Monday, February 28, 2011

Weeks 7 & 8: Review

It's been a busy couple of weeks so I missed writing up my review of last week's activity. My knee was still bothering me a bit last week, so I've been taking it easy on the running front - keeping my mileage and pace down to better allow it to heal. Fortunately, as cycling and swimming didn't seem to bother it I've been keeping that up as planned and have got my cycling mileage up significantly.

Last week it felt good until I got around to the longer run when it acted up a bit again, so heading out this morning I was a bit cautious. Fortunately, after no re-occurrence of pain during today's long run I think I can start ramping the running mileage back up again. Naturally, given it's been about three weeks I'm going to have to work my way back there, but it will be good to not have to worry about it all the time.

On the bike front I've got all of the mid-week rides up to the mileage that I'm looking for so it's just a matter of adding a bit more onto Saturday's long ride over the next few weeks. I even managed to squeeze in a decent brick session on Friday, upping the effort on the ride segment a bit to get in a better workout. Hopefully I can keep this up so that when the weather does get better I can hit the ground running rather than having to build myself back up.

Week 7 Totals:
Running: 32.0km (19.9mi)
Walking: 0.9km (0.6mi)
Cycling: 165.1km (102.6mi)
Swimming: 8.8km (5.4mi)
Total: 206.8km (128.5mi)

Week 8 Totals:
Running: 31.9km (19.8mi)
Walking: 1.2km (0.7mi)
Cycling: 200.1km (124.3mi)
Swimming: 8.8km (5.4mi)
Total: 242.0km (150.4mi)

Year to Date:
Running: 347.6km (216.0mi)
Walking: 10.4km (6.5mi)
Cycling: 995.6km (618.6mi)
Swimming: 65.8km (40.9mi)
Total: 1419.4km (882.0mi)

On the longer term front, I've been discussing the idea of doing the Peterborough HIM as a couple of friends are looking at doing the Duathlon up there. It's a bit of a longer trip than Milton and will likely need a hotel stay to be practical, but the route looks a bit more scenic and it'll be nice to have some company to share the experience with. This will also be their first foray into multisport racing and given that they're jumping into the deep end (2K run/90K ride/21.1K run), I'd like to be there to help them through it.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Boston Marathon

Qualifying for Boston has been a long term goal ever since finishing my Marathon a couple of years ago. After selling out in less than eight hours last year, however, it was evident that they'd have to do something about the qualifying standards and that has brought a new urgency to taking a shot at that goal. With the existing standards, I was looking at having to run the distance in 3:10:59 or less to make the cut (an average pace of 4:31/km or 7:17/mi). That is within the realm of possibilities, but it's skirting the outer edges of what I can do so if it is tightened much more it'll likely close the door.

Today the BAA announced it's verdict on what will be done for the 2012 and 2013 marathons. For the 2012 marathon, the qualifying standards remain the same but they've added a graduated registration system that will allow faster runners earlier access. For 2013, the base qualifying standards will be tightened up by 5 minutes and the 59 second grace period will be removed (effectively meaning 6 minutes). Given the scenario they had little choice but to do something, and this seems to be about the fairest way to handle it that I can imagine. Given a finite supply of spots, it's certainly better for them to go to faster runners rather than those who are lucky enough to get through an overloaded web server.

With that said, it does make things a bit more complicated on my end and is going to require some consideration. I don't think that the 3:05 standard coming in for 2013 is possible for me, so this year will likely be my last opportunity in the immediate future to take a realistic shot at it. Unfortunately, with the progressive registration there is a high probability that it will be sold out before the general qualifiers round comes up (effectively tightening it to 3:05 (or worse) anyway). Shooting for 3:10 will require a lot of work and likely some significant compromises on my Triathlon training, so the thought of working my arse off, getting that time and it all being for naught is disconcerting.

Naturally, the other option would be to simply wait until I'm 35 and aim for a 3:10 marathon at that juncture. At this point I've only run one marathon, and I would have liked to have a few more under my belt before taking a shot at such an aggressive target. Working a few longer distance Triathlons into the mix would be beneficial as well, as their longer duration (~4-5 hours for a HIM, ~11-12 hours for a full) would do a lot to boost my confidence. I'm not that far off so the extra age likely won't hurt me too much, and while I'll have to be 59 seconds faster that's not likely a huge problem. The other benefit is that I'll have a better idea of how big a risk things selling out are as right now that's an unknown quantity. Further, depending on when I run the qualifying race, it may be possible to try and register the next year.

Either way, I've got a lot of thinking to do at this point and have to come to a conclusion quickly as formal training will have to start soon. Given the Triathlon schedule I had hoped to do the marathon in the fall, but with the registration deadline on September 19th I might have to do it in the spring (as most of the fall marathons are after that date). With that said, it's good to finally have a concrete answer on what I'm up against as it will allow me to make a more objective assessment of the different options.

With all of that said, as much as this arrangement doesn't work out terribly well for me I do have to give the BAA credit for coming up with a fair system to handle this. They were stuck between a rock and a hard place here and a tough decision had to be made. Given a fixed number of openings, the standards need to be designed so that the fastest runners are the ones that get them.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Week 6: Review

While it has been a relatively cold winter, we've been lucky that most of the snow that's fallen has been cleaned up pretty well and I haven't had to run through too much of it. Unfortunately, last week's long run was an exception to that and had me going over a lot of uneven terrain. The result of that was that the inside of my left knee felt a bit off on Tuesday and after my group run on Wednesday it was a bit uncomfortable so I ended up taking off the rest of the week to be safe (nipping things in the bud when it's just discomfort is easier than dealing with injuries after it becomes pain). Naturally, the result of that is some pitiful mileage on the running front.

Fortunately, it didn't seem to bother me at all in the other two sports so I was able to keep things up on those two fronts. The knee seems to only be aggravated by lateral motion, and as the bike locks my motion into a single plane that's not an issue there. In the pool, the arms do most of the work and the kicks come more from the hips than the knees so it doesn't pose an issue there as well. To be safe, however, I made sure to push off on my right leg at the end of each length as that can sometimes put stresses on the joint.

I did miss one ride on Monday as that's when I did last week's aforementioned long run, but other than that I hit all of the sessions as planned (including a 60K on Saturday). I did back off the intensity to be safe, as fatigued muscles may lead to slightly more eccentric motion of the joints, but other than that I stuck to the schedule. In the water, however, I followed my normal protocol with the only exception being that I replaced kicking drills with others to be absolutely sure it wasn't a problem.

The upside to a multi-sport regime is that when stuff like this happens you aren't totally shut down. While I've likely lost a bit of fitness over this week, the cycling and swimming should do a good job of keeping my cardiovascular strength up so it's just a matter of rebuilding a bit of lost strength in the legs (which is a lot easier to get back). It also has the benefit of warming up the tissues in the legs to allow me to properly stretch things on a routine basis and hopefully help to resolve whatever the underlying cause is. Naturally, it doesn't always work as there are a lot of bits that are used across the sports, but fortunately this time it was isolated to one of them :D

Week 6 Totals:
Running: 8.6km (5.3mi)
Walking: 0.0km (0.0mi)
Cycling: 110.0km (68.4mi)
Swimming: 8.8km (5.4mi)
Total: 127.4km (79.2mi)

Year to Date:
Running: 283.7km (176.3mi)
Walking: 8.3km (5.2mi)
Cycling: 630.4km (391.7mi)
Swimming: 48.2km (30.0mi)
Total: 970.6km (603.1mi)

Either way, the knee is feeling much better today and I'll likely be good to get back into the swing of things tomorrow or the day after. I probably could have gone out on Sunday, but there was still a bit of tightness left in the joint and I didn't want to risk wasting the time off this week. Right now it's just a tiny hint (although that may very well just be in my mind) and I'm hoping that by tomorrow that will be gone and I can give it another a shot.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Week 5: Review

This was a bit of a complex week due to a couple of major snowstorms on Wednesday and Saturday night. Fortunately, I was able to move things around to work around those problems and get all of the planned miles in. The downside was that it meant missing my group run so all sessions were done solo, but that's part of the equation of running in Canada during the winter.

Aside from direct interference, however, the snow this week also meant that most of my runs were completed on uncleared sidewalks and roadways. This meant additional work to push through thick snow and low traction and also limited the pace at which I could safely maintain. Monday's long run was probably the most difficult of the runs, as there were segments where I had to plow through deep (~1-1.5 feet) drifts of snow and dodge/leap over puddles. That, in turn, took a lot more out of me than a normal 16 miler would take.

Thankfully, both swimming and cycling aren't affected much by the weather outside so both of those sports went ahead as planned. As last week's long run was done on Sunday, I was finally able to squeeze in all four rides which allowed me to get my mileage back up to where I'd like. Thankfully I'm getting used to the psychological aspects of riding indoors for long periods, so it's just a matter of pushing the distances up slowly over the next few weeks. Naturally, I'd still much rather be riding outside, but we've got at least a couple more months before that's feasible again :P

Week 5 Totals:
Running: 49.9km (31.0mi)
Walking: 2.0km (1.2mi)
Cycling: 140.1km (87.1mi)
Swimming: 8.8km (5.4mi)
Total: 200.8km (124.8mi)

Year to Date:
Running: 275.1km (170.9mi)
Walking: 8.3km (5.2mi)
Cycling: 520.4km (323.4mi)
Swimming: 39.4km (24.5mi)
Total: 843.2km (523.9mi)