Thursday, July 29, 2010

My Scheduled 6K

6K - 47:03
Pace 7:51 min/km

My run went very well, in spite of my slower speed. It was a gorgeous morning, with less humidity than the past few. I ran the whole time, and there were sections where my pace picked up quite a bit, due to my music or a burst of energy! :) I was feeling a little tired when I woke up so I was not able to take full advantage of the humidity-less morning as much I would have liked. Still, I actually tild myself to focus less on checking my watch for pace than just to run at a pace that felt good. My dog, Angus, ran with me today and he is such a goof. He pulled me at the beginning and on a flat stretch through Greenway Park, but did not pulling when we ran up some hills - hrrumph! Someone must have coached him on how NOT to help Mommy cheat while running together!

I was pleased to receive an article from Christine Luff @ Running & Jogging today on slow running and how runners at this time feel like they are not making any progress - it was apropos! :) I feel better about running slower and it have given me encouragement to tackle my 13K this Saturday. I have read more about the run/walk 10:1 plan, and I am quite sure now that I am going to adopt this for my half marathon in the fall.

I also signed up for today and hope to have the gidget on my blog this week.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Learning from

This validates the conclusion I have come to on my own about my running ... at this time ... that the way for ME to increase my running speed is to lose weight. I am carrying too many extra pounds with me when I run; therefore, I have to work harder than other runners because of it. I came to this conclusion when I joined the 10K running club last year. I was the slowest runner in the group (so slow, the club coach would suggest that I leave earlier than the others when we were meeting in the park for a drill or speed lesson so I wouldn't arrive half way through the lesson. He did it in such a kind way, I was not embarrassed by it, but instead, felt relieved). I remember thinking then that I just wanted to complete my first 10K "well" - I did not care about speed - so why bother doing these speed drills when I could just lose pounds and increase my speed this way?

Look at this formula from the article:

Lose 10 pounds
- increase 5K time by ~1 minute
- increase 10K time by ~2 minutes

Lose 15 pounds
- increase 5K by ~1 1/2 minutes
- increase 10K time by ~3 minutes

Lose 20 pounds
- increase 5K by 2 minutes
- increase 10K time by ~4 minutes

I recognize that I should not take this literally, but it helps to see this concept in a measurable format to drive the point home. Lose some of the weight I carry with me when I run, and I will see my race time improve.

I also think this takes the pressure off me, in the sense that I am just focusing on the weight/speed aspect for now, and the THRILLING experience will be the day when I realize that I had better focus on the various speed drills, etc. because I no longer have the excess weight to blame for my speed plateau! :)

Slow 8K Run, but still a good one!

Pace 8:04 min/km

Focusing on the positive! I ran the 8K today I was scheduled to run yesterday; therefore, I kept my word to myself. :) I ran the whole time, and even up a hill at the 7K mark, without stopping to walk. My pace may have been slow, but at one point, I was running @7:15 pace and feeling very comfortable, as in on cruise control. :) I really enjoy the running when I hit that zone, when the pace feels good to me, and feel as if I could keep going like that for a long time ...

It was humid again, although there was a spitting of rain at one point and a light breeze at times, which helped make today's run more tolerable. I had sweat dripping from my forearms as I ran - a reflection of the humid morning. I'm noticing how the upside-down half moon shape on my chest, where the my running shirt contacts the skin instead of my bra, is always damp with sweat these days because of the humidity.

My dog, Wallace, "trotted" next to me. He always solicits the biggest smiles from other runners/walkers/cyclists because he wears a big grin the whole time we are running together. He definitely looks joyful whenever he runs beside me. :) I will have to get a picture of him posted!

I am pleased that 8K has become my new comfort range. My next race is in Exeter in less than two weeks, and it is an 8K, so I am feeling better about my ability to run it "well" this time, more so than the 8K race I ran last month, the Go the Distance 8K. I am not sure whether to equate my new running comfort level with the distance (8K) or the time (~1 hour). Perhaps once my speed increases, and I can complete 10K in an hour, this will be my new comfortable run? :)

Two runners passed me today in Greenway Park. The one woman has phenomenal legs - tanned, muscled, curvy. She should wear shorts and skirts all the time because she has gorgeous legs to show off! :) Another female runner who was right behind the first female runner did not look like she was having a fun run, even though her body clearly reflected that she works out all the time. I was plodding along at my slower pace, but I am pretty sure I was not looking as unhappy as she was! If anything, I was feeling good at the point (~6K mark), feeling my consistency in today's run.

On a side note, has roller blading dropped off in popularity? I saw my first roller blader last week and this when I realized that I NEVER pass any bladers on the paths - just walkers, cyclists and runners. It used to be so popular (?).

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Learning from

Once your body is used to running regularly, if you feel like it, increase the volume by about 10% per week for three or four weeks in a row. On the forth {sic} or fifth week, cut the running in half to give yourself a big break. On the next week, go back to your second biggest week of running and start the 10% increases all over again. Repeat until you get to the point where your running volume is where you would like it to be for your goals and lifestyle.

Once you have hit that level, I like to suggest people simply cycle through the last four week progression if they do not have any type of event in mind that requires even more volume. Generally, 85-90% of all the running you do should be easy - 70-75% of maximum effort. The final 10-15% can be made up of specific hill, strength, tempo and speed work, if you are so inclined.

~Rick Hellerd

Slow 6K This Morning

6K - 48:05
Pace 7:58 min/km

Wow! I knew when I was running that my pace felt slower, but I am little surprised to see just how much slower it was this morning. :( Well, the good news is that I didn't walk any of it - I really did maintain this slow pace consistently without walking so I will be positive about it where I can! :) My dog, Kim, ran with me today, and he did well "sauntering" beside me. It was humid, but less humid than previous mornings. I am not sure if I should blame the humidity, or whether I should just say, "it is what it is," be thankful that I got out there, and just keep looking forward.

I was scheduled to run 8K this morning, but since I am supposed to be running three days in a row this week, I decided to switch one of the 6K runs with the 8K. Tomorrow I plan to run my "missed" 8K, and then Thursday, I will run a second 6K as scheduled.

I am sitting here feeling chilly - I haven't changed yet from my run - but it is interesting to see how my body dramatically drops in temperature after I run. I understand now why they distribute mylar blankets to runners immediately following a half or full marathon run. I will need to remember to bring additional layers in the future to my races because I have experienced the same after-chill at these events, too.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

I Skipped My Long Run Today :(

This morning, I was scheduled to run my very first 13K long run. I am sad to report that for the first time in a long time, I decided to skip it, and I stayed in bed.

Yesterday, we went to a friend's place for a BBQ, and it was with a newer group of friends we have developed over the last year. I have been fairly good about not overdoing it socially when I have a run scheduled the next day, but yesterday afternoon, I just didn't feel like being "good" for running. I think I may have a residual "feeling bummed" about my race time at the Summer 5K; therefore, the motivation that I usually feel was not very strong. I went ahead and ate what I wanted and drank beer and wine, and by the time I got to bed last night, I knew the variety of food and booze combination would affect my night's sleep. Sure enough, I had a lacklustre sleep and I woke up with a headache.

This does not happen often, and since my official half marathon training schedule starts in a few weeks, I am not going to dwell or beat myself up about it. I may try to run 13K this upcoming weekend instead. Although I have this week scheduled as a rest week, I have cut back on my mileage in the last few weeks, based on the wicked humidity weather-wise we are experiencing in recent weeks. If I am feeling up to it by Friday, I think I will go for it Saturday morning first thing. I have company coming for the weekend so I will have to see how this potentially affects my running plans.

Friday, July 23, 2010

SUMMER NIGHT 5K RUN - London Honda Series

5K Race - 36:11
Pace 7:15 min/km

I have participated in this particular running event twice before. The first time was in 2003 when it was the "goal" 5K for our running group. We ran it together at the end of our training, and it was fun to have a few "swag bag" beers together afterward at the Barking Frog to celebrate our achievement:

Pace 6:50 min/km

The second time, my first running partner and I ran it for the same reason: we started a "From Couch to 5K" beginner running program together at the end of March, and then used this particular 5K race as as our goal 5K. We did it and then, with our significant others, and then enjoyed the "swag bag" free beers and burgers together:

Pace 7:08 min/km

I am disappointed that I ran my slowest time yet in this race. However, when I checked the weather channel first thing in the morning on race day, I learned that the hottest part of the day, 30 degrees C, would be exactly when the race started. With the humidity, it would feel like 40 degrees C. Once I learned this, I knew right away that I probably should not set myself up for failure by aiming to run my fastest time. I knew then that it was going to be a miserable run in that kind of weather. This on top of the fact that I do not usually run at night - I am an early morning runner - so it already was not at my ideal time of the day.

I should add that 51 people did NOT finish the race. This is a significant number of runners, in comparison to previous races, so it may be a reflection of the tougher-than-average weather conditions we experienced. I recall how last year it was much cooler and had just rained before the race, which it made it pleasant for running.


1. I ran the entire way; I did not walk.
2. I started strong and ended strong. I was pleased with my finish.
3. There was one water station that we passed twice at the 2K/4K mark. I decided not to run with my water belt in this race, and made sure I clarified I wanted water when I passed by the water station. However, for the first time, I choked on the water (it went down the wrong tube when I swallowed). I made sure to slow down completely the second time I passed by so I wouldn't repeat my choking!
4. Multiple runners were warming up by running. I understand now why they do this, but I am not at the level yet when a 2K warm-up run will help me run a faster time (notice the operative word "yet" in that sentence!). However, I did keep an eye on the time, and at 6:50 p.m., I walked away from the shady spot where I was sitting, killing time, and walked briskly around a few blocks for 10 minutes to warm up before joining all the runners at the starting line.
5. There were wet sponges at the hairpin turn, and they were very much appreciated!
6. I had one runner ahead of me who was yo-yoing. She would stop to walk, and after I passed her, she would run again and pass me, only to stop, walk, let me pass here, repeat. I tried my best not to be irritated by it, and instead focus on my own steady pace running. I knew there was a small hill and then a larger hill yet to go, and this was happening on a flat part of the course, so I would lose her by that point (which I did). The same thing happened after I passed her with two young runners; they kept passing me running after I would pass them when they were walking. I finally lost on the hill when they stopped to walk.
7. Ben was not there at the start; I told him not to bother. Instead, he dropped me off in time to collect my chip, and then went to Chapters to look at magazines. He was there at the end to cheer me across the finish line. :) We skipped the beer and burger this year, and just headed home as I was wet from sweat in the heat, and Ben, the non-runner, was sweating as well. He could not believe I ran in it!

I think I will do this again next year, and THAT will be the time I finally run this race UNDER 30 minutes! :)

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Frustrating Running Observations

1. Since losing my running partner, my pace has significantly dipped. I am not sure if this is due to losing my partner or a coincidence, now that the weather has been more humid in the mornings. It likely is a combination of both.

2. My feet ached yesterday, which is odd. I had to massage them a few times throughout the day in an effort to alleviate the aching. Again, I am unsure if this is due to my running shoes (not due to replace yet), or if this due to running three days in a row, something I do not do too often. They are better this morning, but I still feel the tighter muscle along the outside of my left foot.

3. When I ran 12K a week+ ago and then 13K last Saturday, I had to walk. Again, I am not sure if this is because I have reached a plateau for the time being, or to blame it on the humidity. I did try eating before heading out, to see if maybe it was due to running on a empty stomach. I still think this may have something to do with it, but I also think it is all these factors in combination rather than just one. The Running Room book praises walking every 10 minutes for 1 minute during long runs so I may need to adjust my thinking about the long runs more than anything else. Walk/running 12K+ is still better than not doing it at all ... and I am still a beginner endurance runner carrying 40 lbs.+ extra while training to be an endurance runner ...

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Learning from Two Books & a DVD

I am reading a book about the New York Marathon and I had no idea it was such a big race (it's the largest event in New York every year). Very inspiring book. I also watched a DVD from the library, "Spirit of the Marathon," a documentary on five different runners training for the Chicago Marathon, and it was very inspiring as well. I am also reading, "The Runner's Diet," and I am pleasantly surprised by how good it is. If anything, it emphasizes how all the protein bars and gels etc. are good for ELITE runners and that the average person who is running for weight reduction will not benefit from that stuff. It also advocates changing one food habit at a time and making this a slow, life style change rather than the all-or-nothing mentality, steps like adding one green vegetable to your meal every day and just focusing on doing that for three weeks (21 days) before adding another vegetable or dropping soft drinks or your daily doughnut, etc. Common sense that is not very common!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

My First 11K of 2010

Today I ran 11K for the first time since last year, when I was in training for my first 10K. For the first time since I started running long runs, I needed to walk/run after 9K. I think it was a mistake to run on an empty stomach and later in the morning when it was more humid. I realize now that I can run easily on an empty stomach for 5-8K, but once I get past one hour running time, I have little steam left. I will need to do the bagel/banana thing 1 hour before my long runs, now that I have crossed into the 1 hour+ zone. I also ran out of water. One bottle holder on my running belt is ripped so I can only carry 3 bottles with me. Usually this is enough, but when it is hot and humid, I drink even more than normal.

And heck, walk/running in this heat is not a bad thing - maybe this is a negative effect of running with JJ because she interpreted walking as a "failure," whereas, before I started running with her, I didn't care if I walked for a minute here and there. Clearly, walking must be beneficial because I have watched walk/runners pass me to finish line when I was running at a consistent pace. I just prefer NOT to because I find that, once I start walking, I can only run for a short time before needing to walk again.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Learning from Runner's World,7120,s6-243-332--12455-0,00.html

Great article that gives me hope ... regardless of my age now, I have the next 7-10 years to improve my pace!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

My 6K Today

I just got back from my 6K run, and it was my best time to date. :) The first 2K are always my most challenging as I warm up (I truly understand now why runners "run" before a race now), but by the 2K mark, I could feel I was running well, and although I took a certain path with the intention of trying out intervals, my pace was so good, I did not want to ruin it by doing the intervals; therefore, I skipped them. It's nice to be able to say that 6Ks are now my "easy" runs. :)

Thursday, July 1, 2010

EMBRO HIGHLAND GAMES 10K - Runpiker Series

A funny thing about today's run ... I took the time to check the number of people and the times from the 2009 and 2008 races. I knew that I would probably be one of the last 5 runners. The race is smaller, and clearly runners with 5 min/km paces and lower had participated in this run before. I have learned from experience that it makes a difference if there is a small # of runners versus a large # of racers in a race as to where my placement will be (i.e. just below average or near the end!). I went to this race with the attitude of, "someone has to be last in a race so it might as well be me!" The entire time I ran, I was 10-15 metres behind Runner #163. I "thought" I had someone behind me running, but she was so much further back from the rest of us, I actually had myself convinced for most of the run that she had dropped out, making me the back end runner. The truck they used with a hand-made sign to warn cars to "WATCH FOR RUNNERS" pulled AHEAD of me and Runner #163, thus emphasizing to me that I was truly at the end! Runner #163 had a steady pace within my range so it was fine for me just to follow him for most of the run. I had my music, and it was a gorgeous day in the countryside ... when the pack is so far ahead, it's easier just to zone out and do my own thing.

I was also feeling a little angry and used that time to try to cool down. JJ had emphasized several times to me before this race about on how much she wanted to run together to pace each other. Once we got onto the road, she took off and ran ahead of me by several minutes for the rest of the race. Now, I have been in several races with her by this point, and I honestly don't have an issue with her running ahead, but I do hate being assured that we will do this together and then having her take off on me so soon without a word. It's an etiquette thing.

As for runner #164, he started walking the hills after the 6K mark and I didn't walk any hills so this is when we started to yo yo with each other - when he walked, I would pass him, but then when he started running again, he would make a point of passing me. I was a little irritated by it because I was doing my own thing - I actually slowed down at points because his pace ahead of me slowed down, but I wanted to avoid the yo yoing. However, I "had" to pass him on the hills because at those points, if I slowed down too much, I was afraid that I would not start running again. Anyway, in the last K, he clearly made a huge effort to pass me and although I can honestly say I didn't care, it was still a little irritating. I acknowledge that I set "goals" while running that include passing certain runners so I "get" that he made passing me his goal - it's just that I was clearly trying NOT to pass him! LOL! My focus was on me and finishing "well", thus establishing a base 10K time for me from which to compare future 10K races this summer.

On a funny side note, JJ ran the whole race with this guy, Martin. He told her that his wife and his brother were running at the tail end. Mr. Yo Yo was Martin's brother, and it was his wife who finished last. Small town run!

(On a side note, at the Woodstock race, I was behind a runner who had a generous backend, and I was behind her for most of the race as she ran with her friends who eventually ran ahead of her ... I "could" have run past her because I had the energy to, but my heart wasn't in it. JJ reprimanded me when I told her this, telling me I should have run to make time, but I told her I didn't have the heart to - I was proud of this woman for running as well as she did, which was as good as what I was running(!), and I was sure it was not easy to keep going after her friends ran ahead. To be "that" person who suddenly runs past her at the end just to cross the finish line one spot ahead of her is soooooo NOT me!).

Monthly Review - JUNE 2010

114.2 km TOTAL

14 hours 19 minutes TOTAL