Sunday, September 30, 2007
It was really tough picking a pace for this race, as it was the first real race I've done since the Sporting Life 10K in May. A lot has changed in my training since -- I adopted the Pfitzinger program -- plus I'd also got rid of a lot of excess pounds. My last two races, a 15K and a 10 miler in which I didn't go all out for, showed I had potential to do a lot better than the 1:34:29 best half I had in October, 2005. Last year, I ran this course on a windy day in 1:35:16.
My last big run before the race was on Wednesday, an 8 miler with 5x600 intervals. I took Thursday and Friday off and on Saturday, I did a two miler with about 600 metre portions done at a 4:30 minute kilometres 'race pace'. When you take a few days off, I find, the aches and pains suddenly amplifies. I know it's your body repairing itself, but let me say that the Saturday morning run didn't leave me too confident.
I spent the rest of the day napping, eating lots of carbs, watching movies and was tucked into bed a 9:30 p.m. Slept reasonably well and got up before 3 a.m. for a bagel and peanut butter, plus more Gatorade. I hydrated well over the last few days. I was up at 5:30 and out the door at 6:15, confident I didn't need a bathroom break.
Today's a big race day in Toronto. 12,000 doing the full, half or 5K attached to the Scotiabank Waterfront races, and another 30,000 doing the breast cancer 5K. At 6:30 a.m., the streets were busier than rush hour, given that so many streets closed off.
My sub-elite bib got me into the preferred, then sub-elite section, but I opted to stay in the preferred area. Fran and I bumped into each other and we chatted a bit. We found the 3:10 pacer (who, by the way, really didn't do the greatest of pacing jobs - he came in alone at 3:06 without his group!).
Just before the start, it was announced that yesterday a world marathon record was set in Berlin and the MC said today's condition was perhaps great for a personal best. It was cool, slight wind, almost perfect race conditions. He was right.
At the start, I tried to stick near the 3:10 pacer. He was going a bit slow, so I speeded up again and hit the first K at 4:30. My game plan was to shoot for a sub 1:34, which meant 4:27 minute Ks. To do that, I could have chosen to stick to the 3:10 pace group for at least the first half, then go harder for the final 6 miles.
The first 3 miles were relatively easy. My right calf was tightening slightly so I backed off just a smidge to see if it would become a problem. Luckily, it shook itself off. The 3:10 pacer took off after the first mile and was pacing his group way too fast -- trying to buy time from a slow start, perhaps? I let them go, seeing as my splits were at pace or even a bit faster.
A few things to note about this race. I found the 4:20ish pace that I ended up keeping for most of the race actually kinda comfortable. I was not breathing hard, my muscles were not too tired and I felt I had a bit more. Patience, I told myself the first 6 miles, it's about to get harder.
I caught up to Fran before the 10K mark and he was running ahead of the 3:10 pacer. The group had gone on too fast. I said hi, knew that my pace was sustainable and decided to continue on faster than 4:27 pace.
By the time I reached the turnaround (12.5K mark) I knew that I had made up at least a minute of buffer time to achieve the sub 1:34. There were only 5 miles left and I felt I had more left in the tank. So I kept it up.
My splits showed I was maintaining a good pace throughout: I hit the 5K mark at 21:37, the 10K at 43:15 and 15K at 1:05:07. By the 10K mark, I was already more than a minute ahead of the pace for sub 1:34, and by the 15K mark, I was almost two minutes ahead, but it really didn't sink in until the end.
Two lessons learned. First is hydration. I'm finally getting comfortable with drinking on the run. I know they say pinch the cup but only today did I realize that you pinch it so you have a small opening. I drank from the cup much like I drink from my fuel belt bottles. It was the best racing/drinking I've done. I ran though the water/Gatorade areas, I pointed at the cups before receiving them, I gave myself room before taking sips. It was working well and as a result, I only skipped one water station (by choice).
At the 15K, 16K and 17K marks, I was pouring it on, passing runners. I reminded myself that as races go on, a lot of runners get slower and you can get suckered into believing you're going at pace. I targetted runners ahead and maintained pace until I caught up. If there was a fast runner going at a good clip, I'd hook on.
At 18K, I saw Lee run by -- he was in the year ahead of me in journalism school in university and I knew he also qualified for Boston this spring. 'He's a fast runner,' I thought and started to pace off him for about a kilometre before he really made a lot of ground. But by then, I found my next gear and targetted runners ahead of me.
This brings me to the final lesson and that is this marathon training program. The final 3 miles were so easy compared to other races I've run. I didn't fade like I usually do. I was passing runners and stepping up the pace. I realized it was paying off. The LT/temppo runs of 4 to 7 miles made the last stretch seem almost easy. The interval track work made running fast not foreign to me at all. And the strides I've been doing the last 14 weeks have improved my running form -- I have faster legs.
As I was down to the final straightaway, I turned it on and I knew I had the PB in the bag. Within the final few paces, I looked at the clocked and my jaw dropped when I saw it was just clicking by 1:32:00 which meant my chip time was in the 1:31 range. I smiled, raised my arms, and pumped my fists. Apparently, according to Jelly and Frankie, the smile hasn't ceased.
1. 7:12 (4:28K pace)
2. 6:57 (4:19K)
3. 6:53 (4:17K)
4. 6:50 (4:15K)
5. 6:55 (4:17K)
6. 7:05 (4:24K)
7. 6:56 (4:18K)
8. 6:59 (4:20K)
9. 7:04 (4:23K)
10. 6:59 (4:21K)
11. 6:58 (4:20K)
12. 6:41 (4:09K)
13. 8:01 / GPS went wonky the last mile or so.
Final chip time: 1:31:33
Place overall: 169/5364 (96.8 percentile)
Place in men: 143/2419 (94 percentile)
Place in age group: 32/347 (90.7 percentile)
Okay, I'm kinda shocked right now. My target was to go sub 1:34. My personal best was 1:34:29 in a downhill course. And today, I managed a 1:31:33
Oh. My. God.
More on the Toronto Scotiabank Watefront half marathon in my race report. Time to go cheer on some marathoners and have some bacon.
Saturday, September 29, 2007
Call me neurotic. Or call me a runner.
I got up at 6 a.m. to try out a few things before tomorrow's Scotiabank Waterfront Marathon (half). First, the sun doesn't rise until just before 7 a.m. and I want to run with my prescription sunglasses. Second, I live very close to the start line, but wasn't sure how long it took.
So that explained why I was walking up my street at 6:30 a.m. with shades on. It was dark, but the street lights were bright enough. It took about 13 minutes to get to the starting area. Great. This means i'll leave home at quarter after 6 tomorrow to give me plenty of time to line up.
I walked the first kilometre or so of the course to wait to see how bright 7 a.m. was, which accounts for the picture above looking into the first 400 or so metres of the race from the starting line.
Thursday, September 27, 2007
I've gotten two today.
One from the Army 10 miler with my bib info:
Race Number – (M33), your race number is 2604!
Then one from the Scotiabank Waterfront Marathon, where I'm doing the half, assigned a bib number of 4327.
One interesting thing to note is that I was registered as a "Sub-Elite" for the Scotiabank race for no apparent reason. It seems now that the race officials have explained why: They are actually going to have start corrals based on their "Sister Marathon" the Chicago Marathon (which I did last year).
According to the site:
Last year, I started in the Preferred 1 area in Chicago. The Scotia guys are then putting 1:35 half marathoners with blazing fast runners?
To make it possible for as many runners as possible to get off the line quickly and chase fast times, we've further refined our START CORRALS for 2007. We've been helped enormously in this task by our sister-city marathon, the LaSalle Bank Chicago Marathon, who've shared information, and actually had 5 of our key Operations Team work on their Start Corrals at last Fall's Chicago event.
Shortly before Race Week, all entrants will be assigned bib numbers based on expected finishing time. Your number will then place you in one of the following corrals:
- Elite: sub 2:30 marathoners and sub 1:15 half marathoners
- Sub Elite: 2:30 to 3:10 marathoners and 1:15 to 1:35 half marathoners
- Competitive: 3:10 to 3:35 marathoners and 1:36 to 1:47 half marathoners
- Preferred: 3:35 to 4:00 marathoners and 1:48 to 2:00 half marathoners
- Open: 4:00+ marathoners and 2:00+ half marathoners
Speaking of pacing, my A goal is to sub 1:34 (or just beat my 1:34:29 PB) so I'd like to run with the 3:10 group until we split off around the 17th kilometre mark or earlier. A sub 1:34 pace is slightly faster than the 3:10 marathon pace so if I want to go for it, I could stick with the group then make a decision with 4 miles left and pick it up if I can.. decisions decisions..
4 races in the next 31 days. Craziness
- 18-week Pfitzinger plan
- Toronto Waterfront half (Sept. 30) (tuneup)
- Army 10 miler (Oct. 7) (fun run at recovery pace)
- ZooRun 10K (Oct. 13) Reg. (tuneup)
- Marine Corps. Marathon (Oct. 28) (the show)
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
I've loaded my runs early this week: a 4 miler on Monday, a 11 miler yesterday and a 8 miler with track work today.
My leg muscles were feeling tight so I decided not to go too hard, just somewhere close to 5K race pace. The heart rate showed cause I maxed at about 177 and I know I've maxed at 188-189 on other days. Here are the 600 metre repeats.
1. 2:24 171 max bpm
2. 2:20 176 bpm
3. 2:25 175 bpm
4. 2:25 177 bpm
5. 2:25 175 bpm
Not as fast as other ones I've done but they were consistent.
I went home and cooked some pasta from St. Lawrence Market.. so yummy. I love carbo loading.
The next three days will be recovery and a mini-taper for the race. I want to be fresh for it and if I do run, I'll do 2 miles tomorrow and 2 miles with strides on Saturday.
Sunday, September 23, 2007
The hard work is paying off. I can run long distances at my marathon pace, I believe my lactate threshold has improved which means I can run faster for longer without tiring and i've felt confident in the past few test races when i've not gone all out. I've done speed work, pace runs, tempo runs and kept up faithfully to those long mid-week runs of 11 miles up to 14 miles. Last year's program really didn't have high mileage during weekday. I'm batting 100% in being true to the program.
Mileage: 50 miles (81K)
Year to date mileage: 1,228 miles (1,975K)
As a side note, I'm quickly reaching the 2,000K mark for the year. To put that in perspective, 2,000K will bring me from Toronto to Cape Breton, N.S.
View Larger Map
The next week will need some tweaks. I have a half marathon that I plan to really race. Which for me means I want to run it hard, smart and target a fast finish and a personal best. I really hope to be capable of a sub 1:34 which means 4:27Ks which I'm capable of.
The hope is to load all hard workouts early in the week and give myself plenty of time to recovery and also give myself a mini-taper.
Monday: 4 miles with 6x100
Tuesday: 8 miles with 5x600
Wednesday: 11 miles
Thursday: 3 mile recovery or rest
Saturday: 2 miles recovery with 6x100
Sunday: Race 13.1 miles in morning; 4 miles in evening if I'm up to it.
It was a tough effort and my GPS wasn't giving me good live feedback, so I had to rely on my memory of marathon pace. I drank half a bottle of Gatorade before going out and went out with three 7 ounce bottles of Gatorade, which I drained throughout the run (and drinking at marathon pace, which is great with those little bottles).
All in all, I'm ecstatic with the run. It showed me I can handle this pace even on my own and I actually was going a bit faster than I should have. Here are the splits (marathon pace is 7:37 miles or 4:45 Ks):
14 miles | 1:45:48 | 7:33 miles | 4:41 kilometres
Every lap was faster than marathon pace except for the second and final one.
Ran about 16.5 miles in total. Next Sunday, I have a half marathon race and now I've done this pacer, it's going to be an all-out effort. Looking forward to see what I can achieve.
Thursday, September 20, 2007
Less than 12 hours later, this morning at 5 a.m., was out there again to do a recovery 8 miler. Not my ideal to do 20 miles in the span of 12 hours (and sleep snuck in between). But at least I have a day's rest before my 5 miler and 17 miler (14 at pace) this weekend in DC.
And I also have to fit in some spending as the Canadian dollar hit par with the U.S. Dollar. Shoes! DVDs! Electronics! Books! Clothes! It's a firesale in my eyes.
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
So it's 9 miles with 5x1000. Ran about 2.5 miles up to Central Tech High School track for the workout. As it turns out, one of the Toronto running clubs -- I believe it was Reebok Canada -- were just starting to warm up for their workout. I recognized the winner of the 15K Midsummer Night's Run doing laps and a group of them taking photos. Over my intervals, the rest of the gang, probably 20 of them, arrived and started to do laps. They were intimidating, but not overtly so. Just serious runners getting ready. I just got down to work on my repeats.
One of my repeats were done a bit slower cause I felt kinda awkward running by/beside these pro runners (who were warming up by running toward a guy taking pictures of them.. I almost veered off the track to get out of the picture), but I did my kilometre repeats with 2 minute jog breaks. I targetted just over 4 minute kilometres.
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
I probably should mention that after my run on Sunday, I got the chills, the first sign of a cold. Monday and today, I've been fighting congestion and taking anti-histamines but was still a little stuffed up, stiff and a slight headachy feeling. Happy to report that it didn't hit my breathing that much, but I definitely felt a bit weaker.
Sunday, September 16, 2007
Tuesday: 9 miles/14K
Wednesday: 11 miles/18K
Thursday: 4 miles/7K
Saturday: 10.6 miles/17K
Sunday: 17 miles/27.5K
Weekly mileage: 52 miles (83K)
Time run: 7:13:04
Average Pace: 8:23 miles (5:12Ks)
Year to date mileage: 1,178 miles (1,894Ks)
Tuesday: 8 miles
Wednesday: 9 miles w 5x1000
Friday: 12 miles
Saturday: 5 miles
Sunday: 17 miles with 14 at marathon pace
Big run is Sunday, which I may move to Saturday. 14 miles at 7:37 miles/4:45Ks.
Saturday: Plan called for a 8K to 15K race but I couldn't find one so I headed up to the track to do laps. I planned to do as many Yasso 800s as I could (8-10). I did six, then instead of doing seven and eight, I did one mile around the track then finished the run, a total of 11 miles.
The 800s (with jog breaks) were not the most consistent I've done. A very strong wind and cool temperatures made one half of every lap to be against the headwind. I still have some work to do in getting even pacing .
1. 3:05 179 max pbm
2. 3:15 179
3. 3:21 178
4. 3:18 178
5. 3:16 180
6. 3:19 179
1,600. I was quite happy with the final four laps, which if were two 800s would be two 3:17s. It showed that I have the fuel in the tank.
1. 6:31 182 max bpm
10.6 miles in 1:24:52
Sunday: 17 miles planned. Was up very late last night -- actually, I saw the sun rise. I slept in until 12:30 p.m. and went out at 1:30. Heart rate monitor was showing very high heart rate the first kilometre, so I slowed down to reset the monitor. I took it real easy in the first 7 miles then turned up the pace. It was sunny, a little windy, cool, so I wore a long sleeve which as it turns out may have been the right choice. I didn't bring nearly enough Gatorade and water and it's something I have to really work on in my final long runs.
Ran it with a negative split: final time 2:26:08 with average pace of 8:35 miles/5:20 kilometres.
Thursday, September 13, 2007
Day off tomorrow then I have a 8K to 15K race scheduled. It's Terry Fox weekend in Canada on Sunday, but instead I'm thinking of doing a 5 miler at LT or Yasso 800s Saturday followed by the 17 mile long run on Sunday.
In the meantime, this is some entertaining video of beginner runners training for a half marathon.
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
I ran about 4 miles to the track of a high school in central downtown. The school was holding tryouts (or workouts) for its football team, so in the infield, about 60 teenagers were doing wind sprints and other footbally things. It was late afternoon and the sun was brilliant. I warmed up and went right to work.
I was targeting about 2:20 to 2:25 600s. Did 90 second jog/walk recoveries
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
The first one was crazy fast, as if I were doing my 100 strideouts. I guess the testosterone on the field was transferred on to the track. I retrained myself and started to run more consistent laps, although you can see I slowed over the five. For 400 of the 600 in each lap, I was running into a strong headwind, strong enough that I can see that when it pushed me, I was going quick.
The heart rate was pretty high 186 range compared with 182 high done a few weeks ago. The difference was this was afternoon, the other one was early morning. I was also very tired after little sleep.
Next week I have a 5x1000 which will keep me more honest by adding another loop around the track. No time for short sprint bravado. I'm going to target 4 minute kilometres or 6:26 miles.
Monday, September 10, 2007
Sunday, September 09, 2007
Don't get them that often, but the nice folks at A Midsummer Night's Run provided links to race photos that we're clear to download. Taken by Ron Foreman. The last few miles of this race were really strong for me so it's good to see a nice finish.
Yup, 49 days to go. This week is the peak mileage for the training program, at 55 miles. I hit that about 3 weeks ago. Now, I still have high mileage weeks before the taper, but not as much as now. I'm feeling quite fresh having the week off -- no early morning runs and plenty of catch-up on the sleep.
Here's the weekly mileage since the training began. I took it easy the few weeks before the training started.
Weekly mileage: 56 miles (90K)
Time run: 7:46:05
Average pace: 8:21 miles/5:11Ks
Year to date mileage: 1,126 miles (1,811K)
Here's a recap of the week:
Monday: 6 miles with strides
Tuesday: 5 miles
Wednesday: 12 miles, 7 LT
Saturday: 20 miles
Sunday: 12 miles
Here's what's coming up
Tuesday: 8 miles with 5x600
Wednesday: 11 miles
Friday: 4 miles with 6x100
Saturday: 8-15K race
Sunday: 17 miles
I may take off Friday instead of Thursday. As for the race, if I don't do one of the Terry Fox runs next weekend, I'll either do track work or a 5 mile LT. (yikes, I thought those were over)
Saturday, September 08, 2007
Wednesday, September 05, 2007
Pfitzinger says these runs should be done at 15K to half marathon pace, which is about 7 minute miles to 7:10. McMillan advises a tempo pace of between 6:57 miles ot 7:15 miles for a 3:20 marathon. (About 4:19 to 4:30Ks)
The last LT I did during the 15K race, the conditions were perfect. Not a lot of wind, coolish and it was a race, which means you get to pace off other runners. There weren't a lot of other runners around me, but I could spot people ahead and used them to pace myself. The LT splits back then was 7:10, 7:07, 7:02, 7:05, 6:58, 6:49. Race day magic.
Today was a 12 miler with 7 at LT, so I mapped out an out-and-back route on paths that have only one or two traffic lights. The route has a lot of long exposed stretches. Plan was to warm up with 2 miles, then do the LT run.
Weather was partly sunny, and a temperature of about 19C. But it was the wind that was worrying me. It was gusting up to 30km/h by the waterfront. At the 1 mile mark, I decided to begin the LT run while I had the guts to do it. The first four and a half miles were done running right into the wind so I increased the effort accordingly so I didn't start the LT at slower than pace.
The wind had one bonus -- it was a cooling wind. I felt the effort was good, and I looked down at the Garmin from time to time to see if the km pace was showing faster than 4:30 (It was). My fuel belt functioned quite well, but kept on shifting to the right. I took about one bottle of Gatorade during the run, which was difficult but the fuel was much needed.
At the turnaround, I had about 3 miles to go, and I could suddenly feel the difference. When you run with the wind at your back, you don't actually notice the wind blowing, but you are being pushed. Now I was facing two challenges -- I was running into the sun without a cooling wind, and the rushing wind at the start of the run was replaced with quiet. It's safe to say that the last part of the run was aided by the wind, but I also dug deep to keep the pace up. As it turns out, I dug a little too deep and went faster than pace... I'll take that.
The LT splits
1. 7:12 (into the wind) 162 bpm
2. 7:12 166 bpm
3. 7:06 170 bpm
4. 7:05 174 bpm
5. 6:59 (pushed home by the wind) 177 bpm
6. 6:48 179 bpm
7. 6:47 181 bpm
My heart rate maxed out at 183 in the last mile.
So what does this run tell me? I think the last few miles were run a bit faster than I should have, and they were wind aided, but I think the fact that I was speeding up shows I have a bit more in me than I think. I think one way to test this out is to attempt to run the half-marathon at the end of this month at a faster than usual pace. I usually target 4:30Ks/7:15 miles for about a 1:34/1:35 race, but I think it may be time to push the pace to 4:25Ks/7:05 miles or even a bit faster (4:20/7 miles). That'd be an interesting test. I've been dying to go sub 1:34 and it may be time to give it a go.
I have a 12 miler and a 20 miler to round off this week.
Sunday, September 02, 2007
Weekly mileage: 45 miles (72K)
Time run: 6:11:27
Average pace: 8:17 miles/5:09 Ks
Year to date mileage: 1070 miles (1721K)
Here's the schedule for next week.
Tuesday: 6 miles with 6x100
Wednesday: 12 miles with 7 miles at LT
Friday: 12 miles
Saturday: 5 miles
Sunday: 20 miles
I may make a few tweaks, such as doing the 6 miler tomorrow then doing the LT on Tuesday.
The LT run is the key one to do well.