Bank of America Chicago Marathon 2017

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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 

 

 

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LONGBOAT TORONTO ISLAND 10KM

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

 

 

 

 

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PRIDE AND REMEMBRANCE  5KM 2017

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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.

 

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Waterfront 10k

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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.

 

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OTTAWA 10KM 2017

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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. 

 

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BREAKING2

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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

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Banque Scotia 21k de Montreal 2017

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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!

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CHILLY 1/2 MARATHON 2017

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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

 

 

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SCOTIABANK TORONTO WATERFRONT MARATHON 2016

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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

 

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5 WEEKS OUT - LONGBOAT TORONTO ISLAND 10KM

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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!

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PRIDE AND REMEMBERANCE  5KM

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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!

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TORONTO EKIDEN

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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.


 

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OTTAWA 1/2 MARATHON 2016

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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 

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Around The Bay 30 KM 2016

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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. 

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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.

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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 

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Burlington Chilly 1/2 Marathon

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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.  

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Philadelphia 2015

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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. 

 

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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!

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Toronto Island & Wasaga Beach Race Reports

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Toronto Island & Wasaga Beach Race Reports

Toronto Island Sprint Triathlon

The Toronto Island Triathlon came surprisingly quick. I knew that I had not spent enough time on the bike or in the pool to really improve in either of these disciplines but I felt that the time I had dedicated to them helped me feel comfortable enough to race well.

Going into the race I expected my times to be roughly:

750m Swim- 16-16:30

20km Bike- 35-36

5km Run- 17

Overall - 1:08:00 ish

The weather was perfect and the water was smooth.  Since the swim was so short it felt like an all out sprint for the whole thing. It felt really.... frantic. I was surprised to find myself among the first to get out of the water and through the transition zone from my wave. As soon as I got on the bike I just started cranking the wheel as hard and fast as I could. In my mind everyone would be faster than me on the bike and I needed to make as much distance as I could, while I could. I was shocked to see that I was biking between 37km/hr-40km/hr for most of the bike! I assumed it was the result of adrenaline and I was worried that it wouldn't last and that my pace would drop.  I passed the 5km mark and no one had caught me. Then 10km... still no one. Once I passed the 15km mark I knew that even if anyone caught me, there wasn't enough distance left on the bike course for them to make up enough of time on me before we got to the run.

Once I got to the run, I took off. There were several other races going on at the same time, so there was a lot of people on the course. It felt like I was running the last 5km of a 15km race. There wasn't a single moment that I felt comfortable on that run.

When It was all said and done, my overall time was 1:03:44!  I came 7th overall and 1st in my age group.

750m Swim- 13:24

20km Bike- 31:38

5km Run- 16:49

I swam and biked much faster than I had expected and placed way higher than I ever imagined

 

Wasaga Beach Olympic Triathlon 

Although I had done very well in the sprint, I was still very anxious about the olympic distance. I was mostly worried about being able to hold my pace on the bike for double the distance.

The swim was insane! The waves at Wasaga beach were really coming in. I felt like I was in a washing machine.  It was very hard to spot. I had to spot other swimmers because the waves often blocked the buoys. I  kept telling myself to just get through the swim and assess where I was at in the race, so that I could figure out  what I would have to do to catch up to everyone else.

When I got to the transition zone there were several bikes already gone.  At about 5km there was a turn around point, so as I approached this point I was able to count the people who were already coming back. I was about 15th place with 35km to go. I had my work cut out for me but I had a fair bit of distance to do it. I caught  up to people fairly quickly. I did a good job on staying on top of hydration and  replenishing electrolytes with nuun. By the end of the bike, I was about 8th place.

The run felt a lot easier than last weeks run.  I was running strong and feeling good. I was coming to the 2.5km turn around, when someone  told me I had missed a turn. I had to turn around and run back. This mistake cost me an extra kilometre. In the moment I was frustrated, but I knew that there was nothing else I could do other than push harder and keep running. The detour added about 3:30min to my overall time and cost me at least 2 places. Frustrating... but I accepted the responsibility for not studying the route more carefully. On the upside, I managed to hold a 3:26/km for the 11km and am happy with the fitness I demonstrated.

I finished  with an overall time of 2:13:14.

8th overall and 1st in my age group.

1500m Swim - 28:10 6

40km Bike - 1:05:47 3

10km (11km) Run- 37:29 1

It would've been nice to have an over all time closer to 2:10:00.... Next time.

Both of these races were very positive experiences. I would love to try again another season when I am not in the middle of training for a marathon. Since STWM is my main goal, I didn't taper at all for these races. I went into them with around 130km of training already done for the week. I am happy with the fitness these races have demonstrated. I am looking forward to getting in a few solid weeks of quality running and preparing for Scotiabank.

Thank you to everyone who provided me with guidance and advice going into these races. Nina, Alan, Jackie, Christina and to Avery for loaning me his wet suit.

Also a huge thank you to Laura. Thank you so much for letting me use your old bike for the summer. You gave me the opportunity to try something that I have always wanted to do.  I love racing and I love being competitive, thank you so much for giving me a fantastic tool to do so.

 

- ebang

 

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Try Something New

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Try Something New

I have always wanted to try racing Triathlons, but not having access to a decent bike has always held me back (or has been my excuse for not trying).

I was talking to my friend Laura about our fitness goals and what we were training for.  She is training for an Ironman next summer AND she is about 5 months pregnant!  #Ironmom! Check out her Blog here for some inspiration if you are ever feeling unmotivated.  I told her that I was in the middle of a marathon cycle but that completing an ironman was on my list of goals.

Laura gave me a look up and down and asked me how tall I was (a staggering 5"8).  She told me she had an old bike that would be just the right fit for me and offered to let me use it for the summer!

I immediately signed up for Multisport Canada's Toronto Island Sprint Triathlon and the Wasaga Beach Olyimpic Triathlon. This was the perfect opportunity to try out the sport and gain experience at the shorter distances, before deciding on whether or not I really want to invest the time and money into training for an Ironman.

Training started June 25th and the races were August 23rd & August 29th.

Being in the middle of marathon training and having STWM be my main goal, I couldn't sacrifice running workouts / milage for biking and swimming workouts.  I managed to bike about twice a week and swim about once or twice a week. I knew that I wasn't dedicating enough time to biking and swimming to improve in either discipline and there were times that I thought, "if I am not improving I am just wasting my time". As I got closer to the race day I started regretting signing up. I hate competing when I know that I haven't put in the proper work and that I am not going to do the best that I can do. I had to talk down the competitive side of me and tell myself that this was for experience, not performance.

Swim

In highschool and university I use to swim 3 x a week for an hour in the morning before going to class. I was never fast enough to be competitive but I have always been able to hold a strong and steady pace. It had been years since I swam distances, but swimming is like riding a bike, you never forget how to swim.  I managed to swim about once or twice a week. The two weeks leading up to my first race I went to Cherry Beach with my friend Christina (who is a power house in the water) to practice spotting. The first time I went I used my scuba diving wetsuit. It absorbed water and felt like I was wearing a weighted body suit. Luckily another one of my friends, Avery who use to do Triathlons, still had his old wetsuit and let me borrow it for my races. Thanks Avery!

Bike

Learning something new as an adult is - I am sure it could be fun - slightly terrifying.

Laura took me out behind our building and taught me how to clip in and out of the pedals. She walked beside me and gave me instructions and I only fell once.  Clipping in and out was only the first hard thing. Once I mastered that I had to find the courage to reach down to my water bottle. I spent a week just practicing reaching down to my water bottle, before I actually ever removed it. 

Biking wasn't only physically hard, but because I wasn't showing much progress, it was wearing on me mentally. It was a new machine that I didn't know how to use. I couldn't figure out how to transfer my energy and power through the bike, into speed.  Some days I focused on cadence and some days I focused on power. I kept close track of the different speeds I would reach in the different gears, at different cadences, but some days I would try the same thing as the day before and each time I wasn't able to hit the same speed. The most consistent advice that I got was that I needed to just spend more time on the bike. I really couldn't afford to spend more time on the bike and it was frustrating.

Once a week at the end of my bike ride I would practice mounting and dismounting my bike. I did have some improvement in this area. I wouldn't say that I was graceful at getting my feet in and out of my shoes, but I had found a system that worked. I provided a lot of entertainment for the other cyclist passing me while I was practicing this manoeuvre, and for that you are welcome!

Run

Adding two other disciplines on top of training for a marathon proved very tiering. All I will say is, that I am looking forward to getting in a couple of good weeks of quality running without the added burden of the other two disciplines.

I decided to race in the same shoe that I use for all my road races. I love the Saucony fastwitch6. I swapped out the laces for some quick pull laces and they were good to go. 

Sadly Wasaga Beach was the last race for this pair... They had a good run and served me well through many races. I have one pair of the Fastwitchc6's left and then I need to convert to the new Fastwitch7... I really really REALLY hope that the 7 is as goods the previous two versions

Nutrition

I have been using Nuun to hydrate and replenish electrolytes during workouts this cycle and I absolutely love it! I found that especially in the heat, hydrating with makes a huge difference. I have used a variety of gels in the past during races and they work great for the most part. However, I find that post race they leave me feeling sick and with an upset G.I. system. I have been using Endurance Tap  to fuel during long runs and I used it during my Olympic distance race.  Endurance Tap has 3 ingredients: Maple syrup, sea salt and ginger. It taste great, replenishes your electrolytes, gives you calories to burn and it's easy on the stomach.

Garmin / Gadgets

For training, to keep track of all my data I use Garmin. A few months ago when I was buying a new watch I splurged and got the Garmin 920XT . The 920XTis Garmin's multi sport watch. I knew that at some point, sooner or later, I would do a triathlon.  So I figured that I might aswell just get a multi sport watch now vs. later.  This watch does so much that I can't give you a concise review but if you are interested in learning more about the 920XT check out DC Rainmaker's blog. He does very thorough and comprehensive reviews of Garmin's products. All I will say is that if you do 2/3 of the disciplines  (swim , bike, run) this watch is a worth the investment. I always use a heart rate monitor when I bike and run. It allows my watch to calculate my VO2Max and give me race predictions for running. I use the flat chest strap Heart Rate Monitor because it is more comfortable, but there are others that will provide you with more running dynamic data. For the bike, since I am just starting out, I decided to just get a basic cadence tracker.

THE UNIFORM

You know the saying " Dress for the job you want" - well I guess I had that in the back of my head when I bought this Tri-suit.

Castelli makes a great suit. It fit me perfectly and was comfortable through the swim, bike and run.  I had no chafing, full mobility and the padding made the bike ride much more comfortable.

Thank you!

Having a new goal over the nice two months has been very refreshing.  I have had fun learning a little  bit about a new sport and challenging myself in new ways. 

Thank you Avery Best for letting me borrow your wetsuit! I would've most likely drowned if I used the one I had.

Thank you-  Christina Malinas for taking me open water swimming! We HAVE to get a a group together next season.

Thank you -  Nina Sieh , Alan Mcluskie and Jackie Dupuis for answering all my questions and for all the pre-race advice.

Thank you - Laura Sanhueza-Miller for loaning me your bike . I love to race and I love to compete and I can not thank you enough for making this opportunity possible!  I can't wait to see you conquer the Ironman next year! you are truly a kind and inspirational person.

Stay tuned for race reports!

-Eric Bang

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Toronto Goodlife Marathon

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Toronto Goodlife Marathon

I have had huge gains this training cycle as I have actually been... training.

In January I ran my first 100km week and from there progressed to running between 115-130km weeks. This is a huge increase in mileage considering I was only running between 60-75km a week before this.

Unfortunately about 2.5 weeks ago I started getting  really bad pain in my left knee and had to shut the training down and switch over to cross training. I immediately made a backup plan to switch to the Ottawa marathon incase my knee didn't get sorted out in time for Goodlife.

It wasn't until the Monday before Goodlife that I finally went and got my knee treated. Let me tell you treatment works and it is worth every penny! I won't get into the details but I pretty much have the weakest glutes ever and every other muscle in my leg is over compensating and since everything is connected to either the knee or the hip ( right?) the stress was finally taking it's toll.

Luckily we were able to loosen some muscles up and I was taught some great exercises to added into my routine to help prevent this issue from happening in the future.

On race day I had a good warmup and my knee didn't give me any trouble. I know that Goodlife isn't a super competitive race but I was hoping to have someone to run with for at least the first half. Unfortunately I only had someone to run with for the first 2km and the other 40.2 I was only own. I kept pushing myself to race pace but would drift off and then push myself back to race pace and drift off.  The race felt like the longest tempo run of my life.  During ATB I ran most of it alone but there was always someone in sight to chase down and  I knew that there were people that would reel me in if I ever let up on my pace.

When I crossed the line I didn't feel particularly exhausted, my legs didn't feel shredded or overly beat. I felt like I wasn't able to push myself to my full potential and that I didn't squeeze out 100%  of my effort.  I know I had a faster time in me I just didn't have anyone to help me chase it down. In that sense I felt like this was a waste of a marathon. I regret not signing up for a more competitive marathon so that I could've actually raced 42.2km vs just run 42.2km as fast as I can only own.

The loneliest 42.2km = 2:33:38

Satisfied no... Happy yes. I am happy with the gains I have made this season. I chopped off time in every distance from 3000m to the Marathon. I was hoping to be a little faster than 2:33:00 and I find a little peace in mind knowing that I can do better.  

It was great to see so many familiar faces cheering throughout the course and to see people support their teammates.

This season has been exciting and fun and a little bit stressful. My choose your own adventure training plan has  worked for me but making all of your own decisions is hard. I must admit there were times this season I wish I had a coach who was familiar with my training and my fitness. It was hard to guess what times and paces I should be aiming for as I have never had this level of fitness before.  Moving forward I am definitely going to look into getting a proper training program and a coach to make the most out of my efforts.  

Thank you to everyone that has pushed me this season to be better and thank you #RunTO for your enthusiasm and support.  

Congratulations to everyone that raced this weekend!


- ebang

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