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:

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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.

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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:

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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:

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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:

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

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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:

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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.

Last training run and last-minute worrying

Today, I did my last training run before the Sporting Life 10K. I planned on doing an easy 5K, which is just as well, as I felt somewhat sluggish today.

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So now I’m all set, except for my last-minute worrying – what if something goes wrong? My current major worry is that my left heel is a little sore – I think it’s complaining a bit because I have to tie my shoe tightly so that my ankle doesn’t rub against the heel of my shoe. (As I think I mentioned earlier, I have wide feet and narrow ankles, so it’s tough for me to buy shoes that fit.) I don’t think this is going to turn into a major problem, but I suppose that it might.

And there’s always the possibility that I might catch a cold or other bug, or that I might pull a muscle or something, thus making it impossible to run in the race for which I have trained for several weeks.

I’ve promised my wife that I would try not to worry too much between now and the race, or at least not worry too much out loud. I’ll be sure to let you know, dear reader, whether I was actually able to run next Sunday!

Final training runs

I’m in the middle of doing my final training runs for the Sporting Life 10K on Sunday. Last Saturday, I did my last 10K training run:

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My time of 1:11:06 is my fastest 10K so far – the others have been 1:12:30 and 1:13:28. This puts me in the time range for the corral that I am in on Sunday – the Orange Corral ranges from 1:05 to 1:14.

(Large races divide runners into corrals based on approximate times. This means that fast runners get to run with other fast runners, slightly slower runners get to run with people who go as fast as them, and so on. The Orange Corral is the second-slowest corral. The Pink Corral is the slowest, and includes walkers; that’s where I have been the last two years.)

My wife thinks that I will do closer to 1:05 on Sunday, thanks to race adrenalin and because the course is downhill. She suggested I line up near the front of the corral. I think I might go near the front of the corral but not at the front, as I don’t want to head out with the people who are likely to start too quickly.

That was my last training 10K before the race – this week, I am planning on tapering a bit by doing two 5K runs and then resting up. My first 5K run for this week was today:

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This is about what I wanted, given that I was still a bit sore from running on Saturday and doing some gardening on Sunday. It was faster than my 10K training pace, but significantly slower than my 5K race pace. I’m hoping to do a 6:30 pace on Sunday (which would put me at 1:05!) but my real goal is to finish.

Strength training.

A while back, my wife talked me into doing regular strength training. The basic principle is that aging muscles follow the “use it or lose it” principle: older adults need to work out regularly to ensure that our muscles do not atrophy.

I’ve been reasonably good about working out about once a week – it should be more often, of course, but I’ve been able to maintain strength with a weekly workout. It fits into my running schedule: I run on Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday, I work out on Thursday, and I rest and/or ache on the other days of the week. (If I get more comfortable running longer distances, I can add cycling and/or hiking into the mix, but I’m not there yet.)

Here’s my current workout routine, which takes a little under an hour:

  • A five-minute warmup on the elliptical (low setting)
  • Step ups: 3×10 stepping on and off a raised step
  • Glute raises: 3×10
  • Hamstring stretch on machine at gym: 3×10
  • Bench press: 3×6 (I’m currently at 95 pounds; I did 100 once!)
  • Lat pulldowns: 3×10
  • Shoulder raises: 3×10 (20 pounds)
  • Captain’s chair leg: 2×20 (strengthens stomach muscles)
  • Plank: 100 seconds (I’m very glad when this is over)
  • A bit of stretching to end it

I sometimes hate doing this, but it’s been very beneficial: I have about the same energy level that I did when I was in my early 30s (except for wanting to nap a bit more, and wanting to go to bed earlier!).

 

Warmer weather!

After a seemingly endless winter, good weather broke out this week. In fact, it was 15C early this morning, so I could do my run in shorts and a T-shirt for the first time since about last October. The good weather helped my time – I was feeling exuberant or something, so I started faster than usual:

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It’s not going to stay this warm, but it’s not going to be cold enough to snow again. (A week and a half ago, we had ice pellets, and I was forced to run on the treadmill.) So the days of bundling up to go running in the morning are hopefully over.