Sunday, September 27, 2009

A Mini-Vacation from Running

After last weekend's disheartening performance at the Peace Arch Rotary Half-Marathon, my running advisor, John Ellis, took pity on me and essentially gave me the week off.  My only task was to get in 4 good workouts. 

On Monday and Tuesday I rested, and on Wednesday I decided to try to swim 2000m nonstop.  I completed this workout at the Vancouver Aquatic Center during one of the busiest times of the day (5:30-6:30pm).  It was SO crowded you really had to pay attention to avoid crashing into people passing other swimmers!  I alternated between breaststroke and frontcrawl and completed the swim in about 52 minutes.

Thursday I rested again and on Friday I decided to go for a 5K run and see how fast I could do it.  I ran the first mile in 8 minutes, but then I hit some kind of wall and needed a walk break to catch my breath and get my heart to stop pounding in my ears.  I ran the second mile in about 10:30 and the last in close to 11:00.  There was a lot of walking in there.  I just felt like I couldn't run!  It was not very nice.

On Saturday I went for a really fun mountain bike ride with Ian on the Valley Trail in Whistler.  I didn't wear a watch or HR monitor, all I know is we went for an hour and a half and there were some big hills in there, here are a couple of pictures:

Ian ahead of me on the trail

Here I am on my rented Giant Reign Mountain bike

Here's a bit of trail that I WALKED my bike on (chicken!)

Here's Ian checking the map

On Sunday I ran the Whistler Spirit Run in the Whistler Olympic Park.  It's the venue for the 2010 Winter Olympic Nordic Skiing, Biathlon, and Ski Jumping.  The point of the race from my perspective was to:

1. FINISH a race
2. Have fun running in a race
3. Get a good workout

The setting was absolutely stunning, check out the pictures we took:

I don't know the name of this mountain but it sure is pretty

This is the Olympic Ski Jump.  Crazy.

First race I've been to with a Jumbotron

I'm in there somewhere

This is near the end, probably less than a mile from the finish

Here's me making a strong finish!

My final time was around 1:01.  I am pretty happy with it because there were some WICKED hils on this run!  I'm also happy because it was my first trail race ever, so in a way it's kind of like a new PR....

Onwards and upwards, this week I'm going to do the best I can and take it as it comes (no races planned for a while!)

Sunday, September 20, 2009

My So-Called Race Report

This SHOULD be a light-hearted description of a triumphant half-marathon performance. Instead it is another tale of failure. Yes, I dropped out of a race for the second time this morning after running all of 4 miles. It's the fourth bad race experience I've had in a row. I have to be honest. I'm not keen to sign up for another race at this point. Next week I get the pleasure of my annual performance review at The Office. I will be asked why I haven't finished my professional exams (which was my stated goal last year) and I'll be faced with the prospect of telling my boss I'm too busy playing make-believe-athlete to spend extra time on my career. In case you are really curious what happpend today I can't really say, other than that I felt fine in the morning. I arrived early to the race site. I warmed up and stretched dutifully before the start. I ran the first mile at my intended pace (8:33/mile) and expected to do so for all 13.1 miles. The pace felt a bit fast, but I kept telling myself I just had to get used to it. By around mile 3 I felt the need for a short walk break, hoping that just catching my breath would be enough to get me back on track. I started running again and noticed my time getting slower and slower. By the time I got to mile 4 it was clear that the only way I would finish would be at a 10:00/ mile pace. I was too upset to go on and decided I would rather not finish at all if that was the best I could do. Right now I'm not even sure I want to run any more, much less train for a marathon. I really wish I hadn't gone and told EVERYONE on the planet Earth I'm trying to qualify for the Boston Marathon. Who's idea was that?!? Am I feeling sorry for myself? Yeah, a bit.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

X-Training: Second Beach Pool

On Monday, August 31st I took my last swim of the summer at the outdoor Second Beach Pool. Swimming at Second Beach was one of the hightlights of my summer this year.  After living in Vancouver for over 10 years I had never swum there until I was required to add cross-training to my marathon training plan - thanks to my TEAM POINT TWO marathon advisor John Ellis. It was so great to ride my bike on the seawall along the shores of Vancouver to Stanley Park, where the Second Beach Pool sits on the edge of the park, right along the Pacific Ocean.

As you can see, the pool temperature is kept at a compfortable 20C / 80F.
Here's a shot looking at the swimming lanes from the pool deck.
This was an unusually hot summer in Vancouver, with 2 days in a row setting all time temperature records.  That put the wildfire risk to EXTREME.
Here's another shot of the swimming lanes.  The pool is HUGE and there are fast, medium, and slow swimming lanes roped off.  The lanes are 50m in length.
Sunset on the pool and the seawall and ocean beyond.  There are a couple of slides for kids, one of which you can see on the far end of the pool.  Note the runners in the foreground.
Here's a shot on the waterfront side of the pool.  This is the Stanley Park seawall, which I frequently use as a running route.  The fence on the right surounds the pool.  There are a few freighters in the background, which are common in the English Bay area.
I'm sad to see this part of the summer go, but I do prefer to run in cooler temperatures and luckily there are plenty of indoor pools I can use.