Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Been Lazy... At least with the Blog!

Sorry I have been delinquent in posting. Ran the NOTL Marathon last month and made a mess of it. Absolutely dismal nutrition landed me in a death march at mile 21 or so until I could force enough corn chips into my gut to run it in the last mile. Still a PR by 5 minutes at 4:51 and change, but I was on pace for about a 4:15 on a super hot day.

So what went wrong? Not enough calories basically. The old adage "race how you train" got thrown out the window. I was hydrating nicely with my Nuun tabs and water the whole way, and was taking a gel per hour or so. Where I dropped the ball is that I was not taking any sports drink at the aid stations. Therefore I figure I was only getting 100 calories per hour from the gels and not topping up with sports drink. Dumb ass.

Oh well, live and learn I suppose. Why is it that common sense and a plan gets thrown out the window on race day? I shall vow never to be so stupid again. I am quite happy with my nutrition and hydration these days on long runs, so I WILL carry this over into my next race!

Speaking of that, I am planning the Run for the Toad 50k Ultra in October. Since I can't seem to properly run a marathon, I thought why not tackle 50k? Makes sense, right?

Sunday, May 30, 2010


The long run went ok. It was pretty warm out and by the time I hit the road it was late in the morning, so the majority of the run was in the early afternoon hours. No clouds, so it was tough for a guy like me that prefers colder temperatures.

I ended up doing a little under 21 miles in just under 3.5 hours. Pace was 10:10 per mile, so right about where I probably should be on a long run.

I have decided to do the Niagara-on-the-Lake marathon on June 19th and see how it goes. I will do one more long run on a cool morning and stretch it out to 22-23 miles next week and then take it easy for the last 10-14 days before the marathon.

This race is small and features a 50k ultra as well. All races are run on a bike path adjacent to the Niagara Parkway on an out and back course starting in NOTL. Should be fun, and after running the Around the Bay in March it will be nice to hit a race with under 400 entrants instead of 8000!

As for my hydration and nutrition on the long run, I would say it was improved. I started to get a little tight in my hamstrings towards the end, but I think the electrolyte tablets did help, especially since it was MUCH hotter than my previous long runs where I was bonking bad at 20 miles. Feeling optimistic and hoping to make a few more improvements next week when I go a little further.

Until then, I will get in some hills on the trails, a track workout, tempo work and a swim before trying it all over again.

Friday, May 28, 2010

No Posts = No News

Since the race in March I dove in headfirst with training for a spring marathon. Kept up my mileage and was feeling ok until about a month before the proposed marathon in mid-May.

My long runs were suffering, I felt like garbage, and I decided to take a month to rest up a little. It is clear to me that I was a little over-trained and cutting my mileage down to about 20 miles a week seems to have helped. I also started swimming once a week, so right now I am running 5 days per week along with a 2000m swim.

I set my sights on another marathon in the local area on June 19th. I haven't done a long run in about a month and as I am typing this I am getting ready to head out and try and do about 19-22 miles. I have no idea what to expect, this could go well or it could be a disaster.

I am hoping it goes ok, and I can get in another 24 miler next week and then start cutting back for the taper. Not much of a taper since I haven't been running long much, but this is the plan for now.

One other thing I noticed on my long runs last month - Salt, or the lack thereof. I sweat like a pig and I never really did much in the way of electrolyte replacement other than a bit of gatorade during long runs. I have picked up some electrolyte tablets and am going to do this long run today experimenting with them.

I really am starting to think that my "bonking" in the past has been me running out of salt and not being able to process my fluids past mile 18-20. Today though, it is very warm, but I feel good about having my tablets, lots of hydration, and plenty of goo's to properly fuel me through this run.

Well, time to hit the road, this is the deciding factor for the June 19th marathon - I hope this goes ok...

Monday, March 29, 2010

30k Quick Race Report

Yesterday was the Around the Bay 30k Road Race in Hamilton, Ontario. The weather ended up being quite good and the rain held off for the 9:30 start. It was overcast and about 4 degrees Celsius, and by the end of the race, it had warmed to about 9 and a few sprinkles had started to fall.

My goal for this race was under 3 hours, and a 2:50-ish time would have been great.

The first 2/3's of the race are flat and fast, but the final 10k enters the Northshore section of Burlington and is very hilly. My training has focused on stairs and hills, so I was trying to maintain an even pace. I was running at about 5:35/km pace for the first 20k, and really pushed in the hills to maintain this. I managed to keep enough legs to really bomb the downhills and focus on being in good form for the uphills.

Needless to say, I only started to feel tired at about the 28k mark, and at that point I was past the last of the hills and was in the home stretch into Copps Colesium for the big finish.

I knew I was going well, but was very happy when I passed the finish in a chip time of 2:47:54!

It was a great day and I really benefited from my running group pushing me over the past few months, so I am looking forward to continuing training with them in the next little while.

What is next? Probably a May marathon - stay tuned!

Friday, March 5, 2010


Off to Mexico!

The past couple weeks have been again, super busy. Between work and family commitments, the blog has suffered!

A few highlights though - A great 20k trail run in Kelowna which was a ton of fun. Tonight I broke 50 minutes in a 10k run, I actually finished in 48:50 and I am really pleased!

I need to focus on my long runs and being in Mexico in the heat will make that difficult. However, I hope that at least once in the week I am away I will go over 15 miles nice and slow. I am going to get up early and run most days, so hopefully I can beat the sun a little.

Training is more or less on track for the 30k race on March 28th. I have missed a few sessions with the running group but have really focused on speed work and hills this past week to try and make up. Hence the need to get in some good distance runs in the next 2 weeks prior to tapering!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


Well, it has been pretty busy the past week or so. My training has suffered quite a bit, but I did get in a fantastic 14 miler that kind of surprised me.

I went out on a super-hilly course with the final 2 miles a daunting uphill, and managed to finish it in 2:11. The rest of the course was downhill and the start, and then smaller hills in between, so it was a nice combination of a long run and a hill workout. This is very similiar to the 30k race next month, and part of my route was on the actual course.

No doubt in my mind that I can go under 2 hours in a half marathon now quite easily, as I went out pretty slow but when I saw I was maintaining a good pace, I tried to keep it up.

So, training has not been as steady as I would have liked, but perhaps the downtime helped me recover a little to get in some decent efforts.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Bad Day...

Finally something not related to how cold it is outside.

My Grandfather died today and within minutes of learning this I needed to to go for a run - I really needed to go for a run. As I started out I was talking to my wonderful wife on my iPhone and she reminded me that running has become my release. It officially is now something that I really think I need in my life.

I have been staring at the screen for the past 5 minutes and I never would have thought that running would help me feel better today, but it did.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Busy Week

Well, it has been a busy week both work-wise as well as training. Last Friday I was able to get in my long run out in Edmonton, Alberta during a snow shower and on slippery roads. The elevation out there is a little higher than I am used to as well, so my 13.1 miles was a slow 2:06, but overall I was rather pleased. The hotel we stay at is near the airport and to get to a decent running trail it is 3 miles through an industrial park with no sidewalks and deep snow and ice. Still, the run felt decent and I was glad I could get it in as the next few days were super busy at work.

Saturday I was in Cancun for the day and it was MUCH too hot for a run. 30C and no clouds at all, so I decided to get in 4 miles on the treadmill upon my return to Edmonton on Sunday.

Monday night I headed down to the Runner's Den to get in a workout and try to keep my attendance up with the clinic. Mat sent me out for a 10k tempo/fartlek which I completed in 51 minutes and change on an icy, hilly course. Believe it or not, I believe that was my fastest 10k yet and I am positive I can break 50 minutes now on a fairly flat course in good weather.

Last night was another run with the group doing a little over 5 miles easy. I didn't feel that great and it was pretty windy, but I was happy to get out.

Back for more stairs tonight, but I am going to take it easy as tomorrow night is a big speed workout and I want to be able to keep up with the pack..

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


Well, I have been away at work for the past few days and unable to run, or post. Unfortunately I missed 3 days of running, although I would have used one of those as a rest day anyways.

Saturday past I had a great long run with my running club, doing 10 miles in 1:34, which was a 9:30 pace. Pretty decent for me considering how slow my marathon pace was in October. I really feel that my proper speed workouts combined with more hills/stairs has increased my potential by a significant margin.

How about running with people MUCH better than you? I think that this has been an amazing thing for me personally. One that same Saturday long run I ran with 3 other people that are light years ahead of me in both conditioning and talent. It was great to go that far and feel like I actually belonged in that group considering 2 of them are world-class triathletes, and the other qualified for Boston in her first marathon!

Joining this running clinic and having these sorts of opportunities has kept me very motivated during some brutal training weather. If you have access to this sort of clinic or group, you really should give it a try - I am glad that I did!

So now to get back on track after some fantastic training last week. It is now Wednesday and I have 0.0 miles logged so far. To try and remedy this, I went out and did 3.1 miles really easy this morning. This is in addition to the stairs workout I have tonight at 6pm. That will get me back up to the 5 miles or so this week, and I am going to try and stretch out my next few scheduled runs to hopefully end the week in the 25-30 mile range.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Something New...

Last night was another group workout with my running club. Had a really nice run and it was great to talk while running, something I am not used to at all. I also got myself some new shoes before the run. Turns out I have been in the wrong type of shoe, and for the first time since I started running my right knee was bothering me to the point where I was starting to worry a little.

So yesterday I headed down to the Runner's Den and got properly fitted by my coach Mat. I was in a pair of Under Armour neutral shoes, when it turns out I really need something with more support as I tend to be an over-pronator. I now have a new pair of Mizuno's and my knee is feeling better already after only 2 runs on them.

Tonight I did stairs for the first time with the running group again. There is a huge escarpment near our house and the stairs are daunting with 263 steps and a total ascent of around 200 metres or almost 650 feet. I did 4 reps up the stairs which includes a short flat run around the park at the top of around 250 yards.

A huge part of our training is based on negative splits. Everything we do is focused on being faster the second time. This is true for the stairs and I was able to come in at 4:56, 4:40, 4:32, and finally 4:06 when I really pushed on the last one. I am hoping to continue this ideology through the training, and eventually at the 30k race as well as subsequent marathons.

Tomorrow night is a tempo run on some gradual hills and the weather is looking warmer - should be fun.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Out of Town...

I have been busy at work this week. I was out of town from Wednesday through Saturday in Regina, and was unable to run outside for obvious reasons. It was -35C for the majority of my stay, so I did a 3 miler on the treadmill Wednesday, followed by a 4 mile on Saturday morning before flying home. I did take 2 days off in a row due to long workdays, but I had run 6 days consecutively prior, so it was a welcome rest.

Today I headed out at home for a long run. I did 9.3 miles too fast yet again, but it was not the greatest weather. As per usual, I picked the pace up too much and probably negated the benefits of a long run by a little. Oh well, I was freezing.

The other interesting thing that I did this week was join a running club. I have no actual experience working with a coach, and I figured that it was about time I get some formal instruction. Tuesday night was the first workout, and the program is designed for the 30k race I am doing in March. I met a lot of great new people that live close by, and I look forward to keeping motivated and having some options for people to run with. I have always ran by myself, so being able to head out for a run with somebody with similar goals should be a lot of fun.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Starting to Sound Like A Broken Record

Guess what? Cold again! It was supposed to warm up quite a bit, but it didn't. Today was about -10C with a wind chill of -17C. I look forward to being able to post without mentioning the weather, but it has been so bitter that it really messes things up.

Today was an easy 8 miler. However, I got so cold that I went perhaps a touch fast as I finished in 1:17:25 for an average pace of 9:41. I know that I really need to slow down on my longer runs, especially as I start to build into the mid-teens in the coming weeks, so that is something I will work on.

Continuing to enjoy listening to running podcasts - perhaps I will go into more detail on that on non-running days coming up.

Sunday, January 3, 2010


Same day as yesterday - Windy, a bit of snow and -12C with a wind chill of -22C. I got wrapped up and went out looking for a 4 mile pace run. My pace should be around 10 minute miles for a marathon, or about 9:45 for a 30k I figure.

As with yesterday, I sped things up a little because it was so brutal and ended up doing 4.1 miles in 38:38 for an average pace of 9:23, which was a touch fast. Average HR was 150, which is ok, but something I still hope to work on.

Saw nobody on my run and most people in cars stared at me like I was a lunatic. They are probably right. 8 miles easy tomorrow.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Here's a Resolution...

I am going to be much better with keeping track of things. Not just with running, but I am really going to work on being more organized this year. For the purposes of the blog, I am logging all my runs with RunningAhead, a website that I can automatically upload my run data to from my Garmin.

So here is today:

Date: 1/2/2010 11:43 AM
Type: Default
Distance: 5 miles
Duration: 44:54.64
Pace: 8:59 / mile
Heart Rate: Average: 157 / Max: 171
Weather: -12° C, Sunny
Statistics: VO2 Max: 34.6

Further to my contention earlier that I am going to add miles to the training program I am following, I have decided to keep things simple. Since the program is in kilometers, and most people deal with miles (me too), I am simply going to round all of my runs up to the next mile. For example, a 10k run that is 6.21 miles will become 7 miles for my training purposes. This keeps my mileage up a little, as well as keeps things simple on the blog for my neighbours to the south that use miles.

So, about today.. It was cold. And not just a little cold, but -12C with a wind chill of -21C. I was to do an 8km pace run, but it turned into a slow tempo really. I was just wanting to get it over with as it is difficult to keep your face covered with a scarf and still be able to breathe, so I sped it up a little bit.

Overall, I felt ok and did the 5 miles in just under 45 minutes for a pace of 8:59. This is quicker than my marathon pace by quite a bit, but maybe a little slower than my usual tempo runs. I would like to think that I have gotten a bit faster since my marathon in October, so my numbers seem to constantly be changing.

One thing I do not really like is my heart rate. Average of 157 and a max of 171 as I finished coming up the hill towards the house. This is too high, I need to work on this.

Overall, a good run in bad conditions, so I am happy. Tomorrow is looking even worse for weather, so I may change things up a little. I am supposed to go an easy 8 miles tomorrow and on Monday do a 4 mile pace. I think I will switch these around and go 4 tomorrow and do the 8 miler on Monday when it is supposed to be 6 degrees warmer.

Friday, January 1, 2010

What I Do While I Run

Everyone does something different while they run. Music, books, deep thought - I have tried them all. But my latest favourite is podcasts! About 2 months ago I got an iPhone and since then I have been listening to running podcasts almost exclusively while I run.

I have been enjoying them so much that those that are listed on the right side are completely responsible for me even doing a blog in the first place. I sometimes even toy with the idea of a podcast myself, but I do hate the sound of my own voice on tape...

Anyways, this is nothing more than a quick thank you to everyone who takes the time to do their podcast and keep me motivated while I am running. Check out the links and I am sure that you will find some great listening!

Out With The Old ...

So, it is 2010. Looking back, 2009 was a great year for me, and running was a big part of it. It was last April that a friend of mine that runs marathons convinced me to give it a go. I haven't looked back, and my trusty Garmin 305 shows that I logged 980 miles in 2009, almost all of it from April on.

So, moving forward in 2010, I am going to shoot for 1500 miles, the 30k "Around the Bay", and probably two additional marathons.

I am looking closely at the Outer Banks marathon next November - it looks amazing, and it can be tied in with a trip to Myrtle Beach where our family has a vacation condo.

I am also very interested in some sort of trail run, and my other marathon of 2010 very well may be something of this sort. However, I have lots of research to do to figure out what event could fit the bill.

The only other thing I intend to do this year is compete in races more. It is easy to fit in some 10k events here and there while training, and I hope that this can help me out in marathons. My first marathon could have gone a little smoother if I was used to the process - I found that my heart rate was through the roof even before starting, and this eventually led me to hit the wall around mile 22. I think that running more organized races will allow me to be more focused and controlled at the start which will allow me to keep a lower average heart rate.

So that is what I am looked forward to in 2010. I also hope to get my marathon times down to the 4:00 - 4:20 range which I think is a realistic goal.