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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Where Has 2011 Gone?

Well hello fellow readers! It's been ages since I've blogged, and even longer since I've blogged regularly. I don't think I'll ever return to blogging in the same manner I did through 2011, but I have to say, it was a blast and I learned so much.

So to all, happy holidays and a happy new year!

Friday, October 21, 2011

How To Tie Your Shoes

Well, ever have your shoes come untied while you're running? Here's the answer to your problem:

One Great Big Recap!

Wow, it's been over 1 month since I last updated this blog. I guess I've been too busy to make time to update my adoring fans, friends and family.

The last time we left off I had just run a 5km road race at Springbank Park, I was deep into my highest killage block EVER and I was merrily putting one foot in front of the other. So, what's happened since then? Lots:
  • I ran in an Alumni only cross country race at the Western Invitational/International. This race was less than a week after the Springbank road race, and I was looking forward to stepping on a course I had last run in 2003. Plus, I wouldn't have to do the course twice over like I used to. I ran a solid race, finished in 17:55 at what felt like an effort I could sustain for 10km on that course. I also got to chat with some old running mates, which felt absolutely great. I had always thought I had cast away that part of me, so to come back and run with the same people I ran with when it all fell apart was, well, invigorating.
  • I've been running. Lots. More than ever. Looking at my running log over the past two months, I'm averaging over 100km/wk and peaked last week at 111km. I'm finally noticing a big change in my strength.
  • I ran another cross country race. This time it was against a STACKED field of university runners. I won't spoil the story here, I'd like to do a full and proper write up. You can read my account from the same race last fall,
  • My season is wrapping up quickly. I'm into my last high killage week for the season (100km) and I've got some sort of fitness test nearly every week until Provincials in mid November. I'm also going to be pacing a fellow club mate of mine as she attempts to break the course record at the Halloween Haunting 10km road race. If all goes according to plan, I'll also be setting a PB at that distance. :D

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Pictures from the 2011 Springbank Road Races 5km

These images are courtesy of a very kind coworker of mine who happened to be at the races cheering on family members in the 5km.  I can't thank my coworker enough, it's always nice to see images of yourself while you are racing! The third image below is from Andrew Berdan, the race sanctioned photographer. Apparently I was busy looking at my watch when his team of photogs snapped a shot of me.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Race Recap: 2011 Springbank Road Races 5km

What a blur it all seems to be. One minute you're stressing out while finishing your strides, the next minute you're in the thick of the race and before you know it, you're crossing the line and scarfing down tasteless bagels just because they are in front of you.  I feel like I'm getting ahead of myself here, so let me spin this boat around and start from the beginning.

We woke at 6am sharp to eat some toast with peanut butter and sandwiches. It's always eery getting up when it's dark, this morning was no different. The weather forecast looked pristine for the morning, kicking off at 15C by 8am and hitting 19C by 11am. The weather was cooperating, it was only a matter of time before we found out if our bodies were also willing participants in this craziness.

We arrived at the race course for 7:30 to pick up our timing chips and I left Melanie alone, awaiting the start of her half-marathon debut, so that I could get my warm up and pick up before the start of the 5km at 8:30. I imagine her nerves were through the roof, and I would have loved nothing than to be there with her as the gun went off. But alas, schedules don't always align. I knew she'd be fine and set off on my warmup.

After my dynamic drills, some strides and a quick visit to the bag check I decided, with only 10 minutes left, to get in line at the port-a-potties for one last leak. 5 minutes went by and I was still  minutes away from getting to the front, so I squashed those plans and made my way to the start line of the 5km. A few high fives, some encouraging words and BANG we were off.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: Stop sprinting out of the gate people. That's all I'll say. Unless you can handle the pace, that is.

So I settled into a nice groove as the first 1.3km of the 2.5km out/back loop is downhill. The effort was very controlled and I clicked by 1km in 3:20. I was still lagging behind Luke, a clubmate with whom I had agreed to work with for the race. I caught him at about 1.5km and we worked together for about a km till he started to drop off at the 2.5km mark. My second km was about 3:25 and that included the start of the first uphill on the course. My 3rd km split was a little off as it included the rest of that uphill and a 180degree turn around (man I HATE those), and my km split was 3:31.

nothin' flat about this course folks
The last 1.5km of the course are uphill, so I knew I would be in for one heck of a battle. At this point I was well established in 4th place and knew that if I wanted to take home some prize money that I would need to catch the guy ahead of me who was a solid 10 seconds up with 1.5km to go. I started a long drive from just before the 4km marker, and my 4th km was 3:30, impressive considering its entirely uphill. The last km meant I was getting close to the end, so I picked up the pace slightly, still running slightly uphill, and I clocked a 3:20. I ended up 6 seconds out of 3rd place, and I must hand it to Rob Tranter for holding on very strongly through the latter stages of the race. He originally passed me at the 2km mark and I had to try and chase him down the rest of the race. I could never really close the gap enough.

So I finished in 17:13, 4th overall and I do believe first in my age group. That's 1 for 3 folks, as far as my goals for the race are concerned. I'm still satisfied. The effort was honest, it was controlled and the result tells me that as I start to sharpen up later in the season, I've got some fast times just waiting to be laid down.

In other AWESOME news, Melanie ran her first half-marathon ever today, and she did exceptionally well. It was her longest run to date by 4km and she pushed through the mental and physical pain of 21.1km to finish in just a hair over 2 hours and 30 minutes! I'm so proud of her!

Here's my Garmin stats:

Friday, September 9, 2011

High Killage & My Second Puberty

So I've been running more than ever before. I've crossed the magical, well at least I think it is magical, 100km/week barrier and I'm wondering what to expect.  I've had some time to think about this while running, and I kind of feel like I'm going through puberty. Again. I swear.

I mean, I'm into completely uncharted territory and I don't know what I'll be like once I come out the other end, if there is indeed another end. I suppose by this logic most new things I've attempted in the past are much like puberty, but when it comes to physiological and physical trickery, these things truly feel like puberty. I used to lift weights, but the outcome from that is pretty standard: muscle mass. This time I'm working hard at refining what is inside of me, and until I deliver results, I have no idea just what I'm doing.

I will say the following however, as I can tell some things have changed:
  • I can essentially eat nearly anything I want above my standard healthy eating. 20 beers in one week? Sure. Mounds of fudge oatmeal bars? Why not! Copious amounts of pulled pork? Bring it on. I managed to eat enough for a small family last week and put on, gasp, one whole pound of body weight. And already it's coming right off.
  • My long runs, though a few kills shorter than last month, have become immensely easier. I used to average 4:50 to 5:00 per km for distances ranging from 15km to 20km. Not anymore folks, not anymore. My last two long runs of 17km have both been at an average of 4:40/km, a whopping 15 seconds faster per km over my 20km long run in August. I'm able maintain a relatively faster pace for a much longer distance now.
  • My legs are tired, nearly all the time, but I can still crank out the mileage and faster stuff week after week. Weird, isn't it?
I've got a race this weekend and as I mentioned in my previous post, I have no idea how that is going to go. I could find out I've got entirely new legs and wings, or I've got leaden shoes on my feet. Exciting and scary at the same time.

Have you logged 100km+ per week in the past? What benefits did you notice, I'm new to all this and would love to hear from others.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Race Preview: 2011 Springbank Road Races 5km

Well, its official. I've signed up for my first second road race of the fall racing season. I had signed up for the Ingersoll Harvest 10km road race two weeks ago, but decided to can that and put in a solid workout effort on Saturday instead.  Sorry Robbie!

But this time its on. I've signed up for the 5km road race at the Springbank Road Races and I'm mentally stronger than ever, ready to be sharp come race day. I've been putting in tons of quality work over the last month, but to be honest, I'm not sure how that will factor into this weekend's race. Is it still too early to reap the benefits of my first 100km/week training block? Are my legs still feeling the killage? Or am I now super human and ready to PB this early in the season?

This time last year I was happy just to break 20 minutes for 5km, heck I had run 43:27 for 10km and was very satisfied with the effort. So this year I'm coming in with new goals, and if my legs can carry me at the speed I want to sustain, I'll be looking at a new Personal Best on Sunday.  My mental edge is there, I'm ready to race and I'm more confident than I've ever been.

So, as is customary, its time for me to put down some concrete goals for the race. I'm pretty much going to re-hash my goals from the Summer Night 5km, in which I fell short on nearly every account.

  • Crack 16:40 (A), 16:48 (B), 17:00 (C) for 5km.
  • Place top 3 Overall  and 1st in Age Group
  • Finish Strong in the uphill finish.
  • Have Fun.
So that's about it for my race. Racing that day is my partner Melanie, making her debut in the Half Marathon! I can't wait to cheer her on as she aims to break 2:30 for the distance. I've also got plenty of clubmates racing the 5km, and a few racing the half marathon with hopes of winning.

To everyone racing the 2011 Springbank Road Races,


Monday, September 5, 2011

Running Log 2011: Week #35

Well, I'm rather proud to announce that today marked the end of my first 100km/week training block. I capped off this 3 week training block with 101km of running, totalling 304km in 21 days straight. Yup, not one day off. I still find that hard to believe. I'm treating myself to nearly 48 hours away from running now, it's nice to go for a Sunday run nice and early and since I'm taking Monday off, I'll be nearly 48 hours without a single step. :D

Somehow last week was labeled week 33, but it was in fact week 34. I present to you, week #35!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

An Early Summer Recap

I've been told by a certain someone that my blog posts have been lacking lately. They're right. 100% right.  It's been a roller coaster of a summer to be honest.  Let's take some time to recap how it went...shall we?
  • I end up skipping my first track meet of the season in early may in lieu of being able to walk while in Italy for 2 weeks. I spend two amazing weeks in Italy, but can't muster any runs because my Achilles tendon is continues to flare up.
Andre : 0 || 1 : Running
  • Upon my return to Italy I resume training and things go well, I debut on the track for the first time since 2001 and I smash my 1500m goal and clock a 4:21 at the New Balance 1500m in London.
Andre : 1 || 1 : Running
Andre : 2 || 1 : Running
  • In mid July I toe the line again for a 5km in London, the Summer Night 5km, and with an awesome cheering squad I end up under performing severely. 17:32 for 5km is well below what I can do.
Andre : 2 || 2 : Running
  • Days after my 5km road race I contract an eye infection (nasty eye picture) and spend nearly 2 weeks in solitary confinement. My running is derailed slightly, and getting back into the groove takes some time. I guess running with one eye is hard after all.
Andre : 2 || 3 : Running
  • After slowly, very slowly, getting over this eye infection (folks, treat your contacts with respect!) I've been able to build up my killage week over week. Today was the final day of my 3 week block @ 100km per week, volume I've never reached in the past. I'm doing great, no injuries and I'm feeling stronger every day.
Andre : 3 || 3 : Running

So it seems that for the summer months running and I are about even. I'm not surprised. Since my track debut I've had some mild ups and downs, but overall I can't complain. I've come out of the summer fitter, faster and stronger than ever. I continue to look forward to the fall season, and the wonderful weather it brings. Now it's onto cross-country (XC) training...time to man up and trudge through mud, snow and up hills over 10km courses. Gulp.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Running Log 2011: Week #33

Following the solid base I laid down last week, I managed to log a whopping 105km this week! It was the first time ever that I've crossed the 100km barrier and I must say, I'm surprised...for the following reasons:

  • My weight is no longer dropping as it has in the past little while. After hitting 158 a few weeks ago I'm back up to 161 and maintaining that quite well. This is great news to me as I continue to pound the pavement at 100km/week. 
  • My legs are feeling good in a way I could not have imagined during such high volume. I figured I'd be a zombie, but no, I feel rather fit and strong.

I've got another 100km week this week, and then I'll be toeing the line at the Springbank 5km road race on September 11th! I'm curious to see how that goes. :D

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Running Blogosphere has gone AWOL

It's always a sure sign that runners are building up a solid base of killage come late summer when their blogging efforts seem to drop off considerably. Where as I used to get multiple daily updates in my RSS Reader, I now get maybe a few a week. Good for them, it's great to put in the work....but c'mon, think of your readers runners.

I've also fallen prey to this trend. It seems all my latest blog posts are weekly running recaps. How boring. I'll see if I can whip up a new and interesting post for all my loyal fans.

Running Log 2011: Week #33

This week was a bit of a breakthrough week for me as I ran 7 solid days with nearly no issues to report on and those pesky toe blisters seem to be behind me (for now).  I logged my heaviest week of running in recent history, topping the scales at 97km. It's taking all the restraint in the world to not step out the door to just squeeze the extra 3km I would need to reach the magical 100km barrier. I hear you level up as soon as you've run 100km in a week, but I guess I'll have to wait a bit longer.

Log for the week:

Monday, August 15, 2011

Running Log 2011: Week #32

After two very solid weeks of killage, mostly easy and long runs, I have been sidelined for the last two days due to a little toe that won't stop bitching at me whenever I place a shoe around it. I don't know what it is lately, I've now dealt with 3 blisters on my toes in the last 3 weeks and this last one has been especially painful, forcing me to skip out on my long run this past week. 

In the grand scheme of things though, all is well. I logged 160km in 2 weeks, and hit 73km this past week. I'm still progressing well through this stupid injury, though it's getting awfully lonely running alone all the time. Hopefully I can return to running with the club this week.

I also did 2 solo workouts this week, a 20min tempo (5km) and 7x300m hill repeats (@3:40/km). It was great to get back to working hard on the legs. Now to sort out this pesky toe pain.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

How to motivate yourself to run when you hate to run

Let's have a little fun.  Does this post's title describe how you feel about running? If it does, too bad, you aren't meant to run. Don't even bother. You hate running, why would you want to motivate yourself to do something you hate?

Why don't you just go out and buy this shirt and relax a bit instead....?

the inspiration behing this post came from a recent visitor to my blog who searched google for 'How to motivate yourself to run when you hate to run'. I figured I'd have some fun and answer the question as well.

Part 2 of My Life-Fitness Balance as featured on Passing White Daisies!

As I mentioned a few days ago, a good friend of mine recruited a few of her coolest cats to co-write a 3 part piece on Fitness-Life balance.  Part 1 was published a few days ago now and as of this morning, Maxine published Part 2:

Fitness-Life Balance Part II: Habits- Balanced and Unbalanced

So there you have it folks, another great read on achieving and maintaining your fitness-life balance. Stay tuned for Part 3 in the coming days.

As always, check out the following blogs:

Passing White Daisies
Keeping Natalie Honest

Monday, August 8, 2011

As a Runner, should I tell people about my goals?

pre-amble: I originally wrote this in March, and just discovered I never posted it.  The first chunk is how I felt then, I've added current comments and thoughts below, and you'll notice that my position on this topic has shifted a bit. Cheers!

Goals....what a loaded word. For some the use of such a word forebodes impending failure, for a few it means success. To most, it's a bit of both worlds: You win some, you lose some.

Today I'd like to discuss the importance of keeping goals to yourself.  This may seem counter intuitive, but I'd like to explain why I, and many others, feel that telling people about your goals dooms you for failure right out of the gate.

Have you ever had an idea, a goal perhaps and felt immediate pride in deciding to conquer it? Perhaps you decided to shed some weight, save some money, get a new job or spend more time reading your favorite author.  As soon as you settled on that goal you felt driven, you felt great...finally you were going to tackle something that has been looming over you for what might seem like ages. Ever felt like this? I know I do on a nearly daily basis....but what we choose to do next is the single most important step in determining our eventual success. What ever could it be?

Over the years I've come to learn that if you want to succeed at setting goals and completing them, keep them to yourself.

That's right...there's a little known phenomenom that I've noticed over the years that occurs once you've told someone that you plan on doing X, seeing Y or being Z. What do you think happens when you tell someone the good news that say, you're planning on running a marathon. You get instant gratification from their vote of confidence ('Good for you', 'You are amazing!', etc) and you quickly forget to put your plan in motion because this instant gratification feeds your reward system, and for all intents and purposes, you may as well have already completed the goal at this point.

I used to notice this in many of the things I undertook...when I stepped back and analyzed why I wasn't successful at following through with my goals, I realized it was because I had already received some reward for simply deciding on the goal and announcing it to my friends, family and coworkers. It took me ages to figure this out, but in today's wonderfully wide world web, you can learn it today, in under 5 minutes. Oh, you're welcome!

aside: This is my most current position on what to do with your goals, to publicize or not.

So, I used to feel that telling anyone about your goals was dooming yourself for failure, and as I have learned that not everything is black and white in this world of ours, I've realized that telling some people certain things can in fact increase your chances of succeeding in your goal.

It turns out there are people in our lives that love nothing more than to help us succeed in our goals. Find those people and accept their helping offers. These are the people that motivate, excite, ground and focus you in your goals.  The people who sit by, simply giving you a high five or a kind word, are best left out of your plans. These people will simply feed your reward system far too soon in the process: keep them for later on, when you're nearing the end and need a second, third or fourth wind to get you across the finish line.

So the next time you set a running goal and want to succeed, pick your allies wisely and I can guarantee you will surprise even yourself!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

The End of a Season, the Start of a New One...

July was a scorcher of a month and with record low rainfall it was dry while being the muggiest I can remember feeling in years.  July saw me wrap up the first training block of 2011, a block of training that had minor setbacks but still proved to be very successful.

In July I hit the track for my last race and dove into two 5km races on the of which saw me take the win and run the perfect race, while the second race yielded a subpar result, but tons of fun! I guess I can't always be shooting 100%, so I'll take the minor downs with the ups as they come.

July was light on killage as I was tapering for a few races and has 1 week completely off. Still just a hair over 220km, so nothing to balk at.

Running Log 2011: Week #27 - #31

Wow, again, I've fallen way behind in my running log. So here's like, 5 weeks worth in one post.

Week #27

  • 72km run, one day off
  • Two solid workouts, legs were done come Sunday
  • Swapped out a 15km long run for a 45km bike ride along the Thames
  • Last 1500m race of the year, a slightly disappointing 4:32
Week #28
  • 52km run, 2 days off
  • Last track workout of the season, 8x400m repeats at 3km pace
  • Final road race of the track training season, a 17:30 effort in downtown London
  • Weekend off
Week #29
  • Off week as mandated by Coach.
  • Recovering from Corneal Ulcer
Week #30
  • 56km run, 1 day off
  • All easy runs, eye is still useless, getting back into the groove
  • Long run of 15km
Week #31

  • 87km run, no days off
  • All easy runs again, with a slight progression effort on Thursday (13km)
  • Long run of 18km

Saturday, August 6, 2011

My Life-Fitness Balance as featured on Passing White Daisies!

frikkin awkward
A good friend of mine, Maxine, approached me a few weeks ago to help write an article on my philosophies behind my fitness-life balance. I couldn't resist helping out so I set out to think about the topic and I'm proud to announce that Maxine has now posted Part 1 of 3 to her blog.

The article includes her perspective and that of another mutual friend, who also happens to blog, (go Sudbury!!!!) and I must say it's a great view into how three completely different folk approach a very challenging problem in their very own way.

I recommend reading it, and stay tuned for Part 2 and 3.  I also recommend checking out the following blogs, both written by Maxine and Natalie, two immensely inspiring women.

Read Fitness-Life Balance Part I: The People and our Fitness-Life Balance Philosophies

Blogs to read:

Passing White Daisies
Keeping Natalie Honest

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

You're Never Too Old!

To Try Something New. Just Get Out There. Try It.

It's Like Drowning Flies in your own Sweat

Well, it's now been just over two weeks since I was diagnosed with a corneal ulcer, a nasty bacterial infection and what appeared to be a fungal infection to boot. It all happened so quickly, in well under 24 hours I was crippled and after 6 hours in urgent care, relegated to a darkened room for 3 days with absolutely nothing to do but drown in my thoughts.

Since then I've been able to slowly return to normalcy and I'm proud to say I'm back at work putting in full days in front my dual monitors. It isn't always easy, my eyes are still very sensitive to light, but I'm managing. I'm getting decent sleep, and on the days I don't, find it hard to battle with my eyes...I'll normally take a nap midday if I plan on getting on with the rest of my day.

As for running, I did take one week off (luckily I was already taking that as a down week), and I bounced back the next week, which is last week, with 5 runs and a total of 56km. I'm not feeling fast, I'm not entirely confident in my footing either (try running with one eye and see how that goes...), but I'm excited to be running and to have enough energy to crank out hour long runs on a daily basis.

I'm not yet running with the club yet, and I'm not doing any real workouts yet, but for now I'll just enjoy the easier running and take care of any little nags that come along with it.  By the end of October I'll be in peak form ready to unleash my fury on the trails and's a slow process so I won't rush it. Plus, there are tons more flies to drown in my sweat...

Saturday, July 30, 2011

The 7AM Unspoken Bond

So I'm finally getting back into a regular running routine, and let me tell you, it has been nothing but struggles and bliss. I love feeling free again, able to just let my legs fly as I coast along the Thames River, but it sure is a pain in the ass to only be able to see out of one eye. Ah well.

I was out bright and early this morning, it was a wise decision considering it's been so stupid hot lately. So I made my way out this morning just before 7AM, after my first real night of sleep in many days.  I was pleased to find only a few people wandering the path, but what I realized as I passed each with a friendly 'Hello', nod or smile....was that these people all shared the same passion as I did. Whether they were walking, running or biking, they were all out at 7AM on a Saturday morning enjoying the freedom of talking one's legs for a jog, spin or whirl.

And then I realized that although I would likely never associate myself with these people, through this thoroughly individual activity we had created a bond, a connection. It seemed like we both understood each others reason for being on the path and this sensation was at first, strange, but as I thought about it more, it provided me with some re-assurance, a sense of community and some grounding for the activities we undertake.

So the next time you're out and about, running/biking/walking at 7AM, be sure to smile, wave or say 'hello' to those you cross paths with. It is these people who share a very common ambition, passion, connection with you: They are, much like you, enjoying the freedom their legs provide them with before most of the modern world has even shaken off their morning rust.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

It sure has been quiet in here lately...

If you've come around at all during the past week or two you'll have noticed an almost ear piercing silence.  After I ran the Summer Night 5km, which I recap below, I spent the next few days living it up. I was a social butterfly, enjoying the warm weather and looking forward to a week free of running.

It wasn't before long that I realized I would be enjoying a week free of nearly everything as I was admitted to urgent care at St Joseph's Health Care on Monday Morning. 6 hours later and far too many eye drops and bright lights, it was announced to the world that I had a corneal ulcer. It had developed in just over 12 hours and the speed at which it did this worried the staff doctors that day. I was put on a strict regimen of 'carpeting bombing' my right eye and a darkened room for as long as it would take for me to get better in bright lights.

I've now visited the specialist 4 times and every time news gets a bit more promising. It turned out they were able to culture a bacteria from the scrapings they got off my cornea, it was pseudomonas, so the carpet bombing turned into more of a heat seeking missile launch instead. They also noticed what seemed to be fungus growing on the inside of my cornea, so I've got drops to fight off those nasties too.

Essentially, I've done absolutely nothing over the past 6 days and it has slowly driven me crazy. Luckily I had a complete down week scheduled for running, and frankly, the weather was so hot I don't think I would have run regardless. We hit 49C on Thursday! I've been away from work now for a week, hoping to return on Monday, and I also hope to resume my running on Monday night with my trusty seeing bike rider Melanie!

So that's why it's been rather quiet lately, I've been locked in isolation, forced to sleep all day in a dark room. But things are looking better, brighter.

Race Recap: 2011 Barking Frog Summer Night 5km

I discovered this race last year and I was so enamored with the great format that I decided I would run it this year, and run it I did.  I had planned on working all day but ended up leaving a tad early so I could come home and have a power nap.

The nap felt great and I felt refreshed waking up from it, but it was really hard feeling truly fresh, the temperature was a scorching 32C with full on sun. I was beginning to dread racing in this heat.  I had a light supper, got my stuff ready, check it over and made it out the door with Melanie to head over to the Frog and pick up my race kit.

I had been inviting friends to enjoy the weather, drinks and racing and when I returned from my warmup I was very pleased to see a strong contingent of friends ready to cheer me on while downing beers.  Speaking of my warmup, I was saddened to realize that my legs didn't feel great during my warmup. They didn't feel dead and heavy, but they definitely lacked the pop they had in Sudbury 2 weeks ago.

LRDC Crew pre-race
I worked through my dynamic drills and some strides and before I knew it we were toeing the line, waiting for the horn to sound the start of the race.I was standing second in line as the horn sounded and before my legs could realize what my body was doing, I was off putting one foot in front of the other. Well, I guess it was time to shine, wasn't it?

THe Gun goes off, and we're off!
I was warned by many that the first km is fast and downhill, and I wasn't going to let precious seconds slip away at this chance so I decided I'd try and bank 5-10 seconds by the time I finished the first km. That never happened and I slipped by the 1km marker in 3:19.  At that moment I knew I wouldn't be hanging on for a 16:40 effort and decided to see what my legs would take me through after 3km.

I kept getting a little slower, stuck somewhere between the chase pack and the front end stragglers. I didn't pass anyone and no one passed me, and I passed the 3km marker in 10:16, well off a 10 flat pace I needed to go 16:40 today.  The last 2 km are pretty much uphill as this is an out and back effort and from 4 to 4.6km is uphill just before you get to muster up enough energy to bring it all in over the last 400m.

Bringing it into the finish!
I finished the race, officially, in 17:31....a whopping 50 seconds off my goal pace, but I was still satisfied with the result given the effort. It was on par with what I showed up to do, I just had greater expectations I suppose.  I finished 19th overall and 5th in my age group. Full results are here. I quickly forgot about the effort as I had, literally, the world's best cheering squad EVER!

Can you spot the difference in these two pictures?

Can you spot the difference in these two pictures?

7 or 8 of my closest friends showed up just before the race to pump me up and stayed around to watch me finish and cheer me on. We promptly downed a few beers, talked, laughed and took pictures.  Here are some of the night's finest, including running action shots courtesy of Melanie.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Race Preview: The 2011 Summer Night 5km (London, On)

So, the day is nearly here. Tomorrow night I'll be running in my first edition of the Summer Night 5km hosted by London Honda and Runners' Choice at the Barking Frog in London, Ontario.

I was at the race last year as a spectator and was able to have a few beers with a good friend of mine as we watched the runners take off and arrive just in front of the Barking Frog patio. At that time we had decided that we would run the race next year, and here I am, 12 months later and I'll be toeing the line looking for a top 10 finish. Sadly my friend won't be joining me this year, but maybe next year?

It's actually rather fitting that I jump into this race as it was at this race last year that I reconnected with my then old Mustangs teammate Steve Weiler, who is now my coach (for the London Runner Distance Club). If it wasn't for me taking those first steps (towards meeting Steve that night), most of what I've accomplished athletically since then would not have taken place. And so I take this moment to thank myself. :D

Anyways, the race goes down tomorrow night at 7PM and I'm a little worried about a few things:
  • The temperature is supposed to reach a scorching 32C on Friday, this could be a factor, but I'll try and ignore it as much as possible. Battling the heat in a 5km is purely mental.
  • It's a challenging course in that the first 1km is downhill, and the last 1km is uphill (it's an out and back loop). This poses some pacing challenges and I've been told the course isn't exactly favorable for PBs for this reason alone. Should I revise my goal of dipping below 16:40 and a new lifetime PB?
  • I will be working all day at the office, only to get home by 5PM and then make it out to the race for 6PM. The last time I ran after a day at the office was last week, and that did NOT go well.
This is the last race of my competitive summer/track season and I want to finish off in style. I want a good solid effort under my belt, one in which I feel strong and can be competitive. I also want a personal best, or at least a seasonal best. With that in mind, I've set some goals for my race tomorrow:
  • Crack 16:40 for 5km.
  • Place top 10 Overall (top 3 in my AG)
  • Finish Strong in the uphill finish.
  • Have Fun.
  • Drink beer and eat burgs.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

All Things Must Come to an End

...even if just momentarily...

This week is my last week of training for my track/road race season, and though I feel ready for my last race of the season, I'm also glad to finally see it all wind down. Some of my club mates will be at the Ontario Track & Field competition this weekend, but I'll be at the Barking Frog Summer Night 5km looking to better my seasonal best I set nearly 2 weeks ago.

I hit the track last night for a final tune up and our prescribed workout of 2 man 400m relays was a great way to get in some final sharpening (our effort was to be slightly faster than 3km race pace). I finished up with 4 strong 100m strides and called it a night.  I'm sitting here and feeling pretty good, hopefully I can continue to sharpen up a bit for Friday night, I have high hopes, but I'll cover those in another post.

As for now, I'm enjoying the reduced mileage and emphasis on sharpening. It's certainly a nice change after nearly 7 months of volume, intensity and racing.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Video of Junior Nationals Men's 1500m: Aaron Hendrikx!

It was yet another great week to be an LRDC runner as our very own Aaron Hendrikx competed at Junior Nationals in the Men's 1500m.  He ran a perfect semifinal race to qualify for the final and in what proved to be a sit and kick affair, placed 6th overall!  Congrats Aaron, that's an amazing result!

If you'd like to see the video, follow this link:

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Race Recap: RCLDS #6 1500m/800m

Well, another race in the bag and this one is only 5 days after my last race, so needless to say I went into this one wondering what it would boil down to. It turns out that after a day spent in the washroom (which I visited 9 times) I was unable to even crack 4:30 for the race when my goal was to go 4:20.

I ran the 1500m in 4:32 and finished a disappointed 2nd last overall. Ah well, it was still a solid effort considering and the fact my lungs felt like they were larger than my ribcage after the race meant that I knew I put in some kind of effort that taxed my body.

I was about to leave the track after a cooldown run when Mr. Procter asked me to step up and race the 4x800m with our club. I agreed and wondered how I got myself into this mess. The 800m felt good, I finished strong and I imagine it wasn't any faster than 2:20, essentially what I split for 800m when I ran 4:21 3 weeks ago.

And that wraps up my track season. A whopping 3 races and much to learn from. I am now preparing for the Barking Frog Summer Night 5km in less than 2 weeks and that will cap off the first block of training and competition for the year. 

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Running Log 2011: Week #26

It's official, half the year has now passed and we're inching closer and closer to snowy weather. Boo urns! This past week was a fun running week as it saw me compete in yet another successful 5km road race, and logged many kills through my old stomping grounds in Northern Ontario.

The next three weeks will see me cap off the season in style with a track race or two and another 5km on the road.

Race Recap: 2011 Firecracker 5km Road Race (Lively/Walden, ON)

Well, it's now Monday evening Tuesday morning and we've returned from our long weekend in the great white North. The drive up on Thursday was pretty craptastic as we got stuck in stop-n-go, stop-n-go, stop-n-go traffic from the 400 at the 407 all the way past Barrie. There's nearly 2 hours of our life we won't be getting back.

Anyways, we made it to Sudbury safe and sound on Thursday night and I anxiously awaited Friday's arrival. We were finally re-united with the Southern wing of our family, and before we knew it we were packing up for the Firecracker 5km in Lively/Walden.

I had spent most of the day mulling over what I would do, wondering who would show up to the race and how it would all play out. I seemed stressed on the outside, but I was just busy thinking...and ok, maybe a lil stressed.

I knew the race was won in 16:30 last year and the previous year Ross Proudfoot took home the win in a blazing 15:56! This meant the course was both challenging and fast, though I knew it would be a hilly affair and after analyzing the elevation map on, figured I was in for a real treat.

We got there nice and early, had a brief chat with some old faces I hadn't seen in ages and settled into my warmup routine after a group shot of the entire family was taken by our old track coach, Dick Moss of Track North Athletic Club.

The happy family!
And now this post gets serious as I take you along for a ride through the 5km road race that took place on July 1st 2011.  The time was 7PM and athletes from all walks of life toed the line in Lively to burn some rubber, in hopes of smashing a pb, beating a competitor or run with family. Luckily, I was aiming to do all three.

During my warmup I had kept a keen eye for possible competitors, and the longer I looked the less worried I became. The women's field looked to be decently stacked, but I seemed to be the only male with hopes of cracking 17 minutes tonight.

So I continued my warmup through a hilly residential area and I had a hard time containing my devilish grin as I was forcing my legs to slow down. They were ready to rock and did not want to be reined in for long. I cut my warm up a tad short, did my dynamic warmup and threw down a few strides to give my legs a taste of what they were craving: speed.

We toed the line at 7PM and the gun sounded. Before I knew what was happening, we were off and nearly immediately a small pack of 4 runners formed at the front with yours truly tucked in. Within a matter of seconds we dropped one of the runners and the three of us worked our way towards the 1km marker.

Prior to toeing the line for the race I did a little investigation into the elevation map so that I could get an idea of what to expect while out on the course. It turns out it wasn't very pretty:

roller coaster.....of pain....roller coaster...
In the first 2km the course climbs about 60 feet vertically before leveling off, climbing a bit more then dropping over the last 2km until a 400m finish uphill. I figured the first km would be fast as it normally is, but if I wasn't careful enough it could spell disaster if I put too much into it too early.

We clipped by the 1km marker at 3:19 and the pace felt quite relaxed. I had a hard time keeping my mouth and throat wet, it was like sucking back a gallon of sand at times. At this point I decided to take charge as I felt the pack was already to starting to lag and I wanted to stay on 3:20/km pace for as long as my legs could handle it.

Our 2nd kill came in at 3:23 and if you look at the graph above you'll see that it was a relatively tough kilometer as the elevation constantly changed. At this point we dropped the 3rd runner in our little pack and it was just me and a Track North athlete. We pushed on through the rolling hills, unable to get a great groove and I fought with a stuck rock in the sole of my Fastwitch. Stupid drainage holes...seriously, what a stupid idea.

My 3rd km was my slowest at 3:30, but that kilometer was nearly entirely uphill, 'cept for the last few meters at which point things leveled off and set up the next downhill half a kilometer. Up to this point I still had the pesky Track North athlete on my shoulder and we had been trading leads for well over 2 kms at this point.

I'd put in a small surge downhill and gain a few steps on him, but he'd come right back up to my shoulder on the uphill, only to lose a few steps to me again as we flew downhill. I tried to break him over and over again from 3 to 4km, but he hung on strong. By the time we neared 4km I could sense he was hurting more than I was...his breathing was labored, he was hacking/coughing and finally I sensed I should try to surge once more.

As we approached 4.2km there was a slight downhill across a gravel road and I put in one more surge to see how he would respond. He didn't. I seized the chance and pressed on even harder. Within 30 seconds I had already made up a 5 second gap on him and I continued to pressed knowing I had 500m to go.

One last turn to face the finish line and then it hit me. The last 400m were uphill. Ugh. I kept pushing, never looking back and driving for the finish line. That last 200m were so brutally hard that I felt almost exactly as I had felt after my debut. That sand sucking feeling I felt in my warmup was amplified just before the finish line. If you're wondering what that might look like, have a gander...

I crossed the finish line completely spent and gasping for air, feeling like there was none left in atmosphere.  I had high hopes for myself tonight and finally, for the first time all day, I was able to relax. I clocked an amazing 3:12 for my last km, something I'm very proud of considering the last 400m were uphill.

I had won the race, and obviously, my age group! I had set a goal of running 16:45 knowing it would be a warm and rolling course, and I came very close to that goal. I ran 16:48.06, just 3 seconds shy of my goal.

That's within striking range of my all time personal best of around 16:40 that I would have set sometime around the year 2000. Pretty crazy to think. Heck, just last October 30th I ran a then blistering 18:10 over 5km on a fast course, and just 8 short months later I've chopped off 1:22 and feel I can sneak below 16:30 before my track season is done. And who knows, maybe I could sneak into London's top 10 over 5km rankings (brought to you by London Runner and M&T Printing).

Even more impressive is the fact that our entire family ran amazing races. We all smashed our goals we had set prior to the race and we were all on cloud nine as we rested after the race. Also, it seems I have the world's best cheering I accepted my prize for winning the race it felt like the whole gym cheered for me, but it turns out it was just my super awesome family. Thanks guys!

Garmin Connect Recap

Shout Outs:
  • Big thanks to Neil 'Da Rabbit' Phipps for taking our little pack of 3 through 1 km on perfect pace. It would have been nice for you to stick around a bit longer though, maybe next time I'm Sudbury?
  • Huge thanks to Seb Diebel for pushing me through the first 4km. You are one heck of a fighter, and you helped keep the pace honest.
  • Dick, Darren & the volunteers put on a great event. There were tons of volunteers directing the runners and I'm glad I was able to help raise funds for the LU Women's XC team!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

In the Heart of the Beast

Exactly half the year has past, and I'm now deep within the heart of my track training season. It's taken 26 weeks to get here and to consider the voyage I've been on to get here, it's both humbling and motivating at the same time. I've run a total of 1630 km during this voyage, numbers I've never posted in the past. I've had nagging injuries, I've had out-of-body moments and I've had times of desperation and despair. But that's just how it is when you chase a goal that is bigger than yourself, when you push your abilities to the edge in hopes of not falling off.

I logged a whopping 334km this month, back into my pre-Achilles/Italy groove and I'd say I'm handling the high volume better than ever, but I'm not in the clear just yet.  June saw me race at the New Balance 1500m Night (recap) and I demolished my goals for the night. I discovered that you have to attack an injury the same way you do an infection. And I previewed my favorite race of the summer, the Firecracker 5km up in Sudbury.

That's about all I have to say now, guess I'll provide a race recap after Canada Day.

Running Log 2011: Week #25

And now I'm all caught up. Last week was a high killage week for me and it was a bit of a struggle as I recovered from my track race. My left calf tightened up on me on Tuesday and I had to run a reduced workout of 500m repeats. Since then I've been taking care of it and it's doing much, much better.

Not much else to report here, other than the fact Melanie and I managed to go riding twice this week, that was a blast. Nothing beats the perfect weather days for biking, days where it seems that no matter how hard you ride, you just can't break a sweat. That was last Sunday for us.

Running Log 2011: Week #24

I'm a few weeks behind in my running log so here is week #24 out of 52 for the year. This week finally saw me get back to the track for a 1500m race at the New Balance 1500m Night our club hosted in London. The night was perfect weather wise. My legs felt great. I ended up with a great result and more confidence than I've ever had in my running abilities.

The week was a low week killage-wise, but that was not to last for long.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

2011 Firecracker 5km in Lively (ON)

You can find my full race recap HERE!

In 2 days time I'll be toeing the line in Lively (just outside of Sudbury) for the Lively Firecracker 5km road race. This year's edition is incredibly special to me as my entire family, including 'lil Z, will be taking part in the race!  Years ago when my sister Nat introducing me to running, it instantly became our thing. We were naturally talented (though Nat has always been the harder worker) and we spent most of our high school career running and racing.

Fast forward 10 years now and our younger, not so little anymore, sister Joce is now full on into duathlons, triathlons and road races. She completed her first half marathon this spring and is getting faster and faster with every passing week. So this friday the 3 kids will toe the line, but the magic doesn't end there.

Melanie, my life partner, is now a full fledged runner herself, and Alain, Nat's husband, will also be taking part in the road race.  Add to that a mother who simply can't pass up the chance to exercise and you've got a full family of runners taking part in the 2011 edition of the Firecracker 5km road race! And not to be forgotten, 'lil Z will be joining the fun in his super awesome jogging stroller.

The weather is supposed to be gorgeous over the weekend, with sun and a high of 25C on Friday, so I've got no weather related reasons not to run a blazingly fast time. I have no idea what the course is like, but I imagine it will be paved/gravel, with a few decent hill climbs thrown in for good measure. This is after all up North, nothing like the flat and fast courses we're treated to in Southern Ontario.

So I've got some goals I'd like to hit, and given the fact I'm feeling more fit and confident than I can ever remember, here are some the goals I'd like to knock off in the race:

  • Soak in the Family Time: I'm so blessed to have my entire family running the race, and above all, enjoying this special moment is the #1 goal for me.
  • Contend for the overall win: Yeah, that's a big one, and something I haven't been able to do since leaving Sudbury for the sunny south some 11 years ago. The races in and around London are just too darn competitive for a runner of my caliber, but up North, I've got a fighting chance...depending on who decides to show up. Last year the race was won in a hair over 16:30, if that's what it takes to win, it will require a massive out of body effort on my part. But hey, it's in my ballpark at least, so I'm through 3km with the intention of winning and seeing what shakes out in the last 2km.
  • Crack 17 minutes: Yup, I guess if I plan on winning I will likely need to smash this goal to pieces.  My recent 1500m effort on the track is equivalent to a 9:20 3km, so I figure my aerobic fitness is strong enough to carry me through 5km in under 17...according to the McMillan calculator I should be at 16:15, so we'll see.
And that's that. I'm racing this Friday, with my entire family, and I'm hoping to race fast enough to win.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Announcing the Winner of my 1500m Guessing Game Giveaway!

Well, it's been a week since my 1500m at TD Waterhouse Stadium and now that the dust has settled it's time to announce the winner of my prize giveaway. There were many great guesses and the general response from everyone was fun and encouraging. Sorry Brent, I tried to nail 3:26 but fell a little short. Maybe next time?

So the person who guessed closest to my finishing time was in fact Amberley, but sadly, she didn't win. In my instructions I had asked those guessing to share a link to my blog on their facebook/twitter profiles, and it seems Amberley forgot to do so.  Sorry Amberley. :(

The next closest guess was from Wes (though he fervently states that he was THE closest if you use Price is Right rules, and according to him, I should, but I'm not.)  He also won't be winning the prize as he didn't share a link to my blog. Sorry Wes!

The next closest guess was from Robbie, but like the two before him, he didn't share a link. I'm starting to see a pattern here!

Luckily, Matt guessed 4:27 and actually posted a link to my blog on his facebook wall, and for this simple action he is the OFFICIAL WINNER of my Acuball Mini prize giveaway.  Congratulations Matt, I'll be getting in touch with you to give you your prize and a firm hand shake!

Again, thanks to everyone that guessed/voted, but I would advise that everyone read the contest rules next time before jumping the gun.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Random Thoughts

So since my epic 1500m debut last weekend this week has been a little subpar, but I suppose that was likely. I ran easy the Sunday and Monday following the race and felt surprisingly good. Tuesday night was to be my first workout since the race and while I started my pickup portion of my warmup, my left calf tightened up and I was forced to jog it in. Sadface.

I strung together about 60% of the workout, and what I intiailly thought was a re-aggravated Achilles was in fact a super tight hamstring. Kids, if your calves are tight, look higher than your knee for the cause. That should save you some time.

So I'm now kind of running easy, hoping my legs settle down as I massage and stretch it all out. I'll be hitting the track again on Saturday for a workout, so hopefully everything is lined up for that. This was supposed to be a high mileage week for me, but now I've re-adjusted so that I make sure I'm healthy above all going into next week.

This weekend is a pretty epic weekend for track lovers as the US and Canadian Track & Field Champs are happening in Oregon and Alberta....plenty of great runners facing off to win or qualify for Daegu later this summer.

Live Canadian Results
Watch US Track & Field Champs LIVE ONLINE!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

How I Calculated my 1500m Goal Pace

I'm a geek. I'm a nerd. I'm a creative.

So when I'm faced with figuring out what my goal pace was for my recent re-introduction into track racing I figured I may as well jot down my thoughts and see what comes out the other end.

The following PDF is a scan of the sheet I used to either convince me I was capable of a certain goal, or not.  Well it turns out I was well capable.  Not too sure what else to say about this, you may find my process helpful if you are also trying to figure out how fast you can run a 1500m.

Version 4 of my Early Morning Core Circuit Workout

Never one to leave good enough alone (version 1, version 2, version 3), I've added in some eccentric calf raises to strengthen my calves. This has come about because of my Achilles injury I sustained in early May, and the shin splints I was experiencing in March/ now I'm making sure it doesn't happen again!

Everything else has stayed the same, I've simply added some more exercises, making this truly into a 40 minute core workout that I perform three times a week at the crack of dawn.
  • 3 x (15 squats, targeting vastis medialis. Stand feet apart about 8-10", clench pillow or ball between knees. Squeeze while squatting.) vastis medialis activated
  • 2 x (40 single leg hikes. Laying on stomach, prop hips up with foam roller, bring foot close to butt, raise foot to the sky while concentrating on activating the gluteus maximus) gluteus maximus activated
  • 2 x (40 single leg lifts. Place back against wall, bend lower leg at 90 degrees and place foot firmly against wall. Point toes of top leg towards ceiling and raise leg along the wall.) gluteus medius activated
  • 2 x (15 static lunges, alternate forward leg) nearly all leg muscles, emphasis on adductors, quads, hamstrings 
  • 2 x (45 second planks for: chest up, chest down, left arm down, right arm down) abs, obliques, adductors, hamstrings
  •  3 x (15 bridges with exercise ball. Place ball at shoulder blades/neck, feet close together, with butt hanging down tighten abs and glutes to propel your torso upwards so that you are forming a flat bridge) abs, glutes
  • 3 x (15 declined situps, with 4lb medicine ball on chest) upper/mid abs activated
  • 3 x (15 inclined leg raises) lower abs activated
  • 3 x (15 straight leg deadlifts, 40lb barbell) lower back activated
  • 3 x (20 pushups, push up bars) chest/biceps/triceps activated
  • 2 x (10 ups, 10 downs. Come up on one foot, shift weight to other leg, drop down on that leg, shift weight to other leg, come up. You are essentially drawing a square with your body by shifting your weight from leg to leg in the up and down motion of the calf raises.) soleus activated

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Cruelty of Running as a Carnivore

I've run through many ridiculous snow storms, hail storms and the most soul drenching down pours you could ever imagine. I've run through air so humid it felt like I was running in water. I've endured long steady runs that would make most people cringe at the thought.

But none of these, and I do repeat NONE, have ever had as profound an effect on me as running through a neighborhood at 6PM on a sunny summer day. The constant smell of grilled meat, the sound of water splashing in pools and the gentle chiming of wine glasses cause my mouth to salivate instantly, wishing I was chilling in the pool, drink in hand awaiting my delicious new york strip loin. drooooool.

Instead I get to bake in the 30C sun, sweat my balls off and work, one step at a time, towards a goal that is bigger than any steak, wine and pool. A goal that is more rewarding than any steak, wine and pool. A goal that is tastier....oh who am I kidding? Right, no one. Nothing is tastier than a delicious new york strip loin cooked to perfection (medium-rare).

So instead I continue logging the miles knowing that one night in the near future, usually VERY near future, I'll treat myself to an amazing grilled steak, a deliciously relaxing glass of wine and maybe a dip in someone's pool.

But for now, I'll keep working away, chipping at the goals I've set for myself.

So, what bugs you the most when you are running? Is there anything that just works you up?

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Race Recap: 2011 New Balance 1500m Night (RCLDS)

Well, it's been nearly 2 months since my last race recap and dare I say it's about frikkin time! I run to race, so to finally get another race under my belt felt great last night.

The day of the race was so low key I barely have much to write about it. I did some yard work in the morning, then proceeded to read most of 'Running with the Buffaloes' by Chris Lear (what an inspiring read!). I interspersed my reading with naps. One on the floor, one on the bed and one on the couch. I adjusted my eating schedule as I'd be racing at 8PM and by 6PM I was off to the Beer Store and Steve/Leslie/Nate's place to drop off the ribs I had smoked for nearly 5 hours.

Let me back track a bit to the previous night first. I bought a new pair of track spikes from Runners' Choice (London) and figured it would be worth a mention here. I got the Nike Zoom Rival D and hoped my feet would adjust to track spikes the next day, I haven't worn a pair in years.

I arrived at the track with my bestest cheerleader ever (Love you Melanie!) and immediately got into my warmup routine.  I was slated to be in the second slowest heat (gulp) of the night and scheduled to race at 7:55. We started pretty much on time, but not before I was told to either put my bib number on the front of my singlet or race with my singlet on backwards. Bah.  Thanks Dylan for helping me out with that one.

I also got to meet John LoFranco (finally!) on the start line and I have to give him and his team mad props for making the trip to London from Montreal. He was seeded one second slower than me in the race so I knew we would likely be able to key off each other.

Dylan and I working together in the first lap
The gun sounded and we were off. Immediately the pack of runners settled into a pace that seemed just a touch too fast for me, so Dylan and I tucked in the back of the pack and decided to run our own races.  It worked out for the first lap as we came through in just a hair under 70 seconds and we started off into our second lap.  We ran stride for stride until the 800m mark which we reached still on perfect pace at 2:20 (another 70 second lap) and we started to eat up the competition one by one.

Preparing for my assault into the 3rd lap
My 3rd lap was and still is a blur, we came through in 72-73 seconds, so we had fallen off pace a little and allowed ourselves to fall asleep a tad. Essentially, we let the pain control us and fell into what I can only describe as a comfortable pace. The 1500m should never be run in a comfortable pace at any point in time, but if it's going to happen at some point, it's going to be on the 3rd lap. And it happened on my 3rd lap last night.

Bell Lap, it's now or never!
The last 300m of the race (I came through 1200 in 3:32-3:33) was an all out assault on the field of runners that lay ahead of me. They had all gone out too fast in my opinion and they were now mine for the taking, and oh man, did I take scalps.  I came into the heat seeded 13th out of 15, ran the first two laps of the race dead last and ended up passing 11 runners in the last 700 metres.  By my estimates my last 300 was run in 48-49 seconds, and I bet my last 100 metres was on world record pace....Bolt best watch his back.

Tearing up the track in the final 100m
So I finished the race, nearly face planted, tried to catch my breath and noticed I had a small but potent cheering squad waiting for me near the finish line! Amberley and Brian joined Melanie and cheered me on during my race. It made what I had accomplished that much more special. Thanks so much guys, you both ROCK!

I felt, without knowing my time, that I had raced a great race. I was patient, let my legs guide me round and round and had dug deep, very deep, for a monster finishing kick over the last 150m. Plus, my first two splits were bang on, I knew I had done very well but I just didn't know how well.

Then they told me. I broke 4:20 they said, 4:19 point something-something. I couldn't believe it. I was beyond started to sink in and I was ecstatic. Then I started to think about it and I realized they may have been off a bit as the timing clock stops as the first finisher crosses the line, I was the 4th finisher. Ah well. They re-assured me I must have still been close to 4:20, and that alone was cause for celebration.

I look sad here, but I'm not. I'm just dying.
It turns out I clocked 4:21.65 officially. That's nearly 9 seconds faster than my B-Goal I had set (4:30) and over 3 seconds faster than my A-Goal of 4:24. I executed my race plan perfectly. I wasn't able to work with John at all, he was well ahead of me for the first 1000m and then I caught him with about 500m to go. He ended up not far behind me, obliterating his 4:30 goal as well!

The night was full of surprises and some massive personal bests from many club members. All in all, we delivered great races and we're gearing up for the last few races of the season. I can't wait to see how our team performs at Provincials and Nationals this summer!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Predict My Race Time, Win a Prize!

So in the spirit of getting me psyched up for my big 'debut' race tomorrow evening, and getting you involved if you can't make it out, I'm offering a super duper awesome prize to the person that meets the following criteria:

How to Win this Giveaway
  • Comment on this post, or on facebook, with your guess. Remember this is for a 1500m track race (3.75 laps around a 400m track)
  • Be the closest to the actual time I end up running.
  • Share a link to my blog on your facebook wall, twitter account, running blog, etc... (and I will be verifying this!) You must have shared a link to my blog in order for me to present you with the prize.
Giveaway Prize

1 Brand New Acuball Mini!

Valued at $40 (including shipping), this amazing little tool has been my weapon of choice when I need to thwart pain plantar fasciitis, soft tissue damage in my heel (from all the incessant kills) or to help gently realign my posture when I sit at my desk at home.

It's also a great dog chew toy apparently, but I wouldn't recommend letting your dog have it.

This Acuball is courtesy of myself, Dr Cohen and the forthcoming online running store

Useful Information when placing your guess...

  • My lifetime personal best in the 1500m is 4:06.8, run way back in 2000.
  • I haven't raced a 1500m in 11 years.
  • My most recent personal best over 5km is 17:10....that equates to 3:26 per km.
  • My finishing time will be somewhere between 4 and 5 minutes.
And that's all I have to say. The giveaway is open now and runs until I start the race, which will be sometime around 7:30 on Saturday night.

The Eve of my 1500m Debut!

Well, tomorrow is the big day. I've been working towards this goal since August of last year and it's finally here. As I mentioned in my goal recap, I had to postpone my debut a month due to a slight Achilles injury, but I'm happy to report that I've put that behind me now.

I'll be racing at the New Balance 1500m night held in conjunction with the Go The Distance 8km road race. The races kick off at 7:45 and I imagine I'll be running close to 8PM in the 2nd section. I'm excited for the race, it will be a riot to feel the energy, the nerves, the ups and the downs. It's crazy to think how times change...a few years ago I'd be pre-drinking for a night out at the club with my friends, but not tonight. Tonight I fight a battle with no one but myself.

If you'd like to come watch there will be well over 200 runners competing in the 1500m that night, and the fun goes down at TD Waterhouse Stadium on the UWO campus. Parking is absolutely free!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Healing an Injury is like Taking Antibiotics

You know when you hit up your family doc for whatever kind of infection you've contracted and they prescribe antibiotics? What's the first thing the doc tells you to do? That's right, finish your prescription even if the symptoms go away. That nasty infection may still be lingering in your system even if you feel 99%.

I've now learned, the hard way, that the same goes for recovering from running related injuries. So you've developed a system that seems to be helping your injury's healing process so you're being diligent and attacking it every day. You are starting to feel better until one day, everything feels right again.  You're either at 100% or feeling really close to that, so you decide the healing process is done and you stop doing whatever it was you were doing (stretching, massaging, strengthening, etc...)

You get back into your normal routine, slowly, and you hope everything stays peachy. But it doesn't.  There are likely many reasons for this, but I have realized that if you continue to perform your rehab/healing activities past the point at which you feel fine, your odds of relapsing with an injury are seriously reduced. Much like antibiotics, you have to keep 'healing' past the point at which you feel no pain.

I'm currently doing this with my Achilles issue I developed in early May. I'm still massaging myself daily, stretching upwards of 6 times a day and since I'm well past the point of being in pain I can now throw in some lower leg strengthening exercises to ensure this truly does not come back to haunt me.

So the next time you're injured, keep healing past the point when the pain disappears. Spend an extra 7 to 14 days doing the same routine you did in order to heal yourself, and I guarantee your likelihood of re-injury will drop.
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