Sunday, 28 October 2012

#87 It Won't Be Long

NYC preview: Only one week to go.

Today is Sunday 28 October and as of approximately 11am this morning after finishing the 22k 'easy' run with most of the LB crew, my training for the NYC marathon is now (unofficially) complete. Yes, there is still the 'small' matter of this final week - which also happens to be perhaps the most critical week of all - but in terms of running, I could choose to do absolutely nothing all week and still be 100% okay (well, maybe 92%). As a wise man once told me (okay, it was just Anthony Davey): "The hay is in the barn."
See. The work is done. Now for some fun...
I wish I could say I was 100% ready to go, but unfortunately, for the first time all year, I have a very minor injury in my right foot which has put me on edge and has me taking extra precautions. Our group ran the last long run (32k) of the program on Wednesday evening and I foolishly wore a pair of NB1400s which is far too light and unsupported for easy running for that long. As a result, I stressed/strained a number of muscles in both lower legs and it seems my right ankle is the one brunting the worst of it. It's totally manageable (with ice, elevation and massage) and should in no way threaten my goal of killing the marathon next week, but it's still something I am dealing with, as untimely and unwanted as it may be. The way I see it, I was able to pretty much go to the edge of my training limits and am now more fit than I've ever been because of it. Being healthy is something I (we all?) seem to take for granted until we lose it (only a matter of time) and running pain-free is something we should all enjoy while we have it.

But other than this small distraction, the past two weeks have gone overwhelming well. In the week post-Scotia, I re-increased the mileage and ran 145km (16, 28 (10am, 18m), 20 including 4x1600m@3:20/k or faster, 26 (10am, 16pm), 12, 26, 16) and felt fantastic doing so. This past week saw 16, 27 (10am, 17pm), 32, 0 (a day off, Horray!), 16 including ~10k@MP, 8, and 22, for a total of 121k but was obviously not ideal. This coming week, depending a lot on how I feel, will be a dramatic decrease in mileage which should total between 75 and 100k total (including the race).

But aside from the importance of cutting back the mileage and letting the body rest and recovery, the reason this week is indeed so crucial is due to carb-loading. Beginning on Thursday morning, my overall intake of energy, particularly those coming from carbs, will increase significantly. So much so that I intend to intake about 10-12 grams of carbohydrates per kilo of body weight per day. For a small, skinny guy like me, that's roughly 600-720g of carbs (2400-2880kcal) repeated for three days! Nearly half of that will likely come from fluids (ie Gatorade) and another significant portion from my new favourite snack, Sun Rype Fruitsource 100% fruit snacks (I plan to eat about 7 a day). My 'normal' diet will make up the rest of what I need, and as a result, my glycogen stores (depleted to some extent since mid-June) will return to normal and then hopefully overcompensate to reach their absolute max (I'll need every ounce of it). And so with adequate rest, recovery (stupid foot) and a ridiculous amount of carbohydrates (Mmm bread), I should be ready to rock the roads of NYC. Mission sub 2:34 commencing...

At 32g of carbs per bar, I'd need to eat 20 a day to meet my quota. I think I'll aim for 10 max.
And finally, in case anyone cares, I did some math on the numbers and came up with this...

Since beginning 'the program' the week after the Cabot Trail on 26/27 May, I've logged 22 weeks (154 days) of training.
In that time, I have run a grand total of 2872km (Garmin Connect data)! That's ~130km a week or 18.6km a day.
That includes 10 runs of 30 or more kilometres and another 10 runs of 25-30k (all in a single session).
The plan also included 18 days of running doubles (ie running twice a day), sometimes three times a week.
(Sadly) It only included 10 days 'off' (ie no running).
Finally, I ran 9 tune-up races and set PBs in the 5k (16:03), 10k (34:16), 16.1k (10-miler; 57:15) and half-marathon (21.1k; 1:13:29) distances.

There is a tonne of gratitude due to the people who got me to this point, in particular to my amazing training team mates, but I'll hold off thanking them until I reach my goal and can officially celebrate (in less than one week from now). Until then, it's time to hunker down and face the impending Frankenstorm. Here's to hoping NYC is still there in 7 days. And even if it isn' was all still worth it.

The crew: (from left) Chris Chapman, (half the face of) Rob C, Gerardo, myself, Gough, Metzger, Dave Clark, Darren, David Hiddleston, Bellamy, new guy Gregor and Conrad. MIA: Doyle, Davey, Rog, Stefan and Simion.

Monday, 15 October 2012

#86 Good Day Sunshine

Editors note: There was in fact little to no sunshine on this day nor during this race. The use of the word 'good' in 'good day' is also the opinion of the author and is not necessarily shared by others in this post.

Sunday 14 October 2012

Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront (Half-)Marathon Race Report

1:13:29 (official gun time). 1:13:25 (chip time)

What else can I say?!

Okay, this is what else I'll say...

It was probably, nay definitely, the best race I have ever run both in terms of how it felt (mostly comfortable), how it played out (controlled and consistent) and my overall finishing time (kick-ass) which was an approximately 2.5 minute PB over the 1:16:06 I did in Oakville 3 weeks ago. In terms of placing, I was also 12th overall (although someone told me 9th at 20k and for a time after the race, I didn't exist at all according to Sportstats) in a field of 9692; 4555 of whom were male and 723 whom were in my 25-29 age category. All in all, I AM the 1%! So in sum, it was simply excellent.

But it didn't start out way. I was sincerely unsettled with the weather forecast in the days leading up to the event, and even the night before which still called for constant rain and strong winds. And yet when 8:30 rolled around on Sunday morning, it seemed that once again, the running gods were smiling down upon me. The rain mostly held off, the winds were mild at worst and the heat and humidity (what humidity?) didn't really have any effect at all. Sure, the conditions weren't ideal... but they were pretty damn good, particularly if you were only running the half.
The new and improved (and accurately measured!) 2012 STWM course route(s).
And best of all, because it was the Canadian Running Series, the course was accurately measured! The new course was a huge improvement. Sure it seemed less flat (especially that 'long' 1km climb up Bay St to the finish), but the atmosphere and energetic crowds in some of Toronto's nicest neighbourhoods including Queen's Park, U of T, Bloor St, Yorkville, St. George, College, and Bathurst, really made a difference and seemed to distract from the Task in the early stages of the race. Likewise, the out-and back along the Lakeshore was significantly shortened from previous years and seeing the crowds of both charismatic cheerers and fellow runners made it seem entirely tolerable. Kudos to CRS for the changes.

I won't bore you with the details of the race, but wish to highlight that my 'decision'/strategy to use the elite Canadian women (Krista DuChene and Lanni Marchant) and their respective pacers (Rejean Chaisson and Brandon Laan) to push and pull me through the first 20k of the race, really paid off in a huge way. I more or less stuck in front or beside them for the entire way, knowing they were trying to hold a pace of ~3:30/k and wanted to split the first half (21.1k) in about 1:14 or so on route to hopefully breaking the Canadian women's marathon record (2:28:36). A huge congratulations to both of them for going for it, and to Krista for finishing a very gutsy race in a time of 2:32:14. A further congrats to Mary Davies of New Zealand who actually went on to win the race on the women's side in an impressive time and 9min PB of 2:28:56. I ran right next to Mary for a good chunk of the way while on the Lakeshore and she was looking very good early on and was even so kind as to share a few kind words with me (probably just wanted me to shut up and block the wind). I had no idea she would go on to win the damn thing. Way to go Mary... and you're welcome for the drafting you got from me in the first half Haha

So ya, I was extremely lucky to have that group to run with for almost the whole race and who no doubt pushed me to do things I may not have thought possible on my own (like running 3:30/k for 21.1k!). I hope I didn't push the pace too much or throw them off their 'game': “Probably went out too fast in the first half,” DuChene said. “We were about 30 seconds too fast." Oops! But I may have gotten a little carried away knowing I was being filmed as part of the live broadcast (at one point the camera guy even asked me to move out of the way). Thanks again to my impromptu race and pace crew. You all did awesome out there!

2012 STWM female marathon winner Mary Davies of NZL (2:28:56) and top Canuck Krista DuChene (2:32:14).
The final set of both congratulations and praise goes out to my fellow Longboat Roadrunners, particularly to my amazing training team, who absolutely tore it up out there occupying 12 of the top 51 spots overall in the half! Dave Clark ran an incredible 1:15 (Wowzers!). Darren ran 1:17, a week after doing 1:16 in Victoria. Chapman, Metzger and Coach Campbell came flying in one after the other all under 1:19 and not far behind were Bellamy and Hiddleston both running sub 1:20 (that's 8 guys running sub 1:20!). Reyes, Gough and new guy, Gregor, were all under 1:21 and Conrad came in at sub 1:22 despite a niggle of the knee. Then it was Simion, Francois and Stefan all coming in at 1:23 and Sharlene C, our top female finisher, in a time of 1:24. And the list of LBRs goes on and on... Congrats to John M, Greg, Aleks, Richard W, Tara, Rob Kay, the other Kevin G(allagher), Peter de Vries, Kevin C, Rob H, George H, Dana, Laura M, Melinda, Jimmy, Juliana and so many more!!! A terrific day for Longboat and the flying feathers.
Updated team photo coming soon...
The remainder of the day was equally (but not equity) excellent in that I was able to spend a majority of it hanging out and relaxing with my training team/best buddies; drinking beers, eating junk food, raving about the race and general running stuff and even watching some crazy Austrian dude free-fall from near Outer Space. That was insane! I then came home and caught a majority of `The Lion King`on CBC, ate a falafel and a Reese's ice-cream sandwich, played some Uno with the lady friend (I lost) and took a nap. What could possibly be better?!

Next up, as everyone should know, is the NYC Marathon, now only 3 weeks away (on Sunday 04 November). My mileage will increase moderately from the 128k I ran last week to about 140k this week, before tapering off to 120k two weeks out and about 100k in the final week, including the race. My goal of running 2:34 is now looking more and more feasible and perhaps, based on how I feel in the next weeks, I might just try to go for something even a bit more daring. Only time (and the taper) will tell...

Thursday, 11 October 2012

#85 Carry That Weight

Despite not really having time for this (Teacher's College is A LOT of work! Not really hard work, but A LOT of it), I wanted to post a brief update to highlight what my training has looked like over the past two weeks, 10 and 11 of the 15 week marathon build to NYC.

In sum, they were intense!

It began the day after Oakville, which has since been re-measured and sure enough, found to be 316m long. That Monday featured an 'easy' 21.1k (a true half-marathon) followed by a 30k double (10k am, 20k pm) on Tuesday, 21.1k on Wed (including intervals of 3.2k, 800m, 2.4k and 800m @3:15-3:25/k) AND another 21.1k on Thursday and then a double (10k am, 21.1k pm) on Friday. Saturday was an easy 11k before the long run on Sunday which totalled 33k but was unfortunately disjointed and consisted of several mini-runs over the course of 3 or so hours. Nevertheless, the weekly total was 168km (104 miles).

Running at home along country roads featuring fantastic Fall colours.
Week 11 was always going to be tough given that it was planned as the highest volume week of the entire program. Coach Campbell aptly named it the "Fat Bastard" and the whole crew was feeling ready to take it on. In short it went like this: 17k on Mon; 34k (12k am, 22k pm) on Tues; 20k on Wed (including 9x90sec hills @HMP); 30k (12k am, 18k pm) on both Thurs and Friday (60k total); a 36k long run on Saturday due to a tight travel schedule for Thanksgiving and which featured tough pick-ups of 1,2,12,1,3,6min on rolling country roads; and then a final 15k on Sunday to top off the week which totalled an insane 182km (113m)! This was the fourth (and final) 100+ mile week of the program for me and I have to say that it felt pretty damn good the whole time. However, I was much looking forward to the current week which would see a short 'mini-taper' for the Scotiabank Half.

This week (week 12) has so far started off high with 18k on Monday, 30k on Tuesday (12k am, 18k pm) and 25k on Wed including perhaps the most challenging workout of the season (5 intervals of 2k, 2k, 3.2k, 2k and 2k @3:20-3:30/k) which we nailed in tough conditions. Many thanks to DC and MDF for pushing and pulling me through this one.

Since I'll be racing the Half on Sunday (the current weather forecast is NOT looking good... 50kph winds), I began my 'mini-taper' by running 15k on Thurs, will run 12k on Fri and will take Saturday completely off (only the 9th day of no running in 20 weeks/140 days). The weekly total will 'only' hit about 120k but is well deserved after the two weeks prior. Following the race, there will still be 3 weeks left to go until NYC but the unofficial taper will then begin with weekly totals of ~140k, 120k and 100k (including the race). Check back shortly for a Scotiabank race report where I feel I am ready to run a sub 1:15 (weather permitting).

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

#84 I Am the Walrus

In a rare change of direction (ie NOT running-related), I'd like to share with you a reflection that I've been asked to do as part of a course I'm currently taking at OISE (Teacher's College at U of T). The year-long course is called 'Teacher Education Seminar' and essentially is a course which outlines and introduces us as teacher candidates to various issues, ideas, topics, tools, strategies and situations that we are likely to face as potential educators and challenges us to think critically about who we are as individuals and what that will mean to and for our development as future teachers.

The following prompt was provided for us to reflect upon and will be the focus of my subsequent ramblings. It is part of a larger 'Professional Growth Portfolio' assignment and essentially highlights my current, but constantly evolving, 'Philosophy of Education.' It asks:

In what ways have your personal values, beliefs, social identities, strengths, personal biases, and assumptions influenced the way you teach and learn?

The short and simple yet unsatisfactory (and slightly sarcastic) response would be: A LOT! How I learn and teach, what I choose to learn and teach, with whom and for whom I choose to learn and teach, where and even why I choose to learn and teach are inevitably based on my personal 'lived' experiences, both past and present. These experiences, in various ways, have subsequently led to the current set of values, beliefs, and attitudes I currently possess which in turn directly and indirectly contribute to my sense of personal identity (how I see myself or imagine myself seen by others) as well as my social identit(ies) (how I am seen and viewed by others). Tied in to all of this, are the various biases, assumptions, and preferences I have/hold towards ideas, events, individuals and ultimately the world around me.

In order to better understand 'where I come from' and 'what I see' (ie to understand my unique perspective of the world...the world according to Dan Way), the following information is most certainly relevant and should thus be openly disclosed.

I am a white, 25 year old, heterosexual, Canadian male from a middle class background. This affords me a tremendous amount of power, privilege, opportunity, advantage and social 'capital' which I may or may not be aware/conscious of at all times but inevitably exists. In sum, I am extremely lucky!

Gazing West. Dairy Way Farms Inc. 
However I did not come from a particularly wealthy or 'well to do' background. I grew up in rural Ontario and spent a majority of my childhood and adolescence living in the country on our family (dairy) farm where I spent many years working hard and building a strong work-ethic and sense of responsibility. My parents divorced when I was quite young but I was always surrounded by what I would call a loving and nourishing extended group of family and friends, an environment which has grown and exists to this day. I was raised Catholic and went to Catholic elementary and high-schools but currently hold no religious or spiritual affiliations. I do not believe in God, ghosts or goblins but am open to the idea that extra-terrestrial life exists somewhere in our universe. I am highly educated, possessing both an undergraduate (BMSc) and graduate (MSc) degree and have been fortunate to take part in two separate international exchange programs, to the UK and Germany, as well as travel extensively within Western Europe. I have enjoyed my education, predominantly of the life/biological sciences and have a great appreciation for the natural sciences and the physical world in which we live. As a science educator, I am predominantly concerned with understanding and explaining the natural world including laws, theories and facts about how it all works. I am particularly interested in human biology and how this relates to health. There was also a time not so long ago when I knew the capital city of every country in the world as well as the formula for every amino acid. I also knew a great deal about the Star Wars films but have sadly lost a great deal of my nerdiness and knowledge of useless facts. Sharing and extending my knowledge and understanding of the world is a major impetus as to why I want to teach and inspire a new generation of thinkers and doers. I don't expect and won't attempt to change the world, but am open and excited to make a difference, no matter how small.

I am also currently highly committed to distance running as a serious hobby and form of amateur sport and so value health, fitness and physical activity. From this I've also come to value competition, performance and a constant dedication to self-improvement and mastery. In other words, I believe in objective outcomes. I also believe in meritocracy and being rewarded for ones hard-work and effort. I believe that individuals, or groups of individuals, are largely responsible for themselves, their health and their overall sense of well-being. That said, I am all too aware that many complicated, complex, and higher order 'factors' exist (race, class, gender, etc, etc) and contribute in significant and lasting ways. The world is indeed unbalanced and some have it better than others. That is a fact of life. I feel that it's important and indeed essential to be conscious and aware of these factors, to understand and appreciate their impact and extent, and in fact work towards finding meaningful and measurable solutions where inequalities exist, but I do not feel this is my main focus or objective as an educator and thus my approach is far more moderate. I am not an activist or an evangelist; I am an educator and seek to provide knowledge and understanding. The rest is up to you.

My philosophy of education is likely to change, perhaps dramatically, as I develop as both a teacher and as an individual over time. I look forward to the journey and the inevitable highs and lows to come. For now, I embrace and accept the person I am including all my various strengths and weaknesses, my biases and assumptions, my preferences and priorities. Recently, during a discussion with friends, someone asked: "If you were stuck alone on an island for an entire year; could you live with yourself?" My response, accompanied with a cheeky chuckle, was 'Of course I could!' And I honestly believe that.

PS: In case you were wondering, I also ran 168k last week, week 10 of training for NYC. Only 5 weeks to go.