Sunday, August 29, 2010

Man, that was @#$# hard

It was probably the 17th of 32 kilometres today that I realized how hard distance running could be. I had a relatively late start to my Sunday run, and I was overheating early. I don't usually blink an eye at these long distances, at least until after the 13 mile mark, so I was a little concerned that I was counting down the miles so early.

Later, I stopped at a water fountain, refilled my three bottles, then proceeded to dunk water on my head and arms and back, anything to cool myself off. That helped. I had scheduled a bunch of out and backs, making sure that I'd have access to water fountains at least every six miles, just enough so that I would never run dry.

And as I was taking the third of three gels, I reminded myself what a toll long distance does to you. You sweat out salts, your heart rate steadily increases, you start to run out of juice. I took a few breaks and on one of them, standing in the shade, I contemplated my 6 kilometres to go, and wondered how I run these distances at faster paces on race day. Amazing what we can do.

At least I'm not alone. The trails of Toronto by the water are filled with distance runners every weekend morning. It's gratifying that I'm not alone. I saw quite a few familiar faces, and even passed a few runners on our out and backs. You can tell they're going long when you see them an hour after your first spotting.

Training is going pretty well. I've decided that this fall is not about speed, it's about running multiple marathons in a month. Three in four weeks will be quite the feat, and I'll have to recover quickly. I'm looking forward to it.

Today's was just the 2nd 20 miler of the summer, and I have one more to go. Funnily, my time today was only a minute or so off the last one. At least I'm consistent. And at least I ran a progressively faster run.

20 miles in 2:48:36 with average pace of 8:24 miles.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Race report: A Midsummer Night's Run 30K

Yesterday's 30K was a great long run, a confidence booster and told me I probably could have given more on the course.

It's the third time I've done this 30K. It was humid, threatening rain, but all in all, pretty good conditions to run in. I got to the race site with plenty of time to spare, (jogged over there) and bumped into a few other bloggers. My goal was to go for a decent pace, whatever felt strong but not quite racing. At first I thought it'd be 5 minute kilometres, but from the start, I really felt like going a bit stronger.

Out of the gates, I was pulling 4:50s, so decided to stick with that. It felt like the right pace -- really easy even -- but I thought I didn't want to risk going out if my body wasn't used to it. I have missed quite a few runs in the past two weeks, my long run last Sunday was kinda blah and I didn't want to bonk.

They did a new start to the course, kinda liked it. A nice outing to Cherry Beach area that took away an out-and-back portion they had done on the Beaches boardwalk. I was running comfortably, just getting into the groove. As usual, when I'm clicking on pace, my splits quickly fall into line. It was kinda nice. This is my home turf so I know the course pretty well.
1 04:50
2 04:52
3 04:52
4 04:50
5 04:49

There was a group doing 10-1s that kept on passing us, then would stop for a walk break. I still can't get my head around that method. I totally understand it, getting your heart down and recovering, but it doesn't quite feel right for me. In any case, these guys were going a little fast cause at the fourth time they passed me, they said they were '2 minutes ahead'. Even they acknowledged that wasn't good. That's the problem I find with walking then going up to pace. You don't get a sense of pace, and that doesn't really teach you long distance pacing. Anyways, after the fourth time I saw them stop, it was the last time I saw them. I took my first of two gels at the 35 minute mark.
6 04:47
7 04:51
8 04:51
9 04:49
10 04:50

11K - 15K:
We were entering into the Leslie Spit area. The wind was cooling things down and I was more or less running alone. A runner would run alongside me from time to time but IO was just focusing on my own pace and let it determine if we'd run together or not. I was targetting a pack ahead of me. Some people were starting to slow. In fact, other than a pair of runners who passed me at 4:35 pace, I was passed no more.
11 04:51
12 04:48
13 04:49
14 04:49
15 04:46

Decided at the half mark that I felt good, so felt comfortable enough to up the pace. There was no one to really pace off of, so I was just going for a stronger pace to test myself. It was only a few seconds faster but noticeable. I felt it was important to see if I could turn it up, even if it was just a little. It started raining, and I was really happy I put the bandaids over my nipples. Yes, it's a little embarrassing we have to, but I saw at least four other runners who haven't learned. They were bleeding. You really don't make that mistake twice. Took my second gel at 1:30 mark.

16 04:43
17 04:46
18 04:42
19 04:47
20 04:47

21 - 25K
We were making our way of the park when I passed Marlene's husband Mark. We just started chatting and I sort of forgot about pace but we really didn't slow down much. It was actually really nice to be able to chat and 'race', a good confidence boost for both of us. We caught up on our summers and training and probably a good 6 kilometres together. Getting darker and the rain was lessening a bit by then.
21 04:51
22 04:58
23 05:00
24 05:06
25 04:59

26K - 30K
My left calf was tweaking around this point, not a good feeling to be having. I made sure to hydrate properly. I think it was more of a expression of not having really done pace work recently. We were winding our way through Ashbridges Bay and I was really happy by the almost two hour mark that my cardio was holding just fine. On our way back to the last two miles, I told Mark that I had a little left in my tank I wanted to use up, so we said good bye and I ramped it up for the last bit. Was good to run it stronger to the end, trying to run 'on the edge' so I wouldn't cramp but still go out strong.

26 05:06
27 05:11
28 04:43
29 04:47
30 03:39 (not proper distance)

30K in 2:24:38 or an average pace of 4:50.

I was really pleased with this run. It's quite a bit slower than my race times for other 30Ks but I didn't really consider this a race-shape run. It was an awesome long run and a great confidence booster -- didn't lose that much fitness in the last few weeks. Marathon day is in eight weeks and I still have more than a month to build up to it.

Best part of this race -- beer with friends after, and a new use for a big sized medal. Beer coasters!

Saturday, August 21, 2010


I have taken a pretty long break from marathon training the past two weeks, managed to get some mileage but nothing close to what I'm used to. My last long run was a 12 miler last Sunday in Canmore, felt harder because of the elevation, or maybe because we were doing a lot of hiking with pretty good elevation gains. I was working muscles that I don't typically use.

So I haven't entered today's A Midsummer Night's Run 30K race (I've done five 30Ks) not sure where my training is at. So with that in mind, I'm still trying to figure out what pace to choose. My slowest 30K has been in the 2:21 range (4:42 pace), the fastest in 2:13 (4:26 pace). I suppose the right thing to do is to treat it like a long run. Go out at 5 minute pace and maybe a little faster, but don't push it much faster than that. So the target is 5 minute kilometres for the first 5, then assess whether that is reasonable, or faster, or slower. We'll see. Important to get the training back on track and this is the perfect opportunity. So 2:30 finish if my body cooperates. It usually does on race day.

In the meantime, here are pictures and data from one of our very memorable hikes. This one was out to Harvey Pass/Mt. Bourgeau. Amazing.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Running and hiking

Running is taking a backseat to other activities these days while we're out here in Alberta for a longish time. Both today and yesterday, did a 4 miler before heading out for 20k in hiking. Same today. It was funny to watch the Garmin die while tracking our progress. Hope to to throw in a longer run on the weekend in Canmore.

Location:Lake Louise Dr,Improvement District No. 9,Canada

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

I also run for the salt

I've been thinking about how well seasoned runners are. I mean literally. Besides the fact that I've been reading a lot about salt consumption (we apparently eat too much of it).

Like most people, I don't mind giving salt a fair shake. It raises the flavour profile of so many dishes. Without it, well, it tastes bland. Yes, it's bad for you. Well, most of us anyways. And yes, it tastes awesome (I'm loving my 'pink salt' my brother picked up in Australia a few months ago).

Runners crave salt. We possibly crave it more than carbs, even sugar, on some occassions. There are many reasons why we possibly do so. For one thing, we sweat a lot. At the end of a summer long run, I look down at my arms and while I cool down and the sweat dries, i'm left with a little dusting of salt. I actually licked it once. (Don't say you ever weren't curious). Yep, salty bunch we are. Maybe the amount of salt of my has to do with a high consumption, but I don't think I eat really an excess amount.. Okay, maybe I do.

We're encouraged to take in electroyles as runners. Any one who has experienced leg cramps in the middle of a long run or (even worst) at the end of a marathon knows that one thing we look to improve (other than that training thing) is our nutrition.

Did I take enough gels with sodium? Did I take salt caps. Did I take enough Gatorade (which I call sweetened carb juice with a dose of salt).

I take it to high levels for marathons. In fact, I go to the grocery store looking for high sodium food (hint: soup has a great supply of that). I even tried a bagel with peanut butter, bananas and pretzels. It tasted okay until the second one I tried with added salt. That was too far.

So I guess another guilty pleasure. Many runners run so they can eat. I confess at times I do (although I'm on a great health kick this summer), with a pinch of added salt.

Running update: Training is going well. 11 miles today after work, 7 miles yesterday, 6 miles Sunday and my big whopper of a 20 miler on Saturday. I hit 206 miles for July!