Craicfest 5K 2015

March 16, 2015

Craicfest 5K
Cambridge, MA
Sunday, March 15, 2015

18:30 (5:58 pace)
12th place overall
1st Master (40+)

Race Report


My goal coming into this race was to see where I was at speedwise in my quest at ridding myself of dead legs. Plagued with the well-earned dreaded dead legs for the last two years, it had gotten much worse last May after stockpiling marathons to get to number 100 and then doing a June 100 miler. My legs — and the speed in them — were dead, long gone. I not only could not spin the legs up fast like I used to, but even a 4 mile run felt like 8. Since running across the Grand Canyon this past October, I’ve been doing all of the right things in attempts to correct the problem. A month ago, finally, I started getting life back in my legs. I kept working on leg speed and was hopeful of at least getting under or near 19 minutes flat for the 5K. However, in the last two weeks leading up to the race, I had some key workouts that felt smooth, my pace was solid, and I was running on top of my feet, something I hadn’t done in a long time. When I’m running on top of my feet, my legs are spinning fast and I’m feeling smooth, I’m running fast or at least on the faster side. Because of this, in the week leading up to the race, I secretly hoped I could get down well into 18’s, perhaps even to 18:30. Even though I had a target number that would tell me where I was at, I would race this all out and not leave a second on the course. So although I had a time that would tell me a lot about where I was at, I didn’t have a target because I was going to run as hard as I could and see where the chips fell.

After pinning on my bib (race bib #1 — it’s a long story) and stripping down to shorts, I got out on the course to insert some strides. Although I did not feel smooth, I was getting on top of my feet. I eased into the strides due to a hammy that had been grabbing since the Tuesday prior. After roughly a mile and a half of strides, I squatted down on the side of the road and did 20 jump squats. I’ve found jump squats are great at aligning and stretching the muscles in the legs, especially for me with dead legs. A few more strides and it was time to get into the gates.

In a field of 1500 runners, I lined up three rows from the front. I figured worst case I was a top 25 finisher, so I had no problem bellying up there. In previous years without dead legs, I would have moved up a row or perhaps even two. But there looked to be some fast guys. I’d be lucky if I could get a top 15 or 10.

The starting gun cracked into the air and off I went. On top of my feet powering as fast as I could, I had a good enough jump and pull that there was no elbow bumping. I was focused on staying on top of my feet, assessing my hamstring, maximizing spring off my feet through my arches and onto the hammies, and being as smooth as possible. I knew that many of the 25 runners in front of me would come back. After 30 seconds, many came back. Another 30 seconds and I was in top 20. Another 30 seconds, now a quarter mile into the race, I was top 15.

Mile one came in a tick under 6:00. I had found a smooth pattern at top speed that kept me motoring but also kept the hamstring at bay. Uneven pavement would often throw me off. I would maintain a quick turnover even though I wasn’t getting much string in my stride until I found that pattern again. By then I had moved into top 15. The field was strung out and there was very little to no passing.

Mile 2 came in a tick under 6:00 pace. I was very happy that I was not falling off pace. And I was very happy that I was under 6:00 pace, something I honestly did not think would happen. Up the road I saw a collection of three guys and decided I would catch, pass, and finish ahead of all three. I bore down, focused on running as fast as I could, and varied leg speed and strength based on the terrain to maximize my stride, spring, and pace. I closed the gap to those guys, with one dropping back. I passed that guy and closed the gap farther. I could still see the lead vehicle, a police car, not too far up the road, and at that point I knew I was having a great race with the goods I had. I moved into 12th place, which is where I would wind up as I crossed the finish line in 18:30, which was good for 5:58 pace. At the time of crossing, I wasn’t sure of my placement in the old man category, but I could not remember seeing any grey hairs or bald guys up ahead, so I was hopeful of a Masters win. An hour later the RD, a friend of mine, found me to show me the results. I took the win.

This was a great race for me. I honestly ran hard, smart, and efficient. I didn’t feel as smooth as I would have liked, but I think that was more the hamstring than my dead legs. Half way through the race as I was sucking wind and listening to my lungs wheeze with some soon-to-be-sickness from one of the kids, I could not help but give smile because, truth be known, I really missed racing, being a part of a race like this, and running fast and well. It’s an amazing feeling that keeps me coming back. And it keeps me doing what I need in order to get the zip back in my legs.



Training Week 4/1

April 9, 2013

Training for the week 4/1 to 4/7 was about laying low, recovering, and staying out of the way of speed or anything else that might aggravate the hamstring attachment issue I re-injured a few weeks back at the Cupcake race on the beach.

For the most part, I did just that, though I didn’t exactly get myself to feeling any better in the attachment area. Another down week will hopefully get me back in order before the Boston Double on Marathon Monday!

I capped the week off pushing my boy in the jog stroller at Doyle’s Road Race. It was our first race together. We ran 37:57 for 5 miles, which was good for 7:35 minute miles. Not bad considering my first mile was 10 minutes and second wasn’t much faster, while getting stuck all the way in the back of the pack for this 1,600 runner field. Last mile? 6:05 minute miles! We were flying!

Also, stay tuned for something pretty cool. Hint: Boston Globe/… videographer… Boston Marathon! 🙂

Week 4/1

Mon: 4 miles, slow – road
Tues: 6 miles, easy – road
Wed: 8 miles, easy – road
Thurs: 4.25 miles, slow – road
Fri: 5 miles, easy but better – road
Sat: 11.5 miles in 1:38:58, social – trails
Sun: 6 miles total, Doyle’s Road Race – road

Total miles: 45 miles

Quality Workouts

Sunday: Doyle’s Road Race, 5 miles, 37:57 (7:35 pace)
Splits: 9:47, 14:44, 7:13, 6:05
*Started in back of race, stopped once in first mile, once in second mile. Second mile split was probably 8:30, while mile 3 was likely 6:15. Four had climbing in it, hence the slowdown to 7:13, and five was flying down hill. I dreamed about mile 5 years ago before I ever had a kid.

Next Week

Goal for the coming week will be to lay low and get ready for the Boston Double!

Beer of the Week

Mayflower 5th Year Anniversary Ale — Mayflower Anniversary, a limited-batch release double IPA made with five distinct hop varieties, has to be among my new all-time favorite IPAs. Who doesn’t like a double IPA? And this one, weighing in at 8.2 ABV, is to die for. Head right now to your local liquor store and pick up a 22 oz. bomber of it. You will NOT be disappointed. I promise!

Training Week 3/18

March 27, 2013

Training for the week 3/18 to 3/24 was about recovery. Although I did take the week easy with mostly short and very slow runs, recovery was sidetracked due to an injury — really a re-occurrence of an old Hammy Attachment issue — brought on by racing a 5K on the beach. The good news was that I won the race (Race For The Cupcake) by clocking sub-6 minute miles on the soft sands on the Gulf of Mexico in Florida. This was the 4th year in a row in which I have now won a race.

Week 3/18

Mon: 11 miles including 3 x 2 miles @ mild tempo pacing, speed – road/track
Tues: 3 miles, snow, slow – road
Wed: 5 miles, easy – road
Thurs: 5 miles, social & slow + 2 miles @ 5K race pace – road
Fri: 3+ miles, social & slow – road
Sat: 5 miles total including overall win @ the all-beach course of Race For The Cupcake 5K – beach
Sun: 2+ miles, social & slow – road, injured

Total miles: 34 miles

Quality Workouts

Monday: 11 miles including 3 x 2 miles:
o WU – 16:36 (jog to track)
o 3 x 2 miles @ mild tempo pacing
o CD – 19:30
1 – 6:26, 6:25
2 – 6:27, 6:24
3 – 6:41, 6:38

Saturday: Race For The Cupcake 5K, 18:27 on all-beach course, first place overall.
*Took 5K race pace and the lead from the gun and never looked back on this out and back course on the hard-packed sands along water’s edge. Would have clocked ~18:15 had I not stopped to run in with Jake, the Race Director.

Next Week

Goal for the coming week will be to get the hammy back to health so that I can resume the plan toward TARC 100. If I can get back to mostly health, I’ll lace ’em up for a low key 50K on the weekend.

Beer of the Week

Atomium Grand Cru – I have always had a thing — a good thing — for Grand Cru styled beers. Atomium by Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V. was a solid take on the style. It reminded me a lot of the other more popular take on this style, perhaps the yardstick for which these are measured, Duval Golden Ale. You got more a feel for the honey in this beer, as is popular with this style, than the alcohol content, though weighing in at 8.0% ABV, you had to be careful because the beer was good enough to take your mind off it. I really enjoyed this beer even though I’ve had better. I would definitely get it again. And I would love to try this on tap someplace.

Training Week 3/4

March 11, 2013

Training for the week 3/4 to 3/10 was solid. Goals were to recover from Black Panther 26.2, which I did [somewhat], and get back on spinning the wheels, which I did on three separate occasions.

A solid mileage week in spite not logging a long run. No worries, though. Most importantly is that the Soleus injury that prevented me from running at or even near pace for the last 2.5 months is now totally under control.

On top of that, I was also able to hit it hard at the Ras na hEireann 5K, a race I do every year with friend Bernie and Clock Tavern in memory of The Baker. Although I ran a decent enough time (I should be in the 17’s), clocking 18:03 for 3rd Master 40+ and 28th overall of 5000, I was able to feel my lack of speed fitness, as I did not feel smooth but was still able to muscle through. It actually felt awesome to race again. Love riding that wire. It’s my drug.

Week 3/4

Mon: 4 miles, easy – road
Tues I: 5.65 miles, social – road
Tues II: 7.3 miles, TM speed including 5 x 1 mi @ 6:15 w/incline chg – treadmill
Wed: 8 miles, near tempo – road
Thurs I: 4 miles, easy – road
Thurs II: 6 miles, TM top end speed 2 min intervals starting @ 5:30 and dropping to 5:15 – treadmill
Fri: 3 miles, easy – road
Sat: 6.5 miles, easy – road
Sun: 11 miles, including Ras 5K in 18:03 (5:47 pace) – road

Total miles: 55 miles

Quality Workouts

Tuesday: 7.3 mile speed session on the TM in 50 min (incline @ 1%):
o WU – 4 mins @ 7:47 w/ a pick up or two to warm legs up
o 5 x 1 mile @ 6:15 w/middle two minutes at 5% – w/4 min jog

Thursday: 6 mile speed session on the TM in 40 min:
o WU – 5 min @ 7:47
o 7 min @ 6:00 pace
o 2 min @ 5:30 pace w/3′ jog
o 2 min @ 5:24
o 2 min @ 5:18
o 2 min @ 5:15
o 2 min @ 5:15
*Wanted to go to 5:12 on last interval, but belt started buckling at 5:15 making it too dangerous. No worries, though, as I might not have been able to hold it anyway.

Sunday: Ras na hEireann 5K, 18:03 (5:47 pace)
o WU – 4 miles
o Mile 1 – 5:46
o Mile 2 – 5:47
o 5K – 6:28
o CD – 4 miles

Next Week

Goal for the coming week will be to get back the zing in the legs and log some miles, preferably marathon distance somewhere.

Beer of the Week

Pretty Things Jack D’Or – Jack D’Or, pronounced Jack Door, is a Saison Americain style of beer weighing in at 6.5 ABV and only 57 IBUs. It is a very good take on saison and will do any Belgium fine. Backing its cause is that Pretty Things is a great supporter of Cambridge 5K events, and although I love Eddie O’s races and will support him in any race he puts on, this beer would still be high on my list. But I must say, it was through Cambridge 5K, specifically Yulefest in Harvard Square, where I was introduced to not only Jack D’Or but also Pretty Things. I pick one of these up on a regular basis. It’s that good. Next I need to get my hands on White Fluffy Rabbits by Pretty Things.

TransRockies – Reason #11

August 16, 2011

When running a fine line never felt so invigorating… Go ahead, jump!

Photo credit: By Kevin Arnold/Courtesy TransRockies.

TransRockies – Reason #10

August 15, 2011

Because it is more fun when shared with another:

Photo credit: By Kevin Arnold/Courtesy GORE-TEX TransRockies Run.

Training Week 6/6

June 12, 2011

Training for the week 6/6 through 6/12:

Training for the week went much better than expected, mainly because I started the week still straddled with allergies that had me at low energy — a carryover from the previous week — but started springing back to life feeling better each day. I went from plodding through my daily runs to running hills and actually feeling strong.

A good week like this couldn’t come at a better time, because with less than a week to go until Mount Washington Road Race (Saturday, June 18), it is nice to feel human on the run again. I still hold to my earlier beliefs in that I am probably stronger this year over last year, but I am slower. So although I will try to beat my time running up the rockpile on Saturday, I will not be upset if I come in slower, as metrics show me that I am indeed slower. Either way, it’s great to be feeling strong and energetic after a few weeks of the opposite

The week went like this…

Mon: 3 miles slow, low energy
Tues: 5.65 miles social, low energy
Tues-double: 7 miles HILL REPEATS, 6 x Spickett Hill
Wed: 6.5 miles including HILL CHARGES, 10 x School Grass Hill
Thurs: 5 mile social trail run, easy
Thurs-double: 8 mile TRR Run, HILL REPEATS, 7 x Nashoba Ski Trail
Fri: 4 miles easy
Sat: 11 miles MOUNTAIN REPEATS @ Wachusett

Tues (7 miles road):
o WU – 5 min
o 6 x Spickett Hill (x:xx, 3:44, 3:44, 3:49, 3:59, 3:52)

Thurs (8 miles trail w/Jay):
o WU – 20 min
o 7 x Nashoba Ski Trail (3:00, 2:58, 3:01, 3:04, 3:02, 3:04, 3:05)
o CD – 20 min

Sat (11 miles road @ Wachusett Mountain):
o WU – 5 min
o 1 x Mile Hill Road (7:39)
o 3 x Steep section way to Summit (9:30, 9:35, 9:35)
o CD – 20+ min run down mountain

Coming off a few weeks of low energy due to allergies, this coming at a time when my body was very tired from training for MWRR, I approached these key workouts with caution and a goal of not pushing more than my body can handle. So in my hill repeat workouts, I ended the last repeat when I was still pumping strong rather than forcing an extra one or two. I like this approach and have mostly used it on and off throughout my running days, because it leaves you feeling strong and motivated rather than beating yourself into submission, because, really, after so many repeats all you do is drive the stake deeper, where gains diminish.

This was a good reminder to myself for the next phase of my training that will take place after Mount Washington. Instead of logging stupid miles on the trail, long miles after the  point of gain, where diminshed returns rule, I will cut out, done. I’d rather enter TransRockies slightly under trained rather than tired and sore.

The upcoming week will be light. I will stick with mostly social runs (easy) and stay easy myself. I will treat this week as dual purpose taper to Mount Washington Road Race and a break before my next phase of training for TransRockies.

Ras na hEireann 5K

March 15, 2011

Ras na hEireann 5K
Somerville, Massachusetts
Sunday, March 13, 2011

5K (3.1 miles)
Finish: 17:43 (5:43 pace)
27th Overall of ~6000
3rd Place M40+ (3rd Master’s)

2nd Place Pub Team Open of 50
1st Place Pub Masters of 50
1st Place Mixed Masters
(and more…)

Race Report

Do you love to run?

Have you ever been in a bad Irish pub?

If you answered yes to both of those then I have the race for you. It is the combination of those two — running and multiple Irish pubs — swirled together (but not shaken) with free Harpoon beer. That, my runner friends, is the Ras na hEireann 5K in Somerville’s Davis Square. Taking place the Sunday before St. Patrick’s Day, it is a must-do race.

The “must-do” for me came calling the Friday night before the race. Tim, a good running friend of mine, rang my phone. “Hey Thor,” he said, “do you want to run the Ras in Davis Square?” I listended for more from Tim. “Free entry… run with my pub team… we’re looking for some fast guys.”

Having heard about this race before and the wild after-party(ies), and already getting my Irish on for the green day ahead, there was only one proper answer: “I’m in!” Only problem was that both Tim and I were running long (16 miles planned) the next day — the day BEFORE the 5K. But because Tim was joining me AND doing the race, too, I figured no big deal. I might not be able to give the pub team my best on tired legs, but if he was in, so was I. Free beer made it so.

Saturday morning, as planned, we ran long with friends and then met up Sunday in Davis Square, where we met a bunch of Irish dudes with long brogues. Having Irish roots and being proud of them, I was in heaven. My grandfather would have loved this Craic. His Irish eyes were smiling down.

After rushed introductions from other members on the Clockwork Tavern team, we all got our bib numbers. I had already warmed up a little bit but wanted to get back out for more. A slight mix up with numbers prevented that from happening. I chalked the last minute events up to the Irish. By that point my legs weren’t yet feeling spunky for race pace, but I knew that I was good enough warmed up and that the long run of the day before was now a distant memory and very well negligible on my performance. Race start adrenaline smooths over a lot of bumps, I knew, and so that’s what I relied on, as I always do.

Amid a sea of 6000 other runners dressed in varying shade of Shamrock green, I wiggled into the front three rows back of the start. A few minutes later the gun fired. Off the pack went.

The opening 100 yards was hectic. Jostling for position, I got elbowed, kicked and bumped. A few strides later, the guy in hightops dropped, his buddy in a large green hat flopped, and I finally got clearance on either side. By then I was probably in the top 40.

Leading to Mile 1 (5:38) was a long gradual incline. The rise was an Irish blessing in how it helped pump my legs full of charge like a single bore engine racing itself. I was pleased to see such a fast split on the watch. My pace was strong, I was running all out, and my breathing was controled although labored. I even noticed that my sciatic wasn’t pulling and there was not a trace of hamstring tension. It felt good to blow the engine out, open the throttle, and pass several more runners.

Mile 2 (5:55) felt smooth and fast, although when I looked at my watch I was a bit put off by the slow 5:55 I saw. I was hoping for 5:50 or something south of it. But at that point I was tapped out and now already thinking about the remaining mile. At this point all runners ahead of me were slowly stringing out single file. There was no passing. We were all locked into pace. I continued to focus on form, not over-striding, and keeping leg turnover brisk. That’s when smoothness returned to my stride.

Coming into the race my goal was to go under or get very near 18 minutes for the 5K. Splintered in my mind was the fact that I hadn’t gone under 18 minutes all of last year. Now, at this point in the race, I wondered if I were under the wire. The possibility was good, I knew, or so it felt, but I couldn’t handle a slow down from here to the finish.

As the course turned on 2.5 miles onto a bike path, a stretch of pavement I knew to be fast and flat even if it were into the wind, I knew I had a finish time of under 18 minutes. I knew it because I was running too damn fast and doing it so fluidly. My lungs were burning, but my body was responding with acceleration.

Just before Mile Marker 3 (5:43), I caught a partial glimpse of the clock. The minutes were blocked, while the seconds flipped to :33, :34, :35… I knew I was under. There was no way the minutes were at 18. I was going under. Finish came in 17:43. I was well under!

In fact, I was not only under but I also just ran a PR. This blows my mind because, honestly, I don’t come by PR’s too often now-a-days. Been running for far too long to be PRing anymore. But after scanning old results, I can’t find a 5K any faster.

Subconsciously I must’ve known about the PR, because back at the pub for the after party, we were all downing beers as if St. Patrick ran a PR himself.

1 — 5:38
2 — 5:55
3 — 5:43
3.1 — :26

Training Week 3/6

March 14, 2011

Training for the week of 3/6 to 3/12:

Things are finally starting to come together.

After several solid weeks of training including ramped-up speedwork, my legs are finally feeling snappy. At times I even feel light on my feet. My body is responding well. My legs are feeling stronger and coming around to feeling fast. And all is falling into line.

Which is good timing. Because National Marathon, my target race for the spring, is now less than two weeks away.

The week started with me being “talked” into joining good buddies Brian and Frankie for Stu’s 30K. This in itself wouldn’t normally be such a talking point except for the fact that the day before Stu’s I ran 15 miles with some other friends. But my body and legs felt pretty darn good afterwards that I was easily persuaded to join the fun.

Stu’s proved to be a great confidence booster. The three of us ran together the entire way. We did not race but instead used the race format to get in a workout: 5 miles easy (at whatever pace), 5 miles @ MP, 1 mile easy, 4 miles at MP, jog home. We nailed the first 5 at 6:45 pace and the next 4 at 6:35. And my legs felt GREAT! It was fun to run with those boys again. It’s amazing how well matched we are in ability.

Two back to back “long runs” frame a very good week in which I accomplished all goals:

Sun: 19 miles (Stu’s 30K – including 5 @ 6:45 and 4 @ 6:35)
Mon: 3.5 miles easy – rest day
Tues: 9.3 miles social + hills
Wed: 6 miles semi-tempo
Thurs: 12.5 miles speed – SOLID workout
Fri: 4 miles easy start
Sat: 16 miles, mostly social w/5 @ 6:50

Tuesday Hill Work (roads):
WU – 45 min social run
6 x Hill (charge hill UP + jog 10 secs + charge hill DOWN)
*Hill was a ~2 minute hill (takes 2 minutes to climb)

Thursday Speed (TM):
o WU – 10 min
o 7 min @ 5:56 w/3′ jog
o 3 min @ 5:10 …
o 3 min @ 5:07
o 3 min @ 5:05
o 3 x 12 min @ 5:56
(12.5 mile in 1:20)

Goals for next (this) week will be to recover from weekend long run and 5K race (already into this week), get back to hills on Tuesday, and a scaled down speed session on Thursday. Keep the snap in the legs.

“You can physcially motor on long after your mind tells you it is done.”
“Just because you feel like death and want to stop, this does not mean you will die or have to stop.”
“Be stronger than the urge.”

OMW: Annoying

February 9, 2010

One-Minute Writer: Annoying

I had just made another pass in a string of many when I sensed something was wrong. The Dutch cyclist I had gone by was now sucking my wheel, cheating by slipping into my draft zone. I could hear him behind me, over the rush of wind, and even feel him on my back, eyes planted firmly on my ass as he continued to take advantage of an illegal position.

Fighting into ferocious winds on the polders of the Dutch countryside, I put my head down in attempts to stay as aero as possible and pushed as I tried to forget about the cheater behind me. But it was hard. Here I was, racing in a triathlon World Championship of top age groupers, playing by the rules, and this guy was out to use me to his advantage. The wind was unlike anything I’ve experienced before. Over the rushing sounds of a wall of wind, I was still able hear the guy behind me, annoying, ticking in my ear to the point where I finally had enough.

At first chance, I peered back with a scowl to show my displeasure. The pain registered on his face told me he was holding on. The over-distanced 5K swim before it in swirling, choppy waters plus the 60 miles already covered on the bike had taken its toll. This guy was hurting. But he was cheating. And he was annoying, totally disrupting my race.

Just then another rider, this one a German, hopped on his wheel, with me leading the charge, doing all the work into this dire wind. Both were cheating, as the International Triathlon Union mandates a draft-free ride for all participants.

Five miles later the road finally turned away from the wind. I used the opportunity to make a push, to shake the two cheaters, but having expended so much energy fighting into the wind in the earlier miles, I had no extra push remaining. When I looked back, I saw both riders sitting up out of their aero positions looking at each other and exchanging words.

That was it. Here I am, in a race of a lifetime, worrying about these guys behind me, letting them ruin my race… I had to do something. At that moment, annoyance exploded into action.

With me leading the way, with a Dutch cheater on my wheel and a German cheater on his, I reached down for my sport drink and took a swig. But instead of swallowing, I turned around and sprayed the sweet fluid up in the air, completing covering my competitors.

Even through this, these guys stayed glued to my wheel. So I sprayed them with sticky sport drink again. And again my plea was ignored.

A mile later a race official came by on a motorbike. As the official riding on the back looked at me to check that all was well, I told him about the two guys, how they were drafting. The motorbike slowed to the Dutch. As I looked back, I saw the official say something and wag a finger at him. Then he dropped back further and did the same to the German.

Not long after the motorbike pulled away, the Dutchman was back on my wheel. Thankfully the German took the message and was done cheating.

So annoyed I was at this point that I turned around and gave him a universal symbol with my middle finger. The Dutchman was unshaken. He didn’t even look at me as I had turned.

Just then a cyclist with a red Canadian maple leaf on his uniform pulled around the Dutchman to by my side. “This asshole has been drafting you for the last half hour.” I shook my head, I knew. At that moment, the Canadian slowed down to the Dutchman, now beside him, and thrust a middle finger at him, as if he would punch him.

It was the last time the Dutchman drafted my wheel.

My annoyance turned to elation nearly two hours later when I was done with the bike and now on the run course. As I was completing the first loop of the 30K run course, I spotted a familiar face on the other side of the pathway, runners going in either direction. It was the Dutchman. He wore the same expression of pain on his face. Dejected with dreams over, he was walking.

This “Annoying” moment was caught in an official race photo. This picture was taken right after the Canadian had pulled in front of me but before he told me of the cheaters drafting my wheel. It wasn’t long after this picture when I was finally able to shake the Dutchman and the German, with great thanks to my friend from Canada.