Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Still Alive and kicking

Here I am sitting in Orangeville by the pool, beer in hand, supper about to be served and still no post fothcoming with no Internet access as of late. First a quickie recap of the running (not training) as of late.

Friday (Aug 18)- took the afternoon off and did a 12 mile roundabout route in St. Andrews and then off to PEI for the big move.

Sat- 8 miles PEI on Confederation Trail and then pack up the daughter, stuffing (literally) all her stuff in our van and U-haul trailer. Where does she get all this stuff? Followed by a slow nervous drive to Truro where we unloaded without damage to any of the 'stuff' and no personal injury either. Spent the night at the landlord's luxurious B&B since the apartment was not prepared for us and he took pity on our situation.

Weekly total of 69 miles but no speedwork, just running this week. YTD is now 2022, a new career high for this early in the year.

Sunday (Aug 20)- 18 mile route around Truro while my daughter and wife unpacked, then a 5hr drive home

Monday- 8 hr travel to New Bedford, NH for my work course and no run since it was a rest day

Tuesday - up at 6am for 10 miles of hither and thither along busy suburbian highways and by-
ways (yuck)

Weds - another early morning aimless 10 miler, this time more in the downtown area (more yuck)

Thurs - repeat of above, another random run with trusty GPS to find my way back to the hotel. Included a noteworthy double loop of a huge graveyard (1 mile per loop). It was very peaceful in the early morning.

Friday - 15 hours of driving from Maine to St. Andrews and then back through Maine to Ottawa, no run, rest day I guess...

Sat - Ottawa long run of 18 miles after playing telephone tag with Hunter. Never got to actually talk to him, maybe next time I'll have more time to pre-plan and co-ordinate a running meeting. Followed by a 6 hour drive to Orangeville in central Ontario north of Toronto.

Weekly total of only 67 miles, missed a couple of runs and shortened others due to work and travel. Still feeling a bit draggy and no speedwork at all this week (again!). Hope to get on track next week in more ways than one. I really do think that that marathon of 2 weeks ago did set me back slightly.

Sunday (Aug 27)- 10 mile slog on tired legs, wonder why ?? Shortest long run in awhile and certainly not the 18 miles with 15 at MP! I guess the long run on Sat will have to suffice for this week while I continue to recover.

Monday (today) - rest day, relax, help Oma with a few chores, chopping trees and electical stuff

Tues (Aug 29)- 9 mile with 10x800 planned, my 1st real workout since the training marathon. Slept in till 830am today and took my time getting prepared for battle. After a 1.5 mile warmup jog this effort was completed on an actual track which the good old GPS confirmed was 1/4 mile per loop when run in the counter-clockwise direction. The watch actually ran about 20 yards short going the opposite way, likely because the watch (on my left arm) was then more or less in the next lane over during the run.

Started out the repeats at a conservative pace with the first at 3:17, followed by a 3:08, then a 3:11. Managed to complete them without much difficulty averaging 3:14 for the 10 repeats. Could have done more but was glad to stop when I did and then finished with an easy jog back to the start for a total of 10 miles. I'd be curious to see how this workout predicts my marathon result and will try it again in a few weeks to see how it compares.

Rest of the day was just an easy fun vacation day with a nice hike in a beautiful local park, Mono Cliffs which is only a few miles out of town. We have some great pictures but no way to upload them until this weekend when I get back to St. Andrews.

Happy Running!

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Recovery progression week

It's been a strange week but reality has finally come back to this neck of the woods as I begin to recover from my weekend exploits. The marathon was easy, felt easy, with no soreness or discomfort in the legs during the run or afterward. The next day I felt fine with no stiffness in the leg muscles and only a little stiffness in the hip joints, no worse than usual after my long runs.

However, when my feet hit the pavement on Tuesday it was a different story as I ran a very easy 6 miles around town. The legs were not stiff or sore but rather were very tired and heavy, almost as it I was wearing ankle weights or lead boots. Struggled to get the run in and then was rewarded with an aching hip for the rest of the day as I hobbled around the office.

Weds was a marginal improvement in mileage with 7 miles in the warm sun that Andrew was also enjoying near the same time in Calais. My run was much slower than his starting out at 9:00 pace and only improving marginally from there. Again, very heavy legs and looking for the run to be over. I guess the 26.2 did take a little out of the tank...

Today, Thurs was an other small increment in mileage to 9 miles but this time the legs felt much fresher from the get-go but then died out after about 5 and slogged the last part of the run. The 1st part was also faster (about 8:00 pace) because the other Andrew (from work) came out with me today and he was feeling good, so I had to keep up. Hmm, maybe he has bunny in him too? What a perfect day today with mid-20C temps, warm but not hot, light sea breeze, lovely!

Plan for Friday is 14-15mi and then off to PEI to move Steph to Nova Scotia. I understand that runners get hurt more often doing heavy lifting than they do running because the rest of their body is so underdeveloped. Hopefully this won't be the case and I can get through the weekend unscathed and with a few well placed runs between the driving and packing. Wish me luck and have a great weekend everyone!

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Saint John Marathon-by-the-Sea Report

Don't know where to start on this one. The short version is that it went very well, ran under control, but faster than planned finishing in 3:28. Here are the race results and there are some news stories about the race here. I'm feeling fine today, a day later, very unlike any of my other marathons and raring to go for the final 7 weeks of training. Here's the story from the garmin with the race route map, my heart rate is in red and the elevation profile is in green (ignore the spikes where it was misreading).
The course was fairly challenging with a number of long gradual hills but nothing that was overly steep except for a stiff climb at the end (mile 25) over the Saint John harbor bridge. Heart rate was fairly steady with about 7 miles at 70-80% of max (easy run pace) and 18 miles at 80-90% (medium effort). I felt very comfortable and relaxed for the entire run and made an effort to hold back the entire race by monitoring both the mile splits and heartrate.

It's a bit embarrassing and sounds like I'm bragging to say this but this race was almost too easy and took very little out of me. My goal for this race was to just to do it as a long training run and to not go any faster than 8:00/mi pace since most of my long runs are in the 8:10 to 8:20 range unless I'm doing marathon pace stuff. For some reason today my pace was in the 730's and 740's for most of the run. I'd keep telling myself to take it easy, hold back where the pace felt like a fast jog and still the same. I guess it was just one of those good days that happen so rarely and just leave it at that.

OK, the longer story goes like this. I stayed over at my sister's the night before and was able to fuel up and get some extra sleep by being close to the start. Woke up around 6am for a light pre-long run breakfast of cereal, coffee, juice and 1/2 bagel. Arrived and parked within a block of the start by 7:30am. Then did a quick warmup jog of about 1/2 mile, some stretches and walked around looking for familiar faces. Almost immediately I ran into Stephanie (from our Boyden Lake running group) but I didn't recognize her in summer running gear! It was funny and she laughed when I apologized saying "I didn't recognize you without your clothes on!" She ran the 1/2 marathon today in a superb 1:31 placing as the 3rd overall female. Way to go Steph! I ran into my friend Kurt who finally broke the 4hr barrier in the marathon today and was also looking around for my cousin Jerry who I know was registered and I thought was going to go for 3:30 to qualify for Boston but there was no sign of him at the start.

The temperature was perfect at about 11C (50F) with clear sunny skies and a light breeze and quite comfortable. The start was a bit delayed with some technical problems but by 8:10 we were off! The 1st mile (holding back) went by in 7:39 (whoa horsey),next mile in 7:42 where I ran into Anna, a former St Andrews runner, and we chatted it up a bit as I tried to slow down. The next mile with some downhill rolled by 7:37 followed by another in 7:42 as I sailed by a water stopped with my sister and her two daughters in attendance as volunteers. The see-saw pace kept up over the next several miles despite the various hills thrown into the mix. After about the 8 mile mark the marathon course veered off from the 1/2 with the runners thinning out substantially and I started to run more on my own. Went through the 1/2 in 1:42, on pace for a ridiculous 3:24 but still feeling strong and just cruising along and continually picking up people, trying to slow to their pace but then moving on past.

I finally ran into Jerry near the 1/2 wearing bunny ears for the 3:30 group running in the wrong direction. "Hey, what are you doing here?" I asked. "Waiting for the 1st 1/2 pace group he said, I'm doing the 2nd 1/2". Sure enough, about a mile or 2 later Jerry goes cruising up to and past me as I continued doing my 7:40's or better (just a little fast I thought but that's the danger of a fresh legged pace bunny).

The miles between 13 and 20 seemed a bit tedious today and the effort level only seemed to increase very slightly on the uphills. Still picking off people and ran into one rather strange runner in this stretch around mile 22. We started out with a nice conversation but then he suddenly went into a rant about runners and cyclists using drugs and began cursing and swearing a blue streak! I said thanks have a nice day and sprinted off in what was my fastest mile of the day at 7:22 to get away from him, weird.

Shortly after this strange episode the course got very winding and hilly going around west Saint John and the Martello Tower but with some very nice views of the ocean. I also caught up with the pace bunny and his flagging entourage and then began cruising along with Shelley G with whom I've run with in previous marathons. We did the next few miles together until mile 25 as we started the final long climb over the Harbor Bridge where I slowed to help my friend Eddy who was having some difficulty finishing. This was his 1st marathon and he went out very fast at about 3:10 pace which he held till about mile 19 and then crashed. When I caught up to him things were hurting and he said "this is the hardest thing I've ever done". After a swig of gatorade I got him started again and encouraged him to keep going the last little bit so he could meet his 2nd goal of a 3:30.

Post race was just the normal runner food and drinks followed by satisfaction of my one craving. Usually it's for a greasy hamburger but today I succumbed to a Tim Horton's coffee and a double chocolate dougnut, mmmm! I also had a nice long shower and then a nice massage before heading back home to end a busy but successful weekend.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Calais International 5 mile road race report

Just time for a few words around the pictures from today's run/race in Calais. The route runs from Calais, Maine across the St. Croix River to St. Stephen, New Brunswick, Canada, up the river and back into Milltown to Calais. You can pick out the 3 amigos to the right of the weirdo in the Canada shorts. The weather was perfect and sunny at 15C (50F) with a light easterly breeze.
Marc remarked that this was one of the few times he's been ahead of Andrew in a race. Our moment of glory was very short lived as he floated away from us to our yells of 'Hey, that's not fair, you're making it look too easy!'

Andrew at the finish and still floating. Does his feet ever touch the ground?
Marc had a good race and a very strong hill and 2nd 1/2.
I acted as the sweeper today to make sure nobody got lost!
The post-race debriefing is always fun!
And of course there was 'gimcrack' for all to be had. Andrew 1st (30-39), Marc 2nd (40-49) and Mike 3rd (50-59)
Here are the gory details from the Garmin. You can see that it was hilly and my heartrate was pretty steady around my tempo rate of about 150.
All the photos are on my Webshots site

That's all for now, might fillin some more details later but gotta take off for Saint John now where I'll stay over with my sister. Much better to wake up only 10 minutes from the start instead of 1hr plus. The full marathon (run not race) report will be up tommorow night I hope.


Friday, August 11, 2006


What the hell is a micro-taper? Is it like that a little like a micro-snack where you only eat 3 cookies instead of 4 or 2 scoops instead of 3 (ice-cream of course)? Or is it just my way of easing back a tiny bit as I prepare for the weekend with 2 run/races? Thus the mileage so far this week has been 'only' 59 in 5 days of running (6 runs) instead of the planned 67. Will it make a difference? We'll see and I'm hoping.

Tuesday's run was again run at noon in the peak of our relative heat and humidity (I can hear them jeering in Arizona) but 26C is warm for us Canucks! I was lucky to get AC out with me again and he came with me for the 1st 5 miles of this relaxed run around the backroads of the town along trails, through the cemetery and some backwood paths. We started out very slowly up our very steep Station hill and did a bunch of stretches at the top before continuing. My achilles was still bugging me and AC's prognosis on this injury was not good. It's one of those slow healing tendon things and I'd better be careful not to aggrevate it with too much speedwork and hills. After looping back toward work I dropped A off and continued with the remainder of the scheduled 12 miles. At first the extra distance seemed overwhelming but before I knew it the run was over, either a senior moment or some kind of time warp... Cancelled doing the 2nd easy 4 miler because of the mini-taper deal.

Today I slept in till 6:45 and then headed out the door for an easy 6 miles. Weather conditions were to die for, calm clear with nice low sun, cool temps of 13C (55F)! The old foot was an issue once again for the 1st mile and then went away once I hit the dewy grass fairways on the golf course (again to die for ;-) Finished feeling recharged and raring for work, even but was a little late because of the slow start. Again no 2nd run due to ... you know, pseudo-taper.

Here's a little something that I've been working on since Zeke started a few posts about runner data surveys. My own data for the 14 marathons in order run is seen below and the zig-zag pattern over time is mostly due to my love-hate affair with Boston. I love to run it but Boston seems to hate me for coming! Every one of these down spikes is a Boston effort, except for my 1st marathon, and it's not for a lack of trying with the mileage.
Next is my marathon history (all 14 of them) and the WAVA age graded results plotted against average miles per week (last 12 before the marathon). This is what Zeke has been doing with our data. My statistician co-worker would say the relationship is weak and that I should stay home and drink beer instead of running. I've highlighted my worst race, Boston 2004 in the infernal heat (90F in April!) and one of my better results in KV-2005 off a reduced mileage plan that I didn't like simply because there were too few miles in it.
Curiously, there seems to be a break point for me above the 55-60 mpw with all these coming in at over 66% WAVA. Is the the data calling me to run more or is it just random variation requiring more beer and ice-cream? Nah!

Looking forward to the weekend now. It will be fun to meet Marc and to run with him and Andrew in the Calais International 5 miler. The weather is going to be perfect with cool temperatures and overcast skies forecast, especially for the marathon on Sunday.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Quick update and silly treadmill video

Just had to spread the word on this goofy video I ran across today. These guys are over-the-top and the things they do on treadmills to music are very creative and funny. The group is called OK Go and here is their video for the song 'Here it goes again'. Enjoy it and no laughing out loud!

Time to update progress so far this week. Stayed on schedule Tues with an early morning 4 miles (OK 7am) run before work and then another 6 miles at lunch. The achilles acted up big time and then out of nowhere my hip started to kill me and could barely walk down the hall in the morning. Wasn't sure I'd be able to run but magically by lunch the stiffness faded and by running very-very easily was able to get the run in. Whew!

Today was the dreaded, hated, always trying to not do, 15 mile mid-week run from hell that I hate to do but always manage to finish somehow (just do it, right Thomas?). It actually was a rather nice day with a cool sea breeze and temps around 24C. Ran at mid-day taking an extended lunch break and stayed late to make it up. Started out really slow and careful with both the length of the days run and whats in store for the weekend in mind. Did about 9 miles on loops and trails around town before gatoring up at home and then finished at a faster pace (under 8:00/mi) feeling much fresher than I started. Total time was 2:01 for the 15.

That's all for now. Enjoy the silly video while I go do some stats on my running history for Simon.

Monday, August 07, 2006


After a period of internal debate I've now registered for the Saint John marathon which is this Sunday and which means that I've only got 5 days to prepare and taper for it! Actually my Pfitzinger plan had me down for a 24 mile long run this weekend and so the thought was, why not register in a full marathon and treat it as a training run with all the amenites and crowds to pull me along. The only x-factor is to run very-very easily and not get drawn out any faster than 8:00 min/mile pace.

The other 'issue' will be running the Calais International 5 miler the day before and the plan here is again not to 'race' but to use it as a tempo pace run and to help check my fitness level. I know that it will be very difficult to hold back on the throttle with both Andrew and Marc coming down but if I don't, there will be a serious price to pay on Sunday!

The final little hesitation factor was my sore achilles lately and if it was going to keep acting up then there would be little point in pushing it now and hurting my chances in October. I can recover from a few hard runs in 7 weeks but don't want to get injured and not make it to the start. However, the 16 mile long run on Sunday went well (as far as the foot goes) and so I decided to give marathon got the green light.

Sunday's long run however, went poorly for a short (16 miles) long run but on reflection the 5 hour drive from PEI, followed by a quick and perhaps inadequate lunch, then running in the heat of the day (such as it is) paid the toll. It started out badly with my running belt breaking in the 1st mile which then required carrying the water bottle for the duration. It's just a little thing but it throws off your stride a bit and your arms do get tired after awhile (esp. my skinny ones). The run was mostly around town along shaded paths and streets that could be found with a water stop at the Town Square and the pace was good (about 8:00/mi) for the 1st 10 miles. Made a quick stop at home for more gatorade and finished the run along the highway, perhaps appropriately along the Ghost Road where it was a real struggle to keep the feet moving. So much for the end of my 'rest' week! Finished in a slow 2:10 and was very happy to get in with the fish for a quick dip.

Moral of the story. Didn't pay attention to the small stuff like fueling, rest, water, time of day and as a result a 'little' long run can still grab you demanding a full refund. The little details will be of prime concern for the remainder of this week and with that it is now time for some stretching and achilles exercises, to be followed of course by a bagel and/or ice-cream!

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Holiday week update

Is my week of holidays almost over already? I've been so busy that there hasn't even been time to blog or to keep up with the blogs that I like to read. I guess that's a good thing but I still don't know where the week went, maybe another week off is in order...

Monday - rest day, busy doing yard work, clearing the weed field over our septic field so that it can be mowed

Tues - took the bike to St. Stephen/Calais and dropped in on Andrew at his spiffy office for a quick visit. He certainly looks alot different in the shirt and tie as opposed to running vest and shorts. We had a nice chat about our running travails and it seems that he is making progress getting a bunch of short runs in with some good total mileage. It was great to see him again and next weekend we'll get together with Marc when we all do the Calais International 5 mile race. That should be alot of fun with definite bragging rights to the winner and plenty of good excuses for the non-winners, I'm quite certain. Let me see there is, undertrained, over-trained, just training through, hope to begin training soon, not racing, just a tempo run etc etc!

After getting back from Calais I went for a nice 9 mile run that turned into 10 in about 81:00. No problems, ran at a nice easy pace and the temps were mild with cloud cover to blocking the sun.

Weds - we had a forecast weather advisory today for the heat and humidity and so I got going early at 7am in an attempt to 'beat the heat'. I was late so it didn't work but was still able to put in the workout which was 9 mi with 6x800. Average was around 3:12 with about 2:00 rest between each one, finished off with a few easy miles and then a dip in the pond to cool off.

Thurs - the temperature and humidity cooled off today and so this was just an easy 10 miles done as one run instead of 2 short ones. Legs felt heavy from the speed session the day before but other than that things went well.

That night the Power clan got together for a surpise party for my younger sister who will be turning 50 very soon. Can you pick the queen out of the crowd?

Friday - easy 4 miles early at 6:36 am as part of the daily double. This was followed by 11 miles in the early afternoon but once again that stupid achilles was bothering me at first. Stopped and did a few stretches and was able to complete the run. Next week I promise to be better with my non-running routines. Later that evening we drove to PEI to visit with Steph. Here's the standard beach sunset picture I took after a nice day on the island.

Saturday - early morning run around downtown Charlottetown on the trails and then on the streets to finish for a total of 8 miles. Used the Garmin map mode to help find my way back to the start but wasn't really that lost. Final tally for this cutback week was 68 miles and now only 7 more weeks to go.