Spring Into Action 10k Race Report

on Tuesday, April 26, 2016 at 7:23 PM

Did a 10k on Sunday to practice marathon pace effort again. I did this last year and found it useful to help remember what marathon pace felt like the week prior to the marathon. Last year, I did the Backs in Motion 10k which ideally I would have liked to do again, but this year, that race is on the same weekend as Goodlife/Mississauga so that obviously wouldn't work.  Last year, the Spring Into Action 10k was on the same weekend as Goodlife, but this year they moved it to being a week early. I guess it all works out in the end.

Like last year, I wanted to do the race on not so fresh legs so I planned to do 6 miles beforehand. I planned to do day of race registration since reading online, it seemed it was actually slower to pick up your stuff if you were pre-registered.  The issue with this is that registration only started at 9am and the race was scheduled for 9:50am, so even if I was the first person registered, I probably wouldn't be able to squeeze in the 6 miles before race start.  I ended up splitting the initial 6 miles into two 5k segments. I did 5k upon arriving, registered and then did another 5k.

The route is the for the most part the same out and back route as the Korean Peace Run 10k which I'd run before.  There was a difference in that the turnaround for this race actually corresponded to the 5k mark whereas the Korean Peace Run makes you run a little further out to a point that has a loop in the path which makes the turnaround a little easier and less jarring, it also makes the route about 300m longer.

The course didn't really have km markers. There was a 1km marker which seemed to be accurately placed, but it was only there because there was also a 2km race so the 1km marker signified the turnaround point.  There was also a marker at the 5km mark to signify the turnaround (obviously). They weren't that many marshals, but the route is fairly simple, so they probably didn't need that many.  There was no one at the 5k mark to tell people to turnaround, but the sign was fairly obvious and they made a specific announcement about the turnaround sign before the race so I doubt there were any issue for that.

As for the actual race, I was hoping to get feedback on HR and marathon pace in a race atmosphere.  Looking through the results last year, it seemed that there were a lot of fast people in the race so I thought there would be a lot of people to run with.  Unfortunately, this was not the case as I basically had to run by myself from the 200m mark on.  Looking back, I think the course last year was very short because some 15 year old kid ran a sub-26min 10k last year(world record!) so apparently there weren't that many fast runners.

As usual, I started the race way too fast.  I hit the first km marker in 4:09 (6:41 min/mile pace) and immediately had to back off on the effort to get back on pace.  My GPS then autosplit at the 1 mile mark at 6:59. Unfortunately, my HR spiked at the 6 min mark so I didn't really get a good gauge on HR vs. pace. I think I'm starting to notice a pattern in that it will spike when I ease off the throttle as I had the same thing happen last year too.  I'm hoping if I can avoid starting out too fast, there won't be a need to ease off the throttle which will give me more of a chance of the HR not spiking.  I didn't hit the lap button at the 5km mark, but the GPS route seems to suggest I turned around at around 22:25. The only other split I have is the last km which I did in 4:25 (7:06 pace).

The GPS autosplits are
1 mile: 6:59
2 mile: 7:17
3 mile:  7:17
4 mile:  7:26
5 mile:  7:13
6 mile:  7:15
0.2 mile  1:15 (7:04 pace)

Polar  Stats and Map Route


As i said, I basically had to run the race by myself. There was one guy who pulled up to me at about the 2km mark, but I noticed that one of his shoelaces was undone and he was breathing pretty hard so I wasn't sure how long he would be around. I passed him on a hill and didn't hear from him again. I ended up catching up to another guy at about the 8km mark, but he started to speed up when he heard me coming. I contemplated racing him over the last 2km, but my goal in this was to maintain marathon pace.  The 4 mile split contained the turnaround so that's why that seems slow, but for the most part, I was aiming for 7:20 pace and was able to hit that okay.   Final finish time was 44:41 (7:11 min/mile pace) with what seems to a be an almost even split.

The results say I finished 4th overall, but I know that there's at least one guy (the 8km guy) who aren't in the results.  I think their times were  listed in the 5k race.  My time was initially in the 5k race results also so I had to get the timer to change that.

Fairly good race. Free BBQ after. I'm not sure if there were awards. I doubt it as the entry fee was cheap at $25.   The race raises money for diabetes research and offer 2k, 5k and 10k races with various team/family entries available.  I would definitely do this again if fit into my schedule. 

Non-Running Preparation for the Marathon

on Saturday, April 23, 2016 at 8:56 PM

It was around this time last year that I was trying to decide which race to do, either Toronto or Mississauga.  I'm still waiting to decide and will wait until the weather and wind forecasts firm up a bit. Last year, my only concern was the weather with a little concern about the course profile.  Since that time, I've learned that I also have to be concerned about the race organization.  While deciding last year that I wouldn't do Toronto Goodlife again, I've had some time to reflect and have had a change of heart.

The big issue I had last year was the markers which I had figured out were actually placed for the 2013 course and as a result were 300m earlier than they should have been.  The length of the course being 20m longer than it should have been, I've decided I could live with as it would only add a little bit onto the time, which are easily made up for the fact that the elevation profile of Toronto offers an additional 35m elevation drop over Mississauga.

So I came to the conclusion that if this years route was the same as last years route, then I would be fine with doing Toronto again.  Even if they decide to bungle up the placement of the markers again (which I can easily see them doing again since the race maps they have on the website still refer to the 2013 course), I realize that I can compensate for this by just using the painted lines on the road rather than the signs, which is something I should have adjusted to doing last year.

The big question that still remains is whether the course this year would in fact be the same as last year. There's no indication that the route is going to be different, the course certificaiton listed on the Goodlife website is stated to be "CAN-2012-025-BDC" which if you look this up on the Athletics Canada website refers to 5k race in Strathroy. As mentioned above, the website also has a race map of the 2013 course, which is not the same route that has been run in the past two years. The website prefaces this by saying "Note that these maps are only intended to be a guide – all courses are certified and may vary slightly from this representation."  No kidding.

I think a fair assumption would be that the most recently measured course is the one that the organizers intend to use, which would be one measured in 2014 (ON-2012-029a-BDC), which is the one we ran last year.  The only reason I can see it changing is if there's some sort of construction on the route that would require them to detour the route at the last moment.  If they had to, they might add on to the course, or possibly (like in 2014) subtract from the course.  While I don't mind running a short marathon course (assuming no one finds out), I'd hate to have to run significantly more. 

To ease my fears, I decided today to drive the entire course to see if there might be any issue and I'm glad to say there doesn't appear to be any. I especially scouted out the turnaround at the Humber Bay Park east park.  It appears that someone had already gone through most of the course and painted the curb lines onto the road where the markers *should* be placed and they match up with the 2014 measured course. The line paintings are bright orange this year and should be easily discernible.  The other thing I want to be able to do if I run Toronto is to figure out early if the markers are misplaced. While I couldn't see the 1k and 2k painted lines while driving, thanks to Google's streetview, I figured out  the locations of where the 1k and 2k markers should have been based on  these pics taken in May 2015 which should correspond to last year course (and presumably this years).


1k Marker Location, Streetview Link


2k marker location. StreetView Link


So if the 1k and 2k marker signs aren't at these two locations (or relatively close since they are in the middle of intersections) then I'll know within the first 10 minutes of the race that the markers are f'ed up again.  But at least this time, I'll be ready for it!

Around the Bay Race Report 2016

on Monday, April 4, 2016 at 8:51 PM

Well that didn't go according to plan. So after posting how great training was going, I ended up getting food poisoning or something soon after. I was gassy and bloated all day Friday and my abdominals were sore and achy on Saturday. I had tried to do a short recovery run, but called it quits after about 200m. It felt like a side stitch, but at recovery pace. Started to worry how the heck was I going to do 30k on Sunday. I had thoughts about not going, but with the entry paid for and a hotel room already booked and too late to cancel, it was going to seem like a waste. So I made the drive to Hamilton.  At the very least, I figured I'd have to do a long run anyways so I might as well do it in Hamilton.

The weather forecast looked bad, but looking out on the morning of race day, it wasn't so bad. There was no snow, clear skies and it didn't seem too windy judging by the smoke stacks on the tops of buildings. I had a hard time deciding if I wanted to wear shorts or pants. If I were racing, it would have been shorts, but if I was going to treat this as a long run, I wanted to be somewhat comfortable. Still not having recovered from the food poisoning, I was pretty sure this was going to be a long run, so I ended up wearing the pants.

So left the hotel about 20 minutes to race start and jogged to the starting line.  The abs were feeling okay during this short jog so I started to reconsider whether I wanted to  just treat this as a long run. In the end, I decided that I would start with the 2:15 pace bunny and adjust on the run.

I lined up behind the pace bunny and the race starts. For the first little bit, I was running at the right pace. Unfortunately, the old nemesis, the HR spike reared it's head about 4 minutes into the race. I ended up doing 4 miles with the pace bunny, but then decided to shut it down once I got to an aid station where I could try to get the HR to calm down, which it didn't. I then spent the next 3 miles walking and running in the hopes that the HR would reset which it finally did a little after 7 miles.  With the silver medal now out of the equation, I just wanted to put in an honest effort the rest of the way.  Miles 8 to 13 were run at a steady effort at between 7:35 and 8:00 min miles. During mile 14, the HR spiked again which just luckily coincided with another aid station so I took another bathroom break, grabbed some water and started walking. The HR reset pretty quick this time and I was able to run the rest of the race without incident trying to maintain a HR of about 160 which ended up being at about 8 min/mile pace.  Increased the pace for the last km to about 7:15 pace just to get some more HR information.

Finish time of 2:28:13 chip time.  For more detailed tale of the tape, you can get more information from the Polar stats.

Here's the wacky HR. Starts out fine and then about 4 minutes jumps by over 30 beats per minute. Looks to have reset at about the 50 minute mark where it remains steady until the 1:40 mark where it spikes again and then resets pretty quickly after a brief stop and walk where it remains okay for the rest of the race.


I was glad to have worn the pants. There were occasions during the first 4 miles where I felt too warm but this was with a tailwind doing 7:15 pace. Those thoughts quickly went away when we finally hit the wind.

So I guess the silver medal will have to wait for another year. They're bringing the dreaded Valley Inn Road hill back next year so that may not be the best of things for a silver medal attempt, but I'm fairly certain that I wouldn't have been able to hold the required 7:15 pace for the whole way. Occasionally during the race, I got abdominal pains. Not quite as painful as a side stitch, but just enough to bother me and make me think about slowing down.  I've never experienced this gassy and bloated feeling before and am still trying to figure out what caused it. 

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