Has it really been 5 months since I’ve raced hard? Yep. And it was good to get back into a competitive race at the Oasis Zoo Run which also served as the Canadian 10km championships.
Going into the race I had a 10km focus week which meant I had less volume (more speed) in my main sessions and less overall volume (175km last week). This allowed my legs to feel snappy and also allowed me to regroup after 3 weeks of higher klickage before I tackle some tough training weeks.
Right off the gun Dylan took the lead heading into the first turn and I thought he just happened to get a good start. After rounding the corner 100m into the race it was apparent this was a planned effort by Dylan to push the pace. Push it he did as he went through 1km in about 2:42. Gillis, Josephat Ongeri, Kip Kangogo, Rob Watson and I took chase not letting Dylan get too far ahead. I was planning on biding my time and bridging the gap by 6km. Let him dangle out there on his own for a while.
At 5km Dylan was still a few seconds ahead of Gillis and I (14:44) who were working together. We caught Dylan around 5.5km and he stayed with us with Kip stalking close behind. I started to push the pace more than anyone else after 6km. By 8km I thought it was just Gillis and I left out front but Kip caught up with us too. I kept putting in little surges to test the other guys. If one of those surges led to a decent gap I would have kept pressing but that never materialized so I started to plan on a final kick.
The last km has a few tricky hills and turns. With 500m to go Gillis made a strong move to crest a hill and Kip covered it. I felt it was too early for such a move and decided to make mine on the downhill thinking the run-up to the finish was flat. I moved past the two guys and gapped them a little but then I saw another hill and knew I should rest then hit the gas once more if they crept up to me. That’s what happened and I took off with about 150m to go for the win.
I was happy with the win and pleased to run 29:51 on that course in those conditions and pocket enough money to get me back to Kenya this winter.
On the cool-down we saw a Rhino, baboons, hippos, an elephant, antelopes, a warthog and some sort of water buffalos or something. Later I was wondering why I hadn’t done this in the other three years and realized all the other years I’ve been drug tested and had to do my cool-down within sight of the chaperone.
Today I got back into the swing of marathon training with a 37km day starting with some fartlek this morning. 5 weeks until Niagara Half and then 5 more weeks until Fukuoka marathon.
This track got a lot of listens from me this past week…
I haven’t done one of these running log posts in a very long time:
AM 29km, [6km warm-up, workout: 20 min tempo, 1min, 2min, 3min, 4min, 4min, 3min, 2min, 1min, 15 min, (3 min set rest, 1 min between fartlek intervals), all under 3:06/km, 2.7km cool-down]
TUE: 35km (34 Celsius!)
40 min pool run
PM: 15km with strides and drills
WED: 31km (still hot)
PM: 10km (very tired, not recovered due to heat?)
AM: 31km [ 6.5km warm-up, workout: 50min @ 3:06/km, 6 min rest, 13min @ 3:06/km, 3.3km cool-down]
PM: 13km, drills
AM: 34km (2:27:48)
PM: 40 min pool running
Overall it was a good week of training and I’m pleased with my fitness 11 weeks out from Fukuoka. I didn’t recover properly after Monday’s session but I believe the tipping point was the brutal heat (perhaps I should have taken it easier Tuesday given the conditions). By Wednesday I was dragging my feet and I told myself a slow pace was fine because I needed to recover. I think it barely worked as I ran ‘well enough’ Thursday morning but I was far from feeling good as it was still humid. On Saturday I felt good on my long run and was happy to ‘come around.’ Sunday was an easy day as I needed substantial recovery going into this week because I’m racing Sept 21 (Oasis Zoo 10km which are also the Canadian 10km road champs).
It was good to see Dylan Wykes return to racing by winning the Vancouver Eastside 10km in 29:42.
Great finish at today’s Great North Run half marathon.
My race schedule is confirmed and I’m excited about the next 12 weeks…
Oasis Zoo Run 10km – Sept 21
Niagara Falls Half Marathon – Oct 27
Fukuoka Marathon – Dec 1
Fukuoka was my first choice once I figured I was behind my STWM preparations. The extra six weeks are exactly what I need to get ready. Fukuoka could have been my first choice in the beginning but STWM got the nod because it’s so close to home, I would have my own pacemaker, my teammates are running there and, if things went extremely well, there’s a hefty $38,000 bonus for the Canadian record. Fukuoka is a great race on a fast course and l know the course pretty well seeing as I ran 31km of it last year. Travelling to Japan is a bit of a challenge but I’ve raced there a few times so I know how to play the game. The other challenge is the pacing. There is usually only pacers for the leaders and they go out at 2:06-2:07 pace. I’ll have to formulate some pacing strategy and be willing to be flexible on race day.
In the lead-up to Fukuoka I have the Zoo 10km to get, what will be, my first real race effort in 5 months and then the Niagara Falls half marathon 5 weeks out from Fukuoka. Last year I talked at the pasta dinner at the Niagara Falls race weekend and ran a good workout along part of the course. The course is fast, the race is well organized and has a good atmosphere. It should set up Fukuoka well.
Pacing the 2012 Fukuoka marathon “B” group – Scott Overall, Ryan Vail, Andrew Lemoncello
We did mile repeats on Monday and I was prepared to run them relatively slower since I haven’t been in that zone for a long time but I hit them just as fast as I have in the beginning of any of my marathon build-ups. A few days later we did a tempo session and that too went better than expected this early on in my build-up. Gillis is rolling well (he’s racing STWM in 6 weeks) and it’s nice to push the pace together. My overall running volume is where I want it to be having run 201km the other week and 225km last week with a 40km long run in the pouring rain. Things are coming around nicely considering I wasn’t supposed to start running until August 1st after 8 weeks off (I ended up taking 7 weeks off).
Spirits are high in Japan right now!!
MIssion accomplished. I went to the Crim 10 miler in Flint to run 5 minute miles which is about marathon race pace. When the gun went off I jumped in with the massive pack of Africans that bolted off the line. The competitive juices were flowing for a few minutes when reality hit and I knew that I didn’t want to risk blowing up at this race. (In races that aren’t marathons I should probably risk more than I do, but that’s another story…). I cruised through the first mile in 4:40 a little bit behind the lead pack. After that I pretty much just ran between 4:56-5:06/mile depending on the topography.
I ended up with a 49:42 (4:58/mile or 3:05/km) for 10 miles (16.1km) and felt in control the whole way. That placed my 14th and the winner went 45:55, it’s a good race. The purpose of this race was to get in a solid effort to jumpstart training and gauge my fitness. I came away from this race with what I wanted, plus a sweet finishers medal! haha
Before I ran STWM in 2010 and 2011 I raced the Acura 10 miler in the summer. On both occasions I recorded a 48:mid in the middle of marathon training. Being a minute back from this type of performance eight weeks out from STWM ’13 I made up my mind that I won’t be racing STWM this year. Instead I’ll pace the leaders and focus on racing another marathon later in the season.
When I broke my collarbone on June 3rd I knew it would be an uphill battle to be ready for STWM this fall. However I used STWM as my motivation to cross-train on the bike. I wishfully hoped that my bike fitness would have a seamless transition to running and I would be back into marathon training at the end of July. That was far from the case and by the end of July I had a good feeling that STWM wasn’t in the cards. After tracking my progress for a couple of more weeks I was pretty certain I would change my focus to a later marathon but I still waited to see how Crim went to make it final and public.
It’s a shame I won’t be racing STWM this fall as I was really looking forward to it but given my injury it just isn’t worth going after a marathon unless I’m fully prepared. The good news is that I’ve turned the corner in training and looking forward to the Oasis Zoo Run 10km in September and pacing the leaders at STWM. Hopefully I can confirm my next marathon soon.
We’re still making slight modifications to VICSYSTEM to render the site more user friendly. The brains behind the training system are amazing, Eric and I are confident in the training programs it computes but the site itself still has some cleaning up to do. Bear with us but if you’re looking for an online coach VICSYSTEM is more than ready to deliver all the workouts you need.
Training continues to come around, slowly but surely. I had a decent session a few days ago, nothing great by any means but a step up from the previous ones.
Whenever I have an early season race I seem to be able to train better afterwards. With that in mind I’m going to run the CRIM 10 miler in Flint, MI this Saturday. I’m not expecting anything other than a solid effort, basically a glorified tempo.
Canada did a great job at the World Championships and came away with 5 medals, the most ever in a WC. Other than the five medals I was excited to see Alex Genest and Matt Hughes in the steeple final and Matt breaking the Canadian record running 8:11. It was good to see Nate Brannen in the 1500m final and Mo Ahmed finish 9th in the 10,000m backed up with a 14th place from Cam Levins. Kate Van Buskirk had a breakthrough season making the semi in the 1500m and running a PB narrowly missing the final. I have to admit I was wrong about Kate. Early in the season she ran 15:29 for the 5000m and I thought she should stick with the 5000m because the way I saw it she was the fourth ranked 1500m runner in Canada. But she just kept dropping her PB until she was in the mix with the other three girls, and of course ended up with a spot on the WC team.
Rob Watson ran a smart race and finished 20th in the marathon. 2:12 marathoner Jeff Eggleston from the US also ran a conservative race and finished 13th. The Canadian women had a tough go in the marathon, which is a shame because they both have made big strides since they ran 2:31/2:32 last year in Rotterdam. It was brutally hot for the women’s marathon in Moscow and there were only 46 finishers (23 DNF’s). There weren’t many more finishers in the men’s race, 51 (18 DNF’s). That is par for the course because lots of guys go out for glory and save themselves for a fall marathon when ‘glory’ isn’t in the cards anymore. There were only 51 finishers in 2011 as well, and 21 DNF’S in 2009 when I ran.
Anthony Romaniw had a dream season taking more than 2 seconds off his 800m PB from last year. He ran 1:45:60 and qualified for his first World Championships, all at the young age of 21. Anthony is an exciting guy racer. It’s also fun watching him before the gun goes off because he can’t stop talking and he just bounces from one competitor to the other blabbing away.
In June and July combined I ran a total of 237 kilometres and realized that I have run more than that in one week. My weekly km total has only surpassed 237 on a few occasions, but surpassed nonetheless. For comparison, in February I ran 871km.
So far I’ve had a couple of harder sessions and they’ve been relatively slow but I’m seeing improvement and happy with the progression. I can’t expect much right out of the gate and I know my fitness will come around once I get some more workouts under my belt.
I know I’ve been slacking in the blog department over the past few months but I have two good excuses. The first is the lack of running and racing due to downtime and breaking my collar bone. The second is that I’ve had a side project on the go which I’ve invested a lot of time into. Eric Gillis and I are launching the Canadian version of www.VICSYSTEM.com, an online coaching site that provides personalized dynamic training programs from the 5km to marathons and beyond.
Back in February Eric and I met Patric, (the owner) at Lornah’s in Iten and were just talking at lunch one day and he told us about Vicsystem. It sounded cool but I didn’t really think a computer program could plot out a training system that well, I thought they were all cookie cutter programs. Patric let Eric and I plug our stats and goals into Vicsystem and I was blown away by how close the training plan resembled ours. I was most impressed with how it periodized my training throughout the whole year to incorporate marathon training, recovery, regular training etc. It also scales back really well to all levels, which elite runners sometimes have problems with when trying to coach all abilities.
The big hurdle was the website was only available in German. Eric and I decided to take on the task of developing an English version to serve Canadians. We also decided to put it off until after our Spring marathons. In late May Patric came to Guelph and we worked on the site for a few days. We added our drills, core routine, strength program and had some input into the training. We got a lot of work done but there was still a lot more to do. After I broke my collarbone I couldn’t run much so I decided to travel to Zurich for a week and finish it off, or at least get really close. There are still a few things we need to add but the site is now up and running.
There are a lot of things that I like about the site. You make your own schedule by picking out how many times per week you want to run and Vicsystem works with your schedule. Your training program is calculated using your current fitness level. When you record your running in the feedback section the training program evolves to accommodate your current fitness and changes your goal times and workout paces accordingly. Even if you run with some friends who are doing a different run than prescribed by vicsystem you can enter that info and it will factor into your training program too. If you’re running at altitude or over hills Vicsystem will tell you how far you would have gone on a flat route at sea-level. And if you don’t want to get that picky you simply don’t fill in that info. It also plans your weights, core, drills and exercises.
Check it out: www.vicsystem.com. It can be used as a free training log or you can pay-in for $150 a year ($240 for 2 years) to take advantage of the whole program, which is a great deal compared to other coaching sites.
Trip to Zurich:
The day after I wrote my last entry I went to see the surgeon for a check-up. He was pleased with the way my bone was healing but was cautious about my ligaments. He advised me to wait another four weeks (August 1st) before I resume running. Four weeks was two weeks longer than I was hoping to hear but given how my shoulder felt at the time it made sense. Last week I went in for another check-up and I was given the go ahead to test my range of motion. Since the last check-up I’ve been recovering at a fast rate as I’ve been able to move my arm a lot more. My bruises have pretty much disappeared now.
It’s been seven weeks to the day since I broke my clavicle which translates to too many hours on a stationary bike than I care for. I started pool running and doing a little bit of easy running yesterday. Pool running is a nice way to mix up my cross-training routine and a good way to help build back strength in my shoulder. After being in a sling for five weeks my shoulder was much smaller due to atrophy. It will be a little longer until I’m able to lift weights so the resistance from the water running will help build back some strength in the meantime.
I haven’t made any decisions about my race schedule yet. Instead of thinking about it too much I will wait until I have a couple of solid running weeks under my belt to evaluate my fitness and go from there. Seven weeks off running is substantial so it’s not as if I can just jump right back into full mileage once my shoulder feels good enough. There will have to be some build-up where I still do my harder sessions in the pool or on the bike. At least I can clearly see the light now and even running up and down a soccer field a few times feels liberating.