Monday, October 18, 2010

One Bad Race, One Good One

Two weeks ago, I ran in the 12 hour Lemming Loop. I started off strong, and was doing fairly well the first few laps of the 5km course. Then I tripped on a root. I had been nursing a minor groin pull for a few weeks, and this trip "tweaked" the muscle in an unpleasant way. I trudged on. The next lap, I tripped on another root and the muscle was tweaked a bit harder. I trudged on.

As I was approaching the 41k mark, 5 hours into the race, I had to dodge a puddle by running over a bump in the trail. I took it at an odd angle, and the "tweak" in my groin began to throb. For the sake of my body, I had to call it a day. I limped into the aid station, hung around, felt sorry for myself, and went home to mope for 2 weeks.

During those two weeks, I ran as little as I could. I took rest days, had short runs on the weekends, and limited myself to 1 fast run on Wednesdays. I figured my season was over, and I should just resolve to running on easy-mode.

Last weekend, I had my last race of the season. It was a 22km trail race. My groin wasn't hurting in the slightest, and I was feeling well rested. I had resolved to make this a "fun run", and the first 50 or so metres of the race I was just jogging along. Then something in my head snapped.

I've never been able to "just run" a race. I have a ridiculous competitive streak in me. I said out loud "What the hell, this is the last race of the year" and I increased my pace to slightly-faster-than 8 min/mile. And I felt great. I navigated the hills and the roots, without tripping or slowing down. The only part of the course that I had to slow down for was a 1 mile stretch where the ground got really soft and uneven, and I had to watch my footing. I finished the race in 7th place, and came within 2 minutes of my half marathon PB!

I'm now a convert to the church of rest days and tapers. I'm going to take the rest of the month easy before I start my speedwork in November. This most recent race has rekindled my dreams of running a marathon sub-4.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Strange Morning

During my morning run, I ran into one of my junior high and high school detractors. I didn't even realize it at first. As I was passing him, I gave him the runner's nod and wave. It wasn't until I was about 2 feet past him that I realized he had a look of recognition on his face, and of surprise. We both gave double-takes when I was around 10 metres past him, both of us glancing over our shoulders. Suspicion confirmed.

He had two young children with him, no doubt his own. I wonder if he was afraid I would say something to him in the presence of his kids that would undermine their faith in him. I wonder what I would have done if his kids weren't there. Would I have turned around, chased him down, and given him a piece of my mind for all the years of torture he imposed upon me? I don't know. Instead, I continued on my run with food for thought.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Big Week

Only 3 more days until my second "A" race of the year. I'm getting antsy. I'm running my easy workouts much harder than I should, and still running my hard workouts when I shouldn't.

Still... I'm feeling strong. I just hope I put in enough long runs in the past few weeks to help me survive my 12 hour race.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

I'm Sorry

I've been neglecting my blog for too long.

With less than two weeks until Lemming Loop, my training has been so-so. It's probably too late to do anything significant now, except try and not overtrain in the few days remaining leading up to my "A" race of the year.

My longest run since Voyageur was a 20 mile LSD two weeks ago. And I didn't even get to have back-to-back LSD runs at all. I'm feeling like I'm unprepared for this race (as I was last year). Fortunately, I'm feeling faster than last year, and have race results to prove it. And I have been getting at least 40 miles per week in. Not as much as I'd like, but far better than no miles at all.

In a way, I can't wait for this race to come and go. This has been a long training season for me, one with huge gains in aerobic fitness and speed. I'm itching for a rest.

All that being said, I do have some decent goals for the upcoming Lemming Loop. Last year, I completed 85.6km in 12 hours. This year, I have set 3 goals for myself:
1. Complete 100km 2. Complete 90km 3. Complete 85km

The #1 goal is what I'm aiming for. If I miss it but still succeed in my #2 goal, I'd still be happy. If I miss my #2 goal, I want to be able to do at least as well as I did last year. I seriously doubt I would miss my #3 goal, seeing as how I was limping for 40+km last year. As long as I can keep my knee from falling apart, I should do awesome.

As a frame of reference, I ran the Voyageur 50 mile race in 11:30, which comes out to 80.4km. And that course was exceptionally hilly (by Winnipeg standards). I figure if I can keep up 13 minute miles, my #1 goal will be in sight.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Voyageur 50 mile race report

Weather was overcast, and a high of 21C. About as perfect as somebody can ask for in late July.

Race started off well. I got passed by about 100 people in the first half mile. I was utterly convinced they were going too fast, as my Garmin indicated that I was doing 9 minute miles!

After the first half mile on a bicycle path, the course ducked into some gnarly single track that was runnable if you were careful. And it was nearly impossible to pass anyone. Unfortunately, the people in front of me were too careful and walked almost the entire 3 miles to the Jay Cooke aid station.

After the first aid station, the track became much wider and grassy. I was much closer to the back than to the front, so all the morning dew had been mopped up by the faster runners. Win! I took this opportunity to pass a few people on the downhills (which I seemed to be very good at). Crossing a small hydro dam, I arrived at the Forbay's Lake aid station.

The next trail section started to school me in what hills were about. We took the Gull Creek trail which consisted pretty much of a 1.5 mile downhill (sweet!) followed by a 1.5 mile uphill (bogus). It was at this point that I took my first serious walk break. The Peterson's aid station was welcome, as I really needed a refill of my water bladder.

The next section to the Grand Portage aid station was fairly non-eventful, except it should be noted that it was 100% entirely downhill, and at a fairly healthy grade. After Grand Portage were the infamous Power Lines. You leave the aid station going up a large hill, then descent a ridiculously steep slope just to ascend another ridiculously steep slope. At this point, I thought "That wasn't too bad" as the trail veered off into the forest. Alas, those were just the teaser hills. The big hills lay about half a mile up the trail. I arrived at the real power line hills, and immediately laughed. It was obvious that whoever included this section as part of the race had a sense of humour. The ascents and descents were nearly vertical, large (350'), and repetitive. It was during the power lines that I met somebody on the trail who actually went to the same high school as me! Small world indeed! The Seven Bridges aid station was like a mirage in the desert.

The descent towards the Fond Du Lac aid station and ascent back up towards Beck's Road aid station was fairly uneventful. My legs were started to get trashed from the long continuous ascents and descents. Relief wasn't in sight when I arrived at Beck's Road, as we immediately began climbing an asphalt road towards Sniveley Park. It was during this section that I came across the leaders coming back. Everybody cheered them on as they zipped past us, letting gravity do all the work for them. It was the Sniveley Park section of trail that I detested the most. The trail was mushy, there were little mud bogs covering parts of the trail, and lots of horse tracks to trip up in. The Skyline Parkway aid station was a welcome sight, as it meant no more horse holes (at least until the way back!).

The descent from Skyline Parkway to Turnaround Zoo aid station was fairly uneventful. At the time, I thought I was making good time, making time for the slower sections of the course where I had to walk (Power Lines, etc). Dwayne and Murray were heading back when I was 1 mile away from the turnaround, which gave me hope that I wasn't as slow as I thought I was! It was at this point that things really started to turn south on me.

It started to rain about 10 minutes before I got to the Turnaround Zoo aid station. This of itself it no big deal, until you consider that this rain was all that was keeping the sun from shining on us. Once the rain stopped, the clouds had parted and the sun started to bake me. I got to the turnaround at 5:05. I figured that if I pushed myself a bit, combined with my newly found knowledge of the trail, I could finish in under 10 hours. I ditched my iPod (which didn't have any battery power at the start, and was just dead weight), decided not to change my socks (I didn't want to see what my feet looked like), ditched one of my untouched Cliff bars, and reloaded my supply of E-caps.

My way back, I was walking a lot more than I was running. The downhill runs had started to take their toll on me. My legs felt fine, but I couldn't catch my breath when my legs were moving that fast. So I had to start walking downhill. This pretty much blew my time expectations out the window. Skyline Parkway, Beck's Road, and Fond Du Lac were all a distant blur as I kept a forward shuffle going. By the time I got to Seven Bridges I felt dead on my feet.

I knew the next section would be the dreaded power lines, so I filled my water bladder until it was bursting at the seams with iced water. I rammed as many potatoes as I could down my throat, and grabbed a handful of pretzels. I was ready to wage war on the power lines. I'm not sure if it was the change in my head (making war on the trail), or the ridiculous amounts of food I ate at the aid station, but I found the power lines to be much easier coming back than heading out. The rain had made the trail very slippery, and I had to use the bushes and grass to pull myself up the hills and brake myself on the descents. I can only imagine what the people ahead of me had to do, as I had the advantage of seeing where people had slid out and knew to not step in those places.

When I arrived at the Grand Portage aid station, my energy had come back. I was eating much better, and moving much faster. I also knew that I "only" had a half marathon left to run, so I gunned it as best as my legs could go. My average pace started to creep faster, but it was too little too late. My 10 hour goal was long gone. On the other hand, I still had a good chance of finishing strong. I tried really hard to not walk any of the last section between Jay Cooke aid station and the finish, but had to slow down in a few dicey places. But overall, I made a very good show of it.

I crossed the finish line at 11:28 screaming my head off in joy and excitement. This was by far the hardest race I had ever done in my life!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Nervous but Excited

I'm both nervous and excited for my race this weekend. Nervous because I have only run 50 miles once before, and was done by doing loops on a 5km course (was a timed race). I also ended up injuring myself in that race, and had to take the next two months off running.

Excited because this is going to be my first "real" ultra. It is also my first race in another country. So right now, I'm trying to figure out what I need to pack for the race, and what I need to put in my drop bags.

- Shoes
- Socks
- Shorts
- Shirt
- Hydration pack
- Water bladder
- Body glide
- Toilet paper
- E-caps

Drop bags:
- Shoes
- Socks
- Gu (at least 4 per bag)
- Vitamin I

I feel like I'm missing a lot.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Geek Out Time

A bit of a gripe today.

The more I read this one developer's code, the more I'm convinced he is was on drugs. Fortunately, this particular developer isn't working for the company I work for anymore, so I'm in little danger of him introducing more braindead ideas. Any single one of his eccentricities of programming is enough to cause a grown man to break down and cry, while all of them taken at the same time can cause such trauma to the brain that its only line of defense is retrograde amnesia.

Where do I begin? Well, for starters he doesn't like using constants. He has a Java class called "Constants", fills it with static variables, and capitalizes their names, but unfortunately they're not actually constant since he forgot to include the "final" qualifier. This in of itself would not be a problem if he used the variables as constants. But unfortunately, they get assigned and reassigned seemingly at random. Thus, just about every variable in the program is effectively a global variable.

Then there's his complete infatuation with Strings. Why bother storing a number in an int or double, when you can store it in a String? What else could String.valueOf() and Integer.parseInt() be used for?

There's also a complete lack of knowledge of data structures. Everything that can be put into an ArrayList is put into an ArrayList. It's by far his favourite data structure, and it seems to be the only one he knows. A few times he created a new class to encapsulate data, but they all only have one member: An ArrayList. Different pseudo-data members are implemented as indices into the ArrayList.

This is by no means a complete list of his deficiencies as a programmer. A lack of Object-oriented design (or understanding) cripples any readability in the code. No exceptions are handled. Memory leaks in all the UI, because instead of updating a field on a form, the form hides itself and creates a new form with the new value.

But one of the best facepalming issues I have come across is his method of populating a database from a flat file. Most programmers would read a line of data (which contains all the data required for a single database record) and write it out to the database. Since ArrayLists are his favourite data structure, he decided to load the entire flat file into an ArrayList of records. And since he likes to implement classes are ArrayLists, the database is actually stored completely in memory as an ArrayList of ArrayLists. Only after the entire file is read is the ArrayList iterated through and written to the database.

If you'll excuse me now, I'm going to drink myself into oblivion.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Two and a half weeks out

Just two and a half weeks until Voyageur 50. I'm starting to feel completely unprepared.

My trail run last Friday with Dwayne and Murray left me drained. It was "only" 26 miles, which is just a bit longer than half of my upcoming race. And it was less hilly. Granted it was really hot, there weren't any aid stations, and we were hauling everything around on our backs. And I didn't take any planned walk breaks (only unplanned ones when the heat was starting to get to me).

Adding to my anxiety are a 5k road race this weekend, and a 6k trail race the following weekend. It is going to be tricky for me to get my long runs in, and taper at the same time.

In the end, I know I'm going to have fun. Isn't that the entire point?

Friday, June 25, 2010

Running update

I ran the Manitoba Marathon last Sunday. I achieved a 30 minute PB, coming in with a time of 4:01:11. Finishing was bittersweet, as I was aiming for 3:45, but at least with a 4:01 it's still a personal best.

It hasn't been quite a week yet, and I'm cutting my recovery period short. I'm getting anxious about my 50 mile race that's less than a month away. I ran 7 miles yesterday and 4.5 today, with planned back-to-back long runs Saturday and Sunday. My first two runs felt "ok", but the going was a bit slower than normal. I'll have to see what comes of this weekend, and if I can continue pushing myself.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Baby explosion

I just found out what happens when a baby doesn't poo for 3 days. No, the baby doesn't explode. But there is an explosion of a different type.

Monday, June 14, 2010

6 more days

I just want to get this marathon over with... But instead, I need to agonize for 6 more days.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Knee problems

When I woke up last Tuesday, my knee was feeling kinda funky. So I decided to play it safe and skip my run.

Yesterday (being Wednesday), my knee felt fine so I did my usual workout of a short easy run. Everything felt fine.

Today, I had a tempo run scheduled. Everything was great until after my run. Now it's stiffening up, and I'm nervous about my marathon in 1.5 weeks. I don't think it's injured per se, just hurt a little bit. I hope there's still plenty of time for it to heal up and not re-injure during the race. I need to stay injury-free until my 50 mile in July.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Running in the heat

I had my last long run today in preparation for the Manitoba Marathon in two weeks. The forecast said it was a high of 16, so I thought everything was going to go my way. I was wrong.

It turns out it was quite a bit warmer, and quite a bit sunnier than forecasted. Had I known how far off they were, I would have scheduled my run first thing in the morning instead of over lunch. After 12 miles, I knew things were going wrong. My heart was racing, despite my relaxed pace. I had also stopped sweating. I still had about a litre of water left in my water bladder, but every time I took a sip my stomach turned. I already bailed out of one run this training cycle, and I wasn't ready to bail on another one.

Fortunately, my running route takes me through the University of Manitoba. I paused my workout and dashed into the first building I ran by. The air conditioning was heaven-sent. And for some strange reason, this building only had water fountains on the third floor (eep!). This cool-down was going to have to be earned. Managed to cool myself off by dunking my head in the water fountain and standing on an air conditioning vent until I had goose bumps. Heading out with my now cooled-down body, it didn't take long before I started suffering again. With only 3 miles left in my run, I had to take a walk break in a shady section in the hopes I'd cool off again.

With 1.5 miles left, I broke down. I stopped running and rested in the shade of a tree beside the sidewalk. Fortunately, I was able to drink again without my stomach turning. And I felt my heart rate slowing down. After about 5 minutes of resting, I managed to run back home at a normal pace.

I celebrated my failed long run with a punishing ice bath. Good thing Christine & Bean were out of the house, or they would have had to endure my screams of icy pain.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Slowwork and Speedwork

Had a bad run on Sunday. Went out with the intention of completing 20 miles, but only got 13 done. A combination of lack of food and heat caused my downfall. Ah well, that's the way it goes some times. Unfortunately, now I'm getting the urge to "make up for it". I know that's the wrong thing to do, but I'm also feeling like I should be increasing my mileage up into the 70s. So I'm going to start slowly increasing my Saturday runs from 10 miles to 20.

As for speedwork, I again went to the Roadkill speedwork session at the Grant Park track. It was still rather warm this evening, so I took things a bit easier than on previous weeks. Apparently, I wasn't the only one doing that. I still managed to finish the workout, despite feeling rather sluggish. I guess even a bad speed workout is better than no speed workout.

Sunday, May 9, 2010


Just learned that a BQ in my age group is a 3:10. I don't think I'm ever going to be able to run that fast. I think 3:20 may be doable with a lot of training, but those next 10 minutes would be insane for a fat man like me. :)

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

WPS Half Marathon 2010

This last Sunday, I ran in the 2010 Winnipeg Police Service half marathon. This has been a year of great improvement in my running. And my result in the race proves that. I started off with a goal of 1:45:00, which would have been a PB by over 6 minutes. I ended with a time of 1:43:43! And the last mile was my fastest ever (even in training). I still had lots of fuel left in the tank at the end of the race. So maybe I'm in better shape than I thought I was?

Punching the numbers into the McMillan running calculator, it shows that I should aim for a 3:38:44 marathon. Yikes! That would be over an hour faster than my last marathon. And it's dangerously close to BQ territory (I would need a 3:20).

It's hard for me to get my head around the idea of me being a fast runner. I've always thought I had better endurance and guts than speed. Maybe it's time I started re-evaluating myself? If I get close to my McMillan time, then I'll probably pour on the training and aim for an early spring marathon with the goal of getting a BQ. Which will leave the rest of the season for accomplishing that goal if I fail on my first try. If I do get a BQ, then I'll be at Boston in 2012. But all this Boston talk is still a ways out. I need to concentrate on getting a sub-3:45 at the Manitoba Marathon first.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Roadkill Running Club

I did my first ever workout with the Roadkill Running Club today. I've just learned that I've been doing speedwork completely wrong! I haven't been pushing myself anywhere near as hard as I should have, and my warm-ups weren't as intensive as they should have been (light drills before the real workout begins).

Coach Ken gave me a marathon training plan. I'm going to somewhat follow it. I'm going to incorporate all of the the speedwork, but the days off on Wednesday and Saturday will respectively be filled in by an easy recovery run and a 2/3rds length long run. If I want to be able to complete the Voyageur 50 in style, I need to keep my mileage up. However, I realize that I need my rest days. So my easy days of Monday, Wednesday, and Friday are going to be capped at 4 miles each and at a very disciplined pace.

In other news, I'm organizing a "Couch to 5k" programme at my work. So far, I have 6 people wanting to join in. Seeing as this is my coaching/training debut, I hope to not to make too much of a monkey's lunch out of it. Fortunately, the C25k plan at Cool Running seems easy enough for me to work with. I'll just have to remember to pre-program my Garmin with the day's workout so I can just turn it on and let it tell me when the appropriate time has passed and it's time to run/walk.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Of Cars and Men

Today on my long run, something happened. It is not something new, as it happens on almost every run that I'm on. The difference this time was my reaction. While I'm not terribly proud of my reaction, I stand by it.

About one mile into my run today, I was crossing a busy street at an intersection. A car that had a red light decided to ignore the stop line and stop in the perfect centre of the crosswalk. Normally, I just run around the car while giving the driver the stink-eye. But this time something snapped. You could call it the straw the broke the camel's back. The single drop of water that caused the river to break its dam.

As I was running past this transgressing vehicle, I spied that the driver had his window open. I took this opportunity to face the driver and let him know what was on my mind. I started polite by informing him that the stop line was 8 feet back from where he had stopped, and he was not in the crosswalk. No reply. I informed him that I knew he could hear me since his window was down. His reply of "F*** off" threw me off my A-game. I had no recovery.

I later imagined myself insulting this man with a continuous stream of wit. Making allusions to his questionable parentage, possible abusive relationships with authority figures, and his morbid obesity. Alas, my mind is not quick enough to be able to pull something like that off. And now as I sit typing this out, I'm glad that I don't. No good would have come from that exchange. The man would still carelessly mow down pedestrians from the comfort of his tin wagon, possibly with hurt feelings, and certainly would have ignored my opening salvo.

It just pisses me off that when I run I constantly have to treat everybody who drives as if they were an idiot hell-bent on running me over. The law is on my side: When I arrive at a marked crosswalk, stop sign, or green light, I have the right of way. When vehicles stop at stop signs, and traffic lights, they must stop at either the stop line (if one exists), before the sidewalk (if one exists), or lastly right before the crossing road. I just wish violations of this were enforced half as much as speeding vehicles. In my opinion, rolled stops are *far* more dangerous than speeding or parking violations and should be enforced as if they were.

Am I out of touch? A bit crazy?

Monday, March 15, 2010

Stupid Weather

Due to the incredibly warm weather, the ice on lake Winnipeg is melting fast. As a result, the Polar Bear Run was cancelled. :(

I was really looking forward to that run. But I understand that safety comes first. The main worry was not that a runner would fall through the thinning ice, but that the support snowmobiles would conk out from having to plow through 2-3" of water all day. Me not knowing anything about snowmobiles accepts this. And while I was still tempted to do the run anyway without any support, the logistics of getting back to my car from Grand Marais to Gimli all by myself are too great. Not to mention the amount of fun running in 2" of ice-cold water would be. ;)

So instead of sitting around holding lemons, I decided to make lemonade. I ran some footpaths that I hadn't run before yesterday, and ran the farthest I had run so far this year. All the way to the Mint and back.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Running Outdoors

After a long and (not quite so) brutal winter, I rediscovered the joy of running outdoors. My long runs last Saturday and Tuesday were my two most enjoyable runs in a long time. I discovered a new trail that goes far.

Maybe "discovered" is the wrong word to use, since I knew of its existence for a long time. I never gave it much thought, since I always assumed that it was one of those "open" paved paths that are boring to run down. Turns out I was wrong. While it is somewhat open, there are enough trees to pass by (and always on the south side of the trail) to give enough shade come summertime. And there enough twists and turns in the path to keep me interested, but straight enough to let my mind wander. A very strange happy medium. And best of all, it's not on the river so it won't get flooded this spring.

I'm finding it hard to scrounge the time to go running with Christopher around now. Even so, I still feel like I'm running better and harder than this time last year. I'm beginning to feel like I'll be able to run a sub-4 hour marathon after all!

This Sunday, I'm participating in a unique race across the frozen lake Winnipeg. When I heard of it, it was too adventurous to pass up. Sure, the terrain may be monotonous ("Oh look, more snow & ice!"), but imagine how cool it would be to tell somebody that you ran across the 11th largest lake in the world?

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Crazy 2 Weeks

The last two weeks have been nuts. I'm still trying to get a grip on the major lifestyle change that I'm required to make.

My wife gave birth to my son 12 days ago. This being our first baby, we have absolutely no idea what's going on. Fortunately, I arranged to get some parental leave off from my workplace. So for the time being, it is not a solo effort for my wife to try and juggle everything. I'm here to change diapers, run errands, etc. Really, it's just the feeding part where I'm useless. The real test will begin once I get back to work.

In running news, I ran a personal best at the Hypothermic Half Marathon last Sunday. This is surprising, since the course is slightly longer than a "real" half, and is mostly on snow and ice. I can only suppose that my the speedwork I've been doing on Thursdays is starting to pay off.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Ice Climbing

I had a great weekend of ice climbing. The 10th annual Festiglace ice climbing competition was on, and I entered into the difficulty, speed, and team competitions. I had only been to the ice tower once this year, so I was a bit rusty. But somehow, I managed to pull off getting 1st place in the difficulty and team competitions (thanks go out to my team-mate Rick!).

I even managed to get a run in on Saturday, after the difficulty and speed events. But the team competition went so long that I had no chance to get a run in. Fortunately, today is a holiday here. I got a 15 mile long run in that more than makes up for my missed run yesterday. :)

I almost forgot! I ran a 10k time trial last Thursday, and managed to shave 1:30 off my personal best. So it looks like all my training is starting to pay off.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Weekend Update, with Dale

My weekend long runs didn't end up being as long as I wanted. I had a time constraint on Saturday, going ice climbing in the afternoon. And I just got tired on Sunday. So all-in-all, it was a success. :)

I'm trying to push my pace just a bit more than I did last year. I think I ran too easy in my training before now. But I need to keep reminding myself that LSD stands for Long, SLOW, Distance. It's not a race. At least, not yet.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Cranking Up The Speed

Maybe the word "cranking" isn't the right one. But I am starting to push myself a bit harder than I usually do. I'm working on an experiment that the reason I'm not getting faster as a runner is because I don't try and speed up. Makes sense, right?

I've always run at a pace that I think is "too easy". I usually feel pretty good after most of my runs. From what I've read, that shouldn't be the case for any of them except my recovery runs. So I'm starting to dial the speed up a little bit.

Today, I ran a 4 mile recovery run in just a hair slower than a 4-hour marathon pace. I was very surprised to notice that my legs responded without complaint, and I cruised along feeling quite refreshed at the end. I don't know if I'll be able to run one of my LSD runs at that pace, but I'll try tomorrow and Sunday and report back on my findings.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Hunger After The Run

It's strange. Sometimes I get hungry after I run. And on other days, the thought of food is revolting. Anybody else get this?

Monday, February 1, 2010

2010 5k Frostbite River Run

I actually managed to get suited up and run outside in -24C weather.

Anybody who knows my running habits knows that I abhor running outside when it's cold. Up until I bought my treadmill last winter, I was basically confined to the couch. Now, I'm confined to watching episodes of Judge Judy while grinding away the miles on the hamster wheel.

And yet, for some strange reason, I thought it would be fun to sign up for a 5k race in January. I think I was feeling delusional that the weather would be nice, since our winter has been much milder than normal up until a few weeks ago. Alas, this was not the case yesterday, as the mercury dipped far below what we Winnipeggers call "normal". But this didn't deter me, I put on as much clothing as I could muster and headed on over to The Forks.

It took me a long time to decide exactly what to have on. On my legs, I wore an UnderArmor compression long johns with a pair of nylon pants to cut the wind. On my torso, it was an UA compression shirt with a soft shell jacket and nylon shell. My footwear consisted of my trusty Wright socks, trail runners, and Yaktrax. Waiting at the starting line for the race to get underway, I was freezing.

My training up until this point has been mediocre at best, so I positioned myself somewhere near the back. I figured the usual thing would happen, where everybody would take off like bats out of hell and I would be plodding along taking forever to warm up and get moving. I was shocked to discover that this was not the case! After realizing that I had positioned myself right behind two walkers, I dodged and weaved past masses of people that seemed to be going much slower than I would have liked.

The entire race, I was not passed once. I just kept passing people, and thinking to myself: "Am I going too fast? Am I pacing myself correctly? Will I gas myself out on the way back?" These questions were answered when I reached the turnaround point and realized that my muscles were still loosening up and I could speed up some more. I felt absolutely terrific! The only issue I found was that near the end of the race, the cold dry air was making my throat constrict a bit. But with less than half a mile to go, I wasn't going to let something small like hypoxia stop me.

I crossed the finish line with a time of 24:38. That was good enough to take 13th place overall, and second in my age group. Of course, I should be fair and admit that my age group consisted of exactly two people, so even if I had crabwalked the entire way, I still would have found myself in second. In any case, I believe this to be a fairly respectable time for me, and one that I can use as a PR (this being my first ever 5k race and all). The ice we were running on was a far cry from running on pavement, so I could probably do better come summer time.

And now for the kicker... At the end of this month, I'm signed up for a winter half marathon! The 2010 Hypothermic Half. I just hope it isn't anywhere near as cold as it was for the Frostbite, as I don't think I could manage to stay alive for another hour and a half in that frigid hell.

If things go really well, I may sign up for the Polar Bear run. It is a race from Gimli on the west shore of lake Winnipeg, to Grand Marais on the east shore. A roughly 30k distance in total. Nothing but ice and snow on that one. The adventure value for it is almost too much for me to resist. But the race is being run in the middle of March, so I will have to see what happens with Christine's due date before I can commit to that one.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

The Last 20

Once upon a time, I used to rock climb. I would go to the climbing gym at least twice a week, and I would head out to the cliffs almost every weekend for the entire summer.

It took me a long time to start getting good at climbing. When I say good, I don't mean I was a top-end climber. In fact, I was far from it. I started off below-average, and I took a long time developing my skills and strength to what could pass as slightly-above-average. And throughout all this time, I was overweight.

With time, that extra weight I was lugging around was putting extra stress on my fingers until the day came where climbing hurt. And it hurt a lot. I saw my doctor, and he couldn't diagnose anything. But it hurt to bend some of my fingers. While almost all the pain and stiffness has subsided, two of my fingers remain difficult for my to bend as a reminder of the abuse I put my body through.

I came to realize that one of the contributing factors of my fingers getting messed up is from my weight. I've never been obese, but I certainly am larger than most. And I was especially larger than most when it came to rock climbing. So I decided to do something about it by starting to run. My weight is down a bit now, but it is nowhere near what it "should" be. I realize that the "should" is a subjective term. But somebody with my frame doesn't need to have as much jelly around his gut and butt as I do.

I've been running for well over a year now, and I've lost around 10 pounds. My diet is not especially poor, but it is not especially good either. I've been trying to watch what I eat, but the occasional bag of chips or chocolate bar does manage to sneak its way in. I keep wondering if these occasional snacks are what is keeping me away from losing the rest of my excess weight. It's actually kind of depressing to look at what I would have to change to become a "healthy" weight.

Friday, January 29, 2010

New Site

I finally figured that it's about time I kept up with the times. Everybody's using blogger nowadays, and LiveJournal seems to be dead. So from now on, I'm going to be using this blog for all my updates. I also hope to be updating my blog much more often. Hopefully once every two days or so.

We'll see how this turns out.

My old LiveJournal URL: