Saturday, July 26, 2008

Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon: 9 weeks to go

Well, the training has hit its halfway mark. This week, I have a stepback/recovery week. I'm headed to San Francisco for six days with R. and two friends for some R&R. I'll be surprised if I get in 50 miles in this week, but the aim is to keep fitness up by going for a mid-week 10+ miler, and try for a daily run of 5 miles which should only take 40 minutes of time. If I can get out of San Fran with 30 miles in me, i'll be very pleased and will make up the mileage when I'm back in Toronto.

July's been a big running month. I still have four potential runs left and I've already hit a monthly high mileage of 256 miles, up from last month's 249. Consider that the top running months I've ever had was 228 miles this past March. In the past six weeks of training, i've topped 60 miles five times, peaking at 71.

In any case, after the recovery week, I have another 5 weeks of heavy training before the taper starts.

Week past:
Monday: 10 miles
Tuesday: 15 miles
Wednesday: 6 miles recovery
Thursday: 13 miles
Friday: 3.1K
Saturday: 15 miles with 12 at 7:13 mile pace

Weekly total: 63 miles (101K)
Year to date: 1385 miles (2229K)

Week to come:
In San Francisco
Monday: 5 miles
Tuesday: 3 miles
Wednesday: 10 miles
Thursday: 3 miles
Friday: 5 miles
Saturday: 10 miles
Sunday: 15-18 miles


Well, that was quite a good exercise. My schedule closes off the week (I took no rest days this week since I'm flying out tomorrow) with a 15 mile run with 12 miles at marathon pace. It really is a pace I've proven I can run in various conditions: during half marathon and a 30K race. In fact, by the time I toe the line on marathon day, this pace should really feel like the running forever and slightly faster pace.

But in the midst of this training, I'm going into every run a little tired. As I wrote a few days ago, I had done 81 miles (130K) in seven days. Part of me wanted to take yesterday off for rest but I just felt like putting in a few miles. So I did a 5K (3.1 miles) run around my parents' neighbourhood. The route features a long hill at the last mile, which rises about 140 feet or more. I did the last mile at 7:39 pace and was feeling it.

I started today's run feeling great. The three miles the day before was just enough for me to get in some speedwork but not enough to drain me. Fran had suggested that I use one of the features in my Garmin that allows you to see average pace (as opposed to current page). That way, I could look at my watch to make sure my average was on or off target. It worked really well but it was disconcerting to see the difference between average and current. Garmins are really bad about giving you live pace feedback. When you set it to lap at kilometres and miles, it's pretty much dead on, but don't try to look at it for 'how fast am I running RIGHT NOW'

The target was 4:30 kilometres or 7:15 miles. I really fought through the first three miles to stay on pace. I can only describe the pace to me as measured aggression. It's not my LT or tempo pace, but it's a lot faster than my every day runs. The trick is to not hit the bad point where you're reaching LT. For me, lactate threshold is around 6:55 to 7 minutes so the trick was not to get too close to it. By the fourth, I was comfortable and it felt good. By the halfway mark, I was feeling the effort but felt I could keep the pace. By the 10th mile, I knew I could make the run. I was a little concerned near the end that I was ramping up the effort too much... this shouldn't feel too hard.

Final result is one I can be pleased with. 12 miles done in 1:26:38 with an average pace of 7:13 miles or 4:29 kilometres. Here are the splits

1. 7:14
2. 7:19
3. 7:09
4. 7:09
5. 7:18
6. 7:16
7. 7:08
8. 7:08
9. 7:10
10. 7:12
11. 7:13
12. 7:15

Finished off the workout with a warmdown for three miles.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

81 miles

When I'm tired in the middle of a run, I like to do math. At what point do I reach the half way mark? I run in miles but my Garmin is set to show me kilometre markers. So I do the conversion... 7 miles is ... well, 6 miles is 9.6K, add 1.6K and that's 11.2K. I find it's a good distraction.

So in the middle of my run, somewhere after the two-mile mark, I was passed by another runner. I wasn't going particularly fast, a 8:22 mile pace, because I was trying to take it easy. I took away my rest day at the beginning of the week so I could finish this week's runs before I take off for San Francisco on Sunday morning.

And then I started doing some math. From Monday to today, I put in 44 miles (10 + 15 + 6 + 13). I ran Friday (10 miles), Saturday (20 miles) and Sunday (6 miles), for a total of 37. You'd be surprised how you do math when you're trying to keep concentration on your pace but I finally figured out that in the past seven days, I'd run 81 miles. Do some more math and that comes in at 130K.

My jaw literally dropped... I had to slow down at mile 5 to pick it up. I don't think i've ever racked up this much mileage in a seven-day period. And even though this is a 70-mile a week peak program I'm doing, I didn't really think about how my mid-week runs are actually pretty high mileage..

So there you go, I'm piling on the miles. I have a key 12 mile pace run on Sunday and I've been taking it easy the past two days so I'm well rested for the effort. I have a 7 miler scheduled tomorrow but I very well make knock that down to four. I've earned this vacation...

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


Did my recovery run today of 6 miles. Really tried to keep it down, with my heart rate at around 140 bpm or lower. Even with the slower running, still felt a little tired.

I ran 10 miles on Monday with a pretty good pace of 4:44 Ks, then did 15 miles yesterday at around 5:03Ks (around 8 minute miles). Tomorrow's a 13 miler that I may do in two chunks, then I may do a short recovery run on Friday. That's because the key run is a 15 miler with 12 at marathon pace. This will be a true test of my ability to handle that pace.

The big recovery week can't come fast enough. I plan to run in San Francisco, but won't do the big mileage i've been doing. Between Sunday and Friday, I expect to hopefully log up to 30 miles. I'll be happy with one 10 miler and a few short ones. We'll be walking alot. I'll be back in Toronto for Saturday and Sunday when i'll ramp it up again to finish off the week with a longish run.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon: 10 weeks to go

I watched it rain for most of the day. I had a lot of family stuff to do. I also had to work a bit at home tonight but I finally found a window to sneak in 6 miles tonight. So I'm finished yet another week.

The week past
Monday: 10 miles
Tuesday: 14 miles
Wednesday: Rest
Thursday: 5 miles recovery
Friday: 11 miles
Saturday: 20 miles
Sunday: 6 miles

Weekly total: 66 miles (106K)
Year to date: 1322 miles (2127.5K)

Uh, yeah, so I've already topped 2000 kilometres for the year. I did the math recently and it looks like by marathon day, i'll be at around 1900 miles. Unbelievable. The last two years, I've run about 1600 miles each year. This will be massive.

Week to come will be interesting. Partly because I'm gonna be on a plane on Sunday morning starting my vacation! So the miles are going to have to come in before I leave. Next week while I'm on vacation will be a recovery week. I'm going to get some miles in but not all of them. I'm going to be on my feet all day when we're in San Francisco. Looking forward to discovering some running trails. Anyways, here's this week's sked

Monday: 10 miles
Tuesday: 15 miles
Wednesday: 6 miles
Thursday: 13 miles
Friday: 7 miles
Saturday: 15 miles with 12 at marathon pace

I may cut Friday's run all together. Also may trim Monday so I can focus on the 15, 13, 15 milers. Fifteen miles on a weekday. That's going to be two solid hours of running time I'm going to have to find.

Looking forward to earning that vacation week.

Meaning of medals

IMG00199, originally uploaded by yumkerun.

She Who Makes Waves tagged me about the Meaning of Medals and asked the following questions to other bloggers:

What do your medals mean to you? Do they hold significance? Are they proudly displayed, maybe on a wall or framed behind glass? Or do you tuck yours away in a drawer, out of sight out of mind, never to be seen again? Do you have your times engraved on the back?

Those are very good questions. And the truth is, I have more medals than I know what to do with. I have 10K medals, 8K medals, half marahthon and 30K medals. Some mean more to me than others. Races in which I aim and train for mean a lot to me. Or maybe my first race in that distance or my best performance.

But because I have a lot of hardware, I don't display them all. No, most of them are in a binder in which I keep all my bib numbers. In the back in a heap are my other medals.

I do display some, though. The three you see here are my three marathon medals I've earned so far, put on my fridge. From left, Marine Corps Marathon in 2007, Flying Pig Marathon in 2008 and the Chicago Marathon in 2006. These ones mean a lot to me. Each represents the culmination of hundreds of training miles. Not just miles, but actually training plans that I've followed religiously.

I hang them there to remind me of what I'm working for. I hang them there on my fridge to remind me to eat well (funny, huh). They inspire me, they give me goals, they humble me and they just want me to add more hardware to that collection.

Anyways, great idea for a post. What do you do with your medals?

Hot and muggy

I'm eight weeks into the program and this weekend called for yet another long run. I've done a 20 miler, a 21 miler last weekend and yesterday, another 20.

I had Friday off so I did a 11 aerobic run instead of an lactate threshold 6 miler. I started out early at 7 am and went to work. I put in strong miles, coming in at 1:43 for the half marathon mark. Miles 15 to 20 were tough: the heat was rising, I only brought one gel that I took after 9 miles (too late) and although I was stopping at fountains to retop the bottles, I needed to take walk breaks and did much of the last few miles at recovery.

Did the 20 miles in 2:41:34 with average pace of 5:01 ks or just over 8 min miles. Next weekend's long run is shorter at 15 but 12 will be at marathon pace. Should be interesting.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Walking wounded.. running, that's a different story

Probably not a good idea, but I didn't take my rest day on Monday. I ran 10 miles. Today, again, not following the program. I did my mid-week medium-long run of 14 miles.

There is a little bit of reason why: the cooler weather. We're being blessed with a few days of really nice running temperatures so I'm getting my key longer runs in right now. Anyways, which means I've run almost 58 miles in the past four days. Not good.

I don't know about the rest of you, but I always find my feet and legs ache, particularly when i'm getting up out of bed or standing up.. My legs almost feel like they are unstable. Sometimes, when I'm walking up stairs, I feel so weak. Maybe it's my shoes, but likely it's because I'm running so much.

But slip on a pair of runners and I feel like a different man. I feel like I can run. Not fast all the time, but run I can.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon: 11 weeks to go

Wow, what a crazy running week. I logged in 71 miles or 114 kilometres. These, for me, are monster runs. I averaged a pace of 7:46 miles (the 10 mile race helped to bring it down), ran for 9 hours, 11 minutes and 46 seconds. My legs feel okay, but that's the subject of a later post.

Here's the weekly recap

Monday: 5 mile recovery
Tuesday: 8 miles
Wednesday: 14 miles
Thursday: 10.5 miles
Friday: REST
Saturday: 21 miles
Sunday: 12 miles (10 mile race)

Weekly total: 71 miles (114K)
Year to date: 1256 miles (2009K)

This upcoming week has a lot of running, down to 66 miles. It includes a 6 mile LT.

Monday: REST
Tuesday: 4 miles AM/6 miles PM
Wednesday: 14 miles
Thursday: 5 miles
Friday: 11 miles with 6 at LT
Saturday: 6 miles
Sunday: 20 miles

Race report: Nissan 10 Miler

DSC05243, originally uploaded by yumkerun.

Before this morning, I've run two 10 miler races, both were done last year. The first was the inaugural Nissan 10 miler which I did as a marathon pace run with an LT portion. I ended up doing it in 1:15:48 last year, well off what I'm capable of. Then last fall, I paced R. in for a 1:40 finish (we hit it pretty much right on the dot) at the Army 10 Miler in Washington DC, I believe it's the biggest 10 miler in the States.

Having run 21 miles on Saturday at a pretty decent 7:54 average pace, I felt pretty tired most of Saturday. I ate, rested, ate some more and rested. If you can call laying on the couch the afternoon before you race tapering, then I tapered very well. Reality is that 21 milers (34K) take a little bit out of you.

I was up at 4 a.m. for some pancakes (ever try the Eggo toaster variety) made into a peanut butter pancake sandwich.. yummy. Back to bed but was ready to leave my condo at around 6:55. I intended to jog to the race site, which is almost 3K away. It was starting to rain, only a little spitting, but I decided to catch the streetcar and ran a mile to the race site.

Fast forward to the start, and I'm lining up in the green Corral. They started the 5K and 10 Miler race together so it was congested with runners of all paces, including some slower ones who snuck in at the last minute. My goal was this: Run 4:30s (7:15 miles) for the first 5 miles, then pick it up to tempo pace, maybe around 4:20s (7 minute miles), for the last half.

With the start, I found myself having to weave around people, which led me to turn it up a little to get some room. I knew I was going faster than 4:30s and when we hit kilometre 1, I saw 4:25. It felt a little too easy, so I stepped it up a bit. Around the next few kilometres (2 in 4:19, 3 in 4:21) we were getting more room as the 5K runners turned around. I saw Fran and he was looking good.

I ran behind an old co-worker of mine (who blogs here) and he said he was suffering today. We chatted a bit, I told him I ran my long run yesterday and he said 'I'll see you at the finish by the massage table!' I said bye and got to work.

At this point, I really had no desire to slow down the pace. The next kilometres clicked by and by then, the runners around me were keeping a consistent pace

4K: 4:22 (7:02 mile pace)
5K: 4:25 (7:07 mile pace)
6K: 4:22 (7:01 mile pace)
7K: 4:25 (7:07 mile pace)

A few people surged ahead of me in the first four kilometres, but after that, I was never passed. A few people who did try to run ahead were clearly labouring as you could hear their breathing, loud and heavy. Mine was light and had not gone past LT. I decided then that the second half of the race could go like this. Try to maintain a fast pace and just past people who were naturally slowing down.

So I picked it up. I was tailing a few people and would use water stops (I took water/Gatorade at most of them) to break free and up my pace. The fun was really beginning and I felt I was racing. I hooked up with two other runners going at a good clip and spent about 3K running with them.

8K: 4:20 (6:59 mile pace)
9K: 4:20 (6:58 mile pace)
10K: 4:19 (6:57 mile pace)
11K: 4:20 (6:56 mile pace)

I was feeling really good. The two guys I was with were also in good condition. We were like a mini peloton, catching up to runners and passing them strongly.

When we hit the 11K mark, I decided to make my move. I felt good and I felt that even this LTish pace was manageable. I made my gamble and pushed it up. It's funny it only takes a little effort to move forward but I went from doing 4:20s to 4:22s to just a tad bit faster. There were people I wanted to catch up to. In my mind, this was now a 5K race. Three miles. A short LT session. I wasn't tired. My endurance has been built up by this marathon training and a few miles was nothing.

12K: 4:15 (6:50 mile pace)
13K: 4:14 (6:48 mile pace)

I had lots of ground to pick off runners. There were no big packs, just one or two runners so with the mental boost of just having 3 kiometres to go, I pictured that I had less than two miles. Two miles? That's nothing. A few V02 max intervals. I had entered a new zone -- target, surge, pass. I was targetting hundred metres ahead of me and beyond. They were slowing, I was speeding up.

14K 4:12 (6:46 mile pace)

I could sense that I could make major ground. It was time to push up to 10K pace. Why not, this race was almost over and I wasn't close to red lining it.

15K 4:08K (6:40 mile pace)

And so the final kilometre and in my head, that was just 2.5 laps of a track. This mental boost helps me break down the long distance into managable pieces. I passed a few more runners and tried to chase down two others. They stepped it up.

The last kilometre was done in a nice 3:58 (6:24 mile pace), followed by the last .1 miles done in 5:56 mile pace.

So my goal before this morning was about 1:12:30 given yesterday's long run but clearly I had more in me. Final time of 1:09:29. Very happy with the time and I felt that if paced better, I could have given more in the first 12 kilometres. This is a huge confidence booster. I know my LT pace should be in the 4:14 kilometre range and I think i'm getting there.

Chip time: 1:09:29
Pace: 4:19K/6:57 miles
Place overall: 118/1466 (91.9 percentile)
Place in men: 104/778 (86.6 percentile)
Place in age group: 21/123 (82.9 percentile)

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Now comes the fun part...

I'm a good 10 miles away from completing this 'peak' week in which I'll log 70 miles for the first time. I have about 4 weeks in the next few months that I'll reach 70 miles. Boy that's a lot of running.

Last night, a few friends had me over and I drank a few more beers than I had wanted to. I was home after midnight and had a few glasses of water. There was no way I was going to get up too early as I'd rather get a few more hours of sleep rather than get an early run in cooler weather.

I was out of the door just after 9 a.m. and planned to run two 10 mile out-and-back segments -- run 5 miles out, come back and repeat this. But three miles in, I decided to run as far as I could so I ventured way out west (from Spadina and Queens Quay all the way out past Kipling on Lakeshore, for those familiar with Toronto.) I ended up running out for 9 miles, back 9 miles and complete the last three with a loop around the neighbourhood.

It was a little humid but not that hot. I really tried to keep the pace nice and strong. I know these should be long, slow distance runs but I really want to see better paces than my other long runs. Ended up having a few tough miles. I didn't have enough carbs with me and felt dehydrated by mile 14. Must hydrate.

So 21 miles done in 2:46:08 paced at 7:54. Average heart rate at 157 bpm. Very happy with the pace. Kept the heart rate at the 150s range until about mile 16 after which I turned up the pace a bit and found my heart rate in the mid 160s. A bit high but I was giving more effort.

Tomorrow brings a 10 mile race, the Nissan 10 miler. I took a nap and fuelled up after the run. I think i'll get plenty of sleep from now till tomorrow morning so i'll be well rested. Goal setting? If I were to do the race at marathon pace, I'll hit 1:12:30. If I do the last 5 miles at LT, then i'll knock off an extra minute. So goal is sub 1:13 and if it's a good day, 1:11 and change.

Here are the splits:
1. 8:28
2. 8:11
3. 8:04
4. 7:56
5. 7:48
6. 7:53
7. 8:04
8. 8:02
9. 7:56
10. 7:56
11. 8:01
12. 7:52
13. 7:53
14. 7:42
15. 7:54
16. 7:53
17. 7:55
18. 7:36
19. 7:32
20. 7:46
21. 7:30

Friday, July 11, 2008

A good ass kicking

I've a good dozen running books in my library. In quite a few pages, I've read about recovery, but sometimes, I forget what it's like to get a good ass kicking.

As I wrote in the last post, I had a great 14 miler last night. Of course, feeling somewhat strong, and with dinner plans tonight, I decided to stack my schedule with a 11 miler the next morning, about 8 hours after completing the 14 miler.

So with 5 hours sleep, I found myself outside my condo, a nice cool morning ideal for running I might add, starting my run. Sluggish is the appropriate word. I felt tired. I lacked energy or the will to push the pace. I didn't plan to run it with the same pace as the evening before, but even a usually slow pace felt hard. So while my heart rate never really spiked, I found it a tough run. I pared down the run to 10 miles, doing the whole thing in about 8:26 mile pace. I did find the energy to do the last mile in 7:48 pace which suggests there is some mental aspect to all of this tiredness.

I'm not surprised though. I do know the hard/easy principle. I know all about breaking down your muscles with hard workouts and it's during the recovery that they rebuild themselves into freakishly stronger selves.

Which leads me to this weekend. Fran just wrote a comment saying he wouldn't do an 10 mile LT the day after a 21 mile long run and now I'm humbled enough to realize that's just stupid. So my new plan is to run the 21 miles Saturday morning, carbo load to replace the glycogen and rest the rest of the day. On race morning, I'll start the run doing marathon pace and if I feel it, after 5 miles i'll push it up to LT. If I don't even feel comfortable at marathon pace, i'll either stick with it and tough it out or... well, we'll let race morning complete this story...

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

The new normal?

Getting the miles in. Did 5 on Monday at 8:02 pace (opps, a bit fast for recovery), 8 miles yesterday morning with strides at a 7:57 pace. I was going to do a 10 miler with 5 at LT but realized that i'm paying money to race a 10 miler race this Sunday. And LT speed is supposed to be your 15K to half marathon pace. Anyways, that got me thinking that i'll do the entire race at LT and get some benefits out of that.

Today, did my 14 miler on an out-and-back course. The wind was pushing me on the way out so the way back was tough. But amazingly, I was able to keep my pace up and even stepped it up. I did the first few miles in 7:54 pace but by the midway point, I was reeling off 7:45s and near the end, the 7:39s. Finished 14 miles in 1:48:14 with average pace of 7:43, not a whole lot slower than 3:20 marathon pace. I definitely pushed it as I was fighting against the wind, but my average heart rate was about 159 bpm.

I know my increased training and my loftier goals means that I gotta run faster. Even my everyday runs need to be a bit faster than my normal runs this past spring, or even for the past few marathon training cycles. It's feeling good so far. We'll see, though, as I'm due to go out for my 11 miler in 8 hours!

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon: 12 weeks to go

I tend to forget that I'm running two marathons this fall as the Toronto Scotiabank
is the first on my calendar. I'm excited to do a marathon in Toronto, my home city and where I do the vast majority of my racing in other distances. The second marathon is a month after Toronto, the huge Marine Corps Marathon, which I did last year. DC is like a second home to me, since R. works here (i'm here for the July 4 weekend).

So while I'm 12 weeks away from marathon No. 1, MCM is also on horizon. A big reminder of that was in full effect this weekend as I was running parts of the marathon course in DC. To catch up, this is my recovery week following the 70 mile, 18-week Pfitzinger program. I ran 5 miles at recovery pace of 8:42 per mile on July 4, but had to take a lot of detours as they had blocked off the Mall for fireworks later in the day. They had reopened parts of the Mall yesterday so I did part of that plus the Tidal Basin, at a faster-than-intended 8:15 mile pace.

We've had a good weekend here, weatherwise. Not as hot as it can get, so I haven't had to get up super early for running. And we've had a lot of cloud cover, which was great for today's long run. I am definitely have not adapted to the hot weather this summer as I found the humidity a little hard to run with. You'll see my splits for my 14 mile show a slow warmup, plus some walk/water breaks I took throughout

1. 8:59
2. 8:27
3. 8:12
4. 8:08
5. 8:02
6. 7:55
7. 7:50
8. 8:26 (walk/water break)
9. 7:42
10. 7:36
11. 7:44
12. 7:31
13. 8:19 (walk/water break)
14. 7:30

14.2 miles in 1:53:49 with average pace of 8:01. Not a bad average pace and miles 6 to 14 contained some strong ones. I really needed the first few miles to get used to running in this heat. A year ago, the 7:37 range was marathon pace so I'm gratified to be able to knock off those types of miles with too much effort. My test of Boston pace will come in about three weeks with a 12 miler at pace and I also have a 30K race in mid-August that I intend to do at the proper pace.

Weekly mileage: 56 miles (90K)
Year to date: 1185 miles (1907K)

This was my upcoming schedule according to Pftizginer:
Tuesday: 10 miles with 5 at LT
Wednesday: 14 miles
Thursday: 5 miles
Friday: 11 miles
Saturday: 8 miles / 10 x 100
Sunday: 21 miles

This is pretty much a peak week since i'll hit 69 miles. I have a 10 mile race on Sunday, so it'll complicate things. I'm going to have tough days from Tuesday to Thursday (10, 14, 11) then a tough weekend (21 miles and a 10 mile race). I'm not so sure i'll be in good condition to race Sunday so it may be an LT effort. The key for me is to get my long run early on Sunday then carbo load like crazy to replace the glycogen. And also rest most of that day.

Monday: 5 mile recovery
Tuesday: 10 miles with 5 at LT
Wednesday: 14 miles
Thursday: 11 miles
Friday: REST
Saturday: 21 miles early morning, rest, rest, rest
Sunday: 10 mile race all out

Thursday, July 03, 2008


It occured to me in the pouring rain this morning during my 11 miler that this is a recovery week. I have 55 miles planned and have front loaded my week so far (12 on Tues, 8 on Wed and today's 11) so I'll have two 5 mile recovery runs in a row then only 14 miles on Sunday.

Now I'm on verge of hitting 70 miles, 55 doesn't seem so bad yet only months ago, it would be my peak mileage. In my mind, these killer midweek runs of 11 to 14 miles is suddenly not so long, and a 5 mile run feels more like 5K. I hesitate to think that 20 miles will feel routine (cause they are anything but). Still, I'm looking forward to the next four days when I can heal up this body and be ready for the schedule to heat up.

So today, in the cool rain that drives other runners to shelter, I broke down my body, only on a microscopic level, hoping that when these muscles recover and the heart gets a rest, I'll emerge stronger.
Next stop, 3 runs in DC.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Race report: HBC Run for Canada 10K

IMG00194, originally uploaded by yumkerun.

First off, Happy Canada Day! You can find the Toronto results here. All HBC runs here.

What a beautiful July day for a race. Not hot at all in the morning, actually, it was a coolish 13C this morning, but rising fast. I got up early to eat a few pancakes then, as the race site is 2K from my condo, I did a warmup run to the race site, arriving there around 7:30.

Lots of people doing the race this year, almost 1600 compared with about 1000 last year. I have a feeling this is going to become a mainstay on the race calendar if it can attract those numbers. It's my first time running that race but at the same time, it is run exactly on my home course, a route I take 4 out of 6 running days.

The race raises money for our Olympic athletes and it's timed for our national holiday, so a good cause and good timing for a Tuesday morning race. I had no real goals running this but my thought was to at least make it an LT paced run and harder if I felt good.

The first kilometre I spent quite a bit of energy weaving through the crowd trying to find my pace. A lot of slower runners seeded themselves up front but I passed the first kilometre mark in 4:10. I tried to settle into the run but I found my mind wandering. I was looking up at the sky, I was closing my eyes for bits, just anything to stop thinking about the effort.

I got the big wakeup call when the 2K split came in at 4:21! I immediately went into a higher gear and started to race in earnest. Kilometre three I think included a downhill bit and I started to target runners ahead, clocking in at 4:06. I was kinda surprised that the race was going by so quick and I didn't feel like I was giving total effort. The wind was cooling me and we had shade to run under, so that was nice. What wasn't was the race shirts they gave us. I run in singlets so running in a T (and a heavy one that was a size too big for me) made me feel like a kid with an oversized shirt.

I hit kilometre four in 4:11 and kilometre five in 4:11 as well, under 21 minutes for the first 5K, not my fastest half of a 10K. I took a few sips of water at each water stop but I decided to run by them hard.

In the second half of the race, a runner going at a good clip came past me. He was running at a pace that I could sustain so I hung on to him on his heels. I'm sure I helped him push it a bit, but in the next three kilometres, we proceeded to keep up a good pace and pass about 10 runners. Six in 4:07, seven in 4:07.

The eighth kilometre included a hill (about 40 feet climb) that I always run with strength. It's not a killer hill but when you're racing, it takes big effort. At the bottom of the hill was a water stop and I took a sip and started to up the pace, shaking off the runner I was pacing off for the past two kilometres. I did the kilometre in 4:11 and gained on quite a few runners.

The trick to this particular hill is that it crests, flattens out, then there is a gentle slope. Every time I run it hard, I hit the crest and up my pace, I coast for a bit to recatch my breath, then accelerate into the downward slope.

The last two kilometres were great. I was running alone but 100 metres ahead of me was a big group of 8 runners in formation. I made it my goal to bite at their heels with a kilometre to go. I upped the pace and I sensed that they were fading and caught one of the runners. After I passed him, he surged on me but I hung on, only to pass him about 200 metres later. The last 800 metres, I caught two more runners and passed them strongly. Then it came to a few final turns and we were all running hard. I broke into a near sprint in the final 200 metres and passed two more (while being passed by one).

Kilometre nine was done in in 4:04 and the final one in 3:49 (6:10 mile pace). The last 220 feet was done in a breath taking 4:40 mile pace, my Garmin says (It may be lying but I do remember pumping my arms like a sprinter).

Final time of 41:31 which is 10 seconds slower than my PB but I'm happy since it's the second-fastest time I have and given the nature of the mostly flat course, it's great compared to my downhill 10Ks i've done in the past three years. I didn't come here to go for a PB. Today was really supposed to be a recovery type run after Sunday's 20 miler so I'm really pleased my legs had more than I thought.

Chip time: 41:31
Pace: 4:11K
Place overall: 62/1599 (96,1 percentile)
Place in men: 56/727 (92,2 percentile)
Place in age group: 14/177 (92 percentile)

Saw Fran after the race and caught up. We jogged back to his car and I finished my mileage for today with 12 miles.