Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Cool Off

Seems like my title choices reflect the weather as much as my running. But today was odd. It wasn't too warm to start with (for July, anyway) and by mid morning it had really cooled off. So perfect running weather!

I went for the 10K today, to Crowchild. I felt that I was pushing a little, and I was rather wanting to go easy. My attempts to throttle back didn't seem to work, so I finally stopped worrying about it. I actually wasn't as fast as I thought, but still was up there.

It's interesting how my perception of speed often doesn't match reality. Sometimes I feel like I'm really slow, the next day I have energy to burn. Yet the GPS says my speed both times was basically the same. Or I'll have a pokey day that feels fast.

Distance: 9.98 km. Time: 55:17. Average speed: 10.8 kph.

Shoes: Saucony Grid Phoenix (Yellow) B.

Weather: Partly cloudy and 14C.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Long and Slow

It felt right to do a distance run, even though yesterday was a good workout. But I took it slow, deciding to enjoy the beautiful day.

I headed west toward Edworthy, as usual. The weather has been spectacular, and today we're again blessed with an incredible blue sky. The run out was pretty standard, but on the way back, on impulse, I took the high road. Just into the bush after crossing the tracks, the path splits, with a paved path to the left following the tracks, and a dirt path climbing up into the forest.

This path quickly turns into stairs or sorts, and it's a lot of climbing. I felt great and managed to run almost all the way to the top. And even the up and down was wonderful. I felt great in the knees, which was good because they got a workout.

Near Crowchild, the path drops and crosses the tracks to join the one by the river. And from there it was plain old slogging back home. Of course, the Calgary Folk Music Festival is going on again, and as I passed through Prince's Island, there were at least four active stages going. The east most one, by the foot bridge, had a great blues band going, and an enthusiastic crowd.

By Prince's Island, I was running out of steam. On The Path Under The Stairs, I got to walk some of the steepest part, but it was hard going up. I pretty much used everything up today.

Distance: 16.28 km. Time: 1:45:20. Average speed: 9.3 kph.
Rest distance: 1.04 km. Rest time: 11:00.
Total distance: 17.32 km. Total time: 1:56:20

Shoes: Saucony Grid Phoenix (Yellow) B.

Weather: Sunny and 22C at the start, 27C by the end.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Back to Hot, But Dryer

The same temperatures that we had a week or so ago, but without the sticky humidity. It's beautiful out, and I really like running hot. No idea why. I don't think I'd want to go really long, but 10 km or less isn't a problem. Maybe I have a tolerance to running hot and dry. Heaven knows I tolerated farm work in these conditions as a kid, so maybe I'm just built for it.

The Calgary Folk Music Festival is going full blast, and the volume is appreciable, even from the top of McHugh's Bluff and Cresent Road. Between that and the fact that half of the downtown work force takes Friday afternoon off in the summer, there wasn't a lot of traffic on the path. Just a few runners on the north side all the way to 14th Avenue. The south side was quiet too until the C-Train bridge.

Beside Prince's Island, the traffic got really heavy. Lots of people carrying coolers and folding chairs, and the music going full blast. Most interesting sight: a young couple walking to the venue, and the lady didn't seem excited about going, or even interested in her companion, cuz she was reading a book while they walked. Didn't notice if it was the new Harry Potter.

Distance: 7.13 km. Time: 41:19. Average speed: 10.4 kph.

Shoes: Saucony Grid Phoenix (Yellow) B.

Weather: Sunny and 31C.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Another Good Run

Actually, quite good. I've been feeling really good on the paths, so recovery is pretty much done. I'll have to push the distance a little next time.

Except I still feel the knees on stairways. I've been working on strengthening them, so I hope that'll fade with time. There always seems to be something that lingers for a couple of months. Last year it was the hip flexor (maybe), the year before it was something else.

We got a bit of a break today from the heat, too. Still warm, but not oppressive. Good crowds, good energy. I even got a little aggressive with The Path, maintaining speed all the way up. Woohoo!

Distance: 7.18 km. Time: 38:59. Average speed: 11.1 kph.

Shoes: Saucony Grid Phoenix (Yellow) B.

Weather: Sunny and 19C.

Monday, July 23, 2007

A Surprising Run

This one went quite unexpectedly after the exertions of yesterday. I thought my knee would be a little tender, and I would be a little depleted, but it was totally the opposite. I had excellent energy, and I felt great.

I still stuck to the 14th Street loop, not wanting to push it, and besides, it's pretty hot out. Lot's of people out, and the paths are busy, just the way I like it. I tried to stay to the shadiest part of the paths, too.

I still don't have the aggressiveness for climbing The Path Under The Stairs, but it wasn't too onerous, even with the heat. It wasn't like I was consistent about it before the marathon either.

In the end, my recovery from this year's marathon has gone really well. For all the pounding I put my body through two weeks ago, I feel awfully good.

Distance: 6.89 km. Time: 40:25. Average speed: 10.2 kph.

Shoes: Saucony Grid Phoenix (Yellow) B.

Weather: Sunny and 30C.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Yup, 14th Street Again

Nice and warm today, and sunny too. It feels good to get back out and moving again, even if things don't really move too well yet. The right knee is still aching a little, but stairs are getting easier.

I headed out in the noon day sun, down The Path and along the river. Summer is so great to run in, but the paths were kinda quiet. Maybe everyone was on a lunch break. I felt like I was taking it easy, but I think I had pretty good time anyway.

Tomorrow ought to be interesting. Daisy and I are going hiking, and with her, I won't get off easy. Hope the knees are recovered enough.

Distance: 6.94 km. Time: 39:53. Average speed: 10.4 kph.

Shoes: Saucony Grid Phoenix (Yellow) B.

Weather: Sunny and 24C.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Staying on the 14th Street Loop

14th Street seems to be the right distance right now. I can't believe how depleted I am, even after a week and a half. Maybe that's how it's always been. Don't wanna go back and check in case I recovered wonderfully last year, and now it's just evidence of age.

Hot and not quite so sticky today, but still humid. There were some thunderstorms rolling across town this morning, and a little bit of a lightning show around 6:00 am. Now the clouds are building again, and I suppose the thunderstorm watches will be coming out soon.

But a great running day. People are everywhere, and lots are running. There were a couple doing speed intervals, yo-yoing past me every few minutes, and then slowing to walk and I'd pass them.

I don't mind the heat for running, actually. It's better when the air is drier, but I seem to have a tolerance for it. Sweating actually feels good when I'm out there. But I wish I could turn off the tap when I stop. Ick.

Distance: 6.24 km. Time: 40:47. Average speed: 9.2 kph.

Shoes: Saucony Grid Phoenix (Yellow) B.

Weather: Sunny and 24C.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Hot and Sticky

What is it with all the humidity? It's been really high lately, though not entirely unbearable. (I just ran in it, after all.)

The aftermath of the marathon is still there, in a shaky feeling right knee and some soreness in the groin. I found I was also feeling it in the calves, not unexpectedly, and in the quads, surprisingly. The heel pain was there right off, but was disappeared by the end of the first mile or so.

I planned to run the 14th Street, but I was staying aware of the C-Train bridge, just in case. Heck, I was ready to just do a short loop around Prince's Island, which would have been about 3 km, and that would have been fine. But it felt quite good out there, despite the heat and humidity.

In the end, 14th Street was just about right, even if I was a little slow. A nice loosening up after a week and a half of recovery.

Distance: 7.12 km. Time: 43:14. Average speed: 9.9 kph.

Shoes: Saucony Grid Phoenix (Yellow) B.

Weather: Partly cloudy and 27C, even a little hazy. Humidity is 71%, and hasn't been below 60% for days. Normally, it's around 30% or so. Bleah.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Truth in Pictures

I'm working on getting some pictures from the friends who met me at the finish. Caroline took this one of Byron and I after I got through the finish line. Actually, it was after I got through the food tent. By then, the knees weren't so wobbly.

Here's me at the 42 km marker; just two hundred metres to go. It might be hard to tell, but at this point, I was in a total fog of fatigue and pain.

And what greeted me at the finish line, when that picture was taken:

Byron at the ready at the 19 km marker, his son Mitchell inspecting.

And one more - me running into the distance, about to cross the finish.

Thanks, Caroline.

And from Byron, the picture that started it all:

Uh, thanks, I think...

Sunday, July 08, 2007

2007 Calgary Marathon Official Results

I was 380th overall out of 750,
288th out of 471 males
53rd out of 93 in the men's 45-49 category.

My final (gun) time was 4:16:22,
My pace was 6:01/kilometre,
My time at the half was 2:04:42.

My chip time was 4:13:52 - a new PR!

Official results are here.

What Was I Thinking??

That thought occurred to me several times this morning as I plodded along Bow Cresent and Bowness Road. This was a tough one, and I didn't get that second wind like I got in the first and second marathons. I think I was counting on that.

I got to the Mewata Armoury about 6:00 am, ready and pumped, and headed for the Porta-Pottie lineups. Then stretching and a little light jogging to warm up, and back in the line again. Repeat as necessary. The last trip got me out of the little green shack about two minutes to the starting gun, so I ended up way in the back. I was kinda hoping to get more to the middle, so I could get past the traffic.

As usual with these things, the gun goes off, a rousing cheer rises from the crowd, and we stand there for a minute or so. If I was a faster runner, I could cut that wait to less than thirty seconds.

About two and a half minutes later I crossed the starting line, and was into a slow jog as I worked my way through traffic. This was a good crowd, and it seemed to stay thick for ages. The route took us through the Stampede grounds again, and that gets narrow, with all the food and gaming booths. (And by the way, those mini-donuts are transfat free this year. woohoo.)

From there, it's a nice run from the south end of the Stampede grounds, around to Ramsey, then the zoo. I love the zoo. I think a lot of people don't, cuz the paths are narrow, and the traffic really doesn't thin out all that much by the time we get there. But I love winding through the North American exhibits, even if we didn't get to see anything. And if you don't mind pushing through the bush on the edge of the path, you can gain some ground.

After the zoo, we head back west toward Bridgeland. By this time I still felt great. I had a great pace and nothing really hurt yet. Then the jog at Edmonton Trail to Memorial, and the long slog.

By about fifteen kilometres, I was starting to feel things, and I was a little concerned about that, being only a third of the way through this. Anyway, I just kept going, trying not to think about pace or anything, but just keeping going.

At 19 km, there was a most unforgettable moment. My picture, two feet square, on cardboard from the week before, with the Groucho glasses, and three very special people - Byron, Kathy and Caroline - cheering me. That is one moment I don't think I'll ever forget.

Shortly after that, I reached the half, and I don't think I've ever been that glad to reach a milestone. The race official was reading off times, and as I passed, he said, "2:04:42." Not bad. But I didn't think there was a possibility of a negative split, so no breaking the four hour barrier today. And that was OK.

At the 22 km marker, four women began cheering for me, one of them wildly. My neighbour from upstairs, Jocelyn, and her friends were on the sidelines. She's the one who ran Boston this year, qualifying in Kelowna last fall with a time of 3:59:58, if I recall correctly.

I hate the part through Bowness. The street they have us run on is only partially paved, full of potholes and gravel. It can be an ankle buster, if you aren't careful. And by this time, I'm feeling everything, so it wasn't the funnest part of the run.

Near the 26 km marker, my friend Peter-Mark was volunteering, so I got another cheering, which was great. His enthusiasm is amazing and it was a boost I needed.

Bowness Park is another tough slog. You'd think it wouldn't be all that bad, but for some reason it just seems long and slow, with the most unforgiving pavement. Last time I ran this, it was the toughest part of the whole marathon.

But I made it. Actually, I made it through the whole thing, didn't I?

At around 32 km, I decided to try and stretch the calves against the curb during my walk period, and found myself face to face with a pair of beautiful golden eyes in the tall grass. I moved slightly, and the dark grey longhair cat bounded out of the tall grass, across the street and over a fence, startling some of the runners.

Another cheering from Peter-Mark, and the long slog back to downtown. Shouldice Pool. The 35 km marker. Here's where I started to really struggle.

I do run-walks, with a one minute walk out of every ten minutes. At this point it quickly became very hard to start running again, after that one minute walk. Not so much from motivation, but from general stiffening up. It hurt.

Jocelyn and her friends were still there, near 36 km on the return side, and their cheering was a welcome boost. And then it was head down, and go. Just before the 14th Street bridge, the 4:15 pace bunny and his entourage caught up to me, and passed. I just kept plugging.

Just past the 42 km marker I was confronted with that picture of me with the funny nose and glasses again, and cheering friends. I would love to say that gave me that added burst for the end, but in reality, I had nothing left. I just kept plodding, to the mats at the finish line, barely noticing my name being announced as I approached. I did notice the clock at around 4:16, so I figured that was that.

Hugs from my friends, and then to the food tent, where I made an impression. I can't believe how ravenous I get after a run.

Today's run:
Distance: 39.42 km. Time: 3:46:45. Average speed: 10.4 kph.
Rest distance: 3.13 km. Rest time: 25:00.
Total distance: 42.55 km. Total time: 4:11:45.

Shoes: Saucony Grid Phoenix (Yellow) B.

Weather: Completely overcast all the way through, going from 13C to 16C.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

One Last Easy Run

Got a run in with Beckster this afternoon. She's just started running, and we went with her choice of interval, two minutes running and two walking.

We got to Fish Creek Park and after some initial stretching, we headed down the path. I haven't run along there for at least a year, since Tru and I were there a little over a year ago.

Beckster is a treadmill runner, and has only been outside in the real world a couple of times. She's also pretty new to it, so hasn't built it up a lot of stamina yet. Perfect for me, since I just wanted a little loosening up while the marathon approaches.

We headed east along the path, not quite getting to the two and a half km point before turning around. On the way back, we stretched the last leg and she decided to sprint it. Good run and good finish.

Today's run:
Distance: 3.07 km. Time: 20:36. Average speed: 8.9 kph.
Rest distance: 1.88 km. Rest time: 20:00.
Total distance: 4.95 km. Total time: 40:36.

Shoes: Saucony Grid Phoenix (Yellow) B.

Weather: Sunny and 24C.

The Calgary Marathon is in 3 days.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

One More Long One

Just a moderately long run to keep things loose and ready for next week. It was a fun and fairly fast one to Edworthy and back. At least it was faster than I thought it would be.

As for next week, I don't know how ready I am, but I'm in for the duration. I don't think I'll have a new PR out of it, but ya never know.

Today was more for getting out and saying hi to everyone. Lots of people out enjoying summer. Otherwise, nothing much to comment on, except maybe the crowds at Prince's Island for the July 1 festivities.

Today's run:
Distance: 16.37 km. Time: 1:31:29. Average speed: 10.7 kph.
Rest distance: 1.04 km. Rest time: 10:00.
Total distance: 17.41 km. Total time: 1:41:29.

Shoes: Saucony Grid Phoenix (Yellow) B.

Weather: Sunny and 16C to start, climbing to 18C at the end.

The Calgary Marathon is in 6 days.