Optimal pace time

I’ve figured out that my ideal pace time when training is about 7:30 per kilometre. That’s nice and easy, but not ridiculously slow. Yesterday, I achieved it:

IMG_1244

I was a bit fast at the beginning, and a bit slow at the end, but it averaged out to a perfect 8 km in exactly one hour. Whee!

The cemetery was open this morning, so I got to run my usual route:

IMG_1245

When I’m feeling more lively, I like to end on the same side streets that I start on, which involves a bit of a hill. Yesterday was my third run in five days, though, so I finished up Mt. Pleasant, which has more of an even grade.

I seem to prefer routine when I’m running – I tend to take the same route whenever possible. Eventually, I’ll get bored and want to change it up, but I like knowing that I’m on about the right pace at the right time.

One-year anniversary

I’m not sure exactly when I started running. That information was on the Couch-to-5K app, which was on my old phone (my phone died a few months ago and had to be replaced). But it was about this time last year, so let’s say that today is my one-year running anniversary! Woo-hoo!

I just realized that there is one other good thing about running: it’s concrete and measurable. In other spheres of life, it’s difficult to know whether I’ve done a good job or not. Am I a good enough employee, or spouse, or son, or human being in general? I think I’m trying my best, but there’s no measurable data. When running, it’s definite: if you planned to run for an hour, you know for sure whether you accomplished it or not. (Not that it really matters – all you can do is what your body lets you do.) I know for sure that I have succeeded at running 10K – I can look up the data.

Anyway, enough of that. I don’t know whether I am going to keep posting my running times – it might get boring – but what the heck. Today went better than expected, as I was a bit sore yesterday after doing some errands. In fact, I probably should have gone a bit slower – I’ll try to do that on Wednesday.

IMG_1178

Motivation

Yesterday, my wife and I watched From Fat To Finish Line on Netflix. It’s the story of a team of 12 runners who had lost an average of 100 pounds each before entering a Ragnar event.

A Ragnar is basically a relay race – each runner in the team runs a total of three legs of varying distances. The runners are divided into two groups of six, each of which has their own van. The vans ferry the runners from their finish spots to their next starting spots, and so on. A Ragnar lasts more than 24 hours, so runners run at odd hours of the day and night.

In the movie, the runners who had lost weight were filmed as they ran their legs, and they told their back stories, which featured pictures of them when they were heavier. The runners talked about how running had changed their lives and/or inspired them. I enjoyed the movie, but the testimonials were a bit too much for me, and they reminded me that I didn’t take up running for any of the standard reasons.

I wasn’t particularly wanting to lose weight, and I wasn’t trying to improve my fitness all that much. And I wasn’t looking for meaning in my life. I mostly started running because of curiosity: so many people that were close to me were runners, so I didn’t want to go through my life without trying it at least once.

I’ve stuck with it for three reasons:

  • It’s taken a fair bit of time for me to be able to run an hour consistently, and I would hate to lose it.
  • I’m a numbers nerd, and there’s always a lot of numbers to look at and crunch, thanks to my watch app.
  • I am a bit fitter now, which is a good thing.

But I don’t really feel inspired by my running. I like being out on my own with the tunes going and one foot going in front of the other, but I haven’t often had any sort of “runner’s high” – apparently, I would need to be running more to get that. And the benefits are offset by my tendency to worry about whether I will get injured or whatever. But I guess I’m going to keep at it for a bit!

Running along the lake

Yesterday, my wife and I were heading out to Etobicoke, so we stopped off along the way and ran 8 km along the lake. This was the first run since the race in which my legs felt reasonably good. We sped up a bit for the last part.

IMG_1159

Not much else to say, except on to the next.

Easy does it

For today’s run, my wife gave me good advice: go more slowly. She said that I’ll get just as fit, and I’ll be able to recover more quickly. This seemed like good advice to me, as my legs have been a bit sore lately.

As you can see, I followed the advice:

IMG_1083

I’m feeling not too bad right now, but my legs are still a little sore. I don’t plan to run again until the weekend, so things should be okay by then. I need to do weights tomorrow, though – I haven’t done them since a week ago last Tuesday, and that’s too long of a gap.

A tough slog

Today’s run was a bit of an endurance test – I felt tired and a bit sore the whole way. It wasn’t the sort of sore where I was feeling injured, so I was able to keep going.

IMG_1071

At least it was perfect weather for running – sunny and cool but not cold. Hopefully, my next run will go better.

Back in the saddle

Today was the first day since the Sporting Life 10K that my body actually wanted to run again – I had forced it to go out on Wednesday but it was too early, and I was sore for two days after that.

I like going out in the morning, so that’s when I went, even though it was raining out. What I’ve discovered is that, once you get past a certain point, you can’t get more wet than you already are. As long as I wrap my cellphone in a sandwich bag to keep it from getting wet, I’m good to go. I must admit, though, that the hot shower when I got home was quite pleasant!

I ran faster than my normal training pace – probably too fast – so I ran farther in an hour than usual:

IMG_1060

I hope to run on the Victoria Day holiday, as the weather will be quite nice then, but we’ll see what my body lets me do. The good news is that the various minor injuries I was dealing with before the race are gone; I only have a bit of a sore hip from sitting at an odd angle yesterday. For someone less than a month from turning 58, that’s not bad.

My latest training run

So I wasn’t sure what to do after the race. The day after the race, I had a couple of quite sore muscles, so I took the day off. Yesterday, I did some weight training, but didn’t do any leg work, so I figured I was good enough to go today.

I was, sort of. I thought about doing an hour, but wound up starting to get seriously sore at about the 50 minute mark. I realized that soon I was going to go from “sore” to “past my limit”, so I turned toward home and finished up a little shorter than planned, but still with a quite reasonable effort:

IMG_0996

As you can see, I slowed up considerably at the end of the run. The race took more out of me than I expected. I’m not feeling too bad as I write this (Wednesday afternoon), but I might have to take things a little easy for the next little bit. I’ll decide on Friday whether I want to run that morning or wait until Saturday.

One advantage of waiting until Saturday: I discovered this morning that Mount Pleasant Cemetery was closed. The sign at the gate indicates that they plan on staying closed until 8:00 am on weekday mornings now. I don’t know whether they will enforce this or not – if they do, I’ll either have to run along the Belt Line or find a different route.

Sporting Life 10K

So I ran the Sporting Life 10K last Sunday! Some random notes:

    • It’s really convenient to enter a race whose start line is within walking distance of where I live. But I almost forgot to bring my Presto transit card with me to get home – I only remembered it when I noticed someone else that had theirs, and I had time to go home and retrieve it. It’s better to be lucky than smart!
    • There are a lot of runners in this event. There was a total of 17814 entrants. Here’s a photo of the start, looking back: runners extended off into the distance as far as my eyes could see. IMG_9495
    • I wanted to make sure that I didn’t set off at too fast a pace (or too slow). So I depended on my Garmin watch, which told me how fast I was going, and watched as many people around me disappeared off into the distance. (I caught up to many of these people at the end of the race, as they had started too fast.)
    • I’m grateful that I had a gel with me. I was starting to gork out at about the 6 km mark, and the food boost gave me enough energy to finish.
    • I was expecting to have more difficulty than I did – in particular, I was able to keep going through the 8 and 9 km mark, which I had had trouble with in the past. In fact, I felt reasonably efficient – I seem to have become fitter. Yay, etc.

My time was pretty much exactly what my wife predicted I’d reach:

IMG_0998

And I was more or less able to keep a consistent pace:

IMG_0997

The slow bit at kilometre 7 was partly because I slowed up a bit to open the gel, partly because I passed a water station, and partly because I was a bit slow. I slowed up a bit in kilometre 9 but was able to finish well.

I finished in 10977th place, and 247th among 377 men between age 55 and 59:

sportinglifeplace

So I’ve achieved my goal: I’ve run a 10K race! Next up: the first training run after the race.

Digression: we’re not “almost there”

Just a note, while I’m thinking about it: while it’s great to go out and cheer runners on at an event, it’s probably a bad idea to shout “Almost there!” as a form of encouragement. The usual response is, “I’m not ‘almost there’ until I’ve crossed the finish line and turned off my watch timer.”

It’s also bad form to ask a runner what their time for the event was. It implies that speed is important. Unless you’re an elite athlete (which I’m obviously not), speed isn’t an issue. A runner might want to achieve a personal best, but that’s as far as it usually goes. It’s best to ask “How did it go?” or just say “congratulations” if they’ve finished the race.

Given this, there are many schools of thought as to what makes for good motivational slogans. Usually, they’re a bit snarky:

  • “You paid to do this”
  • “Beer —>” (pointing in the direction of the finish line)
  • “Channel your inner Kenyan!” (People from Kenya have historically been good at long-distance running.)
  • “You can go slower tomorrow when no one is watching.”
  • And, the ultimate: “Pain is temporary. Stats are forever.” Yikes.