Monday, 27 August 2012

#80 Not a Second Time

"Wow. That's a lot of running!"

That, the response of my mother NOT to me running 150km last week, but to my brother playing 6 ball hockey games in the span of 2 days! Haha Oh, and apparently according to my brother, Toronto is full of a bunch of 'fairies.' See, being controversial runs in my family.

So ya, this week (NYC Marathon build week 5) was pretty crazy. It started with an easy/aerobic 18k run with Doyle up through Prospect Cemetary and out and back on the beltline and which felt fantastic... probably because it wasn't 30 million degrees plus humidity. Tuesday was a 17k run west along the Lakeshore/MGT on my own until I ran into some random local dude who is also running NYC in November and who just happens to also want to run a 2:34. How weird is that?! This was particularly exciting for me since finding people to run with gets increasingly difficult as you get faster ("Oh woe is me, it's so lonely at the front"). This also goes to show how incredible and unique our current group at LB is right now, with 10 or so strong, and all guys (and a gal) capable of running sub 3hrs and some knocking off sub 2:50s and sub 2:40s.

Wednesday evening featured the workout of the season so far and perhaps the hardest one of the program. I was sure glad to have my LB brethren with me to get this one done. 3k warm-up plus 5 strides to wake up the legs, then 4 intervals, 2 times 3200m and 2 times 2000m all at 10k pace and with only ~500m recovery. I managed to hit 3:24, 3:26, 3:20 and 3:23/k for the intervals respectively and totalled 22k for the day. Combined, I ran faster than my current 10k pace (34:20; 3:26/k) for longer than 10k! It would also turn out to be faster than my race later in the week.

Thursday was the first of 2 double days back to back. I ran 10k in the morning on my way to meet Steve Metzger and together we spent a majority of the day driving around the city picking up supplies for the Sunset Shuffle (a 6k race on Toronto Island put on by Longboat) and later setting up and prepping for the race on the island. An hour before the race, at 6pm or so, I and some of the other guys (including a much missed Anthony Davey who had been sidelined with injury for far too long) ran 16k around the Island including the last few k's on the race course to check out the finish. 26k for the day.

The next day was more of the same. A 10k easy run in the morning on my own and then a 16k run in the afternoon, this time with a mostly different group of guys (and gal) in High Park and up and back down the Humber Valley Trail system. We saw a doe with its fawn right along side the trail which was super cool. Unfortunately, we didn't see the missing dog that Shar had us out searching for.

On Saturday, Melinda and I (and Charlie) were set to drive to my home in Ingersoll, so woke up super early to squeeze in a 12k run (the dog stayed home). We then hit the road and spent a busy day with my family in the 'country' where we lounged by the pool, played crokinole (Melinda is terrible) and 'the Mexican train game', ate Oma's pancakes, and I said farewell to Tom Butler who heads to Teacher's College in Thunder Bay.

On Sunday, I ran my hometown 10k race, the Ingersoll Harvest Run. This year, my fifth year running it, I was kinda hoping to win the damn thing to cross it off from my list of lifetime running goals (...To win my hometown race!). I sorta figured 34min or so would win it and I also feel that's conveniently where I'm at in terms of my current fitness (also based on the Wed workout). Moreover, there was no pesky Warren Ringler there this year to beat me. Turns out I would be more or less right about the winning time (33:54) but unfortunately it wouldn't be me breaking the tape. In fact, I wasn't even close! Some college kid who runs XC for Western turned up and went out fast and never really faded. I found myself in 4th place from 100m into the race and was at least 10sec behind at the first kilometre. Because the 5 and 10k races started at the same time and followed the same route for awhile, I convinced myself that the group of 4 who went out blazing fast were all running the shorter race. They continued to pull away and as we approached the point where the two races split apart, I was eagering expecting the runners to all turn left while I veered right. Much to my dismay, 3 of the 4 runners all went right to follow the 10k course. My heart sunk immediately as I found myself running alone in 4th place while the top 3 guys sprinted off ahead in a lead pack. To make matters worse, it was hot, humid and surprisingly windy. Not a day for fast running! At 1k, my split was 3:24, right on target for a 34 flat. However by the 5k mark at the half, ~17:30 had already passed and I figured that just running a sub 35 would be a massive struggle.

Somehow I managed to maintain my composure and even though I would say that this race was one of my least enjoyable experiences, I found myself holding pace and little by little the runners ahead were slowly coming back to me. The pack of 3 had broken apart around 3k as one of the runners, the eventual winner, pulled easily away, leaving the two others to struggle. At 8k I caught the 3rd place guy and sailed past him to prevent him putting up a fight. He was hurting badly and couldn't even throw a punch (he would finish more than a minute behind me). It took all of another k to get the 2nd place guy who did manage to fight back a little but was also clearly paying the price for the early fast pace. I made a move to pass him with speed and while he tried to hold on for a few seconds, he too fell off and further behind. The last k featured a longish gradual downhill which I used to build some speed and then a short steep uphill which I cruised up and ensured that the 3rd place guy was as good as gone. I saw the leader up ahead but the gap was at least 300m and I had no time or distance left in the race. I sped to the finish covering the last k in 3:15 and finished in a time of 34:35 (3:28/k). At first I was neither happy with my time (~20sec off my PB) or place (who is ever happy with 2nd?!), but have now come to realize that given the days conditions, the time is actually pretty descent (especially considering the not-so-flat course) and was also happy that I managed to claw back two spots and place second while running an impressive negative split.

But perhaps even less enjoyable than the race itself was the fact that I still had to somehow squeeze in another 13k for the day which I did as part of two cooldown runs (interupted by the 'awards' ceremony... where I only got a medal). I wouldn't count it as a long run but I still managed to hit 28k for the day (5k WU + 10k race + 8k post-race run + 5k CD). As mentioned, that brought my total for the week to 150k (perhaps another reason to figure that running a 34:35 is not too shabby).

This week I have no idea what I'm supposed to run as I've so far refused to look at the schedule. No doubt it involves a significant amount of running (although perhaps not 150k) and what I hear is another brutal workout on Wed.

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