Thursday, January 29, 2009
I have booked off 1.5 weeks to cycle in the Alps and watch the Tour de France in July. I am a huge fan of the tour and I am so excited to get the opportunity to see it as a cyclist, up close and in person! Also, we are quite keen to take a lot of little weekend getaways when the spring rolls around that would really interfer with the heavy and intense training schedule that a goal marathon demands. These getaways will still be very active, but they will be no match for the intensity level of a solid Jack Daniel's track-long-track workout that is for sure! I plan to keep running, but I will be incorporating more cross-training, spinning, and actual cycling in the weeks ahead.
That being said, I ran 5.5 miles tonight at a 7:31 min/mile pace. I am quite sure that Jennie inserted 10 pound lead inserts into my running shoes as it felt like my feet were just dragging.
After my last post, my main man The Koz sent me the following link. I completely forgot about it until he sent it. Hilarious!! Thanks man!
Tomorrow we are off to London to see Les Miserables and for a Super Bowl party! "Super bowl," you ask, "in London?" Why yes, my sister and brother-in-law got a feed for the game - I believe kick-off is 11pm on Sunday night! I am not really a football fan and, infact, I just had to google who was actually playing in the game (Steelers vs. the Cardinals (but aren't they a baseball team?!)), but the novelty of having a Superbowl party in London at midnight is just too good to pass up!
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Monday, January 26, 2009
What was NOT distant and unfamiliar were the friends and family that we had the pleasure of seeing. We (regrettably) never took our new camera around with us so we only managed a few pictures outside of the marathon.
Mom, Jennie, and Dad (making sure that his head is not exploding!!)
Jennie and "newly" weds Alex and Jaws
Me and my main man - at our traditional Panera Bread after a cold Saturday morning run. Although it was cold, it is never too cold for the short-shorts!
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
meet my brother at work for lunch (note how I am wearing the "Finisher" shirt the next day after the marathon! I am just like a tacky groupie the day after the rock concert...I know, I admit it!),
then play same ultimate Frisbee with a great group of friends that we especially miss every second week as they hit the fields for a little disc.
This is me explaining to "Green Pants" that short-shorts are not only appropriate for running, but pretty much for any outdoor activity where you will be seen in public!
I was shocked.
"Yeah, I am still here. Are you serious?!!"
"Yep," Jon replied, "but we are not really sure what we got ourselves into..."
Now, the story as to how 3 non-runners one day, or shall I say one night at the bar, suddenly decided to run a marathon has yet to be clearly explained to me by either one of them. So, I have concluded that they just, simply, cannot remember that fateful night of bravado and trash-talk. Needless to say the following Monday at work they were all comitted less they hear the wrath from the other two...
Still shocked and not knowing if I should take him seriously or not I replied to Jon, "Do you want a pacer?" I thought that if he was just joking that he would not allow me to make travel arrangements to travel half-way around the world to come run with him, if he was not running.
"Sure man! That would be great!"
The line fell silent again - I was still shocked.
"Are you still there?!"
Since that night and that phone call the boys started to train. I would hear updates and was continually impressed with the level of dedication that they all had. I even had the pleasure of joining Jon on his longest long run in England on Christmas Day. It was then that I saw first-hand his dedication, which got me excited about welcoming him to the club in just 3 short weeks.
The time past quickly and soon it was the eve of the marathon. We had a pasta lunch at Jon's place to talk strategy and to give last minute tips. I could tell that they were all a little nervous but was, again, impressed with their resourcefulness to get to this point. For example, on the subject of nipple chaffing, Cory mentioned that he would just use duct-tape! James was quick to suggest that he use 2 strips per nipple and put them on in an 'X'!!
Here is James, Jon, Cory, and myself the day before (everyone is still smiling!)
Usually I really do not like the "official" photos taken along the course as I usually find that these pictures usually capture me in compromising positions, which historically have only provided blackmail material for friends and coworkers who get their hands on them. Normally I have an eye half-shut, dried-spit across my cheek that did not quite clear my face from 5 miles ago, crusty salt somewhere, and a look of complete dismay and/or pain painted across my face. But they managed to capture a few decent ones this time around...the links are here:
Friday, January 16, 2009
So I crawled out of bed and went for and (uncharacteristic) morning run. I ran 6.5 miles at an average pace of 7:20 min/mile (ranging from 7:35 for the first mile to 7:08 for the last mile).
ps - Of course this post was going to be about running...what else?!
Thursday, January 15, 2009
I finally got out to the track tonight for some long awaited speed workout tonight (my first since September...yikes!) I was undecided between 2 different workouts. I could do 5x1000m at "Hard" pace with 600m recoveries or 3 miles at Threshold pace. I decided to do the Threshold pace workout because it worked out to be 2 miles shorter in the long run. The run was a complete success! Arguably I went a little harder than Threshold pace and ended up doing more of a "Hard" run, but whatever - I am not going to split hairs over it (because split ends are just nasty)!
Warmup - 2 miles at 7:45 min/mile pace
3 miles at Threshold Pace as follows:
1. 5:53 min/mile
2. 5:52 min/mile
3. 5:47 min/mile
Cooldown - 2 miles at 7:41 min/mile pace
Total Workout - 7 miles (or 28 laps - if you prefer the "hamster calculation")
My HR is shown below in red and my pace is in blue.
Simon - note the low frequency trend of my HR as the interval progresses. If I start too quick, this trend will find very high HR's quicker, which ultimately causes me to crash and burn (typically around 175 for extended intervals). Thankfully this did not happen tonight, but that is what I refer to when I say I will "run out of HR".
So, as my sister and brother-in-law would say, I bagged it! Since hearing them use this term I have started using it a lot because I think that it is classic. However, I prefer putting a french spin on it - In france a bag is called a "sac". So instead of saying "I bagged it, " I say "I sacked it"!! That just sounds wrong (and painful!)
I hope you kids sack whatever you have planned for the rest of the day!
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
It took me 8 miles as follows:
7:25, 7:23, 7:20, 7:15, 7:06, 7:15, 7:11, 6:33 min/mile
to look like this:
Oh yes, of course 3 degrees C is (absolutely) short-short weather!
Maybe, just to make this day complete, I might get sucked into doing mud-masks with the Mrs. again tonight..lol
Monday, January 12, 2009
So there you have it - first day of the running week and I am already behind. No biggie. Although no running tonight I know I have a lot to be thankful for - having a job I love is, evidentally, one of these things!
Sunday, January 11, 2009
While running, this song came graced my Ipod. This basically sums up the relationship between me and the trails this week. I quite enjoyed the video with it as well...
I ran 8 miles as follows:
7:14, 7:10, 7:05, 7:03, 7:10, 7:00, 6:57, 7:04
Weekly Mileage: 46 miles (Goal: 48)
Saturday, January 10, 2009
I wanted my long run to be 25% of my total weekly mileage - mission accomplished. To be honest though, I think I would have preferred running it on the dreadmill - at least I would not be slipping all over the place and I could pass the miles away by watching French TV...hmmm, when I put it that way the track does not seem too bad anymore! The run passed dreadfully slow as follows:
7:19, 7:19, 7:17, 7:16, 7:14, 7:15, 7:14, 7:12, 7:11, 7:14, 7:11, 7:15 min/mile
Tomorrow I may make another attempt at doing some speed, but like all my other runs this week, that will be strictly dictated by trail conditions. Also, I find that my legs get just a little extra tenderized by running on this ice so I may forego speed altogether...
Friday, January 9, 2009
7:26, 7:26, 7:28, 7:18, 7:21, 7:16, 7:14, 7:11 min/mile
I just love running under a clear sky, in the woods, under a bright moon. We are 2 days infront of a full moon and running under a clear sky at night on an isolated trail is hard to beat. Runs like tonight make you forget that you live in a metropolitan area of nearly 12 million and make you believe, if only for an hour, that you are the sole inhabitant. Hmmm...this must be one of the reasons I love running.
To respond to some comments:
Steeeeeve: I agree. In fact your comment is best illustrated in Jack Daniel's book on figure 1.5. That being said I will argue that although the time difference may be marginal (implying that the improvments resulting from your training are only marginal), the difference in emotion/satisfication/accomplishment/bragging rights/etc between running a 3:00:05 marathon and a 2:59:55 marathon is exponential... :-)
Bert: It looks like I may have a good chance of staying here for another year! Considering that I was only supposed to be here for less than a year, you might say I have been really excited and fortunate to capitilize on a slow moving project!
Simon: I appreciate your optimism on what the trails will sound and look like when the weather improves. Unfortunately, this particular park is known for its transvestites and prostitutes (but it is the only one big enough to seriously run in on this side of Paris). So, when the weather improves so does their activity and sightings of things I wish I would never see on a run...
Thursday, January 8, 2009
Thanksgiving dinner is one of those special dinners where there is just a little extra sauce, a little extra dessert, and basically a little extra of everything. This is a dinner you have been anticipating for the last month. So your first bite of whatever is on top of that food mound that that looks like a mini volcano with gravy instead of lava is delicious. It is so good that you are already stuffing in your second bite before your first mouthful has even had a chance to travel back to your molars. But this bite is even better, because now you dipped your turkey in some sweet potato, gravy, and you even managed to get a little stuffing on that fork as well. So with remnants of your first bite, and with your second bite still clearly visble in your mouth to Aunt Martha across the table, you bulldoze that third, even tastier bite, on into that black hole that once resembled your mouth. On this goes for awhile, each bite just a little tastier and sweeter than the one before...
But suddenly you realize that everything is just starting to taste the same on your plate. Your tastebuds are no longer dazzled by the sweet ham and they are starting to have trouble distinguishing the wine from the gravy. On any normal day, you would stop here and be completely satisfied. But this is not a normal day and plates of new, undiscovered food are still being passed infront of you. So, not wanting to offend your new found long lost cousin, you are compelled to try a little of his Road Kill BBQ or whatever it is that he is begging people to eat. And on this goes, each bite becoming more challenging and daunting than the rest. You might even spend a few moments of self reflective time, staring off in a distant trance with your eyes half shut hoping you can disguise a few silent burps and farts as "grandma's brand" in an effort to vacate just a little extra room for dessert. But alas, you soon find yourself holding your belly, lying on the living room floor infront of the TV sleeping with a sweet, sweet tryctophan buzz promising yourself that you will never do that again.
Now, just as we measure weight in pounds, and speed in miles/hour, the economists measure our degree of satisfaction in a utiles. So given the above example, we experience a period where our satisfaction (or our total utile count) increases, followed by a period where it marginally decreases from the time previous (or decreased marginal utiles (utility)...hence the name of the law).
All that just to describe that is how my run felt tonight! The first couple of miles I felt great. I felt alive; the cold air cleansing my lungs with each breath. By mile 6-8 I was starting to get a little bored of slipping on patches of ice and the novelty of running within the tight wooded paths of the Bois, dancing between the eerie shadows cast by the pale moonlight was starting to wear off. Miles 8-10 were just a bored grind...my utile count was definitely low! The run went as follows (you can tell where the icey bits and the dry bits were by the pace!):
7:18, 7:07, 7:25, 7:18, 7:21, 7:14, 7:17, 7:16, 7:11, 7:05 min/mile
Wednesday, January 7, 2009
...the sidewalks in Paris have gotten progressively icier since Monday night. Last night I was planning on heading out while walking home from the Metro station and nearly wiped out, so I decided against in. Back in Calgary, where I grew up, we had a sensible by-law that would fine any person who did not shovel or salt their sidewalks within 24 hours of snowfall...apparently Paris does not have the same!
On an aside...if you listen to the commentary on the above video you will hear some of the dumbest live tv coverage ever.
1. Clearly those two ass-clowns have never run a marathon...all they are good at doing is running off at the mouth.
2. Don't you love how they talk you through the replay over and over again? "And here you see him, raising his hands (to signal his victory), then he slips on the mat..." If people get paid for this "quality" of work, then I should change professions.
3. But my favorite bit is, "but did he cross the line?"
Now on to the race director.."he probably only has a mild concussion...he is fine". Seriously?
Oops, my bad...I made the mistake of looking around for some more dumb running commentary I came across this...
...those 10 seconds of silence even made me feel uncomfortable...I had to break eye contact with my computer and silently humm something to myself whilst looking down at my shoes to confirm that they were still tied...
Tonight I had my usual 1 hour of Pilates...for those actually interested in a workout update!
Monday, January 5, 2009
Remarkably my fears were without substance. I managed to crank out a sweet, sweet day at work. I even walked home with a little swagger thinking to myself, "Yep, 2009 is looking like a good year!" But this thought ended abruptly when I nearly got to my door and I realized that I forgot my keys 30 minutes ago, back in my office. Yep, it looks like the world and I were once again even for the day! But I am confident that there are still a few days left in this year for me to still get the upper hand!
This delay, nor the icy paths resulting from a full day of snow flurries, did not deter me from getting out to enjoy 8 miles completely to myself. I had to be extra careful and run slowly so I would not fall ass-over-tea kettle. As it turns out, I was right on my easy pace anyhow, so it worked out quite well. The run went as follows:
7:24, 7:29, 7:27, 7:24, 7:26, 7:23, 7:23, 7:15 min/mile
For what it is worth, I flirted with an acclerated run yesterday as well. I "accelerated" for 6 miles then pulled it back for the final 2. That run was on dry streets and looked a little different:
7:16, 7:08, 7:07, 6:58, 6:50, 6:13, 7:04, 7:01 min/mile
This is also the first week of Phase II for training. Up until now I really have not been too motivated. I generally find that once I start banging out some hard workouts that my motivation is soon to pick up. I am sure that will be the case again and am looking forward to the journey...again! This journey may be a little different as I want to get back into cycling, which was my first love long before this running nonsense got in the way!!
Saturday, January 3, 2009
It all started when we arrived at Leeds Castle on December 19,
to join the rest of my family for the holidays. There were 10 of us, including myself, Jennie, my brother's new fiancee, my brother, my sister, her husband, my grandma (all the way from Saskatchewan), my mom, dad, and my other sister.
We stayed on the idealic Leeds Castle grounds in the Keeper's House for the rest of the week. Other than us, there were just a few sheep,
and black swans, which are the symbol of the castle. They were first imported to the UK from Australia by Lady Baillie, who was a former inhabitant of the castle and spent much of her time beautifying it.
During the first half of the week it was unseasonably warm, which was enjoyed by all. Sometimes even the nicer weather could not tear us away from a scrappy game of Settlers of Catan,
Monopoly (the reason I am smiling is because I was just on the verge of my victory!),
or foozeball. I definitely have to give victory credit to my brother-in-law who was clearly the champion when it came to individual play. However, I do believe that my mother and I were the team champions! As it turns out, my brother-in-law had access to a foozeball table at his old place of work...now I know why he had to work so many late nights!
Inbetween the games and the trash talking we did find a nice little watering hole (The George Inn), where we even managed to wet our whistle's during Christmas afternoon. The atmosphere was cozy, the food was good, and it was stumbling distance from the cottage...what more could you ask for in a pub?!
It did not matter if we went out for a bite to eat and a pint, or if we stayed in, it was always a fun time! Christmas dinner was especially giddy, and to be honest, I cannot recall if grandma was actually sitting on my lap for that photo!
I guess you could say, I felt like a king over the holidays!
But it was not all fun and games - I did even manage to get in a little exercise while I was there. There were times where it was difficult to fit in a regular workout routine. I even found myself doing crossbody leg swings while waiting for a train to attend a Christmas Carol recital at the Canterburry Cathedral.
I wanted to be limber for my 20 miler I ran with my brother on Christmas Day around the Castle grounds. While we were running he told me that he was going to blow off this long run but after reading one of my earlier blog posts, he said that he would feel too guilty if he did not! I have discovered another training motivation technique - Guilt!
But we both concluded that running in the shadows of the castle, undistrubed by people, was a pretty special way to spend Christmas morning!
After our time in England, the gang moved across the English Channel to Paris, where my brother and I still found time to do a little exercise, but in the form of the Wii Fit. Skiing was especially popular...people even held the imaginary poles!
I kept my workout regiment up by showing grandma many of the sites and sounds of Paris. I had to push her along the cobble stone streets of Paris, which provided good strength training! I would not trade the time spent with her for anything...plus her chair provided a good place for me to lean when we were both taking a break!
It was special to take her to see my favorite view of the Notre Dame,
to look up high
to see the Eiffle Tower,
to share her very first cotton candy with her,
and to take her to see the masterpieces in the Louvre. She found that this one reminded her a lot of home!
The Louvre was very special - grandma told me that she remembered learning about The Mona Lisa in school and she was looking forward to seeing it. When we got into the room where it is on display it was a complete zoo. We patiently got "in line" and were waiting to get upfront when an off-duty tour guide approached us and told us to follow him. He proceeded to take us around the side, through the security, and sat us no more than 10 feet directly infront of The Mona Lisa. He talked to us about the Mona Lisa then told us to stay as long as we wanted. The mobs of people AND the security were all behind us - just grandma, me, and Mona. We sat there for 3-5 minutes and enjoyed a view seldom enjoyed of the painting before we moved on. That was a special moment made possible by a complete stranger.
We continued exploring Paris everyday
and reflecting back on the holidays now,
they were without a doubt the best ever - not because of the location, but because of who was there.