Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Chugging along

All is relatively quiet here lately as I continue to put in the miles on a 'run as you please' basis with no particular plan or goal in mind at the moment. Not unlike the local deer who seem to have a 'go as you please' attitude when wandering around the town. It's not unusual to see 6 or more in a group just casually walking across the street going from one backyard garden to another.
I was playing around with my data in Sporttracks and came up with this monthly plot of total miles, average pace and average heartrate over the past year. It seems that the trend has been down for the most part which is good and reflects getting in better shape and also getting the iron issue under control. The last month has just been easy running of 30-40 miles per week which is seen in the lower average heartrate and slightly slower pace. This is just fine with me for now until I work out my plans and goal races for 2011. Thinking about a doing a good marathon and another shot at the sub-20 5k but these are both very vague ideas at the moment. The main 'plan' is to just run decent miles to build a good base with a few fun 'efforts' like hills, tempo or progression runs thrown in to keep things interesting.

Meanwhile I continue to log all my runs on the DailyMile site which is a great community of runners and tri-athletes and an easy way to post my day to day activities. You should try it if you haven't already joined in! Hope to see some of you there...

Happy running!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

End of the Season

It's been a busy and good running season for me with 13 races completed. Curious at how my end of season 1/2 marathon pace was faster than my April 5k! Must have been doing some things right!

My goals were achieved at all of the distances except the marathon but I wouldn't exchange the Big Sur experience for any time goal! It's been a great season for me and there have been a few unexpected bonuses like the nice little piece of hardware from this past weekend's race for getting my age group ;-)
But... we're never totally satisfied are we? Take this last race at Moncton Legs for Literacy. It seems that I've yet to learn how to race the 5k. My splits as usual went from too fast, to slow and then to even slower before buckling down a tiny bit before final 'sprint' finish. The overall time of 21:26 was barely faster than the 1st 5k in my last 1/2 marathon race from a week ago! The 1st k in 3:50 was the usual suicidal killer which got me in a hole that was hard to get out of and the rest of the race was basically just hanging on and trying not to get passed.

At least there was no sprint finish required as you can see in the video. Trevor was also here in the same race and got 2nd in his age group! His improvements are amazing over the past year. Results are here.
It's now time for a break from the racing but not from running. I'll be setting some new goals for next year which will include another go at the sub-20 5k and other distances as well. This time I'm going to try to put together a more coherent plan which will come together over the winter as Andrew & I work at building up our base. I might even run a spring marathon before kicking into some 5-10k race training for the summer. This time I won't let little things like a sore back or a long trip on a boat keep me from doing what is needed to get to the goal.

A few quotes to remind you that:

"There's no such thing as bad weather, just soft people."
Bill Bowerman

"Train, don't strain."
Arthur Lydiard

Have a great week and good running!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Running Scared

The horn went I took off like a scared rabbit and never looked back...
Given my recent training or the lack thereof, the pace was suicidal and I knew it...

1st kilometer in 3:56!

I'm running in the KV 1/2 marathon and started faster than my 5k pace! Next k, still downhill in 4:07, still way too fast. 5 kilometers goes by in 21:26, just 24 sec slower than my all out 5k time from 3 weeks earlier! 10k in 44:06, OK slowing now but that's still only 50 secs off my seasons best?

By this point I was getting very worried that the wheels where going to fall off at any minute and it would be a long suffer-fest to drag myself home. So I just carried on going one kilometer at a time, feeling quite good, breathing steady except for the hills, legs feeling so good that I barely felt them. Just waiting for the wheels to come off...

But they never did and I can't explain why because they should have given the suicide start. I really ran in fear from the 10k mark on because I was nearly certain that the pace was way beyond my assumed fitness level and body condition. The hills had an effect on some of my splits but was able to turn over the legs on the downhill and hold the pace. After not being passed for nearly the entire race I did do some jostling over the last few k including a sprint finish which I lost (again) to some young whippersnapper. Heard him coming but couldn't switch gears in time as I finished 11th overall with a very pleasing 1:36:15.

These are my 1k splits vs average pace showing the 'too fast' start, good 1st 10k with some slowing over the 2nd 1/2 but mostly in line with the hills. The results are now posted at the Run NB website and it shows that I was nipped at the line by only 1 second by the 30-something age runner. He'll pay next time!

Again, very happy with the result because the last few weeks had been very poor in terms of training since the 5k race on Sept 26. Immediately after this event my back 'went out' with what felt like nerve pain rather than a muscle pull. As a result I didn't run for 4 days and the weekly mileage plummeted to 20-25 instead of the usual 40 or so and most of those miles were slow and painful as the back complained vigorously. Thankfully it did ease somewhat over the last week and running but not stopping to stretch seemed to be better for it than my normal stretching routine after the 1st mile or two. Maybe being a little under-trained was better than trying to cram a bunch of training in like we all prefer to do? Who knows? The result was unexpected and I'll take it and move on!

Next race is a 5k this coming weekend in Moncton. I'll get a chance to see Trevor again who had a fine MDI marathon last weekend in Bar Harbor. Just have to convince him that he has a BQ or more in him and to start working his way there! Jamie also had an awesome race at MDI which is reputed as one of the toughest marathons on the east coast. He did it in style getting his 1st ever well earned BQ on this great course!

That's it, have a great week and keep on running!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010


Excuses? I'm not usually one for making them up and like to take responsibility if things don't go exactly as planned. But I do have a few that I'd like to try... I went fishing on a herring boat and we caught a more than a few fish and the captain was so happy that he wouldn't let me off the boat because I brought such good luck. Actually he did let me go but it's a great picture that I wanted to show off from a recent trip I was on.
On Sunday I ran the 5k at the Fredericton Fall Classic. My final time of 21:02 was decent enough and I placed well but was only slightly faster than my race on July 1 over 2 months ago. You would have thought that there might have been some slight improvement given the training that I'd put in. It appears that the 10 day sea-trip layoff was just too much to make up for.
Maybe, I didn't run hard enough, although it felt hard during the process. My splits were terrible with a fast 1st kilometer in 3:58, followed by a steady decline with splits of 4:06, 4:18 and 4:28 before finally getting my act together a little bit for a final k in 4:09. I don't remember many little details like Thomas can seem to come up with during his races. The weather was near perfect around 10C with little wind and I had a couple of people to draft off during the 1st 2.5k where we were running with the 10k crowd. The turnaround near the 3k mark required a couple of sharp turns and we then ran back against the flow with very few people around me. I was not passed after the 2nd k until about the 3.5k mark when one female high school runner put some distance on me (separate 5k HS race). I almost caught her in the final k when she actually took a little walk break to look around for her competitors but at least it gave me a target to shoot for. My final stretch of the run was good but I was left with the feeling that I had let down a bit too much in the middle and did not push like I might have. Oh well!

Meanwhile, Trevor had a great race setting a personal best and looking good for his upcoming marathon at Mount Desert Island. It's a tough but beautiful and rewarding course and a very well run race that I know he will totally enjoy with his family. We did a nice little warmup jog before the race and talked about him not being sure of how he was going to do. I told him all the training could surprise him with an unexpected result since he's done the work in recent months. Nothing shabby with a nice shiny PB is there Trevor?

However, things went downhill for me immediately on finishing when my lower back seized up just steps after stopping. I hobbled over to the massage tent for treatment which helped but did not alleviate the pain. Where this came from I have no idea and now two days later it's still with me and there has been no running. How can you go from running fast (sort of) to being barely able to walk!? My usual remedies of beer and ice cream have had only minimal effects but I'm trying my best.

Meanwhile there is a 1/2 marathon coming up in a few more short weeks, not to mention a little holiday trip to visit the two sons in Ontario and probably another work trip bouncing from boat to boat. Life does go on! Here's hope the back clicks back into position soon and I'll be back to normal (whatever that is) sooner rather than later.

Have a good week as I'm heading for the freezer now!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

No excuses!

No I didn't ride off into the sunset... but we did have some lovely sunrises.
And no we didn't have to abandon ship, although we did do the drill... It's been a rather hectic several weeks now with my sea trip / research survey taking 11 days out of my running schedule. The weather was ideal until a little hurricane called Earl decided to chase us off the water.
Speaking of being chased, here I am at a recent race, the Hampton 5 miler where I was chased and passed here right in sight of the finish line. I hate it when they hang back for the last kilometer and then make a break for the finish and go zooming by me but I had nothing to respond with. It was a decent time considering my layoff with a 34:40, nearly the same as the Blueberry Run a month before.

So, I'm slowly getting back up to speed and I'm now planning for a 5k race this coming weekend. This was going to be a goal race but with the lack of consistent workouts, realistically it will be another test and a goal post on the way to the finish of the season which is only 1 month away. I'm also signed up for a 1/2 marathon on Oct. 17 and might do another 5 or 10k the week after that.

Right, so no excuses, we'll just have to see what happens, prepare as best I can and hope for the best. Have a great week!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Progress report

Another weekend, another race to report on. This time it was the Machais Blueberry 5 miler where rumor has it they used to give away blueberry pies to the age group winners! Unfortunately not this year and with a 3rd place in my age category with a 34:44 it was not in the cards anyway. I was still pleased with this result after the subpar 35:42, two weeks previously in the Calais race. 'The shorts' also made another surprise appearance as Coach has yet to hide or burn them on me.
Postrace, here are the Boys of Boyden with Jonathan on the left getting 1st in the 50-59 age group (but no pie). On my left is Austin/Ozzie who place 2nd overall with a 29:xx time at age 56! His son is on very the right and ran a good race in the 35 minute range.
My race was fairly uneventful as I had been forewarned by the hills and allowed it to take me out to a fast start. This was a hilly course as indicated by my splits with a 6:30 1st mile, followed by the next one in 7:30 with a long grinding uphill. At this point I was passed by a very tall runner who I then latched onto over the next mile before finally repassing as his pace flagged. Only one other runner went by me after the 1st mile and this was in the 4th mile which featured a steady climb as I struggled to not go over my redline (heartrate was pushing over 90% for almost the entire race). The race finished with a 1/4 mile downhill which explains the crazy split for the last bit of the race (according to Garmin) and I placed 17th overall with the results now posted here.

My training seems to be progressing nicely and I've added some harder interval workouts with the advice of a local running coach. The plan is to peak for a couple of fall races with the main goal in the 5k where I'm aiming to break my lifetime PB of 20:01. There, it's now out in the open and you can hold me to making the attempt!

We (my coach and I) think this is a doable goal with my most recent 10k indicating a 20:49 as my current fitness level. The workouts so far have been tough but I've managed to do a series of 8x1k repeats in 4:00 avg with good rest between each. This past week I did 5x800+m and 5x400+m on a 440yd track and was successful with average times of 3:09 and 1:31. I use the '+' on the distances because the old 1/4 mile track was overgrown and my Garmin was telling me it was more like 410m and 820m per interval.

This coming week I'll try my speedwork on another track (400m this time) that may be in better condition but then I get a monkey wrench thrown into my plans as I have to go out on a fishing survey for 11 days for work. It's a research trip to work on herring spawning grounds and we'll be unlikely to see land until the trip is over. There might be a treadmill on board but it's hard to say if it will be any good to do hard workouts on. I can always work on my pushups and flexibility?! We'll have to see what happens and maybe the rest break will do wonders both mentally and physically.

Oh yes, this morning's semi-long run of 13.2 miles was interesting in 'running into' a displaced person from Australia looking for directions! Actually he's in training for the Melbourne marathon and was on the return leg of a 20 miler when we hooked up for the last 10k for a nice chat. I even discovered we had mutual acquaintances (he's married to the daughter of someone from our church). We even had a little 'argument' about who was pushing the pace with both of us saying 'I was just trying to keep up with you'. A very nice fellow and I now have a place to stay if we ever go to southern Australia ;-)

That's it for now. It might be awhile before there's much to report on but then again we might catch some unusual fish and I'll have to make a special update.

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Bling Bling weekend

The weekend started out with what felt like a sub-par performance at the Calais International 5 mile road race where I managed a 35:42 where my goal was to go sub-35. On reflection a top 10 finish and 2nd in my age group with some 'bling' to show for it made it a lot easier to take (just kidding). This is a great event with two international border crossings over the 5 miles but the course is tough with hills that take the wind out of your sails and never let you get in a proper rhythm. It's never flat with either up or down and you can never quite get your breathe properly as your either battling one hill or trying to recover a tiny bit on the downhill bits. A friend who is also a local coach who sometimes helps me with my training was also at the race and he took a bunch of nice pictures for the race including a few in my new 'shorts'.

The weather was near perfect with temps in the low 20C range and only a slight wind. I was a little late getting to the race start and had only about 10 minutes to do a short jog for a warmup before we were sent off . Here I am, as I did battle in the early miles with these 2 runners would would eventually finish just ahead of me. The guy just out of the picture was my age group winner and the younger runner kept running into my line and rubbing elbows until finally pulling away.

Looking at my Garmin data after the fact is always interesting especially when questioning yourself on giving the proper effort on the day. Looking at this you'd have to say yes, but is it really possible to give 101% or maybe I need to readjust my maximum heart-rate a notch or two!? It certainly did go straight up and stay there for the duration although the end results were highly variable as seen in the next plot.
You might also get a kick out of my paces which were all over the map and generally followed the contours of this brute of a course (hills remember). Paces from 9 to 6min/mile while going at full throttle is crazy. Eventually the suffering ended and I got to hang out with the other runners and collect my little piece of hardware.

However, schmoozing after a race can also cause other problems which helps to explain the 2nd trophy above. My fast running friend Ozzie mentioned another race on the next day at the Pleasant Point native reserve which happens to be just a stones throw from where we do our Boyden long runs. A few emails to Andrew and we were 'on' for my 2nd race of the weekend instead of a longer run. In fact this event was only 5 miles from where Andrew lives so he got to sleep in today!

This time there was plenty of time for a warmup, as Andrew and I met up 1.5hrs before the race to get a few (5-6) miles in. Surprisingly my legs felt totally fine despite the previous days race. After our little warmup we signed up for the race and went out for yet another 1 mile jog instead of standing around waiting. Eventually the little race (only about a dozen runners but who's counting) was on and I struggled to keep up with Andrew and Ozzie over the 1st kilometer. Eventually I let them go and struggled on, now in 3rd place, while trying to hold onto pace. There were no footsteps behind so it was just me against the clock and my watch and I finished the 4 miles in 27:37 with a slightly better average pace than the day before.
The Garmin analysis shows more of the same highly variable pacing and hills but these hills were much flatter than those of the previous day (only 20-30 ft). I'm still amazed at how well the legs held up and was even more pleased to accept my 3rd place trophy. The morning was finished off with some nice chocolate cake, blueberry pie and coffee before heading home.

It was a great weekend! Hope yours was as well.