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Race Recap: Sporting Life 10K (2015)

May 11, 2015 1 comment

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I suppose a Race Recap is in order (as apparently that’s a thing that I do).  Yesterday I ran the Sporting Life 10K in Toronto with my wife, my cousin, and a few other friends of ours.  This is the 3rd year in a row my cousin and I have run this race together.  It’s become a really nice tradition.  And, as this is now my 3rd race recap of this same race, there’s not a lot new to be said.

1:08:41.2

Meh.  I had fun!

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My personal best 10k time came on this same course last year at 1:00:07.  I was really hoping for my first sub 1 hour time, but it wasn’t meant to be.  The list of excuses includes:

  • It was fucking hot!  17°C at 8:30am
  • It was fucking humid!  All week I’d been complaining about the forecasted 80% chance of thunderstorms that never came.  I got the dry run that I wanted, but all that humidity just bogged me down
  • I was undertrained.  Last year I did a much better job of base run training in the winter.  This year I didn’t.  And I’ve done about a half dozen outdoor runs so far in 2015, all of them at Long Slow Distance pace
  • I had dinner out at a pub, with a beer (or more), each of the two evenings leading up to the race

It’s not that I want to belittle the results – but I’m behind on my training, and I can’t fix that overnight.  And I also can’t control the weather.  So I don’t want to dwell on what was for me a disappointing finish time.  But I did have fun, and got to spend time with great people.  Win.

6 weeks to TTF.  Keep to the training plan, keep putting in the work, and keep having fun.  And maybe lay off the pub food a bit…

Race Recap: Sporting Life 10K (or The Seven Second Conundrum)

May 11, 2014 Leave a comment

SL10k2014D&C

Post race selfies!  So great.  And since the picture already spoiled it: I finished, and got a finisher’s medal.  It’s shaped like a canoe paddle.  How cool is that?!

Anyway, let’s start at the beginning…

This morning, my cousin and I did our 2nd annual running of the Sporting Life 10k in Toronto.  It was a great morning!  This race has become something of a tradition for us – it’s about racing our best, but it’s also a chance for us to visit and catch up.  This is a race weekend I really look forward to.

We knew the race started at 8:00am, and that our wave (based on expected finish time) would head out at 8:20.  I crashed at my cousin’s place in downtown TO last night, and we walked out to flag a cab to the start line at 7:30.  On any other day, walking out onto King St in Toronto, there’s a cab driving by every 30 seconds or so.  Getting a cab is taken for granted.  This morning, apparently not so.  We would discover that – with 28,000 runners all trying to take taxis across town to the starting line of this point-to-point race – there was a scarcity of cabs in the city.  10 minutes later, we were seriously starting to worry about even making it to the start of the race.  Phone calls to various taxi companies were going unanswered.  Then – miraculously – a taxi dropped off a fare right outside my cousin’s condo building.  Convenient!  We made it to the start line around 8:15.  Just barely in time for our wave to start (and well after the elite runners were off).

The starting line went much smoother than it did last year.  We set off with our wave this time (as opposed to last year, when runners were sort of ignoring their waves and heading out when they chose – and thus so did we).  Thousands of runners heading out together – it took us several minutes after the race gun to shuffle across the start line.  But once we got across, the race felt great.  I felt energetic – light – fast.  I felt good.  My cousin and I were zig-zagging through runners from our wave.  We were racing!  It was so much fun!  We were off at a blistering pace (a bit of foreshadowing, for you veteran running race-ers out there…)

My cousin and I stayed together until somewhere around the 4km mark.  I wasn’t sure at the time if I got ahead of her, or if she got ahead of me.  At that point, I was on my own.

The rest of the run was pretty uneventful.  I ran the whole race, which I was quite proud of (apart from a 5 second walk break at one of the water stations – let’s face it, running through a water station ends up as more of a face wash than a drink).  But the run felt long.  Boring almost.  And then I noticed how quiet it was.  Not that there weren’t thousands of other runners running all around me, or spectators lining the route cheering – which was awesome!!  But the bands were missing!  Last year there were live musicians on stages at every kilometer marker.  This year, nothing.  I was so disappointed!  Live music lining the course was one of my favorite parts of the run last year.  Note to new race director: bring that back next year!!  Getting rid of the live music was a mistake!

By the 9km sign I was fully engaged in a mental battle with myself – willing myself to keep pushing hard through the finish.  I was running out of gas, but I knew I had started out strong and had a shot at a Personal Best time.  I only had 1km to go.  So I kept arguing with myself to push through the end.

I crossed the finish line at 9:25:xx (clock time).  Dammit.  Clock time.  I know our wave started at 8:20, but by the time the thousands of runners had advanced through the starting chute, I didn’t notice what time I went across.  Did it take us 5 minutes?  3 minutes?  8 minutes?  I was done, but I had no idea what my chip time was.  Note to self: start wearing a running watch while racing!

It was several hours later before we were able to look our chip times up online.  I ran a personal best time after all: 1:00:07.3

1 hour and 7.3 seconds!!!

On one hand, I just ran a personal best time – 2:30 faster than I had ever run a 10k before.  That’s so awesome!

On the other hand, I missed out on a sub one hour run by 7.3 seconds!  7.3 SECONDS!!!

If I had just run 1 second per km faster over the race, I could have made it (or, more realistically, if I had paced myself a hair better and not run out of gas at the end I could have made it).  Note to self: start wearing a running watch while racing!

It’s now a few hours later.  I’ve left Toronto and come back home.  I’ve wrestled with this conundrum for a few hours.  And I’ve decided I’m really happy with my run.  The elusive 1 hour mark is still out there.  I haven’t conquered that mountain yet.  But I went into this trained and ready, and hoped for a personal best time.  And I got one.  And yet, in spite of a personal best time, I’m now more motivated than ever to get back to training and put the work in to get faster!

First race of the year is in the books.  Now it feels like the race season is underway!  What a great day!

~DO’G

Ready To Go

May 3, 2014 2 comments

SL10K-new

I just finished my last long run before my first race of the year, next weekend’s Sporting Life 10k.  I feel ready.  Ready not only to run this race, but to get my race season underway.  It’s time to get this shit going!

I haven’t had a race since mid September.  I’ve felt a bit lost in the wilderness ever since then.  Like I’m training without urgency.  Like skipping a workout isn’t a problem, because race day is still so far away.  Well not anymore.  It’s time to kick off the 2014 season!  I’m seriously excited about this!!!

I raced this same race last year – I wrote a pretty extensive race preview at that time.  I don’t have much different to say this year as far as race previews go.  The race is sold out this year – 28,000 runners expected.  I can’t wait.  Plus, I get to run again with my cousin, which I always enjoy.  PLUS, this race last year is where I set my 10k Personal Best time (1:02:41) – and I kinda think I might have a shot at beating it this year.  My weight is down about 10lbs since this time last year.  My average running speed is :15 – :30 per km faster than it was this time last year.  I’m not feeling ‘under-trained’, as I did this time last year (so says my race preview post from last year).  And this is a course designed for Personal Best times:

All.  Down.  Hill.

All. Down. Hill.

Seriously excited.  Seriously ready to go.  Seriously ready to get this race season started!!!

 

Friday Stray Thoughts

April 25, 2014 1 comment

FridayImage by Glenn McCoy

Happy Friday everyone!  For those of you looking for a little light lunchtime internet distraction to tide you over until quitting time, here’s a few Stray Thoughts for your Friday Afternoon

– – – – –

Yesterday morning I went for a treadmill run.  I realized it was the first time I’d been for a pre-work early morning treadmill run in a long time (lately I’ve been focusing on swimming during my early morning sessions, and saving my running for outdoors after work or on weekends).  Getting on the treadmill means going to the gym.  Going to the gym means stepping on the gym scale.  Apparently I’ve gained 4 not-happy lbs since I last stepped on the gym scale.  Not impressed, but what can you do.  Keep moving fighting the good fight, I guess…

– – – – –

In other possibly related news – Easter chocolate is really tasty.  It’s possible I’ve had more of it than I should these past few days…

– – – – –

16 days to go until my first race of the year: The Sporting Life 10k.  I’m not sure if I ever mentioned on this blog that I signed up for this race?  Well, I did.  And I’m really looking forward to it.  My Personal Best 10k time is from this same course in last year’s race.  And in my training runs so far this spring, I’m running a reliable 30 seconds/km faster than I was this time last spring.  Does that mean I’ll beat my PB time by a full 5 minutes?  Doubtful.  But maybe it means I have a real shot at giving my own PB time a run for it’s money (sorry – every Friday needs a bad pun, amiright?)

– – – – –

16 days is really not so far away.  Though my running splits may be faster, my running overall has been less consistent than I would like.  I’m getting 2-3 runs in per week… I guess that’s really not terrible.  I keep planning to do 4 runs each week, but it never seems to work out that way.  I’m thinking hoping the realization that my first race is right around the corner will help with the training motivation.  Nothing like a race coming up to kick your ass into gear, right?

– – – – –

Have a great weekend everybody!  Good Luck to everyone racing or training this weekend!!!

Today’s a Couch kinda day

April 5, 2014 Leave a comment
Not Today!!

Not Today!!

Today is a Couch kinda day!

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I appreciate that my training plan has a long run scheduled for today.  That’s nice.  But it’s not gonna happen.  Winter just doesn’t seem to want to go away.  It’s cold outside again today, and there’s a new dusting of snow on the ground.  Plus, I have the house to myself.  If ever there was a day to sit on the couch in my sweatpants, with a blanket and a Harry Potter book, this is it!  Especially since the rest of the week looks so much better:

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That’s right.  Tomorrow is going to feel 19° warmer than today.  19 whole degrees!  And be sunny!  I think my long run can wait a day, don’t you?

What would you do with a sudden day off to yourself?

Opening Day

March 31, 2014 Leave a comment

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It’s the Happiest Day of the Year!!

Opening Day – the truest sign of spring I know.  Summer is on the way.  Baseball is back.  Life is good.  And like every year, it means an afternoon off work!  Happiest day of the year indeed!

And what a perfect day to take an afternoon off work:

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It’s sunny.  It’s warm (relatively speaking).  It’s a great day to get out of the office.  And while I’m currently parked on the couch ready for first pitch in about 5 minutes, I didn’t completely waste this brilliant afternoon:

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Okay – I look really grumpy there.  Selfie fail.  ‘Cause I really wasn’t.  I was outside for a run, without a jacket.  And in SHORTS!!!  I discovered that it’s really hard to take a full body selfie – my arms just aren’t that long – so you’ll have to trust me I’m outside in shorts (besides, nobody really needs to see those pasty legs anyway… let’s get some more sun on those bad boys before they show up in any pictures, right).

It’s spring!  Baseball is back, running in shorts, life is good!  Life is real good!  I think even the bottle in the backyard is starting to realize it’s spring!

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How do you track your runs?

March 28, 2014 Leave a comment

runwatch

Okay – this is pretty much just a glorified re-blog of an article from Canadian Running: How do you track your runs?  Go read their original article.  It’s a great piece (with apologies to anyone born before 1977 – or for that matter anyone born after 1977 who actually knows what a ‘mile’ is 😉 )

(Canadian Running is a great magazine – I actually pay them money to get a physical copy of the magazine sent to me by snail mail every month.  Who does that anymore – read a physical magazine? or use snail mail?!?  But I like what they write and am happy to stand behind them.  And they didn’t ask me to say that either!)

I used to plan/track/run my runs in terms of kilometers.  Now I track them in terms of time instead.  For me the argument (though not perfect, I grant) is thus: it allows for a consistent comparison of effort from session to session, regardless of factors like weather, terrain, perceived effort, or motivation.  I want to manage the training stress I put my body through – I don’t want the amount of time at elevated heart rate or stressed legs to change based on the day’s conditions.  Even leading up to a race, I don’t train for the distance I’ll run, instead I train for my anticipated running time (plus maybe 10% to make sure I can run strong through the finish line).

Oddly enough, I still track my bike training sessions in distance (the plan I follow lists them in miles, but the internet helps me fix that 🙂 ).  And I’m really not sure why the running by time argument hasn’t translated to biking yet…

So what do you do?

Happy Friday Everyone!  Have a Great Weekend!!

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