Film Fest

on Wednesday, August 29, 2007 at 11:34 PM

Did 11.2 miles this morning at about 8:30 min/mile. I've developed a bit of a blister on one of my toes. It actually started a few weeks ago during my last 20 mile run when I decided to try my pair of Injinji socks. I never really liked them and now I remember why. I can safely say that I will probably never wear those things again for a run.

As I mentioned before, I bought a 10 ticket book of tickets to the Toronto film festival in the hopes of seeing the "Spirit of the Marathon" but it didn't make it into the festival. I picked up my package yesterday and have to choose 10 films, but haven't really been motivated to look through the descriptions of the movies to pick some. I just ended up picking movies that were conveniently located and at convenient times. I'm pretty sure most of them are going to suck. There was one movie that caught my eye called, Run, Fat Boy, Run that is directed by David Schwimmer (ie, Ross from Friends) that is basically about a guy who decides to run a marathon to impress a girl. I guess this will have to do for my inspiration. I certainly hope he finishes the marathon as it's not going to be much of a motivator if he doesn't!

Vo2Max and Marathon Predictions

on Tuesday, August 28, 2007 at 10:09 PM

Did 7.3 miles this morning including 5x600m intervals. I've been reading up at McMillan's on his marathon prediction workouts. He suggest three different ways to try and predict a marathon time. He recommends:

  1. Fast finish long run with last 10 miles at marathon pace.
  2. Long distance race of between 15k and half marathon distance
  3. Yasso 800's

I did the fast finish long run this past weekend and a 15 k race the previous weekend and to top it off I'll be doing a Yasso 800 workout in lieu of the tune-up race that Pftiz has scheduled for this weekend. McMillan states that Yasso 800's over predict marathon times by about 5 minutes so if I want to run a 3:10 marathon, I should be able to do a 3:05 Yasso workout. That translates into a 6:12 min/mile pace. Not being too familiar with that pace, I thought I'd take the opportunity today to see if I maintain that pace for these 600m intervals.

Lap Time Pace
02:18.1 06:10.4
02:18.2 06:10.7
02:18.3 06:11.0
02:20.1 06:15.8
02:17.6 06:09.1

So I like that it didn't really slow down through each of the interval and was able to speed up towards the end. I've been targeting these VO2Max workouts at 6:25 to 6:30 pace so this was little outside my comfort zone. It was really tiring after each interval and I only had 90s jog recoveries so I think it would be possible to push this pace an extra 200m to complete the Yasso interval, but at the same time gain the extra 90s of recovery time to 3:05 recoveries. The prospect of doing 10 of them is a bit daunting though.

I noticed something interesting today. I was browsing the marathon website and realized that it actually cost me more to register for this Canadian marathon paying in Cdn funds then it would have if I registered in US funds. Even with the exchange rate and the 2.5% conversion fee that my credit card charges, I would have saved $5 by registering in US funds. The CDN dollar sure has risen a lot these past few months.

Week 13 of 18 Done

on Sunday, August 26, 2007 at 7:55 PM

Saturday: 5.2 mile @ about 9:18 pace

Today: 18 miles which included about 14.75 @ marathon pace.

So today was the second of two extended marathon pace runs of the training plan. The first was a 12 miler that I did a few weeks ago as part of a half marathon. Today's was a 14 miler as part of a 17 mile long run. Drove down to the lake again to run part of the marathon course. The plan was to do a slow three mile warm up and then do 14 miles at my Boston pace of 7:15 min/mile.

Lap Lap Time HR Avg Lap Lap Time HR Avg
1 09:09.9 135
11 06:59.6 168
2 08:25.9 147
12 07:19.0 170
3 08:12.6 151
13 07:15.3 172
4 07:08.2 166
14 07:09.1 173
5 07:10.0 168
15 06:57.8 172
6 06:59.5 170
16 07:25.0 170
7 07:22.6 170
17 07:13.6 172
8 07:16.9 169
18 07:11.6 173
9 07:12.4 168
19 02:24.4 164
10 07:08.1 166

A couple of the miles were a bit short so some of the sub 7 miles I'm pretty sure are wrong. Garmin says I ran 18.27 miles total. My foot pod (uncalibrated) says I ran only 17.2 miles. I'm a bit anal about paces and this was kinda important so I ended up manually mapping the whole route and it came to a little under 18 miles total with the marathon pace portion at around 14.75 miles which I did in 1:47:27. This translates into 7:17.1 min/mile pace which when converted to the marathon distance is a 3:10:52 marathon time! Skin of my teeth! HR was about right. Ideally I like to keep it below 170, but a few beats over is fine as I'm sure cooler temperatures on race day will help with that.

Total for the week was 52 miles. Upcoming week is as follows:

Tuesday: 8 miles including 5x600m @ 5k pace
Wednesday: 11 miles General Aerobic
Friday: 4 miles Recovery including 6 strides
Saturday: Yasso 800's workout
Sunday: 17 miles

Oh BTW, I signed up for the Scotiabank marathon today so it's now official!

Have a great week!

Last year comparisons

on Friday, August 24, 2007 at 10:02 PM

Did 12 miles this morning at about 8:30 pace. It was very humid and about 22C.

You'll have to indulge me while I go off into engineering/math mode for this post. I've been thinking about my training paces lately, trying to judge how far I've progressed since last year. I averaged 7:30 pace last year for the marathon and my Boston pace is about 15 seconds faster so I figure that to be in reasonable shape that my training paces should all be about 15 seconds faster than they were last year. Since I'm using the exact same training plan that I did last year, it's easy to compare workouts.

For example, this past week, I did a Vo2Max workout and averaged about 6:25 pace for 1km intervals. Looking back to last year, when I did this same workout, i averaged about 6:33 pace. Not quite the 15 seconds that I was looking for though my HR this time around was a little lower than it was last year so I can probably push a little bit faster.

My long run paces on the other hand don't seemed to have improved that much. I'm still doing them at around 8:20-8:40 which is what I did them at last year. I think my HR has been lower though. I'm going to try for the remainder of my General Aerobic runs to get them a little faster.

The other thing that gets me is that around this time last, I did a half marathon in 1:35:04. This was done at 7:15 pace which is my current BQ pace. One year later, I'm now hoping to maintain that pace for TWICE the distance. When I describe it like that, it seems almost impossible.

Anyways, I've decided I'm going to try and run 7:15's for 14 miles of my 17 mile long run this weekend. I've already started water and carboloading and will probably even try to start really early to simulate race day. The only problem I have is when I start this early, the restrooms on the trails aren't open yet. I guess I may get to practice my peeing on the run, which may (or may not) come in handy on race day!

I hope everyone's week has gone well.


on Wednesday, August 22, 2007 at 9:16 PM

Tuesday: Did 7.8 miles at about 8:35 pace. My legs were still a little sore from the weekend and didn't want to push too hard.

Today: 9 miles including 5x1000m @ 5k pace with 2 min recoveries. To date, I've been trying to do these at about 1:36 per lap which is 48s for every 200m. I've found that keeping track of how long it takes me to do each 200m allows me to maintain a fairly steady pace through each interval. This pace is about a 4min/km so that was the target for today.

Lap Time Pace HR Max HR Avg
04:00.8 06:27.5 177 170
03:58.8 06:24.3 180 172
03:59.9 06:26.1 181 174
03:59.5 06:25.4 183 173
03:59.3 06:25.1 181 175

So the splits were fairly consistent and the first 3 were run with pretty even pace. The fourth interval, I lost focus a bit and started to slow down halfway through the interval which required me to speed up towards the end to make up the split. The last interval was kinda the opposite where I started a bit too fast, tried to slow down, but slowed down too much and then had to boot it a bit towards the end. I'm okay with this pace and think I could push this pace to the 1600m that I'm supposed to do several weeks from now, though I'd like to be able to do these a tad faster.

Well the title of this post is what it is because the Toronto film festival released their film list today and unfortunately the "Spirit of the Marathon" is not one of the movies being screened so it seems that I won't be able to rely on that for motivation. I guess I'm going to have to rely on Chariots of Fire, Hoosiers, St. Ralph and whatever other inspirational movies I can think of for my motivation.

Week 12 of 18 done

on Sunday, August 19, 2007 at 9:56 PM

I forgot to mention in my race report that the sadist that he is, Pfitzinger wanted me to do a 17 mile long run today, the day after going all out in a 9 mile run. I didn't get much sleep last night, which is kinda expected and there was no way I was going to try and do the run this morning. I tried to load up on calories this morning (McDonalds hot cakes, sausages and hash browns) to get ready for the run since I didn't really eat much the night before other than a steak sandwich and a beer that I purchased since the proceeds were going to charity. I also ate the typical free stuff they give away at races.

I headed out at 5pm for my 17 mile long run. I ended up average about 8:45 min /mile for the whole thing, but that included a short portion at the end at Boston pace. I decided not to run this with my garmin and was relying on my foot pod to track distance but I think the thing needs to be recalibarted again cause it severely overestimated the distance. It thinks I did 18 miles, but I'm pretty sure it was actually only 17. Kept the HR nice and low.

Total for the week was just under 50 miles.

The upcoming week 13 of the training plan is as follows:

Tuesday: 8 miles General Aerobic
Wednesday: 9 miles including 5x1000m @ 5k pace.
Friday: 12 miles General Aerobic
Saturday: 5 miles recovery
Sunday: 17 miles including 14 miles @ marathon pace.

I haven't decided if I'm going to try and do the marathon pace at my Boston pace or if I should stick to my original plan of trying to do 7:20's. The 5 seconds/mile difference probably isn't going to mean much, but to me that Boston pace is the Holy Grail and any long distances at that pace should be done only on race day.

15K Race Report

Ran the 15km Midummer Night's run last night. This is the 2nd time they've put on this race, but it's the first time they've offered a 15km race option. I did the 30km race last year. As a returning participant, I received a bonus gift consisting of a little pin engraved with the total number of km that I will have run as part of the event (ie. 30+15 = 45km).

This race was my first scheduled tune-up race in prep for a fall marathon. I was nervous since this was the first real opportunity to see how far along my marathon training has gone towards the quest for a BQ time. I've run a whole bunch of races this year but most of them were done with a very specific training purpose in mind and the ones I tried to go all out on earlier in the year (this 5k and this 10k) had less then stellar results.

I carboloaded for this by eating two plates of pasta for breakfast. I did this last year and it worked well so i did it again. It did feel weird to be cooking and eating spaghetti at 8am in the morning though. I arrived about an hour before the start and wondered around a bit chatting with some people from Running Mania that I've met in the past. I was diligently trying to stretch the muscles around my left knee since I was going to be running without my brace and I wasn't sure how the increased pace for an extended period of time was going to effect it. After stretching, I bumped into Yumke who was doing this race as a training run and after talking for a bit we proceeded to the start line.

As for the race itself, it went surprisingly well. I always start out races too fast and this one was no exception. I was trying to target between 4:15 and 4:20 per km (6:50 to 7:00 min/miles) since that is basically where my tempo runs "should" be and Pfitz says LT paces are between 15k and half marathon pace. I hit the first km at 4:01 and cursed myself under my breath for basically doing 5km pace for the first km. At this point, the field had separated quite a bit. There were a bunch of speedy people that were well in front of me and there really wasn't anyone around me. I slowed down a bit for the 2nd km and hit it at 4:08 which was still a bit fast but slowly getting there.

I hit the 5km mark at 20:48 which is actually an unofficial PR for the 5km distance for me. My previous true 5k time is 21:30, but i've run 21:15's or so as part of 10km races before. Sweet. From that point to the 10km mark, I had basically settled into a groove basically nailing the proper split times. One thing I worked in was trying to run tangents on the curvier parts of the course. I also got some practice drinking while on the run. They had these huge cups which were good for drinking from though I probably spilled more than I ended up drinking. It's hard to drink from a cup while doing LT pace. I hit the 10 km mark at 42:02, another unofficial PR.

Up till this, my HR was fairly high. I was averaging around 186 or 187 which I think is kinda high for me, but my breathing seemed okay and my legs were doing okay though I think my cadence had dropped off a bit by this point. Somewhere before the 11km marked, my HR spiked. I don't know if this was just a HR monitor thing or if my heart had started fluttering which is an issue that I think I"ve had in the past. It spiked for about 2.5 minutes and then returned to normal, but I had started to slow down a bit. I missed the 11km marker and hit the 12 km marker with a split time of 8:39 which was just under 4:20 pace. The 14th km was basically the toughest and slowest km of the race and it involved running down this long straight stretch of empty road. I was basically running by myself since I was a minute behind the guy in front of me and 1 minute in front of the guy behind me. There was not much in the way of cheering on this stretch and the endless view of traffic cones along the road was sort of demoralizing. Finished km number 14 in 4:25. Then I pushed hard to the finish line.

Final time of 1:03:35 (6:49 min/miles)

KM Time Lap Time Pace(min/mile)
1 04:00.6 04:00.6 06:27.2
2 08:08.9 04:08.3 06:39.6
3 12:21.4 04:12.5 06:46.4
4 16:32.8 04:11.4 06:44.6
5 20:47.9 04:15.1 06:50.5
6 25:04.9 04:17.0 06:53.6
7 29:18.4 04:13.5 06:48.0
8 33:34.3 04:15.9 06:51.8
9 37:46.9 04:12.6 06:46.5
10 42:02.0 04:15.1 06:50.5
12 50:41.3 08:39.3 06:57.9
13 54:58.5 04:17.2 06:53.9
14 59:23.5 04:25.0 07:06.5
15 1:03:35.0 04:11.5 06:44.8

I watched Yumke finish who was only a couple minutes behind me and looked strong. Also met up with Jelly who was out for a bit of a run and had decided to check out the race. Good to see them again.

I have better things to say about this course this time. The start was earlier and the 15km races were basically done before the sun had set so there was no issue with lighting. I heard a lot of grumblings from the 30k'ers though.

My knee held up surprisingly well during the race though it was starting to ache a bit after while just standing around. Hung around to watch the Running Mania crew finish who were all doing the 30k race. They all did fairly well. Two of them just ran a 6 hour trail race last weekend, they did the 30km yesterday and are going to be doing the Quebec city marathon next weekend. Yikes!

So I got home and plugged my race results into the race predictors to see where I'm at and based on my time, I get the following for my predicted marathon time:

Daniels VDot tables: 3:10:44
McMillan calculator: 3:12:33
Runner's World Training Calculator: 3:10:11
Running for Fitness calculator: 03:12:28, 03:10:44, 03:10:19, 03:11:27

Hmmm, some of these say 3:10:59 is possible, some say it's not. I'm basically on the bubble. I've got 3-4 weeks of solid training left before the taper and I'm hoping that I can shave off the couple of minutes I need to get me my BQ. In any event, I'm pretty happy with this race.

Happy running all!

My achy tummy...

on Friday, August 17, 2007 at 8:11 PM

Did 11 miles on Wednesday after I got home from work. With the race tomorrow in the evening, I thought I try and run in the evening a couple of times to get accustomed to it. Plus I could load up on carbs and protein after eating dinner. Averaged about 8:20 pace. I ate a pretty big dinner afterwards but I don't think my stomach was prepared to deal with it. I had tummy pains for the rest of the evening and couldn't even get to sleep until about 2am.

So today is slightly different. I'm supposed to do 4 recovery miles with 6 strides today and trying to avoid what happend last time, I ate dinner first and now I"m just waiting for the stuff to digest a bit before I head out for my run. Also,I just got back from my ART appointment since I couldn't reschedule it and I want to let the muscles settles down a bit. He said I should try and avoid running with a brace if at all possible so i'm going to try and do that today and for the race tomorrow.

As for the race, the weather is looking okay. They're predicting 18C for the start time with a humidity of 50%. Not quite as cool as I'd like, but it'll have to do. I'm been fooling around with the race predictors all day trying to figure out what goal time I should have for this and haven't come to a consensus yet. I think realistically that at this point of training I would have to be able to maintain a 7min/mile pace for the whole 15km at a minimum to even consider being able to do a BQ pace in a little over a month from now. How much faster, if that's even possible, I don't know.

Getting cooler...

on Tuesday, August 14, 2007 at 10:28 PM

Did 8 miles including VO2Max Intervals this morning. It's starting to cool down now and it was a nice 14C when I started the run. If temperatures are like this on marathon day, it would be perfect.

Plan calls for 5x600m @ 5k race pace with 90s recoveries.

Lap Pace
02:23.5 06:24.9
02:20.3 06:16.3
02:22.1 06:21.1
02:22.6 06:22.5
02:23.0 06:23.6

Paces again were a bit fast as I would like to do these at about 6:30 pace since the intervals just get longer after this, up to 1600m. Not entirely sure if I could maintain this pace for 1600m intervals though. The interesting thing though is that the pace I did this in is my approximate Yasso 800 pace for a 3:10 marathon (ie. 800 m in 3:10). Going to do a Yasso 800 workout as my second tune-up race in two weeks to find out.

The knee is still kinda hurting so I'm still running with the brace. I'm wondering if I should be using the brace come race day on Saturday. I'm worried that the brace is starting to be a bit of a crutch for me so I'm going to have to wean myself off using it eventually. However, I don't want to stop using it too soon and risk making things worse. I've also started to go OCD about the weather on Saturday and I've been checking the forecast several times a day. Right now, the high for Saturday is only 21C with a predicted low for Saturday overnight of 10C! Since the race is in the evening, it's looking to be a nice comfortable temperature for the race.

Hot day

on Monday, August 13, 2007 at 6:51 AM

Saturday: Did 5 miles @ recovery pace

Sunday: Did 20 miles. I neglected my hydration the previous day and by the end of the day, I was in full death march mode having to stop ever little while for a breather. Judging by HR, it seem to start at the 11 mile point which was the point I do the turn around of an out and back course. The wind was in my face for the first half of my run which helped in cooling me off and when I turned around, the lack of wind overheated me. It also didn't help that I started the run with at 19C and finished at 28C. I am definitely not comfortable in running in this temperature. I passed by Yumke somewhere between 17 and 18 miles and managed a feable hi, but was hurting at this point. Got home and weighed myself and I was at 140 pounds. Considering that this was after having drank a whole bottle of water and a bottle of gatorade, this meant I was less than 140 pounds after my run. I have never been that light after a run and this just showed that I was very dehydrated at the end. I was well off my normal weight of 145 pounds.

I ran with the knee brace again and i'm getting used to it though ideally I'd like to toss it. I did some quad strengthening exercises yesterday. Hopefully that will help.

This was a 55 mile week which is supposed to be the longest week of the Pfitz training plan, but I actually ran a bit farther a few weeks ago. I'm now into the race preparation mesocycle of the Pfitz training plan that introduces speed work and races. The upcoming week looks like the following:

Tuesday: 8 miles including 5x600m @ 5k pace
Wednesday: 11 miles General Aerobic
Friday: 4 miles including 6 strides
Saturday: 15 k race
Sunday: 17 miles long run

Saturday race is my first opportunity to really judge how far I've progressed to this point. The race is in the evening which is worrying me cause if it's warm it's going to suck. I'm going to try and get my runs in during the evening to prep a bit for the race. Doing that however is going to make for an interesting Sunday which will have me doing a 17 mile long run in the evening as well. I also have an A.R.T. appointment on Friday to help with the knee. I'm going to see if I can move it up to Wednesday though since it's a bit too close to race day for me.

Happy running all!

Still on the mend

on Saturday, August 11, 2007 at 6:21 AM

Firstly, looking back at my Wednesday run, I guess you are all right that the times aren't that bad and I would have been happy to have been able to run those last year. My one main issue is that there isn't much margin for error if I'm to BQ this fall. In my experience, my LT runs have to be at least 20s faster than my marathon pace and not being able to hit that has been a bit demoralizing since it means that BQ is looking less likely. I'm hoping that the cooler weather will bring faster paces though. I may try and squeeze in a few LT miles during my long runs during the cooler weather to see where I'm at.

Friday: Did 12 miles@ around 8:25 pace, though the second half was probably around 8:00 pace or so. I didn't end up redoing my LT run since the inside of my knee has still been achy. I decided to try out a Cho-pat knee brace for the first time. I purchased this off e-bay back in the spring but by the time it had been delivered I'd already decided to take time off of running and didn't end up needing it. This run felt a bit awkward with this thing on and for some reason I was expecting the miraculous elimination of knee pain when running. Not quite so. There was still some discomfort at the beginning of the run, though it seemed to go away towards the end of the run and hence the faster second half.

So I purchased a 10 ticket booklet for the Toronto film fest. I wasn't going to do the film fest this year due to a pretty busy September for me. But I went over my schedule yesterday and it doesn't seem so bad. This may still change towards the end of the month. I've been hoping to see the Spirit of the Marathon to give me some motivation. The website indicated that they were trying to get it into the Toronto festival, but the film festival hasn't announced all their movies yet and there's no word at this point if this movie is going to be there, so i'm kinda hedging my bets. By purchasing the booklet now, I get access to the advanced ticketing process which means I will get a shot at getting tickets to it before the general public, if it in fact is even going to be shown. Official movie list comes out on August 21st, so I'll know then if it was money well spent.

I'm off to do a 5 mile recovery run now in preparation for a 20 miler tomorrow. Happy running all!

Too Humid

on Wednesday, August 8, 2007 at 7:17 PM

Tuesday: Did 6 miles recovery including 6 strides.

Today: Had 12 miles with 7 at LT pace this morning. This was the last LT workout this training session and I was hoping to get these done at about 7 min/mile since I was able to hold that pace for 6 miles the last time. Unfortunately the weather wasn't co-operating. Was out the door at 5:30am with the temperature at 22C but at 100% humidity.

100% humidity basically means that sweating is useless since the sweat can't evaporate.


As you can see, the LT run didn't go too well. Not nearly where I wanted it to be. Anytime, I tried to pick it up the pace, my knee would complain. I never did get my HR up to 180 which is where I normally like to be for these things. The fourth mile was the worse as it was slower than my Boston pace and at that point I decided to stop for a 2 minute break and regroup. Finished the last 3 miles and then jogged home at recovery pace.

So I'm quite disappointed by this. The weather wasn't too great, my knee is sore, my calves are sore and to top it all off I think I've put on a couple of pounds over the past 2 weeks eating a ridiculous amount of junk food. Gotta start eating healthier. I have a 12 mile run on Friday and part of me wants to retry this LT run at that point since the weather looks to be slightly better.

Anyhow, I'm off to the gym right now to sit in a hot tub for half an hour to try and work out all the pains in my legs. Marathon training is tough!

10 weeks down, 8 to go

on Sunday, August 5, 2007 at 10:07 PM

Wednesday: 8 miles including the first VO2Max workout for the session. 5x600m intervals with 90s recovery's. Supposed to be done at 5k pace which I figured to be about 6:30 pace at the moment. I ended up doing them slightly faster.

Split Pace
02:20.7 06:17.4
02:22.4 06:22.0
02:22.8 06:23.0
02:22.0 06:20.9
02:24.1 06:26.5
02:23.1 06:23.8

Pretty good. I think I could have pushed the distance for these a bit further so I think this pace is about right.

Thursday: 5 mile recovery 9:30 pace

Saturday: 8 miles including 8 strides. Averaged 8:52 for the whole run.

Sunday: Did a little over 14 miles. Went down to the lake to run part of the marathon course again.

Lap Lap Time
Lap Lap Time
1 8:29
8 8:19
2 8:18
9 7:54
3 8:19
10 8:31
4 8:15
11 8:29
5 8:20
12 8:20
6 8:13
13 8:18
7 8:29
14 8:13

Lap 9 was a bit premature. The inside of my left knee was hurting for the entire run. I've been getting lazy this past week about the knee. I didn't stretch after my runs and I've been lately foregoing the glucosamine that I've been taking 3 times a day in the past. I don't know if neglecting these things did this but I guess now is not the time to be skipping things that may have worked in the past. My shin is also giving me the same issues I had this past spring. In fact, it was at this very same point in the training plan that I encountered these pains. Hopefully things will work out better this time.

This upcoming week is the highest mileage week of the plan at 55 miles which includes the LT workout from hell that includes 12 miles on Wednesday with 7 miles at LT pace. I'm hoping that the knee recovers by then. Plan is as follows:

Tuesday: 6 miles recovery including 6 strides
Wednesday: 12 miles including 7@ LT pace
Friday: 12 miles General Aerobic
Saturday: 5 miles recovery
Sunday: 20 miles

I'm hoping that it's relatively cool on Wednesday morning cause otherwise it's going to make for a pretty crappy run.