've pretty much completed the training plan and now it's time to hope for the best. I hope the weather is not as hot as today!

News of Alex:
Alex has an interview for a job as a university professor this week. I just listened to her interview presentation and they would be fools not to hire her! We bought our vacation tickets and will be leaving June 5th for 2 weeks to Panama. This should be a good combination of exploration and beachy relaxation. Less than two weeks away!

Cool cars spotted:
AMG C63
Lotus Elise
Dodge Viper SRT10
Ferrari 360

Saturday, May 22, 2010

It's really starting to feel like summer:

Cool cars spotted:
Audi ur-Quattro (!)
BMW Z8
BMW M6
BMW M3
Jaguar E-Type V12
Jaguar XF-R
Aston-Martin DB9
Acura NSX
Corvette Z06
Toyota Celica turbo 4WD Carlos Sainz
Mercedes military G-Wagen (Norwegian?)
AMG E63
AMG C63
AMG CLS63
Lotus Elise
Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 8
Maserati GT
Maserati Quattroporte
Maserati Biturbo Spyder
Alfa Romeo Spider
MGB (chrome)
RHD Triumph Spitfire
Porsche 998 GT3 RS
Porsche 997 turbo
Porsche 998 turbo
Porsche 961 turbo
Audi S4

Monday, May 17, 2010

First drive of the year in the race car!

After a furious afternoon and evening at Pascal's yesterday, the car was finally ready for the track. My new "system" to get the car from my parents' house in Pierrefonds to the track in St-Eustache is to have someone else do it. Rob is easing his way back into motorsports after a couple of years off and he will be driving my car (like many of my friends before him) at various events this summer. Since he works in the West Island, we figured it made more sense for him to go get the car and leave his street car at my parents', then switch cars afterwards. This worked like a charm, as we both arrived at the track shortly after 5:00 pm. The weather was beautiful and there were quite a few people there to lap, including several new students. I instructed one chap in a 1990's Toyota MR2 turbo and another guy in a new Evo.

As for driving, I planned to take it easy, as this was my first outing of the year. The car was essentially the same as last year, except there was a new final drive in the transmission. Rob and I put on some Toyo R888 race tires, worn ones in front, somewhat less worn ones in the rear. We set the shocks at full soft plus one full turn. Last year, I was lapping around the 1:04 mark, with 1:03's on a good day. Pascal and JP managed some 1:02's in my car at the bonus lapping day that was held in November last year (I wasn't there, I don't remember where I was). I therefore figured I could hit the 1:05's relatively easily.

In my first session, I didn't get many clean laps, but I was in the 1:06's in the few laps I ran. I came in the pits because I was stuck behind a new Subaru STi who would not let me pass in the straightaways (in a yellow group session where passing is only allowed in the straights). I told Rob that all was good and headed back out, hitting 1:05's. The final drive change was good for the car, which has no torque. However, I don't know how useful it will be at St-Eustache, as it creates two extra upshifts and two extra downshifts per lap.

Rob went out in the following session and was taking it easy. He managed to hit the 1:08's. In the next available session, I drove with Rob as a passenger and he says he picked up a few things. Despite the extra weight, I hit a 1:05.2. I tried the "oval in" turn flat out once, and the car felt pretty stable, although it understeered. After a few laps, the front tires felt pretty crappy. I had told Rob to set them at 28 psi, but maybe this was not low enough. With my instructing duties, I didn't really have time to work on the car at all. Rob was able to find the source of the lighting problem: it was related to the central console where the button for the 4-way flashers is. It shouldn't be too hard to track down the faulty wire when we have time.

In my last session, I managed a couple of good laps, including a 1:04.63, before the front grip started to fade again. I came in before the end of the session, knowing I would not improve my time as the front end was simply not gripping. This is really not good for front-wheel drive car with only 111 ft-lbs of torque. I thought I might have corded the front right tire. When we swapped the wheels, we noted that the tires were still intact (although they had no tread). I discovered, however, that Rob had not actually set the tire pressures. Even now, I don't know what we were running, although when I had the front tires mounted last week, I asked for 32 psi. If that's what we had today, it might explain the poor front end grip. This is what happens when two people are sort of in charge of the car, instead of one person. We still have to work out who will be in charge of what in the future. Still, over all, it was a fun night without incident and it felt good to shake off some of the rust off, as a driver.

Here are a couple of pictures of the car after the final session. It's dirty, but functional.

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Here is a picture from the other day. I don't remember if I mentioned it, but Pascal showed me how to balance wheels (not mount tires, just the balancing part).

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Still a lot going on... I'm tired!

I was hoping this past weekend would be somewhat relaxing, but I guess that was never really going to happen. I feel tired and I'll be glad when the marathon training is over. Because I pushed my Sunday run to Monday, I ended up running over 100 km last week. Yesterday I ran with the faster guys from my local running room group and it went well. The last couple of runs, I have tried to see how fast I can go while keeping my heart rate in a comfortable zone. I don't know too much about the relationship between heart rate and fatigue yet, but I'm trying to learn. This is the last week of heavy training and it really tapers off for next week, which is the last week before the race. I can't believe the race is in less than two weeks!

I finally visited my race car yesterday and helped Pascal put the finishing touches on the car (like installing the doors, seats, seat belts and bumper covers). The only thing we seemed to have got wrong is the way the tail lights got pugged in, as there are no turn signals and the brake pedal makes the turn signals light up! Weird, but we really had no time to fix it last night, as Pascal had to work at 10:00 pm. At least I got to sleep before going to work! I will be taking the car to St-Eustache this evening to shake off the rust and run a few laps with the old girl. I will try to take photos or video.

It's also time to plan my summer vacation with Alex, although this has taken a bit of a back seat due to the marathon preparation. Luckily, Alex is quite patient. I think she knows that I really do want to go on vacation but that it simply isn't the thing I am most focused on right now.

I can hardly remember what it's like to have free time!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Another busy week

It's been a busy few days. The weekend was long and not all fun. We left home for Calabogie at 4:30 am and arrived there around 7:30 for the school. The conditions were not great, as it was cold and raining. A student crashed his car heavily near the end of the day and both he and the instructor riding with him were taken to hospital. The student had a cracked rib and the instructor, a concussion. This caused us, as instructors, to more thoughtfully consider what kinds of risks we are taking when we get into a car with a student. Calabogie is a big track. There are many students' cars that have 500 or more horsepower. It's definitely something to think about.

I had brought my running gear to Calabogie, as I am supposed to run every Saturday and Sunday, but didn't feel like running after a day of instructing in the cold. Also, it was starting to snow by then. It ended up snowing most of the night and we awoke to winter conditions. I actually had to borrow a scraper to clean off the car!

Sunday was uneventful and the students made progress. There were no more on-track incidents. I left as early as possible for Montreal because I wanted to get in a run before turning in.

On Monday, I decided to skip the lapping at St-Eustache so I could go on the 29 km run I was supposed to have done on Sunday. Alex joined me and it was quite pleasant, although not that warm. This was the longest run of my program and it was quite tiring, even at an easy pace.

On Tuesday, Alex and I found out that she would be attending a teaching workshop in Portland, Maine on the following day. There had been some sort of misunderstanding that led Alex to believe, until the last minute, that she was not going. Well, it turns out that she was invited after all! I decided to take a day off and head down to Maine for the day. The plan was to leave at 6:30 so that we could arrive there at 12:00 for the workshop that started at 1:00. The plan was working well, until we realized after 50 km that we had forgotten our passports. We could not head back into Montreal, because it was rush hour. A quick call to Alex's cousin, who live not far from us, has a key to our place, and works on the South Shore, meant that we had our passports by 8:45. We got going again but it seemed to take forever on the single lane highway that you need to take for 200 km. On top of that, there was a forest fire that forced us to find an alternate road at one point. Alex was an hour late for the workshop, which is not too bad, considering it was five hours long.

I brought my running gear, since I was still a day behind schedule on my runs and I had a few hours to kill. I found a running store online that was nearby and when I arrived there, I was happy to see that they had my shoe (Brooks Adrenaline GTS 10) for only 99$. I think the store employee did not believe I was a serious runner for a couple of reasons: 1) I asked her if the shoe came in any other colours. This was a legitimate question! I had seen other colours online! and 2) I told her that my current shoe was the Brooks Adrenaline GTS 6, which technically is a 3-year-old model. If she thought I only bought running shoes every three years, she must have also thought that I don't cover many miles running. In fact, I bought my GTS 6's last year at Winner's, not three years ago. Also, I had two pairs in rotation. Anyway, I bought the blue/white ones, which look like this:

These will be my shoes for the marathon, as my others are starting to have high mileage on them (between 400-500 km each).

I had mapped out a run that took me from one state park to another following a coastal road. As I set out on the run, I wasn't "feeling it". I later noticed that the beginning of the run was actually quite a steep climb, which might explain how tough it felt. The run went well and I managed to average 4:30 per kilometer, which is my planned marathon pace. Afterwards, I had some tasty fried shrimp at the Lobster Shack, where I had parked my car during the run. I picked up Alex and we decided to go eat at Barnacle Billy's in Ogunquit, a favourite vacation spot of ours about 50 km away from Portland. Although we arrive home pretty tired at 1:00 am, it was a fun mini road trip. The training continues tonight, and the race is only 17 days away!

Cool cars spotted:
Porsche 996 turbo
Porsche 997 turbo
Corvette Z06
Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 10
AMG C63
Audi S4
Audi R8
Shelby GT500
Triumph Spitfire
Alfa Romeo Spider
BMW E30 M3

Friday, May 7, 2010

We are the champions!

I just got back from the basketball game... we won! 73-55. Thanks to solid play from everyone, and a pretty neat defensive strategy by Benji, we took the lead early and never let go. I did not make much of an offensive contribution, but I was there on defense. I was credited with 2 points, but I don't think I actually scored. Anyway, I have to go to bed, as I'm getting up at 4:00 am to head to Calabogie.

Cool cars spotted:
Porsche 997 GT3
Porsche 997 turbo
Porsche 928
Audi R8
Audi S4
Nissan Pulsar GTi-R
Acura TSX Reatime Racing replica (!)
Maserati GT

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Setbacks for the race car...

It turns out the transmission on the race car needed more work than we thought. As a result, my car will not be ready before the weekend and I won't be bringing it to Calabogie. This is not as bad as it sounds, as there was not that much track time available to instructors and it looks like it's going to rain (or maybe even snow). Because we lost our basketball game last week, I have one more game to play tomorrow night and I won't be able to leave until Saturday morning (at around 4:30 am!). The weekend will be pretty hectic, as I also have to squeeze in a 29 km run, the longest of the training plan. Fortunately, Alex is willing to join me on her bike (which, conveniently, will fit in the hatch of the street Civic!).

The Ottawa marathon is in only 3 weeks. It's now sold out: there will be 4500 marathoners! I'm a bit nervous, but I'm still following my training plan (I will be heading out for an 18 km run tonight), which gives me confidence. On Tuesday, I had trouble keeping up with the program, which called for 3:50 km's with a 2-minute break between each. Still, it's going well over all. I just feel like I don't have much free time, with the race schools, basketball, Monday night lapping, getting the race car ready, and training 4 times per week.

Monday night lapping at St-Eustache has begun. I headed over there with my friend Ray in his new BMW Z4. Modern BMW's are really nice cars. The folding hardtop is brilliant. I instructed one of our regulars in his mid-90's BMW 328. It was a pleasant car to drive. I had a student with a near-300 hp Chevy Cobalt SS Turbo. The car is quite impressive and does not feel out of place on the track. I had a student with a Civic hatch like mine, but with a Type R engine... nice. My last student had an E46 M3 convertible. Even in convertible form, the car is a pleasure to drive. I hope to have my race car by next Monday, but it's not a sure thing. There are photos of the evening taken by Jeremy here:
http://burn-out.ca/content/club-de-lapping-ase-0503

Cool cars spotted:
AMG E63
AMG CLS63
AMG C63
AMG G55
Mercedes CL600
Audi S4
Ferrari F430
Ferrari 412(!)
Corvette Z06
BMW M3
Porsche 996 turbo
Porsche 998
Maserati GT
Maserati Quattroporte
SaabViggen
Saab SPG
Lotus Elise
Ford GT
Dodge Viper SRT10
Cadillac CTS-V