Breaking 2

Philip HarrisChatter, RunningLeave a Comment

On Friday, my wife and I stayed up late to watch Nike’s attempt to break the 2 hour barrier for the marathon. It was an exciting couple of hours and although the attempt ultimately “failed” I found the whole thing very inspiring, especially going into race weekend for the Vancouver Marathon. Internet reaction to the attempt was (unsurprisingly) mixed, and I was going to post my thoughts but fellow speculative fiction author, Bill Dowis, summed up how I feel much more succinctly so I’m just going to point you here –   Out Now [Breaking 2 by Philip Harris first appeared on Solitary Mindset on 8th May 2017]

Looking Forward, 2017

Philip HarrisChatter, Indie Publishing, RunningLeave a Comment

After posting my belated end of year wrap up, I figured I’d better also look forward to what’s ahead in 2017… I talked about setting goals on New Year’s Day and mentioned my big personal goal – running a marathon in under four hours. That goal has actually been in the back of my mind for a few years but 2017 is the year I’m really going to focus on my speed and fitness (and weight) and try to hit that. My wife and I recently worked out which races we’re going to take part in this year and it’s a fairly long list, but a lot of them will be used as training runs for my main goal of that sub-four hour marathon. Time will tell whether it will pan out but I’m looking forward to trying. I’ll probably make the odd post here about my progress for those who are interested in how a moderately unfit, middle aged guy prepares for a marathon. I also mentioned my eight book publishing schedule. That’s pretty aggressive, even though I have a couple of the books complete and two more in draft form. I’ve laid out the schedule for the first half of the year and this is what it … Read More

One Sleep To Go…

Philip HarrisRunningLeave a Comment

It’s been a while since I talked about my running here. The main reason for that is I barely did any running last year thanks to a hard-to-pin down calf injury. Towards the end of last year, I found a chiropractor and started getting weekly physiotherapy. It’s helped a lot and although the injury is still there, I’ve been ramping up my running. I ran a fairly slow half-marathon at the Vancouver First Half-Marathon in February. It took me 2 hours blah to finish which is x minutes or so slower than my best time but my calf held up which was the important thing. So, now I’m facing a much bigger challenge. Tomorrow, I’m running the Vancouver Marathon. This will be my fourth time. Previous attempts have got gradually quicker (5:29:11, 4:37:54, 4:18:28) but I’m nowhere near the shape I was in 2014. My goal is to finish without the catastrophic drop in pace I normally experience in a marathon. Bonus points for finishing under 5 hours. Extra bonus points for sticking to my nutrition plan – I normally abandon it about 20km in and then pay the price at the end. I’m actually really looking forward to the race, which is a testament to how good the brain is … Read More

Quick Strength for Runners by Jeff Horowitz

Philip HarrisRunningLeave a Comment

I don’t like going to the gym. Yeah, I know. That makes me so special. It’s not the idea of exercise that’s the problem. I run dozens of miles a week and get twitchy when I can’t but give me the option of spending three hours doing a hard run in a storm or an hour in the comfort of a gym and I’ll go for the run. It’s party the terrible music that gyms are legally required to play (or it’s the endless TV turned up too loud if it’s the gym in our apartment building). Yes, it’s partly the people – or at least the fact that there’s invariably someone on the machine I’m supposed to be using next. Having to (gasp) switch the order of my workout is far more annoying than it should be. And don’t get me started on “those people” – you know the ones. Most of all though, it’s boring. Yes. running for three or four hours also sounds boring but a) it’s probably outside (and I live in Vancouver) and b) it’s a very mechanical process that doesn’t require much thought. I can listen to podcasts or audiobooks while I’m training and the actual running … Read More

Beating the Blerch Part Two

Philip HarrisRunningLeave a Comment

When we left our hero, he’d travelled to Seattle, spent four hours in a line to get his bib and book vandalised by The Onion and become one of the last people to watch Dawn of the Planet of the Apes in the cinema. When I was training for my first marathon, I was given some advice for the final days before a race – “Don’t stand when you can lean. Don’t lean when you can sit. Don’t sit when you can lie down.” Basically, you want to rest as much as possible for a couple of days before the race. So, spending the Friday before a race standing in a queue and the Saturday morning wandering aimlessly around the Seattle waterfront was not the best way to prepare for race day. Saturday started with us tracking down breakfast at Le Panier – A Very French Bakery near Pike Place Market. It was recommended to us by one of our fellow marathon runners (a Saturday runner whose marathon bib number was 1!) and proved a perfect place for breakfast. The apricot croissant and pain au chocolat I had were both delicious, the bread looked and smelled equally good and the prices were excellent. If you’re in … Read More

Beating the Blerch Part One

Philip HarrisChatter, RunningLeave a Comment

It turns out I took part in two marathons last weekend. The first was the four hours I spent queueing to meet Matthew Inman, better known as The Oatmeal. He’s the mastermind behind this fantastic comic on running and the associated book – The Terrible and Wonderful Reasons Why I Run Long Distances. He was at Road Runner Sports in Green Lake on Friday drawing sketches and signing autographs. By a bizarre coincidence, that was also the pick-up location for race packages for the Beat the Blerch races taking place at the weekend. Beat the Blerch sold out in twenty minutes but I was just about quick enough to snag an entry to the marathon – my sixth marathon and the first I’ve run outside of Canada. We decided to take advantage of the race to spend some more time in Seattle so went down early on Thursday and stayed until Monday evening. We took the train down from Vancouver to Seattle – partly because we hadn’t been on a Canadian train yet and partly because it’s a bit more relaxing than the bus. It’s also an early start – we arrived at the station at about 5:15 to get our seats and make sure we got through customs … Read More

Facing the Blerch

Philip HarrisChatter, RunningLeave a Comment

If technology and my race preparation align, I should just be starting the Beat the Blerch Marathon in Carnation, Washington as this post goes live. This is my second marathon of the year, the other being the Vancouver Marathon in May. The original plan was to run four marathons this year but I had to drop out of the Bahamas Marathon due to injury and dropped down to the Banff Half Marathon so that I could run with my wife who was injured for that race. I’m running this one on my own, my wife wasn’t able to register – it sold out in about 20 minutes. It should be an interesting race. For the runners out there you can see the route here. I made a fundamental error at the BMO race – I started out aiming to finish in under four hours and it cost me a personal best. Had I aimed for four hours fifteen minutes, I probably would have come in under that. This time I’m going to try to be a bit smarter and aim for a slower pace until the turn around point and then assess where I am. I’m also going to make a concerted effort to do better with my … Read More

14 Days to Go

Philip HarrisRunningLeave a Comment

It’s been a while since I mentioned running here so I thought I’d rectify that. As of today, there’s two weeks to go before my next race – the Beat the Blerch Marathon in Carnation, Washington. This race is pretty unique in that it’s being organised by Matthew Inman, the artist behind The Oatmeal site. It turns out he is a pretty serious runner and after the success of this comic decided to stage his own race. It sold out in about 20 minutes and although I managed to get an entry, my wife didn’t. But, as she’s injured, she wouldn’t have been able to race anyway. Instead, she’ll be my pit crew. The event was so popular that Inman added another set of races on the Saturday. Hopefully, that will go well and set things up for the Sunday when I’m racing. The race has a bit of an Oatmeal twist to it (as well as some fantastic merchandise). Every race has “aid stations” along the course, usually every mile or two. The stations provide water and nutrition to runners to help them get through the race. Usually, races have specialist gels and drinks and the Blerch races do too. There will also be Nutella … Read More

Nothing to See Here

Philip HarrisChatter, RunningLeave a Comment

What running shoe problem? I don’t have a running shoe problem.   At least I use them for something positive. [Nothing to See Here by Philip Harris first appeared on Solitary Mindset on 25th July 2014]