Sunday, 16 September 2012

#82 Long, Long, Long

Sunday 16 September 2012. Over the hump and on our way.

This was week 8 (of 15) of training for NYC. That represents the median for those who know a thing or two about math and means we are now more than half-way through the training program. I ran a total of 167k (104 miles; my highest weekly total ever) during 9 individual runs on 7 days and according to 'Garmin Connect', I've run 685k in the past 30 days and have run 36 days in a row. I got tired just writing that.

I also ran my longest run today which totalled 37.2k and ran in just under 2hrs 42min. And although it was not an official part of the program and was in fact 2 separate runs of 4.2k and 33k with a 10min break in the middle, it felt entirely awesome and is a huge boost to my confidence moving forward. In the last k's I was doing some mental math and figured I maybe could have broken 3hrs for the full 42.2 had I any desire to do another 5k (I didn't!). I also tried a fantastic new energy gel that Doyle gave me. It was from 'Honey Stinger' and was an 'Acai Pomegranate Organic Energy Gel.' I highly recommend it. Kudos to the huge contingent of LB peeps who ran this one today. It was one of the biggest groups to date and everyone was running really well (and with only minimal complaints from Hiddleston).

To quickly summarize the entire week, it went a little like this: 21.1k on Mon; 28k on Tues (11am, 17pm); 20k on Wed including a 2 mile interval at HMP and "Toronto's toughest 5k XC race" in which I barely broke 20min and lost by a fraction of a second to Doyle during a final sprint to the finish; 28k on Thurs (11am, 17pm); 21.1k on Fri; 12k on Sat and 37.2k on Sunday. 167+k!

The start of the LB XC Championship race in Riverdale Park on Wed 12 Sept 2012. 
The sprint finish between Doyle and I at the end of XC. He won by a fraction of a second in 19:39.xx.
The week ahead will be greatly reduced in order to 'taper' for the Oakville Half next Sunday (23 Sept) where I hope to run a 1:15:xx. I'll alter the numbers in order to decrease volume (to 120k or so) but keep the frequency and intensity about the same. I'll also get to take the day off on Saturday!

Runners heading to NYC also got to know our bib and corral assignments this week. I will be running as #2228 and will be starting in the first wave (9:40 EST start), orange corral #2. Luckily, some of the other LB guys will be starting with me although not all of them. The 3 different corral colours take slightly different routes early in the race before coming together for good at 8 miles. I hope to run with Doyle for a majority of the race so we'll have to see what happens. There are still 7 weeks to go to race day but already the excitement is growing among our crew.

I'll have a much better idea after next weeks half whether I am on target to hit my goal of 2:34:xx (sub 2:35) in NYC and have set a subsequent goal of placing in the top 100 overall (last year a 2:37:24 took 100th spot). I figure breaking 1:15 at Oakville or Scotiabank will put me in a good position to break 2:35 and achieve my goal(s). However, NYC is a much more challenging course than both Scotiabank and Goodlife, my prior marathons so I won't be overly ambitious. There is much still to be seen and still much work to be done. My third and final goal is to have fun and enjoy the race experience and so no matter what happens on 04 Nov, I will succeed in some way (a few exceptions apply).

Finally, a huge congrats to Doyle for winning the inagural Milton (more than) Half-Marathon today (the course was a little longer than 21.1k) in a time of 1:16:12 (~1:15:30 at 21.1k)! And to Bellamy for 2nd place in the 5k (also longer than expected or desired). Seeing all the hard work, dedication and group camaraderie pay off is a tremendous reward and boost for our crew and I'll say again how proud I am of all my training partners. Keep it up everyone.

Monday, 10 September 2012

#81 Ticket to Ride

"It all starts here"?...
Today is Monday September 10th and 99% of you who follow this blog regularly (because admit it, you love the controversy!) will know that today marks the opening day for registration for the 2013 Boston Marathon. And while I wasn't glued to a computer screen at 10am to register the second that it opened, I have now completed and submitted my 'application' and am all but guaranteed to get in for the April 15, 2013 race (the 117th edition). For those who don't know, Boston requires a qualifying time in order to register for the race. For me, in the open category (aged 18-34), my qualifying time is 3:05. I bested this mark by a full 28min way back in May when I ran my BQ (Boston qualifier) at the Goodlife Toronto Marathon in 2:36:59. By exceeding the standard by 20min or more, I was able to register today with little concern that the race would sell out (as it has very quickly in past years). For a breakdown of how it all works, check out Doyle's summary on the CanadianRunning website.
No... it all starts HERE!
In unrelated news, today was also my first day of 'school' at OISE (Teacher's College at U of T) where I begin my ~10month journey to become an educator (yikes!). And also, less than two weeks ago, on Wed 29 Aug, I successfully defended my MSc. thesis entitled: “In it for the long run: An ethnography of psychological and social benefits of distance running“ which explored commitment to the physical culture of distance running via an ethnography of a local running club (can you guess which one?!). In doing so I briefly presented a summary of my work which for those interested can be viewed here.

But less about that and more about running (NYC training)...

Another two training weeks are now in the books and one of them featured a number of mini milestones.
On Friday 31 August, I ran a double (11k AM; 16k PM) which brought my mileage for the month of August to just over 600k, my highest one month total ever. On the same day, my total mileage for the year exceeded 4000km and there are still 4 months to go including some massive weeks (150k+) in September and October. Cracking 6000k for the year is a real possibility. I also ran a little further than expected (36k) on Sunday September 2nd which brought my weekly total to 163k (101 miles), the first time I've ever eclipsed 100 in a single week. I'll admit that I did this somewhat purposefully just to say I could and it was not exactly part of the scheduled program (but Rob C still approved). And other than a minor shin problem that flared up during the speed session on Wed (since completely gone), the week felt great and I'm confident that my endurance is really coming along (sadly at the expense of my speed).

This past week I decided to take a bit of a 'break' and back down on the mileage in order to recover from several weeks of increasing volume (and steady intensity). This meant 'only' running 16k on Mon and Tues and a mere 12k on Wed where I was so busy organizing an Ekiden race that I wasn't able to warm up at all but rather, simply toed the line, ran a 34:20 10k and then did a quick 2k cool down. It ended up being a great event and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves. Except Dave Clark who injured his quad. Sorry Dave.

Thursday was a double day (10am; 18pm) and Friday morning featured a hilly and windy 17k on the back roads of Ingersoll, ON. Due to the LB Island race happening on Sunday, the long run was moved to Saturday which just happened to be the wettest and wildest weather day in recent history. I was already drenched when I arrived by bike to the Y to meet the others at 7am. A committed (and crazy) group of 6 departed shortly after for a 32k run up to the Beltine, down the Moore Valley and back again and which at times featured torrential downpours and flash flooding. We all managed to survive (good thing we could swim) and were forced to believe we were better off for it (something about building character...stupidity and stubbornness are character traits!). On Sunday, many of us club members helped out at the Longboat Island Run (5 and 10k) which featured some wicked fast times and new M&F course records inthe 5k (good for $600 each...I sure wish I was faster!). My 'job' was to act as a courier and continuously bike back and forth between 5-10k (the 5k course route) in order to monitor the runners and make sure no one died. No one did so I consider the day a complete success. Once the race was done and everything was under control, I and some of the guys headed back to the mainland and biked to Rob C's to fit a run in. We ended up doing 17k including a section with some of the others who were grinding out their long run. The week total ended up being about 139k, but felt anything but like a 'recovery' week. The week ahead should see a return to higher mileage and the always exciting LB Cross-Country 'Championships' organized by Bert. Good thing the club has insurance.

That's all for this post. Sorry George for the lack of controversy. Just for you, how about I say that although I think that the new Boston qualifying standards and the process of opening registration to those with the fastest times are an overall improvement and step in the right direction, I'd still like to see the standards increase, especially for the women (to say 3hrs for men and 3:20 for women (in the open category)).  And no charity or sponsored runners either! For us recreational runners, this is our Olympic marathon… where only the best should be!