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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.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

When is too much technology, well, too much?

I've always considered myself a bit of a gadget guy, but I'm proud to say my worst days are over. No longer do I lust over the latest video card, the hottest camera or newest car. I'm proud to say that I can now find the perfect balance between cost and value.

And then I bought the nike+ running system. It was a toy/gadget for sure, but it was affordable. For $100 I could track my running progress and use it to motivate me to get out the door. Though it was a toy, it was money well spent.

Then, a year or so later I find myself running lots and I somehow convince myself I need more data, more accuracy, more toys to help me along. Cue the Garmin Forerunner 410. I had heard murmurs of this fancy watch online and one of my club members got one over the Christmas break. I was curious, so I did some research.

Finally in March I bit the bullet and plunked down $400 on this toy. I instantly fell in love with it. The accurate measurements fueled me and I could see my progress. I fell in love with the thing, and then I lost it in Italy (along with Melanie's Forerunner 110). Gah, I couldn't believe it...over $700 worth of technology left behind in some hotel room.

So I came back a little dejected and I couldn't believe I lost Melanie's Garmin. So we went back to running without a Garmin, and something amazing happened. We loved it.

We hadn't realized but the Garmins, as enabling as they were, were actually controlling us. I went by the pace on my watch and not how I felt on my easy and long runs. The moment I was forced to run by feel I found that my legs were telling me things I had been ignoring. I started to think about other things while running, I wasn't constantly thinking about running anymore. I can't believe I had cast aside such an integral part of why I loved running...the ability to let my mind flow freely from thought to thought.

So then I started to wonder, how much am I missing out on because of the technology I employ while I run?

Well after a bit of reflection, it turns out I don't use very much. I don't carry my phone, I don't run with music, it's just me, my watch and my basic running gear.  Then we were at the Milton Triathlon and discovered a booth that had the 410 on for an amazing deal ($289 versus the $349 we paid originally), so we snagged two up.

But now mine has the Heart Rate Monitor, which means I have to fight hard to not get sucked into it controlling me as well. But I think I have a solution!

So, how wll I make sure to continue enjoying mind free running while reaping the benefits of my Garmin GPS Watch with Heart Rate Monitor?

I've made the decision to no longer use my watch on my easy and recovery runs. That means I will only be using the watch twice a week for my key workouts and once on the weekend for my long run on Sundays.  Every other day I am running completely watchless and since I know my 8-10-12 km loops off by heart, I simply have to complete them to know I've done all I had to do.

Already I'm reaping the benefits. My free thoughts have returned and I am productive after my runs. I come back with new insight into old problems and I am better adjusted towards completing goals and tasks I've set.

It wasn't easy to change, and it cost me hundreds of dollars before I realized what I had done to myself. So if you're also surrounding yourself with running gadgets, make sure they don't take control of your habits, you'll find that sooner or later you need to listen to your body, not your running toys.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Simple Running Pleasures: Running Topless

Yup, I'm actually an iStockphoto model!
I had been waiting for this day since January. I was tired of the snow and the long winter that awaited me was agonizing...all I wanted to do was go for a run outside with a pair of shorts, socks and shoes. My three Ss. My 3 simple Ss...

Then it finally came, it got so stinking hot that I was able to run topless many time after returning from Italy. And it felt good.  It felt amazingly good. And then I got to thinking about just how lucky I am to be confident enough to enjoy such a simple pleasure.

So if you find yourself running topless, or in a sports bra, find power in this simple gesture. You are confident enough to bare nearly everything while running and you deserve it.  Very few people find the courage to do so, but you do. You make it happen. High five!

Mid Year Goal Review

As I stated in my 'Overcoming Adversity' post in February, healthy goals are the key to a rewarding career and so today I'd like to review the goals I set for myself late last year for 2011.  When setting goals, you need checkpoints to assess if you are on target, off target and what can be done to re-align yourself with them.  Let's get to it!

Stay Healthy & Injury Free

Rating: GREEN
Update: So I haven't been injury free but I've been doing an amazing job at staying on top of aches, pains and backing off when I know I need to. I've been stretching, strengthening, recovering and making use of massage and physio therapists to ensure I stay on track. All in all, I'm batting as close as possible to perfect on this one.

Break 17:00 for 5km on the Road

Rating: GREEN
Update: Well, I'd say I'm darn close to knocking this one out of the park, and the magic went down 4 months into the year. My 17:10 clocking in late April has me knocking on the door and it's only a matter of time before I dip below 17:00 again. Muahahahahaha!

Return to the Track over 800m/1500m

Rating: YELLOW
Update: Well, the track season is still young but since I had to bow out of my first opportunity in early May I'll give myself a YELLOW rating on this one. I'm not worried though as I'll be racing this weekend and nothing seems to be in my way. I also missed a slew of amazing races as I was in Italy, but I've still got 3-4 other chances within the next 6 weeks.

Log 3000km for the Year

Update: I'm not quite 6 months into the year and I'm already close to 1500km done, I'm right on target for this completely frivolous goal.

Compete in my first Half Marathon

Rating: YELLOW
Update: I had completely forgotten about this goal to be honest and seeing as Melanie had to postpone her debut, I'll likely postpone mine too?

Attend regular physio/massage

Status: GREEN
Update: I have spent many hours at physio this year and recently have not had the need as I continue to do evolving core exercises on my own and with my club. As for massaging, I enjoyed the benefits early in the year but stopped as soon as I added a second weekday workout on Thursdays. I should get back into that groove while I can afford it.

Attend 2 Or More LRDC Weekly Practices

Status: GREEN
Update: I'm consistently knocking back 2 workouts a week minimum and some times three. No complaints here.

Volunteer In the Running Community

Status: GREEN
Update: This is tough to balance but I'm doing all that I can which means volunteering once a month.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Running Log 2011: Week #23

7 Days of running this past week for a total of 86 kills. I finished the week up feeling strong and knowing I could have easily logged another dozen or so kills on my legs. It's a nice feeling to know you finish a week up in solid fashion and still have some left in the tank.

This coming week is a LOW week for me as I gear up for the New Balance 1500m night our club is hosting at the TD Waterhouse Stadium this Saturday. I'll be toeing the line that line for my first 1500m race in over a decade and here's hoping everything goes to plan this week...I don't want to scratch out of this 1500m race like I did last time.

If you're interested in joining us for the 1500m night, here are the event details:

Friday, June 10, 2011

A General Running Update

I've now been back for nearly three weeks and I thought since I'm nearly half done the year that I should look at the last 5 months and the next month or so. Retrospection is a great learning tool!

So the year kicked off with a less than stellar late December and January. I was working through some foot pain.  Once I got over that I was into my first winter base training phase ever, and let me tell you this was not the winter to dive head first into a heavy base season. But I did it, and I was hoping it was working. It had to be working, right?

Well my first test came in the form of a road 10km in late February and I had recently done a 5km time trial that would indicate to me that I would be in sub 38 shape, and on a great day, close to 37 minutes.  Race day came and my stomach was not cooperating. I nearly dropped out of the race at the 7km mark, but managed to work through it and posted a horrible time.  That didn't do much for my confidence.

Workouts kept progressing, and I was putting in solid weeks of running, peaking at just shy of 100km/week and then it all came together in late April for the Downtown 5km.  I smashed my most recent best from last fall by nearly 60 seconds, but I had developed a rather irritating case of shin splints. Those lingered for a while, but it wasn't until I was sidelined with an achilles injury and took 2 weeks off completely that the shin splints sorted themselves out.

And now I'm sharpening up for some track races, FINALLY! After I had to bow out of my return in early May I am just aching to toe the line and feel that rush of adrenaline.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Another Workout in the bank...

Well, another scorching workout Tuesday and today's workout consisted of

20min warm up with 4min pickup @ 3:50/km
Dynamic warm up drills
4 x 100m strides
10 x 10 sec hill repeats with 60sec easy
6 x (3min hard, 2min easy)
4 strides
20min cool down

For a grand total of 18km today in scorching temperatures, 99F with the humidity! I felt strong throughout the workout, finally my legs were able to keep up to my will and lungs, it took about two weeks to get them back after Italy.


Random Running Thoughts

This is just a brain dump of a few things that have crossed my mind while running, thinking about running or daydreaming about running.

Men and running in the heat

Last Tuesday was a scorcher, with humidity near 100% and the humidex at 42C, and we had a workout scheduled at Gibbons Park. Figures.

We got there for 6PM and it was slow going. It felt as though we were running through water and we knew it would be a tough workout, especially when your legs feel like they weigh 3 times more than normal. We did mile repeats, and as I ran I started to notice a rather interesting trend: There was a large disparity in the number of female runners compared to male runners.

We mentioned it amongst ourselves as we ran, but we couldn't think of any real obvious reasons for this disparity. The ratio must have been 4 to 1. Was there a hockey game that night? Were the men at a patio drinking beer? BBQing?

Regardless, the women were definitely out in the peak heat of the day, logging kills by the droves and most men were nowhere to be found.

Farting & Running: The Ugly Truth

This may not be what we want to hear, but it's so pervasive in my running that I felt I may as well talk about it.  Apparently, some study came to the conclusion that runners on average produce twice as much gas as non-runners. Dunno how reliable that study was, but I can attest to an increase in gas production the moment I took running back up last year.

So yeah, I fart when I run. Some days more than others, some days not at all. I'm sure it has to do with my diet and eating schedule, but I'm not too concerned. What concerns me is I always seem to need to fart as I'm passing a cyclist/walker/runner or running through a neighborhood that is packed with people working away on their lawn.

It seems to happen without fail some days, the need to pass gas as I pass someone. I can't explain it. Does this ever happen to you?

Want to Run Smoothly?

Do you find yourself wishing you were lighter, smoother, and more efficient while running? If you want to run smoothly, I've discovered the key. Hopefully it works for you too...

Stop thinking about running while you are running.

Yup, it's that simple. Clear your mind, look ahead and not down at your toes, and think about anything else but running. Everything will smooth itself out. The key here is to look ahead and not trying to control every step you take. Your body knows what is best and natural, let it run it's course.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Running Log 2011: Week #22

Gah, it seems I repeat this every week and doing a weekly recap truly makes this sink in: Where does time go?

I'm so busy that it almost feels like time is seeping away, accelerating as I age, disappearing ever quicker and quicker.

I need to figure out how to fight that, or just give into it and trust that I'm spending my time doing the right things. Anyways, this week was my first full week of running since returning from Italy and I logged a solid 84km on the road and on the track. I'm staying away from hills as much as possible, but the Achilles is still feeling good and not hurting me while I run.

After my long run on Saturday my Achilles started to tighten up, not i had no discomfort, so I figured it was just my calves pulling things too tightly. I've been stretching massaging and took yesterday off, and I will continue to approach my running with caution this week, I need to continue to look towards the future, not just the run I had planned today.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Woes of an Injured Runner

Blah. I haven't run in two days now and it feels like an eternity. I had to pull out of my first track race of the season.  I really shouldn't be so worried, it's only been two days. Some runners go on the injured list for months at a time.
This is something I wrote over two weeks ago when I had just injured my achilles. It's crazy how perceptions change with time. Now that I read this, and considering I took two weeks away from running, my view on not being able to run has done a full 180. In the end, the two weeks away are exactly what I needed. After coming back to training in December, I haven't had a single week off in nearly 6 months, a stretch of running my body has never experienced before.  I guess my achilles decided to make the decision for me.  There's always a reason for injuries. It's just so hard to step back and analyze it, but at least we humans were given hindsight. :D

I've been back for 11 days now and have put in 11 very solid days of running and my previously injured achilles is handling everything very well. I'm making sure it's taken care of, as I'm stretching, massaging and running on nearly flat roads as much as possible. My mileage is back to pre-Italy numbers and aside from some stiffness from the track workouts, I'm feeling great. My confidence continues to rise with each workout, and I'm gearing up for a massive night of 1500m races in mid June!
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