Monday, April 30, 2007

Sunburnt already?

I'm still around... phew, hard to keep up with the blogging these days. Last week, I only managed to squeeze in 32K. Two days after work were spent at bars so I was too tipsy to attempt running afterward, then it rained one day, then R. was in town this weekend.

Hoping to start off this week off right, I did 15K today after work. Felt good, it was sunny and I think I should start wearing sunscreen as the tan is already coming on. If it were a serious race on Sunday, I would taper, but hey, I'm just trying to keep up the running, so I plan to get another 25K in between Wednesday and Friday, then take Saturday off. Sunday, it's the Sporting Life 10K.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Death of a marathon (name)

... I'm not a big fan of sponsorships or branding. Almost every race we run is sponsored by a corporation: I guess it's good they are helping to fund the cost of running big events.

Well, as of next year, it won't be the Lasalle Bank Chicago Marathon, but the Bank of America Chicago Marathon. I prefer Lasalle for some reason.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Signs of life

Originally uploaded by yumkerun.
...This is one of my flower pots on my balcony. Last fall, I didn't throw out the old plants, but as you can see, the greenery (chives, actually) have come back to life. Alive, green ones beside dead, white ones.

To stretch that, I feel like the running is coming back. Yesterday, I threw down a nice 23K run along the waterfront, then into the city. Kept a decent pace and was able to get it done in just under two hours.

Today, set out to do an easy 12K in my summer running gear and it was fine. The runners were out there in full force, the walkers and cyclists were also populating the path. I felt good and strong. I picked it up the last 5K and, as I past the Army Cadets who were marching and playing some old march song, it was just so weird that my stride matched the drum beats.

That is to say that this runner is back (well, I never really stopped) in a big way.

Weekly mileage: 60.5K
Year to date: 587K

Thursday, April 19, 2007

The perfect running day

13 degrees. Sunny. No wind.

Got home at 6:30 and went out for a 15K run on the waterfront. At the 5K mark, a runner caught up to me and asked if I wouldn't mind company. I said no, then we chatted (or, rather, he talked while I caught my breath). He told me about the 100K race he was running in a few weeks and the six marathons he's run and the 3:12 PB he can't break.

At the halfway mark, we parted ways, and I ran back, held a good steady pace for a 1:14 and change for a sub 5-minute km pace...

With the 10K run a few days ago, I'm on target for a 50K week.. lets hope.

Monday, April 16, 2007

A brave bunch...

It's a rainy Boston Marathon morning. The bright side, Boston runners aren't pushovers. Good luck to you all.

Sunday, April 15, 2007


I knew going into this morning that DC was going to get rain -- lots of it. I ran 21K yesterday, so I was a little satisfied that I got a good long run in, but I couldn't finish the weekend without another run.

The choices were clear. R's condo training room, where there are a few treadmills and no one really uses it. Second was her gym. Third was outside in the pouring rain.

Now I hate gyms, or rather, I hate running in one place beside other people who are possibly more fit than I. I think it's the running in one place that irks me the most. The whole reason why I love my out and back routes is that it leaves you no choice but to run home...

So out I went, with rain jacket, long pants, and the old shoes one last time (yes, I took it out of retirement for a final reprise) and we went out there. The Garmin withstood the pouring rain, and my hat, face, jacket, pants, socks, shoes were all soaked within the first 500 metres. The rest was fun, painful and very wet. At first, I hopped over little puddles in the Mall, then as I was going up the hill to the Washington Monument, with every step, my feet were getting wet.

I saw exactly 5 other runners. A group of four girls running at a good pace, probably college students/runners. And another lone runner on my way back from Lincoln Memorial.

It was fun, I was soaked and quite a sight. Dripping, I was, in R's lobby, R's hallway, R's elevator, R's doorway, and R's kitchen.

Boy it was a fun choice. Must do again.

Weekly mileage: 41K
Year to date: 526.5K

Saturday, April 14, 2007

The last run

Originally uploaded by yumkerun.
... These are the pair of shoes that I bought last spring. You see the two marks with my Sharpie marker to distinguish this pair from an identical pair that I bought around the same time. The other one only has a few hundred kilometres.

Anyways, these shoes and I have been through much together. We trained through the summer heat, in those big long runs in August, those last tuneup runs in September and on October 23, they carried me 42.2 kilometre in Chicago.

After Chicago, they didn't go to the closet; instead, they continued to be my daily running shoes, through the fall season as the leaves littered the trail, and on to winter, through snow, slush. Only a few weeks ago did I start to realize that they were telling me it was time to let go. My legs were starting to feel every step with just a little bit more force. I went back to my running program and started back logging all the runs and I was astonished to see I'd done almost 1,000 kilometres in these puppies.

So I brought them to DC a few weeks ago so I could bring back pair number one back to Toronto. Yesterday, R and I went shopping and I bought a brand new Asics 2110 -- blue, and about $100 (I will always buy my shoes in the States, so much cheaper).

Instead of using the new ones, I decided to take old faithful on one more run. We ran up the Mall, where they were prepping for the Cherry Blossom parade. We trudged up to the cemetery and ran around the Tidal Basin. I was lost for a bit halfway through the run, but ended up discovering a new trail. I looped back to the Mall and did a final 5K to finish my 21K route, right past the White House. A fitting final tribute to these old shoes. I don't think i'll throw them out just yet, but its running days are over.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Go Ryan!

A big best wishes to Ryan, who I've been following as he trained for Chicago last year. He aimed to BQ and did it in fine style. Now, he's going off to run the Boston Marathon on the 16th. Here's hoping that the hills aren't too tough, and that the rain they are forecasting mysteriously disappears and if you soak in one thing, it should be the running dream that you've chased down... will be cheering you on from work...

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Quick 10

Probably one of the few remaining chilly days of the spring.. yep, you heard it here. Went out for a 10K run after work and actually got back before it was dark. Now that's a first. The rest of the week will be challenging to get runs in, as I have dinner plans tomorrow evening followed by Thursday, when I fly off to DC... I see a morning run in my near future.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Sign me up

The fledgling 10 miler in July opened up registration today, and offered a deal for the first 200 people to sign up, I guess to make sure that they got enough interest. I have a feeling they'll fill it up -- there is a lack of long distance events in the middle of summer.

So I also signed up -- I figure it'll more or less coincide with my marathon training. Gotta keep an eye on the Army 10 miler, also on my calendar. Registration is going quick.

Legs are sore after the downhill race and yesterday's long run, so i'll wait for tomorrow to put in a run..

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Long run...

I hit the traffic light just as it was hitting red, and I was happy to get a breather. The cloud that had been making my late-morning run a bit too chilly was starting to show breaks.

An older woman, probably in her mid-70s, was crossing the road, heading toward me and smiling. I smiled, and then she asked:

"How far have you gone?"

"About 10," I said.

"Wow," she said, just as the sun peeked through. "Enjoy it while you can."

By "it," I thought she meant the change in weather, but what she said next made an impression for the rest of my long run.


I'm pretty much the only runner in my family. When my grandmother on my dad's side used to take care of my brother and I on random summer days or on a Sunday, we'd struggle to catch up with her as she walked with purpose to her next task. Was she power walking, I wonder in retrospect? To this day, I remember her as a strong woman, who in her 60s was, it seemed, in the perfect health.

My dad, who is now a very strong and healthy 68 year old, spent 10 minutes of our ride in his minivan yesterday talking about the various exercises he does to stay fit. 10 pound dumbells, 50 times over his head. Stretches that he said baseball players do (I have no idea what he means, nor do I want to know). Walking up and down the stairs, pushups, situps, crunches.

He talked about how a few friends of his from high school have died recently. And he talked about how older men sometimes look "really old." This, my dad who took us swimming, biking, who as an engineer worked at so many job sites that he was toned and strong.


In that split second as the light was about to change green, the older woman completed her thought.

"Enjoy it while you can," she said, pausing. "I used to run too."

"I will," I said, "have a great day."

And as I sped off with the green light, I pictured this older women a lot younger, doing her runs. I see her now, looking back at them with fondness, and passing on this important nugget. "Enjoy it while you can."

So I ran a bit longer, looked up at the sky, passed the churches as they emptied of Easter worshippers in their Sunday best. I ran, breathed deeply, quicked my stride, then ran a bit more, and silently dedicated a few miles to this old lady, my father and my grandmother.

I ran 23.6K, my longest run since Chicago.

Weekly mileage: 34K (21.5 miles)
Time run: 2:56
Year to date: 485.5K (302 miles)

Race report: Spring Run-off 8K

Originally uploaded by yumkerun.
Cold, not too windy, but cold. The bone chilling type. I checked in my bag and coat about 30 minutes before race time and did a few warmup strides. About 5 minutes to the start, I spotted an old co-worker (and a former track star in his own right). We chatted and I told him it was finally cool to run in the same race as he was. He always says he'll do poorly, but I know better.

The race started, and I had positioned myself near the start, so there was not too much jockeying for position. The first kilometre was relatively flat with a slight incline. My former co-worker was running strong, weaving in and out of the crowd and going fast.

At the mile mark, which I did in 6:48 (too fast), we plunged down a hill for at least 500 metres. It was fun and way downhill.

The rest of the race seemed to go relatively calm. There were challenging hills, enough flat areas, and nice declines and sharp corners. It's a scenic route through the park and by the time I got to the water station, I decided to forgo liquids.

Here are my splits for the first seven K.
1. 4:05
2. 4:12
3. 4:18
4: 4:41
5. 4:27
6. 4:28
7. 4:36

I had hit the 7K mark in about 30:50, which put me in okay territory to go at least sub 36.

Oh yeah, that hill that I went down after the mile marker, we had to go up about 100 feet in the span of a mile. My heart rate was already up, and I just couldn't power up the final hill. I ran it, yes, but not at a good pace. In fact, I think I did the final kilometre in just a little faster than 6 minutes.

My friend put in about a 35:16, which made me marvel at my result two years ago (35:46). I'm learning that I should never underestimate the course, and that proper race prep begins not days, but months before the race. Lessons learned. Carry on.

Finish: 36:46
Overall: 179/1842
Gender: 148/1017
Division: 33/191

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Spring runoff...

First race of the year in the books. The hilly course is definitely not my element. I didn't PR, but it was a respectable showing. 8K in 36:46, about minute slower than my time two
years ago and compared with my last 5 miler, it was not me at my running peak. Finished 179th out of 1842... Not bad, I guess.

Still, I'm happy to get it in. It showed me that yes, I need more speed work, and yes, I need to build my mileage, and yes, I could stand to lose some pounds... But hey, that's running life, huh? Tomorrow, I plan to get back into it with a long run.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Lace em up

Since I've pretty much taken this week off running, I went out there today for a 2K warmup, just to make sure my legs were okay (they were). I'm putting to use my very own personal championchip that JellyP got for my birthday last year (Thanks again!).

Well, it was windy and I got a few short bursts of fast running before giving up.. I'm pretty tired and will hopefully get to bed pretty early tonight.

So far, I'm considering seven races this year, including a marathon, one half marathon, two 10 milers and the shorter distances...

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Loot bag

Haven't gotten out there the past few days. Just tired from work and travel and long hours and little sleep. The bright side is that I do have my first race of the season on Saturday. I picked up my race pack today -- T-shirt, brochures, an energy bar and, most importantly, the bib!

2148. It's a huge race this year. I believe it'll have almost double the number of participants compared with two years ago when I ran it on a cold wet snowy/rainy day. It was ugly. And it looks like it'll be a similar day, which will chase away a few people...

It's a hilly course, so it's quite fast at times. They throw in a massive hill at the end that breaks just about everyone.

Now, as for time goals, I wouldn't mind doing better than the 35:46 of two years ago. That race, I got a slow start and was just testing out my legs. This time, I think i'll like to aim for around 35 even, which will call for about 4:22 minute kilometres..

Maybe I need a speed session...

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Spring, a little early

Originally uploaded by yumkerun.
...One nice thing about visiting R in DC (other than visiting R, of course!) is that it's so much warmer. Everyone raves in DC about the cheery blossoms that it's the greatest thing to look at. Well, admittedly they are nice and here is a pic of some random tree (anyone know if it's a cherry blossom?) near the Eastern Market.

Tonight, back to cold and wet Toronto.

Going loopy

Woo hoo, another good running week in the books. I missed a planned run yesterday as R. and another friend and I went to the IKEA at College Park. What we thought would be three hours actually took about 8, so we were wiped by the end of the day and opted for beer and food instead of me taking off on a 10K.

This morning, it was a nice 9 degrees and cloudy. Which, for me, is perfect weather. Went out there in shorts, a sleeveless top and went to work. I did two loops of the Mall for about 14.5K. I realized that there was a 10 miler race (Cherry Blossom) winding its way near the Lincoln Memorial. Damn, I could have done that one!

My first race of the year finally coming next Saturday, well after the rest of the running blogosphere has gone out there. I'm feeling fairly good after having done three 50K weeks in the past month. The mileage will continue to creep up as the mornings get brighter and warmer.

Weekly mileage: 51.5K
Year to date: 451.5K.