May Running Update

There’s one day to go in May, but it’s a rest day for me, so today is the day I can look back and see how things went.

I ran a full schedule of five runs a week this month and it’s really paid off in terms of fitness. In fact, I ran 184km in May which is the most I’ve run in a month since last April.

My VO2Max as calculated by Garmin is up to 54ml/kg/min and Strava has my fitness level at 52. Not bad and a big improvement since the beginning of the month when those numbers were 50ml/kg/min and 39 respectively.

On the weight side of things, I started the month at 174lbs and this morning I was just under 169lbs. Some of that is due to the running totals but I’ve also hit my steps goal every day this month and changed a few things in my diet.

Progress Continues

The step goal streak is now at 18 days with daily goals in the 15-16,000 step range now. Suffice to say, I’ve been doing a lot of extra walking lately.

May 1st was the start of something.

On the running side of things, I’ve been sticking to a solid five runs a week schedule since May 1 and it’s been paying off. I feel stronger and I’m running better. I’m also down about four pounds too.

On deck for tomorrow is an 18km long run to finish the week strong with 44km run. I used to really like to run around 42km for the week and I’ll be around that for the next little while as the weekday runs stay the same with 18km, and then a pair of 20km runs on deck in early June.

You might see a pattern here with training leading up to something…like maybe a half marathon sometime near the end of June. In fact, I have a race on my schedule on June 23 – the Scotiabank Vancouver Half Marathon. More about that later.

Five Runs, and a Steps Streak

After 14km today (bit of a step-back week), and another 5-run week, it’s safe to say that I’m in a bit of a groove here. It’s good to be back on the old and familiar schedule again.

I got out for runs on Tuesday (6km), Wednesday (6km) and Thursday (8km!) along with a Saturday morning run at Variety Village (6km). Today’s run was done solo and I ran some areas of the city I’ve never run before which made it a bit more interesting.

I’m also on a daily steps streak extending back to May 1. That’s the Garmin steps goal as well which is dynamic and has been gradually creeping up over the two weeks. It’s about 13,000 steps a day which is even a bit of a challenge on days I run 6km.

To get the steps in, I’ve been doing a lot of walking as part of my commute to and from work. I get off many stops early both ways and I’ve also added a lunchtime walk on non-run days to get the extra 5,000 steps in that I need those days.

Thinking About Vancouver

It’s May 5, 2019 and that’s also the day of the 2019 BMO Vancouver Marathon this year. I have quite a bit of jealousy thinking about those who were able to head out to run what is easily my favourite race in my favourite city. Having run Vancouver five times since 2011, it’s safe to say that a May marathon out west had sort of become an almost annual thing for me.

But not this year.

I’m taking a break from the marathon and so that meant no Vancouver race on the first Sunday in May in 2019. That said, I did get out for a run today and I tried to take care of a bit of that feeling of sadness about not being in Vancouver today by running through some of the Toronto areas that remind me of Vancouver.

Union Station and CityPlace

I took the GO Train down to Union Station with Lindsey this morning. She’s coincidentally entertaining a group of YMCA exchange students from North Vancouver this week (after her trip out there a few weeks ago) and they were headed to the Toronto Islands today. Heading out of Union Station, I ran down to the CN Tower and up behind the Rogers Centre before heading along the tracks through the backside of CityPlace.

This downtown neighbourhood is being built by Concord Pacific which also handled the construction and development of the former Expo 86 lands around False Creek in Vancouver.

I could see the participants in the Toronto Marathon (the poorly organized spring marathon in Toronto) across the tracks on Front St. and after a couple of turns, I was at Fort York and Bathurst St. for a few minutes to see the runners making the turn west.

Toronto’s Waterfront Trail

I continued south down to the lake and hopped on the Martin Goodman Trail (MGT) through the Central Waterfront area of Toronto. This area of Toronto reminds me of the Seawall in Vancouver which runs along the waterfront all the way around the city.

I hit the Harbourfront Park area behind the Harbourfront Centre. In Vancouver you have these neat views of the Harbour Air de Havilland DHC-6 Twin Otter and DHC-2 Beaver seaplanes coming into and out of the harbour. In Toronto, it’s Bombardier Q-400s from Porter Airlines taking off and landing at Billy Bishop airport.

The seaplane terminal in Coal Harbour, Vancouver

The area in behind Corus Quay in the new East Bayfront area of the city’s waterfront is the most “Vancouver-like” bit of Toronto to me so I made a point of running down along Sugar Beach and then along the water’s edge there.

Corus Quay and a little bit of “seawall” in Toronto

Once off the MGT, I made my way up the Don River on the PanAm Path for a bit. The Paddle the Don event was on and it was neat to see the canoes coming down the river to Corktown.

Back to Toronto

The remainder of the run was all Toronto. I took Queen St. across from Riverside, through Leslieville, and eventually to Kingston Road. The long hill up Kingston Road to Main St. was a chore, but also reminded me of Main St. in Vancouver (a bit of a stretch…I know).

Ten minutes two kilometres later and I was back home in the Upper Beach with 16km done to close out a 37.5km week.

Making Progress

It’s been a few days since the last post in which I pledged to get back into the habit of running regularly.

Since then, I’ve actually hit the treadmill a few times instead of running outside. The EBRC run on Monday ended up being 5km at Variety Village because the weather was looking crappy.

This morning I actually ran at 6:15 A.M. over at Variety Village with Ginny. It’s been forever since I got out before work for a run. This may become a thing.

I’ll run tomorrow night again and maybe Saturday instead of Sunday since there’s the Toronto Marathon happening and most of my running friends will be out running that or in Pittsburgh.

Re-kindling the Motivation to Run

Without a big race on my calendar, I’m finding it very difficult to stay motivated to get out and run four or five times a week.

It’s around this time of year that I’m usually counting down the days to a spring marathon. The BMO Vancouver Marathon is next Sunday and the Ottawa Race Weekend is just four weeks away.

Meanwhile, I have nothing to push towards and that’s left me with a decreased fitness level, and about ten extra pounds on my body compared to this time last year. I need to fix that somehow.

The obvious solution is to sign up for a fall marathon, but I really don’t want to run 42.2km again anytime soon. I’ve tried running the training schedule for a bit and then easing off once the runs get over 25km on Sunday, but without the race, I just don’t have the discipline to force myself out the door five days a week.

Maybe now that the weather has improved I can get out the door more often. I really just need to re-establish those habits of running no matter what on specific days. That used to be Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday. But with Eastbound Run Crew runs on Monday, I think it’s going to be more like Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday.

Consider this post the start of that new four runs per week habit. It starts now…

Palmetto Bluff Half Marathon

My second half marathon outside of Canada was a warm one…as expected. We drove down to Hilton Head over two days on Friday and Saturday with a stop in Charlotte. In hindsight, the half marathon in Charlotte on Saturday morning might have been a better idea.

Race morning featured sunny skies and 18ºC temperatures which for this Canadian runner was not ideal. I was hoping for something more like 12ºC at the start, but beggars can’t be choosers.

The little town was picturesque and the start line was the prettiest I’ve been a part of. The race started about 7 minutes late while they waited for a late shuttle to arrive. It was a mass-start with 10km, half marathon and full marathoners all hitting the line together.

The 10km runners peeled off around the first mile marker and it was just the half and full marathoners from there out along a fairly flat and straight road. I ran well for the first 5km with splits of 4:59/km for all five. Yeah…consistent.

After that I started to slow a bit as the shade disappeared and the heat started to build in. My heart rate was up a bit from what I would expect at that pace which I assumed was from the warm weather.

The back side of the course was free from shade and it was pretty hot. I was struggling to hold any sort of pace without spiking my heart rate up to 170bpm. I started doing run/walk after the one hour mark and used the water stations to cool off with cups over the head and in my hat.

Around 17km things got better with a bit of a sea breeze and some shade. I picked up the running (over walking) and set about to run it in as best I could. In the end, it was a 1:57:10 which was good for 101st overall and 14th in my category. Not my best, but given the weather I was happy.

Back over 20km

For the first time since the 2018 BMO Vancouver Marathon last May, I ran over 20km yesterday – 23.5km to be exact.

I set out with about 19km in mind, considering that I have a half marathon in three weeks and I really don’t have a lot of reasons to push things too far, too fast. The route was 23km, but I figured I would run through about 19km and then hop a streetcar back to the start.

As you do…

Well, as you do when the run is fun, I pushed through the 19km distance and we changed things up a bit on the fly to run past my parents’ place where I would check in (they are away for a few weeks) before calling it quits and hopping that streetcar for the last few kilometres.

After the stop, which was about 60 seconds total, I started running again and figured I would just keep going along King St. until a streetcar finally came. It never did and by about Spadina I could see the group again so I just decided to finish it up on foot. I ended up catching them around University and then ran it in from there.

It felt good to get up over 20km again. I thought back to marathon training runs in the past and remembered why I like distance running. It’s enjoyable to run out to Jane St. and through some nice neighbourhoods. I like the feeling of accomplishment that comes with pushing myself beyond what most would consider a normal distance.

Three weeks until Palmetto Bluff

I have two long runs before the Palmetto Bluff Half Marathon on March 10. That probably means one more run over 20km before a taper run the Sunday before. I’m feeling good about where I’m at, even with the less intense training I’ve done this winter.

Spring Half Marathon Plans

I’m super excited to have found a half marathon that takes place very close to our vacation spot in Hilton Head Island this March.

We arrive on Saturday, March 9, 2019 and on the next day, I’ll be running the Palmetto Bluff Half Marathon. Palmetto Bluff is about 45 minutes from our place in Hilton Head Island, and a 9:00 A.M. start time will make for a pretty easy get up and go on Sunday morning.

The course looks lovely – absolutely dead flat through the beautiful South Carolina Lowcountry on a big 13.1 mile loop. The little town where the race starts and finishes looks quaint and southern which will provide Ginny with an enjoyable couple of hours while I’m out running. There’s some photos from the 2018 race here.

After the race, there’s beer, food and some live music.

Early 2019 Results

Two weeks into 2019 and I’ve already posted my highest monthly run total since last May. I think it’s fair to say that I’m back on track now after six months of taking it easy.

With any luck I should just barely top 200km for the month which is something I haven’t done since last April.