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Scotia Medal

Finally made it to Toronto to pickup my from my 3rd place age-group win from the Scotia Half-Marathon 🙂





Toronto Waterfront Marathon


Well I managed to put it all together and made it through my half marathon.  This race is a cool venue with a start of over 13,000 runners, 10,078 of those running the half marathon.  The course is mostly flat and fats, with the exception of the last kilometer which climbs up to the finish line… just what you need after 20k.

I had a finish time of 1:20:16.  I am happy with that time considering my condition and the time I put it.  If you recall, earlier in the week I had to walk home during my run workout due to IT band pain in my left knee.  I stopped all workouts and just worked on my physio until race day to try and help the situation.   I also tried a product called KT Tape to help reduce the IT band pain and was hoping to give it good review.  The problem with this is that most of it fell off around the 7k marker.  I was supposed to shave my leg around the area to be taped but I didn’t bring my razor to the hotel.  For this reason, I will not say anything negative or positive about the product.


With my triathlon season ending in early September, my training had fallen off to a combined mileage of under 100k/week, and I definitely felt it on the last few kms of this race.  And then there was the extra 10lbs gained in year-end beer rewards I’m carrying around.


I was not going to let my coach, Dave Dame, down by running out too fast so I took off with a slow 3:57 to start the race off, them held a metronome pace of #;43’s for most of the race.  I had a 10k time of 38:04.  My legs started to resist during the last k and I slowed down to a 4:20 to the finish.  But I’m happy.  No knee pain and I had a solid performance on a great fall day… what could be better?


So what’s next???  I have a good idea of my next crazy challenge for 2014 but I’m not quite ready to share the new goals yet… you still just have to stay tuned 🙂

Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon- Half Marathon Awards – Male 30-34

Place Time      Bib #  Name                          Sex Age City
===== ========= ====== ============================= === === =========================
1 1:18:20.5  14791 Smith, Chris                  M    33 Toronto
2 1:19:35.5  13291 Pavlica, Dejan                M    32 Aylmer
    3 1:20:16.2  10130 Hopkins, Kirk                 M    34 Peterborough  

Well it happened again with only one guy to blame… ME!

I was running on Tuesday, a mere 5 days from the upcoming Scotia half marathon, when about 8k into my workout I felt that sharp, stride-breaking pain in my left knee.  It was all too familiar to me as I had this same issue when running the Peterborough half back in February… my IT band was tighter than my wallet when shopping with the Mrs.   Although this isn’t the worst injury you can get, it is very painful and will stop you in your tracks.

So how is this my fault you ask???  Well, last time I conquered this injury I had promised myself I would stretch often and work on my strength training.  And let me tell you, that routine fell apart by May.  Also, I promised myself I wouldn’t run in worn out shoes… new ones are now on order, but a little too late.  And then there is the lack of sleep, working 10 of the last 15 days on night shifts, trying to see the family in between and getting an average of 3 hours sleep each working day…  I seem to think I can do it all.

Well anyway, 2 more sleeps til I join 15,000 runners at the start line and wait for the gun to go off.  We will see if my cram session of physio and foam rolling worked.  Coach has told me not to sell the farm on this one… I hate it when he is right!

On October 5th I raced in the Slainte $20 5k series in Hamilton, part 1 of a 3 race series.  The winner of the series is determined by the total time for all three races.  Sounds cool, right?  Well, not quite…

First of all I was in the middle of a 5×12 hour night shift when I thought it would be a good ides to leave from work at 7am, drive to Hamilton, sleep in my car for 2 hours and then run a race… Crazy… Stupid… Agreed!

So as I walk towards the Macassa Yacht Club to pick up my race kit I bump into another competitor who says the yacht club knows nothing about a race today.  Weird right?  So now we have a big group of about 3 racers searching the Bayfront Park looking for any sign of a race… no luck, the park is deserted.  Back to the yacht club and guess who showed up!  Apparently there is a race.  So I grab my bib and ask, “where is this race”???  Less than an hour to gun time and Bayfront Park is empty.  They simply point and say the start is over there along the path…  Well gee wiz, thanks.  I start to think this may just be a local race am I am the only Out of Towner without a clue.  Nut as the racers keep coming no one can find where the race starts or which direction it heads.  I even saw one poor girl in tears thinking she was going to miss the start because of all the confusion.

Around 1pm when the race was supposed to start an official (finally) shows up and says yes, this IS the start location.  Great!  Now, where does the course go?  The only answer I got was a shrug of the shoulders.  Lack of sleep has me in hysterics at this point.  About 10 minutes later a guy shows up on a bike to lead the race.

FINALLY bang goes the gun and off we go.  I ran out too fast, my first km was a 3:04, and with the lack of sleep I quickly paid for my mistake.  I did manage to keep it together though and pulled off a win with a final time of 17:10.

The course turned out to be a beautiful run along the waterfront on a paved path that was smooth and flat.  And although the race officials were completely unorganized, they were very nice people and the local racing folks were fantastic, as most runners are.

I would just like to say to anyone putting on a race – throw up markers every kilometer!  And a couple of signs for the start line and race kit pickup would be helpful.  Even hand-drawn construction paper signs.  Most of us runners put a lot of time into our training and take our races seriously, so a little organization allows us to get into the race with minimal questions and enjoy the event.

As I said, this race is part of a 3 run series, but I will not be returning to finish.  I hope they are successful with the final two and will hopefully learn from this one and get things put together a little better next time.  Our local grassroots racing in the Kawarthas have this race beat, hands down.

One more week until the Scotia half in Toronto… I can’t wait!

This time of year I am reluctant to admit that my race season has come to an end. However this does not stop me from fervently searching the web for one more local race that I can squeeze in You see, in my mind I am superhuman and would be only wasting time reaching my goals if I were to slow down, even a little.

The is where having a fantastic coach like Dave Dame from Runner’s Life comes in handy. After a lengthy discussion with Dave about my training he has convinced me that this would be a good time to shut it down and work on some strength training and drills and to throw in some cross training to clear the mind. Even though I had to sleep on it for a few days, I do agree. This would be the best plan as I don’t want to burn out… Did I mention I was stubborn? Developing a good bond between you and your coach can pay off quickly, as I have shown this past season.

But before I go back into base training and dust off my cross country skis, I would like to set some benchmarks. Benchmarks give me an idea of what my current times are so I can set my new goals for the 2014 season.

So in October I will be racing a 5k and a half marathon to see where my running is at with fresh legs. I will use these times plus my 2013 season race results to set goals that are challenging yet achievable.

In my next post I will lay out the goals and the ground work planned to set 2014 as the best season yet.

Chex TV Spot

Made the news tonight 🙂

Check it out here

One of the ways I keep improving in this addictive sport of triathlon is to learn from my (as I see them) failures.  Every time I do not reach one of my goals in the time line I have set out, it starts a fire deep inside of me that drives me to focus on what went wrong and what steps need to be taken – not only to reach my goals but surpass them entirely.  This is the sickening feeling I have been stuck with since the ITU race.

Although I have had a great season, winning all of my races this year, including 2 course records and a National title, I am only able to focus on my short comings and attack them with a vengeance.  Some may think that I have done quite well and just may be at my limit, but I have been told that many times in my life and it just helps fuel the fire – a desire to prove that I can go further and race on an elite level.

I will continue to post on my blog throughout the winter, about my goals and training for the upcoming season, because it takes a year long commitment to make these goals more than just words thrown about on paper… stay tuned for a fantastic season of swimming, biking and running!


Final day in London

Didn’t post anything yesterday as we spent the day sightseeing and trying to pretend I didn’t lose my race.  I’m still feeling at odds about it, the guys that beat me weren’t any faster than me, they just somehow managed to get it done better than I did.  I’m going to take this as motivation to push myself in the off season and pull myself up higher next year.

Looking forward to coming home, a week of grey skies and rain is starting to get rather depressing.  Our shoes haven’t been dry since we arrived and our dirty clothes bag reeks of wet socks.

Today was the main event at the World Championships – the Elite Men’s race.  Hyde Park was full of spectators lined up to watch the final race.  Started out with a little bit of sunshine but turned to drizzle halfway through the bike.  The course was 2 loops of the swim around the Serpentine, 7 loops for the bike from Hyde Park to Buckingham Palace and back and 3 loops of running on the path on the north side of the lake, taking the runners past the grandstands (which we couldn’t get close to) a total of 6 times.  It was a great race to watch, the crowd was full of energy and the race for first between Javier Gomez and Jonathon Brownlee was fantastic to watch.  Alistair Brownlee (the third major contender) dropped out of the running early in the run, but still finished his race and received the loudest cheering from all the spectators.

On Your Mark


Get Set




Me cheering one of our Canadians on


Javier and Jonathon fighting for position


Kyle Jones racing the pack on the final 500 meters


So, I’ll get this out of the way first – I did not win my age group, not even top three…  I came in 7th but I can’t say that I feel too badly about it.

Last night wasn’t great, I was tired but couldn’t sleep at all.  Too much buildup maybe, or still adjusting time zones.  I wasn’t alone though, every Canadian I talked to said the same thing.

Went and dreary out today, not full-on rain but a steady drizzle to keep everything nice and slippery.



So we lined up in our waves to start the swim, too many 35-39 year olds for just one heat so we were split into two, with 5 minutes apart.  I was in heat B and I have to say, that was one of the toughest swims ever.  There were bodies everywhere and everyone stayed in a pack for most the way.  I pulled out into a lead group of about 4-5 swimmers and we stayed close til the end, the Aussie that ended up taking the gold came out right beside me.



The bike was the craziest thing I have ever done.  Hundreds of people on the same course running 3 loops with tight turns, narrow lanes and pedestrians crossing a little slower than I would have liked.  Saw lots of road rash along the way, thankfully I was able to keep upright.  Not my ideal course that’s for sure.



The run took 2 loops around the lake, it was a decent run for me, about what I was expecting.


With the split wave start for our group the first three to cross the finish ended up getting knocked out of their positions when my wave came through.  Either way I came in behind the 6 of them, ending up with a 7th place finish (first Canadian in my age group and 78th overall).  I can’t say I’m exactly pleased with that but I do know that I have no regrets with how I ran my race.  It was a chaotic course, never really sure who you’re passing or trying to catch made for a very different race experience.

Person Details


Name Hopkins, Kirk (CAN)
Age Group 35
Number 20847

Race Info

Swim 00:09:46
Trans 1 00:02:53
Bike 00:34:50
Trans 2 00:02:53
Run 00:17:32


Place (M/W) 78
Place (AC) 7
Time Total (Brutto) 01:07:53


Split Time Of Day Time Diff min/km km/h Place
SWIM FINISH 09:34:51 00:09:46 09:46 13:02 4.61 37
BIKE START 09:37:44 00:12:39 02:53 37
BIKE CHECK LAP 1 09:44:42 00:19:38 06:59 01:57 30.96 52
BIKE CHECK LAP 2 09:55:32 00:30:28 10:50 01:30 40.42 62
BIKE CHECK LAP 3 10:06:13 00:41:09 10:41 01:28 40.98 59
BIKE FINISH 10:12:33 00:47:29 06:20 01:40 36.06 60
RUN START 10:15:26 00:50:21 02:52 66
RUN LAP 1 10:24:25 00:59:20 08:59 03:36 16.70 65
Finish 10:32:57 01:07:53 08:33 03:26 17.55 78

Just over 12 hours to go…

Got the bike all checked in, got the course and transition maps memorized, had my usual pre-race dinner of fish and chips and a pint of beer, and now I’m getting my gear ready. By the time you wake up in the morning we should know if it was all enough 🙂