National AIDS Marathon
March 6, 2005
Ok, so I just figured out how to use my watch to go back and look at my mile splits... so without further ado, here it is!
One thing that was super awesome about the race was the cheering sections! The National AIDS Marathon Training Program was kind enough to arrange shuttles for friends and family so that they could cheer for people at various places along the route. I didn't know anyone in town, so wasn't really expecting any cheers for me. However Sha Sha's friends were there and I heard them shout my name at the first cheering section! Just knowing someone was there wishing me well made me smile! But it gets better! I had written my name on my singlet earlier and this allowed random people to cheer for me! The cries of "Go Buddy!" brought a smile to my face almost everytime I heard it! Anthony (the fellow I ran with most of the time) hadn't written his name on his singlet and soon regretted it as people cheered me on, whilst he was referred to as "Buddy's friend" for a lack of a name.
I had an amazing time training for, and running, this marathon! Thanks to Sha for coercing me to join the program, and a big thanks to the National AIDS Marathon Training Program for putting the whole thing together! For anyone even remotely considering doing this I'd highly recommend it! The only problem? A couple of us have become a little restless since the marathon, perhaps some signs of post-marathon depression. Haven't quite decided if I want to do another marathon yet. I would kind of like to, because just knowing that Oprah had a better time than I did is somewhat annoying (she ran one in '94 with a time of 4:29:20). Hmm... I guess we'll see what happens!
March 3, 2005
I made it!! More than beat my revised-goal of a sub-5-hour marathon with my time of 4:39.05 (4 hours, 39 minute, 5 seconds)!! Awesome! That's a pace of just over 10.39 minutes/mile... sweet! Here's the race breakdown:
The weather in New Orleans was predicted to be sunny all week... except for Sunday (the day of the race), for which they were calling for thunderstorms. So with much trepidition we got up at 4:30am and trudged over in the drizzling rain to the start of the marathon.
Miles 1 through 3 were fine and we got a nice view of the French Quarter on our run. The roads were quite busy with people and so we couldn't go too fast. After that the rain stopped and the sun peaked out at times, but it stayed overcast most of the way (thankfully keeping it cool!).
It was definately hard to hold myself back and run a slow pace with my group for the next few miles (4 through 8)... I was feeling really good and was itching to go faster. However I listened to the advice that we were given many times over of "taking it slow at the beginning".
Around mile 9 Anthony and I broke off and went ahead on our own. We were both feeling very good and easily upped our pace considerably (we were running ~12 minute/miles up until now): 4 10-minute miles, 3 9.5-minute miles and 3 9-minute miles!!
As we passed the half-way point (13.1 miles) I saw some of the first finishers coming in already -- dang they're fast!!
That brings us up to mile 20. This was the farthest I'd ever ran before and I was starting to get tired from the faster second half. Anthony was still feeling strong so he went on ahead.. Seeing the 20-mile marker was great, as I knew I was almost done! Only 6-miles left! But then I realized that 6-miles is still an hour of running... Hmm... I'll have to check my watch to see what my pace went to at this point, but it definately got slower. Ran alright for miles 21 and 22, but after that I got really tired... even running for my entire 6-minute intervals became a chore; double checking my watch in case it had stopped (somehow).
The last mile felt more like walking with spurts of running (versus the normal running with spurts of walking)... but seeing the Super Dome (aka The Finish Line) come into sight got a little more running out of me! When the actual finish line was in sight I wanted to pass the fellow ahead of me (for no apparent reason) so I sprinted ahead! After passing him, he started sprinting after me! It was a quick race to the end for both of us! Quite fun!
Well I have to go now, but I'll write more later -- what went right/wrong, food, funny anecdotes, etc...
February 23, 2005
Well last night I ran my last (ever?) maintenance run!! Did the final group run up in the city last Saturday (another 8-miles to finish the taper off with)... and tomorrow we fly out to New Orleans for the actual marathon! Quite excited for it!!! I'll be sure to post stories and pictures when I return...
February 6, 2005
Was a big slacker and didn't do any of my maintenance runs last week.. I had good intentions, but between my chiropractor visits and working a ton of overtime I just didn't fit them in (it's hard to motivate myself to go run 3-miles after getting off work at 10pm).
But none-the-less, went up to the city for the last long group run yesterday! It was our 26-mile run! They also offered options for a 14-mile (for the half-marathoners), 20-mile and 23-mile run. I set out to do the 20-mile run (as the longest I'd run previously was only 14-miles)... we started off running the big hill on the Great Highway -- how cruel! Going up was ok, but coming back down was not fun. For the first few miles my knee/IT-band was hurting a fair bit and I was quite worried about having to stop. Luckily it sorted itself out around mile 5 and I was feeling quite good! In fact as we came across mile 15 I was considering doing all 26 miles (then I'd have run not just one, but two, marathons!)... however by mile 19 I was more than ready to stop at 20. I found that my estimation of my current condition would vary wildly within very short distances... I guess my body's not used to those distances!
So all-in-all, the 20-mile run was a success! I felt good for most of it and I'm quite confident looking forwards to the actual marathon in 3 weeks! Thanks to all that have supported me on my efforts these past 5 months!
January 29, 2005
Did another 10-mile run up in the city today. I managed to run it all, but it didn't feel as good as last week... let's hope it was just a bad day! Next week is the 26'er, though I'll be doing my 20 instead.
January 24, 2005
Finally made my way back up to the city on Saturday to do my group training run! At first it was a little worrisome as no one else from my group showed up, but in typical Frank Shorter style they all arrived late. :) The first two miles of this weekend's run was up and down the big hill. Due to the fact that that's where Sha was injured last time she elected to run two miles down the (flat) Great Highway instead and meet up with her group at the 2-mile marker. I decided this was a good idea and joined her. Anyhow, at the 2-mile marker it was kind of cold and my knee was sore so I decided to run with her group instead of waiting around for mine.
The run itself was 10 miles and worked out quite well! The first couple miles had me a little worried as there was a fair bit of soreness, but that soon worked itself out and settled down to a mere annoyance for the rest of the run.
Our upcoming training schedule is 10 miles, 26 miles, 8 miles, 8 miles and then The Marathon! Since my current longest run is only 14 miles, I'll probably end up doing 20 on the day of the 26 and then do the rest of the runs as planned. Talked this over to Coach Toby and he thinks that would be prudent.
That's about all for now... though I'm still going to the chiropractor 3-times a week and it's kinda getting in the way of my maintenance runs! Oi!
January 17, 2005
Despite my optimistic tones in my last post, I've actually been harbouring some reservations about my ability to actually do the marathon next month (though I've been consoling myself that I could always do the half marathon instead). Anyhow, worry no more! Just got back from a weekend in Tahoe, and Sha and I went for a nice little 14-mile run! It went as good as can be hoped for! Some minor knee pain, but nothing too bad... and we ran it at a 11:42 minutes/mile pace. Not super fast, but I'm happy with it as we've slowed down our pace for the training sessions (as the mileage increases), so that's still above target!
No more worries -- I CAN DO IT!
January 3, 2005
Oh woe is me. My most profound apologies to the ever vigilant reader! Here is the latest in my continuing challenge which is marathon training:
After that fateful run back in December (see my last post), I eventually went to see a chiropractor. After the initial assesment they concluded that I'm most probably fixable! YAY! The x-ray machine was broken that day, so they took some of me on my second visit. And what did they find?? Well! It turns out that while most people have 5 lumbar vertebrae, I kinda have 5.5.. a sixth one didn't fully form and has fused my L5 to my pelvic bone (I prefer the term "unique" over "freak" by the way). Anyhow, this is apparently "relatively normal" (in fact one of my chiropractors actually has the same problem!), and explains why my left side has been quite tight in general.
Since I was going away for 2 weeks for Christmas, they wanted to get a bunch of work (or adjustments as they say) done on me before I left. Thus I went in every day of my last week in town, and flew back to Ontario armed with some stretches and exercises to do -- but the good news was that I could finally start running again! Unfortunately, pain is a good reminder (not to mention motivator), so with it being absent my twice-daily exercise routine is more like once-every-two-days-when-I-remember routine. But I'm trying to remember!
Anyhow, I've been running 3 times since I got back (all of which are on a boring, yet good-for-my-knee, treadmill). My mileage has been 2, 3 and 3.6 miles. Not quite the 23 that my training group will be doing this approaching weekend. I was hoping to do 8 miles today, but after 3 my knee started feeling like it was going to hurt. Based on my doctor's orders of "take it easy" and "don't overdo it" I stopped early. But I'm sure that with more exercises and careful running I'll make the marathon in February!
December 7, 2004
Last weekend was our 17-mile run! The first 2 miles were up and down a large hill, being quite concerned about my knee I skipped this part and met up with my group at mile 2. Almost immediately my knee had sharp pain. Owie!! But I thought "it's just cold, once I warm up it'll be all good". Turns out I was wrong. Myself and a girl in my group who was also having issues, quickly dropped back from our group and went to run on our own. I toughed it out for 2 miles, but then common sense prevailed and I stopped. Walked back to the training site and headed into a nearby coffee shop to wait until the pysiotherapist arrived (there was one coming later to attend to people's injuries). After a couple hours I returned only to find someone had beat me to the pysio table! Oi! Turns out it was my ride home! Oddly enough she had also stopped after 2 miles, but had gone to a different coffee shop to wait it out. D'oh!
Anyhow, the pysio lady said that it was my IT-band! Luckily she also said that stretching and some professional work on it would most likely solve my problem! Should have read that web site earlier though, "If you rest, the inflammation dies down but when you start to run again ... the tendon will once again become inflamed". Better get on those exercises (in addition to my psoas exercises.. and my rotator cuff exercises from over a year ago..)!
November 28, 2004
Went to the training yesterday.. while it was only 8 miles, I was pretty worried about my knee acting up and forcing me to stop early. Anyhow, the first two miles were pretty crappy and I definatly thought about stopping everytime we got to a water station.. but after that it seemed to get better. Perhaps I just needed to loosen it up a little! It was generally fine on the flats, but any mentionable hill definately made me run funny to avoid undue pain. But I toughed it out and finished the run. Once at home I promptly took some ibuprofen (to reduce swelling) and iced my knee (to also reduce swelling). Not that my knee was noticably swollen, but I know the internal tissues were quite aggrevated (and hence swollen). Long story short, I'm still hobbling around today, will probably ice it some more and try to take it easy. Next week's 18 miles! Uh oh...
And please help me reach my fundraising goal -- still a ways to go! You can donate here!
November 19, 2004
Righto.. and here begins the end (hopefully not!). I'm skipping this weekend's 14-mile run. Why you ask? Well after the 5km race I spoke about in my last posting, my knee was hurting me that week so I wasn't able to do my maintenance runs (though I tried -- hobbling along for a couple miles one morning!). But by last Saturday I was feeling good enough to do the "short" 6-mile run that was planned. In fact, because it was sooo short, I decided to stay up until 3:30am the nigt before (c'mon, Halo 2 was just released!). Let's just say I was in a non-ideal state that morning.
Anyhow I toughed it out for the 6-miles even though my knee was hurting (like a banshee) by the end. Once at home I iced it and took some painkillers. In fact I've been pain killers since then! Not really for the "pain killing", but more to help reduce any swelling (internal swelling). Wednesday I went for a maintenance run, but again was stopped short by my knee.
In light of this I've decided to skip this weekend's run to allow my knee to heal completely (vs hurting it more) and then to make up the distance next weekend (during everyone else's recover week). Here's to me feeling better!
November 07, 2004
Yesterday was our 12 mile run in the city... again I was sick for the past week and hadn't done my maintenance runs... and hadn't been stretching my psoas muscle as much as I should have (I just keep forgetting!). But anyhow, was doing okay on the run, but my psoas was starting to get sore around mile 5, thus after some debating I stopped at mile 7. I could have finished the 12 miles, but wanted to be in decent shape for the 5km race I did this morning.
The race went really well though! I was hoping for a sub-8-minute pace, and was kind of happy because I ran it in 24:08, which I mistakenly thought was a pace of 8:01.. that is, until Scott reminded me that 5km is actually 3.11 miles! Thus my pace was really 7:45.6 (thanks Pace Calculator)! Whee! You can view the race results here and all the photos here; of you can just look at the one good pic.
And I will do my maintenance runs this week!!!
October 30, 2004
Just got back from our 10-mile run this morning. Went pretty well! We had a bunch of "visitors" from the Berkley site (many people wanting to party tonight (makes for bad running the next morning))... kinda wished I had another Power Gel near the end, but managed fine without it. Also my leg/hip/pelvis area was kinda hurting so I went to talk to the handy-dandy psyiotherapists thye had on site. Nancy (the therapist) thinks it's my psoas muscle. She went on to suggest some stretches for it as well... apparently the fact that I sit down all day in my job can make this muscle shorten up a little (ie: not stretch too well). Hopefully the stretches will do the trick!
October 25, 2004
Didn't make it out this weekend due to the Pinnacles camping trip... though I did do my maintenance run this morning.. a good 4 miles at 9:30 minutes/mile... it felt like I was on track for a better time than that, but I guess not. :| I didn't feel too bad about missing the run because I was out doing active stuff (though not terribly aerobic) and 'cause we ran almost 8 miles last week (and that went pretty well).
Thanks again to everyone who's donated so far!! And for those that haven't, you can do so here!
October 18, 2004
Despite being sick I went out for the Saturday morning run. And even brought along Jess to help out! This was our 7-mile week and I had brought along some Power Gel's to help me along (they recommend eating something now that our runs are exceeding 1-hour).
After running for about 40 minutes I tried out my non-caffeinated Raspberry Cream-flavoured Power Gel.. mmm... despite it's measely 1.4oz size it's a lot of goo! The flavour wasn't too bad, and I had more than enough energy to finish the run, so I guess it works!
Also we've (pretty much) decided, as a group, to move up from 10:30-minutes/mile to 10:00-minutes/mile! Whee! Only had to pressure a few people.. ;) JUST KIDDING! But yeah, on Saturday we ended up finishing in 121 minutes, while we had expected to be done in under 114.. very odd as we'd always come in early before. After consulting our pace group leader's amazing GPS watch we saw that we had actually run 7.8 miles! So phooey to the course planner! Oh well, it was good actually 'cause now we know we can pretty easily run 8 miles!
October 10, 2004
Did the 6-mile run yesterday... it went well! Golden Gate park has a bunch of interesting sights -- bison, ponds, flower gardens, etc! All-in-all a very nice place to run! I suppose that's why they chose it. :P
October 8, 2004
Ooh, tomorrow's another training day! Up to 6 miles this time. Been doing my 3-mile maintenance runs pretty well... having a hard time getting up in the morning to do them though... I can see myself having a really hard time when the rain starts!
But yeah, I've been running 9:00-9:30 minute-miles, with the walk breaks, pretty consistantly.. really thinking about moving up to faster pace group.. should do it soon I guess. To get down to a 4-hour marathon (which is what I want to do) I need to be running 9:10 minutes/miles. Hmm....
October 3, 2004
Went up to the city for the weekly training yesterday. Being week 3 we did a 5-mile run. It went really well! Was quite different running with a group -- people to talk to and all! I'm the Assistant Pace Group Leader which is little more than just a title. For the last run I did our interval timing (run for 6 minutes, walk for 1 minute, repeat) while our Pace Group Leader measured our pace (with her fancy GPS watch). So yeah, we did a nice 5-mile run along the ocean. We're the 10:30 minute/mile group, but were running faster than that anyhow. I'm kinda considering moving up to a faster pace group, though not entirely convinced yet for two reasons: we're still doing relatively short distances so it should be fairly easy still (but will get harder when we increase the distances), and I really like the people in my group. Hmmm... though it'll be hard to give my roommate some competition in his marathon training without kicking my speed up a notch or two... well I figure I'll stick with my group for now and see how I feel in the next few weeks.
Also sent out two batches of my "please donate to me" emails today! Did the Family and Friends categories. Up next: the Co-Workers category! Don't forget to donate to me!
September 30, 2004
Did my 3-mile maintainence run this morning. Increased my pace to a nicer 8:40 minutes/mile. Whee! Also loving the new watch I got -- sure makes timing myself much easier!
September 27, 2004
Another week has come and gone... how was my training on Saturday you ask? Well, I didn't go up to the city for the official trainig, but I did do the training on my own. Why didn't I venture up to the city you ask? For a few reasons:
1) My trusty marathon companion was out of town
2) Out of my 6-person pace group 4 of them couldn't make it
3) Stayed up kinda late on Friday
Thus I slept in on Saturday. Yay! However I did go out and buy a nice Timex 50-lap watch (with 9-interval timers thank-you very much!). So anyhow, I took out my spiffy watch on my 4-mile training run and tried out the whole run/walk cycles they recommend. It was pretty good. I ran my 4 miles right on my pace group's 10:30 minutes/mile pace, so that's good. Good for going with my group, though I'm still hoping to do better.
Today I went on a maintenance run (again doing the run/walk cycle). Was feeling good and increased my pace to 9 minutes/mile. Turned out pretty good! Soon enough I'll be back to where I was at the beginning of the summer!
Oh, and don't forget to donate to me! :)
September 22, 2004
Let's see here.... we had our first session of the training program this past weekend! After getting lost in Golden Gate Park, we ran 3 miles while they timed us so that we could form ourselves into pace groups. My time worked out to 9:30 minutes per mile. Not nearly as fast as my time of 7:33 earlier this summer, but good enough considering that I haven't run hardly at all since then.
For the training program they slow you down by a minute, so I'm in the 10:30 pace group. It's a nice small group -- just 6 of us! And like I assured Sha, I didn't let myself be voted as the Pace Group Leader. The person for this job requires a knowledge of the area and, more importantly, to get to the park 15 minutes early. While I held up my end of the bargain, Sha got coerced into being the PGL for her pace group. Boo-urns to car pooling!
So yeah. Went running this morning, but it was pretty crappy (my running that is). D'oh.
Also got my first donation!! Thanks Sha!! Go here to donate to me! I guess I really should send out my letters to people!
September 15, 2004
In a moment of temporary insanity I signed up for the National AIDS Marathon. Yup. Me, running 41.92 km (26.2 miles my US friends)! Signed up with my friend Sha.
So basically I've agreed to raise $4004 for the San Francisco AIDS Foundation, and in return they will provide me with a marathon training program, flight to New Orleans, hotel and registration in the Mardis Gras Marathon! The marathon isn't until February of next year, but training starts this Saturday with a 3 mile run! Wheee!!
So far I've started running again (can once again do 3 miles!), and went down to The Runners High to get new shoes and accessories.