Wednesday, December 31, 2008

2008: Year in Review

This time last year, I had never run seriously and had trouble keeping it up for more than a few minutes. I started with a learn to run clinic in early January, worked my way up to 5K, then pushed myself through a 15K race and eventually finished a half marathon in late September. At this point, I'm about to start formally training for a full marathon and can only hope that this coming year will be nearly as productive.

Unfortunately I didn't properly separate the running and walking sessions for the first half of the year, so I'm not sure how much each sport contributed to the overall totals. Either way, the basic totals are as follows:

Total Distance on Foot (Running + Walking):5,698.4km (3,540.8 mi)
Total Distance on the Bike (since Late August):2,765.5km (1,718.4 mi)
Total Distance Overall:8,463.8km (5,259.2 mi)

To put that in context, 5,700km is approximately the distance from Toronto to San Francisco through Vancouver ;) With the cycling factored in, add in another leg to Austin, TX. Looking back, that is a staggering distance that speaks to the amount of work that was put into my training.

To outline the progress that has been made over the last year, the following table illustrates some major metrics that have changed significantly.

Running Index?4166

My weight is now approximately where I want it, so the objective for the new year is simply to improve my overall performance for racing purposes. I've outlined my plan in previous entries, and will likely post a more detailed version in the next week or so.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Week 52: Review

As expected, it was quite a busy week so I wasn't able to get in everything that I had planned. Fortunately, I was able to fit in all of my runs as scheduled, so only the cycling and walking sessions were hurt by this. The weather did make some of the runs this week harder than normal (Sunday's session especially), however, and I had to shovel out the driveway a few times so I got in a little extra work one way or the other ;)

Weekly Totals:

Running: 58km
Walking: 15km
Cycling: 80km
Total: 153km

With Christmas now winding down, I plan to focus on getting as much in as possible in the upcoming week. Things will naturally still be a bit busy, but with only a couple of weeks to go before I formally start training for the next season I want to make sure that I'm in as good condition as possible.

Upcoming Week:
Sun (AM/PM) 21.1K LSD
Mon 50K Cycle
Tue 8K Tempo
Wed (AM/PM) 30K Cycle/10K Steady
Thurs 10K Steady
Fri 50K Cycle
Sat 10K Steady

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Week 51: Review

As Christmas approaches things are getting busier, so I wasn't able to get in all of the sessions that I would have liked. Thankfully, I managed to get all of my running and most of my cycling in, and the walking took the brunt of it. Fortunately, most of the bad weather this week ended up falling on my off days so things actually worked out pretty well.

The only exception to this was my 10K run on Saturday morning, as the snowfall from the day before made it much harder to run than normal. As such, my pace was a significantly lower than normal 5:06/km (vs. 4:45/km). Further, it was also extremely cold (-25C) but fortunately there wasn't any appreciable wind so with the proper clothing that didn't pose too much of a problem. Either way, given the nasty weather this week I do count myself lucky that I missed most of it ;)

Weekly Totals:

Running: 60km
Walking: 14km
Cycling: 125km
Total: 199km

The next week is supposed to be pretty nasty weather-wise, and tomorrow's run especially is going to be difficult. They're calling for another 8cm tonight (combined with 15cm that's already on the ground from Friday) with another 15cm to come sometime tomorrow. Temperatures will likely be somewhat higher, but there will likely be much higher winds so that might offset any advantages. Either way, I'll just focus on getting my heart rate in the right zone and my pace will be what it is ;)

Naturally, with Christmas this week the schedule is going to be tighter than normal so I'll likely be missing a few sessions. I'll do everything in my power to keep my running mileage where it is, but the walking and cycling are likely to take a few unplanned hits this week.

Upcoming Week:
Sun (AM/PM) 21.1K LSD
Mon 50K Cycle
Tue 8K Tempo
Wed (AM/PM) 30K Cycle/10K Steady
Thurs 10K Steady
Fri 50K Cycle
Sat 10K Steady

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Taking Advantage of the Weather

As noted in my previous posts, the weather lately has been somewhat hostile and has significantly complicated my running sessions. Fortunately, aside from a little rain the weather was much better than it has been in a while - little to no wind and a comfortable 6C. There was still a bit of snow left on the ground from previous days, but most of the pathways were clear so I didn't expect that to be a huge issue.

As I was busy in the morning, I moved the run back to the afternoon and headed out a little after 3:00pm. In addition, I figured that I'd try out a slightly different route than normal, as when I do start increasing mileage again the more roads I'm familiar with the easier it will be to plan things out. The route that I selected incorporated the same return path (and primary hills) that I have been running over the last few weeks, but I took a major road out rather than the residential streets.

The first kilometer was a bit slow as the roads still had a good deal of slush, but once I got out of the subdivision things cleared up nicely. After a quick 22 second stop at the traffic lights, I picked it up again and headed out at a faster pace. I was able to maintain that pace (~4:41/km) for the next seven and a half kilometers without any issues. At this juncture, I was at the southernmost point in the route and began making my way back north. After stopping for another set of traffic lights (12 sec), I had about 2km left to flat ground to run before I hit the hills.

I managed to maintain a 4:45/km pace over this segment and slowed down once I hit the hills to keep my heart rate on track. With the reduced pace (~5:15/km), I managed to keep my heart rate below 170bpm and was still feeling pretty good by the time I cleared them. I was now at the 12km mark and making good time, so I elected to try and see how far I had progressed in the last couple of months. After a brief 24 second traffic stop, I picked it up for the home stretch.

When I got to the 18K mark, I had managed a 4:48/km pace and saw that I was within striking distance of my STWM time so I pushed it a little harder. At this point it started drizzling a little, but with the higher temperatures it was actually somewhat helpful. When I got to the 20K mark, I was at 1:35:38 and therefore needed to do the final 1.1km in 6:08.6 to meet my mark. At this point, I opened up to do the final stretch at a 4:23/km pace and hitting the mark at 1:40:25. Even working the traffic stops into the equation, my total time was still 1:41:23 or about 23 seconds faster than my race.

This certainly shows the benefits of the additional mileage that I've been doing over the last few weeks, as I didn't put anything near race pace into this run. It was certainly harder than my average long run, so it isn't the type of thing I'll do on a regular basis - however by this point I'm pretty well fully recovered so it didn't take too much out of me.

Either way, results are as follows:
Total Distance: 21.1km
Total Time: 1:40:25 (1:41:23 w/traffic stops)
Average Pace: 4:45/km
Average Heart Rate: 162bpm (71% HRR)

Full Telemetry:

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Week 50: Review

While the weather this week was supposed to be pretty miserable, it ended up working out to be quite nice for pretty much all of my runs. This morning's 10K was certainly a cold one, but nothing that a few layers couldn't take care of. It was snowing quite a bit for my walk this afternoon, however not enough had accumulated yet to pose much of an issue for me (although the cars were having some trouble with it). Tomorrow is likely to be interesting, but I'll likely cover that in another post.

Thanks to that weather, all of my sessions this week went pretty much as planned. As such, the only thing of note was that I increased my tempo pace a little as my heart rate wasn't getting as high as it used to. I managed to complete my 8K run on Tuesday in 34:13 at roughly a 4:15 pace. My heart rate averaged about 172bpm, or a little under 75% HRR which is about right for this sort of run. For comparison, last week's tempo run averaged 165bpm for its 4:26 pace, which only works out to about 70% HRR.

Weekly Totals:

Running: 58km
Walking: 36km
Cycling: 150km
Total: 244km

Naturally, the storm system that is moving through right now is likely to make tomorrow's long run somewhat interesting. While I can deal with the cold, snow accumulation could add some complexity to my 20K route as the city often takes its time to clear some portions of it. Either way, there isn't a whole lot that I can do about it so it'll just be a matter of doing whatever I can to work around the obstacles. Fortunately, I'm not in any sort of formal training regimen so if I have to slow down a bit it won't be the end of the world ;)

Upcoming Week:
Sun (AM/PM) 21.1K LSD
Mon 50K Cycle
Tue 8K Tempo
Wed (AM/PM) 30K Cycle/10K Steady
Thurs 10K Steady
Fri 50K Cycle
Sat 10K Steady

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Into the Cold...

As noted yesterday, the weather reports called for extreme cold and heavy winds today and they were pretty much right on. When I headed out for my 20K run this morning, the ambient temperature was -12C and a bitterly cold ~50km/h wind was coming out of the north-west. With the wind-chill factored in, this worked out to the equivalent of nearly -30C. As such, I put on the warmest running clothes that I had and made sure to minimize the amount of exposed skin. While I have run in colder weather than this, those runs were of a much shorter duration (less than 30 minutes), so the nearly two hours that this session would take would make for new ground.

Compounding this was the fact that the roads and sidewalks were in relatively bad condition, so I had to very closely watch my footing to avoid ice and uneven surfaces. Given that the route that I've been using for the last two weeks had some steep descents (up to 12%), I figured that it was worth taking another path to make sure I remained safe. Further, this route is largely a north-south path, so that north wind would be a significant problem on the way back (which is also where the biggest hills are located).

As such, I elected to take an out-and-back route to a large mall to the south east of me. This meant that the bulk of the route (and the majority of the hills) would be done in the east-west direction to avoid dealing with a headwind. Further, as it is a more developed area it is better shielded from the elements and the sidewalks were likely in better condition. Finally, as the half-way point was a relatively large indoor mall it gave me the option of going inside to warm up without having to stop.

Either way, after getting suited up I headed out a little before noon. The sidewalks in my area were covered in snow, so I did the first segment of the run on the side of the road. Unfortunately, the roads weren't perfectly clear either so it took a good deal more effort than usual to maintain speed. As such, my first kilometer was run at a much slower than planned 5:07/km pace. Fortunately, my heart rate was in the right ballpark so this wasn't a huge issue.

The next portion of the route was along higher traffic roads, and was run with the wind at my back, so I was able to pick it up a little more. Kilometers two through four were done at an average pace of 4:45/km, which was actually a little faster than planned. At about the 2.5km mark I was up to temperature and was feeling quite comfortable, which helped to alleviate my concerns about the cold.

At this point I began traveling east and approached the first large hill of the route (1600m long, 4% grade). Unfortunately, the sidewalk along this portion was covered in a heavy coating of snow so it took a good deal of effort to maintain speed. Unlike the previous sections, however, the traffic along this road travels at much higher speeds (~80km/h) so I had no option but to stick with the sidewalk.

When I hit the hill, this started to become an issue as running up the grade combined with fighting with the snowcover increased my breathing rate. Normally this wouldn't be a problem at all, but as my face was covered with a neck warmer I had to fight a bit harder to get that air in (as the fabric got sucked into my mouth when I inhaled). Fortunately, my heart rate wasn't affected much by this so it was more of a discomfort than a practical impediment to my performance.

Once I managed to crest the hill, the snowcover remained an issue so my speeds continued to be slower than planned (~5:05/km). As this was a LSD run, however, my focus was on keeping my heart rate down so I didn't worry about it too much. Either way, I pushed on until I hit the second hill along the route (a highway overpass, ~600m/5%). Given the shorter duration of this hill, however, it didn't pose much of an issue.

At this point (~9.5K), I was approaching the mall and had to make a choice as to whether I wanted to head inside or not. While I was feeling relatively good temperature-wise, the neck warmer was still an issue so a chance to pull it off for a short period to allow my breathing to catch up was quite attractive. Naturally, the downside to this option was that as it is only a few weeks before Christmas navigating through mall crowds at speed was not going to be easy. Either way, I figured it was worth a shot so I headed in at the north-west entrance.

Once I cleared the doors, I took the face mask, hat and gloves off and continued heading south through the walkway. While there was a good deal of traffic to deal with (as you can see from my pace variability in the telemetry), it wasn't quite as bad as I was expecting. Naturally, I did go slower than outside (averaging a 5:16/km pace), but I did manage to get my breathing back under control and my sweat-logged clothing had a chance to dry out a bit. As I approached the eastern end of the mall, I put my stuff back on and headed back into the cold.

Since the sidewalk on the north side of the road appeared to be a little more clear than the south side I was using before I elected to switch sides for the return trip. There was still a good deal of snow on the ground, however it wasn't quite as bad so I was able to average a 4:59/km pace for kilometers twelve through fourteen. Breathing became an issue again, but I found a few ways to work around that so it wasn't quite as big an issue. When I got back to the first hill, I had to cross over to the southern side of the street again. Fortunately, the rise in this direction was much shorter (500m/4%) so it took a good deal less effort to work through it.

After another decent kilometer (4:58/km), I had to turn right and begin to head north to get back home. Unfortunately, this meant I was running directly into the cold wind that was at my back for the start. Fortunately, I only had two more kilometers left to go so I bunkered down and pushed my way through. I managed to maintain a 5:00/km pace for the 19th kilometer, and then opened up for the final stretch. The last kilometer was painful as I was in an open area with no cover, but I managed to push through a 4:42K nonetheless. Once I hit the 20km mark, I broke back to a walk to begin cooling down.

Once I got home, I did my stretches and then began stripping off all of my protective clothing. My jacket and neck warmer were pretty crunchy at this point, and my hat had a nice quarter-inch thick coating of ice around the brim. It certainly illustrated exactly how cold it was out there, but fortunately the gear did a relatively good job of keeping me in the right temperature range. The neck warmer was really the only problem for me, so I'll have to look into some alternative choices for scenarios such as this.

Either way, results are as follows:
Total Distance: 20.0km
Total Time: 1:49:01
Average Pace: 4:57/km
Average Heart Rate: 162bpm (71% HRR)

Full Telemetry:

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Week 49: Review

While the weather this week was supposed to be pretty miserable, it ended up working out to be quite nice for pretty much all of my runs. This morning's 10K was certainly a cold one, but nothing that a few layers couldn't take care of. It was snowing quite a bit for my walk this afternoon, however not enough had accumulated yet to pose much of an issue for me (although the cars were having some trouble with it). Tomorrow is likely to be interesting, but I'll likely cover that in another post.

Thanks to that weather, all of my sessions this week went pretty much as planned. As such, the only thing of note was that I increased my tempo pace a little as my heart rate wasn't getting as high as it used to. I managed to complete my 8K run on Tuesday in 34:13 at roughly a 4:15 pace. My heart rate averaged about 172bpm, or a little under 75% HRR which is about right for this sort of run. For comparison, last week's tempo run averaged 165bpm for its 4:26 pace, which only works out to about 70% HRR.

Weekly Totals:

Running: 58.3km
Walking: 39.2km
Cycling: 150km
Total: 247km

Naturally, the storm system that is moving through right now is likely to make tomorrow's long run somewhat interesting. While I can deal with the cold, snow accumulation could add some complexity to my 20K route as the city often takes its time to clear some portions of it. Either way, there isn't a whole lot that I can do about it so it'll just be a matter of doing whatever I can to work around the obstacles. Fortunately, I'm not in any sort of formal training regimen so if I have to slow down a bit it won't be the end of the world ;)

Upcoming Week:
Sun (AM/PM) 20K LSD
Mon 50K Cycle
Tue 8K Tempo
Wed (AM/PM) 30K Cycle/10K Steady
Thurs 10K Steady
Fri 50K Cycle
Sat 10K Steady

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Calm Before the Storm

As I'm writing this the snow is starting to accumulate outside, and we're likely in for a few days of nasty weather. I intended to do an 11K walk this afternoon, however given the weather I'm likely going to do a short ride on the bike instead to work around the snow. Fortunately, tomorrow calls for a ride as well so I might be able to work around the worst of this storm. I'll likely have some significant ground cover to deal with during my Tuesday Tempo run, however that's easier to deal with than what's outside right now ;)

Either way, the weather this morning was much nicer so I managed to get my 20K LSD run in without any issues. Same basic route as last week, with a few small changes near the end as the sidewalks through the park were clear this time around. Unlike last week, however, I was more familiar with the route which allowed me to be a little more strategic about the pacing.

Things started out really well, so I stepped up the pace a little more than planned and managed to hold it for the duration of the run. I got a little warm last week as I over-did the layering, so dressing a little more intelligently this time around certainly paid off as my heart rate remained lower despite the faster pace. The weather overall was quite nice, with a comfortable 3C temperature and an overcast sky. The wind was brutal in some of the exposed portions of the route (unfortunately coinciding with the uphill portions), but most of the course is well shielded so it didn't pose too much of a problem.

I hit the 20K mark in 1:36:52, clocking an average pace of 4:50min/km (vs 4:55min/km last week) and a average heart rate of 157bpm (vs 159bpm). Unlike last week, however, I felt like I could have easily gone further if I wanted to. While I was tempted, I elected to stick with the plan as I wanted to be careful not to overdo things. Full telemetry is provided below:

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Week 48: Review

This week was a lot more stable than the last, and fortunately all of my scheduled sessions went as planned. I did intentionally scale back the cycling a bit this week to strike a balance between the fitness benefits and staying motivated. While the 2.5 hours it takes to ride 80km is fine outside, it is mind-numbingly boring when sitting on the trainer. I won't be able to clock the mileage that I was last month, however I also want to make sure that this doesn't become a chore.

On a contrasting note, I expanded my Sunday run to 20km last Sunday in order to get myself over the 35 mile/week limit and stabilize at that point. Given the modified distance, I also elected to try a new route as well. Rather than the usual laps around a subdivision south of me, I did an out and back route that gave me a little more variety. As I'm not in a formal training schedule, I figured that now is the time to experiment with things a bit to give myself some more options once I do get into the program.

In addition to mixing it up a little, this route added substantially larger hills than my normal route provides so it made things a little more challenging. Given the topology of the Around the Bay race that I'm aiming for, working some hills like this into my schedule is likely good preparation. Either way, as things went well on this route last week I'll likely give it another shot this time around before I start playing with other options.

Weekly Totals:

Running: 58.5km
Walking: 45.4km
Cycling: 120.1km
Total: 224km

As noted above, the plan at this juncture is simply to hold myself at the current mileage so next week's schedule will be pretty much a mirror image of this week. It does look like the weather is going to be a little more of a variable in the upcoming days, but there isn't a whole lot that can be done about that ;)

Upcoming Week:
Sun (AM/PM) 20K LSD
Mon 50K Cycle
Tue 8K Tempo
Wed (AM/PM) 30K Cycle/10K Steady
Thurs 10K Steady
Fri 50K Cycle
Sat 10K Steady

One thing that I have been playing around with is the possibility of getting a VO2Max test done. The marathon is a delicate balancing act of various different physiological characteristics, so knowing where the various limits are would be quite useful. I'm still not 100% sure what my maximum heart rate is, and while my current estimate of 215bpm (my highest recorded heart rate) has worked well for me so far the extra stresses of the marathon could easily bring out the difference between theory and reality. Further, having a clinically measured VO2Max value would allow me to get precise readings on my caloric expenditure, thus simplifying the process of figuring out my nutritional requirements during long runs.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

The plan...

For the last few weeks I've been trying to figure out my major training goals for the next cycle as I'm getting near the point where I need to start making preparations. My major goal this time around was to work my way up to a full marathon sometime during the next year. The question, of course, was how to best go about reaching that goal.

The two main concepts that I was playing around with were to either go right ahead and target the Mississauga Marathon in mid-May, or to target the 30km Around the Bay race in March as a stepping stone for a full in one of the Toronto marathons. The former had the advantage of allowing me to train in cooler weather as well as getting me to my target faster. While there is more than enough time to properly train for this distance, I was concerned a bit that the jump from 21.1km to 42.2km was a bit too big to make in one big leap. Naturally, the latter had the advantage of allowing me to fit in another training cycle to climb to 30K first and get comfortable with longer distances. The other advantage to the latter was that the weather on race day would likely be better.

After playing around with training schedules, I've settled on working around a bit of a hybrid plan. I'll use the 55mi/18wk Pfitzinger marathon program targeted for the Mississauga marathon, with Around the Bay worked in as a tune-up race. In mid-March, I'll make the call on whether I feel that training has gone well enough for the full marathon. If it has, then I'll go ahead with the plan as designed. If it hasn't however, I'll refocus on running ATB as my goal race and then prepare to start a different training cycle for the Toronto marathons.

This gives me the benefit of getting in a 30K race either way, and the ability to select my route based on how things actually progress rather than having to guestimate that at this juncture. Further, if the first time around doesn't work out I'll have first-hand experience with the training program when I re-start it in the summer.

Either way, I'll be officially starting this program in the first week of January through to the race on May 11th. Until then, I'll be holding at my current 58km/36mi per week level until that point to get my legs ready for the coming increase in mileage.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Week 47: Review

Despite a major snow storm and significantly cooler weather, I managed to get all of my running sessions in as planned. In some cases icy trails did make things a bit difficult, but fortunately most of those patches were relatively short and easy to work around. Naturally, the extra work of getting suited up for running in the cold is taking a bit of getting used to. Given the choice between the hot summer and cold like this, however, this is certainly preferable as it's easier to add more layers to stay warm that fight off overheating ;)

Unfortunately I wasn't so lucky with walking and cycling this week. During my cycling session in the previous week, I tweaked my right calf muscle while doing one-legged drills. I didn't think much of it at the time as it didn't really bother me much. By my walk on the following Saturday afternoon, however, it began to hurt a bit more and continued throughout the next couple of days. Fortunately, it didn't appear to bother me at all when running so it didn't get in the way of those workouts. To keep it that way, however, I elected to avoid the walking and cycling sessions until it healed.

As such, I missed my cycling sessions on Sunday and Monday, as well as my walking session on Tuesday afternoon. This was compounded by getting stuck in traffic due to a snowstorm on Wednesday, so I lost another cycling session there as well. Fortunately, all signs of the pain were gone by Wednesday so I was able to get back into my normal routine by Thursday. Combined, this took a big chunk out of my overall mileage but as the walking and cycling are simply supplementary to my running routine it didn't form much of a practical setback.

With that said, my cycling session on Friday went much better than the week before. To avoid boredom I mixed in some interval work, which definitely made it easier to keep going. As such, this time I was able to keep going for a full 50km. I'm not sure if this tactic will work to get me back up to 80K, but I'll have to work my way back up to that level to see.

Weekly Totals:

Running: 56km
Walking: 25km
Cycling: 50km
Total: 131km

As this was my third week of running 56km and things have gotten quite comfortable, I'll be stepping up the long run to 20km tomorrow. That will bring my weekly mileage up to 58km (a little over 36 miles) where I'll likely stay for the foreseeable future. I'm also adjusting the cycling plan down a bit this week to deal with getting used to riding indoors. Other than those two adjustments, however, everything else will be identical to the previous week.

Upcoming Week:
Sun (AM/PM) 20K LSD
Mon 50K Cycle
Tue 8K Tempo
Wed (AM/PM) 30K Cycle/10K Steady
Thurs 30K Cycle/10K Steady
Fri 50K Cycle
Sat 10K Steady

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Week 46: Review

The weather this week was pretty unpredictable, and disrupted my ability to do my cycling routine much more than usual. Rather than the ~200km per week I've been averaging lately, I only managed to get 40km in this week. As noted in my previous posts, as this is unlikely to get any better I elected to move the bike inside to maintain some degree of consistency in my training.

Fortunately, the weather hasn't been much of a problem for running and walking so I managed to get all of my planned sessions in. The only (minor) modification to the schedule was that I ran Thursday's 10K through High Park closer to tempo pace than the steady pace that was called for. This wasn't really intended, but the enthusiasm of running this course rather than my usual routes got the best of me. I managed to average about a 4:34/km pace, which is somewhere in between my ~4:20 tempo pace and 4:45 steady pace.

Weekly Totals:

Running: 56km
Walking: 94km
Cycling: 40km
Total: 190km

Going forward, I'm going to have to tweak my cycling routine a bit to adapt to using the indoor trainer. The longer rides are unlikely to be feasible inside, so I will likely have to do shorter rides more often and/or dial up the intensity a bit. Fortunately, the cycling is simply a means to improve my overall fitness, so losing a bit of mileage on this front isn't a huge deal.

As for the running, I will likely be holding at the current level for the time being. I was flirting with pushing the long run a little further this week, but as the weather is supposed to be pretty miserable tomorrow (wet snow) so I'll likely hold off on that for now. Either way, it's getting down to the point where I have to figure out what I will be doing next season so I can start preparing for it.

Upcoming Week:
Sun (AM/PM) 18K LSD/30K Cycle
Mon 50K Cycle
Tue 8K Tempo
Wed (AM/PM) 30K Cycle/10K Steady
Thurs 30K Cycle/10K Steady
Fri 30K Cycle
Sat 10K Steady

Friday, November 14, 2008

Breaking in the trainer...

As mentioned yesterday, due to the weather that we get this time of year I elected to make the move to riding the bike inside until Spring. With the tire and skewer changed yesterday, I cleaned off the bike this morning, hooked it up to the trainer and made sure that everything was working. After lunch, I got changed into my cycling gear, switched on a couple of fans and got started with my normal routine.

While I had originally planned for an 80km ride, I elected to modify that to a 30K ride instead as the prospect of two and a half hours of staring at a wall wasn't terribly enticing. I set up a television to fend off boredom, but there isn't a whole lot on at that time of day so its utility was somewhat limited. Fortunately the bike and trainer (Kurt Kinetic Road Machine) were much quieter than I expected so, unlike my treadmill, it was possible to clearly hear the TV while riding. As such, my best bet is likely to do my longer rides at night when enough good stuff is on to entertain me ;)

Either way, it did get the job done and wasn't quite as mind numbing as I expected it to be. I managed to cover the equivalent of 30km in a little under an hour, averaging a 30.8km/h pace for the session. Naturally, longer rides will likely be a different thing, but if I can find something decent on television they might not be that big of an issue either. The one big upside, however, is that not having to deal with stop signs or traffic means that my average speed is a lot more representative of overall performance than on the road.

One of the other big advantages to using this trainer is that it allows me to monitor my power output, something that would normally take relatively expensive equipment to do. As the manufacturer of this model carefully calibrates their trainers at the factory, it is possible to calculate the power output directly from the speed of the bicycle's rear wheel. Unlike riding outside (where wind speed/direction, road surface, incline, etc. all play a part), all of the resistance is supplied by the fluid chamber so this mapping is predictable.

In this case, my average power output works out to a little under 240 watts. My maximum speed was 48km/h (did a sprint near the end of the session), working out to a peak output of about 680 watts for about a minute. Have to do a little more reading to see whether those numbers are good or not, but it is definitely interesting to have an objective metric to measure my cycling progress with ;)

Thursday, November 13, 2008

10K in High Park

As I've noted in the last few updates, the weather has gotten to the point where it is getting in the way of maintaining my cycling routine at the level that I'd like. While adverse weather is little more than an inconvenience on foot, it can pose a significant risk while riding so I've aired on the side of caution. Unfortunately, leaving enough time for recovery for my Running and Cycling schedules limits my flexibility so this has resulted in significant mileage deficits. Given that it's the middle of November, things are unlikely to get any better until Spring so I elected to make the move over to my indoor trainer.

As such, I headed down to the bike store earlier today to have them make some adjustments for use on the trainer (changing out the rear tire and skewer). As the shop is adjacent to High Park and I knew it would take about an hour to do the work, I figured that I'd kill two birds with one stone and do my 10K run while I waited. Aside from more efficiently using my time, it also gave me an opportunity to compare my fitness to the 5K Harry's Spring Run-Off race that I did earlier in the year.

Either way, after dropping off the bike I suited up and started running down Bloor street toward the park. I entered the park at the North entrance and down West Rd., breaking off to a trail alongside Grenadier Pond, down the side of the Queensway and finally up Spring Rd to complete the first lap. At this point (the half-way mark), I then headed back down West Rd. for another lap. After the second time up the hill, I then headed up to Bloor and back to the store.

In the end, I managed to reach the 10K mark in 45m57s with an average pace of 4:34/km. My heart rate averaged 167bpm over the entire route, although it did reach 180 when heading up the Spring Rd. hill. For comparative purposes, I managed to hit the 5K mark in 22m54s which was a little more than a minute faster than the Spring Run-Off race last year (where I was pushing much harder than I was today). Regardless, the hills were much less of an impediment this time around which definitely made the route a lot easier than last time.

Overall, it was nice to give this route another shot and the weather managed to hold out quite nicely despite the threat of rain. Going off of my regular routes is certainly a good thing every once and a while, as it highlights the gains that are often harder to see on day-to-day runs. I'll have to make more of an effort to do similar runs in the future, possibly doing a few of the same races I did last season.

Either way, with the bike prepared I'll likely be setting up the trainer tomorrow and giving it a shot. I generally hate running on a treadmill, so I'm not sure if I'll be able to handle staring at a wall for the two and half hours it takes to ride 50 miles, but we'll see how it goes.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Week 45: Review

Aside from the rain on Monday, it was a pretty good week weather-wise. Naturally, that rain prevented me from doing my 80km ride on Monday, however I partially made up for it by doing an extra 50km ride on Tuesday morning instead of the planned walk. Unfortunately, I also had to cut Sunday afternoon's ride a bit short as I forgot to take into account the time change when figuring out when the sun was going down. Aside from those issues, however, everything else went as planned.

The 18K LSD run on Sunday was certainly a lot easier with the cooler weather that we are experiencing right now. I managed to maintain an average pace of 4:52 for the duration, hitting the 18km mark a few seconds before 1:28. Further, I also managed to keep my average heart rate down to a very comfortable 154bpm (~64%HRR). I'll likely do another 18K tomorrow, and if all goes well I can play with the idea of pushing it a little further the following week.

On the cycling front, with some great weather on Tuesday I elected to go off of my normal route and give some bigger roads a try. After doing about three laps of my normal route to warm up, I took a quick break and then headed out along a north-south route that I've heard good things about. From an exercise point of view, it is definitely a much better route as it allowed me to ride non-stop at a steady 34km/h pace for almost an hour. Further, there were some very good rolling hills at points in this route, which added significantly to the challenge. The downside, of course, was that the speed limit was about 80km/h for most of the route, so the vehicular traffic was going a lot faster than it does on the residential roads that I'm used to. In addition, it primarily passes through farmer's fields, so on a windy day there would be little to protect me (and at these speeds headwinds can be very significant). This type of riding will certainly take some getting used to, however there is only one way to do that ;)

Weekly Totals:

Running: 56km
Walking: 38km
Cycling: 194km
Total: 288km

The other significant thing this week was that my year-to-date running and walking mileage crossed the 5000km mark. Unfortunately, I didn't start separating the two sports in my training logs until the middle of July, so I'm not exactly sure how much each of them contributed to that total. My ballpark estimate would be somewhere in the region of 2000K run and 3000K walked, but without the time to go back and modify all of those entries I can't be sure. Either way, that is a lot of ground covered over these few months and hopefully just the precursor to many more!

As for the upcoming week, the plan is to pretty much stay the course. I've now gotten back to the peak mileage of my last training cycle, so it's just a matter of getting my body used to this level of work before stepping it up again. If all goes well, I might push things ahead a little in the following week, but we'll have to wait and see on that front.

Upcoming Week:
Sun (AM/PM) 18K LSD
Mon 80K Cycle
Tue 8K Tempo
Wed (AM/PM) 10K Steady/50K Cycle
Thurs 10K Steady
Fri 80K Cycle
Sat 10K Steady

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Week 44: Review

A combination of rain, heavy winds and the first significant snow storm of the season conspired to mess with my cycling schedule this week. I did manage to get in a 50K ride on Thursday and my scheduled half-century ride on Friday, but other than that I didn't get any further time on the bike. This is starting to become a bit of a trend, however there isn't a whole lot that I can do in these scenarios.

Fortunately, the adverse weather wasn't much of a problem for my running or walking sessions. All of my runs went as planned, and I am definitely getting to the point where this level of mileage is beginning to become comfortable. The step up to 8K on my tempo run went well, and despite fighting a 35-40km/h headwind for most of the run I still managed to maintain my planned pace (4:30/km). Other than that, last week's schedule was pretty much a mirror of the week before so there isn't much to report there.

Weekly Totals:

Running: 52km
Walking: 77km
Cycling: 135km
Total: 264km

Given the success this week, the plan is pretty much to hold to the same thing this coming week. I'll be increasing tomorrow's LSD run to 18K to get myself used to longer runs again, and I'll likely bump next Saturday's run up to 10K as well. That will bring my total mileage to about 56km (~35 miles), keeping me climbing upwards but doing so slowly enough that things can remain comfortable. I will have to make a decision as to what my plans are for the next training cycle relatively soon, however the objective at this point remains building a strong base for whatever that will be.

With respect to cycling, that will largely be dependent on what the weather permits. The forecasts appear to indicate that Monday will be a problem again, however it's looking like the rest of the week should be nice so I might be able to make up for that. Either way, given that it's November now I'll likely be moving the bike onto the trainer sooner than later - however I'm trying to get in as much time outside as is humanly possible before that happens.

Upcoming Week:
Sun (AM/PM) 18K LSD
Mon 80K Cycle
Tue 8K Tempo
Wed (AM/PM) 10K Steady/50K Cycle
Thurs 10K Steady
Fri 80K Cycle
Sat 10K Steady

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Week 43: Review

This week has seen a lot of unsettled weather, which threw a wrench into my plans for cycling. Heavy rain and wind on Monday made the planned 80K ride impractical, so I simply did some walking in its place. I had hoped to make up for it throughout the rest of the week, but Tuesday was also a write off because of the rain and Wednesday was extremely cold so it was difficult enough getting the planned 50K in. At that point I was flirting with the idea of doing more than 80K on Friday, but when the day came time constraints made that impossible.

As such, my cycling mileage is lower than I would have hoped this week, but as I'm not really training for anything that's not really a huge issue. The sessions that I did have on the bike were quite productive, however, so all was not bad news. My half-century ride on Friday went extremely well, and I was able to maintain a 32km/h average speed until ~55km in when the school traffic started building up. Even with that, however, I managed to maintain an overall average speed of 29.6km/h over the 50 mile route. I'm hoping to get that above 30km/h before I have to pack it in for the winter, so it's just going to be a matter of getting in as many miles as I can.

As for running, things went pretty much to plan this week. I managed to get my weekly mileage back up to 50km (a little over 30 miles), and plan to hold around that level for the next little while. This was the peak of my previous training program, and my hope is to build up my base level to this point prior to beginning any marathon training. Fortunately, running isn't as sensitive to the weather as cycling so it's a little easier to stick to the plan when dealing with unsettled conditions.

Weekly Totals:

Running: 51km
Walking: 69km
Cycling: 145km
Total: 265km

As my intent is to maintain this running mileage, this week's plan will be very similar to last week's plan. The only difference with respect to running is that I'll be upping Tuesday's tempo run another kilometer to give a bit more of a push on that front. Cycling-wise things will be similar as well, and hopefully the weather will cooperate this time around ;)

Upcoming Week:
Sun (AM/PM) 16K Steady
Mon 80K Cycle
Tue 8K Tempo
Wed (AM/PM) 10K Steady/50K Cycle
Thurs 10K Steady
Fri 80K Cycle
Sat 8K Steady

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Getting Used to the Cold Again

Fortunately, my RS800 got back from Polar Canada's service depot yesterday so I was able to get back to my normal running routine. I was definitely impressed with their service, as once shipping times were taken into account they took less than two business days to complete the work. Naturally, I would have rather not have had the problem in the first place but it is good to know that they can get repairs done this quickly.

Either way, the plan called for a 10K run this morning, so I headed out just after 10am. Despite the clear skies, the temperature was below zero and snow that fell yesterday was still on the ground. As such, I wore a long sleeve running shirt, a pair of gloves and a neck warmer to keep myself warm. I did a 1K walk to warm up, and then broke into a run when the watch's auto-lap feature beeped.

I finished the first kilometer a little slow, hitting the mark in 4:48. Kilometers two and three went along similarly, hitting them in 4:46 and 4:47 respectively. By the fourth kilometer, I began to pick up the pace and hit the mark in 4:43. Even at this point, however, my heart rate was still in the 150s which is a lot lower than it usually was so I allowed myself to continue to accelerate a little more.

The fifth through ninth kilometers were all in the low 4:40s to high 4:30s, but my heart rate still remained in the mid-160s. As such, I let myself go faster than usual in the final kilometer - taking 4:28 to reach the finish line. Overall, the 10K running portion took 46:49, for an average pace of about 4:41.

Despite the final push, my heart rate peaked at 173bpm which was still quite comfortable. The cold adds a lot of complexity to running, however it certainly makes it easier to keep the heart rate under control. It does make me wonder how well I could have done had I run the Goodlife Toronto Half Marathon this weekend instead of the Scotiabank Waterfront Half ;)

Given the missed bicycle rides earlier in the week due to weather issues, I replaced the planned 30K in the afternoon with a 50K ride. While it did warm up a little in the afternoon, it was still below 3C so it was still pretty chilly. Naturally, this is more of a concern on the bike than it is on foot, as the continuous ~30km/h wind tends to make for a nasty windchill. Regardless, I had already missed significant mileage on the bike this week so I was determined to make it up one way or the other.

Either way, I put on my cycling shorts, a long sleeve running shirt and a cycling jersey on top and headed out. Once I got going, the temperature wasn't too bad as the heat generated by my body did a decent job of keeping me comfortable. The only thing that ended up becoming a problem was keeping my feet warm, as they don't do a lot of work on the bike so the cold air does get to them. It didn't really become too much of a problem, however it is evident that I need to look into getting a set of windproof booties to put over top of my cycling shoes.

As for the ride itself, I wasn't able to push as hard as I would have liked as the legs were still a little tired from the run a couple of hours before. Either way, I managed to average about 29km/h for most of the laps around the subdivision. Around 2:30, however, the school traffic started building up again so fighting my way through all of the cars slowed a couple of laps down to the 27km/h range. Overall, I managed to average about 28.1km/h including the warm-up and cool-down segments, finishing 50.65km in 1:48:07.

Tomorrow morning has another 10K run scheduled, with an 11K walk in the afternoon. I might try and replace that walk with another ~30K cycle to make up for lost mileage but I'll have to see how things feel. Friday I'll be looking at doing another half-century, and possibly more if everything feels good so I can't push too hard tomorrow. Fortunately, the weather over the next couple of days looks like it's going to be near perfect so hopefully that means that I can stick to the plan better than I have for the first half of the week.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Winter is on its way...

After quickly checking the weather this morning, my original plan was to do my 7K tempo run in the morning and then do a 30-50km ride in the afternoon when the rain was supposed to stop. I was supposed to do an 80K ride yesterday, however as it rained for most of the day I had to give up on that plan and simply did two 11K walks instead. As such, I was hoping to make up for part of that today after I did the scheduled run. Regardless, I headed out about 10:00, and as soon as I got out there it was clear that the wind (which I didn't pay attention to in the weather reports) was going to be an issue.

My route this time around was basically a straight shot down a major road, which provides me with a relatively flat course (versus the hilly routes that I usually use). For tempo runs this is generally a better match, as it allows me to operate at the right level without having to worry about burning myself out on the hills. The downside to this route, however, is that it is much more exposed than the residential streets that I usually run on, so the effects of the wind were more pronounced than normal. Adding to the complexity was that this was my first attempt at doing a tempo run completely by feel (I did last week's on the treadmill), so there was going to be some difficulty in allowing myself to go at the correct speed (4:30/km) without loosing control.

Either way, I hit the 1K mark in 4:42, about 12 second slower than planned so I stepped things up a bit. I accelerated a bit too much, however, and did the second kilometer in 4:22 so I pulled back a little to correct for that. By the 3K mark, I managed to get myself to the right pace - finishing it in 4:29. This continued to the 3.5K mark, which I hit at 15:48 (about 3 seconds behind overall pace).

At this point, I turned around and started heading back the way that I came. Unfortunately the wind had continued to pick up, and I was now fighting a ~40km/h headwind. I managed to keep my pace up, hitting the 4K mark at exactly 18:00 (4:24/km). The cold wind was making it much more of a fight than usual, however, so I elected to pull off the route and take side streets to finish the distance.

Unfortunately, as I didn't have my watch, falling off the route onto roads that I usually don't run on meant that I had no way to gauge my mileage beyond this point. As such, I decided to switch to a timed run rather than a fixed distance, and would continue until I hit 31:30 (7km x 4:30/km). Pacing was naturally completely by feel at this point, as I would have no way to determine it until I could get home and chart out the remainder of the run. As such, I just locked into the feeling that worked earlier in the run and stayed at that level.

I wasn't 100% sure of the layout of the roads in this area, so a lot of my routing had to be made up on the fly. I stuck with smaller roads where the houses shielded the roads/sidewalks from the wind and eventually hit the time limit and broke back to a walk. After about 500 meters, I stopped and did some stretches, then continued for another ~3km back home.

Once I got back to my computer, I pulled up and charted out the remainder of my route to figure out exactly how far I had gone. Fortunately, things worked out extremely well with the second segment of the run taking up 3,012 meters. Added to the 4K portion that was run as planned, that worked out to a perfect 4:30 overall pace.

As for the cycling, it is looking like that won't be possible today either. There is an extremely gusty 50km/h wind out there right now, which would throw me around like a rag doll if I headed out on the bike. Add in the fact that there have been on and off snow flurries over the last couple of hours, and it's not very friendly weather to deal with at this juncture. As such, I'll likely end up doing another walk this afternoon and will have to try and get in a longer than usual ride tomorrow.

Fortunately, the weather reports seem to indicate things will be much better tomorrow through Friday so as long as they are right it might not be much of a setback. If things work out, I might try and give a metric century (100km) a try on Friday - both to make up for the lost mileage yesterday, and to see how my stamina holds up (it should take about 3.5-4 hours to complete that distance).

With all of that said, I managed to pick up a fluid trainer (Kurt Kinetic Road Machine) for a great price at a bike show on Saturday, and ultimately that will allow me to continue to use the bike when the weather makes it impossible to ride outside anymore. Unfortunately, indoor trainers are apparently very hard on tires, so it is generally best to take good tires off the bike (replacing them with purpose-built tires, or old tires that you don't mind burning through) before riding on a trainer. As such, it doesn't really help a lot with short spells of weather like this week. When the weather starts being impractical more often than not, however, I can switch things around and do my rides regardless of the weather.

The only question at this point, however, is whether riding inside for extended periods will be as boring as running on the treadmill. With that said, there will certainly be less of a choice on this front. While I can run in pretty much any weather, the same cannot be said for a road bike - especially with the nasty winters that we get up here. As such, if I want to keep the cycling up during the winter, the trainer is going to pretty much be my only choice.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Back up to 16K

As planned, I headed out this morning to do a 16K LSD run and get back into the routine of these longer runs. The target was to average a 5:00/km pace, but as it would be impractical to try and memorize 16 waypoints I just focused on a few landmarks along the course and timed myself off of those. Fortunately, the weather was nice and cool so that made it a lot more comfortable than similar runs of this distance done earlier in the year.

Either way, I hit the 1K mark a little behind schedule at 5:07 so I adjusted my pace a little to compensate. The 2K mark came at 10:03, and the first major waypoint (at 2.75km) was hit at 13:45 (just about erasing the initial error). I made a bit more adjustment to my pace at this point to try and keep myself on track, eventually hitting the 5K mark at 24:57 (maintaining a 4:59 pace for this segment) and getting a good feel for the pace.

The next segment was an uphill portion which required a bit of an adjustment, but I managed to keep myself to a 4:57 pace until the next waypoint at 7.31km which I hit at 36:23. Still a bit fast, but much closer than the majority of the runs that I've done this week ;) This continued to the 10K mark, which I hit at 49:45, averaging a 4:58 pace.

After that point, I started going a bit too fast again and hit the 11.87km mark at 58:57 for an average pace of 4:55. As this was the final waypoint, I was a little concerned about the trend so I redoubled my efforts to control pace. In retrospect, I overcompensated a bit as I only averaged a 5:04 pace for this segment, hitting the 16K mark at 1:19:54. Either way, this slowdown simply compensated for the too fast portions earlier in the run, resulting in an overall average pace of 4:59 - finishing a mere 6 seconds earlier than planned.

It definitely felt good to get back to doing these longer distance runs, and being able to pace things this closely helped a lot to boost my confidence. The only problem that I did have was that I overdressed a bit and was pretty warm by the end, but figuring out exactly how much to wear this time of year is a tricky thing. Either way, I can only hope that rest of my runs this week go as well as this one did!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Week 42: Review

It's been an interesting week, as I've had to get used to running entirely by feel as I increase my mileage. Pacing has been going better than I expected, and has been improving significantly through the week. Naturally, it takes a lot more work to manually plot and measure routes, then memorize waypoints and time things manually. It's getting easier, however, as most of my routes are variations on one another so once certain points are remembered they are useful for future runs.

Either way, most of the sessions this week went along quite well. On Monday, I managed to pull off an 82km ride in 2:47:29, hitting the 50 mile (half-century) mark at 2:43:20. That works out to an average speed of 29.4km/h, about 2:24 short of a 30km/h ride. Given that I was averaging about 26km/h the last time I rode this distance (before the half marathon), that is a significant improvement. The half-century ride on Friday didn't go quite as well due to heavy winds and traffic, but despite those conditions I still managed to average 28.4km/h.

With respect to running, things went pretty well to plan other than switching Thursday's 8K run to a 10K. As noted above, pacing was a little faster than it should have been for most of these sessions but it got much closer by the end of the week. For instance, the 8K 4:45 run at the start of the week was done at a 4:38 pace, while the same run on Saturday was at a 4:41 pace. Still not perfect, but going in the right direction.

Weekly Totals:
Running: 42km (48km)
Walking: 32km
Cycling: 185km
Total: 259km

As noted in the previous review, last week's Sunday and Saturday sessions were switched around which mixed up the weekly totals. When the 14km long run from the previous week was factored into this week's total instead of last week's, the total distance run was 48km. This brings me close enough to get beyond 50km next week, where I'll likely stabilize for the next little while to get my body accustomed to this training volume. To play it safe I'll likely continue to stay away from speedwork or hill training, as I'm still a bit renascent to do those types of sessions by feel.

Upcoming Week:
Sun (AM/PM) 16K Steady
Mon 80K Cycle
Tue 7K Tempo
Wed (AM/PM) 10K Steady/50K Cycle
Thurs 10K Steady
Fri 80K Cycle
Sat 8K Steady

Beyond that, I'm still playing around with a few different ideas for my long term plans but the priority at this juncture is to focus on keeping my base up. Whatever the plans end up being, I'd like to get back into some form of formal training program by the beginning of next month so I'll have to figure things out by then ;)

Friday, October 17, 2008

Fighting Headwinds

The schedule called for another half-century (50mi/80.47km) ride today, so I headed out a little after lunch. Unlike the ride on Monday, the temperature was much more comfortable (11C vs 25C) although there was a pretty nasty wind coming from the north. After doing a quick inspection of the bike, I set off and headed down to my normal route and got going at a pretty good pace.

Things went quite well until the 20K mark when the wind picked up a bit. Unfortunately, the direction of the wind translated into a headwind during the uphill segments and a tailwind when heading downhill. While the tailwind did speed things up a little, the extra efforts required to ascend the hills forced me to use lower gears than usual and hurt my average speed. While I averaged about 33km/h for the first 20K, I was only averaging about 28km/h at this juncture and was getting tired a lot faster than normal.

After a few more laps, I started to get a little more comfortable with the wind and picked up my speed again. At this point (approx. 45K), however, the schools along the route were starting to get out, resulting in a lot of cars gumming up the works. I was able to maintain a good clip in the straightaways, but I had to slow down significantly to navigate around parked and slow moving cars every couple kilometers. This only lasted for about 45 minutes, but it was enough to further depress my average speed.

Once the school traffic cleared, I was able to pick it up again. The wind was still there, so it wasn't as fast as usual, but I was able to average about 29km/h at this point. The uphill sections were still a fight, however I took it a little easier on the flat segments which did enough to keep my legs fresh. People were starting to come home from work at this point so there was still more traffic than usual, but it was moving well so it didn't pose much of a problem.

Unfortunately, as I was approaching the 70K mark, my rear wheel ran over a small field of debris. To make sure everything was okay, I pulled over and checked to find a small piece of glass embedded in the tire. It was a small wound that likely wouldn't be a problem, however if it was left there it would work it's way deeper into the tire so I headed home rather than risk it. As soon as I got back, I let a little air out of the tire, removed the shard and pumped it up again. Looking over the damage, it doesn't look like it is very deep so it likely won't be a problem but I'll naturally keep an eye on it. It wasn't really worth heading back out for 9K more, so I packed everything up and did my stretches.

Overall, I covered 71.53km in 2:29:07 for an average speed of 28.8km/h. Not as good a ride as the 2:41:48 (29.8km/h) 50 miler on Monday, however hopefully I'll be able to crack 30km/h next Monday. I will have to find a way to head out a little earlier for these rides to avoid the traffic, although fitting a contiguous three hour block into the schedule is quite difficult. It may also be worth moving off of residential roads and onto arterial routes at this juncture as my technique is a lot stronger than before, although that means dealing with higher speed traffic and much larger hills (albeit less of them).

The other issue that has become evident at this point is that I'm going to have to grab a proper pair of cycling gloves. Given the cold today, I took out the gloves that I use for running but they made manipulating the shifting levers a little awkward. They did the job okay, however I imagine that gloves designed explicitly for this sport would likely mitigate these issues.

Tomorrow I'm scheduled to do an 8K steady run, followed by a 16km LSD run on Sunday. Other than the wind, it looks like the weather will be nearly perfect for running this weekend. A few of the other members of my clinic are running their half marathon (the GoodLife Fitness Toronto Marathon) on Sunday, so it looks like things are lining up well for them!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Another 10K Down

I originally planned to do an 8K run today, but as the 10K run went well yesterday and the weather was quite good I figured that I'd do another 10K today. As with yesterday, my target was a 4:45 pace, but this time I made sure to memorize waypoints at every kilometer. I intended to focus more on correct pacing this time around, hopefully exerting a little more control.

As such, I headed out at 4:00pm and did what I could to moderate my pace as best as I could. I ended up hitting the 1K mark at 4:52, however I had to slow down a bit at one point to safely cross a street so my cruising speed was likely about right. The second kilometer was a little fast (4:35/K), hitting it at 9:27 so I pulled back a little, hitting 3K at 14:15 (a 4:48/K pace). At this point, the errors pretty much canceled themselves out so my overall pace was right on the mark.

I managed to pull off the fourth and fifth kilometers exactly on pace despite the fact that they were on downhill (4K) and uphill (5K) grades. As with yesterday, however, the uphill grade on the fifth kilometer threw me off again and I hit the 6K mark at 28:00 - about 30 seconds ahead of schedule (a 4:15 pace). Despite trying to pull back, I maintained the same average pace in the seventh kilometer hitting the mark at 32:15.

After two fast kilometers, I redoubled my efforts to control my pace and managed to get back on track for the eighth and ninth kilometers (hitting them at 37:00 and 41:45 respectively). As usual, however, my enthusiasm got the best of me in the final kilometer and I hit the 10K mark at 46:07 (4:22/K).

Overall, the average pace for the run was 4:36 which was about the same as yesterday's run. With that said, a larger percentage of the run was done at the correct pace so things are getting a bit better. The main thing that I definitely need to focus on is controlling my pace after ascending uphill grades. I tend to get used to the increased effort during the climb, which throws off my feeling for pace once I crest the hill. Either way, I just have to focus a little more at that point and hopefully I'll be able to get that facet of pacing under control this Saturday.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


Rebuilding my mileage has been going quite well, despite the issues with my watch. This afternoon, I headed out for a 10K run with a memorized path and waypoints to manually plot out my pacing. The plan was to target a 4:45 pace, knowing that I'd likely end up going a bit faster than that.

As such, I headed out at 5:00pm along the planned route. For a change, the pacing in the first kilometer was right on target - hitting the mark exactly 4:45 after I started. I ended up accelerating a bit in the second kilometer, hitting the mark at 9:20 (about 10 seconds ahead of schedule). To correct for that, I pulled it back a little but still hit the 3K mark about 5 seconds faster than pace (at 13:00). I pulled back a little more, but the downhill grade of the next section counteracted that and I did the fourth kilometer at the same 4:40 pace.

The fifth kilometer is mostly composed of a mild uphill portion (~300m@+4%, ~500m@+2.5%) and managed to hit the target pace right on, hitting the mark at 23:25. After that point, I didn't have any waypoints until the 9K mark so I was on my own. Unfortunately, after the climb my legs got used to the higher output so my pacing was a little fast. In the future, I'll have to remember to memorize a waypoint at 6K as well so that I can correct for this issue.

A little after the 7K mark I was approaching a cloud of smoke (which I'd later figure out was a fire in a public washroom in the park), but as I had no way to gauge my pace/distance if I went off course I went through it anyway. I made it through in about 20 seconds, and it didn't pose much of an issue beyond making breathing a little more difficult during that phase. I had to pass through it again at the 8.3km point but, as before, my breathing recovered immediately after clearing it.

At about 8.7km I had to stop briefly (35 seconds) prior to crossing a major street, and eventually hit the 9K mark at 42:15. My pace over this segment (5-9km) averaged out to about 4:38/km, working out to about 4:29/km without counting the traffic stop. A good deal faster than planned however it was a comfortable pace and, other than the smoky portions, my breathing remained in control for the duration.

Since my pace was going pretty well, I allowed myself to accelerate in the last kilometer. I hit the 10K mark at 46:34, maintaining an average pace of 4:19/km in the last segment. Overall, however, my average pace was 4:39/km (4:36/km minus the traffic stop) which was not too far off from the plan. Still some work to be done in order to increase the control I have when running by feel, but the only way to get better at that is to do more sessions like this.

Other than this session, I did a 30K ride earlier this morning at an average speed of about 29.8km/h (about 38 seconds shy of 30km/h). Including the cool-down, I covered 32.26K in 1:05:48. My cycling has definitely improved significantly since I've been putting more time into it over the last few weeks. Not a whole lot of time left until the weather makes it difficult to continue, but I'm doing what I can to take full advantage of things in the meantime. I'll likely be picking up an indoor trainer to do some cycling in the Winter, but I doubt that I will be able to spend much more than 90 minutes staring at a wall ;)

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Week 41: Review

This week signaled the end of my recovery period for the half marathon, and the start of getting my mileage back up to where it was before the race. The training plan peaked at about 50km (~31mi) and I'd like to get back to that level again before pushing much further. What I do after that will depend a lot on what my next big target race will be, so that is still up in the air.

As for the possibility of doing a race next weekend, with my watch out of commission I'm likely not to bother at this point. While I don't mind running training sessions without pace readings, I'd be a bit nervous to attempt an all out effort without them at this point. The logistics of getting down there would have been complicated at this point anyway, and it shouldn't be too difficult to look for another 5-10K race down the road a little (when I have a better idea of my longer term plans).

Either way, other than the snafu with the watch everything went well this week. The lingering tightness that bothered me last week is gone, and I've done a few runs of varying intensities without any issues coming up (see the last few posts for details). As such, it's just a matter of climbing back up the ladder and preparing myself for whatever comes next ;)

Weekly Totals (Week 41):
Running: 44km
Walking: 57km
Cycling: 138km
Total: 239km

As noted in the last post, I did my long run today instead of tomorrow due to scheduling issues with Thanksgiving so that throws the weekly mileage off a bit. When the swapped sessions are switched around, this week basically consisted of about 38km, and next week will get me up to about 45km. To make sure everything is 100% I'm going to take another week off of the hill/speed training and I'll work that back in during the following week. If all goes well, this will get me back up to 50km/week by week 43 and allow me to stabilize at that point for a little while before I start any new programs.

Upcoming Week:
Sun (AM/PM) 8K Steady
Mon 50K Cycle
Tue 5K Tempo
Wed (AM/PM) 10K Steady/30K Cycle
Thurs 8K Steady
Fri 80K Cycle
Sat 8K Steady

As for my longer term plans, I've started reading everything that I can find on Marathon training in order to get a better idea of what I'll be up against. My initial plan was to target a Full Marathon next May, however I'm also playing with the idea of doing a couple more Half Marathons in the spring and then targeting a Full in the fall. With the original plan, the training would have ideal weather but there is a good chance of the race being on the warm side. With the alternate plan, however, the race will likely be more comfortable but the training might be a bit of a fight. Regardless, there's still a good deal more research to do before I make any decisions!

Running Blind...

Yesterday, when I was preparing to go out for my afternoon ride the band on my running computer broke off. Unfortunately, as Polar doesn't use a standard band retention mechanism, however, it appears that the only way to get this fixed is to send it back to them. It's still under warantee, however as their closest service center is in Quebec, it is likely to take at least a week to get it back. Further complicating things was that this happened at 4:30pm before a long weekend, so I'm going to have to wait until Tuesday to start the process. This, in turn, means that I'll have to do my running sessions for the next little while with no pacing or heart rate information.

I've had my Polar RS800sd for almost a year and, as such, have always used it since I began running seriously (I bought it for my walking regime first). My instinct is unfortunately to run faster than I should, and the pacing feedback provided by the watch has been a critical part of reigning myself in. Since I'm an Engineer, I tend to have an analytical approach to most things, so monitoring what I'm doing during the run and looking over the telemetry after the fact is an important component of my training.

Either way, things are as they are and I don't have a lot of options at this juncture but to run the old fashioned way. As such, I headed out this morning with nothing but a normal watch and a pre-planned route with a few waypoints memorized (1K,2K,3K,5K,10K,13K & 14K). While I was originally planning on simply doing an 8K run this morning, with Thanskgiving stuff tomorrow I realized that it would make more sense to push the long run up to today. This was naturally going to be tricky, as LSD runs are the slowest ones that I normally do and, as such, need the most self-control to stay at pace.

I hit the 1K waypoint about 10 seconds slower than the 5min/km pace I was targeting, largely because I was overcompensating a bit ;) At 2K, I was about 5 seconds slower than target but I managed to get to the right pace by the time I hit 3K. At this point I had a relatively good feel for the pace, so I was feeling a lot more confident in my ability to handle this run on my own.

After about the 4K mark (not sure about time here as I didn't memorize its exact position), there is a downhill section that I picked up a little speed on. As such, I hit the 5K mark at almost exactly 25 minutes into the run - about 7sec/km faster than planned, but making up for the lost time at the start of the run. My body would eventually lock onto this pace, however, as I averaged the next 5K segment at this speed (hitting the 10K mark at 49:30).

In the final segment, everything was feeling good and once I finished the last serious uphill segment I let myself accelerate a little more. As such, I hit the 13K mark at 1:03:58 (averaging a 4:49 pace from 10-13K). With only a kilometer to go, I picked things up a bit more and hit the 14K mark at 1:08:34 - about a minute and a half faster than planned. The final segment had an average pace of 4:36min/km, although a lot of that was thanks to a hard push for the final 400-500m (no idea how fast).

Either way, the overall pace for the run was 4:53min/km which was much better than I had expected. I certainly would much rather have instrumentation on my runs, but it is good to know that I've developed my feeling for pace well enough that I can keep it in the ballpark on my own. It remains to be seen how I can handle the other runs, however this run definitely increased my confidence in my pacing abilities.

As for what to do at this juncture, I'm flirting with the idea of grabbing one of the new RS800CX units and then selling the RS800sd when it comes back. The new version is basically the same watch, however it supports the cycling specific sensors (speed and cadence) which would save me from having to buy another device for logging telemetry on the bike. Alternately, I could buy a Garmin Forerunner 205 for relatively little right now so that I had a backup device in case this ever happened again. Most likely, however, I'll just tough this week out without it and get back to my routine when it comes back.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Picking Things Up

As I'm playing with the idea of running a 5K race in a little more than a week, I wanted to try and give a hard training run a shot to make sure that I was up to it. I originally planned on doing a simple tempo run today, but after my 30K ride this morning I was feeling quite good so I figured that I'd step it up a bit. As such, I set out with the plan to warm up, then target a sub-4min/km pace until about the 3K mark and fall back to a slower pace for the last 2K.

The first 2.5K felt great, and in a few cases I had to reign myself in from going faster. After that point my breathing became a little rough and I was getting tired, but I managed to push through to the 3K point and fell back to a walk for a short break. This was a bit of a pleasant surprise, as I figured that this pace would tire me out a lot sooner and getting to the 3K mark would be more of a fight. I'm pretty sure that maintaining this pace for 5K is still beyond reach, however in a race situation 4K is certainly within the range of possibility.

Either way, after 80 seconds of walking my heart rate had recovered back to a comfortable 150bpm so I began running again. I started off at a relatively comfortable pace and, as I was still feeling quite good I allowed myself to accelerate - performing kilometres four and five at 4:22 and 4:14 paces respectively. When I hit the 5K mark, 21:26.6 had passed which was a little slower than a month ago, but as this included a walking break it's definitely a good indicator.

Total Time: 21:26.6
Average Pace: 4:17/km (4:09/km minus walk break)

0-1K 4:14/km
1-2K 3:59/km
2-3K 3:58/km
3-3.16K 8:20/km (1:20 Walking Break)
3.16-4K 4:22/km
4-5K 4:14/km

Full Telemetry

As for the rest of the week, I did the 8K run as planned on Tuesday and everything felt back to 100%. On Wednesday, I went to the local Running Room and did a 10K group run as no one else was doing an 8K. I had planned to do a 30K ride on Wednesday, however the rain made that impossible so I deferred it to this morning.

Tomorrow, I had originally planned another full rest day but as I'm feeling pretty good I'll likely try a 50K ride to work back toward the normal groove. Saturday I'll be doing another 8K run, and Sunday will depend on what I choose to do with respect to the race. Hopefully things will continue along the current trend, and I'll be able to get my mileage back up to what it was before the Half.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Back into the Routine...

As noted in yesterday's post, the plan was to do a 6K recovery run this morning and start building back into my normal routine. As planned, I headed out, warming up with a brisk walk for 1K and then breaking into a slow run (~5min/km). At first, my right hamstring was still a little sore, but after a couple of minutes that faded away and everything felt fine. I slowly accelerated to faster paces as the run progressed, in an attempt to gauge how well everything had healed in the last week. Things continued to go well, but as I was approaching the 5K mark I elected to call it quits a little earlier than planned given that the hamstring was still a little sore at the beginning of the run.

Either way, other than that minor hiccup the rest of the run went well. The first kilometer was run at a comfortable 5 min/km pace, followed by a faster 4:46K, and progressing through a 4:36K, a 4:33K and finally a 4:19K. All of those paces felt great, and there was no residual pain at the end of the session so things are looking good to get back into the swing of things. I'm thinking of taking tomorrow completely off to see if that will resolve the tight hamstring (while I haven't been running much this week, I've taken the bike out every day so that might be aggravating it a bit), and hopefully that will allow me to get through a longer run on Tuesday without any issues.

In other news, after writing yesterday's post I realized that the Zoo Run had sold out shortly after my half so I guess that that won't be an option either way. Looking over the race schedule, I don't see many 10Ks left this year so I might forget about that for now. There's always the option of showing up on race week to see if any spots open up then, however I'm not sure I want to go to all of that trouble for this race.

The other idea I'm flirting with is running the 5K race associated with the Toronto International Marathon, as it's been a while since I've run one and it would be nice to see what all of the training over the last few months can do for me there. I've already done a training run that was substantially faster than my current PB (21:23 vs. 22:41), so it would be interesting to see what I could pull off in a racing scenario.

Longer term, the next full marathon clinic at the local Running Room starts at the end of January and targets the Ottawa marathon in late May. I'm debating whether I want to go this route, however, and am thinking of just picking up a good book on the subject and finding another training plan. That would allow me to get my training started a little earlier, giving me a little more time to climb the ladder and the option to target a marathon a little earlier in the year (as it can get quite warm in late May). Either way, I'll have to do a little more research on different training programs before I figure out which path is best.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Week 40: Review

With the race on Sunday, the remainder of this week has largely been aimed at recovery. In order to avoid losing too much fitness, however, I elected to focus on cycling as that allowed me to get in some reasonably good workouts without straining anything too much. As such, I've been out on the bike every day (except for Sunday) this week, doing 50K on Friday and around 30K on the remaining days. The weather has made this a little difficult this week, but other than a few minor issues I've managed to work around it pretty well.

As mentioned in the previous post, I also did a quick 9.5km walk on Wednesday and a short recovery run on Thursday morning. I've avoided doing any running/walking since, as I wanted to give everything time to heal before I started pushing it again. While a few things still feel a bit tight, nothing hurts anymore so I think it's about time to start working back into my normal routine.

Weekly Totals (Week 40):
Running: 24km
Walking: 15km
Cycling: 213km
Total: 252km

Also, as I didn't end up doing a review last week due to the race I figure that I should put my totals up here:

Weekly Totals (Week 39):
Running: 25km
Walking: 10km
Cycling: 68km
Total: 103km

The upcoming week is naturally in a bit of a flux, as it will depend a lot on how each of the sessions goes. If at all possible, I would like to run the 10K Zoo Run a couple of weeks from now, however whether I'll be able to get in enough serious training before it is still up in the air. While the recovery is pretty much done now, other than the race the last two weeks have been pretty light so hopefully I haven't lost too much strength.

Upcoming Week:
Sun (AM/PM) 6K Recovery/30K Cycle
Mon Rest
Tue 8K Steady
Wed (AM/PM) 8K Steady/30K Cycle
Thurs 5K Tempo
Fri Rest
Sat 8K Steady
Sun 10K LSD

With the half marathon now in the books, I'm starting to play around with what I'd like to do longer term. If at all possible, I'd like to work a full marathon in next year sometime - however how I'm going to approach that is still up in the air. Either way, this is really material for another post as this one is getting long enough as it is ;)

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Caught in the Hail...

After the half marathon last Sunday, I've been taking it relatively easy this week to try and aide in my recovery. On Monday and Tuesday my legs were still a bit sore, so I simply did a 30km (little less than 1hr) bike ride. On Wednesday things were feeling a bit better, so I did an easy 9.5km walk in addition to another 30km ride.

By this morning things were much better, so I figured that I'd do a slow recovery run this morning to gauge my progress. After about 3km my right hamstring was feeling a little tight, however, so I fell back to a walk to play it safe (doing about 8.3km in total). Once I got back and had lunch, I headed out for another ride but after about 5 minutes it started drizzling so I headed back and figured that I'd wait it out.

A few hours later, the skies cleared up so I gave the roads about 20 minutes to dry out and then set out to finish off what I started. For about 50 minutes, the weather was beautiful (Sunny 15C) but after that the skies started to get dark very quickly - with about 23km done, I figured that it was enough (I did about 5K in the morning, and I was still about 2K away from home) and started heading back. A minute or so later it started raining, so I stepped it up a bit to get home as quickly as I could.

Unfortunately I got stuck at a red light waiting to turn left and while I was standing there the rain picked up a bit. Just before the light changed, the rain turned into hail and, as there wasn't really any cover between me and home, it was simply a matter of getting back as quickly as possible. Once the light changed, however, it became evident that this was going to be a bit of a catch-22 situation - the faster I went the more the hail hurt ;) Either way, I sucked it up and ended up stabilizing at about 48km/h (which was a lot harder than I had planned to work out in a recovery week, but better than being pelted with shards of ice) and pushed home as quickly as possible. The helmet helped a lot here, as once I got down on the drops and into an aerodynamic position it deflected a good percentage of the incoming ice.

Fortunately, other than the annoyance factor it didn't seem to do any damage to me or my bike. I've been caught in the hail a few times earlier in the year while running, but getting whacked with chunks of ice at these speeds was a lot less pleasant :( Regardless, the weather this time of year is just going to get less and less predictable so I'm going to have to get used to surprises such as these! One thing I'm really going to have to look into getting some good sunglasses, however, as I was lucky not to get hit in the eyes by any of those chunks of ice.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Race Report: Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Half-Marathon

As noted in previous posts, I headed downtown on Saturday night to pick up my race kit from the expo and check into the hotel. Since I wasn't exactly sure where to go for dinner, I elected to just pick up a ticket to the race's pasta dinner to play it safe. As I was a bit rushed, I forgot to pick up a paceband while I was at the expo, but I didn't worry about it too much as I planned to stick with the 3:20 marathon pacer and, failing that, had my watch to pace me.

After dinner, I headed back to the hotel and finished up some work on my laptop before getting all of my running gear ready. I set the alarm for 5:45 the next morning and went to bed around 10:00 to make sure I got enough sleep prior to the race. In the morning, we got suited up, double checked everything and then headed down to the starting area.

Once we got down to the race site, we walked around a little to familiarize ourselves with the layout. We met a few people from the local running room shop, and also ran into yumke getting ready for his first BQ attempt. After chatting for a little while, we wished each other luck and headed down the start corals to find the rest of our running group. We didn't have much luck at that given the number of people out, and with the start approaching I broke off and headed to the yellow corral (1:36-1:47) to look for the 3:20 marathon pacer that I planned to utilize.

After walking around a bit, there was no sign of him/her so I just got into position in the corral and waited for the start. This was a bit of a disappointment, as I was looking forward to running with a stable pace group rather than continually monitoring things myself. The corral filled in quickly, and after the national anthem the groups were moved forward to fill in the starting queue. In total, more than 14,000 runners were taking part in the races that day so things were packed in pretty tightly.

When the starter's horn was sounded, the ocean of people started moving forward. Thanks to the Corrals, however, most people in my general area were running at about the same pace so the traffic wasn't a huge problem. The planned pace (4:44min/km) felt very comfortable, so I let myself drift a little faster than that to gain a bit of time.

1K: 4:56 158bpm

About 60 meters prior to the 1K mark, however, the auto lap sounded meaning that my watch was measuring a bit short. I had swapped out a new pair of shoes in the previous week for the race, but hadn't had a chance to recalibrate the sensor. I didn't worry too much about it, as they were the same make/model/year as the old ones, and the sensor was last calibrated when they were new. Unfortunately, there obviously was a difference and with the sensor measuring distances short that also meant that the paces shown were going to be a little faster than they actually were.

At that point, I started pushing a little harder to correct for that deficiency, but as I didn't want to fiddle with the watch too much while running I didn't do the exact math. I knew the rough splits to expect at certain milestones, and figured that I'd dial in corrections at those points if necessary. Either way, I was really regretting the fact that I forgot to pick up a paceband from the expo the day before, as it would have come in very handy at this point.

2K: 4:45 167bpm
3K: 4:42 170bpm
4K: 4:49 169bpm

The next three kilometers went pretty well, while they were a bit slower than planned they were close enough for it not to be a problem. I was still running with the same basic group of people, and was still feeling pretty comfortable at this point. My heart rate was a little higher than I would have liked, but it was still within a safe range given prior runs.

5K: 4:45 169bpm

At the 5K point, there was a small overpass that the course traveled over, adding a bit of a challenge. On the way up (+2% grade, 330m), I backed off a little but I accelerated as I crested the hill and went down (-3.6% grade, 160m) a little faster than pace. Looking at the splits, this worked out well as my average speed was about right and my heart rate remained stable over the hump.

6K: 4:48 170bpm
7K: 4:47 170bpm
8K: 4:47 170bpm
9K: 4:51 172bpm

The next section of the race was relatively uneventful, with a bit of an incline but otherwise a straight shot down a major road. I started to find some other runners going at about the right pace, and started using them rather than my watch to keep me at the right speed. Looking back, this was a bit of a mistake as the data shows that I started to fall back at this juncture. Fatigue hadn't really set in yet, and I likely could have pushed a bit harder in this portion (which in retrospect would have helped down the road).

10K: 4:36 173bpm

As I passed the 9K flag, I realized that I was starting to drop back so I broke away from the group that I was running with and tried to catch up. Unfortunately, I pushed a little bit too hard in this segment and that began the process of tiring out my legs a bit.

11K: 4:45 173bpm
12K: 4:46 173bpm

After backing off from the over-enthusiastic pace of the last kilometer, I took the next 2K at roughly the correct pace. By the end of the 12th kilometer (the turnaround point), I was feeling relatively good again.

13K: 4:42 173bpm
14K: 4:47 173bpm
15K: 4:48 175bpm
16K: 4:42 175bpm

For the next little portion, I attempted to carefully step it up a bit to make up for lost ground. As visible above, my pace was a bit unstable here due to this and near the end of the 16th kilometer I was beginning to feel some fatigue in my legs again.

17K: 4:51 175bpm
18K: 4:51 176bpm

With my legs getting sore again, and my heart rate climbing my focus moved from trying to hit my target to simply getting to the finish line as quickly as possible. I slowed down a bit in the next little segment to allow my legs to get better, but they were feeling quite heavy at this juncture so it was a bit of a fight.

19K: 5:21 175bpm (4:58 pace minus walk break)

At the end of the 19th kilometer, we again approached the overpass that I first hit at the 5K mark going out. The combination of the steeper ascent in this direction, and the fatigued legs made this trip over it a lot more difficult. I managed to make it up the hill without loosing much speed, however my legs were quite tired by the time I hit the top so I fell back to a walk for about 50 seconds to rest. Getting started again was hard at this point, but I pushed myself back to a run before I hit the 19K marker.

20K: 5:15 173bpm (4:44 pace minus walk break)

This was a relatively flat portion of road, however the walk break at the end of the last kilometer didn't quite clear out the lactic acid so it was still quite hard. With the final stretch approaching, I figured I'd try another short walking break (1:15) to see if I could freshen the legs up a bit more. As before, however, it didn't really help a lot so I switched back to a running gait as I approached the 20K marker.

21K: 4:52 176bpm
21.1K: 4:13 182bpm

While my legs were still quite sore, my breathing and heart rate were both relatively stable so with only 1,100 meters left I figured I'd just bite the bullet and endure it. I started out a little slowly to see if that would help, and then picked it up as I went along. The soreness didn't go away, however it wasn't getting any worse so I just ignored it and continued accelerating.

When I hit the 600 meters to go sign, I opened up a little more and with my mind focused on the finish line the legs weren't really bothering me much any more. As I hit each of the remaining signs, I stepped it up a little more and finally opened up to a 4:00min/km pace for the final 100 meters. Once I crossed the finish line and broke to a slow walk, the pain faded pretty quickly as my heart rate fell.

In the end, I crossed the finish line a little under two minutes slower than I expected, which is still a pretty good result considering that this is my first race at this distance. The 1:40 goal was a bit aggressive to start with, and the result that I got here actually lines up well with what the predictors suggested from my 15K results. Either way, it gives me something to reach for the next time I attempt this distance ;)

Chip Time: 1:41:46.6 (overall results)
Gun Time: 1:42:20.1
Pace: 4:49min/km
Place Overall: 518/6373 (91.8th percentile)
Place in Men: 428/2838 (84.9th percentile)
Place in Age Group: 55/341 (83.8th percentile)

Average Heart Rate: 172bpm (~84% MHR)
Full Telemetry
Route Map (with notes)