Saturday, March 19, 2011

Run for Japan!

As I'm sure you have heard in the news, Japan has been the victim of a huge earthquake and a devastating Tsunami. In solidarity to Japan, I have participated in the Run for Japan! initiative. There are a lot of runners in Japan, in fact the Ottawa Marathon last year was won by a Japanese when Arata Fujiwara set a new course record.

I ran a total of 10 miles (16km) dedicated to the victims of the natural disasters in Japan, their families and their friends and I then donated to the Red Cross for their operation in Japan. It is my hope that the world will unite and help Japan come out of this.

Hopefully Japan can come out of this quickly and return to normal. Some good news today out of Osaka that there were close to 155,000 people that applied for the Osaka Marathon which has a cap of 28,000 runners.

My thought are with you Japan and I hope that other runners and non runners will donate and have thoughts for you.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

New Ottawa Route

There was big news with Ottawa Race Weekend earlier this week. New routes were unveiled for pretty much all the weekend's various events. Notably, the half marathon and marathon course were reviewed to snake through more neighborhoods. Runners will get to run through the arch in Chinatown, go down Preston street through Little Italy passing through Wesboro and snaking alongside the Ottawa river before going to Gatineau.
The new courses still have to be measured and finalized. Overall, I think the new route is a good change and will allow runners to see a bit more of the city. I can't wait to see the type of support that runners will have in Chinatown, Little Italy and Wesboro. Hopefully the stretch along the Ottawa River parkway is not too deserted. We do lose the amazing sights of running on Wellington in front of Parliament Hill, the Supreme Court and the National Archives buildings, but it is very likely that out of town runners will venture to these sights anyways even if in town just for a day or two.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Making it all better

While I was running today, my running buddy asked me if I was having a good day. He noticed a pep in my step and he thought I was having a really good day. My answer was quite to the contrary. I had an awful day. Work has been really crazy lately and the frustrations are building up. Running is a very good outlet for all that rage and long tempo runs like the one that was on the training plan tonight are the perfect way to end the day and make it all better. Pounding the pavement has deep psychological healing properties for me. Hitting the road and letting my legs roar and fly through the dusk air felt like such a relief after a day of complex scheduling and planning issues. The simplicity of running and the physical effort really made my day!

I didn't even use music on my 8k pre-run before I met the club for our regular Tuesday night run. I took my usual warm-up route into Gatineau through the bridges. It seems that the department of Public Works of our cities just decided to give up on one of the bridges and wait for the warmth of Spring to naturally get rid of the snow, you'll notice the dark blue there on the speed heat map.
By the time I got to the running club meeting point, the frustrations had been channeled through my legs and vaporized into a very decent 8.5km and I was ready to challenge the fresh legs of one of the club's faster runner Mark. We ended up completing our usual 7km canal-side winter route at a very decent pace and I finished up with the final leg home to hit a total of 18km in 1h27m - 3 minutes ahead of my training target of 5m/km or 1h30. I figure that if I add in the extra effort of running in the icy/snowy roads and the slowdown on the bridges and the few red lights, I probably could translate this tempo run into a 1h25 run! It is looking better and better for a new PR in Montreal next month.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Cold and Fast!

I am getting back into the training groove and today's -21 celsius with the windchill didn't stop me from going out for a quick speed workout before my work day starts. I hope this is the last time I have to wear a face mask to run, I feel like Spring should be just around the corner but it's a bit shy in showing itself.

This is my first satisfying intervals training since I came back from Miami. I feel I am finally getting my legs back. Hopefully when the weather improves and I can shed a few layers of clothing / protection, my speed will be back to where it was in the fall. I did my usual 8km loop around the bridges into Gatineau. I really like seeing green on the speed heatmap. Hopefully I can run the whole thing in a green tint or even get some yellows later this season.
Even this early in the day there was still some traffic and not all the lights were collaborating with my speed training. Two of my intervals were impacted by ~15 scconds waiting for the light to change. I can't wait until the paths are clear to return to my routes that do not have interruptions from traffic lights :)
I am getting confident that I will be ready for April 17 in Montreal. I'm hoping for a new PR which should be fairly straightforward (I *will* regret those words, I know!) since my half marathon PR currently stands at 1h43m from 2 years ago.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Faster than robots

Machines may be able to beat us at Jeopardy, but they have not mastered the Marathon yet!
This story about a Marathon for humanoid robots states that the race was won in just under 55 hours, with a very close finish of 1 second. Amazing. You can watch the hilarious little guys here: