Sunday, December 31, 2006

A wrap for 2006

Originally uploaded by yumkerun.
I've pretty much faithfully plotted out all the miles and kilometres I've run this year. What kind of year was it?

It was a year when I was 5139, 278, 408, 997, 6616, 5718, 6371, numbers assigned my all my races. It was a year when I ran in five running shoes, retiring one of them after 713km on Sept. 9. It was a year in which plus 30 C or below -15 were never deterrants to getting out there on my daily runs.

In my racing life, it was the big one. I ran in seven, and I could easily have done more. I set a few PRs, but none of them to go on about. All those runs are overshadowed by The Marathon. Chicago was a far off goal, then one looming, then one realized. This blog tracked me before, during and after that big event. I want to do another, because I became stronger because of the training, because the intense schedule gave structure to my workouts and because the achievement, both mentally and physically, are totally mine to savour.

I'll leave declaration of resolutions for another day, but it's safe to say that I've achieved most of mine from last year in 2006.

Weekly mileage: 15K (9 miles)
Total run in 2006: 2515K (1563 miles)

Jan: 20 runs for 181K
Feb: 19 runs for 170K
March: 19 runs for 153K
April: 17 runs for 176K
May: 20 run for 187K
June: 26 days run for 261K
July: 27 runs for 299K
Aug.: 24 runs for 328K
Sept.: 20 runs for 299K
Oct. : 17 runs for 177K
Nov.: 18 runs for 165K
Dec.: 15 runs for 110K

Resolution 5K race report

It's funny, leading up to the starting line, this race was nothing more than a cool way to finish off a memorable running year. So I didn't train much for the distance, I didn't carbo load, I didn't even worry about what time I went to bed or got up.

Jelly and I signed up for this about a month ago. I remembered my last 5K in a hot hot July day and remembered how I finished it badly (heat related head wooziness). R and two other friends came to run the race and we gathered at the historic Distillery District with its cobblestones. It was sunny, the wind was light and it was barely cold. Perfect running weather.

My so-called game plan was to take it easy. Throw down a 4:30 half marathon pace for the first few kilometres, and see how I felt. We started, I punched my Garmin and we were off. It felt good, fast even. I had only run once earlier this week, so I'd plenty of fresh legs. By the time we were 400 metres in, I was surprised that I was not far off from the front. The guys at the very front were not blazing away and I knew that none of the serious speedsters were out there today. After 1K, I calmed myself down and just settled into a 4:30 pace. We hit the out and back and I was surprised that I was in about the first dozen or so runners. Huh? This run barely qualifies as a tempo run.

Oh well, at this point, my major worry was breathing, as the congestion from my cold i've been recovering was demanding, well, a way out. I hit the 3.5K and I remember wanting it to be over, but I knew it was all in my head. The marathon, I told myself. This 5K is piddly compared with the marathon. And in the final kilometre, instead of slowing down, I speeded up, and finished the race, and my last few strides of 2006, on a cobblestone road, hitting my Garmin which said I'd done the distance in 21:53.

I walked back to greet Jelly, and saw that she was well below the 30 minute mark, so I ran about 50 metres with her, telling her to push it!

So that's it, race No. 7 and the final run of the year.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Year in review

Just like we all do in my work life of journalism, i'm filling in the dead days before new years with a good look back at the year that was. I'm a fan of lists, so here are some of the best

By the numbers
Highest monthly mileage: 345.5K in August that included two +30km days (or 20 milers)
Lowest monthly mileage: 110K in December (oh I have the excuses, so..)
Highest weekly mileage: 92.5K between Aug. 28 and Sept. 3 [weekly reviews]
Most hours run in month: 28:50:22 in August
Number of races: 6 (not including a 5K i'll do in two days)
What they were: A marathon, two halfs [12], one 10K, one 5 miler, one 5K [races]

Places, things, memories
Cities I've run in this year: 4
Where they were: Toronto, Ottawa, Chicago, Nice
Memorable non-racing run: Birthday
Favourite posts: [favourites]
Chicago: a look back

Okay, out of time. Tomorrow, I celebrate this blog's one-year anniversary, then start to set goals for next year

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Park in progress...

Originally uploaded by yumkerun.
Just an update on the slow progress made on my neighbourhood park.

Old pictures are here, here and here.

Sick day...

Actually, I'm not taking a sick day, cause i'm between jobs (i love that!) for another 5 days. I have a creeping cold that i'm trying to whack before it gets me. It's one of those colds that attack your lungs and makes breathing difficult.. So i'm taking it easy. I did run 10K two days ago and forgot to report back on my blog.

For now, i'm doing some small planning for my race schedule next year. I think I have an 8K, a 10K and a marathon picked up. It will be a tricky year for running, which i'll get to in my resolution post, but it'll also mean that i'm going to probably pick another marathon that's not in Toronto, probably not in Chicago, but is a big one...

More on that later...

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Tis the time for overeating...

Why do i feel like not eating for the next few days? I've had tonnes of good, rich food the past few weeks and now I feel bloated. Butter tarts, turkey, ribs, pork tenderloin, bacon, mashed potatoes, stuffing, fish... While I don't feel out of shape, I'm far from the way I felt in August and September while in the big training weeks.

I ran 5K on Christmas eve, which was a beautiful day. Feel a cold coming on, so i'll tkae it easy, but i'll get in some runs and get ready for the final run of the year next Sunday.

Last week's recap
Weekly mileage: 29K (18 miles)
Time run: 2:03:40
Year to date: 2,499.5K (1,558 miles)

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Home sweet home..

I ran a measly 4K at home before coming to my parents place for Christmas.. I'll be here for a few days... I also packed my shoes and hope to get runs in the next two days...

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Catching up...

Ran 5K on Tuesday and I fit in a 4K right now before heading out for errands and the like.... Christmas is coming fast!

Monday, December 18, 2006

Oh Xmas tree

Originally uploaded by yumkerun.
.... thought my blog needed a picture to brighten things up. This massive tree is inside the Eaton Centre, Toronto proper's biggest shopping mall that attracts millions of visitors a year. I was there today and yesterday swiping my credit card. Ah, Christmas.

Between jobs...

Well, I guess I can write about why my mileage, in part, has dropped over the last while. I started a new job at the national broadcaster in September, a job I was really enjoying. But an amazing opportunity came knocking and I answered, so now i'll be working at (another) national newspaper website starting in January. It was very difficult, almost agonizing, to leave after a short period, but I believe chances to do good work only come once in a while. My running suffered as my mind was elsewhere. Which is funny, because I think it's running that helps me focus.

I have the next two weeks (or most of them) off as a result of the lul between the jobs, and i'm happy to have them off to reflect, to recharge. I will get more mileage in, including a resolution run on Dec. 31.

Today, ran a 10K in which the first half my legs felt like concrete. The second was considerably better and finished the run in 49:03.

Last week's recap
Weekly mileage: 29K (18 miles)
Time run: 2:37:37
Year to date: 2,470.5K (1,540 miles)

Saturday, December 16, 2006

The weather outside is... fabulous...

Quicky post as we count down to the holidays. A medium distance run of 13.5K today in the sun while the rest of the city was doing stuff like Christmas shopping. I'm saving that for Monday. Oh, the joy of days off. Supposed to go to 11 degrees tomorrow, so i'd like to fit in a 15K if I can.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

The video...

Well, my video from Go Action arrived. 13 minutes of reliving the Chicago marathon with clips of me at the start, the halfway mark, 35K and the end. I have to say that I think I have stronger emotions when I see it in my mind's eye than when I see it in person. It's pretty amazing to watch the start, though. Thousands of runners.

I ran a brisk 10K today. As Bob says, hibernation is not an option. Sir yes sir!

Monday, December 11, 2006

Fast five...

got home, ran 5K, showered, now on my way out for dinner.. December is a busy social month, and i love it, cause in January and Feb., we'll all be hibernating...

Our hearts

NY times on a marathoner's heart.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Three more weeks

The year is coming to a close. In three weeks, Jelly and I will be running our Resolution Run 5K. For now, I'm stringing along enough miles to keep in shape.

Today was beautiful, plus 6 plus plenty of sunshine. I did an out and back 15K. I only truely enjoy these long runs. The short ones are usually done in darkness.

Running update
Weekly mileage: 37K (23 miles)
Time run: 3:07:15
Year to date: 2,441.5K (1,522 miles)

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Let the wind decide

I haven't quit running, but took a little break. It's been busy in the work life and running has taken a secondary role. But.. I did 10K on Wednesday, then took Thursday and Friday off.

Today, it's a windy day, but it's also plus 2. After visiting with my folks, I headed out for a out and back 5K, the first 2.5 was into the wind and the lovely trip back was wind aided.

Tomorrow, if i'm good, it'll be a nice long run.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

300th post and 1,500 miles

Yep, i've been missing in action. Not sick, just resting and really busy at work. I took off four days from running before going out there last night. Here's a quick recap:

Last Monday (Nov. 27): 6.5K along the city after work.
Last Wednesday (Nov. 29): 6.6K along a similar route.

Last week's totals:
Weekly total: 13K (8 miles)
Time run: 1:08:41
Year to date: 2,404.5K (1,499 miles)

Well, since I ran a 6.5K 4 miler yesterday, I have now passed the 1,500 mile mark and the 2,400km point. With a month to go, I now know that it will be a struggle to get in 30 mile weeks, but hey, after 8 months of hard running, I think I deserve a season of lighter, for-fitness activity.

By the way, it's also my 300th post in less than a year (11 months).

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Will he do it again?

Anyhow, Lance Armstrong said after the New York Marathon that he was unsure he'd do another one.

Then in today's, he says this:

Speaking of which, are you glad you ran the marathon? Will we see you cross the finish line in Central Park again?

I would say there's a very good chance of that.

Oh how soon we forget the pain.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Lots of walking...

Following yesterday's long run, I could have finished the week off with another run, but I felt I wouldn't push it. Today was a day for walking, and I was roaming all around town picking stuff up for the holiday season.

Well, I finally hit the 30 mile mark, thanks in part to the 13 miler yesterday. Now that I have a month left this year, I know i'll top 2,500 kilometres and pass the 1,500 mile mark in the next week. Wow, 2,500 kilometres means I could have run to Montreal five times over, to Halifax with 650 kilometres left in the tank, or to Winnipeg with 400 kms to go. That's freaking far.

Running update
Weekly mileage: 48K (30 miles)
Time run: 4:00:05
Year to date: 2,391.5K (1,486 miles)

Saturday, November 25, 2006

The beach and back

Originally uploaded by yumkerun.
The last time I'd done more than 10 miles was in Chicago. Today, there was absolutely no excuse not to run a little long, with clear skies in the afternoon about about 6 degrees.

I ran out to the Beaches and back along Toronto's waterfront and aimed for the half marathon distance. Only encountered about five runners and maybe 30 cyclists, so I had pretty much the trail to myself. It was peaceful and my pace was pretty good. The only bad part is I felt a twinge in my lower left calf in the last 200 metres, as I'd upped the speed. Probably not a good idea. Finished 21.1K (13.1 miles) in about 1:50 with a pace of 5:12.

Friday, November 24, 2006


I will stop talking about how hard it is to get myself out there on the streets for runs until I start getting consistent. Well, the last three days have been good, and if I run during the weekend, it'll be my first five-day stretch of running in a long time.

Fit in a 10K yesterday morning which I ran in about 51 minutes for average of 5:05Ks. I started tonight's run on a fullish stomach, so I started off easy, then at the 5K mark, I realized that if I stepped it up in the last kilometre, I'd hit 6K in less than 30 minutes. With a 4:04 final kilometre, I hit the mark in 29:18.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Oy.. okay, i'm back

Took two days off, not because I wanted to, but because life got in the way. It's really warm now compared with Sunday, so I managed to squeeze in another 5K (3 miler). To make up some mileage, I will have to talk myself into running tomorrow morning. Wish me luck.

Monday, November 20, 2006


Chilly chilly at first, but then warmed up to a nice toasty feeling after 3 miles. Then it was time to call it quits, cause it was time to go to work..

Sunday, November 19, 2006

The runner's high...

Some people who casually run ask me about this, the runner's high... I'm not entirely sure when you hit it, but I usually tell people that I feel like 'ugh' until about 10 minutes into the run, when I start to feel better. On good long runs, I think I hit it after the 1 hour mark. Today, I totally didn't feel like going out there. It was 1 degree, but clear. I hadn't run for three days (a concert on Thursday, dinner on Friday and a lazy Saturday conspired to get me off my feet) so I felt an obligation to run. No, not a need, an obligation.

So I set out on the out-and-back 15K run on the trial. While I was warming up in front of my condo, a cyclist asked me if the trail continues to the west and I said, 'yes, follow that runner' (pointing at a guy down the road) and you'll hit the trail that brings you to Etobicoke, which is west of Toronto. He thanked me and he was on his way.

I set out after him, thinking that I should keep the the trails and avoid streets, traffic and pedestrians. The first 3K was uneventful, I was trying to keep the heart rate under 80% but getting in a good pace. I was kinda laboured and was concentrating on running too much.

Then it happened. I hit the 4K mark, and saw that same cyclist on his way back. By then, I had been running for only 22ish minutes but my mind was shifting away from the pain of running hardish, and focused on other things. My hands started to loosen, I swung my arms with more fluid motion, my legs were heavy but now I found my stride, my eyes were fixed at the tree branches and I was enjoying seeing the leaveless fingers of those oaks go by. It made me feel fast. Other runners were passing, and I picked up my speed slightly, nodded and waving to them confidently and I realized I had done it -- not a high, but something better than 'ugh -- by the time I hit 6K. Running wasn't painful, it just was, well, running. And I enjoyed the next 9K.

Running update
Weekly mileage: 36K (22 miles)
Time run: 2:56:41
Year to date: 2,343.5K (1,456 miles)

Happy birthday Jelly...

JellyP, today, you turned 30. It occurs to me now that I've now known you for a good decade now, starting back in the days when we were in journalism school, slaving away for the school weekly.

I remember in my high school or even younger days, when you'd meet a friend and you'd hit it off. In days, you'd call them your best friend, in years, they'd fade away from memory. My later-life friendships have been so different. Our bond has grown so strong over the years the memories flood over -- the long days at the newspaper, the late nights the gang stayed at the house on Olive, the trips, by road and air, to all across this country, the countless afternoons spent sipping tea during dim sum, the afternoons scheming about our next cooking or baking adventure, then the days spent in the kitchen.

Like you said to me before we ran the marathon in Chicago, the past year has made us even closer, even though we barely ran more than a few times with each other. I'm so glad you dragged us on this adventure. Here's to your 30th...

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Night running

There's a path I run through most of the year for my out and backs, a path in which I can do 3 milers, 6 milers or 10 miles. It sort of runs parallel to a major road and, unfortunately, on evenings the distant car lights are the only source of light. On the minus side, I can barely see the path. On the postive, it's uninterrupted, no traffic and I can zone out and not think about stop lights, cars, curbs...

It's night running, almost, when you focus on the road, look at the bicyclists in the distance with their flashing helmet lights. The big trees in the park i'm in, planted shortly after the Second World War, each for a group of soldiers, stand solitary and block whatever moonlight i'm hoping will show my path. Apparently, tonight about a dozen other runners have the same thoughts. I see them in the distance, dark forms bouncing, almost fading into the blackness. We approach one another, and we're just dark forms, there are no runner waves as we can't even see a face... save for one, who grunts 'hey.' I grunt 'hey' back, then return focus to my path, winding around a corner, where I find a bank of streetlights, and the way home...

10K in 49ish minutes.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Finding a 5K plan...

Well, i'm looking for a program to 'train' for my new years eve run. I'm not the biggest fan of the distance, i'm most comfortable with the 5 mile to half marathon distance. I know one thing, the program will call for trackwork (or speedwork) at probably 3K race pace.. yikes. Oh well, that'll get me poring through my running books in the next few weeks, but in the meantime, any tips would be appreciated.

Took two days off cause I really didn't have the time to fit in the running. Today, back on my five-to-six-day-a-week plan: 10K (6 miles) through the city

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Sluggish, then not so sluggish

Catching up on my running log. I snuck in a 4K run before dinner on Friday, which was good, cause we went for yummy Indian food, which is tasty but very rich...

Yesterday was a classic lazy day. Got up, went to the market, hit the bakery ($16 in focaccia -- pictured -- and flatbreads), the butcher ($14 on a sheet of real bacon and a pork tenderloin), the cheesemonger ($4.25 for smoked gouda, a critical ingredient in my bacon sandwiches with honey-garlic dijon in between a focaccia bun.. best sandwich ever), and $5 for my favourite Portguese-style chicken... Food heaven let me tell ya. Caught up with old friends then settled for a night of DVD watching.

Which meant I was in bed by 3 and in no mood to run this morning. But dragged myself out there and did a slow 10K in about 53 minutes. My mileage is slowly climbing to where i'd like to keep it.

Running update
Weekly mileage: 45K (28 miles)
Time run: 3:36:48
Year to date: 2,307.5K (1,434 miles)

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Longish run

Finally I thought it was time to rack up some miles. I haven't run more than 6 miles (10K) in a while, so today, I planned to see how I felt after 5 minutes, then plan my route accordingly. I ran a 15K city route, where I had to compete with pedestrians, some of whom like to take the entire width of the sidewalk. Had a few close calls and I guess i really don't have right of way..

I signed up for a 5K race on Dec. 31, a resolution run that JellyPepper has also signed up for. Would be a good way to end of the mileage for this year...

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Long work days

Part of the reason why I switched jobs in September was to take a bit of a breather from a long, grinding schedule. Haven't fully abandoned the concept of long hours, cause journalism really never is a clock-punching job. So today, working a few extra hours, I got out of work a bit late. I was a little miffed at losing some time off my evening, time I would use to go for a run and other stuff just for me.

A short run was the perfect prescription. I'm in the process of convincing myself to go out for at least 20 minutes six days a week. So I did a 5K run after work. It was raining, it was dark and it was great.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Getting comfortable...

I think for the first time since the marathon, I completed a run that satisfied me. I worked hard, parts of it uphill, but my stride was consistent, my posture was good and, most of all, the breathing was in sync. Funny thing about running, this breathing thing. So many ways to get it wrong.

Beautiful night to run, and I tackled the city streets. I think I jar a lot of people while I run by them...

10K (6 miles) in 47ish minutes...

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Another random reason why I run...

Originally uploaded by yumkerun.
This picture is of the sunrise yesterday morning. This is the view from my condo, beautiful, isn't it?

I was treated to a sunset today during my short 3 miler (5k) in 22:44 done at a pretty good tempo cause the sunset was breath taking and I forgot about running slow, I felt like I was running after the sun.

I also ran a 10K (6 mile) yesterday, done in 47:50. So next week i'm ready to resume my mileage so I keep at at maintenance level, three or four weekday runs of up to 6 miles each, then a long run in one weekend day.

Training update
Weekly mileage: 40K (25 miles)
Time run: 3:14:19
Year to date: 2,262.5K (1,406 miles)

New York City Marathon: What a finish!

Dos Santos holds on to win the marathon. Wow, he just had enough room to fend off a late surge by the second and third (Tergat) place runners.

And here's the quote of the day, from Lance Armstrong, who did clock under 3 hours (2:59:36). His longest run was a 16 mile pacer. File this quote under, "Runners get respect."
"Without a doubt that was the hardest physical thing I've ever done.... I can tell you, 20 years of pro sports, endurance sports, from triathlons to cycling, all of the Tours, even the worst days on the Tours, nothing was as hard as that and nothing left me feeling the way that I feel now in terms of just sheer fatigue and soreness."

New York City Marathon: oh, the fun

Originally uploaded by yumkerun.

Okay, I broke down and bought the pay-per-view race on the web... And I love it, since I have no access to the New York city channel and there's no way I want to wait for the condensed one-hour version on NBC this afternoon. So far, the womens' lead pacer is not doing a great job pacing, the men's race is about a half hour old and it was soo much fun to watch the masses start the race.

Also admitedly fun to watch first-time marathoner Lance Armstrong run. Here's a screenshot..

Anyways, back to my web viewing...

Update: Jelena Prokopcuka wins the women's race in 2:25:05. She and the second place runner broke away from the pack (including Kastor) and never looked behind.. Prokopcuka won last year. Great performance.

Lance looked strong, but there are no numbersand is apparently on 2:58 pace.

And in the men's race, Dos Santos has the lead, but is being tracked by a group of Kenyans including Tergat...

Friday, November 03, 2006


Okay, sometimes, technology is great. Sometimes, it's useful. Sometimes, you wonder, why?

Not sure where to file this, but here's the scoop on this Sunday's New York Marathon. NBC will do a one-hour wrap show nationally. If you live in New York, a local station (NBC I think) will do a live show.. The rest of us will get one hours worth, after the race is over.

Enter technology. says it will offer live streams online for $4.99. There are cool bits. You can enter bib numbers and you can track people as they cross certain points. You can also watch the leaders, on demand. And, if you want to watch Lance Armstrong, you can do that too, all at this site.

Not to say that Lance's best days are behind him, but I'm sure he's more entertaining to watch in his element, fighting back on the Alps after falling, for instance.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Chilly morning...

Wow, the temperature took a dip. I believe the morning started off at 0 or minus C range, but I got out there for a brisk 9K run through the city... Been awhile since i've done a run like that and it felt good to be moving quickly while the pedestrians were in their winter gear (or close to it). Makes me feel nice and alive.. and nice to get the blood flowing again first thing...

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Well, we missed it on TV...

... but, for now at least, you can recapture some of the Chicago Marathon moments on this video at the local CBS website.. This clip is of the crowds that cheered us on...

Good reads

About Boulder, Colo., where all the elite guys and gals train, but never really train with each other, according to the New York Times article (registration required).

Long a popular haven for elite athletes, the area boasts 300 sunny days a year, 400 miles of trails (including Magnolia, which soars to 8,600 feet), more massage therapists than muscles and a fervent outdoor culture.

But this is no running utopia. Instead, Boulder is an example of the fiercely competitive sport of road racing, in which runners train in quiet isolation, passing one another occasionally on hills while guarding their strategies.

Of course, this weekend is the marathon weekend in New York and i'm trying right now to figure out if I can watch any of this on my time shifting channels.. I guess i'll have to see if any New York stations track it live. Should be a good one to watch, with runners like Tergat, Keflezighi, Kastor set for the race... Also, the American sensation Dathan Ritzenhein is set to make his marathon debut.. Then, there's Lance Armstrong's first marathon. Does anyone care?

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Back into it...

Started work a bit later than usual today, so took advantage and went out there for a 7 a.m. run. Was nice to get out there while it's still bright outside. I know most weekday runs in the next five months will probably be done in darkness.

Ran 5K (3 miles) in 26:38 for average pace of 5:18 a K. Heart rate is still up and it feels like more work than it should. I'm going to take it easy, take tomorrow off, and resume running on Thursday. Want to try to save for a 8 to 10 miler on the weekend.

Monday, October 30, 2006

What's next?

I guess it's a question everyone who's just done a marathon is asking. Of course, there are folks like Ryan who have some work to do for Boston! Me, I'm not really following a recovery program but I've commited to this: I have nine weeks left in this calendar year. No races are so far scheduled, but maybe i'll do a resolution run on New Year's Eve, but in any case, i'm scaling down to about a 30 mile a week program for the next two months. Even so, I'm on track to log about 1,600 miles or more than 2,500 km. Wow.

Here is what is on my watch list.

Winter season: Keep base mileage at around 30 miles a week. Look ahead to two possible races in the winter, and not really run them to get PRs, but to stay in race shape and have fun running. The two races are the Tom Hortons Chilly Half Marathon on March 5. It will be freezing and the bright side is that they'll serve Chilli at the end.. Yum.. Chilli. The second race is the Around the Bay 30K in Hamilton, also known as Steeltown for the industry. The Bay is billed as the oldest road race on the continent (113th edition is on March 25) and it draws good numbers.

Spring season: This is one of my favourite periods as the weather in Toronto changes, it starts getting in the plus 5 degree (mid to high 40F) and it's time to start racing! I love the 8K Spring Runoff on April 7, which is run in beautiful and very hilly High Park and it's the site where I think I can do a major PR for that distance. Then, a month later on May 6, comes Toronto's biggest race (for a single distance), the 10K Sporting Life, which is downhill and is a fast course. As for half marathons, I have the choice of the Mississauga (half) Marathon, which is badly enough only a week after the 10K. Or, I can choose the half at the National Captial Marathon in our nation's capital in late May.

Summer season: Oh, there are a few races in June and July and I may do one or two... In any case, I won't be racing that much except for tune ups, because...

Fall season: I'll most likely be training for a fall marathon! Toronto's two dueling marathons are stupidly only two weeks apart (Sept. 30 and Oct. 14) and I seriously think that something has to give. i'm sorry to say it, but unless one of them switches to the Spring, they will forever be 'small marathons'. The other possibilities are Chicago, which I really want to do again. It falls on Oct. 7 and is right before Canadian Thanksgiving. Yikes. Then again, I can put in for the lottery at the New York Marathon. Tell you what, all things being equal, Chicago looks very very tempting...

Today, went back out there and did a 10K (6 miler). I obviously need to do my runs at recovery as my heart rate was way too high.. I should also pick flat ground...

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Run free

Today, I went for a run. A good old, lace up the shoes, put on the gloves and gear and go out there for a jog. The Garmin? It stayed at home, the first time I've run without it since before the training began. It felt nice. No need to measure pace and time, just enjoy the afterglow of the marathon experience.

My left calf is a bit sore, but otherwise, my legs were operating fine. I did a 2 mile run (3.2K). It was chilly, the sun was setting and it felt good to be there alone, on my trail. It's a cold autumn breeze we get in late October, and it pushes away most runners, so all that's left is us crazier folk.

Then something funny happened. I wore my Nike Chicago06 (RunChi) cap today, and in the lobby of my condo, some guy eyed my hat and said: 'Did you run Chicago?' Turns out, so did he... We enjoyed a quick discussion about how he did New York a year ago, about the weather, how he didn't train and how I said 'with that weather, it's good we finished.' We traded our times and as the elevator door closed, we wished each other well. One marathoner to the other.. Small world, this running community.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Race report: Chicago Marathon

Here's the Chicago Marathon course map if you're wondering all the streets i'm mentioning.

The first 5K
We were off, and we started that little jog as all runners do in big races, when we probably could just speed walk. But then we hit the starting line, a minute after the opening siren. The first three miles were euphoric. I was just soaking it in. I couldn't believe my eyes.

There were spectators everywhere. Cameras everywhere. Funny signs and screaming fans. I have never experienced a feeling like this and I guess now I know what it's like to be a rock star. (This pic of the elites was by R.)

But focus was the order of the day, and I was struggling to find my way to the 3:20 pacers. It was an odd feeling, being so excited, yet so aware that it was time to go to work right away. Unlike other races, this was the first time I had anyone to pace me, and it kept me honest.

As I hit the 5K point and the first chip stop, I distinctly remembering three thoughts. 1) This is amazing, I can't believe i'm here 2) Wow, i'm on pace, but I gots a long way to go and 3) Um, I have to pee. I guess all you runners know what it's like to be in a race and thinking nothing more than, 'damn, what am I going to do.'
5K mark: 23:28


My next 5K (3.1 miles) were pretty uneventful. I was still trying to conserve energy. I felt okay, not too cold. We were running up LaSalle, and I was at this point catching up to one of the pacers. With that taken care of, I shifted my attention to the crowd and found myself running on the right-hand side of the course, something I would stick to for most of the race. The water stations were not that bad for me, and I was taking water so I was skipping the Gatorade guys at the front. Another advantage of the Preferred I start is that you don't have crowded stations. We turned into the park area where we joined Stockton, and then the funniest thing happened: runners starting jumping off course, headed directly for the portapotties. At this point, I was desperate. Damned my pace, I had to go to the washroom or I would have a mid race accident. I joined the guys running out, found a big tree, faced the park, and ... I finished up, sprinted up the grassy hill and rejoined the runners. For some reason, at this point, there were a lot of 3:20s and I found that I was slightly ahead of the pace bunnies. I fell into line, took my gel, took water, and then we were off.
10K: 47:09:

When we hit the six mile mark, I looked at my watch and thought 'okay, about a quarter done, not even an hour is out of the way.' We ran alongside the water but my focus was on the pace runner. I was admiring the fact that they could keep the pace while holding the sign. I had no trouble at all keeping up the pace. A woman in her 40s ran alongside me and asked 'are we at pace', and I answered 'I think so, i'm just following him'. We smiled and continued to pound it out.

Then we turned into Wrigleyville. At this point, I was just enjoying the crowds. I had this flamboyant runner who'd gesture to the crowd to get them going and they would cheer even louder than usual. I hit the 15K mark and it was starting to get a little drizzly. I could see the downtown area so my mind was going forward to the halfway mark.
15K: 1:10:52

15K to 21.1K
Around the 10 mile mark, a few runners beside me were commenting that it was 10 down, 16 to go. I wasn't thinking much about how much to go. I was just focusing on not losing the pacer and keeping attention to the people who were around me. They helped me focus... I remember a turn and I think the Elvis impersonator was finishing up My Way, which is a song I love.. I got to hear all 5 seconds of it.As the downtown neared, I had this funny thought. It was something like this. "Hey, my hotel is nearby, wouldn't it be nice to stop right now" I have no idea why this was the case.

At this point, running down Franklin toward the halfway mark, we were in the city and the crowd was again very loud. I was running in the right side hoping to pick out R. Suddenly, I hear "Kenny!" and I look back to my left (the other side) and I see R. waving. I would have loved to gone to her but I couldn't, so I waved, said 'Hi"! and smiled. I was very happy to see her and it turns out that I wouldn't see her again until after the race. (Note: the picture here is one she took right before she saw me. You can see the 3:20 pacer) We hit the half marathon mark at 1:39:37, which is a full 5 minutes slower than my half marathon racing time. This was perfect, I thought, I'm going at a slower pace and I can hold it for a lot longer
20K: 1:34:28
half: 1:39:37

21.1K to 25K
This was not a favourite part of the course. We were not sheltered and the wind was hitting me. I felt like I needed more liquids and I couldn't decide on when I needed to take the gel. Worse part, was the crowd thinned. I was still able to go on. I was very happy to hit the turnaround and head back on Jackson. At this point, my hands were overheating, so I took off my gloves and tucked them into my shorts. But within minutes, my hands were getting cold. The weather was really starting to get to me, but I was holding my pace.
25K: 1:58:33

25K to 30K
This was my last 'strong' 3 miles. We turned into Little Italy and I was feeling it. I was getting tired and my legs were starting to get sore. I took my first real walk break, just to catch my breath. I was able to power through, and I knew my splits were off. A crucial thing happened here. I lost track of the 3:20 pace leaders. At this point, I had slowed to 8 minute miles or a 3:30 pace.
30K: 2:23:31

30K to 35K
Yep, we made it past the 20 mile mark and the wall appraoched. I was starting to feel a bit weaker and was losing focus. At this point, I could feel two muscles getting tight and uncomfortable. My left lower hamstring and my right calf. Every time I tried to pick it up, I could feel them seizing up. This was worrying me. By the end of the 35K, I think the lack of experience of racing at this distance caught up to me. You can read as much you can about the marathon distance, you can run slow-paced long runs of 22 miles, but until you pick a challenging running pace, I don't think you are ready to face the mental toughness to stick it out. I don't want to blame the weather, but the cold was really really getting to me. The next 5K were so tough.
35K 2:51:24

35K to 40K
At this point, when every big gust of wind, I could feel the cold bone chilling wind go right through you. And because I was taking a walk break here and there, I was not generating as much heat. I was putting my hand to my chest for fear that something would go wrong. I actually felt dehydrated at this point, and as it turns out, I also forgot to take a gel. Bad idea. Past the 23 mile mark, I could feel it almost over. It was just a 5K run after that point. 5K, I said to myself, that's a freaking walk in the park. But at that same point, the 3:30 pacer came running by. I was getting passed big time. I tried to pick it up, but my muscles were not cooperating. In the last three miles, I decided that my ambitious time goals were out the door and there were two major things to accomplish 1) just get this marathon done and 2) try to do it running, not limping.
40K: 3:21:17

The sweet finish
I knew that even at a fresh state, I could not chase 2.2K in less than 9 minutes, so I resigned myself to running it the best I could. Other people were walking too. The crowds were getting bigger and that helped. When I hit the mile remaining, I got a bit of a burst of energy, and started to run a bit harder. The last hill was tough that I slowed to a jog at some points. But final sign were there. I decided to enjoy this last bit of hte race. The last 10K were so difficult, but I would go into the last stretch happy, content that all my training had brought me to this moment. So I ran, smiled, lifted my arms at the cameras and crossed...

As I grabbed a space blanket and proceeded to get my chip taken off and the greatest moment, that medal, I bumped into the woman who asked me if we were on pace. She finished about a minute ahead of me. "It was too hard to keep up with him," she said of the pacer. I nodded and agreed.

Well, that's my first marathon. I've learned a lot of lessons but I'll leave that for another day. Chicago is an amazing city and its citizens should be blessed for coming out on a cold race day like Sunday to come out and cheer us. They were loud, they were proud and I was happy to run in their company. I still can't believe how amazing the fan support was.

As I was doing last-minute shopping on Michigan Ave. on Monday morning, I was smiling all the time when I spotted the marathoners with their distinctive limp. I joined them, my limp diminished by a smart ice bath, but there nonetheless. I limped up the street, into the book store, up the escalator and purchased a book. A running book, for my next marathon.

Finish 3:35:15
Overall: 5248/33629
Gender: 4346/18909
Division: 754/3102

Training mileage update
Marathon training: 1,125.5K (700 miles)
Year to date: 2,219.5K (1,379 miles)

Monday, October 23, 2006

Chicago Marathon, my pre-race

Originally uploaded by yumkerun.
Sorry you guys have to read a long ass report that's not even a recount of the race, but I have time here sitting at the airport lounge waiting for my flight. So I apologize, this is for my records, so bear with me.


We had a nice group dinner with me, R., Jelly and Cman, Frankie and his father and brother who flew into Chicago just to see him run. We picked the Rosebud in the theatre district and it was packed to the point that they set up seating in the lobby. Us three runners all picked pasta dishes and ordered water with our dishes. It was a funny crowd, roughly two-thirds of them were runners, in their windbreakers and sneakers, the other half the pre-theatre dinner crowd. Frankie's family was very generous and picked up the tab. After dinner, we exchanged hugs just in case we didn't meet up at the Trophy Tent (more on that later), we went our separate ways.

Now, the big debate was the weather. I was ready to go with short sleeves, but after monitoring the forecasts, I changed my mind. It would be about 3 degrees C (40ish F).

The night before was all ritual. I decided to go with my Saucony long sleeve, a technical shirt that's fairly form fitting but a pretty thin one at that. Pinned my bib, attached the chip, laid out the runners, the shorts, the top, and packed my gear tote bag.

I slept relatively well overnight and got up early morning to eat a bagel with peanut butter, but didn't really feel like a banana.

At 5:30, I was up and in the shower. 40 minutes later, said goodbye to R. with a kiss and a hug, and headed out there with my winter jacket on and my throw-away tech layer.

In the lobby of my hotel, there were about two dozen runners getting ready to depart. I hit the streets alone, but about 10 minutes later, as I was approaching Michigan (the main street alongside the starting line), I saw an amazing sight. A long, long line of runners, slowly walking down the street. It was dark out, and there we were. Hundreds, and later, thousands.

I checked into the Trophy Tent, for which Frankie, Jelly and I paid $25 each. It was bliss. A private check-in area, breakkie (I wasn't hungry), our own line of portapotties and, most importantly, it was heated. I didn't bump into Frankie and Jelly.

And at 7:10, I walked out there, and joined the massive crowds, heading to the start line. I followed the green balloons, and was wondering how I would keep warm for the next 50 minutes, let alone the four hours after that.

I entered the area at 7:30 and started to eye the other runners. They were definately serious folk. A lot were focused, some were warming up, others were just conserving energy by sitting on the roadside curb, bunching up for warmth. I joined the sideline for about 10 minutes.

Then the pacers arrived, the 3:10, the 3:20 and 3:30.

This was my final time to decide. Should I go with the 3:20s, or stick back. I stationed myself with the 3:20s, and we just stood there. The crowd grew, and we started to be packed in there, which was a good windshield.

Then they played the national anthem, and with 5 minutes to go, since my hat was off, I took off the technical warmup shirt, tied it into a ball, and threw it to the side, successfully. Unfortunately, other people didn't have the throwing range and people were getting hit.

The siren went off, we cheered, and the biggest race of my life was under way...

Next: The race

(Pics by R.)

Sunday, October 22, 2006

I am a marathoner

Originally uploaded by yumkerun.
I will save a full report for later, cause now, it's time to eat, to rest, to ice those legs. And Jelly apparently is at mile 25 as I write this!

My time was 3:35:15. Tell you what, it wasn't my target, but I am happy. I finished it.

Full report later!

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Starting line

Originally uploaded by yumkerun.
... I went out in my jeans and T-shirt to test out the weather. It's going to be colder tomorrow, but the weather was fine for me (good ole Canadian blood).

I walked to Rudolph St. which overlooks Columbus and the first few hundred metres of the race (the picture here is looking back at the start line).

Going for a run with Jelly and Frankie in a bit... Today, resting and carboloading...

Friday, October 20, 2006

Live, from Chicago!

Originally uploaded by yumkerun.
Well, running fans, it's come to this. I'm here, in Chicago. Wow, all that running and training comes to this weekend.

This picture is from the starting area of the Chicago marathon on Friday afternoon.

The weather is beautiful, at 55 degrees and sunny. I wish this was race-day weather.

The day went like this: Picked up at 5 a.m. by Frankie, and off to the airport. We had separate flights. Was in the air by 8 a.m., and in Chicago by 8:45 central time. Was downtown by 10 a.m. and, through the beauty of text messaging, Jelly, CMan and Frankie and I caught up for a big breakfast.

We went off to the expo and proceeded to be inspired and excited by the big crowds. We went several times, picking up swag and samples. I signed up for the 3:20 pace team, but asked for the 3:30 pace band, just in case.

We saw the Penguin, and Hal Higdon, who signed Jelly's book, but wrote Gelly. Then we hit the New Balance merchandise store, let me tell you, they are raking in the cash with their wares. I bought a running jacket/windbreaker and a cap. Might as well.

Then we went back downtown and Frankie went to his hotel, but then Jelly, CMan and I took a tour through the park, where we snapped a few pics.

In my hotel room, resting. We go out for dinner tonight. I dunno about the weather. Rain may be forecast and it will be cooler than today. Best not to get too worried about thar right now.

More pictures here.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Shout out, eh

The packing has commenced! I'm flying out to Chicago tomorrow morning at an ungodly hour, but the bright side is I'll be in town by midmorning.

Anyways, the subject of this post. As Running Jayhawk and the others put so eloquently, we couldn't have done this alone. I know this to my core.

I am a solitary runner. Believe me, it's not necessarily by choice, but by circumstance. When i'm out there, I can concentrate on my running or my daily worries. But when I pass groups that are doing their runs, there is a little jealousy.

Of the 700 miles of this training program, I've probably run 685 of them by myself. But when I plop myself in front of my computer after every run, I debrief all my running buddies.

You keep me sane. You keep me honest to my goals. I share in your triumphs and understand your pains. I've peered into your running lives (and often, your real ones) day in, day out. These 18 weeks would have been much harder to do without this community.

So here's to all the Chicago Marathon bloggers that I stalk (and sometimes surface on). To Bob, Running Jayhawk, Ugly Toes, Ryan, Out of Shape Guy, Leah and Jason, Mike, Arcaner, Dave, Jods, Running Rabbit, Garou, Nicole, and Josh. Also, to those who bowed out, like Tara and runnergirl, who stayed with us and will be cheering us on. Thanks for that. Also, and thanks to Sonia, who's now a marathoner (last week), who's constantly been in touch.

Of course, there are people who've had to hear me rant and rave about my marathon training. They are family members (actually, my brother) and other friends are are pretty much family. And, of course, R. Thanks for sticking with me -- I appreciate all the support.

Finally, there's the two friends who are doing Chicago with me. To Jellypepper and Frankie, (pictured here flanking me, the guy in the centre). Thanks for pushing me almost a year ago to do this marathon. And thanks for following me online.

Oh, one more housekeeping thing for all of you if you want to track me. On race day, on, you'll be able to track my times. The bib number is 6371 and my name is Kenny Yum. Now you know why the name's Yumke. Nice to meet you all. Until Chicago.

2 days, 13 hours, 40 minutes!

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

My goals

Originally uploaded by yumkerun.
Well, might as well state them, just as everyone else has.

My three goals are as follows.

Goal 1: Finish this damned sucker that I started. I will finish this marathon

Goal 2: Finish under a time I'm capable of (3:30)

Goal 3: Finish under or around the time I believe I'm capable of (3:20)

From the outset, I've been training for a 3:20. My half marathon times of 1:34-1:36 suggest that I'm physically capable of doing that time. Of course, you can only know so much for race day. For me, the pace between the 3:20 and 3:30 are much different. The faster time will push me to my limit, I believe. The other time will also be challenging.

The things i've learned from all your blogs, from listening to running veterans are this. Trust your training. Keep to an even pace. Keep a disciplined mind.

And it helps that you get to run with you 40,000 new friends.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Preventative measures

Originally uploaded by yumkerun.
It's cold season in Canada and i'm surrounded by sick people. At work, at least 4 co-workers are under the weather, poor JellyPepper is sick and my S.O. also has a cough. During Thanksgiving two weeks ago, my brother, mom and dad were getting over colds.

I figured I've played the risks too much and today, I bought Cold-FX, which is the wonder drug up here in the Great White North (see Macleans article). So many people I know swear by it. Forget orange juice or Vitamin C pills, this stuff supposedly works for "prevention and relief of colds and flu".. We'll see.

The drug, made with ginsing extracts works by "targeting the immune system to activate viral fighting Natural killer cells..."

In other words, take two a day and hope it gets you to Chicago without any sniffles or respiratory symptoms.

Monday, October 16, 2006

3 miles

Was going to take today off, but it's going to rain tomorrow. I did it at pace of 7:40, or at least tried.

Mile 1: 7:39
Mile 2: 7:48
Mile 3: 7:47

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Chicago countdown: 6 days to go

Originally uploaded by yumkerun.
As I wrote this morning, I went to cheer on the runners at the Toronto Marathon (well, mostly the half). I bought my camera, got a large Hortons double-double, a chocolate glazed and vanilla dip donuts, and stationed myself at the 10K mark. Waited for 20 minutes, then they came: the leaders, then the fast ones, slowly building until the first big packs started coming. I cheered them on. "You look strong," "good pace guys," and "big downhill coming up".

For me, it was a chance to cheer in a race I'd probably run if I wasn't doing Chicago. And it was also a chance to give back -- i've always appreciated the small but dedicated crowds who cheer us on in Toronto. I know in Chicago, there wouldn't be a shortage of spectators, but every single one counts.. I'll remember that next week.

Here's a picture of the guy who was leading at the 39K mark. Took a lot more.

Oh yes, here's a link to Running Jayhawk's fabulous ode to the Chicago bloggers. She couldn't have said it better. I don't think I could have done all this training if I didn't have the chance to read about the ups and downs of preparing for this race. I've trained alone, but it never really felt like that when I sat down at my computer.

Weekly total: 33K (20.5 miles)
Time run this week: 2:43:46
Year to date: 2,167.5K (1,347 miles)
Marathon training to date: 1,115.5K (693 miles)

Exactly a week from now

Exactly a week from now, i'll be checking mygear, or making my way to the start area. Wow. I ran 10K this morning and now i'm headed out to watch runners from the Toronto Marathon, just for some inspiration.

Friday, October 13, 2006

8 freaking days...

How cow the days are moving... I didn't run today, but am nonetheless thinking a lot about Chicago. I visited the marathon expo for the Toronto Marathon this weekend, just to soak up the energy. Somehow, even though I'm not running in the race this weekend, I feel a kinship.. I will do my best to make it out there on Sunday to cheer on the runners. I've always appreciated those who cheer us, can only return the favour.

And thanks to all those in the blogosphere who posted the link to this marathon trailer. Shivers indeed.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Okay, it's cold everywhere

Originally uploaded by yumkerun.
I just came back from a 4 miler as the sun was setting. I heard it also briefly snowed in Toronto today. Anyways, it was freezing (well, almost). The temperature was 3 degrees with a windchill of -2. And I wore a long sleeve top, polypro gloves (lifesaver) and shorts (bad idea.)

Did 4.2 miles or 6.8K in 32:23, for a bang-on marathon pace run of 4:46 kilometres or 7:41 miles.

And for the Chicago folks, yep, on the weather, we feel your pain..

Wednesday, October 11, 2006


Originally uploaded by yumkerun.
I exist. As I was walking home from the Raptors pre-season game tonight (yes, took yet another day off), I remembered that the brochure could have arrived today. I opened the mailbox and there it was. It was like Christmas, let me tell ya.

So, I'm in the preferred I starting area. Yikes.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Questions, so many questions.

So, I ran 10.5K today (6.3 miles) and did it at the slower end of my marathon pace. It felt okay and it's good to be in taper mode. More sleep needed.

In the meantime, while us Canadians wait an extra few days for our brochures, I have a few questions for those who've done Chicago or live there... You know, emergency preparedness type questions

1) Stupid question: When does the sun usually rise? I usually wear sunglasses to races and seeing as i'll be out of the hotel early, it'll be bad (they're prescription shades).

2) Will my Garmin work in the city? (I may bring it anyways to use as an expensive stopwatch)

3) Do they mark kilometres? If so, how often. And speaking of miles, do they mark them every mile?

4) Where can a group of people get carbs (pasta) on Saturday night if they are staying sorta near the starting area. Should we reserve?

5) Any suggestions as to what combination of temperature/sky conditions/wind produces the need to wear long sleeved tops? That will be a big debate.

That's it.. I think I have more questions, but don't want to make myself look that stupid..

11 days!

Monday, October 09, 2006

No running today

.... It's an optional 4 miler today, but given that I want to rest up the legs and that it's truely Thanksgiving, I thank for comfy couches and my PVR that'll let me watch movies all day.

Here's another picture by my brother from our trip to the Windy City a few years ago... 12 days!

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Chicago countdown: 13 days to go

Some 112 days ago, on a Sunday afternoon, I was at my parents house and ran down the same path I ran as a child in elementary school while we 'trained' for cross country season on, of all things, a suburban street. It was sixteen weeks ago today, and it was a hot day, the temperature breaking up through 30 degrees with high humidity. It was also the day before my marathon training began.

Today I was visiting my folks. I spent a few hours helping my brother prep a few side dishes for dinner, and then while the turkey was doing the slow roast, I went out to run that same cross country training course. It was barely 20 degrees, with clear blue skies and leaves on the street. I ran it fast. I ran it hard. And I ran up the final uphill, which goes on for a good kilometre with a rise of 30 metres (90 feet), with small smart steps, a straight posture, full momentum and a thought in my head: 'I am strong now.' Recovering, resting, healing, tapering, but strong. I ran to my parents' driveway, cooled down, went in and got ready for some Thanksgiving eating. Life is good.

Weekly total: 56K (35 miles)
Time run this week: 4:45:46
Year to date: 2,134.5K (1,326.5 miles)
Marathon training to date: 1,082.5K (673 miles)

Saturday, October 07, 2006


This was the first Saturday in recent memory that I got to stay in bed all morning. A little glimpse of post-marathon life? Maybe. The weather was absolutely perfect at about 13C (55F) and bright blue sky with plenty of sun. I decided to go with summer wear with a pair of thin polypro gloves to start out with. A good choice. By the 2nd kilometre, I was at a comfortable temperature and just took the whole run slow.

Ran to the Beaches and back for a total of 19.5K (12 miles). Decided to keep it at an easy pace. Oh yeah, I ran 8K yesterday (5 miles).

Like all of you, i'm getting excited. I'm also a bit nervous. Friends are starting to ask me about the marathon, which means it's really gettin close. I can't wait till we get our brochures in the mail.

Tomorrow is my family's Thanksgiving dinner, so i'm heading back to the homestead (okay, it's a suburb) and we'll do turkey with all the fixins. And i'll bring the shoes for tomorrow's 4 miler at marathon pace.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Cool days

Ho hum run, felt good. Ran though the city cause it's dark outside. Did 9.2K (5.5 miles) in 45 minutes... I'm going to strive to run tomorrow morning. We shall see...

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

I feel speedy

I woke up at 6 a.m. only to see a massive thundershower. The sky was flashing, like it was lit by a strobe light. And it was raining hard. Too bad for an early morning runner who was sticking it out.

Me, no way. I finished work and headed out for a run. I don't often take two days off running, but today, my legs felt fresh, rested and relatively pain free. I set out on my 13K (8 miler) with the intentions of doing the whole run in about 1:10. I ended up doing 12K in 59:51 and the full 13K in 1:04:69 for an average pace of 4:54. My mile splits are here.

Will take it easy, but will run two 5 milers in the next two days... Rest up, legs, rest up.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Two days off..

Well, I seem to have no trouble with this taper. I took Monday and Tuesday off and will resume my running tomorrow with an 8 miler. I'll run straight through to Sunday to prepare for good ole Thanksgiving (the Canadian one) on Monday, which means lots of turkey and other goodness.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Racing shorts

Originally uploaded by yumkerun.
Thank you Frankie for picking these up for me. Every single race I've run, I've cursed my typical running shorts. Asics, Sugoi, whatever, they all lack pockets. The little inside-the-short pocket holds my condo keycard and keys, but I never trust it in race situations.

And add to the problem of race day when you're trying to hold things like gels. I've always resorted to a short that has one back pocket with a zipper. It's not my most comfortble short but at least it can carry one or two gels.

Well, Frankie heard about the LD Shorts (long distance) that have an amazing amount of mesh pockets. As you can see from my picture, my pair is carrying three gels, but it can carry four, plus there are two other pockets with velcro pockets and a large pocket right at the back. I used them in my last two runs and I forgot I even had gels.

Check out if you want to get a pair before marathon day.

Now I have to figure another thing out: what kind of running tops should I bring to Chicago. Decisions decisions.

Last two months

I didn't do a month wrap last month, so here are the stats for August and September.

Total runs: 24
Total distance: 328K / 204 miles
Highest weekly mileage: 92.5K / 57.5 miles
Total time run: 28:50:22
Average pace: 5:16K / 8:28 miles

Total runs: 20
Total distance: 300K / 187 miles
Highest weekly mileage: 87K / 54 miles
Total time run: 25:56:12
Average pace: 5:10K / 8:19 miles

Chicago countdown: 20 days to go

The first day of the taper was spend, well, running. I like running on weekend mornings, cause i can get the day under way and not have my run haunt me. But today, at 4 p.m., I went out after a big meal. It took forever to get the full feeling out. Anyways, today was a 10 miler and added a bit extra to get up to 17.6K, which gave me 10.9 miles.

This was the last big week, my fifth week that I've logged more than 50 miles! From now till marathon day, the mileage will drop dramatically. Tell ya what, right now, I'm relishing the rest.

Weekly total: 80.5K (50 miles)
Time run this week: 7:26:42
Year to date: 2,078.5K (1,291.5 miles)
Marathon training to date: 1026.5K (638 miles)

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Sweet sweet taper, bad bad food

Originally uploaded by yumkerun.
Well, a friend from Calgary was in town, and it called for a boys night. Going into the night that promised junky food and alcohol, I thought it'd be a good idea to limit the intake of alcohol adn do the same with the bad food.

Good intentions. I downed five beers last night, and when we got to Wayne Gretzky's (the restaurant / bar), we proceeded to order the ultimate platter (use your imagination), four lbs of chicken wings, chicken strips, perogies, cheese bread.. oh my god it was so bad.. and i don't mean it's so bad it's good, it was just bad...

I did hydrate with water thoughout the night, i'll give myself that. So this morning, setting out on my 32K (20 mile) run. Jelly and I made tentative plans to bump into each other during our long run and we crossed path at the 5 mile mark. We went our separate ways and we met at my place so we could get water.

Anyways, we did about 7 miles together and it was a nice way to finish my last long run. By the way, it was the first time she'd done more than 16 miles!

Total time was 3:18:29.

This week isn't over, with a 10 miler left tomorrow, but with this run over with, the taper has begun. Next weekend will be 12 miles/4 miles, followed by 8 miles/4 miles the weekend after that. It's time for the body to heal.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Obituary for a fellow runner...

As I was writing a few days ago, a man died on Sunday running the half. As it turns out, he had run Chicago a few years ago to raise money for a children's charity. Here's a nice obituary about Martin Poyser, a 'hairdresser and athlete'...


... I realize I haven't taken a day off since the half marathon, so i'm taking today adn tomorrow off. This weekend i'll be doing about 30 miles, so there's no shortage of running...

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Oh, that's what I look like

Originally uploaded by yumkerun.
Pictures from the race are out... I dished out a whack of cash last year for pictures so i'm just doing a little screen grab of this years to make up. I do like the running pic (as opposed to finishing pics) cause I can actually see what I look like when i'm running. Since the sun is against my face, i think this was somewhere between 12 and 17 kilometre mark.

Did the first weekday morning run in awhile, 8K (5 miles).

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

The last big push

Actually, it doesn't feel much like a hard week -- yet. This is the last 50+ mile week and coming off the half-marathon race, I had hoped I'd recover fast enough to get going. Luckily, ice and epsom salts baths go a long way, as does my current conditioning.

Yesterday, I was still a bit sore, but I managed to get in an easy 5K (3 miles) on the water route. I also bought a new pair of shoes, so now I can rotate between two pairs until marathon day. Yesterday was also an odd day when my work life and running life collided. We were deciding on what features to pursue for the news site and one of the possible items was "marathon running, is it safe?" A 41-year-old died competing in the same half marathon I was running in and it was the third in Toronto in three years. It was very sad. So instead of assigning it to a researcher, I figured it'd be so much easier to write the story myself. I interviewed the Running Room's founder, a University of Toronto professor who researches marathon deaths and the race director for the waterfront marathon, who happened to be driving a bus that was carrying the elites ("Mexicans, Kenyans," he said) to Niagara Falls. Anyways, it's published here. Again, odd my journalistic life and running life would come into one... doesn't happen all that often.

Today, legs still felt a bit sore, but I set out on my 10 miler (16K) and it was fine. I ended up doing it in 1:24:38 with a pace of 8:23 miles or 5:13 kilometres.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Race report: Toronto Scotiabank Waterfront Half Marathon

Originally uploaded by yumkerun.
No, that's not me in the picture. I thought this was really cute. A mom was just finishing up her marathon (around 4:15) when her two kids joined her and helped her finish. Or, rather, she dragged them across the finish line. Click on the picture for a few other meagre shots from the start/finish area well after my race.

Anyways, here's the race report and it's long, i'm sorry: I knew going into this race that it'd be a good test before the Chicago Marathon. I could practice pacing, hydration, drafting, advancing from group to group. In other words, racing.

I prepped the same way i would prep for other races. I took a few days off running to get the tired legs some breathing room (I ran a 24 miler last Sunday). I carbo loaded late in the week and on Saturday, I did a lot of lying around and ate a nice meal.

Was in bed early and up very early to get my pre-race meal of a bagel and a banana, then was up again at 5:30. I left home at 6:20 and was at the race site about 20 minutes to start time. Wow, tonnes of people and it was dark since I was wearing my shades and the sun wasn't up.

I found an area to line up between the 1:30 and 1:40 zone, waited patiently and was very nervous. Not because of the racing, but I thought I had no sufficently done 'my business' and didn't want to hit the portapotties during the race.

My half marathon history puts my times at between 1:34:30 and 1:36:30, the latter is how I did this race last year. The big difference this time is that I'm not training for the half (my other halves were my 'big races' so I had trained for them). Therefore, I had not done enough long pace runs at 4:30Ks, as opposed to my marathon pace of 4:45K.

Off we went, and I tried to hold back. While everyone was wildly jockeying for position, I just found a good area to run in and find suitably fast people to run near. By about the 2K mark, the field was starting to thin out a little (only a little) and I spotted Frankie at the spot where he promised to be. I shouted 'frankie!' he waved and I was off.

Kilometres 3 to 12 were due west. Problem was, a very strong wind was going due east. This wasn't good. We started running in little packs and I was trying to find the right group to pace off of. I picked a duo who were doing the marathon (they started both races at the same time) and they seemed to be doing 4:30s. In retrospect, we were a bit slower.

This time was pretty uneventful, just logging the kilometres and trying to not lose focus. We had a few hills and the wind was constantly a challenge. I found it hard to take in water at the water stations. I really have to learn how to walk through them.

In my head, here was the strategy: Make it to the 12K mark a bit behind pace, then make up for it in the last 9K. I figured out that I could do it for two reasons. 1) Because of the wind, I was not going all out. I figured it would be a waste of energy to fight the wind to try to log the 4:30s. 2) Use the wind to my advantage in the last 9K. It was more or less pushing me.

According to my splits, I ran the first 12.1K in 56:12 for a pace of 4:39 and I ran the last 9K in 39:29 for a pace of 4:23. Hello negative split!

I ran behind, then passed, one of the jogglers at around the 14K mark. He was amazing, able to juggle and entertain the runners on the other side of the out-and-back. In fact, for about 2 minutes after I passed , I heard a lot of cheering. Not for me but i'll take it.

By the 15K mark, I was now running alone, trying to catch up to a big group. At the second-last big hill, I made up a lot of ground and started to target runners and picked them off. This continued for pretty much the rest of the race. It was an amazing feeling having the stamina and ability to kick up the gears. One runner actually said to me, as I was passing him on the final hill with 3K left, 'Nice push". I thanked him and I silently thanked all those long runs of the past 3 months. I passed a lot of runners, which is the exact opposite of what used to happen.

Compared to last year, I was flying and I have proof. Here are last year's times for the last 4K that are accurate: 4:38, 4:48, 4:41, 4:22. This year: 4:23, 4:24, 4:19, 4:19.

Anyways, by kilometre 20, I knew that it would be very difficult to go sub 1:35, but I bared down and ran. I thought about letting up, and I did a little, but I passed the finish line happy and satisifed.

Because this isn't the big race. The big race is 27 days from now, and I think i'm almost ready.

By the way, at our post race brunch, Frankie, who had done 18 miles for the day, told us about ice baths. So I decided to do it. It hurt. I had to bite down on a towel. I couldn't feel my toes. But my legs feel so good. Amazing. I'll do an epsom salt bath tonight to complete the therapy.

Final (chip) time: 1:35:16:05
Place overall: 214/4458(95 percentile)
Place men: 185/2013 (91 percentile)
Place group: 33/319 (89 percentile)

A nice strong finish = mission accomplished

Medal and paceband
Originally uploaded by yumkerun.
Full race report to come, but here are the key stats while I go shower and get some grub with Jelly, who ran her first half mary and was smiling the last 300 metres when i waved her in!

My chip time was 1:35:17, not a PB but more than a minute shaved off last year's time. I placed 214 over all, not sure how big the field is, but I suspect it's almost 5,000. (update: There were 4,500 runners.

I'm very happy cause I went into this without proper half marathon speed training, but I managed to deal with the wind and faster pace.

The best sign that marathon training is paying off is that I had one of the strongest finishes to a half marathon I've ever had. I actually held back in the first 10K. For the last 11.1K, instead of struggling, I poured it on. I believe I ran a negative split. "Nice push," one runner said to me as we reached the 18K point and I blew by.

It's exactly four weeks until marathon day. Oh my lord it's creeping up. This week's mileage is pretty sad, huh? Two runs and a race, though, so I'm not too worried. Next week, a 50 mile+ schedule!

Weekly total: 37K (23 miles)
Time run this week: 2:48:05
Year to date: 1,998K (1,241.5 miles)
Marathon training to date: 946K (588 miles)

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Starting line

Originally uploaded by yumkerun.
The starting line of this week's Scotiabank Waterfront Marathon, where i'm doing the half, is literally right outside my new work place. Maybe I should bring my work card so I can use the facilities.

It's warm out now. i think I'll be happy with the 7 a.m. start tomorrow.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Another run...

This is really turning out to be a rest week. Did a 5K run after work and barely got up to half marathon race pace. Part of me is worried that I'm not conditioned for this, part of me knows that there's a race-day magic that makes you outperform, so long as you don't set your expectations at an unreasonable level.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

When pigs fly... (aka, the non-running post)

Originally uploaded by yumkerun.
I have to follow. My excuse for not running today could have been because I'm doing a mini taper for the race this Sunday.

But no, it wasn't. My brother surprised me a few days ago by telling me he got us tickets to see Roger Waters (of Pink Floyd fame) live in the flesh in Toronto. It's his Dark Side of the Moon tour which means he plays that amazing performance straight, from heart beat to heart beat.

Best part, we were stationed about 25 metres from the stage, which means I got to scream my head off and sing songs like Comfortably Numb ("When I was a child, I had a fleeting glimpse, out of the corner of my eye") while the freaking guy who wrote those songs was singing back in my direction.

Okay, another dream come true. (I saw Roger in 1999 and the Gilmour-led Floyd a year or so before that).

Roger, for me, is a God. I love him, his wacky political ideas (I usually agree) and his lyrics, even the recent ones that escape most people's attention span. He wrote a song about Beirut that went right after Tony Blair and George W., which pleased the Canadian crowd and was highlighted by the flying pig that soared above us with random messages on it.

Confession. I'm a reformed Floyd addict, which is to say I've listened to all their albums and solo works for years, then put them away about 10 years ago. Doesn't mean I still don't love the guys.

So, in a long and winding post, that's my excuse for not running. (And for you random Floyd fans out there, my brother promises me he'll post the videos he took up on Youtube.. it'll be good watching.)

Back to your regularily scheduled running blog.

Update: Brother posted videos. Here's a classic

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Quick 10...

Wanted to get in a speedy run, so went to work and ended up with a 10K run in 48:49.
The K splits were as follows:

Monday, September 18, 2006


No running today. A well-earned rest day in my estimation. In fact, i'll be taking another two in prep for Sunday's race...

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Chicago countdown: 35 days to go

Well, another week is in the books and we're down to five weeks till marathon day.

Two more hard weeks, then the taper will begin. I can't believe we're already here. The next 14 days will have two challenges.

The first will be next Sunday when I race the Scotiabank Waterfront half marathon. I ran this race in 1:36:24 last year and I know I can best it (my PB in the distance in 1:34:29). The problem is that I've been in marathon training, which has me aiming at a pace of 4:45. My half marathon racing pace is typically in the 4:30 range, and I'd like to push it down to 4:20 to 4:25, which will put be under 1:34 minutes. I think i'll have to do a pacer at my half marathon speed to get used to it.

The second will be the final week of heavy running, with my last 20 miler scheduled. I have now done two runs in excess of 20 miles, so it hopefully won't be that hard to put in.

This week's been good. I took an extra day off, but still managed to top 50 miles.

Weekly total: 87K (54 miles)
Time run this week: 7:24:04
Year to date: 1,961K (1,218.5 miles)
Marathon training to date: 909K (565 miles)

A 24 miler in the book

Originally uploaded by yumkerun.
Well, here's the picture to prove it. My longest run for this training program, and I don't think i'm going to push it any farther. I ran 38.64K, which translates into 24 miles. The last 6K past the 32K mark were tough as I knew it was optional, but I did it in 3:29:20 with an average pace of 5:24Ks or 8:24 miles. In my mind, marathon day will push me to run at my true pace of between 4:45 to 5 minute Ks and for that final 2.2 miles. Physically, I think i'm just about there. The mental game will have to be solid.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

The journey...

Today, I thought back to the commitment I made in January when I decided to sign up for Chicago. Back then, in the wintery weather, it was a happy-go-lucky decision. I knew it'd be tough, but October was so far away. I knew the mileage would creep up, the hours on the road would steadily increase and the time for other things would slip away.

And as winter turned to spring, I boosted my weekly mileage, starting looking to a half marathon race, a 10K. But it still wasn't anything compared to what effort and commitment -- and sacrafice -- that I would have to take over the course of this training program.

And then on June 19, the program started. By that point, in almost six months of running, I had logged 1,050K, no small mileage for an average runner. But then the program came into effect and I was staring at a schedule that had me running 6 days out of seven. From running four hours a week, I am now facing up to 7 or 8 hours on the road a week, not counting prep, warmup, etc.

In three months since, I've logged 900 kilometres and I have to say -- shudder the thought -- that each run has been easy and hard. Easy to get out the door, hard to maintain fast pace. Easy to wind down a run, hard to get the limbs going. Easy in the middle of a sorta-long run, hard at the beginning of a recovery run after a Sunday long jaunt.

And it's also hard because, simply, this marathon training business is a grind. It wears you out, it monopolizes your time. People may think you're crazy and your fit, when in fact you're sometimes scared of running in crappy weather and you just ate a hamburger three hours ago so you feel nowhere near trim and lean. You say 'i ran 30K yesterday' to someone and some will say 'holy cow' and others just can't imagine how long that distance is. Let me tell you, it's far. Actually, sometimes far is an understatement.

Weekends are not time for rest, but time to strengthen your body by breaking it down. Sometimes, during the middle of the long run, I start daydreaming what it would be like to have more time to hang out and drink beers, to stay up well past midnight, to take two or three days in a row off exercise. To sleep in on a Saturday or Sunday morning. Best keep that as a carrot for the end of this journey, 36 days from now, when a commitment made in January can be considered kept.

Okay, I feel better having said that.

This weekend is supposed to be 16K (10 miles) at pace and 32K (20 miles) at LSD. Part of me wanted to get the easy part over. Guess which one that was? Yep, the 20 miler. I've been dreading pace runs, they are just too hard sometimes to maintain the focus you need to run race pace when you're running by yourself.

I skipped last week's 6 mile pacer cause of sore calves, so I felt it was important to get down to business and do the 16K run (10 miler). And I was happy to be able to maintain a 4:47K pace (7:41 mile)