Posted by: roblanger | April 20, 2010

New Kix

On Sunday I received the shoes that I plan to wear during my marathon, assuming they work well for me on my upcoming training runs. The Nike Lunaracer+ 2.

Nike Lunaracer+ 2

These are the first pair of Nikes that I have ever purchased. I think it had to do with the fit and feel of other Nike products I’ve tried in the past. However, when I put these puppies on in the store, I knew I had to have them.

I have become quite accustomed to training (and now racing) in racing flats, and my go to shoe of choice has been the Addidas Adizero Ace. The Ace is a lightweight flat that fits like a glove. It’s a great shoe, but there are hotspots on my baby toe where the overlays are sewn in. I mitigate this problem by wearing tape on my toes, but it’s not really ideal.

The new Nike products, however, use some kind of welding technique as opposed to sewing the overlays. The benefit of this is that the inside of the shoe is completely smooth. So no hotspots. And, what I like about the Nike Lunaracer+ 2 is that the fit is very similar to my Aces. That is to say, very much like a glove. As an added bonus, they are even lighter than the Aces too.

So, here’s hoping that they perform as well as they feel. I did my first run this morning with them. Just an easy 6k, but they felt really good. The first real test will be on my mid week long run though. Fingers crossed.

Posted by: roblanger | April 19, 2010

Another Tough Week

It was another painful week, and I had to cut short three of my scheduled workouts. Not a good confidence builder at this point.

My mid-week long run was supposed to be 24k and I shut it down at 20k, due to ankle pain. Nothing really major, but enough to make me not want to push it any further.

On Saturday, I was really hoping to do a 10k time trial. but couldn’t make it past a 5k warm up and was concerned that I’d have to scrap my Sunday long run.

Went out on Sunday and felt pretty good. A little tender in the ankle to start, but after my warm up it worked itself out and I was able to make up for Saturday’s run by stringing together 10 sub 4:30 kilometers from about the 7k mark until 17k. Unfortunately, that’s where the wheels fell off. Somehow, I managed to lose a sock at the 18k mark. I’ll spare you the details and let you try to figure them out for yourself. Needless to say, I’m thankful that much of my long run route is rural!

I was able to get running again after my little “episode”, and managed to crank out another 6 or 7k, but started feeling a little queezy again and ended up walking the last 2k home. Fortunately, I still managed to get in about 25k and about 90 for the week.

The ankle doesn’t feel great today, but it’s a rest day, and I’m going to take full advantage of it. This is the last tough week on the sched before my taper begins. I’m supposed to run 110k this week with a 32k long run and a killer 5 x 1200m @ 5k pace workout. I’m not sure I’m going to risk that speed workout though. I’ll more than likely not put that much pressure on my ankle, and just do the the interval run @ 10k pace or slower.

Big congrats go to my buddies Nir and Harvey who ran Boston today. Nir ran a 3:16:03 and Harvey came in at 3:13:56! Incredible times from both, which means they’ve qualified for the 115th running next year and will back again next year… with me!

Posted by: roblanger | April 12, 2010

Another solid week in the books!

While I did struggle with pain in my ankle at times this week, I did manage to put in 117 kilometers. More importantly, yesterday’s long run was pain free.

I was able to do 35k in 2:56, completely pain free. It was an incredibly beautiful April morning, and I felt truly grateful to be out on the roads, running kilometer after kilometer. It was the easiest long run I’ve had since I began my marathon training back in January. I felt like I could have easily continued on to do the full marathon distance, and this was at the end of a week of hard training.

My interval session on Tuesday wasn’t perfect, but it got done… mostly. I was scheduled to do 16k with 6 x 1k at 5k pace, but could only manage 5 x 1k at an average pace of about 3:45/k. This was by far the toughest workout I’ve done to date, and I shut the speed work down during my 5th rep because of some tightness in my left quad. No need to risk further injury at this point. I did cruise the remainder of the way though to get in the entire 16k.

Wednesday’s 24k mid-week long run was a bit painful on a tender ankle and dead legs from the previous day’s workout. But I struggled through it in 2:06. According to Pete Pfitzinger, the author of the training plan I’m using, the mid-week long runs are the most important runs on the schedule, so I’ve tried to be as consistent as possible with them. It’s tough to do becuase work and life can easily get in the way during the week, but the payoff is huge.

Thursday was an easy day with morning and evening recovery runs. I usually do 10k in the morning and 6k just before dinner. These are done at a really easy pace for me, around 5:45/k. This allows me to get in the distance and still be relatively fresh for the week’s hard workouts.

Friday I did 18k at an average pace of 5:16/k. A little slower than I wanted, but my ankle was really bothering me. At this point, I didn’t think I was going to have much luck on my weekend long run. But, I took it really easy on Saturday with 8k in the morning, then spent the rest of the day waiting hand and foot on my wife Noriko, as it was her 40th birthday. We had a great bbq with a bunch of friends on a spectacular day. I stayed away from the booze though because I knew if I drank, I’d really pay for it the next day.

All in all, a pretty successful week.

To my buddies going to Boston this week, I wish you all great weather and personal bests at the 114th running. See you there next year!!!!

Posted by: roblanger | April 7, 2010

To Jim2

While I never knew him, I learned so much from his wisdom.

Jim Fortner (aka Jim2) was an inspiration to many who participate in the Runner’s World forums. He was an incredibly knowleadgeable and passionate advocate for our sport, and always shared extremely helpful advice in a non-threatening way that made newcomers to the community, like me, feel incredibly welcome.

I’ll definitely miss Jim’s wisdom. Fortunately, he’s left a wonderful legacy of writing on the internet for future generation of runners.

Jim, I dedicate my upcoming marathon to you. Your posts have helped me achieve more than you will ever realize.


Jim’s Obituary

Some of Jim’s incredible contributions to running

Posted by: roblanger | April 7, 2010

Racing Weight

I woke up this morning to find that I had hit my desired racing weight of 71 kilos. As I’ve found along the way going from 90 kilos to my current weight, every time I have reached a desired goal, while I feel great satisfaction for achieving the goal, I continue to want more.

So it is with this goal. With 5 weeks left to my marathon, I think I can comfortably lose one more kilo. Whether or not that will improve my overall performance, who knows? When training, there is an incredibly fine balance between limiting your calories to lose weight, and not taking in enough calories, negatively impacting your performance in your tough workouts. I think I’d prefer to be slightly heavier and still get in the good workouts.

Having said that, after already having completed 13 weeks of training, ‘ the hay is in the barn’ for the most part, as they say, and I’m not likely to improve my fitness significantly from here on in.

The other aspect of my weight loss that I’ve experienced is the strange comments I’ve received from friends and family. I was playing cards recently with a bunch of guys I hadn’t seen in a while, and one of them actually asked me if I was ‘OK’? Do I really look sickly? And even if I did, is that even appropriate to ask? I assured him that I was fine, more than fine even!

I told this story to my buddy who I run my long runs with, and he told me a joke that goes something like this:

When people start noticing that you’ve lost weight, you know that you could still lose about 10 more pounds.

When people start saying you look really skinny, you know that you could still lose about 5 more pounds.

When people start asking if you’re OK, you know that you’ve hit racing weight!

Posted by: roblanger | April 5, 2010

Long Recovery

After a very satisfying race last Sunday, I was a bit disappointed by how much time it took me to recover.

On Monday, my quads were pretty thrashed and I had difficulty walking. The delayed onset muscle soreness was unlike anything I had experienced before.

On Tuesday, I was scheduled for 14k, but couldn’t even imagine running 14 meters so I decided to take a well deserved day off. I tried to pick things up again on Wednesday with my scheduled mid-week medium long run of 24k, but had to shut it down after only 10k. The entire run my legs just felt like lead.

Thursday, I was able to get back on track and did 10k in the morning and an easy 6k in the evening.

Finally by Friday, I felt like I was getting back to normal and was able to almost complete a tough track workout. I was scheduled for 5 x 600m at 5k pace with an additional 10k of warm up and cool down running, but was only able to complete 4 and a half x 600m plus the 10k. All things considered, I was pretty happy with that workout. Ran my intervals at about 3:40 min/k pace, which is probably right on the edge of my 5k pace given my current fitness.

Saturday was an easy 8k and then Sunday, I met my friends in the Beaches for a nice long run. The weather was absolutely perfect and I felt great for most of the run, averaging 5:16/k for just over 29k.

Beaches Long Run

This week, I’m looking forward to getting back on track. It’s a scary one though with a couple of really tough workouts!

Posted by: roblanger | April 1, 2010

OMG!! New Qualifying Standard.

Just found out that my 3:20 will no longer cut it if I want to qualify for Boston in 2011. The standard for men, aged 40-44 was lowered today to 3:10.

I had a lot of confidence that I could achieve 3:20 given my race on Sunday, but 3:10 is going to be really tough to pull off.

Sigh. 😦

New Qualifying Standards for 2011

Posted by: roblanger | March 29, 2010

Around the Bay

I finally had an opportunity to test out my fitness in yesterday’s Around the Bay 30k race in Hamilton, Ontario, and I’m pretty excited about the results.

While my week of training leading up to the race wasn’t absolutely ideal, I still managed to put in 60k before the race. I struggled with pain in my left ankle and decided to take a scheduled 18k run on Friday, off. That turned out to be a good idea, because I felt pretty good on Saturday; good enough to do an easy 10k.

The conditions on race day were excellent. It was about 6 degrees and slightly overcast (so no excuses there)!

I was pretty close to the front of the pack at the start of the race so I didn’t have to weave through slower traffic at that start, which was nice. I probably headed out a little too quickly given my adrenalin and excitement, but managed to slow down a little after the first sub 4:00 kilometer.

Went through the first 10k in just over 42 minutes and felt very strong. Ankle wasn’t giving me any trouble, and the pace felt quite comfortable.

I managed a similar split for the next 10k and went through the 20k mark in just over 1:26 and had a half-marathon split of 1:30 and a few seconds. However, just after the half-marathon mark I managed to roll my right ankle on a downhill stretch. It hurt like a son-of-a-gun and I had to stop for short break and sit down on the side of the road.

I was able pull it together and get going again, but my first kilometer after that was a relatively slow 5 minutes. Fortunately, the ankle loosened up after that and I was able to pick up the pace and turn in some sub 4:30 kilometers.

A pretty major hill at kilometer 26 slowed me down and I was spent by the time I reached the top, but a friend I went to the race with caught me at just after the 27k mark and helped drag my butt to the finish line!

Broke the tape (ha!) in 2:12:01, which I’m incredibly pleased with. Garmin time shows 2:11:39, that’s because I decided to pause the watch after writhing in pain for a minute. Didn’t know when I’d get going again! However, the 2:12 puts my average pace at 4:24/km and translates to a marathon time at just over 3:10! I think if I can continue to be consistent with my training, my ankle holds, and I’m blessed with good conditions on race day, I should be able to achieve my goal of qualifying for Boston. Those are a lot of “ifs” though.

Keeping my fingers crossed and my legs moving!!

Garmin Connect – Activity Details for Around the Bay.

Posted by: roblanger | March 22, 2010

Thank God for Pennsaid!

My ankle isn’t getting much better, but I’ve been able to keep up with the miles and the intensity due to a little wonder drug called Pennsaid.

I don’t think it’s available just yet in the States, but for us lucky folks in Canada and the UK, we get the effectiveness of an oral NSAID, in a topical format that has none of the lovely GI and kidney issues that accompany oral NSAIDs.

NSAIDs can be especially dangeroues for endurance athletes and doctors frequently warn against using them before running marathons. With Pennsaid, these dangers are virtually non-existent.

My race this coming Sunday will be a real test of not only my level of fitness, but also my injury. If I can manage to get around the 30k course with a minimum of pain, I think I’ll be able to manage the rest of my training, and my marathon, with Pennsaid by my side.

If not, then I will seriously have to consider shutting it down and resting my ankle until I can run without issue. It’s going to have to be some serious pain during the race though to force me to shut down my training. I’ve worked way too hard up to this point to stop now.

Posted by: roblanger | March 17, 2010

From Incredible to Forgetable

Tough week last week. I had some pain in the posterior tibial tendon of my left ankle that felt pretty scary. It forced me to cut my midweek long run from 21k down to 11k.

I probably could have done the full distance, but that wouldn’t have been too smart. I ended up taking it pretty easy for the rest of the week in terms of intensity, but still tried to keep the mileage up. I still covered 96k for the week, so I’m pretty satisfied.

I had a tough long run scheduled for Sunday that was 26k with 17k at goal marathon pace. I had planned to take it very easy and just see how I felt. Instead of running it outside, I decided to do the run on the treadmill, just in case I needed to cut it short.

After the first 9k, I felt good enough to test out picking up the tempo. I ended up completing the remaining 17k at an average pace of 4:35/k. The ankle felt a little tender following that run, and I probably shouldn’t have risked such an intense workout, but I just couldn’t help myself.

I have my first race coming up on March 28th and I really need to be careful with my workouts so that I actually make it to the starting line in good enough shape to run. It’s a 30k race, and after Sunday’s good effort, I really want to run that race hard to see what I’m capable of.

I’m hoping to break 2 hours 20 minutes in that race. If I can do that in the middle of training that has me averaging about 100k/week, I’ll be really confident heading into my marathon.

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