Some New Purchases

on Tuesday, July 31, 2007 at 7:32 PM

Did 8 miles @ around 8:20 pace this morning. I'm not completely recovered from the half that I did on the weekend and found this morning's run a little rough. Felt like I was working harder than I should be.

I'm glad I went this morning cause it's just stinking hot right now. Hope it cools down by tomorrow morning since I have my first VO2Max workout for this training session. Pfitz says I should be doing these at 5k race pace. Last fall I did these around 6:40 min/mile which was easy to keep track of since it's 50s for every 200m. I'm going to try and do these at 6:30 this time around with the hopes of doing them faster by the end of this training cycle. It's a relatively easy 5x600m with 90s recoveries.

I bought some new running stuff on the weekend. I bought a new pair of shoes. My current pair are kinda done and I'm starting to feel some shin pain. It's exactly 300 training miles to the taper so it works out well since the start of the taper is usually when I switch to my race day shoes.

I also bought a hand held water bottle which was on sale for $10. I already have one pretty much like this, but I don't have one with a fancy kicker valve. I've been craving one of these ever since my problems last winter with the spout freezing on my current bottle. This one doesn't have constrictions where water can freeze and block the flow of liquid. I tried it out the morning and it'll take some getting used to. The liquid doesn't come out like in a regular spout, but rather it shoots out in a really tight stream. I'm not sure I like it just yet and the bottle is not transparent so it's hard to judge how much liquid is left inside and it's also much stiffer than my older bottle. I guess it'll help to build up my hand strength, kinda like squeezing a tennis ball.

Half Marathon Race Report

on Sunday, July 29, 2007 at 11:41 AM

Drove out a little east this morning to do a half marathon. I clearly didn't think things through completely when I signed up for this. The race started at 7:30 and if a wanted to do my pre-race ritual of PB/jam and a bagel, I had to get up super early at 5am which I managed to do, but I was in a bit of a panic this morning. Tried to carbo load a bit last night eating some lasagna, but got back pretty late and didn't eat until 10:30 or so. Wasn't sure if the body was going to be able to process by morning.

I had emailed the race director last week looking for a course map and whether the course would be marked and he had indicated that he didn't have a course map yet and that there would be km markers. Not a great sign of confidence. Considering that this was a first time event and I wasn't sure how accurate the markers were going to be, I decided to run this with my Garmin.

Got to the race with no problems. Did a 2 mile warmup at a fairly comfortable pace. Since the training plan has a 15 mile run today with 12@ marathon pace, I opted to do the 2 extra miles before hand. As I discussed earlier this week, I'm thinking that my current marathon pace is around 7:25 min/mile so I decided I would try for that. The plan was to do a first mile at my long run pace and then finish the last 12 @ 7:25 pace.

As it turns out, my suspicions about the course markings were right as there were a couple that were way off and considering that it was an out and back course, it just meant that there twice as many problems.

Mile Split
Mile Split
1 0:07:25
8 0:07:20
2 0:07:25
9 0:07:05
3 0:07:27
10 0:07:38
4 0:07:17
11 0:07:40
5 0:07:24
12 0:07:41
6 0:07:15
13 0:07:24
7 0:07:18
13.1 1:36:43

These were my garmin splits as some of the manual splits from the course don't make sense. I'm not sure why mile 9 is so fast. I think it could have been a garmin error as I think that part was through a foresty part and don't think I was running that fast. Garmin had the whole course at 13.06 miles. Someone else I asked after said their garmin had reported 20.97 km which is about 13.03 miles. Was the course short? Maybe, but it's close enough that I'll give it the benefit of the doubt.

I had planned on doing the first mile at long run pace, but as you can see that didn't work out great. I knew when I passed the 1km marker and it read 4:30 that I was going way too fast so I decided I would just do the whole damn race at marathon pace. I got through the first 3 miles pretty much on pace. Mile 4 was a bit fast cause there was a big downhill portion. Mile 5 was on pace and then miles 6 through 9 were a bit fast. I then started to fade a bit for miles 10 through 12 even though I was trying to maintain my cadence and breathing rhythm. I was able to do the last mile at the proper pace, but my HR was higher and I was clearly losing my form. Average pace for the whole run was 7:23 which is pretty much what I wanted it to be.

I didn't like my HR during this run. It was high, too high for marathon pace. To be honest, I don't think I could have extended this pace another 13.1 miles so maybe i'm not quite where I think I should be. It was a fairly warm day, starting at 21C and getting to 24C at the end so that may have something to do with it. I find with cooler weather that the HR will tend to drop.

The course was scenic in places, but not the greatest. There was one long stretch where we had bi-directional traffic on a sidewalk which is just crazy. It wasn't too bad for me at that point since the crowd had thinned out and most people going the other way were running in a single file, but it's definitely something that has to be looked at for the future. Not much room to maneuver.

On to the recovery week! I'm going to go stretch my muscles now cause they are really tight.

Week 9 Done. Half way there...

Thursday: 6 miles recovery @ about 9:10 pace

Saturday: 6 miles recovery including 6 strides. Overall average about 9 min miles.

Today: 15 miles which included a half marathon race. I did a 2 mile warmup before at 8:50 pace or so and then did the half marathon with a final time of 1:36:43 pace of 7:23 min/mile. Race report to follow.

Next week is a recovery week with a whole whopping 43 miles. I also get to do my first VO2Max workout for this training session and a 14 mile "long" run. Funny I did 14 miles last Tuesday...

Ho hum, another run.

on Wednesday, July 25, 2007 at 11:15 PM

Tuesday: 6 miles recovery @ around 9:20 min/miles

Today: 14 miles.

Lap Lap Time
Lap Lap Time
1 09:21.5
9 08:05.1
2 08:52.1
10 07:52.1
3 08:25.0
11 07:49.3
4 08:05.5
12 07:52.6
5 07:54.1
13 07:57.5
6 07:49.5
14 08:08.9
7 08:05.2
15 01:32.7
8 07:42.5

Never thought I'd see the day where I would consider a 14 mile run in the middle of the week to just be another "general aerobic" run, yet here it is. I've kinda been surprised at my paces lately, especially with that LT run I did last week and maintaining a whole bunch of sub 8 min miles today. My HR was a few beats below my target upper limit of 160. I commented back in May that this pace kinda felt tough, but today I felt that with proper hydration that I could have pushed it further if I had to, maybe even to 20 miles. My fitness has obviously improved, but I also think it may have to do with the cooler temperatures. it was about 16C when I left this morning with a slight breeze and it felt great. I can only hope for temperatures like this on marathon day.

I'm probably going to do the half marathon this weekend as a marathon pace run. I heard back from the race director who indicated that the fun run is not going to be marked and though I suppose I could depend on garmin for pace feedback, there's nothing quite like the feeling of running in race conditions . Judging by my training paces lately, I think I'm slightly ahead of where I was by the time of the Chicago marathon last year where I did a 7:31 pace. I'm not quite at Boston pace yet which is 7:15, so I'm going to try for 7:25 pace this weekend which I think is a reasonable goal. The pfitz plan has another marathon pace run 4 weeks later where I'll probably try for 7:20 and then I"ll have 5 weeks to knock of the last 5 seconds/mile before marathon day. At least that's the plan.

Week 8 of Training

on Monday, July 23, 2007 at 7:12 AM

Did 20.5 miles yesterday to get to 55 miles for the week. Averaged about 8:25 pace for this long run which included one mile towards the end at a slightly faster pace, though not as fast as I would have liked. The inside of my shin was defintely acting up towards the end of the run. I've been trying to massage and stretch every muscle in my lower leg to try and avoid what happend last spring. I'm hoping that the pain is due to my shoes. I'm not sure when I started using my current pair of shoes, but I think I"m nearing 300 miles, so they may be done. A local shoe store is having a sale starting on Thursday so I'll probably go and get two pairs sometime this weekend. One problem though is I have a 14 mile run on Wednesday so hopefully my shoes will get me through then.

This week is a bit of a taper week in prep for a marathon pace run next Sunday. The plan is as follows:
Tuesday: 6 miles recovery
Wednesday: 14 miles General Aerobic
Thursday: 6 miles recovery
Saturday: 6 miles recovery w/ 6 strides
Sunday: 15 miles with 12 @ marathon pace.

I'm planning on doing the long run as part of a race. There are currently two options. There's a half marathon at little east of the city and a local 20km fun run. The half marathon would provide a marked course and aid stations whereas the 20km run is free and relatively near by. I'm trying to find out if the 20km course will be marked. If it isn't I'll probably do the half.

Mass update

on Saturday, July 21, 2007 at 10:05 AM

I've been busy at work, so no updates but I did manage to get all my runs in this week.

Tuesday: Did 6 miles including 6 strides. Rather than do the strides in the middle of the run, I did them towards the end since 6 miles isn't a whole lot. Also had my 6th A.R.T. appointment. With this appointment, I maxed out my yearly health plan allowance for chiropractic treatment, so future appointments will be paid for out of my pocket. I think the treatment has really worked to solve my original problem with the outside of my left knee. I complained that I noticed the inside of my knee was also hurting at times so he tried some different things which really hurt. With that sign, it probably means I still need some more treatment to deal with that. Next appointment is in 2 weeks.

Wednesday: 12 miles @ about 8:30 pace.

Thursday: 12 miles including 6@ LT pace. I really was dreading this run. I didn't get home till 11pm Wednesday night and ate some Kraft dinner, some left over roasted chicken and a French baguette for dinner. Really wasn't looking forward to trying to do an LT run the next morning since I wasn't really fueled properly. To potentially help, i drank a bottle of gatorade before going to bed in the hopes that my body would process the fluid and carbs before I woke up. Out the door by 5:30am and noticed the wind whipping around. Temperature was nice though at around 15C. Jogged the 2 miles to the shopping mall parking lot and started in.

Lap Time HR Avg
06:59.8 168
06:58.8 176
07:00.9 179
07:01.0 178
07:00.6 179
06:57.7 180

Holy crap. Where the heck did those come from? Since I had some problems last week trying to maintain a 7:10 pace for 5 miles and considering the crappy evening before and the blast of wind in the face during part of the course, I'm not sure how I managed 7 min miles for the whole 6 miles. It could have been the cooler weather and the fact that it was overcast and the wind did a nice job of cooling me off though running into wasn't exactly all peaches and cream. I did start to get a bit of a side stitch during the last mile, but felt that I probably could have done another one at that pace if I had to. Pretty consistent splits.

One thing I noticed after this run is that the shin pain that caused me to bail on my spring marathon plan feels like it's trying to make a comeback. It doesn't really hurt when I run, but it's tender if I try to massage it. Will try to ice and stretch and do all the nice stuff.

Today: 5 miles @ about 9:35 pace. Tough run, had problems keeping my HR down, but i guess it was expected after a hard LT run the day before.

Tomorrow has a 20 miler planned.

Here is a picture from the RBF-TO gathering at the race last sunday. Thanks to Jelly for the picture.

L to R: Sonya, Amanda, Me, Yumke

Unfortunately, we forgot to include Jelly in the pic and we didn't seem to make it into the official race pics. I did manage to find a picture of Yumke, I think. He's behind the two people wearing orange just to the right of the middle of the picture. I also found a picture of Sonya.

10 Mile Race Report

on Monday, July 16, 2007 at 12:08 AM

Well the goal of the race was to treat it as a long run and hit a bit of an LT pace for the last two miles. I positioned myself at quite a bit behind the start line in the hopes that it would force me to slow down at the start. It kinda worked for the first km, but most of the km after this were too fast. I just couldn't force myself to slow down so I just ended up maintaining a comfortable pace.

km Lap Time HR Avg
km Lap Time HR Avg
1 05:03.7 155
9 04:52.5 172
2 04:51.1 165
10 04:41.0 171
3 04:51.6 167
11 04:42.9 172
4 05:01.4 165
12 04:38.7 173
5 04:49.2 166
13 04:37.0 176
6 04:47.3 167
14 04:36.6 182
7 04:53.8 169
15 04:25.9 182
8 04:38.6 171
16.093 04:13.0 184

I tried to do the last 3 km at LT pace though only the last two were substantially faster. I was sprinting right at the end and my last km was the fastest. Chip Finish time of 1:15:44 which is an average pace of 7:34 for the 10 miles.

First 5 mile split time: 39:07 (7:49 pace)
Last 5 mile split time: 36:38 (7:20 pace)
Negative split of 2:29 (yeah!)

Met up with Sonia, Yumke, Jelly and Amanda after the race to have a nice fattening breakfast of whipped cream, buttermilk pancakes and bacon. It was nice to finally get to meet the people that I've been reading about for the last year or so. We had our picture taken by a race photographer and so maybe we'll make it into the official pictures. I think I blinked though.

Best Laid Plans...

on Sunday, July 15, 2007 at 11:53 PM

Saturday: Did 7 miles including 8 strides

Sunday: So the intention was to get downtown early and do 8 miles prior to the 10 mile race. Unfortunately I only got down there at 7am or so for an 8am start time. I ended up doing 4 miles prior to the race and then the 10 mile race. I ended up calling it quits for the day until about an hour ago when I sat down to right this blog entry and I realized that this was the first time this training season that I didn't hit my mileage target for the week and the only reason for it was that I was too lazy to get up an extra 30 minutes Sunday morning. So, I put on my shoes and did a 4 mile run at 11pm to get to 50 for the week. Yes I know, it's an anal retentive thing to do and in the overall scheme of things, 4 missed miles of a long run probably wasn't going to affect my fitness, but hey if I'm going to miss mileage, it's going to a result of something else other than my lazy ass.

Training update

on Friday, July 13, 2007 at 10:32 PM

Wednesday: Did 4 mile recovery run @ about 9:45 min/miles. Ran in the morning. It was about 23C outside which isn't really that warm, but I had a hard time with the run. I guess I haven't gotten used to the warmer temperatures yet. I usually start most of my runs when it's less than 20C outside.

Today: Did 11.5 miles or so. Not sure of pace, probably around 8:40 min miles.

So I left for and came back from Edmonton all in one day on Thursday. That is not something I would want to do again. Ideally I would have liked to spend a day, potentially even the weekend there. There was also the option of maybe trying to get into Calgary to experience the Stampede, but alas, no dice, since I have stuff to do for next week.

I think I"m going to head downtown tomorrow to pick up my race kit for Sunday. There's a bit of an unknown with trying to do it on race morning and it's just one less thing I'll have to worry about. It looks like I may finally get to meet Yumke, Jelly and Sonia, which is kinda weird. I've met a bunch of blogland people from other cities back in Chicago last year but haven't actually met anyone from my own city. Go figure.

Crappy LT

on Tuesday, July 10, 2007 at 9:59 PM

Woke up this morning to do 10 miles with 5 @ LT pace. I didn't eat or properly hydrate yesterday and though I tried to water load a bit last night, it didn't work. Did a 2 mile warmup to the local mall where I typically do my LT runs around the parking lot which I have a nice route plotted out that is exactly one mile and started into it. I rounded the corner of the mall only to see that they had set up a mini-carnival thing in the parking lot. I tried my best to weave in and out and around the rides, but the path I took ended up being a little short. I think my miles were probably about 2-3 seconds short.


I had to stop to tie my shoelace after mile 2. Got back home and weighed myself and sure enough I was much lighter than I usually am which for me is a sure sign of dehydration and is usually accompanied after a crappy run.

So got my travel plans and I'm flying to and back from Edmonton on the same day! I obviously am not going to be able to fit my 11 mile run on Thursday and will probably do it Friday morning, which means for a pretty hectic weekend since I have to do 7 miles on Saturday with 8 strides and then 18 miles on Sunday.

Thanks to a reminder from Yumke, I signed up for a 10 mile race this weekend in which I'll be doing part of my long run which should help since part of it will be on the course in which my fall marathon is on. I'm going to have to figure out how and where I'm going to do the extra 8 miles though. Race starts at 8am and pack-up pickup starts at 6:30. I figure if I pickup my stuff by 6:35, I can just barely do the 8 miles before the 8am start time. Sounds good in theory...

Recovery week is done.

on Sunday, July 8, 2007 at 8:57 PM

Saturday: 4 mile recovery @ around 9 min pace

Today: 12.2 miles. It was nice to step back on the long run mileage.

Lap Lap Time
Lap Lap Time
1 09:14.1
8 07:55.6
2 08:40.1
9 08:17.4
3 08:37.2
10 08:13.7
4 08:15.7
11 08:02.8
5 08:07.1
12 07:11.8
6 08:11.1
13 01:52.9
7 08:20.5

It's been 2 months since I've done a long run shorter than this. I did the last mile a little faster than my Boston pace. I'm thinking that 7:12 is probably towards the slow end of my LT pace right now. I'd like to get this down to less than 7:00 or so by the time marathon day rolls around. I have a 5 mile LT run this Tuesday. I think I"ll try and push the pace a bit for it. I'm hoping to average around 7:05 for the 5 miles. Only problem is that I have to be downtown early that day for a meeting which means I'm going to have to get out extra early.

I'm sorry to see the recovery week come and go. Next one will be in 4 weeks, but I'll have to have done a 20 miler and a 15 miler that includes a 12 mile marathon pace run before I get there. Speaking of which, I'm looking at doing the 15 mile run as part of a half marathon race in a couple of weeks which I think will be helpful. It'll also allow me to practice the grabbing the cup and drinking routine. Also, an 8k race which I was scheduled to do as part of Pfitz's tune-up races moved it's race to a week earlier so it no longer fits into my plan. Crap! There aren't any suitable races on that day so I'll probably have to do it around a track or something.

Pace Run

on Saturday, July 7, 2007 at 12:02 AM

Wednesday: 5.2 mile recovery run @ 9min/mile

Thursday: GA 8.1 miles. This is a recovery week and the Thursday's was was a general aerobic run for 8 miles. Pfitz describes these for distances of under 10 miles as being anywhere between recovery and LT pace which is not very specific. I decided to head out to the track and try a couple of miles at my Boston pace of 7:15 min/mile which were done in 7:09 and 7:13 respectively (laps 5 and 6). The HR for these was around 175 which is a bit too high for me to maintain for a marathon. In my experience, these should be at 170 or so. I still got about 3 months to go so hopefully it'll drop.

For those on the Pfitz plan or who are thinking or trying it, I came across a helpful site on the Runners world forums that will generate a Pfitz plan for you. Just plug in when your marathon is and it'll give you a schedule with dates of what you should be doing. It'll even generate a .pdf version that you can print out.

Also I found out this week that I have to be in Edmonton on next Thursday. I haven't quite figured out what to do about my runs partly because I don't know when I'm flying over and when I'm flying back. A little bit of juggling may be necessary.

Stride Efficiency

on Tuesday, July 3, 2007 at 10:13 PM

8 miles with 8 strides this morning. I concentrated on cadence trying to get close to 180 steps per minute or 90 steps per side per minute. I did the 8 strides around a track in the middle of the run. I really tried to focus on leg turnover rather than just pumping my legs and arms to run faster. I hardly had any arm swing at all. I found that by doing this the strides were easier. It caused me to be more efficient with my running which allows me to run faster at a faster pace.

Holiday Monday!

on Monday, July 2, 2007 at 8:05 AM

So it was Canada Day yesterday which reminded me that at this time last year, I was looking for a graphic of a waving Canadian flag to post on my blog. This means that my one year blogging anniversary went by last week. Happy anniversary to me!

Thursday: Did 10.3 miles @ 8:10 min/mile pace. Had to do the run in the evening. Thankfully, the weather cooled off slightly and it was pretty enjoyable.

Saturday: 5 miles recovery @ about 9 min/mile pace

Sunday: Did 18.3 miles. Did the run by the lake and it was cool and breezy. There was a 10k race being held on part of the path that I was on to support Canadian athletes. It being Canada Day and all, I wore a red shirt and a red cap with a maple leaf on it. The hat didn't quite fit me (I have a big head) and it didn't do a very good job of keeping sweat out of my eyes. I ended up figuring out that if I wore it backward, it worked a bit better. I've been doing my long runs a little longer than Pfitz has planned. Pfitz had 17 miles planned for today and since I did 17 miles last week, I decided I would try and do an extra mile at LT pace right at the end to come in at 18 or so miles. After this point, I'll probably sync up with the Pfitz plan for the long runs distances. Overall my pace was at about 8:20 for the entire run, though the first half was probably close to 8:30 or so. The second half was faster since it included the LT portion. I did this run with my newly purchased mp3 player. My old one is kinda big and clunky and I've really wanted to buy something smaller and lighter. I've really been keen on the new ipod shuffle, but wanted something that supports .wma files. The zen stone is nothing fancy and looks kinda cheap, but it works as advertised.

Total for the week was a little over 48 miles. This upcoming week is a recovery week (detailed below) with a step back in mileage to 37 miles and a relatively short 12 mile long run:

Tuesday: 8 miles including 8 strides
Wednesday: 5 mile recovery
Thursday: 8 miles
Saturday: 4 miles
Sunday: 12 miles

I'm going to try and concentrate on stride turnover and see if I can my cadence up to close to 180 for all my runs this week.

Happy running all!