Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Hamstring Treatment - Week 15 - 5 Mile Easy Run...

Coach Brian and I went out for a five mile easy run today -- and we actually took it easy. The wind was quite brisk from the east, so we did a north-south out-and-back route on Denfield Road. Here are our splits:


We make sure to re-carb after the run with a fine selection of beverages from Brian's fridge!

So, its nice to see that the "easy" times are getting a bit faster!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Hamstring Treatment - Week 15 - Speed Work at Harris Park (5 loops) - 8.5 miles total

Tonight, Johnny had us doing roughly 1.5 mile loops beside the Thames River between the Queens Street bridge and Blackfriars Bridge. The first 'speed' section was roughly 750 m. (0.46 of a mile according to the GPS) and was relatively flat, although slightly uphill as we were going up the river. The next speed section was at the south end of Harris Park and took us up a relatively steep road to Ridout Street. We did easy jogs between speed segments.

I really didn't have any particular speed in mind when I started, but I settled on doing roughly 7 minute miles for the first speed segment, and then just as fast as I could go without stopping for the hill climb.

I screwed up the time on the first hill climb, but here are the rest of the splits:

750 m.: 3:14 (7.04 pace)
Hill Climb: (Screwed it up)
750 m.: 3:15 (7.00 pace)
Hill Climb: 1:35 (7:55 pace)
750 m.: 3:14 (6.59 pace)
Hill Climb: 1:35 (7:57 pace)
750 m.: 3:15 (6.57 pace)
Hill Climb: 1:36 (8:03 pace)
750 m.: 3:15 (7.03 pace)
Hill Climb: 1:37 (8:03 pace)

Scary, really, how consistent my times were. And I was definitely working hard, because it felt like my lungs were going to explode at each of the speed segments!

My hamstring in my right leg is still not where the left leg is -- but it didn't explode on me during the hill climbs, and it felt stronger at the end of the run than it did at the beginning. And overall, for me to be doing 7 minute miles for any distance is far better than I was able to do even just a month ago. So, again, progress!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Hamstring Treatment - Week 15 - 15 Mile Long Run to Lucan and Back, and then around the block

Today, Coach Brian was running the Really Chilly 10k in London. I chose to skip that race, so he suggested a 15 mile long run (which is much shorter than most long runs lately), with the last 5 at "marathon pace".

So I went out with a goal of 5 miles at 8:40/mile, 5 miles at 8:20 per mile and 5 miles at 8:00 per mile. It _almost_ went according to plan -- but between a bit of a headwind from the south and west to just being plain tuckered out, it was a tough run for those last 5 miles. Here are my splits:

{5 minute-ish rest at Clarke's Variety}
{10 minute-ish rest back at home}
{2 minute-ish rest at William & Maguire}
{2 minute-ish rest on William St.}

There is no question that the wind had an impact during those last 5 miles. After mile 3, my legs were super tired. And I clearly hadn't recovered after mile 4, even though by that time the wind was at my back. But I was reasonably pleased with my last mile.

It was a tough run. Its quite possible that I'm still not in 8 minute mile marathon pace territory. But, with just 7 weeks until the 2012 Boston Marathon, it wasn't a bad pace to target.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Hamstring Treatment - Week 15 - 4 Mile Pace Run...

I've been skipping the pace runs most weeks. Too busy, too much on the go. But Coach Brian had the day off so we started out from our house on a crappy, crappy day. The wind was "brisk" from the west, with a mixture of sleet and snow. But we toughed it out -- at least for the first part.

We ran south on Neil Road and then headed west for a little bit to get our warm-up mile in. And then we turned around and headed into the wind for our "pace" miles. Well, it wasn't going to happen. At one point, I'm quite sure that the wind was so strong that while I was working as hard as I could, I really wasn't going anywhere. So we got a grand total of 2 pace miles -- 4 miles total including the warm up and cool down. Here are my splits:

7:56 (warm-up)
8:34 (pace -- into the wind)
7:52 (pace -- wind at my back)
9:26 (cool-down).

So, not a great "pace" day. But the beer still tasted good!

That run put me over 40 miles for the week for the first time in my training -- 41 miles total for the week.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Hamstring Treatment - Week 15 - 10 Mile Tempo Run to Lucan and Back...

So, exactly 14 weeks ago at this time I was sitting by the pool at the Beaches Resort in Curacao, Dutch Antilles (near Venezuela) with a double Scotch with one ice cube, ice under the back of my right leg, and a pair of crutches at my side. Having just severely ruptured my right hamstring muscles, there was no way I could walk, let alone run.

14 weeks later, I just had another excellent run from home into Lucan and back.

It was a tempo run, so the goal was to go a bit slower than marathon pace for the first half, and then a bit faster than marathon pace for the second half. But since I have no idea what my current "marathon pace" is (it changes as my hamstring gets stronger), I just went into town a bit slower than I thought I could go back.

I was targeting 8:20 per mile for the first 5 miles, a five minute break for a Coke at Clarke's Variety, and then 8:00 per mile (or better) for the 5 miles home. Here are my splits:

(5 minute break)

My overall time was 1:20:56 and the average pace was 8:06 per mile. Compare that to my tempo run last week (same route, although the Westerly wind was a factor) with a time of 1:26:34 (8:39 average pace) and it is actually mind boggling the difference in performance in just a week.

There are less than 8 weeks left until Boston. And I don't want to count my chickens before they hatch, as it were. But if things keep improving this well, there is a _chance_ that I can have a respectible finish time. All I can do is keep training and we'll see what the prognosis is on race day!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Hamstring Treatment - Week 14 - 5 Mile Easy Run...

Brian and I went out from his house for a 5 mile "easy" run. And while I wouldn't say that I pushed it to an 8K race pace, I was definitely able to push it harder than I've run since the injury and was still able to keep up a short-sentence conversation with him. I screwed up the first half mile of pace, but it would have been around 8:15/mile, I'm guessing. Here are the rest of our splits:

8:13 (into the wind)
8:01 (into the wind)
7:51 (wind at our back)
7:44 (wind at our back)
9:13 (0.58 of a mile, cool-down pace)

The wind wasn't gale-force or anything, but it was definitely noticeable. For the 4 miles where I was actually running fast, our average pace was 7:58 on average.

More progress!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Hamstring Treatment - Week 14 - 4 Miles, Speed Work: Parloff Relay..

Tonight we did a Parloff Relay: 25 minutes with Jenny and me each doing 2 x 200 m. laps (400 m. total) before handing the baton to the other. Here are our splits:

1:37 (me)
1:49 (Jenny)
1:30 (me)
1:48 (Jenny)
1:31 (me)
1:47 (Jenny)
1:33 (me)
1:43 (Jenny)
1:33 (me)
1:41 (Jenny)
1:33 (me)
1:39 (Jenny)
1:32 (me)
1:39 (Jenny)
1:32 (me)
1:37 (Jenny)

Looking back to last summer, my times are comparable, although I was able to ramp up to a 1:20 final dash, whereas 1:32 was all I had in the tank this time. But my average pace was 1:30.62 back in July, whereas my average pace tonight was 1:32.62 -- so just 2 seconds per 400 m. difference overall.

I felt strong. I felt like I could actually _push_ with my right leg, for the first time in a long time. Still I'm not 100% -- but I'm feeling close. And if comparing the numbers to last July are any indication, I'm at (90.62/92.62) 97.8%!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Hamstring Treatment - Week 14 - 18 Mile Long Run...

I joined up with the Runner's Choice Marathon Training Group again today for a "short" 18 mile run. Brian and I didn't do the "Boston Breakfast Club" 4 mile pre-run, and Jed was still nursing a tweaked hamstring, so he went to Goodlife Fitness to do a 90 minute spin class instead.

I joined up with Christine Dirks, Mike Blencowe and Gordon Ball, and the group of us ran almost the entire way together. Here are our splits:


Overall, the running time was 2:38:04 for an average pace per mile of 8:47. The terrain was fairly flat (for London) and clear of snow, there was little wind, and the temperature was between -5 and -2 C.

We carried on a conversation pretty much the whole way, so the pace was comfortable.

Considering how crappy the run was last week for me, I was very pleased with how this one went. The hamstring didn't hurt any more than the rest of me. I was a bit sore in the front of my legs -- but I was wearing my old running shoes (expecting a crappy running day) so the soreness could be simply from worn-out shoes!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Hamstring Treatment - Week 14 - 12 mile tempo run...

It was 6 degrees C. today, so if there was a way I could run outside, I was going to do it. Today, the plan was for a 12 mile "Tempo" run (i.e. running at faster than marathon pace for the second half of the run), but since I have no clue what my marathon pace will be, I just did what I could on the second half of the run.

To change the scenery a bit, I ran into Tim Hortons in Lucan with a bit of a detour once I got into town to extend it out to an even 5 mile run there. I'd run back making it 10 miles total, and then if I still had daylight, I'd extend it out another 2 miles. Otherwise, I'd hit the treadmill for the last 2 miles (which is what happened). Here are my splits:


for a total to Tim Hortons of 44:21. The wind was behind me for most of the run, but it was generally uphill, so I was happy with that "easy" pace. For the 5 miles back, here are the splits:


for a total back home of 42:13. Again, this time it was generally downhill, but there was a half decent wind in my face the whole way, so it was no cake walk.

I did 19 minutes on the treadmill and was drenched in sweat after that little bit, so I worked hard. But the net result is that I got in my longest tempo run yet, and I'm still walking!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Hamstring Treatment - Week 13 - 5 Mile Easy Run

With Brian or me being away or me being in meetings, I haven't been able to get my regular Wednesday easy runs with "Coach", and today was no exception. What was different, though, was that instead of heading for the treadmill, I found an hour to head outside and go around the block (5 miles) for my run. While it was supposed to be "easy", of course I couldn't do that. Here are my splits:


There was a fairly stiff breeze from the southwest, which made the work harder on the first to miles. But overall I was quite pleased with these paces and my overall time: 41:24

Still more work to be done -- I've done this loop as fast as 4:32 per kilometre (7:18 / mile) back in October 2011, so I have quite a ways to go before I even approach that sort of speed. And comparing 41.4 minutes to 36.5 minutes puts me at 88% of my prior-to-injury speed. But Rome wasn't rebuilt in a day!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Hamstring Treatment - Week 13 - Speed work 600m + 400m x 5 (6 miles total)

So I need to start by saying that I played hockey last night and tweaked my hamstring. Not a rupture like I did in November, but just a bit of a reminder that I'm not totally healed yet. So I was cognizant of this issue as I contemplated the speed work for tonight.

Tonight John Ferguson, the Legend, had us doing a 600m. speed run followed by a 100 m. jog and then a 400 m. speed run, followed by a 400 m. jog. Repeat 3, 4 or 5 times (Jenny and I did 5). Because of my hamstring issue, I figured I should take it easy -- at least at the start -- so I chose 55 second laps of the 200 m. track as my target pace. It worked out okay. Here are my splits:

2:41 (54 second laps)
1:48 (54)
2:41 (54)
1:47 (54)
2:42 (54)
1:45 (53)
2:40 (53)
1:45 (53)
2:50 (57)
1:43 (52)

I took it easy on the last 600 m. speed run, but pushed it on the last 400 m. speed run. Overall, I was pretty happy with how it all worked out. The hamstring was tight the whole time, and I could definitely feel that my right leg is weaker than my left -- but each week it feels just a bit stronger.

Total run tonight including warm up and cool down was 6 miles.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Hamstring Treatment - Week 13 - 20 mile (but really 11 mile) long run...

I had full intentions of doing some sort of a short Pace Run on Friday -- and then I put it off to Saturday. But between being busy in the office and a bit under the weather with a cold that had been developing during the week, these runs never happened. No probs -- it would allow me a mini-"taper" to let the muscles repair in advance of this week's 20 miler.

It was a crappy day to run -- snow covered everything, flurries still coming down, and a wind from the west. Not gale-force, mind you, but enough that you definitely looked forward to having it at your back when running east. Unfortunately, I never got to experience that part.

I was careful to carb-up properly and consistently for this run, and as I was fighting a head cold, I took a decongestant tablet and some cough syrup before the run. The first 4 "pre-run" miles were no problem. I was able to keep up with the rest of the pack and the pace wasn't out of my league. For the main run, I joined Shelly Boyer and Jennifer again, and the pace was relaxed but steady. The goal was to head west through the park to Byron, head up Boler to Southdale, go west to Wickerson, and then Wickerson south to eventually make our way back to the park and back downtown again. 16 more miles, for a total of 20. But by the time we started heading up Boler, I was starting to fade. It was a long uphill segment, but it was becoming a real struggle for me and I eventually told Shelly to go on ahead. Then I saw Jed coming down Boler (obviously cutting his run short as well) so I went to join him. He was having hamstring issues and was going to run-walk back. At first I was just going to find a place to call a cab, but he convinced me to join him for an easy run back. We stopped at a convenience store for a Coke, but when we started up again, I was nauseous. I was going to puke for sure. Jed went on ahead and I called a taxi. 11 miles total. Here are my mile splits:

10:30 (guess)

Not only was I feeling sick to my stomache, but I had a headache and there was significant pressure in my sinuses. So it is possible that I was sick (duh!).

After the Coke and a quart of chocolate milk, a hot shower and then a Guinness, coffee and Big Breakfast at the Ale House, I felt significantly better. But I took it easy for the rest of the day and went to bed early.

I hate bailing on runs. But having done it, now, several times, I've proven to myself that you simply aren't going to have a good run every day. So pick your battles. The important run is on Marathon Day -- everything else is "optional" as long as you only bail occassionally. And, true enough, I'd have much better runs later in the week.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Hamstring Treatment - Week 13 - 9 Mile Tempo run on Dreadmill

While the training plan of John Ferguson, The Legend called for a 10 mile tempo run tonight, I didn't feel I could do it justice, so I shortened it to 9 miles on the dreadmill (8 miles displayed). I did the first 4 miles (displayed) at a 6.0 MPH pace (8:50/mile real world pace), and three of the four remaining displayed miles at a 6.6 MPH (displayed) pace, which should equate to 8 minute miles in the real world. I couldn't hold 6.6 MPH for more than miles 5 and 6, so I took a 2 minute rest and then hopped on the treadmill again at a 6 MPH pace. For the last mile, I ramped it up to 6.6 again.

The first 4 miles (displayed) took just a hair over 40 minutes, and the next 4 miles were just a bit over 39 minutes -- 79:18 total. The first 7 miles of the run were quite close to 70 minutes -- so 3 minutes faster than just last week. And then I ramped up the pace.

Again, while its not what I would have liked to be doing at this point in the race training plan, it is definite progress over last week's 8 mile run.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Hamstring Treatment - Week 12 - Speed Work Ladder (3.5 miles)

We did a "ladder" today -- starting at 400m, then 600m, then 800m, then 1 km, and then back down to 400m again. The goal was to keep consistent pace the whole way. I pushed the hamstring more than ever before this time, and it worked out okay.

We were on the 200 m. track. Here are my times (and my 200 pace):

400m: 1:50 (55 sec.)
600m: 2:40 (53 sec.)
800m: 3:31 (53 sec.)
1000m: 4:24 (53 sec.)
800m: 3:30 (53 sec.)
600m: 2:37 (52 sec.)
400m: 1:40 (50 sec.)

So, I was pretty happy. I finished stronger than I started, my times were consistent, and I pushed myself as hard as I could -- particularly for the 1000 and 800 runs. I had been targeting between 52 and 53 seconds and I ended up at just a hair under 53 second laps on average. Total distance (including 200 rest laps) was 5.8 km (3.5 miles).

Comparing these times to my ladder of July 28, 2010, I typically did 50 second laps (4:10/k.). So I'm not quite there -- but I'm not far off!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Hamstring Treatment - Week 12 - 22.44 mile long run

Jed, Brian and I put in 4.1 miles before the official Runners Choice run today, so all told I got in 20.44 miles. I ran with Shelly Boyer the entire way, and most of the way with Jennifer (although I didn't catch her last name).

It was a good run. The route took us up to the corner of Clarke Road and Sunningdale, and then back down Adelaide. So there were some good long hills. Here are my mile splits:

8:35 (.44 miles)

So the average pace over the whole run was 8:50 -- not terrible. My hamstring was tight, but, really, it didn't hurt more than any other part of my body by the end!

By the end of the run, it was feeling nauseous, so I have to figure out the food thing. I was starving (predictibly) by 13 miles, and I chewed a lot of gummy bear things I picked up from Sport Chekk, and Sports Beans from Runners Choice. But I needed something else. Maybe I'll try chopped up Clif bars and Pringles, like Sarah Reinertson does on her Iron Man runs next time! I had a good breakfast -- a large bowl of mini-wheats, so that got me through the first half of the run.

After getting cleaned up, we went to The Ale House for their half-priced Big Breakfast with a bunch of the other runners. And I rode in indoor polo later the afternoon, which helped stretch out the muscles.

I was pretty happy getting this run in. It confirmed that one way or another, I'll finish Boston in 10 weeks.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Hamstring Treatment - Week 15 - 4 Mile "Pace" Run

Today, Coach Brian and I ventured out into the wild weather -- sleet going sideways type wild weather -- to try to get in our 6 mile pace run (4 miles at pace with a 1 mile warm-up and cool-down). Our warm-up run was pretty good heading mostly south and then a bit east. But the wind was 39 KM/h gusting to 65 KM/h from the west -- so heading west wasn't so good.

We ended up bailing on the 4 miles of pace and shortened it to 2 miles at pace -- but our muscles were plenty sore enough. At one point, I actually felt like I wasn't moving forward despite working hard and leaning into the wind.

Here are my splits:

7:56 (warm-up)
8:34 (into the wind)
7:52 (wind behind me, but my legs were done)
9:26 (cool-down)

It was a tough run -- but just being out there today made us better men than most. And the beer (Samuel Smith's Oatmeal Stout) still tasted great afterwards!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Hamstring Treatment - Week 12 - 8 Mile Tempo Run on the Treadmill

It was 12 weeks ago today that I ruptured in my right hamstring and was hobbling around the Breezes resort in Curacao. And in 10.5 weeks, I'll be in Boston running the marathon.

I'm still not even close to the speed I was before the injury -- but I'm getting there.

Today I was to do an 8 mile tempo run, where the first half of the run is at marathon pace and the second half of the run is at 30 to 45 seconds per mile _faster_ than marathon pace. Well, my 'marathon pace' to hit my target of 3:20 in Boston is 7:38/mile -- and I can't even hit that pace for one mile, let alone 4. So tonight, I just hit the treadmill with the goal of doing the first half at a moderate pace, and the second half at a pace that was stressing me a bit.

Because the treadmill needs to be calibrated and I know it is off by 13.1%, I ran so it read 7 miles as the distance travelled, which should equate to 7.92 miles -- close enough.

I was going to start running at 5 MPH, but it was actually too slow, so I ramped it up to 5.5 MPH on the display, which should equate to 9:39/mile pace in the real world. I did this pace for the first 3 miles, and then ramped up the pace to 6.5 MPH on the display, which should equate to a pace of 8:10 in the real world. I was working hard, but I could handle it for the half mile until I took a quick scheduled break at the 3.5 mile mark. From there, I ramped up the pace to 6.0 MPH displayed (8:50/mile in the real world) and I carried on for 2.5 miles and then I ramped it up to 6.5 MPH (8:10/mile real world) for the last mile. I was working hard, but I was breathing well and my head was still being held high and I had a bounce in my step, so I guess the pace was okay.

So, I'm making progress. Looking back to my 7 mile (displayed) run on the treadmill on January 12, 2012, I'm certainly faster for a sustained period of time. I knocked off the run in roughly 73 minutes -- a minute faster than on January 12 -- so while the progress isn't mind boggling, it is progress nonetheless!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Hamstring Treatment - Week 11 - 4 Mile Easy Run

Coach Brian was off in Whistler skiiing, so when our buddy Jody Durand called up and asked if we wanted to go for a run in Ilderton where he was bringing his daughter once a week in preparation for a Mexican mission in March, we took him up on it. By 'we', I mean 'me' -- Jenny had a drink at the King Eddie in Ilderton while Jody and I put in a 4 mile run at a 9:18/mile 'easy run' pace. It was great to see Jody again and in the course of our 37 minute run, we not only got caught up on everything in each others' worlds, but we solved all of the worlds problems to boot!