Saturday, October 31, 2009

Hamilton Marathon Tomorrow

So tomorrow morning I will be off to run the Hamilton Marathon. I did a short 2 miles at race pace this morning just to keep the legs loose. Well if not race pace at least it was race effort, it was hard to tell as winds where between 40 and 60km.
No worries though as weather in Hamilton in the morning is supposed to be cool with only 15k winds.

I have finally decided on my splits for this race after talking to a number of different people that I run with. Do you want to know? Sorry not going to tell ya. You will have to read my race report next week to see what the plan was and how it all played out.

Training for this marathon has been quite different than the previous 2 that I have run. In the spring after running Paris I decided to do a fall marathon as my target race. I upped my mileage substantially as well as running 6 days a week. The plan was to work my base mileage up to a around 60-65 miles a week and get at least twelve 20 mile runs in during the training cycle. I managed to accomplish both of these training goals but a funny thing happened on the way to the marathon. I discovered the ultra trail marathon.

Originally as part of my training I decided to do a couple of 25k trail races just to keep things interesting and to my surprise discovered that I really, really like trail racing. My dabbling in 25k races lead to a 50k race that lead to a 50 miler.

Hey wait a second what happened to that marathon target race in the fall? Well it was still there and still is my target race. That said I found that I really peaked mentally after the Haliburton 50 Miler. I knew I had to focus on the marathon and physically was getting my training in but I felt strangely disconnected from my preparation. This is a very bad thing. I mean you can’t phone in a marathon. It's a long grueling race and a distance that has to be respected big time. You need to be focused, confident and ready. I actually began to consider maybe not doing it (I didn’t officially sign up until 2 weeks ago) but all that changed over the last 3 weeks.

The taper. I hate the taper, I really do. I should like it, less running, more rest and no sore legs. I have gotten to watch so much more TV lately. When the hell did they take Matlock off the air? This time around however the taper process helped me get reinvigorated and focused. I am as hyper and race ready as I have ever been for any race.

Thank you taper.
Let’s get this thing going.

PS. Good luck to my fellow blogging friends that are racing Hamilton tomorrow as well as to a pile of Longboat members that are running the full and half marathons.

Also a special good luck to Longboater Rob Campbell who is probably eating a big plate of pasta right now in a restaurant on Manhattan Island. Have fun running the NYC marathon tomorrow dude. I am sure it will pale in comparison to Hamilton.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Toronto Marathon Weekend ... PBs all around

Last weekend both Kim and I took part in various races at the Toronto Marathon. It was definitely a very busy Sunday for us as Kim ran the Half Marathon and I ran in the 5K and most of the Half Marathon as well.

Both of us had originally signed up in August to run the HM. The idea was that Kim would run the HM in an attempt to PB and I would pace her during the race. Although I was very, very tempted to run it hard I knew that this would be a bad move on my part with the Hamilton Marathon just 2 weeks later. This plan seemed solid given how my fall racing season had been set up with my short races early in September then Haliburton, some XC and lots of recovery time before Hamilton. Of course this was before the whole VRPRO fiasco. Yeah I know I still have to blog the details about that one but I am just getting back to updating regularly and so want to keep things positive for now. There will be lots of time during the coming winter months to try and convince you never to sign up for a race with VRPro :-). Anyway because of this I decided to add the Toronto 5K to my racing schedule so signed up a week before the race.

The plan was a simple one as Sunday Oct 18th was the first day of my taper for Hamilton. All I need to do was race a 5k and then get another 12 miles in so this could work out perfectly. I would do a warm up, race the 5K and then head up to St. Clair and Young to the 10K mark of the HM and meet up with Kim to pace her the rest of the way. A number of club members were running the water station at 10K so if I missed Kim at least I would know. I was pretty sure that I could make it up there in time but with both races starting at the same time in different places I might miss her.

Pre Race
We headed over to the expo on Friday and picked up our race kits. I just had to look on the board and get my bib number and then... crap. No listing for me in the 5K. I suspected that the system saw me double registered in both races and so didn’t register me. This was going to be fun.

I spent the next 15 minutes trying to explain the following to a number of people at the registration table. I am registered in both races. I am racing the 5K with a chip. I am then going to join the HM in progress with no chip (no official time) to pace someone. I registered for both because I don’t want to be on the course illegally and have a problem with race marshals. Rinse and repeat.

Honestly the people at the registration table were great so no complaints there. They passed me on to the woman in charge and she got it right away. Unfortunately (actually fortunately for me) they could not double list me in the system so she changed my registration to the 5K and gave me the bib for HM anyway no extra charge. It’s so nice to actually deal with a race that gives a rat's ass about runners (you know what I am saying VRPro).

I quickly bought a bunch of stuff at the Expo to celebrate my new found wealth. I picked up a Nathan fuel belt which I had been looking for and is perfect for trail racing. I also picked up this cool little stretchy pack for carrying stuff while running. I already tried this out and it works great.

Race Day
Kim left early cabbing it down to College and Yonge to catch the race provided bus to Mel Lastman Square and the HM start line. I lounged around the house for another hour got dressed and then ran the 3 miles over to Bloor and University and the 5K start line. Got there 15 minutes before the race with my warm up already done and plenty of time to make sure I was in the front of the corral. Weather was great for racing 0 degrees but some wind, nothing to extreme however.

The 5K

Lined up to go, checked my shoelaces (get out of my head Too Tall Tony) and took a look behind me. Man, there were a lot of people in this race. Bumped in to Feargal McCauley another Longboat member who is living in Ireland but was here visiting. He told me he was looking to run 18 minutes which is too fast for me so wished him luck. Then just like that we were off.

I came out pretty fast with a plan of running hard early while we were headed slightly downhill and then just hanging on in the second part of the race which is slightly uphill. My hope was to break 21 minutes although I knew that might be a little out of reach but hey ya got to try right.

Hit 1K at 4 minutes exactly which is pretty fast for me. Just after the 1k sign as the lead runners started to thin out I saw a guy slightly ahead of me. His left shoe was completely untied and his laces where whipping around. The girl next to me yelled at the guy to let him know but he said he was aware. Got to be a tough call, stop and tie the shoe and lose time or keep running and risk stepping on your own lace and taking a header (glad I always remember Too Tall's prevention advice).

Hit 2K with my second K run in 4:08 so was still right on my goal time and still felt pretty good. Reached the halfway point turn around at King and University and headed back up the other way. Saw George H. right at the turn around, it’s always nice to hear words of encouragement. Was still in pretty good shape but as I hit 3K I had slowed a little. The second half of this course is all slightly uphill, funny how such a small incline becomes noticeable when you are sucking wind.

I passed the 4K mark and then headed up around Queens Park on the final stretch. I was slowing down here more then I wanted as both my legs and lungs were stinging. At around 4.5K fellow Longboater Mark Stoller said Hi as he passed me like I was standing still. I suddenly felt like I was really slow as I watched him get smaller and smaller up ahead of me. Great running Mark, damn you and your young legs (Mark posted a 19:47 chiptime). I continued to push as hard as possible right to the finish, PBed by 2 seconds but didn’t make it to the magical 21 minutes. No worries will get it next time.

Official race stats
Gun time - 21:17
Chip time - 21:14
Place overall - 78 / 2556
Age group placing - 8 / 88

Race Phase 2
Took a quick 5 minute rest and chatted with Mark and George who had made his way up to the finish line. He was headed off to the HM course as well to do some pacing so I ran up the course with him. In no time I was up at the 10k mark where I saw Longboaters Anne B, Rob C. and Steve B. working the water station. Steve told me that Kim hadn’t passed by yet so I headed further up the road. There is a mid sized uphill just in front of Mount Pleasant Cemetery so I figured that I would go to the bottom of the hill and run with Kim from there. I didn’t even get to the bottom before I saw her.

I jumped in with her and she was doing pretty well and was holding her intended pace. She told me that the only glitch was that the buses were messed up as in not enough of them. She ended up taking another cab and only got into the corral 4 minutes before start time. From this point the rest was easy at least for me. I just tried to not speed up and let Kim draft off of me.

I have to say that this was a really fun time for me. I don’t often get to run with Kim as I am always training and so my pacing is too fast for her. I also don’t get to just relax during a race. Hitting the 18K mark of an HM and not being on the edge of imploding was a completely new experience.

Kim ran great and steady only slowing slightly in the last couple of KMs which are up the dreaded University Ave. incline. As we headed up University Kim said you’re not going to make me hold hand as we cross the finish are you. To which I gave her the as if face. Suddenly the girl we were passing said “Last year me and my boyfriend did that and then got a picture of us kissing as we got our medals. It was so nice”. Yeah like gag me with a spoon lady.

As we both pondered this bit of unsolicited information some guy with a thick Mexican accent yelled “You Can Do It” at us. Kim started laughing which is really not advisable when you are out of breath and energy at the end of a 13 mile race. She managed to get it back together and we crossed the finish line with Kim passing 3 people in the last 100 meters. Way to go honey. Kim was 6 minutes faster than she was at Scotia and 12 minutes faster than at Mississauga in May finishing in 2:20:47

All in all a pretty good weekend of racing. No offical pics posted yet... super slow they are. I will post them when I have them.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

My poor unattended Blog .... how I miss update

My poor blog has gone unloved and unwritten for well over a month now. Damn how time flies. I have so much to write and so little time to "right" it.

No I have not quit running.
No I have not quit racing.
No I am not injured.
No I am not spending all my time in strip clubs and playing online poker.

The last month has been super busy doing just the opposite, racing like crazy and trying to get in my runs around a very hectic work schedule (work takes up a lot of time ... who knew).

Please Stand By .... These technical difficulties are only temporary ... I promise.

I have tonnes of stuff that I currently need to rant about plus some race reports to catch up on. I am going to try and take a different approach in order to get caught up and write more blog entries that are less rambling and shorter / to the point. Please stop laughing I am being serious here.

Training Update - 2000 miles and less weekly mileage

Late last week I surpassed 2000 miles for the year with more then two months left to go. That’s a lot of miles for me kids, especially when you take in to account that I was running about 30 miles a week last year. No wonder I am tired.

September saw less training miles due to lots of racing, recovery, racing, recovery, with me putting in only 215 miles for the month. Still pretty good considering.

October will see an even bigger dip as I have dropped my weekly training mileage down to 50 miles a week for the early part of the month. The next two weeks I will be taking it even easier as I taper for the Hamilton marathon on Nov 1.

I definitely have a love / hate relationship with the taper but will try and only do the miles that I am suppose to put in. I expect to be pretty twitchy for two weeks and in preparation for this I have purchased and even bigger coffee cup, its just a little smaller then the coffee pot itself but if I drink straight out of the pot I cant brew more at the same time.

talk to ya soon.
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