Monday, April 28, 2008

April 28 to May 4

Who ordered the snow?
Dianah after 20 miles.
Sunday, May 4
Cops Run Revisited:  This was one fantastic race and I stand by my earlier comments about it being the finest Half Marathon in the province.  Nick and his crew have worked tirelessly to get this premiere run up and running and they deserve huge accolades.  However, we running geeks eat statistics with our breakfast so I must address the extra distance.  
At 13.4 miles it was 3/10 of a mile over the official half marathon distance.  To get your UNOFFICIAL time do this:
1)  Take average pace and convert to seconds (i.e. mine was 8:43, 8 minutes = 480 seconds + 43 seconds = 523 second/ mile.
2) Divide by 10 (i.e. mine was 523 / 10 = 52.3.
3) Multiply by 3 (i.e. mine was 52.3 x 3 = 156.9),
4) Divide by 60 (i.e. mine was 156.9 / 60 = 2 minutes, 36.9 seconds, rounded to 2 min, 37 sec)
5) Subtract this time from your OFFICIAL time to arrive at your UNOFFICIAL time (i.e. my official time is 1:57:20 - 0:2:37 = 1:54:43 is my unofficial time)
For me this is a new PB by 50 seconds so I'm pleased, however I stand by the official time as all of you should.  Thanks again Nick, twas a great race!
Tuesday Run Club, 3.47 miles, slow pace
The Run Club is set up to be a non-competitive, inclusionary, welcoming drop in club, kids can come and go as they please.  They don't need to be the best, the fastest, the coolest ... they can just be themselves. This, I believe, is the reason for its success.  The only incentive (aside from the freezy and lime-green shoelace) is the accumulation of kilometers.  After each run I update their total on the bulletin board.  There exists amongst the kids an incredible desire to watch this distance grow. When they come to Run Club they must sign in and and agree to follow the safety rules.  We discuss the honor system in logging their distances and the consequences for logging an inaccurate distance.  There's enough adults to monitor the group so cheating is rare. The consequence for logging an exaggerated distance is they are disqualified for that run and their distance is marked 0 (for that run only).  I speak to them and remind them of honesty. They are welcome to return next day, and they usually do.  The lesson is one of those important life lessons with an appropriate consequence that all kids need from time-to-time.  Kids enjoy these lessons and eventually they learn from them, but only if they have enough important adults in their life who show they care.  Sadly, there are many kids set adrift without a strong family network.  Teachers, social workers, coaches, and spiritual leaders can help fill in the void and play a crucial role in the development of children, but the can only do so much.
Wednesday, 6.24 miles, 9 hill reps Jacques, Debbie, Nazir, Ken
Here's how hill training works for us.  We meet about a mile away from Garbage Hill.  We slow-jog to the hill.  We run over the top to the other side at a good pace.  Repeat 8 times (9 if you're a running geek).  Each week we run one additional hill rep until we hit the magic 10 (11 if your a running geek).  According to our schedule we were off by one hill tonight.  We'll make up for it next Wednesday. Do join us if your in the neighbourhood.
Thursday Run Club, about 3 miles, slow pace.  This is about the time when the Run Club morphs into the Marathon Club.  As mentioned earlier Run Club is drop in, kids come and go as they please, but most come and stay.  Some of the kids are real keen runners and the thought of the marathon event appeals to their fun side and, dare I say it, their competitive side.  The kids who have run it the last two marathons compete against their previous times.  The events open to the kids are The Super Run at 4 k, the 10 k, the marathon relay, and the 1/2 marathon.  I sent letters home with the kiddies last week so I'll be putting a team together over the next couple of weeks.  The only requisite is they must reach their silver level in running club before they can officially join the Marathon Club.  I would sure like to order some tee-shirts for the kids if anyone has some ideas.  I'm hoping for at least 20 kids this year.  A big nod goes to The Manitoba Marathon for helping teachers organize the event and for providing little incentives which are HUGE in the eyes of my kids.   The other day I called their office to order some posters and official shoe laces and they arrived within an hour!  That's a whole lot better than mere good service, it's unbelievable service!  Craig taught them well before departing.
Thursday Clinic, 6.01 miles, Speed, 8:16 m/m pace
Tonight's clinic instructor was Don Derksen of Sound Touch Therapeutic Massage located at 161 Stafford, phone 782-2084.  I booked a pre-marathon and post-marathon massage appointments with Don and I think I'll book a few more especially as our training becomes more intense.
I ran with an old pal of my son this evening.  They went to different schools but knew each other from the neighbourhood and have mutual pals.  His name's Mike and he training for a 3 hour marathon.  I wanted to run with him this evening for two reason.  One, to see if I could keep up with such an incredible athlete. Two, I miss my son terribly and it felt good running with one of his peers.  We had a good talk about Max and Mike said some good things about my boy which pleased me, but also made me sad.  Max has been working in Japan since early January and is presently getting ready to cycle and WWOOF across the country.  I miss him so.
Saturday:  Dropped by City Park Runners and picked up a very nice hydration pack from Fuel Belt.  I tried it on Sunday's long run and I'm very pleased with it's performance.  The weight is distributed evenly and the belt is super comfortable.  I barely felt it during the entire run.  My only beef is the two bottles at 300 ml each isn't enough for an unsupported long run.  I would prefer the bottles to be a little bigger, say 400 ml each.  Perhaps they sell the larger bottles.  Excellent service seems to be the normal at City Park.
Sunday, 20 miles, 9:40 m/m pace (with walk intervals) 3 hr, 13 min, 21 sec 
Yours truly.
After 20 miles... freezing!
Snow in May?  Crazy!  The wind was a little nasty and as Rod said it seemed to always be in our face regardless of the direction we were heading.  We moved pretty quickly today and aside from an emergency bathroom pit stop we stayed true to the course and pace.  Unfortunately Ken had to pull out at about mile 4 due to some tightening in his calf and John, still suffering from last week's twisted ankle, ran a little slower than normal.  (Memo to John... slow it down buddy, take it easy, you might want to take the week off from running and pamper that ankle.)  Thank you Debby for running along side John for the last 5 or 6 miles.  We look out for one another.  Our thoughts go to Naomi who pulled out of the marathon training after last week's Cop's Run.  She's been nursing an injury almost from the start of training and has toughed it out, but now, wisely, she has decided to join a half-marathon group.  I know Naomi is hugely disappointed with her decision, but it's the right one to have made.  We miss her positive energy and the spark that she brought to our little group. Naomi is dependable, strong, and a very capable runner.  There will most certainly be a next time for this gal!
This was one of those character building runs that we're becoming all to familiar with; ice-block hands, wet feet, eyes stabbed by ice pellets, wind in the face... you know, same old, same old ;>).
We were discussing the optimal distance for a pre-marathon long run.  Some say 18 some say 20... what do you think?  Click the poll on the right side bar to weigh in on this hot topic!  I'm thinking psychologically speaking it makes sense to go up to 21, but beyond that exist a huge potential for injury.
It was another great week to be alive and in good health... thank you for sharing it with me.
Week total mileage = 38.72
And finally, the power of focus....

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Week of April 21 to 27

Lynda, you make us proud :>)
This from Lynda who writes from Boston:  It was an unbelievable run yesterday.  No matter if I looked ahead or behind me in every direction there were thousands of runners.  The crowds were amazing too, yelling and cheering the whole way, sometimes 5, or 6 deep.  They gave out everything along the way, from the usual oranges to red liquorices and Fig Newton’s. It was the running experience of a lifetime.  I felt great.  There had been lots of warnings about going slow at the beginning because the hills, leading up to Heartbreak Hill started at around mile 16 and went up to about mile 21.  It felt so good to crest that last hill and know that you just had over 5 miles to go.  I almost couldn't believe that I was there.  When I rounded that last corner and could see the finish line about 1/2 mile ahead, I nearly cried.  When I did hit the finish line I did cry. They wrapped you in foil and you walked along for your medal and refreshments along with all these other shiny foil bodies.  The whole event, from the Athlete's Village in Hopkinton to the finish line in Boston was incredible!  
The picture above shows Lynda and number 1 fan, Dick.  Dick is a walker extraordinaire in his own right.  Notice Lynda's 26.2 posture! Way to go Lynda; you make us mere mortals so proud!  
Accolades are also sent to David. The Boston Marathon was David's 26th marathon.  Vivian, no slump herself, is proud of David's "Champagne Marathon" (26/26) and has been planning the big finish line event for weeks. Notice the glass of champagne in David's hand.  Vivian also had a spiffy "Go David" banner with signatures and good cheers and tidings from all his running pals. Congratulations David! 
Ryan's a dad!  Congratulations to Ryan and Sherie and welcome to little Madie! My apologies to Maddie for the environmental mess we grown-ups have left for you. My son Max and his friends are working hard to make this old world a better place for you. 
Tuesday, 4 miles, 12 miles (cycling): There were 60+ runners this morning.  The distances ranged from 2 k (little kids) to 7.25 k (big kids).  I accompanied about a dozen runners to the pole (as in "kiss the pole"... see previous post).  It was a little chilly this morning, but still in the comfortable range for the little ones.  It's gratifying having such a large number of parents join us; they're mostly moms with strollers, but there's the occasional dad.  So much of what children learn is through observing positive life choices of their parents and later, their peers.  The best we parents and teachers can do is model the character and beliefs we hold dear and hope that our children learn well.  Teach your children well, right Neil?   Speaking of modeling behaviour, I cycled to work today in honor of Old Mother Earth Day.  I used the road bike, which is super fast, but not a good choice for city commuting.  It was a good little early morning spin; wish you were there!

Wednesday, (3 miles):  I took about 50 students and 8 adults to the Manitoba Marathon sponsored, Jog In The Park at Assiniboine Park.  It was pretty darn chilly, but the organizers had us dancing and hopping about while we waited for the official start.  Just about every mascot under the sun attended.  It was indeed a happening place for the pre-pubescent set!  There were 2700 kids in attendance from all over the province. It was a superbly organized event and tonnes of fun for the kids.   All 50 students and 8 adults from our school waited at the finish line and cheered like crazy each time one of our students crossed. The last student from our school was a little girl in grade 1 who crossed the line on the shoulders of a teacher!  She got the biggest cheer of all! It was such an amazing experience to witness young people being so kind and encouraging to one another, especially the grade 8 kids who can be so aloof.  As a teacher close to retirement it is gratifying seeing the ranks filled with young, energetic, caring, and committed professionals.   Hats off to the organizers of the Jog In The Park especially Craig Lawrence who has put in hours upon hours of time planning this event and communicating with teachers all over the city. Craig has moved on over to Park City Runners on Portage Avenue close to the Assiniboine Park foot bridge.  Craig's departure is  big loss to The Manitoba Marathon and a huge gain to Park City Runners!  Thanks Craig.  I skipped hill training this evening.  I have had a headache for the last couple of days and my workload at school is insane (hmm, wonder if they're related?).  I'm listening to my body and I'm resting.  I plan to lay low until after The Police Half Marathon on Sunday.

Thursday, Run Club, 2 miles, about 50 kids:  Left the Harley at home today :>).  The storm blew in at around 5:30 this morning putting the nail in the coffin for running outdoors with kids; they're most definitely fair weather runners.  Plan B is to run laps in our gym with loud, very, very loud "pump up the jam" kind of rap, rock stuff that works for the kids.  We are fortunate enough to have one of the largest school gymnasiums in the province.  The gym has huge winch type curtains that can separate the big gym into three smaller gyms.  One of our smaller gyms is about the size of a typical middle school gym.  We invented a game called "tag it forward" involving three sponge balls.  The rules are simple; you must bean a runner ahead of you with the ball.  The kids absolutely love this game and could play it for hours.  It's spices the run up hugely and gets them to speed train (although they're not aware of speed training, they're just having fun).  We ran for about 35 minutes so I gave them each 3 kilometers towards their goal. We ended with a well deserved freezy. I did not attend the clinic this evening.  I'm feeling pretty overwhelmed with work so I need some down time in the evening to rest up for The Cops Run on Sunday.  I know, excuses, excuses.

Saturday:  Today I passed City Park Runners on my way to pick up my race kit.  I pulled over to get a few gels. Along with the gels I bought a pair of fancy shmancy New Balance running tights on a whim.  There was a time I would have been embarrassed to wear such tights, but now they feel comfortable like a pair of well worn cotton pyjamas!  My friend Doug McPherson has been singing the praises of City Park Runners for over a year, but I've never had the opportunity to drop by, until now.  What a great store!  The service was terrific, the selection impressive, and the friendliness of the staff and patrons was great.  The store is owned by Cheryll and Erick.  I highly recommend you drop by, you'll be pleased.  For those of you who know Craig Lawrence you'll have heard by now that he recently left his positionat Manitoba Marathon.  What you might not know however, is that he now works at City Park Runners.  Another good reason to drop by!  

Sunday, Winnipeg Police Run For Cancer Half Marathon, 13 miles, 8.43 pace

5:30 AM:  Last evening I told my darlin' wife that I'm happy with my decision to lay low this past week.  I feel rested and at ease.  I have the pre-race jitters, but that's a good sign.  Today's race mantra starting at around mile 10 is from Ben Lee's "New Song" ...I know I'm gonna make it through and I know I'm gonna do it all.  (repeat as needed) Here's hoping it helps.  

Breakfast... coffee, whole grain toasted bagel, peanut butter, 6 grapes the size of oranges (genetically modified?), 1 glass water.  Temperature at 5:30 AM is -6 degrees Celsius (about 29 F) with a -12 wind chill (man, thought I heard the last of wind chill for a while).  Forecast calls for a sunny day with a high of + 5 c. Let's get-atter!

7:25 AM:  Met John at the Zoo parking lot and waited until 7:30 for anyone else who planned to join us. No one arrived so we did a slow jog to the new pavilion by the duck pond for a N.P. (nervous pee).  We then headed straight for the start line where we mingled and saw many old running friends.  I saw Andrea there and I told her I had just heard her on the CBC; how could she possibly be here so quickly?  We ditched our warm clothes and headed over to the start. Excitement was a-buzz in the air as it always is on race day.  The ten minute countdown is always my favourite part of the race.  Laughing, hugging, good cheers, and stretching abound as people burn off the pre-race jitters.

7:45:  John and I head over to the 2:00 corral and cue in near the front.  John figures out we need to move up one corral so under the tape we go.  Vivian and Gwen are running together so we chat with them for a few minutes and then start to focus on our own race.  We see Dianah and give her a hug.  The whole crowd gives the athletes in wheel chairs a twenty second countdown starting at about 7:55. Boom they're off!  We then wait and hop about waiting for our countdown.

8:00:  We get a fly-by from an old army green military plane and then the horn sounds.  We move slowly at first and pick up speed as the crowd lunges forward.  Hundreds of beeps sound as the runners cross the electronic starting mat.  We crossed several mats and I didn't know which was the electronic mat so I started my Garmin a full 5 seconds too early... no matter.  Within a 1/2 mile I realized I had my Garmin set to kilometers for my school run club!  Duh! "Hmmm something like 1.6 kilometers = 1 mile"... mental math on the fly...  I figured a 5:30 m/k pace is pretty close to a 8:45 m/m pace,  It sure  felt like the pace I wanted and John confirmed with his Garmin so I locked in on 5:30 m/k.

The race:  I wasn't feeling strong for the first mile or so; my heart seemed to be working way too hard and my body felt stiff and tired.  By the time we met the bag pipers on Wellington Crescent this had passed and I was feeling good.  Terry and several others (sorry I couldn't recognize the two others) were standing curb side cheering.  It's amazing how encouraging it is to have a familiar face call your name from the side. We saw Terry and crew several times over the course of the race as they moved from one location to another.  Just as I was starting to feel a little tired or started to concentrate on pain, there was Terry and now Sandra!  Amazing, as if they new just the right spot to stand.  Thank you for being there!  Four of my running club kids were volunteering at water stations.  I got pumped up from seeing them and they looked pretty excited from seeing me at an actual race.

The mid part of the race is pretty uneventful.  We hooked up with Debbie and Rodica for a bit and then got separated.  John went over on his heal, which in 99% of cases is curtains for runners, but somehow he managed to soldier on.  He was just behind me when I heard the stumble and then a very polite  "darn"... now many a person faced with a similar adversity would have chosen a slightly stronger *&%^$ word, but not John, a gentleman to the end.  Good on you John.  

Gwen and Vivian were looking amazingly strong.  I had them in my sights for most of the race.  I could catch them on their walk intervals, but then they'd zoom past me.  I'm confident they both accomplished sub-2 hour times.  I wouldn't surprised if they both set new P.B.'s.  Well done lasses!  You were the belles of the race.  Oh, cute race story involving Vivian and David.  At about mile 10 I saw this women in front of me dash to the curb, kiss someone and then dash back into the race.  I realized it was Vivian kissing David who was cheering from the side... cute!  What a great team, Vivian cheering David curbside in Boston, David cheering Vivian curbside at The Cop's Run.

That familiar voice in my head started talking to me at about mile 11.  You know the one, it goes something like this... what are you doing?  wouldn't you rather walk?  why don't you just slow down, no one will care... Shush voice, SHUSH!  That last couple of miles of any race is always the worst.  The physical and the mental work in tandem to quash your dreams.  This is where focus and visualizing comes in to play.  My mantra, I know I'm gonna make it through and I know I'm gonna do it all, came in real handy around this time.  I actually said it out loud several times and one runner agreed that he would too!  The mantra pushes the negative stuff out of your head and helps one focus on form and strength.

At mile 12.5 on Portage Avenue, that sea of concrete and wind, I saw Terry, Sandra, and crew again. They yelled 1/2 mile to go.  I new at that point I was sub 2 hour, but I wasn't sure how I was doing.  I realized that, although a good time, it wouldn't be a PB.  Oh well, there's always the next one.  I poured it on and flew in to cheers and hugs.  Unofficial time is 1 hour, 57 minutes, 23 seconds, about 2 minutes shy of a new P.B.  Yup, there's always the next one.

9:57ish:  Finished!  Thanks to everyone for helping me cross the line; all you runners and friends are good people and you have provided me with the spirit and the energy to cross yet another line.  Thanks so much for coaxing me off the couch, laughing at my corny jokes, and for allowing me to lead when truthfully I really don't know where I am half the time!  Thank you; you're all wonderful people.  A special thank you is extended to Nick Paulet of the Winnipeg Police Department who has worked 24-7 making this race to premiere 1/2 marathon event in Winnipeg. Thanks to Nick's vision over $100,000 has been raised for cancer research.  Good on you Nick!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Week of April 14 to 20

Chatter on... It's official... I'm registered in the...
There's been much talk about helmet legislation in our fine city. Like many of you I too have an opinion. A doctor friend of mine told me years ago that medical people affectionately refer to cyclist (or motor cyclists) who refuse to wear helmets as "organ bait". Cyclists, he says with a wry smile, tend to be young, physically fit, and come with "very good parts" for transplantation. So the next time you're at a red light on your bike without a helmet and a BMW pulls up along side... take a glance at the driver... is he licking his lips? Could be a doc with a wait list. Here's another helmet beef. How often have you seen an idyllic family outing of three or four kids dutifully cycling safely strapped in a CSA approved helmet alongside their parents who for reasons unknown aren't wearing a helmet! What is the message here? Do as I say, not as I do!? Helmets are for kids only!? My skull is harder than yours? My question to the adults is how would they support their family if one of them sustained a massive head injury while cycling. More important, would their children learn to forgive them? Would the parent ever forgive themselves?
Buster's been busted! It appears Buster Martin of previous posts may be a fake. The Guinness World Record officials have evidence that he is in fact 94 years old, not the spry 101 years he claims. Regardless, Buster completed the London Marathon in a little over 10 hours. He does not have an official time because the tracking system was shut down at 7 PM, 45 minutes before Buster crossed the line. The oldest man to complete a marathon stands unbeaten, Greek runner Dimitrion Yordanidis, age 98, in Athens, in 1976. Dimitrion's time was 7 hours, 33 minutes.
Tuesday School Running Club, 2.5 miles
It was another great turnout of 63 kids from k to 8 and their parents. I mark a chalk line at 1 k, 1.5 k, 4 k, and 4.25 k. Grade k to 3 students must turn around at the 1 k line for a total of 2 k. If they have "special permission" from me, the Big Cheese, they can continue on to the 2 k mark. Special permission is granted if I feel they can run the distance and get back to school before 8:30. The kids with running experience have no difficulty going the distance, but the new kids often get overwhelmed and want to walk or take shortcuts (or both). I teach the inexperienced runners to "run two poles, walk one pole". This helps them visualize and it improves their overall pace. I have two grade 8 kids that logged 7 k and are biting at the bit to go further. I promised them that I will run with them on Thursday and see if we can log 10 k. It's life affirming to run with so many positive little spirits. I told Nazir the other day that I have the best job in the world! Two students, Sundeep and Braedon, were the first to achieve their Bronze Goal; 13 k. They received the coveted LIME GREEN SHOELACE.
Wednesday, 7 hills, 5.36 miles
Manny, Jacques, Naomi, Ken, Deb, John, Alex, Nazir
We met at Silver City and had a slow 1 mile jog to Garbage Hill. Garbage Hill is an old inner city landfill that was capped and landscaped into a nice little park (maybe a little run down, but it has good potential). The picture shows the opposite side to where we run. This is the side the kids use for a toboggan run in the winter and a mountain bike trail in the spring and summer. I wear my heart rate monitor when we run hills to gauge my effort. At the top of each hill my heart rate is around 168 BPM which places it squarely in the Anaerobic Zone. On the down sides it recovers to 135/ 140 BPM which is considered Base Training or Endurance Training (for my age). When you stop to consider the options, any heart rate... base, endurance, aerobic, anaerobic... is a good heart rate. (photo credit Bryan Scott).
I had an interesting afternoon. A grade 7 girl fainted on the school bus just as it pulled into bus loop. We called 911 and the paramedics determined she needed to be transported to the Children's Hospital. I was asked to accompany her in the ambulance so I jumped into the back with nothing more than my clothes and cell phone. During transport I asked Elizabeth if she was still planning on attending the "Jog In The Park" field trip next Wednesday (this is an event hosted by Manitoba Marathon for school aged runners). I was sitting at the top of the gurney looking down on her head. With great effort (she was strapped down in three places) she twisted her body and careened her head to make eye contact and, in that exasperated teenage tone that parents and teachers know only too well, said "well of course I am" as if I had suddenly lost my marbles and I was the one who should be strapped down! I stayed with her until her mother arrived about an hour later, bummed a bus ticket, and headed back to school. All in a day's work.

Thursday morning School Running Club, 4.0, miles, 68 runners :>)

We had a terrific turnout out this morning. Three boys in grade 8 are keen on increasing their distance and pace. They've been in my run club for three years so I know they have good endurance and are very fast. I loaned one of them my Garmin so they could track an 10 k route. They returned pleased as punch and are pumped to increase their distance next Tuesday. They really want me to run with them, but my hands are full watching the other kids. I promised them I would run with them one day soon.

The greatest running honor in this little run club is to "kiss the pole". The "pole" is a rusted light standard on Regent three kilometers from the school (6 k round trip). I allow students to run to the pole only after they reach their goals. When they reach the pole they can either kiss the pole or kiss their hand and slap the pole. Kissing the pole is a great honor among this crew. The little ones look with wide-eye wonder at the omnipotent bigger kids who have kissed the majestic pole. The legend of the pole grows bigger every year. By the end of the season most of the kids will have achieved this high honor, but I milk it good. Like any good reward system, kissing the pole is entirely intrinsic; there is no cost, and no value other than bragging rights.

Thursday clinic, 6.34 miles, pace ? (PD fast!)

Warning: Boring Heart Rate stuff, scroll past unless you enjoy being bored to tears... Perhaps the best known formula is Karvonen. There are hundreds (thousands) of web pages dealing with Karvonen so there's no point in explaining it here. There is a formula for over 40 and under 40 so be sure you have the right one.

The trouble with the Karvonen Formula is that I know from experience my MHR is between 185 and 190, yet the formula puts it at 179. No big deal except it throws off the zone minimums and maximums. So, long story short, get to know your body (especially your heart rate) and use the Karvonen Formula as a base. It's pretty darn close, and is fine for casual runners, but it's not precise. The first thing you need to do is determine your resting heart rate (RHR); everything else depends on an accurate read of your RHR. The second thing you need is your maximum heart Rate (MHR). My RHR is about 56 to 59, and my MHR is about 185-189. These are the zones for my heart stats using the Karvonen Formula (taken with a grain of salt):

  • Base Training (Endurance)
    • 60% to 70% of MHR = 132 to 143 BPM
  • Threshold Training (Aerobic)
    • 70% to 80% of MHR = 143 to 156 BPM
  • Speed Training (Anaerobic)
    • 80% + = 156 + BPM

80% of maximum = 156 BPM... this, according to Karvonen, is my outer training limits. I know from experience it is in fact higher, in the range of 160 to 165. When I run the LSD runs I keep my heart in the 130 to 135 bpm range (i.e. endurance training). This feels good for my body. It'll be different for you. There something know as "heart rate creep" that you need also be aware. Heart Rate Creep occurs over the course of a marathon. As you dehydrate your heart has to beat more for the same effort output.

Saturday, 18.38 miles, 10.10 pace (w/w) AHR 147 bpm, route, Naomi, Alex, Dino, Rodica, John, Debby, Dianah, Ken.

This was as close to a perfect run as you could ever wish. The weather was a little chilly to start, but after a mile or so things warmed up to a nice temperature. I consulted with Terry about the route and with his good advice I plotted the 18 miles using g-map pedometer. What on earth did we do before g-map? The route winds along the Red River through eclectic old North End, along beautiful Scotia Street with gorgeous character homes and canopied old Elm trees, and then loops through stately Kildonan Park. From there we crossed the Red on Chief Peguis Trail and headed back towards downtown through East Kildonan, again hugging the Red as much as possible. We weaved through St. Boniface along the river and then down Tache where we stopped at the hospital for water refills. We were all in fine form telling jokes and stories that eased the distance and opened the spirit. We laughed hard. We discussed heart rate with Ken and I - the two old guys- competing for the lowest h.r. ... "mine says 142, what's yours say?" We must have been a pretty formidable sight because many people beeped their horns in support, waved, or cheered us as we passed. It was pretty much an idyllic run. My only concern was a slight nausea near the end brought on by a mild dehydration. It was reminiscent of last year's marathon when I became very dehydrated and was horribly nauseous for the last 6 miles and well into the afternoon. It was a little scary going back to that place... I though I had buried that ugly memory, but it reared it's head a little as if to remind me that one cannot be complacent about running a marathon... as Henry says, you must maintain a healthy fear of the 26.2 or risk being eaten alive. I've been following Jen's Blog for the last several weeks. Jen just completed the Salt Lake City Marathon and she blogged her experience. I highly recommend you click and read her story. It's brilliant with honesty.

Alex had to pull out at mile 16 due to a small injury. He was running very well up until mile 14 or so when he fell behind a little bit and couldn't seem to keep the pace. I ran with him for a while and typical Alex, insisted we continue on at our regular pace. He was concerned about us and our training and would not permit us to slow down. Good on you Alex. You're a good man and a very strong runner.

Next week most of us are running The Police Half Marathon. The plan is to meet at the Zoo Parking Lot 30 minutes before race time. I'm hoping to break 2:00 hours (actually I'd love to beat last year's 1:55) but I make no promise! You're welcome to join me if you'd like. Remember to start hydrating at least three days before race day and enjoy the pasta! See you on the hills!

Sunday, 11.32 miles (cycling) speed. I arrived at the Duck Pond at 9 AM, waited ten minutes, no one showed, so I did 3 or 4 circuits of Assiniboine Park. It was quite windy so the shelter from the trees was much appreciated. I concentrated on cadence and form. It was great tucking in on the arrow bars and flying along at 20 + mph (on the bike you measure speed, not pace). While I was cycling at the park there was a 10 k foot race and eco-challenge cut through the park. It was a great little ride. Fast and fast!

Week Total Distance = 36.58 (running), 11.32 (cycling).

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Week of April 7 to April 13

Congratulations to David and Lynda who are running the Boston Marathon on Monday, April 21. This will be David's 26th marathon and Lynda's 21st.  Little known fact about Boston Marathon... at 39 feet it is the narrowest start line of all marathons.  I hear it's all downhill after Heart Break Hill.  I read somewhere that 0.1 of 1% of the world's population have run a marathon.  I wonder what the stat is for for 21 marathons or 26 marathons... 0.000001?!   God speed, David and Lynda, good luck to you and all others who have qualified for the most prestigious run ever!
Good luck to Jen who is running the Salt Lake City Marathon on Saturday, April 19, her second marathon.
Chatter on ...
Thank you Vivian for teaching me to "burp" my Garmin.  It has been acting up for the last couple of long runs.  Vivian suggested I delete my history to make room for new data.  I did that and took it for a test drive today and all is well!  Thanks Vivian!
I have decided to register for the  Twin City Marathon on October 5.  I tried to attend this past October, but it was full by the time I got my act together.  Jen thinks she might be ready for a half marathon by then so we might be a team.  Thank you Rod and Dinu for talking about it this morning over coffee... your talk inspired me to take the leap.  Registration starts this Friday and is limited to 11,000 runners (up 500 from 2007).  Last year they sold out in 20 days so if you're interested you better get the Visa card out and click.
Under the category of amazing.... If you have a pet you'll want one of these gizmos... check out the Furminator.   Jen's sister is a veterinarian and when we visited her last week she recommended one for our Annie.  Jen tried it out today.  The amount of fur it pulls out is absolutely incredible. They also make them for cats. Apparently dog and cat  groomers have been using them for years, but they were prohibitively expensive (about $350) and not available to the public.  Now they're available at pet store for about $60.00 (i.e. the cost of one grooming).  We used to use the "rake" which is ok, but this is about 100 times better. What does this have to do with running?
 Not a whole lot other than the fact that Annie shed about 5 pounds from one furminator groom (see photo) and is proud of her new girlish figure.  Talk about rejuvenating! Now if they could only invent a furminator for a balding, smaller stature, 50+ year old man!  I'd pay the 60 bucks... Jen would pay double that!
I was truly hoping to have good news about Buster Martin, the 101 year old man who trained for the London Marathon (see blog entry Week of March 10), but it would appear he did not finish. Several weeks ago I blogged that "I for one will be raising a pint of Guinness for Buster on April 13" .  I hold true to that promise (except it's a Smithwick's)... Buster, wherever you are, this one's for you.  You are a remarkable specimen and an inspiration to all.  Cheers to Buster!
And this from Ann Hodges...
Urinetown... a tale of love, greed, corruption in a time when water is worth its weight in gold.
Here’s the show you’ve all been waiting for.  Hilarious biting satire. 
Great music.  Fantastic dancing.  Presented by a wonderful artistic team and a fabulous cast.  And I'm directing.  What more could you want in a great evening out???
If you love musicals, this is for you.  If you hate musicals, this is REALLY for you. It is funny, cheeky, and even a bit political.  Not your average show.  Definitely NOT the opera!  Notice there are only 3 performances so don't snooze on this one!
Tickets available at Canwest Performing Arts Centre and McNally Robinson Bookstores.
Hurry on down... this will sell out!
And finally... looking for a good bike to spice up your cross training?  My neice is selling her Devinci Chicane road bike.  I have the exact same bike only a newer model with a few extras like clip-in pedals (a must) and better front forks (whatever).  Aside from that they are identical (hers has a much cooler paint job than mine).  It weighs 21 pounds and handles like a Porche (not that I've ever ridden a Porche, but I can imagine).  She is asking $700.  Interested?  Drop me a line and I'll hook you up.
Tuesday, 2.15 miles:  
This was the season kick-off of my school running club.  65 kids, moms, and dads showed up!  Two years ago I had 13 kids from the running club enter the Manitoba Marathon, last year we had 22, this year ...?...  We meet on Tuesday and Thursday mornings at 7:45 AM for jog through the neighbourhood.  Fortunately, enough parents and colleagues show up to marshal the run... without the volunteers I'd be in a pickle!  Like the Pied Piper we occasionally pick up a few kids along the way.  There are all sizes and shapes of kids from kindergarten to grade 8.  Some want to lose weight, some want to have some fun, some are cross-training , and some are there for the free freezie at the end of the run.  Just like adults they run for a variety of reasons.  
Wednesday, 5 miles, 5 hills
Ooops, I must have forgot to mention to my group that we meet at Cinema City (Polo Park)  at 5:45 and then do a slow run to Garbage Hill to warm up.  Sorry pals, I assumed you met there last week with Henry.  It was a good turn out.  Hill training is to develop muscular strength and to raise the aerobic threshold.  We increase one hill a week to a maximum of 10.  Some runners like to do an extra one to build character.  This is fine, but my advice is not to over do it, especially in the heat which is just around the corner.  Next week we run 6 hills.
Thursday, School Run Club, 2,5 miles
It was another great turnout of 68 runners.  We talked about how all their lives their parents have been telling them not to run on the streets and how Mr. Bennett was telling them it's ok!  We discussed the most important thing about run club is Safety.  I have taught them to yell "Car Back" and "Car Up" which they absolutely love.  The entire neighbourhood is now aware of every moving vehicle within 2 mile of the school.  I have taught thhem to make eye-contact with the driver, and in light of the incident last year, I have also taught them to dive for the boulevard if they feel an approaching car does not see them.  I allow them to log miles at home as long as a parent signs off on the distance.  Each student has a goal, once they reach their goal (bronze) I give them a lime green shoelace and encourage them to double their goal (silver), triple their goal (gold), and over (platinum).  They get their name on the bulletin board each time they achieve a milestone.  It's fun and they are motivated to improve their standing.  At the end of each run we celebrate with a freezie.  Cool!
clinic, 4.5
I was dog tired this evening.  Thanks you Jacques for taking the lead.  Had you not noticed I was dying we still would be out there.  My ankles were aching on the run.  I think it's a result of playing badminton with some hot shot grade seen kids for an hour after school.  Memo to self: you;re not a teenager.  Henry took us through some speed workouts.
Saturday, 12 miles, 10:06 pace (w/w) route
Nazir, Rodica, John, Alex, Dinu, Vivian, Gwen, John, Ken, Dianah, David, Deb, Lynda, Naomi.
This was a fine run today.  Everything was in our favour.  The night before the run I sent out an email requesting people behind to pitch a water bottle at my head if I exceed a pace of 10 ;>)... It seemed to work because our pace was pretty well perfect.  It was an honor having Lynda join us today.  She'll be running Boston next week and is looking absolutely fantastic.  Good luck to you Lynda.  Send pictures!
Sunday, 25.54 miles (cycling)
Rod, Dinu, Ken
We cycled out to Nick's Diner in Headingly.  Aside from a nasty little wind from the south west it was a wonderful inaugural ride.  We're hoping to do it again next Sunday and all are welcome.We'll meet at 9AM at the Duck Pond at Assiniboine Park.   Email me for details.  Thanks for the coffee Dinu.
Week Total = 23.52 miles running and 25.54 mils cycling.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Week of March 31 to April 6

What marathon runner doesn't occasionally feel deflated or unsure of their commitment or doubt their ability or their strength to cross the finish line?  At the end of today's 16 mile run a friend looked at me with pain etched into her face and said "I don't think I can run another mile" in reference to next week's run.   She was frightened with the possibility that she could endure no further pain; that she had reached a plateau.  The pain and frustration temporarily clouded her ability to appreciate that these 16 long hard miles that she had just accomplished was in fact the longest distance she had run in her entire lifetime; a milestone of achievement that few have come to savour, a milestone that makes her children proud of their mom, a milestone that is to be acknowledged.  It's a quirk of human nature that we tend to ponder what we can't do rather then celebrate what we have achieved.  Can she run a marathon?  Absolutely.  Will it be hard? Absolutely.  The expression "pain is just weakness leaving the body"  may be cliche, but therein lies a nugget of truth. 
Dick and Rick Hoyt are a father and son team from Massachusetts who live and breathe the motto "Together, you can do anything.".  We would do well to consider life from the Hoyt's perspective.  I defy you to watch the video clip without doing some soul searching...  without shedding a tear.  Dick Hoyt will be speaking in Winnipeg on April 29.  Contact Manitoba Marathon for tickets.  Spread the word good runners!  Cheers,  M
Tuesday, Verona, Ontario, 4.01 miles, 10:02 pace (steady)
Verona, small town Southern Ontario... the biggest household expense according to my brother-in-law?  Ammunition and gasoline!  It's a quaint little town about 30 kilometers west of Kingston.  A couple of churches, a school, an IGA, and a Sears mail-order outlet.  We stayed with Jennifer's sister, mother, and brother-in-law. The smaller building to the left of the larger house was recently built as an addition for Jennifer's mother.  The two houses are connected with walk-through.  They live well off the beaten track on a large property overlooking a gorgeous lake. It was a great week with LOTS of amazing food and perhaps a little TOO much amazing wine. I eat, therefore I run! 
Wednesday, Ottawa, 8.69 miles, 10:03 pace  route 
There's something about Ottawa that makes me feel proud to be Canadian. The Parliament buildings, 24 Sussex Drive, Museum of Civilization, Chateau Frontenac, The Senate, and amongst all this grandeur, the humble cat shelter a stone's throw from The House of Commons.
The Stray Cats of the Hill is maintained by a pensioner and is dependent on the generosity of strangers.  It's tolerated by the officials and largely ignored by the heavy security.  It may not be quite legal, but it's humane and it's the right thing to do... herein -somewhere-  lies a metaphor for Canadians... we don't wave flags, but we do the right thing.  Each entrance to the Parliament Grounds is manned by 4 RCMP in two cruisers parked in "V" fashion (a total of 12 cruisers around the clock, 24-7.  I wasn't sure if they would let me run by so I slowed down and made eye contact with one officer. He gave me a nod and a friendly wave (only in Canada) and I went on my merry way.  It's liberating to live in a society where such freedoms are permitted and even smiled upon.  The run was superb!  I ran along the Rideau Canal in and around the Parliament Buildings, The Senate, the National Gallery, and in to Quebec for a run by the Museum of Civilization.
I even ran along a portion of the Ottawa Marathon; a most spectacular course!  Jennifer and her mother spent the mourning errr, make that, morning shopping at IKEA while I ran... who had the most fun? 
Thursday, Kingston, 5.66 miles, 10:01 pace (steady) route
This was the warmest run of the year.  It wasn't quite 'shorts weather' but it was very close.  I ran along Lake Ontario towards Fort Henry.  It was a good run, nice and slow with lots of good views and friendly runners.  I ended up at Timmy's for a hot chocolate and bagel... sinfully umm, umm, good!
Sunday, Winnipeg, 16 miles, 9:46 pace (w/w), Route 
John, Jacques, Deb, Diane, Naomi, Alex, Nazir, Ken, Rodica
The pace was a quick, perhaps too quick.  We need to remember that these long runs are for endurance and not speed.  Walk adjusted race pace is 9:19 so we may be pouring it on a little too soon (memo to pace bunny...  -that'd be me- ... slow the pace... s-l-o-w the pace).  Next week we bounce down to 12 miles and then back up to 18 miles on April 20.  Here's a plan... many of us are running the Police Marathon on April 27 which is a scheduled 18 mile day.  I propose we switch the May 11th run (14 miles) with April 27th (18 miles) i.e. we run 14 miles on April 27 and 18 on May 11.  Unless I hear objections we'll go with this plan.  Cheers to Sandra who has had to pull out of the full marathon training due to a nasty injury attained at the Hypothermic Half Marathon.  She has joined Ted's Half-marathon group and is enjoying the new pace.  Nazir, Ken, Deb, Alex, and I followed up the run with a Tall Grass coffee at the Forks.  It was great fun and excellent company.  Congratulations to Jacques, John, Naomi, and Alex for whom today's run is a milestone.  Yes friends, it was another great week to be alive.  Cheers,  M
week total = 34.36 miles