Monday, August 20, 2018

Another Weekend of Fun and Training Aug 18-19

Another summer weekend has come and gone. The weather wasn't the greatest for doing a lot of summering, but it wasn't bad for running. The clouds in the morning made for a cooler feel. 

I got up bright and early to try and beat the rain on Saturday. With a big day of training, I try to keep breakfast simple but "sturdy." As I wasn't racing coffee was first thing on the menu and the Aeropress was the way to go with some lovely beans from Costa Rica (thanks Java Blend). With that went a nice sized bowl of oats, with a little brown sugar and some butter.

I have been focusing on 2 hour long runs as I get ready for my Fall trail race. So far this has been 2 hour trail runs, which means somewhere around 18-22 km of running. But this day I decided to go and check out the first Leg of the Rum Runners Relay. I will be racing this one in about a month or so. In my mind it was a 12 km distance, so I thought, run from home and then run the Leg. Anyway, it was more like 13.5 km, so by the time I got home, I got my 2 hour run in, but also 27.5 km. That was my longest run in awhile, but it did feel good. So training is going well. 

Here I am at the halfway point of my run, also know as the beginning of the race. I look so happy.

25 km later and I made a joke about arriving first. I'm also a little more tired by this point with another 2.5 km to get to home. 

That was it for Saturday. But then Sunday, I took out too great athletes, Lindsay and Mark, to coach them through a trial triathlon. Both are racing next weekend in their first race and this helped them get the feel and understanding of what was going on. We did the full thing as well. Nice 800m swim to get started, then to the bike for 25 km, and finally a 5 km run to end the day. Then we chatted a bit about race prep as well. They will do great. We didn't push too hard as this was a trial run, and also my legs were still a bit heavy. 

Looking forward to see how my legs feel this week and to getting back on the trail. 

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Chase the Pace 1 Miler 2018

This past weekend I took part in the Chase the Pace 1 Miler. The goal of this event is to have pacers run the track at a set pace, while people try to get a PB. I signed up hoping to finally break 5 minutes (though really this would only be my 4th attempt in 3 years to actually try to do so).

I had hoped there would be a 5 minute pacer, but the closest pone to my goal was 4:50. That is quite a bit faster than I figured I could sustain. So the question was, do I follow that faster pace, drift off near the closing laps and hope to hang in, or go out easier and see if i could make up the time by the end.

I'll be honest, I usually have some sort of a plan, but come the time for race day I was totally without one. Track running for a PB is not my strength and so I was totally out of my element.

One thing I did know though, was to make sure and get a good warm up run in. I did so with Luke. He was going to be chasing his goal of a 6 minute mile (which he got).

Well, it came up to race time, and I got my race shoes on and headed out. Many of the runners had spikes on. I think this probably threw me a little as spikes do help you run faster, and now I wasn't quite sure what sort of speed people would be running.

So having psyched myself out, I basically dropped to the back of my pack and tucked in. For the first 100m or so, we were all together, but soon enough the lead group started to pull away. That left four of us running together with me at the rear. By the end of the first lap we were down on our goal time by 6 seconds. So not a great start.

By halfway through the second lap a small gap formed between our pack. I made the choice to surge past the next runner, then bridge up. The three of us then met the next lap down even more time on the goal. 

As the final corner of the third lap approached, I realized that I wasn't going to make that sub 5 minute mile. But I also knew I could salvage a good finish, with a strong final lap and at least beat the guys I was running with (wink). 

So I laid down a fast lap. I pushed hard and surged even harder coming to the finish. I put a pretty big gap between myself and the three guys behind me. I think my final time may have been 5:08? 

What I learned was that track running and road running are way different. Doing loops makes it tricky to really know your pace. Ideally I would have had a pacer at the pace I was hoping to achieve. I didn't, so it was kind of best effort.  Also, I should have trusted my legs and pushed harder earlier on, my timid start to the run let me down.

Many great runs were had by others though and I still have some speed in my legs, so it isn't like it was a bad day. The Mile will go away now, and maybe next year we can try again. But onto other challenges now.

Thanks for the warmup running Luke, and the great race Bryan. 


Tuesday, August 7, 2018

MacPass Mile 2018 and the Rest of the Weekend

Wow, August already? This hot summer has been trying as far as training goes. I guess in this instance, it is a good thing that my main goal is a Fall trail race where overall speed isn't as important as getting some good time on feet and some hills in. 

So it was Natal Day Weekend in Halifax and that meant it was time for some racing. This year I opted to do the MacPass Mile again, a 1 mile race across the MacDonald Bridge. This is a tough mile as it starts on a downhill, then a steep uphill and finally an equally steep downhill to false flat finish. This race separates into A Women's Race, then a Men's Race, followed by a Girl's and finally Boy's race.  

The heat was gone from the proceeding days and like last year, the rain came. A good steady rain as well. At least it was cool! My main goal is time and not placing, and due to the hilliness of this mile, and the slippery nature of the surface, I didn't want to kill myself, so I didn't try to specifically place well.  

Here we are all lined up, slightly wet, but with a good warmup in our legs (Craig, Jordan and I had a great little warmup run with some strides)

The idea is to head out strong to be able to choose your line and avoid painted road surfaces. But you also have to be careful on the downhill start not to blow out of hamstring or go so hard you trip.

I took the steep climb reasonably easy, saving myself for the downhill. By the top of the hill I think I was in about 8th or 9th place. As I crested the top, I had plenty in the tank and started to pick up the pace. By the mid point of the race I found myself in 4th. 

Now it was all about mental power and holding form. You have to not over stride coming down or the pounding will just drain you before the line. 

I pulled away from 5th place but in no way could catch 3rd. Check out that gap!

As I approached the line, the clock was nearing 5 minutes. I pushed a little extra, but just didn't make the mark, finishing in 5:03. Still that was better than 5:07 from last year and it hurt less. Not bad, considering I haven't done much out right speed work this summer. That was good enough for a 3:08 pace, 4th place overall and 2nd place in my Age Group.

It was also great seeing so many BLT Runners hit PBs as well. Many smiles were shining in the rain.

The new tradition is to gather as many people as possible and head over to the Montreal Bagel place for a treat and chat. This year I opted for the BLT Bagel. Mmmmm.

That fuel was then put to good use as Craig and I headed out to do some hill repeats. No, not those, run up hills fast and stroll down kind. Instead I found a 2 km hill with a 3.7% average grade and we ran up that and then down at an easy pace. My goal was 2 hours of running on hills and this provided that. Craig had to leave after 3 and really only got to run in the blazing hot sun that had come out. My next 3 were done in pouring rain. It was nice having some company for the first bit. 

26 km in total and 2 hours later I was at the Bike and Bean to meet my wife (she did some hills as well). I could literally ring out my clothes. 

I'm not a huge beer drinker, but after close to 30 km of running I figured I could have one. This hit the spot, Nine Locks. 

The next day was a rest day, so into the woods for some hiking we went. Dang it was hot.

So a pretty decent weekend of fun and running and hiking. Oh, and a few moments of feet up and relaxing as well.