2007 Done.

on Monday, December 31, 2007 at 7:28 PM

Well here it is, December 31, 2007. Did 6.2 miles on Saturday with three miles done at LT pace and the rest at long run pace. Did 17.4 miles yesterday at about 8:45 pace. Total for the week was 54.2 miles.

Time to reflect on what was learned over the past year and see how I did. It was at this time a year ago where i was reflecting where I was at and setting goals for 2007. Unfortunately none of my goals from last year were met so I guess looking at that is a bit of a downer. I did kinda set these unofficial PR's in the 5, 10k and half as part of longer races:

5k-20:48 (1st 5k of 15k race)
10k-42:02 (1st 10k of 15k race)
half - 1:33:20 (1st half of marathon)

It would have been interesting if I had done a couple of these distances to see how well I would do but I guess that'll be in the new year. Of course the elusive marathon PR and obvious BQ was absent for this year, but I'm hoping that'll come sometime next year. I did do 9 races this year but only really two of them were done in peak condition and as an all out effort. The rest were either training runs or where I was in pretty bad shape. Races were a 5k, 10k, 15k, two 10 milers, two half's and two marathons.

My mileage this year was slightly down from 2006's total of 1865. Total was 1825 miles for 2007. I've been reflecting a bit more and think that it might be necessary to up my mileage a bit to something in the 60-70 mile per week range. I think I've basically plateaued for speed doing the 55 mile per week thing so the next jump in performance may need to be a result of an increase in mileage.

As for races in 2008, I do have plans for a winter marathon and maybe another BQ attempt in the next few months just so that I can try and get to Boston 2008. I'd really like to be there since the woman's Olympic trials are there this year and it would be neat to be a part of it. But alas, want-ing and do-ing are two different things. For now, I've removed the countdown timer since I'm still not sure what the plan is or what marathon I'm doing. I did splurge and register for a US marathon in the next couple of months, but that's just to force me to train. Not going to tell you all which one it is yet, since I may change my mind at some point. Final decision will have to be based on how the training goes over the next month or so.

I also have plans for a fall marathon, not sure where yet. I realized that if I get a 3:15:59 in a fall marathon next year, I will have qualified to run Boston in 2010, but that's a long way off, so the hope is still to gun for 3:10:59 in 2008.

Of course there will be a lot of little races that I'll do next year, including a 9k race tomorrow, maybe. I'm thinking of doing as an LT run. I've had a hard time trying to do LT runs lately and I think it would help if I had some people pushing me (not actually "pushing" me like I'm on a sled; you know what I mean)

Anyhow, here's to 2007 and may all your wishes and dreams and goals for 2008 be met. HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Finishing up the year

on Friday, December 28, 2007 at 11:29 PM

Got a couple of running related gifts this year including a Garmin 205! The prices of these things has just dropped over the past year which kinda starts making me think that Garmin is going to introduce a new model in the new year and they're trying to clear out some of their inventory. Now I can get all those neato satellite pictures of my runs and things. Only problem is that it seems to be DOA as the thing doesn't charge up or turn on and yes I did read the manual. Going to try and get it exchanged.

So running for this past week has been pretty good. I did 10.2 miles on each of Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, doing the exact same route each time. Averaged 8:30 pace on Tuesday, 8:15 pace on Wednesday and did a longish recovery run at 9:25 pace on Thursday. I think this is the first time I've ever done three straight days of double digits runs. I'm going to try and do a faster LTish thing tomorrow for about 6 miles or so and a longish long run on Sunday. I passed 1800 miles for the year with my run on Thursday and add to that the 20ish or so miles this weekend and I'll be about 40 miles short of the 1864 miles that I was able to put down last year. I don't think this is too bad considering I was injured for part of this year it and I only went through one real marathon training cycle.


on Sunday, December 23, 2007 at 10:11 PM

So I'm starting to hate running on the treadmill at the gym. Went to the gym on Wednesday to try and do 9 miles and ended up doing only 5. Wanted to try and do a 7 mile LT run Thursday and only ended up doing 5miles total with only 3 at LT pace of 7:06 pace. Treadmill running is getting boring. They've added these new hi-def tv's which is good but the only way to get sound is to plug earphones into the side of the machine and the wires get in the way of the arm swing. I think the new layout at the gym isn't the greatest since there really is nothing to look at other than the TV. Before you could look at your form in the mirror or at least watch other people but since all the treadmills are now in a row, it's not possible to do either.

Did 10 miles on Friday outside at about 8:35 pace. Was going to try and do 16 miles today as a long run but slogged through about 10 and called it a day. My HR is definitely higher than it has been in the past. Total for the week was about 43 miles which is cheating a bit since the 14 miles I did on Monday was actually supposed to be for last week.

So I'm thinking of bailing on the idea of a February marathon. I'm not liking the thought of putting in higher mileage in this winter slushy stuff and the treadmill running thing is just going to keep getting more boring so I'm thinking of just putting in maintenance stuff over the winter.

Not sure if I'll post again prior to Christmas so Merry Christmas all!!

Gym run

on Monday, December 17, 2007 at 8:08 PM

Didn't get out for a run on Saturday like I had planned. Sunday was basically a lost since we got about a foot of snow dumped on us. I'm taking today and the next three days off of work so I decided to try and do a long run at the gym today since most of the side walks still aren't clear.

The gym has finally opened up their new area. They've relocated the cardio and weight equipment down to where the pool and whirlpool areas used to be. But they've really packed all the machines in there and they didn't even move it all since they're still renovating another area where they expect to add more treadmills. I think there's only half the number of treadmills that they had previously. I have a feeling that come January when people start making their new years resolutions that this gym is going to be packed. Also, because of the renovations, they now have this convoluted way of getting to the locker room that requires one to walk through the shower areas which feels kinda weird. Plus everyone is tracking their dirt and muck from outside onto the shower room floor which isn't exactly the cleanest.

Anyhow, it's been 9 days since my last run. Looking back, I haven't skipped that many days since I skipped two and a half weeks back in April due to an injury. I wanted to do a long run today and started in at 7mi/hr (8:34min/mile) and almost ended up quiting after three miles since I just wasn't feeling right. Decided I'd quit after the 7 miles and ended up pushing the pace a bit right at the end of the first hour to 7.5mi/hr. Stopped, got off the treadmill to drink some water and then convinced myself to do do another 3miles to push the total into double digits. By this point I think I had gotten my second wind and I ended up doing another 7 miles for a total of 14 for the day. I did the last two miles at 8.3mi/hr (7:13 pace).

Not too happy with the HR since it was over 160 for portions of the run, considering that previously I was able to run 30 seconds per mile faster with the HR below 160. But I guess it's kinda expected considering the week off.

Looong week

on Saturday, December 15, 2007 at 11:06 AM

Well it's been a very long week for me. Trying to survive on 4-5 hours of sleep a night. As I expected no running for me and no time to do much of anything else. I had intended on doing a short run this morning, but considering that I just woke up about half an hour ago and I 'm meeting the parental units for brunch (today's their anniversary) in about half an hour, that's not going to be possible. I may try to get a short run in later today, but depending on how it goes, I may go a bit longer. We're supposed to get a big dumping of snow tonight so running outside tomorrow might be a tad difficult.

Busy Busy Busy.

on Sunday, December 9, 2007 at 11:53 PM

Was supposed to do a run on Friday, but I didn't get much sleep Thursday night. The LT run still had my pretty agitated. I guess it's true that you shouldn't do exercise before you go to sleep. So the plan had a 20 mile run for Sunday but I have a pretty big work related thing this upcoming week and based on past expereince of having to prep for it, it was going to be impossible to do it on Sunday. I decided to bail on trying to make up the Friday run and so I did the 20 mile run on Saturday night. Did 2 10 mile loops around my home which allowed me to refill my water bottle and use the little boy's room.

Lap Lap Time
Lap Lap Time
1 08:46.9
12 08:28.5
2 08:22.6
13 08:27.9
3 08:21.2
14 08:20.1
4 08:15.0
15 08:18.9
5 08:24.8
16 08:18.6
6 08:09.6
17 08:28.2
7 08:21.3
18 08:30.9
8 08:09.9
19 08:29.5
9 08:36.4
20 08:27.5
10 08:13.4
21 01:48.5
11 08:25.7

Lap times were pretty consistent. This was a comfortable pace, but I'd still like to be doing these faster. Total for the week was only 37 miles. I'm starting to rethink whether a February marathon is going to be possible since my training is really starting to get crappy. I'm pretty sure that I'm not going to be able to any runs until next weekend and I've already been skipping training days so I have a feeling my fitness isn't going to be so great come February.

I'm still reading everyone's blogs, but since I tend to do it at work lately, I haven't commented a lot. I'm still trying to keep this blog away from my work peeps and I have no idea what things they monitor there so I try not to acknowledge my blog in any fashion while at work.

Happy running all!

LT Run

on Thursday, December 6, 2007 at 11:52 PM

Had my office "Holiday" luncheon today. We used to have a full dinner party where we could invite guests but my company has grown quite a lot since I started there and the size of the party got a bit too unmanageable and presumably quite expensive so now we just have a Lunch where only the employees attend.

So the plan today was supposed to be 1 mile intervals at 6:20 pace but I was still kinda PO'd that I skipped the LT run last week so I decided to do that instead. I'll try and work in some strides for my General Aerobic run tomorrow to compensate. Wanted to do it in the morning, but I'm still having difficulty getting up, especially considering that it means having to drive over to the gym at 6am in the morning since the snow and ice is preventing me from doing my LT runs outside. So lunch finished at4pm and I headed to the gym about three hours later still feeling quite full.

I decided today to try something different. Most of my gym runs start off being uncomfortably warm and only after I've built up some sweat to assist with cooling do I seem to get into a groove. So I decided to pre-wet my shirt to help with the initial cooling and that seemed to help bunches. It was cold and clammy and just generally icky putting it on, but once I started running it didn't bother me. The goal was to do 2 miles warmup and then 6 miles at 8.6mi/hour or just under 7 min/miles. Got through it pretty good and the HR didn't creep up as much as it normally would and remained at or below 180 for the entire run.

Normally I would run on the treadmill with a 1.0 grade elevation but I've found that I end up using the exact same muscles each time which causes them to get sore so I let the treadmill pick random elevations this time. Hopefully that'll add enough of a mix-up to prevent my legs from getting sore.

Knee ache

on Tuesday, December 4, 2007 at 10:30 PM

Just got back from doing 9 miles outside at about 8:45 pace. Most of the sidewalks were clear but there were a few places where I almost turned over my ankle. I think I'm going to try and do my long runs and general aerobic stuff outside rather than on the treadmill. I'll probably have to do the LT stuff and intervals inside though which I'm not looking forward to.

So my left knee was aching quite a bit yesterday. I didn't get a chance to cool down or stretch after getting kicked off the treadmill on Sunday and I think it led to tight hamstrings which usually causes me knee pain. I was thinking of making an appointment to see my A.R.T. guy but it got me thinking a bit. At the race two Sundays ago they didn't have the normal massage therapist but rather they had a chiropractor there. While checking out their setup, I noticed they had an A.R.T. manual so I signed up for the service thinking that I would get a free A.R.T. treatment. I explained to the nice chiropractor the symptoms of my knee pain and after feeling around on various parts of my leg, she ended up doing chiropractic adjustments on my knee and hip. Completely different from what my normal chiropactor would do. So who's right? Trying to find out a bit more about the chiropractor, I plugged her name into Google and I found out that she is quite the accomplished runner and has ran sub19 minute 5k's. Suddenly her opinion seems a lot more credible considering that she is a pretty good runner and is way faster than me. Her practice is a bit out of my way so I probably can't get treatment from her clinic, but it's caused me to think that maybe I should look around for another chiropractor.

Getting Tougher

on Monday, December 3, 2007 at 9:48 PM

First off congratulations to Jen and to Quinto Sol for setting PR's at CIM!

This past week was tough to get running.

Last Tuesday I did 8 miles on the treadmill at the gym. Did a first mile @ about 9min/mile pace and then tried to do the rest at 8min/mile but was feeling a bit pooped at the 3 mile mark. SLowed it down to 8:15 pace or so for mile 4 and then slowed it down again to 8:30 pace for the remaining 5 miles. Probably not too recovered after the semi hard race on Sunday.

I didn't run on Thursday or Friday even though I was supposed to. Thursday was supposed to be a moderately difficult 6 mile LT run at 6:53 pace, but I just didn't feel like it. Skipped the Friday run also. Not too good.

Headed to the gym on Saturday in the hopes of doing the 6 miles LT run that I had skipped, but that went kinda blah. Did 2 miles slow and then wanted to do 6 miles at 7 min/mile pace. Got through about 2 of the LT miles and then had to stop to walk for 2 minutes. Tried to do another 2, but bailed after only one more mile. Gave up on that.

Yesterday, we got dumped on for the first snowfall of the season. With the relatively light 5 miles on Saturday, I wanted to try and do the 18 miles that I was supposed to do for a long run. Left home at around 9:00am in the morning but my brain clearly wasn't working cause it was pretty clear that since the sidewalks and roads weren't clear and there was a good couple of inches on the ground that I wouldn't be able to do the run. Bailed on that and went to the gym later in the afternoon to get my run in. For some reason, I had thought the gym closed at 8pm when in fact it closed at 7pm. I thought it was kinda weird that I was the only one left at 7pm . The maintenance guy seemed kinda pissed when he stormed over and told me I had to go at 7:10pm. Whoops. Anyhow I was able to squeeze in 16 miles on the treadmill.

What I find kinda interesting is that during the 2nd hour, my HR seemed was a bit lower than it was during the first hour even though the 2nd hour was 0.1 mile/hour faster than the first one. During the last little bit I was trying to ramp up the speed to 7.5 miles/hour but I had to stop after 2 miles cause of the maintenance guy. I think it may have something to do with whether I'm getting proper cooling. The first hour I typically find very uncomfortable, but by the 2nd hour I've usually built up enough of a sweat that my body starts cooling down a bit. Maybe that has something to do with it.

Tagged. Part II.

on Monday, November 26, 2007 at 12:03 AM

The recent tagging also reminded me that I was tagged a few months ago by Jen. Co-coincidentally enough I also have a draft of that tag that's been sitting in my draft's folder for a few months. Sorry.

Jobs I've Held:
Life guard
IT guy
Data entry technician
Ceramics lab technician (got to play with dirt all day)
Chemistry lab technician
Engineer-Air handling systems
Currently work at a law firm.

Movies I Can Watch Over and Over:
Back to the Future Trilogy or basically anything that involves time travel.
Forest Gump
Any Jack Ryan films (eg. hunt for red October, etc.)

My Guilty Pleasures:
Chocolate covered almonds.

Places I Have Lived:
Ontario:Toronto, Ottawa, Waterloo

Shows I Enjoy:
Lost, Heroes, Simpsons, Family Guy, Numb3rs,

Vacation Spots:
BC: Vancouver
Quebec: Montreal, Quebec City
Alberta: Edmonton, Calgary
New Brunswick
London, England
Paris, France

Favorite Foods:

Websites I Visit Daily:
Google (reader, search engine, gmail), Digg

Body Parts I Have Injured
Knee, ankle, shoulder, pretty nasty scrape on my forearm when I was learning to in-line skate backwards about 10 years ago.

Awards I've Won:
I don't think I've won anything as far as I can remember

Nicknames I've Been Called:

I won't tag anyone else but if you want to play along consider yourself tagged.

Tagged. Part I

on Sunday, November 25, 2007 at 11:53 PM

Ok so Sonia tagged me with the following game:

The Rules of the game: Link to your tagger, and post these rules on your blog. Share 5 facts about yourself on your blog, some random, some weird.Tag 5 people at the end of your post by their names and links to their blogs. Let them know they are TAGGED by leaving a comment on their blog.

Umm, this is actually kinda easy cause Sonia tagged me a few months ago to reveal weird things about me and I had this post sitting as a draft for all these months and I forgot to post it...

In no particular order:

1) I have a British Passport. My dad was born in Britain so I inherited the British citizenship from him. I've been using a British passport ever since I can remember. I had to cave this year and get a Canadian one since it makes entering the US a little easier. If I try to enter with a British passport, they retina scan and fingerprint me. Umm, no thanks.

2) I normally go by the name, "F rancis N g", but I usually race under my full name which is much longer. Why? Well there's another guy who's also named F rancis N g who lives in my area who is way faster than me. I'm talking a 1:21 half marathon faster than me. Though, I have no problem with people confusing me for someone who can run a 1:21 half, I'm sure he wouldn't appreciate my crappy times (relatively speaking) tainting his good name.

3) I'm a published scientific author. I had a journal article published shortly after I did my undergrad degree. It's hardly anything to write home about and it's not even a real peer reviewed article, but just a 1 page "rapid communication". I'm the first listed author. Unfortunately, they spelled my last name wrong. Oh well! I noted the other day that someone actually cited my paper. So my incorrectly spelled name appeared in someone else's article. That's neat.

4) I'm a fan of the show Wonderfalls. Ever heard of it? If not, you're not alone as the show was canceled after 4 episodes were aired. I didn't actually hear about this show until after it was canceled, but found it interesting since a lot of it was filmed here in Toronto. In fact, trying to find a hobby, I developed a website that outlines some of the filming locations. Okay go ahead and laugh at the site since I know next to nothing about web design, but thought I'd get what information I had out there. By the way, if you can find the DVD set, I highly recommend the 12 episode DVD that tells a pretty full story.

5) I started this whole marathon thing back in 2004 with the sole intent of doing one before I turned 30. I had it all worked out and was going to do the Quebec City marathon a little over a week before I turned 30. Unfortunately, a business trip to England the week of the marathon derailed that possibility, though I did end up doing my first ever race while in England. I came in 156th place in a 5k race and felt like I was going to die at the end. I ended up doing the Toronto marathon about a month and a half later. Not having met the goal of doing a marathon before I turned 30, I decided I would either try to qualify for Boston or do an ironman before I turned 35 and that's where I sit now.

I really don't want to tag anyone else, but if you want to go ahead and I'll post a link to your blog.


Gotta start thinking of better titles for these posts.

Wednesday: Did 8 miles after on the dreadmill. Most of it was at 8 min/mile. It went pretty well with my HR being much lower than it normally would be. I was feeling so good that I cranked up the speed to my LT pace of 6:48 min/mile was about 3/4 mile right at the end. Really surprised that the HR barely got up over 170 for that last portion since it should be closer to 180 at that pace though it may not have been enough time to get the HR up.

Thursday: Went back to the gym to do the exact same run again of 8 miles at 8 min/miles. Unfortunately I don't think I had quite recovered from the previous days run cause even though my pace was exactly the same, my HR was about 5 beats higher and drifting over 160 for most of the second part of the run.

Sunday: Did a 10 mile race today. The race took place on most of the same path where I did a half marathon during the summer. The race starts out at a marina which for obvious reasons is not getting too much use at this point in the year. My original plan for this race was to try and do the first half at my Boston pace and than to gradually increase my pace to LT pace. When I arrived at the race they made us park at a local hospital about a km from the start line and while walking there I got a first glance at the trail and I realized my plan was going to be tough since the paths were covered with ice.

So the race starts and the first little part runs down a drive way which is covered with ice to join a paved trail which is also covered with ice. Since the first part of the trail runs beside the road, everyone bypasses the trail and ends up running the first little bit on the road which probably added a couple of seconds to the first mile. When the route rejoins the trail, there's ice everywhere and everyone is basically running in a single file on the edge of the grass on the trail. I passed the first mile marker at 7:52 which is much slower than I would have liked. I continue on and miss the 2nd mile marker, but pass the 3rd mile marker with a lap time of 15:26 which is 7:43 min/mile pace which is still a bit slow. I think most of this is do to the runners having to run in a single file to navigate the ice properly.

By mile 3, it certainly felt like I was working much harder than i should be. Maybe it was the not being full recovered after my runs on Thursday or Friday or it could have been the shock to the system of running in 0C weather after running in the nice comfortable indoors. Whatever the reason, I'm pretty sure the marathons i did a few months ago felt much easier in comparison by the 3 mile mark. From this point on to the 5 mile turnaround point, I was basically running a 7:30 min/mile pace and working a bit. Good thing is I was passing people who seemed to be working harder than me so I guess I was not alone. Hit the turnaround point and headed back and that's when I noticed the wind while running by the lake. I guess I didn't notice it running in the out portion, but it was quite breezy while heading back. Pushed through the wind and was able to maintain pace. I guess I had another extra gear but I just didn't know it. Anyhow, I finished with a time of 1:15:58 for an average pace of 7:36.


on Wednesday, November 21, 2007 at 10:09 PM

Guess I should update my blog. Last week was pretty boring. After doing calf raises last week, my calfs suffered DOMS for most of the week.

I did 9 miles last Monday at a pretty good clip. Faster than 8 min/miles

Did 8 miles on Thursday which included my first attempt at an outside LT run in a while. Tried for 5 miles @ 6:50 pace and was okay for the first 2 miles but slowed down a bit for the third mile and finished that in 6:58 but was pretty tired after that mile so I ended up stopping for about 2 minutes and then finished the last two at the proper pace.

Went to the gym on Friday and did 8 miles at 8 min/miles.

Did 16 miles on Sunday. Averaged 8:30 pace for it. I'm supposed to be doing these at 8:09 pace, but it's tough trying to build up mileage and speed. I'm really not sure how I'm going to be able train outside through the winter. I've found that this past week has been a bit of a chore to get outside to run which is not fun at all.

Did 7 miles yesterday. Most of it was probably at around 8:15 pace with a few strides thrown in. This week is supposed to be a recovery week with no hard stuff. I've been thinking of doing a 10 mile race this weekend as a training run as I'd like to get another LT run in of some sort.


on Monday, November 12, 2007 at 7:47 AM

Did 8 miles last Thursday at about 8 min/mile pace.

Did 14 miles yesterday outside. Run yesterday felt tough. Did the first half at about 8:30 pace since that felt comfortable. Last training cycle, I would have just ended up running the whole thing at about this pace, but yesterday I tried to force myself to run closer to 8 min/mile for the second half of the run. I have to try and get to a point where 8min/mile feels comfortable.

I also did some calf raises yesterday to try and build up some calf strength. I'm going to try and work in some cross-training this time. I've been thinking of buying a Bosu ball to help with core stability. They seem quite pricey.


on Thursday, November 8, 2007 at 8:39 PM

Finally got outside for a morning run today. 2 C outside. Woke up at 6:00am, but took me half an hour of lying in bed before I was able to do it. Plan called for 7 miles with 2x1600m @6:23. I ended up aiming for 6:20 since that's what my last VO2Max session back in September was at. Even though it's been a while since I've done any sort of interval work, I figured I should be able to handle it since they had 800m jog recoveries (rather than the 2 minutes that Pfitz uses) and I only had to do 2 of them.

Lap Time HR Max
06:20.6 185
06:19.0 187

My shoelace started to come undone during the second one which was causing my footpod measuring thing to flop around so that's why there's a big pace differential on the second one. This HR and time is about the same as when I did it last time so that's looking good. These things are supposed to drop down to 4 of these at 6:12 in twelve weeks. It's only a mesely 8 seconds over a mile, but that seems like a lot.

So I've been trying to figure out which February 17 marathon to do. There are a handfull on that date. Basically looking for a flat and fast course with coolish temperatures. There's the Last Chance for Boston that I've previously mentioned. There are two in Florida being the A1A marathon in Fort. Lauderdale and the Breast Cancer Marathon in Jacksonville. The later is a first time event and first time events tend to have issues. I'm also considering the Myrtle Beach Marathon in South Carolina on February 16. Anyone know how the humidty is in Florida in February?

Gym run

on Tuesday, November 6, 2007 at 11:45 PM

I think this was the third time I set the alarm for 6am and the third time I bailed on the morning run. This is going to have to change soon. If I can't bother to get out now in the morning, I'm not sure how I'll be able to do it in the middle of winter.

I headed to the gym after work to get in my 9 mile run today. I think my body is getting use to running at the gym now. I haven't been running on a treadmill since the spring time and my HR measurements were all out of whack last week I think. I started this first mile at a 9 min/mile pace and then bumped it up to 7.5 mi/hr (8min/miles). My HR wasn't getting close to 160 where I think it should be so I thought that maybe the treadmill wasn't calibrated right so I ended up switching to the same treadmill that I was using last week. I was able to maintain my HR below 160 for the whole run and there wasn't any sign of the HR creep. It stayed fairly constant for the whole run. I think I"m going to have to either choose to do my runs in the gyn or outside. It seems my body has adapted to running inside for now, but swtiching to running outside again might be a bit of a shock.

Towards the end of the run, I was coming down with a bit of a GI issue and was trying to hold it in. This started to preoccupy my mind and my HR actually started to drop . Hmm interesting. If I could only use this to my advantage in a race some way without having to fear the risk of an "incident". Maybe I should wear a diaper??

1st week done

on Monday, November 5, 2007 at 9:51 PM

The plan called for an 8 mile run on Friday which I was going to do in the evening since I did a LT run the Thursday night the day before, but I didn't get back home till late and my stomach was still full from going out so I tried to do it Saturday morning. Still wasn't able to do it and ended up going in the afternoon. Averaged about 8 min/mile with a couple of strides thrown in. Strides felt weird. Definitely have lost the speedy feeling while doing them which makes me kinda worried about the track intervals that the plan wants this week.

Did 12 miles on Sunday afternoon also at about 8 min/mile. The last training cycle, I think I got lazy on my long runs and was doing my longs runs at a fairly slow pace. This cycle I'm going to try and aim for 8min/mile and hope that by the end of this cycle, I'm doing faster than 8 min/mile.

I've been reading up on the Runner's World Run Less Run Faster book which outlines the FIRST training plan. The plan says to only run three times a week but to also do two cross-training sessions. The book is mostly about the FIRST plan but also has a lot of good running information in general and contains cross-training workouts which most running books seem to ignore. The one thing that I like is that it gives a fairly detailed plan and paces depending on what one's Boston time is. It also gives guidelines about one should be capable of before one attempts one of these plans. For a 3:10 marathon, they suggest that I should be able to run either:

1) 19:30 5k
2) 40:50 10k or
3) 1:30:25 half

They also say that I should be able to complete one of the following track workouts:
6x800m @ 2:52
5x1000m @ 3:37
4x1200 @ 4:24 or
3x1600m @6:01

I'm pretty sure I can't do any of the above at the moment. The last track workout I did during my previous Pfitz cycle had me doing 3x1600m intervals @ 6:20 so trying to knock 20s off that is highly unlikely, so it looks like the FIRST plan is not quite feasible at the moment.

Going to try and get out tomorrow morning for a 9 mile run. I'm going to have to be able to do it eventually...

LT Run at the gym

on Thursday, November 1, 2007 at 11:01 PM

Second day of training and second day that I set the alarm for 6am to get out to do my 7 mile run with 4 @LT pace. This was also the second day that I couldn't force myself out of bed this morning. There's something about waking up in the morning and seeing complete darkness outside that just causes me to not want to go outside. It doesn't help that it's also sub 10C. I'm hoping that the switch from daylight savings time this weekend will make it a bit brighter in the morning next week.

So I did my run this evening at the gym. I haven't done a continuous LT run or more than 1 mile since August or so. The fastest I did my LT runs during the last training cycle was at about 7 min/mile. A 15km race that I did back in August suggests that I might be able to do 6:50 pace so that's what I aimed for this time since it matches what the training plan wants me do. I started with one mile at 9min/mile, bumped it up to 8min/mile for 1 mile and than did 2 miles @8.7mi/hr (6:53 pace) and then 2 miles @8.8 mi/hr (6:49 pace) and then one last mile @ 8 min/mile.

I hate doing anything other than long runs on the treadmill. I end up sweating like a pig and dripping sweat all over the place. Not too happy with the fact that the HR kept rising over the 4 miles @ LT pace. It maxed out at 188 which I think is way too high. My max is around 195. The high HR might have something to do with the fact it was warm in the gym. I'm definitely going to try and do my next LT run outside cause trying to do them at the gym is just too uncomfortable.

Here we go again...

on Tuesday, October 30, 2007 at 11:38 PM

Okay so the 16 week training program started today and I set the alarm for 6am, but couldn't roll out of bed this morning and ended up doing it in the evening. Right now, I think I'm going to try the Runner's World Smart Coach Plan since I like that they give me paces to aim for. I also like that the first week training paces match sort of what I was doing toward the end of the last Pfitz plan. 8:09 for general aerobic and 6:50 for LT's and 6:20 for 1600m intervals. The paces get progressively faster over the 16 weeks so I'm hoping that I can keep up with it. The suggested LT's are a bit faster than what I was doing, but I think that's where my LT should be based on my 15k race that I did a few months ago and my 30km split time in the marathon that I did a month ago.

So the plan today called for 9 miles @ 8:09 pace. I think I ended up at the right pace overall but that included a 9:30 first mile and a 7:00 LT mile at the end. The plan calls for 6:50 LT miles on Thursday which will be interesting to see how I do.

I've ordered a couple of books last week including two running books. Daniels Running Formula is a lot more detailed than Pfitz and gives a lot of good advice. I've only really skimmed through it, so will have to spend some more time with it. I also ordered a book put out by Runners World about the FIRST plan. Haven't gotten that one yet, but I way end up switching to that plan as i like the idea of only having to run three days a week.

Congratulations all around!

on Monday, October 29, 2007 at 8:53 PM

Wow a bunch of interesting things happened this weekend. Yumke finished his second marathon with a PR. Lisa set a PR in her marathon, three weeks after the Chicago "incident". Speaking of Chicago, Perry the joggler set a new 50 mile joggling record and Barb finished her 50km race in Chicago, both of whom also did Chicago 3 weeks ago. In non-running related news, Dave became a father for the first time and Ryan announced he and his wife are also now expecting. Congratulations to them all!

Me, I did a 12 mile long run this weekend. Yeah, whatever.

Back to the Gym

on Wednesday, October 24, 2007 at 11:17 PM

Went off to the gym after work to run. I wanted to get some feedback on where my fitness is and I like using the treadmill for doing this as I don't have to worry about pace. Ran with the footpod tracking thing to see how accurate it was.

Lap 1: 6.6 mi/hr Lap 6: 7.2 mi/hr
Lap 2: 6.7 mi/hr Lap 7: 7.4 mi/hr
Lap 3: 6.8 mi/hr Lap 8: 8.6 mi/hr
Lap 4: 6.9 mi/hr
Lap 5: 7.0 mi/hr

I started out at just over 9 min/mile pace and bumped up the speed every so often. I try to do my long runs at a HR of 160 Max which I'm guessing right now is at about 7.25 miles/hour based on this graph. I bumped up the speed for the last 10 minutes to what I think is my LT pace of about 7min/mile which in my experience gives me a HR of just under 180 which seems about right. I'm going to try and do this every couple of weeks so I can hopefully see some improvement.

What's next?

on Tuesday, October 23, 2007 at 8:15 PM

I know I've been MIA for a little bit. I was actually on vacation last week though didn't do anything. I have four weeks of vacation I have to use before years end and thought I should take a week off now to get it out of the way. I've run a couple of times since the last marathon including a 12 mile long run last Sunday. I'll probably continue some shorter runs this week.

So I've been thinking long and hard about what to do next. I had mentioned before about trying to do a marathon on December 2 in either California or Arizona but don't think it will be that productive. I never really was too happy with my LT runs this training cycle and didn't see the improvements that I was hoping to see. I don't think my LT is where it should be for a 3:10 marathon and don't want to fly to the other side of the continent to subsequently have that confirmed. Though I will admit that the prospects of an 1800 foot elevation drop from start to finish at the Tucson marathon does sound appealing.

One thing that is bothering me is that I haven't set a PR in the marathon this year. I've unofficially set PR's in the 5k, 10k and half while running races of longer distances, but the Boston or Bust attitude has preventing me from reaching the modest goal of improving over my time of last year which I'm confident I could do if I ran another one. There is another marathon in this area in two weeks time and I contemplated doing that just for the sake of aiming for a PR, but think I"m probably risking injury by attempting another one so soon.

So the plan is no longer to BQ in 2007, but I'm still hoping to qualify for Boston 2008 early next year. The Last Chance for Boston marathon is on February 17. The race consists of 26 laps of a 1 mile course. Completely flat and well marked, it basically only serves one purpose of getting people a BQ time. I'm not saying that I'm going to do that one as there are a number of other ones on that date, but it sounds more dramatic if I imply that's the one I'm aiming for.

In terms of the training plan, I don't think I'm going to do Pfitz this time as I don't think his plan has enough LT work in it which is what I need to improve upon. I've looked at the Smart Coach plan on the Runner's World website which generates a nice plan with a good mix of different things. I've also ordered the Daniels Running Formula book to hopefully give me some further options.

16 weeks to Feburary 17 begins this Sunday so here's to running in the snow and frozen water bottles!!

Marathon Race Report

on Sunday, October 14, 2007 at 8:21 PM

So I headed out to do a marathon this morning. Well short story is I finished in 3:23:55. Long story is as follows...

As I mentioned in my post this morning, my right calf was really sore this morning. There was this tender point that really hurt if I put any pressure on it or tried to stretch it. Wasn't looking good. I arrived at the start area just as the half marathoners were starting. This year they started an hour before the full marathoners did which I didn't quite understand the reason for, but as it turned out, this was great because by the time I arrived at the finish line, most of the halfers had left and I was able to get a massage without having to wait in line. Cool.

As this was going to most likely be a training run, I did a whole bunch of new things which I haven't done before on marathon day. I ran with my HR monitor. I carried a bunch of salt pills that I was going to try in a race setting for the first time and I carried a bottle of gatorade for the first half of the race. Normally i carry a bottle of water that is a quarter filled just so that I can bypass the first water stop but wanted to see if I could carry a bottle of gatorade with me. I drank about half of the bottle about 5 minutes before the race started and would take a mouthful of gatorade anytime my mouth started to feel dry. I also bought a couple of caffeine laced PowerGels at the expo. I had read somewhere that caffeine helps the body burn fat a higher rate so I thought if I caffeined up during the race, it would help avoid the wall.

So plan was to go out at Boston pace or 7:15 /mile or 4:30 /km. I looked around for a 3:10 pace bunny but couldn't find any. I noticed one girl who I recognized from Scotiabank who had lined up near Yumke and I with the 3:10 pace bunny at Scotiabank. She ended up blowing by me at around the 38 km mark last time. I thought of maybe trying to follow her, but I didn't know what time she was going for, so I ended up pacing myself. Race starts and a miss the first km marker. They were calling out splits at the 1 mile mark and I passed that at 6:45. Crap, too fast. I slow down a bit and pass the 2km mark at 8:28 for a 4:14 average.

1km ??
2km 8:28 (6:49 mile pace)

3km 4:13 (6:47)
4km 4:48 (4:48)
5km 4:25 (7:07)

So km 3 through 5 look all crazy, but there's a good reason. the 3rd km is downhill and the fourth km is a big uphill. Km 5 is slightly downhill. You can see from the elevation profile in my HR monitor graph below. I'd say these splits are about right.

KM Lap Time Pace
6 04:25.0 07:06.5
7 04:32.9 07:19.2
8 04:25.7 07:07.6
9 04:31.4 07:16.8
10 04:38.3 07:27.9
11 04:31.6 07:17.1

I'd also say that kms 7 through 10 are perfect for pace. km 8 was slightly downhill and km 10 was slightly uphill. I hit the 10km mark at 44:19 which was about 35 s slower than I did last time. I'm feeling pretty good. Calf is feeling fine.

KM Lap Time Pace
12 04:22.7 07:02.8
13 04:07.3 06:38.0
14 04:29.3 07:13.4
15 04:17.4 06:54.2
16 04:21.2 07:00.4
17 04:28.6 07:12.3

Km 12 through 17 are now the decent through hell with an 80 to 90m elevation drop over 6 km. I was worried about this part of the course trashing my quads since I haven't done any hill work at all other than the long run I did last week. As expected all of these km were faster than the target pace. I was able to glide down these hills and pick up some pace. Km 14 was on a bit of a flat portion so that split was actually right on target. Quads felt fine afterwards.

KM Lap Time Pace
18 04:32.3 07:18.2
19 04:32.1 07:17.9
20 04:34.2 07:21.3
21 04:38.9 07:28.8
22 04:28.3 07:11.8

Km 18 through 22 were basically on target. Km 21 is a bit of an uphill so that km was a bit slow. I hit the half marathon point at 1:33:36 which is 16 seconds slower than I did 2 weeks ago, but considering that this was mostly a result of the elevation drop rather than me going out too fast, I was pretty happy with the time.

KM Lap Time Pace
23 04:33.4 07:20.0
24 04:35.1 07:22.7
25 04:43.3 07:35.9
26 04:49.9 07:46.5
27 04:49.7 07:46.2
28 04:41.3 07:32.7
29 04:44.3 07:37.5
30 04:52.9 07:51.4

Starting at about the 22km mark. The course then joined the waterfront trail for an out and back portion. This is the exact same trial that I did most of my long runs on and I was quite familiar with. At around the 23km mark, I passed by Yumke who was out cheering. I almost didn't recognize him. I've only seen him with running gear on so he looked different when dressed normally. Km 23 through 30 were running west into a bit of a head wind. With my 2 minutes or so of banked time, I thought it might be best to give some of that time back now in the hopes that coming back the wind would be at my back and it would leave me with a bit more in the tank at the end to avoid the dreaded "wall". I tried to keep my HR below 170 for these km so that I wouldn't be entering into lactate threshold territory. All these km were slower than the desired pace. By the time I hit the 30km mark, I only had 18 seconds of banked time left. There would be no margin for error. The course then does a small loop and then heads back.

KM Lap Time Pace
31 04:55.3 07:55.2
32 04:49.8 07:46.4
33 04:54.5 07:54.0
34 05:14.3 08:25.8
36 10:59.2 08:50.4
37 06:08.5 09:53.0

Part of km 31 was on a bit of a gravel trail, and when I rejoined the paved trail, the wind was still in my face! I fought through a couple of km, hoping that at some point the wind would die down. I then passed the 20 mile marker and then the 33km mark. At this point I checked my pace band and saw that I was now 51 seconds behind where I should be for a BQ time. I considered dropping out at this point, but decided to just to do long run and recovery pace to the finish line. I missed the 35 km marker. I lost about 30-40s stopping to pee during km 37 so that's why that's a bit slow.

KM Lap Time Pace
38 05:30.6 08:52.0
39 05:24.6 08:42.4
41 13:08.3 10:34.3
42 06:26.7 10:22.3
42.2 00:51 06:48.0

So km 38 and 39 continues at recovery pace. I passed by Yumke again and he took a couple of pictures of me. Thanks!

Originals by Yumke.
It was also at this point where that same girl who I had seen at the start and who blew by me 2 weeks ago, proceeded to blow by me again. I had thoughts of giving chase since I had a little left in the tank, but in the end decided it was a bad idea.

I missed the 40 km marker but it was at some point shortly before where the 40km marker would be that I walked through a water station. A woman just in front of me started walking and rather than plow into the back of her, I did so also. It worked out good though cause I ended up drinking thee cups of gatorade and 2 cups of water. I then started to run again but ended up walking a bit more cause I could sense my quads were going to start cramping, plus this part of the course is a slight uphill (who designs these courses with uphills right at the end??). I started running again shortly after the 41 km mark and then turned on the jets for the final 200m. Finish time of 3:23:55.

I was able to get a massage right after I finished since the finish area was quite empty with the halfers all pretty much gone. Boy that felt good. I ate some food and hung around a bit to wait for a co-worker of mine to finish who was also doing the full. I had to take the subway back to the start line to get my car and walking down all those damned stairs to get to the subway sucked big time.

Anyhow, I like the new course and prefer it to the Scotiabank one I did 2 weeks ago. Even though the other one is called the "waterfront" marathon. This course is just as much a "waterfront" marathon now and in fact is probably more of a "waterfront" one since you run on a trail right by the lake as opposed to on a road that is some distance away from the water.

I kinda liked running with my HR monitor. If I had bothered to heed the HR monitor at the start, I probably could have avoided the fast start. It also allows me to track the elevation changes and cross-reference it to pace. It was actually a pretty good idea for me to carry the gatorade during the first half. Most of the water stations were handing out water in these little dixie cups. I didn't get a chance to try out the salt pills, mostly because of the water issues. The directions say you're supposed to take 12-16 oz of water for each pill you take. There was no way I could get that amount of water from those puny dixie cups they were using unless I stopped and grabbed 3 or 4 of them.

Here's my HR graph with the nasty elevation drop. Also notice the hill at the end.

It does kinda match the one on their website.

So I wouldn't recommend the 2 marathon in 2 weeks thing. Interesting to do once just for the sake of saying that I did it, but I probably won't do it ever again. Though the calf held up okay, I was definitely not fully recovered. I guess it also didn't help that I've been doing nothing but short recovery runs for most of these past 2 weeks.

So that's it for now. Will reflect a bit more before deciding what to do next. Thanks for reading.

Tight Calf

I just finished having my morning bagel and am starting to get ready to go down to the marathon race start. I really didn't set out my stuff the night before like I should have and am scrambling a bit right now.

There's a 95% chance that this is going to be a training run. I noticed last night before I went to bed that I had a really tight right calf . I tried to stretch it and massage it but it's still pretty tight right now and I'm pretty sure it's going to start cramping during the race. I'm also pretty sure this is going to be a DNF too since I don't really want to do 26.2 miles as a training run. I haven't quite figured out where I'm going to drop out of the course though. Ideally I'd like to do 20 miles, but I still have to get back to the finish line to return my chip and there really isn't a short cut way to get to the finish after the 20 mile mark without actually completing the whole distance. Oh well.

Umm, so I signed up for a marathon tomorrow...

on Saturday, October 13, 2007 at 4:29 PM

Okay so I probably did a stupid thing. I've been diligently checking the weather forecast for tomorrow morning in the hopes that it would be blistering hot, or freezing cold with gale force winds and hail. I had hoped the bad weather would be a good excuse for me to honestly say there was no way I would be able to run a good race and so there would be no need for me to sign up. Alas, no dice. The weather forecast for race time tomorrow is almost perfect. Starting at about 9C and moving up to about 12C by noon.

This whole idea for this started at the beginning of the week when I thought I would be doing the half marathon as a training run. When I checked the registration prices, it was a whopping $80 for the half, with the full being $95. I only had to pay an additional $15, and I would get to run double the distance! What a bargain!! Kinda like buying in bulk at Costco.

I did some short runs during the week and my legs weren't too sore. I also went to see the chiropractor yesterday who did some A.R.T. on my legs and they feel pretty good now, though I still don't feel quite as good prior to last time. The plan simply is to go out at BQ pace and see how long I can hold it. If I can, great. If I can't, then I'll probably back off to long run or recovery pace or maybe even drop out. At least I won't have to second guess myself on what could have been if I skipped it. A lot can happen between now and December 2 and who knows what the weather might be in California or Arizona on that date, so I'll take my chances at an event now with pretty good conditions and hope for the best.

Back to the grind

on Monday, October 8, 2007 at 5:45 PM

Did a 6 mile slow run on Saturday and did 12 miles yesterday. I wanted to test out my hill climbing and descending qualities yesterday so I took a route with lots of hills.

Lap Lap Time
Lap Lap Time
1 08:53.7
7 08:28.5
2 08:35.4
8 08:08.3
3 08:20.0
9 09:01.4
4 08:57.5
10 08:19.9
5 08:44.1
11 08:16.9
6 07:44.3
12 07:48.7

I think this was about right in terms of pace considering the elevation changes. Parts with up hills were slower, parts with downhills were faster. I bumped up the pace for a portion of the last mile, just to catalogue what parts would hurt doing marathon pace. I'm pretty sure the marathon next Sunday is not going to be doable. I was achy after this run and my calf is still tight. I definitely didn't feel as nice as I was the week before the marathon last time. I'll still probably partake in at least the half marathon if only as part of a training run.

I've been reading the various race reports that are coming out of Chicago and it seems that a good chunk of people either didn't start or weren't given the opportunity to finish. I'm not sure what to think about them closing the course early. With all the people dropping like flies, I think it was the right decision to make, but can understand the disappointment for those either doing their first or who traveled from out of town to be there. There is no excuse for running out of water though. Congratulations to those that had the courage to even start. Well done!

Oh yeah, with the horrible weather, I almost forgot to mention the marathon itself. Did you see the finish for both the mens and womens marathons? Classic finishes that will be remember for a long time to come.

Race pics!

on Saturday, October 6, 2007 at 8:24 PM

First off, Good Luck to anyone running Chicago tomorrow! It looks like it's going to be a hot one so take it easy.

They posted the race pics from my marathon last weekend. Thankfully no pics of me walking.

Here's me flying along (and going too fast) at around the 17km mark.
Notice both feet are in the air!

Here's me at around the 32km mark, trying to maintain pace and breathing pretty hard.

This is me on the final stretch home. I kinda like this one with the blurred background and the fact that it looks like I have a determined look yet at the same time not too much strain on my face.

Here's me a few steps from the finish line showing some strain on my face.

Finish line pic.


on Thursday, October 4, 2007 at 8:50 PM

Well my quads have recovered okay, but my left Achilles tendon and calf is still kinda tight and painful. I headed off to the gym on Tuesday to sit in the hot tub to get some blood flowing to the area and to do some self massage. I arrived there only to find that both the swimming pool and the hottub had been filled in. Reading some of the info, I found out they're apparently removing the pool and hot tub to make room for more cardio equipment. This was all news to me since I haven't been there since April. I think I'm going to have to cancel my membership there since the only reason I really signed up originally was for the pool and the occasional treadmill run. I'll have to see what the new facilities look like once they've done the renovations before I decide for sure.

I haven't yet decided on the marathon in two weeks thing yet. The weather is looking to be almost perfect with a high of 8C. With that and considering that the big hill is gone and it's on the exact same trail that I've done most of my long runs on, I'd really like to do it, but am not sure if this achilles thing will heal in time.

Anyhow I did some searching and actually found a training plan for two weeks between marathons. It's not so much a training plan as it is direction to rest and have a run every couple of days to make sure that the legs still work. But at least I know someone else has contemplated it. Having said that I followed the plan and did a 2 mile run yesterday and a 3 mile run today. Both were very slow.

The Aftermath

on Monday, October 1, 2007 at 8:14 PM

I hope I didn't bum too many people out with crappy experience yesterday. Especially considering that a number of you have your own marathon to run in 6 days. I'll just outline things that I have come to my mind over the past 24 hours and hopefully that'll be the end of that and I'll move on.

Going out too fast. I know I already mentioned it, but it can't be emphasized enough. One should not go out too fast as one will pay for it in the end. I learned this lesson last year in a spring marathon, which prepped me for Chicago last year. I guess I needed a gentle reminder of this fact.

Salt intake. The going out too fast thing aside. One potential issue that I may have is salt intake. The cramping sensation was new to me and having followed Steve's trials and tribulations with his cramping issues, I think that I didn't take enough in the days leading up to the race or during. Last year in Chicago, they were using Gatorade Endurance which apparently has twice the sodium and three times the potassium content of the regular stuff which probably contributed to me having a good race. This year, I had lots of salt on my face after the race yesterday so I must have lost a lot and didn't replenish nearly enough since they use the regular stuff up here. I will have to look into getting some salt sticks or something to take during the race.

Didn't drink enough. I had a concern with having to stop to pee towards the later part of the race so I probably didn't hydrate properly the morning of or even during the race and I think that dehyration had a definite part in me bonking. It's better for me to overdrink and have to pee than to underdrink and hit the wall. It's much easier to take a one minute break to pee than it is to do the death walk which will cost much more than one minute in time.

Caroloading. I don't think I carboloaded properly this year. I had basically pigged out on carbs on Friday and come Saturday, I only had some energy bars for breakfast and a light pasta dinner. I did this last year out of necessity and thought I would try to repeat the experience. I had forgotten though that last year, I also probably ate about 10 gel packs the day before which added both carbs and electrolytes to my diet. I didn't eat any this year.

I've seriously giving thoughts to doing the race in two weeks, provided I have a decent recovery. I know it's highly not recommended and to quote from Pfitz book.

"If you have less than 4 weeks between marathons, you're on your own. Your main concern should be recovery, recovery, and more recovery not only from your first marathon but also from the lobotomy that led you to come up with this plan."

But hear me out, there's a reason to my madness. The December marathons that I'm considering are all net downhill courses which as Quinto Sol has pointed out can be quad busting. I want to try and get a feel for how the quads would react to extended periods of downhill running and the Toronto course is pretty much mostly downhill. After that race, I'll have 7 weeks to a December 2 marathon. Even if I do sign up, I'm fully prepared to DNF if I have to.

Speaking of the Toronto course, I noticed today that the course profile pic I posted yesterday is different from the one they posted in the spring time. This past spring while deciding which Toronto marathon I was going to do, I had commented that one of the marathons (ie, the one in two weeks time) had changed courses. At the time, I actually would have preferred to do that one instead since it was later in the year (and thus cooler) and was a net downhill course. The one wrinkle to the new course however was that it was to run through a park area at about the 30km mark which had a fairly steep hill. I figured that any benefits to the net downhill course would be lost trying to run up a hill at the 30 km mark (like in Boston) so I ended up deciding to do the flatter and earlier Scotiabank one. Looking at the elevation profile today, I noticed that there no longer is the big bump at 30km. I investigated a bit more and looking at the route, the course doesn't even run through the park anymore. When the hell did they make this change? If I had known about this before, I would definitely have pushed my training back two weeks and retargeted that marathon instead since the one concern I had was now gone.

Well that's it for my bitching and griping, I'll be all happy and cheery at least until Sunday night when all of the Chicago runners will have finished. For those that are doing Chicago, I just want to wish all of you a great last week of the taper!

Going down in flames...

on Sunday, September 30, 2007 at 4:00 PM

I had said early in the week, it was going to be Boston or Bust. Well if you've bothered to check my live tracking, you'll already know that it was the Bust part of that statement and I went down in flames. Finish time of 3:27:40 which I suppose isn't that bad of a time, but considering I was on Boston pace up till about the 35k mark, it's a disappointing time. I had a brutal last 7km.

I went to bed at around 9:30pm last night and basically lay awake in bed for 2 hours. I tried counting sheep and I got to about 400 before I realized that it wasn't working. I ended up getting up to do some things before trying again. In all I guess I got about 3 hours of sleep. I was up at 3:30am for my morning breakfast of a bagel and PB and jam.

Headed downtown to the race start and got there with plenty of time. Used the facilities a couple of times and wandered around a bit just to ease some of the nerves. Headed to the corrals for the start and bumped into Yumke. Even though I had been placed into the Sub-Elite corral, the 3:10 pace bunny was starting the corral behind me, so I ended up joining Yumke who had voluntarily moved back and started next to him and the pace bunny.

The start
Well the plan was to stick with the pace bunny for the whole race. I had figured that he would be running fairly even splits and if I didn't make it, then I knew that it just wasn't meant to be. There would have been nothing else I could have done. I was trying to target 7:15 pace with an absolute limit of 7:17 which is 4:30 for each km or 4:32 respectively. The first couple of km went by okay and we were pretty much on pace.

1 4:34 (7:21 pace)
2 4:26 (7:08)
3 4:27 (7:10)

Then what happened was a little troublesome. According to my watch, the pace bunny then pulled off a sub 4:00 min km and then a bunch of others that were way too fast.

4 3:56 (6:20)
5 4:20 (6:58)
6 4:22 (7:02)
7 4:20 (6:58)
8 4:18 (6:55)
9 4:36 (7:24)
10 4:28 (7:11)

Hit the 10km mark at 43:46 which averaged a 7:03 pace. At some point during these km, I lost the pace bunny since I think he realized he was going too fast. Considering how much on the bubble I was in term of actually meeting a 3:10 time, I should have realized right off the bat that any km that were too fast were going to cause me grief in the end. I continued on my own hoping to be able to maintain proper pace.

11 4:18 (6:55)
12 4:36 (7:24)
13 4:14 (6:49)
14 4:38 (7:27)
15 4:27 (7:10)

I hit the 15k mark at 1:06 flat which average a pace of 7:05 from the start. This 5k was done in 22:13 which was 7:10 pace. I had actually hoped in the best case scenerio to run a 7:10 pace for the first half and then do 7:20 for the second half to run a slight positive split. Oh well, too late.

16 4:27 (7:10)
17 4:38 (7:27)
18 4:21 (7:00)
19 4:33 (7:19)
20 4:25 (7:06)

Somewhere between 16 and 20 km (actually right outside of where Yumke lives), I started chatting with some guy from Mexico who was wearing a Chicago marathon hat. I didn't remember his name, but he said his nickname was "Bull" since he used to be fat when he was a kid. He ran Chicago in 2005 and was also aiming for a 3:10 BQtime today. I ended up running with him for 10 km or so to the 25 km mark when I started to slow down. He told me after that he ended up finishing in 3:10:50 so congratulations to him.

21 4:40 (7:31)
22 4:02 (6:29)
23 4:42 (7:34)
24 4:32 (7:18)
25 4:30 (7:15)

I hit the halfway point at 1:33:20 which is a new PR for me, but not so good when you consider it as being done in the first half of a marathon. It should have been about 2 minutes slower. Unfortunately, I don't have any more splits for the race. I ended up using a Nike watch I have that even though can record 5 different runs, it can only keep track of 50 total laps. I still had my Chicago splits in the watch from last year, so it only ended up recording 25 laps before it filled up.

KM 25-30
These were out on the Leslie spit where I did a couple of my long runs. Shortly before the 30km mark, the 3:10 pace bunny passed which I know wasn't a good sign. I hit the 30km mark at 2:13:53 which was an average pace of 7:11 at that point. I was still ahead of BQ pace, but I know I was fading.

KM 30-35
At this point, my breathing had become labored and my breathing pattern was now in a 1-1 pattern which is usually reserved only for the end of races. I was struggling to maintain pace. I passed the 31 km mark and had banked almost exactly 2 minutes of time. So I knew that I could fade by 2 min over the last 11-12km and I would still be okay. This was an easy calculation to do in my head and would mean that I could slow down to around 4:40 pace (7:31 min/mile) and I would be okay. This was the pace that I averaged for the entire marathon last year. I kinda have a foggy memory of this, but a couple of the km were in 4:45 range and I knew that it was quickly starting to eat into my banked time. According to the timing website, I passed the 33 km mark at 2:30:19 which would mean that I had slipped behind Boston pace, but I'm pretty sure that the mat wasn't at exactly the 33km mark. By my pace band, I was still ahead of pace up until at least the 35 km mark. During these km, my right calf started to twitch and cramp. I found that I had to change my gait a little to keep it from spasming.

km 35 - Finish

The last 7.2 km were by far the toughest. The spasming in my calf kept getting worse and it was around the 35 to 37 km mark that I ended up taking a walk break through a water station. It was at this point that I came to the realization that a BQ wasn't in the cards today. With my funny gait, the 1-1 breathing and my ever slowing pace, there was just no way I was going to be able to do it. I still had hopes of setting a PR at this point. This however would soon not be possible either as shortly thereafter, my left calf also started to cramp. I don't think I was able to completely get rid of that trigger point that I had mentioned early in the week and it decided to come to the surface now. With both of my calves now cramping, I ended up talking extended walk breaks. Everytime I would start to run, even at a slow recovery pace, the calves would cramp again. Eventually my inner quads and the back of knee also started to cramp whenever I tried to run. In total I would guess that i probably ended up walking more than 5km of the last 7.2 k. I only started to jog a little right at the very end cause I hated people telling me that I shouldn't be walking so close to the finish line (they were right of course).

So I crossed the finish time in my second fastest time ever of 3:27:40, but it was by the far the worse I have ever felt in a marathon. In hindsight, I should have run my own race. I was familiar with the Boston pace having done extended long runs at this pace and should have relied on my own pacing abilities rather than someone else. To summarize here are the timing mat splits:

km Time Pace from start
10 0:43:46 0:07:03
21.1 1:33:20 0:07:07
30 2:13:53 0:07:11
33(?) 2:30:19 ?
42.2 3:27:40 0:07:55

I was way too fast in the early part and ended up hitting the wall towards the end. What's next? That's a good question. I'm somewhat disappointed with this run not because of my time, but because I started out too fast. I would have been fine with running even splits and then just hitting the wall and having a slow time since I know that i wouln't have been able to do it any better. I'm pretty sure that starting out too fast and doing several km at LT pace basically killed my ability towards the latter part of the race. So the question remains, could I have BQ if I had started out slower? The answer is I really don't know. I would still like to take a shot at BQing again before the end of the year. I've been casually looking at the Tucson marathon or California International marathon which are both on December 2.

There's also another Toronto marathon in 2 weeks time. I was kinda thinking that if I recovered quickly enough that I could potentially take a shot at the Toronto one. It's a net downhill course with a couple of hills. I haven't done hill training so I'm kinda concerned with trying to tackle it. Here's the profile.

I'm not sure if being able to do a marathon only two weeks after a previous one is such a good idea. Considering that I've been tapering for 3 weeks, I would basically have to restart a taper again and would probably have lost a bit of fitness. I'll have to see how the recovery goes.