Sunday, October 26, 2014

Halloween Haunting 10K - 47:38

I went for a 7K run on Wednesday and felt pretty good. I wasn't looking to do a fast run, but more of a "get the cobwebs out of the system" run.

So this morning, I felt reasonably good. 4 days off since Wednesday. A week since the Columbus Marathon. Minimal horseback riding in the last couple of days.

The Halloween Haunting is a race where participants are invited to dress in costumes. Jenny put a lot of work into the Energizer Bunny costume. I was going to 'race' (rather than run) the 10K, so I wasn't interested in a costume. But I brought along my Batman costume just in case.

As it turned out, the winds were fairly brisk coming out of the west, so I knew my time was unlikely to be a Personal Best (or anything close) -- so I changed into my Batman costume and was going to just go out and do a good run. Anything close to 45 minutes would be awesome. I would be disappointed with anything slower than 50 minutes.

We started the run and I actually felt quite good. But it didn't take long before the pace was starting to wear me down. Here are my splits:


Total time: 47 minutes and 30ish seconds -- 4:45 per kilometre. As you can see, I got progressively slower. The legs were sore by the time I'd done the first 5K lap. I wanted to stop 1000 times, but didn't. Instead, I just slowed the pace.

So the challenge is that my legs feel like lead. My breathing is fine and I'm not overheating, but my legs are on fire with pain. Jenny and I had a chat with Sue Safadi and I'm going to arrange a visit to the physiotherapy clinic where she works. I'm also going to get a doctor's appointment and get some blood tests done to see if my iron level is low (or high) or something.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Columbus Marathon - 3:47:15

My IT band had been bothering me for quite a few weeks -- enough that I cut short the 6 mile tempo run scheduled for October 9 to just 4 kilometres at an easy pace. And due to a horse Event, I totally missed the 12 mile long run scheduled for October 12. But by the time the last "speed work" was due on October 14 (which I also missed and did on October 15), the rest had done most of its job. I did the 2 miles x 2 times at marathon pace with a 3 minute break on track and feeling good. I had a 200 mg ibuprofen a couple of hours before the run which helped. But I felt good and strong -- like I could keep the 4:55/k pace forever.

So going into the Columbus Marathon, I was cautiously optimistic. I would go out looking to run a steady pace of 4:55/k which would bring me across the 42.2 kilometre course in 2:27:29 -- within the range I was targeting of 2:28 which should get me to Boston. Even a 3:28:30 would likely do, so I had about a minute of buffer.

The course was relatively flat, and the weather (between 4 degrees and 11 degrees with no wind) was perfect. My position in corral A just behind the 3:25 pacer was perfect. I was in my new Runners Choice "Canada" black singlet, my Race Ready shorts, my Brooks shoes. I had some Clif Bloks, dried apricots and cut-up Mars bars with me for the run. I took an ibuprofen as soon as I got up at 5 AM, and another just before the race started at 7:30, at which time I also had a eLoad eTab (salt and potassium). I had put together a race band that I got from the Clif booth at the trade expo, but which I flipped around so I could record my own times on the back with the 7:55/mile pace. That pace band was very helpful throughout the run.

The start was very exciting -- lots of hoopla and great music (Thunderstruck and Born to Run). But with the crowd, my first kilometre was a bit slow. I didn't worry about it, though, and after about 4 kilometres I was right on track without even trying. I spent most of the early part of the run trying to keep my pace in check and was quite successful at doing so.

I crossed the 10K mat at 49:01 -- 9 seconds ahead of pace. Perfect!

At the 7 mile mark, I took another ibuprofen and eTab.

I hit the halfway mark (13.1 miles) at 1:43:18 -- 26 seconds ahead of pace. Really, I couldn't ask for much better. I could feel my muscles getting a bit tired, but I wasn't too concerned. I switched from water at the hydration stops to Gatorade.

By 14 miles though, I was starting to get concerned. My pace was slowing a bit and my quads, hamstrings and calf muscles were all getting tight. I tried to loosen up, but it wasn't working.

When I hit the 15 mile mark within a couple of seconds of my 1:58:45 goal for that time of the race, according to my pace band. But I couldn't maintain the pace. I had to slow down and eventually walk -- and within a couple of minutes, my left hamstring (not the right one, which I'd injured 3 years ago) was giving me spasms/cramps.

The cramps would get worse and worse as the walk/run went on. My various goals -- 3:28, 3:28:30, 3:30, "Finishing with Jenny" -- went out the window. Jenny passed me at about the 20 mile mark. I was now down to two goals -- "Finishing upright and smiling" and "Not hitting the medic tent" -- and neither was going to be a given.

The cramps were so bad that even with 200 m. to go, I had to walk out another cramp. The crowds were thick, and I really wanted to run it all the way in for that last kilometre, but there was no way I could do it.

Finish time was 3:47:15. Here are some other stats:

Jenny, on the other hand, had the run of her life. She crossed the finish in 3:32:46 -- 4th out of 148 in her age group. I couldn't be more proud of how she did.

As for what went wrong with my race, that is still up for debate. My personal feeling is that my training wasn't optimal. While I did almost all of the prescribed speed work, tempo and long runs, I didn't do the Wednesday "easy" runs, nor the Friday "pace" runs. The body needs to learn how to run tired, which is what those runs are for. Although with my IT band issue, additional miles may not have been an option. But my buddy Craig Irwin, a physiotherapist, conjectured that I may have been low on potassium. Running friend Sue Safadi, an awesome runner and physiotherapist assistant, thinks I might need some more strength training. Jenny thinks I just needed more rest. Marketa Myatt doesn't necessarily think that more miles is the answer.

So, lots of thoughts. I'll have several months to figure out what I'm going to do for a spring run (maybe not a marathon) -- and how I'm going to train for it.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Speed Work - 10 x 1 Mile Repeats on a Cool Night

It was about 12 degrees C. when we did our final speed work session of the season at Gibbons Park -- 10 repeats of a mile each separated by a 2:30 break. This is the one that the Legendary John Ferguson really wanted us to do well -- which is why he was okay recommending that I pull the plug on last-week's repeats: Tonight's was the one that mattered.

I ran with Jenny, who is running extremely well. In fact, she was looking for more aggressive times than I was, targeting 7 minute miles, although she was going to do 8 instead of 10 repeats. I was looking for between 7:00 and 7:15. Here are our splits (and for some, Jenny was a few seconds ahead of me):


The first one, Jenny didn't want to push the pace. It was going to be what it was going to be.

My watch didn't save the last 5 laps, so they are more of an educated guess. The last two are 7:11.something I know. Anyhow, if you believe those numbers, my average pace was 7:09.14 -- and if you just use the last 9 repeats, the pace was 7:06.99. I ran the last two with Meredith McQuade, and we were targeting 7:15. I could have gone faster in the 9th repeat, but I don't think I had anything extra for the 10th!

Looking back at my previous 10 x 1 Mile repeats, there weren't many, actually:

I killed this one back in 2011:

and that is all I could find, going back to 2007! So I guess we'll call this my second best 10 x 1's ever! :-)

Sunday, October 5, 2014

26K (16 mile) Long Run Around Lucan... Alone!

I was supposed to do a Horse Trials tomorrow (Sunday) at Highland Green but because of all the rain we had, it was cancelled. Unfortunately, I didn't know this fact until I was already back from my long run alone around Lucan. Here is my route:

Anyhow, I wasn't able to run with the group. But the route I took worked out well. It wasn't easy -- quite a few hills -- and the wind was howling from the west, so my runs into that direction were definitely slower. Here are my splits:


I stopped twice along the route -- once 9 miles (15K) in at Clarke's variety to guzzle a half bottle of Coca-cola, and again briefly at the 22K mark to check out a trail we'd built as part of the Lucan Area Trails Association.

But I was happy that I was able to pickup the pace to sub 5-minute kilometres for that last K. Even though I was headed south, the strong wind from the west wasn't making that pace easy to achieve.

My average pace was 5:20 per kilometre -- exactly what I was targeting. All-in-all, a very acceptable long run just 2 weeks away from the marathon.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Tempo Run - 6.67 miles from Gibbons Park

After a lousy speed work session 2 days ago, I wasn't sure how things would go for the tempo run tonight. I'd been stretching and foam rolling daily, plus I'd taken an ibuprofen at 6 am and then two more at noon. The goal was to go out slowly and then come back 3 miles at a tempo pace (I figured 4:35 to 4:40 per kilometre would be fine). It was unseasonably warm -- about 20 degrees C -- when we started the run. Jenny and I ran together out to the turnaround at the Saturn playground, and I followed her back for most of the tempo pace until I passed her on the downhill after the Harris Park hill. Here are my splits:

5:15 (pace for 360 m.)
4:30 (includes Harris Park!)
4:26 (pace for 380 m.)

My pace on the way back was 4:29.33 per kilometre (7:13.62 per mile), and my overall pace was 4:51/K (7:49/mile). I am not seeing anywhere in this blog that I have done _this_ tempo run (6 miles from Gibbons Park), so this would have to be the personal best for this specific run. But even without a direct comparison, I couldn't find anything approaching these times for a 7 or 8 mile tempo, so I'm pretty happy with tonight's run -- especially since I was courting injury 2 days ago!