Category Archives: A-Z marathon challenge.

Updates to my A-Z Marathon challenge.

The SSQ Marathon Québec

What a great marathon. A qualifier for Boston I expected it to be a lot busier but with approx 1200 in the marathon it was ideal.

But I rush ahead of myself. We arrived in the city on a wet, cold and windy Thursday evening. Although the hotel was about a mile away we decided to get a taxi to it. We were in Quebec’s oldest hotel the Claremont. Right in the centre of the Old Town and ideally situated for the marathon expo, start and finish.DSCF2422

We went to the expo on Friday. I registered, collected my goodie bag and we had a stroll around the vendors. We left the expo and located the start and finish areas then headed back to the hotel thinking that everything was done until Sunday.DSCF2430

The weather was looking decidedly cold for the race so on Saturday we headed back to the expo and I bought a pair of fleece lined tights. A rather opportune purchase as it turned out.

Sunday morning dawned dull and 3 Deg. I rose had some food and headed to the start which was at a small park near a main boulevard. This year’s route was totally within the city 42.2 km through the 10 main districts.  The surface was mainly road or pavement with some cobbles and parkland.  I elected for road shoes and made my way to the start.


The race started 0800 I arrived at about 0730 and joined other runners milling around at the start in a small park in the Saint-Jean area of the city.  Although Quebec prides itself in its bilingual culture I could not hear any announcements in English, they were all in French.  I might be wrong and just didn’t hear them as my teeth were chattering so much.  The runners made their way to the start line for a further 10 minutes milling around with much arm swinging and running on the spot to try and keep warm.  Many runners were as well wrapped up as I was although there was a few hardy souls in shorts!

The traditional countdown started and we all began to shuffle forward under the start.  I found myself next to the four hour pacer and although quicker than I wanted I decided to stick with him and try to get some heat into my body.

The first 5K was all downhill and the route flattened out as it ran along by the Saint Charles river.  DSCF2498

We ran through the Saint Roch and Saint Sauveur a mix of residential and business premises.  The half marathon route split from the marathon route  between the 4 and 5 k mrk and rejoined us at 17k.  We continued along footpaths by the side of the river crossing the river just short of the 10k mark.

The pace had warmed me up and I could now feel my toes.  I decided to stay with the 4 hour pacer as I was feeling comfortable and he was using a walk run strategy!  We left the river and picked up some weary half marathon runners at the 17k mark.  We headed down the ramp and into the Pont tunnel Joseph Samson.  A major artery which had been closed so the race could use it.DSCF2501

The route now took us out along by the river and then along a parallel street and uphill into the Old Town as the route neared the hotel I was accompanied for a few hundred metres by Carol quite a surprise as I only expected to see her at the finish.

We continued east through the Plains of Abraham and out into a fairly resedential area known as Sillery and at about 36k started on a 6k dash to the finish area.  As I came down the mat I could see my time was just over 4:30 afterwards my official time was given as 4:30:47.  I was quite pleased with that and I had finally heated up!DSCF2512

Carol was waiting for me at the finish and unlike larger city marathons like Berlin and Paris she found me easily and could accompany me around to the finish area.  At the finish area after you had collected your medal bananas, water and pastries were available and McDonalds were providing free coffee.

Time 4:30:47 elev 913 feet.  A great marathon and one I would recommend.

Dotted around the course were a number of bands everything from bongo drummers to rock and rollers.DSCF2505



Quebec training week 19.

As I write this I have under a week to go until I toe the line for my Q marathon.

Week 19 training went as much as I expected except for the lack of yoga due to my shoulder problem.  An easy week was planned and that was what I had.

This close to a race I always get paranoid about my general health.  I wrap up well, stay away from long off road runs and limit time on the bike.

Running stats 14 miles run with 700 feet of climbing.

Biked 46 miles with 2600 feet of climbing.

Those of you following this blog for Quebec will notice that my training is not of the high mileage type.  This is mainly for two reasons:

1. To limit injury and overuse from runs longer than 2 hours.

2. With over 70 marathons and ultras to my credit I feel that intensity is the key.

Quebec training week 18

Not a great week at all!  I suppose it had to happen so I am not too concerned to have one bad week of marathon training in a 20 week schedule is pretty good.


Run an abysmal 13.5 miles with 1100 feet of climbing

Bike 105 miles with 6400 feet of climbing.

As I stand writing this my bad is on my bed half packed as this time next week Carol and I will be winging our way to Canada.

Bring it on!!!


Quebec training week 17

The second week of enforced rest due to a shoulder injury went quiet well.  I managed to get all my running miles in and some biking.  The rest seems to have worked with no pain at all during the last 10 days.  I go back to the doctors on Monday for the result of the xray hopefully there won’t be anything to worry about.


Running: 24 mles with 2000 feet of climbing.

Biking:40 miles with 1600 feet of climb.

No cross training other than that done at home.

Quebec training week 16.

Not a great week.  My shoulder had got worse from my bike crash a few weeks ago so in the end I decided to go to the doctors.  I was given painkillers, sent for an x-ray and told no yoga or pilates for 2 weeks.  I was to avoid anything that will irritate my shoulder.

Running miles 27 with 1700 feet of climb.

Biking miles 31 with 1800 feet of climb.

Heeding the doctors advice, apart from stuff at home, I did no classes or weight sessions.

Quebec training week 15.

Not a great week, training hampered by the shoulder injury I sustained at the Muckathalon.  Most disappointing was my failure to complete the scheduled long run for the week.  I completed 10 and not the 15 in the plan.  However I did get a wee bonus when I placed first in 60-64 age group for the park run.  Not a great time but you have to be in it to win it.  I have also been unable to do any cross training as supporting any weight on my shoulder results in pain!


Running miles for the week 22 wth 1500 feet of climbing.

Bike 13 miles and 1000 ft of climb.

Quebec training week 14

A very satisfying week culminating in an off road duathlon.

An easy week but I still got my Monday interval session in.  Apart from the race this was the most important session of the week.

Running miles 19 inc 2 x 2.8 miles in the duathlon (23:18 and 25:26 with 230 feet each time) Total climb 800 feet.

Biking 66miles inc 11 miles and 1500 feet in the duathlon total climb 4000.


Xtrg 2 yoga sessions 1 core, 1 weights and 1 massage.