What's next?

on Sunday, May 31, 2009 at 5:07 PM

Did 4 mile recovery run on Friday and did 10.2 miles today at 8:30 pace. First couple of miles, i did at close to 8:45 pace. I've been doing all my long runs at that pace as of late to practice 3:50 marathon pace. With the pacing now behind me, i'd like to get that to between 8:00 and 8:30 in the next little while.

I have a 5k race in two weeks. I hate 5k's. I tried 3 times last year to break 20 minutes and failed miserably each time. Though I'd like to try again, i'm pretty sure the lack of quality track work the past few weeks is going to be my undoing. I'm going to try and focus on track training these next two weeks. Maybe, I'll get lucky.

I'd like to do a marathon in the fall to try and re-BQ. It's down to either the Toronto full on Oct 18 or Hamilton on November 1. I'd much prefer to do Hamilton since I haven't done it before, but the lure of being able to sleep in my own bed and eat my own food the night before is appealing.

Ottawa Marathon Pace Bunny Report

on Wednesday, May 27, 2009 at 10:06 PM

Lots to document so excuse the length. Picked up some take out pasta and drove about a quarter of the distance to Ottawa before taking a dinner break at a highway rest stop. Arrived in Ottawa just before 11pm or so.

Saturday morning had the friendship run which is sponsored by the Running Room at city hall. It's a short 2 mile run and breakfast. Pretty basic food: bagels, fruit cup, coffee and hot chocolate. Picked up my pacing kit which consisted of a shirt, sign and the bunny hat. Had the opportunity to meet several people from Running Mania who were also pacers.

Also met up with the other 3:50 pace bunny. I was doing continuous and he was doing 10 and 1's. That's me, second from the right.
After the friendship run, headed back to the hotel to change and then hit the expo to pick up my kit. They have shuttle buses that run from city hall to Landsdown park where the expo is. Picked up the kit and noticed they had free bus marathon course tours. Decided to do the bus tour thing. Though they did do the tour of the route, it was more like an actual tourist tour where they point out interesting buildings and historical facts. Glad I did it. Didn't get back to the hotel till about 4:30.

As bunnies, they also gave out free tickets to the pasta dinner which I gladly accepted. I was trying to arrange to buy a ticket before hand. You couldn't buy a ticket online only to the pasta dinner, you had to bundle it with a race entry fee, but since i wasn't paying for the race, it wouldn't let me do it. I emailed around and after some email tag and telephone calls trying to arrange payment with a credit card, the race decided to just give us free tickets. That was nice of them. Pasta dinner was at 6pm and I was there prompt and early cause with a 7am start the next morning, I had to make sure my dinner was good and digested and out of my system before race start. Chatted with a lady from Quebec and found out that she had run with me at the Niagara half last year when I paced 2 hours. Small world. Left dinner at 7pm and had to go meet up with some friends who had made dinner plans for 7:30. I thought 7:30 was a bit too late to have dinner so i just dropped by to say hi, swap some stories and have a beverage. I was back at the hotel by 9:00.

Prepared my race stuff for next morning. One benefit of staying in the overpriced "Gold" floor at the Chateau Laurier (which is the only non-suite rooms they had available when I booked) is they give you free continental breakfast. Breakfast started at 7am which wouldn't be good for me, but they did set out saran wrapped bagels the day before which helped. With that taken care of, I decided to do one last foam roll of the legs and stick my calves. I noticed that one part of my legs was really tender which had me concerned about the race. I looked it up after and it was the peroneus (fibularis) longus. This was coupled with the fact that the weather forecast was predicting temperatures of 14C at race start with the sun out in full force. I started having doubts. Anyways headed to bed at about 10:00pm. Woke up at 4:00 and ate half a bagel with some peanut butter i had taken from the friendship run and downed it with some water and gatorade. I actually wanted to eat the whole bagel, but for some reason i just felt full. I then decided to go back to sleep for an hour. I've seen that other people do this, and i've never had the opportunity to, but with my hotel being a 5 minute walk to the start line, i could afford to catch some extra rest. Woke up again at 5:30, had a shower got changed and headed out at 6:15am for the short walk to the start line. Arrived and checked my gear, used the facilities one last time. About 10 minutes before the start, I downed a gel with some water and then headed to the start line. A woman came over to me and said she was going to run the race with me. So we entered the proper corral, where i located the other 3:50 bunny and then the race starts.


Really crowded at start which helped as I usually tend to start races too fast. A lot of people had some garmin problems at the start. I was luckily able to get a satellite lock, but if you check out the Garmin Connect route below, it's pretty clear that it wasn't the greatest. I was carrying my sign and a bottle of gatorade. I had decided to run with the full bottle of gatorade at the start. As i've mentioned before, there was only one concern that I had and that was having to stop to use the restroom, but recalling my analysis of that fateful day back in 2007 when I bonked trying to BQ on a slightly warm day, i realized that it would be better to have to stop and finish a minute late then bonk and finish 10 minutes later. Thanks to Tedlee for the pic.

I passed through the first km in 5:35. I had decided to run the race with both the garmin and my Polar watch. i was going to rely on the Polar and a pace band to determine how I was doing overall, but I was going to use the Garmin for pacing. I also wanted to wear my HR monitor to see how the effort level was. During the first km, my HR spiked. Now I've done three marathons in the past with a HR monitor and though I've had HR spiking problems in training, it's never happened during the marathon. Normally during training, I would slow to a walk and eventually it would come back down, but I obviously couldn't do this in the race as a pacer so i trudged on hoping it would come back down which it did at the 6km mark. The first 5km are about on pace, slightly fast, but a net elevation loss means i'm right on target.

5k: 26:56 (8:40 min/mile) Should have been 27:15 (8:47 min/mile)

The first two km pass by parliament hill and the Supreme Court building and are quite nice, but then the route goes through Hull which is a bit of a dump. I had passed the 10:1 3:50 bunny during the first km. Technically he should have been ahead of me cause his run portion for the 10 minutes of running should have been faster than what I was doing. Ideally, we would have swapped the lead going back and forth where he would pass me on the run portion and then I would pass him on the walk portion. Well up until 8k, I was ahead of him, then during the 9th km, I see him tear ahead of me on his own. I thought that maybe he had to use the facilities and wanted to get ahead of his group, but checking the 10km split time, he was over a minute ahead of me.  I started to notice a slight twinge in my right achilles/ankle area.  It wasn't pain, just a dull ache.  I started to worry that it might get worse, but it never did.

5 to 10k: 27:21 (8:48 pace) 54:17 (should have been 54:30, -13s difference)

The course up until this point had rolling hills. This marathon course is definitely not flat. So we leave Hull and then move into what was probably my favourite part of the course. We ran by the prime ministers and governor general's residence and then through Rockliffe which has a lot of really nice homes. People were out in full force cheering and the tree cover provided some needed relief from the sun.

10 to 15k: 27:06 (8:43 pace) 1:21:23 (1:21:45, -22s)

Coming up to 15k, there's a bit of a stretch out in the open. I had some problems holding up the sign at this point cause the sign would act as a bit of a sail and there was quite a bit of wind. I kept the sign close to my body while occasionally sticking it up in the air to let people know where I was. All the while, the km are ticking by. I had a pretty good group of people with me. It was hard to know for sure since I was running continuously. When you're doing 10:1's, it's easy to see how big a group you have when you take a walk break cause everyone's walking with you.

15 to 20k: 27:19 (8:48 pace) 1:48:42 (1:49:00, 18s)

I hit the half mark at 1:54:31 or 29s ahead and on pace for a 3:49 marathon. I was pretty happy with this. I had personally been burned by bunnies going out too fast and I was determined not to let this happen here. Now after the half mark, the race then proceeds back onto the main roads of Ottawa and away from tree cover. As the sun was now out in full force, it was starting to get warm.

20k to 25k: 27:12 (8:45 pace) 2:15:55 (2:16:15, -21s)

Somewhere around the 23k mark, I made the decision to toss my 3:50 pace sign which I did at a water station. I had been carrying the thing for more than a half marathon and with my gatorade bottle running low on fluids, I knew that I was going to have to start relying more on the aid stations, grabbing 2 to 3 cups at a time. The crowd around me had thinned out enough that I didn't think people would have difficulty seeing the bunny ears to know where I was. I probably should have announced that i was going to toss the sign, as i bunch of people starting asking me whether i was bailing on the 3:50. Nope. Just getting sick of carrying the sign I said.

25 to 30k: 27:23 (8:49 pace) 2:43:17 (2:43:30, -13s)

Between 25 and 30k, I finally caught up to the 10:1 3:50 pace group during one of their walk breaks. The other pacer had started out a bit fast and was slowing down. Unfortunatley, when the other group started running again and passed me, most of my group left me for the other one so that I was basically running alone. :( From this point on, we would trade the lead back and forth though I think most people ended up appeciating the walk breaks more so they stuck with the other group.

30 to 35k: 27:13 (8:46 pace) 3:10:31 (3:10:45, -15 s)

I ended up emptying and tossing my gatorade bottle shortly after the 31k mark, relying solely on the aid stations and gels. In total, I started with 4 gels, but only took 2 total in the end. Can't remember exactly where, but I only ate half a gel at a time with a couple of gulps of water. At this point, things were getting tough. They had a couple of stations where they would hand out sponges with cold water in them. These things were great. I found out that squeezing water onto my quads gave them a refreshing breather, so much so that I would end up spilling water on my legs at the remaining aid stations. Around the 34k mark is a bit of an overpass on Heron Rd. affectionally called the "Heron Hump". This was a really tough climb for me trying to maintain pace as there was a full on head wind uphill. My HR hit the highest point in the race and this was my slowest km. I probably couldn't have gone much faster if I had tried. I didn't check, but i wouldn't have been surprised if I lost everyone that was running with me here.

35 to 40k: 27:24 (8:49 pace) 3:37:55 (3:38:01, -5s)

The distance between 35 and 40k was pretty tough mentally. I was pretty sure that I could maintain the pace, but I was just starting to wish that the race was over. In my mind, I was counting down the km and minutes to when it would be over. For the first time in the race, I was conciously trying to run the tangents. This was moreso to prevent me from losing time as I figured I had only about 10-15s in the bank. Around the 38k mark is when the half marathoners merge with the full course. Though there was a lot more energy with all the additional runners, it was also sort of demoralizing because all these people were streaming past us on fresher legs. The crowd support I have to say was pretty good at this point.

The last 2.2 kms i ran pretty evenly. I had 5s banked at 40k and I wanted to maintain that through to the end which I did crossing at 3:49:56, 4s under where I should have been.

It was hard to know if anyone gunning for 3:50 crossed the line with me. There were a lot of half marathoners around, so it was hard to know who was doing the full and the half. I ended up looking through the split times after and there were two people who were with me through the 10k, half and 30k split times who would end up finishing within 2 minutes of me. I think that was the closest anyone came to sticking with me for the whole race. One of these people was the woman who had found me at the beginning of the race and said she was going to run with me. She ended up thanking me afterwards while I was waiting in line for food.

The peroneus (fibularis) longus tenderness that I was experiencing the night before never materializerd though it was still quite tender both before and after the race.  Guess I don't use it that much when I run.

So for all you non-math people, ignore the next little part cause these are the stats. i missed a couple of the markers. If you're interested in the ottawa marathon route, you can see it in my Garmin Connect Route.

km Lap Time Time Diff km Lap Time Time Diff
1 05:34.5 0:05:35 +00:08 22 10:38.2 1:59:21 -00:34
2 05:08.9 0:10:43 -00:11 24 11:01.1 2:10:22 -00:27
3 05:21.5 0:16:05 -00:16 25 05:33.0 2:15:55 -00:21
4 05:26.5 0:21:31 -00:17 26 05:28.0 2:21:23 -00:20
5 05:24.8 0:26:56 -00:19 27 05:30.9 2:26:54 -00:16
6 05:20.0 0:32:16 -00:26 28 05:28.4 2:32:22 -00:14
7 05:31.8 0:37:48 -00:21 29 05:30.1 2:37:52 -00:11
8 05:33.9 0:43:22 -00:14 30 05:25.4 2:43:17 -00:13
9 05:22.7 0:48:45 -00:19 31 05:26.8 2:48:44 -00:13
10 05:32.3 0:54:17 -00:13 32 05:21.3 2:54:06 -00:19
11 05:22.1 0:59:39 -00:18 33 05:25.6 2:59:31 -00:20
12 05:30.0 1:05:09 -00:15 34 05:37.9 3:05:09 -00:09
13 05:31.6 1:10:41 -00:11 35 05:21.5 3:10:31 -00:15
14 05:16.2 1:15:57 -00:21 37 10:46.3 3:21:17 -00:23
15 05:25.7 1:21:23 -00:23 38 05:34.9 3:26:52 -00:15
16 05:32.4 1:26:55 -00:17 39 05:30.7 3:32:22 -00:11
17 05:26.8 1:32:22 -00:18 40 05:32.8 3:37:55 -00:05
18 05:36.1 1:37:58 -00:08 41 05:25.9 3:43:21 -00:06
19 05:15.5 1:43:13 -00:20 42 05:26.0 3:48:47 -00:07
20 05:29.1 1:48:42 -00:18 42.2 01:06.8 3:49:54 -00:06

5k split pace
5k 26:56.2 08:40.2
10k 27:20.7 08:48.1
15k 27:05.6 08:43.2
20k 27:19.9 08:47.8
25k 27:12.3 08:45.4
30k 27:22.8 08:48.8
35k 27:13.1 08:45.6
40k 27:24.7 08:49.4

So I had a couple of people come up to me after the race and thank me. In hindsight, I probably should have been a bit more motivating during the race. It would have been nice to be able to carry at least one person with me the whole way. I do much of my training alone, so talking while I run is not something i do very often. Oh well.

One thing with my pacing was I ended up winning the pace bunny prize for coming closest to my time without going over. I ended up winning a 2 lb bag of carrots and a chocolate easter bunny. Yah! Though I told them to donate it to a local food bank cause it seemed like a waste to spend more money on shipping the stuff to me then the stuff was actually worth.

So had lots of fun. Though, I'm not certain I would want to pace a full again. I don't mind pacing halfs since I run that distance at that pace almost every week on my long run. Running 26 miles even at a slow pace on the other hand is something I only do during a marathon race and it still hurts after like I had raced it. I probably would be thinking differently if it wasn't so warm during the race. I was definitely dehydrated afterwards and suffering in the last few km's.

I really like the medal. It's a double spinner.The maple leaf spins independently from the inner ring which spins independently from the outer ring.

Here are some additional pictures from after the race from around Parliament Hill.


4 days and counting

on Wednesday, May 20, 2009 at 10:52 PM

Did 6 miles recovery on Tuesday at recovery pace. I did 7 miles today with 2 miles at around 7:35 min/mile which is where I think my marathon pace should be based on my HR. To be honest, I don't think i could maintain that for 26.2 miles at this time. As I'll only need to average 8:47 pace this weekend, I hope there's enough of a buffer there.

So on the injury front, my knee still has a smallish scrape on it. I took off the fancy bandage I had and replaced it with a regular band-aid. The fancy bandage supposedly keeps the wound from scabbing by keeping the area moist. At this point, it's healed up sufficiently that I don't mind a small area scabbing up. I think it's more important that i be able to run on Sunday without a bandage.

Second issue is that my new Saucony Omni Grid 6's that I've been trying to break in have been giving me blisters on the side of my left big toe. I noticed it a few weeks ago when I ran the Mississauga half. When I change shoes, it doesn't blister, but when I put the Sucony's on, it blisters again in the same spot. I felt around in the inside of the shoe, but didn't notice anything out of the ordinary. I've never had problems with blisters so this is new to me. I'm going to buy some body glide and see what the drug store has to cover up blisters. Worse case scenerio, I go back to my previous shoes, but I'm kinda worried about them cause the last time i used them I had achilles and calf problems which basically tell me that they were done.

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that I signed up for the lottery for the NYC marathon and didn't get in which is good as i didn't really want to run it this year. I just wanted to start the ball rolling on the 3 strikes and you're in policy, but sometimes it doesn't work the way you planned. Yumke got in on his second try and he didn't want to. As it is right now, he's scheduled to do 3 marathons in 3 weeks in the fall. Hard core!

Week so far

on Saturday, May 16, 2009 at 9:20 AM

Tuesday: Did little over 8 miles with 8 strides thrown in.

Wednesday: Did 8 miles with 3 of them @7min/mile pace. Was supposed to do 3x1600m at 5k pace but i don't want to cram in too much speed at this point. I have a 5k race in the middle of June and I should probably start working in repeats after Ottawa.

Friday: Did 5 miles recovery. Didn't get back from run until after 11pm. Though running at recovery heart rate, pace was under 9 min/mile which is probably a result of it being cool outside.

So marathon is next Sunday. Look at the weather forecasts for the week has been interesting. A couple of days ago, they were predicting highs of 26C for race day. Yikes! Now its a high of 18C which is a little more reasonable though still a bit warm for someone that's been running in sub 10C weather for the past few months.

Looks like i'm driving to ottawa next week. i was torn between flying and driving. Flying has less hassles and i don't have to sit in a car for 5 hours each way, but with driving I can bring more stuff and can come and go as i please. In the end, the bringing more stuff with me won out. I can bring my foam roller and stick which wouldn't make it past security in my carry-on. Also, with the more space, i can bring my tripod which will allow me to get some nice night time pictures of Parliament Hill. Here's one from a few years ago.

So i still have a bandage on my knee. The bandage is supposed to be left on as long as possible. I'm going to take it off on Monday morning if it lasts till then. I can't fully bend my knee because of it and i haven't been able to stretch one of my quads which means there's a bit of an imbalance in my stretching routine. My one leg is more flexible than the other. Probably not good.

12 miles tomorrow. I was thinking of driving downtown to run by the lake, but it's looking to be quite cool and windy. Will probably do it up here.

Mississauga half report

on Monday, May 11, 2009 at 9:58 PM

Hmm, what do i have to say about the race? I've done the half course three times previously and done the full twice. I set out to do this in 1:55 which is the pace i need to hold for a 3:50 full. Just for future google reference for anyone that takes the 403 to Square One on race morning, do not exit at Hurontario St. as it'll take you forever to get into the parking lot. I made this mistake for two years when it took me 45 minutes to get from the offramp to a parking space. Exit at Mavis Rd and get onto Rathburn and approach Square One from the south. Much faster.

So race starts, as usual, I started out too fast and hit the first km at 5:09 when it should have been 5:27. Was able to settle down though. Clicked through the k's steadily, though with each passing km, the need to use a porta potty would increase. I spent most of the race trying to figure out if I could hold it till the end. They seemed to only have the odd PP setup through the course and it always was occupied. Just after the 19km mark, there was a bank of about 6 or 7 PP, all of which were empty and I considered this a sign from above that I wouldn't make it to the end without an "incident" so I took my bathroom break. After leaving, I was well behind schedule so I decided to race to the end and try and pass as many people as i could. I forgot to hit the stop button on my garmin at the end, so I don't have a pace for the last km. I do recall seeing a 4:06/km average pace when i glanced at the garmin at some point. Finish time of 1:54:10.

Stuck around the finish line to see Yumke finish. I wasn't sure if he was trying for a BQ so I wanted to wait in the offchance he was. I got all nostalgic when 3:11:09 rolled around on the race clock since that was my gun time when i crossed that same finish line last year. Saw Kenny cross at around 3:25 and then also got to witness a forumite from running mania cross the finish line who was going for a BQ (which she got!).

BTW, I ran this race with a bandage on my scrapped knee and suprisingly the thing stayed on for the whole race. I was walking around all funny prior to the race trying to keep the thing from falling off and it looks like i didn't need to cause the thing was not coming off anyways!

Learning Lessons

on Thursday, May 7, 2009 at 11:48 PM

One lesson I learned while training in the winter was to take turns with extreme caution. Having wiped out several times while making turns, i learned to slow down to an almost complete stop before making a turn. The couple of seconds lost is more than made up for by the certainty of not doing a face plant. With the winter all but a distant memory, I headed out this morning for a short 5 mile recovery run in the rain. Got through almost the whole run without incident, but on the final turn for home, having forgotten lessons learned from winter training, i tried to take a corner without slowing down and I wiped out. Right knee was scraped and has road rash on it. Covered it up with a type of band-aid I haven't seen before and am hoping that it can heal to a point that I can still do the half on the weekend without having to have a dressing on it.

Lesson learned.

BTW, I did 8 miles on Wednesday including some 600m VO2Max repeats. Also did a couple at LT pace. The calf I think is on its way to recovery. It's feeling a tad looser now and I have been doing ultrasonic stuff on it and sticking and foam rolling it.

Wellsphere Spam

on Monday, May 4, 2009 at 9:20 PM

Feel hounoured now that I've received the Wellsphere email inviting me to become a part of the Wellsphere Health Network. Of course, they probably send this message out to everyone who has an email address posted on their blog.

For those that don't know, Wellsphere is a company who resyndicates content written by others. They send out an email praising your blog and content with the hopes of getting you to sign up with them. By agreeing to their terms, you basically allow them to resell anything you've written. Of course, none of that money will go to you. They say that you still own your own content which i suppose is technically true, but you end up granting them a "a royalty-free, paid-up, non-exclusive, worldwide, license to use, reproduce, distribute, create derivative works of, publicly perform and publicly display your Health Blogger Content..." which means you are giving them free use of your content and allowing them to do whatever they want with anything you've written. It's almost as if you are making them a co-owner of your content.

Be aware.


on Sunday, May 3, 2009 at 10:24 PM

Did 20.4 miles today. The last time I did a 20 mile training run was about a month ago and I didn't carboload or water load and was able to do the whole thing at faster than my expected marathon pace for Ottawa. So with that and my relative ease at doing 26.2 miles two weeks ago, I was thinking that todays run would be but a formality and i thought I would try to do the no carboload or water load thing again. Things didn't go quite as planned. I didn't head out until 3:30 or so and it was about 15C. My previous runs had been done in very cool weather and today i ended up working up quite the sweat. First half I did at about 9min/mile pace. During the second half, my left achilles tendon started to get sore and I ended up walking portions. Second half with the walking averaged 10min/mile.

So i'm hoping that todays little set back was not a symptom of a larger problem. I don't think my body has quite adapted to the warmer weather which caused me to be dehydrated which when combined with the not eating or drinking thing led to a crappy run. I also tried to get back to 50 miles this week when I did all of 13 miles the week before. Probably not too smart either. Lastly, i've been negligent in my stretching as of late which means my calves are getting tight which causes a bunch of other things to be thrown out of whack. Easily fixed.

What this does mean is that I won't do the 10k race next weekend. I haven't been doing any track intervals lately and I'm probably ill prepared to crank out 6 miles at a sub LT effort and only risk getting injured, plus i don't think i would be able to PR anyways. I am still looking to sign up for the half to practise the pacing in a crowd. I'm just balking at the $75 price tag right now.

Weight gain.

on Saturday, May 2, 2009 at 4:39 PM

My weight as of late has dropped. I've noticed in the past that right after a marathon I'm usually a few pounds lighter and Boston was no exception. I'm hovering at around 140 pounds when normally i would be around 143. I consumed a Costco bag worth of of M&M's this past week and thought i would probably put on some pounds, but nothing yet. Maybe because the rest of my diet has been pretty poor trying to compensate for the increase in calories. No more junk food until after Ottawa.

Did 10.2 miles on Friday and averaged about 8:35 pace and did 4.1 miles today at recovery pace.

Changed the battery in my Polar HR monitor today. I've been getting weird measurements on it as of late. Sometimes it works fine, other days, it's very finicky. The manual says that if i use it for an hour a day, it should last about two years. I think i changed it last a little over a year ago. The run today had no problems; will have to see how the 20 miler tomorrow goes. It may have only lasted a year cause I used a cheap Radio Shack battery that probably doesn't pack much juice. i ended up buying a Sony battery from the local watch jeweler this time that should hopefully last longer.