Current running playlist

A while back, I found a tool that estimated beats per minute for some of my favourite songs. I used this to create a suitable running playlist. Here it is! (Note: this playlist may show my age.) There’s enough music here for about an hour’s worth of running.

Warmup:

  • Remember The Name (feat. Styles of Beyond) – Fort Minor, Styles of Beyond
  • Driftin’ – Dirty Heads

Run:

  • Trouble Boys – Dave Edmunds
  • What I Like About You – The Romantics
  • Into the Future – The Vibrators
  • T T T – Buzzcocks
  • Radio Free Europe (single version) – R. E. M.
  • Going Down To Liverpool – The Bangles
  • Hit A Nerve – The Methadones
  • I’m The Man – Joe Jackson
  • The Tears Of A Clown – The English Beat
  • Roll Over Beethoven – Electric Light Orchestra
  • I Wanna Be Sedated – Ramones
  • Roots Radical – Rancid
  • I’m A Believer (radio edit) – Smash Mouth
  • Easter Island – The Methadones
  • Psychotic Reaction – Count Five
  • Tomorrows Girls – U.K. Subs
  • Walk Of Life – Dire Straits
  • English Civil War – The Clash
  • I Found That Essence Rare – Gang of Four

Cooldown:

  • Armagideon Time – The Clash
  • Eyes Without a Face – Billy Idol

Prince Edward County marathon relay

Last weekend, my wife and I and two of our friends ran the Prince Edward County marathon relay. The idea is that teams of up to five people take turns running part of the course, with the team’s total distance being the marathon distance (42.2 km). Our team name was “42.2K With A Little Help From My Friends”, which my wife came up with – we all liked this name very much.

The relay was divided into five legs of unequal distances. Our best runner did the third and fourth legs; I did the last leg, which was 7.1 km and ended in the town of Picton. I was given the last leg because (a) I was the only member of the team who had never run a full marathon, so we thought it would be cool for me to cross a marathon finish line, and (b) I was the slowest runner, so I wouldn’t be zipping past too many tired marathoners on my way to the finish.

On the day before the run, my wife and I drove the course. It made me realize how enormous an achievement running a marathon really is – it took us a fair bit of time to drive the course, so you can imagine how long it would take to run it. When driving the course, we discovered that my leg was the hilliest – however, the hills were gentle ones, so I figured that I could handle them.

On the day of the race, an elaborate system of buses was set up (which worked reasonably well). The people running a full marathon, and relay runners who were doing the first leg, had to present themselves at the Picton Fairgrounds before 6:45 am. People like me who were running the last leg didn’t have to get there before 9:30 am. My wife was running the first leg, so she had an early breakfast and headed out; this gave me time to rest, have a leisurely breakfast, and worry about what could go wrong (which I tend to do).

The bus arrived on schedule, and dropped us off at our designated relay exchange zone. Here’s a picture of relay zone 5:

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What those of us in Relay Leg #5 soon discovered was that there was no portable toilet anywhere near us. Toilets were positioned at water stations, which were located every 2 km throughout the course; however, we were at the 35.1 km mark. A few people obediently trotted down to the 34 km toilet to prepare for the race (we couldn’t see the 36 km toilet from where we were, so we weren’t sure if it existed), but most people just snuck off into a nearby shaded area. (Because the area was populated, I joked to someone else at the relay point that I had asked my teammates to post bail for me if I was arrested for exposure.) It was tougher for the women, of course; those that didn’t just choose to wait wound up going to a nearby barn to do their business.

This was all just a minor inconvenience for me (since I’m a man), but I was a little envious of the people at relay point #3, who were positioned at the start of the half-marathon race. They had coffee and muffins there as well as toilets! But no matter: I’ve had to do this sort of thing before. I was in place well before our third runner arrived; I had a rough idea of when she was going to be there, as each leg finisher sent a text message indicating when the next one had started, and we knew about how long each leg was going to take.

The buses that transported runners to their start locations also travelled the course throughout the race; this allowed runners to go from point to point to cheer their teammates on. Shortly before my handoff, our other two teammates arrived to give me moral support, which I appreciated.

Each relay team was given a transponder on a belt; this was used to measure the team’s total race time. At a relay point, the belt was passed from one runner to the next. So, at about 11:28 am, I got my handoff, and started my leg of the race.

The first part of the race was really nice (all of it was good, but the first part was especially good). They closed the course to cars for the duration of the race, so I got to run in the middle of the road. The scenery looked like this, courtesy of Google Street View:

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There’s a hill off in the distance, but you can’t quite see it from here. The hilly bits turned out not to be a problem; I didn’t have to work harder, but I did notice that I was slightly slower on them.

As usual, my watch provided lots of stats. Here’s the map of my run. (It shows 7 km rather than 7.1, as I had a little trouble starting my watch.)

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And here’s the elevation map:

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As you can see, there were some ups and downs, but they weren’t too severe.

Last but not least, here was my race pace:

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I started a bit slow, partially because I had been standing around for over an hour and a half. But I got a little faster as I got going, and I finished at a decent pace. A bus passed me on the way; it had my teammates on it, but they were on the side away from me. So my teammates got a bunch of random strangers on the bus to help them cheer “Go, Dave!” as it went by me. I thought this was funny.

As it happens, all of our team members went faster than expected. Which made the finish a bit of an epic adventure for our team – the plan was for the rest of the team to meet me near the finish line so that we could cross it together (this was encouraged, provided you didn’t get in the way of other runners). But, as I approached the finish line, I didn’t see them. What happened was that the bus that transported our team to the finish line had to go down side streets in Picton to get there (since the main street was closed except for runners). The bus got there later than expected, and my teammates had to sprint across the Picton fairgrounds to the finish line; they got there when I had less than 200 metres to go. A movie script could not have written it any better.

Here’s our team’s race stats, if you’re curious. We finished 14th out of 28 relay teams, which is pretty good. Our third runner is quite fast, which helped! By the time I got the handoff, there were no other relay runners near me; the team ahead of us was nearly three minutes ahead (or nearly half a kilometre), and the team behind us was nearly two minutes behind.

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So I didn’t pass any relay runners or get passed by any – I passed a few tiring distance runners, and got passed by a few who were clearly faster and fitter than I was (which was to be expected).

So I now have another race medal for my collection (I’ve picked up five this year!), along with a long-sleeved race T-shirt that says “County Marathon” on it. I will feel a little weird wearing it on training runs, as I only ran about one-sixth of a marathon. But what the hey – I earned it. We had fun, and we are thinking of doing more relays as a team.

Zoo Run 5K

A little over two weeks ago, I finally got to run the Zoo Run 5K. This was a personal goal of mine, as last year this was going to be my first race ever, but I broke my toe and had to miss it.

The Zoo Run is a race in which runners travel through parts of the Toronto Zoo:

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This means that many bemused animals get to watch humans travel by them relatively quickly for a while. (One runner that I saw stopped in mid-race to get pictures of some of the zoo’s inhabitants, which might have affected his race time a bit.)

I wasn’t sure how fast I was going to run, so I wasn’t sure what corral to sign up for. My two previous 5K races were under 32 minutes, so in theory I could have been in the Red Corral (under 32). But that felt like too much pressure, so I put myself in the Yellow Corral (33 to 37 minutes), and positioned myself near the front of the corral for the race. Not right at the very front, since the people at the front were likely to start off too quickly, but close to the front.

The Zoo Run is a bit hilly in places, though not steeply so. Here’s the elevation map for the race, courtesy of my Garmin watch:

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As you can see, there were four uphill bits, including a steepish bit near the end.

My plan was to not start too fast, but to pick it up a bit as the race went on, and then finish as strongly as I could. My wife advised me that, if you do it properly, a 5K race is very strenuous. As I understand it, if you’re not tired out and gasping for breath at the finish line, you haven’t left it all on the field!

I think I pretty much achieved this. Here’s the times for each kilometre, again courtesy of my watch:

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I started okay (though I was a bit slow in the middle), and then turned it on near the end. The last kilometre was the first time I had ever recorded a kilometre time of less than 6 minutes, which is an achievement for me. (I am not any kind of athlete.) And, recall that this part of the race was uphill:

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With less than half a kilometre to go, I was feeling flushed, and by the time I got to the finish, I was worried that I had pushed it too hard and might collapse. I was breathing heavily at the end; if I had a heart problem (which, luckily, I don’t), it would have manifested itself then.

Anyway, it all worked out. I set a personal best for the distance at 31:05 (the difference between the first time and the second time includes the three-minute delay period for my corral):

zoorun1

So maybe I could have been in the Red Corral after all!  I was 11th out of 32 in my category of men between 55 and 59, which I think is pretty good! (Of course, the better runners would likely have done the 10K earlier in the day instead of the 5K, since this would have been a greater challenge. But I choose to ignore this.)

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The most stressful part of the race was that there was a long walk back from the finish line to the starting line (a couple of kilometers or so, past a lot of zoo visitors). I had forgotten whether they moved the baggage pickup from the start line to the finish line; if they had, and I hadn’t seen it, I would have had to walk all the way back. Luckily, I didn’t have to.

Anyway, mission accomplished. Next up: I was part of a team that ran a marathon relay in Picton last weekend, and I am going to write that up too.