Wednesday, December 31, 2008

2008 in the Rearview Mirror

Do you see those 'rascally' deer sneaking behind me there? This was at the very end of today's 10 miler just before reaching my laneway (you can see the sign) as I watched 9 deer hop, skip and jump across the road. If I had panned my camera a bit to the right you would also see a lazy golden retriever in the yard watching them go by.

Good run today, although it was on the cool side at -11C/13F with a windchill of -20C/0F. I was well dressed and out of the wind for the most part and my 'bad' leg felt remarkably good for almost the entire run, only acting up a bit near the end. A few more good days like this and I'll be ready to start up with some actual training for Boston. The past month or so has really been more of a holding pattern of easy miles with various exercises and stretches for the hams but with no real hard running.

2008 is almost behind us and I did promise some sort of year-end review with pretty graphs and tables to keep some of you entertained or in some cases 'not'. With today's run my final 2009 total was 2506 miles in 278 days of running for an average of 48 miles/week. There were 2 main training cycles for my spring and fall marathons and only a couple of other races mixed in. The ups and downs were mostly planned but I did get off track due to my traveling in late Aug-Sept. There was no down-time due to injury or illness despite my hamstring issue which is ongoing since last year.
There were only 5 races in 2008 (something I'd like to improve on in 2009) with decent results for me but no PR's in the 'Since-I-turned-50 category'. Still, I like the age graded times and especially the 'virtual' sub-3 at PEI. Maybe in my dreams...

With a log book now going back 10 years, since 1st getting serious with this running thing, you can see my progress and total mileage since 1999. If you do the calculation the total cumulative miles is equal to about once around the world!? The only thing I'd take away from this is perhaps consistency over the years. Andrew would probably also want you to know that my PR for the marathon happened in 2006 which was the peak mileage year.

And finally for something to shoot for in 2009, here are my current over-50 PR's . I'm thinking that I should have a good shot at several of them if I can focus a bit on some speedwork and less marathon type training. The 1/2 marathon time looks especially vulnerable.

That's all I got for now except that I did my 100 Pushup Challenge exhaustion test today and am still stuck doing the same Week 6/Level 2 workouts over again after only managing 58 pushups. It might have been because I was tired from just finishing the 10 mile run but you wouldn't think your arms would be tired from running would you?

Take care and have a Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Easy 5

It was a beautiful sunny day for a run with temps around -5C with light winds but the legs only had 5 miles to give as this short run was actually a bit of a chore. I also included stops to stretch, do some banking and check the mail which made this an extra easy day after yesterday's rest (do-nothing) day. Well almost nothing, unless you include the 239 pushups with a max of 49 at the end of 9 sets. I get a rest day (today) before the next 'exhaustion test' and on to a repeat of Week 6 of the 100 Pushup Challenge program.

Short and sweet, still working on the year end report complete with tables and pretty graphs! Happy trails!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Running with the Birthday Boy

The holiday season is drawing to a close and I simply couldn't resist one last night shot of the locally famous Christmas house here in St. Andrews. Can you imagine what their power bill must be like for the month of December?

Today's run was another jaunt around Boyden Lake with just Andrew (aka - The Birthday Boy). He started about 1/2 hour before me so as to get a few extra miles and I just did 17 miles as my hams are not quite ready for much more than that. We took it very nice and slow with a stretching and a water break but by the end of the run my legs were aching and I was very happy to stop. Other highlights besides the bad jokes (i.e. 2 cowboys were sitting around the campfire...) included seeing only 1 car over the 1st 10 miles, a nice food reward at the end of the run and just missed hitting a deer on the return journey. Andrew would also like you to notice above how his shoes nicely match his hair color (or so I was informed between bad jokes).

Other running bits from last week:

Weds - 8 miles easy on snow covered roads

Thurs - 4 miles slow and easy after opening of gifts with our missing son on a Skype video link

Friday - 10 miles easy in new running gear at -10C but was almost too warm when the wind was behind me

Sat - 7 miles easy in the fresh snow and saw 9 (nine) rascally deer in a herd and then 2 more later on

Total of 44 miles in 6 runs for the week

100 Pushup Challenge is on-going as I work my way through week 6 at level 2. On Sat. it had me doing 9 sets for a total of 207 and a max of 45 in the last set which I failed (53 was the target). It's going to be a few more week before I get to the end of this program!

That's all for now but I'm working on my 2008 summary and more frequent but shorter posts in the New Year. Take care and keep on running!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Almost there

Only two more days and I still haven't wrapped my gifts...
We had quite a storm Sunday night and this was what greeted us when we opened the front door on Monday morning. Thankfully work and most businesses were closed for the day as it took the better part of 2 hours to dig our way out.

My long run on Sunday was not of the long variety with only 11 miles on the treadmill before it was time to hit the road for a family get together at my brothers. The plan had been to do about 2 hours but 1.5 was all I could manage on this day. This was my 1st venture on the treadmill this winter and it felt very awkward and hard to get in any kind of rhythm.

Monday - rest day and shovel like hell (20-30cm or 8-12 in)

Tues - 4 miles easy after work (also had my 1st physio session today with some more new things to try to cure the hammy problem)

100 Pushup Challenge
- completed week 6 and did my latest Exhaustion Test with a max of 52. This puts me into level 2 in week 6 once again as progress is painfully slow.

That's all I got for now. Hope that everyone has a nice Christmas holiday!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Can you see the cold?

Well normally you can't 'see' the cold but when we get days like today where the air temperature at -15C (5F) and colder with the windchill creates a seafog over the warmer ocean, you might be fooled. This is nothing compared to the Deep Freeze that Garry has been enduring in Alberta with a high of -20C over the last few weeks!

Of course my wife thinks I'm crazy to be running in these conditions but I consider it a personal challenge and have only been forced to admit defeat on a handful of occasions. Not today! With adequate preparations and multiple layers of clothing I was actually quite toasty and even added an extra mile on at the end to get a nicer number for the week.

Same general location a few days ago where the temperature could be -30 or -3C (which it was) but you can't tell one way or the other. Pretty shot with the brilliant blue sky I think.

Running has been up and down all week with low mileage runs alternating with even lower mileage days. The numbers for the week go like 17, 0, 7, 3, 6, 4, 8=45 with 0 speedwork and all at a recovery pace on icy and snow packed roads.

For some strange reason the hams are coming around. It might have something to do with the low miles, the daily stretching of perhaps even the visit to the physio office on Friday. I sat in the waiting room for 1/2 hr before the receptionist came out and said there was a mixup and I couldn't get in till next week. The leg has never felt better since! The two runs have been pain free and I'm thinking I should go back for more no-therapy no-pay sessions. Maybe I can now actually look at my plan and start to train for Boston once again...

The 100 Pushup Challenge continues with Week 6 (level 1) which for some reason is easier than the Week 5. Friday's session for day 2 of the week was 'only' 8 sets with a total of 151 and a max of 46 at the end. It was tough but do-able and a big improvement from a month ago.

That's all for now. Have fun with all the Christmas plans and celebrations but be careful at the same time not to overdo it! Take care out there!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The long and the short of it

Andrew has encouraged me to post more so he doesn't get the idea that I fell off a cliff or something. This will be very short.

Monday- rest; get referral for physio
Tues - 7 miles in about 59:00
Weds- 3 miles in the snow in ??? (no watch); get appointment for physio

Chocolate Balls (aka Peanut Butter Balls)
  • 1 1/2 cup icing sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup chopped dates
  • 1/2 cup walnuts (optional)
  • 1 cup coconut
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1 pkg chocolate chips and 1/4 slab parawax
  • Beat egg, add dry ingedients, form into small balls & chill in fridge for an hour or so.
  • Melt chocolate chips and parawax in double boiler and dip chilled balls in hot mixture.
  • Chill or freeze balls and keep cold until ready to enjoy.

We had a beautiful winter blast here today and I'm now working on my Christmas decorations video. I'll be posting it at and you can sign up for a free account to start enjoying all their runner related content and the community that is forming.

And just for Andrew we have todays's word of the day gaffe which seemed appropriate given the kind of jokes he likes to tell!

See you!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

The Return of the Chocolate Balls

My apologies for the lack of posts lately but despite the fact that I've been running on most days, the shortness of duration and lack of any real workouts of substance has given me little to gab about. However, today's run with Andrew was a much different story...

We did the full Boyden Lake loop for 17 miles this morning in the freezing cold -13C/10F but thankfully with only a slight bit of wind. It turned out to be quite pleasant for the most part but there seemed to be the occasional pockets of extra cold air that would catch our breath and cause us to pull up our scarves just a bit more. For some added fun and excitement I put together some pictures and video which you can see on my video here (with condolences to Thomas who couldn't be there). This new video site for runner at the new is quite amazing but I must warn the fun is addictive. It's almost as addictive as the special treats we had at the end of the run but you have to watch the video to experience that! Mmmm!

On an almost totally unrelated non-running note (and for the guys) although the ladies will get a kick out of this, check out this video with a detailed account of how guys get sent to 'The Doghouse'. BTW, Andrew was full of suggestions for me to try out to see what would happen.

Other bits of news to share include some progress on the 100 Pushup Challenge as I survived Week 5 (for the 3rd week) but this time at the hardest level #3. Yesterday's insane workout amounted to 8 sets of pushups for a total of 190 with a max of 40 in the last set. I'm now ready for another Exhaustion Test and hope to make it to the final Week 6 sets of workouts.

Running-wise, last week was more of the same as the week before with a total of 6 runs for a mere 40 miles. There is a training plan for Boston somewhere in my logbook but I haven't dared to even look at it recently as I continue to attempt to scale back the running and hope the hamstrings self-repair. The stretching, icing, weights, trigger point and ball exercises are keeping me busy but so far have had little effect. I may have to bite the bullet and see a professional sooner rather than later as this aggravating issue just hangs on.

So, that's it! Take care, have fun and enjoy the holiday season!

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Only 19 days!

Or should we say , 18 sleeps, x hours, y minutes and z secords? I guess it's not too hard to believe that there is a website for 'everything' and 'everyone', including of course, Santa!

Ah well, it will be good to have the 'kids' home for Christmas to keep me (the biggest kid of all) company as we enjoy the season and all our family traditions. Speaking of which there is one tradition that our own Downeast Andrew has been eagerly awaiting but I'm afraid will have to wait for another week as the cook had other plans. I'm hoping to get out with him in the morning for another Boyden run but it will depend on how much snow we get overnight and if they decide to plow the roads or not. For our 1st storm a few weeks ago they didn't do much plowing and basically let it melt off over the next few days (or that's what it seemed like)

Just a quick update on the running or lack thereoff this past week. More of the same really with short easy runs every day but it's not really training yet. I've been stretching the legs every day and have started some strengthening work with free weight as well which seems to be helping a bit. In fact today's 7 miler was almost totally pain free although the pace felt like it was very very slow. I've been Garmin-less now for a month and only have the old wrist watch to give me some feedback on time on my feet. Total of 40 miles for the week in 6 runs.

The 100 Pushup Challenge workouts continued as I was able to semi-complete my 2nd attempt at week 5. This mornings workout had 8 sets for a total of 160 and a continuous max of 30 at the end. It's time for another progress test to see if I'm ready for week 6 or not. Tough going and the progress is coming but very slow.

That's all I got for now. Hope to have an interesting story about a decent long(er) run on Sunday but that will depend on what the Weather and Running gods have to say about it. Have a nice weekend all!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Limping along

The weather has certainly been much more conducive to running here lately but unfortunately not for me. My title pretty much says it all, I'm still hobbling around getting a few miles in, but it's not very pretty. We had a beautiful sunrise on Saturday morning that this photo does not do justice to. The color of the rising sun was a deep orange-red which lasted for several minutes but just doesn't show here. I should have played with the exposures but the time window was very short.
We found time to put up our outdoor Christmas decorations this weekend but haven't turned the lights on yet; that has to wait until Dec. 1, the 1st official day of the holiday season in our books. I've been running by the 'Crazy Christmas House' in our town (doesn't every place have one?) and they're also set to go, but not yet powered up. They light up the whole block and draw folks from all over and I'll post some shots when they do.
I'm making some progress with the 100 pushup challenge having just completed a repeat of week 5 (level 1). My latest max test was 39 logged here and I'll be re-attempting week5 (level 2) in the coming week. Progress is slow but I can feel the difference in my shoulders and skinny arms already!

Oh yeah, the running or lack thereoff went poorly this week as all ideas of following a training plan went to the back burner. After a failed Sunday long run of only 7 miles and a rest day on Monday the rest of the week was a series of short easy runs of only 5-6 miles. Total of 6 days running and 35 for the week. Today (Sunday) was a very easy 10 miles in 2 loops from home and the legs felt OK at first but were doing their usual complaining over the last 2 miles.

I'm being forced into a corner and so stretching and strengthening are taking place every day and I now have some free weights to help me with a couple of exercises as shown in the latest edition of Running Times. There are lots videos on the net such as this one with weights and this one using an exercise ball that looks difficult. I just need to narrow it down to a few that work for me, correct the imbalance in my leg muscles and don't make things any worse in the meantime.

That's all for now. Hope to have a more positive outlook on training by next weekend or poor (quiet) Andrew will get lonely all by himself chasing the Boyden moose(s). In the meantime have a good week and study/work hard because Christmas is coming soon!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Tag line

Dusty tagged/challenged me to post a picture, which isn't much of a stretch for me. Here are the rules:
1) Go to the 4th photo folder on my computer
2) Choose the 4th photo
3) Explain the picture
4) Tag 4 other people

It was hard to figure out which folder was my 4th, since there are so many files and folders in my pictures subdirectory. I ended up choosing a suitable picture from the 4th folder in the 4th folder (year) of pictures which happened to be from a family vacation in Fundy National Park in 2002. The photo is a group shot, height ordered of all the nieces and nephews in the Power clan, with my own kids thrown in as well. The only one missing is my daughter Stephanie who was probably at a horse show instead that weekend.

I won't tag anyone else but feel free if you are so inclined (Chris, Steph, Andrew, BC-Mike) . It's neat what pictures you might come up with from your recent past.

Sunday - 7 miles on the roads and one on the treadmill (including 1/2 mile walking backwards) as I bailed out of the long run to care for my hammies. I've been doing stretches and strengthening exercises on a daily basis and found the walking backwards suggestion as well, though it's tricky adjusting the controls without falling off.

Monday - day off, stretch and work the hams

Pushup challenge: did another test and could only do 35 which keeps me at the same level in week 5. I can feel the difference in my arms and shoulders but the improvements seems to be coming slow thus far.

That's it for now. I'm hoping to get some decent runs in this week but will cut them short or miss them all together if the legs complain too much. Have a good week!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

I love winter!

OK, it's not 'officially' winter for another month but we had our 1st snowfall of the season last night. It got two very opposite reactions at our place. My wife's response was "Oh no, yuck!!" while mine was "All right, beautiful, can't wait to get out for a run!". She thinks I'm nuts but puts up with me.
The beautiful natural decorations of winter...
Quiet back streets...
And desolate open spaces...

Don't you just love it? I didn't see a soul for my entire 6 mile run around town today.

Meanwhile, it's been a very quiet week with only easy running as I try to deal with the continuing hamstring issue. The stretching and strengthening exercises are starting to help but I need to hold back on the mileage for a bit. Just 34 miles last week in 5 runs.

The old pushup challenge is going better as I just completed the lowest of 3 levels in Week 5. You can log your workouts and follow my progress here. It's time for another progress test but it looks like I'll be repeating Week 5 next week.

That's it for now. Have a nice week!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Even more ridiculous!

My alarm was set for 5:45am this morning so I could meet Andrew a bit earlier for our Boyden Lake run. Overnight we got a ton of wind and rain and so the 1st thing I did was check the forecast and the radar loop...

Rainfall warning in effect

Wind warning in effect.

Day: Rain at times heavy with the risk of a thundershower. Amount 40 to 50 mm. Wind south 60 km/h gusting to 90 becoming southwest 50 gusting to 80 late this afternoon. Temperature falling to 11 this afternoon.
Yuck! I'm not interested in doing that again (just like last week) so I whipped off an email to our intrepid Eastporter.

Mike to Andrew:
>> > It's nasty out there. I'm getting cold (wet) feet here. The radar loop looks like it's all headed straight for us! What do you think?

Andrew reply:
>> I'm on my way.

Mike to Andrew:
> you fool, I'm just leaving too (will be a bit late)

So into the maelstrom I went and I definitely could feel a sucking/sinking feeling. The rain was being driven horizontally and I had to slow the van to a crawl a few times during the journey in order to see where the road was. The border crossing was uneventful although the guard who is a local runner had several questions about who I was running with (Andrew), what I was training for (Boston) and even asked what my best Boston time was (3:18). Arrived near the designated meeting spot to find Andrew already doing his warmup, so picked him up and chatted while I got geared up to go.
Besides the incredible headwind and driving rain with periods of calm and light drizzle the run was fairly uneventful. It blew our hats off and we had to revert to 'rally-cap' mode and at times we had to shout in order to hear each other. But besides that the temperature was mild at 15C/59F and it was a comfortable, easy and rather enjoyable run. My hamstrings, however, were a big issue for most of the run and I was happy to go with the slow pace. Our 12 miles came in at the same time (1:48) as we did 13 the previous week and included a couple of camera, stretching and 'health' stops along the way.

After the run Andrew sent me this email:
See? It wasn't so bad.

He was right!
The last time we went by this wheelbarrow it had flowers in it. I wonder if it will get a Christmas dressing up in a few weeks? It's almost time to start putting up decorations and making other preparations like baking of cookies and chocolate balls!! Mmmm!

Other training runs from last week:
Monday - off; Pushups: 5 sets for total of 95 and max of 23
Tues - easy 6 miles in morning before Remembrance Day ceremonies
Weds- easy 6 after work with 6x strides on the golf course fairways
(Pushup Challenge: 5 sets for a total of 108 and max of 25)
Thur - 8 miles with fartlek intervals 1-2-3-4 minutes with equal rest (2x) in 60:20. Felt good but hams getting sore at end
Fri - off with work trip (Pushups:5 sets for a total of 122 and max of 28)
Sat - 7 miles easy but legs sore and tight; total weekly mileage was 40 (Sunday-Sat)
Sun - 12 miles but very sore hams which need attention. Pushup max test of 34 which puts me into a lower level for next weeks program. Whew!

This coming week will be week 3 of the 24 week schedule. I hoping to get 40-45 miles including a hill workout as part of a longer mid-week run. More important, I need to deal with this achy hamstring issue of mine that is holding my running back from what it should be. Self massage, icing, stretching, strengthening and even some paid massage treatments will be in order starting right this minute.

That's all for now except for a few shout-outs to runners at races including Crazy Bob doing the 100 mile Javelina Jundred in Arizona with pacing support by our Speedy Dusty. You should also check out Steve (aka Bulldog runner) who ran a great race at Richmond marathon, achingly close to the PB he was aiming for. Steve first caught my attention with his McMillan training plan and the Pushup Challenge and his dedication and hard work are something to see. And don't forget Elizabeth - Run With Me who also ran very very well at Richmond knocking of an impressive BQ++ time on a tough windy day. I can't wait for the race reports from all of them!

Take care all and have a great week!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


Sunday's run at about the 1/2 way point was 'ridiculous'!
In a matter of seconds it went from mild conditions (11C/52F) on dry roads to a drenching downpour along with a sound and light show. Good thing the camera was waterproof! We (Andrew, Ozzie and myself) were exactly at the 1/2 way point on the loop and so there was no real option except to keep moving forward. Despite this, it was a run we won't soon forget and the 13 miles zipped along in 1:48. My hamstrings gave me problems again and the constant reminder to do something about it remained for the rest of the day and into this week.

Much of the conversation focused on our running plans and methods. Most of you know how Andrew trains with his devotion to Lydiard, high mileage with lots of ups and downs and still able to knock off fast marathons at the drop of a hat. Ozzie (aka Austin) at age 54 is a consistent age group ace and sub-3hr marathoner. At the recent 2008 Mount Desert Island marathon he ran 2:57 placed 10/700 overall, winning his age group by over 15 minutes! Age graded this is equal to a 2:36 at 80.88%! Asked about how he trains he reveals that he takes 1-2 days off a week but races almost every weekend. Nothing specific or structured but he runs at a good (read tempo) effort on most runs. Andrew called it 'The Boyden Plan'. Amazing, or should I say ridiculously amazing!

Mike from BC asked what's different about my latest plan, which is far from being unstructured. It's actually alot of the same but then again not the same. Same with: the overall mileage, cutback weeks, long runs, medium long runs and a sprinkling of tempo plus faster running. Different in: the fast finish long runs as well as a couple of extra long runs at 3+hrs. Also different with a series of 6 mile MP 'tests' every 4 weeks which I'm planning to run on the treadmill while monitoring heartrate. The tempo and interval workouts from McMillan aren't much different from the Pfitzinger plans but I'll be closely monitoring paces based on the McMillan running calculator. 'On a wing and a prayer, Andrew?' We'll have to wait and see what happens, right?

Other happenings lately include the Pushup Challenge, now in Week 4, Day 2 and getting more challenging by the day. I'm beginning to fear these morning wakeup efforts like I would a challenging track or interval workout but can see the progress after only one week, I'm also happy to see a number of my readers have taken an interest in the challenge. Good luck to all who dare!

Running tidbits...

Monday -Day off running; 95 total pushups in 5 sets.
Tues - easy 6 miles in 50ish; back to the old timepiece as the Garmin has gone AWOL

That's all folks! Have a great week!

Saturday, November 08, 2008

The plan! The Plan (Boss-ton)!

Yes, I finally have a 'plan' and some of you may even remember this 70'ies show Fantasy Island which made me think of my title. Now just as long as my scheme is more than a pure fantasy I may survive.

Pretty isn't it? It's a mixture of Pfitzinger and McMillan with a dose of Lydiard and a sprinkling of hope and prayer. The basic plan is for 24 weeks with 4 major blocks (colored) for base building, stamina, speed and then the taper/race. There is gradual mileage buildup to what I'm able to handle (50-70) without getting injured and cutback weeks every 4th week.

The long run is 1st in importance and there are some twists including Fast Finishes (30-90min MP+) or extra long 3+ hour runs. The medium long runs (from Pfitz) are there as well, even though I despise them, but they help build stamina and determination to keep going on days when you don't want to. The 1-2 weekly workouts come from McMillan and I'll be using his Pace Calculator with my latest races to calculate proper paces. Whether I can manage more than one workout per week will have to be determined as this 'plan' goes along. I've also build in weekly strides and a series of test MP runs to monitor progress on a monthly basis. I might do these on the treadmill to attempt to control weather conditions.

Anyway, a lot to chew on and I'm going to think about it now by going for a long run with Andrew in the morning. Well, maybe not too long but long enough to hear his opinion I'm sure!

The pushup challenge is also going along reasonably well and have survived Week 3 which was the level I started at. You can log your workouts at the Pushup Logger site and let others follow along.
The workouts get much harder quickly and there's a 'test' at the end of next week too! I hate tests!!

The past few weeks have been very easy with alternate days of running and then not running. Mileage totals have been a measly 16 and 27 since the marathon and the legs are still tight as ever. I guess some stretching and strengthening exercises will need to be added in to 'The Plan' as well as icing and massage.

Have a nice week and don't forget to Remember the Veterans on Nov. 11th.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

1-2-3-4 take 2

There's something lucky about those numbers I suppose... It all started with this silly little song that you can't get out of your head.

And there I was in the middle of my 10k, wearing number 1234, swimming in lactic acid and barely able to do much more with my brain except count my exhales and hope that the finish would come sooner than later. 1-2-3-4....

It was a good day for running. 43:39, 10th overall, 1st in my age group and a Shiny Metallic Object to go with it but it was not easy by any means.

The start, you can make me out on the right not too far from the front.
The finish and very happy to be done. Did I mention it was cold here today? 2C(35F) with 35-45k (20-30mph) northwest wind to give it some bite and thus the gloves and pants. So how did it go? Well we arrived just 1/2 hr before the race start because of the 3hr drive to the race and I just had time to pin on my bib number and do a very quick 1/2 mile jog for a warmup. Getting ready for the start we were almost impaled by a falling tent which was blown over by the gusting wind but luckily we grabbed it and helped take it down in time. I had just time to remove my jacket and hand it to Jo before the gun went off and we were blown down the road by the tailwind (for the 1st 5k only).

1st kilometer in 3:56 (holey crap Batman, slow down!)
2nd k in 4:10 was better (target of 4:15) but was passed by 2 runners including one chick and could not respond
3rd k in 4:20 and now starting to just hang on
4-5k for 4:20 avg for 21:08 at the 5k turn and now begin to count in earnest
2nd 5k in 22:31 back into the strong nw wind. At the 5k turn we joined up with returning 1/2 marathoners who had started 1 hour before us so I had plenty of targets to keep me going but I kept hearing footsteps. It turned out to be my imagination because I never was overtaken after the 3k and probably just heard the people I was passing along the way. Even on the final turn with only about 400m to the finish I was positive there was someone on my heels! It kept me honest and working right to the finish at least.

I must admit to be pleasantly surprised and happy with my result today. Not quite the 42:50 I was 'hoping' for but for somebody just off a marathon with virtually no speed training for this shorter distance, you have to be satisfied.

Meanwhile I've also been scheming so more on my training plan and almost have something ready for the light of blogland. But 1st as part of the program there is a sub-plan to work on my non-existent upper body and core strength beginning with the 100 pushup Challenge! I've already challenged my 3 children to try to keep up with their Dad and will now challenge any of my readers who cares to try as well. My test resulted in 25 pushups so I'm starting with week 3 of the Challenge with 5 sets for a total of 72 pushups in the morning. It's not about beating or winning but about doing, so please check it out and let me know how you make out!

That's about all for now. Have a great week!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Scheming & dreaming

Also known as, 'the post-marathon crazies' or 'what to do with all that spare time on your hands'. It's just because we're missing our daily shot of endorphins and need to fill in the time with running related planning. It seems to be addictive if you follow the crazy zig-zag plots by Andrew, or even more complex diagrams by Bricey, and then there's the 'sign up for the next marathon before he can even walk again'-Jamie but at least he has a plan in mind and is thinking of going with Pfitzinger's up to 70 mile per week

I can't point fingers too much, seeing as how I've also signed up for my next marathon (Boston) and also up for a 10k in Moncton this coming weekend. Checking over my race results since I turned 50 my 10k PB is 42:50 and would you believe what you get when you plug in my most recent marathon result into the McMillan running calculator? - 42:51! I have no choice but to go for it, now do I?

I also had some time today for some 'pretty' graphs...
This is my steady and consistant training since the 2 marathons in the fall of 2007. The black bars are races over the period, the green line is the maximum weekly long run and the red is overall mileage. It's fairly consistent with only one extra dip in Aug 2008 due to back to back travel weeks. Certainly a marked contrast with a certain other runner whose name we won't mention. So what's my plan? Don't know yet but have about 8 weeks to think about it and will take the time to gradually ramp up the mileage again.

Recovery week running:
Monday - Friday - all 0's but was feeling fine by Tues and wanting to lace up my shoes by Weds

Sat - 5 miles in 42:30 but feeling very achey and creaky (just like 'that other runner') and legs felt almost sore by the end. There is definitely some deeper damage and more healing is needed as per usual.

Sun - another zero. I was tempted to go early before the storm of wind and rain hit but held off and then was happy (as were the legs) to stay inside and scheme away

It's been a nice weekend and I'm off on a work road-trip for most of next week. The running gear will be packed but I'm not stressing about getting too many runs in. Hope you all have a nice week too!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Marathon pictures

Is he comparing carrot tops?
Marc loves vegetables.
And so does Mike! BTW that was the pace car for the marathon. Kinda cool we thought.

But by popular demand here are most of the pictures from the PEI marathon weekend located in 2 albums on Webshots. These were taken by myself and Jo, while these were done by Steph with her fancy camera.

Recovery goes extremely well and I was thinking about running already and this was my 1st real day off since Mondays are always days off. I've even thinking about doing a 10k in 2 weeks time in Moncton just for fun! How crazy are is that?

Monday, October 20, 2008

Hard to explain

It was a great weekend which started with 3 good buddies getting together for their annual marathon adventure. This year we settled on the PEI marathon which requires a crossing of the famous Confederation Bridge (seen here in the background).
The morning of the race dawned cool and WINDY? We had a cool northeast wind of 10-15km/hr that wasn't in the forecast but it started out at our backs and wasn't really much of a factor except that it made conditions a bit cold for spectators. Running in the 5-8C (40-45F) temps was actually just right for the runners.

Here are the 'boys' raring to go just minutes before the start.

Before the race and in practice running the course in July I'd found that this course divides nicely into 4 sections, the 1st 12k along the beach and to the edge of the provincial park, the next 9k through slightly rolling terrain to the 1/2 way and entrance to the trail, then the 13k rails to trail section, and finishing with 8.2k back on pavement and a hilly route into Charlottetown for the finish.

My plan had been to use the 1st 6 miles as a warmup with an orderly progression run and gradually increase to 7:40 pace by 6 miles but this went out the window literally the very second the gun went off as my Garmin screen went completely blank! This watch has been wonky lately and so it was a good thing that I had a plan B using my normal Timex wrist watch. However, with the course marked only in kilometers it required a few quick calculations and adjustments on the fly as I got going.
Of course, there's always time for pictures during a marathon and I liked the cool clouds in this shot in the early going before my camera got put away for good. I also got a few shots of the pace bunny and Marc but never saw a hair of Andrew until the finish. The 1st 12k went very easily as I monitored each kilometer and somewhat unsuccessfully tried to hold my pace slower than 4:45/k but the 4:30's just seemed to come out of the air. At the end of the park I passed my water belt and camera to Jo and Steph who are credited with all the remaining pics below. At this point I allowed myself to work a little harder while still trying to keep things under control and maintained a steady pace while continually passing runners. I only remember being passed once after about the 5k mark.
Here is Marc looking good around the 12k point.
And here is Andrew around the 15k mark 'Tucking in and waiting' for his new friend, 'Erik' from the Netherlands to make his move.
This is me at the same point, feeling good and having way too much fun. Just 5-8k later it was quite a different story (below). The 1/2 way point came before I knew it in 1:38:43, nicely under goal pace of 1:40 but also very close to the 1:38:04 time I had just posted in a 1/2 only 3 weeks ago. Now some might say that I was on track for disaster with such a fast start and an overly optimistic goal since this recent 1/2 only predicts about a 3:27 marathon at best. However, I felt that I had underperformed on a hilly course, with tired legs and a warm humid day. Today, with fresh legs and good conditions this 1st 1/2 left me feeling very strong and fresh but then I hit the trail....
Part 3: the trail was a struggle almost from the beginning. Immediately my splits started to slow and required substantially more effort to hold onto pace and in fact I only had one sub 4:45 split after this point in the race. At this point I was passed without resistance for the only time in the race since the early going and he went by me like I was standing still (perhaps a relay runner?). A bit later around the 30k mark more approaching footsteps but these remained on my heels for a few k before he came abreast and we started a conversation. Andre turned out to be a 1st timer and was wondering when the race was going to get hard (as in the wall). I told him he didn't have long to wait as we continued together for a few more clicks until reaching the end of the trail and a water station where he walked as I continued with cup in hand.
Andrew finishing strong and passing a bunch of 1/2 marathoners who started 1 hour after the marathoners.

Part 4- last 8k and finish. After loosing my new friend at the water station I didn't look back but rather ahead at a vast array of 'road-kill', mostly in the form of slow 1/2 marathoners who were joining our route for the last 5 miles. They gave me constant targets to knock off and I was able to slightly increase my pace despite the hilly terrain. My watch ran out of splits (max 30) and so I only have a split for my last 8.2k with an average pace of 4:47 for this section. I must have easily passed 100 1/2 marathoners but in the final hill before the 1.5 mile stretch run to the finish a marathoner finally appeared in my sights. I knew him from the start as a tall lanky grey haired possible age group competitor and could see that he was struggling. Again I did the water stop zoom-by (maybe a fast plod) but was past him and there was no sound of a struggle. The last kilometer was just a head down counting footsteps and trying to hold everything together affair as more 1/2 martathoners danced their way to the finish.
So, while Marc, Jamie and Grellan seemed to have 'off' days Andrew and I were turned 'on' for some reason. As far as marathons go, this one was reasonably 'easy' and I didn't have to really work until the last few miles where I actually picked up on my lagging pace.

21st marathon
6th best
1:06 off my target pace
1/2 marathon split of 1:38:43 only 39 sec slower than my 1/2 from just 3 weeks ago
3:40 positive split for the 2nd 1/2
last 8.2k in 39:17 (3 secs per kilometer slower than target pace)

1 satisfied runner, what more can I say? Well there is lots more to say but the 3 Blind Moose have already said it in hilarious detail after the race. I think my daughter now thinks we're all completely mad but it sounded funny to us. It was a great weekend!

Have a great week!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Final thoughts before PEI

The fall flowers continue to bloom but the days are getting shorter and colder. Only a very few short days to go now and the latest forecast calls for a very nice weekend with lots of sun but low temperatures with no wind mentioned.

Sunday: A mix of sun and cloud. Low plus 2C(36F). High 8C(46F).

Looks near perfect to me, so no excuses on the weather front. This week has been very easy as far as running goes but my work has jumped in quickly to take up any slack and so there has been little time to stew about not running. Today for example I was up at 630 to go out on the boat all day and by the time we got home tonite there was little chance that a 5mile recovery run was going to get done (or even needed for that matter). Rest and couch potatoe duties come first this late in the season.

But I have been doing a little running around...

Sunday - 13 miles (8:10 avg) with 8 mile progression to finish with 2xMP

Monday - rest

Tues - 5 miles easy (7:57) late in day after work and fencing to keep out the 'thieving deer'

Weds - 8 miles (7:51 avg) with 3xMP although only 2 were called for in the plan. Felt good and just kept rolling for one more (sorry, couldn't help myself)

Thurs - unscheduled day off but why not?

Friday - plan for an easy 5 with strides 'my' the golf course

Sat - plan is to drive to the Island for the marathon with the 3 Blind Moose and my poor wife

Sunday - plan is to ease into the 1st 6 miles as a progession run, run the next 6-7 under control despite the low hills that take you to the 1/2 way. The next 7-8 are on the rails to trails and I hope to be just holding back the effort and enjoying these nice middle miles as long as possible. The final 5 miles are a brute with the pavement and hills and will require courage and strength to hold pace. The final last mile is flat with a slight downhill and will be rewarding if I have anything left to finish strong. I'm really glad that I ran the course in July in 2 parts (part1 and part2) because it can be seen in my minds eye (plus geotagged route) and will help me know where I'm at and what is to come.

Goals? Hmm, 1st and foremost is to enjoy the weekend and the running with friends. As far as time goals, I already have my BQ for next year and this might just be a small improvement to give me a slightly better number and move up from maybe the 8th to the 7th corral. My latest 1/2 predicts something around a 3:25 but I think that maybe a 3:20 might be in the cards and is what I'm pacing myself for. Who knows? The training has been OK, though slack on the longer 20+ mile runs and we'll just have to give 'er and see what happens.

Wish me and my buddies luck and have a great weekend!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Red vs Blue

You may or may not have heard of the internet video comedy series Red vs. Blue. My two sons are great fans of it and we watched many of the show's hilarious antics on dvd last Christmas. But this is not about comedy; I have something more important to deal with, that is: what shoes to wear for the upcoming marathon? I happen to have 2 brand new pairs on the auction table...

a red pair, and ...


and a blue pair!

Both are yelling, Pick me! (I'm cuter) Pick me! (I'm faster)

And how did I manage to have such a luxury of choice you ask?

Well the red pair on the right are Mizuno Wave Precision 9's and purchased just a few weeks ago with the intention of being my marathon shoe after the usual break in of one or 2 longer runs and a minimum of miles. I've been running in Mizuno's for about 10 years now and being a latent manic compulsive type have numbered and kept track of the mileage on every pair. This would be pair #28 and with about 600miles/pair that works out to about 16,000 miles on the brand so far. Ouch, no wonder my leg hurts!

So why the 2nd blue pair? Well it turns out that a few weeks ago I get this email from a sales rep at New Balance, Harrisburg with the offer of my choice of shoes if I put up a link on my blog sidebar and to do a little review of them. Well who can turn down an offer for free shoes? After making sure it was a real offer (ie. don't look a gift horse in the mouth) I settled on the top of the line cushioned light weight model New Balance 1062 which have now been road tested with one easy recovery run thus far.

The results? Well they are a beautiful looking shoe with a roomy toe box and nice fit. I have high arches with stiff feet and this neutral, well cushioned shoe gave me a nice smooth ride. My easy 5 mile test run was at about 8:17/mile average pace but it also included a few fast striders with about 20-30sec of fast controlled running to loosen up the legs. This is where I got a pleasant surprise with how well cushioned these shoes really are. The faster I went the more I could feel the cushioning which felt like running on firm pillows and gave it a nice floating feeling. Cool, I like these shoes!

But final verdict, I have to go with Red for the marathon because they are my tried and true model/brand. If I had more time on my feet with the Blues they might have a good shot at bumping Red, but not this time so late in the plan to PEI. For now I'm looking forward to alternating them as one of my stock training shoes and will see how they endure the miles.

This was my view while stretching this morning after a 1 mile warmup during the final 13 mile longer run (wearing Red's). The sun was just peeking out at 730am and it was rather brisk at 4C and will likely be the same next week on the Island. The run went well but not great. I could feel some tighness in the legs (reminder to stretch at night). I ran the 1st 5 miles as an easy warm up and then did an 8 mile progression run getting down to sub-marathon pace by the end. The 'plan' had been to go at MP for the final 2 miles but my Garmin screen went blank and had to go by feel. I guess my body 'felt' like going 7:26 and 7:21 instead of the 7:40's that were intended. No harm done and it's only one more week of taper madness to go.

Have a nice week everyone!

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Final efforts

I didn't have much luck this week with the x-rated herring video but managed to find some very scenic harbours while the wind blew up a storm.

This lobster trap was just sitting in a clearing on top of a cliff by the seashore looking pretty. You'd think that some tourist would have nabbed it and drove back to Ontario with it strapped to his roof but maybe this spot was just too much out of the way. BTW the design is very out of date with the new ones made of plastic coated metal and nowhere near as rustic looking.

And I did run into my fisherman friend and this was as close as I got to my herring this week. It was the end of a long day for him and he wasn't going out again for another 24 hours due to the weather and so my project was delayed.

On the running front I was able to get 8 miles in on Tuesday while in Dartmouth-Halifax before driving the roads for the rest of the day (as above). It was a cool morning and all the walkers were wearing winter coats, some with hats and mitts and while I was comfortable in shorts and a long sleeve tech shirt. My pace was brisk to counteract the cool wind but not too crazy.

Weds was just an easy 5 miles (this is supposed to be taper time) as I just meandered around my home town after work on a perfect calm mild fall day. The easy pace came back at a surprising 8:00min clip and I cooled my legs in the very cool pond at the end.

Today's run was of more substance as I attempt to stick in a few quality run and to also try to complete some aspects of the Pfitz plan that I've sort of been following for the last 16 weeks or so. He has the unusual workout of 8 miles with 3x1 mile at 5k effort with 2 min jog recoveries in all his schedules just 10 days out from the race. OK, fine I did my usual 1 mile warmup, followed by stretching and then another 1/2 mile jog to get myself out to a fairly flat section of road before starting.

The 1st mile felt good in 6:33 while running hard but not all out and just feeling out the legs. I took my time between efforts and allowed myself to climb a small hill before locating another reasonably flat section for the next mile which went by just as easily in 6:36 including a slowing turn around in the middle because this was done as an out and back run. Another slow section to climb back out of the valley and the final mile in 6:40 with a long gradual hill in the 2nd 1/2. It was very satisfying to still be able to knock out some good miles while not going all out. The effort was there and it was more a matter of working on my form and not getting distracted at the end so as to not slow down. Finished off the run with a nice easy 2 mile jog and noticed that the legs were now starting to show the effects with some soreness but otherwise was fine.

Only 9 more days until the PEI marathon now. I can't wait to get the Three Blind Moose (we even have our own wine) back together again and hope that my spouse can put up with all of our bad jokes and other silliness. It promises to be a great weekend no matter what happens weather wise or even running wise. Maybe I'll even take an extra day off tommorow to rest. What do you say?

And the prize for picking my brother in the previous post goes to DawnB! She must have seen some family resemblance as he is obviously not a runner like me. Now I just have to figure out what she gets for a prize. How about a free bottle of homemade wine but the catch is we have to do a race together to get it. That could easily happen too! Have a nice holiday weekend!