Packing on the pounds...

on Sunday, June 29, 2008 at 11:25 AM

Did a little over 5 miles on Friday with some track running. Did 1200m, 800, 2x400m and 2 strides. Tried to run the 1200 and 800 fast but was out of breath. Averaged about 6:40 pace for the 1200m and then 6:45 pace for the 800.

Yesterday, I tried to do an easy 10 miles in the evening. I ended up walking chunks of it. It was hot, I was dehydrated and the street meat sausage I had eaten about 3 hours prior was starting to come back up, if you know what I mean.

I went downtown yesterday to pick up my race kit for the 10k on Tuesday. I've pretty much resigned myself to the fact that I won't be able to PR on Tuesday. I would need to average about 6:45 pace to PR. My recent 5k and the crappy track workout has indicated that the slacking off I've done in recent weeks has come back to bite me and that 6:45 isn't too realistic. It probably didn't help that I've unintentionally gone on a M&M's diet this past week. I was joking around that I was going to be all lazy this summer and put on some pounds and it looks like I'm doing exactly that. I think I've put on 1-2 pounds since the marathon which may not seem like a lot, but I can definitely feel it.

Will try and do 7 miles today with some strides and rest tomorrow and then figure out a reasonable pace for Tuesday. I also signed up for a 5k next weekend. I did this about a week ago, cause I wanted to get the early bird discount. Don't think that 20 minutes is reasonable for that race, but I might be able to PR.


on Wednesday, June 25, 2008 at 9:47 PM

So I was tagged by Sonia.

Here are the rules as explained to me. Copy the rules (or your version of them) and the set of questions onto your blog post, provide your own answers and then tag 5 new people. If tagged, you’ll find your name at the end of this post. To be sure everyone tagged knows they’ve been invited to play, go to their blogs and leave them a comment notifying and referring them to your blog for details. Lastly, once the chosen have answered the questions on their own blog, they should come back to yours to tell you.

Here are my responses.

1. How would you describe your running 10 years ago?
10 years ago, I had just graduated from University and was gainfully unemployed. Running? Hadn't heard about it nor considered it something I would ever do.

2. What is your best and worst run/race experience?
Best – Easy enough. Qualifying for Boston this spring.

Worst – Last fall, hitting the wall in my first BQ attempt and having every muscle in my legs cramp up forcing me to walk most of the last 7 km.

3. Why do you run?
I started because I remember someone telling me that I was putting on weight. This was around 2000/2001. I've always been this skinny guy and the fact that someone was telling me that I was starting to get big was a bit of a wake-up call. I was only about 160 pounds or so and went on a diet and decided to do some running to get some exercise in. Now a days, it's just something I do for fun and gives me time to clear my mind. It's me time. I guess this is why I rarely run with other people as I enjoy the solitude.

4. What is the best or worst piece of advice you’ve been given about running?
Best – Don't start out too fast in a race. Even with a constant reminder, everytime I start out too fast, i end up paying for it in the end.

Worst – Run with ankle weights as it'll make it seem easier to run when you take them off. This doesn't work AT ALL.

5. Tell us something surprising about yourself that not many people would know.
See this blog post.

I won't tag anyone else, but if you want to let me know and I'll post a link.

LT Run

Yesterday: Did a little over 9 miles including 4@ LT pace. I've been doing my LT runs around the track lately but realize that this has been handicapping my pace sensing abilities. I headed to the shopping mall in the morning to do my 1 mile LT loop. Pace was surprisingly consistent with the following splits:


HR seemed about right though my HR spiked on the last mile. I had to push hard through the final mile to maintain pace.

Today: Did 3 miles recovery.

So sent my deposit in to Marathon Tours for Boston accommodations for next years marathon. The prices that MT are giving are ridiculously cheap compared to what is being offered through any other site and the cheaper hotels from MT are already getting filled so I thought I should do it sooner rather than later. I probably should have done this a month ago, but when you have 11 MONTHS till the actual race, you usually expect that you have some time left. This got me thinking of whether I should book a hotel for Chicago in the fall. On the flight over to Chicago back in 2006 my seat mate was telling me that she booked a last second room at a reasonable rate. She said that the hotels get so many cancellation in the last two weeks prior to the marathon that it's easy to wait until the last second to get a room. This seems believable, but I don't like leaving things to chance.

Speaking of trips, have you seen the latest Where the Hell Is Matt video? Check it out. Makes me smile

Where the Hell is Matt? (2008) from Matthew Harding on Vimeo.

Here's the low def Youtube version. I love the song, and tried to buy it but amazon won't let us Canadians buy it online. :(

Week in Review

on Monday, June 23, 2008 at 7:05 AM

Did 2.5 miles on Friday which included 3 strides. On Saturday, I did about 3 miles warmup and cooldown and the 3.1 mile race and yesterday, I did 15.9 miles at about 8:33 pace. Last 4-5 miles were done at about 9 min/mile pace, a bit tough. I had to guestimate my lap splits during the run, but I ended up mapping the route afterwards to figure out my pace.

I was interested in pace so I tried to run with my garmin yesterday, but I forgot to recharge my batteries. I opened up a new package of Duracells batteries that I had gotten at a dollar store and put them in. Imagine my surprise when they crapped out at the 40 min mark into the run. Looking at them after, it looks like these were fake batteries. They look genuinely authentic but there were a couple signs that that aren't legitimate. The cover of the battery appears to be peeling off. The batteries say they are made in China, but the package says they are made in the US and the expiry date on the battery doesn't match the one listed on the package. Can you tell the difference?

Fake Duracells?

Did 47 miles for the week. I'm not following a training plan so lately I've had a general idea of what I want to accomplish at the beginning of the week. I'm not quite sure what the plan is for this upcoming week though. I have a 10k race next Tuesday and I'd like to have a bit of a taper going into that which means no long run next weekend. I'm like to do an LT run or a VO2Max workout this week, maybe both, but I want to cut back on mileage also.

5k race report

on Saturday, June 21, 2008 at 5:18 PM

Did a 5 km race this morning. Basically did not come close to the 20min I was aiming for. Finished in 20:53 which is still slower than the unofficial PR or 20:48 that I set in the first 5k of a 15km race. Damn! Course wasn't as hilly as I thought though there were a few very small 5m hills or so with a steep grade. I basically went out too fast as I tend to do. They didn't have km markers and I didn't wear any speed sensing device so I basically had to run by feel which is usually a disaster for me. Prior to the start, I met up with a Running Mania forumite, Ray, who I recognized and chatted with him a bit. According to his race report, his garmin splits were 3:47, 4:08, 4:11, 4:14 and 4:05.

There was a very small field so i basically started right at the front. The race started and the faster guys zoom out ahead, I headed out at what I thought was a comfortable pace. Since I was ahead of Ray, this pace would end up being faster than 3:47/km pace which was way too fast. Shortly after the 1 km mark we make a turn off a bridge and I glanced back to see that I had built up about a 10-15m lead on Ray which probably means that I had probably done 3:40 pace or so. From that point on, it was just a matter of trying to hold on. I hit the turnaround at 10:07 (6:31 pace) which doesn't look too bad. Ray had caught up to me right at the turn around and then passed me. I just tried to hold on but was fading pretty bad. The second half I did in 10:46 which is 6:56 pace, my LT pace.

Max HR that I hit was 187 in the first half and 189 in the second half right at the end. Averaged 186 during the second half. Will have to work on getting this higher. I think I have to work on my VO2Max as I think I hit my ventilating limit. I just couldn't push any harder though my legs felt fine. I averaged 6:43 pace for the whole 5k which is what I was kinda looking to do in the 10k in a week and a half. I hope that this was just a bad running day.

So not quite what I was hoping for. Will try again for a sub 20min 5k this summer. There's another 5k next Saturday, but that's going to be 3 days before the 10k I'm doing on July 1st so that's probably not the best race to do. There's a 5k, the Saturday after that, but it would mean only a 4 day recovery from the 10k race. Not sure if that's a good idea either.

oh yeah, the race actually is in a nice setting. Waterfront trail with a bit into the forest. Some small hills to keep you honest and it was good weather. The finish line was a bit disorganized as it really wan't a "race". It was more of a fun run since they didn't record the finish times and therefore don't have official results. Would have liked to see markers on the course though.

Running faster.

on Thursday, June 19, 2008 at 11:50 PM

Did about 8 miles this morning including 6x600m at the track with 90s jog recoveries.   Wanted to do these at  about 6:25 pace or so. 


Lap Time Pace HR Max
02:21.6 06:19.8 179
02:20.8 06:17.7 182
02:20.3 06:16.3 182
02:23.9 06:26.0 183
02:21.9 06:20.6 184
02:22.6 06:22.5 182

So most of them were a bit fast which i'm not sure is good or bad.  I haven't quite figured out what a comfortable "fast" pace is yet.  I'm still pretty sure that faster than 6:20 pace is a little beyond my acceptable discomfort level for an entire 5k.   Will gun for the 20 min 5k though.  My only fear is that the course is hilly.  The course is down by the water and it an out an back, but I'm getting the feeling that it goes up an embankment and then back down.   Also it looks like it's going to warm up a bit on Saturday morning.  Note quite hot, but warmer than it's been these last few days. 

Will probably do a 2 miles tomorrow morning with a couple of strides to prep. 

Cool is cool!

on Wednesday, June 18, 2008 at 9:53 PM

So we've had some really weird weather as of late. We had thunderstorms for several straight days. I took a day off from work on Monday and went to the zoo where I got pelted by a hail storm amongst other things. Largest chunks of hail I've ever seen. Some of them were about the size of a small gumball.

So the weather has gotten a bit cooler as of late. It's about 10C in the morning's which is perfect running weather. It allows me to go outside in shorts and a t-shirt and I don't generate too much of a sweat. My runs over the last two days have been good not having to worry about the heat.

On Tuesday, I did a little over 9 miles including 3@LT pace. Did these again around the track. First lap was quite slow at about 7:15 pace. Though I didn't plan it this way, it ended up being a progression run The first 4 laps (1 miles) were done at 7:01 pace, the next 4 at 6:54 and the last 4 at 6:51. I didn't like that the HR kept climbing of the course of the run, but I realize now that the reason for this was that I was gradually speeding up.

This morning, I did about 6.5 miles @ recovery but it included 6 strides. I've noticed that my cadence rate has dropped off a bit over the past few weeks. I noticed leading up to my last marathon that strides really help to improve cadence. With the 5k coming up, i thought it would be a good idea to do some strides now to prepare. It might be a bit too late to derive any benefit from them, but it's a good mental trainer. My HR was way down for this. Probably averaged about 9:25 pace for the non strides part. I'm going to try practicing some 5k running tomorrow around the track. I'm curious as to what the HR will be since it's still going to be quite cool.

Slowing Down

on Sunday, June 15, 2008 at 9:15 PM

So i'm signed up for a 5k race next Saturday. I thought it might be a good idea to head to the track yesterday and practice 5k pace. My last few marathon training cycles, I've done VO2Max intervals at what I'm guessing was my 5k pace of 6:20 which would put me in a 19:40 or so finish. Considering the cut back in mileage as of late, I don't think that's doable. Even during peak marathon training, I was never quite sure that I could stretch those 1 mile intervals at that pace to 3.1 miles. Instead, I decided to aim for 4 minute km pace (6:26 pace) which would put me in a 20:00 finish.

Did a 3 miles jog warmup to the track. Got there and there was no-one around. Had the track all to myself. Tried to do 5x1km at 4:00/km pace. First one I did in 3:55 (6:18 pace) which was a bit fast. Did a short recovery jog of 200m and then put down a 4:02 (6:30 pace) split for the second one, but I was feeling pretty pooped after that one. Ended up doing walking recoveries after that of about 2:45. Remaining splits were 4:08 (6:39 pace), 4:06 (6:36) and 4:09 (6:41). HR maxed out at 190 during the second one, but topped out at 188 or 189 for the other ones. That interval session really sucked. Did slow job back home. Total for the day was 9 miles or so.

Today, I headed down to the lakefront to get a long run in. I haven't been down there for a long run since last summer so it's been a while. While driving down there, I saw them setting up a bunch of traffic cones on the road. It looked like they were setting up for a race, but i'm usually pretty in sync with the races that are going on in the area, but I hadn't heard of this one. I looked it up later and it was a Father's day 5k race. Anyhow, back to the run. Did about 15.3 miles today and averaged about 8:40 pace for the whole thing. This was my longest run since the marathon more than a month ago and it showed. The first half was alright, but I was starting to fade towards the end. Was a bit warm at the end. I should probably try and start my runs earlier to try and beat the heat.

So total for the week was around 39 miles. Will try and do a LT run on Tuesday and maybe a short Vo2Max workout on Wednesday/Thursday to prepare for next Saturday's race. May have to re-evaluate my goal of sub 20 depending on how the runs go this week.

Short LT Run

on Thursday, June 12, 2008 at 7:37 AM

Did a little over 8 miles yesterday including 3 at LT pace. Went to the track to run laps. Ending up trying to keep the HR below 180.
LT laps were as follows.

Lap Time HR Avg Pace
01:40.5 165 06:44.3
01:40.9 175 06:46.0
01:41.4 178 06:48.0
01:43.6 178 06:56.8
01:43.7 178 06:57.2
01:44.1 179 06:58.8
01:45.8 180 07:05.7
01:46.5 179 07:08.5
01:47.7 178 07:13.3
01:46.7 179 07:09.3
01:45.8 180 07:05.7
01:44.1 181 06:58.8

Started out okay, but pace started to slow down towards the back end. I haven't done an LT type run in over a month so this was kinda expected. It wasn't that boring since there was lots of activity at the track. High school soccer teams were out practicing and lots of kids playing on the track. Makes me wonder how I ever could ever deal with running solo over the winter.


on Tuesday, June 10, 2008 at 11:25 PM

Running this past week was sporadic at best.

Last Tuesday I did 8 miles total including some intervals at the track at about 10k race pace which I"m guessing is around 6:35 -6:40. Did 2x1200m, 2x800m, 4x400m, 6 strides.

Thursday: Did 6 miles at 8:20 pace

Sunday: Did 3 miles. TOO HOT TO RUN!!!

Today: Did 6 miles. Don't know about pace.

Last week didn't have much time to do much else. A work thing that I thought was due Monday actually ended up being due on Friday. I didn't actually find this out until Wednesday morning and I was working on the assumption it was due on Monday for the past month or so. Late nights. Didn't have any energy to do anything on the weekend. I'm surprised I even got out to do 3 miles.

So this week marks 18 weeks until the Chicago marathon. I will basically start a marathon training program since at least it's something to aim for but I'm almost certain that I won't be doing it which I guess is an admission of defeat. I was thinking it might be reasonable to try and go for 3:15 since that would qualify me for the 2010 Boston marathon, but I really have no desire to train heavily over the summer. Right now, I'm going to focus on the shorter stuff and speed, but still try and do a moderately long run over the weekend.

Let's see...

on Monday, June 2, 2008 at 11:11 PM

Still kinda busy at work.

Okay so did 6 miles last Thursday. Ran that at a General Aerobic pace of 8:18. That was tough. First non-recovery run since the marathon three weeks ago.

Did 5.4 miles of Recovery on Saturday at about 9:40 pace. That was also tough. Much warmer than normal and was sweating buckets. Guess I haven't acclimatized to the warmer weather yet.

Did 12.1 miles yesterday @ 8:50 pace. Wasn't too bad. I had really tried to drink a lot of fluids on Saturday to prepare for this run and to prevent dehydration.

Total for the week was 23.5 miles. Going to try out some track work this week. Will try and cut back the pace by about 10% or so to take into account the blood donation a little over a week ago.

I think I'm going to try and do a 5k race on June 21 and the Canada Day 10k to hopefully get some PR's out of the way. I've been looking around trying to find a 10k training plan and boy do they look strange. Having done nothing but marathon training for the past 3 years, these training plans with short runs and nothing but intervals look alien to me. Long run of 12 miles. You call that a long run??