Post ATB

Hello everyone,
I’m going to give a little report of my race today and the past few weeks of training. It’s funny how the body works sometimes and not others. I was pleasantly surprised with how good my training has been since my last race. I’ve done some consistent mileage around 120k and I’ve had some fast workouts with 1-2k intervals in the 305-315/km range.

Going into today’s race I was confident with my training and my usual pre race routine; lots of water, lots of carbs and decent sleep. I’ve had some tightness in my left glut for a whie but it hasn’t slowed me down much until now. Weather was not ideal today -6 and a 25km/h north west wind made it feel much colder so it was full tights and long sleeve for me today. It was sunny and footing was good however so I still felt i could run a 3:20/km pace putting me around 1:40.00 for 30k and in contention for top 5. Unfortunately that didn’t happen today. I started out right where I wanted to, around a 3:15/km pace banking some time with the wind with the leaders still in view and feeling pretty good.
We turned against the wind around 10k and I was still working and staying motivated until I saw my split at 15k. Average hr was 172 but pace was 3:30/km from 10-15k. 172 is an effort I should be able to run for a full 30k.
Tightness in my left gluteus, mental and physical fatigue and negative self talk started to take place. Feeling like dropping out around 17k luckily I was on the wrong side of the bay. The only way back was to run. Over the hills on northshore being passed by several others my heart rate dropped to 150 and pace slowed to around 3:55/km. Suddenly I was doing long run effort and feeling sorry for myself. I got to 25k and decided I was tired of being passed and feeling sorry for myself. I just wanted the run to be over with. I got my heart rate back up to the 170’s passed two runners getting my pace back under 3:30/km finishing with a bit of pride.

The take away from this race is that we all have good and bad days. We all have inner demons that try to hold us back and we must overcome them. I’m happy that I finished and didn’t steer to my car in the last km to hide my performance or lack there of. Nothing would be worse for my pride than not finishing. After all I’m a physically capable, healthy young man with two legs. I should be grateful for the fact that I can do what I love everyday and run.

I hope this helps all of you who’ve finished a race you weren’t very happy with. Learn from that experience, move on from it and give it your all in the next one.
I’m off for dinner and a pint.

Cheers

Lucas

Chilly Half Recap

I guess I couldn’t keep my resolution of writing in my blog every other week, but I’ll try at least one entry/month.

Congrats to everyone who did the Chilly Half Marathon and the Frosty 5k this past Sunday. My training was pretty consistent for January and February leading up to this race, around 100-125k/week. With how great the weather’s been this winter I really can’t use that as an excuse and while everyone seems to be getting sick around me, I’ve managed to stay  illness free. The quality of my training hasn’t been as good as I would’ve hoped. I think I can count on one hand the number I got my heart rate over 160 since my last race on Boxing Day. Although I haven’t been training very intensely I’ve made up for it in strength training which has allowed me to stay injury free. It also helps me feel mentally and physically rested for race day (I get excited to run hard!)

I treated the Chilly Half Marathon as I do all my races (another opportunity to run hard and have fun doing it with little pressure on running a specific time). I woke up 3 hours before the race at 7:00am, had three slices of rye toast with Peanut butter and banana with black tea and 500ml bottle of water. It gives me some simple carbs for energy and a bit of PB to help me feel satisfied. The water and tea help hydrate, activate my central nervous system and move things along well before the race starts.

I got to the race event around 8:40am found parking fairly easily and spotted Ling and Lyle on my way in so I looked to find them and have a little pre-race strategy chat with them. Around 9:00am I set out to do a 5k warm up run gradually increasing the pace from 5:30-4:00/km. I did my usual dynamic stretching had a last sip of water than found a bathroom before setting to the start line for some strides at race pace. Temperature was -1C at the start but I opted for shorts, long sleeve, gloves and a toque because I knew with the 10am start, no wind and sun the course would warm up quickly.

The gun went off and group of 7-8 runners including myself started form a little lead pack. The early pace was about 3:12/km for the first 5k which I was comfortable running as a pack where I could draft and let others do the work. From 5k-10k the group dwindled down to 5runners averaging around 3:15/km. Tristan the eventual race winner was strong and started to push the pace again, Josh (who finished 2nd) decided to go with him. The pace was too aggressive for me and two others so we let them go working together at about a 3:18pace for the next 5-6k. After the 13k turn around we were facing the wind which made things a little more challenging. I could tell the other 2 runners with me were hurting as much as I was so I used my experience to my advantage by pushing solo around 16k mark. Surprisingly no one went with me so I just used Josh in front of me (who seemed to be fading a bit) as my motivation. I wasn’t able to close the gap on Josh but I was able to make a big enough gap that those young guys behind me weren’t able to chase me down when they saw the finish.

I finished 3rd in 1:09.34 smiling, happy to be done and happy with my time and race strategy. I was also happy about the flowers I got for placing 3rd because my wife loves flowers! 1:09-1:10 was about I expected to finish at based on my training. After the race I ran back along the route to cool down and cheer on my fellow Port Credit Runners! It was so great seeing all of them several times on this out and back route and finish with great times!

Looking back at the race my average heart rate was 173, maxing out at 184 and my average pace was 3:18/km. Very typical HR numbers for that pace and my current fitness. One thing I was prepared for was how sore I would be the next 48 hours after the race. I woke up the next morning feeling like I got hit by a truck. Things are loosening up now and I’ve been able to do some easy running with the clinics this week. I guess that’s pay back for only running hard 5 times since my last race.

Luckily Around The Bay is only 3 weeks from Sunday so my body should be a little more prepared for running hard. I’ll try to get a few more hard efforts in before though.

Please message me with any comments and questions!

Until next time, keep enjoying every run!

Great Winter Running Weather/Runner Diet

Hello everyone,

I’m writing my second blog entry of the year keeping my New Year’s resolution going!

January has been a relatively great month for training with mild temperatures and minimal snow! I’ve been able to increase my mileage to about 120k/week by squeezing in runs on lunch breaks and with the groups and individuals I’ve been coaching. Mostly easy running (which I always enjoy) but the few hard runs I’ve been able to fit in are pretty good ones. Last week I ran a 10k in heavy layers and no warm up in 38min which I was pretty happy with. Hopefully in the upcoming weeks I can fit in some interval training on a day that I’m not competing too much with winter.

I’ve been focusing quite heavily on strength training to help maintain muscle mass and prevent injury for when I start activating my limited fast twitch. Strength for me usually consists of various planks, side crunches, biceps, triceps, lat’s, trap’s, delt’s, one leg squats with low weights or bands for 30-45min 3 days/week.

My diet is generally pretty good and stable. I’m not the type to over indulge or deprive myself of anything at anytime through out the year. I like to make my own food and bring it to work to ensure I get adequate intake of fruits, vegetables, complex carbs, protein, healthy fats and Iron which I seem to have trouble with. During high volume training I would estimate that 20% of my diet is from Protein, 25% from fats and 55% is from Carbohydrates. I find my body responds better to eating several small meals or snacks a day rather than one or two big meals. It allows me to keep blood sugar levels stable so I can run at any time of the day and fuel immediately post run and still get adequate caloric intake. Every day of the week might be a different diet plan based on run times although I do have my favorite nutrient packed meals

A typical Tuesday will look like this;

6:45am – Plain cooked Oatmeal, Plain 0 or 2% Greek Yogurt, Natural PB and a banana, Black Coffee and 2 cups of water

Arrive at work around 8:45am

9:45am – Run with my Burlington Chilly Half Marathon Clinic (7-9k)

11:00am – Kashi protein plus cereal, vega protein powder, cranberry deluxe trail mix, blueberry’s. 2 cups of water (glass of Orange Juice)

12:30pm – Afternoon Coffee Black

2:30pm – two slices of rye bread with 2tbs of 100% avocado spread and Cliff bar. 2 cups of water

6:00pm – run with my Mississauga Marathon and 1/2 Marathon clinics (10k)

8:00pm – Canned Tuna, instant rice and mixed frozen vegetables for a quick immediately nourishing meal. 3 cups of water

9:30pm – 2 Home made Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies made by my wife. Dark Beer to help me relax and fall asleep (I seem to be on an Innis and Gun kick)

Approximately 10:45 – In bed.

Somewhere around 3000 calories a day and I used Tuesday as an example as it can be a challenging day for most people working fulltime trying to fit a run and a healthy diet.

My next entry I promise to have a good workout to elaborate on!

(Even in January) enjoy every run!

Lucas

New Year’s Resolutions and 2015 Recap

Hello and Happy New Year Runners and Supporters!

I made a new year’s Resolution to write in my blog at least once every other week.  Bare with me on this one since I haven’t done a blog entry since last February I think and a lot has happened since then.

Last spring I made one final attempt to qualify for the Pan Am games at the Ottawa Marathon. Leading up to the race I was running 160-190k/week while maintaining intensity on interval and tempo workouts. I felt ready to run a personal best.

I found out when I was in Ottawa that they changed the qualifying criteria for the games.  They were going to take the top 2 runners (who wanted to compete for Canada) between January 2014 and May 2015 for the Marathon event regardless of time. As it stood before even starting the Ottawa Marathon I was 5th in line for the Canadian team with my time from the 2014 Houston Marathon of 2:18.15. In order to better my chances of qualifying for the team I was now targeting Rob Watson’s and Kip Kangogo’s 2014 times of 2:16.37 and 2:17.11 respectively. Although I missed those targets I still had a great performance of 2:19:32.

Reid Coolesaet and Eric Gillis were ranked # 1 and 2 in Canada and both declared that they did not want to run Pan Ams so the decision was with Rob Watson and Kip Kangogo on whether to compete for Canada or not. They decided to go and I was strung along as an alternate until the final team was declared early July.

It was hard at first watching the Pan Am games knowing how close I was to competing and representing Canada but I’m lucky to have such great support from friends, family and my wife to help me realize how truly lucky I am to do what I love. I can truly say that I gave it my best in every race for over 2 decades and that’s enough to be proud of.

I took a step back from training and competing last summer so that I could help with wedding preparations and really just enjoy doing stuff that I turned away from when I was training full time. It has been great to finally balance social life with physical activity. I played lots of golf, spent more time with friends. Colleen and I took dance lessons leading up to our wedding in October which was really fun despite the fact that I have no rhythm. I still run about 100k/week and have bulked up a bit by lifting weights which has helped maintain my running fitness, but it’s nice to be able to run pain free and without a rigid schedule.

Maybe a little biased but our Wedding in October was spectacular to say the least! Our reception was at Elements on the Falls literally right next to the falls. Guests were treated to amazing views of the Falls, food was great, speeches were heart warming, the MC was entertaining, and the dance floor was rocking all night long. Colleen and her (my new) parents put on a truly amazing wedding. We were just so lucky to have so many friends and family to share it with. A little over 24 hours later Colleen and I found ourselves flying out to Honolulu to spend our first week as newly weds!

I’ve run a couple races since then including the Niagara Falls Marathon where I quickly learned that you can’t take any Marathon lightly, and recently I ran the always fun Boxing Day 10miler which I was pleasantly surprised with since December I spent more time eating and drinking beer than running. I finished 7th in 52:05 only 100 seconds slower than my best time on that course when I was expecting to be several minutes slower.

Although I’ve lowered my personal performance expectations a bit I still love to get out and run and compete. This spring I’ve set my sights on the Chilly Half Marathon, Around the Bay 30k and the Mississauga Marathon. I’m hoping to run around 1:09 at Chilly sub 1:40 at Around the Bay and around 2:25.00 at Mississauga but that’ll depend on training and consistency.

In addition to my scaled back running goals for 2016 I want to focus more on coaching this year. Help my Port Credit Running Room Marathoners and Half Marathoners chase down their personal goals. Last night was the first night of both clinics and we had a good turnout but there’s room for much more! Come sign up with our group and I’ll help you hit the Boston Qualifier finish your first Marathon and Half Marathon or run 2016 uninjured!

Hope you come join me for a run soon. It’s free every Wednesday at 6:30pm and 8:30am!

Cheers

 

Houston Recap, Spring Plans!

Hi Readers and Supporters,

Sorry for the late post race recap but it was a quick turn around from race to get back working and training full time.

Houston was a positive experience despite missing the PAN AM games standard. As I said in my previous entry, their was really no excuse not to run the standard, the weather was perfect at 8C (47F), sunny and almost no wind. I didn’t sleep great the night before the race but who ever does? I timed everything perfectly from a peanut butter and banana sandwich at 4am with a cup of black tea and maybe a little less water than usual because I was unsure of the bathroom situation in the SubElite Coral? It was a non-issue as there were plenty of port-a-potties at the start line however I didn’t feel thirsty or as if I was at all dehydrated during the race. I did my usual 15min warm up jog around 6:15am and a few strides to ensure my legs were prepared to fire at the fire of the gun. I tossed my warm ups about 5min before our 7am start and started the race feeling a little cool which is what you want for a 42k race. I found a good group of USA runners to alternate miles with; we were steady around 3:12/km (5:08-5:10/mile). I was taking either water or Gatorade at every fueling station as it’s hard to get as much as ounce or 2 with from each cup when grabbing and drinking at 19km/h (12miles/h). I often have stomach issues in the second half drinking concentrated fructose syrup and artificial flavours from Gatorade but it was non-issue.  However some days are better than others and I knew from the first few miles that the legs were not their typical bouncy selves on race day. I felt tired and flat and new I would be working for every mile. I stayed positive though and went to work taking it one mile at a time at the target pace. For those tracking me online you could see I was still on track through 30k. My pace faded slowly from there but I kept pushing and never surrendered the running the standard until I actually saw the watch tick past 2:17.59, 2:18.00… Finishing in 2:20.43 I can take comfort in knowing that I gave it everything I had for that day.

After the race normally I have trouble walking as everything starts to tighten up with in seconds but oddly I was able to jog comfortably about 2km back to my hotel and shower and catch my cab to the airport all before 10:00am. Kind of funny to think that while I was in the cab to the airport others were still on course working for Boston standards.

I was down at first when missing my goal of running the standard but I know I can still do it. I chalk it up to being under rested and tapered. Last year I took more time off work leading up until the race, this year I worked until the Thursday up until the race flew out Friday. Went to the expo Saturday and tried to settle down for the race. Work stress seems to get the best of me sometimes and I payed for it in this race.

Good thing was that the post race recovery has been very quick. I took 4 days off just to give myself a mental break more than anything. Since than I’ve been steadily increasing my volume and this week I covered 172k (107miles) despite the terrible weather we’ve been having. I seem to have my motivation back so the plan it to continue to increase my volume and when the weather improves a bit I’m excited to start adding some higher quality intervals and tempos. I’m scheduled to race Around The Bay 30k in Hamilton at the end of March, the Mississauga 1/2 Marathon an the beginning of May and the Ottawa Marathon at the end of May as a last chance qualifying attempt for the PAN AM games.

Thank you to everyone who followed the race and cheered from home. I’m truly grateful the continued support and I know I can still hit that standard!

Lucas

Houston Marathon, Part II

Hello to my friends family and supporters. With the help of my Running Room friends and Colleen’s encouragement and support I’m back in Houston ready to run my fastest Marathon ever. Last year I ran a poorly executed 2:18.15, good for 15th overall and just shy of the Pan Am games standard of 2:18.00.

I have no excuse not to run the standard tomorrow. Training preparations have been better than last year’s given the fact that the weather conditions have been favorable for Toronto in December. I’ve run consistently between 170-180k/ week since mid November, I managed 7 consecutive 35k long runs, quality training has been better than ever and I’ve been able to stay injury free and avoid any flu bugs or colds since mid august. Probably the longest stretch of my competitive career. I’m not sure what I can credit for avoiding injury and illness; I’ve tried to increase vegetable intake, sleep more consistently, and I think I just have a better understanding of my body and it’s limits. But maybe I just got lucky.

Looks like I got lucky again this year with the weather for race day. Again they’re calling for sun, 7-8 degrees at race start, and only about a 10km/h north wind.

Ranked 5th in Canada for 2014 I’m only a sub elite here in Houston meaning this year I’ll have to drink Gatorade and water from the regular stations this year instead of being able to make up personalized bottles. Which doesn’t bother me because with so many elites it is difficult to find your bottle and the congested elite tables. I’ll get first dibs at the Gatorade stations offered to all us regular folk. Ha ha.

Im planning a much smarter race this year splitting the first half between 1:07.30 and 1:08.00. This should line me up perfectly for my end time goal. You can follow my race at chevronhoustonmarathon.com. I’m bib #302. There’s probably a live video at runnerspace.com or universalsports.com since it’s the US half championships. Race starts at 8am eastern time.

Going to have a nice pasta dinner and enjoy my American Saturday afternoon watching college hoops and a more Canadian evening as il be able to watch the leafs try to play both offense and defense against the blues tonight.

Looking forward to the race and giving my post race recap.

Thank you to all my supporters

I’m a New Man

Sorry to all my readers for the long awaited blog entry. I’ve been plagued by injury since late March and it’s been a long hard come back. Ankle pain, then knee pain and finally a stress fracture in the 3rd metatarsal of my right foot knocking me down for good. The good thing is that I’ve been through several injuries before and I know its important stay grounded and realize that running is just for fun and that there are so many more important things in life. If I have to give up running for good that’s ok with me, but if there is something I can take away from my injuries so I can come back stronger and with a better attitude I know I can achieve my goals.

I can happily say I am injury free now and with the help of a balanced diet, proper sleep and dedication to strength and cross training I’m almost back to my peek fitness. For the month of September I’ve averaged over 160k/week topping out at 185k with several quality workouts and 3x35k long runs. I had two victories this month, one big one and one small one. Yesterday I ran the “Run for the Grapes 1/2 Marathon” in St. Catharines. In the middle of a high mileage week I was using it as a 21k tempo run and really just wanted to practice race routine and controlling my nerves since it was my first race in over 9 months. I won the race in 1:09.24 on a fairly hot day but with virtually no wind. The course was much harder than expected as the first and last 2km of the race were partly gravel and very hilly. However I was very pleased with the effort and most importantly I was happy to just be out racing and having fun.

Also this month I had the biggest victory of my entire life! I proposed to my girlfriend(now fiancée) of 5.5 years and she said “YES”. Colleen and I had talked about rings and weddings and vacations for some time now and with a weekend alone in Niagara Falls together I saw it as a perfect opportunity to do something special. The Monday before I proposed Colleen was at work and I had the day off so after my morning run I called my future in-laws and asked to meet them for lunch. I drove to Niagara to meet them at one of our favorite diners and told them I bought a ring and asked them for there approval. We were all so excited and they helped me plan the special proposal. I decided to surprise Colleen with a limo that would pick us up at Colleen’s parents place in Niagara. It would drive us along the Niagara Parkway towards Fort Erie where Colleen and I often go for walks. In the moving limo I put on her favorite song, pulled out the ring and my speech that I had been practicing all weekend and got down on both knees (because I couldn’t balance on one knee). Overwhelmed with emotion I had to read the speech as neither of us could hold back our tears. Of course she said yes and I placed the ring on her finger. It was the happiest day of our lives so far. We than ate at the Skylon Tower overlooking the falls which despite the weather network calling for rain all day the sun shined so bright for us!

Colleen has been there for me through the hard times and the good times. Helping me feel better when I’m sick, down due to injury, and when tired and stressed from work. Through traumatic events like surgeries, a house fire and family emergencies we’ve been there to lift each other up and learn from mistakes. I wouldn’t be half the man or runner I am today if it wasn’t for Colleen (my one True Love and soul mate).

Colleen and I are so happy and excited and with the help of her parents (also very excited) I bet they’ll have the whole wedding planned by Thanksgiving.

I’ve decided to run the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon where I will try for my best time and the Niagara Falls Marathon a week later for a fun run where I will attempt to defend my title from last year… Yes, I’m still crazy.

Until next time, enjoy every run and thanks for reading!

Lucas

Shorts Weather?

Hi Runners and Readers,

I’ve now completed 3 weeks in a row at 180k/week and 4 consecutive Long runs of 35k plus. Long runs and high mileage have always been by strong suit, staying injury free and improving the quality of my training has always been my bigger challenge. Like all runners in the GTA this winter, our quality training has been put on the back burner while the difficult winter conditions make getting out and slogging through the elements a challenge.

I have been making my way to York University once a week to maximize some high intensity training. Last week Sami Jibril and myself ran a solid workout despite always feeling a little flat with the high mileage. After a 6k warm up, some dynamic stretching and a few 200m strides, we ran a 7k interval between half and full marathon race pace (21:59 – 3:08.5/km), a 1k interval in 3:00min flat, 2x600m and 2x400m around 3:00min/km pace. Sami blew me away on the 600’s and 400’s as I don’t have anywhere near the range of speed and turn over he has, but that’s why I race Marathons. The recovery between each interval is usually 90sec – 2min (enough time for HR to get back down to about 125b/min before starting the next interval). The hard effort workout in which I get my Heart Rate up to about 182-183 is followed by a nice 6k cool down jog. This is a fairly typical interval workout for me ideally twice a week and when I’m finally able to take advantage of some nicer outdoor weather I’ll get up to 16k worth of intervals ranging in length.

Sunday I did a 35k Long Run in Newmarket on a fairly hilly course with coach Hugh following me in his van, calling out my splits every km and passing me my fuel bottle every 5k. I averaged 3:38/km feeling fairly relaxed on one of the nicest days so far this spring. This morning I went out to Burlington with my Marathon clinic to run the Around the Bay course for a little prep before the big race on the 30th. Despite being the most physically challenging the North Shore section of the course is the most enjoyable with rolling hills, quiet roads and beautiful real estate. I ran the entire route with a few minor detours to avoid highway traffic. I ran much of the North Shore section twice and covered a total of 38k this morning despite the cold. Amazing that Wednesday and Sunday I had to wear my balaklava while Tuesday and Friday I ran in shorts outside this week. The joys of Canada in March. Hopefully we get Tuesday’s and not Wednesday’s weather for Around the Bay this year.

This coming weekend my girlfriend and I will get a much needed weekend getaway in a nice hotel overlooking Niagara Falls to celebrate 5 years together. Looking forward to food, drinks and some much needed R&R.

Stop by the store to talk running, otherwise I’ll see you on the roads!

 

Winter is relentless but so am I!

Hi Runners and Supporters,

The past few weeks have been rough, first a nagging cough and chest congestion, than a minor foot pain setback and after a great “back on track 180k week” last week I took a little tumble on the ice today. Will this winter ever come to an end? After a few adult outbursts I got up and finished the rest of my evening run today refusing to let winter get the best of me. I am left with a minor scrape on my knee and maybe a sprained wrist but luckily I don’t need my wrist for my hard interval workout at York U tomorrow morning. I’m really looking forward to longer days, good footing and running in shorts, assuming those days will come eventually.

Congratulations to all those who toughed it out yesterday in the Chilly Half Marathon and Frosty 5k. You really earned your medal and more importantly some Stag Chili and Carlsburg Beer! 

Despite winter feeling far from over there’s lots to look forward to this month including a St. Patrick’s Day Pint of “Guinness”, a Casino Niagara weekend with Colleen and a foot race Around the Bay in Hamilton!

Hope to see you out on the roads!

I welcome any comments or suggestions for future topics.