Tuesday, January 31, 2006

On the road again

10K through the city. My calves were really really tight. Not sure if it's cause I took two days off, or rather if my shoes really need to be replaced.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Mississauga

Signed up for the half marathon in May in Mississauga. This pretty much gives me two racing season, the spring and the fall.

The spring will focus on either the 10K or the half.. I'm really curious to see if I can manage a faster 10K than last year. It was near perfect racing conditions and I ran my ass off. Since that race, however, my focus had been on half marathons, and I'm eager to focus on that. In any case, the two races are a week apart, which means one will have to take precedence over the other.

Chicago is obivously the focus of the fall, but I'm not really looking at that now.. Best to think of it when June arrives.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

New gear

Rare sale at my local running store, so snapped up a Sugoi Venture outer shell. I'm hoping it's better at repelling water than my MEC jacket.

Also, as my Asics GT1100 are soon running out of life, I bought a nice replacement for a bargain.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Saturday

Warm day, 9 degrees, couldn't resist going out before the sun went down at 5:30. Did 11K and have successfully boosted my mileage.

Weekly total: 46K
Year to date: 171K

Friday, January 27, 2006

Three days

Well, I pretty much caught up on my mileage this week. I'm up to about 35K now, after my 10K today.

It was a rare daylight weekday run, and I decided to run up Bay Street, which meant battling the hordes of commuters making a dash for Union Station, then I ran west on Bloor, which meant I was going against the tide of students finishing up at U ofT, then south on Spadina, where Chinatown was bustling. Nice day draw out crowds.

Two more races

Signed up for the 10K Sporting Life in May and Toronto Waterfront Half Marathon in September. I've run both races before, and both were fun in their various ways.

The half will be a good tuneup for Chicago, as I'll be doing longer distances by that time.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr........



All I can say is, thank god for the sun. It warms you, gives you a mental boost, fools you into believing that somehow, one's body can generate heat if it runs as fast as it can, bundled up with three layers, a tight hat, a windpoof pair of globes and an ipod.

Yep, I ran 9K, then decided to top it off with a 1K extra jog just to round up to 10K. Yes, crazy, but not as crazy as running 42.2K, which is 9 months away.

I've been inside for 20 minutes, and I'm still chilly.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Windy city

Well, that's what Chicago is called, but that's what Toronto was today. 5K city route. Not a good running week. Working too many hours becuase of the election. Hope I can still manage a 40K week.

Monday, January 23, 2006

My duty

Long day ahead. I ran 10K today, showered, changed, then went downstairs to my lobby to vote in the federal election.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Lazy me

Well, was looking forward to Saturday because I could do my long run of the week and boost my mileage well beyond last week. But work got me tired and lazy. So slept in, went for lunch and had a burger and fries. Yum.

Then went to Chapters and bought the latest Runners World and a book by Amby Burfoot that looked particularly inspiring.

So instead of letting today slip by, I put on my runners and urged my feet out the door. 5K later, I remember again why I love to pound the pavement and give my heart a good workout.

Weekly mileage: 42.5K (yes, that's just a bit more than a marathon distance)
Year to date: 125K

Friday, January 20, 2006

The warm winter

Of course, i'll look back at this post in two weeks and decide that I just ate my words, but what a January. It was 9degrees this afternoon, I think. I went out for lunch and one runner was in his shorts.

Damn. But, being part of the 9-5 crowd, make that 8 to 6, I'm stuck with runs in the dark. 5K city route, fast.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

A lot of ridings

Well, Stephen Harper was in Toronto today, to play the good Toronto boy and win some seats for his party. Now, whether the likes of Peter Kent can win St. Paul's is a good question to be answered on Monday.

With elections in mind, I went for a run in -1 weather. Warm, yes, but windy with 50km/h gusts. And snowy. I was going to do 5K but I ended up doing a nice city route, 8.5K.

Isn't it amazing that PEI has four electoral seats and during my city running route, I can easily hit three. Let's see, on my usual runs, I hit Trinity-Spadina (my home riding), where Oliva is against Tony. I hit Toronto Centre on my city 5K. I hit Parkdale-High Park in my waterfront route. I think I touch St. Paul's. On my half-marathon run to the Beaches and back, I hit three ridings (Trinity, Centre, Beaches) in 45 minutes.

Which is only to say that during my run, I thought, 'for all of Harper's trips to gain seats here, he really can't change this town. A progressive town. A multicultural town. A social experiment to some. The biggest city, hated by some because of its supposed power. But we're creatures of the province, we were told in city politics class, left largely powerless. And if you want to talk about fiscal imbalance, maybe see how much money we give v. how much we get back. I digress..

Ah, Toronto. Harper wants to take it to make a run at this country. Me, I just take it in when I run, and proud, that it's part of this country.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Hit the road Jack

5K city run. -5 -- with windchill, it was -10. I ran fast today.. I think I kept a slightly slower than 10K race pace. Definately a tempo run if not more.

Why? Cause I was rushing back home to watch my favourite show, 24, and follow the adventures of Jack Bauer as he saves the world and tells everyone he knows that he is Jack Bauer. In fact, my mind was so preoccupied with the show that I sorta forgot the pain.

Shudder. Must Shake Off Addition To Network TV Show.

Back to your regularly scheduled blog.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Lost in the shuffle

Winter's back. Minus 10, -20 with windchill. But sunny. Ran to Cherry Beach and back 10K

Decided it would be particularly challenging run with the cold, so ran with my Shuffle today. I usually think it's too dangerous to run in city routes with music, but today, appreciated it. Helps to maintain pace with the drumbeats. A sampling from my hour-long run: Macy Gray's I Try, Louis Armstrong's Wonderful World, Guns and Roses' November Rain. My favourite moment happened during the last 500 metres when the cheese-of-the-80s moment came in Milli Vanilli's Blame it on the Rain started playing.

Why, I thought, am I running today.

Gotta blame it on something... ha!

Saturday, January 14, 2006

The trail

It looked nice enough out today. It was sunny, blue skies. But also, very windy (the gusts at 60km/h), kinda cold (the temperature -3, -13 with windchill) and very lazy (the human had had spent the afternoon watching TV).

But I hit the road anyways. 6K at a brisk pace.

For the first kilometre and a half, I thought I had the trail to myself. I've run it countless times, in the spring when the cyclists join the path, in the summer when the walkers join the parade, and in the fall when the last games of baseball are being played in the diamonds. Winter is my favourite, because it's when you feel the loniest, and also pretend you're the king of the road. Nothing but the long shadow of my running form on the path, cast by the setting sun. I hear my every breath, my thoughts and breathing trapped by the tight headgear. Freedom. Cold. Cruel. Fun.

And so, at about 1.5 km, while contemplating how I owned this trail, off in a distance, I see another runner coming toward me. We nodded. Then, about 300 metres onward, another two. As I got to the top of the stairs at the halfway point, and felt the wind pushing me home, I saw another. And one more by the last kilometre.

Not my trail, as it turns out. Our trail. A runner's trail.

Weekly total: 41.5K

Year to date: 82.5K

Friday, January 13, 2006

Quick one

5K. Amazing what a run can do for you.. long long day at work. Couldn't keep much of a pace going, so nice short one with a few bursts

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Warms up

It was 8 degrees today at some point. I think I missed it, because as always I was stuck in the office.

Did sneak in a 5K, after work. East Front, north to King and back home. Was so warm I had to take off my running mitts around halfway through the run.

In other news, my two running friends, who I've been told to dub Frank and Jelly, are all fast forward on Chicago. Hotel booked, air tickets investigated. Maybe time to book the days off work.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

I prefer pain?

The Chicago Marathon is massive. Forty thousand runners. The biggest race I've done is the 8,000 Sporting Life 10k. Chicago is way bigger. Anyways, as you can imagine, it has to somehow get 40,000 people to the starting line.

So they have a four-tier system: a competitive start for 1,500 people who expect to do a sub 3:10 marathon (which would qualify a guy my age for Boston, that holy grail; a perferred start (i) for 3,200 for those who expect to run a sub-3:35:59 marathon; a perferred start (ii) for 4,700 who can do a sub-3:55:59 race and the rest of the racers (30,000) are in the open category.

Probably not the wisest for my first marathon, but my PB half time of 1:34 and change qualifies me for the perferred start (i). I faxed my race certificate after signing up and this afternoon, get the confirmation that I am running in the second group. Oh boy...

Cherry street...

Did my 10K Cherry Beach run. 5K there, 5K back. Not the most scenic view on the way there, as you're running in the sad excuse of a waterfront trail, but on the way back, just as the sun is setting, I got a great view of the city skyscrapers rising from the horizon. Amazing sight, office lights are, at a distance. Ran at tempo pace. 2 degrees out.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Every journey begins...

..with a 5K.

On my city route (0ish, windy, dry), i remember how I visualized my final 5K of my last half marathon. It was something like

"No problem, I run 5K all the time, just 5 more to go"

I didn't work so well.. I usually start my 5Ks with a burst of speed. The last 5K of a half is not so easy.. And the last 6 miles of a marathon will not be so easy. Time to try new mental games.

Now the scary part begins...

October 22, 2006. Chicago Marathon. I've signed up. Two friends of mine are running and have talked me into it.

So it begins.

First thought: I'm terrified.

Second thought: I'm glad I have 10 months to condition myself. I'm ready to race anything up to a half, but a full, I know, is a whole new ball game.

Third thought: Deep dish pizza, blues clubs, great architecture, shopping and the home of the Cubs. Love Chicago -- took my brother there two years ago...

Fourth thought: I'm doing a 4 to five month training program, so no need to push my mileage up by crazy amounts until mid-summer (phew!)
Oh, the two friends.. I think about how i'll identify them in this blog..

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Don't pass me by

10.5K.

Tell you what, Torontonians love to get out when it's nice, and let me tell ya, we all know that a sunny day, 1 degree, is perfect.

Which complicates my plan to do a 10K city run. My usual route is to look about 50 metres ahead, then plan my path through the people. People coming toward me, people i'm about to bypass, people who decided to jaywalk into my path.

So my choice is to either play NFL running back (which is kinda fun) or something else. Unfortunately, that something else usually involves veering onto a downtown street inorder to pass a crowd of, say, 20 people. Those 50 metre sprints are usually good interval training, I guess.

Of course, in a city of 2.3 million, you're bound to hit someone you know, right? That happened today, when, on Bay Street, I ran by four people, and -- suddenly -- I hear my name being yelled out. I screech on the brakes, turn. Who is it, other than the beautiful R., who was happening to be visiting her aunt. I took a 5-minute walk break to accompany her. Yes, a few moments of joy in an hour full of pain.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Longest run...

... of the year. A good ole 15K run all around downtown.. From home base, east QQ, up Jarvis, west Bloor, south Spadina, east Richmond, south Jarvis, west Front. All in all, i was out there for about 1:30. Temperature was 2 degrees with wind. I ran at a light (for me) pace.

About 2 cm snow on the ground, so made for a nice fuffy ride. I first played a game of catch the snowflake, where I looked up at the sky, spotted a flake in the distance, and paced myself to catch up to it by the time it hit arm level. That was good for 3K. The rest was just, breathe, don't jump into puddles, don't splash pedestrians with slush, and don't slip.

First week of the year was good. I was first aiming on building a base of 30K, but already built up to 40K. I think i'll realistically stay between 30K and 40K for the next month and a half.

Weekly total: 41K.
Year to date: 41K

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Pain, no glory

... morning run. 5k through the city.. warmish (just above 0) but windy. First 2.5k really hurt.. or, rather, really tired.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Tread too much ground?


Yes, those are my feet crossing the finish line at the Toronto Waterfront Marathon in Sept, 2005. Meet my day-in, day-out shoes. An Asics Gel-1100, purchased in April in New York for nothing (ah, our soaring Loonie, gotta love it). I was thinking about throwing it out today when I'd realize that I'd probably run way too many kilometres with it. I ran with it in a 10K race in the spring, all summer, and in two half marathons in the fall.

Prolly time I think about replacing them.
Waiting in the wings are
-My Asics GT 2100, which was lauded by Runners World. Sorry, I was tempted to say shoe of the year, but the inner journo in me isn't ready to confirm this.
-My Asics DS Trainers, also known as my racing shoes! (purchased in New York in October and taken for its maiden voyage around Central Park a week before the New York Marathon.)
-My Vasque Velocity trail runners.. I'll consider them for nice snowy days

Reflections

9K city run. Up Bay to Bloor, West to Spadina, down to the base. Very mild start to January. Good pace, felt strong, breathing was good, stride decent.

Except for the misty rain. Wore my hat, but my glasses kept on accumulating water that I was pretty much looking through water bubbles. Not good.

I'm feeling good about my mileage this week. I know, I'm lucky that the weather has held, so it's no real pain to run longer distances. I'm hoping to cap the week off with a long run.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Back on: 7K

You know those days, the second day of the new year, when your new year's resolution promises hit the high gear. Well, I don't make new year's resolutions.

Yesterday, I woke up, watched TV, ate my Chinese takeout leftovers, watched more TV and then ordered out. No exercise. In fact, I probably walked 50 metres the whole day (most of it to the variety store to pick up some popsicles. Yes, what does a Canadian snack on in the middle of winter?)

Today, I woke up, realized the reality has set in. After work, did 7k, another improvised route. Was windy - and 1 degree -- but I still resisted wearing headgear and an outer shell. Must of counted at least 10 other runners (go runners!) out there, so this is this considered good running weather.

Oh yes, a friend of mine is trying to talk me into doing a marathon with her. I'm waiting for her to sign up, then I'll reveal whether I'm in or not. Mystery friend and mystery marathon to be revealed.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Year in Review

So like I said, I stopped logging my mileage last summer, so I have no real way to recap other than my GSP Forerunner, which I have not really used since my last race.

Anyways, it says:

Distance: 922.6K
Time: 78:15:24
Calories: 58117

So I'm pegging my 2005 mileage at between 1700 and 2000km. Bad to be that imprecise huh?The most weekly km, according to the thingy, says I did 75K in the week of April 10 to 16. I only remember.

Racing recap: 4 races: an 8k, a 10k and two half marathons.

More later.

Starting from zero

Well. The first day of the year and my first day of the loosely defined training schedule. Stayed up late. Ate lots last night. But slept most of the day. So, before I head out for dinner, I log my first run of the year.

5K. Improvised city run through deserted streets (east on Front, north on Church, West on King, south on Spadina). A mild 1 degree. Ran it hard cause now i'm headed for dinner.

Will be many days ahead like this when I fight to find time to squeeze in the miles (or kilometres)