Friday, June 30, 2006
I just finished a six-day workweek. Very tired. But the best thing is that now I have a four-day weekend! So I'll get the rest and the leisure time. And best thing, today's a rest day.
Numbers and signposts, we like to see how far we've come and in my world of running, I can tally them up neatly in a blog, a training program or in my head during a weekday morning run. I tally them up, those miles and kilometres, and add them into a weekly total, a monthly goal. In terms of my Chicago Marathon training, I still have more than 17 weeks of training to go, a whole lot to go, but in my running year, I'm half done.
I've run 1,135 kilometres (705 miles) so far this year. I've laced up my shoes 124 times since January 1 (yes, I ran 5K), 23 times in January, 26 times this month. I've averaged about 189 kilometres a month, or about 47K a week. This has been a big running month: no vacations, good weather, marathon training to look forward to and plenty of motivation. I ran 260K (161 miles).
But it's not just about the numbers. That's not what really sticks out in my mind. It's the first run in the snow, when I start off in three layers in the freezing cold, but end up warm and toasty, the steam billowing from my forehead. It's about those goals you make far off in the future and then following through on them. It's about those first long runs when you test out your legs, your lungs, your stride. It's about those moments when you're out there on a run, reconnecting with nature, or just with yourself. It's about the community of running that exists, no matter if i'm in Toronto, New York (later in Chicago) or in my case in April, on the boardwalk in Nice, France. It's about those perfect days, when you shed all layers but the shorts and the top, don the shades and ball cap, and embrace that big sky and sun and spring's full arrival. It's about those races, those signposts of achievement that you set for yourself. It's about running friends, like mine, who are able to share in your pains of training, stories about the runs and, on occassion, a nice long run. Yes, those are things that I can't jot down on a Garmin or Computer Training program. Yep, writing my blog and reading dozens of others keep me sane and help me remember why I run. Happy running. Six months down...
Thursday, June 29, 2006
Tomorrow's a rest day. Tonight, it's music at the jazz fest! (And I'm handing over my Garmin 205 to Jelly so she can use it when she's in the United States.)
Wednesday, June 28, 2006
I'm used to doing 10K (6 miles) on the average week day. So, when Hal puts me on a 3 miler today, I decided to add just a little more, just so that i'm still following the program.
Was okay, you can tell it was going to be a warm day judging by the temperature at 6:30. Didn't really try to run that fast. Here are my splits. Did 7K (4.4 miles)
Tuesday, June 27, 2006
It did, and I ran 8.8K (5.5 miles). Tomorrow's a 5K (3 miler) so I think I'll fit it in before work..
That is, unless it rains...
Monday, June 26, 2006
Anyways, in short, it looks like the three of us (pictured left) may not race together again until Chicago... But that's The Big Race, right?
Ran my preprogrammed run today of about 5.5K (more than 3 miles).
Off topic, but Jelly has apparently tagged me, but i'm the kid without another friend to tag, so I'll just answer the questions.
Four Jobs I've Had in My Life:
1. Burger flipper and fry guy (Not at McDs)
2. Car wash attendent
3. Lobster plant
B) Four Movies I watch over and over:
1. The Paper
2. Pulp Fiction
3. Ferris Bueller's Day Off
4. Joy Luck Club
C) Four Places I have lived:
1. Hong Kong
2. Scarberia (parents)
3. Yonge and Gerrard (downtown)
4. The waterfront
D) 4 TV Shows I love to watch:
2. Any Food Network show.. (okay, most)
4. Channel surfing
E) 4 Places I have been on vacation:
3. At a motel on the tip of Lake Superior
F) 4 Websites I visit daily:
1. globeandmail.com (because I work there)
2. google.com (because who doesn't)
3. 20+ running blogs on my bloglines feede
4. bbcnews.com (because it's the Beeb, you know)
G) 4 of my favorite foods:
1. Dim sum, my comfort food
2. Homemade pasta with homemade tomato sauce, no substitutions
3. Freshly baked baguettes or focaccia (preferrably something I made)
H) 4 places I'd rather be right now:
1. At the end of the long run on a cool, sunny day, at the base of my condo, warming down
2. At a beach and the temperature is right at 27 degrees and there's a breeze
3. In my bed sleeping
4. Anywhere on vacation
I) 4 Favorite Bands/Singers:The next four songs on my Ipod shuffle, but it'd have
1. Bad 80s tunes
3. Rock and roll, from 60s to 00s
4. Anything that's good to play on the final kilometre of a gruelling race.
And i'm not tagging anyone... yet..
Sunday, June 25, 2006
I had to work today, which is obivously not part of the program. Oh well, after a 9-hour shift, I went for the 5 miler, but ended up doing a bit more than 6 miles (or 10K).
It was all tempo, the distance covered in 47 minutes. I stopped a bit because about 3.5K in, there was an accident scene. A biker (motocycler) and his passenger had slid off their bike and they were at the side of the road. They were both conscious and alert, which is a good thing. Two ambulances arrived and about 15 people were already assisting them. Can be dangerous out there.
I didn't really stick to the day-to-day specifics of the program this week, but I kept to the spirit of the program. Did my long run on the weekend, did speed work (the race) and pared down my weekday miles. I did slot in my Friday rest day, which I'm looking forward to doing for the rest of the next 17 weeks.
Weekly mileage: 53.5K (33 miles)
Year to date: 1,105.5K (687 miles)
Marathon training to date: 53.5K (33 miles)
Saturday, June 24, 2006
A couple things: I find it hard to run slow. But man it felt good. I kept a 148 bpm average for the run, which is about 78% of my max heart rate, right in the aerobic zone. I tend to run in the high 80s so it was nice to 'reign myself in'.
In total, I ran for almost one and a half hours with a pace of about 5:29 a km (or 8:50 miles). It'll be another month until I hit high mileage on one day, which isn't bad. Dont' mind if summer progresses a little until my 2-plus hour runs start coming..
Friday, June 23, 2006
Of course, I had a pint after work with Jelly, R. and one of their co-workers. Here's a pic of Jelly and her beer (she's well hidden behind the pint glass)
Speaking of Forerunners, Sonia was asking me what's the difference between the 101 and 201 cause the 201 cost a bit more than the entry level. Sonia, all I can say is there is a massive difference. The 201 lets you upload data to your computer, so you can use Garmin's Training Center and, better yet, the amazingly free SportTracks. Imagine the difference between reading your running data on the little Forerunner screen and downloading the data to your computer so you can keep mileage history, see your routes on satellite and street maps... Sonia, get the 201. (It connects through the serial plug, so for those with computers with only USB, you'll have to get a serial/USB adaptor.
I upgraded cause I wanted the heart rate monitor (I have a separate Polar model, but who wants to wear a Garmin and another watch) and any improvements in getting signals would be appreciated.. I'll be taking it out for a test run tomorrow...
Runner geek I am...
Thursday, June 22, 2006
Could be that I didn't try that hard? That I had more of a threshold before my legs really felt it? Or would it be becuase I walked 4K home after the race... I think so.
Anyways, today's training called for some speedwork, some hills, but I opted to just go for some quality miles after the race. I did 8K (5 miles).
For once, I'm taking a Friday off, which i'll get into the habit of doing in preparations for the weekend long runs..
Wednesday, June 21, 2006
My my, I love to race. Nothing like hundreds of other runners to inspire you to give your best, to push harder than on any other training day and to let you understand what it means to find your limits and, from time to time, break them.
It was a good race, and the conditions couldn't be more perfect for an evening run on the first day of summer. It was in the low 20s C range so it was slightly cool, perfect for racing.
A good showing, not sure how many people showed up. Because the starting line was inaccessible from transit, I ended up jogging almost two miles (3k) to the starting line. Hydrated, ate half a powerbar and hit the washroom before standing in a very very narrow starting line.
I lined up near the front and when we were off I had no clue, but people started running. I hit the first kilometre in about 4:10 and later found that the first mile was done in about 6:40. I had picked my starting point well. As my kilometres and miles clicked by, I pretty much held my own pace, and passed a few people. There were two inclines (and therefore declines) on the route, but it was mostly flat.
We ran about half the race on part of a highway, which was tough early on cause I needed to pass people and was hitting the outer edge of the pylons (and oncoming traffic).
I have to say that running on a home course had its advantages. I knew it and mentally, it helped to know how far I was away from the finish line. In the last two miles, I was slowing, but I passed about 5 people. However, some sprinters dashed by me in the last 200 metres..
R. met me at the finish line (actually, I had to wait for her) and took the picture of me (above with hot dog and Gatorade).
Anyways, my Garmin says my final time was 34:54 and I know the official time will be about 10 seconds slower (update: my 'official time' was 34:59). Not sure how I did in the field but comparing this time to my best 8K had me faster by a minute.
I'll take that.
And back to the regularly scheduled training. Speedwork accomplished.
Mileage: 8K (race) + 3K (jog) 6.8 miles
Time: 34:59 (official) 34:54 (My watch time -- no chips)
Place: 92 out of 394 overall; 24/61 in age division
PS: Second best part of races: guilt-free eating. They actually had Krispy Kremes (I had half) and I downed two small hot dogs from the race BBQ before buying some real street meat on the way home on the trail... Well, R bought it for me, so a nice $2.50 post-race dinner.
Tuesday, June 20, 2006
Monday, June 19, 2006
I'm scheduled for 5K tomorrow, but I may skip it in favour of resting for the race Wednesday.
Sunday, June 18, 2006
Was fun to see the sub-40 10kers weave their way among the jogging crowd who were doing the shroter 5K version. One girl was smoking the field and had to apologize while negotiating the crowd. I think she is owed at least a few seconds for that effort.
After 15K, I gave up with the heat and got ready to visit my parents in 'east Toronto', better known to me as Scarborough , back to the house where I grew up between 1979 and about 1996. I've run around a lot in that neighbourhood, biked, snuck through windows (like the little ones in the picture shown here). Of course, my parents are a bit warier and times have changed, putting bars on all previously accessible windows.
Around 3 p.m., as the weather was hitting 31 degrees (88 farenheit), humid with humidex of 37, I decided I wanted to extend the mileage a bit. I ran out to the very hilly area that housed my elementary school. When I was about a block from St. Ursula, I decided to veer off into a street I knew i'd run before and it brought back memories.
It's about 20 years ago, and yumke, at aged 10, is in phys-ed class running portion, which consisted of running around the track, then around the neighbourhood. The streets are wide, with tall trees providing ample shade. On the left and right are long patches of grass, with wide houses. The path weaves, and the little runners, in Grade 5, struggle to keep up with the distance. It feels like forever for us. We take walk breaks, only speeding up once in awhile when we catch our breaths.
I was on the cross country team in Grade 6. I remember one competition in which ran in wooded area against all the local schools, of the four guys in my class entered, I was third and (unexplainably) just made the cut to advance to the next meet, a city-wide affair. I still remember the asthma attack and walking the rest of the race.
Back to the present, I'm running the same course, backward, it's hot! and I'm keeping a 4:45 km pace (7:30 miles). I repeat as the sweat beads down my face, 'i am strong'. I pass the houses, marvel at the beauty (and size) of the houses. This is where I grew up. This was me as a kid. I had not run in that neighbourhood in 20 years. I get into the field behind the school. There are two kids, braving the heat, playing soccer. One's in goal, the other doing penalty kicks. I see the track and, just for kicks, ran around it once (see the pic above). I spot the place where I broke my ankle playing foot hockey (it's a Canadian thing, eh), I see the field where I distinctly remember chasing after friends, and also where my bat finally connected with the softball, one of the few homeruns of my youth. I see the back of the track, where we rounded time after time during recess and time after time while doing the various walk-a-thons or gym class.
In the less than 2 minutes that it took to run that track, I brought a flood of memories. I ran past the basketball courts, the school's front, and nodded to the little building, promising myself that it won't be another 20 years until I run around that little track. Maybe next time i visit the folks.
Oh, then came the mother of hills. 600 metres of straight and hard incline. I'll have to come back for proper hill training. Did 4.7K (2.9 miles)
Weekly total: 72.5K (45 miles)
Year to date (and pre Marathon training mileage): 1,052K /653 miles
Saturday, June 17, 2006
Did the waterfront route yesterday, part of which will be in the race i'll do Wednesday. 10K as well.
Friday, June 16, 2006
In the next four and a half months, I'll probably, more or less, log 108 days of running. By the time I reach the starting line, I'll have travelled almost more than 900 kilometres in 18 weeks, which, coincidently enough, is about the distance from my home city of Toronto to Chicago.
Yup, 900 kilometres, 108 days, 18 weeks, 4.5 months, just so on the morning of Oct. 22, I can run for hours with 40,000 fellow fanatics, and a few friends i've met on the way.
From my chequebook, I've already taken out more than $1,500 on hotels and flights. I'll put hundreds more on shirts, shoes, spaghetti dinners, on gels, a new Garmin and Gatorade. What, may my logical mind ask, am I getting out of this?
It's funny they call it a race, because for vast majority of us, it's not, in the traditional sense, a race. We're striving to achieve a before-you-die goal, to continue a lifelong commitment to fitness and to running. Our rivals are not be the people in front of us, but that blister, that nagging knee injury, the mental hurdle as we approach that wall, then break through it like it was never there (one hopes). Our biggest challenge may be the miles we log on a Sunday afternoon in mid-August, or the fact that we have to get up on Monday morning and go to work the day after the 20 miler. Or the lost barbecues, the afternoons on the beach or the endless supply of alcohol that the summer season demands (at least up here in Canada).
But of gains and losses, of pluses and minues, I see my Nalgene bottle half full. With every stride I force myself to run hard, I feel stronger somehow, and not only in my legs. I may regret forfeiting a longer slumber during my morning workouts, but relish in it when I walk into work, feeling fully refreshed and alive.
Alive, good thing I mentioned that.
That must be the key. I feel alive to remember that running has improved my life, made me stronger and healthier in a society that is easy to fall into a sort of a malaise, where sports is something to watch, not to participate in. Our little running is a democracy of sorts, it has no class system, just individuals who train alone and in groups, but run all together on race day. Running helped me take my working life into perspective and made me realize that in this neverending busy schedule we call life, that to pencil in your daily run was the same as saying, "right now, this hour, this workout, is for me." Running is not my life, or the sum of me, but it is a part, and it has given me perspective, not unlike the view of my city that I see from the vantage point on a 10K out and back. Or on a city run, when I stride past commuters as they head their way into work and I on another path. And sometimes, just once in awhile, I find that as the legs turn over, the arms move up and down, that it gives me a purpose: new PR to pursue, new distance to mull over, new route to discover, new shoes to try out, new challenge on the horizon. Chicago in 800 kilometres. Yup, I think i'll run with purpose...
Thursday, June 15, 2006
...probably is my condo, judging by the trajectory.
Pic has not much to do with running, other than the fact that R. spotted the rainbow after we left the bookstore, where I picked up yet another book from Runners' World on running fast.
As usual, up at 6, out the door at 6:30 and did my 10K (6 miles) to Cherry Beach and back.
Wednesday, June 14, 2006
Oh, the puns. Today, got up early and ran to the track. My god, that's so much fun. Nothing like smooth asphalt. I did four Yasso 800s (Read about it here) as you can see in my Garmin screen capture. They said I did more than 800, but i know the track is exactly 400 in the inside lane. I hit the lap button on the Garmin. Felt good. Laps of about 3:30 and I threw in a final burst in the final. It's a few miles to the track. Did 12.5K.
By the way, this is part of the sell job to get Jelly to buy my Garmin so I can upgrade :)
Tuesday, June 13, 2006
- Part of its route is right on my home waterfront course, therefore the equivilant of homefield advantage. I know most of the bumps, the elevations, the painful little hill in the final kilometre.
- It's on Wednesday, which I think I was aiming to make my speedwork days.. no speedwork like a competitive race
- I'm dying to kill the 8K time I had for a race I did last spring, of course, it had tonnes of hills so I wouldn't really be fair to myself...
- I only have a few weeks before it gets too hot to race, so why not throw in a few competitions before I get down to the grueling training. The other one being the highly corporate HBC 10K run on Canada Day (July 1), which also takes place on that same waterfront turf.
- Finally, i'll have more to blog about than shoes and training programs
And the halfway point of this race also happens to be around here, a nice little place to run to.
I'm looking at a few other programs, one prescribed by Bob Glover in his Competitive runners book (6 days a week, long runs on Saturdays, some speedwork). Here's one very interesting one written up last summer in Runners' World. Three days a week. I could only dream.
Did my 10K (6 miles) city route this morning in my spanking new GT-2110s.. Oh I love new shoes, felt like I was bouncin for awhile
Sunday, June 11, 2006
I've run in the 2100 series before. My intention is to start off the training in the 2110s, then ease into the Gel Nimbus in late August. If the Nimbus is feeling good, I'll run in them on marathon day.
The training begins on June 19.
On Saturday, I set out to run 20K to the Beaches and back for my long run. I was out the door by 6:30 a.m. and it was freezing (7 degrees, 40km/h wind). By the time I reached the 5K mark, I felt that I would probably need a bathroom break sooner rather than later, so I came back home (completing another 5K). Ditched my hydration gear and actually went out to do a 10K city route, but the wind was crazy and my breathing was not good due to congestion. I was 400 metres in when I decided I was too cold, on the verge of getting sicker so I quit. Yup, walked back home and waited for the England game to start (which was why I was up early in the first place). So, a 10K (6 miles) Saturday.
Today was much better. A later start meant it was warmer and it wasn't as cold. So I did a slow paced 21K (13 miles) to the Beaches. Found a great rhythm for the entire run.
As I head into the final week before the training, I'm switching my running weeks (for record keeping more than anything) to a Monday through Sunday instead of Sunday to Saturday. So, this week's mileage is a bit of a cheat, eight days long.
Weekly mileage: 69K (43 miles)
Year to date: 979.5K (608 miles)
Friday, June 09, 2006
Thursday, June 08, 2006
This morning, I decided to make up a bit more for the two days I lost this week, and go out for a long weekday morning run. Since I'm usually at work by 8 a.m. (okay, I live a 5 minute walk away), I usually only have enough time for a 10K. Was out the door about 20 minutes earlier than usual and set out to do 16K. Did the first 10, took a washroom and hydration break, and did another 6. Loved it, but I was sooo tired. Will have to work on getting the proper foods in me during the work week.
By the way, 16K is 10 miles. I've been avoiding switching my counting to miles from kilometres, but my training program is in miles and I am running a race in the United States. So, from now on, I'm going to stick with the Ks, but provide myself with the miles in translation..
Also, found a nice group training blog, A Running Destination, that has a cool roll of other Chicago marathon bloggers. Will be cool to see how everyone else is training for the race.
I think these shoes will be broken in for the second half of my training, and if I like them, they may be my marathon day shoes.. We'll see, I guess. So i'll have to buy another pair of trainers, and soon.
Wednesday, June 07, 2006
But, of course, I live in Toronto, where Little Italy, Little Portugal, Koreatown and every pub with a somewhat British name will be packed... We, well, some of us, love our soccer.
Which, for this runner and soocer fan, provides this problem. England is playing Paraguay at 9 a.m. this Saturday, which means that this runner will either have to wait till 11 a.m. to to his long run in the midday heat, or hit the streets at 7 a.m. so he can be rested and ready to watch Gerrard, Owen and Rooney (okay, maybe Beckham too) too their thing...
Did my 10K this morning and was about to run 5K after work, but my friend Fitzy called and offered dinner at my favourite Italian resto where I got carbs and he chatted the owner up about World Cup. Then we went to his place to play a few matches on Fifa 2006.
My life will be ruined in the next month. Marathon training and football....
Tuesday, June 06, 2006
The meds pictured here made up the strange cocktail that I fed myself yesterday while battling a cold, a fever and allergies. I like to tackle my sicknesses by symptoms thus the antihistimine, the chest decongestant and the pain killer.
As a funny aside, at the runners' expo for the Mississauga half marathon, I picked up 3 bottles of Advil for free. I distinctly remembered telling myself that there's no way I'd need that many painkillers. All I can say, 24 hours after I was in the fetal position in my bed battling the chills and the heat, is "thank god I had three packs"
Anyways, why am I crazy? Well, I called in sick yesterday, which is something I rarely do (something like four times in six years) and yet after work, I felt I should go for my run. To spare details, my sinuses were relatively clear, my chest was also relatively, and my muscles were probably benefiting from 2.5 days of rest and all those painkillers... yum... pain...killersssss.
Set out on a 10K jog out to Cherry Beach, but about 2K in, I decided that all my muscles hadn't been stretched and that I should settle for a shorter run. So I did a 6K jaunt through the city. Threw in a good tempo run for 3K.
And reason No. 667? I'm ready to go out again tomorrow morning. And maybe after work, just to get the mileage back...
Saturday, June 03, 2006
I was running late to meet her at her place (picture here) so I cut a few corners -- and a few Ks -- from my intended route. We started running east on Gerrard and it was a great run. Ran by my old university, my old apartment, the old Chinatown (yes, a lot of old stuff) and the old, rundown neighborhood around Carlaw, an area that I think is a few years yet from being invaded by land-hungry prospective home seekers.
By the way, my Garmin lost signal after 4K, so it was useless for the next 8 or so Km.
We split at Queens Quay and York, and I went home, dropped off my hydration pack and windbreaker, then set out to finish my 20K run. I had a feeling that if I did 6K, that it would make up the distance I lost at the beginning of the run.
Then it rained. Not cats and dogs, but of smaller domestic variety. Fact was, I was getting soaked. But it was fun! I splashed into some puddles, avoiding others. There was also a 10K walk/run on the waterfront, so it was fun to look at the last walkers come into the last K. The Running Room volunteers found it amusing perhaps that i was running with shades on a cloudy day and without a hat. If you're wondering, the shades are more stable than my glasses and R. took my hat a week ago and I forgot to retrive it from her.
Anyways, a soaked 6K later, i was at home. I ran the last 6K as a tempo run.. very powerful finish to a long run.
I did a gmap of the Intended route and the Actual route and guess what? I almost ran exactly 20K. Amazing.
We went to St. Lawrence, where Jelly, R. (who ran 5K by herself) and I had yummy pasta. Then Jelly and I split a veal and eggplant sandwich. As I said, and Jelly agreed, it was the "best meal ever."
Weekly total: 66K
Year to date: 910.5K
Friday, June 02, 2006
Well, I always knew it was there. There's a beautiful track at Central Tech high school, but now with the beauty of google maps, I know it's a 400 metre track.
Ran by it this morning on my 10K city route run. Next week, I'll probably start using it to do some interval and speed training. It's perfect, with about a 4 K warmup to get to the site.
Thursday, June 01, 2006
But did manage a 6K run after work. Also did 10K city route on Wednesday.