Sign on the door

May 10, 2007

0027-0403-0208-1633_sm.jpgAbandoning the routines of home/work to get away from it all, I am notionally hanging a sign on the door At My Pace which reads:

    ” Gone Fishing Running

… my attempted anti-cliché serves notice that, although on vacation

(which will entail a respite from this exercise in self-indulgence),

I won’t be taking a holiday from satisfying the irresistible urge !

Today: 10mi, 1:10:27 (av. 7:03/mi)


Sun run, literally

May 9, 2007

banner-collage1.jpgShining brilliantly all day,

    the sun triggered my compulsion,

      persuading me to run,

        then prevailed upon me again.


    1. 5.51mi, 36:10 (av. 6:34/mi)
    2. 8.0mi, 1:03:01 (av. 7:51/mi)

Back to the basics

May 8, 2007


I feel fully recovered from the marathon I ran 10 days ago. Over this time, rather than following any type of routine, I have returned to a style of running which is based upon perceived effort, specifically, moderately hard (i.e., easier than a tempo pace but still hard enough to break a sweat).

This reminds me of how I used to run, several years ago, before I had learned about the more technical aspects of training, such as tempos, intervals, striders, fartleks, hills, pace, cadence and splits.

Today: 5.5mi, 38:13 (av. 6:57/mi)

p.s. now be a dear and fix me a drink, would you?

Socratic method

May 7, 2007

Impressed by his stellar marathon, I decided that I would attempt to elicit his knowledge. socr.jpg

Congratulating him on a 2:50-something finish time, I asked if it was his PB. He said it was, by about 8 minutes. I then queried about his conditioning program but he said he didn’t really do marathon-specific training.

Not satisfied, I asked about his weekly mileage and he responded that he ran only three days per week and not more than ~30mi in total.

Now completely puzzled, my moment of clarity came when I raised the subject of his weight, guessing it correctly at 133lbs (5’9″ frame) — ah hah !!

Hmmm… I wonder if my running performances would be enhanced by dropping down to his size, shedding off about 24lbs (!?).


    1. 4.5mi, 29:29 (av. 6:33/mi);
    2. 7.0mi, 54:40 (av. 7:49/mi)

Spectator sport

May 5, 2007

There’s a feeling of anticipation in the city as lots of out-of-towners buzz around and skads of event banners adorn lamp standards (as per photo of Burrard St. Bridge), drawing attention to tomorrow’s race…


… the 36th edition of the annual Vancouver Marathon.

It’s estimated that there will be 15,000 participants (full/half/relay).rande_cook-frog-white.jpg

Burrard St. Bridge is the prime place to spectate and cheer on the brave souls because the marathoners will cross over and back, at approx miles 17 and 24 of their journeys.

From recent race experience, I know how uplifting it can be, especially in the latter miles, when someone on the sidelines makes momentary eye-contact, shouts out your name (displayed on the bib) and white-lies that you’re…

        LOOKING STRONG !!“.

Today: 7.01mi, 48:32 (av. 6:55/mi)

Sweet pair

May 4, 2007

I had done the necessary reading

    described as soft, smooth and responsive.

I viewed them briefly once, up close, and could tell —

    they are spectacular.

I have since pined for a pair, to have all to myself…


At last, it is so.

On my recent trip to Oregon, I picked up the Nike Air Zoom Hayward (merely cosmetic diffs from my other fav, the Skylon), on sale for US$49 (MSR US$80) and no sales tax !!


In my runner’s mentality, truly the sweetest pair I’ve had !!

Today: 5.17mi, 33:57 (av. 6:58/mi)


May 3, 2007

With the first third of 2007 expired and a spring marathon completed, I noted that the miles I’ve run over the year so far tally exactly 1000… a milestone of sorts.

Three full days of rest have elapsed post-marathon and today was the first day I was able to put my full body weight on my legs without any pain — so I ran.

But now it’s time to think about where my running compulsion will next take me:

  • another marathon;
  • some shorter distance races; or
  • just leisure exercise (?).
  • Today: 3.32mi, 22:45 (av. 6:51/mi)

    Pain is only temporary

    April 30, 2007

    Two hours before the beginning of the Eugene marathon, I warmed up by jogging a mile to Autzen Stadium, hm_1_m.jpghome of the U of O Ducks football team. I stopped near the entrance to stretch and noticed several plaques engraved with the inspirational words on leadership, teamwork, courage, etc. I repeated several of them not realizing then that one phrase in particular would come back to me during the last several miles of the race, to rescue me.

    But first, I must explain how the tapering phase of my marathon training did not go according to plan. I came down with a horrible chest cold two weeks before the event which prevented me from running but for a few times. The day before the race, I was still coughing up phlegm but at least the congestion and overall physical weakness had seemed to have subsided.

    There were about 1500 marathon participants at the start line and 2000 or so doing the half. The atmosphere was exciting and the weather at 7:00 am was mild with only a slight breeze.

    To my surprise, by 10k I was feeling great, just running smoothly without extending myself, doing a steady 6:45/mi pace. To the half way point, I still felt fine coming in at 1:29:07.

    Then everything changed. I remember slowing down drastically while runner after runner glided past me. I remember my legs feeling slow.15403-207-009t.jpg I remember being restricted to taking partial breaths so as to avoid triggering a cough reaction. Enduring this up to about 18mi, seemed like too much and I simply wanted to stop. I thought seriously about it and even rationalized that I may be getting chilled in the breeze and was perhaps putting myself at health risk to continue. And I’m sure it didn’t help that runner after runner continued to pass me by. Fortunately, I recognized these self destructive thoughts and diverted my focus to moving my legs, to simply keep moving.

    By 21mi, my stride had shortened to a mere shuffle and my quads screamed but I knew that, with only 5mi to go, I had to finish. I was trying every mental trick in the book to keep myself moving and then I remembered one of the quotations I had read earlier that morning:

      Pain is only temporary, no matter how long it lasts“.

    I repeated the phrase as a mantra for the rest of the race, numbing myself to the physical torment I was inflicting, right up to the finish line, crossing in a time that is neither my best nor my worst, but memorable because I pushed my boundaries, never stopped and proudly finished.

    Yesterday: Marathon 3:16:54

    p.s. one day removed, the pain still continues — mostly in the quads !

    Expectations plummet

    April 26, 2007

    On my best day, the prospect of running a marathon is daunting but, as this weekend approaches, I am filled with self doubt.

    images3.jpgDuring the past eleven days I have been ravaged by the symptoms of a terrible chest cold. I thought I was turning the corner a couple of days ago but, alas, I am no where near myself yet — still coughing phlegm, congested and weak. Needless to say, my confidence to race right now is mediocre at best.

    Notwithstanding this protracted malaise, I have decided to at least make the trip to Eugene. I will wait to see how I feel on Sunday morning before I make any decision about actually running the marathon. If I do run it, my primary goal will be to simply enjoy the experience of running in a new place in the atmosphere of a marathon. My secondary goal will be to finish… hmm, haven’t said that since my first marathon, five years ago!

    Certainly, any previous thoughts I had regarding target times for the half/finish and pace/mi have been completely abandoned.

    It’s taken me several days to reconcile my aspiration to run my best marathon this weekend against the reality that, despite enduring the rigors of 16-week training, I am not physically ready to make the attempt. I believe that I can still make the event a worthwhile cause by accepting the fact that those things which I used to think were merely incidental to running a fast (PB) race — like finishing it and absorbing the experience of it — will now replace a goal finishing time as my motivation.

    Weak all week

    April 19, 2007

    Even though I cannot inflate a lung without hacking up a cough, I forced myself to hop around the neighbourhood today, worried about the negative impact of remaining sedate any longer. Until today’s jog about, I hadn’t run since Sunday’s 10k race (three days off).

    All week, I have been battling a chest cold that has left me congested, achy and weak.images2.jpg My appetite has disappeared, seems I’ve been ingesting little more than Tylenol for Cold, Buckley’s and hot tea.

    Maybe this forced rest is not such a bad thing for my leg muscles, I just hope to come out of this malaise soon so that I can get a couple more training runs under my belt before marathon day (April 29, 2007).

    Today: 5mi, 38:13 (av. 7:39/mi)

    Racer’s regret

    April 15, 2007


    As I ran up the final hill at 9k if I’d just given a little extra push, I would probably have achieved my goal of a 10k PB. Instead, I missed it by about 12 10 seconds, crossing the line in 37:48 (my watch) 37:46 (official)… although, that is my best in four years !

    Today: 10k Race, 37:48 (Garmin: 6.3mi, av. 6:00/mi), 2.5miwu, 2.5micd

    With or without… ?

    April 14, 2007

    I repeated the question silently to myself as I looked over at my restingimages1.jpg running partner, aware that many would consider the issue too frivolous to worry about, and I am strangely comforted to think that if this is my most pressing issue the day before the city’s biggest 10k then I may be ready for a great run tomorrow.

    Staring at my iPod nano buddy, I asked “with or without you?” (apologies to U2)…

    Hmmm, “with or without… tunes“.

    The Sun Run is an annual tradition in Vancouver, bringing out everyone vs_sun_run_banner_2007_768.jpg from walkers to international elite road racers (Gilbert Okari won last year).

    The weather forecast is for a perfect morning, dry and cool. Physically, I feel pretty good, during this tapering stage of marathon training and without any ailments. So the only thing left is the mental part, the psychology of running with tunes.

    I took a final jog around the neighbourhood, just to flex the leg muscles. Without thinking about the psychology too much, I enjoyed flicking various songs from the nano, noticing that I would pick it up whenever a song with a strong drum beat or fast rhythm played.

    That settled it, I will race with nano !!

    I think I’ll go with the following selection of blood-pumping tunes:

      1. Welcome to the Jungle, Guns N’ Roses, 4:33
      2. The Emperor’s New Clothes, Sinéad O’Connor, 5:17
      3. A Little Less Conversation (Junkie XL Remix), Elvis Presley, 3:32
      4. Go Your Own Way, Fleetwood Mac, 3:40
      5. Are You Gonna Go My Way, Lenny Kravitz, 3:31
      6. Rock and Roll, Led Zeppelin, 3:44
      7. My Best Friend’s Girl, The Cars, 3:42
      8. I Wanna Be Sedated, The Ramones, 2:29
      9. Any Way You Want It, Journey, 3:22
      10. Sheena Is a Punk Rocker, The Ramones, 2:47
      11. Blitzkrieg Bop, The Ramones, 2:11

    Race goal: to set a new PB (currently 37:36 — 2003 Sun Run).

    Today: 4mi, 31:29 (av. 7:53/mi), incl. striders x6

    The elixir

    April 11, 2007

    Last week was too much, almost. I pushed my limits with volume, intensity and frequency — barely leaving time to eat, bathe and clothe myself !! I felt the effects too, as my body kind of shut down two days ago. I felt shivery and weak.

    6005-186921899.jpgI realized then that I needed treatment and adopted a 3-2-1 recovery plan: three ibuprofens per day, two days’ rest and, most importantly, one large, steaming bowl of Pho (Korean Vietnamese {tx Angie!} beef ‘n rice noodle soup).

    Whenever, I feel weak or under the weather, I go for Pho — it’s like the elixir for all my ailments.

    When feeling run down, choosing to Pho is never a faux pas !!

    The 3-2-1 recovery went so well that, today, I completed a tough pre- Sun Run interval session, followed by a wonderful 40 minute leg massage — the latter is truly the best part of marathon training… “mmm, that feels… sooo… goood !!”

    Today: Intervals (2-1-2-1) (TM) 1miwu, 2mi11:34[3:00], 1mi5:42[3:00], 2mi11:44[3:00], 1mi5:45[6:00], .5micd

    Too much, almost

    April 8, 2007

    As I post this entry, my body is screaming to me with fatigue signals. I felt weird today before my run and, in deciding to add another run to an already jam-packed week of training, I rationalized that running would make me feel better — it usually does. Not this time!

    At this moment, my whole body aches, especially the legs. My body temp feels cold (I was shivering even after a hot shower), but my face is flushed, cheeks and forehead very warm to the touch. I feel weak.

    I’m pretty sure that I am not fighting a bug. I think I am feeling the stresses of my last heavy week of training before the marathon (three weeks from today!).

    Looking back, it was an amazing week of workouts — now need some better rest and tapering. Although I am completely exhausted at the moment, I am very happy with this week’s training, including the following highlights:

    1. 79mi in total — really about as high as I would want to push the volume (Mon-Sun);
    2. Long run with decent intensity, 23.12mi (av. 7:35/mi) (Fri);
    3. Intervals of 5x1mi, with progressive speeds and short recoveries — about as intense as I have ever pushed mile intervals (Thurs);
    4. Two double days (Tues and Wed);
    5. Hills circuit (x4 ascents of 1.11 mile w 112′ elev.), with each rep faster than any previous day (Tues);
    6. Three laps of Sun Run 10k coursesunrunstart_fp2005.jpg (2x Fri, 1x Sun), to help visualize/anticipate next Sunday’s race — easy to get distracted on race day, with 50,000+ participants!
    7. Two core strengthening days, 1.5 hours each (Mon and Sat); and
    8. One day of non-running, leg massage session instead (Mon).

    Today: 11.5mi, 1:26:36 (av. 7:32/mi)

    Week: 79mi, ~9:40:00, plus core strengthening, 3:00:00; total ~12:40:00

    Bonk me

    April 6, 2007


    This year, Good Friday fell 23 days before the start of the inaugural Eugene marathon. I took advantage of the holiday by doing one of (if not the) last long training run.

    I had taken only one gel packet with me and consumed it at about mile 14. However, by mile 21, I achieved a robust bonk (has a nice ring to it) and pretty well had to drag myself back home — the last two mile splits being 8:44 and 8:45 !!

    I must better prepare for marathon day by packing along three gels.

    Today: 23.12mi, 2:55:26 (av. 7:35/mi)