Monday, June 28, 2010

Smarter Than The Average Bear

This past week marked the second of the eighteen weeks of my current marathon training cycle. I hit 40 miles for the week, including an 8-mile run with strides, a 10-mile run, and a 13 mile "long run" with 8 miles at marathon pace. What's marathon pace? I'm not sure. I want to break 3:50 in the marathon, which is a pace of 8:49 minutes/mile, or 5:29 minutes/kilometer. However, for a hilly marathon, my perceived effort might be harder than that pace. I shot for an 8:30 minutes/mile pace for my marathon pace yesterday, which is probably too quick for me, especially at this early stage of my training.

My long runs are normally on Sunday mornings, but I had a golf game to play yesterday, so my long run waited until the evening. There was actually a bit of slack time in the middle of my MP miles, as three and a half miles into it I had to make a quick pit stop at home for a bathroom break. While there, Faith Ann mentioned that she had seen a "huge, huge, huge" bear in our driveway. This would have been at dusk. She quickly got her camera, but only saw the bear's butt leaving the driveway by the time she got back. She suggested to me that I might want to consider finishing the run on the treadmill. What would be worse: running the final 6 miles on a treadmill in the heat of the house, or getting chased and possibly eaten by a bear? The answer was so obvious that I immediately went back out to finish my run.

I really wasn't worried, as I figured the bear would likely be scared away if he saw me and my wonderful running technique heading towards him. Plus, can you really believe what you read in Wikipedia?

This coming week I've got two races - a 10k in Grand Bay on Thursday, and a half-marathon in Miramichi on Sunday. I'm not overly optimistic for great times, but I would like to be close to 48 minutes for the 10k, and perhaps a 1:46 or 1:47 for the half. The 10k fits into my plan for the week, as Thursday called for a tempo run, and I'm doing the 13.1 on Sunday instead of the planned 14 miles. A bit of hard work for the week, but hopefully these and more like them will pay off later in the summer/fall!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Lactate By the Sea

Today we had the 5-mile race in St Andrews. Here are the speedy runners at the start ...

... and a slightly less speedy guy at the end ...

The weather was great, it was a good turnout with some familiar faces, and the course is very nice. Mike is one of the co-directors of the race, so he wasn't running it, but was doing things like this ...
and this ...

Cam ran the 1k kids race too. He was so fast, that I missed taking photos of his finish as I was chatting away with Phil Booker! Here's Cam doing some stretching before the race - injury prevention, of course.

Here's the group of kids lined up to get their medals at the end of the race.

As for my race, check out these splits, showing my time for each of the eight kilometers, then tell me I didn't start out too fast, even if it was a downhill beginning.


I realize I still stink at running hills, as I took short walk breaks three times on the hills during the race today. I've taking to doing more of my training lately on some of the steeper/longer Fredericton hills, but I still have lots of work to do.

Here is an interesting note that shows I probably also need to work on my pacing. Compare my splits above to the splits from my tempo run of last Tuesday. The first 2k and the last 3k of that run were warm up/cool downs (sort of ... a bit of the third k was also a warm up). My time for the middle 8k was almost identical (even a few seconds faster!) than the race today. A couple of things about that tempo run: 1) while I was pushing it, I wasn't giving it a "full" effort, and 2) that run even included 2k as a warm up, so it's not like I was starting out fresh on those middle 8k. Finally, while there aren't really long steep hills around my neighborhood, it's does have stretches of hills, so it's not exactly flat. The numbers, with the tempo k's italicized ...


To wrap this post up, a note on my training, as this past week marked my first of eighteen weeks of official marathon training. I did five runs instead of the called for four, and swapped the 12 mile "long run" with today's 5 mile race. In the end, the total mileage for the week ended up being just about what the plan called for. The fun begins!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Leftover Cabot Trail pics

Not much to say this week in terms of running. After catching up on my sleep from the Cabot Trail and having visitors here this weekend, I ended up with just three runs for the week. That makes two weeks in a row where I only got in three runs, for about 25 miles/40 kilometers each of those weeks. One more week until the official 18-week marathon training plan kicks in, when I'll have to make sure I keep up my mileage.

A few remaining photos from the Cabot Trail Relay. This one is me with the female winner of the 12th leg, my speedy cousin Emily.

This second one was taken by Emily. It's a picture of me chatting with Ed Whitlock. Now at 79 years of age, the holder of several records finished 17th out of 69 runners on the 13th leg.

The remaining photos are from Jypsy Bain, of Alex Bain fame. She is the same person who captured a picture of Mike and me last year during the PEI marathon.

A photo of Phil finishing leg 2 -

Darren in the crowd of starters for leg 3 -

Connie running leg 5 -

Water stop at leg 8 (I think?) -

Water stop during leg 9, put on by the Chicks Running Clicks -

Larry in the crowd of starters for leg 15 -

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Cabot Trail Relay

My second time attending the Cabot Trail Relay was even more fun than the first time. My performance in leg six was terrible, but it didn't take away from the overall great experience. Here's my favourite picture of the weekend, with Pierre coming to the end of the "glory leg" in Baddeck, giving a high-five to a well-dressed supporter.

Unfortunately, I didn't get as many pictures this weekend as I would have liked, since I didn't dig deep enough into my travel bag to discover the camera until early Sunday morning. So, I got a few with my Blackberry Saturday, and a few on Sunday. Next year I'll try to keep my camera handy.

Speaking of next year ... I plan to do leg six again. Why that leg again? Not because I enjoyed it so much that I want to re-visit it. No, I want to run it again for redemption. It started out fine, and the first handful of the several hills were completed without much of an issue, but it didn't take long for me to realize that I need to do better hill training, especially with my fall marathon taking place on a hilly route. I also need to lose some weight.

The not-so-brief recap of the weekend follows.

Arrival Friday night: While it was fun, I spent too much time at the Caeileigh and the pub. It wasn't the type of "hydration" needed the night before my run. We had some good chats with the Chicks Running Clicks from Ontario, and the Fast as Molasses team from Saint John. In bed by 1:45 or so, then up around 7 AM the next day.

Leg #1 - Pierre was doing the bookends, running the first and last legs. I wasn't there for it, but he said afterwards that he pulled away too quickly, struggled with a stitch and tightness in a leg. Even with those issues, he still finished in respectable position, well within the top of of the field.

Leg #2 - Phil ran the first of his two legs, as he would do #11 later that night. Knowing it was the first of two, he didn't give it 100%, but put in enough of an effort to staying within sight of some women he followed throughout the race (imagine that!). I believe this is Phil's 18th Cabot Trail, and his 5:14/km pace was nothing to sneeze at.

Leg #3 - The first leg of two legs by our Nova Scotian recruit Darren, and the first leg where I saw our runner start. Darren ran leg #4 for us last year, and this year requested legs #3 and #7. His running seems to be in peak form, and he did great in both legs. Here is the picture of the runners beginning this leg, including the speedy Sheri Piers, in the traditional tutu of the Maine Road Hags all-women team. Once again this year, they broke their own record for the finishing time by a women's team.

Leg #4 - Norm asked for Smokey last year. As the saying goes "Be careful what you wish for". The wind picked up just in time for this leg, and it was also the hottest time of the day. I know Norm was hoping for a better performance, but we were all proud of him, and he left nothing behind in terms of effort. He was dead tired as he finished. Here's a picture of him as he crested the mountain, getting a drink of water.

Leg #5 - Some background is needed here. Larry, Pierre and I were in Tim Horton's waiting to order coffee, when we were approached by a gregarious woman asking if we had a free leg she could take on. Larry inquired about her master's status, and then he couldn't wipe the smile off his face as he gave her one of the two legs he planned on running. Flash forward to the leg itself, and if you found the happiest, cheeriest woman running that leg, it was our new team member Connie from Moncton. We saw her a few more times over the weekend, and her great attitude was always there. She's promised to be with us again next year, and we couldn't be happier about it.

Leg #6 - My leg. Well, what can I say? At least the scenery and weather were nice. It was 17.5 kms in length, or a little under 11 miles. It started off perfectly fine for the first couple of miles, and although it started to get tough, I was alright over the first 4.5 miles. As we approached the 10k point I was climbing a long hill, getting more and more tired even though my pace wasn't very fast, and I briefly walked a couple of times. That hill crested around the 11.5k mark, and I slowly ran most of it, to begin a good downhill stretch that lasted almost a mile, with a couple of small hills thrown into the mix. By the time I hit about 14k, the remainder of the run was pretty much all uphill, and I was toast. I probably walked for 30-45 seconds about half a dozen times, catching my breath. The tale of the tape: my pace for the first 9k was 5:23/km, and over the last 8.5k it was 6:01/km, for an overall pace of 5:38/km, or 9:03 per mile. Quite discouraging, but a good lesson in what I need for future training.

Leg #7 - The second leg from Darren. I didn't see his finish, but I hear Darren had a good race with another guy as they approached the end.

Leg #8 - Betty's traditional leg, and she did another good job with it. She then went on to watch her son win the next leg, as part of the record-breaking "Dennis Fairalls Grey Hair" team. This team, which was composed mostly of University of Windsor alumni (as well as a couple of legs from Rami Bardeesy, the top Canadian at the Boston Marathon) smashed the old finishing record by almost half an hour.

Leg #9 - The North Mountain leg. We watched Brian start this leg, but then Larry, Pierre, Norm and I headed to supper and a rest at the hotel in Cheticamp. I did talk to Brian yesterday during lunch, and he was pleased with how he did, considering that he wasn't able to train much for the last few weeks.

Legs #10 - #14 - I didn't see these legs run by Dale, Phil, Todd, Bernie and Maurice, as I was catching some sleep. Dale did a great job on the MacKenzie Mountain leg.

In Cheticamp, when I got up at 5:30 AM to head to Tim Horton's, I saw a support vehicle for Mark Campbell's team. It turns out that Mark didn't quite make it around the entire route on his own (see a story here), but he did finish the equivalent of five marathons, and his team completed the rest.

Leg #15 - I saw Gary finishing this one, and got this picture of him (see below). Gary's newphew was Bruce Hadley, and Gary is an organizer for another relay race, the Bruce Hadley Memorial, a fund raiser to put external defibrillators throughout the province. See details on that race here.

Leg #16 - Our captain Larry ran this leg. No, he's not sleeping as he's finishing. A veteran of 23 marathons and 17 years at the Cabot Trail, Larry still has the competitive fire burning, as evidenced by the finishing race he had to the end with the woman in this picture.

Leg #17 - Doing his second leg, Pierre finished in fine style. Here's a good picture of him with just meters to go until the end.

It must have been a good weekend, as it ended with many guys talking about which legs they will do next year. I can't wait to return.