Thursday, January 31, 2008

10 miles over two days

Ran 4 miles yesterday in a very windy and cold trail. Today, a much faster 6+ miles, or 10K, in under 49 minutes. Pretty much floored it for the last two kilometres.

That's 20 miles for the week. The weekend will be challenging to get a longer than 10 mile run in in deep snow. Should make for interesting times.

Big winter snowstorm coming. to Toronto.. again

This forecast about says it all

Winter storm warning for: City of Toronto
Issued at 3:47 PM EST THURSDAY 31 JANUARY 2008


The bad news, I have to make the trek to work. The good news, my next run will be using snow tires.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Perfect 10 miler

Okay, the GPS ran out of batteries when I took it out for today's run, and I really didn't care. I know my route so well that I can measure just about any distance without my Garmin.

While much of the country wallowed in really really cold (-54C with windchill, anyone?). I was treated to 4C, light mist and little wind. So I set out with a pair of shoes I repatriated from R's place this weekend. I'm not sure what it was: running Garminless, the bouncier shoes, the day I took off or the perfect weather, but I felt amazing and settled into what I can describe as slightly faster than the "I can run forever" pace. Probably a 5:15K pace or 8:25 mile.

I ran tall and had fun jumping over puddles. By the end, I was nice and toasty, a little wet and still in great shape -- I was barely huffing and puffing. I know that compared with a year ago, I'm in much better winter form and the base mileage is strong.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Taking advantage of the weather

DC in the summer is crazy hot, but in the winter, it's a perfect getaway from the frigid weather Toronto. Don't get me wrong, it's still cold here, but it's always between 5 and 10C warmer.

We hung out all morning and I baked an apple pie (from scratch, crust and all) and we ventured out for a nice run. It was sunny and about 2 or 3C and just a tad windy. We did 9K in about 55 minutes at a nice recovery pace.

Keeping up the mileage, which is keeping me happy and somewhat fit. I'm going to be happy just getting the miles in. I think a 15 miler should be in the cards the next few weeks before I plunge into marathon training.

Weekly miles: 37 miles (60K)
Year to date: 140 miles (225K)

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Hitting Rock Creek Park

Okay, finally after a year of mostly doing laps of the Mall, Tidal Basin and the environs while I'm running in DC, I decided to expand my running. Mostly because I'm not in marathon training and so I don't have a specific pace I have to run in or miles I want to fit in.

I plotted a course that would finally take me into the Rock Creek Park that runners talk about. It took about 4 miles until I hit it, but once I did, I could see why it's a nice running route. I ventured in about 10.5K (6.5 miles) then did the out-and-back route. The GPS went wonky and didn't count about a kilometer (I remember it said I did mile 9 in 13:34 -- yeah right). Route is mapped out here. Anyways, it was a nice at times sunny day and I ended up doing 13 miles in 1:50. Up to 31 miles for the week and I plan on another run tomorrow to bring me to the upper 30s.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Longer, slower and looking ahead

Snow is still blanketing my running trail, but I decided to put in a few more miles than yesterday's 6 miles. So I did a total of 8 miles or 13K in about 1:09. Up to 18 miles for the week and I plan to get a long run in this weekend.

During my run, I was thinking of my schedule over the next few months and I know I definitely want to get the mileage up right now and maybe fit in more quality work. Realistically, I don't think I'm going to do many LT, intervals or strideouts until mid-February, although I may try a 3-mile tempo run on Saturday in DC. The ground will be clear and it'll be warmer so it'll be ideal.

My first race of the season comes in mid-March, a 5K, so it'd be good to get some speed sessions down in my long-term quest to get close to 20 minutes.

The big early race is on March 30, the Around the Bay 30K, which is kind of an A-minus race. It's a huge event and I've never done the distance in race conditions so I'm very excited and a little daunted by the distance: harder than a half marathon, but the distance is just about when you hit the Wall, so it's a great test of fitness and pacing. That day actually falls on one of my 20 mile training runs but i'll be running it at least at a marathon race pace. Put simply, it'll be a fantastic way to get right up to the Wall in training (and with thousands of training partners!).

One huge bonus of the Around the Bay is that it's really hilly in the last half, which should be interesting prep for the hills I hear we'll be hitting at the Flying Pig Marathon in May. I ran part of the last half of ATB over the holidays with R (her family homestead is around the 20K mark) and two of our friends who are training for the race. The hills are monsters in places.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Note to self: get some new shoes

I stopped tracking how many miles I had put on my current pair of shoes, but I do know I started using them in the spring or summer. I know this: I have put way too many miles, much more than the 500 miles max that some suggest.

You could feel every stomp, even on the blanket of snow I ran in tonight.

So after I visit R this weekend in DC, I'm going to retire these ones, buy a new pair. Maybe it'll make things a bit better.

Or that's the hope.

6 miles today in 53ish minutes, and 4 miles yesterday.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Going against the wind

The forecasts were not welcoming at the very least. Cold, very cold. Windy, very windy. And sunny, very sunny. So I set out this morning for a longish run of 10 miles.

Cold: It was -8C or 17F.
Wind: 54km/h westerly winds or 34m/h.
Skies: Blue, with spots of clouds.

So I put on double gloves, put on the heavy shell and set out. Man that wind was really going. Straight west. I was thinking of doing little loops but I decided to tackle on the beast. Go 5 miles straight west into the wind, and get the wind on my back on the way home.

That wind was incredible and since most of my trail is in the open area with little cover, I felt the full brunt of every gust (and it was gusting). I was putting an 8 minute mile effort but wasn't getting much out of it. It really felt like I was barely running. Mile 3-4 was done in 8:56.

What surprised me was that there were plenty of other runners out there for their long runs, sharing in my misery. I won't lie that several times, I thought about taking a walk break or just going back home, but since others were toughing it out, so would I.

The double gloves were effective to the point. The wind was piercing through and my left thumb was feeling numb.

The came the turnaround (literally) in my run. Suddenly I was warmer, faster and enjoying what felt like a fast 5 miles with little effort.

The splits:
1. 8:13
2. 8:52
3. 8:56
4. 8:40
5. 8:26
6. 8:07
7. 8:08
8. 7:47
9. 8:13
10. 8:01

10 miles done in 1:23:30 with average pace of 8:20.

Weekly update:
I'm pretty happy with my mileage. I should technically be finishing my third week in an 18-week program for the Flying Pig Marathon but since I'm opting for a 12 week program, the miles in January and early Feb. are vital.


Tuesday: 5 miles
Wednesday: 10 miles
Thursday: 5 miles
Saturday: 3 miles
Sunday: 10 miles.

Mileage: 33 miles (53K)
Year to date: 103 miles (166K)

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Picture the beach, picture the beach

Ran 5 miles after work and the GPS had run out of batteries, so didn't really pay attention to time and just focused on a slower pace. Really felt out of energy, probably because I had a very light breakfast and lunch, part of the post-holiday revamped eating (I won't call it a diet) to return back into training shape.

Actually was plus 4C and I see the temperature is going to PLUNGE this weekend. Well, I think I've had enough of a respite from winter. I'm afraid of the cold more than the heat in so many ways.

Just picture the beach... picture below from Miami on Sunday and my beach reading...

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Right on target

Had a very interesting run today. I'm trying my best to stick to the 5/10/5 plan for weekdays that sees me running 5 miles one day, a medium-long run of 10 miles mid-week followed by another five on Thursday or Friday. This gives me 20 miles for the weekdays and sets me up for a recovery run and a long run to give me 35ish miles a week.

So I set out to do my 10 miles in the dark. It was a relatively warm -1C tonight and I enjoyed the run very much. The night city skyline from 5 miles away is breathtaking. I wish I had a camera with me.

Now, the interesting part. I ran the first bit at a steady and very comfortable pace, not really caring about time or pace. Within 4 miles, I felt so good that I cranked it up. I passed some runners and I sped up again, and it felt good. So by the time I hit the 10K mark, I saw I was on pace for a 1:22ish 10 miler. So I decided to slowly up the pace for the last four miles to see if I can average it down to a 1:20 run or 5 minute Ks/8 minute miles.

So with every kilometre split, I could see myself shaving off time. So I sped up the next portions closer to marathon pace. By the 2K to go mark, I saw myself needing to speed it up big time to aim for 1:20. By the 15K mark, with 1.1K to go, I knew that I needed a fast finish to make it under the target, or a 4-minute 1K followed by a fast 100 metres.

Now that's a lot of math to do while running, but that's what goes through my silly little mind when I'm racing the clock. The result was very - well - dead on. 10 miles (9.99 in SportTracks and 10 in Garmin's Training Center) in 1:20:01 for an average pace of 8 minute miles. See the progression/negative splits below. Man, I've never hit my exact planned time ever. Uncanny

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The schedule

Five miles done today after work in 41:43, or about a 8:20 mile pace. Felt okay, not too fast, not too slow.

One of the challenges in the base period is to fit in one medium-long run during the week, which will be tough as I'm going to shoot for a 10 mile run.

Which means about 1:25 of running before work (5 a.m., yikes) or after work (5 or 6 pm). In both cases, it means running in the dark. This is a little daunting but I'm going to have to get used to one or the other. Flying Pig Marathon training is beginning in a month and I've got to toughen up for a harder 50+ mile schedule.

Monday, January 14, 2008

That was a great vacation

And now back to our regularly scheduled work and running life. Last week's mileage was a healthy 47 miles, aided by my long weekend in Miami. Now it's back to base training of 30 - 35 miles. I will miss running today and possibly tomorrow but will get back into it big by Wednesday.

Weekly mileage: 47 miles (75.5K)
Year to date: 70 miles (112.5K)

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Morning and evening run

A nice warm morning and a cooler evening. I started my morning run with R. but told her I wanted to get a faster run, so we split after the first 700 metres. I ran about 5K on the beach and did a hard run, starting slow and speeding to a 7:30 a mile pace at the end. First run of 8 miles was done in 1:05:12 with average pace of 8:04 miles (about 5:01Ks).

We walked around town, had a nice sushi lunch, then walked a lot more. We again went for a run, a 5K around the boardwalk before dinner.

Ah, vacation life with running is great!

Friday, January 11, 2008

Lots of calories to run off tomorrow morning

It all started well enough, a sunny day and a day at the beach but not before a run on the board walk.
Then came dinner at a modern Cuban restaurant.

My main: "Churrasco Grilled marinated skirt steak on garlic mashed potato with pico de gallo and jalapeño chimichurri."

R's main: Grilled Chilean Salmon Grilled fillet of Chilean salmon served with a nutty japonica black rice and a light mango mustard sauce. Finished with a garlic-tomato concasse
My dessert: "Tres Leches de Chocolate Chocolate sponge cake soaked in three milks, finished with a decadent chocolate mousse and crowned with homemade chocolate ice cream."
R's dessert: "Key West Napoleon Layers of flaky pastry sheets, filled with a key lime cream and topped with dulce de leche caramel."

Not pictured was our seafood appetizer, our mojitos (mango and 'traditional') and our wine, beer and espresso. A yummy pricey meal.

We walked a lot after dinner (3 miles maybe) but it's gonna take a long run this weekend and more of payback.

Beach blogging

This is new. Found a wifi connection on the beach from a nearby hotel and on my iPod touch I'm surfing and blogging.

We got into Miami last night and had a late dinner. But we got up and did a 11K or almost 7 miles on an out and back to South Beach.

R is going for a swim later and I may sneak in another run. In the meantime more lying around.

Sent from my Touch

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

When two becomes four, you know you're almost (not quite) in training

I keep on reminding myself that although I'm going to do a 12-week training program for the Flying Pig Marathon, I still should consider the next five weeks as base training plus some foundation for future long runs and tempo/lactic threshold. Which means I should be getting in runs of all kinds to get at least 30 to 35 miles a week.

And which also brought me to today. I got home late from work and it was dark and cold... really didn't feel like a run, but something was telling me that every mile counts toward building a base. So I convinced my stupid head that I'd go for a minimum of one mile out and back for two miles. Stupid because I've actually only done a two mile run once as I consider 4K to be the minimum distance to be worth changing into my running gear.

After commiting then to get out, I quickly reset my goals. Before I knew it, I was in the middle of a four-mile run (total of 34:52 with splits of 8:51, 8:19, 8:29, 8:07 and a stray 1:04 extra). Much better.

So that brings me to 20 miles so far for the week. I'm off to Miami tomorrow after work so I plan to run again on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. We plan to do at least six miles each day.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Long story short

Ran 3.1 miles (5K) in the dark (some portions very dark) at a quicker than usual pace, finishing it at 21:43.

Kilometre splits:
1. 4:38
2. 4:34
3. 4:23
4. 4:08
5. 3:57

Mile splits:
1. 7:27
2. 7:05
3. 6:32
.11 40 seconds

It was so warm that I dug out my fall top AND shorts! It was chilly cause of the wind and rain, but nice and perfect by the end.

Monday, January 07, 2008

A nice predictor training run

Absolutely beautiful outside today. A little wet, misty and rainy at times, but it is warm -- 11 degrees.

Set out on a longish run and decided early on it'd be 13.1 miles. I did a lot of slower runs the past week, so I was iching to go a bit faster. I quickly hit a 5 minute K or 8 minute mile pace. It was getting warm so I rolled up my sleeves. The run was strong. There was water all over the place, and the trucks going by the road were making things muddy. Still, I turned it on. At the Beaches, I stopped for a 30 second breather and then the skies opened up and it rained for a few minutes. I rolled down the sleeves, put back on the gloves and ran home.

I was progressively getting faster. Starting at 5 minute Ks, I moved down to marathon pace and even faster. The last 7 miles were done at marathon pace of 7:37 miles or faster. I even turned it on for the last mile with a 6:57 clocking.

I was very happy with this run, done in 1:40:47 with a pace of 4:46 or 7:40, right on marathon pace. The time is not that important, but that I was able to throw down a strong MP run more than two months after I was in marathon shape is heartening. As I said in an earlier post, I think I want to do long runs with strong finishes this year. This shows I may be able to build up to a stronger fitness level.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Recapping the first week of 2008

A lot of planning is under way for the year. I've set up my 12 week marathon training program for the Flying Pig and this evening I've signed up for another batch of races, which puts me at six races for 2008 so far:

5K race in March
30K race in March
8K race in April
Marathon in May
10 miler in July
Half marathon in September

Weekly mileage was pretty good, not at the level I should be at for base mileage for the marathon training, but it's getting up there:

Monday: Rest
Tuesday: Rest
Wednesday: 3.1 miles
Thursday: 5 miles
Friday: 3.1 miles
Saturday: 8.85 miles
Sunday: 4 miles

Weekly mileage: 24 miles (38.5K)

Plan for next week as I start aiming for the 30+ miles a week base.

Monday: 10 miles
Tuesday: 4 miles (with 6 x 100 strides)
Wednesday: 4 miles
Thursday: Rest/Fly to Miami
Friday: 3 - 5 miles in Miami Beach Florida!
Saturday: 6 miles in Miami
Sunday: 6 miles in Miami

Friday, January 04, 2008

Huckabee running, and, er, running

Watching the Iowa caucuses tonight was fun but one thing I've been keeping my eye on was Governor Mike Huckabee who won it for the Republican side in Iowa. I've heard about him of course by all the press he's gotten in the running press in recent years about his huge weight loss, his running routine and about marathoning. I'm not a social conservative, but I do appreciate that this guy is running for president and also an avid marathoner (and also training for one right now). It takes stamina, guts, intelligence, commitment, pacing for both.

His running credentials are pretty good. He did the Marine Corps Marathon in 4 hours, 37 minutes and has done three others, including the Little Rock Marathon in 4:38. Huckabee did the New York City Marathon in 5:38 with a sore knee and the bib number of 110 for the number of pounds he lost. (More results here) Also was named a Hero of Running by Runners World in 2006. He's also training for the Boston Marathon with Team Hoyt. Good on him, I say.

Here's what he said tonight, and we're about to hear a lot more running (the sport) references over the next while while he gets a lot of national attention. And that's a good thing, given all the negative things that have been said about our sport recently.

Huckabee from

"I would say that this is probably about maybe a half marathon," he told reporters. "We started out a year ago and we've got a year left...For me, it's a gut check. Regardless of what position we're in, we still see this as a marathon, the finish line is November, but tonight we hope to prove we're in this race for all 26 miles"

So I wonder if he worries about hitting the Wall. Democrat John Edwards probably knows too, cause he's also a big runner.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Flying Pig Marathon training schedule

Update (05.08.08): Okay, I notice that lots of people are landing on this page from searches of "Flying Pig Marathon." I'm a runner from Toronto, Ontario, training for the marathon with a 12-week schedule, and I'm running the race for the first time who just finished running the 2008 Flying Pig Marathon. It's my third marathon, my first being Chicago in 2006 and the second being the Marine Corps Marathon in 2007. Welcome to my training blog, which i've been doing since December, 2005.

Some useful links
My race report (and pre-race one)
Results from and from
Photos from the race on and from
Want to know your real marathon time? My post and also an update from Cincinatti Enquirer.
Course info, including course description.
Long range forecast for Cincinnati
Course reviews

Other blogs by people who are running the race in 2008, as far as I could tell
Mine, of course.
The Internal Pigdog
A Cystic Fibrosis Patient’s Journey to Completing A Marathon
Miles and Madness

My spring marathon training, if I was doing an 18-week program, should have began on New Years Day. But I've decided to do the Pfitzinger 12-week program that tops out at 55 miles a week. It's a shorter version of the 18 week schedule I followed last summer.

I'm delaying my training for several reasons, but I do know I need to get accustomed to doing major running in the winter and perhaps buy a month and a half to let the cold weather pass us by a little before doing a lot of quality work. I also have to build a real base mileage before plunging into the training.

My goal for this marathon is to gain more experience, work on keeping my fitness at a high level, improve some aspects of training such as working harder at LTs and doing long runs at faster pace.

So here's the plan. In the next six weeks, I'll do between 30 and 35 miles a week so I can build a strong base. It will be built on running about 15 miles during two or three weekday runs and two weekend runs with a long run starting at 10 miles and working up to 15 miles.

So here's a sample base week from now until the second week of February. I intend to start this now and see if I can keep it up over the next five:

Monday: Rest
Tuesday: 5 miles (Add strides)
Wednesday: 8 miles (Key weekday run)
Thursday: 3 miles
Friday: Rest
Saturday: long run (10 to 15 miles)
Sunday: Recovery of 5 miles.

And below is the Pfitzinger 12 week program beginning on Feb. 12.

Running with snow tires

media1.jpeg, originally uploaded by yumkerun.

The sidewalks were clear, and lots of snow and ice were covering my running trails, so naturally I decided to put on my new Yaktrax. It's been bitterly cold the past few days and snow has melted during the day and refroze in the night, leaving sheets of ice.

I can't believe i've gone so many winters without these. They kinda take the bounce out of your running, but I was able to confidently navigate my way through almost 4K of ice and snow with no hint of a slip. Amazing. Ended 5K run in just under 26 minutes.