Thursday, 31 May 2018

Post marathon thoughts and training.

Hey friends,

Sorry for the delay but life gets busy and I just didn't find the time to sit down and write a post. I figure now is as good a time as any. I'll chat briefly about my marathon, talk about how training went after and what racing plans and goals are on the horizon. Life right now is rather busy, but it's just how I like it as I tend to do well when I'm on a schedule and can keep things simple. My athletes who I've been coaching are doing amazing things with some of them setting huge 3 minute PB's over 10km so that's taking a lot of my time but is worth every moment. I've got 40 people in a group that I'm coaching with the goal being the Tely 10 then transitioning them into two groups leading to the fall, half doing the full marathon at STWM and the others targeting a fall half or a local 20km known as Cape to Cabot 20km. In addition to that I've got 8 online athletes I'm working with so it's definitely time consuming to juggle my actual job, training and coaching but the rewards certainly outweigh the small stresses that come with getting workouts to people and checking in daily. I've also been working on expanding the Fogo Island Race Weekend and am on the board now with that event, it's a special race to me as my father's family originally came from the island so I'd like to be involved in some capacity and continue to ensure it's a great race that gives back to the local community. Other than that, things are pretty much business as usual, the family is great, work has slowed a bit thankfully, and the weather, with the exception of the last couple days has been wonderful.

Toronto Marathon Thoughts and Recap

So as you guys know, I won the Toronto Marathon in 2:33, (almost an identical time to last fall in my Debut). I've got mixed feelings about it. On the one hand that's not an indication of my fitness by any means. I went through half 90 seconds faster then last fall and ran the whole race solo after 8km as well as being able to run 116 miles the week after the marathon with 1 workout. So the race didn't take much out of me and I've actually been able to build from there and get into some good speed sessions on the track these last few weeks. On the other hand I'm very happy to have won the race. I'll break down how it played out in a second but as you know, in a marathon anything can happen so even when I heard I was clear by 4 minutes at half way, if things go bad, they go really bad in a marathon so I was definitely always thinking in the back of my mind to not push too hard and have at least 1 move in case someone was running me down. I don't know that I was ready for the 2:24 I wanted, aerobically, yes I believe I was that fit and could have run anything from the half marathon down at an equivalent performance. I just think that there is still a lack of muscular durability late in the race for me, and will require another segment of really hard long runs and longer workouts at race pace. I do believe I could have came back with another 73 and ran 2:26 with people around me and maybe being in a race where I was 10th and just running for time. But, until you run it, talk is cheap so I'll go back to the drawing board and figure out this marathon thing in the fall at STWM. I had the confidence to go out in 73:20 in this one so I'm sure I'll have the confidence and fitness to go out in 72:00 next time. 

So, how the race played out, the guy who was assigned bib number 2 decided to do the half at the last minute (he won in 69:20) and I saw two guys with low bib numbers who took off with me. I lead through the first mile in 5:28 which is basically flat, it might gain a couple feet, and on the second mile which goes downhill one guy passed me and put a little gap on me. I was 5:30 on that one and didn't want to go any faster. I split 5km in 17:01 (this in a downhill 5km) and the guy leading was maybe 16:45, now there is a massive hill coming out of Markham which is around 110 feet at the 8km mark and here I ended up catching the guy who had gaped me and he was breathing really hard. I ran a 5:45 up that mile and passed him before reaching the top. I hit 10km in 34:22 which was about the same effort as the first 5km as it was an uphill 5km portion. I didn't really check splits until I hit 10 miles in 55:46 which seemed about right. Nick Best was on the bike beside me for the majority of the race as his sister was doing the marathon as well. It helped tremendously during the hard sections and he offered great advice. Nick knows the course well and ran 2:30 for second there one year as well as winning the half overall in 2016 (he got me by 1.3 seconds going 69:15). I went through halfway in 73:20 and felt pretty good, not having used too much energy and taking in my fluids. There was a couple downhill miles after that before you hit the lakeshore and I ran the next 5km under 17 with a 5:15 15th mile, I think that put a sting in my legs, running the downhill portion that hard really made them feel dead later. When I hit the lakeshore and got on the single lane trail it was rough trying to run 3:27/km/5:35/mile. I found 5:50 pace to be much more manageable so backed off to that until 32km/20miles which was 1:53 flat I think. Anyway, at that point I got some info saying I was leading by about 2km and that was a relief as I was starting to feel really beat up. I backed off to 6-6:10 a mile the rest of the way and actually got to enjoy the final 5km coming back the lakeshore. 

Looking back, I think had I been content to even just run say 5:45/mile and go 75:00 on the back half for 2:28 that would have been a smarter strategy but I learned a lot from this marathon and am proud to have finished it feeling strong. I took the next day off but was back to normal mileage and workouts by the end of the next week so while I certainly did feel banged up later in the race it was night and day compared to my first marathon last fall where I didn't run a step for 3 weeks after the race.

What's Next?

Knowing I was likely the fittest I've ever been aerobically I wanted to build on that and get back to some short workouts and do some races. I figured Ottawa was too soon, so I reached out to Ian C. at the Canada Running Series as I'd missed the deadlines for their elite applications for races and he took care of me. So I'll be racing the Waterfront 10km on Saturday June 16th with the hopes of running a personal best. I'm doing a local 10km this weekend in Garnish to get a feel for a 10km again and will use it as a workout but the waterfront will be my goal right now and after that I'll really sit down and see what time I should target for the Tely. As of right now I'm pretty darn confident with some good threshold work, on the base I've built I won't have any problem going 50:30 or quicker this year. I'd like to think maybe I can get after something a little faster but I shouldn't get greedy, that race has bitten me in the ass to many times and despite the net downhill it's a real "racers" race and you need to be in shape to run fast there. So as of right now, 50:30 will be the goal, if things change and I really string some great training together I may adjust things but I'd rather get as close to 50 this year as possible and then target the sub 50 next year when I've got more strength in the legs and ideally a sub 31 10km and sub 2:25 marathon. (I'm 83 seconds away from 49:59 after my PB last year which was a 90 second PB, so it's better to get close this year rather then risking blowing up and chunking a nice bit off that PB once again.).

Early Track Season Takeaways

Track season is underway and I don't know about you guys but there's nothing I like watching more then some proper diamond league action. While payton jordan and meets like oxy are all fine and dandy, I'm one of these sports fans who HATES over-saturation. I only get excited to see the very best compete, that's where the sport shines at it's brightest. So while I want to see athlete development and I'm all for smaller meets, heck I watch most of them, the ones I truly get excited to see, and the reason these athletes are the ones making the money are because they are the best at what they do. Watching that Pre woman's 1500m race was exactly what I'm talking about, amazing performances, great story-lines and it was exciting from the first lap to the finish! So while I won't get into each point and I'll save that for another individual post about track season I do want to leave you with some quick takes I'll be following.

1) The woman's 800m is going to be both controversial and super exciting once again this year.

2) The men's steeple might have a new prince, Benjamin Kigen, he ripped apart Kipruto and Jager at Pre over the final 400.

3) The woman's 1500/5000m are going to be bananas! Sifan Hassan and Genzebe need to get into a spicy 1500 ASAP

4) I think this is going to be a big year for Timothy Cheruiyot in the men's 1500m.

5) Who will emerge as the king of the men's 5 and 10km in the absence of Sir. Mo? I'm predicting Joshua Cheptigie in the 10km and Selemon Barega in the five.

Alright friends, that's all I've got time for right now, I'll try to get an update in after my race in Toronto! I hope you are all well and training hard or recovering from your spring seasons!

Stay frosty,