Sunday, June 2, 2013

All Eyes on the Victoria Marathon

That's it.  No more being half-crazy.

I am going full on crazy and running the Victoria Marathon on October 13th!

That's 26.2 miles or 42.2 kilometres.  Yikes!

I am aiming to complete the course in 4-and-a-half hours, which is twice my half marathon time plus a little bit.

I have about 20 weeks to complete the training.  Some weeks will see me running 75 km.  Eeks!

Wish me luck.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Vancouver Half Marathon

The Home Straight
The Vancouver Half Marathon is done and dusted in an official time of 2:06:11.

My initial goal of 2 hours was beyond me.  I don't think I could of ran any harder.  So to get under 2 hours is going to take a lot of hard work.

My next official race is the Scotiabank half-marathon on June 23rd.  48 days to shave off 6 minutes!

While I didn't break 2 hours, I did a number of personal bests along the way:

Fastest Mile: 8:03
Fastest 1K: 5:04
Fastest 5K: 27:08
Fastest 10K: 56:01

Fastest Half Marathon: 2:06:11

It's seems a little odd to be doing personal bests for shorter distances within a half-marathon, but I'll take it.

Lessons Learned
  • Don't use Pace Bunnies
    Pace bunnies are designated runners that will run a race in a given time.  You stick with them, you'll hit the time.  They are suppose to run for 10 minutes, then walk for 1.

    Pace Bunny Number One was useless.  She decided to do the race non-stop.  Someone actually asked her if she was going to walk for a minute. She said no and bolted away.  Heck, it even said on her official race shirt that she would run 10, walk 1.  Ugh.

    I think going in a 10 minute run, 1 minute walk cycle I could have gotten a lot closer to 2 hours.

    Pace Bunny Number Two was better.  He at least did what his shirt said he was going to do.  I followed him for a while.  Unfortunately, he did some damage to one of his quads during the race and his pace fell back.  This stuff happens.

    What did annoy me though was that I asked him if we were on course for a sub 2-hour run about 3K out, and he said yes.  There was no way we were going to cover that last  3K in the time remaining.  Would have been better if he had just told me the truth.

    Next time I am going to tape my GPS unit on my arm, watch my speed carefully and run my own race.
  • Wear a Camelbak
    It was a hot day in Vancouver.  I never really trained in hot weather so I wasn't really used to it and got a little dehydrated during the race.

    My initial plan was to walk through the drink stops, suck in as much liquid as I could, and head on off.

    The drink stops where chaos.  Lots of ducking and weaving to get to the table.  This was nobody's fault, it's just the way these things are.

    Inevitably, I didn't get as much liquid as I wanted.

    One bunch of runners decided to stop moving and form a three-person wide barrier at the end of one of the drinks table.  I crashed into one of them.  I said "What the f*** dude? Keep moving at least".

    Next time I will wear my Camelbak and fill it with my super go-go juice.  I will still walk through the drink stops, but give the tables a wide birth.
  • Tweak the training
    I'm going to do a lot more hill work to build up muscles in my legs.  Previously, I would find a long hill with a gentle slope and just grind my way up.  Now I plan to go as hard as I can up a hill for 5 minutes or so, then a gentle meander back to start before blasting my way up again.

    I also plan to do a lot more work on the local running track with fast-run/slow-run workouts.

    Wouldn't hurt to lose some more weight as well.  I've lost about 8.5 kg this year.  Another 8 or so kg would be good.
I was happy with the 2:06:11. That's the fastest I've ever run.  The sub 2-hour is out there, dangling like a carrot, and I am determined to get it.

Note: I could have shaved another 30 seconds off if I hadn't stop to kiss my beautiful wife Megin and Baby N along the way.  Even if it had meant that I would have came in at 2:00:01. it would have totally been worth it.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Tapering for the Half Marathon on Sunday

T minus four days until my half marathon!

The most important thing for me over the next four days is to not over do it.

It is safe to say that I am addicted to running and want to push myself to see what I can do.  But now is not the time to push.  Now is the time for a couple of short runs at a slow pace to preserve my legs for Sunday.

Here's hoping all the hillsloops and long runs will get me over the finish line in two hours!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Running the 10K Vancouver Sun Run

Bam.  Nailed the 10K Vancouver Sun Run in 58:29.

Very happy with the time because:

a) My first k was an abysmal 8:15 due to masses of people at the start.

b) I was forever zig-zagging around other runners/walkers.  I actually ran an extra 400 meters due to dodging people.

c) I wasn't at all beat up at the end.  I had plenty more left in me.

If I can maintain that pace for my upcoming half-marathon, then I can beat my goal of a sub 2 hour time. *fingers crossed*

The event itself was lotsa fun.  Plenty of characters, bands, and cheering support were throughout the course.

The only downside was the sheer size of the event.  47,000 people ran!  I didn't start running myself until about one hour after the starting gun.

Megin and Alex Mehaffey (who is visiting from the England) also ran the course.

All in all, a great day.  Looking forward to running it again next year.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Running the Birch Bay 15K

In the hotel, just before the race

Better.  Much much better than the disaster that was the 10K Chilly Chase.

The bottom line was I did the 15K course in 1 hour and 36 mins.

While this was a little slower than the 1 hour 30 I had initially set myself, I felt I still had a lot in the tank and could have pushed it harder and made up the 6 minutes.

This bodes well for running a sub 2 hour half marathon come May 5th.

I learned that the half marathon will have Pace Bunnies.  These racers will wear rabbit ears and have signs on them like "2 hour half marathon pace".  The plan is to stick with the bunnies and not let them out of my sight come hell or high water.

My tactic for this race was to run behind runners who looked fitter than me and try to keep pace with them.

I initially stuck behind a group of three runners who were running at a decent clip. They decided to take a walking break after about 7 km, so I had to zip around them. A runner from my running group overtook me, so I locked into her pace and ran the last 8 km or so with her.  High fives ensued when we crossed the finishing line.

Best thing about the race:  Watching a bald eagle take off from the coast and fly just over top of me.  Neat.

Worst thing about the race: A big stupid man in his big stupid truck towing his big stupid trailer barging his way past all the runners moments before the race.  Why he couldn't have waited 5 minutes is beyond me.

Worst still, the big stupid man in his big stupid truck towing his big stupid trailer pulled right out in front of me with about 1 km to go in the race.  I had to slow down to a walking pace for fear of running into his big stupid truck.

What a selfish prick.

Despite the idiot, I had a great race and feel really good with my pace.  Roll on the Vancouver Half Marathon!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Dehydration Blues

Hydration on the run.
After my half marathon training run, I crashed.

Nausea and lethargy consumed me. I think it is because I got dehydrated.

Even now, more the 24 hours after I finished, I feel like crap.  Even my skin feels dry.

I consumed about 750 ml on my 2-and-a-half hour run. Various sites I've checked out say that should have been more like 2,000 ml.

I usually wear a waist pack with little bottles that come on and off.  I can carry about 500 ml of water with the these. Not nearly enough.

Time to switch to a 2 liter Camelbak methinks.

It will mean carrying an additional 2kg on my back, but considering I've lost 6.3 kg since January, it's no biggie.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Half Marathon in the books

In my training today I went in excess (just!) of a half-marathon.

Seems a little odd I know. To be training more than your target distance.

It felt really good out there. The time wasn't anything to write home about (2 hours 37 mins).

Most of the running was on gravel, so I am sure the time will get much better on the long flat roads in Vancouver.

Onward and upward! 

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Moving on up

A portion of the hill I ran
I like running up hill better than down hill.

There I said it. I hope that doesn't make some sort of weird masochist.

I think going downhill is a less controlled experience.  Your foot sometimes slips a little, you're forever bracing yourself to prevent going too fast and toppling over, and the constant pounding of your feet all add up to a less than pleasing run.

Going uphill is fantastic though.  I love just locking into a rhythm and powering my up the hill.

I recently did a 10km run over one of the big hills around my house and thoroughly enjoyed it despite the heavy rain.  There was about a 200 meter gain.

I plan to do this run once a week. It really builds up the leg muscles and helps with stamina.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Cranking out the mileage in Vancouver

My running shoes of choice
This Sunday, the running group and I went for a gentle 19-odd-km lope around Vancouver.

I have itching to get out and do some serious after a week of foot icing and it felt great!

The course we followed was an approximation of the half-marathon course that we will all be running on May 5th.

19km is getting seriously close to the 21.2 km half-marathon.  While my legs were no doubt tired trudging up Cambie Drive as I approached the end of the run, I am sure I had an additional 2km in them.

So now it is not a question of finishing, but a question of how fast I can finish.  A sub 2-hour time is still in my sights, but I worry that all this time off is going to put me behind.  

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Out for another week and ice foot baths

As cold and unpleasant as it looks
My 16 odd km run felt good.  The subsequent 5km run, not so good.

My foot flared up again and I had to hobbled home.  Meh.

It was time to stop stuffing around with with my foot, so I went to see a physio.

He beat up my foot for half an hour or so then suggested I don't run for a week and immerse my troublesome foot in an ice bath three times a day.

Yes, an ice foot bath is as unpleasant as it sounds.

Hopefully I'll come back stronger and better from this.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

15.75 km in the bank

These shoes were made for running
Woot.  15.75 km in the bank.

It felt great to get those sorta kilometres under my belt.

The run meandered around the suburbs of Coquitlam and wasn't setting any pace records.

The leader of my group (unknowingly?) pushed the pace a little towards the end of the run.  I had to dig deep but managed to keep up.

I was a little nauseous at the end of the run.  Might need to re-examine my fuelling strategies. Better to sort this out now rather than during the 1/2 marathon.  

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Getting back in the stride

My feet are feeling good and I am slowly getting back into the groove of running.

I started with a gentle 2.5 km lope around the block, then bumped into up to a 5.4 km run.  It all felt good.

So good in fact, that I rejoined my 1/2 marathon training group.

We jogged out to a flat road mostly devoid of traffic and ran back and forth between 200, 400, 600 and 800 meter markers.  The first time to a marker was at a moderate pace and then flat out on the way back.

On the final leg I decided to keep pace with some older ladies who were much fitter than me.  They chatted nicely at the end.  I gasped for air and had flashbacks to childhood memories...

It was then a gentle jog to get back home.  Well, that's what I thought.  Turns out I should have ran back to when I had parked the car... Oh well.  Another kilometre or so on the end of a ten km run isn't much.

Tomorrow morning it's a long 15km run with the running group.  Wish me luck

Monday, February 18, 2013

First tentative steps back

After my disastrous 10 km Chilly Chase Run, I am taking my first tentative steps back to running.

My right foot is 100%, but there is still a little tightness and swelling in the Achilles' tendon of my left foot.

To test things out, I took a short 2.5 km leisurely jog around the block.

It went well enough. The tendon is a little sore. I iced it for a while bad it seems okay.

Wish me luck as I try to increase my mileage!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Would rather be running

My right foot is almost 100%. My left foot is still stiff and is causing me to limp.

I'm targeting next Sunday to start running again. Lotsa time in the gym before then.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Disastrous Chilly Chase Run

Optimism abounds
at the start
Worst.  Run.  Ever.

There is no other way to describe my Chilly Chase Run.

The Chilly Chase goes around False Lake.  I have ran around False Creek many many times. This one was by far the worse.

The first 5km went okay.  They I turned the corner, walked for a bit to down a gel and grab some water and bam!, my right foot seized up noticeably.  It was a little sore before the event from a previous mishap, but not too bad.

I hobbled along and try to run again.  Limping noticeably my right foot started to go with noticeable tightness in my left achilles tendon.   So now both feet were messed up.

Just to make my day of misery even worse, a 9 year old girl cruised right pass me.

My breezy 5.30 per km pace slipped all the way to 7:38 by the time I hit the end.

I have previously done the course in 58:57.  This time an abominable 66:45.

And then, just so life could pick me and slap me around and make me feel like a complete idiot, my nipples bled.  Yep, that curse of male runners struck me.  I have ran much further and faster with no problems, but not today.  It was humble pie day.

Lately I've started to feel like a runner. Like someone who can run far and fast.  I started to feel great about running.  The Chilly Chase has slapped me back.

I love running.   I want to run and run and run.  But I can't for the next two weeks or so; both of my feet feel terrible.  I'll be hitting the gym in lieu of running.

So, what is to be learned from this?

  • Don't run until your niggles are 100% gone.

  • Don't change anything for race day
    I usually wear a water belt and keep myself well hydrated during the run.  I didn't this time because I was told there would be water stops.  There were, but just piddly little cups with water. Not nearly enough to keep me hydrated.

  • I can run with pain.
    Hopefully this might come in handy in the last 500 meters of the upcoming half-marathon.

  • Invest in nipple protection.
    Ugh.  So embarrassing   
This has been a big slap down for me.  Soon, I will rise again and look back at the Chilly Chase and laugh as I cruise through the finishing gate at the Vancouver Half Marathon in less than two hours.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Buck Toothed Monster Runs

Does anyone else think that my hill run looks like a buck-toothed monster?

Maybe this is the start of a new form of art.  I promise to paint the Mona Lisa on my next run.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Pacing Runs

Every Monday I get out and run at my target pace of 5:45 min per km.

The idea is to build up the distance until I can maintain that pace for the full 21 km,

Today was a successful churning out of 4 miles at my target pace. Woot!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Yoga and Core Workouts

I want to run fast.  To get fast though, I need to do more than run.

I figure a good core and flexibility are key.  With that in mind, I do a core workout and a bunch of sun salutations five times a week.

Here's what they look like

Core Workout

Sun Salutations

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Nothing like an 11km run with hill workouts to test your dodgy foot

Two Thumbs Up
Today is my running groups hill workout day.  Today is also the day where I test out my dodgy foot.

We did a 3km warm-up, followed by 6km of going  up and down hills, followed by a 2km cool down.

Check out the run here.

Happy to report that the foot came through fine and I am merely just a little sore.

Woot!  Feel confident to start churning out the miles again

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Elliptical blasting.

Another 45 minutes blasted on the elliptical trainer.

Would rather be running.

Monday, January 14, 2013

What a 45 minute blast on the elliptical machine looks like

Given that I can't run for about a week, I went to the gym for 45 minutes of hard yakka on elliptical machine.  This is what I look like after.

So Pretty

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Upcoming Races

As I remain hobbled under Thursday, I thought it would good to look at the upcoming races I have planned.

I might add some more in February and March.

Chilly Chase - 10 K - January 27th
I ran this course recently in 58:37.  Anything under that time I'll be happy with.

Birch Bay Road Race - 15K - April 6th
This'll be a critical run for me.  It'll mark a key milestone and will check whether I can hack the pace over longer distances

Vancouver Sun Run - 10 K - April 21st
This'll just be fun run.  This'll be just a couple of weeks before the 1/2 marathon.  It'll be interesting to see how quick I can do 10km by then, but that's about it.

Vancouver 1/2 Marathon - 21.1 K - May 5th
This is the big one for me.  Everything I am working towards is to get in this 1/2 marathon in under two hours.  I think I am on track, just gotta put the miles in.

Vineyard 1/2 Marathon - 21.1 K - May 11th
This is a 6 days after the Vancouver 1/2, and a mere 11,333 km away in New Zealand.  I won't be taken this one so seriously.  Just finishing will make me happy.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Ye Old Tendinitis

Just after a very satisfying 10km run, I've been struck down with tendinitis in my right foot.

It was a little sore after the run, but really flared up the next day.  I walk with a noticeable limp and it hurts when I bend my big toe.  Not good.

Icing and rest helps a lot.

I'm sure it'll get better.  But for right now, I can't run and that sucks.

I think I might have a serious running addiction.  

Friday, January 11, 2013

My Faster 10km to date

Today I hit my fastest ever 10km: 58:25.

Very happy with that.

That was an average of 5:51 mins per km, which is just a little under my target 1/2 marathon pace.

To put this in perspective, consider the following:

(5:51 mins per km, is about 9:20 mins per mile)

Millions of people, from schoolchildren to overweight joggers, can run a mile in nine minutes and 20 seconds, and doubtless hundreds of thousands can hold that pace for a half-hour or more. Extend the range to the marathon, and the numbers shrink, but still, 26.2 miles at a 9:20 pace is hardly remarkable, something that many thousands of people can do. Double the marathon, though, then double it again. Add steep climbs over rocky paths. The numbers shrink. Turn up the heat, and plunge the course into frigid darkness. Now there are few nine-and-a-half-minute milers left . Add shrieking headwinds, and dusty canyons and icy rivers and exposed mountain ridges and what you have is the Western States Endurance Run, a 100-miler that has 41,000 feet of ups and downs, and scores of men and women facing not just thirst, and hunger and fatigue and unforgiving terrain, but each other, and more daunting, themselves. At the end of the race, you're left with exactly one human being who can sustain a 9:20 pace. Scott Jurek. 

- Runner's World (The King of Pain - April 2010)

Scott Jurek = God

Monday, January 7, 2013

Hitting the Marks

Every Monday I plan to run at my 1/2 marathon pace.

The idea is to keep on adding on kilometres until you are comfortable at running for long distances at your target pace.

Toady I ran for 5 km at my target pace and smoked it!  I also set a new personal best of 27:24 for 5km.

In other news, I am 4.8 pounds lighter than I was last week!

All is well in the world!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Setting sites on the Vancouver Half Marathon

Today saw the start of my training proper for the Vancouver Half Marathon on May 5th, follow by a half marathon around vineyards in New Zealand on May 11th.

I have clocked plenty of kilometres (635 km!) over the past nine months or so.  For a long time I had a goal of running 5 km in under 30 mins, now I can do it in 28:28 .  So I think I could run a half-marathon today if I wanted.

But running a half marathon is not enough.  A lifetime ago I ran one in a pace that was so painfully slow that I was too embarrassed to even memorize the time.

This time I am plan to run it in under 2 hours.  That's a faster pace than 5km in 30 mins!

I have joined a running clinic at my local running shop.  Hopefully with their expert advice and fellow participants I can hit that 2 hour mark.

We had a our first training run today.  I joined the next-to-slowest group and we ran 7.6 km in a very slow 7:34  per km pace (my goal is a 5:48 mins per km).

Sunday runs are meant to be slow, so I am not too worried about it.

I've also joined this weight loss challenge.  Last month I lost 7 pounds, so I should be able to compete!

I start the challenge at 226.4 pounds (102.7 kg).

I plan to keep this blog regularly updated with how i progress on these challenges.  Wish me luck!