The Day After

As you can imagine, running a marathon does take a toll on your body. However, there are steps you can take to help speed the recovery process. I posted this six-step plan after running the Prince Edward County Marathon in October and I continue to follow these steps.

Some people may think the idea of taking an ice bath after a run is crazy but I am a firm believer in doing so. I have done this after my last three marathons now and each time I recovered much quicker than I did after my first marathon. Once again yesterday it was the first thing I did when I got home. You can read more about taking an ice bath for recovery here.

As far as today goes as you can well imagine my legs are a little stiff but I am not in agony when I walk and I don’t have to avoid going up or down stairs like the people in this video…

I will probably be ready for an easy run again by Friday or Saturday.

Ottawa Marathon 2011

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Today was my third consecutive Ottawa Marathon. First of all I must say that I enjoyed the new course. It really did bring out more crowd support, despite the risk of rain. Hats off the organizers for putting together an event Ottawa can really be proud of especially when you hear of the negative attitudes toward running events in Canada’s largest city.

The only negative thing I have to say about the crowds, and it really is minor because I did not notice many smokers, but if you are going to come out to watch a marathon leave the cigarettes at home or walk away from the course if you are really dying to have a smoke. I ran by 3-4 people smoking along the course and the last one was one of the first aid people!

In terms of my race, my plan was to take a shot at a BQ. For 2012 that would be a 3:15 for me and given the new registration rules I would have had to be even faster than that. As per my usual marathon routine now I was up at 3:30 for breakfast consisting of a bowl of oatmeal, a bagel with peanut butter, a banana and orange juice with protein powder. After that I went back to bed and tried to get a couple more hours of sleep.

Despite the concerns earlier in the week the weather was great for running although those who finished later than me will surely have different thoughts because it started raining harder just after I finished.

I got to the corrals a bit early and did a warmup. Following that I lined up with the 3:10 pace bunny. My plan went well for most of the race. We hit 10 km in 44:01 and the half in 1:34:44 and I felt fine.

I hit 30 km in 2:17:18 but as we got back downtown my right calf started cramping. I stopped to stretch it as we passed the Chateau Laurier before continuing on. Shortly thereafter, I passed my family for the first time which gave me an extra boost of energy. It was especially fun to see my 19 month old cheering for the runners passing by.

At this point I was still on pace for close to a 3:15 finish. However every time I tried to get back to my usual pace my right leg would send me a reminder that it was not going to happen today.

The 3:20 pace bunny passed me as we reached 37 km and after that point I was only focused on making sure I crossed the finish line comfortably and not in need of medical assistance.That idea was reinforced over the last 4-5 km as I passed a handful of runners receiving medical attention for leg cramps. Maybe it was more humid than I realized today.

Here is a shot of me as I passed my family again with about 1 km remaining.

In the end I crossed the line in 3:23:31, about 40 seconds slower than my current PB set at the Prince Edward County Marathon in October. It is,however, a new PB here at home in Ottawa.

An added bonus to the Ottawa Marathon is that they seem to give out some of the best medals around. Here is this year’s medal.

The funny thing about today’s result is that this last week leading up to the marathon I thought I would be really disappointed if I missed a BQ. I also imagined myself in a panic to find an early September marathon to take another shot at qualifying for 2012. Now that it happened I am not disappointed. I’m pleased with today’s result. I finished as quickly as I could today without injuring myself or requiring medical attention.

As for my fall marathon plans, I do want another shot at a BQ but I really don’t want to rush to get back at it in order to run an early September marathon. I would like to do the Army Run here in September, hopefully as a pace bunny again, and I would rather take more of a break from marathon training by running an October or November marathon even though it would be too late for a 2012 BQ by then.

I had been eyeing the Philadelphia Marathon as an option and that may still turn out to be what I decide.

Saturday Stories

Just a short post before I head for an afternoon nap as part of my preparation for tomorrow’s marathon.

Feel free to comment below if you came across any other interesting stories or blog posts this week.

Have you experienced the runner’s high before? You might find this article ineresting.

Some people think running a marathon is crazy. How about this – New Yorker Breaks 48 hour Race Record.

Read about Ottawa Race Weekend here and watch a preview video here.

How do you become a well oiled runner?

Finally, some healthy bbq tips now that bbq season is upon us.

Race Weekend is Here!

Race Weekend is officially here once again.Last night I picked up my race kit and today the distance markers are up and the road barriers are set up along the routes in preparation to block roads tomorrow.

This will be my 6th straight year participating, starting with the 5 km race in 2006. After that came the 10 km and the half-marathon. This year will be my third straight year running the Ottawa Marathon.

Since I started participating in Race Weekend events this weekend has become one of my favourite times of the year. It is now something I look forward to every year. I enjoy the fact that it is one of the times that our normally quiet and reserved city comes to life with excitement every year.

Of course every year there are the usual complaints about road closures and how they “disrupt” people’s lives but those attitudes really seem to be in the minority here. Race Weekend runners enjoy great support from large crowds along the course, especially the final 2 km leading to the finish line.

As for what remains of my training, I had planned an easy 8 km run yesterday but it was raining and I did a lot of work in the garden earlier in the yard. I decided to take an extra day of rest to get my legs ready for Sunday. Tomorrow I will go for a very leisurely 3 km run for my final training run. Other than that I will try and stay off my feet as much as possible tomorrow. I may even throw in a nap or two!

Sunday I will be following my usual routine of getting up at 3:30 to have breakfast consisting of a bowl of oatmeal, a banana and toast with peanut butter. Following breakfast I will head back to bed and try to catch a couple more ours of sleep before I have to get ready.

I will make two changes this year in the hope that being lighter will help me shave a few minutes off my time. As mentioned several times recently, I will be wearing a pair of Mizuno Wave Ronin 3’s instead of my usual trainers. I will also be leaving my water bottle belt at home and will opt instead for Gatorade and water from the aid stations.

Hopefully by the time I reach this point Sunday I will feel like those decisions were worthwhile..

Marathon Profile: Prince Edward County Marathon

Tonight I am profiling the only marathon other than the Ottawa Marathon I have completed so far. Tonight’s profile is the Prince Edward County Marathon.

This one is a great option if you are looking for a small town marathon. I was one of 222 runners to complete it last year.  I set my current personal best on this course with a 3:22:52.

The course is a point to point course, staring in Wellington and finishing in Picton. For those staying in Picton there are buses to take you to the start line in the morning. If you do run this one make sure to bring an extra layer of clothes to keep warm in before the start as you will be waiting outside when you get there.

The course is scenic, leading runners past farms, wineries and the sand dunes of Sandbanks Provincial Park along the way to Picton. It is also a mainly flat course with the only real uphill sections being two hills located between 35-40 km.

If you are looking for a small and low-key event you can’t go wrong with this one. For those of you located near Ottawa or Toronto it is not a long drive either.

An added bonus to this race is the aforementioned wineries. If you have a spouse travelling with you, the option of visiting the numerous wineries in PEC is a definite selling point.

If you want more info on this race you can check out some reviews here.

A Screw in My Shoe

I was home early from work today due to a dental appointment and took advantage of the fact to go for my run when I got home at 4:00. For some reason I happened to look at the bottom of my shoes when I grabbed them and noticed a screw sticking in the right shoe.

The screw was nearly 1/2 inch long. I must have picked it up at some point during Sunday’s long run. I did notice a clicking sound during that run but did not think anything of it at the time because I was busy pushing my daughter in her Chariot. Fortunately the screw wasn’t any longer as the soles of my race flats are not very thick.

Here’s a look at the hole it left in the bottom of my shoe

Today’s “Rest” Day

As I mentioned yesterday today was scheduled to be a rest day for me in terms of running. While I did not go for a run today but it certainly was a busy day.

Since today was a statutory holiday here, my wife and I planned to do some work in the backyard to get the garden ready for planting our vegetables. If you want to read more about the project you can check out her blog here.

For me the project mainly involved hauling 24 x 24 patio stones, at 77 ibs each,  from the driveway to the backyard and lining them up in the frame to build the raised bed. I lost count but I think my father in law and I handled about 44 patio stones today!

Here is a picture of the finished project, minus dirt which will arrive tomorrow…

I am not sure how today will impact my planned schedule of runs this week but so far I am feeling good. No aches or sore muscles so far. Even if that changes by tomorrow morning I figure I can drop tomorrow’s run if necessary for an extra day of rest without much of an impact on my remaining training schedule before next Sunday’s Ottawa Marathon.

On the schedule for tomorrow is an easy 8 km run which I am hoping to be able to get in before I head to work.

One Week until the Ottawa Marathon

In one week from today I will be recovering from the Ottawa Marathon. If you have read this blog before you’ll know my goal, and possibly obsession, is to qualify for the Boston Marathon.

In order to qualify for the 2012 Boston Marathon I need to run a 3:15 and with the new registration rules that went into effect this year my hope for next week is that I can run a 3;10 or just under that in order to give myself at least a five minute buffer from my qualifying time.

Right now I am both optimistic because I feel that I am in the best shape I have ever been and I am confident in my training but also nervous because this is a big goal for me to aim for and let’s face it a marathon is a long distance leaving plenty of time for something to go wrong.

If I go by the average time of my Yasso 800’s then I am right where I should be in terms of my progress. For those who are not familiar with the term, Yasso 800’s are a workout developed by Bart Yasso where you run hard for 800 m followed by a 400 m recovery jog. The idea is that the average time of your 800’s can predict your marathon finish time.

I completed two workouts involving Yasso 800’s during this training cycle. The first one involved 8 Yasso 800’s with an average time of 3:11 and the second workout involved 10 Yasso 800’s with an average time of 3:09. Hopefully the theory proves true for me as I will be quite pleased with a 3:09 or 3:11 next Sunday!

This morning I took my daughter for a 20 km run in her Chariot. The rest of the week will be pretty low key for me in terms of running. Tuesday I will go for an easy 8 km run, Wednesday I will go for an easy 6 km run, Thursday I will go for an 8 km run with 5 km at marathon pace and to end my training I will go for a very easy 3 km run Saturday.

You may also recall that I set a fundraising goal for myself again this year as part of Race Weekend. So far I have managed to achieve over 70% of my goal and should be able to reach that goal by the time I go pickup my race kit at the end of the week.

Saturday Stories

It’s Saturday morning and that means it is time for the most interesting stories and blog posts I came across this week. Hope you enjoy!

From Runner’s World 7 races every runner should run

The benefits of running outweigh the risks.

Do your long runs do more harm than good?

Do you practice yoga? The benefits of yoga for runners.

More on negative attitudes toward marathons in Toronto and a good reply to those negative attitudes.

The 10 Commandments of Marathons Running.

Can running in minimalist shoes strengthen your feet and legs?

Finally, the next #runchat takes place tomorrow night at 8:00.

 

As for myself, I am headed out shortly for a 6.5 km run. Feels weird to be going for such a short run but race day is only 1 week away now. How far are you running today?

 

 

Marathon Profile: Berlin Marathon

Tonight I decided to profile a European marathon for the first time. Tonight’s profile is the Berlin Marathon.

Due to the fact that six world records have been broken since 1998, including Haile Gebrselassie’s current record of 2:04, Berlin bills itself as the world’s fastest marathon course. In addition to a fast course, if you want to run in a city full of history the largest single day sporting event in Berlin is certainly a good choice.

The course passes a number of prominent historic sites as it winds its way through the city – the Reichstag, Berlin Cathedral, Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church before ending at the Brandenburg Gate.

This one is of particular interest to me since I spent four years in Germany due to the fact my father was in the military. Unfortunately Berlin was one part of the country I did not get a chance to visit.

If you are interested in registering for this one be sure to register early. Despite its large field, this year’s race soldout in February.

Interested in more info? Read some race reviews here.