Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Lost in Trailslation

It might have been the fact that last night's weather was so miserable that resulted in Sonja being the only one to show up to her run clinic, thus earning her the title of "Hardcore Runner".  It was the misery that was last night's weather that made today's unexpected sun (but cool air) so inviting.  Having heard earlier in the week that there was to be no break from the rain until Thursday, I took this opportunity to get out in the trails.  
My recovery has been coming along nicely.  For about 24 hours I considered running the Vancouver Marathon this coming weekend, but with two races already scheduled for May, and the realization that I was chasing my ego, I decided against the idea.  I am happy about that decision.
I went out running for fun tonight in the Lynn Creek Conservation Area and had a great time.  I even managed to get a little lost and had to navigate my way back, ending up running 20 minutes longer than I had planned, but happy to have found new trails.  As much fun as Boston was, I am not missing the training needed for a road marathon.

Duration: 1:20
Location: Deep in the forest of joy!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Back on the horse

My Boston Marathon race report is complete.  Also check out Mike's Boston report for great pictures as well!

But today, I was excited to get back into the trails.  I drove over the bridge to North Shore and jumped into the trails in the Lower Seymour Conservation Area.  I was excited thrice as much as I usually would be for the following reasons: a. playing with the new Garmin 405 in the trails for the first time; b. running in the new Brooks Cascadia 3 for the first time; c. this was the first run that I felt free of training and recovery for Boston.

The run felt great.  The soft mulch underneath my feet and the quick steps over and around roots, bounding from rock to rock, climbing and descending with the lay of the land.  The sky was overcast, but the ground was dry and the air cool enough to keep the blood from my hands.  Brooks has this marketing campaign right now - Sole Mate.  As cheesy as it sounds, putting on the Cascadias and hitting the trails again was good for my soul.  A fun run, no pace times, no specified distance.  I am also still figuring out my new toy, and will have a decent review in a week or so.

As well, the TC10k was today in Victoria.  7 guys finished within 30 seconds for the win.  Jim Finn was a flying 2nd place in a great 30:36.  Other huge performances were Dylan Haight, an Oak Bay High runner and son of a Club Mudder as he went sub 33:00.  Shane, my trail running nemesis, had a great day breaking 34:00 (just kidding about the nemesis part, although I am excited to run with him at the Gutbuster in Nanaimo or possibly the Iron Knee?).  Liam, a new dad, had a solid 35:30 to welcome fatherhood to the training schedule.  Overall, it looks like a fast day out there with amazing results for many people.  I am glad that I left Victoria yesterday because it would have been too hard to watch everyone going so fast.  I would have been left on the sideline, aching to be in there.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Boston Race Report

I had seen the lonely timing mat about 200m from the finish line, off to one side.   As I listened to the names being called out on the speakers,  I quickly deduced that the only thing it could be for was to identify the hundreds of runners finishing every minutes, and damn it, I was going to be identified.

"Finishing now, Bradley Cunningham from Burnaby, British Columbia!"

There.  I had been identified.  My Boston journey had come to an end.

I arrived into Boston late on the Saturday night before the Monday race.  The two prevailing theories about travelling to a race are to arrive far enough ahead to adjust to the time change, to very near to race day and not try to adapt at all.  I chose the latter.

My Dad, who drove down from New Brunswick to spend the weekend with me, took me back to our hostel (yes, with a "s").  I climbed into bed about midnight Boston time and fell asleep about 1:30 Boston time.  

The next morning was spent in the famous Boston Marathon Expo, watching the women's Olympic Marathon Trials, and hanging out with the infamous Bob Jackman and his fiance Jackie.  The expo was a place that you could easily lose four hours in; many a marathon has been lost in that expo from walking around too much the day before the big race, but I took it in and got out unscathed for the most part (although I did pick up a Garmin 405 as it made its world debut!)  After lunch and a planning session with Bob and Jackie, Dad and I went food shopping for dinner and made our way back to the hostel - he for a nap and me for a light run.

The pre race run felt great and, in my star moment of the trip, I found Fenway Park.  The hallowed grounds of the Boston Red Sox emerged from around a corner in the middle of the neighbourhood.  Even luckier, there was game on.  I stopped to look into the stadium and felt the aura of this ballpark, the one that was the bane of my existence as a Blue Jays fan in the eighties.  An usher called to me the runners don't stop.  A quick chat, touch of the wall, and loop of the park and I was on my way back to the hostel (it was only about a 4 minute run).  The cheer of the crowd rose as I ran away.  My thoughts drifted to tomorrow.

Dinner was spent at the hostel and Dad and I met a group of other Canadians - three ladies, two of whom were running and one was cheering.  Tiff, Laurel, and Becca provided the levity of the evening with their lively chatting about all things running, triathlon, and Canadian.  It was a good night, with equal parts pasta, hydration and company.

Sleep didn't come to me the night before the race.  I read until about 10:30pm, Again to Carthage is my current reading, and then climbed in bed.  Our room had six beds and they were all full.  I don't usually sleep well with a number of people in the room, but this was getting ridiculous.  At 12:30 I went to sleep on a couch in the common room and fell asleep by 1:00am, only to be awoken at 1:53 by the front desk guy.  

"Hey, I need to see your reciept if you want to sleep out here."
"Wha?" I mumbled in my waking voice.
"I need to see your reciept."
"Are you serious?  I don't have it on me.  It is my room and to be honest I am not even sure where it is in there.  It is the night before the marathon.  Don't you remember me?  You checked me in last night!"
"Sorry, but they are the rules."

I got kicked back into my room after about 50 minutes of sleep.  I ended up sleeping about 2 hours that night, with my alarm going off at 5:00am in order to join Chris to find our way to the busses which would take us to Hopkinton for the start of the race.  Taking the "T" to Boston Common was fun.  6:00am with nervous, excited runners and people stumbling home after a night out.  We found out line with what seemed to be a small city of runners lining up at the busses.  It was a beautiful dance of packed buses leaving only to be replaced by empty buses within 30 seconds.  And when I say buses, I mean about 100 buses at a time (or at least that is what it seemed like).

The ride to Hopkinton was pretty uneventful - a little traffic jam of busses and picking up some runners who were walking into town.  I talked with Chris and was texting with Bob to figure out where we were going to meet.  Everything was on track.

Athletes' Village was a large city of runners peeing and stretching and laying down (not simultaneously).  We were there with about 90 minutes to spare, so it was great.  Got in line to use the bathroom, and things were good.  Chris and I did our things and when the time came to move to the corrals, we wished each other good luck and took our first steps to getting back to Boston.

The corralls stretched before me and filled all of my vision.  I was in the second corral, and it took me some time to find it.  The 10 minute jog to my corral became my warm up and while I really wanted to pee, seeing all the police around dissuaded me from finding a bush.  Apparently, that was a good decision as I saw one guy getting a ticket and a scolding.  

There are two starts to the Boston Marathon now - one at 10:00am and one at 10:30.  The first 16 corrals go at 10:00 and the last 10 corrals go at 10:30.  Your corral is based on your qualifying time, so the faster your time the closer you are to the front.  I found my corral and made my way into with about 5 minutes to spare.  The national anthem had been sung and the fighter jets had flown over, unseen due to cloud that would disappear in a matter of minutes.  

I lined up at the front of my corral and found Bob at the back of his.  Our plan had worked.  We were to run the Boston Marathon together, both of us looking to run 2:39:59.  But we knew that to run that time we had to be conservative on the downhill start.  The first 10k of Boston has a pretty drastic elevation drop, and many a runner has left their quads on the hills, only to realize this at 20 miles when the Newton Hills begin.  The gun sounded and we were off.

The first km was slow, as would be expected with 2000 runners in front of us, everyone starting to run.  We weaved our way around some but felt good.  We wanted to be smart.  We had talked about that for months.  Don't lose the race in the first 10k.  For us to achieve our time, we would have to run 18:57/5k or about 6:08/mile.

The start was amazing.  A veritable wave of humanity moving forward, all the paths that lead people here finally merging into one path back to Boston.  It was overwhelming, knowing how important this was for so many people.  For me, it was to be an experience.  I wanted to do Boston at least once and the timing worked out for it be this year.  I wanted to do the race honourably.

Our first 5k split came in at 19:47, which we were very pleased about.  We were slower than we were supposed to be, which is great at the start of the marathon.  It is monumentally better to be 1 minute slow than it is to be 1 minute fast in the early going.  We continued on, with the path opening up a little.  Open in a relative sense.  We were no longer having to run AROUND people so we were happy about that.  So it was with surprise the we ran into the back of a wall of people.  

"What's going on here?  Where did all these people come from?" Bob asked me.
"No idea."  I tried to peer through the group, only to see a yellow sleeveless jersey on a guy flanked on either side by larger guys.  
"Oh.  It's Lance."

Ok, so it was pretty cool to be that close to Lance Armstrong, running Boston after two completed New York Marathons.  He had a couple of pacers and a whole bunch of Forrest Gump-type runners following him.  Thus the wall.  We went to left around the group, glanced over our shoulders and left him behind.

The people are what make the Boston Marathon special.  I couldn't believe the cheering that was occurring.  I vowed to myself to absorb the experience, and so I gave high fives to some kids along the way and my head swiveled around, taking in the biker bars ("You go, girl!" they yelled to me), family BBqs, and general revelers.  It was an American holiday and it was apparent that some had started the celebration quite early that day.

10k approached quite quickly.  Not in the mechanical time sense, but in the body time.  Kilometers were passing very quickly, so much to look at and so many people cheering.  39:03.  Our 5k split was 19:20.  Getting back down to where we needed to be.  But a very good opening 10k.  We were on pace.

"My legs don't feel very good."  Bob, while running well, apparently didn't have it in his legs.  
"No man.  You are fine.  Keep it up."  The marathon is a long enough event that you are going to have good and bad parts.  I was hoping that this was just a bad patch for him.

15k.  58:12. 5k split was 19:09.  Bob and I were right on pace.  Feeling good, I was excited for what was to come.  My training had been going better than it had and I was setting personal best times all spring.  Things were going well.

Wellesley College, the infamous screaming tunnel of university girls, was a great experience.  I may have stopped to kiss a few (or three) with signs that read "Kiss me like I am senior!" and "Kiss me!  I'm Canadian!".  

It was between just before 20k that Bob fell off pace.  We crossed the 20k mat about 10 seconds apart and the half-marathon mat about the same.  He was there, hanging in, but I didn't know.  In about a 10 second span, there might be 100 runners, and I was not looking back, but hoping for his companionship again.

The half marathon split was 1:21:58, which would project a 2:44 finish time.  My 5k split to 20k had been 19:31.  The plan had been to hold back in the first half and crank it up a little in the second half.  I was pleased with my split.  However, 1:21:28 was my half split in the Royal Victoria Marathon last fall, and things had gone well up that point as well.  What comes next is tale that has been told before.

I had to pee from the start of the race, so I ducked into a port a potty and took care of the bladder.  I thought of the story of Peter Reid, a friend and one of the great Ironman athletes of all time, running up to a port-a-potty during the World Championships and banging on the door to hurry up the spectator that was using it, calling "Come on!  I've got a chance to win this thing!"

I was not anywhere close to winning.  And things, as has happening in the three previous marathons, began to slowly come apart.  The next 5k, up to 25k, passed and with no real issues save a climbing heart rate.  My split had been 21:20, but I accounted for the bathroom break in that.  I had been conscious of trying to keep my heart rate low through the first part of the run, but had noticed that it had been climbing steadily over the last 10k.  Whether it was the sun that had emerged from the clouds shortly after the start, or the cheering of the Wellesley women, or the fact that I was starting to get excited about doing well, my heart rate had read 180 at parts of uphills.  This was concerning.  It should not be that high unless I am near maximal effort and this was not feeling like maximal effort.

At 25k, there is a significant downhill before the first of four long hills leading to Heartbreak Hill.  It was this downhill that initiated the trouble.  After the initial drop in elevation to start the race, it was relative flat.  No long up or downhills.  This downhill was to be my undoing.  My hamstring was the first to go.  But I caught that in time and adjusted my stride to compensate.  But the uphill was where I felt the first twinges in my quads.  

My nemesis in any run over 30k has been cramping.  I have tried all the electrolyte based solutions I can think of, and it hasn't helped.  Iceland.  Victoria.  ENDURrun.  And now Boston.  The longer than 30k races I have done have ended in cramping.  

I pulled off to the side and stretched my quads.  I knew this was not good, but there was no way home if I stopped.  This point to point race had only one way to finish it.  The streets were lined with cheering spectators to which I had become numbed at this point.  Seriously.  There were so many that the sound had become normalized.  

I started back on the course, knowing that to open my stride was to invite walking to join me in my trek home.  My split through 30k was 2:02:07, with a 5k split of 24:04.  I was in trouble.  I started looking over at every runner that passed me.  It was a swell of sound that caught my attention 10 meters before the 30k timing mat.  The wall of people had returned.  It was with bowed head that I crossed the 30k mat, 2 seconds behind Lance Armstrong.  And I was also unaware that my day had become worse than Bob, who was only 10 seconds behind me.

The rest of the day was spent coming to terms with a marathon build that had been very good, but did not change the result of the other races.  So, it was a slow and steady pace of 9-10min/miles that I ran home.  I high-fived people and generally took in as much as I could.  Heartbreak Hill isn't that hard, just poorly placed.  I got sunburnt.  I smiled as much as I could having seen another race slip away for an issue I have yet to figure out.  Bob passed me and gave me some encouragement.  I had hoped that we would both have a great day, but it was also somewhat comforting knowing that we were still having a similar Boston experience.  But really, you can't be sad on the Boston course.  Too many people offering you beer or yelling out your number.

As I made my way into Boston proper I started feel a little emotional again.  35k came and went as my 5k split was 28:44.  It was cool to see so many people lining the streets, the sounds from Fenway echoed in the voices of the spectators on the course.  I looked for my Dad in the area he was supposed to be, but in a moment of synchronicity, neither of us saw each other.  My friend Jon from Frontrunners had left the finish line at 2:50, thinking that he had missed me.  I was watching the swell of humanity pass me on their way to the finish.  I crossed 40k at 3:01:14, good for a 5k of 30:21.

Turning into the final straight on Boylston St is something else.  The huge arching balloons.  The thousands of people lining the 400m to the finish.  The screams climbing the buildings lining either side of the road.  I tried to take it all in.  Although the day had not been ideal, it was an amazing moment.  The marathoners pilgramage from Hopkinton to Boston was complete.  Well, almost.  There was a timing mat off to the left, about 200m from the finish line.  I had one last thing I wanted to hear before the completion of my journey.

"Finishing now, Bradley Cunningham from Burnaby, British Columbia."   

Friday, April 18, 2008

Boston or Bust

 Last night was fun with the VFAC crew at the Stanley Park version of Beaver Lake, a 1k version of a trail around a lake.  As most of the club is racing the Sun Run this weekend in Vancouver (with close to 58 000 other people), it was a fun taper workout.

For me it was 1k, 2k, 2k.  The first 1k was done comfortably, and I finished in 3:33.  I was a little surprised at how quick it was relative to how I felt.  But that was nothing as compared to the next interval.

The first loop of the 2k interval was spent behind Jay and Simon.  I knew I was working well and fast, but when we went through the loop in 2:57 I was a little shocked.  I exclaimed "Holy Jesus!" and Simon was concerned about that the coyotes had migrated from the endowment lands.  I eased off and completed the second loop of that 2k in 3:10, for a 6:17 2k.  The next interval was more controlled and a little faster; 3:06/3:08 for 6:14.  Both intervals felt good and smooth.  I was pleased to get out and run fast prior to Boston.  As Coach John said, it is about maintaining intensity, but with less volume.  And that is what happened.  Mentally, it was nice to run that fast and not feel as though it was killing me.  When I head out in 4:00/km on Monday it will feel ridiculously slow, which is the goal.

And as for goals, here they are.  In emailing with Bob (of ENDURrun fame - see ENDURrun 2006 race report),  it seems that we are very much on the same page for Boston, so we are going to start out together.  We would both like to break 2:40, but want to be conservative in how we do it.  I am going to try to sneak into the first corral (if possible).  If that doesn't work, then Bob is going to start near the back of the first corral and I will be at the front of the second corral.  We want to start out conservative (between 6:10-6:20/mile  - Boston is all miles, so I need to be accustomed to mile splits).  We want to work our way down to goal pace (6:06/mile) and be strong enough to go faster than that as we near the last third of the race (6:00/mile).  This is all well and good to say this now, we will see how race day goes.  My "gold" goal is sub 2:40.  My "silver" goal is 2:45.  My "bronze"goal is a PB (that means under 2:55).  But, more than anything, I am going to enjoy the experience.  If everything goes wrong and it looks like I am walking, don't worry about me - I will be laughing and whooping it up with the spectators.  

You can check the race out at www.baa.org  My bib number is 2644, so you can enter that in the athlete tracker and get my splits every 5k.  If I am about 19:00 for 5k, then you know I am going well.  There are hills, so some may be faster than others, but around 19:00 will be good.

I won't have my 'puter with me, so I will blog about the experience when I get back on Tuesday.  Until then, have fun!  And good luck to all my Island peeps and the VFAC crew, racing the Sun Run (that means you Seamus and Hicham).

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

A little lost and something gained

Last night, as Sonja continued to run with her clinic, I went out for my last true workout prior to Boston.  Meandering around Kits and the endowment lands of UBC, I spotted a trail and took it for a ride.  I have been on the road so much of later in preparation for the pounding of the Boston roads, that the idea of running on a trail was too inviting.  As I am fully in my taper now, everything is a little mixed up.  Science tells us that the training effect for any given stress (read: workout) on the body is at least 10-14 days.  I have read and heard that it could be longer, but I will defer to Yoda, coach extraordinaire, on that one.  This essentially means that any benefit I will get from any hard workouts I do at this time will arrive AFTER Boston.  However, if I do not do anything, if I do not stress my body at all, my body will not perform at its peak next Monday.  And here, dear readers, is the art of the taper.  How much can I do to not fatigue myself and yet stay sharp for race day?

Last night was to be a tempo run at marathon pace.  I had it all dialed in and knew the plan.  I went out, found this wonderful, easily runnable trail (Salish trail if you know that area) and ran it.  It was my first time on the trail and not wanting to get lost, I did not make any turns off to explore the other inviting trails.  No, I had a plan and wanted to stick by it.  Besides, I had to meet Sonja back at the car for the end of her run.  How can a simple out and back run go so wrong?

Well, first one has to find what looks like a kilometer post and then want to know exactly what pace one is running.  This post has to be just near the point at which you should turn around, half-way through the run.  One has to disregard the turnaround and follow the trail to find the next kilometer marker, knowing that it will only be about 3:45 to 4:00 minutes away.  After not finding the kilometer marker one must go a little further just to make sure.  After turning around one must make a wrong turn and follow that for a while, all the time wondering "Is this the right trail?"  Upon discovering that it is indeed not the correct trail, one must turn around and go back to the intersection where the wrong turn was made.  Then, following the bread-crumbs that one had left, one must run quickly back to the car because one's girlfriend has been done her workout for about 30 minutes.

And that, dear readers, is how you turn a simple out and back taper run into a long workout.  About 20 minutes too long.  BUT, the run felt smooth, if not good.  AND, I perform well in weeks where I have had some intensity.  ALSO, the trail felt so so good.  SO, in the end, I think everything will be just fine.

And to confirm that thought, I found out today that Brooks was able to send me a new pair of Burns for Boston.  I am pretty stoked about that and very appreciative that Kim at Brooks was able to pull that off on such short notice!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Saturday and the Sun

Well, we are getting down to go time.  Yesterday, basking in the sun and 20 degree weather, a hint of the summer to come, I hit the track with Jay, Paul, and the VFAC crew.  Coach John had a "surprise" workout for us.  I remember doing this for my running clinics, and now I see why it was both loved and loathed. 

All we knew was that we had 4200m of effort to complete.  A 400m warm up (70 seconds) and a mile (4:40) were the first two pieces.  After that we were told what the distance was as were lined up to start.  We had about 10 seconds to digest the distance before setting off.

The third piece was an 800m (2:16).  We had lots of rest after each interval, which meant more time to debate the next interval.

A 200m (28 seconds) followed the 800, which meant, based on the math, 800m left.

It was indeed another 800m, but this time we were to go a little slower than our first 800 and wait for John to yell, at which point we were to pick up the pace until the finish.  We ran the first lap figuring that we wouldn't make us run from over 400m, so we entered the final just waiting for the call.  The yell came with 250m left and we pushed from there, trying desperately to maintain form.  I was surprised to come in only a couple seconds slower than the previous 800 (2:18).

I also used the Brooks Burn, the shoes I have used in my previous marathons.  While the Racer ST I tried out on Wednesday wasn't bad, the comfort of being in a known shoe reaffirmed the decision to stick with a known shoe.  And, as Mike said so perfectly in a comment, nothing new is good news.

Today is a bike ride with Sonja, some Masters golf, and some more sun (hopefully).  A thoroughly enjoyable weekend.

Speaking of which, Simon won the World Cup triathlon in Ishigaki, Japan this morning.  Good on him as he gets ready not only for the Olympics, but for the World Championships in Vancouver in June.  

And for your viewing pleasure, Brent Curry, the brother of a good friend and Ironman triathete Scott Curry, is the creator of fun and interesting bikes.  

Friday, April 11, 2008

Ah, taper...

So while tonight was a day off, yesterday was a day to test out the new shoes I just received from Brooks.  The new racing flat, the Racer ST, arrived at my door yesterday and I was eager to give them a go because I was considering them as my Boston shoe.  The look awesome and fit well, but they do have a degree of medial posting.  I have not worn a posted in shoe in about 6 years, so this feeling was simultaneously odd and familiar.  I gave the shoe 30 minutes and I loved everything about it except the posting.  To be fair, I felt the posting the most when I walking heavily on my heels looking for it, but I did feel to a lesser degree while running.  My concern is this - will it be enough to throw me out a little bit?  If so, then..

That Little Bit 
x 42.2km 
big change

Not sure how the change will be felt at 37k, so I think I will experiment with them throughout the summer, but rely on the known Brooks Burn as my race shoe.  It kind of makes me a little sad because the Racer ST had an amazing green in it that would have been appreciated by the Irish in Boston.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Instead of a run, a movie

But it is about running. Spirit of the Marathon has a one night only showing in Canada this evening. Eric and Simon are picking me up to go watch this documentary about marathoning. Sonja, wisely I think, has declined the invite - one should only be subjected to so much geeky running talk in one evening.

Full review when I get back, but for now, check out the trailer.

Short One (30 seconds)

Long One (7 minutes)

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

tready tempo

As the taper has begun, it is not the time to push incredibly hard. And yet one cannot back off completely either. So tonight it was 15k at marathon pace on the treadmill, watching the CBC playoff preview. I know it all now, so if you have any questions, fire away!

The run felt good, but only after a little bit. There is always the adjustment period on the treadmill, getting used to the moving track and the incline. But after about 30 minutes, things felt good and the HR was pretty stable at 160. This bodes well for my body's state at the moment and for the race in a mere 13 days. Guh.

something old, something new, something borrowed, something brown

no.  nothing like that.

old - me.  feeling.  cold.  settling.  sinus.  chest.  sleep?  more needed.

new - race schedule.  trail running community (thanks to mr. adam campbell).  reading material.  rearranged links.  have a look see.

borrowed - 13 days until boston.  borrowed from bob.  damn.

brown - shoes.  vancouver.  rain.  dirt.  now mud.  my socks.

tempo yet to be done.  waiting for playoffs to start.

Saturday and Sunday

Just briefly.

Saturday was 3 x 5 min fast with 2 min rest and it felt good.

My 30k on Sunday was cruise-y and felt decent.  A little dip from 18-25k but that is to be expected, especially when I wasn't taking in any food or gel.  The last 5k felt quite good once I started to hit the hills (which is always encouraging).  Came in at 2:03 which means that it was 2:53 pace for the marathon, which is good since the weather was terrible and I was purposely not going hard.  2:45 is definitely achievable, but everything is up in the air on the day.

Friday, April 04, 2008

3 x 1 7/8 mile

I know!  I mean, really!  Who does that anymore?

The mile 7/8 loop is a well known loop (apparently, but not by me) that is run at Stanley Park.  There is a mile 5/8 loop as well, although I am not sure how to navigate that one, either.  But, we ran out to the start of the loop at which time I was informed that I would be performing three repetitions of said loop.  That's cool.  Or so I thought at the time.

We almost had the whole crew out for the first time last night.  Graeme and Simon made their appearances and Ynuk was back at it after having some flaring up of the IT Band again.  Jay was conspicuously absent, so we made fun of him (we also ran slower because he wasn't there leading the group out).  In Jay's absence, Simon took the lead as we embarked 3.01752k loop, it was great - the five of us tucked in tight and running as a team.  I thought of the Hansons Brooks Project and how they work together during their training.  We came through first loop between 9:21 and 9:31.  I was the 9:31.

The second loop felt better and faster, but I ended up going 9:31 again.  The group whiddled down to Simon and I for the last loop and although we felt good, we went 9:44.  Overall, a very good workout, especially after the Tuesday debacle.  The team feeling is really great amongst the group and we are all looking forward to the summer when we are able to run in shorts and t-shirts and HEAT!

So, tonight is rest.  21 and the casino with some teacher friends.  Sonja is going to win our rent.  Tomorrow is 5 x 3min with 2min rest.  Sunday is 30k and then the taper really hits full effect.  Good times.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

A night off

I saw my chiro.

I made an appointment for a massage on Friday.

I bought more of my magic make me healthy drink.

I ate pad thai.

I slept.

It was a very good night and while I am still a little worn and tired today, I feel better. I am not over the hump of this oncoming cold, which seems to be affecting many others at school, but I am putting up a valiant effort. Tonight is the VFAC workout which I will go to, but I will see how things feel when I get there before I decide to put in a full workout. However, in a similar circumstance last week I had quite a good workout, so one should never write off a workout until the second interval (at least).

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

The second throw-away

While I appreciate that the sun is out and the rain is holding off for another day, it is still inexplicably cold out. This was one of the reasons I was a little slow getting out of the house last night. I was feeling ok, but the legs were a little heavy. I was also a little concerned about the tempo from last week; it is pretty rare that I will completely bail on a run, so I went back to the training log to see what had happened. What I found was surprising...

My tempo runs have all been performed on the dirt road leading into the Lynn Valley (or Creek?) park in North Vancouver. It is 3k downhill (from the Gazebo to the gate) and then 3k back uphill to the start of the run. What I found out was that my first two split (downhill and then back up) were my fastest two splits this year. But shortly after finishing the uphill (at 6k), things went downhill (pun intended) very very quickly. So, last night I resolved to go out more controlled and wind things up throughout the workout.

This worked for a little while. The first 6k were much more controlled and in line with previous splits, but from 9-12k my stomach went south. It was a very slow, but very deliberate, mad dash to the port-a-potty at 12k. I made it in time, but not by much (sorry for the info), and tried to start up again. I began the downhill portion feeling alright, but by 11k I was walking. Stomach cramps, low energy, fatigue were playing together and making my run miserable. I walked out the run and it became my second throw-away workout of the build.

I realize that I didn't lose any fitness last night. I may have even gained some from a decent 11k tempo, but my body is definitely fatigued and bordering on becoming sick. The long sleeps, scratchy throat, general fatigue are setting in, so I am about to bombard my immune system with goodness and rest. This is my first "good" marathon build, and I am beginning to understand what others have experienced during their marathon training.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

I rrrolled up the rrrim...

...and won!

A Donut!


An easy run last night around Jericho Beach as Sonja started her first run clinic. It was pretty cool to be out running knowing that she was, too. It was a beautiful evening with the North Shore mountains showing themselves off like a 14 year old boy trying to impress the girl he likes. While the evening was beautiful, the run felt sluggish after the long tready run on Sunday. I thought last week was to be my longest week; however, I have the same week this week, so I am not completely excited about the 22k tempo I am to do this evening, especially after only making it 12k into the tempo last week.

Heartbreak Hill doesn't care about excuses.