Sunday, July 31, 2005

Summerfast 10K Race on July 23rd. That's me in the yellow singlet, #893 at the back of the pack enroute to my 43:55. The old gray-haired guy in gray to my left (the far righthand side of the photo)? Smoked me at the finish line! Posted by Picasa

Friday, July 29, 2005

Sinking Like a Stone

Yes, I can swim. I am talking about my weight loss. Funnily it is not a steady, progressive or, to me at least, a fully understandable phenomena. I tend to lose the weight in stages it seems. Rather than lose a steady pound a week, I seem to lose a few pounds, stabilize at a new plateau for a while, then all of a sudden, find my weight peeling off before leveling off again at a new lower weight. I am like a plane with a particularly erratic pilot at the controls, one who is perhaps drinking the wine that I, on this diet, have sworn off.

Today I am at 188!

The really funny bit about the last few pounds is that they seem to be the most notable in my slimming down saga. Over the past week I have had all kinds of people approach in the Running Room and the running clinics and talk to me in the tone of voice usually reserved for an illicit activity, like procuring drugs or sex outside of marriage. They sidle over to me, look around to see that we're not being overheard and launch into the most fascinating conversations - In a casual whisper they say things like, "Hey Vince, Wow!, you're looking great. So how DID you lose the weight? What's your secret, Vince? What exactly are you doing?" - You know, the kind of wink-wink, nudge-nudge aside that implies you are having nookie with the receptionist in the photocopy room, or as if I have managed to get my hands on some top secret, ultra-unknown little pink pills that are peeling the pounds off with no real effort on my part.

Here is EXACTLY how I am doing it, kids. Monday to Friday I am on a diet of around 1800 calories per day. I decided not to drink any alcohol until my birthday on August 8th. I got tired of being stuck wavering between 195-196 on my bathroom scales a month ago.


I am limiting my protein during the week to fish, salmon and tuna, and eggs, plus, on occasion a little goat feta cheese in my salads.

Did you know that spinach is 49% protein? I didn't until this past week!

On Saturday and Sunday I add lean chicken and the occasion small steak. I am a carnivore at heart. I dream of rare meat and warm blood running down my chin. But only on the weekends...

My bulk carbohydrates are coming from a bowl of oatmeal in the morning and a bowl of brown wild rice at lunch. I like the rice with the fish.

Oh, and I nibble occasionally on almonds, walnuts and sunflower seeds, sprinkle them in my morning oatmeal, or add them to my evening salad. My nuts are important. I love my nuts. My nuts add variety and spice to my life. In fact my nuts are crucial to my quality of life. You might even say I can't imagine what life would be like without my crunchy little nuts.

Dinner is a salad. I sometimes add a hard-boiled egg, or a sliced avocado. Dressing is usually a tablespoon of olive oil.

I am eating lots of fruits and vegetables. In point of fact,
I eat nearly as much whole fruit and vegetables as I want. All of it unprocessed and most of it raw. Talk about BULK! Make that HUGE amounts of fruit and vegetables. Frankly, my colon is loving me - I have never had better bowel movements since I was in diapers. Okay, maybe a little too much information but if you intend to diet like this, be prepared!
I am only drinking clear liquids and I have even cut back on my coffee consumption.

The weekends are completely different.

My idea is to eat very well, in terms of caloric intake, on Saturday and Sunday - say 3,500 calories - when I do my long endurance run, and then taper my calories for the week until I need to stoke the Vince machine again on the weekend.

The upshot of this is that this morning I tipped the scales at 188.

I honestly can not remember the last time I was 188.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Learning From Lance

This great article is an Op-Ed (opinion editorial, for you knuckle-draggers waiting to slag me from the weeds) piece by one of the best writers and commentators working in America today, Thomas Friedman. Frankly, I can't imagine not starting my morning with a cup of coffee and the online New York Times. If you have the time and the opportunity you should, must read Friedman's new book, THE WORLD IS FLAT

Planning and preparation are just as important to Lance Armstrong's performance as is his genetic potential. It is tough to argue with seven consecutive Tour de France victories. And it is the quality of his planning and preparation and his committment to the process that gives him the edge over his closest competitors.

And the approach that Armstrong takes on the Tour is just as applicable in life as it is in sport. We have to ask ourselves, How badly do we want to succeed? What is our level of commitment? How much are we prepared to sacrifice today for many better tomorrows? As athletes and as countries and as cultures? The following opinion piece is every bit as applicable to Canadians as Americans in my not so humble opinion. But let's face it, as a country, we're considerably leaner than than those Yankee butterballs...

Learning From Lance - New York Times

And for those who can't get the Link - HOW CAN YOU NOT SUBSCRIBE TO THE FREAKIN' NEW YORK TIMES online!!?!! It's the second-best newspaper in the world. Yes, the London Times is STILL the best newspaper in the world.

I digress, Mr. Friedman, if you please...

There is no doubt that Lance Armstrong's seventh straight victory in the Tour de France, which has prompted sportswriters to rename the whole race the Tour de Lance, makes him one of the greatest U.S. athletes of all time. What I find most impressive about Armstrong, besides his sheer willpower to triumph over cancer, is the strategic focus he brings to his work, from his prerace training regimen to the meticulous way he and his cycling team plot out every leg of the race. It is a sight to behold. I have been thinking about them lately because their abilities to meld strength and strategy - to thoughtfully plan ahead and to sacrifice today for a big gain tomorrow - seem to be such fading virtues in American life.

Sadly, those are the virtues we now associate with China, Chinese athletes and Chinese leaders. Talk to U.S. business executives and they'll often comment on how many of China's leaders are engineers, people who can talk to you about numbers, long-term problem-solving and the national interest - not a bunch of lawyers looking for a sound bite to get through the evening news. America's most serious deficit today is a deficit of such leaders in politics and business.

John Mack, the new C.E.O. at Morgan Stanley, initially demanded in the contract he signed June 30 that his total pay for the next two years would be no less than the average pay package received by the C.E.O.'s at Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch, Lehman Brothers and Bear Stearns. If that average turned out to be more than $25 million, Mr. Mack was to be paid at least that much. He eventually backed off that demand after a howl of protest, but it struck me as the epitome of what is wrong in America today.

We are now playing defense. A top C.E.O. wants to be paid not based on his performance, but based on the average of his four main rivals! That is like Lance Armstrong's saying he will race only if he is guaranteed to come in first or second, no matter what his cycling times are on each leg.
I recently spent time in Ireland, which has quietly become the second-richest country in the E.U., first by going through some severe belt-tightening that meant everyone had to sacrifice, then by following that with a plan to upgrade the education of its entire work force, and a strategy to recruit and induce as many global high-tech companies and researchers as possible to locate in Ireland. The Irish have a plan. They are focused. They have mobilized business, labor and government around a common agenda. They are playing offense.

Wouldn't you think that if you were president, after you'd read the umpteenth story about premier U.S. companies, like Intel and Apple, building their newest factories, and even research facilities, in China, India or Ireland, that you'd summon the top U.S. business leaders to Washington to ask them just one question: "What do we have to do so you will keep your best jobs here? Make me a list and I will not rest until I get it enacted."

And if you were president, and you had just seen more suicide bombs in London, wouldn't you say to your aides: "We have got to reduce our dependence on Middle East oil. We have to do it for our national security.
We have to do it because only if we bring down the price of crude will these countries be forced to reform. And we should want to do it because it is clear that green energy solutions are the wave of the future, and the more quickly we impose a stringent green agenda on ourselves, the more our companies will lead innovation in these technologies."

Instead, we are about to pass an energy bill that, while it does contain some good provisions, will make no real dent in our gasoline consumption, largely because no one wants to demand that Detroit build cars that get much better mileage. We are just feeding Detroit the rope to hang itself. It's assisted suicide. I thought people went to jail for that?

And if you were president, would you really say to the nation, in the face of the chaos in Iraq, that "if our commanders on the ground say we need more troops, I will send them," but that they had not asked? It is not what the generals are asking you, Mr. President - it is what you are asking them, namely: "What do you need to win?" Because it is clear we are not winning, and we are not winning because we have never made Iraq a secure place where normal politics could emerge.

Oh, well, maybe we have the leaders we deserve. Maybe we just want to admire Lance Armstrong, but not be Lance Armstrong. Too much work. Maybe that's the wristband we should be wearing: Live wrong. Party on. Pay later.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Get Faster

A great article from Peak Performance online

Increasing Your Speed as an Endurance Athlete -

Greater speed is something almost all endurance runners want - but few receive. The major problem is that most runners don't understand the physiological basis of speed and therefore don't know how to carry out the systematic training required to get faster.Remember first that there are a number of different ways to improve average race speeds.

For example, increasing VO2max (maximal aerobic capacity) improves race velocities, because as VO2max rises, one's previous race speeds will correspond with a lower percentage of VO2max, causing them to feel easier. A runner with an improved VO2max can then increase race pace to match his typical race intensity (percentage of VO2max).Because lactate-threshold velocity is tightly and predictably related to race speeds, improving lactate-threshold velocity also heightens race performances. For example, 10-K race velocity is about 2.5-per cent faster than lactate-threshold (LT) speed, so any improvement in LT will make the LT-10-K gap too narrow, forcing 10-K pacing to speed up in order to maintain the 2.5-percent spread.

Enhancing economy - in running form, running efficiency, and the ratio of the athlete's percentage of body fat to lean muscle mass - also increases average race speeds, because improved economy allows a runner to maintain a particular speed at a lower 'cost' (a smaller percentage of VO2max). As was the case with VO2max uplifts, a runner can then simply increase race pace to maintain his usual percentage of max aerobic capacity during competition. For example, as a rough rule of thumb, an athlete will increase their speed approximately 1% for each percentage of body fat lost. The reason being is that an athlete's VO2max is an expression of aerobic capacity independent of body weight and is a measure of millilitres of oxygen used per kilogram of bodyweight. Each percentage of body fat lost will roughly result in a one percent increase in measured VO2max.

Improving muscular strength can also boost race speeds. For one thing, increased strength often has a positive impact on economy, but it also increases the fatigue resistance of muscles, allowing them to sustain quality speeds for longer periods of time without becoming exhausted (thus raising average speed). Greater muscular power can also increase race speeds. Runners often confuse strength with power, forgetting that strength is simply the ability to move one's body weight a given distance. A 150-pound runner who completes the marathon in 4:20 is just as strong as the 150-pound elite competitor who finishes in 2:10, since both have moved 150 pounds a distance of 26.2 miles. However, the 2:10 athlete is by far the more powerful (and speedier) runner, since greater power is defined as moving a weight through a given distance in a shorter period of time.

Power can be increased by improving the way in which the nervous system coordinates muscular activity. As the nervous system learns to synchronize force production in those muscles which provide forward propulsion and simultaneously relax the 'antagonist' muscles which restrain limb movement, stride lengths increase and race speeds hasten. Of course, the greatest gains in power occur when the muscles become stronger at the same time as the nervous system is enhancing its coordination capacity; if the nervous system is the 'coach', it suddenly has stronger players who can respond more forcefully to appropriate instructions.

However, bear in mind that increased power may have little effect on race speeds in endurance events if the heightened power can't be sustained for extended periods of time. That's where the upgrades in VO2max, Lactate Threshold, and economy come in: Improvements in those three variables allow muscles to maintain their higher power outputs without suffering from excessive fatigue.Inside your body, a bigger heart (which raises VO2max), stronger and more powerful muscles, a more efficient nervous system (which augments economy), plus a host of changes inside muscle cells, including more mitochondria, greater concentrations of aerobic enzymes, and better lactate transporters (all of which increase Lactate Threshold) are associated with faster running. When you actually run fast, your heart works overtime, your nervous system goes on 'red alert,' the blood vessels leading to your leg muscles open full-bore, and the metabolic fires within the muscles burn with an especially bright intensity. In addition, your cardiovascular system 'fine-tunes' itself, shunting extra blood to the skin (to enhance cooling) and decreasing flow to those organs which don't help sustain speed, like the kidneys and digestive organs.

How much improvement in speed can you make? By working hard on the five key variables (VO2max, LT, economy, strength, and power), very experienced runners may improve average race speeds by 2 to 6 per cent. Less experienced runners, since they have never really done their 'speed homework', typically have more to gain: a 20-per cent rise is not unusual, and even 80-per cent uplifts are not impossible.Well-prepared 10-K runners often wonder how much speed they could generate in faster, shorter-distance races (such as 800- and 1500-metre competitions). Although the training for such events is different from 10-K and marathon preparations, one can use 'Horwill's Rule' to calculate the possibilities. The Rule says that when race distance is halved, speed should improve by about four seconds per 400 metres.Thus, you should be able to complete a 5K 16 seconds per mile faster than your 10K, a 3K around 32 seconds per mile quicker, 1500 metres 48 seconds faster, and 800 metres over a minute faster (when expressed as a pace per mile).

And in the case of myself, a decrease in bodyfat from 22% (203 pounds) to 10% (goal weight of 180 pounds), should make me 12% faster. Having already achieved a decrease from 203 pounds to 189 pounds I can already say that I am experiencing the benefits in terms of increase in speed. And I would have to say that Hugh is probably the witness best able to attest to that. My best 8K time has dropped from 35 plus minutes to 30:39. I attribute this to my recent weight loss. I can't tell you how much I am looking forward to test-driving the all new Vince at 180 pounds...

The Incredible Shrinking Vince


That's right, 189 pounds, my friends.

Ten to go. Boston here I come!

Monday, July 25, 2005

Summerfast 10K -Heart Rate - Beats Per Minute Posted by Picasa

Summerfast 10K - Heart Rate - % of Maximum Heart Rate Posted by Picasa

Summerfast 10K Race, July 23rd Posted by Picasa

Scaling the Heights of Ecstacy and the Depths of Depravity

Weight. Body fat. Pounds. Kilos. Grams. Ounces. Inches. Lean muscle mass. Running efficiency. Max VO2 ratios... It goes on and on, this tipping of the scales, back and forth, without seeming end as I battle my bulges to squeeze out every second of time in my upcoming marathon.

I NEVER thought I'd be a calorie counter, but here it is again on Monday morning and I can tell you exactly what I am going to be eating for breakfast, lunch and dinner for the next five days. If I wasn't so excited, yes, hard to believe but I am actually enjoying depriving myself in a depraved kind of way, because there are no denying the results.

After five years of running, the single greatest strides I have made in improving my speed has clearly come from leaning out. As I hover around 190 pounds I am clearly the fastest I have been in twenty odd years. And my body hasn't felt this good after a hard workout since my twenties. I can't wait until I strip off the next twelve pounds, just to see how my training and fitness levels are effected.

After the Summerfast 10K Race on Saturday, I reeled off 33K, or just over 20 miles on Sunday. I had very little muscle stiffness after the race the day before. Have to love that 10K distance. It took a huge amount of self-discipline on my part to keep my heart rate under 70% all day on Sunday. At 20K I had an overwhelming urge to just take off as fast as I could go. Thank God I was wearing my Pace Group Leader hat. Sunday was another stunningly beautiful Vancouver day, with clear blue skies, a cool breeze off the waters of English Bay and a temperature hovering in the low seventies. Hugh and Luisa and I did a little 9K add on and in the end we did the full 33K, with lots of breaks I might add, in a hair over 3:20.

I am still astonished at the folks who haven't figured out the importance of water and gels. I had three people in my group, out of about twenty, who ran without water bottles. Next Sunday we're cranking it up to 26K and I'm simply not going to run with anyone in my group who doesn't come out properly equipped. It's one thing to make a decision to run a marathon itself without water, there are, after all, water stations. But on a training run where you can go 10K quite easily without water and the temperature is in the seventies? Just leaves you shaking your head...

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Summerfast Race; Some Are Fast, Some Are Slow

I ran the Summerfast 10K in about 43:55 this morning. Not FABULOUSLY great but still a half minute improvement in the last month over my July 1st Post-to-Post 10K. No chip - hey!, what's with that, for twenty-two freaking bucks! But I did time myself on a stopwatch (give or take five or so seconds) and the approximate time does bode well for my projected marathon time this fall in Kelowna. At least according to the folks at Here are the projections in black & white...

Based on our calculations, you could perform at these times over these distances. If you are in much better shape than expected in our theoretical model, then your times will be less spread out. Conversely, if you are in worse shape then your times may be more dispersed.

5K - 0:20:58
5M - 0:34:36
Summerfast 10K - 0:43:55
10M - 1:12:29
Half Marathon - 1:37:23
Marathon - 3:23:57

Friday, July 22, 2005

Gentlemen, Start Your Engines...

Ahhh, racing. Today I pick up my race package for the Summerfast 10K, a race around the very flat and what should be a very fast Sea Wall course on the perimeter of Stanley Park.
The race is tomorrow morning, Saturday, July 23rd. I took it easy this week during the tempo run and while the first hill workout was tough, I did not cough up any pieces of lung. Always a good sign in my books.

In addition to the Summerfast race, I signed up for the Stormy Trail 67K Ultramarathon Trail Race that is run on the Test of Metal mountain bike course. Last year I did it in combat boots and a kilt.

Hence the photo of yours truly at the start of the Blog. The Stormy is on Saturday, August 13th and will be my LAST race before my Boston qualifying attempt on October 9th in the Okanagan Marathon being held in Kelowna. Hugh and Patrick and I did 30K in 3:20 last Sunday and I'll probably take a shot at 35 0r 40K this Sunday as my last long run before Stormy. I have been doing lots of 25K runs in preparation and since the end of March I have done several runs of 45 and 50K.

I am hoping that the 30:39 8K I did last Tuesday will be reflected in my time tomorrow. Anything close to 43:00 and I will be happy. Under 43:00 and I will be ecstatic. After this weekend I am going to focus a little more on the hills and on weekly 800 metre workouts. My weight is pretty solid at between 191 and 192. Next week I'm going to try and hammer it under 190. I am recovering much faster by carrying less weight and I feel faster.

Last year I did the Stormy in 9:42, just beating the cut-off time of ten hours and coming in 59 out of 59 (there were originally 82 starters). Last August 14th was a scorcher and in the mid-afternoon it hit 87 degrees. I came in about seven or eight pounds lighter and a week later I was still four pounds lighter. I figure I was burning about 1,000 calories an hour, so, times ten hours of running, the math works out to about 10,000 calories or about three and a half pounds. Seymour has once again offered to run the last 35K with me. I am curious to see what it is like to run the course in footwaer actually called runners!

So this is what my summer has become, running, training, racing and counting calories. My goal is still to be 188-189 by my 45th birthday on August 8th and as close as I can get to 180 pounds by October 1st.

The Okanagan Marathon in Kelowna...

And as a bonus, or perhaps as an added inducement to run in British Columbia's lovely interior vineyards country, the Okanagan Wine Festival just happens to coincide with the Okanagan Marathon. A coincidence? I think not, my friends!

Just a few more reasons why the Okanagan Marathon "stomps" the grapes out of Victoria.... Okanagan Wine Festival!

Autumn in Okanagan Wine Country is the perfect time to watch the grapes ripen in the sun and indulge yourself in the harvest celebrations.

This unique festival is the only wine festival in North America that takes place during the heart of the grape harvest. The Annual Okanagan Fall Wine Festival is an experience for all who love fabulous wine accompanied by great food and unique events.

During this festival, experience vineyard tours, lunches, dinners education and the fall wine harvest - there is no better way to visit Okanagan Wine Country.

For ten days in early October enjoy over 165 events throughout the valley which are focused on wine, food, education and the arts in one of North America’s most spectacular settings – the Okanagan Valley.

This festival continues to be ranked in the top 100 events by the American Bus Association (ABA).

Dates: 2005 Sept 30-Oct 9; 2006 Sept 29-Oct 8;2007 Sept 28-Oct 7; 2008 Oct 2-12

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Summer Social Season

Lately it seems like I have been trying to fit my running and the marathon clinic in and around that other punishing endurance sport, the summer social season. The days are longer but somehow the hours seem shorter. Family comes in from out of town, expects to see you, friends want to spend some time lounging at the beach or around a backyard barbeque, and after all, Vince, it's not like you have a nine to five job these days...

The self-imposed alcohol prohibition wears a little thin on those days when the sun sets long over the patio decks. Fortunately for me, the rainy summer we have had up until the last week or so in Vancouver has made it easy to be self-disciplined. No need to bask in the last rays of the sun when the sun isn't shining. Mondays to Fridays, the diet is relatively easy to follow and I can always beg off the buffets to go for my runs on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.

And the Sunday long run, well, the Sunday long run is in a league all it's own when it comes to proffering explanations for strange, slightly anti-social behavior at the height of the summer social season. Nothing quite like saying you're going to be running for three or four hours the next morning to let you get away with murder or its Emily Post equivalent. It's like an adult hall pass to let one come and go as you please with the full weight and blessings of the High Priests of Etiquette behind you. Better yet, the phrase "I'm trying to qualify for Boston next year..." is like uttering a secret code to the various Hosts and Hostesses who have tried to indulge me in my every decadent appetite.

I merely have to mutter, "Boston, you know..." as I demure on accepting a tasty looking beverage or a plate piled high with delicacies, and off they run to the kitchen and whip me up some special designer low-cal, low-fat concoction that often times surpasses what the rest of the guests are imbibing or nibbling. "Boston, you know..."

Boston is also a password that allows me to leave parties early, so I can get a good nights sleep, "Boston, you know..." or arrive fashionably late and make a grand entrance JUST in time for the food because I have been out training, "Boston, you know..." And the Host and Hostess cluck and nod their heads sympathetically and then scurry into the kitchen or off to the barbeque to whip me up something special. "Listen, I can quickly grill you up a steak instead of one of these burgers.... No, honestly, it's NO trouble!" "Vince, you HAVE to try this wine - Boston, you know... - Let me set aside a bottle for you to take home.

And now that I am down to 190 or so pounds, I have lost enough weight in the past month so that folks I haven't seen in a while immediately launch into peals of, "Vince, you look great..., The training is really paying off! Can I get you something special?" And off course I thank them and accept their praise and say, "Boston, you know... please, don't go to any trouble on my account.", as I cram another specially prepared delicacy into my ravenous maw, seafood platters, a perfect steak, a succulent fruit salad with a little sorbet on the side. It was never so easy to be so healthy. "Boston, you know..."

Thursday, July 14, 2005

You Get What YOu Pay For...

Call me cynical, but I am a firm believer that you get what you pay for in life. I say this because last night the marathon clinic went to a Pilates Studio that is, to my understanding, considering offering a program designed for runners. The clinic, such as it was, was "by donation". And the suggested "donation" was twenty dollars. Frankly, I have never heard anything so preposterous in my life.

Allow me to digress for a moment. After my back surgery and after I was advised to stop running as a form of exercise, I was at a loss for an exercise regimen that satisfied me in the same way. In an attempt to be open-minded, at the suggestion of a friend, I tried yoga. The yoga that I did do conferred immense benefits on me managing my chronic back pain, to the point where I took another stab at running. The end result was that I am probably in the best shape of my life, and because of the constraints of time (and disposable income!) my running has superceded my yoga. Regardless, the point of this digression is that I like to think I am relatively open-minded. Yoga worked for me, but up until I tried it, I had also exhausted various treatments featuring chiropractors (what a load of hooey in my books), accupressure, accupuncture, electronic gizmos, physiotherapists and massage therapists. Hey, if any of these work for you, more power to you.

Anyways, back to pilates. I am sure it works for some people. But endurance athletes, specifically runners? First off, most yoga studios I know of, offer pretty reasonable drop in rates that AREN'T twenty dollars. Secondly, most yoga studios I have attended are peopled and staffed by instructors and long term devotees who are a testament to the benefits of their discipline. In the vernacular, in a yoga studio you can usually count on seeing more than your fair share of hot chicks. I was the first guy at the pilates studio and had a chance to watch the folks coming and going. The bottom line? I didn't see a lot of athletic looking people. In fact I saw a disproportionate number of chunky monkeys.

And, in reference back to earlier posts, I am a firm fence sitter when it comes to the benefits of extensive stretching for endurance athletes. The studies and the data are simply inconclusive. Period. In fact, people who are extremely flexible, such as gymnasts, dancers, and yes, yoga practioners, often have a slightly HIGHER incidence of injury when endurance running. There may be stability benefits for endurance runners in having a slightly - emphasis on slightly - inflexible pelvis.

The pilates class was interesting. But at the end of the class, the two instructors, who neither looked like runners, or who offered any history of their running backgrounds or coaching expertise, then offered "gait analysis". Oh my God, what is it about our culture nowadays where people will pass themselves off as freaking experts in areas where they haveno actual personal experience! I have paid for gait analysis. I have been taught by accredited coaches from national programs. And the gait analysis that was offered to me and that I overheard offered to others was just plain wrong. It was wrong.

As a former sprinter I have had to modify my stride and running style to go from a hundred or two hundred meters to forty or fifty or sixty or seventy KILOMETRES. It wasn't a huge change but it was significant. I shortened my stride, I focused on turnover, I limited my knee lift slightly, I try to just skim the road surface, I try to use LESS quads and MORE calves. The emphasis shifted from POWER to ECONOMY. A successful marathon is about careful management of scarce physical resources. Any slight gain in efficiency will pay dividends over 26.2 miles.

My gait analysis last night? "Push off more with your toes for greater power, increase your stride length. Your upper body is too still, use your upper body more, swing your arms more." In essence, I was being told to revert to a sprinters power form, the exact opposite of what accredited coaches who have actually run marathons and coached marathoners had advised. When I ventured this opinion, I was met not with any meaningful dialogue but a shrug of the shoulders and abrupt dismissal. Frankly, I've always felt that having an open mind is a two way street.

Moral of this story, free advice is worth exactly what you pay for it. And beware the instant experts.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Burn, Baby, Burn!

My weight seems to have leveled off again at 192. I did 16 miles on Sunday by myself on Vancouver Island - visiting ma mere - and part of the route was a two mile climb, which left me with a little quad stiffness. So I wasn't expecting too much from last night's tempo run.

The Tuesday night clinic started out with a chat about heart rate monitors by yours truly and then, courtesy of Polar, we outfitted everybody in the clinic who didn't already have one, with a heart rate monitor. I went out pretty fast from the get go with Hugh right beside me and Tim was not far behind us. I have to say that both Hugh and Tim are usually a bit too fast for me to hang on to, usually by a minute or two over an 8-10K distance.

But not last night. Last night I had my heart rate up to 170 within a klik or two and I held it steady for the rest of the way, reaching a maximum heart rate of 175. At four kilometres I began to pull away from Hugh and Tim and slowly and gradually I increased my lead. I was surprised, astonished even, at how easy it was for me to cruise at 170. Normally at 170 I am on the ragged edge, 84-85% of my maximum heart rate and conscious for every second of my effort. I also felt strong and could feel in my bones that I had a little in reserve.

I don't know if it is the speed work for the past month, the loss of ten pounds in the past six weeks, or what, but I had new found levels of both speed and fitness. I finished the 8K in 30:39, at least two minutes ahead of Hugh and Tim. My LAST fast 8K was three weeks ago and I ran it in a hair over 34 minutes. Hugh also ran the 8K in a best time for him this clinic. Afterwards, Hugh asked me, "Where did that speed come from Vince? We haven't seen THAT speed before!" Truthfully, I had no idea, but there is no getting around the fact that I feel much, much better running at 192 pounds than I did hovering around 200 pounds. Three or four percent less body fat has really made me three or four percent faster. I can hardly wait to see what it is like to run at 180 pounds and 10% body fat! The diet now seems like a bargain in terms of the returns I am getting in performance improvement.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Lighter, Faster, Stronger

I weighed in at 192 this morning. A few folks have commented that I seem, in typical Vince fashion, to be obsessing a little about my weight and my diet. My stock reply is that I am now seeing my body as a race car and that means shoe-horning the biggest, strongest motor I can into the lightest frame I can race in without breaking parts. Lighter is faster, my friends, make no mistake about it. The key to qualifying for Boston for me, is to get down as close to 180 pounds and 10% body fat as I can. The pursuit of this goal has actually gone from being an onerous, I can't believe I have to do this, chore, to being a challenge.

To date, my all or nothing approach to dieting seems to be providing me with the best long-term results. It is just easier for me if I know what I am going to be eating for the rest of the day, the rest of the week, the rest of the month, and the rest of this training period until I run the Okanagan Marathon in Kelowna on October 9th. The best side-effect of my current regimen is I'm saving a not inconsiderable amount of money by eating at home and not in restaurants and my wine tab is nil!

And here's the science to back all this up...

In general, for every 1 percent loss of body mass, primarily as body fat, there will be an approximate 1 percent increase in running speed. Most elite marathon-ers are most likely at an optimal body weight and composition. However, other marathoners who are carrying excess body weight, primarily body fat but also excess upper-body muscle, may enhance performance by losing the excess weight. If you decide to undertake a weight-loss program, a general guide is to lose no more than a pound a week. If you have difficulty losing weight, see a sports health professional, such as a sports dietitian with an R.D. (registered dietitian) degree.
Optimizing your body weight may be a very effective means to improve your marathon performance. V.O2max may be expressed in several ways, including total V.O2max in liters per minute (L O2 /min), or based on body mass (ml O2/kg/min). If your total V.O2max is 4.0 liters/min (4,000 ml/min) and if you weigh 80 kg, then your V.O2max is 50 ml O2/kg/min (4,000 ml O2 /80 kg). If you lose 5 kg (11 pounds; 1 kg = 2.2 lbs) to 75 kg and maintain your V.O2max at 4,000 ml/min, then your V.O2max increases to 53.3 ml O2/kg/min, a 6.6 percent increase.
Let’s apply this body-weight change to marathon running. To run a marathon in four hours, you would need to maintain a pace approximating 176 meters per minute (42,200 m/240 min). Again, disregarding the resting O2 in the ACSM formula, the oxygen cost to run a four-hour marathon approximates 35.2 ml O2/kg/min (0.2 ml O2 3 176 m/min). For an 80-kg runner, this totals about 2,816 ml O2/min (which is running at about 70 percent of V.O2max). If this runner would lose 5 kg of body fat (about a 6 percent loss), the oxygen cost would drop to 2,640 ml O2/min, a savings of about 176 ml O2/min (over 6 percent). Since the cost of running each meter for our 75-kg runner is 15 ml O2 (0.2 ml O2 3 75 kg), the speed of running would increase approximately 11.7 m/min (176 ml O2/15 ml O2) to a speed of 187.7 m/min. This would improve the marathon running time to 3:44:50, or an improvement of about 15 minutes (about 6 percent faster).

And definitely check this Link out!


Thursday, July 07, 2005

Vince's Top Ten Running Mistakes

June, the lovely and talented lady who runs the Half Marathon Clinic asked me to chat with her group and say a few words, with an emphasis on training with a heart rate monitor. I don't think I have never been know as a man of "few" words.

After some thought I realized the best advice I could give to new runners was not to repeat the mistakes I have painstakingly and painfully made.

Here it is then...

Vince’s Top Ten Running Mistakes

And when I say Vince’s Top Ten running mistakes, I absolutely positively mean that literally. These are the top ten mistakes I have made while training for Half Marathons, Marathons and Ultra Marathons.

1. Pacing, Pacing and Pacing

The top three mistakes that I made as a new endurance runner all had to do with Pacing. I will explain…


A Training Program for an endurance runner is made up of at least three different components, Endurance, Speed and Strength (hills and intervals), and Stamina (race pace). All three training components in a training regimen require specific and very different pacing in order to be successful. The pacing for each component requires a runner to aim for a very specific Heart Rate Target Zone.

The first mistake that I made and that many other new runners, and even the more experienced runners make, is that they do not go slow enough. In fact, this is by far the most common mistake endurance runners make, both old and new, and you don’t have to take my word for it.

Even the experts, like Rob Sleamaker and Ray Browning, authors of SERIOUS Training for Endurance Athletes, agree on this one – “Many athletes have the tendency to train at medium to high intensity all the time, never allowing their bodies to rest, recover and catch up from the rigorous training they do on others days. …the natural tendency for the hardheaded overachiever is to think if some is good, then farther and faster must be better.”

The paradox for endurance runners is this - in order to build the all important endurance component of your training program - “Before you can run fast, first you must run slow”. And slow literally means slow, generally no more than 65% of your maximum heart rate and preferably 55-60% and certainly NEVER over 70%. If your maximum heart rate is 200, that means your heart rate during your endurance runs should be no more than 120-130 beats per minute and you should never get over 140! For some people this pace will feel like walking!

(Don’t know your maximum heart rate? A rough rule of thumb is 220 minus your age, but that is only a ball park figure. And I am getting ahead of myself)

The rule of thumb in regards to pace - without a heart rate monitor - is that you should be able to carry on a conversation and speak full sentences without needing to pause to catch your breath. If you can’t carry on a conversation you are going too fast!

In terms of training volume, the endurance component takes up to 80%, that’s right, 80% of the running that you do. In this program, the Sunday endurance run serves several purposes, one is to get your body used to the idea of the time and distance required to cover a half or full marathon. The other is to bring about the actual physiological changes in your body and your metabolism that will transform you into an endurance athlete.

When you run at 65% of your maximum heart rate or lower for an extended period of time, a series of extraordinary changes will take place in your body. Your cells will increase the actual number of mitochondria (your cellular power generators) present within the cells by as much as 100%, effectively doubling their ability to burn fuel. At 60% effort your body will increase the number of capillaries in your cardiovascular system by as much as 40%. This will allow you greater delivery of oxygen to your muscles and an increased capacity to get rid of waste products produced while you are running. One of the best ways to spot a long time endurance athlete is to check their vascularity (veins, baby, veins!). At 60% effort your body will increase its ability to consume oxygen (Max VO2). At 60% effort your body will burn 5% glycogen and 95% body fat as a fuel source. As you increase your effort, your body rapidly switches from burning body fat to burning glycogen. As an endurance athlete you want to increase your bodies ability to utilize fat as a source of fuel because of simple arithmetic. Most of us only have the ability to carry less than two hours of fuel for running in the form of glycogen - stored in our blood and in our livers. If our bodies are utilizing our body fat as we run, within reason you can run indefinitely!

Once you are running past 70% effort you have effectively negated all these aspects of your endurance training.

The other consequence of going too fast during endurance runs is the old domino theory. The rule of thumb is that for endurance athletes it takes approximately one day to recover from every mile run at race pace. In our program we follow every endurance run with a recovery day. That day is followed by a strength or hill workout. If you run too fast during an endurance run, particularly when your weekly mileage is getting up there, you will not be recovered in time to get the maximum benefits from the other components of your training program. Just like falling dominoes, going too fast on an endurance run negates the benefits of the endurance run, which prolongs your recovery, which negates the benefits of the other training runs during the week…

So by running too fast during the endurance run, you effectively become a slower runner! Remember, “Before you can run fast, first you must run slow”

I used to do my endurance runs at 70-75% effort and beyond. Before I got a heart rate monitor I had no way of knowing exactly what my level of effort was. In addition, I was close to forty AND I was overweight. The consequence of this approach to my training was that I trained for two marathons where I did not even reach the start line because of injuries brought about by overtraining. I did not start and finish my first marathon until someone gave me a heart rate monitor for Christmas.

As you run more half and full marathons you will begin to look at the results. Did you make your goal time? Did you finish with a negative split (the second half of the race slightly faster than the first half)? Did you feel strong all the way through the race? Bonking, or hitting the wall three quarters of the way through a race is usually indicative of two things – going out too fast in the beginning and not properly pacing yourself, or your endurance training was inadequate to prepare you for the full distance of the race.


Typically hill and interval training only make up 10% (imagine that!) of an endurance athletes training volume. But what a ten percent it is. Once again, for new endurance athletes, knowing the level of effort or the pacing they should be at can be a problem. Hill workouts and intervals are short one, two and three minute spurts of hard effort that are followed by a period of recovery and then we repeat the process until nauseous (just kidding, but not really). The idea is to stress your body and recover and then stress it again. Over time you should become progressively stronger and faster. The rule of thumb in terms of effort is that you should not be able to speak without have to pause to catch your breath – gasp- between – gasp – words. If you can carry on a pleasant conversation during hill training you are not running hard enough.

Typically, by the end of a hill or speed work out, you should be seeing 90-95% of your maximum heart rate.

During tempo runs training, which is a sustained effort for 30-35 minutes just below your lactate threshold (where your body switches from aerobic to anaerobic) your heart will be somewhere between 78 – 85% of your maximum.

Many beginning endurance runners find it difficult to give their best efforts during hill and speed workouts because they are often struggling to fully recover from going too fast during their endurance runs.

The only way to get stronger and faster during speed and hill workouts is to push the limits of your ability. That stress will cause your body to get stronger during the recovery and rest phase of your training. Stress and recovery, stress and recovery. Each week you get a little bit faster and a little bit stronger.

This is the component of your training where faster is better, but it must be controlled speed.

I was never able to get the full benefits out of my hill training until I started going slower in my endurance runs. Before that, I was often too tired and I would need two or even three days to recover instead of just a single day.

The advantage of having a heart rate monitor is that on those days where I don’t feel a hundred percent my monitor will tell me that I have a little bit more to give…


Learning to run at race pace. Boy is that a mouthful! After nine marathons I am still struggling to learn to find a pace that I can carry through an entire 10K, Half Marathon, Marathon and Ultra Marathon. How fast is fast enough? Less important if you are running to finish, but crucial if you are trying to make a time.

This is the great thing about endurance running. Half Marathons and beyond are about the careful management of scarce physical resources.

Ideally, you want to cross the finish line with nothing left in your gas tank. The flip side of that is that you don’t want to be stuck by the side of the road a mile from the finish line sucking on fumes!

Research in the USA showed that 65% of the runners said that they would run the marathon faster than they really did, and worse, 15% of the first time marathoners and 8% of the second time marathoners made a mistake of more than one hour. On the other hand, experienced runners can predict their marathon time to within a few minutes. One of the best places to go to find out what pace is realistic for you –

Out of nine marathons I have run three negative splits and bonked three times, the other three marathon, two of them I was in combat boots and a kilt and in the third I was recovering from a broken ankle.

Although I bonked in my last marathon I have run three personal bests in a row.


Feel the love of the pack. Being a Pace Group Leader is a lot more difficult that it looks. No, really! Help your Pace Group Leader make the runs an enjoyable experience for everyone.

You should NEVER be in front of a Pace Group Leader. It’s simply bad manners. And it throws off the pace of the entire group and the Pace Group Leader. If you feel really strong one day, be disciplined. Save it for your next speed workout.

Other training runs are different. During hill and speed workouts, get outside your comfort zone. These are training days when you can - “Lets the dogs out to run!” Feel the need for speed? Run hard. Then run harder!

When running with a Pace Group it’s important to remember that you are there to reap the benefits and rewards of running with a group. Just like there is no “I” in Team, there should be no individual goals in a Sunday Endurance run. Sunday morning is like going to church. Be on your best behavior. There will days when you feel awful where you will be grateful for the support and love of the pack.

Nor should you be crowding the front of the pack or the sidewalk.

Don’t forget to remember that we share our running routes with others. Be a good citizen. Be polite and others will be polite to us.

Keep an eye out for dogs, bicycles, obstacles and especially older pedestrians. Suddenly have a pack of sweaty, crazed lumbering runners appear out of nowhere can be frightening experience.

It took me a couple of clinics and being a Pace Group Leader myself before I realized just how difficult it is to maintain a steady pace.


Simple, straightforward, and easy to do. Any run longer than 10K and you should have a water belt. This is not rocket science.

In hot weather, running without water can be dangerous. And yet every clinic I see people without water on long runs who tell me that they “never” run with water. You can’t always count on water fountains, and unlike the race, there will not be volunteers handing out Dixie cups along the training runs.

Confession – See #6


Once are approaching the two hour mark in your training runs your body is reaching the end of its glycogen reserves.

And even when your body is mostly burning body fat as fuel it needs glycogen to metabolize body fat. Think of glycogen as the pilot light that allows your body’s furnace to burn fat. It is absolutely critical to maintain your glycogen levels and crucial to your success in your training runs and your races.

I know most Gels and many electrolytes taste terrible. Use your training to find the most palatable ones you can stomach. Try cutting up Power Bars into mouth size bites.

It will take time for your body to get used to Gels, so do it in training and not in your race. You need to start “gel-ing” before the first hour is up and every forty minutes after that. You can also mix gels with water and take a small mouthful at every walk break.

Confession – I did my first 32K run without a water bottle, no Gels and no electrolytes. And I did it in 3:02. I ran the last 10K with water in a cup from Starbucks. Neil Wakeline took pity on me and bought me a power bar and a Gatorade at a gas station. I never did THAT again! Plus, it took me almost two weeks to recover from what SHOULD have been a training run.


You will feel much, much better and certainly stronger if you eat 400-500 calories of complex carbs before a long run. I notice better training results if I eat two hours before every run.

Training is the time to find the foods that agree with you before a run and is preparation for your meal before your race.

Because of the volume of training in doing a half and a full marathon, it is not a bad idea to keep track of your protein consumption.

Food is just as important as rest for recovery.

Confession – I have run 32K without breakfast and after having had two and a half bottles of red wine the night before. Not recommended.


The best way to maintain your running form and technique in the latter stages of a race is to have an upper body and a core that is as fit as your legs and your lungs and your heart.

Strengthening your core can help alleviate some injuries, and lessen your chances of getting injured.

Cross training is also a way to use different muscles and not burn yourself out with too many miles of exclusively running.

But you can go overboard. In one marathon clinic I became obsessed with hill training. I did the Grouse Grind every Saturday before the long run on Sunday. Yes, this was a prelude to one of the marathons where I bonked.

And four weeks before your race, concentrate on running and taper off your cross training. (Yes, I have made the mistake of cross training right up until the week of a marathon….)


Recover, recover, recover. Rest, rest, rest!

Resting and recovering are training days. You must allow your body to recover from the stress of training. You are not being lazy by taking a day off. Your body is rebuilding itself, getting stronger and faster. That means that rest days are for resting, not junk miles and certainly not other vigorous forms of cross-training.

Rough rule of thumb. You may need an additional recovery day in your training schedule for every decade you are over forty.

If you are feeling run down, do not be afraid to take a day off.

Do not think you can run through an injury.

Do not be afraid to drop down a pace group or two if you are injured or tired. Your body is trying to tell you something. Listen to it. YOU WILL NOT LOSE ANY TRAINING BENEFITS BY DOING AN ENDURANCE RUN A HALF AN HOUR SLOWER OR EVEN AN HOUR SLOWER THAN YOU WOULD USUALLY!


Don’t miss the forest because all you can see are the trees.

We are incredibly blessed to be able to run and to be able to run in Vancouver.

I really do consider my Sunday morning runs as going to Church. It is about as devout as I am ever going to get.

In your running and racing, try not to get obsessed with time. Goals are laudable and important to have. But don’t let them take over your life or overshadow your other achievements.

My first marathon was in Vancouver in the Spring of 2002. My goal was to beat four hours because I'd heard that Oprah Winfrey had run HER first marathon in four hours. I was gutted when I staggered across the finish in 4:06:09. (don’t get me started on the line-ups for the Porta Potties or the lady who took five freakin’ minutes to do her business!)

I thought I'd been beaten by Oprah, and foolishly, I allowed the thrill of finishing my first marathon to be diminished by missing my time goal by a mere six minutes and nine seconds.

About three weeks later a friend of mine had rightly had enough and said, “Vince, you just ran a marathon.” Like I said earlier, I’m not the sharpest knife in the drawer and it was only then that it dawned on me that finishing a marathon at all was not a bad achievement in and of itself.

I didn't realize JUST how foolish I’d been until nearly a year later, when bitterly whining to a running buddy, who filled me in correctly, that Oprah had actually run her marathon in 4:29:20, which is still quite a feat.


I have to add this final comment. Technically, it doesn’t fall under the category of making a mistake, but I think you’re crazy if you don’t do it.

Training for a half or full marathon is going to consume at least 16 weeks of your life, untold hours of time, and you are going to spend several hundreds of dollars on runners, spandex, lycra and other technical gear, gels, water bottles, entry fees and other assorted goodies that you can not ever imagine running a race without. If you become a lifestyle runner and do this year in and year out you will spend thousands and thousands of dollars on your obsession.

BUY A HEART RATE MONITOR! It will be the single best investment you ever make in your running endeavors.


Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Sweet Sixteen

I couldn't stand the suspense any longer, so I went out this morning and then I took a test to measure my percentage of body fat. I weighed in at 193.2 pounds and my body fat was measured at 16%. Oh, yeah, Sweet sixteen!

Back in March I weighed in at 203.3 pounds, so I'm exactly 10.1 pounds lighter. My body fat as measured in March was 22%, so I've lost 6% body fat. The mathematicians in the audience will note the discrepancy in the numbers... It also turns out that I have also gained 2.6 pounds of lean muscle mass. In March my lean muscle mass was 158.6 pounds and is now 161.2 pounds.

Given that I have been back in the gym, lifting weights and cross-training to build up my upper body and core strength for eight weeks now, that is quite reasonable. I hadn't been in the gym for over six months, and despite keeping my exercises to two or three per body part, and limiting myself to three sets of 30 to 50 repetitions, it was clear I was capable of toning up and packing on a little beef. Not necessarily a bad thing. A stronger core and upper body will help me maintain my form in the late stages of the marathon.

Now that I am at 193.2 pounds and 16% body fat, 180 pounds and about 10% body fat doesn't seem quite so daunting a task or quite so unattainable. I feel pretty confident that by August 8th I will be below 190, and that by mid-September, I should be close to 180. I would prefer to lean out before I start really ramping up my weekly miles to the 70 mile per week range. That kind of mileage really puts a strain on me and I don't want to be hampering my recovery by watching every calorie. I will want to switch my focus from losing weight to eating sensibly and making sure that I am aiding my recovery with healthy eating and healthy food choices.

Gut Busters

Last night went out and did a little easier 8K tempo run. My Polar S625X would not pick up my heart rate and according to Hugh I was running like a bat out of hell as I fiddled with my Polar and tried to maintain contact with the fast as greased lightning, C.

End result was that I shot my bullet in the first couple of K and when my Polar came on I realized I was burning along at 175... ! And all the fidgeting meant that I didn't record the workout. AarrRRrggghhhHHH! At 3K C disapeared and took off over the horizon like a rocket.

Since Sunday I have been on an absolutely brutal (I exagerate as usual, with a typical Vince degree of hyperbole) diet of around 1800 calories per day. I decided ten days ago to not drink any alcohol until my birthday on August 8th. I got tired of being stuck wavering between 195-196 on my bathroom scales. I am limiting my protein to fish, salmon and tuna, and eggs. My bulk carbohydrates are coming from a bowl of oatmeal in the morning and a bowl of brown wild rice at lunch. I like the rice with the fish. Dinner is a salad. I am eating lots of fruits and vegetables. I am only drinking clear liquids and I have even cut back on my coffee consumption. By August 8th I am going to see 189 pounds come Hell or high water.

My idea is to eat very well, in terms of caloric intake, on Sunday - say 3,000 calories - when I do my long endurance run, and then taper my calories for the week until I need to stoke the Vince machine again on the weekend. The upshot of this is that this morning I tipped the scales at 193. I honestly can not remember the last time I was 193. For the first time in years the spare tire around my belly button and the love handles - and I have HANDLES King Kong could hang on to, Baby! - over my kidneys appear to be diminishing.

As for the growls and pangs of hunger that occasionally stalk me in the late afternoon, I stuff a carrot stick in them and put them out of their misery as quickly as possible.

At 193 pounds in early July, the neighbourhood of 180 by late September doesn't seem quite so daunting or quite so far away. And I am seizing this training window of relatively low overall mileage to jettison as many pounds as possible. I do not want to be trying to lose body fat while at the same time be recovering from running 70 miles per week in late August and early September.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Sunday Endurance Run - % Percentage of Maximum Heart rate Posted by Picasa Sunday run averages out to just under 65% of my maximum heart rate, rarely approaches 70% and almost never gets over 70%. Got to build that Aerobic Base!

Sunday Endurance Run - Heart Rate - Beats Per Minute Posted by Picasa Averaging between 128 and 138 beats per minute heart rate.

Post-to-Post 10K Race - Heart Rate as Percentage of Maximum Heart Rate Posted by Picasa

And as a result, ran the race at between 80 and 90% of my maximum heart rate, averaging about 82% overall.

For a distance like 10K, I probably should have been able to notch up my effort by 3-5%.

Post-to-Post 10K Race - July 1st - Heart Rate - Beats Per Minute Posted by Picasa

As you can see I ran most of the Post-to-Post 10K on July 1st at a heart rate of between 160 and 180 beats per minute.

Monday, July 04, 2005


Sunday Run - Nice and Easy 20K Posted by Picasa

Took it very easy on Sunday. Felt a little leg stiffness on Saturday after the Canada Day Post-to-Post 10K Race.

There were only five of us in the pace group this long weekend. I guess everyone else has a social life... More about that later!

I went back into my Polar S625X software and had a fascinating time digging around in the data of my last few runs...

Saturday, July 02, 2005


July 1st Post-to-Post 10K Race Heart Chart - Happy Canada Day! Posted by Picasa

Sometimes, what we do as runners can simply be expressed as numbers in columns. I give you -

177 (order of finish overall) 147/394 (order of finish among males) M 20/63 (order of finish in my age-group)M4044 (my age-group 40-44) 45:19 (my official chip time) 7:18 (my pace - minutes per mile)3584 (my bib number) Vince Hemingson (me, just in case I forget) Vancouver, BC (and where to send me home)

Now, I took my time and entered it into the Race Predictor on www.marathon Which spit THESE numbers out.

Based on our calculations, you could perform at these times over these distances. If you are in much better shape than expected in our theoretical model, then your times will be less spread out. Conversely, if you are in worse shape then your times may be more dispersed.

5K - 0:21:38
5M - 0:35:43
10K - 0:45:19
10M - 1:14:48
Half Marathon - 1:40:29
Marathon - 3:30:27 - Yeah, Baby! This is what we're talking about!

(The race predictor also calculates a Marathon time of 3:25:07 for a 44:10 minute 10K - cause for more hope - or unrealistic expectations...?).

I have to confess, that I was a little disappointed with my time. I was hoping for something closer to 42-43 minutes (42 minute 10K hints at a marathon in the neighbourhood of 3:15). The conditions and weather was perfect for a race on Friday morning. My legs felt a little heavy, and I probably should have had more of a warm-up. My wind, especially in the second half felt great. A closer examination of my heart rate chart probably reveals that I was a little too conservative in my pacing. My heart rate is not as elevated as it was in my fast 8K of two weeks ago, where I had a sustained ten minute surge to 184-185 for the last two K. My POLAR S625X did show a maximum attained heart rate of 186 during the race, however.

At about 20 and again at 30 minutes, my heart rate and speed trail off, but I also grabbed a swig of water and there were a couple of sharp corners that might account for that. Also, unlike the Tuesday night tempo runs, or the Gibson's race where I ran with Rachel, I was mostly on my own this Friday. I battled a few people, but had no really sustained stretchs where I was "battling" to stay with someone, or fight someone off or try and catch someone.

Rachel and I did a 44:10 minute 10K in the first half of the Gibson's Half Marathon on April 1st, and that coupled with a 34 minute 8K two weeks ago had me salivating over getting closer to a 40 minute 10K. Alas, it was not to be...

Hugh finished a full minute ahead of me after doing a 1:39:00 Half Marathon in the Scotia. What a performance in back to back races! Unfortunately, I never saw Hugh in the starting pen, as I would have loved to have given chase and pursued him over the course of the race. Don't think it would have made much difference in the end, but who knows!? It is amazing how a hard fought battle with an equally or closely matched opponent will energize you over the course of a race.

My appetite for speed over a distance which I can more easily recover is now fully whetted.

So I am now going to try and lure and many people as I can into what should be a very fast 10K along the Seawall on Saturday, July 23rd. A full three weeks in which to prepare!

Summerfast 10k - Sat Jul 23/05, 8:30 am

Location: Ceperley Picnic Area at Second Beach, Stanley Park, Vancouver

Contact: Simon Cowell (604) 251-3255

Fees: $17 by July 12, $22 late, $27 day of race; Bone-Dri T-shirt add $25

Features: Scenic, flat seawall course. Home baked goodies after your run.

Details: On this site - online registration