Sunday, September 30, 2007

Brian: 2:59:47, Me: DNF. Looking forward to Niagara Falls or Philly!

Brian had a great race and despite the heat, was able to hold it together in the last three miles and come across 13 seconds ahead of his goal time! As a bonus, he finished 2nd in the Master's Division -- just about 12 seconds behind the first-place finisher. But as he said, that 12 seconds may as well have been 12 miles as there was no way Brian was going to catch him.

Oh, did I mention the heat? It wasn't terrible -- about 75 degrees (24 C.) but it happened to hit its 'high' right about the 20 mile mark for me. Ultimately, the consensus of Jenny, Brian, Brian's wife, Bridget, and a few other runners that we chatted with afterwards was that it was certainly warmer than one would have liked, and lots of people were having troubles with the heat.

So, how did I do? Great, up until mile 23. Here is how my miles stacked up:

Mile 1: 7:47
Mile 2: 7:47
Mile 3: 7:41
Mile 4: 7:53
Mile 5: 8:05
Mile 6: 8:00
Mile 7: 7:45
Mile 8: 7:48
Mile 9: 7:46
Mile 10: 7:50
Mile 11: 7:50
Mile 12: 7:54
Mile 13: 7:51
Mile 14: 7:52
Mile 15: 8:01
Mile 16: 7:56
Mile 17: 7:54
Mile 18: 7:56
Mile 19: 8:02
Mile 20: 7:57
Mile 21: 8:07
Mile 22: 7:58
Mile 23: 8:12
Mile 23.8: Was hitting 9:00+ and couldn't get the speed faster. Started walking.

Now it was probably close to 23.5 miles when I crashed as the Garmin was a bit off the actual course distances. So with less than 3 miles to go, I simply ran out of steam -- and even if I'd have been able to do 8:30 miles, I'd have made the mark. But I had absolutely nothing.

I started walking, but even then, I was staggering and by the time I came up to Jenny, I apparently wasn't looking very good. And the ambulance people were keeping an eye on me, just in case.

Here is the pace and elevation from my GPS -- at least the first 24 miles!:
There were two other issues. There was a headwind pretty much the whole way -- but it was relatively light and it had a cooling effect. The other was that it doesn't look like I was consuming enough eLoad sport drink. I'd only felt the need to consume about a 750 ml of sport drink -- but I should have done 2 litres over the entire 26 miles.

Anyhow, I'm feeling fine now and I'm getting ready for one or the other (maybe both?) of the Niagara marathon or Philadelphia.

Friday, September 28, 2007

I'm Ready. Goal: 3:30:00 or better

What more can I say. I did my 3 mile easy run today and I felt great. I ramped it up to marathon pace during the last mile and felt fine. No aches, pains or anything.

I feel I've trained well. If the weather is cool and the wind isn't in my face during the run, I should be okay. Both conditions seem likely based on the forecast today.

With the Runners Choice long runs to Port Stanley, I feel confident I can do this run in Boston Qualifier time. I'm mentally prepared. I feel physically prepared.

Nothing more to say, really. You'll know whether it is a happy ending based on my next post!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Last tempo run before the Corning Wineglass Marathon...

Today the plan was to do 6 miles, with 4 at tempo pace of 7:38/mile. I met Brian out at the speed work area and by the time we were into the fast parts of our run, we had a good sized group of other runners as well: Paula, Gwyn (both of whom are running the half-marathon in Toronto this weekend), Jenny, Tori, Karen and Jody Durand, who had just finished his first half-marathon the previous weekend. Congrats, Jody!

Brian was doing a pace of about a minute per mile faster than me, so he was gone like a shot when we started into the tempo part of the run. I continued to 'conserve, conserve', and banged out a pace of between 7:31 and 7:37 for my four tempo laps, finishing at the faster end of that range.

The weather was about 70 degrees C., but the air was still thick with moisture from rains that we had earlier today. If I had to do a whole marathon in this weather, it might be an issue. But just six miles wasn't a problem.

After the run, we all went back to our place and Paula and Gwyn had brought a ton of food for us to re-carb with. It was really good -- and the best part was that they left some leftovers! Brian brought some Guinness (which he knows is my favourite) and I had an ample supply of Corona. We had the makings of a pretty good party, actually! My mother came over to join us and it was great to see her involved in the conversation -- which can get a bit difficult with a bunch of runners gabbing on about this race or that pace or how best to take 30 seconds off your half-marathon time!

Anyhow, it was a very good time and a great way for the group to send Gwyn and Paula to their half-marathon, and Brian and me to our marathon destiny in Corning!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Hypochondria sets in...

Today's run was just 3 miles at a very easy pace -- 9:02/mile according to the Runners World chart.

"Hardly worth getting my running gear on", I said to myself as I started down the road with my daughter, Tori, who was to do an easy run of 2 miles.

But for the last couple of days, I've been turning into a bit of a hypochondriac. My throat hurts -- maybe I'm getting a cold. My hip hurts when I stand a certain way -- could be a problem. When I started running, my left knee hurt a bit, and my right calf was a bit tight. By the time I was done my run, my left knee was fine, but my right knee was starting to hurt. And my calf was still tight. Arrrgghhh.

I hosed my calf with a bit of cold water and it feels better now. But these next 4 days until race day are going to drive me nuts.

And, even worse than my stupid aches and pains -- Jed called today and he has to bail (again) on the marathon. He was running last night and after a couple of 9:00/miles he stepped it up a bit and eventually was doing 8:20/mile -- and it still felt easy. But all of a sudden, his hamstring felt like someone clamped a site of Vice-Grips on it, and he had to quit. So, he's going to take it easy for a month and target the Philadelphia marathon on November 17.

Anyhow, as for the run, I did a bit slower than 9 minute miles and, again, concentrated on form and my mantra of 'Conserve, conserve, conserve" -- plus Tori's mantra of "Don't get hurt!"

Sunday, September 23, 2007

7 More Sleeps Until Race Day!

Yes, I'm starting (already) to get a bit nervous. My legs are twitching when I go to bed at night. I'm dreaming of the race and previous races. I'm dreaming of running in Boston. Very weird.

Today I just had to do another 6 mile run, targeting an 8:40/mile pace according to the Runners World chart. But this time I tried something I had yet to do in all of my training: actually stick to the chart's target easy run pace!

It wasn't easy, but as I got a feel for the speed of doing between 8:30 and 8:40 per mile I settled into a rhythm. I worked on my running style -- shoulders low, arms pumping forwards and back (not side-to-side), breathing easy, leaning forward from the ankles, and pretending the ground was a treadmill that I needed to push backwards. I repeated my mantras of "Conserve, conserve, conserve" -- and I added a new one that Tori gave me for my last full week of training: "Don't get hurt!"

The run went quite well and I stayed within my range of 8:30 to 8:40 the whole way. At just 27 miles of training, this has been my shortest mileage week of my training thus far. I must say that I have a love-hate relationship with it. My body feels like I should be doing more, but my mind is saying, "Take a Valium, dude". Relax -- enjoy the rest, and prepare mentally for the big day. So far, everything looks good.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Take it easy...

...was the operative phrase today. Jenny, Tori and I headed out of the house at around 7:45 am, down to William Street to meet Paula and Gwyn, who were making their way on Paula's long run (20 miles!) from Ailsa Craig to Lucan and back.

Our timing was excellent as we were at the designated meeting spot about 2 minutes ahead of them. Tori and Jenny started immediately towards Lucan while I went in the opposite direction to meet Paula and Gwyn.

Running with Paula and Gwyn was exactly what the doctor ordered, so to speak. They were targeting 10:30/mile which, while slower than my Runners World chart (8:40/mile) was exactly where I need to be mentally -- not pushing the pace! I ran with Paula and Gwyn just to the outskirts of Lucan before turning around and running the rest of the way back with Tori and Jenny.

Tori was definitely not having a good day and to keep the pace to her level was challenging to say the least. While she is definitely capable of doing 10 minute miles, we were doing more like 12 minute miles (7:30/k.). She carried on, though, and we made it back having done just shy of 8 miles (12.8 k). So Tori is 2/3 of the way to hitting her 1/2 marathon distance.

All-in-all, it was a good run for me. I was forced to relax and I was able to come back without being drenched in sweat and ready to go back to bed for four hours. Can't say the same for Tori, though! :-)

Thursday, September 20, 2007

The Runs are Getting Shorter...

Today was just a 6 miler at an easy pace -- targeting 8:40, according to my chart.

Well, there was no way that was going to happen. 6 miles just seems so short, now. So knocking off times at what felt to be an easy pace still put me at better than 8:00/mile. Times ranged from 7:51 per mile to 7:59 per mile, with the last mile being at 7:45 -- still feeling strong.

I'm going to have to do something to rein myself in for that last week. I know that the concept is that I just let my muscles relax and repair -- and the target times on the chart are getting slower, not faster. Yet I keep pushing to marathon pace.

Paula said she's doing a fifteen-miler on Saturday and her pace should be just about right for what I need to do, so with a bit of luck I'll be able to pace with her a bit.

One way or another, I have to figure it out. Tapering should mean tapering!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Second-last Tempo Run

I love this whole tapering thing. Today's run was to be a seven mile run, including 5 miles at a 7:23 pace or better.

There was a whole bunch of us out, including Karen and Tori, Brian, Kelly Finlayson and two new runners to the group, Peter and Heather Mutter. Both Kelly and Heather had been running with Kelly Vivian over the spring and summer and were ready to take on some speed work, which was great! Brian and I added a few nutrients to the seed that Kelly Vivian had planted for them to work towards the Shore-to-Shore run in 2008.

While the 7:23 target pace (4:37/k) was quick, I knew it was achievable because it was actually slower than my 8k pace of 4:30/k during the South Huron Trail Run, which was also a much hillier route.

I knocked off the miles with pretty good consistency, repeating my mantra to myself of "Conserve, conserve, conserve..." for the first four miles, and then kicking it up a notch for the last mile.

My tempo mile times were 7:20, 7:23, 7:17, 7:22 and 7:00, which I was quite pleased with. That was good enough for an average of 7:16/mile (4:33/k) -- just shy of my 8K race mark for the race earlier this year. And I know I could have gone faster.

On another note, Jed came by the house after the run to sign some things for the Lions club. He had informed me on Monday that he's doing Corning! Apparently the London physiotherapist(Scott DeLuca of Highbury North Physiotherapy - 519-659-2748) to whom Paula had referred him has worked wonders! So he is going to do some light runs and take a stab at the marathon in Corning. He figures he'll know within the first three miles whether he'll be able to carry on marathon pace for the full distance. Brian and I both agree that it shouldn't be a problem. He was ready to go a month ago when we did the last Port Stanley run -- his taper was just a bit more abrupt than ours!

Anyhow, we're back to all three of us running it -- and I couldn't be happier to have my pace buddy back in the run.

11 more sleeps to race day!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Terry Fox Run

Today I did the Terry Fox run in Springbank Park in London Ontario. Jenny is on a vacation in the Caribbean with her longtime friend, Leslie, but Karen and Tori joined me for the run and we made a healthy donation to, what I believe is, one of the best-run charitable organizations in Canada, and certainly providing funds for cancer research is a very worthy cause.

The standard Terry Fox run in London was a 2.2k loop that runners were to do 5 times for a total of 11k. I joined Paula Muxlow and her London Pacers friends, Nancy Johnston, Donna Kraft, and one other, the name of whom I didn't catch. And we caught up to Gwyn Hayman as well, who had arrived a few minutes after the official start of the run. I was, as Paula said, the 'token male' in the group.

The run was quite pleasant and at a very easy pace. I did a 6th lap on my own at a quick pace (around 7:00/mile) -- and I should have done an extra 3 miles but we were all going to go out for lunch, so I got changed into some non-smelly clothes instead.

There were two other pleasant parts of this run. First, Springbank Park is a very nice place to run, although it certainly isn't flat. My GPS said a difference of 125 feet between the lowest and highest spots on the 2.2k loop -- and there were multiple sections of rolling hills within the loop. But as far as having a pretty run, it sure beats the long straight roads of the Lucan area! The other very nice part of the run was that it was right across the river from my boyhood home, so I could see my old house multiple times throughout the run. Unfortunately, it looked to be in a significant state of disrepair -- certainly in need of a paint job at the very least. But it was still nice to be around my old stomping grounds!

After the run, we went to Kelsey's restaurant in London to "replenish the carbs", as I like to call it. I had a couple of Guiness beers (high in iron, I understand) and an excellent meal with Tori, Karen, Gwyn, Paula and Paula's coach, Sherri Watts. A very pleasant cap to a very pleasant run!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Easy runs are getting even easier!

There is no doubt that the training over the past 11 weeks has helped me -- both physically and mentally. Today was an easy run -- 10 miles with my Runners World chart having me target 8:40 per mile. Naturally, I took a few seconds off this target and was looking for 8:20's.

The weather was cool today, which was great, but it was also quite windy. Heading south with the wind at my back was no sweat -- really. I kept to paces of between 8:13 and 8:23 per mile for the first five miles. Then I started heading north, with the wind in my face -- and I started to really work. Even still, my pace was actually better than in the first five miles, ranging from a tough 8:21 down to 8:07 on the last mile -- again, heading north.

The run felt really good -- but I know that if we have similar strong headwinds in Corning, there is no way I'll be able to keep up a marathon pace for three-and-a-half hours.

Again, my feeling is that if it isn't too warm and if I don't have a headwind, hitting my BQ target in Corning is definitely do-able.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

11-Mile "Easy" Run

Well, at least it was supposed to be "easy". I was targeting 8:20/mile. But as soon as I got out onto the road, I saw the rest of my family about a kilometre away on their 6-miler. "Maybe I can catch them and run with them for a bit", I thought to myself so I picked up the pace a bit.

Two-and-a-half miles later, I'd caught them -- having done about 7:40/mile to catch them. So much for "easy" so far. I ran with my wife, Jenny, and my daughters, Karen and Tori, for about three-quarters of a mile at about a 10:00/mile pace -- but then our routes diverged.

So I picked up the pace a bit -- first to an 8:30/mile pace, then to a 8:06 pace. By the end of the eighth mile, I noticed that -- between my original fast pace on this run and my better-than-target pace for the past couple of miles -- I was only a minute off marathon pace overall -- running 8:10's on average. So I pushed it a bit more for the last 3 miles, hitting 7:57, 7:59 and 7:26. The first two of those miles were both slightly uphill and on loose gravel. Every step I took I was being careful not to roll an ankle or do something stupid that would prevent me from running Corning.

Overall, I was 8:03/mile for the run. I felt very strong at the end and while I was tired and sweaty, it wasn't nearly as bad as several of the runs I had done during July and August -- mostly due to the cooler weather.

This weekend a bunch of us from the Shamrock Running Club are doing the Terry Fox Run in London, Ontario. Both "coach" Brian Watson and I are doing 12 miles, and I think others are doing longer runs there as well. This won't be a race -- just a long run -- but I suspect our pace will be something close to marathon pace. No sweat! :-)

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Cool Evening = Strong Run

I had another really strong run tonight. This time it was a tempo run -- the same sort of run I bailed on two weeks ago. 2 miles of warm-up, 7 miles at 7:31/mile or better, and 1 mile of cool-down.

The temperature was excellent -- about 63 degrees F. (17 C.) and the wind was steady from the west. The wind direction actually helped a lot since it was in my face on the slight-downhill leg, and behind me when running in the direction that was slightly uphill.

After my warm-up, my 7 one-mile 'laps' were 7:27, 7:42, 7:26, 7:37, 7:32, 7:32 and 7:20 for an average of 7:31/mile. I felt strong the whole way, although I was definitely thinking "Conserve, conserve, conserve" throughout the first six miles.

Another nice element to the evening run is that I had company out there. Brian was doing his speed work tonight -- knocking off sub-6 minute miles x 4. Gwyn Hayman was out doing tempo runs, as was Paula Muxlow and Jenny. Paula's husband, John, came out to take Paula home (she ran out to the speed work area with her dogs, Cleo and Emma) -- but not before we all went back to our place for water and/or beer.

So, another good run and another few days closer to corning!

Sunday, September 9, 2007

I'm Going to Book our Hotel Room in Boston!!!

Well, okay, maybe I'm getting a bit ahead of myself here. But, hey, if I don't make it, I can always cancel the room. The point is that today's half marathon in Wasaga Beach was really strong. The best part was the cool weather -- 60 degrees F (15 C.) at the start.

I was wearing my standard race attire -- mesh shore-to-shore reflective vest, black shorts with reflective stripe, Asics 2120 shoes, some new (and comfy) Champion socks from Costco, and my New Balance running hat from Runner's Choice. I had my Garmin Forerunner 205 (fully charged and ready to go), a bag of 10 jellybeans and 7 Eload tablets in the little pocket in my shorts and another that I carried with my Gatorade bottle filled with Eload mixed at standard strength.

For breakfast I had a bagel with peanut butter and jam, a glass or orange juice and a couple of swigs of my Eload mix.

Today's run was to be 20 miles, so about 25 minutes before the run, I did 2 miles of very easy warm up -- and I mean very easy (9:35/mile average pace). While I was warming up, I ran with my Mars bar and a medium black Tim Horton's coffee which were fully consumed by the time the race started. Then we got into the run.

"Conserve, conserve", I kept saying to myself. So while lots of runners were taking off ahead of me, I kept to my target pace of something better than 8:00/mile. I was chatting with other runners and pacing with some for a while -- but never letting another runner's pace (faster or slower) interfere with my target range.

This was a really flat out-and-back course, generally following a roadway just slightly removed from the beach. I could tell that it was flat because both on the way out and on the way back it looked to me like we were running slightly downhill. Obviously that wasn't the case, but it had a good psychological effect on my run.

My first 7 miles of the run ranged from 7:51 to 8:00 per mile -- a perfect pace. On the way back, I tracked my time but definitely knew that I'd be able to complete the race at marathon pace at least, so when I found myself going a bit faster, I didn't rein it in dramatically. The second half of the race ranged in pace from 7:56 down to 7:24 in the last mile. Overall, my time was a very respectible 1:42:50 which is a pace of 7:51/mile or 4:54/k -- and just 1 minute off the personal best time I set on July 1.But the best part was that I wasn't pushing hard. I could have certainly done a personal best, but I knew I still had 5 miles of running to do after the race to get in my full 20 miles so I didn't push it. I had proven to myself that doing my target pace was not going to be an issue. And while it was only a half marathon, I'm quite confident that if the weather in Corning is cool and we aren't facing a headwind, I'll be able to do the whole thing in my target of 3:30. At least that is how I feel today!

Karen and Tori each ran the 5K today -- but it turned into an 8-ish kilometre run due to some apparently confusing directions on course. The people at Multi Sport Canada, the organizers, were very understanding and gave medals to the top finishers in this 8K, in addition to those who competed in the 5K -- so both Tori and Karen got medals for 1st and 2nd in the under 20 women's age group, respectively. And Jenny did the half marathon and set a personal best at 1:57:50 -- taking more than a minute off her previous personal best. I ran with her for the last kilometre and she ran strongly right up to the end! Jenny's parents, Bruce and BJ Chadwick, were there to watch all the fun at the start and finish!

One thing that has definitely changed for Corning is my choice of sport drink. Yesterday, while I was reading up on the eLoad web site about the eLoad Tablets that I'd purchased at Runner's Choice, I could tell that these people had researched sweat to the nth degree. Now I was on a mission to pick up some eLoad for today's run, and we found some at a running store in Collingwood near where we were staying. Perhaps it was the cooler weather, but I found that I could drink lots of eLoad without getting 'dry mouth' or getting sick of the taste. In fact, I went through 1.5 litres of eLoad and could have drank more if I had more available. I had 4 eLoad tablets during the run to ensure I didn't cramp up and the combination seemed to work quite well. The only time I felt a cramp was after I'd been standing for about 10 minutes and then went to run some of my extra 5 miles. But I worked through that cramp in my left calf quite easily.

So my toughest week is now officially out of the way, and I firmly believe I'm ready for Corning. 21 more sleeps until race day!

Friday, September 7, 2007

Conserve, Conserve, Then Conserve Some More...

Today was my third day in a row of 10+ miles -- and the third day in a row of humid weather. Not a great combination for me. The temperature when I started was 21 degrees C (70 F.) but you could practically cut the air with a knife. My schedule said I was to do 8:40/mile and while I've pushed that number before, this time I intended to only do a tiny bit faster -- 8:30/mile.

This was one of those runs where I felt like there was no way I could ever do a marathon -- and this was only 10 miles! From the very start, my strategy was to conserve as much energy for the end -- and its a good thing. By mile 8, the sweat was dripping off my hat at a rate of about 1 drop for every 6 strides. I felt like walking about 20 times during the run, starting as early as 3 miles into it. But I kept running.

In the end, my average pace was 8:17/mile with a range of between 8:10 and 8:29 -- pretty good, in retrospect. But, man, I was totally spent at the end of it all. I soaked in our outdoor shower for about 20 minutes with as cold water as I could get. And then I had an ice bath to ensure I wouldn't be stiff for this weekend's 20 miler. I just hope that the weather cooperates because if it is like it was today, I'm toast!

One thing that I did differently this run was I carried water with me instead of sport drink. To replenish the electolytes, etc., I tried Eload Zone Caps that I'd picked up from Runners Choice on the advice of Jackie Windsor who had taken part in the last Port Stanley run, had read this blog and emailed me with the tip. Thanks, Jackie! I had 1 capsule before the run, and 3 during the run. The advantage to them, in theory, is that you won't get sick of the taste because there is none. As runs go, this was fairly short -- but I didn't have the issues with hamstring, calf and shin pain/tenderness as I'd had on prior runs. I think it will take some tweaking with this strategy to get it right in a long run. This weekend's run will likely tell me more.

I'm now over 60% done this week's mileage. And the 20 miler on Sunday will cap it off. We're doing a half marathon in Wasaga Beach, so my plan is to do 2 miles of warm-up, the 13.1 mile half, and then 5 miles of cool-down. I'm going to target marathon pace (8:00/mile) for the race portion, so I'm counting on the warm-up and cool-down being considerably slower. My schedule calls for 8:40/mile, so I'm sure that I'll be faster than that on average.

Hopefully the weather gets cooler -- quickly!

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Last Speed Work before the Marathon!!!

Woo-hoo! It actually kept me motivated this morning knowing that it was the last time I'd have to work so hard on speed work.

This was the run I was supposed to do yesterday evening, but it was simply too warm to do it. This morning was better heat-wise (16 to 19 degrees C), but it was still muggy.

The deal this morning was that I was to do a total of 10 miles including a warm-up run (2 miles) and then 4 runs at a 6:51/mile pace (4:17/k), each one separated by a half mile of jogging.

I definitely noticed the elevation difference on this run. According to the GPS, there is about a 75 foot difference in elevation from one end to the other of the speed-work area. So heading west was consistently easier and faster than heading east. You can see it in my times:

Lap 1 (heading east): 6:52
Lap 2 (heading west): 6:41
Lap 3 (heading east): 7:05
Lap 4 (heading west): 6:38

Overall, my pace during the speed work parts of the run averaged 6:49, so my run worked out quite well. And considering that my fastest mile during the speed work a month ago was 6:48, I'm pretty happy with these results!

It was interesting how the various comments and advice one gets while training come into play. The primary one today and yesterday was something my step-sister, Susan, passed along from advice from her brother, Len Gushe, who does Ironman races. When Susan was training for her first marathon, Len told her to "Conserve, conserve, conserve -- and when you think you've conserved enough, conserve some more." I took that into account last night while working to keep enough energy both to finish last night's run within the target pace, and also to have enough energy to do today's speed work.

Injuries are also top-of-mind for me now. Jed emailed me the other day to say that the sixteen-miler he was running when we saw him on Sunday ended up being a six-miler. His hamstring was really bothering him and (gulp) he may not be able to do the marathon in Corning. Arrrrrggghhhh! So all of a sudden, I'm looking at these pains I'm getting in my long runs and I'm being very careful not to over-stress things. But, of course, I'm now feeling every single pain and wondering if could be something serious. Today it was a pain in my left shin after my run. Checking into it on, it doesn't appear to be 'shin splints', so I'm just going to take it easy for the next couple of days.

I have an 11 mile run tomorrow on which I'm going to target 8:30/mile (Conserve, conserve, conserve). Sunday I'm doing a half marathon in Wasaga Beach -- but have to extend this by 7 miles somehow to get my target 20 miler in. This is the toughest training week in my schedule, but it is half over so that part feels good. Ask me how I feel after Sunday's run!

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

The heat is back...

I was going to do my speed work tonight, but the temperature was still 30 degrees C. (86 F.) by the time I was ready to start, so I went with 'plan B' -- to do the 12 mile easy run I had scheduled for tomorrow.

My run went well, especially considering the heat. I conserved my energy and tracked at between 8:15 and 8:30 per mile.

Its starting to get dark earlier, now -- around 7:55 -- so it means I'm starting my runs right after supper. Tonight, 'supper' consisted of a peanut-butter and jam sandwich. But I did have a couple of beers after the run!

Tomorrow morning -- less than 12 hours after my 12 miler -- is when the fun begins. Speed work. Woo-hoo... looking forward to it!

Sunday, September 2, 2007

A Beautiful Day for a Run

Today I went out for an easy run -- really. Jenny and Tori needed to do 7 miles (11k) for their schedule and I needed to do 9 miles. Kelly joined us which worked very well as Kelly and I were able to do a nice easy pace which was still faster than Jenny and Tori -- but then we doubled back to rejoin them at each corner in our route around Lucan. This process not only kept my running pace in check, but the doubling-back at the corners allowed me to get my extra 2 miles in while doing the same route.

It was a gorgeous day for a run -- cool (around 18 degrees C./64F.) and sunny with a very slight breeze. Possibly the nicest day this summer!

Our pace varied from between 8:30/mile to 9:30/mile with an average pace of 9:01/mile -- perfect!

We ran into Jed during one of our legs. He was doing a 16 mile easy run. He had pulled a hamstring during speed work earlier in the week but was running without pain when we saw him. Looks like we're both flirting with injuries between his hammy and my fall earlier this week. These next 4 weeks are going to be torture trying to train well, but keep away from last-minute injuries!

On a totally different topic, this past week Jenny and I went to a meeting in preparation for the 2008 Shore to Shore running relay. For anyone who hasn't done a long distance relay race, this one is a blast. It turns what is otherwise an individual sport into a team sport. For 24 to 30 hours, you and your team are cheering each other on, exchanging stories about each others' runs and occasionally trying to get a few hours of shut-eye. We're going to try ramp our group up to 18-20 runners and field two teams of 9 or 10 runners each. Apparent Runners Choice's John Ferguson the legend helped to field eight teams from his group last year, so we should be able to put two together.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

And now for something completely different...

Well, okay, not that different. Those who know me know that I'm a bit of a techno-geek when it comes to running gadgets, timing myself on runs, calculating pace based on windspeed, grade, etc.

Today, I did my 8-miler without a watch or GPS!

My concept was to just go out and run. Steady, strong but without checking my GPS every 15 seconds to see if I needed to lower my stride by 1%.

So thats what I did. The weather was cool again and it was sunny. So it was another great day for a run. Did the same route as yesterday, only in the reverse direction.

The run went very well. No muscle strains. No potential Charlie horses. No cramps in my calves. My thighs felt like they were working, but not overworking. My breathing was even and, while I was running alone, I felt like I could carry on a conversation with someone if I needed to.

The result? 1:02:28 or 7:49 per mile. That's 8 seconds below marathon pace, so it felt pretty good.

Tomorrow I really, really, really need to take it easy! :-)