Sunday, August 31, 2008

It was my mile

I had to work today, starting at 10 a.m. so I decided to pop out for a 5 mile run at 8 a.m. I came home, plugged the Garmin into the cradle and saw that the monthly total was sitting there at 295.75 miles.

And here I was, the last day of this month, with a golden opportunity. How many times will I have a good month for running like I just had. Good weather with not too much heat. A week off right in the middle. And a bunch of 20+ milers in weekends to boost up the totals.

So I plotted the course that I'd take after work. 4.25 miles? That's no problem, just 6.4K plus another 400 metres (yes, I still think in metric). I joined the masses out there in my neighbourhood as my street fills up during summer holidays -- today, they were watching the airshow.

I did the out and back and ran my heart out in the final mile. It was my mile, my 300th of the month!

Euphoria and milestones aside, the big mileage came because I'm following Pfitzinger's 70 mile plan. I took a look at all my monthly mile totals since January 2006 and it's very interesting to see the peak months before each of my three marathons. (Plus, this blog has been hugely absent of pictures in the past few months and it's good to inject -- Colour Graphs!. Bad blogger, Yumke).

Yellow bar: 215 miles in August 2006 in the leadup to the Chicago Marathon (3:35:15). This was my first marathon and I was following the Hal Higdon Advanced I program. I had a 20 miler and a 19 miler but most runs were in the single digits. I know I didn't do as much quality work as I should have.

Red bar: 217 miles in Sept 2007 in the leadup to the Marine Corps Marathon (3:24:23). I had switched to Pfitzinger's 55 mile 18 week plan. It featured just a few more miles. Oddly enough, it only featured one 20 miler. (I know, I was doing long runs in August and in September.)

Blue bar: 228 miles in March 2008 in the leadup to the Flying Pig Marathon (3:18:31). Still on the Pfitzinger 55. Long run wise, didn't even do one 20 miler in that month, but raced a 30K (18.7 mile) at a great pace. Not sure looking at the mileage whether I was more fit in March 2008 compared with September 2007. Note the 66 miles I did in December 2007!

Green bar: 300.1 miles in August 2008 in the leadup to the Scotiabank Waterfront Toronto Marathon AND the Marine Corps Marathon. What can I say? Notice that right after my marathon my mileage didn't fall off a cliff? In fact, I believe I started this training cycle about three weeks after Flying Pig. My first full month of training in June saw me do 250 miles, blowing away all previous months. In June, I did two 18 milers and a 20 miler and was starting do to 14 mile midweek runs. In July, the mileage flew up to 268. This month, most of my runs have been in the double digit mileage.

Seven days until the taper begins!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Getting closer

Finished a 18.7 mile run (30K) early this afternoon. It went okay, not as fast as I wanted with 8:12 miles on average. It's been a nice stepback week, having done a 13 miler and a few 10K runs earlier this week. It occurs to me that I'm exactly a month away from the marathon. In fact, four weeks from now, i'll probably be lying in bed trying to get some Zs... Unlikely though, eh?

One more day for this big training month, the most running i've ever done in a month. The miles compared with the past are not just a little bit more, it's staggering. Thank god for the taper because I've been pounding the pavement so much.

Of course, this large amount of running (39 hours so far this month) has meant I've had little time for blogging. Not that I'm not thinking a lot about running.

Injury wise, I'm pretty good. I've been on a decent stretching routine, including an upper body and shoulder stretch. My toes are a little banged up. I have a few 'black' toenails (nothing new) and one possibly coming. A few blisters, but again, that's nothing I'm not unaccustomed to.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

New milestone

Uh, how did this happen? Here I am, adding miles upon miles on my six-day-a-week running program. Today, probably at some point during my track work, I surpass last year's running total of 1,640 miles. I would only have to run about 90 miles a month for the rest of the year and I'll hit 2000 miles. Pretty neat. I'll probably hit close to 2000 by the end of next month.

True to my recent form, my latest track work was pretty good. Probably ran them a bit fast, maybe faster than my 5K race pace, but I wanted to run hard without ever feeling like I was sprinting and have my heart rate at a reasonable level.

Here are my 600 metre splits

1. 2:16 (Average bpm, 163; Max bpm, 173)
2. 2:16 (160, 179)
3. 2:14 (174, 184)
4. 2:16 (176, 184)
5. 2:16 (177, 185)

The pace was consistent and I felt good throughout. I jogged the recoveries for 90 seconds. I'm now doing the 600s faster than last year with the same heart rate

Consider these 5x600 from September 2007 in the leadup to my Marine Corps Marathon
1. 2:09 186 max bpm
2. 2:18 186 max bpm
3. 2:20 186 max bpm
4. 2:22 185 max bpm
5. 2:23 185 max bpm

And from this past April in the leadup to the Flying Pig Marathon.
1. 2:29
2. 2:24
3. 2:26
4. 2:20
5. 2:24

Monday, August 25, 2008

Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon: 5 weeks to go

Another high mileage week and I'm in pretty good condition. Of course, I also had the week off work. I'm completely amazed I was able to do a few other 70 milers while working. Just so much running, almost 10 hours worth.

The bad thing about the week off is that we've been eating a lot of good food. I hope to get back into the routine soon. I have a few more days off before back to work.

The week past

Tuesday 11 miles with 6x1000
Wednesday: 15 miles
Thursday: 12 miles
Friday: 12 miles
Saturday: 4 miles
Sunday: 17 miles

Weekly total: 71 miles (114K)
Year to date: 1637 miles (2634K)

Week ahead

Monday: Rest
Tuesday: 9 miles with 5x600
Wednesday: 13 miles
Thursday: 6 miles with 6x100
Friday: 5 miles
Saturday: Supposed to be a race but I may do an LT run
Sunday: 18 miles. May do part of this at pace.

So far this month, I've run 238 miles and the next week should have me nipping at 300 miles. Yikes. This week is a slight pull back week before the final push in the first week of September that includes my fifth 20 miler (or plus) long run. Part of me wants to push this last long run to 22 or 23 miles, which would be a big confidence booster.

I think I have a few plans to follow to ensure I'm in top shape.
-Get rest and sleep when I can
-Eat well, balanced
-Keep on doing quality work.
-Try for long run of 22 miles or maybe 23 on Sept. 7.
-Try for LT run this week to keep myself sharp.
-Add pace work to this week's long run

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Men's Olympic marathon

Watched it from start to finish. Great thing about having access to Canadian TV, U.S. TV and internet is that I was able to catch the whole thing, even with commercial breaks thrown in.

At first I thought that maybe the lead pack would get reeled in but wow, what a performance by Kenya's Kamau Wansiru with an Olympic record -- amazing given the weather -- of 2:06:32. Maracco's Jaouad Gharib took silver and Tsegay Kebede overtakes his compatriot from Ethiopia Deriba Merga in the final lap around the stadium. Merga showed the world what it's like to hit the wall yet showed so much courage. Felt so bad for him.

Runner's World has a nice live blog of the race and also has interviews with Americans Ryan Hall, Dathan Ritzenhein and Brian Sell. Dathan mentions how he cramped up so much after 35K even with all the sodium he was taking in.

Great evening of TV. Would have loved it if they gave it wire to wire coverage, though. Thank god for live streaming on CBC. Not every day we get to watch a world class field slug it out.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Along the boardwalk

Just chilling out on a perfect day. It's cool and sunny and you don't overheat sitting in the sun.

Ran 15 miles at an easyish pace, trying to keep the heartrate around 140. Surprised I'm able to go fastish at that rate. Run took about 2:05.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


Ouch this one hurt. Two and a half loops of the track. Very cool morning, a little wind and the sun was out. Perfect for intervals. Today called for 6x1000.

Here are the stats

1. 3:51 (average: 169 bpm, max: 176)
2. 3:51 (174, 183 bpm)
3. 3:52 (177, 186 bpm)
4. 3:54 (173, 183 bpm)
5. 3:50 (174, 183 bpm)
6. 3:52 (174, 185 bpm)

For the first three, I took 90 second jogs but as you can see, the third 1000, my heart rate was spiking and I was tired so I took longer recoveries for the last three. I did most of the laps a few seconds faster than I should have, given my 5K PB is 19:30 and it called for 3:54 1Ks.

I just looked back at a few other 1000 metre intervals I've done in the past

This is from September 2007.
1. 3:57 182 max bpm
2. 4:05 182 bpm
3. 4:05 187 bpm
4. 3:57 188 bpm
5. 3:58 189 bpm
My heart rate spiked on this one and I was running slower than I did today. That run there was a lot of traffic on the track so I was a little ansy.

This is from March 2008
4K: 3:56 (6:21 mile pace)
5K: 4:50
6K: 3:52 (6:14 mile pace)
7K: 5:05
8K: 4:03 (6:32 mile pace)
9K: 4:59
10K: 3:54 (6:16 mile pace)
11K: 4:54
12K: 4:00 (6:26 mile pace)
These five kilometres were done with one kilometre recovery jogs.


Simon Whitfield tops awesome, if there was a word to top that. I've been following his blog since 2006 and over that time, you get a picture of a down-to-earth, hard working and impressive athlete with a sense of humour and humility. He won gold for Canada - in surprising fashion -- eight years ago in Sydney. He didn't medal in Athens and apologized to the nation. But what most didn't realize in between 2000 Olympics and now is that he had built an amazing resume with tonnes of wins. He's the real deal, a legend of the sport, not a flash in the pan.

I'm not a triathlete. I can't even imagine adding two sports to my one (running). But I do identify with the pain they must feel pounding the pavement after swimming and cycling at the paces and the heat. In the Olympics earlier today (last night) I was so happy that CBC was playing most of the race. The run was just fantastic. So many times, Simon seemed to be dropping back from the lead pack but he reeled them in again. Then with a kilometre to go, he seemed too far back that the three ahead of him would escape with the three medals. He was out of the picture frame. Then he took off his hat, and started to work. Amazingly, he clawed back and the four of them were running for their lives in the last 600 metres or so. R. and I were yelling at the TV set. He took the lead, turned the corner and held it only for a bit longer, but finished strongly, and happily, in second place.


From Bruce Arthur, sports columnist for my newspaper:

But in his mind, Whitfield kept repeating one thing: Sing like Kreek.

Few athletes endure what triathletes suffer -- more than anything, triathlon is about eating barrelfuls of pain. And Whitfield began to close. Whitfield ate the pain, and spat it out. And in his mind, he kept repeating, sing like Kreek.

"I didn't think he was coming back," said his coach, Joel Filliol. "Normally that doesn't happen -- when you get dropped, that's it."

Except that in the final 200 metres in the shadow of the magnificent Mings Tomb Reservoir northwest of Beijing, Whitfield kicked as he had on that magic-filled day in Sydney, and took the lead. Thanks to a supreme act of will, everything was in front of him. It was all possible. And he kept saying it: Sing like Kreek. Sing like Kreek. In the stands, triathlon officials and his coach were screaming those words, too. Sing like Kreek! Sing like Kreek!

The rest here.

Kreek, by the way, is Adam Kreek, one of the men's eight rowers who won the gold a few days ago. He belted out our national anthem as the flag was raising.

Video: CBC's on demand page is here (you can search Triathalon or Men's eights

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon: 6 weeks to go

I blink a few times and all of a sudden, 12 weeks have gone by. I have three more high mileage weeks until the taper. I'm really looking forward to the taper but I'm also looking forward to hitting all my quality work. Yesterday's race was a nice trial for the marathon. I didn't do it at the perfect pace but it wasn't perfect racing conditions and I ran a lot of it by myself.

One thing I found is that my endurance has clearly improved. My old marathon pace of 7:37 miles (4:45s) is very comfortable, almost comfortable enough to be slightly faster than general aerobic pace. The miles I've put in the last three months have really made a difference. Also, there's the fact that I launched into this training program three weeks after doing the Flying Pig in May.

Today, I did a true recovery run, a nice 10 miler done in 1:28 flat, about a 9 minute mile pace. Heart rate was a nice low 135ish throughout. I had no real desire to push it any faster -- could have gone even slower and be happy.

Here's the week just past:

Monday Rest
Tuesday: 9 miles with 5x600
Wednesday: 14 miles
Thursday: 6 miles
Friday: Rest
Saturday: 23 miles (3 mile warmup, 18.7 mile race, 1.5 mile warmdown)
Sunday: 10 miles at recovery

Weekly total: 62 miles (100K)
Year to date: 1566 miles (2519K)

It blows my mind that next week i'll top 1600 miles for the year. That was about my mileage for all of 2006.

Week schedule
Monday: Rest
Tuesday: 11 miles with 6x1000
Wednesday: 15 miles
Thursday: 4 miles / 6 miles
Friday: 12 miles
Saturday: 5 miles
Sunday: 17 miles (14 at pace. I may forgo this given yesterday's run. Or I may do half of this run at pace).

Race report: A Midsummer Night's Run 30K

Didn't know exactly how I should fuel up for this race, but I wanted to treat it much like a marathon cause I was using this as a pace run. So I had pasta early this morning, got my hair cut (heat control, you know) and took it easy much of the morning. Napped throughout the day.

I jogged about 3 miles to the race site and it was packed. There were 1500 people doing the 30K and 15K so there was a massive lineup to check in your bags. I sipped from a Gatorade bottle and ate some Sportsbeans. Then they announced that they would delay the start a bit because of the huge crowd -- the 30K would now start off first then the 15K, with its larger pool of runners, would go next.

So I lined up near the front and we were off

I tried to keep the speed down. There were so few runners at my pace. We went out little fast. Then the 2:15 pacer went by clearly going too fast. I decided to let him go.

1. 4:12
2. 4:19
3. 4:28

By the fourth kilometre, I found pace and I ran beside a runner who said he was doing 4:40s. We now were running behind the back of the pack of the 15K runners. For about 9 of the next 13K, I had to pace by running by slower runners. It was not easy.

Was nice to chat it up with another runner in this part. I found my breathing to be easy which is a good sign that this wasn't major effort for me.

4. 4:29
5. 4:35

I missed the second water stop at kilometre 5. There were empty cups and rather than to jostle for water, I decided to keep on going.

6. 4:35
7. 4:27

By some point, I told the runner I was pacing with that I needed to find my pace so I stepped it up for the next while.

8. 4:25

Decided at the 8K mark to slowly take in the first gel. It is horrible to eat without water but I knew I had stick to the fuel plan. Hopefully there would be water soon. The next three kilometres did have a water stop (woo hoo!) and I also spotted the 2:15 pacer. I did 9K in 4:26, 10 in 4:26 and 10 in 4:26.

I caught up to the pacer and asked him why he went out fast. He said the kilometre sign was off so he'd gone fast. I ran one kilometre with him but with the other runners, we'd done a kilometre in 4:36. I really wanted to get in some kilometres at pace so I went ahead. The next five were quite good. Again, since I was running alone among other slower runners, I felt it hard to get a real sense of pace.

13. 4:30
14. 4:32
15. 4:37
16. 4:34
17. 4:33

It was at this point that we separated from the 15K runners. Now it was lonely and I made my way beside a runner. I asked how fast he was pacing and he said 4:30 so we started running together. It was great to have a running partner. We both clearly had more fuel in the tank because I caught up to him doing 4:32s to 4:35s but once we started running, we started running strong. We gained and passed at least six runners in 5K

18. 4:28
19. 4:22
20. 4:21
21. 4:26

Half marathon mark in 1:33:12

22. 4:26
23. 4:24

Running in the Beaches was very confusing. The volunteers weren't always within site and although they pointed the way, there were some winding areas without supervision. We were going at a admittedly too-fast pace. In some ways, we were pushing each other too fast. I was also trying to make up for some of those slower kilometres but I think in the long run I was actually ahead of pace. I hit the half marathon mark in 1:33:12, which is my second-fastest half marathon time (but about 1:40 slower than my PB of 1:31:32)

We hit the boardwalk area and it was pretty freaking hilarious. There were tonnes of people out for an evening stroll so we had to contend with an uneven surface, warning people we were coming up.

After we did 23K in 4:24 I said we were doing it a bit fast so we slowed. We hit the turnaround at 24K we did a few slower kilometres. I hesitated to announce the splits because I knew we spent the previous 6K going pretty fast. A few slower kilometres is not a bad idea.

24. 4:32
25. 4:34
26. 4:35
27. 4:39

We were clearly slowing. Part of it was that I needed water and was getting tired. We also weren't pushing each other any more. So after the 28K water stop, I decided I had a lot more gas so I started to pull away. Looking back, I had slowed a bit in 24K to 27K but I only needed a kilometre or two to recatch my breath. I could have gone a bit faster.

28. 4:37
29. 4:24
30. 4:12

The last few kilometres were in almost complete darkness. I had rejoined the walkers from the 15K so I was blazing by people. There was a 30K runner ahead of me so I used him as a carrot and I passed him, stepping it up in the last kilometre, which I did in 4:12 pace.

I finished the race in 2:13:24, more than a 1:30 faster than planned. I'm happy with the time. Not so happy with some of the pacing. I think part of the problem was that we were hooked on to a shorter distance race so I didn't run in packs like I'm accustomed to. The water stops were too far apart and missing one was not good. The terrain (running on boardwalk) is definitely not good. We don't do that for the Scotiabank, do we? I really hope that on marathon day there will be other runners to pace with cause it's not easy to do it by yourself. On the plus side, the weather was fantastic for the summer -- warmish at first but coolish by the end. Oh yeah, and I set a PB at the 30K distance. I can't wait to do the Around the Bay next March. This is the time I will aim to match if not beat.

Chip time: 2:13:24 (link to race results)
Pace: 4:27K
Place overall: 20/516 (96.1 percentile)
Place in men: 18/274 (93.4 percentile)
Place in age group: 8/66 (87.8 percentile)

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Olympic women's marathon = wow

I got home from the 30K race and immediately rewinded the PVR so I could watch the women's marathon in Beijing. What drama. Constantina Tomescu ran away from the field; Deena Kastor injured her ankle at a water stop and Paula Radcliffe had a washroom break and cramped up her legs but still toughed it out to the end. And there was a sprint at the end for the finish between the Catherine Ndereba and China's Chunxiu Zhou being spurred on at the end.

Wow, what a sport. One of the CBC announcers rightly talked a lot about the toll of the marathon, the training that it takes place and how millions of recreational runners can identify with these elite athletes. Well said.

Can't wait till the men's edition on the 24th.

In the dark

Tomorrow's Midsummer Night's Run, the 30K version, will start at 6:40 p.m. If I run it in target time, I should be able to finish it just as it turns really dark. It's a full moon out though.

Just came back from Radiohead concert -- my brother and I and thousands of others were rained on for a good hour and a half, then spent the concert on our feet. This is the second time, I reminded my brother, that he took me out to a concert before a race. Then again, last time, I set a PR in the 10K the morning after.

I'm gonna sleep in, have a big early breakfast to carb up (yes, pasta first thing in the morning). Then a light lunch and i'll be off to the races by 5:30.

Here's a pic of the stage from where we were standing (pretty good vantage point, actually).

Friday, August 15, 2008

Beijing 2008 Olympic Games: Nine sweet days of running (marathon! 5000m! 100m! 10000m!)

Like most of us, I've been watching a bit of Olympics. For me, it's part of the job working on a news website -- it's good to get in the game of Olympics coverage. I'll be bookmarking and checking Runner's World (and Running Times) but mostly, I want to catch as much stuff live as possible. The beauty is that most finals take place prime time Beijing time which means those who have the week off (me!) and those who have TV at work (me!) can watch running mid to late morning.

This Saturday's going to be a doozy. The fastest man on earth? The marathon showdown? I'm really excited about watching Deena Kastor face off against Paula Radcliffe. Runner's World is calling for none of them to win (see their forecasts here). Unfortunately, I'm going to be doing my 30K race as the women are running so i'll have to PVR the thing.

You can see all the predictions on that Runner's World/Running Times page.

Then of course on the last day of the Olympics will be interested in watching how the Kenyans do in the Beijing climate. Also, since there are no Canadians running, I'll be rooting for Ryan Hall and Brian Sell and Dathan Ritzenhein. I'm so impressed by Hall but who doesn't like the workman story of Brian Sell.

Here are the times for the running events...

Eastern Time
Beijing Time

Fri. 15 - 10:45 am

Fri. 15 - 10:45 pm

Women's 10,000m Final

Sat. 16 - 10:30 am

Sat. 16 - 10:30 pm

Men's 100m Final

Sat. 16 - 7:30 pm

Sun. 17 - 7:30 am

Women's Marathon

Sun. 17 - 9:30 am

Sun. 17 - 9:30 pm

Women's 3000m Steeplechase Final

Sun. 17 - 10:30 am

Sun. 17 - 10:30 pm

Women's 100m Final

Sun. 17 - 10:45 am

Sun. 17 - 10:45 pm

Men's 10,000m Final

Mon. 18 - 9:10 am

Mon. 18 - 9:10 pm

Men's 3000m Steeplechase Final

Mon. 18 - 9:35 am

Mon. 18 - 9:35 pm

Women's 800m Final

Tue. 19 - 10:10 am

Tue. 19 - 10:10 pm

Women's 400m Final

Tue. 19 - 10:50 am

Tue. 19 - 10:50 pm

Men's 1500m Final

Wed. 20 - 10:20 am

Wed. 20 - 10:20 pm

Men's 200m Final

Thu. 21 - 7:30 am

Thu. 21 - 7:30 pm

Women's 200m Final

Thu. 21 - 9:20 am

Thu. 21 - 9:20 pm

Men's 400m Final

Fri. 22 - 8:40 am

Fri. 22 - 8:40 pm

Women's 5000m Final

Fri. 22 - 9:15 am

Fri. 22 - 9:15 pm

Women's 4 x 100m Relay Final

Fri. 22 - 10:10 am

Fri. 22 - 10:10 pm

Men's 4 x 100m Relay Final

Sat. 23 - 7:30 am

Sat. 23 - 7:30 pm

Men's 800m Final

Sat. 23 - 7:50 am

Sat. 23 - 7:50 pm

Women's 1500m Final

Sat. 23 - 8:10 am

Sat. 23 - 8:10 pm

Men's 5000m Final

Sat. 23 - 8:40 am

Sat. 23 - 8:40 pm

Women's 4 x 400m Relay Final

Sat. 23 - 9:05 am

Sat. 23 - 9:05 pm

Men's 4 x 400m Relay Final

Sat. 23 - 7:30 pm

Sun. 24 - 7:30 am

Men's Marathon

Thursday, August 14, 2008


Ahead of my 30K race/marathon pace run on Saturday, I'm gonna skip tomorrow's scheduled 5 miler. Also turned today's recovery 10 miler into a 6 mile recovery with 6x100 striders. I know the benefits of doing pace runs tired, but i'm tired enough, having done a 70 mile week last week and already having done 29 miles in the past three days.

I'll make up some mileage on Sunday, maybe a lazy 10 to take my weekly total to 60.

In the meantime, for my birthday (yesterday) my brother is taking me to see Radiohead tomorrow night!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Run for your life

Like we didn't know already -- running is good for you. In fact, it's a life saver. A recent study points to the benefits of running. Interestingly, it compared healthy non-runners to runners and it found pretty interesting findings:

People who want to live a long and healthy life might want to take up running. A study published on Monday shows middle-aged members of a runner's club were half as likely to die over a 20-year period as people who did not run.

Running reduced the risk not only of heart disease, but of cancer and neurological diseases such as Alzheimer's, researchers at Stanford University in California found.

Read the rest of the story here.

Getting a feel for effort

Headed up to the track today for the first time in months for my first V02 Max workout. Today's scheduled called for 9 miles with 5x600. Target was 2:20 (a 19:30 5K pace).

1. 2:18 167 bpm average (172 max)
2. 2:20 169 bpm average (176 max)
3. 2:19 172 bpm average (179 max)
4. 2:17 176 bpm average (182 max)
5. 2:18 179 bpm average (186 max)

Heart rate got up there. I jogged my recoveries to keep the heart going.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon: 7 weeks to go

Another 70 miles. Four more weeks of high-mileage training.

Here's the week just past
Monday: 10 miles
Tuesday: 6 miles
Wednesday: 15 miles
Thursday: Rest
Friday: 12 miles/7LT
Saturday: 5 miles recovery
Sunday: 22 miles

Weekly total: 70 miles (112.5K)
Year to date: 1503 miles (2419K)

Week to come:
Monday: Rest
Tuesday: 9 miles / 5x600
Wednesday: 14 miles
Thursday: 10 miles
Friday: 5 miles (May take as rest day)
Saturday: 30K race (18.7 miles)
Sunday: 6 miles

Next week, it's a 30K marathon pace run. Should be interesting. If the weather was like today, I'd have good hopes at keeping pace. If it's a humid hot August night, will be a lot more challenging.

The 22 miler

A whopping twenty two miles or 35.4 kilometres was on the schedule. Was not looking forward to it in some ways. The first six miles, my calves were tight so I stretched them out for a minute or so. It felt much better. I tried to keep on a faster pace but I didn't feel like testing myself until the second half. I brought two gels with me (which I took at the 8 mile mark and also at the 17 mile mark).

At mile 13, a runner came alongside me and we got to chatting for about three miles. We upped the pace and by the time we said bye, I felt pretty good, so I upped the pace even more. I started the run doing 8:08 to 8:18 miles but by mile 16, it was down to 8:05. Not sure if the Gatorade and gel was making me feel too good, but I dropped the hammer and logged a strong last six miles for the most part speeding it up: (7:50, 7:46, 7:49, 7:41, 7:39, 6:58). Twenty two miles done in 2:57:07 with average pace of 8:03 miles or 5 minute kilometres. Not half bad.

Was the perfect weather -- a little cool -- for a long run. Fourth of five 20+ milers is now int he books. Mission accomplished.

Friday, August 08, 2008

A too fast start...

For the remainder of this training program until the Toronto waterfront marathon, I'm going to make a point of hitting all my quality work. I've fit just about all the mileage, but I've missed a track session, and have not been doing the striders like I should. I was finding the ramping up in mileage was making me very tired on recovery days (typically that's with they throw in the 8x100).

But now I'm going to make a point of hitting them all. I have five track sessions, two 5x600s, 6x1000, 6x1200 and 3x1600. I have eight more sessions with striders. I have one more pace run of 14 miles but the week before that, I have a 30K (18.7 mile) race that i'll do at marathon pace. In a lot of ways, that run will be a key to this entire training cycle.

Today was my last lactate threshold run. I calculated that my pace should be around 6:57 miles or 4:19 kilometres.

All I can say about the first mile was WTF?! I knew I was going too fast but I couldn't really find my pace so I was a little worried to see I did it in 6:28. The next two miles, I was slowing, trying to feel a little more comfortable (funny, cause it's supposed to be comfortably hard). My worry at this point was that I went so fast that I'd burn out. Luckily, mile 4 at 7:02 was my slowest and I was able to do the last 3 miles in 6:54, 7:00 and 6:53.

So not encouraging that I couldn't find my pace but very encouraging that I didn't burn out. I hope I got enough of a training benefit from the run.

Been keeping up with the schedule: 15 miles on Wednesday and a day off yesterday. Tomorrow, it's 5 recovery miles followed by - gulp - a 22 miler on Sunday. I'm pretty sure i'll find the proper pace.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Drip, drip, drip...

Really needed a run. Long day and just wanted to vent. So went out for a 6 miler. It had poured rain earlier in the afternoon and though it was not raining, it was really cloudy.

At exactly the halfway point, the turnaround, drops started to fall. Drops turned into a downpour. I ran 400 metres the planted myself under a tree but I was still getting wet. So I decided to embrace the pouring rain and ran into puddles, around ponds and into asphalt covered by a layer of water being pelted with the splashes made possible by big fat raindrops. I was making my own splashes with each foot plant. There were a few runners and as the water poured down my hat and I started to blow out water that was trying to get into my mouth, I'd wave to my comrade.

I stepped up the pace, welcomed the cooling rain. My only fear was really chafing at the, um, chest area but it turned out okay. Twenty-five minutes I spend in this downpour and after a quick stretch, I entered my condo's lobby.

Drip, drip, drip. My shorts were soaked, My top was soaked and I was glistening raindrops. My hat was saturated with water and my lips tasted of salt. As I walked near the elevator, I couldn't stop the huge smile from breaking out. Freaking loved that.

Clothes are in the laundry and I just stuffed newspaper into my shoes to start sucking out the water. I bought those Asics GT2130s a week ago. I think it's safe to say they've been newly christened.

Monday, August 04, 2008


I run on the waterfront route just about every day. Most of the year, I can head west toward the Humber Bridge. It gives me an unobstructed path, and a huge view of the sky.

On the stretch of trail you see above, I hit the 8th mile mark today, the same spot where two days ago was a huge annual West Indian festival Caribana parade. On Saturday, it was crowded with the parade and the thousands of people watching it. It's really strange for me since I get an unobstructed use of this path all but for a handful of days. On Saturday, I took off my headphones and listened to the beating Island music while navigating around the crowd.

On Sunday, while on my 15 miler, I ran the same course, and was treated to the smells of garbage and waste left by the partiers. Styrofoam containers were scattered on the grass, alongside plastic bottles, bags and other markers of a huge party. There were cleanup crews in full strength.

By today, it was mostly clean, the portapotties had but vanished but for a few piles of garbage and the lingering smell of a portajohn (yes, us runners know what that smells like) and a few disgarded coconut shells, I had my path back.

At the eighth miles, while I was zoning out, I saw a huge V-shape high above. It was followed by another. Then another. Hundreds, maybe more than a thousand Canadian Geese were on the move right above me and it was quite a sight to see. I actually stopped running to look up. On the zoom in, you could see each goose. Pull to the wide angle, and you saw Vs or check marks floating out. A good dozen flocks floated into the distance. The geese when in formation are known to go 50 to 90 kms and hour, can travel a 1000 km a day and fly in formation to save energy, forming a sort of peloton. Familiar to racers?

Photo by Audreygm529

Having been dazzled by the airshow, I set back course on my run, and finished my two final miles. One route, three days, three different sights. That's yet another thing I love about running.

10 miles in 1:23

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon: 8 weeks to go

Ah, the recovery week is over, and I'm getting back into the program. The week just past was amazing, not a whole lot of extra sleep but lots of touring, good eating and fun times with R. and other friends. The cooler weather in San Francisco was nice. Here's a pic of R. and I on the cable car.

Here are the runs from the past week
Monday: 5 miles
Tuesday: 4 miles
Wednesday: 3 miles recovering from hangover
Thursday: No run!
Friday: 6 miles
Saturday: 12 miles
Sunday: 15 miles average pace of 7:50 miles

Weekly total: 48 miles (77K)
Year to date: 1433 miles (2307K)

Week to come:
Monday: Rest
Tuesday: 10 miles
Wednesday: 15 miles
Thursday: 6 miles
Friday: 12 miles with 7 at LT
Saturday: 5 miles
Sunday: 22 miles

I have tomorrow off so I'll do a run, I'm thinking of the 10 miler or 15 miler and take Wednesday off.

I have five more weeks of high mileage until the taper. (70, 68, 70, 63, 68). Lots of trackwork to come, and one more marathon pace run in two weeks. This will take me into the first week of September. Luckily, I guess, I have another week and a bit off mid August.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Packing it all in

At San Francisco airport and heading home after six days here. We had a great time - lots of great food (seafood, Chinese, dim sum, Mexican) lots of walking and sightseeing. We did Napa and Sonoma, walked across Golden Gate bridge.

In terms of running, I've fit in a few miles in four runs. Five miles on Monday, four on Tuesday, three on Wednesday and six miles this morning for 18 in total. I'm going to try for 10 to 12 on Saturday and 15 on Sunday then it's back to real training.