The Great Outdoors

4 03 2008

I ran outdoors yesterday for the first time this year. The New Year’s Eve “Resolution Run” was pretty rough on my knee, so I had been sequestered indoors on a treadmill ever since. Yesterday’s run went amazingly well, and it felt great to be outside again and taking in the cool fresh air. I went out at a very slow and deliberate pace, knowing that running outside adds myriad subtle strains not included with the virtual reality of the treadmill. The sidewalks were all clear and dry, but my usual gravel pathway was a complete skating rink. I had to walk on and off for most of the run, and I kept it short to avoid any re-injury, but I was pleasantly surprised to come home and see that I had run just over 4k in just under 25:00. Take out the walk breaks, increase the effort a little, and I think a sub-25:00 5k is entirely within reach again (I had only achieved this a couple of times in training last fall).

While the optimism is still coursing through my veins, I’m also happy to announce that I officially signed up for the 10k race being held in May at the Bluenose International Marathon. I was also glad to read that they allow you to upgrade or downgrade your registration up to the day before the race, so if I’m injured I could take it down to a 5k, or if I’m feeling particularly energetic I could ramp it up to the half (which had been my pre-injury goal for the Bluenose).


Ramp Or Taper?

26 11 2007

The physio rehab on my left knee has been going well. Still no definitive x-ray results though. Since re-injuring the knee on the 17th, I took a full week off with no running. The timing has been particularly annoying because I’ve got a 5k race on December 1st, so on the 24th I ran 30 minutes on the treadmill at a slow pace (covered 5k in 30 min). Then today, I decided to run outdoors on a flat gravel pathway but just for 3k. Given that I have run only about a third of my October mileage this month, I feel like I need to ramp up this week to get ready for the race. But at the same time, if my knee is still tender at all, I don’t want to wear it out. I think I’ll do one more training run on Wednesday and then take two days off leading up to race day. Something tells me I shouldn’t hold out hope for a sub-25:00 5k, but I did just set a new 3k PB of 14:21 today when I was trying to take it relatively easy. With any luck, there’s still some residual benefit to be mined from my October training even after I’ve been coasting all of November.

Ryan Shay Memorial Run – November 17th

16 11 2007

The Complete Running Network is promoting the Ryan Shay Memorial Run for tomorrow, November 17th. Shay was the U.S. elite marathoner who tragically died during the olympic men’s trials two weeks ago Saturday. There is no formal organization to this run. The concept is simple – dedicate your Saturday (or Sunday) run to Ryan’s memory by commenting on the CRN post HERE and let others know you have done so. Ryan died at the 5.5 mile mark, so that is the suggested distance but it is obviously the thought that counts and any distance will do.

I will be returning to my main training route, which happens to be almost exactly 5.5 miles.

Mini Rehab

10 11 2007

Well, unfortunately it’s been a slow week for running as well as posting. At the end of October, I smashed my left kneecap down on a rock while kneeling to position myself better to take a photograph (my other hobby at the moment). This resulted in some bruising, but otherwise I didn’t notice any effects until I was about 7k into my usual training route on November 4th. On a long climb, my left knee started hurting a bit and an outer rear tendon around my knee felt like it was sticking/clicking with every step. I kept running for a while, but pulled up short and walked the last k home. I took the next three days off entirely, and then hit the treadmill for some low-intensity training. The knee felt fine when running on the treadmill, but it’s still a little tender and feels ‘clicky’ when I get up from sitting down for a long time. I’m itchin’ to get back on the streets, but I think I’ll have to be good and stick to the treadmill for the next few runs. I’m registered for a race on December 1st, so I don’t want to blow it and be a no-show. The weather’s making it easy to stay indoors though – our first major snowfall is coming down as I type!

Target Practice

29 10 2007

Since this is my first year of running, I’m a little leery of losing momentum when the cold comes. The “off season” here in Halifax will probably be from January to mid-March, which doesn’t sound too bad, but extended hibernation can be tempting. I think it will be important to keep a few carrots dangling in front of me; or at least to spell out my intentions so it’s not as easy to backslide. Here are some of my immediate and not-so-immediate running goals:


  • – Join Run Nova Scotia to score a t-shirt and get ready for some friendly competition for the 2008 season.
  • – Register and race in the Halifax Santa Shuffle 5k on December 1 (goal time sub-25:00)


  • – Compete in at least 7 Run Nova Scotia races (year end standings based on your best 7 finishes)
  • – Complete Bluenose International Half Marathon (just double my current furthest distance)
  • – Complete a marathon (if I can do the Bluenose half in May, I’ll probably feel this is within reach)
  • – Finish in top 5 for my age class by 2008 season end for Run Nova Scotia

One Day/Year:

  • – Complete New York Marathon
  • – Complete Boston Marathon
  • – Complete Comrades Ultramarathon in South Africa (ya right!)
  • – Complete Spartathlon in Greece (okay, now I’m really just kidding! It’s 246km for pete’s sake!)

I think today’s post-run high is making this list a tad ambitious, but that’s what goals are for anyway, right? Just to show how there’s always a longer and tougher race out there to tackle, take a look a this elevation profile comparison which humbles a lot of people’s ‘Holy Grail’ race: Western States vs. Boston

Fall Progress

27 10 2007

Haven’t posted for a while, but have been keeping up fairly well with the running. I was back in Ontario last week, and took advantage of the opportunity to re-run the course of my fastest 5k (KSLO Canada Day Race in Burlington – stay tuned for the report!). My regular training run in Halifax approaches 9k and is very hilly, so I was lured by the flat lake-side pathway and stretched it out to a full 10k. Finished in just over 53:00 to my amazement.

With my confidence boosted by that run, today I got out to a flat course back home in Halifax (BLT 10k) and not only completed my second 10k, but also clocked my fastest ever 5k with a 24:57 first half split. Yahoo! Took a minute off my Burlington time from last week for the 10k too. With these two long runs under my belt, I’ve cracked 100k for the month of October. That’s my first time over that milestone, with the next closest being 78k in September. I guess the fall air really does help out!

Run For The Hills

18 10 2007

Since moving to Nova Scotia from Ontario this September, I’ve come to the realization that I’d never really ran a hill before in my entire life. For those of you perhaps unfamiliar with Halifax or east-coast Canada, think San Francisco or Seattle and you’re almost there. I have read some running blogs where people take photos along their training routes, but I can’t imagine either 1) lugging my camera with me on my runs; or 2) walking these routes just for ‘fun’. I’m all for walking, but I swear the hills around here would be even harder to walk than they are to run.

I remember living in Ontario and reading about doing “hill work”, and laughing cynically about how on earth am I supposed to find a hill of a particular grade that I can run up for 100 or 200m?  No such problem in Nova Scotia! I can have my pick of grades and my pick of distances all within close range of my front door.  I’m still not sure *why* I am supposed to run hills, but there they are. They have certainly slowed down my pace and re-configured my notion of what a “good” 3k, 5k, or 9k time is, but word on the street is that doing hills is like eating your Wheaties – it sure isn’t fun, but it’s good for you.

That being said, today I’m launching my “Training Routes” page with my current long ‘easy’ route: 9k of grinding it out on the hills of Halifax. I’d love to hear if you’ve got a regular training run that is hillier!