Archive

Posts Tagged ‘Sporting Life’

Race Recap: Sporting Life 10K (2015)

May 11, 2015 1 comment

SL10k2015Group

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!

SL10k2015BandD

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…

The Next Phase

April 27, 2015 3 comments

DCuba15

I love vacation!  I spent last week in sunny Cuba with 14 great friends, weather almost 30°C warmer than it is here now at home, with a Rum Punch in my hand the whole week, and not a cloud in the sky.  That was the life for 8 days.  I did a pair of token 20 minute sessions in the gym at the resort, but we’re not fooling anyone here: I did absolutely zero training last week.  And I loved it!

This trip was on the calendar for months, and I always viewed it as a line in the sand (pun intended).  Up until now I’ve been going through the motions of winter off-season training: hour-long sessions on the spin bikes at the gym, morning treadmill runs watching whatever the gym televisions had to offer as distraction.  Winter base training, mostly done indoors, and sporadically adhering to my training schedule.

But Cuba has come and gone – amazing a trip as it was – and now it’s time to ramp this shit into gear.  Off-season training is over.  May rolls in at the end of this week, so I’m officially declaring it race season!  And I’m really excited.

So, only 4 days back from vacation I kicked off this morning with a 4:15am alarm clock and drove in to Guelph for my swim with The Guelph Marlins masters swimming program.  I’ve swam with them a few times over the past few weeks (again: sporadically), but it’s time to start making this a regular thing.  3,600m swims first thing in the morning are a great way to get the day started (and to make you want to eat all-the-things all day long).

My bike is packed in the car for my after work ride with the Grand River Cycling Club, another group I’ve just recently joined.  Like The Marlins, I’m hoping cycling with a group will help me stick to a schedule, and help me push my training by getting out there with much stronger riders.  Tonight’s planned ride is an “easy recovery” 43km – I guess “easy recovery” is a relative term, and seeing as this will be my second time out on the bike this year it might not be so easy.  That being said, looking back at my data from last year, I didn’t get to my second training ride for the year until… never (yep, excluding races and lots of bicycle commuting, I only went for one single training ride in all of 2014.  Yikes!!!  No wonder my cycling last year was rough!).  I don’t care if it currently feels like 5°C out there – I’m looking forward to this one!

I haven’t joined a running group this summer, and I don’t intend to.  I enjoy the solitude of running alone (or the occasional LSD run with my wife), and frankly scheduling a third group around 3 weekly swims and 3 weekly rides would be a nightmare!

I’m 13 days away from my first race of the year, a fun tune-up 10k run at The Sporting Life 10K.  I do this run annually with a cousin of mine, but it also serves as a gut-check reminder that race season is here and real!  My goal for this race is 59:59 – after last year’s 1:00:07 frustration, I want so badly to run my first ever sub 1hr 10K.  After that, I start to focus on the Toronto Triathlon Festival (Olympic Distance), only 9 weeks away.

It’s coming on fast and furious – summer is here (even if the weather doesn’t know it yet) and race season is right around the corner.  Time to start the next phase of my training.  Time to get to work!!

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!!!

Race Recap: Sporting Life 10k

May 12, 2013 2 comments

SportingLife10k

There are few things in this world as great as a great nap after a race!  Man, I needed that!

First off – and most importantly – happy 1 year anniversary to my love, my wife, and my partner Brigid.  This has been an amazing year!  Thank you for supporting me through all my training ups and downs, and for running beside me as often as you do!  I couldn’t do any of this without you.  Here’s to many more wonderful years together!

My lovely bride and I, one year ago today

My lovely bride and I, one year ago today

Secondly – and also very important – happy mother’s day to my Mom, and my Mother-in-Law.  For all the encouragement and support, and laughs, and hugs (and occasional ribbing when I need it).  Love you both.

while we're using wedding day pictures... Happy Mother's Day

while we’re using wedding day pictures… Happy Mother’s Day

Boy, today was a busy day.  On top of all that, there was a race to be run!  The day started early – and cold.  After the lovely summer-like weather the past two weeks, this morning the weather with windchill felt like -1°C.  Brrr.  Note to self: invest in runners tights.  After some adventures in public transportation – possibly the worst bus driver I’ve ever encountered, followed by one of the better cab drivers I’ve ever encountered – we made it to the start line.  Though just barely.  The Elite runners were heading off as we were still a block away.

We are really friendly - but also really cold.  Huddling for warmth

We are really friendly – but also really cold. Huddling for warmth

The crowd in the starting corral was amazing.  27,000 runners.  It was a sea of people in bright colorful shirts all trying to stay warm and waiting to run.  The race was supposed to start in waves based on estimated start time, but most of us wanted to get running to not stand around too long.  I sure did.  We set out with the 0:50:00 – 0:54:99 group.  Oops.  Oh well 🙂

There were a LOT of people in the street behind us waiting to get started.  there were almost as many in front of us too

There were a LOT of people in the street behind us waiting to get started. there were almost as many in front of us too

The run started off rough.  It was cold – I was actually shivering when I crossed the start line.  So much for any effort to warm up the muscles beforehand (which, I really didn’t do).  By 1km I was wishing for gloves… or sun… either would have been welcome.  By 2km I was really feeling my shin splints from the downhill run.  I thought for sure this would be a rough run.

But, like most runs, once the first few km are in the books, I started to find my groove.  The shins stopped hurting (which they always do – I know – if I can mentally grind through the pain until they stop hurting).  The body warmed up.  The pace picked up…

… I actually passed a few people on the run.  I don’t think I’ve ever done that before.  Granted, I was passed by several tens of thousands of people, but I passed a few myself.  WIN!

I was really impressed by the live music lining the route along the race.  So cool.  About every km or so there was a raised stage with musicians – drummers, percussionists, string instrumentalists, guitars, horns – everything!  So cool, and so motivational.  I think major metropolitan cities should have more live music in their downtown cores.  Fantastic.  I almost stopped to take a pic, but I knew I was making good time and wanted to keep pushing.

I did stop once though along the way – friends of mine who came to cheer and were standing along the course around the 8km point didn’t see me run by at all.  I saw them, and saw that they didn’t see me, and once I was fully by them I turned around and ran back for a surprise hug from behind.  Probably cost me about 5-10 seconds off my time.  Completely worth it!!!

The run felt fast, and felt like it went by quickly.  I ran the whole thing without walk breaks (except at the 2 water stations, lest I get more water on me than in me, and this was only for 20-30 meters each time).  That in itself was a huge accomplishment for me.  I’m getting so close to being able to do continuous running!!!

I finished in 1:02:41 chip time, killing my previous 10K Personal Best of 1:09:41.  Very happy with that.  My cousin also ran a personal best time – I’m really proud of her too!

I put on a sweater as soon as I got my medal.  God it was cold!

I put on a sweater as soon as I got my medal. God it was cold!

Overall a good race.  A fun experience, and a time I was happy with.  Up next is the Binbrook Triathlon in a couple of weeks.  This past winter of running has been a lot of fun, and a great training motivator, but I’m really excited for the Tri season to begin.

Now off to an anniversary dinner with my lovely wife.  We’re going to celebrate with some lovely craft beer.  Life is good!

Cheers

~DO’G

Race Preview: Sporting Life 10k

May 8, 2013 Leave a comment

SportingLife10k

Before you know it, your next race is upon you…

This weekend is my 3rd race of 2013 – the Sporting Life 10k.  I have very mixed feelings about this race.  On one hand, I’m really looking forward to this for a couple reasons:

  • I’m looking forward to running with my cousin again.  We ran together in the Hamilton Road2Hope 10k last fall and had a blast
  • For the first time ever, I’m entered into a race that isn’t a longer or tougher distance than my previous races.  I’ve done a 10k before.  For the first time, I’m not going to be content with merely finishing
  • The race is sold out – 27,000 runners.  Holy crap!  The largest race I’ve been a part of so far was 10,000 racers (and before that, about 500 racers).  I wonder if I’ll notice the difference between 27,000 and 10,000?  I better not come in last this time!!!

On the other hand, I’m also not looking forward to this race for a couple reasons:

  • I’m under trained
  • I’m really under trained
  • I’m really ridiculously under trained

I got a few runs in over the last week, but one week does not constitute a training program.  I’m not ready to do my best.

It’s a “B” race for me though – I would like to do well… better than I suspect I will do.  But I’m not going to get too bent out of shape over it at this point.  Time to go out and giv’er my best and see what we can do.

My 10k PB is 1:09:41.  I’d love to beat that.  I’m hoping to beat that.  I might have a chance to beat that…

The race is advertised as “downhill” at pretty much every opportunity the organizers get.  And they’re not kidding.  Looking at an elevation map they sent out with the race route:

All.  Down.  Hill.

All. Down. Hill.

Apparently I didn’t believe this when I saw it.  Apparently I had to go and test it out.

Race kit pick up is all this week at the Sporting Life store, which is at the start line.  Today I was in my office (which is on the race route, at the 7.1k point).  I decided I should go pick up my race kit after work.  I decided I should walk from work to the pick up… since it’s a nice day.

Yes, the run is going to be all downhill, as I discovered

Therefore, the walk there was all uphill, as I also discovered.  7.1k uphill.

But at the end, I got my race kit, and now have a new race shirt to add to my training wardrobe:

Self portraits are not my specialty

Self portraits are not my specialty

(I put that picture in to show how lousy I am at self portraits… and also how bad the particular red of the shirt clashes with the still-very-red arms I’m sporting.  But here’s a better look at the shirt)

Front

Front

Back

Back

When signing up for the race, I had to select a starting coral based upon my expected finish time.  I chose the “green” coral (for racers expecting to finish between 0:56:00 and 0:59:59).  Let’s be honest: there’s no way in hell I’m going to run sub 1:00:00 – not 10 minutes faster than my PB.  Not with how little training I’ve done so far.  But I’m feeling good about an aggressive goal, and I think running with faster (though not impossibly faster) runners will be a good push.  And who knows – with the course being so downhill, maybe it could happen…

I think, this weekend, I have no idea what’s going to happen.  But I’m going to have fun.

~DO’G

%d bloggers like this: