Sunday, February 28, 2010

60km weekend + C4C

With the wet and snowy weather giving me an easy excuse to bail on my training plan this week, I found myself catching up this weekend with 2 longish runs.

First, thanks for your comments during my slump. I'm happy to say that it lasted a whole 3 days. On Thursday I did a weights session and found a dreadmill on Friday where I lasted an entire half hour for what I hope is a total of 3.5 miles. It felt way too fast to be kilometres. I guess the treadmill is a learned exercise for longer distances. I can't believe some people that are doing their 2 or 3 hour runs on the machine! I remember a few years ago when I had regular access to one that I was able to do up to 60 minutes before getting bored. Maybe if there was something more exciting than curling playing at the gym I could have thoughed it out a bit more ;)

So on Saturday I set out to replace a workout that should have been done on Monday with 22km.
I was pretty happy with the pace (5:26m/km) for a total time of 1h58m27s.

Then the very next day, on Sunday, I went out for the longest run of this training cycle: 38km. I wouldn't necessarily have chosen to do back to back with the 22km but time has been very scarce these days and the weather today was just beautiful. It's starting to feel like spring already and I'm grateful for not having to worry about my water freezing or even catching something nasty if I decide to slow down and my sweat freezes over. My shoes didn't like the muddy conditions but then they are on their last lap anyways so I won't worry about them too much.
With a pace of 5:43m/km I would be about 1 and a half minute behind my 4 hour goal for the marathon but then I don't expect I'll run a 22km the day before the race :) My sleeping schedule hasn't been optimal either and nutrition also has been a bit hectic with meals at odd hours and from sources that I wouldn't consider healthy or nutritious.

I must admit I'm pretty happy that the longest run is done. All the upcoming "long" runs are under 30km until race day. These smaller training runs are easier to fit in the schedule and easier to recover from.

Because people are hungry throughout the year, this post is my monthly cans for comments post. You know the drill, you leave a comment and I donate a non-perishable food item. This month's cans will go to the Kanata Food Cupboard. Let's hope we can beat the 5 items donated for January.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Off the wagon

I have sort of fallen off the wagon this week. While this should be my highest mileage week for this training plan, a series of events have created a perfect storm and provided with an easy excuse to put my training aside. There is not much I can do about the amount of work that I have to do and the extra hours that I'm putting in while this is busy season at my department. I also have little control over my dad's health and wanting to be there by his side to support him. The wet and snowy weather does put a damper on any outside run but I could have toughed it out or just found a treadmill, indoor track or gym somewhere to fill in while the street is not appealing. Truth be told I did not have the dedication to get back out there and pound the pavement after an almost perfect 12 weeks streak of training. I welcomed the excuses with open arms.

The comforting factor in all this? It's only been 3 days without a serious workout and I feel guilty as hell. Guilty enough to write this entry, kick myself in the butt and find the motivation to salvage this week while there is still time. The 38k long run this weekend won't run itself and it will be real painful if I don't get a few short runs in between to loosen up.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Snowy Sunday

Funny how weather predictions and actual weather sometimes differ quite a bit. Yesterday's forecast (at least the ones I heard) called for Sun & Clouds. What I got this morning was a bit of snow. Just enough to blanket the ground and make things a bit messy.
Still, having already shifted my schedule around to accommodate the 35km that the plan called for today, nothing could stop me! Running while it is snowing out there has a certain charm to it anyway. The beats of the music, the pounding of the pavement, the fog when I breathe and the endorphins coursing through my veins all combine to create an hypnotic effect and keep me focused throughout the run.

I had picked a route that I expected would cut through the wind and not be too painful. I think I was right for about 90% of the course, so that's a win for me.
I was able to maintain a pretty decent and somewhat steady pace with mostly blue and light blue on the heatmap.
I saw a few other runners out there. One woman I talked with a bit. She's aiming for Around the Bay 30km and possibly a Triathlon. Other runners must be getting ready for the Ottawa Race Weekend.

I didn't get bored with an eclectic mix of music. I discovered Iron Maiden may be the best running music ever, one of the songs I heard today I never quite really realised before is called The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner. Celine Dion, Hallucinogen and Indica also spiced things up for variety.

The reward for the race was a lovely Dim Sum outing with my forever understanding and supporting boyfriend Alex.
The best thing about running in winter is that even after long runs, I don't need to ice my knees, the wind did that throughout the run already ;)

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Not so quiet week!

While the blog has been quiet this week, if you follow my twitter account, you'll know that I was just busy ramping up the kilometers, meeting fun people and otherwise taking care of business. There's also some personal events that have been taking a lot of my time, hopefully the situation will get better soon.

So the training plan looked like this:
  • Sunday: 32km (easy pace)
  • Tuesday: 21km (race pace)
  • Thursday: 13km (intervals)
  • Saturday: 13km (track)
  • Total: 79km
What I delivered:
  • Sunday: 32km (2:59, isn't this race pace?)
  • Monday: 10km (48:34, I think this is tempo)
  • Tuesday: 6.5km with Run Ottawa group (1.5 warm up, 5k "hard" at ~4:35m/km)
  • Wednesday: Cashed in a rest day
  • Thursday: 24 km (2h03, I'm pretty sure this is race pace or maybe even too fast)
  • Friday: 10km (47m16s, blowing some steam, life has been tough this week!)
  • Saturday: Weights
  • Total: 81.5km
I think I'm on track for LA Marathon in 4 weeks. I'm not following the training plan to the letter but I think I'm doing enough of the right things that I'm keeping up with the expectations. Tomorrow's a 35km easy pace run, I still don't know where that will take me.

Good luck to @momsgot2run in the Winterman tomorrow! I wish they had a 35km distance so I could join you ;)

Saturday, February 13, 2010

RIP Nodar

Dear Nodar,

You don't know me and I don't really know you either. I wouldn't be able to point out your hometown on the map and probably wouldn't even be able to pronounce your full name: Nodar Kumaritashvili. However there is something I know about you. You were a very courageous man and had an unwavering dedication to sports excellence. You set an example and inspired countless young people that will dedicate their lives to sports and in turn inspire others.

I was shocked, with the rest of the world, to learn about the tragic accident that happened at the track. The world lost a bright young athlete and I join your family, friends and the world in mourning your departure. I dedicate this morning's gruelling 32km run to you. Athletes like you inspire me to always push myself further to reach and exceed my objectives. It's sad that you were never able to really reach your full potential.

One thing that I know for sure is that long after the controversy surrounding your early and brutal departure has quieted down, our memories of your dedication and the inspiration you have given us will live on in our hearts forever. Rest in peace Nodar.

Friday, February 12, 2010

"Short" 23km?

You know you are deep into marathon training when the "short" runs on your training plan balloons all the way to 23km (14 miles). That's roughly the distance to run home so that's what I decided to do yesterday. I wouldn't have been able to put in 2 hours of running into my schedule if I had to bus home first (~1h). The fact that we were having another pot luck at work was just bonus for last minute carbo loading!

This was supposed to be run at race pace but after a very busy and tiresome week, I didn't think I had it in me and set out for a slightly easier pace. I had great music in the mix. California Sunshine to remind me of my goal race in LA, Anik Jean to set a good rocky beat and Nine Inch Nails to bring out my testosterone and lead me to a spectacular finish, hugging a 5m/km pace for the last half hour.
In a total of 2h08m, it's not bad, especially after 2 back to back 10k runs, both under 49 minutes on Tuesday and Wednesday. In the last 3 days I have run the marathon distance. And I still have to do 32km this weekend, phew!

Today at lunch I did a different kind of cross training and headed out to the Rideau canal for a quick skate.

I have to admit I'm really looking forward to warmer weather. While the extra amount of daytime light is good, I can't wait until I can just head out instead of taking 15 minutes to dress up after worrying about how many layers I need and how to keep my water from freezing. My clothes washer will be happy too, I seem to fill it up with just 1 run's worth of sweaty layers.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Marathon Marketing

If you ran in the Ottawa Race Weekend last year, chances are you received one of the personalised postcards last week.
I thought the these were really cool marketing tools with my finishing time at the front and a spot to mark my goal for this year at the back
This campaign is definitively effective in my case since I signed up for the marathon! it's a bit soon for specific goals but I'll be gunning for a PR for sure.

Time has been rare these days to update the blog and comment on yours. I did make time for a 32km (20m) run on Sunday that was a bit tough in the 15-20km/h winds. I did finish it in 3h02m so that's not too too bad but my legs were definitively feeling it! I'm guessing that the -19 with windchill did not take into account where I was running into the winds at 10-12 km/h ;)

In the mix this week is Les 3 accords, AC/DC, Delirium and Orichalcum & the Deviant.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Cost of running + 3 in 3

I've been needing a new pair of running shoes for a while now and looking around for good deals on shoes has gotten me thinking about the cost of running. While running is probably one of the most affordable and accessible sports, there are definitively costs, especially for long distance runners.

A good pair of shoes will set you back about $125-150 and last around 500 km. Not to forget other equipment such as tech shirt, shorts, tights, socks and hats, especially in winter with so many layers! Other equipment may be the beloved Garmins, iPods and other technology tools making our runs better. There are also the obvious costs of races and travel to races that hang in the balance.

On top of that, there are nutritional costs. Sport drinks are pretty affordable at 5$ for a tub of crystals that will make 8 liters, enough for a few long runs. Other nutrition costs are the more costly gels and supplements such as glucosamine to ensure healthy joints. I expect that proteins and carbohydrates should be featured in higher quantity in a runner's diet than someone who doesn't exercise much.

There are also a lot of training related reading materials, association membership fees, magazine and coaches that can add up without noticing. I'm pretty lucky I can withstand the elements and run outside in the cold, that way I don't need a gym membership even if I did equip my dreadmill-less home-gym with quite a bit of equipment that I hope can make me a better runner.

Adding it all up makes me realised how much money I devoted to running over the years. I think every penny spent running is a worthwhile investment in making me a faster runner, happier person and most probably a healthier human being. If I was to add up all the running related dollars I've spent in a year and divide by the kms I ran, the cost would come at about $2 per km. That's something to think about on my long runs as the bill keeps getting longer!

Life got pretty busy in the last few days so I had to shuffle my schedule around a bit. I was still able to do 3 back to back running days totalling 32 km. Not bad. I was right on the money for my goals both times yesterday at 10km in exactly 50 minutes and today with a 60 minutes 12k. I don't usually have the power in the legs to do anything else than just keep up when I do back to back, especially after Wednesday's fartlek session. I'm especially happy about today's speed profile, almost a flat line throughout.
It's the first time I notice that I run an exact split with my both my first and last 6km clocking in at exactly 30 minutes!

Let's see how I fare on Sunday's long 32km.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Wednesday Speed Play

Today's training session was a Fartlek. While it may sound like a body malfunction, Fartlek actually means "Speed Play". I haven't done a lot of these because I don't really enjoy them. I prefer a constant speedy (tempo) run than the burst of speed that Fartlek calls for. I'm not even sure if I do them properly, looking at my pace chart I'm kinda satisfied that I did some burst of speed. I may try to sustain the bursts for longer periods next time I get around to doing another speed play session. I shortened the duration a bit since I didn't have enough time to do the entire distance prescribed by my training plan.
I think that the out of breath and close to collapsing feeling is normal for this type of workout. If there were two things I would like to see on my next chart is a more constant pace for the easy sections and a longer burst duration. Other than that I'm fairly happy with ~49 minutes for 10 kms. One thing I never know when I do these types of speed workout is how the total time is supposed to compare to a tempo run.

How weird street fair in the mix.