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.