Thursday, October 30, 2008

The off season

So... I've run a total of zero steps since the marathon. Actually, I ran a few times. To the train. Across the street to catch the last seconds of a green.... Um, that's it.

Last week's mileage: 48 miles (77K)
Year to date: 2030 (3268K)

Yippee! Passed the 2,000 mark and I think it's safe that i'll approach 2,200 miles for the year assuming i'll run an average of 20 miles a week starting next week. In fact, I hope to build to 30 to 35 miles. Me thinks four runs during weekdays of 5 miles each (for 20) and then a longish run on the weekend starting at 10 miles. We'll see.

Running is part of my routine even off training mode. Since it's my main thing I do for exercise, I need it to keep in shape. I'm not sure when I will hit the roads again. In fact, my D-Tag thingy is still on my running shoes. I'm thinking maybe Saturday will be the first time I'll feel really good.

So my eyes are set on my first few runs, but I can't stop but think of when my next training cycle begins. I took three recovery weeks between my spring marathon and my resuming of hard training for the fall season. This time, I believe I'm going to take November and most of December lightly.

I'm toying with signing up for the end-of-the year race, the Resolution Run in Toronto. It's not chip timed and I'm not even convinced it's the right length judging from last year. It's on Dec. 28 and would serve as motivation to get myself doing some endurance and speed training in December. That would be a great way to end off the year. Ease up on the running and train for a shorter distance. In all, I've already done 14 road races this year (yikes). Three 5Ks, an 8k, a 5 miler, two 10Ks, two 10 milers, two 30Ks and three marathons.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Race report: Marine Corps Marathon

Oh yes, the wordy race report. You were warned.

Since I lined up close to the front, we passed the start line only about 15 to 20 seconds after the gun sounded. Any thoughts of a conservative start was out the door. I stationed myself about 20 feet behind the 3:10 pacer. I kinda let him drift away as I found my pace. I wanted to be comfortable. It was a very cool morning, about 8C and I had just shed my long sleeved shirt. It was a good idea to wear my singlet as it would get warmer. I had these light polypro gloves and was holding one water bottle.

The fuel I bought with me: five gels, shotbloks and a bottle with 8 ounces of Gatorade that would take me past the first water stop.

Within the first mile, we were already headed up a hill and for some stupid reason, I had forgotten how steep it actually was. So we attacked the first of many hills we'd hit over the first eight or so miles. It's sorta hard so hold yourself back at the start of the marathon and it's not a good feeling chugging up your first hills within minutes of starting. The chuffing of heavy breathing is not a good sensation.

I started to take in my surroundings, enjoying some of the crowd of supporters gathered there. I also took note of some of the runners around me since the 3:10 pacer was pretty far ahead. As it turns out, I'd never attempt to give chase or catch up to him. There was a blind runner and his guide going at around 3:10, a guy with a Canadian army shirt, a few female runners. There basically was not much room to maneuvre for the first 8 miles. Not congested, but a big block of fast moving runners.

The turns were pretty tight and we always had to watch for wheelchair atheltes, which is bad for me cause I love to run on the right side of the road. Like last year, we constantly had to shout out when one was coming down at us during a flat or a downhill.

We hit the 5K split and I was keeping up the pace. It was uphill and I felt okay. I started to heat up and I shed my gloves around this point.

5K split: 00:22:29 (NET) @ 5K Pace 7:13 , Predicted 03:09:12.00.

I was pretty surprised I hit the 5K mark on target. My legs were holding but they were starting to feel it on the hills. In my last few days before the marathon, I'd feel tightness in my calves. That, added with the sore right knee, the recovering right hamstring didn't give me too much confidence in my legs for long-distance racing. Middle distance, maybe.

We descended after the 5K mark into the first big downhill. My quads still are in pain now as I walk down stairs. We crossed the bridge into Georgetown and I started taking water and Powerade at the stops. I tried to take at least two cups per stop. I enjoyed the bridge to DC and Georgetown.

I did a few sub 7 minute miles (6:59) going into the downhills but for the most part, I was keeping pace. Hit the 10K just as we were hitting the next series of hills. Oh, they would be painful.

10K split: 00:45:11 (NET) @ 10K Pace 7:16 , Predicted 03:10:31.00.

Was quite surprised to hit the 10K right on pace for 3:10, surprising because we were well behind the pacer. We ran up a slow incline and we were all just grinding out our steps. Quite frankly, the only think I remember is trying to stay comfortable then having to move to the middle of the course to go around the wheelchair athletes. We hit the Reservoir Rd turn and one runner said 'You gotta be kidding me.' Ahead of us was yet another a major hill. So we trudged on. We were running so high that the fog was obscuring the sun but some rays were peeking through. It was really pretty except for the fact that we were in pain!

As we were reaching the top of mile 8, some officers and marines were saying 'almost there' or 'go Marines!'. I liked the almost there as in we were almost at the top of the hill, but it's the wrong thing to say to a marathoner powering up a major incline 8 miles into a race! The 'go Marines', that was pretty cool. I guess for one day, we're one of them, huh?

Even with the ascent, I did the 7th mile in 7:27. Maybe we were going too fast for our pace? The next three miles, on our way back to Georgetown, was pretty much a big downhill. Clocked in a 7:03, 7:04 and 7:07 for miles 8 to 10.

Eight and nine brought us through Georgetown and down Wisconsin, and there was really good fan support as we were running on the opposite lane as other marathoners going through mile 5. Yes, we were already 3 miles ahead of the mass marathon and it was humbling to be moving at such a pace. Through M street, I heard a 'Go Canada' in reference to my little red Maple Leaf on my hat. I pumped up my fist.

15K split: 01:07:33 (NET) @ 15K Pace 7:14 , Predicted 03:09:39.00.

Nice to run the same marathon more than once, you sorta know what to expect. We passed the Kennedy Centre and I picked up an orange slice they were handing out then after I chomped into it, I was picturing the pulp being stuck on my teeth. Funny, the things you think about. I also thought about whether I needed to go to the bathroom because a few weeks ago during the Army 10-miler, it was there where I really had to go. Turns out, didn't need to the entire race.

The new route takes us through to Hains Point in East Potomac Park, so we took a different route than last year. I knew R was going to wait for me at the 10 mile mark, and I was looking out for her, but I couldn't spot her. I like running on the right side of the road so I was looking for her but no dice. As it turns out, she was on the left side on the road, had seen me, and was yelling my name.

We entered the park and the weather was perfect. The park could be brutal when it's windy but it was such a nice day. I was pacing behind a group of runners and we hit a good pace. Mile 11 in 7:08, 12 in 7:12, 13 in 7:20. We hit the 20K mark in 1:30 and slowed a wee bit to hit the half marathon mark at perfect pace for 3:10

Half marathon split: 01:35:07 (NET) @ Half Pace 7:15 , Predicted 03:10:05.00.

On our way back to the Mall, I had the first doubts of the marathon. I was feeling pretty spent. I remembered how fresh I felt at the half way mark in Toronto a month ago, as it should be. Clearly, the 3:10 pace was taking more out of me than I wanted. The weather was good yet I was already thinking 'wow, I have a long way to go'. So the miles out of the park and back into the Mall felt really long.

Back into the Mall we went and I was dying for a water stop. It finally arrived and I grabbed two cups. I almost felt like I wanted more. I was taking the gels but again, it never quite synched up with the aid stations. I really have to research the courses and actually plan when to take my gels.

25K split: 01:52:58 (NET) @ 25K Pace 7:16 , Predicted 03:10:31.00

Unlike last year, we entered a much less crowded Mall. I think that the spectators were on the other side waiting for people who were at the 10 mile mark. As a result, the fan support for us was kinda sparse. I was really hoping for an energy rush but there was not much of one. I remember running by, seeing a sign about the White House and realizing that to my left, there it actually was. Hilarious how during the race one phases things out. (I love this picture by the way because it looks like I'm ahead of a whack of people!)

I think I knew by mile 16 that it just wasn't there. We had passed two runners who was walking and I heard an official ask him 'are you okay' to which he said 'no, not really'. It hit home that the uncomfortable feeling I had was telling me something similar. I wasn't okay to be running at this pace. At the next water station, I slowed to a walk to take in more fluid. I drank two cups. Mile 18 was done in 7:44 and the mile before it in 7:25. This is well off the 7:15. As I hit the 30K split (18.7 miles) you can see that my pace had dropped dramatically.

30K split: 02:16:38 (NET) @ 30K Pace 7:29 , Predicted 03:16:12.00

We were still on the Mall at this point and I remembering seeing the Smithsonian building in the distance. I was hoping that there would be another water station near there so I could 1) take water 2) walk. Such a weird feeling to be wishing for a water stop in order to take a break. I knew that if I just started walking right there, still on the Mall, I would not have a good day. As it turns out the next water break was well after I had wanted it. I took two cups and we were headed toward that infamous and hated bridge, ready to hit the concrete.

Here's how my marathon went from run to walk.
Mile 19: 7:20
Mile 20: 8:04
Mile 21: 7:36

The stretch from mile 20 to 23 is a pretty brutal 3 miles. It's all on highway with no near end in sight. There's also no aid stations for that three miles. I just tried to tell myself while on mile 21 that I just had to make it past the bridge and I'd be okay. Other runners were starting to walk. I passed mile 21 and suddenly I just gave into it. I felt so tired. I was being hit by small cramps. I was really thirsty. So I walked. A woman went up to me with a bottle and said 'do you need water'? I gratefully accepted the bottle with thanks and took a swig. It felt great. I walked some more and started to run again, but by walking for a bit gave an opportunities for cramps to set in.

This is when the desire to compete faded and the desire to complete with everything intact emerged. I didn't feel bad, I just felt it called an end to the day. I looked at my watch and saw I was still in the two hour plus range, closing on three hours. I thought, 'Hey, I could walk and jog this thing and still have a respectable time' And so I took it easy. I walked, enjoyed the fact that I wasn't dizzy, wasn't hitting a wall, just resigned to let my heart rate settle, and let the cramps die down. I stretched. This was the longest mile of the entire race at 13:08.

35K split: 2:46:13 (NET) @ 35K Pace 7:38 , Predicted 03:20:08.00.

At some point after that, I decided to bring in jogs into the routine. I mean, I could still run, so I did. Everytime I got into a jog, I'd either feel the urge to take it easy, or a slight leg cramp (calve, knee, you name it) set in and I'd start on a walk, just hobbling a bit. We hit a water station (I jogged to it) and I walked, taking a few cups and refilling my handy little water bottle with it.

I saw R across the street and I jogged a little, beckoning her to follow me (she had running shoes on) but she didn't get the drift. I ran a bit more and saw a guy with a big ass Canadian flag on his back and that motivated me to actually run a bit more. We turned around and a few minutes later I was jogging towards R. I stopped right in front of her (and a runner behind me almost smashed into me -- opps, but in my defence, I wasn't exactly running). And I chatted with R. a bit.

R: Hi K!
I give her a kiss
R: How's it going
K: I have leg cramps. I'm going to walk most of the rest of this with a smile on my face.
She asked me to pose for a picture which I did, then I jogged my merry way.
Mile 23 in 11:54.

I then started to attempt running again to the finish. I would run for a few minutes, take a break and a swig from my bottle, then run again. It actually wasn't that bad. I did the next two miles in 9:58 and 9:25. I was passing other runners only to have them pass me when I took a break, then I'd pass them again. We hit the 40K mark and I remember that it was 3:19. I knew that I it would take two 5 minute kilometres and change to get a 3:30. That's a very respectable time and I decided to go for it.

40K split: 03:18:55 (NET) @ 40K Pace 8:00 , Predicted 03:29:45.00

At that moment, the 3:30 pace group (a group I probably should have been running with from the start) was creeping behind me and it was the part of the race when the pacer says '.. we got 30 seconds in the bank, and if you liked what we did, email the marathon so they'll bring us back.' 'For sure,' said a runner.

I smiled at this because that's what I heard my pacer say back in May in Cincy when he guided us to a sub 3:20 finish (3:18 and change, actually). The pace balloon he was carrying was making that familiar sound -- the only sound you hear when you're running that late with a pacer, a big group whittled to a merry band of survivors.

They got away from me when I took a little breather, but then I decided to up my pace. I felt that I could do a few strong kilometres to finish at 3:30.

The last few miles of last year's MCM was brutal for me. I hit the wall and really tried to keep on moving. Today, I basically rested for four miles plus, then ran again in the last mile. I ran mile 26 in 8:26 (yeah, that's hilarious) and the last 600 metres, which included the big hill, in 8:05 pace. I really enjoyed the last kilometre. Sure, I was fighting off a cramp that could all of a sudden get worse, but I was soaking in the crowds. I looked up at the big hill and it didn't seem that bad. The announcer was reeling in the 3:30 group, congratulating them on a job well done, and I saw that my watch read 3:29 and change. I had a minute to scale that hill and I fought it. No walk breaks any more. Just take that hill.

I crossed the finish line of my fifth marathon with my hands held up high. My heart rate was normal, my breathing fine, my legs were not great but I was walking straight (never got a Charley Horse!) and was well enough to smile and thank all the Marines stationed at the end.

03:30:28 (NET) @ Finish Pace 8:01

I ended up the marathon running a 8:01 mile or 5 minute kilometres, a much more conservative pace than the 7:15 miles or 4:30 kilometre that I ran the first 25 kilometres in. Do I regret doing that? No, I don't think so. I think there are not many opportunities to run long distances at your marathon pace so why not try it if you have the chance. Sure, I could have tried for a negative split but it didn't feel like the type of race that you find your own pace. Too crowded a race to find room, I think.

I think I've come to terms that I'll run my next marathon with water bottles. I think it's important to have your own supply, even to take your gels at the right moments. I have to hydrate better, especially given that I was able to down that bottle of water that the woman gave me. I, like other runners, get too ansy that i'll have to go to the washroom. I have to find a balance on that note.

Most of all, I think that 3:10 to 3:15 is really within my reach. I think properly trained I can make it. I came oh so close to it in Toronto and I've learned a lot from that race. This one, I've learned it's not exactly smart to go for your peak performance so close to another attempt and with injury.

Anyways, most of all, I love this distance. No race is easy but no race is like the marathon. Other races test guts, speed and training. The marathon asks a lot more of you. What that stuff is, well, you only know when it's asked of you during those final miles. I'll strive for that next spring when I run my next one.

Chip time: 3:30:28
Race details

Monday, October 27, 2008

Marine Corps Marathon: The pre race

The big indicator that this wouldn't be the race where i'd attempt a BQ was about two weeks ago, the weekend after Thanksgiving. I was going out for a 13 miler. The first few steps told me this run wouldn't go so well. It was that hamstring problem that I probably exacerbated a few days before by running a 8 miler with the last few miles fast -- the last mile in 6:20.

I cut that 13 miler down to 6 miles and took several walk breaks. I was on the verge of hobbling. I took days off. I used the Stick and I started to take some ibuprofen in the hopes that rest would heal it. In the week where I should have been ramping up training with 48 miles, I cut it back to recover. Not only was my hamstring bothering me, but my right knee was tender in spots. A summer of running was catching up to me.

I was able to fit in a 12 miler a week before marathon day. It was done at a 8 mile pace and it felt okay. Just ok. In the next few days, I did a few miles at 7:30 pace and one mile at 7:18. I skipped the dress rehearsal.

So I entered DC with an attitude that this would not be an A or even B goal race but how many marathon chances would I have. I never ruled out going for broke. Believe me, I did all the usual things I do before a marathon -- carb up very well, hydrate, stay away from alcohol and get plenty of rest. The expo was nice and I was starting to get excited. I talked to JellyP on Saturday afternoon and I spoke about taking an almost apathetic approach to this marathon. Maybe it was best if I took it easy as long as I ended up smiling at the end. I started to also feel a tingling in the back of my throat that by Saturday afternoon, i was thinking that it would quickly progress into a cold. I think I'm fighting it back even as I type this.

After 6 straight meals of high carbs, I settled into bed by 9:30 and I slept pretty well, waking up several times as R was still up working. Up at 4 a.m. and switched back to a bagel with peanut butter and a banana for breakfast. Over the past three days, I've been hydrating with electrolyte rich drinks (the low-calorie kind that comes in tablet form that you dissolve in water.). i've been upping sodium intake also by chomping on pretzels.

I was out the door a little after 6 a.m and took the metro to the race site. It went by pretty quick. Took a pee break, checked in my bag, got by bag back because I forgot to switch to my sunglasses '(glad I did) and took another pee break on the way to the start line. I lined up in the 3:00 to 3:19 area.

Here's was the goal. I put on a 3:15 pace band and I wanted to go out at a 3:10 pace and 'fade' to a 3:15. I thought that given my level of tiredness and not being accustomed to 3:15 or even 3:20 at this point, i don't think if I ran with the 3:20s that I would able to ramp up to a 3:15. I know, it's not a great strategy but I figured I 'go for it' and see how the day went.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Marine Corps Marathon: Done and done

As you can see from the alerts, I finished with a 3:30. I went out about 100 metres behind the 3:10 pacer and knew after 10 miles that this wasn't my day. I've lost fitness and my legs aren't fully recovered. So I started taking walk breaks as the slight cramps hit after mile 20. I enjoyed the last 6 miles, stopping to talk to R and soaking it in. I wasn't in pain and I knew I could have given it more but I wanted to emerge unscathed. I ran the last mile at about 8 mile pace tacking myself on to the 3:30 pacer so I could have run it faster. Enjoyed it immensely, thanks for following guys. This was not the fastest by far but it was a good experience of testing my limits.


KENNY YUM, 03:30:28 (NET) @ Finish Pace 8:01 . Powered by Marine Corp Marathon.


KENNY YUM, 03:18:55 (NET) @ 40K Pace 8:00 , Predicted 03:29:45.00. Powered by Marine Corp Marathon.


KENNY YUM, 02:46:13 (NET) @ 35K Pace 7:38 , Predicted 03:20:08.00. Powered by Marine Corp Marathon.


KENNY YUM, 02:16:38 (NET) @ 30K Pace 7:29 , Predicted 03:16:12.00. Powered by Marine Corp Marathon.


KENNY YUM, 01:52:58 (NET) @ 25K Pace 7:16 , Predicted 03:10:31.00. Powered by Marine Corp Marathon.


KENNY YUM, 01:35:07 (NET) @ Half Pace 7:15 , Predicted 03:10:05.00. Powered by Marine Corp Marathon.


KENNY YUM, 01:30:05 (NET) @ 20K Pace 7:14 , Predicted 03:09:39.00. Powered by Marine Corp Marathon.


KENNY YUM, 01:07:33 (NET) @ 15K Pace 7:14 , Predicted 03:09:39.00. Powered by Marine Corp Marathon.


KENNY YUM, 00:45:11 (NET) @ 10K Pace 7:16 , Predicted 03:10:31.00. Powered by Marine Corp Marathon.


KENNY YUM, 00:22:29 (NET) @ 5K Pace 7:13 , Predicted 03:09:12.00. Powered by Marine Corp Marathon.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Excitement builds

You get a lot of swag at races. I picked up my bib, the new D-Tag timing thing (i'll have to investigate that further) and my shirt. Also picked up all that stuff you see and more. Stopped by the Clif Bar pacing area and picked up at 3:10, 3:15 and 3:20 pace bands. They have no 3:15 pacer but at least they had bands. One of the pacers featured in a recent Runner's World (Star) article was there.

I also chatted with Bart Yasso, told him I loved his book. He has ideas for two more. That was cool. We both discussed how we hated the bridge around mile 20 (when we leave DC) and also the last 2.5 miles of the marathon run by the Pentagon. Nice to know that experienced runners also hated that.

Also talked to Alan Brookes, the race director of the Toronto Waterfront marathon. We discussed weather and other stuff. Good to see Canadian races plugging themselves at big marathons.

Finally, picked up a MCM jacket! (it's cool) and my customary hat. Yes, I always buy gear at marathons. Not other races, just marathons. Just my thing. Bought a Race Ready shorts, which I swear by cause I can carry gels and things. They're hard to find in Canada and I'm good now since I have three.

Off to go visit a museum for once. I've been here probably 20-plus times in the past 1.5 years and I've only hit like two in my time here. Air and space, I think.

And, by the way, I'm getting excited for this marathon thing. Go figure. Weather is looking promising. Big rain tomorrow but clearing up for Sunday. High of 19C, low of 8C. The blah part is the wind.

Two freaking thousand miles

Today, I passed the 2000 mile mark for the year, on the way to a washroom break on the Mall, near the Lincoln Memorial. My first run of the year was outside my condo in Toronto on a snowy winter day, 500 miles away. It blows my mind that since January, I've done two round trips from DC to Toronto.

Last year I logged my highest yearly mileage at 1640. This year I'll beat that with a huge margin, especially with two months remaining. As I enter maintenance mode after the marathon, I'll probably make it to 2150 or even 2200 by the end of the year. Crazy.

Is this the new normal? I'm not yet sure if I'm going to do what I did this year -- a spring marathon (that demands heavy winter running), three weeks of recovery followed by the Pfitzinger 70 mile program. I lost a lot of time in the summer but I guess you can say I've also gained a lot too. We'll see.

4 miles in 43 minutes

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The days are numbered

Found out my bib number today. Nothing like a big city mega-marathon with 30,000 runners. I'm number 24293. We're four days away from the Marine Corps Marathon. So appropriately, did four miles tonight after work. It's a little warmer and the wind has gone down. A nice cold night so I wore a long sleeved Saucony top, a sleeveless windbreaker and my racing shorts.

I also changed the insoles of my shoes back to the new one. I had used the old one in my newish pair of shoes. I think I need the cushioning I can get.

The mile splits are encouraging with minimal soreness (a 'touch' of soreness, is the word I'd use).

1. 7:58
2. 7:31
3. 7:30
4. 7:18

Hmm, the middle two miles could very well be my marathon pace on Sunday. Slightly faster than 3:20 pace. The last mile is a few seconds slower than BQ pace. My dress rehearsal was supposed to be today but because I ran in the dark, I figured I'd try a 6 mile run tomorrow with two at pace. I'm going to do a 8 minute plus mile, then slowly lower it and see how 7:30s feel, then i'll lower it to 7:20 or faster and see how that feels.

If the leg is great then it's a question of fitness.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


I spent most of the day not wearing warm enough clothing. To work, I forgot to put on a heavier coat so I froze during the commute. And on the run, although I used my tights and windbreaker and long-sleeved top, I was still very chilled. 2C with windchill of -6C.

I did 10K in 48:11 on a very windy trail (details). My right knee is still an issue but it went away after the first mile or so. Gonna stretch out some more. I have a 7 miler with a few miles at marathon pace.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Marine Corps Marathon: 6 days to go

It's six days till my next marathon. The other day, R mentioned to me that 'You haven't talked much about this marathon' and she's right. This was never intended to be the A race. That said, I've read your comments (thanks!) and I think i'm going to set a reasonable goal. I've got my goals down and part of the plan is to try for a negative split. I'll state my goals as I get closer to the day.

Anyways, I'm still feeling like I'm recovering from sickness and I'm going to take it easy tonight. I just got in the mail the Spirit of the Marathon documentary which I saw last spring. I'll watch it this week and bring it with me to DC to watch before marathon day!

Last week's mileage: 27.5 miles (44K)
Year to date: 1982 (3189K)

Week's plan
Monday: Rest
Tuesday: 5 or 6 miles
Wednesday: Dress rehearsal 7 miles with 2 at pace
Thursday: 3 miles
Friday: 4 miles
Saturday: Rest
Sunday: Marathon

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Weighing options

I think I'm feeling under the weather. Not sure, but these signs point it out. 1) i'm pretty
burnt out by the past six weeks -- working on elections has taken its toll on my sleep 2)
because i'm not getting full rest, I feel like my body's immune system is not recovery very well 3) Well, i'm achy, exhausted, and feeling the first bit of a cold.

Of course, like any runner, I combat colds with a run, so I did my prescribed last longish run of 12 miles (Garmin details). 12 miles in 1:39 is pretty darned good. I was trying to just give myself a nice cardio workout but I could tell that I didn't want to give any miles below the 8 minute mile. My right knee is a little achy and the hamstring problem, though not getting in the way of general aerobic running, could start to fire up in a race effort.

So, it's a week before Marine Corps Marathon and it's just about decision time. My underlying fitness, especially if I can quickly recover from this cold and it doesn't leave me with respiratory problems, is good. If my hamstring/knee heals up nicely in the last week of a major taper, I could see myself going for 3:15 or even run the first half in 3:10 pace.

But there's another part of me yearning just to keep it easy. It's the part of myself that says, 'Hey, you've run quite a few miles this year, no need to go for a personal best in a week in your state.' That part is also saying to myself that my goal this year was to go sub 3:20, which I've done twice. Making the first 3:10 attempt was a result of the confidence gleaned by the May marathon. I'm happy I did it and I am set for my next training cycle. And that part of myself is telling myself to enjoy a marathon at a slower pace. Enjoy the big city crowd, enjoy the sights, enjoy the finish with a massive smile.

So, I'm still unresolved but starting to eye splits for a 3:30 marathon. It's well within my grasp, in fact, my past three marathons has been 3:18 to 3:24. 3:30 would allow me to run it at a more comfortable pace -- but believe me, it's still not 'easy'. A 3:45 isn't a bad idea either in that respect.

Who knows, I want to see where this cold leaves me in a few days time. I'm ready to take it as it comes.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Solid run

So that hamstring thing was beginning to worry me. I did the best thing that I could -- stopped running. I did do 3 miles on Monday, went to work on Thanksgiving, and 4K on Tuesday. After that, I worked 14 hours on the election and got two hours sleep, so no running on Wednesday.

Started late work today, so instead of a 15 miler, I figured I'd go long just to give myself a longish run. Did 10 miles in 1:20, which I'm very happy with. Did a few miles at a fast-ish pace and it felt good. The leg is fine!

Will run a bit more the next two days then try 12 miles on Sunday. Next marathon in 10 days!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Marine Corps Marathon: 2 weeks to go

Before the post, just wanted to share what I see outside my condo window on mornings when the sky is clear and there's just a beautiful sunrise. I'm lucky to get my unobstructed view of the lake. Just gorgeous.

Okay... seeing as the title of my last post was Recovered, I was bound to build some bad karma. After my speedy last mile to the 8 miler on Friday, I felt a little tightness in my right hamstring -- not too much pain but noticeable. Yesterday, did a 5 miler and it was stinging. Today didn't want to push things so in lieu of a 12 mile run, I did 6 miles at a slow pace. I should listened to the advice. Get to the next marathon in top shape and in top health. Going to stretch it out more, rest up more.

Last week's mileage
Tuesday: 6.2 miles
Wednesday Rest
Thursday: 8 miles
Friday: 8 miles
Saturday: 5 miles
Sunday: 6.2 miles

Total weekly: 33.5 miles (54K)
Year to date: 1954.5 miles (3145K)

So I have three key runs this week. A 8 miler with 5x800 on Tuesday, a 15 mile run on Thursday and a 11 mile run on Sunday. Because of the hamstring, I may miss the 8 miler with speedwork and instead do a short recovery run. I will do the 15 miler on Thursday or Friday but won't push the pace like I did last Friday. I want to keep this at a plus 8 minute mile run. I know I can do 7:15s, no sense in wasting effort less than two weeks to marathon day. On Sunday, I will do a semi-long run. That will be a good day to decide on what game plan I'm bringing to DC.

The schedule
Monday: Rest (though may do 3 miles recovery)
Tuesday: 8 miles w 5x800 (May skip and instead do 3 miles recovery)
Wednesday: 5 miles
Thursday: 15 miles
Friday: 4 miles
Saturday: 5 miles
Sunday: 11 miles

Saturday, October 11, 2008


I'm loving the cool autumn air. Better than that, I'm loving starting my run at 6 p.m. and get to see the sun go down. One of my runs lets me run back to the city centre and you see our beautiful skyline painted with shades of fiery red and tinges of orange. Why more runners don't get outside during our falls and winters, i don't understand.

Did a pair of eight milers on Thursday and Friday and feeling better about my running with each one.

The first one I did in 1:03:47, starting off at over 8 minute miles and finishing up the last three miles in the sub 8 category, with a last mile at 7:40. I'm getting a feel for running again -- not like I lost it, but the stride is back, the breathing is in synch and I'm feeling smooth.

So yesterday, I decided to up teh pace right at the start.

1. 7:44
2. 7:41
3. 7:28
4. 7:24

I hit the midpoint at a little over 30 minutes. Part of me wanted to do the rest at recovery but it was getting dark and I was enjoying the pace. Besides, I was running on a trail in which I usually get it all to my self. (Route and stats)

5. 7:24
6. 7:41
7. 7:30

Looking at the watch, I thought that I'd play a little game of, 'lets try to finish up this 8 mile run in less than an hour'. By the last mile I saw I had do so some work to get under there so I upped the pace dramatically that by the last kilometre, I was basically doing trackwork.

Final mile in 6:20! It felt awesome. And yes, I finished the run (8 miles/12.87K) in a nice 59:22, safely under the target.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Speeding things up

I started today's run at a pretty normal pace, just over 8 minutes for the first mile. Then I caught up to this runner who, while I was behind her, magically upped her pace to mine, which was pretty much dead one marathon pace. So I kept it up for the next two miles, clocking a 7:16 and 7:12. I know it's a little early for pace work but it was good to give my legs and my cardio something close to a nice workout. I finished the rest of the run with sub 8 minute miles. Pretty amazing that I'm asking my body on marathon day to pull off 26.2 of these 7:15 miles when even a few today felt a little challenging.

Yes, it feels a little hard to do even this type of pace work 9 days out from the marathon. I'm going to avoid pacework over the rest of the runs this week and instead work my way back to it. They say you need a day for each mile raced to get back to normal. And since I have 28 days between marathon, that's just enough time, right?

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Marine Corps Marathon: 3 weeks to go

I'm still around. In fact, been quite busy and running around a lot.

First things first, I've been recovering up and I'm in DC now, where, among other things, I made R a peach pie from scratch (oh yes, homemade crust, my favourite). Here it is with a few birthday candles and the R. (It's her first initial, if you've been wondering.) :)

I finished up my recovery week today with -- a race! First, though, I did 3 miles on Wednesday, 5.5 miles on Friday then again on Saturday, and finished the Army 10 Miler this morning with R. I paced her to a nice 1:50 finish. I'll write up a race report later.

Just catching up on mileage.
Two weeks ago (marathon week): 42 miles
Last week: 24 miles

Year to date mileage: 1921 miles (3093K)

Next week, the schedule gears up a notch.
Monday: Rest
Tuesday: 6 miles recovery
Wednesday: 8 miles recovery
Thursday: Rest
Friday: 8 miles with 8x100
Saturday: 5 miles
Sunday: 12 miles

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Pictures say it all

Pictures from Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon are in. You can see them here.

I'll probably buy some of them cause I'm actually happy with some of them.

Like this one, looks like i'm running smoothly.
Same with this one
And my favourite of running photos, catching me in midair.
This one is a bad moment, that's Peter on the right after giving me some Gatorade. I'm suffering big time.
Drunk, or staggering runner?

On the road again...

At least 6 people asked me in the last 24 hours whether I started running again yet. Half were joking. I really felt like having one -- I just feel sluggish if I don't run.

My calves are getting better. All the remedies and stretch are working and I knew that the final thing that would speed things up was a good old recovery run to flush out the bad stuff out of my legs.

I ran what I felt to be slow but looking back at the splits maybe I was going way too fast for a post-marathon run. Anyways, it felt nice and slow. Did 5.2K in 29:28 with an average pace of 5:39 kilometres.

It was a nice run, great to run in the cool autumn air. I think I can complete the rest of this week's runs, two recovery 6 milers on Friday and Saturday and a 10 miler GA run on Sunday, all in DC.