Monday, May 16, 2011

2011 Mississauga Marathon

Where do I start with this one? I am still a bit shocked with the result, to make the long story short
 - 1:49:09 first half, 1:48:06 second half, 1:03 negative split = 3:37:15  It is a 11:53 PB! and 11:59 from my last full. Training was done without any "long" runs, longest was ATB30k in the end of March and a hilly 25k a week before the Marathon.

Past Success & Failures
GoodLife Toronto Marathon - 3:49:08
This was my 3rd marathon and first time broke 4hrs, a 1:55:25 first half, 1:54:19 second half.

I was aiming for sub 3:40 for 2010 but had 4 failed attempts:
Whitby Marathon - 4:02 - both calves cramp before 30k with a disaster finish
San Francisco Marathon - 3:51 - Garmin went wonky when I went into a public washroom after the Golden Gate bridge, it logged an extra km, I thought I was on pace for a 3:45-56 finish.
Scotia Toronto Waterfront Marathon - 3:51 - I'm cursed with this race or course, legs shutdown with no reason before half way.
Goodlife Toronto Marathon - 3:49:14 - dropped all my nutritions before 9k waterfront station with 1 salt cap left, things went well and I thought I had 3:46 in the bag but calves went cramp again with 3k left.

With a disappointing 2010, I realize I shouldn't be "racing" marathons at all given the amount of time I have for training, I have been logging randomly 20k-50k weekly and attacked Marathons which was very foolish.  I wasn't going to run any marathons this year, but I have registered Mississauga full last year for $35 bucks! so I've decided I'll just run it.

January & February - I saw "The Hanson's Less-Is-More Plan", although I still don't get enough time to follow this plan, but I thought I might be able to tweak it and let's experiment what happens.  The road conditions around where I live was quite terrible, unable to do any runs on regular pace.  Instead, I picked all the hilly routes & trails and run slow on the snow.

March & April - My work office moved to a new location with shower facility, I started to do 8k runs during lunch time, which adds up to my weekly mileage.  In these 8k, I would run about 10 seconds faster than marathon pace, and throw in 1 - 3km here and there with 5k pace.  As for the long runs, I started to run from work back home once a week, which is about 20k-21k along the reverse of Goodlife Toronto Marathon's route - an uphill long run.  Other "long" runs I would do about 16k - 20k during the weekend with my kids on a stroller to hilly routes, sometimes I mix it up with some fast km intervals on the track during the run.  In March I logged 200.58km and April I logged 246.09km, it's been a consistent weekly 50km or 60km, way more than I use to.

The more I ran, the better and stronger I felt, I managed to PB in 5k, 10k and ATB30k during these 2 months.

I would like to break 3:40, this would be my 5th attempt, but having no 30km+ under my belt, I wasn't sure what to expect and I didn't know if the calf cramp issue is going to happen again, but I would give it a shot.  If it didn't go well, just another failed sub 3:40 attempt :-)

My Race
I seeded myself a little behind the 3:40 bunny, I wanted to play it safe and run my own pace depending on how I feel.  I've ran the Mississauga Corp-Relay before (8k-16k leg) but never did the full.  It appears even the first 8k has a lot of downhills, it wasn't before long I caught up the the 3:40 group.  By looking at my Garmin, it appears they were going faster than suppose to, it would be about a 3:38 finish.
01k - 5:13 
02k - 5:07
03k - 5:03
04k - 5:01
05k - 5:06
06k - 5:13
07k - 5:12
08k - 5:09
As we passed the 8k, I know the course, there's a hill about 10k then after that it's all downhill.  Having tested in San Francisco Marathon and other hilly course, I find flying down the hills doesn't damage my quads at all, so I decided to break away from the 3:40 group to take advantage of the downhill and ease on flat and uphill for them to catch up.  From 8k all the way 28k I was always a few hundred meters ahead of the 3:40 group, I could hear the bunny telling them to turn left or right, which was great so I don't get lost.
09k - 4:53
10k - 5:04
12k - 5:12
13k - 5:09
14k - 5:08
15k - 5:06
16k - 5:11
17k - 5:20
18k - 5:09
19k - 5:12
20k - 5:10
21k - 5:01
22k - 5:06
23k - 5:04
24k - 5:05
25k - 5:11
26k - 5:12
27k - 5:15
Around 28k -29k I slowed down a bit and finally 3:40 caught up, but within a km or two I felt they were slowing down on the hills (maybe because they banked a 1min on the first half?) since I felt okay, I decided to keep my constant pace and I dropped the 3:40 group again.  I also passed 2-3 guys in blue Boston jacket, which made me wonder if I've done a silly move...
28k - 5:23
29k - 5:21
Between 30k - 33k I carefully monitored my legs to make sure no stupid cramps is happening, it appears everything was still functional well and Lakeshore has some downhill and incline, I managed to pick up the pace going downhill and attack the uphills, though I was slowing down on the incline but still reel in runners one by one.
30k - 5:07
31k - 5:18
32k - 5:10
At this point I felt great and seems my legs cannot slow down! the rain and head wind didn't matter to me at all, it actually felt refreshing in many occasions.  Around 39k or 40k, 2 or 3 guys passed me, I noticed one of them was from the 3:40 group, but 3:40 group was no where to be seen.  I kept with them for a few hundred meters but they were dropping down to around 4:40min/km or so I couldn't keep up, there's goes my clean record of nobody passed me after 30k...  with about a km or two to go, a guy in the park's parking lot was cheering for us, seems this guy has completed his race and was changing or something, the guy noticed I was picking up my pace to give everything I had left, he was shouting with lots of words to encourage me, can't say enough thanks to this guy!  I kept on passing people along the lake and finally with a little kick to the finish!  couldn't believe I was way ahead of 3:40!  Somehow Garmin logged 42.14km, but I know with another 55m I would be still 3:37ish so I am okay with that :-)
33k - 4:55
34k - 5:07
35k - 5:24
36k - 5:01
37k - 5:03
38k - 5:17
39k - 5:08
40k - 5:14
41k - 5:01
42k - 4:53
14m? - 3:44

After the Race
The volunteer had troubles to take off the chip of my shoe laces, I didn't want to take the chance that he might cut my shoe laces so I actually bend down to take it off for him but my leg muscles were so seized up and I couldn't tie my shoe laces.  As I was hobbling out another volunteer spotted my loose shoe laces and he was nice enough to tie it for me.  I took the shuttle bus back to Square One, since I am not familiar with the area, had no clue where my car was.. walked in a singlet & shorts with a foil wrapper in the rain and wind I was about to be frozen... finally took someone's advice get into the mall to find my way to the closest exit to my car, it was a little odd walking around in the mall with everyone starring at me and mall security didn't arrest me.

Special Thanks to my Running Free group, my running buddy Jack who attacked hilly long runs with me and Tony who ran with me around 10k-12k during the race.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

2010 Run for Vaughan

4 days after Whitby Marathon, I felt I have recovered completely! since the past 4 races - 1x8k, 2x10k, 1xmarathon were end up with unsatisfied results, I have an urge doing another race, what do I lose with another disappointing race? I'll just keep on racing till I am happy. :-)

At first I considered doing another marathon, ottawa - sold out, buffalo - proposed to my wife to bring family over to shop, she smelled there must be a marathon so the idea was turned down.  I ended up searching for local races and found this RunForVaugh where you get to enter the race for free if you raise 50+ or more! which I managed to do so within 2 days.

I must say this was a very unique race that I have been to.  It is organized by a Muslim community and starts from a Mosque! I've never been to a mosque, just by walking in and use their washroom was new to me.

Race started at 8:30am.  A lady next to me chatted briefly, oh my! I recognized she was last year's 5peaks AG winner! so I placed myself 2 rows behind her.  The sun was out, hot and humid, just reminds me the disaster condition last week in Whitby, hey but this is only a 10k! Just a bit for pain for less than 1/4 of the time in a marathon.  Race started and everyone went out with crazy pace! there's a lot of high school kids in this race, most likely don't know how to pace for a distance race.  I had to slow down myself not get hyped by the other runners, still 1st km clocked 4:16! and so many people still passed me! as expected, by 800m or so till 3km, some started walking... and I kept on passing people from 2k and on.  Not sure if it was me being blind or what, but there was no km markers at all!! thanks to Garmin that this did not paranoid me anymore, but that means those people running without a GPS watch were at a disadvantage that they might not be able to properly pace themselves.  Same as CF10k, there's no paper cup water and energy drink, but they do provide bottle water and they were provided at least 4 locations if I recall correctly.  Volunteers were nice enough to open up the bottle water for us.  At each water station I took a bottle, take a few sip and pour the rest of the water on my head and body, this worked well to cool myself down.  I also saw some hot chick did the same, very nice :-) at 5k turnaround there was this highschool guy who was walking, as soon as I passed him I could hear the heavy pounding, the guy passed me again with long stride but running heavy, then a few mins he would be out of gas and I passed him.  This scenario repeated till 7-8k then I didn't hear him coming anymore and I passed a few more runners.  At 9ish km, we were still quite a distance from the finish line, at this point I knew the course distance was off, It was longer than it should be! one girl and one older guy passed me... oh well, I know this result wasn't going to be pretty cause the course was off so whatever... at 10k I looked at my watch it was around 49:10 so had this been a accurate 10k course I would sprint the last 400m and done it at 48ish, I am okay with this performance a week after the marathon.  For the last whatever distance I picked up my pace, good there were still a runner in front of me gave me some motivation for a 200m strong finishing kick to pass him and crossed the finish line at 51:18 - a horrible time for my 10k performance but it was a longer 10k :-)

There were lots fruits provided after the race, while eating the fruits chatted briefly with runners around me.  There was this older guy who later introduced himself as Felix! It turns out he's the owner runs "Felix's swimming school"!! cool~  When I was about to leave, race organization had this little Muslim girl sang a song that I didn't understand anything, it was a very interesting race experience.  Will I do this race again? most likely, but my goal would be changed to run this "long 10k" course just under 50min.

Overall: 38/235
Category: 12/29
Gender: 31/131
Guntime: 51:19
My Garmin: 51:18

Avg Pace