Monday, July 31, 2006

Wrapping up July

Yikes it's hot today, up to 34C. I am not looking forward to my 13K (8 mile) run tomorrow morning. I think the key will be to get out there early. I did this morning and fit in my 5K (3 miles) recovery run.

The month's up and here are some stats.. I'm getting tired just looking at them:
Days run: 27
Mileage: 295.94K (183 miles)
Time run: 25:21:39 (yes, I spent more than a day running)
Average pace: 5:08 (8:16)
Fastest pace: 3:57 (6:21)
Average heart rate: 149 BPM (79%)

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Chicago countdown:Week 13 complete, 83 days to go

My poor little Asics GT2100, put into action a few days before my marathon training began, has a total of 324K (201 miles). I'll have to seriously look for my next pair in the next three weeks cause i'll have to start figureing out what to wear on race day.

Yup race day is coming, only 83 days to go. Holy crap!

This was a nice recovery weekend, today I ran 17K (10.6 miles) and it went well. I think I found my long-run pace for hot weather, or 5:30Ks or 8:50 miles. It's bumping at the upper 70% range, so maybe I'll bring it down a little when the long runs start hitting the 16 mile range and higher..that's next week.

Weekly total: 64.5K (40 miles)
Time run this week: 5:36:07
Year to date: 1,426K (886 miles)
Marathon training to date: 374K (232.5 miles)

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Stopping to smell the flowers... well, not really

This is the view of my little garden in my little box in the sky, also known as the waterfront condo. Today's run was supposed to be marathon pace, which means that there's no stopping, jogging or stopping to smell the flowers.

Surprisingly, despite have a few beers, lots of food and little sleep, I was up to the task of maintaning the marathon pace for the 12K. My overall pace per km was 4:46, only 1 second away from the target (or 7:40 miles compared with a target time of 7:37.) This is good, I feel like I am memorizing my speed levels and know what different gears feel like.

My heart rate spiked after I tackled a big hill and I never stopped or jogged to get it down. No biggie, but something I should work on.

Tomorrow's a nice step-back 10 miler and despite feeling like I could do more, i'll more or less stick with the recovery week's plan.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

'You're looking good...'

That's the sort of thing I tend to hear in races, usually at the time or place when I'm hurting the most. Say, the 8K mark of a 10K run. Or the halfway mark of a half-marathon. Said scenario usually unfolds:

Me thinking: 'Breathing too hard, legs starting to hurt, losing steam'

Them: 'You're looking good'

Me: 'You talkin' to me?!'

Or this, more likely scenario:

Me: Final mile or kilometre of any race I'm running hard

Them: 'You're almost there!'

Me: 'God damn it, then why can't I see the fucking finish line'

You know..

Today, did my speedwork. Cause I had to be in the office early (on time) and started my run at 6:30, I didn't have time to do the 5x800 intervals, so I settled for a 4K warmup then cram as many 8oos as possible. I got to the high school track and, with sufficent warmups, started my first 800. Took a jogging/walking break, then went to the next.

Then on my second, I passed another runner who was doing intervals. As I was passing, she says 'you're looking good'...

'Thanks,' I say, pleased to hear those words...

Did 11K (6.9 miles) with three intervals. Forgot to mention, but I ran 5.3K yesterday.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

The future? looks stormy

So begins my weekly check of the weekend forecasts to see what kind of weather i'll be running in. Luckily, it's a recovery week with 16K (10 miles) scheduled for Sunday and about 12K (7 miles) for Saturday at marathon pace (yuck). Now I have stormy weather to look forward to. Sigh.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Fun with numbers!

There was a time, lets say a few months ago, when I'd just go out and run 10K or 21K and just call it a day. It was a time when I really didn't care what my splits were, how fast the heart was goin... Just running for the hell of it and doing a lot of listening to the body.

Well, now look at me now. The GPS is firmly strapped to my wrist, the heart-rate sensor is always in place. I do glance at it to make sure my heart isn't going too well and it's teaching me to run at various paces. One benefit, of course, is that I can track my progress on my runs.

Take my sorta-long run of 12.1K (7.5 miles) today. Without the GPS, I wouldn't have remembered that I ran it 33 seconds faster this week with an average heart rate of 147 bpm compared with 150 a week ago. I know that I ran the first 5 miles slower last week, but this week I felt I had more in me. But I also knew my time from last week when I went out this morning...

Too much information? Yep... Fun with numbers? Yep...

This week's splits and (bottom) last week's

Monday, July 24, 2006


Had today off for working Saturday, so I fit in a 7K (4.3 miles) run in the morning.

Also saw Jelly's new place. She used to live downtown, and now she's, well, just outside downtown. But beautiful house! I think i'll run by it during one of my long runs.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Chicago countdown: Week 14 complete, 90 days to go

I love this picture.. it's actually, no lifeguard, but to me it looks like you'll have no life if ya spend it sitting down..

I can't complain, the weather was fantastic this morning. A cool 16 degrees by the time I started the run and only 20 two hours later. I set out on my long run aiming for 24K (15 miles). Went east toward the Beaches along the water.

Only a few runners at 7 a.m., a bunch of cyclists and then, at the 5K mark, a massive group of people partying by the water, a massive sound system pumping techno. It helped wake me up.

Took some pictures at the halfway mark, including a shot of the city skyline from where I was (12K out) and a shot of the dock and the lifeguard shot above.

I'm doing my long run pacing by using my heart rate monitor, not letting my heart get up to the 80% range. As a result, I feel like i'm running much slower than I'd like to train at, but it's good, cause after my run, I actually don't feel really tired. I ran the first 21K (13 miles) in 1:54, which is about 10 minutes slower than I'm used to training for the half marathon and 20 minutes slower than my best racing times for that distance. Well, as the mileage creeps up, I guess I shouldn't be comparing my 13 mile pace to a 26 mile pace...

Week was good, this is my highest mileage since the training began, and i'm finally over 40 miles. My highest mileage week was way back in April when I did 76K (47 miles).

Only three months to go! This training is going by pretty fast.
Weekly total: 71K (44 miles)
Time run this week: 6:16:32
Year to date: 1,361.5K (846 miles)
Marathon training to date: 309.5K (192 miles)

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Avoiding the rain...

Well, the picture doesn't quite to it justice, but it's raining outside. Actually, it's pouring now.. cats and dogs really. Luckily for me, I was forced to fit in my run early today and it was nice and cloudy, about 20 degrees. Actually felt much like a spring day, which is actually perfect for runs. I saw that tonnes of other runners were out there. The schedule called for 7 miles so I did 12K (7.5 miles) on my 15K waterfront route, turning back early.

It's calling for rain tomorrow, so it'll be a challenge of when I'm going to fit in the long run.
By the way, the picture above was taken from my window view at work, where I am now in for a 8-hour shift. No, the fences don't mean I work for a jailhouse, I'm a journo at one of Canada's national newspapers, and the fence was put in there when we once had a printing plant attached to our building way back. Now, there's a circus school in that space right below me. I kid you not. Maybe, it's fitting, as journalism is often a trapeze act, balancing between right and left and different points of view -- just witness the Mideast conflict.. sigh, I'm getting back to work, and you all get back to running...

Friday, July 21, 2006

What kind of runner are you?

There are slow runners, fast runners, those in the middle of the pack, the back. There are penguin waddlers, bouncing runners and smooth runners. There are those who line up close to the front, then there are the elites. Are we the same, or are we different? What motivates us? What motivates you?

Jelly got me thinking about that with one of her recent posts, about how she was a little frustrated with the group she's running with. They don't run her pace and she was constantly left behind. It made her feel bad and, well, made running not fun.

There are some who run for fitness. I think I put myself into that category. There are some who run it for stress relief. I also do that. There are some who do it to challenge themselves. I suspect there are more than a few of us who keep training schedules by our desks do so for that purpose.

There are some who get into running because they're naturals. I would hazard to guess that there are not many of us.

One of my co-workers says he's not a gifted runner. He's a fellow journalist but his past running stories -- and numbers -- tell me he was quite a runner. A mile in 4:02. A kilometre in 2:22, which still is the 7th fastest time recorded in Canada. He would run home from work (20K or about 12.5 miles) in 'a little more than an hour'.. WHAT?

I ask if he's every run or train for a marathon. He says he's out of shape and would not want to do that distance. He ran because he wanted to be good at something, and he was good at running. I wondered aloud if he ever did it for the love of it.. I don't think I got an answer.

This made me think, what kind of runner am I. I like running well at races, but I know the only thing I'll really contend with is my own expectations. I love it for fitness, can't find a more effective exercise for me. I love it for the simplicity, nothing more easy than to throw on some runners and head out the door, whether it's winter and 10 below, or summer and 30 above.

Yep, I'm no fairweather runner. I'm in it for good, a lifetime even, if these legs hold out… So what kind of runner am I. I run. Nuff said.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Tempo, a halfhearted one

As I noted yesterday, I consumed three pints. Belgium beer too, very delish. Also inhaled a burger but all my friends raided my fries before I could really get to it. Hey, I tried.

Which is to say that even though I had a few glasses of water before going to bed, I was dehydrated by the morning. But damn it, I need to keep to my speed sessions. So my schedule said it was 35 minute tempo, so I decided to run 2K (1.25 miles) to warm up, then do 4K (2.5 miles) at tempo pace, then warm down for 2K.

Being dehydrated meant my heart rate went up faster, started the tempo at 83% and the final km was at 93% (I ran that the faster.). I don't have proper mile splits but my four kms were at the following paces (7:09, 7:18, 7:17, 6:48)....

Total run was 8.2K (5.1 miles)

Farklets, fartleks.. whatever....

I was doing a Google search on 'farklets' and I was very impressed to see that my blog came up as the top search! But.. how.. can.. that be? Then I realize that it's fartleks. I always think of farklets because I used to haunt all the time, and because, frankly, fartlek sounded too funny, too inconceivable as a term for running. Fart-lek.. huh huh (beavis and butthead moment).

Anyways, yes, it's swedish for 'speed play', which means I can thank the Swedes for Mats Sundin, half the furniture in my condo and a funny word that I used in my runs once in awhile, FARTLEK.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

3 miler that became more..

I guess I'm getting used to longer runs, because when my schedule calls for a 3 miler, my body says 'what, you can't run more than 3 miles?'

Well, i'm a proud type, so I simply say: 'Shut up, body, or I'll add a few kilometres...'

To which the body says 'bring it on.'

And hilarity ensues.. Ended up running a brisk 8.4K (5.2 miles) in the city. Tomorrow's supposed to be a 35 minute tempo run, but we'll see if we can do it after 3 pints tonight at the bar.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Inspiring video for the Chicago-bound

The Running Blogfather posted a link to the doc Land of the Gods: Legends of the Marathon. If you have 5 minutes, watch this video. Even if you don't, do it!

Weekday morning long runs are stressful...

At least today's was. I was scheduled for a 7 miler, what Hal calls the sorta long run. I spent the first half trying to rush myself because I knew i'd have to get into the office by 8. I don't know how I'm going to fit in the long weekday runs once they hit the 9, 10 mile mark. I'll be out there for an hour and a half.. May be best to confine those efforts for after work, when I can decompress. Then there's the fact that it's cooler in the morning..

Crap, the things I think about during my run. It was good, by the way, thanks for asking. A major wind storm hit the city and I saw quite a few tree parts lining my running route. My calves were still tight from the fact that I didn't stretch properly yesterday, but they loosened up and I was able to maintain a decent slow pace... Ended up with 12.1K (7.5 miles).

NY Times: How to run marathons in the heat

Very nice article from the New York Times about how we run in the heat (okay, how elites run in the heat) and it has some good advice.

Monday, July 17, 2006

So I'll look back at this weather....

... and maybe, on a cold day in October, when the sun rises later and sets earlier, when the first of the winter chill hits my city i'll silently wish it were warm. That's what I think on many summer days. Today though? But that is not likely to happen. It was one degree C away from a record high for today. Instead, it hit 34 C with a humidex of 42 (107.6 Fahrenheit).

My Garmin went wonkers this morning, maybe I didn't give it time to pick up satellites, but it lost signal after the first 300 metres. And when I plugged my Garmin into Sportstats, it confirmed that yes, I can indeed run on water... (that's Lake Ontario i'm running on).

Oh and the park next door to my condo. I get home today, and I see this mysterious pole, which leads me to believe that 1) it's some sort of weather vane or night light or 2) the Aliens have landed, run for your lives...

Hot muggy days... Ran 6.2K (3.8 miles)

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Chicago countdown: Week 15 complete, 97 days to go

Last night, I decided to get up at an ungodly hour for a Sunday. 6 a.m. for my long slow distance run. I knew it'd be warm today, so my goal was to beat the heat.

I missed my alarm, but I rose at 6:10 anyways. I was out the door at 6:40 a.m., with sunscreen piled on, the Camelbak filled with Gatorade. It was a nice 22 degrees by the time I headed out.

Took the same route as last week when I did 13 miles, but the aim was to add at least one, maybe two, miles. I took a picture this week of one of the hills. It doesn't look that steep in the picture, but it's fricking steep!

I was pleased with the run. I maintained my heart more or less within the range, averaging 149 BPM or 79%. One thing about my GSP. I ran in a lot of neighbourhoods with trees and down streets with short storefronts. I think my GPS added about a mile cause it's wonky. So by the end, I thought I'd put in 15 miles. I went back to Gmaps to map it out and it turns out it was 14.2 miles or 23K (here's the route). I'll take that. This week was supposed to be a 13 miler week but I did that last week, so I'm pushing ahead a bit with the long runs.

I'm feeling good having done my long run by 9 a.m., which left plenty of time to have bacon, sausage, eggs, toast and a lot of potatoes. With Gatorade, which R.'s mom thought looked like Windex window cleaner. I guess us runners are an odd lot. Oh, I forgot to mention that I ran 11.5K or 7 miles on Saturday. It warm enough at 8:30 that it made me run early today..

My mileage is down slightly this week from last (only 1K) mostly cause I did a lot of short three milers to prep for Friday's race.

Weekly total: 62K (38.5 miles)
Time run this week: 5:11:43
Year to date: 1,290.5K (802 miles)
Marathon training to date: 238.5K (148 miles)

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Race report: Nissan 5K at the Docks

Originally uploaded by yumkerun.
As I wrote yesterday, it wasn't the greatest race i've run. I usually go all out in road races so by the end, I don't have a lot. Something I have to improve on with better pacing, better hydration. And as I said yesterday, running in the heat is not a smart idea, especially for one of us cold-lovin Canadians.

That said, it was a fun race, more than 1,100 participants, including R. and I and at least another RBFer. The race actually takes place very near the 4K to 5K point of my Cherry Beach 10K route so it's familiar territory. It's an out and back route.

We had to wait by the Skydome to take the bus to the start/finish line, and since the regional train line was suddenly closed as a result of a derailment, and the Blue Jay game was about to start, the school buses were running late. Yep, runners in school buses. They asked us to sit three per seat that usually sits two kids. At least runners are pretty fit people, so we could all jam into the space.

Running in the race were a few stars, including 75-year-old wonder Ed Whitlock who smashed the Canadian 5K record for his age group with a 18:43 finish. By the way, his training method is to run every day for three hours. I stood about 10 feet away from this amazing man at the start. Wow. Michal Kapral, The Joggler, ran 17:50 while juggling three balls, but didn't beat the Gunness record of 16:55.

I lined up near the front. The race was off and off we went. It was such a different feeling at the start compared with the half marathon or even the 10K. With such a short race, you have to fly out the front. The first kilometre was run in 3:51, the second in 4:04. I kept on checking my Garmin to make sure I was on pace (a 4:10 was what I should have been aiming for to get a sub 21 minute). By the 2K mark, I was still good, but tiring. The wind was mercifully blowing against us, giving us a cooling wind. I saw the two front runners speeding back and I gave a little cheer for Danny Kassap, a Toronto-based runner from Kenya.. Such a great runner.

On the turn around at 2.5K, I tried to maintain pace, but wasn't sure If I could. By the 4K mark, we did a turn and I was losing focus. The heat, the pace were getting to me and the fast runners around me were maintaining speed when I was fading. I ran the last K (including the stumble) in 4:55. According to my Garmin, I ran the distance in 21:10, but my chip time is actually 35 seconds slower, which meant I was walking through the finish line.. yikes.

R., meanwhile, had a nice time, running it in a chip time of 30:10. She admits she could run it faster, but is not really competitive like I am. I waved at her when I was coming back but she didn't see me. She had a fun time and bumped into an old friend at the finish.

After walking off the light headedness, I managed to find water, a banana and freezies for us.. then we walked home and had a yummy pasta dinner.. at 11 p.m.

And that's the last race for at least until late August.

Final (chip) time): 21:44
Pace overall: 201/1114 (82 percentile)
Place men: 165/532 (69 percentile)
Place group: 29/85 (66 percentile)

Chicago pictures

Originally uploaded by yumkerun.
In 2004, my brother and I visited the Windy City. I'm at his computer now and going through the pictures. Thought I'd post a picture now and then. Can anyone identify where this bridge is?

Friday, July 14, 2006

Stumbling to the 5K finish line.. not a pretty sight

I'll give the race report tomorrow, but tonight's race, while decent in terms of finishing time, wasn't a pretty one to watch. The temperature was hot and humid. Twenty-eight degrees at race time but with the humidex, it was 36 degrees. I ran the first three kilometres that put me on a pace to be in the low 20:xx range. But by the time the final kilometre came, I just didn't have enough steam to maintain a high pace.

Maybe it's the heat, maybe it's because I'm not in 5K training mode but in 42.2K training mode. More likely, I was just stupid and my pride pushed me to push it in the final 300 metres. Anyways, with about 100 metres to go, I kid you not, I felt my head go light, my pace drop dramatically and my steps bounce. I staggered to the right and grabbed on to the fence. One of the race volunteers had to literally help me walk across the finish line. He walked me to the side and had me walk it off while asking if I was fine. I said yes, but in my mind, I was thinking of those finish line deaths. Was my heart beating too fast? Was it a head rush? Was I really dehydrated?

I walked it off, poured water on me, and waited for my head to clear and my heart to slow down. I was also waiting for R. to finish, but after a few minutes, I thought it would be smart if I hydrated. I did, she arrived to my relief and she held my hand while we walked back and forth on the board walk (I was really glad to see her).

All of this is to say that we're asked to train smart, but maybe I should learn to race smart and listen to the body. When it says slow, I shouldn't do the pig headed thing. We walked 4K home and I'm fine...

Oh, my time, including stumbling to the finish: 21:44. Officially my best time for the distance, but not how I'd like to PB.. More details to come..

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Rest day = eating badly

It's an off day since I'm racing tomorrow, which is my usual rest day. And since I'm off this week, I went to St. Lawrence Market looking for pasta, but the Italian veal and eggplant sandwich with tomato sauce, onions and green peppers was calling me..

'Yumke, eat me.'...

Who am I to reject the call of a good sandwich.

Okay, I'm not eating that badly, but not as well as I should. Then again, since I'm piling on the mileage, why should I eat like i'm trying to lose weight (well, I am, a little.).

Picked up my 5K race kit for tomorrow, which consisted of a free technical shirt love that races now give out shirts you can run with, not those uncomfortable cotton Ts.

Now time to contemplate dinner: BBQing wings, pork, salmon, shrimp and polenta.. yummy... Are there carbs in any of the above?

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Speed freaked?

So I had a 3 miler scheduled today and since I have a 5K race, I thought, 'hey, dress rehersal'... Well, not really. It rained all day so it's humid out, but no rain and cloudy. I did a tempo 5K a few days ago at 23:30 and today tried a bit harder.

Now I know that there is definately something called a race effect, but you really see it when you train alone, nothing but your own pace and stride to keep you going fast. I managed a 22:30 5K seen in the graphic. In miles, it was: Mile 1 (7:12), Mile 2 (7:26) Mile 3 (7:11) and the last bit was 40 seconds. I knew I could push it more but I just didn' t have the impetus.. I'm hoping Friday will be a different story. BUT.. speaking of pushing it, check out that heart rate at the end (94% of max heart rate!) yikes..

Maybe I should have hydrated. Or ate more bread.

A whole lot of (carbs) dough

It's 3 a.m. and the only saving grace is that I'm writing this while on my week off. Cooking and baking is a passion. And since I am a runner, I love carbs. Rice, potatoes, pasta and BREAD! So my latest breadmaking (making a sponge starter) started at 11 a.m. and just finished 5 minutes ago so I can make sandwiches and other yummy stuff for R. and I. (Pictured here are two baguettes, a boule -- the scoring marks are bad, I need a razor -- and two mini baguettes.. forget what they're called).

Now I can dream of possible sandwich combos.. I'm thinking hummus, tomatoes, arugula, grainy mustard to start off with...

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Rush hour

For my weekday run, I shunned the waterfront for the city, which meant I got to run while everyone else was commuting (walking) to work. Also is a little fun to weave your way around people on the sidewalks! Okay, not very fun. Ran 11K (7.1 miles). Afterward, hit two running stores to stock up on thin racing socks (a recent discovery), gels and a new running short for the summer...

Monday, July 10, 2006

Recovery daze

It rained like crazy today. Probably a good 3 hours of hard, pounding rain. Then the clouds thinned, the sky brightened, and I went for a recovery run. I like the idea of slotting in a run, not a rest day, the day after my long run. It keeps me sharp, I think. Did 5.9K (3.7 miles) on the water, and did the last 2kms at a 5K race pace.

I recently signed R. and I up for an evening 5K race on Friday. I haven't raced the distance in .. actually, I don't think i've actually done it... odd huh? So I went digging in my past recent race performances to see how I can do in that distance, based on my handy Garmin Forerunner. In my last 8K race, I did the first 5K in 21:14. In the last half-marathon race, I did it in 21:48. And in my last 10K race, I finished 5K in 20:21 (the course had nice downhill sections in the first half). So, I know that I have potential for a 21 minute 5K and maybe faster. But then again, I have the balance that whole marathon training thing and not going out too hard on one hand, and on the other, it's a damned race, I paid to do it...

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Week 16 complete, 104 days to go

So the running got the better of me. I set out to do about 13K (8 miles) but the beautiful day, the quiet streets and the challenging hills made it impossible to only do 8 miles...

I think it's a good idea to get out there running by 7:30 on Sundays. The traffic is quiet, the streets are cooler and the sun is still striving to reaching its highest point, providing me with plenty of shade. Today's was supposed to be a LSD, so a run in the 75%ish range. I found myself bumping into 79% and over 80% on the hills. I wanted to hit my normal (and soon to be boring) stretch of waterfront, but I knew I should change things up just to keep things interesting.

I mapped out three or four routes on my computer, all I haven't done before. I settled on a run up north to the beginning of the Sporting Life 10K run that I've done the past two Mays. It would be a 8K or 9K there, and then I'd more or less run back.

Man there are monster hills in Toronto. There's one that's probably close to 800 metres, maybe a km and it keeps on going up and up. How do you keep your heart rate low when you're doing hills?

I got to Yonge street (the world's longest, some say) and remembered that they were closing the street at some major intersections for a weekend street festival.

I also took a quick picture of myself at a storefront. Thought it'd be cool.

So I ran down Yonge street, at a much slower pace than those races and finally got to enjoy the view, the hills, the cute shops on street. I waved to several runners who were on the same route. It was generally enjoyable. When I was about 4K from home, I decided to make this 8-miler turned 10-miler into a 13-miler (half marathon, actually, 21.1K). So I did a detour and finished my run at 21.8K (13.6 miles) at 1:50:46.

The picture of my brekkie is what I made after my shower (and devoured in seconds). Vector cereal, an English muffin with an egg topped with tzatziki sauce (yoghurt with cucumber, dill, garlic), which actually serves well as a alternate to hollandaise.. actually, who has time to make that. And a tall glass of Gatorade.. yum, Gatorade.

I have a week off so the next eight days will be bliss. It's the best type of holiday, in my hometown with nothing but errands, running, catching up with friends, sleep, movies, outside, biking, etc.

So this is a good way to close of this week. I'm feeling good about my training. I have a few small blisters on a few of my toes.. Should I be getting worrried? I have a few nails that are getting red (precursor to black?) so I've changed to a thinner running sock, which seems to do the trick for now. Next week's mileage should be pretty close to this week's.

Weekly total: 63K (39 miles)
Time run this week: 5 hours 18 minutes
Year to date: 1228.5K (763 miles)
Marathon training to date: 176.5K (110 miles)

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Lazy Saturday

Spent most of the day lounging around after yesterday's drinkfest. Slept in, had brunch on my balcony, went for a walk. Did about 11.5K today (a 6 miler followed by an extra mile and a bit of strides). It was supposed to be a pace run, in that you have to run the marathon pace. I've chosen a pace of 4:45 kms (7:40 miles), mostly cause my half marathon times have been in the 4:30 range. Anyways, I may end up doing 5 minute kms. As you can see my heart rate spiked above the aerobic 85% zone, and I'm not sure if it's my body telling me to do slower kms or if I just didn't prepare for today's run. I ended up being close to hitting 4:45s and had a 47:38 time.

Tomorrow's long run is a scheduled 8-miler, but I may end up doing 10 miles (16K) just for hell of it.

Friday, July 07, 2006


Thank God I'mnotrunning Friday! Today is a great day. A good friend of mine is back from New Zealand and he has a hankering for the best chicken in the planet (at least to us in Canada). It's Swiss Chalet. He's the same guy who I witness drink the chicken sauce on a dare... Anyhow, we then go drinking. So thanks to Hal Higdon who gives me Friday's off to 'recover'.

And in the absence of a running post, here's my Haiku that our Chicago blogfather Bob encourged us to do on his Haiku Thursdays.

Farklets and tempos
We run them weekly on time
They bring suffering

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Split runs and split GP-Stupid

Today was speedwork day, but it was a day the forces of running were against me. It's a harrowing tale, one that started at 5:45 a.m. and ended half an hour ago, at 7 p.m.

Well, it really wasn't that exciting. By the way, meet my racing shoes, my Asics Trainers purchased in New York. It took its maiden voyage around Central Park last October. It only has about 100 km cause I've been saving it for speed sessions and breaking it in for races (I ran a 10K and 5 miler in it).

Back to this morning. I set my alarm for 5:45 so I could get in a good speedwork session. At 6:10, I set out to do two miles to the track, then do 5x800 with about 3:25-3:30 repeats, then jog back.. It'll take more than an hour, so I'd leave home earlier than usual. I was exactly one mile into the run to the track when I realized that nature was calling. And no, I couldn't go in the bushes. So back home I went, used the facilities. Decided my bed looked too comfortable so I hopped in the shower and into bed... 3K (1.9 miles) morning with promises of a better run this evening.

Wouldn't you know, i'm at work at late. Surprise! Went out to the waterfront trail to do the 5.5K trail (3.4 miles). I'd warm up for a kilometre and a bit, then do a few farklets. I do the first farklet and hit the lap key on my Garmin. I was cruisin! Going at sub-4 minute (6:30 miles) rate for 800 metres or so... Felt great. Scared the hell of out two walkers who were jolted by my breathing and strides (whoops). At the end of the session, I hit the lap button again, only to see that I hit the start/stop button. Crap. So during my first speed run, my Garmin's snoozing...

Oh well. A few lessons for the future. I managed three more farklets and tempo run for stretches before cooling down. 8.5K (5.3 miles).

Tomorrow's TGIF (Thank God I'mnotrunning Fridays).

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Short one...

Post and run, that is... 5.1K (3.2 miles) in the city this morning. Just putting in the miles. Tomorrow's a speedwork day, and the day before TGIF (Thank God I'mnotrunning Fridays).

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Muggy Tuesday

Went for a 10.7K (6.6 mile) jaunt this morning and was, this afternoon, thankful I did. It's freeking muggy out right now, 29C, in the midafternoon.

When I bought my waterfront condo years ago, I always worried about the parking lot across the street (and in front of my water view.). The city is making it into a nice little park, so I thought I'd take pictures of it once in awhile to track its progress.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Beach reading

... I guess on recovery days, we can relax. R. and I went to the beach today at the Toronto Islands for some sun.. Is it me, but us runners develop crazy tans on our arms and legs and face, leaving my other parts (ie: chest) white! Oh well. R. brought the Sunday New York Times (which I also read parts of) and I brought my running book by Amby Burfoot called The Principles of Running. Picture here was taken with my camera phone with R.'s sandals..

Long weekend

Back to my Monday schedule, but on a holiday weekend, I can start later. R. and I were out by 9 and did a nice 5.6K (3.5 miles). So now it's done, a day at the beach followed by a BBQ.. Gotta love summer!

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Week 17 complete, 111 days to go..

Today was my 18K (11 mile) long run and even though I was up until 2 a.m. and had downed about three beers last night after going to the jazz fest and eating nachos at 12:30, I was up at 7 a.m. The forecast said it'd be going up to 31 degrees (87F) but I knew with the humidity we get in Toronto, the humidex would easily reach 37C (98F). By the way, it's 10:16 a.m. and it says it feels like 35C right now and we got more heat to come.. Oh yeah, the picture here is of the water tower at the halfway mark (with the Toronto sign, gotta represent). Water....

So anyways, nothing like avoiding real pain to get you out of your semi hungover sleep. I drank a lot of water before going to bed so I think I kinda negated the effects of the beer.

I set out to go to my Beaches route, but to head back once I hit the halfway mark of 9K. Took a nice pace, letting my heart rate reach about 78%. Took a gel and headed back and was so happy the clouds came out and made the second half much easier. I think I ran a negative split. Of course, there was the accident that I just noted in my earlier blog posting.

Covered 18.6K (11.6 miles) in 1:37:56. Overall, I had a good week. Did all my runs as prescribed and added a few miles here and there cause I'm able too. The mileage at this point is not bad at all, but there's more to come. Next week's long run is a step-back week before going up to 13 miles.

Weekly total: 60K (37.3 miles)
Year to date: 1,165.5K (724 miles)
Marathon training to date: 113.5K (70.5 miles)

'What to bring...'

...that's always the question I ask myself when I go out for long runs. On the normal days when I do shorter distance, I head out there with my Garmin and what I'm wearing.

These days, for those long runs on hot days, I'm packing my CamelBak hydration pack. It straps around your waist and has room for lots of water, gels, keys, cash and a cellphone. I rarely bring my cellphone with me. Sometimes, I bring it just in case i'm expecting a call or if I feel like taking a picture along the route...

Today, as I was heading out, I also thought of safety. I had just read the August issue of Runners World (by the way, as a journalist and as a runner, I have to say it's one of the best mags out there for content, engaging material and well-written stories). It was about a kid who died of heatstroke while going out for a hard run on the hottest day of the year. He went alone and collapsed, no one to spot him for hours. He died in hospital days later. Last year, the magazine talked about packing an ID card with you, even a business card, so if something happened to you, you would at least have something to speak for you if you couldn't.

That was in the back of my mind when I headed out this morning.

Around halfway through my run, a rollerblader passed me. I took note of him because he was really rollin', was barechested with a helmet and a Gatorade bottle. When I was about 3K from home, I spotted him again, speeding toward me.

Suddenly, he hit a rock, and started to lose control. On both sides of the path are two narrow strips of lawn, which on one side gives way to old railway tracks and, on the other, a fence. He went toward the fence and tried to run off into the lawn, but he had too much momentum and ended up grabbing the chainlinks to come to halt. He arm jerked, he spun and scraped his back on the fence.

I was standing 10 feet away. I quickly checked up on him. He wasn't bleeding, but his shouldr was dislocated. I helped him up and he thought about blading home, but I advised it probably wouldn't be a good idea. Meanwhile, a few cyclists and runners stream by, no one stops to ask or to help.

He was letting his arm go limp as he held it with his free hand. I called emergency and they sent off some paramedics. As we waited, I learned that he blades for 60K at a time and was probably going at about 30km/h when he went off the road. He had a Garmin 301 and I noticed it was ticking 1:30 (just about the same time I'd be running.). He dislocated his arm 15 years ago and we both talked about the bad accident involving a motorcycle just 300 metres down the road. We both remarked that we both saw it (and I wrote about it in last Sunday's blog.)

Anyways, the paramedics came in, he was bit sheepish and as he headed to sit down in the ambulance, he said, "thanks Ken, I'd shake your hand..." And I was on my way...

And it made my glad I brought my phone today...

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Canada Day!

My country's bday, so the streets were quiet for my 8:30 a.m. run. Need to remind myself to stretch before my runs as my calves were really tight after the 2K mark. Ended up doing 11.2K or about 7 miles.

Tomorrow's a long run of 11 miles. The plan is to get out there before 8 a.m. but you never know.