Toronto Peace Marathon 10k Update

on Sunday, September 28, 2014 at 3:05 PM

Sometime between when I posted last night and today, Sportstats corrected the results listing for the race and removed two of the people that were ahead of me. Though I don't think the two people intentionally turned around early to win the race, it could have been that they signed up for the 10k but only did the 5k route which I think was supposed to start later.

So I finished 2nd overall like I thought I did and actually finished first in my age group which means I would have certainly won a prize. I now kinda feel bad that I didn't go to the awards ceremony. I'm hoping there were no Bueller Bueller moments. It looks like it was taking place at the KCCA HQ which was across the street from Sunnybrook park. In fact, I drove by it on my way home.

Even still, I'm not sure if they corrected this prior to the awards ceremony, figured it out at the awards ceremony or this is a result of sportstats doing a post race analysis and correction of the results. Whatever the result, I'm not really miffed at missing out on a prize, since to be honest, this was more of a Korean celebration for peace and it looked pretty clear to me that everyone was having a good time. I sort of felt like an outsider who was crashing the party, especially considering I didn't understand a word of what anyone was saying.

Anyhow, I enjoyed the race and the slightly challenging course and as I said before, it's a race I would certainly consider doing again.

Toronto Peace Marathon 10k Race Report

on Saturday, September 27, 2014 at 8:56 PM

Did the Toronto Peace Marathon today, which is not really a marathon, but either a 10k or 5k race. This was the second tune-up race in the Pfitz schedule of three race. As I mentioned in a previous post, I had some doubts as to how much of a "race" this was going to be and it didn't help that I didn't receive a single email after registering about race day logistics.  In fact, I wasn't even sure where I was supposed to go since the English version of the website simply says the race takes place in Sunnybrook park, which is not exactly a small neighborhood type park.

Start line is somewhere in here.


The race is put on by the Korean Canadian Cultural Association and I did some more surfing around on their website and the Korean version of the site had a bit more information and more importantly an image (in English) identifying the route as starting at "Picnic Area #2". Of course, they still didn't have a map of where the start line actually was so I had to do a bit more googling to find out where Picnic Area #2 was.  Race started at 9am and I was there about 8am to check out the landscape. Sighed a bit of relief when I saw the sportstats timing van, a finish line and a packet pickup.  Proceeded to pickup my kit which was only a bib and a shoe timing chip.  The bib's weren't the conventional ones that you pin to your shirt, but rather actually bib's that you have to tie on.   I guess on the plus side you have you bib number on both the front and the back. 

Tie on Bib's! How novel!

Proceeded to tie it on and do some warming up. Like the 5k race two weeks ago, I decided to walk out to the 1k mark to check to see if the course was marked.  Turned on the watch to measure out 0.62 miles (1km) and proceeded to check the course out which was marked at 1k at the 0.60 mile mark according to my watch.  Close enough.  Proceeded to walk back to the start line and then started my jog warmup and I quickly found that I hated the bib. The shoulder straps would constantly slip down on one side, something that I'm sure women find annoying all the time with their skinny strap tops, but I've never experienced.  With about 5 minutes to go, I decided to head back to my car to get the safety pins that I had brought along so that I could pin the straps to my shirt.  Didn't leave me much time so I was in a bit of a rush to get to the start line. When I arrive back at the start, people had already started to line-up and they even had pacers!. Unfortunately the fastest pacer they had was 1 hr pacer and he was right at the start line.  I started a little ways back, but wasn't too worried about the mass of 1 hr 10k'ers in front of me since the first part is on some wide paths where it's easy to pass.

The race starts and I try to maintain a nice steady pace.  I was trying to run by feel somewhere between 5k pace and my LT pace. Based on the 5k race 2 weeks ago, I thought that I might be able to pull off a faster than 6:50min/mi (4:15/km) pace 10k which would be about a 42:30 10K. Though I had tried to practice this pace during the week, it's hard to remember the pace on race day.  I also ran without the HR showing on my watch so I was going solely by feel.

As I approach the (maybe slightly short) 1k mark, I had passed quite a few people. Hit the lap timer and the watch reads 3:56. Crap. Way too fast. This was faster than the first km in the 5k I did two weeks ago.  Oh well whatever. I try to settle down a bit and decide that I'm going to try to gradually reel some people in by pulling up to, following for a bit and then passing individuals.  Pull up to the 2nd km marker and the lap button reads 4:11.  A little better and I think I'm finding my groove. Km 3 has a bit of a wrinkle in that has this steel bridge that passes under a road. The bridge has a steep climb and then a steep descent and is slippery because the morning dew is still on the steel surface.  Hit the 3km marker at 4:31, but I think this may have been a bit long. 

Into km 4, my HR spiked which I didn't know at the time, but it clearly evident in my HR profile. Up until then, I was a little over 180, which is what I think it should be since just below 180 is my LT pace and mid 185 is probably 5k pace. It jumped 30 beats to over 200.  Oh well I move on.  The km 4 marker was way too soon and I hit that at 2:24. Through to the turnaround point (and km 5) I think I pass one last person who had the courtesy to pull off to the side to let me pass. Approaching the turnaround, I'm on the lookout to see who is ahead of me and I count only one that I could see who was wearing a bib.  There were some other people on there who didn't look to be going particularly fast and weren't wearing any bibs so I'm not sure if they were in the race or not.  By the time I reach the turnaround point, I realize the guy ahead of me has about a minute on me and that unless he completely falls apart, there's very little chance I'm going to catch him.

Reach the turnaround point, and they have a guy there stamping your hand which I suppose makes sense to make sure that you didn't turnaround early. These guys are taking this pretty seriously.  The back half of the course was pretty lonely. Not lonely, in that I was by myself because I was passing all the people still heading towards the turnaround point, but I had no one to run and race against. No one passed me and I didn't pass anyone else. One thing I should mention is that everyone was yelling words of encouragement in Korean, which I didn't understand, but I would nod and wave in appreciation.  I did think I recognized some words that sounded like "faster" in Chinese so maybe that's what they were saying. Who knows?  So the splits in reverse were :

2:27 for km 7 (the short one), forgot to hit lap button at turnaround since I was too busy trying to figure out where to run, read the sign about getting hand stamped and getting the hand stamped
4:57 for km 8 (had the big hill, had to slow way down on this to get up the hill)
4:25 for km 9
4:11 for km 10.

So I cross the finish line at 44:02 and pick up a finishers medal (wow they were handing out medals). Not only that but they handed out a little food packet that contained a bannana, a Korean bean stuffed pastry and a bottle of water, plus they had an insulated stainless steel travel mug.  Wow. quite the SWAG bag for $25 entry fee. They were also handing out a raffle ticket.

I'm pretty sure the course was long. GPS had it measured at 6.40 miles.  Measured out manually in Google Earth has it at about 245m long so that  equates to about a 43 minute 10k or about 6:55 min/mile pace.

Now I thought I had finished 2nd overall since there was only the one guy that I saw at the turnaround so I wasn't sure if they were handing out prizes.  If they were handing out age group awards, I was pretty sure I was going to win something since the no double-dipping rule means I was guaranteed to win something being second overall. i don't run races for the prizes and this was no different as I'm not generally fast enough to be competitive in these things, but I do sort of feel that if you do win a prize, you should stick around for the prize ceremonies, if only so that the organizers aren't put into an awkward position of calling your name and no one stepping forward. So I stuck around waiting to see when the sportstats guys would post the results, but they never did. They handed the organizer some paper and he want off to talk with someone else so I wasn't sure what was happening.  I decided to check out the sportstats site on my phone to see if maybe they had wirelessly posted the results and sure enough they did.

I finished 4th overall and 2nd in my age group.

huh?? Maybe I hadn't counted properly but I don't understand how I would have missed 2 other people on the way back.  I tried doing some searches and of the three guys who finished ahead of me, only one of them has any race history and is probably the guy that I knew that was ahead of me. In any event, this meant that I probably wasn't going to win a prize now because I wasn't top three overall.

Anyhow, I was just mulling about and everyone starts leaving, so I guess they aren't handed out prizes.  I ended up giving my raffle ticket to someone else but then I realize they had not handed out the raffle prizes yet so they were probably handing them out somewhere else and maybe that's where they are handing out the prizes.  Oh well, I decided in the end, it wasn't worth the bother though I read in someone elses blog that the prize draws for this are pretty sweet included TV's and round trip flights to Korea so I guess I missed out.  With my rotten luck, the guy I gave my ticket too, probably ended up winning.

Oh well, karma will give it back to me at some point, right?

Anyhow, a good race to run, fairly cheap and okay organization. WOuld do it again, but next time, I'll have to go with someone Korean who can translate for me!

One more tune-up race in two weeks time.  There really isn't anything nearby on the day in question so I may just end up doing a tempo run of some sort.

Polar Race Info

Downsview 5k Race Report

on Friday, September 19, 2014 at 10:59 PM

Ran the Downsview 5k race last Saturday. This was the first "tune-up" race for this marathon training cycle.  Pfitz typically wants an 8k to 15k race and wants it done on the Saturday.  There were really only 5k races available and considering that I haven't done one in over 4 years, I thought I'd give this a go.  The race takes place in Downsview park which is sort of an urban park in Toronto, but it's not really in an "urban" part of Toronto.  It's a former military base that was recently converted into park lands. I'm sure one day it'll look nice once there's a bit more residential density in the area.

Race start was at 8:30 and temperatures were a bit cool at around 11C.  Arrived way too early at about 7:30am and trying to figure out what I could do for the next hour other than sit in my car, I decided to check out the course.  I wanted to see if the course was marked and secondly to see how hilly it was. The emails sent out kinda suggested that the course was flat, but asking the race director about it while I was picking up my bib, he said that it's not really flat.  Ended up walking out to the 1k mark and back. Not too hilly,a few rolling elevations, but not flat. I think the walking actually helped with the warmup. I usually do 3miles warmup before doing repeats, but in previous races, I find it hard to actually run for close to half an hour before a race, because it just tires me out, so the walking helped warm up the muscles.  About 10 after 8, I started my real warmup which consisted of about 1 mile of light jogging with 3 strides towards the end.

Arrived at the start line with about 5 minutes to spare and squeezed into the starting corrals. Decided to move close to the front, but not at the front. I wanted to try and start off at a comfortable pace and try and hold it for the entire race. I've been able to hold 7:00 min/mile LT pace for 7 miles in training so I was fairly certain I could go faster than than. Assuming that pace over 10k, the predictors said that a 21 minute 5k (6:45 pace) should be doable so I was going to aim for that.  To that end, I decided not to use the Garmin, but rather the polar GPS watch.  The polar GPS watch doesn't have a lap pace like the garmin which is good for pacing, but rather it has an overall pace for the entire run.  I really only need the pace info during the first mile or so when I have a tendency to go out too fast and in that sense, the polar and garmin would give me the same information.

So the race starts and the first little bit is on a curvy non paved gavellly trail. Try to hold back a bit and don't glance down at the watch for about 400m or so, when I do it registered me at 6:20 pace, whoops, a bit fast. Start to slow down a bit and try to get into a bit of a groove.  Pass the first km mark and hit the lap button, 4:07.  Feeling good.  The second km is a bit of a downhill and I try to run at a good effort and hit the lap button and it registers at 4:00.  Breathing is doing okay. At some point during this lap, I look down and see that I"m averaging about 6:30 pace for the race up until this point which seems quite a bit faster than the slightly faster than 6:45 pace I was aiming for. Get to the 3 km mark and the lap button says 3:30. Hmm, course is mismarked.  I think in hindsight, the sign was facing the wrong way as km 3 has a turnaround point so the end of km 3 was supposed to be on the coming back portion and not the going out portion like I had assumed it was.   Into km 4, I pull up behind and pass one of the profs I had while I was doing my Master's degree.  He was the prof who I had noted way back when was wearing a garmin during class.  He's also the guy who scheduled a due date for a take home exam on Boston Marathon day which I was registered for, but couldn't do that year.  At this point, I've basically passed all the people that I was going to pass since the next person ahead of me had a minute on me with only two km to go though one guy is sticking close to me, nipping at my heels.   My watch at this point has me at 6:31 pace overall which was really starting to surprise me. Normally my 4th km in a 5k sucks bad as I'm panting like a dog and wanting to slow down, but I didn't have that feeling this time around.  The lap button for km 4 says 4:45 which was long because the previous km was short.  For the two km that would be about 4:07 pace, though the watch has the distance for the two laps at about 20m longer than 2km.  Through to the finish, I'm jockying back and forth with the guy who is trailing me.  With about 400m to go, while he's ahead of me, he forgets to make a turn and I yell out for him to turn right, and as he does, I kind of zoom past him, and then tried to step on the gas through to the finish and finish about 4 second ahead of him.

Final time was 20:45 chip time (20:49 gun) which was good for 7th overall and 2nd in my age group.  The guy who finished 1st in my age group finished 6th overall and over 1.5 minutes ahead of me so there was no chance of catching him. I'm pretty sure that no one actually passed me during the race with the exception of the one guy towards the end who I was swapping back and forth with.  I was initially quite happy with the time considering the last time I ran a 5k 4 years ago I finished in 20:46, but crunching the numbers afterwards, it seems the course may have been long.

My watch has the total distance at 3.18 miles which is about 118m long.  My average pace for the whole race according to my watch had me at 6:32 min/mile pace (4:03/km) which would be a 20:16 5k and a new PR.  I realize that GPS watches aren't completely accurate, but an extra 0.07 miles over 3.1 miles seems a bit much considering that there weren't any tall buildings or tunnels to screw up satellite signals. Checking garmin connect for other peoples routes of the race, they have the course pegged at 3.21 miles (160m long) which is even longer than my measurement. I tried to map the course manually using google earth, but the satellite pictures that google has for the area are from when the park was being constructed so it's hard to plot the route precisely because there aren't any paths to trace over. I did end up uploading my gps route to Google earth and manually plotting the course that way though there's still some error in there. It measured it at 5072m which translates to a 20:27 5k and overall pace of 4:05 min/km. That feels about right since I've been doing my track repeats at a slightly faster pace.

On the plus side, no HR spike. I had run this without the HR being visible and I was happy to see no spikes in HR afterwards.  I was hoping to get an idea of my maximum HR on this. It topped out at 186, but I'm not sure if this is my actual max since it only reached 186 for a few moments at the top of the hill during km 4 and right at the end when I was basically sprinting as fast as I could. Ideally I would have liked to see if reach a number and stay there as opposed to reaching a number and then drifting back down like it did during this race. More details available here

Swag included some samples, a medal and a really nice T-shirt.  The t-shirt feels soft like cotton, but it's made of 100% polyester (ie, technical fabric). I'm curious to see how well it wicks sweat.

I'm not sure how good 5k's are at marathon predictors, but this does give me a general idea of paces I should aim for in the 10 k next week.

Junk Food.

on Tuesday, September 16, 2014 at 8:34 PM

Got through the week of TIFF. 21 films over the course of 6 days. Some bad, some surprisingly good. I had intended to try and eat healthy, but alas, the hot dog, poutine and burger meals ended up getting the better of me. I did try and have a few sit down meals where you actually order while sitting down, but needless to say, the crappy meals made up to majority of caloric intake last week.

While waiting in line, I tried to catch up one some magazine reading.  One of the articles I read (can't remember where) had an interesting article in it about a guy doing some unorthodox research.  He was trying to see if a recovery meal that consisted of McDonalds was just as effective as a more traditional one.  The theory being that the human body has evolved over so many years that it can figure out what it needs at any given moment and absorb whatever it needs from whatever you eat.  Sounds good in theory, and I certainly have been an unofficial test subject to this ideology.  Personally, I'd like to try and get a bit lighter since that presumably means faster times, but I'm pretty skinny to begin with and I always feel that I'm starting to lose muscle when I drop below a certain threshold of weight so I've been lately trying to do some more weight training and core strengthening to hopefully prevent that.

I got my first real test with the new training regime last Saturday with a 5k race and think I didn't pretty good considering the week of garbage food leading up to it. Hopefully with TIFF done and no more temptations (ie, Halloween) until after marathon race day, I'm hoping for better and faster things.


on Thursday, September 4, 2014 at 9:13 PM

I'm turning the big 40 in a few days.  To me, it's just another birthday, another year of getting older, but everyone around me thinks I should be making a bigger deal of it. Oh well, whatever. No mid-life crisis yet, no desire to buy a fast car or date a 20 year old.  After Kenny decided to run a marathon on his, I had thoughts of maybe running 40km, but that's a long way so maybe I'll wait until I turn 42 before I try that. 

I decided this year to try and do TIFF again.  It's been a few years since I have.  Not being as young as I once was, I won't be trying to do the 50 films in one week thing which I don't think I ever was able to do properly.  I ended up choosing a modest 20 films over 6 days with a rest day in the middle.  I ended up buying the tickets before remembering that I had already signed up for a 5k race on the 2nd last day of the festival. But checking the schedule, the first film for me on that day isn't until noon and the race is at 8:30am so that should be plenty of time.  I generally hate 5k's and I'm sure this won't be any different, but it's the only race in the area that kinda fit into my training schedule.

I also signed up for a 10k on Sept 27 for the Korean Peace Marathon.  I'm always a bit wary when a run that isn't 42.2k calls itself a marathon and I'm not sure if this is an actual race or more of a charity run/walk. The only reason I found it was because it was listed on the website (chip timing company) as an upcoming event. It hasn't been advertised anywhere else as far as I can tell. I'm assuming that since it's being chiptimed that it will at least resemble a race.  The one thing that has me concerned is that the entry fee was dirt cheap at $25. After you pay the timing company, there probably isn't that much left over for other amenities plus the fund raising aspect of it.  At least, I kinda look Korean so if it's not an actual race, I'll still kind of fit in.