Monday, April 28, 2008

3 Weeks To Go - Body is Holding Up - Run Benoit Run

It is three weeks until the Bluenose Marathon. I am only running the 1/2, but so far, after a long period of injury, the body is holding up. This past week I ran about 35 miles and the week previous about 34. This number is not too far short of the overall distance I was putting in on some of my training weeks last year while training for the Valley Harvest Marathon.

Recovering so late has left me a little short in terms of fast pace training. Thus far, I have only run one tempo run and have yet to run an interval run. As a result, I will be short in the speed aspect of my training. Oh well, the real focus of this race is to see how my body will hold up and whether I can begin to train for a Fall marathon in earnest. We will see what cards get dealt on race day. With that in mind I am going to stick in a tempo run tomorrow morning, but may not do any speed work after that to let my body begin to rest up in preparation for the race.

Congratulations go out to Keith Benoit on his recent Boston Marathon. He finished in 3:12:20, which is a great time considering the hills in Boston and the size of the field which invariably slows you down during the early miles. Besides, it gives me a good time to shoot for this Fall :)

Keith is the one in the yellow shirt in the photos.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

All Geeked Out

I have my wife to thank for the above. For the non-runners amongst you, it is a Garmin 305 - a GPS enabled watch that allows one to keep track of such things as current pace, overall pace, heart rate, etc. The great thing is that all of that information can then be downloaded to a computer for analysis later.

The graph shows some details of my run today - heart-rate and pace over the distance. I have to admit that it is ultra-cool to be able to click anywhere on the graph and be shown on a satellite image exactly where I was running at that time.

I am continuing to run at a much better pace in training than last year. Take today for example, on my long run (13.1 miles) I ran at about a 7:30 min/mile pace - almost exactly 1 min/mile faster than last year. Amazing what a few lost pounds can do.

The 13.1 miles were chosen for a specific reason. Up until recently, I harboured no hope of being able to compete in the Bluenose Marathon or 1/2 marathon, however, over the past couple of weeks things have made me much more optimisitic. The objective of today's run was simply to prove that I could run the 1/2 marathon distance before signing up. I am happy to report that I finished the run without any big issues and as a result have signed up for the Bluenose 1/2. I still wish the injury would not have cropped up as I would have liked to run the full marathon. Oh well, the key is that I will be out there for the half and looking forward to it... perhaps moreso than if I had been able to train without issue all Winter. Perspective is a wonderful thing.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Spring - In My Step

There is a little bit of Spring in my step this morning. Last night I decided that the time was right to start easing back into some real training. With that in mind, I set out for an Tempo run this morning. For those of you who are reading this and don't have a running background, a Tempo run is essentially running a hard, but controlled, pace. Physiologically you should be right around your anaerobic threshold - the highest effort level at which your body can perform without building up lactic acid. Now with that out of the way, the following is from this morning's training log:

First Tempo run since getting injured. Felt good although I did struggle a little between miles 3 and 4 of the Tempo.

The breakdown:

2 warmup miles @ 8:10 min / mile
4 miles @ 6:26 min / mile
2 cooldown miles@ 8:08 min / mile

I am pretty excited as I haven't run a tempo run since last Fall and to be able to go at a 6:26 pace for 4 miles first time out is certainly helping with my mental outlook and has put a Spring in my step.

Monday, April 14, 2008

A Life More Ordinary

I am happy to report that my leg continues to improve and, as a result, my mileage and running consistency continues to improve. I am moving towards a more ordinary state of training which is great!! The following is from last week's log:

Tue 7 miles - 7:48 min / mile pace
Wed 6 miles - 7:47 min / mile pace
Fri 5 miles - 8:04 min / mile pace
Sat 9 miles - 7:41 min / mile pace
Sun 4 miles - 8:30 min / mile pace

You will notice that everything is being run at a pretty consistent pace. As I am still coming off of my injury I am just thinking about getting my mileage up and getting back in the groove as opposed to any specific hill, tempo or interval training. Right now, it is just about getting out the door and getting some miles in. The exception to this was Sunday, when I deliberately slowed things down a bit to make sure I recovered from the previous 9 mile run on the previous day. I also slowed my pace down this week on the other runs by about 10 - 20 seconds per mile as I want to avoid re-injuring myself. So far things are looking pretty good.

This leads me to thoughts that haven't entered my head for some time, training for a marathon. I am beginning to think about writing out a training plan to get me in shape for a PR this Fall. I want to be really prepared this time around as opposed to last Fall when I entered my first and so far only marathon after only 8 weeks training. That time I learned to respect the distance more in future. With that comes the need for a plan. Helmuth von Molke said the following:

" No battle plan survives contact with the enemy"

This will be my credo while I train. I am going to write down my plan, but will not be so rigid as to follow it no matter what. If I am feeling lethargic, or like an injury may be coming on, I will alter the plan to ensure I stay healthy. However, I look at the plan as a base from which I can be successful this Fall. Hopefully, I won't look like the above photo afterward next time around.

Next - good luck wishes to Keith Benoit as he sets out to run the Boston Marathon one week from today. Have a great one man!!! If things go well for me in the Fall, perhaps we can line up together next year.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

A Strange Incident

Slowly but surely, I think I am beginning to round back into shape. I still have some pain in my knee, but with each week it is diminishing - I am seeing progress. Take last week for example, I ran 5 times - something I have not been able to do since getting injured.

Monday: approx 6 miles
Wednesday: approx 4 miles
Friday: approx 6 miles
Saturday: approx 4 miles
Sunday: 8.2 miles

This is not an overwhelming amount of mileage, but considering where I have been I'll take it. All days except for Sunday represent estimates. I was really beginning to get curious about pace and what my real distances were so on Sunday I took the trouble to measure my run online. Lo and behold - my estimate of 7.5 miles was short by quite a bit. Essentially, as part of recovery I was estimating my distances based on my relaxed running pace last year prior to the injury. Typically, I had been running about 8:20 per mile during these sessions. Given that I was running coming out of an injury I had guessed my pace would be no better. Making my calculations, however, I now realize that I am considerably faster right now than I was last year. The 8.2 I ran on Sunday worked out to be about a 7:30 pace. Considering I was running a easy relaxed pace this is much better than I expected. I guess losing 20 pounds has had some impact.

Now to the strange incident. During Sunday's run I had something happen to me that has never happened before. I was running along my usual route when a police car headed towards me with its lights flashing. Thinking that it was going to stop a car for speeding heading in the opposite direction, I remained blissfully ignorant to it. A couple of moments later, I noticed that I was the focus of the officers intentions as the car slowed down and the officer made a waiving motion for me to stop (I can't say pull over as I was already on the shoulder of the road). Anyway, I was perplexed as to what was going on and to make light of things asked the officer, "Am I going to fast?" As it turns out, this wasn't the issue. Currently, there is a criminal in the Halifax area who escaped from prison guards enroute from a prison to day surgery at a local hospital. He is considered armed and dangerous and they, the police, happened to be tracking him a mile or so from where I was running. Apparently, runners can spook tracking dogs causing a potential incident and can be considered "hostage bait" for escapees. So the officer kindly asked me to change my route for the day and rerouted me in the opposite direction. It was all perfectly explainable, but quite strange to come to the realization that your are being stopped by the police while running.

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