Sunday, July 31, 2011

Another race

I ran a cross country race on Saturday. The race was 5k, and I'd never run it before. I wanted to get there early enough that I could jog the course before the race, so that I'd know the course a little bit better when it came time to race. Unfortunately, I was only there about 30 minutes early, so I could only get in a look at the first mile.

There is a good-sized hill on the course, which you run up twice, once in the first mile and once in the third.

I went out too fast. I was training through this race, using it as a workout, and I wanted to run the first mile in about 6:40, which is entirely possible. I went through the first mile in 6:18 -- too fast. I had pressed the wrong button on my watch, so it didn't start. So, I do not have a 2 mile or 3 mile split. I slowed down after the first mile, both because I went out too fast and because the second and third miles were entirely unfamiliar to me. Instead of concentrating on my pace, I had to pay attention to the course as well. I finished in around 22 minutes.

Next year, I will have a better race there.

An exciting thing that was announced there has to do with the 2012 Masters 5k Cross Country Championships. The host club will be having Joan Benoit Samuelson giving a talk and going for a run the day before the race and 1984 Olympian John Tuttle will join her at the talk. Tuttle has won the race in the past, so I imagine he will be competing in the race again this year.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


As a person who was bullied when I was young, and as a cyclist who has been bullied on the road, I can only say that this video hits the nail on the head.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

We're havin' a heat wave

I wish it was only 93. Temps have been in the upper 90s lately, at least in our neck of the woods. Officially, the temps have been in the low 90s, but there is some variation from one area to another. The sensor for our thermometer is on my back porch, sheltered from the sun and in a place where rain and snow can't get in and distort the readings, so I'm pretty sure it's fairly accurate.

The heat, combined with my wife's concern and a wedding and all its related activity, has made t difficult for me to run. I don't run in the morning any more, because that's when I take most of my meds. I don't want to start running before they have had a chance to start working. On the other hand, the temp at 5:30 or 6:00 pm are still very high; lately they've been in the 90s. So, I run in the heat of the day or I don't run. The last two days, with the temp around 99°, I haven't gone out to run. This is playing havoc with my training schedule. I don't even know the rules to Havoc, so there's no way I can win this game.

Anyway, I got out this morning for an easy 4 miles and finished without incident. That's about all I can ask for these days.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Once more, with feeling

Here I am again, with RICE and Vitamin I. While out taking a nice, easy five miles, about three-quarters of a mile into the run, suddenly it felt as if an elastic band around my left calf had snapped. The initial sensation was not painful, but after that, each time my left foot came off the ground, my left calf felt tight and painful. No permanent damage, it seems, but my calf is extremely tight and there is a slight pulling sensation with each step. This happened just over a week ago, on 8 July. Since then, I've run only once, about 2 3/4 miles, nice and easy. It isn't easy going slow and easy when you've been off for a week, but I kept my pace above 8:30the whole way, with most of it being over 9:00.

It felt pretty good, and I iced down my calf afterward, so I think I'll be going out again today, once again, very easy. Any pain or tightness, and I stop and walk.

The funny thing about this injury is, when I was limping back home, a car pulled over, and the woman driving offered me a ride. She said that she was an orthopedic nurse, and I looked like I would be in her clinic the next day.

It seems that whenever I need a nurse, one with the right specialty shows up.

Sunday, July 10, 2011


While running an easy 5 miles, I felt something that felt like elastic snapping on the back of my left calf. this was followed by pain in my calf every time I stepped on my left foot. Of course, I stopped. As I started back to my house, a car pulled over, and an orthopedic nurse offered me a ride.

It seems every time I need a nurse, one shows up.

Several days of no running now.

At least I can get on the bike, though.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Carbohydrates and Hydration

The Globe and Mail carried some information a few years ago about sports drinks. It appears that, although carbohydrate-containing sports drinks shouldn't help your performance in short periods of exercise (under an hour), swishing one around in your mouth will help your performance. Carbohydrate receptors in your tongue?

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Cold Weather running

Not right now. But there is a study linked over at Sweat Science about athletes acclimatizing to cold-weather exercise. apparently the athletes were tested after acclimatizing in workouts at 5C. My question is, why didn't they acclimatize the athletes to cold weather?

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Race Report #2 -- A Post-Heart Attack PR

Another race day. July 4th, races all over town. I chose the one which starts and finishes in front of my house. A 5k, almost perfectly flat. I was planning to go out in about 7:00, in an attempt to keep my heart rate down below 150. I did manage to keep my heart rate below 150 for the first mile, but my mile split was not 7:00. I crossed the mile marker in 6:36 and immediately began to slow down. I did go up over 150 for a brief period during the second mile, but slowing down to a bit above 7:00 pace got my heart rate back to where it's supposed to be. My 2 mile split was a little bit below 14:00 (not sure exactly what it was, because the 2 mile mark caught me by surprise). For the third mile, I felt good, so I picked it up again. My pace overall was 6:52, with a final time of 21:16.

I was 8th in my age group, and a little bit over two minutes behind the age group winner. I think I can improve on that. By the end of the summer, I think I could be a minute faster over 5k.

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Race Report

Yes, a race report. I ran in the Temple Beth El 5k, which is run at the temple of the same name, about a mile and a half from my house. I had a visit with my cardiologist a short time before the race, and he said that I should be OK, as long as I "don't try to win." I told my youngest brother about his advice. He didn't believe that I could run in the race without trying to win. He was at least partly right.

Since the race was so close to my house, I jogged up to the start for my warmup. As it was my first race since my "event," I was more than a little bit nervous about racing.

On the advice of my cardiologist, I was keeping my heart rate below 150, during training runs and now during the race. As I approached the half mile point, my wife, who was standing near the road, called out "Don't win!" I imagine this caused some amusement and confusion among the people around me. First because I was not that close to the front; the winner finished the race in 5:04 pace, while my pace was closer to 7:30. Second, because who cheers for someone not to win?

The whole course is on roads, in the area around the temple, with the finish line in the temple parking lot. About the first half mile is a gradual uphill, then it's downhill to just about the mile point. When I reached the mile point, I got my mile split of just under 7:00 and realised that I was going too fast. Just then, as if to confirm what I was thinking, my heart rate monitor's alarm started going off. I looked down, and my heart rate, just as I was beginning another half-mile climb (this time on a larger, steeper hill) was 154. So, I had to take it easy on the way up the hill. When I reached the two mile point, my heart rate has settled down into the high high 130s, and my split was around 8:30.

Because my heart rate had dropped, I felt confident that I could pick up the pace a bit. From about 1.5 to almost three miles was downhill, so it had been a bit of a rest for my heart and I felt that I could easily take a bit more. I watched my heart rate more closely, checking every few seconds to see how I was doing. I kept it in the 140s, and finished the race in 23:09. An excellent showing for my first race back.

I've been increasing my mileage since then, and I think I can do better than 7:30 pace, and still keep my heart rate at a reasonable level. My doctor and my wife both want me to get a training partner. I joke about not being able to find someone at my level who is CPR certified. The difficulty is actually finding someone who is at my level who is also on my schedule. At the moment, I can't run in the morning. I take four of my five medications in the morning, including the two which keep my heart rate regulated. I suppose I should ask my cardiologist about running first thing in the morning. That might make it easier to find someone who could be there to at least call 911 if something should happen.

Tomorrow morning, I'll be running in my second race since my "event". I'm going to try to update a bit quicker than a month after the fact this time.