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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.
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