Training update: dispatches from the long run

Yesterday, I completed the last long run of my training for the NYC Marathon. I brought my phone in an armband (that I bought a week ago) to test how well it travels with me.

The first hour was just pouring rain; I don’t how well I’d fare for four hours of it. But it mostly stopped by the time I entered Pacific Spirit Park. The first picture was on the trail after mile 7;  the second is not even 15 minutes later. It made the rest of the run much more pleasant!

Imperial Trail in Pacific Spirit Regional Park

Imperial Trail, around mile 7

Salish Trail in Pacific Spirit Regional Park

Salish Trail, between miles 8 and 9.

Selfie on Salish Trail, Pacific Spirit Regional Park

Selfie on Salish Trail

Maybe it was all the breaks I was taking for photos, or to consume gels & water, but I survived the almost four-hour run, completing 21 miles (33.9 km). My pacing was consistent, and even on the five separate miles I sped up, my legs were up to the challenge. I just have to be just as consistent with pacing and fueling, and I think I’ll do well for the big race. I just have to endure three weeks of agonizing taper!

Kitsilano Beach, Vancouver, taken 11 October 2014

Kitsilano Beach, about mile 14.5


Race review: 2014 Vancouver Eastside 10k

Selfie before running 2014 Vancouver Eastside 10k

On the way to the start line

When I first ran this race last year, I immediately fell in love with it. The Eastside 10k has that something that makes it a go-to race to run each year. It could be the route, or the small number of participants, or the late-summer weather. This race has all three.

First, I’ll bring you up to speed on my current training progress. The Eastside 10k marks the halfway point of my training for the New York City Marathon. The week before the race, I finished a 16-mile long run in which I felt comfortable throughout, and didn’t feel too many aches at the end. I’m crossing my fingers that the really long runs (18- and 20-milers still to come) will go just as well.

Also this summer, I started running with the East Van Run Crew (EVRC), a very social group with a weekly run that starts and finishes in front of Parallel 49 Brewing. I couldn’t resist the run + beer combination! The organizer printed up a few shirts, and I wore one of them during the Eastside 10k.

I got up the morning of the race not feeling very well. I barely had my usual pre-race breakfast, and felt nauseated. (Looking back, I think the case can be made for carb overloading the day before.) Nevertheless, I got dressed and made my way to the start area. I wasn’t aiming for a personal best on this race, but I still want to get in a decent time of under 55 minutes. At bag check, I found Sarah, who also runs with EVRC and was also wearing one the crew’s shirts. (She posted a picture of both of us, with our shirts, on her instagram.)

Once I got to the start line, the nausea has mostly gone away, but I still wanted to be cautious. At the last moment, I also made the decision not to look at my watch once I start the timer. I figured that if I wasn’t chasing a PB, I could just run by feel and not worry about time. It was quite liberating, actually. Not once was I even tempted to glance at my watch to check on my progress. The only point when I had an inkling of my time was at the finish, which showed the gun time. My chip time ended up being 56:39, which is off my sub-55 goal, but considering what I had gone through, I’d say that was a decent finish.

I was greeted at the finish line by Alan Brookes, race director for the Canada Racing Series, which organizes the Eastside 10k. He must have seen my shirt, as he stopped me after I received my medal and took a picture of me. I don’t recall saying what he quoted (I did just race 10 km), but I’ll claim it:

NYCM training is now in the 2nd half, and the excitement is building. Let’s get it done!

56:39 (5:39/km, 9:07/mi)
749/1462 overall
478/694 males
82/109 males 30-34

Rapid review – Doctor Who: “Deep Breath”

Promotional image of the 12th Doctor and Clara

I considered just tweeting out my thoughts on the first episode of Doctor Who series 8, “Deep Breath”, but it became clear I needed more than 140 characters. Spoilery stuff below, so click on if you dare…

Read the rest of this entry »

Powell Street overpass complete, includes bike lanes

Earlier today, I took the chance to ride the just-opened Powell Street overpass in Vancouver. It has a separated bike lane, on the north side of the overpass. It stretches from Hawks Avenue at the western end to Clark Drive at the eastern end.

It’s only been open a few days, so I wasn’t sure how to approach it, as I was heading east from Downtown along Cordova Street. Hopefully signage will be coming up to let cyclists know how to access this heading east.

Separated bike lane on Powell Street. West end (at Hawks Avenue), looking east.

West end (at Hawks Avenue), looking east

Powell Street separated bike lane, east end, looking west (approximately Glen Drive)

East end, looking west (approximately Glen Drive)

I found it strange that both west- and eastbound traffic are on the same side (similar to the Dunsmuir Viaduct). The sign below is what greeted me at Clark Drive:

"Dismount and Walk" sign at the eastern end of the Powell Street bike lane, at Clark Drive.

Dismount and Walk

It’s a little incongruous that this bike lane just ends abruptly at Clark, without any decent connection to the rest of the bike network, although the start of the Mosaic route is two blocks away. (According to Richard Campbell, this connection is part of the city’s transport plan.) At least the city’s cycling options are growing!

Race report: 2014 Scotiabank Vancouver Half Marathon

Even though I’ve run this course before (the last time in 2010), I found that the hills (up and down) made it more tough when attempting to run for a personal best. But I had an almost perfect training cycle, which ultimately paid off with a new PB!

In my last update, I reported that training had been going well so far, especially in the month of May. It extended for most of June even though I had to juggle my runs around other things happening. There wasn’t much change in the format of the training (three days: tempo, intervals, long run with some race pace), so why mess with a good thing?

Read the rest of this entry »

Training update: Epic May

Sharing some quick stats for May:

  • 169 km (105 mi) run – my first 100-mile month in almost two years, when I was training for the NYC Marathon. Having five weekend long runs right at the peak of half-marathon training helps.
  • 155 km  (96 mi) total cycling; most of that is in the occasional commute to/from work. The last week of May was also Bike to Work Week; it was the first time I cycled to work each day of the week (I logged 67 km in total that week, including non-commute rides).

This past weekend, I finished my longest training run for the Scotia Half. This training cycle so far has been very good. I thought all the cycling would be a hindrance to the running, but that hasn’t been the case. Keep in mind that for my commute-cycling, I deliberately kept it slow to minimize the sweating that I’d endure when I get in to the office.

I’m now in a three-week taper, but the training continues…


Training update: creeping self-doubt

I’m halfway through a 12-week training cycle leading up to the Scotiabank Vancouver Half Marathon. This past weekend, the various races of the BMO Vancouver Marathon took place. I was on Cambie Street to cheer on the half marathoners as they started their race (my instagram video), sticking around to see all 10,000 of them pass. Despite the poor weather, a couple of my twitter friends did set new personal bests in the marathon.

Even though I shouldn’t, that got me thinking ahead to the NYC Marathon in November, about all the progress I’ve made in other race distances, but a decent marathon finish still eludes me. I’m seriously considering setting my goal for NYC to be a one-second PB, which is 4:39:20. According to the McMillan calculator, my half marathon PB translates to a marathon finish just over 4:00.

Maybe it’s because I don’t run marathons as often as I do other distances, but the self-doubt about a strong finish to a 26.2 is gnawing at me. But I still have a few months to fight it. I have a half marathon to train for, then I’ll tackle the marathon training separately after that.

And if there is anyone in the Vancouver area who will be running New York this year, let me know. I’d love to meet the local contingent heading to NYC!