No motivation

on Thursday, July 31, 2008 at 9:06 PM

Did a 6 mile recovery run today. Did not run at all since the race on Sunday. I"m having a hard time with motivation without any race to train for. It's just very tough to force myself to get up in the morning to run, when I really don't need to.

A while back, I mentioned that the l aw firm i work for is "merging" with another. It's still hasn't happened yet, but supposedly will happen "soon" . They did let us in on some of the new benefits we will be receiving though. One benefit was a $600 gym membership reimbursement per year. But I later found out that it was applicable to any fitness activity. My first thought was: Race entry fees. Assuming an at par US Dollar, I've paid $567 in race entry fees this year which includes 3 marathons, two 10k's, one 8k and three 5k's. Yikes.

Free magazines?

on Tuesday, July 29, 2008 at 11:19 PM

Working in the intellec tual proprety field, I don't exactly condone this, but there an interesting website that posts scans of different magazines in a somewhat readable format. They have different types of magazines available one of which is Runnrs World. They also have some biking magazines amongst others. Can't see how this is in any way legal, but it's an interesting concept.
You can see it here.

10k race report

on Sunday, July 27, 2008 at 6:23 PM

Ran a 10k race this morning. Finished in 42:04 which is 4 seconds slower than I wanted and 2 seconds slower than my unofficial PR for the 10k set while doing the first 10k of a 15k race. I'm okay with it if the course is right since it still beats my true 10k time set back in 2006.

I was the first overall male!! As you can probably tell, there weren't any real fast people racing this. To give some perspective, there was a half marathon being run at the same time and the winner of the half had a faster overall pace than the winner of the 10k. BTW, the winner of the half did this while pushing a jogging stroller. In fact, the first 4 finishers of the half had a faster overall pace. Anyhow, i didn't come in first overall in the 10k as a woman beat me by 14 seconds to take that honour. I have no problems with that. I get the feeling though that she wasn't really going all out and could have easily have gone faster. The winner was actually one half of a pair of twins. The other twin finished behind me in third. The twins race together and wore matching outfits and were easy to pickout in the crowd. There are also much faster than me since they have done sub 40 minute 10k's and sub 1:30 half's before.

The oirignal schedule had the halfers going at 7:00am and the 10kers going at 7:15. I wanted to get up and eat a bagel at 5:00, but didn't until 5:30 or so. I thought it might be too late to eat a bagel so i downed a gel instead. Left home at about 6am for the 30 minute drive out to the race. Taking to heart previous comments about me depending on HR, i wanted to run this by effort but still record the HR for reference. I was scrambling in the morning to find some electrical tape to cover the HR reading on my watch. The best i could find were some file folder labels, but I ended up forgetting them at home.

Arrived with about 30 minutes to spare and picked up my bib and chip. The start for the half was delayed however as a wicked thunderstorm had come through the previous night and flooded and knocked down some trees on the trail. The city decided this morning that they couldn't let the race use the trail since it was now a hazard. This affected the half course, but not the 10k course. They rejigged the course and decided to have the 10kers and halfers start at the same time, but have the halfers do the 10k route twice, plus add a little bit to the half route to make up for the extra 1.1km they would have to run. Starting the race, i set myself not too near to the front. it took me about 8 seconds to cross the start line. One thing I knew was that I had to stay behind the twins since i knew they were faster than me. I had hoped to run this in just under 42 minutes which is 6:45 mile pace or about 4:12/km

Start out at what feels like a nice easy pace. Pass the first km marker in 4:01. Whoops a bit fast. Keep motoring right along and pass the 2nd km mark with a split time of 4:02. Sometime during the 3km, I pull up behind and end up passing one of the twins. 3rd km split was 4:01. The pace felt sustainable, but based on my past expereince with the 5km and doing 4:00min/km pace, I wasn't sure that it would be a good idea to hold this pace. By this time, I had banked about 30 seconds of time which was quite a bit when you think about it. I slowed down during km 4 to try and get back to the proper pace. If I could hold 6:45 pace the rest of the way, even with a bit of a fade, i could comfortable finish in under 42 minutes. KM 4 was in 4:14. The km markers after this were all screwed up and the split times were all over the place. I had no idea how much time I had to make up or afford to lose. For example, I passed the 8km mark of 31:41 which can't possibly be right since it means I could have averaged 8 min/mile pace (5:00min/km) for the final 2km and would have finished in under 42 minutes. I was certainly going faster than 8min/mile pace. With about 800m to go, I turned on my kick only to be surprised when I got to the finish line and the clock was already over 42 minutes.

So I finished 2nd overall, first male overall and won a $25 gift card and a little trophy. I'm sure I would have finished faster than 42 minutes if the km splits were more accurate. I'm not entirely certain that even the first couple of km which were clocked in at 4:00min/km were accurate. I probably should have worn my garmin, which I did last year and was thankful that I did cause the course was mismarked last year too. I think I may use the $25 gift card to partially offset the purchase of one of those new forerunner 405's.

Also, if I had known that I would have had a legitimate shot at finishing first overall, I would have started closer to the start and kicked for the finish a little earlier. As it turns out, the difference in the first place finishers chip time and mine were only 10 seconds which I think I could have easily made up. Mind you, that's assuming that the first place finsiher ran the same race. It's more than likely she could have outkicked me if she needed to.

I'm hesitant to call this a PR yet since I'm not entirely certain that the course is 10km long. I tried to plot it on google earth and it might be 10km but it really depends on the exact location of the turnaround points which I'm not quite sure where they were located. I'm hoping that someone will upload the race to Motionbased so i can find out.

The stats:

LapLap TimeHR MaxHR Avg

Finish time of 42:04 which is 4:12/km or 6:46 pace. Maximum HR reached was 188 which I suppose could have been a few beats higher if I had pushed more, especially towards the end. No HR spikes which is good though the HR monitor wasn't getting a good reading right at the start.

So that's it for summer races. I'm getting my wisdom teeth pulled in about 2 weeks and I'm sure I won't be in great racing shape shortly after that.

Terry Fox

on Friday, July 25, 2008 at 10:33 PM

Tuesday: Did about 6 miles total including some intervals around the track. Did 1200m, 800m and 2x400m with a 200m jog recovery in between of about 1:40. Did these all at faster than 6:18 pace which is what I was doing my VO2Max intervals at in the marathon buildup. Hopefully this means I've improved my fitness back to where it was leading up to the marathon. I tried to do this workout about a month ago and struggled to maintain 6:40 and 6:45 pace so that's good. I've also lost the couple of pounds I've put on but I think that's more due to me increasing my mileage as of late. I'm still eating junk food. Yumm!

Thursday: Did 2x400@6:13 pace, 4 strides, 2x400@6:05 pace, 4 strides and 2x400@6:35 pace. The last 2x400m intervals I tried to do at 6:45 pace which I'm guessing is my 10k pace but they were a little fast. 6:35 pace felt relatively easy, but that's only over 400m. I can barely hold that pace over a 5k race so I know I will have to be slower come Sunday.

As for the race on Sunday, I'm looking forward to be able to witness a bit of history. Terry Fox was a Canadian runner who had his leg amputated due to cancer who set out to run across Canada in 1980 in the hopes of raising money for cancer research. Unfortunately he only made it about half way before the cancer returned and passed on shortly thereafter. The original aid van that accompanied Terry and his run has been found and restored to it's former glory and is being showcased at various locations across Canada this year and it will be at the race on Sunday.

Week in Review

on Monday, July 21, 2008 at 10:50 PM

Wednesday: 10.2 miles @ 8:26 pace
Thursday: 5.4 miles recovery
Friday: About 6 miles total including 3x1 miles at LT pace
Saturday: 3.1 miles @9:24 pace
Sunday: 15.6 miles @8:19 pace

Last week's run's were blah. Tried to do a 5 mile LT run on Friday, but couldn't get up to it. It was too humid and i was dehydrated. Managed to do 3x1 miles with about a lap of recovery, first two in 6:55 and last one in 7:00. Didn't get out till noon on Saturday and it was way too hot and humid. Sunday was freshing cause it rained the entire run. Forgot how enjoyable it is not to worry about having to take in enough fluids to compensate for water loss through sweating. Managed a total of just under 50 miles for the week.

This upcoming week is a taper week for a 10k I'm doing on Sunday. Will probably just do a couple of intervals sessions to work on leg turnover and hopefully get accustomed to 10k pace which I'm hoping will be 6:45 pace which put me in a little under a 42 minute finish time.

Weird Dream

on Tuesday, July 15, 2008 at 8:49 PM

I don't seem to be getting enough sleep lately. In the peak of training, i was able to get by on 5-6 hour a sleep. Nowadays, i wake up tired even when i get 7 hours of rest. I had the weirdest dream last night. I dreamt that I had ran a sub 3 hour marathon and came in 2nd overall only to be disqualified (along with the first place finisher) because we somehow skipped a mile. Strange eh?

So my intention this morning was to try and get out and do a 5 mile LT run. Almost perfect weather. Cool and not windy, but I just couldn't get up to speed today. Did a slow 2 mile warmup and then was able to put out one mile at about 7:15 pace, but couldn't go any faster. I guess I haven't quite recovered from the 5k race on Sunday. It could also be because my brain thinks I ran a marathon last night. I can't say for certain. I ended up doing 8 miles today which included some walking.

I'm going to try and get to 40 miles this week and run for 6 days. I will probably reattempt the LT run on Friday.

Nissan 5k Report

on Sunday, July 13, 2008 at 3:02 PM

Short story is that I finished in 20:25 which is a bit slower than the time I ran last week. Go figure. I felt that I paced this race a lot better though, albeit with a bid of a fade in the middle, but not because I went out too fast, but because there was a wicked head wind. Weather was overcast and there was a bit of a drizzle at the start. Other than the wind, it was pretty good racing weather.

Having learned my lesson last time, I didn't want to be anywhere near the front at the start of the race. Race starts and everyone seems to be going out at the right pace. I hit the first km marker at 4 min flat. Perfect pacing. One issue I had was that my HR spiked during the first km. I had warmed up as best I could, but was afraid this was going to happen. I got through the race last week with no issues, but today the HR would remain elevated for almost half the race. I pulled up behind a bunch of people that seem to be going at the right pace and cruise along passing the 1 mile mark at 6:26 which is again perfect. Continue along with the 2nd km at 4:01. Shortly after the 2km mark, the field splits up with the 5k people turning around and the 10 mile people continuing on. Unfortunately all the people I was pacing off of were doing the 10 miler so once I hit the turnaround there were only a couple people in front of me and around me. Once we turn around there is a headwind that caused me to slow down. With my HR still spiking, it was hard to gauge the effort. The few stragglers that were doing the 5k with me were all slowing down too much so I had to pass them. 3km split is 4:13. My HR settled down shortly after the 3 km mark. 4km split is the slowest of the race. I was running this km alone though I could hear footsteps behind me. I think a bunch of people were using me to block the wind. Bastards! 4km split was 4:18. Last km would turn out to be my fastest, but even so, about three guys (who I think were the ones using me to block the wind) passed me in the final km. Geez thanks guys. Tried to hold them off, but was basically running as fast as i could and they ended up passing me. Last km was in 3:53.

Lap Lap Time Pace
1 04:00.3 06:26.7
2 04:01.4 06:28.5
3 04:13.1 06:47.3
4 04:17.8 06:54.9
5 03:52.8 06:14.7

Other than the portion where the HR was spiking, maximum HR was again 193 which was right at the end. Again I faded at km 3 and 4 though I think it had to do with the wind. I have to work on pushing in these km harder though my HR for km 4 averaged about 190, so i'm not sure I could have gone much faster. I think it may be a sign that my LT has slipped a bit. I may try another one soon, but I think I have to build up my LT and endurance before i do. Maybe in the fall.

Another 5k attempt

on Thursday, July 10, 2008 at 11:15 PM

Tuesday: Did about 6 miles including some VO2Max intervals around the track. Did only 3x800 and 2x400m. HR was spiking all over the place and I was just out of energy. I think it may have had something to do with bad sleep.

Today: Did a little over 9 miles which included 4 miles at LT pace. It was very cool today. Started out at 14C which was refreshing. Headed over to the track to do 16 laps of LT which I ended up averaging 6:51 pace for. I did these at the track cause I wanted to throw in some intervals at 5k pace after to try and get used to the feeling of running 5k pace on tired legs. I was only able to handle an 800 and then 2x400m at 5k pace afterwards. Needed to use walking recoveries cause I was pretty tired after each rep.

Signed up for another 5k race this weekend. Will try again for sub 20. Hope to be able to go out at the proper pace this time and hold on. I think this will be my last 5k attempt at least for this summer. I will next try a 10k at the end of July to hopefully break 42 minutes and then I get my wisdom teeth pulled!! Yah!!!! Depending on how that recovery goes I will probably then start training for a fall half. I haven't decided on Chicago yet, but it's looking more likely that I won't do it this year.

Week in Review

on Sunday, July 6, 2008 at 11:43 PM

Tuesday: 10km race, most of it at LT pace.

Thursday: Did 7 miles total including a couple of laps around the track at 5k pace to calibrate my foot pod.

Saturday: 5km race

Sunday: 15.6 miles. Today was warm. Did a 10.2 mile loop and then a 5.4 loop to arrive at the total. I had to slow down and walk towards the end. My HR was spiking. Back in April, I could do the 10.2 mile loop with just one bottle of gatorade, come back home, top up the fluids and then head out again. Trying to do that now is a lot harder with the warmer temperatures. I averaged 8:47 pace for the 10.2 mile loop and 9:25 for the 5.4 miles which included the walking bits.

So i've been looking at the Garmin 405 again. Two weekends ago, I was trying to find some place here in Canada that sold them online, but they seem to be sold out everywhere. When I went to go pick up my race kit on Friday, to my surprise the Running Room had the 405 (without the HR strap) in stock. I would have boughten one the previous week if I had known however my online research discovered that Polar now sells a GPS accessory for my current watch. Basically, the GPS add on sends outs to the watch the same informaton as the foot pod except it uses GPS to determine speed. The watch doesn't even know it's being used with a GPS device. I'm thinking that's probably the best way to upgrade since it would allow me to keep using my current watch and HR monitor as well as the Polar software which I use to log all my runs. I'm just trying to find out how accurate the instantaneous pace is before I commit. I know that Garmin's have really bad instantaneous pace measurements and if the Polar has the same problem it may not be worth it to upgrade.

Rebecca Run 5k Race Report

on Saturday, July 5, 2008 at 5:22 PM

Did 5k race this morning. The Rebecca Run is a 5k race I've done before. It's organized to raise awareness about Spinal Muscular Atrophy. Race kit was stuffed with quite a bit of material, including a technical T-shirt, though a lot of the stuff was for women. I'm not sure what I'm going to do with the leg shaving razor they included though. I tried shaving my legs once in high school (for a swim meet) and I ain't doing that ever again. Letting the hair grow back is TORTURE.

Still wasn't sure if I was in sub 20min shape, but decided to go for it anyways. Still not quite familiar with the 4min/km pace yet so I ran this with my foot pod which I had calibrated on Thursday for that pace.

Anyhow arrived with about 45 minutes before the start and did a very brief jog warmup and a couple of accelerations to 5k pace to check to see that the foot pod was working okay. Probably about 15 minutes warmup tops. The last time I did a 5k, I spent about 30 minutes warming up and I think that was too much.

The race runs around a park with narrow trails and it's important to start near the front if you want a good time. Thankfully, they were telling people that were at the front who shouldn't have been at the front to move back. The running surfaces for the race are a little mix of everything. The first little bit is on pavement, then switches to a dirt trail and then to a boardwalk, back to a paved trail and then onto crushed gravel and then onto pavement again. We had to do a second loop of part of the course so we had to do the crushed gravel thing twice.

So the race starts and I try to hold back a bit. Right off the bat, there was a group of people to run with so I start off behind them and they seem to be going at a good clip. Onto the dirt trail and boardwalk and i kinda felt like the group was holding me back a bit. The trails and boardwalk were just too narrow to pass at this point. The group finally goes into single file and I pick up the pace to try and drop them. Pass this first km marker at 3:49. As usual too fast. Foot pod measurement is way off though and measures it as being 966m. One problem with the foot pod is that it's sensitve to the type of surface it's being used on. Switching from pavement, to trail, to boardwalk confuses it and so the measurement is off.

After the 1km marker, I'm basically running by myself. The people ahead of me are way ahead of me except for the first place woman who was about 40m or so ahead. Try and slow down a bit, but the effort is definitely feeling tough. The 2nd km is entirely on pavement and I run that in 3:58. Foot pod measures the distance as being exactly 1 km. Pretty accurate. By the end of the 2nd km, my HR is in the high 180's. One thing I wanted to do in the race is to try and keep the HR above 185 for most of the race.

About 3/4 of the third km is on crushed gravel which doesn't exactly give good footing. Plus I kinda feel myself starting to fade. The third km marker was misplaced and I hit that with a split of 5:22. Shortly after the 3km marker, we pass by the finish line for the first time, but we still have to do the gravel loop again. The 4km marker was short and I hit that split at 3:06. For the two km together, I averaged 4:14/km or 6:48 pace. Looking at the split I see I have to makeup about 13 s to go sub 20, but it just wasn't in me today. I did set out to catch the first place woman who was ahead of me which I was able to do. In the process, some guy came blowing by me in the last km to finish at least 18 seconds ahead of me. That sucked. The last km I did in 4:08.

Lap Time HR Max HR Avg Dist(km)
03:47.8 186 169 0.966
03:57.6 189 186 1
05:21.6 189 188 1.265
03:05.9 190 189 0.716
04:08.0 193 190 0.978

So the footpod didn't fare too well with the varying surfaces. The fade over the course of the race probably didn't help much either since for most of the race I was running at a pace that the foot pod wasn't calibrated at. Final finish time of 20:21 though it's probably 2 s faster or so cause I wasn't right at the start line and they didn't have chip times. Averaged 6:33 pace. Was able to keep the HR up for most of the race and topped out at 193 right at the end.

Interesting thing was that I came in first in my age group! I got a medal and a book about Lance Armstrong as a prize. The book has a picture of Armstrong on the front and I originally thought it was the book written by him, but it appears to be a motivational book written about him.

So my first ever age group first place finish, except for that time two years ago when I was robbed of a first place finish overall. I still don't like where my VO2Max is as I just couldn't take in enough oxygen to make the legs go any faster. I also would have liked to see how I would have done if I had run the first km on pace, as I think it would prevent me from going into oxygen debt which would then highlight my lack of VO2Max ability which produces my nice patented 5k fade.

There's another 5k race next weekend and I was thinking of doing that in another attempt at sub 20. It takes place at the same time as a 10 miler that I did last year. it's quite crowded, but more people means more people to pace off of. These races are starting to add up though and I have to start half marathon(maybe full?) training at some point if I expect to PR in the half in the fall. I seem to be in perpetual taper mode for these 5k's as I'm afraid to put in too much mileage the week before the race. Even if I get in a 15 mile long run tomorrow, I will only have done 30 miles for the week.

Run for Canada 10k Race Report

on Tuesday, July 1, 2008 at 7:38 PM

Happy Canada Day to all Canadians and Canadians at heart!

I did a 10k race this morning. I had thoughts of maybe trying to set a PR this morning. Unfortunately I slept in a bit and didn't leave until 7:00am. The race was at 8:00am downtown and it would take me about 30 minutes to drive there. The staging area is at Ontario's Place. I thought I'd be smart (which turned out to be a dumb idea) and try and park about a mile away from the main parking lot in which there was bound to be a line-up. I had hoped to pit stop at a local park on the jog over to use the restroom which would allow me to arrive at the race with about 15 minutes to spare. Unfortunatley the doors on the bathroom were locked and so I had to do the porta-pottie lineup when I got there. So by the time I've finished my business there's only about 5 minutes till the race start. I wanted to get close to the start line, but it was tough to get in since they had fences around the startline and it was packed. I started walking towards the back until I saw some free space and jumped the fence and waited for the start. I was kinda expecting them to sing the national anthem with it being Canada Day and all but they didn't. Oh well.

The race starts and it takes me over a minute to cross the start line and I had much difficulty trying to get up to speed. I was weaving in and around people. The first 400m were okay since I could run on the grass and pass people but then the road goes into this chute like area with fences and there were just too many people and I had to slow down. No PR for me today. Once we past the chute, we get out onto the road with oncoming traffic, I was able to start getting up to speed again and hit the 1st km marker at 4:29 which I was surprised with since I felt like I was going much slower.

Shortly after the 1km marker, I pull up beside C who I'd met at the Scotiabank marathon last fall. I saw him at a couple of races I did last year and struck up a conversation after the marathon last year where we had both bombed at trying to go 3:10. Anyhow, I wanted to see how his running was going and slowed down to his pace. He was going much slower than he normally would. As it turns out, he had hurt his knee and was pacing a friend today. I spent about half a km chatting with him and then continued on. Hit the 2nd km marker at 4:31 which again surprised me cause I thought it would have been much slower. The surge after my brief chat sent my HR spiking. I've noticed that this seems to occur when I suddenly change pace drastically. Maybe if I had warmed up properly, this wouldn't have occurred. Anyhow, I run the entire 3rd km with HR spiking and have a 4:19 split.

Shortly after the 3km marker, the HR returns to normal. The rest of the race is pretty uneventful, pulling off of a couple of km in the 4:20's and a couple in the teens. I really tried to turn it on in the last km trying to pass as many people as I could and managed a 4:00 min km split. Finished with a final time of 43:24 with a 53s negative split. I probably could have gone faster, but with the slow first two km and then the HR spiking, I didn't want to burn myself out since I have a 5k race this weekend.

KM Lap Time Pace
1 04:29.2 07:13.2
2 04:31.2 07:16.5
3 04:18.9 06:56.7
4 04:22.9 07:03.1
5 04:26.5 07:08.9
6 04:22.6 07:02.6
7 04:14.9 06:50.2
8 04:22.6 07:02.6
9 04:16.5 06:52.8
10 03:58.7 06:24.2

Average pace was 6:59 but this was a bit off considering the first two slow kms. Chatted with Kenny after the race and jogged back to my car. I had paid $10 for parking thinking that this was going to be cheap considering today was a public holiday. Unfortunately, this would turn out to be too much. Ontario Place was offering parking in the morning at the site for only $5 and even the park which is about .5 miles from Ontario place and is normally full had hourly $1 parking which probably would have only been $2-$3 for the race. Feeling like I had been ripped off, I decided to spend a couple more hours at Ontario Place. The race kit had come with a pass to Ontario place which normally would cost $30, so to try and justify the parking cost, I decided to head back to Ontario Place. Thankfully, the $5 parking they were offering was only valid for the morning and they jacked up the price to $12 by the time I had gotten back. I kinda felt vindicated, but still ripped off.

Anyhow, the shirt is a bit weird since they had the bib number printed on it which means you had to wear it during the race which is a bit of a taboo. I really like the design of the shirt. It's supposed to be modeled after what the Canadian athletes will be wearing in Beijing at the Olympics. The shirts were a bit on the large side. I normally would wear a medium, but got the small which fit pretty good.

Also the medal was really cool. Made by the Canadian Mint (they make our coin currency), the medal was also designed (i think) to follow a Chinese theme by looking like an ancient coin. Here's a closer look.

You have to imagine that it's all shiny like a brand new quarter would be.

Happy Canada Day!