Sunday, June 29, 2008

Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon: 13 weeks to go

First 20 miler is in the books. This training cycle has, I believe, five runs of 20 miles or more. By the end of all of this, these are gonna feel quite normal. I ran today's course pretty much following the official course route for the waterfront marathon, including miles in the Spit.

Weather was absolutely ideal for this time of year. It wasn't too hot, overcast and it wasn't humid. It's been hotter earlier in the week so I was glad to get cooler climes.

There were a few issues I had to work with

-My fuel belt obviously doesn't hold enough Gatorade, only 3 bottles of 8 ounces. Not much carbs. I have to start carrying a bottle or start using gels.
-Found it hard to keep up a strong pace, maybe it's because I was running low on glycogen. I ended up being dehydrated but I did stop at various water fountains to replace Gatorade with water.

With three miles to go, rain started to fall. With about a mile to go, the skies opened up and it was pouring. I decided to duck under some cover for a few minutes to ride it out.

20 miles in 2:42:02, average pace of 8:06

Here are the mile splits
1. 8:29
2. 8:24
3. 8:19
4. 8:02
5. 8:09
6. 8:10
7. 8:06
8. 8:02
9. 8:02
10 8:04
11. 7:59
12. 7:58
13. 7:59
14. 7:54
15. 8:00
16. 8:00
17 7:45
18. 8:45 (took walk break)
19. 7:50
20. 7:39

I found my pace by the fourth mile. I felt really out of it for the first 4 miles and I distinctly remember finding my rhythm. It wasn't quite the runner's high, but close.

The week past:

Tuesday: 9 miles
Wednesday: 14 miles
Thursday: 5 miles
Friday: 12 miles
Saturday: 5 miles
Sunday: 20 miles

Weekly total: 65 miles (105K)
Year to date: 1129 miles (1817K)

A big running week last week and this past month has been my biggest running month with 250 miles in. This compares with 228 miles earlier this winter during Flying Pig training and 217 in the September of 2007 and 215 in August 2006. But it's a recovery week which is welcome since I'm scheduled to do my long run in steamy DC next weekend

Week ahead

Tuesday: 10K race (6.2 miles) with 3 to 5 extra miles
Wednesday: 9 or 12 miles
Thursday: 5 miles
Friday: 11 miles
Saturday: 5 miles
Sunday: 14 miles

Saturday, June 28, 2008

One does not belong

IMG00192, originally uploaded by yumkerun.

Running is going well. I'm on target for 65 miles for the week. Wednesday's 14 miler took a chunk of time, as was yesterday's 12 miler, both were done after work so that's any social engagements out the door. I may have to start scheduling in 4 a.m. runs to get my nights back.

I picked up my race packet for Tuesday's 10K HBC Run for Canada at the department store. Not a very efficient operation giving out the packs, but my goodness, that's a lot of swag here. Try to find the one thing that doesn't obviously belong, running being a celebration of fitness.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Bring back the tempo runs

I dread these runs more than most, probably even more than pace runs. I missed the last 4 mile tempo run scheduled for a few weeks ago. I decided that since I ran a 5K race a few days before that, that I'd done quality work. The last time I had a tempo like run was when I did a 10K race a few weeks after the marathon. I didn't run it at my true 10K speed so it was a very effective LT run as a result. Actually, looking back, it was a tad faster than LT pace at times.

I also ran the 5 miler race last week at a fast pace so I could have used it as an out, but everything i've read about lactate threshold training says that you have to run it at a specific pace (15K to half marathon speed) so your body can benefit from the buildup to your threshold. By simply racing at faster distances, you get obvious benefits but not LT training benefits.

So I decided not to cop out. The schedule called for 9 miles with 4 at LT. I ran one warmup mile then launched into it. LT for me should be around 6:55 to 7 minute miles or around 4:18 to 4:20 kliometres.

Here are the mile splits
1. 8:23
2. 7:01
3. 7:04
4. 7:07
5. 6:57
6. 8:32
7. 7:56
8. 7:52
9. 7:38

A few seconds off but I think i've got the feel down for LT speed.

Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon: 14 weeks to go

A bit behind in my blogging. A few housekeeping items. Here's my mileage from last week, my most ever in a week

Tuesday: 9 miles
Wednesday: 13.4 miles
Thursday: 5 miles
Friday: 11.25 miles
Saturday: 6 miles
Sunday: 18 miles

Total: 63 miles (102K)
Total year to date: 1064 miles (1712K)

Week to come

Tuesday: 9 miles
Wednesday: 14 miles
Thursday: 5 miles
Friday: 12 miles
Saturday: 5 miles
Sunday: 20 miles

Total mileage will be 65. My lord, I don't know how i'll find the time to do a 14 miler and a 12 miler during weekdays but i'll have to carve off a good four hours for that.

Finally, Sonia tagged me a few days ago. I'm not going to tag anyone but if you want to answer, consider yourself tagged.

Sonia tagged me so here goes:

1. How would you describe your running 10 years ago?
Nonexistent. I ran a long time ago, but not 10 years ago, when I was out of university and just starting my career. Lots of time spent in front of computers.

2. What is your best and worst run/race experience?
BEST: Flying Pig Marathon, when I ran my perfect race for the distance. I fuelled up right. I hydrated. I ran strong and consistent and I kicked it home.

WORST: A 5K in 2006 on a hot day when I staggered across the finish line. Not a pretty sight.

3. Why do you run?
For fitness, for time alone, for time to connect with my body. Or these other reasons...

4. What is the best or worst piece of advice you’ve been given about running?
BEST: That I should rest and that every run does not have to be hard and the value of recovery.

WORST: To ignore all quality work in my program... I've since learned the value of tempos, LTs, pacers and trackwork.

5. Tell us something surprising about yourself that not many people would know.
Running related: I ran an intraschool cross country race in grade 5 and was hit with a big athsma attack and came in dead last (or next to last). That was really my worst performance...

Sunday, June 22, 2008

The post about a blog that became a book (how to make your blog a book)

This is an interesting moment in the life of this blog. I started this blog back in December 2005 with these first few paragraphs
I kept a running diary on my computer. It was running nicely, all set up in Excel. But then, my computer died. And with it, I lost the ability to track how many kilometres I'd run. In many ways, it's liberating, sorta like running without my GPS Forerunner.

But with a possible marathon on the horizon (my first, more on that later), I thought it's time to get serious about this running life again: Diet. Mileage. Gear choice. Intervals. Long runs.

So, in time for the new year, it is reborn in this blog.
About a month and a half ago, my work laptop imploded. I lost all data on its hard drive, wiping out a year and half of work including the documents and files related to our site's redesign. Plainly, it sucked to lose all that work. I've also lost various hard drives since I started using computers, say, since 1982 when my dad bought me and my brother a Commodore Vic-20.

So this latest loss of info got me thinking about backing up my digital life and I snapped up an external hard drive to do so. My Digital pictures are already on Flickr Pro account, my files from university and even earlier and of course, this labour of love, this blog. But backing up to another hard drive has its follies. You could lose that just as easily. Geez, could you imagine losing 2.5 years of blogging. That's hundreds of pictures and, in my case, almost 700 posts!

So I started looking at how I would suck in all my posts via RSS and storing them somewhere (digital, of course). Then I thought about how I would just print each blog post and end up with a hard copy of it all. Not a bad idea.

Then I came across's BookSmart, one of several services out there that allows you to publish your own book. I'll do a review of it soon because I didn't find a lot of opinion out there while I was putting mine together. Most people who use the service do picture books, only 69 as of this writing were categorized as "blog books."

Blurb has one great tool (see how it's done) in that it lets blog owners to log in and suck in their blog posts. No cutting and pasting. It now supports Blogger, LiveJournal, TypePad, and It's so smart and effective in that it not only allows you to choose how to import, it also lets you import images that you post in your blog.

The book-making software BookSmart is free (download here) and it's really easy to use. This is from a guy who spent years at newspapers (and at magazines) toiling over picas and points while using Adobe PageMaker. I sucked in all my blog posts, started to eliminate alot of the mundane posts (yes there are lots of those) and was able to choose from tonnes of layouts. I was able to import images from Flickr and finally use all those photos from races that I bought the digital rights to. This old layout editor was having a blast choosing the templates and putting together the cover, the sleeve, the photo spreads. Within two weeks (including on one plane trip) I was on my laptop putting this together.

Here's the result.

Uploaded it earlier this month and got my package a few days ago. I ordered two hardcovers (one with dust jacket, the other with an image wrap). The finished product is fantastic. The images look great. The paper is good quality and, well, it's great to capture this labour of love in book format.

So, introducing, A run blog: A whole lot of soles, chronicling my first three marathons.

Milestone number

In my years of running, I've always eyed the 100K mark with both a measure of envy and fear. 100 kilometres is a long distance, about 62 miles, and I've never hit that number during marathon training.

Of course, then I decided to ramp up to the Pfitzinger 70 mile program, and this week calls for 62 miles. I'm about to get very familiar with this territory.

Week's run has gone quite well, and I topped it off today with my 18 miler. One thing I'm making a huge effort is to run these runs at a strong pace. Years ago, I would target my long runs according to heart rate. A lot of them would come in the 5:25K or 8:30 mile range. In 2007, my 20 milers were done at around 8:18 to 8:23 mile pace. This past winter, my long runs leading up to Flying Pig were 8:06 and 8:01 (and a 30K /18.7 mile race at 7:17 pace).

So all my long runs, I'm trying to get comfortable with sub 8 minute miles. Today, it was nice out, not too hot, and I set out with an easy pace for the first three miles, then I ramped it up. Total time of 2:22:48 with average pace of 7:52. The heart rate did creep up as it heated up and I ended up with an average of 154 bpm. I did take two walk breaks and I should have drank more water or Gatorade.

Back to the 100K, I knew in my last two miles of today's run that I'd surpass it. It feels good to get that mileage in, and it really didn't feel like I spent the entire week running, although I did.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Race report: Night Crawler 5 miler

DSC05233, originally uploaded by yumkerun.

Have to say, this is one of my favourite races. Run in the beginning of summer (or a few days before, as it was today), in my home course by the water. Some people head out for beers on a nice summer day after work. Us runners? Nothing like a good old race.

Also has the most kick ass cotton T-shirts. I love wearing last year's. This year's, just as cool.

As I wrote earlier, I've been feeling under the weather lately, but I've also quickly bounced back. I had 14 miles scheduled today (ugh) so I ran 4 miles early this morning. I would do the rest of the miles in the afternoon, 2.5 mile warm up, the 5 mile race, then a run home of 2.5 miles.

I got home, hydrated and was out the door and ran to the race site. It started to rain as I approached the site. We were wet but the rain quickly ended and we were dry by race time. I knew that two friends were running it: T., who has recently joined our sport, and L., who I greatly admire and also ran Boston in April. I saw T. and we hung out before the race.

The start was really congested as we were running on the road of a high-traffic lane for the out part of the out and back. The race was gun timed so I tried to work my way up to the front, but didn't get that far.

I love this race but simply put, it has kicked my ass in previous years. I don't think I ever raced it to my potential. The first year, I did it in 34:59 and last year, I did it in 35:42. Based on my sub-20 5K, I knew I should be able to manage at least a 4:10K. McMillan's race calculator says I should be able to do around 32:42 with a 4:04K/6:32mile.

A couple things were in my favour today. My Garmin, I knew, would not bonk out since I cleared it of two months of memory yesterday. It was cool (although it was cool last year). And I've tonnes of training under my belt this year.

We were off and I spent the first 600 metres trying to run around people. On our right, there were cones. If you wanted to make ground, you could go on the outside of the cones partly in the traffic lane, but you'd risk running into a car. I decided to run it hard and used the outside lane a few times. We had a nice downhill section and I just cruised down, passing a few women who were running strongly. We passed the 1 mile mark and the person was calling 6:30, 6:31, 6:32 to which the two women quickly said 'woah, we're going way too fast'. I knew the pace was just right for me so while they slowed down I sped up.

Around this point, L. came blazing by me. I could recognize him from behind and I let him go. He settled in about 80 to 100 metres ahead of me. I also saw a guy who was in the 5K race I did last week.

For the rest of the first half, I felt good. I was not labouring my breathing and I felt my running cadence being smoothed. I think part of my maturing as a distance runner is that I'm learning how to run at different speeds and there's a certain amount of confidence that I now have with all the thousands of training miles in me. I didn't go out too fast and I started upping the pace so I'd slowly gain, then pass people.

The first two miles were done in 6:29 and 6:42. Around the halfway mark, there was a rise, a few corners and another rise so we'd make the big Humber Bridge on our way back to the finish. I enjoyed these rises and was among a strong group of runners. We crossed the bridge and we headed downhill. At the bottom of the hill there was a pool of water so instead of running three wide, we turned into single file to navigate around the pond. After that, it was free for all and I started to turn it on again.

We were running on the board walk where we had to dodge goose droppings. Later on, we actually had to dodge about 10 Geese that decided to cross. They are huge and I wouldn't want to smash into one.

I hit mile three in 6:34 and mile four in 6:29. By the time we had 2K to go, I was feeling it. My breathing had increased but I felt I could gain on more runners. In the last kilometre, there is a fair sized hill. I saw L in the distance and a few other runners. I had done this hill literally hundreds of times, so, drawing on the ghosts of the Around the Bay and the Flying Pig Marathon, I summoned my hill climbing memories and flew up the hill. I made huge distance on the hill and at the top, I turned it on even more, passing more runners. I nearly caught right up to L in the final 300 metres, almost within touching distance, but he had more in him and turned up the jets. I had used up my gas.

In the final straightaway, I heard a few runners gaining on me so I turned up the jets to strider speed. I saw the time on the display was sub 33 and I was very happy to cruise in a few places behind lee with a final mile in about 6:30.

My Garmin time is 32:44 (when I actually started running as opposed to walking up to the start lne. The official gun time was 32:49, so I'm very happy to outperform my expectations today. I think races bring out your potential and I'm happy as hell to knock off more than two minutes off the 5 mile PB. This also smashes my 8K times but to be fair, my 8Ks were run in huge hilly courses.

After the race, L and I grabbed hot dogs and other goods. Watched T cross the finish and we hung around some more talking shop the way only runners do. Fantastic time. If you love racing this one's one of the best small races our city has to offer. It's a must do.

Results here

Final time: 32:49
Pace: 4:05K/6:34 miles
Place overall: 45/367 (87.7 percentile)
Place in men: 43/193 (77.7 percentile)
Place in age group: 15/88 (82.9 percentile)

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

1001 reasons to write a post...

Last year, around August 20th, I had logged my 1000th mile of the year. It's only June 17th, a few days before summer and a full week and a half before the year's midpoint, and I've already logged in my 1001th mile. (Actually, with today's 9 miler, I'm up to 1010 miles). Each one of those miles was done with purpose, either as a warmup and prep for the Flying Pig or in its aftermath and the leadup to this training program.

I've done quite a few of them in DC, when I was happy to have refuge from cold Canada, and I have a few to come in the hot, humid climes of Washington in the next few months. Close to home, I've run in Burlington, Toronto, Scarborough, Etobicoke. Farther away, I've run in Miami, New York's Central Park. I've race quite a few of them: a marathon, a 30K, a 10K, an 8K and two 5Ks. I often run many of them in my mind on my way home, or on an airport or on a plane to visit R.

Reaching 2000 miles for the seems a very distant goal. At the beginning of the year, I had my mine set at a number a few hundred short of that target. Who knows what the next six months will take me, but i'll tell you what: All those training miles have made me a stronger runner. I feel faster, my paces seem more steady at faster speeds and I take joy in running.

A mile in my books is a good chunk of time. At my best, it can be a little more than 6 minutes. At my steadiest, it can clock in at 7:40. At my routine, it goes by in 8 minutes or just a bit faster if i'm feeling fresh. And when I'm just running and enjoying the scenery, I get a peek at those 9:20s or 8:50s. I can't remember all the past 1001, but I'm sure my body does.

Today, a day after recovering from my cold, I was really worried about going out for my run. I promised myself not to go out too hard, to run it by feel and I hoped that my body would recover enough for tomorrow's 5 mile race. I ran it strong and it felt great. The miles clicked by. I ended it with a a faster for the last bit as I knew I could give it my all in the final mile, one clocked at 7:05. One miles -- as of now -- of more than a thousand.

Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon: 15 weeks to go

I had a rough end to a long week. On Wednesday, I thought I just had bad allergies. By Thursday and Friday, I was taking the anti-histamines but I was able to get all my miles in. Then on Saturday, on a humid morning, I went out for my 5 miler and I felt exhausted. I had to walk several times. I felt something at the bottom of my throat and just could push myself. I finished the run.

Sunday, slept in and headed home to visit Dad. I had a 15 miler planned and I wanted to go out to do some miles. I still felt tired and I thought that maybe the hills would do me in. There are tonnes of hills in the old hood and I took the first three quite well. By the 6 mile mark, though, I was done for. I took the short route home and called it a day at 7 miles. It was the first time I had ever cut short my long run while on marathon training. I'm really not that bothered by that, because a few hours later, I knew I had a cold, not allergies.

So I spent Sunday night and Monday in a headachy, congested chest and mini-fevers and wisely, I spent Monday at home and slept it off. I know it was prudent to not push my both past its limit at my weak state. Still, though, got in decent mileage.

Week past:
Tuesday: 13 miles
Wednesday: 9 miles
Thursday: 5 miles
Friday: 11 miles
Saturday: 5 miles
Sunday: 7 miles

Weekly total: 50 miles (80.5K)
Year to date: 1001 miles (1611K)

The week to come:

Tuesday: 9 miles
Wednesday: 14 miles (AM: 5 miles; PM, 2.5 mile warmup, 5 mile race, 2.5 mile warmdown)
Thursday: 5 miles
Friday: 11 miles
Saturday: 5 miles
Sunday: 18 miles

Friday, June 13, 2008

Slowing it down

Feeling quasi under the weather with allergies and congestion so I'm ramping down my pace. I'm considering a day off but I don't feel that bad yet. This week's been quick. A 13 miler on Tuesday, 9 miles on Wednesday, an easy 5 miles last night but it was windy and today, 11 miles at a moderate pace. I have two races from now to July 1 so I'm including both of them in the quality work category. They both may just end up being LT runs, which are great to get in. Off to see R's best friend get married! We'll see if i'm up to a 5 mile recovery tomorrow morning in Burlington.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Scheduling around it all

Ramping it up to the 70 mile a week program means massive commitment. I can no longer make last minute plans with friends, like one who asked me whether we could get together for drinks after work. Nope, I replied, I have a run planned and I didn't do it in the morning.

That seems to be my big problem. I work quite a few hours and I commute back-and-forth that takes up two hours. So today, I had a 13 miler (ouch) planned. You can't really slip in a 13 miler in there. Morning seems way too crazy to get up so early when you consider I leave for work at 6:45 a.m. So evening it is.

Rant over. I know that this schedule and program will make me stronger but i'll have to put a lot more hours on the road.

13.1 miles in 1:45. And I think I'll get my nine miler in about 7 hours tomorrow morning.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon: 16 weeks to go

Got all my runs in this week and the mileage is going up. Did my long run and added an extra mile for 18 miles. It was really warm out when I started at 9:30 so I was impressed that I was able to keep up the pace. The last two miles, the heat was getting to me so I slowed right down to recovery pace. Here are the splits

1. 8:10
2. 8:06
3. 7:55
4. 7:46
5. 7:50
6. 7:55
7. 7:56
8. 7:52
9. 7:41
10. 7:42
11. 7:38
12. 7:34
13. 7:41
14. 7:38
15. 7:46
16. 7:49
17. 9:24
18. 8:55

Run done in 2:23:50 7:58 pace.

Mileage in the week just past:

Monday: 12 miles
Tuesday: 8 miles
Wednesday: 5 miles
Thursday: 9 miles
Saturday:3.1 miles (5K race) plus warmup
Sunday: 18 miles

Weekly: 56 miles (90K)
Year to date: 950.5 miles (1,530 kilometres)

This week's schedule:
Tuesday: 9 with 4 at LT. (I may forgo this and treat Saturday's race as the hard workout)
Wednesday: 13
Thursday: 5
Friday: 11
Sunday: 15

Race report: Moon in June 5K

My friend Fitzy has talked about the 5K Moon in June for awhile. It's in Burlington, Ont., about an hour's drive from Toronto and also where both Fitzy and R are from. So Fitzy and I signed up for the 5K race a few weeks ago and I kinda crept up on us.

What also surprised us all is the heat wave that's hitting the Southern Ontario area. It reached a high of 33C today, about the same yesterday. I hate running in heat but at least this race started at 9 p.m. as the sun was setting.

Fitzy and his better half picked me up and we drove down there, picked up our bib and chip, and we enjoyed watching the 1K fun run for the kids. They were so cute and hilarious. Luckily, there was a breeze that cooled things slightly but it was still warm. I did a few striders around 8:30 and it felt a little hard: It was going to be hot. So my goal, fabricated just before the start, was to go out 'semi aggressively' or try for a 4 minute first kilometre or faster, and see how things would go.

The race started near city hall, went south to the lake, then a series of corners, winding our way back to the start/finish line. While we were lining up, a overheard a few high schoolers (wearing school colours) talking about how they wanted to go sub 20 minutes.

Guy 1: "If you stick with me, you'll go sub 20"
Guy 2: "Yeah, last year I did it in just over that and I only ran once or twice"

Wow, once or twice? And here I am, having run more than 800 miles this year. Yikes.

The temperature at 9 p.m. was a cooler 25C but with a humidex of 31C. I lined up near the front and when the horn went off, we took off. I tried not to go out too fast (yeah, right) and we ran south and surprisingly, I found myself near the front. Just over 500 ran the race but I expected a few more fast runners as I saw some Toronto-based local runners warming up.

I hit the first kilometre in 3:50 and I was surprised that the effort didn't feel too bad. I was putting my breathing into check. It was at this point that I decided to give a race a go. I was running just behind a big group of 10 runners who were running in a cluster. I just kept with them for a bit, judging their pace and seeing if I could match them, which I did. We turned north and it felt great to have a breeze in my face.

The second kilometre was a slower 4:10 as I was just making sure I wouldn't lose too much speed. I started to push as other runners started to slow down their pace. I could tell a few of the runners had gone out too fast, so I targetted them first, catching up to them, then just running strongly by them. We ran through a neighbourhood and as we were about the half way mark near some houses, I heard a woman watching us saying that we were about the 23rd runner to pass. I sensed my opportunity and was pleased to see that I was still running sub 20 pace. Kilometre three was done in 4:01.

The next kilometre was interesting. The breeze had stopped and we were turning a few corners. I saw the two guys who were talking about going sub-20. I ran alongside them and passed them in a few seconds. I started bumping up my breathing patterns as it was getting laboured. The heat was getting to all of us but I knew I had to hang on. There were two runners ahead of me I was locking on to. A boy who was about 12 (he was in the 10-14 group) who was running very well, and a girl, who was in her early 20s. The boy went out really fast and the girl was running consistently ahead of me. She had a fast kilometre 2 so had about 200 metres on me.

I did the fourth kilometre in about 3:58, during which I passed the boy. I wanted to tell him he was doing great but I was myself getting kinda tired out. We did the final turn onto the main street and we had a kilometre to go. I really started to turn it on. I knew I was overheating but I sensed the finish line. I find it helpful during the last kilometre to just picture two or three laps of a track. It makes the distance feel so much shorter. I felt strong and I pumped my arms and increased my strides. I passed a guy, and was gaining on the girl. We all went into a near sprint in the last 200 metres. The guy who I passed came sprinting by me, all while I was trying to pass the girl, who had also stepped it up. In the end, I did the last kilometre at a 3:52ish pace and came ONE second behind the girl. (See three of us below)

Now here's the interesting part. Two years ago, I did a 5K in similar conditions and imploded. It was hot and I could not handle it.

Here are the splits from now and then:

2008 (2006)
1. 3:50 (3:51)
2. 4:10 (4:05)
3. 4:01 (4:08)
4. 3:58 (4:13)
5. 3:40 (5:30)
(note in 2008 my garmin was whacky)

My time today was an astonishing 19:44, surprising because of the weather conditions. In 2006, I got a 21:44. My personal best, set in March this year on an ideal sunny winter day, is 19:31. I'm very happy to go sub 20 again. It just confirms the type of fitness i've built up even though I know I can get fitter and leaner.

Another surprising thing is that I placed 17th overall out of 517 and also came in 2nd in my age group. It's a small race but I was shocked to place. So we stuck around and I picked up my prize, a Puma water bottle/waist band.

Final (chip) time): 19:44
Pace overall: 17/517 (96.7 percentile)
Place men: 15/203 (92.6 percentile)
Place group: 2/16 (87.5 percentile)

Thursday, June 05, 2008

10 straight days

I was just thinking of the last time I took a rest day. And in fact, since I ran Monday (my one scheduled rest day) I have now run in the past 10 days. That's about 88 miles in that span.

Surprisingly, my legs are holding up great. I've been doing my runs at a decent pace, sometimes a little faster than 8 minute miles. Recovery, i'm trying to behave and do them slow. My runs this week have been great. I did a 12 miler on Monday after work. The sun was still up so I ran to Leslie Street Spit. Did the run in just over 1:32 for an average pace of 7:42 miles. Didn't feel too too hard. That was followed by an 8 miler, a 5 mile recovery and a 9 miler this morning.

I'm not looking forward to the mini heat wave heading this way. It's calling for three days of 30C with humidex even higher. I think it'll remind me why I wake up so early to run once it gets hot.

I've been studying the schedule and I'm getting my head around weeks to come, weeks that include a 15 miler mid week, with a 11 miler on another weekday. That's a huge commitment to get the extra miles in. It'll probably add up to a few extra hours of training a week compared with last year. Hopefully it starts to pay off.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon: 17 weeks to go

Today's 15 miler marked my first long run of that nature since my last marathon a month ago. I welcomed the sleepin but was raring to take advantage of slightly cooler weather. My plan was to head east to the Beaches and try to run it smooth but with a little effort. The wind was heading out east to I was getting a little bit of aid on my way out there. I decided to bring my iPod with me today just to keep me company and I wanted to catch up on some podcasts. Kept the volume down as there were tonnes of cyclists who were doing the Becel Ride for the Heart on the nearby highway.

I've been trying to do the right things with my runs, really trying to focus on keeping my heart rate in check, keeping a good posture and trying to run efficiently. What I wanted to avoid was to push it too hard so that the medium-long run would feel something like comfortably hard. I wanted to push for that edge just before comfortably hard, like a 'I could run forever' but slightly faster. I'm also know that I'm looking to push the pace a little bit more since I am gunning for faster training paces. Here are the splits for this 15.6 miler

1. 8:17
2. 8:26
3. 8:14
4. 8:06
5. 8:14
6. 8:07
7. 8:01
8. 8:02
9. 8:02
10 7:57
11. 8:04
12. 7:53
13. 7:50
14. 7:53
15. 8:00
.6 7:34 pace

Total run, 15.62 miles in 2:05:47 with average pace of 8:03. That's a pretty good start, influenced by really nice weather no doubt.

Here was the week past of the Pfitzinger 70 mile week 1

Tuesday: 11 miles
Wednesday: 8.1 miles
Thursday: 9 miles
Friday: 5 miles
Saturday: 5.4 miles
Sunday: 15.6 miles

Time run: 7:18:19
Total weekly: 54 miles (87K)
Year to date: 894.5 miles (1367K)

Week to come:

Tuesday: 8 miles
Wednesday: 12 miles
Thursday: 5 miles
Friday: 9 miles
Saturday: 5 miles (I have 5K race that day so will do that and 2 mile cooldown/warmup)
Sunday: 17 miles

Feeding the urge...

I can only describe the feeling as stir crazy on steroids. There are days when I'm on the streetcar platform, waiting in a mass crowd to board it so we can take the 5 minute ride home, the final leg of a three vehicle journey from work in the suburbs to my waterfront condo. I don't know, maybe it's because I hate rush hour, maybe it's because the only other time I find myself in such a big crowd is when we're lining up for a big race.

But it comes, you know.. that... er.. feeling, that urge to run. It happens to me a lot in the spring and summer, when 6 p.m. or 7 p.m. it's still light outside. My streetcar emerges from the underground and I see the sunlight still out. I see the sidewalk. Yep, it's dry. I check the trees and flags. Light wind. I see if there are runners out there (a guaranteed yes if it's spring or summer). So as the streetcar nears the final stop, and I get up and plant myself near the exit, I feel that urge. I gently stretch my calves through my jeans. If only I can start running, I think, RIGHT NOW. I exit, check the feel of the air temperature on my exposed arm. I make a mental checklist (singlet today, 8 miles to the west, and i'll need a few bites of a bagel) and enter the condo with purpose. I gots things to do right now.

And if all goes according to plan, I'll be back outside in short order. Within five minutes, the itchy feeling will be replaced with the patient wait for my Garmin to grab a trio of satellites, for me to adjust that fuel belt and retie that right shoelace with the double knot, and for the crossing sign to turn white. Cause when it does, i've got 8 miles of uninterrupted road ahead of me and in the first strides, the urge will be quickly fed with the initial rush of a smooth turnover, quick cadence and endless energy... That lasts only for a little but, but after that, that's just gravy...