About Me

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Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Trying to reach my full potential as a masters runner

Monday, February 28, 2011

It's official!

I received my latest credit card statement in the mail today and it showed that a payment had been processed for entry into the NYC Marathon...I'm officially in the field...oh yeah!! :)

Not that I was worried really, but you never know what can happen with the verification process. It's just good to know that everything is set. Now all I have to do is wait...and train of course!

Speaking of which, Ian has a very robust schedule for me this week, starting with a 5k today. Usually he gives me a rest day after my Sunday long run, but not this week.

Tomorrow I'll run 9k, then do a 6k track session on Wednesday, followed by 6k on Thursday, 8k Friday and  17k Saturday. Ian had scheduled a rest day for Saturday, but I'm playing poker Saturday night and will be in no condition to run my long run Sunday, so I'll move it up a day.

It's all worth it, especially knowing I'll be running in New York City the first weekend in November. :)

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Tough one

I just finished my 15k long run and it was tough. The sun was shining and it wasn't too cold out so I decided to run outside. Unfortunately it snowed last night and the sidewalks and path along the canal were slippery and wet, making it difficult to get traction and hit the paces I was supposed.

I ran the first 5k at an even 5 minutes per kilometre pace and the next 4kms at a 4:55/km pace. Those paces were easy enough to hit and maintain and it felt good to be running outside again.

I was supposed to run kilometres 9 through 12 at a 4:50/km pace and then run 2k at a 4:45 pace before finishing in a 5:00/km pace over the last kilometre. Upping the pace to 4:50 was easy to do, but the stretch where I was suppose to run at a 4:45 pace was mainly up hill, into the wind and covered in snow and ice. I could only manage to average a 4:48 pace over that 2k part of the run, although the effort to do it felt like I was sprinting!

I think I expended so much energy trying to run a 4:45 pace that I was running on fumes the last kilometre, with my legs feeling very heavy and my lungs burning as I tried to get enough air in to keep going. I was surprised at how difficult the run was.

However, maybe I shouldn't have been as it was my longest run and first long run outside since the half marathon race in Georgia on January 15th. Combined with the slippery conditions and the fact I was layered up and wearing a water belt, thinking it would be an easy run was a bit optimistic.

Oh well, I survived and this tough run will pay dividends during my next race.


Saturday, February 26, 2011

In a rut!

This week has been a challenge for training...lots of things going at work and with the kids, plus I just haven't been feeling it!

I did my track workout on the treadmill before work on Wednesday morning. It was great! Broken 1ks - 200m at a 3:47 minutes/km pace, followed by 30 seconds rest, then 800m at a 3:53 minutes/km pace, with a 3-minute jog at about a 6:20 minutes/km pace. In addition I had a 1k warm up and a 1k cool down, for a total distance of 11.5k.

My legs were tired and I was sweating profusely, but it felt awesome!

Thursday I was supposed to run 10k, but Ryan's hockey team played an exhibition game at Scotia Bank Place prior to the Ottawa Senators game against the Florida Panthers Wednesday night. After their exhibition game, the team and parents had dinner and stayed to watch the NHL contest. I'm not a Sens fan, in fact I despise the team, but it was a good game, considering both teams are bad.

Anyway, we got home late and Thursday I was really tired. Add to that a busy work day with deadlines to meet and I didn't get a chance to run at lunch. I had intentions of running after work Thursday night, but was too tired and blew it off. Friday was a rest day, so I could have squeezed it in then, but as I said, I just wasn't into running.

So I've decided to move on and start fresh today. I'm running a fast 8k on the treadmill in about an hour and tomorrow I'll do my 15k long run outside. I'm looking forward to running outside for the first time since my half marathon on January 15th.

I think that was part of the problem this week - I'm sick and tired of running on the treadmill and can't wait for the winter to end!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

8K in the books

Following a post-race rest day, I was back at it today with an 8km run...back inside the warm confines of the gym at work.

The run was split into a 2.5k warm-up at a 5:05 min/km pace, followed by 1k intervals of 4:55, 4:50 and 4:40 minutes per kilometere respectively. Then I cooled down for 2.5k at a 5:05 min/k pace. The run felt great and combined with a 10-minute stretching session afterward, helped to get rid of the stiffness in my legs from the 5k race Sunday.

I won't be able to make it to the track tomorrow night, because of Ryan's hockey game, but I'll get the session in on the treadmill before work in the morning.

Although running on the treadmill is boring, at least my hands, face and legs don't freeze and temperatures are supposed to rise as the week progresses, so I hope to do my Sunday long-run outside.  

Sunday, February 20, 2011

5k race

Well I didn't set a PR or even break 20 minutes, but it was close....20:03!

It was windy and cold, somewhere around -20C factoring in the wind-chill. The first 800m or so was uphill and directly into the wind. By the 1k point my hands were numb and I couldn't feel my legs or feet. It was no fun.

By the 3k point my lungs were burning and I was questioning why I had gotten up at 5am on a Sunday morning to come out here and put myself through this. But it was too late to change my mind at that point, so I pushed on.

As I rounded the final turn I was happy to see the finish line, but not to see the clock showing 19:55. I gave it all I had, but just couldn't get in under 20 minutes. No doubt the weather conditions were a factor in my race results. But I was able to finish 4th overall and 1st in my age group.

So I'm two for two in 2011 in my age group...I hope I can keep it going!

Friday, February 18, 2011

That was fast!

Wednesday night was another great track session and boy was it fast!

As I wrote Tuesday, the group was doing 7 x 800m at each person's Yasso 800 pace. Ian had set that for me at 3 minutes and 5 seconds to complete each interval. He also gave me strict instructions to stick to that pace for each interval.

I paired-up with Jason again and off we went. The first interval was bang-on 3:05 and felt great. We ran the next two in 3:02 each. I was really feeling strong and much better than the last session when I was still recovering from my cold. It's good having someone run with you and push you. Jason is younger and I think he takes it easy on me, but his presence keeps me motivated.

On Ian's advice, we ran the next interval at 3:04 and then ran intervals 5 and 6 at 3:02 and 3:03 respectively. I was still feeling ok and looking forward to pushing the last interval. Jason agreed to go hard for the last 800m. We started off at a good pace and kept increasing our speed until we were in a flat-out sprint the last 100m or so.

Time for that interval - 2:46!

I was out of breath and sweating profusely, but having that much left in the tank for the final interval was very satisfying. I was certainly stronger at the end than the last track session. That night I died down the stretch of the last interval. And it made me think the goal time of 19:15 that Ian set for my 5k race on Sunday was possible.

So I'm going to enjoy a few glasses of wine tonight, relax and get mentally prepared for a fast 5k Sunday morning.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Track session again tomorrow

Last week was a perfect week of training culminating in a 5k easy run Saturday and an 11k run Sunday. Total mileage for the week - 48k.

Today I ran 7k at an average pace of 5:03. Very comfortable. Tomorrow is a track session with Ian and his group. This coming Sunday I have a 5k race here in town and my goal time is 19 minutes 45 seconds or an average pace of approximately 3:56 per kilometre. I think I'm ready, but tomorrow's track session will provide the proof....or not.

This will the be my second time on the track with Ian, Michelle and the group and I'm looking forward to it. First I'm 100% healthy (last time I was still recovering from a nasty cold) and after discussing the last session with Ian, I know now not to push myself too much and stick to the times he prescribes. I should be able to finish strong instead of dying over the last interval.

The workout planned is 7 x 800m at each individual's Yasso 800 time, which for me is 3 minutes and 7 seconds. Rest between each interval is the same time as it takes to run the interval. It will be a tough workout, but will be a good indicator of how ready I am to hit my goal time in the upcoming race.

I'll let you know how I do.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Ah Sunday morning

I have to admit not training for a marathon has its benefits, most notably not having to get up early and rush out the door on a Sunday morning to get in a 30k run. I love sleeping in and enjoying a cup of hot tea while I check emails, update my blog and check out TSN for the latest scores and highlights.

Now don't get me wrong, I love running, I love training for marathons and I love races. However, sometimes it's important to dial things back a bit and focus on alternative distances.

At the moment I'm training for a 5k race next Sunday here in Ottawa, so the distances I'm running are shorter and the weekly totals are much lower than I was logging leading up to the half marathon last month. The change of pace (pardon the pun) is nice.

And soon enough it will be back to longer runs and higher weekly mileage as I gear up for two half marathons in May and ultimately the NYC Marathon in November. In the meantime I'll enjoy my Sunday mornings and all the perks that go along with training for shorter-distanced races.

Have a great Sunday!


Friday, February 11, 2011

Back on track

This week has been great for training now that I'm home and back into my routine.

Tuesday night I ran 7k at an average pace of 5:00 minutes per kilometre. Wednesday it was 8k at an average pace of 4:47 and yesterday I ran 9k all at 5 minutes per km.

Today I had a great speed run at lunch. It started with 3k at a 5:00 minute per km pace, then it was time to go fast! Four repeats of 100m at a 3:30 pace, followed by 400m at a 4:30 pace. I was surprised at how the short sprints impacted me. After the last repeat I ran 3k at a 5:00 pace, but it took me a good 1.5k to get my heart rate and breathing under control and I could feel the effects of the sprints in my legs.

I'm really getting bored with treadmill running and can't wait for spring. It's still too slippery to run consistently at speed outside and the temperature has not been to my liking for doing my long runs.

The way I see it, there's another 6 or 7 weeks remaining of winter in Ottawa and then I'll be back outside running on a consistent basis. Until then the treadmill will have to do.  

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Home Sweet Home

Well I'm back in Ottawa and even though it's minus 27C with the wind chill, it's good to be home. I've missed Anne and the kids, plus my training schedule is FUBAR!

I was trying to play catch-up for my missed run last Thursday due to my delayed flight and sore hamstrings. I never made it. In the end I was able to get in 4 of my 5 scheduled runs, ultimately missing my 9k long run on Sunday. I did get in two good runs while I was away - a 7k on Saturday and an 8k Sunday. Both felt good and helped get rid of the stiffness I had in my hamstrings and gluts.

I'll run 7k tonight and then get back to my lunch-hour training tomorrow. I only have 12 days until my next race, a 5k here in town on the 20th. I've run this particular race a couple of times and it has always snowed on race day, making it difficult to get good footing. My goal is to run the race in under 20 minutes no matter what the conditions.

This week's training includes a speed session on Friday and then I'm back on the track next Wednesday (Anne and I alternate weeks for the track sessions because someone has to be home with the kids). I should be ready to rock on the 20th.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Travelling and juggling

After my track session Wednesday night I flew to Newfoundland early Thursday morning for work. I was supposed to take a plane from Ottawa to Halifax where I'd remain on the plane while some passengers got off at their destination or to catch a connecting flight and others boarded for the last leg of the flight. It was supposed to be a quick turnaround before flying on to St. John's. The entire trip was scheduled to take 4 hours.

However, a major storm blew through Ottawa Wednesday and continued eastward. As a result, my flight was delayed leaving Ottawa by an hour due to conditions in Halifax. When we arrived in Halifax additional delays meant my trip took 3 hours longer than scheduled. So I essentially sat on my butt in a plane for 6-and-a-half hours!

Not a good idea after a hard track workout the day before, especially when you're 46-years-old.

When I finally got off the plane in St. John's, my hamstrings were tight and my glutes were numb. I could barely walk. As I hobbled to the luggage pick-up area, I was wondering how I was going to run the 7k Ian had planned for me that day.

Well by the time I got into my hotel (about 12 hours after I woke up) all I wanted to do was have a shower, get some food and sack-out. There was no run for me that day. Friday was a scheduled day off from running so no big deal I'd just push the 7k to that day.

Friday came and I was still sore and tight. Plus I spent all day on my feet working. So I skipped my run again. On Saturday evening I finally got my run in. The hotel fitness centre had a good selection of treadmills that could be converted to kilometres and displayed the pace in addition to speed.

So I ran 2k at a 5:10 per km pace to warm-up. The hamstrings in both my legs were still really tight and sore. The 2k warm-up didn't do anything to remedy the situation, but I pushed on, bumping the pace to 4:55 per km for 2k. The run was no fun. My legs hurt. It was almost as difficult as the last 2k of the race I ran in Georgia a few weeks earlier.

Despite the pain I pushed on telling myself this would be good training for future races when I experienced pain and/or hit the wall. I alternated mantras throughout the run - "feel strong, run fast" and "no pain, no gain". At the 4k point, I upped the pace to 4:45 and held that for 1.5k, then ran 500m at a 4:30 pace before slowing to a 5:10 pace for the last 1k.

When I reached 7k I was very happy. I got back to my room, stretched and soaked in a hot bath for 30 minutes. My legs finally felt good.

I'm in Newfoundland for three more days and have to run 8k today and 9k tomorrow, originally a rest day. Then when I return home I have 6 consecutive runs to complete. At least the plan is to be home Tuesday. There's another storm forecast for today and one for Tuesday.

Have I mentioned how much I hate winter?


Thursday, February 3, 2011

Great track session

Last night I finally made it out to one of Ian's Wednesday night track sessions...it was all Anne said it was!

The plan was to run 2 x 1000m at a pace of 5 seconds slower than 5k race pace, 3 x 800m at 5k race pace and finishing with 3 x 600m at a pace of 5 seconds faster than 5k race pace. We were to rest 2.5 minutes between each repeat.

Now because we were running inside my Garmin watch wouldn't be able to pick up a satellite and provide the right paces for me. So I'd have to rely on the times Ian set for me to complete each distance. For the 1000m repeats I would have to run them in 3 minutes and 59 seconds, the 800m in 3:07 and the 600m in 2:17.  

I had no idea if I could run those distances in the times allotted or how I'd feel after each repeat, but off I went.

Ian wasn't at the session, but his partner Michelle was there to help organize and lead the group. Once we had warmed-up and stretched, we were off on our first 1000m leg. I was following Michelle and a group of guys who were setting the pace. By the halfway point I found myself leading everyone.

Was I going too fast? I felt strong and I was breathing ok. I completed the first 1000m in 3 minutes and 50 seconds. Nine seconds faster than I was supposed to run it, but I felt fine and after the rest I was ready to go again.

This time around I ran beside a guy named Jason who was running similar paces to me. I decided to stay with him and run closer to my prescribed time/pace. We finished the second 1000m in 3:51. Still fast, but  I was still feeling good.

I ran all the 800m repeats along side Jason. And while we intended to run closer to our planned pacing, we completed each 800m right around 3 minutes even. Still ahead of the plan, but I was good. No problem with the faster paces. No problems until the second last 600m repeat.

I'm not sure if it was the lingering cold from the week before or if it was because I had run faster than I was supposed to during the first set of repeats or a combination of the two, but the last two 600m repeats were tough.

I ran the first 600m in 2:07. I was now starting to feel the burn in my legs and was coughing up some serious phlegm. So I consciously ran the next one slower. Jason followed my lead and we ran it in exactly 2:17. Bang on pace, but I was still coughing up crap and my heart was pounding. Maybe this was the way it was supposed to feel.

The last 600m I couldn't keep up with Jason and fell in behind two other guys. I thought I'd draft off them and then give a push at the end. There was no push, but I did run the repeat slightly faster than the previous one, finishing in 2:14.

More coughing, gasping for air, I was done!

After I caught my breath, I jogged about 1k to cool down which helped get things back to "normal" - meaning I stopped hacking up phlegm and got my heart rate under control.

No doubt it was a tough training session, but in a perverse sort of way it felt good to run fast and test my limits. And it wasn't on a treadmill.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011


I ran today for the first time since a week ago Sunday. It was only 6k at an average pace of 5:07 per km, but it was a bit difficult.

I guess my cold hasn't completely gone.

Even though it wasn't an "easy" run, it was good to get back at it. Given that I missed all my runs last week, Ian suggested I follow last week's training plan this week and move this week's plan to next.

This means tomorrow night is track night. And from what Anne has told me about her expereinces the last two weeks, it isn't fun. In fact I may puke!

However, I'm up for the challenge and will make sure not to eat a big dinner before going to the track!