BACK AT IT

Comment

BACK AT IT

I'm going to say it because I am not afraid to say it - I'M BACK!

I was dealing with injuries and mostly cross-training through January, February, March and April. It wasn't until May that I finally got back to running 7 days a week with regular workouts.  I got 4 weeks of training in before the Ottawa 10km Championships. The first week of training my workouts were good... but far from the paces I wanted them to be. Each week they got better and I felt a little stronger.

TAMARAK OTTAWA RACE WEEKEND 10k

I decided not to taper for Ottawa. I was just starting to ease into building up consistent weeks of mileage. Looking ahead to the Waterfront 10k I felt that the fitness from a full week of training would be more beneficial for me than a taper week.

As happy as I was to be healthy and to have enough fitness to race, I was a little disappointed to be at a Canadian Championship race knowing that I was not prepared to perform at what I feel is my full potential. I thought a good day would be close to 31:00.

 I am usually pretty good at pacing and running even splits but when the gun went off in Ottawa I got swept away with the fast start. In those first 3km I wasn't thinking about 31:00. I was just filled with pure joy to be racing, to be moving fast and to be feeling strong. By 3km I already knew I that had hung myself so I just continued to push as hard as I could. I split through the 5km in 15:11 (pb) and from there blissful joy turned into pain and fatigue. The rest of the race was run in survival mode.  I was the 8th Canadian to cross the line in a time of 31:30. Kyle finished as 4th Canadain in 30:50. Neither of us was pleased with our times and on our cool down discussed how we could do better in 3 weeks at the Waterfront 10km.

5.JPG
IMG_8673.JPG

After Ottawa I got another 3 weeks of consistent mileage and workouts in and was heading into the Waterfront 10km with 7 weeks of training to back me up. My main objective for this race was to break 31:00 and to be competitive with the people around me over the second half of the race. A friend asked me earlier in the week what place I thought I would finish... I told him that IF I ran well and everything went my way, I thought I could snag 5th place... and If I could snag 5th I figured Kyle could snag 3rd. We had times that we wanted to run and I knew that if we just focused on running our goal times that the placings would sort out themselves out.  My plan was to split through the 5km in 15:30 relaxed and controlled and then push as hard as I could over the second half. 

WATERFRONT 10k

35645097_1923634281000720_6471390931856654336_n.jpg

The race started and I settled into my own controlled pace and let the lead pack go. I counted 8 of guys ahead of me. "Stay relaxed, stay in control" I said to myself. I split through the 5km relaxed and controlled in 15:17. A little fast but still in control.

35415562_10155689604928041_4855299183386558464_o.jpg
dl_cp20x30-8-TWAG1004-913.png

It was just after 5km people started coming back to me and this is where the racing started. I caught up to Aaron Cooper and we were holding 5th & 6th.  Sergio (who came 3rd in the Ottawa 10km Championships, Ran a 4:08 Road mile the weekend after and this Wednesday won the Canadain 10,000m championships) was just up ahead of us and we had about 3km to catch him. I just needed to beat one of them to get 5th and the odds of doing that would increase if we caught up to Sergio. At 9km just after Legion Hill I pushed just a little harder and made some separation between myself and Aaron and finally closed the gap on Sergio. 

^ gap                                                                                                                                                                                                                ^ smaller gap

v closed the gap                                                                                                                                      v  gapped again!                            v shoulder check

Now that I was running with Sergio my thoughts went to... with just under 1000m to go, how do I out kick a guy that can run a 4:08 road mile?  I thought, "kick from as far out as you can". So I tried to surge and once my energy faded Sergio threw in his own surge and I couldn't respond. I was so toasted that I was looking over my shoulder every other stride for the last 200m to see if Aaron was going to catch me. I celebrated as I crossed the line in 30:48. I'm back! 

There are several things that I could have done better out there yesterday. Instead of asking myself how am I going to out kick Sergio, I should have been telling myself - He is beatable, he is beatable! because yes he is fast but everyone is beatable. 

Another area to improve which will come with more time, is being able to push harder over kilometers 6,7,8. I have not gotten any longer tempo workouts in yet. It's the longer tempo workouts that acclimatize me to suffering and that give me the strength I need to race aggressively. I look forward to introducing bigger tempo workouts in the weeks to come as I continue to build.

It was really great to race with/against Aaron yesterday and to catch up with him on our cool down. His 2:20:53 in Toledo has got me very excited to see what he will do in the Fall and gives me a lot of motivation to put into my own training. 

dl_cp20x30-12-TWAJ0049-406.png
35489447_10155429188541161_1079658476457689088_n.jpg

Lastly, I am so so happy for Kyle's 3rd place finish (30:23) and PB. This time last year we were over a minute slower at this race and didn't even know each other. Thank you for pushing me to be better over the last year (excpet for today because today was about recovery and I forgive you but I was really sore and tired and hot and hungry and probably even a little dehydrated  so I'll say I am sorry for complaining but I really do feel like it was all called for)

We are in such a great spot as we get ready for our Fall Marathon build and I look forward to the next 17 weeks of hard work.

 

Next up Boilermaker! 

 

Comment

United Airlines NYC Half 2018 | NYRR

Comment

United Airlines NYC Half 2018 | NYRR

Timeline

December 3rd -Tannenbaum 10km 31:28

  • Set goal  of breaking 68 min at NYC 1/2
  • 5 Weeks of solid training and  big workouts

January 11th - Slip on ice

  • 2 weeks cross training
  • 1 week completely off

February 3rd - Run 20 min

  • 4 weeks of training

March 3rd - Chilly 5km - 15:13

  • Strained achilles from race
  • 1 week of training on a strained achilles

March 12th - Cross train for 3 days

March 18th- NYC ½ - 1:09:01

The Build

Looking at this timeline you can see I didn’t have a great build up for this race. This is the first time that I have had to deal with an injury that has kept me from running.

I know when people share their experiences about being injured they talk about how they learned so much about themselves and saw it as an opportunity to grow and persevere and that they made it their business to embrace the cross training… Well I am going to keep it real with you and say I HATED EVERY MINUTE OF IT. I was irritable all the time and not pleasant to be around. I complained constantly and wrote a whole novel in my head about how this was setting me up for a poor spring/ summer cycle. The chapters included “You Will Never Break 70 Min In The Half Marathon”  and “ You Will Never Catch Up”. Go ahead call me dramatic. You have no idea.

When I did get back to running it wasn’t smooth. My paces were slow and my workouts were not consistent. I felt like I had wasted my time cross training. I know how hard I push myself when training on the roads. I failed to replicate the levels of pain and discomfort in the pool or on the elliptical that I put myself through on the road. I felt that I had done all I could do and that I was still failing.

Towards the end of Alex Hutchinson's book  Endure, he mentions that he knows his biggest opponent on the start line is his mind - and that is the ONE valuable lesson that I will take away from this injury. Your MIND is STRONG (this I knew) Your mind is a TOOL (this I knew) Your mind is your OPPONENT (WHAT!? I thought it only worked for me!). I used my strong mind to push myself and breakthrough in Chicago last summer. The difference is that during my Chicago build I was harnessing the power of my mind as a TOOL and during this build I had let my mind get away from me. My mind was no longer a tool that I was using but an OPPONENT that I needed to beat. Let me tell you when you have a strong mind that is pushing you the wrong way it is hard to push back against it and to change the negative narrative.

The Race

Leading into race week I had take a couple days off running because my achilles  was bothering me. I contemplated not running. I felt that I didn’t have the training to produce a result that I would be proud of and I didn’t want to further aggravate my achilles and spend even more time cross training.

In the end I decided to let all time goals go. The main goal was to finish the race without further damaging myself.

Start line to finish line the race was amazing. The course was super challenging with a lot of elevation, turns and wind (coming from every direction, yes that is possible). It was also the coolest course that I have ever raced on. Starting in Brooklyn running down hill, Running up the Manhattan bridge and down the other side into the city, through Time Square and into Central Park. It was all very awesome.  

The plan was to start off at 3:20/km and run a controlled 70 min … I didn’t even think I would be able to do that. I had only ran one tempo workout where I was able to hold a pace faster than 3:20/km.

When the gun went off I ignored the pace on my watch and just ran based off of effort. I checked in on my 5km splits to give myself an idea of how fast I was going… I was going much faster than expected but the effort had me just on the line of discomfort so I kept it there.

I was very cautious not to push myself over the line of discomfort into pain. How you get fit matters...You have to suffer - Another lesson from Endure. Although the cross training allowed me to keep up my aerobic fitness, I wasn’t able to push myself into a state of pain and dive into it the way that I do when I train on the roads... I didn’t have the training required to make myself suffer for an extended period of time so I kept the effort at comfortably pushing the line of discomfort but not crossing it.

Coming down the finishing stretch and seeing 1:08:40 on the clock was the first time the whole race that I felt a real sense of urgency! I had worked so hard all week to let go of time goals and not care about the clock and for about 21km of that race I didn’t care about time… but coming down the finishing stretch and seeing 1:08:40 on the clock I switched from - happy to be here - to BREAK 69!

I crossed in 1:09:01

SPLITS

5km - 16:26 = 16:26

10km - 32:29 = 16:03

15km - 49:10 = 16:41

20km - 1:05:35 = 16:25

21.1km - 1:09:01 = 3:26

All things considered NYC ½ went better than I could have hoped for. No I didn’t break 68 min, but I ran a time that my training log says I had no business running.

I am excited to see what I can do later in the spring once I string together some consistent training. 

Onwards

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

SIDE NOTE:

I Hate to Complain…. BUT

I was disappointed with the logistics of the race. It was the most stressful start ever.

It was the most poorly thought out / organized start line that I have ever been on.

There was no sub elite entry so we had people with 1:30:00 pace bands on their wrist and  earbuds in their ears taking selfies of themselves ahead of us.

We had to be in the corrals early and weren’t able to do any real warm up once we were in. No Strides, no dynamic drills just standing there in other people's piss (lucky you if you got to use a bathroom) and the cold.

They had issues with their clocks / timing… The initial results posted were not correct and it took them hours to fix it. The results said I ran 1:08:41 and my watch said 1:09:03. I don’t always trust the distance on my watch or the pace but I do trust its ability to count running time.

I just expected better from a world class race.  

To finish on a positive not I'll say it one more time - Everything in-between the Start line to finish line  was awesome. 

Comment

I slipped

Comment

I slipped

7 week until the NYC ½

2 weeks ago I slipped on ice walking home

13 (and counting) days off from running  

5 (and counting)  workouts missed

I started off this cycle testing my fitness at Tannenbaum 10k running a 31:28. Since then I have put in 5 weeks of quality work and just as we were getting to the real specific and focused part of the build I slipped.

There are plenty of inspiring examples of athletes that have cross trained through an injury and come back strong. Their stories are motivating and inspiring and they seem to overcome adversity with such poise. But I don't know if that's me. 

Being negative doesn’t help anything but I am not going to give anyone the false impression that I am enjoying cross training or that I am optimistic about the outcome.

I don’t spend as much time in the pool or on the elliptical as I would running and I sure as heck don’t get the same quality workouts that I need.

My approach for NYC was the same as  Chicago. All in. Focused. Unwavering. The problem is… when I am on the elliptical and in the pool I am not all in. My mind is flooded with doubts. I feel myself slipping farther away from my goal and instead of asking myself “How Bad do you want it?” I am asking myself  “Is it worth it?”

I am incredibly disappointed in myself for not having the mental fortitude to remain unshakable and to carry on with unwavering determination.

Will I be back to running by the end of the week? Or by the end of next month? At what point do I pull the plug on NYC? I will likely be able to run by then… But probably not fit enough to break 68. Would I be happy going into a race knowing that I am not 100% prepared? Why don’t I just pick another race? Is my effort on the elliptical the same as when running? How hard is everyone else working? Don’t think of anyone else.

 

 

 

Comment

Bank of America Chicago Marathon 2017

Comment

Bank of America Chicago Marathon 2017

I'M POSSIBLE

After the end of a rather disappointing spring season where I didn't improve my 10km or my Half Marathon time, I shifted my focus to getting ready for STWM.

I have thought a lot about goal setting and the limits that I have put on myself in the past. I wanted to set a big goal, one that I wouldn't necessarily achieve, but that would demand the best of me every day. I set my mind on a 2:25:00 - 3 min 30 sec faster than my time last year. My training didn't really indicate that I was capable of a 2:25:00 but I felt with all of my heart and gut that it was possible. 

Around the end of July, as I was starting to get into my marathon program, NRC Toronto offered me a bib for the Chicago Marathon.  I wanted to say yes immediately, but I knew that I had already set a timeline for STWM and with such a big goal I needed to stay focused. I took a week to think about it. My coach felt it would be best if I didn't do it, I felt it wasn't the logical thing to do but there was this overwhelming feeling telling me to just do it.  Sunday, July 23rd after my first M pace workout (done at a 3:30/km 4sec/km slower than  2:25:00 pace) I decided I was all in for Chicago. Just like that, I lost 2 weeks of what could've been valuable training, but as soon as I made my decision I knew it was the right one and I didn't give any second thoughts to the doubts that I had before. 

As the summer went on, I was running well in my workouts and got a massive 10km PB.  My M pace was still 3:30/km  but I was still confident that I could hit 2:25:00. Three weeks out from race day my workouts started to lag a little. I was worried that we might have overcooked the cake.  I had a steep two-week taper and as the days went by I started to feel better and better. 

THE RACE

Going into the race, my training partner Kyle and I had slightly different goals. I wanted a 2:25:00 and he wanted a comfortable 2:27:00. We wanted to work together but at the end of the day, neither of us wanted the other to do anything that would compromise their race. 

I spent all summer trying to catch up to Kyle. He is faster than me in workouts and has faster PB's across the board (except for the marathon). The weeks leading up to the race we talked about what we should split through the half. I wanted 1:12:30 - 1:13:00 and he wanted 13:30:00-1:14:00... I spent weeks convincing him on 1:13:00-1:13:30. I thought 1:13:00 was the absolute slowest I could go if I was going to give my self a serious shot at 2:25:00. So, I did a pace chart with different splits and paces. The day before the race we decided we would try to hit the 10km between 34:40-34:50 (on pace for 1:13:30 half) and from there if we were feeling good we would crank it down and go through the half in 1:13:00. If not, we would separate and I'd go ahead for a 1:12:30 half split. 

We ended up separating after 5km. I got about 60 meters on Kyle and my first thought was that this marathon just got a lot harder without him. I was relieved when Kyle pulled up by me at 8km. Fom there on he just pushed the pace. We split through the 10km in 34:45 and just kept pushing. We passed the half in 1:12:03. That made me nervous, I was scared that we would pay for this later on.  But whenever I had a doubt I just of what Brittany Moran told me before the race "Be Brave".

My stomach wasn't feeling well between 15km and 33km.  I was afraid to take fluids or fuel but I knew that I had to. I had to keep myself from suggesting that we back off the pace because I knew that as long as Kyle pushed the pace I would be on his side not giving up ground. 

With about 5km to go I checked in with Kyle to see how he was doing. He was starting to struggle. I told him that at this point it was worth it to push through and that he had worked too hard to let up now.

I pulled away and started focusing on people ahead and trying to reel them in.  I didn't get to drive the course the day before like I had planned, so I didn't know where the hill was or how much I would have left in the tank when it came. I was careful not to push to hard until after the hill.  Chicago is flat... but the one hill it has, is not fun. After I was on the other side I looked at my watch and I just thought.... I am going to do this! It's going to happen!

Hitting the 800m mark I thought of how every week I had to do 800m intervals and now all that lied between myself and the finish line was one last 800m interval. As I approached the finish line and saw the numbers ticking on the clock I pushed hard to get under 2:24:00.  I finished in 2:23:54 over a minute than what I believed I could do on my very best day. I broke through the highest expectations I had for myself.  To add to the excitement, when I turned around I saw Kyle coming down the final stretch!  He finished in 2:25:15.  I am so proud of Kyle! I believed I could do 2:25:00 and I believe Kyle is faster than me, therefore I believed Kyle could do 2:25:00 as well. 

It was an amazing run and it feels unreal. But it wasn't luck. It wasn't just our day, it wasn't a bunch of external factors lining up in our favour like a cosmic event. We ran what we ran because it is what we are capable of, because we worked for it and because we believed we could... or at least I believed we could. Now we have to accept that this is where we are at. This is our new baseline.

NUMBERS

Pace Plans

                                                       Pacing Plans 

                                                      Pacing Plans 

  * I ran 2 back to back 1/2 marathons 1 minute slower than my current 1/2 marathon PB

* I ran 2 back to back 1/2 marathons 1 minute slower than my current 1/2 marathon PB

THE DIFFERENCE

Looking at this cycle I didn't do anything different than my previous cycle. There was nothing special to it. I have identified 5 main things that I changed that had a huge positive effect. 

1) Sleep: Last cycle my work hours were pretty hard. I was working on a production that did mostly night shoots so I didn't get a consistent sleep schedule and rarely got enough hours of sleep.  It also meant that I'd sleep in the morning when I got home and would have to do workouts between 1pm-3pm in the afternoon heat which took its toll on the quality of my workouts. 

2) Training partner: I have had people here and there that I have been able to get the odd workout in with, but I have never had someone that was so well matched to me in terms of fitness and goals. I met Kyle at the end of June at which point he was much faster than me. We have different coaches and different programs but we managed to sync up workouts so that we could get portions of them done together. Having someone else there that expects you to be fast and do your best really makes you rise to the occasion. 

* Shout out to Brittany Moran, I know we don't train together, but running into you at the expo, calming each other's nerves and pumping up each other's confidence is just the support that teammates give each other. It was nice to have your familiar face with me at the start line and to give each other a thumbs up just before the gun went off.  * She also crushed her PB by 5 min and was Top Canadian Female. 

3) Mental approach. I put more belief in myself than in data and numbers. I didn't put limits on my potential.

4) Easy days were easy. 

5) TIME. The success I had this cycle wasn't the result of the last 3 months of training. It is the result of me putting in consistent work over a long (years) period of time. It takes time for your body to adapt to training and that can't be rushed. So buckle down and be patient. 

PROGRESSION

This is the third marathon that I have done where I have followed a training plan and the second cycle that I have been with my coach. 

My 10km pace is now what my 5km pace was in 2016, my 1/2 marathon pace is what my 10km pace was in 2014 and my marathon pace is what my 1/2 marathon pace was in 2015

There are a lot of runners that I race regularly that I look up to, that have PB's that I aspire to have one day and today I am much closer than I was before. 

GOALS

I still need to sit down and give meaningful thought to new goals moving forward, but right now I really do feel unlimited. 

This cycle didn't take as much of a physical toll on me as it did mentally. My brain is zapped. For the last 3 months, my inner voice had to be louder than any doubts that ever came to mind. When my inner voice wasn't loud enough I had to use my real voice and actually say my affirmations out loud. I had to say things until I believed them.... I felt a little insane... needless to say,  I am looking forward to not having a goal burnt into my mind for the next little while, That said I am really excited for what is next. 

I would encourage anyone reading to set big goals for yourself, ones that you might not necessarily achieve.  Not achieving your goal does not mean you failed, you only fail when you give up.  Set goals that the person you are today can't achieve and then keep at them until you become the person that can achieve them. 

Scotiabank is just under two weeks away and there is a good line up of runners ready to get in the low 2:20:00 and some that probably have a good shot at getting under 2:20:00!  I can not wait to cheer everyone on and watch. 

Lastly (grab some wine for the cheese) We all have potential it's just a matter of believing in it, feeding it and then wanting it bad enough. 

THANK YOU

NRC Toronto for giving me the opportunity to take on Chicago and for inspiring me to believe in myself.

iRun Magazine for letting me share my journey. 

To everyone that makes up my running community.

 Uncle Jamie & Aunt Cathy for being absolutely wonderful hosts for the weekend and making the experience feel like home. 

Mom, Dad & Jessy for getting excited about a sport you don't understand. 

and Kyle for giving me someon else other than myself to belive in. Onward #sodalicous2018 

 

 

Comment

LONGBOAT TORONTO ISLAND 10KM

Comment

LONGBOAT TORONTO ISLAND 10KM

A couple days leading up to the race my friend mentioned that Trevor Hofbauer and Josh Bolton would be racing. I told him that he was comparing apples to tomatoes to potatoes Trevor has a 1:04:300 HM, Josh has a 1:07:41 HM and I have a 1:10:55 HM -  There are big gaps between our fitness levels and I didn’t anticipate being able to use them to pull me to a fast time.

Going into the race I was pretty confident that I could hold 3:10/km and shoot for a 31:40-45.  If things went really well I thought I could maybe run a 31:30.

Although I felt confident in holding 3:10/km the thought of splitting through 5km in 15:50 seemed a little crazy to me…  It might have seemed crazy but that didn’t mean I was afraid of trying.

After the gun went off I found myself running beside Josh. The pace was faster than what I had planned on running but I didn’t feel like I was expending any extra effort to keep up with him.

IMG_4810.JPG

 

We crossed through 5km in 15:33 ( 4 sec off my 5km PB) and I just thought to myself do not back down MAKE THE MOST OF THIS!

By seven 7km I kept telling myself to just stay with him a little longer!  Hang on until at least 8km, hang on until you get to the boardwalk, hang on until 9km. At 9km Josh started to pull away slowly. My thoughts turned to - try to get back a meter, try to get back a foot don’t let the gap grow anymore, he might not come back to you but you have to keep working right through the finish line.

FullSizeRender.jpg

Even though Josh pulled away over the last kilometer I am really happy with how I closed. I ran the last kilometer in 3:03 and he ran it in  2:57. He wasn’t pulling away because I was running bad or fading, we were both picking it up and running really well he was simply running faster!

12 weeks ago I ran 15:45 at the Pride 5km. Yesterday my 5km splits were 15:33 & 15:40.

IMG_4811.JPG

 

The athlete that I was 12 weeks ago isn’t the athlete that I am today. And that is what I love about running. You change, you grow and you get stronger.

I am 4 weeks out from Chicago and am really happy with the fitness that I was able to demonstrate yesterday.  I can’t wait for October 8th.

Thank you Longboat Road Runners for putting on another great race! I always appreciate the opportunity to get out and race, especially in Toronto!

 

 

 

 

Comment

PRIDE AND REMEMBRANCE  5KM 2017

Comment

PRIDE AND REMEMBRANCE 5KM 2017

I was happily surprised with Saturday's results. I haven't successfully completed a workout in the last 3 weeks, so going into the race I really had no expectations. I had initially planned on just running a controlled 16 min flat 5k, but once the race started that plan went out the window.

I knew that I wasn't the best prepared for the race, but if someone was going to beat me I wanted to make sure that they had to work for it.

 

Heading into the second lap of Queens Park I took over the lead, to my surprise I was still leading when we turned on to Wellsely.

I was certain that there were at least 2 guys just sitting back waiting to out kick me. I allowed myself a quick look over my shoulder and saw that there was a little bit of distance between myself and the next runner.  Having not done speed work for almost a month I knew that if he caught up I wouldn't have another gear to match his kick so I tried as best as I could to hold my pace.

It wasn't until I approached Church St. that I knew that anyone in pursuit had run out of road to run me down.

I eased up my pace and as I approached the finish line I threw my arms up and celebrated over the last few strides.

The Pride & Remembrance run is very special to me as it brings two communities that have had a profound impact on my life together. I have raced The Pride 5k every year since 2010. I have placed between 17th - 2nd over the years. To have finally won is a wonderful feeling.

2010: 17:37 - 11th

2011: 17:39 15th

2012: 16:33 - 4th

2013: 16:53 - 17th

2014: 16:48 - 5th

2015: 15:46 - 2nd

2016:15:29 - 3rd

2017: 15:44 - 1st

Thank you and congratulation to Nathan Monk for putting together a wonderful event. I hope that you enjoyed stepping into the role as race director! We as a community are so lucky to have you take on this role.

I have about another week of building my mileage before I start Marathon training.  I haven't run much more than 130km/week since October, considering this I am pretty pleased with the improvements that I have made over the winter & spring. I am looking forward to increasing the mileage and gaining the fitness that will come with it. I might not be quite where I was at this time last year, but I still feel like I am in a great position as I get ready for my Marathon build.

 

Comment

Waterfront 10k

1 Comment

Waterfront 10k

Racing is easy when you get on the start line with weeks of solid training behind you. You have confidence and although it still requires a huge amount of effort, you are strong and able to fight back when the pace starts to slow.  

Yesterday was not easy.  The last few weeks between the Ottawa 10k and the Waterfront 10k have been tough.  My body has felt like a dead battery during workouts and on easy runs, I have felt like a flat tire clunking down the road.  

I knew that getting under 32min wasn’t going to happen yesterday, and I knew that it was going to be hard.  But you have to show up for the hard days. You can’t just do something when you know that it’s going to be easy or when you know that you won’t fail.

My fall marathon build will start in a couple of weeks. I am not quite where I was last year at this time. But I know that I have made progress over the winter & spring. I have a couple of weeks to work through this lull in my training. I am looking forward to bumping up the mileage and getting my marathon fitness back!

2:25:00 is still my goal. There is a lot of work to do, but it’s nothing that I haven’t put myself through before.

- Eric

Thank you CRS & Lululemon for putting on an amazing event.  The course, the cheer stations, the DOUGHNUTS and the post-race party!! I am glad I didn’t miss this one.

 

1 Comment

OTTAWA 10KM 2017

Comment

OTTAWA 10KM 2017

This was the first time that I have raced the Ottawa 10km. Usually, I watch the 10km race and then race the ½ marathon the next day.

I am normally not nervous when it comes to racing but this event gave me the butterflies! I felt like I was lining up on the start line of a track race! It was by far the most competitive race that I have been in. 

The start of the race was FAST. It was like when the Hunger Games start and everyone runs to grab their weapon. When the gun went off everyone bolted to clear corner that was about a hundred meters from the start. From there it was hard to back off the pace.

I was aiming to run 32 min flat, So was looking to split 5km in 16:00  min and then have a faster 2nd half.  Even though I came through the 5km split in 15:58, the first 2km of that were run at a 3:05/km. Those first 2km cost me a lot of energy. Had I just held an even 3:12/km pace I could've split through 5km in the same time without burning so much energy.  Although I kept catching people over the second half of the race my pace was slowing. In my mind, there is a little bit of a disconnect between the result, my effort and how I felt during the race. Even tho my pace was slowing I felt strong and in control the whole race. My finishing time was 32:29. That is considerably off of my goal time as well as my PB.  

Normally when a race doesn’t go to plan I am disappointed and frustrated and spend the next week asking myself what went wrong? Why didn’t my training add up to the result that I was aiming for?  This time around there is no disappointment because I know what went wrong. I allowed myself to get swept away in the race. I let others dictate my pace, therefore, didn’t really run my own race. Knowing what went wrong means that I don't need to question my fitness or training and that gives me a lot of peace of mind. 

Next up is the Toronto Waterfront 10km where I am looking to take dead aim at 32… none of this running on adrenaline and exhausting myself nonsense.

I’ll end this by congratulating everyone else that raced this past weekend. Watching the full and the ½ on Sunday morning was so much fun!  Congratulations to Brittany Moran for placing 2nd overall in the ½ marathon,

and to Kerri Andreas for killing her BQ and getting a PB. Kerri was well under her BQ at 40km and was still pushing hard and running aggressively over the last 2km!

and to Ellen Mitchell on completing her first Marathon - This moment was awesome!!!!  Big props to Michelle & Inge for pacing. 

Congratulations to everyone. Enjoy your recovery and hopefully, we will cross paths out on the MGT soon. 

 

Comment

BREAKING2

Comment

BREAKING2

DO YOU THINK THAT THEY CAN DO IT?

This was the most common question that people asked me before I left for Monza, Italy to witness Breaking2

With my whole heart, I believed that they could do it. Part of the mindset of being a runner/athlete is believing in breaking barriers. Eliud, Zersenay and Lelisa stepped on that start line believing that they could break 2:00:00. Every single one of the pacers there believed they could do it. If you don’t believe you can do something, you won't.

 

 PHOTO : Marek Ogień

PHOTO : Marek Ogień

THE RACE

The race was riveting to watch. There were so many ways that it could’ve played out. The marathon is a tricky beast and anything can happen. 

Eliud was mesmerizing to watch. He was so still yet moving so fast. He was solid and in a state of meditation, unwavering and fully committed. With 3 laps to go Eliud was about 10 seconds behind pace. He started smiling. I thought to myself maybe he is smiling to himself because he knows that he has another gear that he hasn’t touched yet and is saving it for the last lap! Or maybe it wasn’t a smile but a grimace of pain. At that point, I am sure that Eliud knew whether he would cross that line in 2hrs or not, and I am also sure that he knew that no matter what the time said on the clock that  he had done something special.

PHOTO: @lebougmelo , Tom Schlegel, Marek Ogień

Eluid's remarks after the race were that the world is that much close to breaking 2:00:00.   Eliud may not have broken 2 hours but he showed the world that it was possible. Whoever goes on to be the first person to break the 2 hour barrier is going to do so knowing that it is possible because of what of Eluid, Zersenay and Lelisa did in Monza.

LESSON 1. SUCCESS IS MEASURED BY MORE THAN THE TIME ON THE CLOCK-  FALLING SHORT OF YOUR GOAL DOES NOT MAKE YOUR EFFORT ANY LESS SPECTACULAR.

The finishing time on the clock is how I measure success. If I don’t achieve the goal that I set out, I often leave the race carrying a sense of failure with me.

Watching Zersenay & Lelisa push on when their goal started to slip away was truly inspirational.  It made me realize that just because you don’t achieve your goal doesn’t mean that you didn’t run well and it certainly doesn’t make your effort any less outstanding. This was a liberating realization for me.

PHOTO: @lebougmelo ,

 

PACERS

Some people wonder what the most significant variable was in the overall success of the day. Was it the course? The weather? Their shoes?

They could’ve put every single variable to 100% perfect for the race, but without the pacers, the success that they had on the day wouldn’t have been possible. After the race, Eliud thanked the pacers for lending him their bodies. 

PHOTO:  Gautier Pellergin , Max Menning 

 

The pacers were world class professional athletes that planned their race season around the preparation and participation of this event. They went above and beyond their duties in pacing all three of the racing athletes right through to the end.

Watching the pacers BE THERE for their athletes really reiterated the importance of the relationship between myself, the other NRC pacers and our athletes. I don’t ever want anyone that comes out to one of our runs to feel like we are just there to guide them through XX # of KM's. When we show up for a run we show up for you. We are there to support you and your goals during the run, after the run and over the course of your running journey.

5k

Just hours after the breaking2 event we had the amazing opportunity to go back to the track and participate in a 5km race. This was the most surreal experience of my whole entire life. When we got to the track Paula Radcliffe & Shalane Flanagan were there waiting for us!

I don’t really get excited over anyone and I have never had a fan boy moment... but this weekend was filled with a lot of “firsts”  As calmly as I could I walked over to them. I did my best to remain composed but I couldn’t stop myself! I told them how much they inspire me. How I rewatch their races and interviews before I have a race and then I did the lamest thing ever…. I asked for a selfie! #YOLO / when am I ever going to be in their direct presence again!!!

The race started and the lead vehicle went out at the same pace that Eliud, Zersenay and Lelisa needed to maintain earlier that day. It pulled away and out of our sights pretty fast!  As far as racing goes I ran horribly! I went out hard and didn’t pay attention to splits. I just wanted to lay out a hard effort in honor of the athletes that ran on the track before me earlier that day.

PHOTO: Max Menning, Pim Rinkes

I was out in the front alone for the first lap. I reflected on what we had witnessed earlier that morning, how hard it must've been and how unreal it as that we were literally running in the footsteps of freshly laid history!!!!!  Someone passed me with about 2km to go and I couldn't cover their move. Even though I didn’t run particularly well and I had lost the lead, I came down the finishing straight with my arms in the air high-fiving everyone that I passed and celebrating the success of the day, taking in every moment. Running along that red line will be the most memorable 5km I ever run.

LESSON 2. ATTITUDE - THE MINDSET OF AN ELITE   

I gain a lot of inspiration from watching elite racing whether it be on the road or on the track. When you see elite athletes you see determined, calculated, dedicated and focused individuals. I try to take those qualities and apply them to my own training regime.

The day after the breaking2 event some of the pacers came to camp to do a shake out run with us. They came into the camp singing and dancing and energized everyone to join in with them! The shakeout run was slower than sexy pace and had about as much dancing as a Friday night. It was amazing to see the other side of the elite attitude and it reminded me that yes commitment and focus were important qualities of an elite mindset, but so was making sure that you enjoy doing what you are doing.

PHOTO: Max Menning, Marek Ogień, Andrea Schiliro'

Marathon training is hard work but at the end of the day, I am doing it because it is my passion and this was a wonderful reminder that I need to allow myself to enjoy and celebrate my passion. At the very least I shouldn’t be referring to my training as a regime.

LONG RUN - RUNNING WITH LEGENDS

Sunday afternoon Shalane Flanagan and Joan Benoit Samuelson came to camp to join us for a long run!!  

I was enjoying running with a small group at a strong and steady pace when I looked over my shoulder and saw Joan alone a couple hundred meters back. I thought to myself, I can click off km’s any day at any pace but I will likely never get the opportunity to run with Joan Benoit Samuelson again!  I dropped back and I ran with her for a good portion of our long run.  I asked her what she thought of yesterday's events and told her the amazing lessons that I had learned while being here. We were going at a pretty strong pace so I figured she must be training for something? She said that she is training to run a sub 3-hour marathon in the fall and that she will be 60 in 9 days!!!! 

LESSON 3. THERE IS NO FINISH LINE

In the back of my head, I am aware that there is a clock ticking away above the timeline of my marathon years, at this point, there is still a lot of time on the clock but I always think what happens when I reach my potential or if I get to my peak and start regressing? Hearing Joan’s goal to break 3 hours at the age of 60 made me realize that it’s never over, there really is no finish line in running. You need to stay hungry and set goals that challenge you at any age and fitness level.

 

"BUT I'M NOT A RUNNER "

I went to Monza as a RUNNER excited to see history be made in the sport that I am passionate about. The camp was filled with a diverse range of runners. There were other NRC pacers, Run Clubs and then individuals that were there through Airbnb's “Why do you run contest”  While everyone had a relationship and passion for running I found these individuals the most interesting. I would talk to them and ask them what their relationship for running is?

Rachel -  Martin Richard, The youngest victim of the Boston Bombing was one of her students and she had promised him that she would run a marathon with him when he turned 18. She runs for a foundation called MR8 and trains for the Boston Marathon every year.  "BUT I’M NOT A RUNNER."

Caleb - Helps run a program called Youth Run NOLA (New Orleans, LA), which creates and empowers a community of healthy young leaders through running.  "BUT I AM NOT A RUNNER."

LESSON 4. MORE THAN RUNNING

I kept on hearing these stories from individuals explaining how they use running to enhance their passion or to make a difference for something that is meaningful to them. But they didn't identify as runners.. so why were they here? 

These individuals were using running to break barriers and make a difference in their everyday life! It was talking to these people that made me realize that this weekend was about more than running.  

I came to the camp so focused on running and breaking2 that I almost missed the bigger picture. IT’S ABOUT MORE THAN RUNNING!  It’s about finding the 2-hour barrier in your life and breaking it! That is why these individuals were here. Meeting them made me think about the barriers in my life, outside of running, that I need to break.

The ironic thing is that running is my passion and unlike the individuals mentioned above, I don’t use it to enhance other aspects of my life. In fact, I do the opposite. Being at this camp and surrounded by these amazing people made me realize that I've been using running as a coping mechanism to soothe myself and that I have fallen asleep in other areas of my life. Being at this camp and meeting these individuals WOKE ME UP. I need to stop using running as an escape, I shouldn’t want to escape in the first place. I suppose the overall realization is that, I need to find a way to spend more hours of my life doing something that I am either passionate about or find meaningful. That is my barrier.

THE REAL REASON THAT WE RUN

In closing this weekend can be summarized by Bill Bowerman - “ The real purpose of running isn't to win the race, it's to test the limits of the human heart.”

That is what this weekend was about. It was about inspiring others. Eliud, Zersenay and Lelisa set out to do something that the world was telling them can’t be done. I hope that they inspired you to pick a goal, one that is so big that you might be afraid to share it at first, one that will test your heart and your character, one that is so audacious that you might not even achieve it. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if you achieve it or not, but I guarantee that if you train for it and put a genuine effort into achieving it you will be changed and it will be the most rewarding thing that you will have ever done for yourself.


GOAL: 2:20:00

At the end of the day when I look back at what I have achieved in this sport, I would like to be able to say that I ran a sub 2:20:00 Marathon.  

Breaking2 was 2 years in the making. It might take me 2 years to achieve this, it might take me 4, it might take me the rest of my competitive days and at the end, It might not even happen. I have no reason to put a limit of myself and no reason not to try. 

To achieve this goal there are several smaller ones that I have to conquer along the way. The first being to get under 2:25:00. So in a couple of weeks when I start my official fall marathon build that will be what I am aiming for.

Thank you for reading,

I look forward to hearing your goals and following your journey as you set out to achieve them.

Eric Bang

THANK YOU

There are more people than I even know that I owe thanks to and I will never be able to thank you enough. Paulina, Jess, Ali, Inge,  NRC Italy for hosting us and everyone that made this experience my reality - Thank you 

PHOTO: @lebougmelo , Gautier Pellergin

Comment

Banque Scotia 21k de Montreal 2017

Comment

Banque Scotia 21k de Montreal 2017

HOW DID IT GO? HOW DID YOU DO?

 

I am still reflecting on those questions and don’t have a straight answer…

I suppose how I did  is an easy place to start - 10th place 1:10:57 2 seconds off of what I ran back in March at the Chilly ½

How did it go - I actually ran really well.  The night before I had written out splits for 3:19/km, 3:20/km and 3:21/km. I planned on holding 3:20/km  and fighting over the last couple KM to bring it down to 3:19/km. I came through 15k/19/20k pretty much BANG ON* so I was unpleasantly surprised when I came to the finish line to see the clock read 1:10:57. My watch said I had held 3:20/km for 21.3km.  

  at 18km I was at 60min on the clock. I told myself that I just had to hold 3:20/km to cover the next 3km in 10minutes to be at 21km in 1:10:00 and then it would only be a matter of how fast I could cover the remaining 100m

at 18km I was at 60min on the clock. I told myself that I just had to hold 3:20/km to cover the next 3km in 10minutes to be at 21km in 1:10:00 and then it would only be a matter of how fast I could cover the remaining 100m

 

Was the course off? Did I run awful tangents? Was my watch wrong? I don’t know. I am so used to making a plan executing it and getting the result. It’s one thing when the plan falls apart or if you aren’t able to execute it…. But it is frustrating to make a plan and execute it and still not get the result. In the end I ran what I ran and my fitness is what it is whether the result reflects it or not. All I can do is continue to put in the work and focus on my next race.

Congratulations to Rob Brouilette who ran a great race and posted a really fast time. He is due for a real good marathon in a couple of weeks!

Comment

CHILLY 1/2 MARATHON 2017

Comment

CHILLY 1/2 MARATHON 2017

MARCH 7th 2017

Here is what the 5 weeks prior to the Chilly Half Marathon looked like for me.

Timeline

2 Weeks trying to train while injured

1  Week easy milage, no workouts, treatment at the Runner’s Academy

1 Week back to doing workouts (way off pace)

1 Week tapper

Going into the Chilly ½ I figured that I should run conservatively and aim for my average pace to be between 3:24/km-3:26/km. My main goal was to run even 5km splits and to feel strong.

Unlike most races where I end up in no man’s land, I had someone to run with for pretty much the whole race. He was holding 3:23/km and I figured that it would be easier to push myself to run 3:23/km with him than to fall back and run 3:24/km-3:26/km alone. At 16km with just over 5km to go I was feeling pretty comfortable. I told myself that there was less than 20mins left of racing and that I if I made it this far comfortably that I could spend the short time remaining pushing myself and suffering. I finished strong covering the last 5km in 16:32.

5km SPLITS

5km-16:54 (16:54)

10km- 33:49 (16:55)

15km- 50:49 (17:00)

20km- 107:21 (16:32)

I am really happy with how in control of the pace I was and especially with how strong my last 5km was.

I am signed up to do the Montreal ½ at the end of April. Hopefully I will be able to string together 6 weeks of quality workouts before then so that I can get after a sub 70min ½.  

Thanks to Kelly Arnott for putting on another great event. It’s wonderful that she is able to assemble such a competitive field to get out there and go after it in freezing conditions!

Last but not least, a big congratulations to Aaron Cooper on running 1:07:46! I can’t wait to see what he does this spring in the Marathon.

- Eric

 

PHOTOS

 

 

Comment

SCOTIABANK TORONTO WATERFRONT MARATHON 2016

Comment

SCOTIABANK TORONTO WATERFRONT MARATHON 2016

October 18th, 2016

Congratulations to everyone that raced STWM on Sunday. It was a day full of amazing results and many inspirational moments despite the conditions. 

This Marathon build went relatively smooth, but was very difficult for a few reason. First off, something that I am sure affected everyone, the heat. The heat really slowed down all of my workouts and the overall quality of them suffered.

Second, (I know I may get some flak for calling this difficult) I made the transition to full time work and really committed to starting my career.  I work in Film/Television production and our work days (if we don’t go over) are 12 hrs. I am really happy that I was able to balance my work, training and my personal life. It is something that I didn’t think was possible in my field of work so I had passed on a lot of opportunities in the past. I am really happy to have found this balance. 

This was the first Marathon cycle that I have done where I followed a program under the guidance of a coach. It really made a HUGE difference. Last cycle I did a lot more intensity training than I really needed, many useless miles and I ended up very exhausted.

This cycle I never got to a point where I was lethargic or worn down. I was able to go hard in my workouts and didn’t do more work than I had to. I was 100% committed to the program that was given to me and that meant that I wouldn’t compromise or change my workouts to accommodate and train with others. This was probably the hardest part of this cycle.

The week leading up to the race I was unsure of what my goal time and pace was. I knew what I WANTED it to be… But I wasn’t sure what it SHOULD be. I thought I could run between 2:27-2:28 and that if it was a really special day, I could run just under 2:27. I had my doubts tho. This would mean holding at least a 3:30/km pace, a pace that I had not been able to run at all over the summer. But based on my 10km time from the Toronto Island 10k, my interval/tempo sessions toward the end of my cycle and my coaches reassuring words “ It’s not Summer anymore” I felt that 3:30/km was a good goal pace.

Race day conditions weren’t ideal, with it being a little warm, very humid and a little windy. When the gun went off I settled in with a large pack of ½ marathoners and elite women. The pace was a little bit faster than my goal pace but I figured that I could, a) spend extra energy keeping pace with them or, b) spend extra energy fighting the wind alone out on Lakeshore. With the thought that I would be in no-man's-land the second half and fighting the wind alone the last 8km I figured keeping pace with them for the first 10km and building a bit of a time cushion would be good.

As predicted, after the first half I was completely alone. It was around the 24km mark that I started to see runners on the side line that had dropped out. It seemed every few km I would pass someone sitting on the side of the road or pass someone that was falling way off pace. The thought that that could be me was very concerning. I kept telling myself that I was running within my capabilities, I was not in pursuit of anything more than I was capable of.

 Thank you Cameron Bush for coming out to the east end and cheering.  I really missed your company on this one!

Thank you Cameron Bush for coming out to the east end and cheering.  I really missed your company on this one!

My muscles were fine, I was still feeling strong at 34km but my energy was slipping away. I felt like I was driving a car and my eyelids were heavy with sleep. Every chance I got I threw water on myself to help me stay alert and focused.

It wasn’t until 39km that my watch slipped from 3:30/km to 3:31/km. The crowd was amazing and they cheered me on. I literally got goose bumps the energy was electric. My legs had the strength to fight back down to a 3:30/km. Unfortunately, once again I ran terrible tangents and there I was, 1 second discrepancy between my watches average pace and my actual average pace.  Realizing this as I came down the home stretch was tough. 

I finished in 2:28:29, I was 13th overall.  My parents told me that I was the 4th Canadian to finish.

When I line up on a start line I am racing for time, placing is never the main objective and going into this race, the Canadian Marathon Championships placing most certainly never even crossed my mind and it wasn’t something I cared about … until that moment. GIVE ME THE PUDDING! Who knows if I will ever come this close to the pudding again!  But at last, to quote Amy Poehler:

"You think you really want it. You're just like, 'Give me that pudding!' You just want to taste it. Then you realize, like everything else, it's nice to be included at the table, but if you get the pudding, it doesn't matter either way."

I know where I stand and how I stack up against my competition (I can’t even call them my competition really they are so much faster). I am well aware that there were many talented athletes that for one reason or another had to pull-the-plug on their race, many others that weren’t on the start line and even more that have yet to attempt this distance. My placing is just the result of situational/circumstances. It’s my overall time and the way that I ran in adverse conditions that I am most proud of. I was only 29 seconds off of my goal on a tough day.  I know that I could’ve done better had the conditions been better or even if I had had someone to push me over the last few kilometers, but I did the absolute very best I could on this day and for that I am happy.

Thank you to EVERYONE that came out and cheered. You made my heart race fast and gave me energy. Toronto’s running community is full of love and I really felt it.

 Thank you to every team, group and person that came out. Every single person that ran by you appreciated your support.  A big thanks to Nike Run Club. You have provided me with the amazing opportunity to engage and interact with the running community in away that I wouldn't get to otherwise. 

Thank you to every team, group and person that came out. Every single person that ran by you appreciated your support.  A big thanks to Nike Run Club. You have provided me with the amazing opportunity to engage and interact with the running community in away that I wouldn't get to otherwise. 

Mom, Dad & Jessy, your love and support are behind everything I ever accomplish.  

 Thank you to Michael Lin for capturing this photo. It's a picture of me turning on Bay and Wellington and my parent's  cheering me on. My Dad is blowing a kazoo that he got on a tour in Philadelphia when we were there for my last Marathon. He brings it to every race so that I can hear him. My Mom ( as Mom's do) is crying. 

Thank you to Michael Lin for capturing this photo. It's a picture of me turning on Bay and Wellington and my parent's  cheering me on. My Dad is blowing a kazoo that he got on a tour in Philadelphia when we were there for my last Marathon. He brings it to every race so that I can hear him. My Mom ( as Mom's do) is crying. 

Jessy from biking beside me as I ran in the heat to always making sure I ate proper meals and everything else in between thank you for everything you do.

 

- ebang

 

Comment

5 WEEKS OUT - LONGBOAT TORONTO ISLAND 10KM

Comment

5 WEEKS OUT - LONGBOAT TORONTO ISLAND 10KM

September 12th, 2016

I am 5 weeks out from The Toronto Scotiabank Marathon and I am in a pretty good place. 

It has been an oppressively hot summer and it's hard not to feel like the heat hasn't taken it's toll on my training. For the majority of this cycle, I haven't been able to hit my targeted paces and I have started to question if the benefits of heat training make up for the poorer quality workouts.

Either way, I have logged the miles and put the effort in all summer and things are starting to come together.

Yesterday I raced the Longboat Toronto Island 10km. Going into the race I was expecting to run just off my 10km PB (32:22) from earlier this summer at the Ekiden. I haven't been doing a lot of 10km speedwork, my interval sessions haven't been too encouraging and I have "marathon legs" so I thought this was a realistic expectation. 

The course was really beautiful! There were really nice grass sections and a boardwalk which although didn't make for fast sections, were really nice! 

At the start of the race, I settled in behind the leader. By the 2km marker, he moved to the side and let me take the lead. I held the pace steady and he dropped back a little bit more. I figured he was going to let me run myself out and then come back and make a move in the final kilometers.  

I saw that my pace was 3:14/km and told myself to not go any faster than that in case I had to really pick it up in the last km. When I came up to the 8km marker I knew that people were running out of distance and time to catch me. I told myself that if I work hard during kilometer 8 no one will be able to catch me in kilometer 9 unless they ran faster than a 3:10km. When I came into the final stretch and saw the time on the clock I kicked hard and finished strong. 

Unfortunately, the marshalls at the finish line thought that I was a 5km runner and didn't pull out the tape for me.... They pulled it out for the second place finisher so I got a real good view of him breaking the tape (even better than the view that I had when watching the winner of the Ottawa 1/2 break the tape 6 seconds ahead of me). 

This is the first race I have ever won so needless to say I am a little disappointed about the whole  tape situation. But at the end of the day, it doesn't matter! I could've run the same time in a different race and place 20th and been just as happy with my result. I ran a 12 second PB on Marathon legs and demonstrated a good level of fitness just a few weeks out from my goal race!! 

I am looking forward to the next few weeks of hard training and doing everything I can to be as prepared as I can be on October 16th when I toe the line at STWM. 

Thank you Longboat run club for putting on a great event today I thoroughly enjoyed it and can't wait to be back next year!

Comment

PRIDE AND REMEMBERANCE  5KM

Comment

PRIDE AND REMEMBERANCE 5KM

July 4th 2016

The pride 5km run is such a special event for me. It’s an event that brings together two communities that have had such a huge impact on my life.
 

This year I had the amazing opportunity to be apart of a 12 week program put together by IN Magazine and Nike Toronto for the LBGTQ community. It was great to share something that I am so passionate about with a community that has given me so much. Together, the INRunCrew raised $13,860 for the 2016 beneficiaries of the Pride & Remembrance Day Run.

I am so happy to have dipped under 15:30!  All of the interval paced workouts have been really hard. I often didn’t end up hitting my paces and when I did, my legs and lungs were left burning and I was left wondering how I was going to manage to hold that pace in a race. Luckily it was a fast field and there were two guys up front with me to push the pace. My official time was 15:29. I had to lunge for the line - 100m sprinter style finish (it was dramatic / epic).

 


When it comes to the marathon, I feel that I am at a disadvantage racing guys that have 31min 10k’s and sub 70min half marathons. They have speed and endurance while I rely solely on my endurance.  So after breaking 2:30:00 in my fall marathon I decided to take a cycle to bring down my PB’s in the shorter distances and to work on my speed.  I am happy with the progress that I have made. I lowered my PB’s in the 5k,10k and half marathon all by a considerable amount. I feel that the work that I did over the winter and spring has really prepared me well for my fall marathon build. I feel stronger, faster and fresh for my next cycle.  Onward to #STWM2016!

Comment

TORONTO EKIDEN

Comment

TORONTO EKIDEN

June 17th, 2016

TORONTO EKIDEN

I say this every year, so believe me when I say that the Toronto Ekiden is my favourite race of the year.

There are no participant medals, race shirts or road closures and there aren’t 1000’s of participants. It’s just all the Toronto run clubs and community members that do the grind day in and day out all year around, out on a quiet paved/dirt/gravel road.

Since 2014 I have been running between 33:36- 33:33 for the 10km and last night I finally took an axe to those times running a 32:22.

I pride myself on running smart well executed race plans / even splits. But last night when I took off of the start line I took off flying and I didn’t settle into my goal pace. I was running well under my goal pace.

My goal pace was 3:15/km which seemed daunting to me considering that it was 5 seconds faster than my previous 10km race pace. Even tho the pace was a little intimidating I knew that I could do it because it’s what I have been training for and what my training indicated that I was capable of. If there is anything in this world that I  believe and trust in it is my training.

There are 2 ways to hit your goal pace a) even splits b) go out hard and then fade to your goal pace (this option tends to lead even non- religious people to prayer during the second half - please don’t die).  I went with option B deciding to use the leaders to pull me to a really fast first half (15:45 ) and then did my best to fight and  keep my pace below 3:15/km on the second half. I am happy to say that even tho I did have a slower 2nd half (16:37) it wasn’t a dramatic crash and burn scenario . That being said I think that I will go back to running even splits.

A big goal of mine this cycle was to make significant improvement in my 10km &  ½ marathon time. I know that in order for my marathon time to improve my 10km & ½  also have to improve.  I am really happy with the results that all of my winter/spring training have gotten me and am looking forward starting to build up for a fall marathon come July.

Thank you to the Black Lungs Toronto for once again bringing our community together and putting on an awesome event.


 

Comment

OTTAWA 1/2 MARATHON 2016

Comment

OTTAWA 1/2 MARATHON 2016

May 30th 2016

Going into the Ottawa 1/2 I was hoping to run a low 1:11:xx or dip just under 1:11:00. I was ready to board the pain train early and ride it to the end. Unfortunately due to the extreme heat this past weekend I had to change my plan.

I decided to try and run completely even 5km splits. I figured this was the safest plan. Going out to hard could come back to bite me if the heat became a factor and leaving it to the second half was also a little risky with the heat as well.

My 5km splits were 16:53, 16:52,16:36, 17:00

Garmin  = 21.30km, 3:22/km, 1:11:42

Sport Stats = 21.1km, 3:23/km, 1:11:42
I was sure that I held 3:22/km avg pace the whole race. Between not running the best tangents and weaving between Marathoners I racked up a little extra distance (although .20km seem a bit much)

At the start of the race there was a pack of about 12 guys together for about the first 5km. One guy pulled WAY a head. I'd say at least 200m-300m.  Everyone let him go. I figured that there was either no chance in catching him or that he would just fall back to us in the later stages.  Around 8km at a water station I ended up pulling ahead of the group I was with . At first I was a little worried that they were just going to give me enough rope to hang myself but as the race went on and I heard people cheer for me I didn' hear any cheering for anyone behind me so I figured I was on my own  ( I refused to look back).  

I felt strong and controlled throughout the race. I dumped 2 cups of water on me and drank from a 3rd at every water station. It got to the point that I almost felt silly soaking myself but I knew that if I overheated at all there would be no cooling myself down again. If it were a wet t-shirt contest I would of definitely won.

Even though the first place guy was way ahead I kept sight of his guide bike and I kept telling myself bide your time and he will come back, just be patient, be a gangster like Desi Linden and keep your cool & hunt him down!  At the 19km mark I finally caught up to him! All I had to do was sit on him and time my kick right. 

I made my move with 400m to go. Unfortunately my kick was a dud. I finished in 1:11:42 a small PB and 2nd place. I am happy with the way I ran except for my last km. The first place guy was walked away by medics after he crossed and I thought to myself...if only I had pushed myself that harder in the last km maybe I would've won. It's disappointing to come so close to the tape and not break it. Looking back at the winners splits he ran the first half in  3:18/km and the second half in 3:28/km. I should've put the pressure on him when I caught up to him to try to make him fold.... should've would've could've?  

I won't beat myself up over it but I definitely won't forget this feeling and will let it fuel my fire over the last km of my next race.

AND for a good laugh I'll share this with you - At the start line I went to put my Endurance Tap in my pocket and realized that my shorts were on inside out! ... that was just the kind of week I was having.  meh.

Shout out to Aaron Cooper for toughing it out int he Marathon on a hot day and to Sandy Hilton &  Adam Cole for completing their first full / half!  

- Eric 

Comment

Around The Bay 30 KM 2016

8 Comments

Around The Bay 30 KM 2016

AROUND THE BAY 30 KM 2016  

April 4th 2016

Going into this race the plan was to run my marathon pace. Not having the training for a Spring Marathon to back me up M-pace over 30km would be a good challenge. 

I try not to look at the weather until a few days before a race because 1) It can change 2) I don’t like wasting energy worrying about things I cannot control.  Instead of letting the weather stress me out I focus on how it shapes my race plan and what I can do to execute a smart race. The conditions weren’t ideal with strong winds hitting you hard for a long stretch before you head into the final 10km with rolling hills.  With this in mind I wanted to start off on the conservative side so I would be able to still move in on the last 10km.

IMG_0614.JPG

A good group had formed in the early stages of the race and although they were on the fast end of my desired pace I thought it would be better to stick with them so I wouldn’t be left alone in the windy sections.  Our group actually ended up catching another smaller group ahead of us at witch point I dropped to the back for a little shelter and more space.

Around the 20km I found myself pulling ahead of the group on the rolling hills. My Garmin showed that I was still holding my goal pace so I figured that they were dropping off pace vs me speeding up and over reaching.  From this point on I was able to look ahead and spot runners that were struggling in no mans land. I and focused on catching up to them and picking them off. 

IMG_7491.JPG

With 4km to go I tried to pick up the pace and finish strong.  Unfortunately my body didn’t respond. I had an extra Endurance Tap in my pocket but my stomach was feeling a little cramped from the Gatorade and I didn’t want to risk making it worse by taking anything else. I was able to maintain my pace but I had no extra speed. Knowing that I didn’t have another gear I had to look over my shoulder to see if there was anyone on me.  I knew Tyler and Dave wouldn’t be far behind me. Both of them are training for a Spring marathon and I know that they have more training miles logged and more fitness in the bank. Luckily I had put enough distance between us earlier on and they didn’t catch me.

IMG_7517.JPG

27/30km of the run I felt like I was in good fighting shape.  During the last 3km I felt like I was drowning.  After the final push I crossed the line light headed , nauseous  and relived that  that I was able to hang on to my place.

Over all I am really happy with this performance.  This Winter/Spring cycle has been more about attaining a good level of fitness without driving myself into the ground and carrying this fitness over to my spring/summer training instead of needing to take a break and hit the restart button.  

Congratulations to everyone that raced yesterday! I am looking forward to seeing some fast Spring Marathons. I‘ll admit I am a little sad that I won’t be running one but I’ve got to take some time to work on other things before I gear up for a Fall Marathon.

- ebang 

 

10km splits : 35:05, 35:11, 36:36 

8 Comments

Burlington Chilly 1/2 Marathon

2 Comments

Burlington Chilly 1/2 Marathon

Chilly 1/2 Marathon

This is my second year in a row running the Chilly 1/2. It's a great event and a good race to test out how your winter training has been going (also the weather seems to improve every year).  

GOAL

It's fair to say that the goal is to run a PB for most races. We put a lot of time into training and we constantly push ourselves to improve. It's our natural instinct to do our BEST in a race.  However, looking at my race season and knowing where I am in my training, an all out effort wasn't ideal and it would ultimately hinder my training for my long-term goals. 

The main goals for this race was to feel comfortable and in control. The race plan was: 10km @3:30/km , 11.1km @ mid 3:20's and to not aggressively race anyone until the final 5km.

I'll admit that it was hard going into a race knowing that the given plan meant not running a PB.  It was an exercise of self-control and discipline to say the least.  I am happy to say that I executed the race plan pretty much perfectly and it felt pretty good. Unfortunately I have been dealing with a strained calf this week so I wasn't able to push the pace much during the final 5km.  There was a group closing on me in the final few kilometres and I knew that if they caught me I wouldn't be able to push the pace without further straining my calf.  I felt aerobically fit and like I could have held the pace for longer but increasing the pace would have further strained my calf. Lucky for me, they ran out of real estate to catch me.... had there been another 500m I am pretty sure they would've caught me and out kicked me (I AM TALKING ABOUT YOU DAVE & TYLER) 

 


Over all I am really happy that I stuck to the race plan. I felt strong and fit.  I am going to have to do some cross training to give my calf a chance to fully heal so that I can kick it up into high gear in the later stages of the race next time.

Congratulations to everyone who raced today. There were a lot of fast times. I have a feeling there are going to be a lot of guys in the mid 2:30:00's in the Marathon this year! Super excited to see everyone progress and get faster.  

2 Comments

Philadelphia 2015

1 Comment

Philadelphia 2015

More than anything, I am relieved. Relieved to have achieved this milestone and finally end this cycle. 

I started this cycle back in June with STWM being my goal race. Unfortunately for me Black Lungs Toronto, whom I had done all my long runs with over the winter, were planning on doing Philadelphia which meant that our long runs wouldn't line up. Over the summer, I ran 32-36km every Sunday alone in the sweltering heat it was awful… But I won’t lie a part of me loved the suffering. 

Unfortunately STWM didn’t workout for me. I was devastated. I felt so ready to break 2:30:00. The conditions were perfect and I knew the course. I had dreamt of how amazing it would be to achieve a goal that I had been working so hard for in my hometown with the support of the Toronto running community. I cannot express how grateful I am to have had my parents there for me at my lowest point. I literally reverted back to a 5 year old and absolutely needed them.

They told me I could do Philadelphia in November. At the time I couldn’t bear the thought of extending my training another 5 weeks.  I was SO TIRED. What if I showed up to Philadelphia burnt out.  Even worse, what if I showed up and just came up short of my goal, I didn’t want to have to deal with that disappointment. They told me that I had worked so hard and that I had to give myself a chance.

So, despite how much I didn’t want to on October 19th I woke up early and ran. Although 5 weeks seemed so far away, I knew that it didn’t leave a lot of time to get back into the swing of things. 

In the weeks leading up to Philly I  joined Black Lungs Toronto in their workouts. I really couldn’t have continued to push myself alone any longer, so thank you for having me out BLT! 

THE RACE

Going to the start line of this marathon was different because unlike all my previous marathons I had an actual goal time. Having a goal time meant that I couldn't just be happy with improving on my previous PB. It also meant that I had to work really hard the whole cycle and not become complacent.

My last Marathon I ran 37km out of 42.2km alone.  Thankfully, this time around, that was not the case. A few weeks before Philly my friend Cam reached out to me to ask what my goal was for the race. Cam had just ran a 1:12:xx half marathon at STWM and said that he was thinking of aiming for a 2:30:00 at Philly. We planned to meet up at the start line and work together for as long as we could.  We did a good job at that! We made sure to stay on pace and worked together in taking turns blocking the wind.

 

On Friday night I wrote down the 5km splits that I would have to run to hit 2:29:45 and what I would have to run to hit 2:30:00 flat. Cam and I were hitting our splits almost perfectly. 

 

Around the 30km mark Cam started to pull ahead of me as we ran into a strong wind on some rolling hills.  My gluteus were killing on the hills and I couldn’t keep up. Thankfully, once I hit the turn around and started to head back down I lengthen my stride and the pain in my gluteus subsided. I caught up with Cam who, by then, was feeling some pain in his hamstrings and had to fall back. I pushed forward and hit my 35km dead on 2:04:12!  At this point I told myself to stay strong and steady.

There is a workout I like to do during my long runs: Within my 36km log run, I do 5km at marathon pace x 3 with 3 minutes rest. When I looked down at my watch at 37km and saw my clock at 2:11:07, I told myself that this is what I had trained for. I had done this exact workout almost every other Sunday in the stinking heat at the end of 140km week.  

My parents said they were getting anxious watching the clock. The clock read 2:29:00 when they saw me at the top of the hill. I told myself on fresh legs I can cover 400m in 60 seconds and this had to be less than 400m I kicked as hard as I could. I crossed the line and a huge wave of relief came over me. I didn’t feel crazy endorphins, I didn’t feel overwhelmed or emotional. I just felt calm and relieved that I could move on from this. Part of me is surprised to have broken 2:30:00, but there is also another part that isn’t surprised at all. It’s exactly what I had trained for and I ran the exact race I had planned.

Splits:

 

Thank you

Dave Clark & David Hiddleston: I remember watching the Scotiabank Marathon last year and seeing you dip under 2:40:00 / Just off 2:40:00 It was very impressive and it inspired me.  I told myself that if you can do that, I could do better. I wrote down a list of goals for 2015, one of them was to bring my 2:42:32 marathon time down to 2:34:00 by STWM2015. Seeing how well you guys did really is where this all started for me. 

    Writing down goals is a practice that I have taken after Krista DuChene . 

 

Writing down goals is a practice that I have taken after Krista DuChene . 

Black Lungs Toronto: This time last year my highest mileage week ever was 80km. In January I started doing my long runs with Black Lungs Toronto and ran my first 100km week.  Thank you BLT for introducing me to long runs, for toughing it out through the winter and for being a great example of the hard work it takes to train for a marathon. 

Cam:  Running with you made all the difference. You have so much experience, you warned me not to try and bank to much time on the first 1/2. Running with you kept me calm and made me run smart.

 

Mom, Dad and Jessy:  You are perfect.  

I have grown so much over this last year as a person and a runner. I have become so much more focused and have surrounded myself with great people that strive for excellence and motivate and support one another. Thank you to everyone that has been a part of this journey! 

I look forward to taking a short break while I figure out what my next goals will be. 

- ebang. 

 

1 Comment

Comment

Toronto Zoo Run 10km

TORONTO ZOO RUN

 

Over the last several months I have improved my PB's significantly in every distance except the 10km.

As the Toronto Zoo Run approached, I thought about switching to a different 10km race that would have a less challenging course, so that I would have a better chance at  running a faster time. But in the end, I decided to stick with the Zoo Run because I knew that it would have a strong field of runners and I believe that tough competition with people to pushing you is what brings out your best on race day.

I normally try to negative split 10km races, running the first 5km more relaxed than the second. However, I was drawn into a fast pace at the start and ended up running a 16:05 for the first 5km.  I paid for that over the next 2km and finally started to get myself into a more reasonable pace over the last 3km. I am glad that I was reminded of the consequences of not pacing yourself during this race, so that I wouldn’t make the same mistake during STWM this October.

The course had a lot of ups, downs and winding turns. It reminded me a little bit of cross country. Had my goal for the day not been time orientate, I would've actually really enjoyed the course.

I finished in 6th overall in a time of 33:36. It's not anywhere close to the time that I wanted, but given the challenging course I think that the time reflects some good fitness.

I started this cycle off by running a 33:33 at the Toronto Ekiden, it’s a little disappointing to not have been able to improve on that time after 3 months of training. As frustrating and disappointing this is, I have to remind myself that improving my 10km PB isn't what I have been training for and is not my goal this cycle.

This was my last race before STWM.  This cycle has been much more training and less racing than last cycle. Not having raced much this cycle I haven't gotten to really demonstrate / prove my fitness to myself.   I am trying to trust the process and have faith in my training. I have a few more weeks of work left before STWM and I don’t plan on wasting them.

- ebang

 

P.S

Congratulations to everyone that raced over the weekend. Several members of the Toronto Running Community raced their fall marathon, Others did some tune up races at MEC's road races and several runners toed the line at the Canadian 5km Championships. The results are motivation and inspiring!  Good job #RunTO!

Comment