Training Update. Sept 25- Sept 29

on Saturday, September 30, 2006 at 8:03 AM

The cool temperatures are here. I'm waiting for the temperature to warm up before I head out on my 4 mile recovery run this morning. Here's an update for the week.

Did 5 mile recovery run with 6 strides.

Did a little over 10 miles with 4x1200m @ 5k pace. Split times were:


I ran into some HR strap problems at the beginning, but by the time I got to the track, it had sorted itself out. I can honestly say that these VO2Max things seem to be getting easier. Now it could just be that the Yasso 800's that I did on the weekend made this interval workout feel puny by comparison, but I like to think it's because my fitness is improving. I'm looking forward to the 1600m interval workout in two weeks.

Did 10 miles at about 8:30 pace. I tried the garmin today for the second time and it seemed to be off in measuring distance. I usually run the first few miles of my "around the house" route along the same path where I know where the 1 and 2 mile markers are. The garmin has been right on with the distance the last time I used it, but today I ran past the mark and then an additional 30 seconds before the autolap function was triggered. I thought it may be that my HR monitor was interfering with the satelite reception since this was the first time I ran with both. Going to try it again today to see if I have the same problem. It was quite cool during the run at about 8C. By the time I got back home, my fingernails were a nice shade of blue.

4 mile recovery today and then 20+ miles tomorrow and then taper time! I wish all you Chicago hopefuls good luck on your 20 milers this weekend. Enjoy it cause you won't be running that distance again until October 22!

Scotiabank Marathon pictures.

on Sunday, September 24, 2006 at 10:47 PM

I camped myself out on a bridge and took some pictures at the Scotiabank marathon.

Elites racing!

Ed Whitlock. 75 year old marathoner who did 3:08:34.5

Michal the joggler who set a new record for juggling (2:57:52.2 gun time) while running a marathon.

Blogland's very own Joggler Perry!

Training Update. Sept 22- Sept 24

Friday :
Did 4 miles recovery with 6 strides. Used the garmin for the first time on a run. Pretty cool.

Pfitz has planned a tune-up race for today. There really wasn't anything nearby within a reasonable driving distance so I did a Yasso 800's workout. For those that don't know, yasso 800's are designed that depending on how long you can do 10x800m intervals in minutes:seconds will equal your marathon distance in hours:minutes. Thus if you can do 10x800 in 3:30 with 3:30 recoverys then you can do a 3:30 marathon. My goal was to do them in 3:15 since McMillan says that Yasso 800's overpredict your race time by 5 minutes which would put me in line with a 3:20 marathon finish.

Split times and HR were:


All I can say is that those things are torture. Basically take how you feel at the end of a 5k race and then repeat it 5 times. Crap those things hurt. My HR maxed out at 190. I had planned on trying to go all out on the very last 200m of the session to see how high I could get the HR, but I was sucking wind so bad that I couldn't force myself to run faster.

I went down to watch the Scotiabank marathon today and had a 17 mile run scheduled for after it. I did about 18.5 miles. I ended up trying a new route today that was far hiller than I'm used to. Not sure of pace, but I would guess that most of it was done at slightly less than 9 min/miles with portions at 8:15 or so. Hard to tell because of the hills. I was quite sore afterwards and very hungry. I ate two Burger King combos and was still hungry.

It's now official!

on Thursday, September 21, 2006 at 9:32 PM

Other than the training, I only had one last logistical thing that I had to do prior to the marathon and that was to book my flight which I did about 10 minutes ago.  So now I'm officially in and there's no turning back!

I decided early in training that I would decide on what marathon pace I would do, 1 month prior to the marathon which day happens to be tomorrow.  After my pace run last week, I was pretty okay with running at 7:45, but part of me now thinks I can go faster.  My recent half time suggests that 7:40 is doable based on the McMillan calculator and Daniels VDOT tables predict a 7:33 marathon pace.    I'm not sure what is reasonable.   I'm going to do a Yasso's 800 workout this Saturday and I'm going to try and aim for between 3:10 and 3:15 per 800m interval.  I'm also planning a 10k race on October 7 which I'm hoping to do in under 43 minutes.  If I can do both of these things, than I think 7:40 pace (possible a bit faster) will be my goal.  I'm pretty sure that the Daniels 7:33 pace is a bit too ambitious though.

5 weeks to go training update

on Wednesday, September 20, 2006 at 8:35 PM

Did 8 miles including a VO2Max workout of 5x600m. Split times are:


These were done slightly slower than the last time I did this workout. But realizing that these things are going to get pushed to 1200m and then 1600m, I thought it would be best to get used to the 5k race pace that Pftiz says I should be running these at. My HR was way down for these things compared to last time which could mean that I'm improving, but it could also be due to the fact it was cooler or that I ran these slower.

Did 11 miles at a little over 8:30 pace. I've been running lately in my Sauconys again which I had thought last week were basically worn through. Thinking about it a bit more it didn't make sense. I had jsut run a half and done a 15 mile long run with no shin problems in them and then all of a sudden I do some track intervals and my shins were screaming. So I tried a recovery run in them last Saturday with no shin problems and I've been using the Sauconys since (including the marathon pace run on Sunday). The heel on the left shoe is still worn down, but I've been trying not to heel strike so much and I think that by doing this it's improving my form allowing me to run faster. I think that by switching between the sauconys and my old Adrenalines, I should be able to stretch them out till the taper where I'll start using my marathon day shoes.

As for my marathon shoes, I headed to the running store after work today to try and buy them. I've decided that I'll be running in the Brooks Adrenalines. They didn't have my size though. I did however buy some new Powergels to see what they taste like and if they can be dispensed from the packet easier than the old one. I've gotten use to the Gu's now which I've been using lately, but think that the powergels might be better for me since they have more sodium in them. I also bought ..... a GARMIN. Okay it's not the fancy 205 or 305, but is the cheap Forerunner 101. It can't upload to a computer and it uses AAA batteries, but I've really been craving for something that will tell me how far I've gone that doesn't require me to recalibrate it every time I change shoes. Since I'm going to be swapping shoes more often now, it only made sense.

Survived the weekend!

on Monday, September 18, 2006 at 7:41 PM

Well I survived the weekend. Saw 6 movies on Saturday which worked out better than I thought. In order to get ready for my marathon pace run on Sunday, I ended up eating a small plate of food court pasta for lunch and then bought a half dozen bagels which I ended up snacking on for the rest of the evening, washing it down with a bottle of gatorade. Not exactly the tastiest way to carboload but it worked. Generally liked most of the movies I saw. Can't say I had a favourite as they were all good in their own kind of way. The only real "movie star" I got to see live was Sigourney Weaver who was at the screening of Snow Cake in which she plays an autistic woman. She puts on a great performance. I don't know if the movie will get much screen play (especially in the US) since it's based in a little town in Northern Ontario but if you get a chance to see it, do so.

Ms. Weaver's the one on the right

I ended up getting home at about 2:00am in the morning, though probably didn't get to sleep until 3am. Turned off the alarm and ended up waking up naturally at about 8:30am. Decided to drive down to the waterfront to run. Pfitz had a 17 mile run with 14 miles at marathon pace planned. I ended up doing 18.5 miles. I did about 14.5 miles at marathon pace which were sandwiched between 2 mile warmup and cooldowns. I averaged about 7:45 min/miles for the marathon pace portion which I think is just about right in terms of a pace that I think I could reasonably hold over 26.2 miles. Also my HR seemed to be in the right zone for a marathon pace run which for me was to keep it below 170. Hopefully this will carry forward till race day.

I hadn't done a long run by the lake in over a month since my first 20 miler. The interesting path that they were building which had been converted from a road is all gone as it seems that it was just a temporary thing. That doesn't make any sense to me. They spent a bunch of money laying down sod, and planting and watering flowers to give us a feeling of what it would be like when they eventually got around to building it and then they go rip it all out and convert the thing back into a road. Go figure.

I'm supposed to do another tune-up race this weekend with a 17 miler on Sunday. I think I'll skip the race this weekend and head to the track and do a Yasso 800 workout. I'm debating whether I should register to run the Scotiabank half marathon this Sunday as part of my long run. It's a bit pricey though at $70. They are apparently still looking for pace bunnies for the full, one of which is the four hour bunny. I seriously considered volunteering for this since they give out a whack of free stuff (entry, shoes, shirt, socks, cap and shorts), but in the end decided against it. I don't want to jeopardize my number one goal which is October 22 to get a bunch of free stuff (which I'd probably have to declare on my income tax form anyways..)

Quick Update

on Saturday, September 16, 2006 at 8:14 AM

Gonna try and squeeze in 6 movies today. I've tried to do this in the past with very little success as I end up sleeping through portions of the movies. I'm guessing that today will be no different.

Friday: Did 11.5 miles. Was supposed to do 12. Had to cut the run short due to GI problems. Eating nothing but junk food and hot dogs the day before didn't sit well with my stomach. Run was tough. My runs have been feeling pretty crappy lately. Not sure of my pace. since I had to move the footpod around on my shoe since it was cutting into the shoelaces and I didn't get a chance to recalibrate. Polar says I was doing 10 min/miles which I'm pretty sure is wrong.

Today: Did 5 miles recovery.

Tomorrow: I have planned 17 miles with 14 miles at marathon pace which at the moment is 7:45min/miles. I'm worried about this considering my crappy runs this past week and that I somehow have to squeeze in a carboload somewhere between my 6 movies today. Will see what happens.

Falling off the wagon.

on Wednesday, September 13, 2006 at 7:55 PM

Yesterday, I was supposed to do 8 easy miles, I ended up doing zero. I had woken up in the morning and was still a little sore from the race and long run on the weekend. I've read about people trashing their quads at Boston due to the downhill portions and I think that's what I was suffering from. I hadn't done any hill training and to suddenly do a half marathon with some steep downhills probably in hindsight was not a smart idea. I decided to skp the morning run and try and do it in the evening. I got back from work, ate dinner and thought that I'd head to the gym at about 9pm for the 8 mile run (it was raining) At about 7pm, I decided to take a 1 hour nap and the next thing I know it's 1am in the morning. Oh well.

My main goal for the Chicago marathon was to average a 7:45 min mile and to finish with a time of 3:23. My recent half marathon estimates that I'm now in 3:20 shape. I have to admit that a part of me wants to back off on the training and coast into Chicago and perhaps subconsiously, my brain has figured out a way to do that. I know that I have to keep pushing to see how well I can do and not just meet some arbitrary goal that I had set several months ago, but I got to admit that the motivation is waning a bit.

Having said that I got up in the morning today determined to do the VO2Max workout that was planned. 9 miles with 5x1000m @ 5km pace. The universe of course decided it had to rain on my parade by literally raining on my parade. It was pouring outside. Even so I headed out with a 3 mile warmup to the local track. My left shin was giving me some pain, but I thought it was jsut stiffness. I started into the workout and did the first km in 4:10 and then did the second in 4:17 which was way off my expected pace and my shin was hurting even more. I realized at this point that I should stop as I was going to risk hurting myself. I ended up walking home. I thought at the time that the shin pains are being caused by the Saucony shoes which have worn down and are changing my running gait. I still had my trusty old Adrenalines which are getting close to their 300 mile limit, but the tread still looks okay, so I ended up retrying the VO2max workout after work. That worked out much better. Split time including recoverys were:

Lap Time Max Avg
04:00.0 183 174
01:55.9 182 156
04:03.3 186 177
01:58.3 185 160
04:05.6 185 178
01:58.3 185 159
04:06.9 186 179
01:58.5 186 161
04:07.6 187 179

No shin pain. In total I did about 4 miles in the morning and 5 in the afternoon. It's 9 miles total as planned albeit split over two runs.

As for the film festival, I'm enjoyed most of the films I've seen so far. Now in years past, the film festival has offerred at least one movie with titalating subject matter. Movies that come to mind are 9 songs and Twentynine Palms. This year was no different with the movie Shortbus featuring real sex (which also includes between people of the same gender). For some reason, I don't think that this will be generally released in theatres. I really looking forward to tomorrow as I have 4 films planned which includes The Fountain.

Half Marathon report

on Monday, September 11, 2006 at 9:10 AM

I did a Half Marathon on Saturday. Finish time of 1:35:04 which I'm elated with since I thought it would be tough for me to do 1:36:15 which McMillan says I should be able to do if I wanted to run a 3:23 marathon which represents the half way point between my current marathon PB and my BQ time. McMillan now says that I might be able to do a 3:20 marathon.

The weather did not start out great. About 5 minutes before the start of the race, it started raining. Thankfully it tappered off pretty quickly. The course is run on paved streets and mostly on country dirt roads which weren't too great after it had recently rained. At the end of the race, the back of my calves and shirt had mucky mud on them. The course has a few hills, but the part that was scarry were the MONSTER downhills (see elevation chart). I'm pretty good at picking up the pace and using gravity to glide down hills, but the downhills on this course were tricky. The ground was slightly wet to begin with and the few downhills were quite steep and long. I ended up having to consiously slow down going down these things cause I didn't think I could maintain the fast turnover and speed for the whole length of the downhill. I also decided to run with my HR monitor to give me some feedback on what my HR should be like running at LT pace. My HR was a bit high during the start of the race, topping out at 187 at one point but this was gradually brought down to under 180.

Contrary to what they said on their website, as it turns out they had markers at every km so I didn't need to use my polar foot pod. Here are the splits. (I missed one of the markers)

KM Lap Time Pace
KM Lap Time Pace
1 04:23.7 07:04.4
12 04:27.1 07:09.9
2 04:13.4 06:47.8
14(2km) 08:58.0 07:12.9
3 04:37.7 07:26.9
15 04:00.8 06:27.5
4 04:33.4 07:20.0
16 04:22.8 07:02.9
5 04:27.0 07:09.7
17 04:33.7 07:20.5
6 04:35.4 07:23.2
18 04:36.1 07:24.3
7 04:39.1 07:29.2
19 04:31.0 07:16.1
8 04:33.9 07:20.8
04:32.9 07:19.2
9 04:44.3 07:37.5
21 04:31.2 07:16.5
10 04:50.4 07:47.4

11 04:31.0 07:16.1
21.1 1:35:04 0:07:15

Average pace of 7:15 min/mile. I've made a lot of progress over the past year. My previous PB for the half which was set last November was 1:45. I also had an unofficial PB of 1:42:42 which I had set during the first half of a marathon in the spring which I also beat. The other neat thing is that this pace is actually faster than my pace for my PB in the 10k which was set the week before I started this training plan back in June! I have a 10km race planned for my final tune-up race on Oct 7, so it'll be interesting to see what I can do at that point!

Training Update

Friday. Did 4 miles with 6 strides on in preparation for race.

Saturday: Did half marathon race. Final time of 1:35:04. Race details to come.

Sunday: Did 15 miles at a slow pace.

Today: Rest as I'm sore as hell.

I was thinking of backing off the training a bit this week. I'm considering skipping the VO2Max portion of Wednesday's workout since my lower calfs, shins and ankle are tight and sore. Hopefully all my legs need are a good rest day.

I purchased my current shoes back at the end of July, though only started using them full time a few weeks ago. I purchased them cause I was looking for a shoe with a bit more longevity than my previous favourite shoe the Brooks Adrenaline. I had hoped that the Saucony's would at least last me till the taper which is still about 3 weeks away so I was disappointed to see that the rubber on the heel of one of the Sauconys is starting to wear to the point that the soft spongy material underneath is exposed. I really liked the shoe. it was quite comfortable and didn't give me any blister issues at all even when wet. The wear is only very brief at the moment and I'll try and stretch it out for another two weeks. But it looks like I'm going to have to buy two new pairs of shoes soon. One to finish the training and one for race day since I like to run a marathon with a pair of shoes with about 50 miles on them. I'm haven't decided what shoes to buy yet as I like the fit of the Sauconys but the Adrenalines seem to get better wear and are a tad ligher.

Week 12 of 18 begins

on Wednesday, September 6, 2006 at 10:08 PM

Yesterday: Did 8 miles with 5x600m VO2Max workout at track. Split times were as follows

The track I use in the morning has a lot of "elderly" people who like to walk around the inside lane, even when it's pitch black outside. It makes trying to do interval workouts tough with the weaving and bobbing. But I guess they have as much a right to use the track as i do, but i find it annoying.

Today: Did 11 miles. Until now my training plan had scheduled either a rest day or a recovery day after any workout that was moderately difficult (ie: tempo or VO2max). Today was the first day I did a semi-long run after doing a hard workout. First couple of miles were tough where I was struggling to maintain even my slow long run pace, but after mile 4 or so, I guess my legs got warmed up and running seemed easier, the so called second wind. If only I could get that without having to struggle for a few miles.

I plan on doing a half marathon race this Saturday. The only reason I want to do a half is really to set a PB since I've set one in the 5k, 10k and full already this year and it looks like I won't have another chance this year after running Chicago. I'm trying to figure out how fast I should run it though. I'm thinking between 7:20 and 7:35 min/miles which I think is doable since I averaged 7:15 during a 7 mile LT run last week. The course website says that the course is only marked every 3km. This might be a bit problematic for me since I'm pretty much a stat junkie that is a slave to split times. I may have to run with my Polar foot pod which to give me pacing feedback which I've never done in a race before.

BTW, today is my birthday!!! I turned the ripe old age of 32. Only three more years and my BQ time drops by 5 minutes. Woohoo! Something to look forward to!

Film Festival and Training

on Monday, September 4, 2006 at 9:34 PM

I was downtown at 7:30am this morning to line-up to pick-up my tickets, even though I already knew what movies I had. The box-office opens at 10:00am.  Why would someone line-up for 2.5 hours to pick up tickets, you ask?  Well it's not the line-up to pick up tickets that I (as well as everyone else that was down there) were worried about, it's the second line-up that forms for people wanting to exchange tickets that one is trying to avoid.  The only way you can get into that line, is if you have first have your tickets.  In total, for the two lines, I ended up waiting a little over 3.5 hours.  That's actually pretty good.  Last year, I think I must have waited 5 to 6  hours.

I ended up getting 17 of the 20 movies I chose and ended up picking up tickets to 2 others for a total of 19 tickets. I also have one voucher for another movie.  I'll play it by ear as to what I'll use the last ticket for.

I missed three movies that I wanted to see being BabelLittle Children and The Last Kiss.  These three movies are coming out in theathres so it's no big problem.  I generally won't pick movies that are coming out in theatres but Babel and Little Children are generating a lot of buzz as being Oscar material.  In addition, another reason to see these at the festival is that the director and the cast usually will come out to support the movie so it's a chance to see movie stars.

I decided to take off 2 days being Monday the 11th and Thursday the 14th.  I ended up picking movies to try and accomodate my training schedule which includes a half marathon race (maybe) this Saturday and a 17 mile long run the day after. 

So without further delay, here is the movie and training schdule.

Friday, September 8
4 mile recovery run w/ 6 strides in the morning
6:45 pm   7 ans

Saturday, September 9
half marathon @ 10:30am
3:45pm    Fido
6:00pm   Cages

Sunday, September 10
17 mile (maybe shorter) long run in the morning
3:00pm   Pan's Labyrinth
6:15pm   The Killer Within
9:00pm   Shortbus

Monday, September 11
Rest day
11:45am   Shame
2:45pm   All the Boys Love Mandy Lane
6:30pm   True North
8:30pm   Out Of The Blue

Thursday, September 14
Rest day
9:30am   This is England
12:00pm  Black Book
3:00pm   The Fountain
6:00pm   Snow Cake

Saturday, September 16
5 mile recovery
9:30am  Exiled
12:00pm  The Banquet
3:30pm   Severance
6:15pm   Big Bang Love, Juvenile A
11:59pm  Sheitan

I have a 17 mile run with 14@ marathon pace scheduled on the 17th which shouldn't be too bad if I sleep in.  

The TIFF website has a list of bloggers who are writing about the film festival.   I wonder if I should add myself to that list.  Hmm then I would probably be expected to write reviews for all the movies.  Nahh. 

I noticed that in one of the blogs, someone posted a picture of the lineup.  I'm actually in this picture.  Can you guess where??  (Where's waldo indeed)

Two 20 milers down, one to go

on Sunday, September 3, 2006 at 3:44 PM

Thursday: Did 12 miles General Aerobic Running @ 8:30min/miles.

Saturday: Did 5 miles recovery

Today: Pfitz has 20 miles scheduled for today. I got up at about 6:30 this morning and after having Ernesto dump rain on us all day Saturday, I looked outside to only see more rain. I was dreading the thought of doing 20 miles in the rain. It was still early so I thought that I would go join the Running Room group today since misery loves company and they were scheduled to do 20 miles today also. So I head over to the store at 8:30 and walk in and notice the signs for the walkers, 5k, 10k and half groups. Hmm no marathon group. I ask the lady behind the counter about the marathon group and she tells me that they already left. It seems that lately because of the heat, they've been starting their runs at 7:30 in the morning. Crap. I thought that since I was already there, I would just grab a route map and do it myself, but not knowing the locations of pit stops was going to be a problem so I'd rather be with a group that's done it before. I then thought about joining the half group but they were only doing 16k which is only half the distance I was going. I would basically have to run another 16k by myself. In the end, I jsut decided to go back home where I could do a 20 mile route that I was familiar with. It seemed to work out okay in the end since it stopped raining at about 10am which meant I was relatively dry for most of the run whereas I would have been drenched if I had started earlier.

This was the last long run of the endurance phase of Pfitz' training plan. I've noticed over the past few weeks that my pace for my long runs has been creeping up slowly. With the speed work and races phase now beginning I thought it would be good to try and run this at a pace slower than I've been doing lately at 9 min/miles to concentrate on building some endurance since it looks like I won't be able to do this again for a couple of weeks. 20.7 miles done. Only one more 20 mile run to do. This was a 56 mile week which is the highest mileage week that Pfitz has planned. It's all downhill from here. yah!!

By the way, I found out what movies I'm going to see at the film festival. I picked 20 films and only ended up getting 17. They have a lottery system set up to distribute tickets and I was unlucky this year. 75% of the people in the lottery were ahead of me. I have to stand in line tomorrow for what I expect to be three hours to try and use up my last three tickets. Oh joy!!