Weeks in review

on Thursday, July 30, 2009 at 11:23 PM

So i have two weeks to go back and review. These are just some random thoughts about my training that I have for future reference.

July 21: 10.2 miles. (8:24 pace) Did in the evening

July 22: 6 miles including some VO2Max repeats at the track.

July 24: 5k race

July 25: 6 miles recovery

July 26: 11.3 miles

July 28: 9.3 miles including 3 miles at LT pace. Had wanted to do 5 miles at LT pace but bonked pretty bad. Was very dehydrated. Temperature was only about 18C, but that's actually quite warm for early in the morning for around here. Not quite used to the temperature yet.

July 30: 10.2 miles including 5 miles at LT pace. Wanted to repeat the LT run that I had bombed on Tuesday. This went much better as I was well hydrated and it was 14C at the start. I also consumed a gel before heading out. Averaged 6:59 min/mile for the 5 miles, but these were a bit all over the place being 7:03, 6:50, 7:06, 7:02, 6:55.

This week is week 7 of the marathon training program I'm on. I'm supposed to only be on week 5 in order to target a November 1st marathon. This means that in order to sync back up properly that I will have to repeat 2 weeks of training. I think that this week which is going to be a bit short for total mileage is probably a good week to do again next week. It will also allow me to sync up the week 9 marathon pace run that Pftiz's plan has with a 30k race that takes place on Aug 23. I will then have to figure out which other week to repeat. Ideally, i think I will have to sync back up completely before I get to the tune-up races cause I can't be repeating those.

Whitby 5k Race Report

on Saturday, July 25, 2009 at 11:42 AM

Did a 5k race yesterday and tried to break 20 minutes, but as usual, was not able to do it. Short story is 20:25, but i think the course was short so it should be slightly more, maybe 10 to 15s more.

I arrived with about an hour to race time to pick up my bib. By the time I had changed out of my work clothes and pinned the bib on, there was about a half hour to go. Went out for a short warm up. Ran out onto the course to check to see if the course was marked. Warmed up for about 20 minutes with some strides and then headed back to the start line. One reason why i picked this race is that the start line and finish line are at the same place and that in the past, they've always offered chip times which allows me to start not too close to the start line. Unfortunately, this year they decided to use manual timing which means i had to start close to the start line, which usually results in me going out too fast. In order to avoid this, I ran with the garmin and my HR monitor watch. I was going to use the garmin to pace me for the first mile and then i was going to ignore it for the rest of the way.

So i lined up close to the front but not right at the front. It probably took me a second or two to cross the start line. Motor along initially trying to keep an eye on the garmin to monitor pace. Pass the first km marker, hit lap on my watch and it reports a 3:45 first km even though garmin says I was right on target. Course was mismarked. Keep motoring along and garmin beeps and says I did a 6:20 first mile which is slightly faster than the 6:26 pace i wanted but things felt good. I continue on and pass the 2nd km marker and it reports a 3:32 km. Now at this point, I know for certain that the course is mismarked and I decide to ignore my watch for the rest of the way. Looking back, the HR monitor indicates that the HR spiked shortly before the 2km mark. I basically tried to ignore this and continued running. There weren't a lot of people doing my pace and I ended up passing 2 people during km 2 and 3. During km 4 I got passed by 1 guy who may or may not have been one of the 2 people I passed earlier. With 1km to go, I seem to have gotten a second wind and try to increase the pace a bit. Finish with a time of 20:25.

As I said before, Im pretty sure the course is short. They used a new course this year compared to what it was in previous years. Garmin reported a distance of 4.99 km but this includes about 40m of walking after the finish line so the actual course is shorter. Funny thing is that the guy who ended up winning broke the course record and won a $200 bonus. I bet the race director now regrets not marking out an accurate course with the extra 40m now.

So the data from the race can be seen here.
Looking back at the HR data, my HR stayed spiked from about 2km through to almost the end of the race. It returned to normal with a little over a minute to go. Other than the HR spiking part, I hit a max of 193 which is what it was last year. The HR spiking thing causes me some concern. I've been reading up on it and it seems to be a form of exercise induced tachycardia. When it happens, the heart becomes less efficient at pumping blood which would sort of explain why i slowed down during the middle to late part of the race. I was able to pick up the pace at the end, but don't know if that was because the HR was returning to normal or it was just guts that allowed me to do so.

The route was fairly nice, but off near a wilderness type area with a lot of brush which means lots of bugs which means lots of big bites which mean lots of scratching the day after. As Ned Flanders on the Simpson said about mosquito bites, "Mmm mmm! Sure are fun to scratch! Satisfying!"


on Sunday, July 19, 2009 at 2:46 PM

18 miles in 2:37 (8:43 min/mile pace)

So today I had wanted to do about 18 miles. I'm getting pretty bored with my around home route and the waterfront route is getting a tad repetitive as well. I started driving downtown a few years ago for some of my long runs because i was training for the waterfront marathon. It is a bit of a hassle to drive down but I enjoy it. With a 10 mile race downtown today, i knew getting down there to my normal starting location was going to be a bit of a chore so I decided to try out the local trail system. I did some planning and my intent was to try and get down to Edwards Gardens which Google Earth says is about 9.5 miles from my home. I figured I could run down there and refuel and then head back.

With the relatively cool weather of late, I wanted to see if there were any water fountains on the route and if not, I wouldn't risk dehydrating since I'd still be able to survive with only one refill. I ended up losing my sense of direction and didn't quite get down to my final destination. I took a wrong turn and ended up running through an industrial park and stopping at a convenience store to buy a bottle of water. Route can be seen here.

Ran into the HR spiking problem again. It started right after i came to a fork in the trail and i stopped trying to figure out which way to turn (BTW, I turned the wrong way). When I started back up again, HR spiked which continued on till i stopped at the convenience store to buy water. I didn't really realize the HR spiking at the time, since the HR was at about 170 which isn't out of the ordinary for me. When it spikes, it's usually in the 180's or higher on a long run. On the way back, the HR was no longer spiking and i gradually increased the pace. Looking at the chart, I didn't realize the huge elevation gain and loss on this route. No wonder, it felt like I was working so much harder on the way back even considering the slight increase in pace.

So this was definitely something I think I could do again. The tree cover keeps the sun off and there's enough traffic on the trail to keep things interesting. There was only one fountain on the route that I could see at the 5 mile mark which I think is about perfect since if I had actually gotten down to Edward's Garden at around the 10 mile mark, it would mean that I could refill the water bottle every 5 miles or so. I was also thinking that I could drive to Edward's Garden and run from there to the south. Hopefully the elevation loss and gain wouldn't be too bad from there.

So I signed up for a 5k race this Friday. This week is supposed to be a cutback week for marathon training so it fits into the training well as I can treat it as a bit of a taper week. I plan to do about 10 miles on Tuesday, 7 miles or so on Wednesday with some 800m repeats and then the race on Friday. I'll figure out what to do next weekend depending on how the race goes.

Have a good running week all!

100 pushups

on Saturday, July 18, 2009 at 10:57 AM

So the week so far has looked like this:

Tuesday: Did about 9.5 miles which included 4x1200m repeats done at 3:58 min/km. HR topped out at 186. I thought that doing longer repeats might help me build up some stamina to hopefully hold this type of pace over a continuous 5k.

Wednesday: Went to the Running Room "20 minute challenge" and did 2 miles. The Running room store hosts an annual event that encourages people to come out and be active. They give out free hats to people that attend. I don't normally run at the running room and honestly I only went cause i wanted to get the 20% off coupon that comes with the hat, since I need a new pair of shoes. I was going to go buy the shoes this weekend, but I received a flyer in the mail yesterday from another local running store saying that they are having their annual sale starting next week. I think I bought 3 or 4 pairs of shoes at last years event, and I'll probably do the same this time. The shoes they are advertising are actually cheaper than what I would get at the Running room with the 20% discount so I guess I'll wait.

Thursday: Did 10.3 miles which included 4 miles at LT pace (7:04, 6:54, 6:56, 6:54). Did the old shopping mall route. Ran into the Tachycardia (hr spiking) thing during mile three, but was able to run through it. I would normally slow down or stop, but it didn't seem to effect the running so I continued. It stopped right after a slowed down after LT mile 4. I should probably get it looked at at some point.

Saturday: 6 miles recovery @ 9:15 pace.

I thought it might be useful to work on some core and upper body strength, which I really have not done any of in the past few years. Today was my first attempt at the 100 pushups program. I've read a lot of other bloggers doing this and thought I'd give it a try. Well I was only able to do 15 pushups on my initial test and I couldn't get through the first day workout which required 5 sets which means I'm a skinny weakling. I guess I'll have to keep repeating the day 1 workout till I can finish it. I'll probably work in some upper back exercise also to balance things out. I'm sure that when I start those, I'll be equally as inept. Gotta start somewhere...

Just one more attempt...

on Sunday, July 12, 2009 at 10:01 PM

Tuesday: Did 9 miles which included 10 strides around the local track. Stride the straightaways and slow jog the turns. These seem to be getting more fluid. Leg speed seems to be increasing.

Wednesday: Did 4 miles recovery at 9:23 pace

Friday: Did 10.2 miles at about 8:38 pace in the evening.

Saturday: Did 6 miles recovery at 9:42 pace in the morning. This was a bit tougher than I expected. With a little over 12 hours from the last run, I was dehydrated and not really recovered that well.

Sunday: Did 17.3 miles by the lake at 8:51 pace. I drove to the lake to do this run. An Indy Car race was on at the lakeshore and I wasn't sure if the trail to the west was closed or not so I ran east instead. I forgot my HR watch at home and ran only with the garmin. Been signed up with Run Saturday for a while, but didn't like that I either had to share everything or nothing. I don't need people knowing where I live. They seemed to have fixed this by offering privacy locations where if the run starts or stops close to a certain point, it won't include the map. The engineer in me likes the graphs and stuff the site generates.

I consumed a crap load of candy this past week and think I put on some weight. Wanted to try and burn some of it off. I didn't really eat a lot on Saturday, but tried to keep super hydrated. Plan was to run this at about 9 min/mile pace. I started to increase the pace towards the end though when I was pretty certain I wasn't going to bonk. It helped that it was kinda cool and a little breezy. Lots of people out at the beach today.

So I'm looking at making one last attempt at a sub 20min 5k at the end of the month. I was eyeing the Acura 10miler/5k which is next weekend but that might be a bit too soon and I don't like the fact that it would mess up my long run. I'm currently looking at one on the 24th which is on a Friday which means I would still be able to get a long run in on the weekend. It would also allow me to focus on some interval work these next two weeks.

Changing it up

on Sunday, July 5, 2009 at 11:22 PM

I've been finding it hard as of late to get up in the morning to do my training runs. Lately I've been doing them after work. I've been a faithful follower of Pfitzinger's marathon plans for a few years now and it's gotten me where I need to be. This is the 3rd straight year that I will be doing one of his plans and looking at his schedule, it's just gotten a little too familiar, not necessarily boring, but it's just sort of like going through the motions. Three years ago, I was all gung-ho about the plan and looking forward to each run, nowadays it seems to be ho-hum, and I think this is what's keeping me from getting up early in the morning.

So I intend to still follow the plan somewhat, but will modify things to throw in some variety. For example, this was supposed to be 32 miles week (week 1) of Pfitz 18 week/55mile plan , but I wanted to try and see if I could do week 3 which is 40 miles in case I decide to try an earlier marathon. Rather than follow the plan, I did the following

Wednesday: 8 miles with 10 strides

Friday: About 10.5 miles with 4 at LT and 4x400m at fast pace. I ended up splitting the 4 LT miles into 2x2 miles because the HR was spiking. LT portion was at about 6:57 pace. Then threw in some 400m repeats at 6:05 pace, the first three with 400m slow jog recoverys (about 2.5-3 min) and the last one with a 200m recovery of 1.5 min. My goal in doing the repeats is to try and make 6:25 pace (ie, 20min 5k pace) feel somewhat easy. I'm hoping to get the recovery periods shorter.

Saturday: 6 miles recovery

Sunday: 16 miles at about 8:24 pace. Did this as a progression run. Did this by the lake. Knowing that this was going to be tough, I overcompensated by drinking too much the day before and this morning which means I had to stop to use the facilities. Unfortunately, I didn't realize that the city workers strike which is currently ongoing which has affected things like garbage pickup also affected the washrooms on the trail; they are all closed. Thankfully, at least the water fountains are still on. So after taking a pitstop in the bushes at the one mile mark, I realized I had to go again at about the 7 mile mark, but lucky for me, the temporary garbage dump that the city had setup in one of the parking lots by the lake had porta-potties for the picketing strikers. I was never so happy to have that garbage dump there. Anyhow, back to the run, the first 8 miles were done fairly slow, at a little faster than 9min/miles. The HR was less than my recovery HR. Miles 9 through 13, I increased the pace to the high end of my long run HR which turned out to be at about 8min/miles. With 3 miles to go, I then proceeded to try and do the progression portion where I start to increase the pace, mile 14 done at 7:32 pace, mile 15 and 7:13 pace and mile 16 at 6:57 pace. I could start tasting ammonia towards the end of mile 16 which I only have experienced at the end of 5k races so I'm pretty sure i was tapped out speed wise and energy wise. Still I"m pretty happy with the run. More details of the run can be seen here.

Happy Canada Day!

on Wednesday, July 1, 2009 at 10:30 PM

Happy Canada Day to all! Just finished watching Sarah McLachlan perform in Ottawa. She happens to be my favorite singer.

Haven't updated in a week so here's what happened.

Last week looked like this.
Tuesday: 7 miles GA with 10 strides
Thursday: 9 miles GA
Saturday: 6 miles recovery
Sunday: 14 miles

Week so far was i did 8 miles with 10 strides today.

This is the first week of an 18 week marathon training in preparation for the Hamilton marathon which is on November 1. I'm still on the fence and may decide to do the Toronto one instead which is two weeks earlier. It would require me to jump ahead two weeks into the plan, but i think it's doable. I like the Hamilton one because it fits in nicely with the Pfitz tune-up races which are on Saturdays. I've had problems in the past with finding races on the Saturdays, but the November plan lines up nicely with two 10k races on Saturdays for the 2nd and third tune-up races. It also lines up nicely with a Woman's half marathon for the first tune-up race. I don't think they exclude males, it's just that they don't give prizes to males. I don't really care about prizes, but I think it would be extremely awkward to be do the race as a male being severely outnumbered. I probably would just do a tempo run instead of the race.

I'm looking at some summer 5k, but they're all quite pricey. When did it become okay to charge $50 for a 5k race? I just want a 5k time. Don't need a shirt or medal; I have enough of those.