Around the Bay Race Report

on Tuesday, March 31, 2009 at 7:04 PM

Woke up in the morning and the weather was not too nice. It was pouring rain when I left the hotel. Headed over the Copps Coliseum (hockey rink, former future home of the Nashville Predators) to meet up with some of the Running Maniacs. With about 15 minutes to go, I headed outside and was standing under an overhang trying to get a garmin lock and thinking I was crazy to run 30km in this weather. I positioned myself just ahead of the 2:45 pace bunny and then we were off. Plan was for 5:27 /km

First 10km splits are as follows:

1 05:12.1
6 05:23.2
2 05:17.4
7 05:17.1
3 05:15.8
8 05:20.6
4 05:28.0
9 05:20.4
5 05:24.1
10 05:25.9

So most of the first 10 km were too fast and I had built up about 1 minute of banked time by the end of 10km. I was trying to slow down, but everyone was passing me including the 2:45 pace group which didn't make sense. They would stay ahead of me for almost the entire race. I think I ended up passing them for good at about the 26 or 27km mark. Anyhow after 10km I really needed to stop for a pee break. I hadn't drank that much in the morning, maybe a glass of water with my morning bagel and another glass to wash down a gel about 10 minutes before the start of the race. But I had drunken quite a bit the day before. Had a beer with Yumke the night before, but probably over compensated trying to dilute the alcohol that evening and was paying for it now as I really had to go. Not knowing where the portapotties would be, I spotted a garbage dumpster with some people doing their business behind it and ended up joining them. Not sure why I ran the little loop there. Guess it wasted a little bit of time. It was only a very brief stop, a splash and dash, i guess.

I continue on my way, trying to maintain even splits but I was having some problems with the garmin. The rain was constantly causing the garmin to toggle away from the pace screen because of the touch sensitive bezel and I had a hard time bringing back the right screens. I eventually ended up using the lock feature to disable the bezel and then things starting working better.

11 05:47.3
16 04:57.2
12 05:19.1
17 05:52.9
13 05:24.4
18 05:29.5
14 05:26.3
19 05:39.0
15 05:52.1
20 06:41.0

So it would turn out that the splash and dash wasn't quite enough as I started to feel the need to go again at about the 15 km mark. For the next couple of km I would be looking for a place to go but we were cruising through some pretty nice residential areas and I'm sure they wouldn't have liked someone relieving themselves on their property. Finally just before the 20km mark, the relay exchange station appeared where a whole slew of portapotties materialized and one of them was empty. I lost about 1.5 minutes, but it was worth it.

Now the extended break had put me about a minute behind pace and so I spent the next two km trying to get back on pace. Unluckily for me this was on a portion that went up, then down and then up again. I kicked it up a notch to get back some time. By the time I hit the 23 km mark, I was only 1 second behind pace.

21 04:52.7
22 05:10.7
23 05:25.1
24 05:25.2

I thought that if I could maintain this pace, I would be good to the end, but the pace started to get faster again. Around the 26km mark is where this big hill is. You approach it from across the river and you get a direct visual line on what the climb is going to be and it's sort of daunting in the distance and it looks like quite the climb. I put in a moderate effort going up the hill and took my camera out in order to get a pic of the grim reaper cause this is where I thought he was going to be. After all it makes sense to have him at the top of the big hill. Nope. Instead, I was treated to a guy dressed in a superman costume. Even better! I wanted to take more pictures during the race, but it was raining so much that I didn't want to risk getting my camera phone any wetter than it already was.

25 05:16.7
26 05:26.2
27 05:08.1
28 06:22.2
29 04:39.1
30 05:20.8

So finally did get a picture of the reaper and his sidekick between the 27 and 28 km mark. He stands just outside of a cemetery and has little signs by the road inviting people to rest. He's been a bit of a tradition in the race and it started many years ago. BTW, I think the 28 km marker was long and the 29 one was short as the time for the splits was way off. So ended up finishing at a leisurely pace and the final time was 2:43 flat.

Video tour of route

My Garmin route

So learned a couple of things. Have to remember to start off slower at the beginning. I can run with a camera phone. I was thinking of trying to do this during Boston. I still am not sure if it will be possible. The rain at this race actually helped a bit because it forced me to wear a jacket which had a whole bunch of zippered pockets which is easy to store a camera in. I have a 10 mile race this upcoming weekend and I think I'll try to run with it again but using a holster instead. I tried running this with a bottle of gatorade, but realized fairly early on that I didn't need it as the slower pace did not cause me to exert myself in a manner that required lots of fluid intake. Though this could also be due to the fact that it was very wet. Overall, I had fun and enjoyed myself. The race was a bit fast, but did provide good pacing experience for me.

ATB 2009 Done.

on Sunday, March 29, 2009 at 10:36 PM

Short story is that I did the Around the Bay 30k road race in 2:43:00. I was aiming for 2:43:30 which is the pace that would be necessary to do a 3:50 marathon so you might think it was a successful pacing effort, but my splits were all over the place including two bathroom breaks. Longer story to come...

Setting up for ATB

on Friday, March 27, 2009 at 10:34 PM

Went back to the Nike sale today. Took another look at the shoes. It wasn't too much of a zoo today. I ended up picking up a pair for $50. The couple of shoes I looked at yesterday had these really funky colour schemes. This pair wasn't too bad. The forefoot of these things actually has the nike free treads but I don't think I could run in them cause the back part of the soles looks to be made of some really cheapo plastic/rubber. They look cool though. This picture doesn't quite do it justice. You can read and see more about them here.

As for the 30k race this weekend. I'll be doing it at my expected pace for a 3:50 marathon of approximately 8:47 pace or 5:27/km. Hope to try and maintain a consistent pace through the whole thing. It's supposed to be rainy and windy so that's not looking too good. But hey if I can pace properly through that then it should be no problem come May.

Week in Review

Did 8 miles on Tuesday. From past experience, my first run after a marathon pace run tends to be pretty crappy and it was on this day. Most of this was done at recovery pace. It was cool but not windy so i headed over to the track to do some pacing tests. I usually do these a couple of times a year too see where my fitness is at where I try to maintain a HR of 150 and see how long it takes me to do a lap. On this day, it was just under 9:00 min/mile

Did 8 miles on Wednesday. This was the first VO2Max session for this training program. 5x600m at 5k pace. I wanted to aim for 6:40 pace for these, did the first one at 6:11 pace. That hurt. The remaining ones I did between 6:30 and 6:35 pace. These were tough. Did not feel very fluid while doing these.

Did 5.4 miles on Thursday at about 9:45 pace. This was a recovery run.

Picked up some new running clothes yesterday. The building I work in houses Nike's headquarters for Canada and they will about once a year throw a sale where they try to get rid of all the samples that they gather over the year. A couple of years ago, you could get some great deals. I bought a $100 watch for $15 a while back. Usually the sizes are limited. The past couple of years, it's been more of a "sell whatever crap no once else wants" kind of sale. This year it was a bit more organized and they had quite a bit of stuff. There wasn't a lot of running stuff. They had leftover technical shirts from the Nike human race which I think must have been from Vancouver since that was the only Canadian city to host that race last year. I did pick up a pair of tights, some shorts, a sleeveless-T and a long sleeved top. Spent $90. They had shoes, but no running shoes. I was hoping to get another pair of Nike Frees, but no luck.

Windy Marathon Pace Run

on Sunday, March 22, 2009 at 9:35 PM

Did 6 miles recovery which included 6 strides yesterday.

Did 15.5 miles today with 11.75 miles at marathon pace. Did this downtown by the waterfront. You can see details of the run here. I wasn't sure what marathon pace to try for this time around. My run on Wednesday had me thinking that 7:30 pace might be possible. In the end, I stuck by the HR method which I've used successfully in the past which required me to keep the HR below 170. The MP portion averaged 7:47 pace. I don't think i could have gone much faster or farther. I was definitely pooped after this run. There was a strong wind coming from the north and even though I was running east/west, i would occasionally get a glancing blow from the wind. This pace is consistent with my training in 2006 where I averaged 7:45 pace or so for this run at this point in training leading up to a 3:17 marathon.

So it's now less than 30 days till Boston. It still hasn't quite settled in. I haven't even booked my flight yet. I tried seeing if I could get a ticket using points but all the low points seats are gone. Looks like I'm going to have to purchase tickets which I should probably do soon.

Next weekend is the Around the Bay Road Race. I was able to get a hotel room at the host hotel which is right by the start line so that should be convenient. Until now, I was considering that rather than stay overnight I would drive out there on Saturday to pick up my bib, return home and then again on Sunday morning for the race. One potential issue I have is that when I signed up for ATB, i had forgotten that I have tickets to the Raptors game that afternoon which basically requires me to leave right after the race. With the host hotel so close to the start line, I'm worried that the streets won't be opened and i'll be stuck in Hamilton for a while.


on Thursday, March 19, 2009 at 9:11 PM

Did 6 miles recovery today at 9:37 pace. It was nice and cool and no wind.

Did 14.3 miles on Wednesday at overall pace of 8:40. I've been listening to podcasts on my runs for the past few weeks. A couple of weeks ago, I basically downloaded the latest podcast for all of the running podcasts on iTunes which amounted to over 20 hours worth of listening. I had to purge my portable mp3 player of all its music to fit the stuff on there. Well yesterday morning, I checked and noticed that I only have two more podcasts left which amounted to aabout 1.25 hours worth of time. Realizing that I had over 2 hours worth of running, I ended up just dragging a bunch of songs from itunes to my mp3 player but didn't realize that itunes stores it's music in a strange format that my Zen Stone doesn't read. Basically of the songs I copied over, only two were in mp3 format which basically meant that after the podcasts were over, I had to listen to the same two songs over and over again. But to tell you the truth, it wasn't as bad as you might think as these songs made me run quite a bit faster as you can see in the paces and HR.

Lap Lap Time
Lap Lap Time
1 10:00.8
9 08:44.5
2 09:21.2
10 08:16.6
3 09:33.1
11 08:01.9
4 09:10.8
12 07:55.1
5 09:05.0
13 08:07.7
6 08:33.1
14 07:54.4
7 08:40.8
15 01:43.9
8 08:44.1

Songs were

Africa (cover)- Karl Wolf

and Don't Stop the Music - Rihanna

My turnover went up quite a bit when these songs started playing and I started nailing 8 min/mile pace and it actually felt quite comfortable. I ran these songs through BPM Analyzer and the Africa song has a BPM of 93 which when doubled gets to 186 and the other song is 123, but when you factor in a 3-2 foot strike comes to 185, so the two songs are actually quite close and provide a pattern very close to the optimum of 180.

On a side note, one thing I like to do is listen to covers of songs on youtube. There are quite a few talented people out there, here's a pretty good cover of the Rihanna song.


on Tuesday, March 17, 2009 at 9:43 PM

Bib numbers for the Boston marathon came out today. No, I'm not one of those obsessive compulsive people who check the Boston website every day to see if the numbers have been published. Thankfully there are a bunch of people on the Runner's World forum that are that way, though I will admit to checking the RW forums to see if anyone else has posted that the numbers are up. I suppose that's just as bad. Anyhow, the whole reason this was of interest was there was a contest to see who could come closest to predicting their bib number. These numbers are handed out sequentially based on qualifying time. Based on previous years entries, I knew that I would be in the 5000's and the number 8 is a lucky number in chinese and so i chose two of those and then to make the number look symetrical, I decided on 5588 which wasn't too far off my actual number of 5505. Still there are a lot of others who were closer.

So this morning I did 6 miles recovery at about 9:35 pace. Did these in the new Asics (BTW I did my 20 mile long run in my old shoes). My longest mid week run of 14 miles is tomorrow and I'll probably do that in my old shoes and then switch over to the Asics for good this weekend. Those shoes should carry me through to Boston and to the taper for the Ottawa marathon where I will then switch to a new pair of my old shoes.

Great day for a run

on Sunday, March 15, 2009 at 9:33 PM

Had 20 miles on the schedule for today. Normally for 20 miles, there's a 10.2 mile route that I would normally do twice around where I live. I've done this route for the last couple of long runs and it also makes up part of the mid-week general aerobic runs that I've been doing lately. Needless to say, that route is getting very boring. It was such a nice day that I headed downtown to run by the lake. Wore knee-length shorts and a short sleeve shirt underneath a long sleeve MEC thermal shirt which turned out to be just about perfect for the weather. Wish I had brought my camera as there were a couple of pictures that I would have like to have taken.

One logistics problem I had was that the water fountains haven't been turned on yet and there really isn't a good place to buy anything to drink around the 10 mile mark so I tried stashing a drink bottle along the route. I had to drive a bit out of my way to hide the bottle which I did behind a recycling bin. I ended up using a poweraid bottle which has a tamper proof wrapping at the cap since I was afraid that someone might pick it up, open it up and spit/pee in it and then put it back. Yes, I'm paranoid. Anyhow that worked out well. Not sure if this would work in the summer time as i'm sure there would be more traffic around and more likely that someone would see the bottle.

Route can be seen here. I've been using Running Ahead's website this past week and have found that it's much more usable and offers more features than Garmin Connect. I averaged 8:40 pace for 20.3 or so miles. Had some HR monitor problems at the start, but eventually it started working. Tried to keep the HR at just below 160 or so. So a rough estimate is that at a HR of 160 I seem to be able to hold a pace of about 8:30. Looking back at my info from last year, i could maintain 8:30 pace at a HR of 150 and this was in the middle of the summer. I wonder how long it will take me to get back to that point?


on Saturday, March 14, 2009 at 2:21 PM

Did 11 miles on Friday with about 6 miles at an LT pace of 7:18 pace. I ran into the HR spiking problem which has plagued me in the past and it was hard to get a judge of effort level. Maybe I could have gone faster, don't really know. Did these again around the track which is good for helping me maintain a constant pace, but I'd like to get back to do my shopping mall LT route since that's got some small hills in it to keep me honest. Won't be able to do that until the huge piles of snow have melted. Next LT is scheduled for end of March so hopefully mother nature will warm things up soon.

Did 6 miles recovery today at about 9:45 pace. I tried the new Asics shoes again today. This is the third time I've run in them. The soles of my feet don't hurt as much as they did the first time I used them, but I'm noticing that a bunch of other muscles in my legs are starting to get sore. I'm uncertain if it's the new shoes or if it's that my older shoes have worn out or if it's because i'm approaching 55 miles/week threshold again which has given me issues in the past or whether its a combination of all of them. Either way 20 miles is on the scheudle for tomorrow. What shoes to wear? Maybe I'll flip a coin...

Airport Run

on Wednesday, March 11, 2009 at 11:33 PM

So on Tuesday I did 6 miles at a slow pace which include 6 strides and this morning I did 12 miles. With the recent switchover to daylight savings time, running in the morning is a bit of a drag. Last week, it would be bright enough in the morning that I could see where I was going , but not this week. It was raining a bit this morning which didn't help things. I plodded along today at a fairly conservative pace of 9:20 and a low HR. It was just too dark and dreary and my legs are sore in a couple of places. I think I will have to do most of my GA and long runs slower than I have cause i think my body is rebelling a bit to the ongoing increases in mileage.

I signed up for the Pearson 5k race on June 13. The run takes place on one of the runways at Pearson International Airport. They had the first one last year and I wanted to sign up for it, but it sold out pretty quick. I had thought that it was only going to be a one time event, so I'm glad they brought it back.

11 weeks to go

on Sunday, March 8, 2009 at 5:32 PM

18 miles done today at about 8:50 pace. I'm a bit fearful of these every increasing long run's cause it's been a while since I've run this long. I'm always afraid of bonking. Last couple of miles were a bit tough. My HR monitor gave me some problems towards the end. Also I had some strange pains in my shin areas. Kinda like the pains that have bugged me in the past, so I have to keep my eye on them. This was a 50.9 mile week. Next week is supposed to be a 54 mile week which includes the first of three 20 milers.

I noticed this past week in a thread on Runner's World that Pfitz released a new edition of his book Advanced Marathoning. I'm following one of his plans now and some of you out there in blogland are or have in the past also. I'm not sure it's worth buying again. Someone posted the differences in the 18/55 training plan which is the one I'm following and it seems that they've added an additional marathon pace run and made a few minor tweaks here and there. There's supposed to be additional information in the book, but I'm not sure how useful it might be.

New Shoes

on Saturday, March 7, 2009 at 7:49 PM

Did 7 miles @ recovery pace which included 8 strides. It was supposed to be a General Aerobic run, but I tried out a new pair of shoes today, Asics 2130. These have been in my closet since I bought them at the Napa marathon expo a little over a year ago. Anyhow, my feet didn't adjust to them that well and the soles of my feet were aching quite a bit during the run, so i couldn't really run much faster than a slow recovery pace. Probably averaged about 9:40min/miles or so. Strides felt a bit weird cause the shoes felt like they were going to come flying off. I have to look a bit closer at the lacing. I'll do my recovery runs in these things for the next few weeks which should hopefully give me enough time to adapt.

Free Shoes

on Thursday, March 5, 2009 at 9:00 PM

Did 4 miles recovery yesterday and 11.3 miles today at about 8:40 pace overall, though the last 8 miles or so were done at faster than 8:30 pace. -6C this morning. HR seems lower than it normally has been. I had wanted to do this at about 8:45 pace which is the expected marathon pace for a 3:50 marathon which is what I'm aiming for in Ottawa, but the pace kept speeding up. Based on the HR and paces, I seem to be fitness-wise where I was at this point in the training schedule leading up to a 3:17 marathon in 2006.

I received an email offering a free pair New Balance shoes in exchange for a link to a NB online store and a review. It seems legitimate since I've seen a few posts from people giving reviews about the NB shoes they've receive, however i don't think they realize that I'm up here in Canada since their store says they don't ship to Canada. Oh well. NB shoes were my first real pair of running shoes and it would have been nice to try them again.

It's really cold

on Tuesday, March 3, 2009 at 11:04 PM

Not quite -19C this morning, but still pretty cold at -16C. 10 miles with 5 @ LT pace on the schedule. Alarm went off at 5:45, but laid in bed for half an hour trying to convince myself it would be better to do it later. Finally rolled out of bed, put my winter stuff on and headed out. A t-shirt, a long sleeve shirt, a second thermal long sleeve shirt and a fleece shell. two pairs of gloves and a winter toque, thermal underwear and running pants.

Did three mile warmup to the track where i started into it. We haven't gotten a lot of snow lately and the sun has been out a lot. I had assumed that the track would be clear since most of the snow everywhere else is gone, but one end of the track still had some snow and ice on it. Had to do some careful navigating at that end. Was supposed to do 20 laps, but ended up with 21. I seem to always lose count and either do one too many, or not enough. This ended up being 5.2 miles at an average pace of 7:15min/mile. Then did one additional lap at recovery and then did the one mile jog home. My water bottle ended up freezing half way through the tempo run. Even with my fancy bottle with the kicker valve and me constantly shaking it, the water froze solid in the top part of the bottle after 45 minutes. Next time, i think i'll have to use gatorade since it should have a lower freezing point.

So it seems I 'm starting to get faster. This was slightly faster and slightly longer than the LT run I did 2 weeks ago, but this is still a long ways off from when i could average this pace over an entire marathon.

It's cold

on Monday, March 2, 2009 at 7:57 PM

Did 12.1 miles outside yesterday for my recovery week long run. Nice and sunny but quite cold at -10C and windy. Bundled up pretty good and felt good after a few warm up miles. Overall pace was at 8:58. First three miles were @9:26 pace and the last 9.1 miles @ 8:50 pace. When I got home I noticed my reflection in a window showing me that I had icicles hanging down from the sides of my toque. I was so surprised by them and how foolish i looked that I knocked them off right away. I wish I had gotten a picture first to remind me whenever I want to wuss out of a run.

It looks like I may get a chance to get that picture tomorrow though cause the temperature predicted for 6am tomorrow is -19C without the wind chill which is when i would normally head out for a morning run. At least there's no snow, like some parts of the NE US are getting. Just have to convince myself that getting out won't be so bad...