Saturday, April 25, 2009

Boston Madness

OK, OK! I promise this is the last post about Boston for awhile but I just had to show you this composite of all the video I managed to do while running the race. Well actually, this is only a small part of what was actually recorded since I ran into a file size limit when trying to post to the RunCastTV site and had to cut out some bits. But you'll get the idea...

So here's the video that I promised. Warning it is almost 6 minutes long and the Rocky music may wear on your nerves. Use the 'mute' button as required.

Find more videos like this on RuncastTV

Meanwhile, back in the real world I managed to get my 1st recovery run in today with 4 miles covered at a very easy feeling pace of 8:20/mile. The heartrate was elevated to near 140 for such an easy run and my legs felt sore and achey with some cramping happening in the hams during the later part of the run. Still, my head and lungs felt fine and my mind is way ahead of where the body recovery is at right now. I'm feeling good mentally and want to get out and run fast but can't just yet. Soon I hope, so I'll just keep it at easy every other day running for a few weeks and go from there. There are no races planned for the near future either but more on that later.

Take care and have an nice week. The weather here is just like summer (almost)!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Boston magic

Our local paper did a little article on my Boston adventure. I think they did a nice write up and got most of the facts right. Front page too! No hiding now...

The marathon photos also now up and I seem to be holding a camera in my hands quite a bit. It helped to keep me distracted from the pain in my legs and feet! Recovery has gone quite well and I feel almost normal today, 3 days after the race. I've only done some easy walking, ice packs on the 1st day and a bit of ibuprofen for a couple of days. May go out for an easy short-short run on Friday, or not. The urge to run is there but I'm not sure if the body is quite ready yet.

See you later!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Paying the Price (again)

They say that 'old dogs can't learn new tricks' and perhaps in my case that just might be true. I accomplished my goals in yesterday's Boston marathon of having fun and enjoying the experience but paid the price in terms of going out too fast (again) and dying even before the hills (again) and crawling home to the finish at a survival shuffle (again). But I have to say I had a wonderful time doing it and as soon as the pain in my legs subsides I'll be planning how to repeat the experience again in another year (maybe).

My 5k splits over the past 6 years are remarkably consistent in their pattern and general slowing right from the get go. As Thomas just said, "Mike, you still don't know how to run Boston." He's right, I typically get to the 1/2 way point and fall off the cliff in the same manner each year. Note that the red-line in my greaph was for 2004 was the heatwave with temperatures in the 80'ies at the start.
You can read all about our journey to Hopkinton in Thomas's post but here we dropped him off at his corral about 45 minutes before the start with plenty of room to get to the front. The weather was on the cool side and we were shivering until in the corrals with lots of other warm bodies around.

I met up with my cousin Jerry and some other running friends from New Brunswick in my corral and look to be ready to rumble in this picture. When asked what my pacing plan was, I replied "going out slow at 8:00 pace and save it for the hills and the end". Ha! That didn't last long. After a 1st crowded mile in 7:53, the next few were 7:23, 7:30, 7:24, 7:39, 7:36 and there was absolutely nothing I could do about it. It felt absolutely like jogging and with people streaming by me I kept looking at my Garmin in unbelief.
Just before the 10 mile mark I hooked up with this lady (I can hear Andrew raising his eyebrows already). With her green singlet and flaming red hair, I though she just had to be from Ireland which was why I started to talk to her but it turned out she was Canadian. We had a great conversation for a few miles and I found out she is running her marathon in honor of her mother who died suddenly this past Easter weekend. Her mother who was also a marathoner was a great inspiration to her in the way she lived and her faith in God that she passed on to her. I stayed with her until the Wellesley girls scream tunnel where I got distracted doing my video etc. The half went by shortly after in 1:40, predicting a 3:20 with even splits (ya, right).

Shortly thereafter, as per usual the wheels started to fall off and holding anything even close to an 8:00 pace became more than I could manage. How you can go from running easily at 7:30's to struggling to hold 8:30 is just beyond me. Mile 15, 16, 17 came in at 8:13, 7:46 and 8:32 to start the 1st of the Newton Hills at the fire station. My legs were now toast before even starting the 1st 'official' hill and the rest of the race became a simple struggle to maintain forward motion. It's hard to explain the feeling exactly of what the legs felt like at this point, a soreness that slowly increased to a throbbing pain, quads that became rock hard requiring massaging on the run, calves ready to cramp at any point, and a near overwhelming desire to stop and walk.

Miles 18, 19, 20, 21 in 8:41, 8:15, 8:35, 8:58 as I navigated the Newton hills and Heartbreak with only the final downhill miles left to complete. By this time my quads were so shot I was just putting one sorry foot in front of the other and hundreds, even thousands of people streamed past me. The last miles were even worse with splits from 8:30 to 9:17 in the final very painful mile. However, I still found time to take pictures and video clips of the crazy, crazy crowds and even the final glorious steps through the finish and relief to finally be able to stop.
I met up with my cousin Jerry at the finish. He ran a MUCH smarter race (his 1st Boston) letting me go out like crazy and then passing me at the 25k mark then finishing in a strong 3:27 as planned.
Thomas and I met up at the buses and then made our way to the Boston Commons at a nice slow walk. After a coffee and doughnut, we then both tried one of the locally famous Fried Dough from a streetside vendor. MMMMM, heartstopping fat, sugar, blueberries and more sugar!!! Thomas had one too ;-)
And then on 'home' to our wonderful hosts for a fine meal, great drinks, good company and certainly more good times. The memories of this fine weekend will only be good ones. I feel so lucky and blessed.

Have a wonderful week! Signing out from Boston!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Good Times

ephemeral \ih-FEM-er-ul\, adjective:
1. Beginning and ending in a day; existing only, or no longer than, a day; as, an ephemeral flower.
2. Short-lived; existing or continuing for a short time only.

Success is very ephemeral. You depend entirely on the desire of others, which makes it difficult to relax.
-- Eva Green

Rather, we must separate what is ephemeral... from the things that are of lasting importance.
-- Patrick Smith, Japan: A Reinterpretation

Yesterday was a long, busy but very good day. It was fun to drag Thomas around the city, the expo, the course, to finally meet Michael and then to have a wonderful meal with Mark and his family. It's hard to pinpoint any one moment in particular but we all enjoyed each others company and the non-stop running babble kept us totally entralled in our plans and ambitions for the big day on Monday.

We're all ready and raring to go too. Thomas just went off for an early Sunday morning jog and he's more than ready and now suitably impressed or at least forewarned of what is in store for him. Michael is also very keen and looks super fit and ready to tear up the course from his dangerous position in the 1st corral. Me, I'm as ready as you could expect given the ups and downs of the last several months but am ready to give it a strong effort with the emphasis of savoring the experience of Boston once again.

Very little running this past week, just following the old Pfitz plan (see the sidebar). Did 12 last Sunday, then 7 miles with 2 at MP on Tues with the pace feeling really easy. Finally an easy 6 miles on Thurs after work and once again was feeling good with 8 minute pace coming easily. I'll do a little 2-3 mile jog/run this morning just to refresh the legs as we have no plans today except to laze about and enjoy the hospitality of my good friends here in Boston.

The forecast is looking good for running, cloudy, cool but maybe some wind. Have a great day and good luck to everyone running tomorrow!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Fresh Legs

It really is wondrous what a couple of good nights sleep and a day off will do for both your mental spirit and the bounce in your legs. The past couple of weeks have been tough due to my work schedule, deadlines for reports, meetings and then presentations and review of said reports before the usual critical audience. Enough about that, it's over and done with, no excuses and it went better than expected.

I'm now back to my usual 8 hours and in fact woke up this morning after 9 hours of solid sleep but with some soreness in my hams, maybe from too much lying around? This worried me at first because my rearranged schedule called for Pfitzinger's famous final speed workout of 8 miles with 3x1mile at 5k pace with 2:oo jog rests. Given that I haven't raced since last fall (Moncton 10k in 43:34 which predicts a 20:54 5k) or done a 5k since Sept 2007 (Fredericton Fall Classic in 20:31), it's hard to know if I'm meeting the standard or not. OK, just run hard but not to crazy so as not to hurt yourself and see what happens.

It went very well! I did get a dissaproving look from 'Coach' for running in shorts with overcast/cloudy, windy conditions at +3C and a the occasional snow flake but a pair of light gloves more than made up for it. After a nice easy warmup and some stretching I was off to the races, starting at mile 0 of our St. Andrews Father's Day race route which was calibrated with mile marks last spring. First mile in 6:42 and low average heartrate of below 90% but the fresh legs, tailwind, and slight downhill helped push me along. After a 2:00 jog it was off in the opposite direction and this time the headwind, slightly tired legs and uphill made me work much harder for less in results (7:02 split). The 2:00 jog break was not long enough this time and the beginning of the next mile was lactic hell until I was able to get into a nice rythm as the wind and slight hill gave me a break. Able to manage a 6:49 this time and all that was left was an easy jog back home. Great run, nice to pick up the pace but feeling it a bit in the aftermath (MUST REMEMBER TO STRETCH AND DO MY EXERCISES!)

Meanwhile the countdown is on in earnest and we now have our 1st forecast from 10 days out!

You can't predict the day but at least the trend of temperatures around that weekend looks good, not too hot and no nor-easter's predicted which is just what we want. A low spectator index is good because not perfect spectator numbers often translate to nice running conditions. Let's hope! Have a good weekend or what's left of it!

Thursday, April 09, 2009


Missing in action, taking a break, as in a hiatus

Still running but have been as busy as hell for the last 2 weeks. Just back from a 4 day work trip with 24/7 work, meeting, work and repeat but at least it's a taper week and easier to fit the runs in. Staying right on track and have been sticking to the schedule as per Pfitz and so am feeling really good about my fitness for Boston. It's not the hardest training I've done but I've done what was possible for me given the many life variables and will be ready to rock and roll on race day!
Have a great Easter weekend all!