Sunday, August 30, 2009

Toronto, including a 30k race

We wrapped up our week in Toronto with all the things I would have expected - visiting with family members (including new nephew Connor), a trip to the CN Tower, a Blue Jays game, the Hockey Hall of Fame, the Ontario Science Centre, Ontario Place and Niagara Falls. Of course no trip on Air Canada would be complete without a lost bag of luggage. It made it to us today, a day and a half later.

I also completed my first 30k race while there - a Midsummer Night's Run. Entering the race I thought I wouldn't really race it, but I wouldn't treat it as an easy run either. My goal was to maintain 9 minute miles through the race, which would see me finishing at around 2 hours and 45 minutes. As it turned out, I finished in 2:44:35, or a pace of about 8:53. My pace was very consistent throughout, feeling very easy at the start, and not so easy for the last few miles. I finished the first 10k in 54:33, and the half in 1:56:09. The course was quite flat (map below) and although the run started at 5:30 PM, it wasn't very hot.

Faith Ann and my brother-in-law Brian both ran the 15k version of the race. Faith Ann was happy with her race, finishing just a hair over 1.5 hours, while Brian ran a very speedy 1:06, finishing 24th out of over 800 runners, and 19th out of 253 male runners.

A few observations from the race ... There were many run/walk people in the race. When we hit the 10 minute mark, I was very surprised at the number of people who pulled to the right and began walking. The other thing I noticed was how almost everyone referred to their pace and speed in kilometers, rather than miles. I guess this shouldn't be a surprise, given that we are in Canada, but locally I find runners are evenly split when it comes to using the metric or imperial measurements. Although I have no evidence to support it, I think both the run/walk and kilometer trends are largely a result of the popularity of the Running Room running clinics, which push both of these. Oh yeah ... one more thing - I noticed a few blind runners going along with other sighted runners. I thought that was cool, and something I hadn't seen before.

There was a Shakespearean theme to the race, with several folks donning fairy wings and glitter. One woman with wings and glitter doing the run/walk thing must have passed me (and then I passed her) at least fifteen times. Here are a couple pictures of the start below - one shows a guy with wings, the other shows me in the background a bit, in the dark t-shirt.

Finally, here's a nice picture of Faith Ann and Cameron after her race.

As for my other running, I'm still sticking to the plan, ending this week at my peak weekly mileage - 55 miles. I did my second twenty mile run today. With the race last weekend, and 14 of 18 miles next weekend at marathon pace, I chose to intentionally keep the run today at an easy pace. It ended up at a 9:38 min/mile pace (6 mins/km!). The first 13 miles or so floated by and the heart rate was very reasonable. The remaining seven miles felt a bit tougher, and the heart rate gradually kept creeping up. Overall, it was an ok run.

I've got a few races planned for next month, and I plan to run those as races. I finished August with 222.7 miles logged, including three weeks of over 50 miles. Just a few more weeks until the taper, and things are looking fine!

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