Showing posts with label Sporting Life 10K. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Sporting Life 10K. Show all posts

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Ran my race

I ran my race on Sunday.  And it felt good!

I was ready for the Sporting Life 10K this past Sunday.  I'd trained well in the few weeks leading up to race day doing speed-work and distance runs. Last week I tapered according to plan including a rest day on Saturday.  No alcohol for the week either and I went heavy on the pasta for a couple days prior to Sunday.  I was ready to run my race.

Sunday morning in the pre-dawn I ate my usual small bowl of oatmeal washed down with coffee and a couple glasses of water.  Since I was taking the TTC to the start I also packed an energy bar for the 40 minute bus ride across town to the start.

My tunes were set:  "Two Step" by Dave Matthews Band followed up by Led Zeppelin's "Ramble On".  Pitter patter, let's get at 'er!

It's a big crowd of runners at the Sporting Life 10K and as usual the race organizers were well prepared to handle us with lots of knowledgeable volunteers and port-a-potties.  After changing into my race shoes...Puma's of course...I had a final bio break, checked my bag and headed out for my pre-race warm up:  Short sprints to get the legs turning over quickly with some recovery jogs.

I lined up at 7:40 am in the Green corral.  That was for runners running a 55 - 60 minute race.  I expected to finish faster but wanted to be at the front of the pack at the start.  30 minutes to stand in place waiting for our start time of 8:10 am.

Fun fact:  The first wave of runners started at 7:30 am.  My son Court and his wife Amy started in that wave.  Court's expected time was 41 minutes.  He finished his race as I started!

At the gun, I got a great start.  Fast and comfortable. Despite the adrenelin, I stayed on my plan and didn't get sucked into following faster runners early on.  That proved fortuitous.  Around 6 km my left hamstring tightened up and I had to slow for about 3 km's before I picked up the pace for the final km.  While my overall time was a few of minutes over my planned 52 minute finish time, I was very pleased:  Over 1 minute per km faster than my first race in April at the High Park Spring Run Off.

Overall finish in the top half and also in my age category.  Dam that hamstring! Now some time off to allow the hamstring to heal before my next race at the end of June.

Until next time...

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Passionate about running

I fall asleep some nights thinking about my run the next morning.  Truth be told, I plan my next morning's run as a way to fall asleep.  Works every time.  Running is good for the mind as well as the body!  I'm pretty passionate about running.

It's been a crazy start to spring in Toronto with snow and sub-zero temperatures dogging us right through April.  And even now as we start May, the pre-dawn temperatures still hover low single digits.  I ditched my full-length winter running tights right after the Spring Run Off 8K race in High Park early April and switched to my short, summer tights.  That's been incentive to get moving and keep running fast.  It's not beeen too bad most mornings if the wind has been calm. On those mornings with the north wind blowing...remember the line George Costanza made famous when he came out of the cold ocean, '...there was shrinkage'?  Thankfully I don't meet many non-runners.

I don't let a lot stop me from running.  Colds and flu are minor nusances...I generally run even when sick.  Raising my internal temperature helps me get better faster.  That's my story and I'm sticking to it!  I run in all weather conditions.  I love running in the rain...brings back the kid in me.  I confess though that when there is visible lightning I think about not going running.  OK, I do more than think about it...I don't go running in thunderstorms (Sally may be reading this).

This coming Sunday, Mother's Day, I'm running in my second race of the year, the Sporting Life 10K. I've been dreaming about it for the past week and as we close in on Sunday it'll get more intense.  My strategy is pretty simple:  Start toward the front of my coral, find an open track on the outside of the pack (sidewalk if I have to) then run like hell straight down Yonge Street.  Personal Best here we come!  Yeah, I'm pretty passionate about running.

Until next time...

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Downhill all the way

On May 8, Mother's Day, it'll be downhill all the way.  That's the next race on my race calendar this year:  The Sporting Life 10K.

The Sporting Life 10K attracts 25,000+ runners for an early morning run down the heart of Toronto. It starts on Yonge Street a few blocks south of Lawrence Avenue.  Close to the Sporting Life store. It's straight down Yonge Street for almost 6 km's before turning west for a flat race to the finish at Coronation Park just south of the CNE.  I'm looking for a personal best this year and with a few weeks of running to go I'me feeling optimistic.  I'd love to finish around 52 minutes and with a good start that's doable.  Just have to keep my mind focused, my legs relaxed and not be distracted by the excitement of the crowd.

Conditions should also be condusive for a great run.  We've finally got winter behind us and even though it may be in the low single digit Celsius temperatures at the 7:30 am start, that's a massive improvement from the -7C at the High Park Spring Run Off a few weeks back.

Oh, one more thing:  I'll be tracking my progress on Facebook and Twitter with MapMyRun but promise not to post the updates every kilometre.  Promise :)

Until next time...

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Off and running in 2016

What a difference a year makes!

On January 1, 2015 I did not run.  In fact I barely made it out of bed that day.  I was in the depths of pain dealing with a really bad tooth infection and had another 24 hours to go before I got into the dentist.  Running was the farthest thing on my mind a year ago.

Fast forward to January 1, 2016.  Overcast but mild morning when I headed out for a sunrise run along the banks of the Humber River.

Running near water on the first day of the new year is a tradition for me.  It started on Coogie Beach just outside of Sydney, Australia years ago and I've only missed a few over the years.  Most New Year's Day runs have been along the waterfront in Toronto. While not as scenic as the Coogie Beach or Bondi Beach in Australia,  it's pretty spectacular to run along the beach as the sun rises over Toronto.

So I'm off and running in 2016 and have three races planned:

May 8:  Sporting Life 10K.  Straight down Yonge Street with a flat sprint to the finish.  Personal Best opportunity #1 in 2016

June 26:  Toronto Yonge Street 10K.  Again, downhill all the way.  Personal Best opportunity #2 in 2016...or a chance to redeem myself if I flubbed opportunity #1

December 3:  Reggae Marathon 10K. Warm and flat with no worries about personal bests...this one's for fun.  It will be my 8th consecutive Reggae Marathon and once again, a nice way to wrap up the running year.

Until next time...

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

And on we run

I almost gave up running last year.  After over 30 years of running...with the last 3 plagued by foot injuries...I was convinced it was time to tie up the laces one last time.  I'd grown tired of just slogging along;  I wasn't interested in racing;  I was fed up!

Things got to a low point at the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon when I spent the Saturday at the Race Expo talking to runners about their race on Sunday.  I wasn't registered to run on Sunday...not even the 5K...and was totally bummed out.  Speaking with a female racing snob who spoke with disdain about 'slow' runners was the last straw.  On my way home that evening I had decided to quit running once and for all.

Then a funny thing happened.  As I reflected on my running over the years I was drawn back to my early competing years when 10K races were all the rage.  In those years in Toronto, Rock Station, Q107 in conjunction with Coors Light (see, even then Beer and Running were friends) held a series of 10K races in Toronto every summer.  I must have raced in every one of them over a couple of years and had my PR (42 minutes) at an overcast late summer race that ended by the water in downtown Toronto.

It slowly dawned on me that what I really liked to do was run in 10K races.  The current fads are the Ultra's and Half Marathons.  While I've run in a number of Half Marathons, I have zero interest in Ultras.  With one exception:  I've followed Navin's exploits in Ultras including how he added 8 km's to the full marathon distance at Reggae Marathon last December so he could brag that he'd run 50K that morning.  Love his enthusiasm but I'm NOT doing that!!

10K races are the perfect race distance for me.  It takes about an hour now for me to finish...I suppose if I pushed it I could get to 50 minutes but why?  At the hour pace I'm comfortable, get to listen to runners talking as they run and get to take in the sites of the city.  For 2015 I have three 10K's planned:  The Toronto 10K and the Sporting Life 10K in the Spring.  Both run downhill so I have a good opportunity to get close to the 50 minute mark without trying too hard.  And a big finish for the racing year at the 15th Reggae Marathon in Negril, Jamaica in December.

I feel re-energized already.  I'm looking forward to training runs again...heck, I'm looking forward once again to just running.

Until next time...


PS:  I got inspiration from my friend Dan Cumming who recently shared his thoughts on the pleasures of running:  What?  It's 2015? already!?

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

My Year in Running: 2014 Blog Favourites

I had a challenging year running in 2014.  It started on a low note with another foot injury but finished on a high with a nice 10K run at Reggae Marathon.

In an ill-advised attempt to speed up, I re-injured my right foot early in 2014 and had to use my walking cast again.  Winter running in Toronto was also cold. Frigid actually with lots of talk about the Polar Vortex.  Things improved as Spring came and the fabulous running trails that criss-cross Toronto opened up again. And I was back to a good running pace in my first race of the year, a downhill 10K.  Running in 2014 ended on a high note with Reggae Marathon.  I posted a better time than in 2013 and even had enough for an all out sprint at the end.  A challenging year at the start but with a nice finish.  I'm definitely looking forward to 2015.  Here are some of the highlights from 2014:

Running in the Polar Vortex:  Running is supposed to be simple.  T Shirt, shorts, running shoes. Running in the winter means adding layers...running in super frigid temperatures means head to toe coverage.  Here's how I dealt with running during the Polar Vortex 

We runners in Toronto are blessed with some fabulous running trails.  From the Don Valley (and connecting trails in the east) to the Waterfront Trail along Lake Ontario to mh favourite close to home, the Humber River, we have tremendous choices to stay off the roads.  Here are some of the top trails in Toronto:  Running the Trails in Toronto  

After the second foot injury, I was pretty dejected. I almost stopped running altogether at that point.  Thankfully though I re-discovered the 10K race distance that I had enjoyed so much back in my mid-30's.  I did two 10K's in 2014 starting with the Sporting Life 10K in the Spring in which I ran with two of my sons, Court and Andrew. Loved it!  Sporting Life 10K 

Here's how I truly feel about running:   Cucurri Ergo Sun:  I run therefore I am.

Until next time...

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Looking Good at the Sporting Life 10K

Every runner is delusional.  In our mind we are all Elite Marathoners and have the smooth, effortless running style of a Gazelle.  In reality, and speaking for myself, I'm closer to a plodder with a painful-looking running style.  Having this discrepancy between fantasy and reality is why I continue to run...maybe one day I'll have that svelte, easy style.  Or maybe not...

This is my son Andrew at the recent Sporting Life 10K.  He had a very respectable time of sub-42 minutes. And he did it looking good!

I was a mere 16 minutes behind him.  Both he and his brother Court were at the finish waiting for their 'Old Man'.  Even though we didn't run side-by-side we ran together.  That was special.

Until next time...

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Sporting Life 10K Dun! I'm back baby!!

5 minutes to go!  I'm in the second coral.
Optimistic about a sub 55 min finish...before the injury!
The Weather gods were smiling on the organizers of the Sporting Life 10K this past Sunday: 10 degrees Celsius, no wind, sunny...perfect conditions for running.  And with it being mostly downhill, a perfect race for me to get back into running.

It being Mother's Day, I couldn't ask Sally to drive me to the start for 7 am.  Instead I made the trek to Bloor Street and boarded the first of two Blue Light Buses to get me to the start.  For those of you not familiar with the nuances of the TTC Subway system, the Subways don't start running until 9 am on Sunday! Instead the City operates all night buses along a number of major routes, Bloor Street being one of them. Anticipating delays, I got to my stop early with Led Zeppelin's 'Ramble On' playing on my Samsung Galaxy 4.  With no traffic, we zipped across Toronto in 12 minutes arriving at my transfer point (Yonge Street) ridiculously early...I barely had time to swallow my peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

The ride up Yonge Street to Eglinton Avenue was also super fast and along the way it was cool to see the volunteers setting up the water stations in advance of the 27,000 runners who would be streaming by them in a couple of hours.  I had Dave Matthews 'Jimi Thing' Live from Central Park playing by now and felt really relaxed and loose ahead of my first race of the year.

The Sporting Life 10K starts about 500 metres north of Eglinton Avenue on Yonge Street and runs straight down Yonge Street for almost 7 km's.  With only a few slight inclines, it really is downhill all the way (The Red Line above shows the elevation change).  At the turn, it runs flat for the final 3 km's.  I wasn't expecting much to be totally honest since I had only completed 4 training runs prior to the race.  I was hoping for under an hour but truthfully finishing was my only goal.

Andrew and Court were also running but they were with the first wave of runners...yes, the Elite group. I didn't see them at the start and only hoped they'd wait around for me at the finish (they did).  Both did really well finishing in just under 42 minutes (Andrew edged Court which is a first and good for many months of bragging rights).

58 minutes!

OK, a little over that was my official Chip time and I tell you I was super pleased.  I even had enough in the tank to pick up the pace for the final 2 km's with a sprint to the finish line.  It felt great to have the finisher medal slipped over my head.

So what's next?  "I need to loose a few lbs"!  Seriously!  Not running for the past couple of months has allowed the weight to creep up...make that flow down and the spare tire, muffin top running look was not attractive.  Bye, bye salty snacks!

In no particular order, here are some memorable photos from Sunday:

When you gotta go, you gotta go.  Yes there were more than enough port-a-potties
Coronation Park at the finish line.  About the only location downtown to handle 27,000 people after the race
Yeah I'm sucking in my stomach but with these guys to my left and right I had no choice.
But you have to love my Puma Running shirt (Thanks Holden)
Until next time...

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

It's nice to be running again

My legs felt like lead;  my breathing was laboured;  I felt like a slug.

Man is it nice to be running again!

If you've been following along, I re-injured my right foot back in the winter.  I knew the drill:  Walking cast on for 6 weeks before easing back into running.  This time I didn't go swimming or even attempt to maintain any aerobic activity.  It was a cold, snowy winter and the thought of heading out at 5:30 am to go swimming just didn't appeal to me.  I did a lot of pushups and squats though so all was not lost.  But it was a struggle this past weekend when I went out for my first post-injury run.

I did a combination of walking and running with an emphasis on walking for my first time out.  And for the first actual 'running' I chose the softer more forgiving surface of the clay track at the local high school. And I didn't push it...only did a couple of laps actually running.  I couldn't have done more given the ragged breathing.  Fortunately though after a day of rest my second outing was more comfortable.  Monday morning after another day of rest was a 3 1/2 mile continuous run and only then did I start to feel really comfortable again.  I still felt like a slug but my breathing was much more comfortable.

All this is a prelude to my running goal this weekend:  Running in the Sporting Life 10K on Mother's Day.  I know, I know I have to take it easy and mentally I am prepared to walk if I have to. I won't be trying for a Personal Best but hoping to come in under 1 hour.  Yes, the competitive juices are still alive and well.  That's the Finisher Medal I'm looking forward to getting this Sunday.  Plus I'll be using the MapMyRun App on my Samsung Galaxy Smartphone...can't get any more hi-tech than that :).

It is nice to be running again.  The real goal now is to stay healthy, loose a few pounds and not break any more bones.

Until next time...

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

The Next Big Race: Sporting Life 10K

So as 2013 comes to an end I've had the opportunity to reflect back on a year of running.  It began back in the cold, dark months of January with tentative steps as the first stage of running after sustaining broken bones in my right foot.

It wasn't pretty.  I'd gained a few pounds after months of less intense physical activity and my leg muscles cried in agony as I pushed beyond just fast walking.  But I persevered and by early spring I was running regularly. A relatively mild and snow-free winter in Toronto helped a lot to get back into the groove.

Then my son Court invited to run with him in the Sporting Life 10K in early May.  I was pretty sure I'd be slow as molasses but it was the first big running test.  Heavier than normal I pounded down Yonge Street and even had a little something left for the final sprint-to-the finish.  It felt good.

I didn't race again until the Reggae Marathon 10K in Negril, Jamaica in early December.  After all these years of running and racing, I'd come full circle:  I spent much of the 1980's and 1990's running many 10 K races in Toronto . Nice!

So what's my next BIG race?   I've already hinted at it:  the Sporting Life 10K on May 11, 2014.

On that early spring morning I'll join 25,000+ other runners heading straight down Yonge Street in Toronto.  It's mostly all downhill with a flat finish. That early in the year should produce ideal cool racing conditions.  I expect a relaxed yet fast result.

Training for the Sporting Life 10Kwill include lots of speed work at the local high school track this spring along with longer runs along the Humber River trails.  I may even include some water running along with some spinning at a local gym.  Yes it's all about the running but I'll mix it up a bit this year.

As we move into the depths of Winter in Toronto, the beacon of light that is the the Sporting Life 10 K in May will be the bright goal.

Until next time...