Sunday, January 27, 2008

The Big Decision

To run the Marathon in May or not to run the Marathon in May? That is the question.

The first step is done and the easiest I would say, I have registered.

My friend Scott threw down the challenge and I have accepted; Scott, I don't see you registered?

You can see that I am registered for the ING Ottawa Marathon by typing in my last name here ING Marathon Confirmation.

Work now begins on the training schedule.

Fun In The Hills

Yesterday (Saturday) was race two of three in the MadTrapper Snowshoe series of 2008.

The 2nd race of the season was over the hilly course and boy was it hilly. I did not feel good after the 2nd km and got progressively slower. Thank god I decided on the 5 km course; I knew that yesterday was not my day to run 10 km over the hilly course.

My buddy Ken kept up the pace during the race and solidly beat me yesterday. I saw him nearing the top of the last hill before the downhill to the finish and I had nothing left in me to try and even put up a fight. He ran a good race and stayed steady throughout. His plan worked well; walk the uphills, run the flats, and fly down the downhills (trying not to crash).

It was a beautiful day out, pretty cold, but worth getting out there and running. Sometimes I think I am nuts going out in the freezing cold to run around in little to no clothes (you don't dress too warmly or you overheat) and then I know I am nuts when I tell anyone what I did on the weekend.

That's ok, I like being nuts.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Imagine 225km of Running...IN 6 DAYS!!

Yes, that's right 225 km running in the snow in the Northwest Territories over 6 days in a 6 day stage race. Check it out at Rock and Ice Ultra: Diamond Ultra. Crazy right?

Well my coach, Rick Hellard, from last year's Gotta Run series on CBC Ottawa is currently training for this. I send my Good Luck to him and know he will train hard and do amazing in this like he always does.

In Rick's post on his website Zone 3 Sports about deciding to do this event just goes to show that (even someone whom we mere mortals look up to as a fitness god) anything BIG that we have not conquered before can be daunting.

In the vein of daunting, a co-worker whom I have asked to come running several times mentioned he might do the 10 km HBC Run For Canada this summer. So to do my little part I offered to help as a training partner. For him, this is huge just like my first 10 km was huge for me.

For me, the big todo on my running list is a Marathon. I want to, but I always think it is too big. We'll see if I can get past my mental hurdle and conquer my next BIG thing.

Sunday, January 20, 2008


Sometimes even I know I am crazy running on days like today. Minus 12 degrees Celsius today with a windchill of "Holy Hell It IS FREEZING!!!"

So, today was bundle up day, add some layers and a face mask to protect my throat from getting hoarse during/after the run from coughing. It was still freezing.

After 5 miles I felt like my legs were turning to lead and my knees into glass.

Still, it's days like this when you are tired (an early morning wake-up from my son which cut an hour off my sleep) and it's too cold out for a polar bear; that when you do run you know it is for a purpose. Be it to get in shape or run 1000 km in 2008.

Having the goal has been a tremendous help to keep me on track. Here's hoping the rest of the year continues like today.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

How Far Did You Run?

Why guess? There are lots of tools to tell you this today. There are gadgets and there are free web sites that use Google mashups to create useful tools like RunningMap.

For example, what does 6 miles look like on the map? Well here is an example from my run today of 6 miles.

I've used this site for a while and I find it pretty handy. It is also good for comparing against my Nike + iPod to verify that it is calibrated. It is usually within 3-5% give or take but sometimes it is way off.

Sometimes conditions result in bad calibration though. For example, a run I did recently in the snow with my snow traction Yaks (rubber bands with metal that go on your sneakers) was off by 18%. That added up to 1.2 miles short that I ran. So now I know to add an additional 18% to runs in snow and to compare the run using RunningMap.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

2007 Running Overview

I really love the Nike + iPod set for tracking my runs. The Nike running site gives you some cools tools for tracking your runs. The following picture shows my total distances for each month of 2007.

As I finish each month of 2008 I will add a graphic showing my progress to date. This years graph should be more solid all the way through the year.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Another Day, Another Cold, Another Run

I don't think I have had this many colds since I was a kid. My son just started daycare recently and it seems like every second weekend (at least) at least one of us if not all of us have a cold.

This morning I was toast. I woke up, ate, and then crashed until I went to sleep for a nap in the morning. This afternoon I felt reenergized so why rest, it was run time. Tonight was 7 miles (11.27 km), longest run in a long time and it felt great.

It's fun to run in the night in the winter (if you can ignore the cold). It is quiet, there is almost nobody outside, and you can sing out loud without people staring.

Tonight's running soundtrack, Led Zeppelin's recently released "Mothership" digitally remastered best of album. I've been listening to this album on most runs recently. It's got a steady groove that seems to fit my runs to a T.

Thursday, January 10, 2008


Ok, with prompting from my wife I am tracking my non-"Nike + iPod" training distances as well.

I still plan to hit the 1000 km with the Nike chip since I am in a 1000 km challenge on the Nike site. That said, the extra or missed runs will be my stretch target ;-)

What's Your Goal

Last year was a good year with running for me. I did my first Half Marathon and I ran over 500 km (my highest millage year by far).

That said, I did fall off the running and exercise wagon for 3 months. Hence the reason for this years goal. Something nice and long term to keep me out there staying healthier and leaner.

Runner's World has an article online now about various goals. Take a look if you are shopping around for a new running goal to help you get your new year off on the right step. What's your goal?

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Just Keep Running

Some days you just don't want to run. Today for example. It was 10 degrees Celsius but with high winds. I did not want to do the treadmill again (boring) so it was outside or nothing.

So somewhat reluctantly I got changed and went out. As with many days when you don't really want to go out it was an awesome run. It is weird how when you think man I am not into it today, I don't want to run, and then you get out there and you fell awesome. You end up running 8 km (5 mile) and it feels like nothing. Like, hell I could do more.

These are the days that make it so worth running. The felling like you can run forever.

As per a request, I have added a tracker on the top right of the sidebar with the current status of the goal. I'll see if I can make it prettier some time later. Looking a little behind but that is because I am only counting the training miles I put in on my Nike + iPod. I did not use the chip for 13.2 km I have put in the last week as mentioned in an earlier post. I be playing some catchup this weekend with a 11.2 km (7 mile) run. Then I will only be 5 km off goal.

Of course if the chip tracking does no work out for some reason I will have to rethink this and just start using my totals from my training spreadsheet where I track my runs. For now though, I am hoping to use the Nike + iPod since I am also part of a Nike Challenge to run 1000 km in 2008.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Extended Rest

The snowshoe race was pretty hard on the body and I was still feeling it yesterday. So I skipped yesterday and got my run in today.

Forgot my Nike +iPod chip today (and did not try it for the snowshoe race) so my online tracker at Nike is missing those runs. Oh well, I guess I can do an additional few kilometres here and there.

My work has a gym with 3 treadmills which I've started using. Thankfully I don't have to use them often, since I find it so boring running on a treadmill and trying to find that sweet spot with incline.

Here's a good list of tips for running on the treadmill which I hope may make the experience more enjoyable.

Now to pack my Nike +iPod chip for my next run.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Snowshoe Recovering

Snowshoeing is not running obviously and hence I am learning about some new muscles today.

Hip flexors -- check, I know how they feel now...ouch.
Whatever is around your ankles --check, they feel like someone tied them in knots and then flattened the knots with a hammer.

Besides that, bit of a sore back and pretty much aching all over. That said, it is not that bad, I've been stiffer after other races so all in all pretty good.

Tomorrow is another day, and another training run of just 2 miles.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Snowshoe Insanity

Well, I just got in a little while ago from the first of three Snowshoe Races this season in the Mad Trapper Snowshoe Race Series. What a blast.

Ignoring how I felt yesterday (since I had such a good long sleep last night) I decided that why not do the 10 km race instead of the 5 km. Ya that was smart.

What did I learn at the race today?

  • Regular snowshoes meant for big powder and backpacking are not good for racing.
  • Racing Snowshoers wear really small snowshoes that are built for running; they are lighter, they are smaller meaning you can use a closer running stance, and due to this they cut a narrow path in the snow.
  • Everyone is faster than me so I am at the back in big wide snowshoes that weigh more and that require more room to maneuver hence I tripped over my snowshoes a lot.
  • In a small cut path walking is faster than stepping on/tripping over your snowshoes.
  • 10 km is about 5 km too far if you have not been training.

So how did I do?

  • First 5 km: 55 min 45 sec
  • Pit Stop: 9 min 21 sec (including water and begging the race director Mike, thank you Mike, for a loan of a pair of racing snowshoes; which he loaned me)
  • Second 5 km: 48 min 49 sec (same loop as the first 5 km so I did about 7 mins better on the 2nd loop with running snowshoes)
  • Also I was in last place. But all is not lost, I got a price; a new winter running toque.

What will I do for the next race? Well I am seriously contemplating using my MEC Gift Certificate for a new set of running snowshoes (that is a no brainer). I am going out for one of my running sessions per week and going to go snowshoeing near the house where there are lots of nice rolling hills. I am going to carry water on the next run since I was out for 1 hr 54 min and stopping for a water break was a waste of time.

All in all though, I learned a lot. I had a good time and I did the hardest physical activity that I have done in a long time.

My trail running, insane idea racing buddy was with me and did the 5 km. He thought I was crazy to do the 2nd loop and I think I may have been a little. I committed to it though and I knew I could do it if I took my time. The funny thing he pointed out was that he figures 10 km of snowshoe racing is about equal to a 1/2 Marathon. I would agree it is close; my 1/2 Marathon time this past spring was 10 minutes faster than todays snowshoe race.

Friday, January 4, 2008


Signs of overtraining that I can remember:

  • fatigue
  • increased resting heart rate
  • lower athletic performance
  • prone to illness (colds)
  • change in mood (usually subdued for me or not chipper)

Ok so I have fatigue due to not enough sleep the last three nights (back to work schedule and getting up a little earlier in the mornings) and I went too hard on Monday and on Thursday. I also am pretty subdued and having trouble concentrating. Also noticed I made some silly mistakes at work today (which usually is a sign of lack of sleep and being rundown I find).

What to do?

  • Rest: Going to bed early tonight.
  • Take a Day Off or Cut Mileage by half: Ok I will cut mileage in half tomorrow since I am running in a snowshoe race.
  • Eat Healthy Food: I do this as a rule of thumb but I will make sure to avoid sugar the next few days to avoid the sugar downs.