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Sunday, November 14, 2010

Race Recap: 2010 AO Ontario Cross Country Championships

 Well, it is all said and done. What a day this has been. Some big UPs, some big DOWNs. Here's my quick rundown.

Two weeks ago I blogged about a 5km race I did on Halloween and how I destroyed my goal time of 20 minutes and cranked out an 18 minute 5km race.  Wow, just wow. That left me on cloud 9 and to think that I am barely out of reach with my former running self was just mindblowing. I've been running with a new found confidence.

So today was my final test of the season with the Ontario Provincial XC Championships in Guelph Ontario.  The senior Men's field had a record number of entrants, with 47 runners. The weather, though not the balmy 16C we had yesterday, was still amazingly dry, warm and calm considering the date.

I'd spent the week relaxing, tapering off and getting my legs rested for once. I'd only done 32km in the 6 days leading up to this race, so I was feeling physically fit.  Though the time change had been messing with me this week I took full advantage of it all and have been getting 9+ hours of sleep a night. I was feeling confident that would help me in the long run. Pun intended.

Getting to the race was eventful as we found ourselves in a mild fender bender, but after a report with the OPP we were on our way and made it to the course with 75 minutes to spare. Thankfully none of us were physically harmed.

After a nice warm up, a quick change into race gear and laced up xc spikes, I was ready to toe the line for some strides and dynamic warmup.  At this point, the wind decided to pick and we realized we'd be racing off into the wind for a solid 400m right off the bat. Not something I wanted to do, but since I'd likely be at the back of the pack, I figured I'd be safe.

I was set to run with a teammate of mine who'd been training with the Windsor XC team over the season and we were hoping to stick together through the first 5km in 18:30.  As we were told we had 5 minutes before the start, he realized he had left his bib number at the tent. This coming from the guy who organized our team's numbers and managed to hand us all ours. D'oh! He sprinted to the tent, grabbed it, attached it with 2 pins and BANG, we were off. Dang, that was close.

We ran off into the wind and the pack picked up quickly and stayed rather bunched. We trailed near the end of the pack, and I realized that even though I was aiming for a 38:XX 10km race today, I'd likely end up being one of the last few stragglers left on the course. Sigh.

We cranked through the first km and I felt great. The course was hard, fast and very flat. I was able to maintain a good groove and by the 4km mark I had started to pull away from my teammate Ben Procter.  The midsection of the course was a little challenging as I was alone, it was the midsection (5-8km) and the wind was wicked for about 600-800m at the end of each loop (we did 4).

I came across the finish line in 35:25, not believing what I was seeing on my watch.  I had looked at my 5km split and it was just below 19 minutes, I think at 18:50.  So to see 35:25 on my watch after I crossed the finish line, I just couldn't believe. A quick chat with a few of my London Runner teammates as I walked down the chute reinforced my fear: the course was short. SHORT? SHORT?!?!?!?!?! I came down here to run a 10km race and get a time for a 10km race.

My Nike+ read 9.3km and my heart sank. Was I really that far off? Then I remembered that the faster I ran with the Nike+ sensor, the more the distance would be off, and it would be less than the actual run distance.  So I started thinking at the course and wondering, but I knew I had to come home to actually crunch some numbers.  A few things I had to figure out:
  1. Just how long did I actually run?
  2. And how short was the race, if it were short at all?
And so I present to you my lovely calculation sheet in which I find out exactly how fast I ran 10km today.  It turns out that I ran 10km in 36:31!!!!!!  WOWZA. Again, I blew my goal out of the water and obliterated it. I was aiming for 38:XX and it looks that after my 18:02 5km road race, I still had some left in the tank and nearly didn't lose any ground, pace-wise!

So, you may wonder what the heck I did on this sheet. Well, in short, I referenced an old workout of ours which was a 1km hard tempo loop we did at Weldon Park. I know the loop is nearly exactly 1km, but when we did it, my nike+ registered 0.87km. This is due to the fact that the nike+ sucks when you deviate from the calibration pace you set.

So, with that in mind I decided to find a best, worst and average case scenario for that loop on my nike plus, settling on 0.96 km as the distance the nike+ sensor would read at a pace of 3:45/km over a 1 km distance.

Armed with this I was able to calculate exactly what the course distance was, which in the end was 9.69km.  That means I had 0.31km left to run if I had actually wanted to run a full 10km. Armed with my overall time and distance, I was able to calculate my average pace (219s/km) and tack on 0.31km at this pace for a GRAND TOTAL OF 36:31 for 10km!

Wow, that was long winded. In short? If you ran the 2010 AO Ontario Cross Country Championships this would be your final time over 10km:

Overall Time (s) + (0.31 X (Overall Time (s) / 9.69)) = FINAL TIME OVER 10KM

And so there you have it. I have just run a 10km in 36:31, finished nearly dead last, had an amazing race, walked away with 3 massive blisters (first time in spike since '03) and mowed down a massive burger at Relish in Wortley Village. I don't think today could ever get any better. Time for a bath, maybe some brandy?

Race/Event Website:

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Running Log: Week November 1-7 2010

This week, as per usual, flew by. I had a busy week at work, had fun photgraphing a few new subjects for some fantastic clients and logged 4 runs. My knees are starting to bother me more lately, so I'm glad my season has only 1 week left and then I get to rest!  As for this week, I ran 56km (I was scheduled to run 55km) and put in two hard speed workouts.  My legs haven't been forced to move that fast in years, so it was quite the shock.  Here's my breakdown:

Monday: Off Day
Tuesday: 12km Easy Run (4:27/km)
Wednesday: Wortley Village Workout
 - 5km warm up, 1.5km pick up
 - 4x100m strides
- 8x 600m repeats, with 90 seconds rest. 2:01, 1:57, 1:54, 1:53, 1:55, 1:55, 1:55, 1:55
 - 4x100m strides
- 4km cool down
Thursday: Off Day
Friday: 13km Easy Run (4:37/km)
Saturday: Off Day
Sunday: Solo Workout
 - 3.5km warm up
- 8 x 1km repeats, 90 seconds rest. 3:45, 3:44, 3:42, 3:46, 3:40, 3:42, 3:44, 3:42
- 3.5km cool down

That solo workout today had to have been my hardest workout yet. I did the workout alone, and spent some time last night puking up far too much beer. I definitely was out to sabotage myself, but miraculously I managed to pull through at my goal race pace for this upcoming weekend.  Now to string 10 of those 1km repeats together. :D

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Challenges are scary!

Well, I'm into the final two weeks of my xc season, with only a few final speed workouts and a 10km race at OAs in Guelph, and nerves are starting to build. I've had a great season and I've progressed leaps and bounds over the last 4 months.

My racing started in August with a 43:20 (4:23/km) 10km road race in Ingersoll, and September saw me crank out a 7.5km in 29:55 (4:00/km) and last week's 5km road race in 18:02 (3:36/km) has me in high spirits for my upcoming 10km.

The final few steps toward that race involve reduce mileage weeks, but before I can crank out a blazing fast 10km I have to get through a key workout this weekend. On my own. This has me scared.

If I nail the workout, I know I'll be able to crank out that pace for the 10km race. If I don't, I get to face the hard truth that I can't, and I'll have to adjust accordingly.

Wish me luck, I'll be pumping out 8x1km repeats tomorrow, hopefully it all stays together as I wind down next week.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Bye Bye October!

What happened? It seemed like just yesterday we were looking forward to a thanksgiving trip up North and now I'm cursing the sub zero temperature we had on our way to work this morning. Time flies by faster and faster.

So what went down this month in my world of running? Let's recap to find out:

  • I ran 280km. This is by far my heaviest running load I have done in years and I would say it likely rivals my mileage back in 2001 as I came into the XC program at Western. The size of this stat hasn't really hit home yet. I still picture myself as a 28 year old over-the-hump road runner, but after the result from my most recent road race, I think the hard work is paying off.
  • I raced two races in October! After one race in August, one in September, October saw me knock off 8.5km in Sudbury over Thanksgiving weekend and 5km on Halloween. The first race was the most ridiculous course I have ever run and refuse to ever step foot on again. The second race was my best result in nearly 10 years. Win some, lose some...
  • I dipped my calves into frigid waters twice!  Once in Sudbury in the Conservation area, the other in Arkona at the foot of the Rock Glen falls.  Loved it!
  • I neglected my physio exercises and seem to have fallen off my stretching routines. I think I'm getting too excited about the actual running, but I need to put an end to that! My knees are in a little bit of pain, and I fear it's due to 1) my mileage increase and 2) my laziness.
  • I rolled my ankles far too many times this month. Another reason I need to get back to strengthening exercises.
So, what will November bring me?  1 more XC race, as my teammates and I race the OTFA Provincial XC championships in Guelph. Yay, I get to run with a full team again! :D. Otherwise, It's a low mileage month, perfect for me to spend time pampering my legs. Maybe I'll start hitting the weights again.

I will leave you with my ongoing mileage progression graph:

Running Log: Week October 25-31 2010

Well, another HIGH week has come and gone. This is my first back-to-back HIGH week segment, with both weeks made to see me log 65km in each. I ran through last week and felt great, logging 70km and coming into this week with mild knee pain. I made sure to keep my legs in check during the entire week and having only put in two workouts this week, I was looking forward to knocking off another 2010 goal of mine: To finally crack 20:00 again over 5km on the road. I managed to obliterate that goal, running 18:02 over 5km. Be sure to read my race recap from yesterday!

Monday:13km Steady Run at 4:22/km
Tuesday: OFF
Wednesday: Weldon Park 800m workout
- 4km warm up
- 10min tempo
- 6 x 800m (2:57, 2:53, 2:47,2:45, 2:43, 2:41)
- 4km cool down
Thursday: OFF
Friday: Easy 13km
Saturday: Easy 12km w/ 4 strides
Sunday: Halloween Haunting 5km Road Race
- 4km warm up
- 5km race (18:02 3:36/km)
- 4km cool down


This week is a MEDIUM load week, with 60km planned. I'm going to try and keep it no more than 60km, and I want to focus on my flexibility and the slight soreness I get in my knees.  There are only 2 weeks left to the competitive season and one race for me, I want to be as healthy as can be come that day.

P.S. You may have noticed the bar graph above has switched from a green column color to a blue column color. That is because I have now crossed the 1000km mark in my nikeplus profile. Woot!
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