Sunday, September 30, 2007

Toronto Waterfront Half Marathon – Briefly

1:42.11! (That’s more than 10 minutes off my old PR of 1:52:29!)

Ok, so I raced it. I checked my email this morning and saw Adeel in the comments giving me the go ahead to race. It kind of just happened, but I went for it.

Anyway, I’ll post more details when I have better internet access, but I had a great race. My ankles are a bit sore, but not too bad. Hopefully, I didn’t do anything bad, and I can get right back into my training. I’ll probably turn this week’s tempo run into an easy run on Tuesday, and do my speedwork on Wednesday. I then have another 3 day holiday, before my next long run on Sunday.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Hello from Toronto

I'm here to spend (some of the) Holidays with my family. It's all just part of my hectic travel schedule in the next couple of weeks.

Prior to taking off yesterday, I managed to fit in my speedwork. The schedule called for a 1K, 2K, 1K, 1K. The 1K's were supposed to be in 4:20, and the 2K in 9:00. I still find myself running a bit fast, but maybe that's ok. I think I ended up with 4:14, 8:24, 4:10, and 4:13.

This morning I did my tempo run here in Toronto. I was scheduled for 1 easy mile, followed by 5 at 8:33. I ran a route that included the park trail I ran here last year. (Actually, it was exactly one year ago!)

I can't get my exact splits, but I took about 49 minutes for the whole thing. My guess is the first mile was about 9, followed by 5 eight minute miles. Once again, a little fast. It was actually pretty tough, as I made two loops of this very steep hill. I figured it was good for me.

Now comes 3 days of heavy duty eating, followed by the half marathon. As I've mentioned before, I'm not going to race this. (Ok, maybe a little. But I'm not going to go all out.) The marathon is my primary goal, and I don't want to jeapordize that.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Six weeks to go

So after catching up on last weekend's run on Monday, I got back on schedule.

I ran speedwork on Wednesday. 3 sets of 2 x 1200m. I was pretty consistent, running all the intervals between 4:56 and 5:07. (Three of them were finished in exactly 5:04 each.)

Friday was tempo. The schedule called for 10 miles at marathon pace. According to the tables, that's 8:33 for me. (Yeah, right.) Somehow I managed to run these with 8:19 miles. In the middle of the day, in the heat. Granted, it was tough as hell...

(For some reason, this is the second time the longest mid week run of the schedule (10 miles) has fallen out on the day of Yom Kippur. I had to do the same thing in 2005.)

Today, it was back to the long run. The schedule called for 15 miles at 8:53. I chose to run these in Central Park, where I could get some hill training in. I did 3 "upper loops", so as to run up the big hill 3 times, including once at the very end of the run.

At first that pace seemed daunting, and I started slowly. But then I settled into a groove, and was able to run pretty quickly. My three loops ended up as follows.

43:14 (8:46 pace)
40:22 (8:12 pace)
40:57 (8:19 pace)

My overall pace was 8:21. I'm still surprised by that. Unfortunately, my right knee has been hurting me since. I felt it a few times about mile 8 or so, and then a few more times after about mile 12. It's pretty concerning. I iced it when I got back, but I'll have to keep an eye on that.

As I pull off these relatively quick long runs, I'm getting more and more nervous. I really see that a good marathon time is withing grasp. I know I'll put in the training - but I'm still relying on the weather being good, and my body holding up until the marathon time. I'm having little problems here and there, and I hope I can just stay "injury free enough" to get through the marathon in 6 weeks.

For the next two weeks I'm doing a lot of traveling. It's going to be a problem for training, but I really did my best to take it all into account when I set up the schedule.

Monday, September 17, 2007

20 miles in the early morning

So I actually dragged myself out of bed early this morning for my run. I'm very proud of myself.

I stayed local, because technically I was on call as of this morning. It's actually a pain running these long distances locally, since I have to repeat a lot of small loops to make up the mileage. I was told about a bridle path which had a 2.5 mile loop. I tried to take it, but it was a bad idea. First of all, it was really bad for my ankle. Secondly, I kind of got lost. I thought it was supposed to loop back, but in the end I just ran into the highway with no place to go. (It's in the top left of the above path. I got close to other parts of my run, but I was separated by train tracks. And a fence.) I ended up just retracing my steps - and was really glad to have a GPS watch. It did slow me down for a bit, though.

I was supposed to do these 20 miles at about a 9:03 pace. Which still seems so fast for these long runs...

The middle spike is where I decided to try and see if there was a path I was missing. I actually stopped and walked along this steep incline so as not to get hurt.

Looking at these a little more carefully, I can see that like usual, it took me about 4 miles to get warmed up. After that I was on, or faster, than target until I got lost. And after that I was really wiped out, but managed to stay fairly close to target for the rest of the way.

I'd be super impressed with myself if I wasn't limping around the rest of the day. It may have been the trail running, but this run took a lot out of me. I'm glad it's done though.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Happy New Year!

No time for a good post. I did the Fri/Sat/Mon on call thing again, and got killed. I think I've done 15 cases since Friday, most of them emergently at off times. I'm wiped...

I'm upset that I never had time for my long run this weekend. I don't run on Saturdays, so it only leaves Sundays on the weekends. I set my alarm for 5:30, but with only a few hours sleep I just couldn't do it. Monday morning I had an early surgery scheduled, and couldn't fit in an 18 mile run beforehand. So I ran my tempo workout on Monday, with plans to run long Tuesday morning. No such luck. Operated late on Monday, and another patient with appendicitis came in early in the morning. (I've done 6 appendectomies since Friday!) So Tuesday was a no go. This morning there were special services, and I had to be in synagogue before 6. And in a couple of hours Rosh Hashanah starts, and so no more running this week. Sigh...

(Even Sunday is a fast day on the Jewish calendar, so I'm going to have trouble getting the next long run in. I'm going to try and get 20 miles in before work on Monday. That does not sound fun...)

Anyway, I'm upset, but hopefully it's for the best. My left foot has been having some plantar fascia problems, so maybe I needed the break.

I'd like to wish all those that are celebrating the upcoming holiday, a happy and healthy new year. (If you're not celebrating, I hope you have a nice Thursday and Friday too!)

I'll leave you with some pictures from last week's race in New Haven.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

New Haven!

About a week ago I realized that my schedule called for 13 miles (at marathon pace + 15 seconds) for this weekend. It was only then that I decided to run the 20K (12.4 miles) in New Haven yesterday. I'm glad I did.

I actually looked up my post from last year to see how early I had left. I was on the road by 6, and in New Haven a little after 7. I was able to park about 200 feet from the finish line. This was definitely not NYC!

I picked up my packet, went back to the car, and hung out for a bit. I then went back to last year's meeting spot, and found Jon and Diana. Bill showed up a bit later, as did Beth and Chris. Even though my friends from last year couldn't make it, it was awesome to still feel amongst friends.

Diana, Jon, me

Jon went off to the 5K (after his 18 mile run yesterday!) and the rest of us went off to the 20K start. Everyone was kind of moving to the front, but I like to stay towards the back. As I said to Bill, when I start too close to the front, I get fooled into thinking I'm faster than I am, and I start out too fast.

I still started out faster than I had intended to. I had forgotten to press the start button on my watch, but I crossed the first mile marker at 9:49. (Later, I'd figure out that this was about 8:14.)

The next few miles went by in between 7:30 to 7:40. What the...? I'm not this fast. I knew I'd gotten faster using my new training regimen, but this was faster than my shorter distance PRs!

Basically, I kept running with about the same effort, and kept expecting to see the pace drop. But it didn't. I was able to keep up a similar pace - with even a few faster miles - for the entire race. I ended up finishing with a net of 1:34:02, for a 7:34 pace! (Um yeah, that's my 5K PR pace. My half marathon PR pace is 8:35, and earlier this year I couldn't even come close to that.)

I'm just amazed. If anyone has been thinking about trying "Run Less, Run Faster", this is my ringing endorsement. Wow.

One other thing is that I ran without music. I was able to listen to my breathing the entire race. There were times when I felt my breathing getting faster, and I consciously was able to slow it down. I can't be certain, but I really think that helped as well.

So... where does this leave me in terms of my marathon goal? Well, according to the Running Times pace predictor, I should be expected to run a 3:32 marathon. That seems ridiculous. I'm definitely more confident about the 4 hour thing, but I don't want to get too ahead of myself. Let's not forget the bridges and hills, and let's not forget my current PR of 4:43:50.

Anyway, after the race I hung out with the other bloggers and enjoyed the good weather. It was really a great day!

Bill, Jon, me

Back: Chris, Beth's son, Beth, Bill
Front: me, Diana, Jon

I'm somewhat sore today. Not terrible, but enough to make me wonder what to do with my training. (This is why not to race during training!) I'm going to try to stick to the schedule, but if I don't feel good I'll cut back a little.

I'm also signed up for another half at the end of September. Originally I'd planned on using that race to judge my training. Now it seems like a bad idea to race it. I'd like to say I'll run it as a "training run", but somehow I doubt I'm capable of actually sticking to that. However, I definitely don't want to harm my marathon goals because of a lesser race. I'll have to remember to be careful.