Sporting Life 10K 2008

This past Sunday, Brooke and I ran our second race of the year and I felt considerably better than I did about the Spring Run-Off 8K I ran last month, even though I only fit in one training run of 8K in between that race and this one. The Sporting Life 10K is a fun race because most of the route is south on Yonge Street, and Brooke and I live within ten minutes walk of the starting line. As well, it’s mostly flat or downhill. But the best part is that this race might very well be the largest in the city, attracting nearly 10,000 runners each year. The weather is usually better by this time than it is in early April, too.

That being said, it was pretty cold when we headed out at 7:00am for an 8:00am start. The temperature was around 6° Celsius, though it did get up to about 10° later. Since I’m still without a functioning watch, I had decided to stick with Brooke for as long as possible, but she started to slow down around the 7K mark, so I took off. I wasn’t feeling particularly speedy, but my regular pace is faster than hers. I’d be lying if I didn’t say that I struggled a bit for the last few kilometres. I’m definitely not in as good shape as I’ve been in past years. I need to get out and run more between races. But I was still quite happy with my time. I’d hoped to run sub-55:00 and I accomplished that. The discrepancy between gun and chip times is because we were quite far back from the starting line. Unfortunately, gun time is still how races rank you for placing.

Brooke has already signed us up for two more races in June, with a strong possibility that we’ll do a third. The Alfie Shrubb 8K is a small race held in Bowmanville, Ontario on June 1st. And the following weekend, I’m doing the Bread and Honey 5K in Streetsville, while Brooke runs the 15K. The third is the Pride and Remembrance Run, a personal favourite that we’ve run every year since 2003. There is a possibility that we might be in New York City that weekend, so we’ll have to wait and see. Hopefully I can secure my Garmin Forerunner 405 before my next race! And run faster! (P.S. Brooke ran 55:10.4)

Gun Time: 56:17.7
Chip Time: 54:32.1
Overall Place: 3072/8590
Gender Place: 2106/3895
Age Group (M40-44) Place: 318/543

2007 Chip Time: 51:22.7 (wow, forgotten how well I did last year!)
2006 Chip Time: (didn’t run)
2005 Chip Time: (didn’t run)
2004 Chip Time: 52:30.9

Full results from 2008

Technolust: Garmin Forerunner 405

I’ve been a very bad runner of late. Brooke and I started running to keep fit back in 2003, and for the first few years, I was motivated. One of the tools that helped me was a great heart-rate monitor watch I bought from Sports Instruments. That watch is now on its last legs, and it’s time for some new gadgetry to help get me back on track, so to speak.

I’d always loved the Garmin Forerunner series of GPS-enabled watches, but they were enormous and ugly, and often didn’t work in the city, where tall buildings interfered with their ability to pick up a signal. I kept telling myself that when they got smaller and more capable, I’d pick one up. I believe that day is now at hand. Behold the Forerunner 405:

Garmin Forerunner 405

This thing will do everything: track distance, time, map routes, even heart-rate (on one model). Best of all, it can upload its data to the web, where you can analyze it or compare yourself with others on Garmin’s new Connect community.

This is exactly the sort of tech geekery that gets me excited and motivated to exercise more. There are only two notes of caution here. One is that there won’t be any Mac support for the 405 until November 2008. The other is that Apple has long been rumoured to be working on a much fuller implementation of the Nike + iPod kit. While it’s doubtful that Apple could build something as sophisticated as the Forerunner (though it would play music!), I might still try to wait a while. Although I’m sure I could use Windows under Parallels for a few months to sync my data with my iMac, there could be some potential hiccups.

Don’t be surprised if I go out and buy one this weekend, though!

Harry’s Spring Run-Off 8K 2008

Brooke and I have run the Harry’s Spring Run-Off 8K each year since 2004, but this year, I’d done next to no training. To make things worse, my watch battery died a few weeks ago and I hadn’t replaced it. And then Brooke and I were placed in different “corrals” at the beginning since she’d registered us and estimated my time being much faster than hers. So even though I’d planned to run with her to keep track of my pace and use her watch, we were separated throughout the entire race. Without a watch, it was hard for me to know what pace I was running, and to make matters even worse, there weren’t enough kilometre markers on the course. I only saw them for 1K, 4K and 6K. The end result was my worst time ever. I felt lost out on the course and my own body felt like a bit of a stranger to me. Brooke has registered us for the Sporting Life 10K in four weeks and I know I need to train now. Funny enough, even though she finished after me, Brooke’s chip time (47:29.9) was better than mine, and so she can deservedly say that she beat me. This is even more significant since she ran the 30K Around the Bay race just last weekend. She’s amazing. Next month, I’m hoping to go faster!

Gun Time: 48:30.3
Chip Time: 47:43.6
Overall Place: 1064/1950
Gender Place: 737/1045
Age Group (M40-44) Place: 117/166

2007 Chip Time: 45:23.7
2006 Chip Time: 44:16.8
2005 Chip Time: 42:38.3
2004 Chip Time: 43:26.5

Full results from 2008

Out of Body Autoreply

Wow. For the past two days, I’ve been keenly aware of a feeling of disconnection between my mind and my body. It’s been quite a long time since I felt it this strongly, but I know that there are a number of factors that are causing me to feel this way. I began a new job just over two months ago. From working in a small and casual office environment, I’ve moved to a large and rather impersonal corporate office. New clothes, new space, new people (and lots of them). Sometimes I feel like I’m just carried along on the tide of people during the morning and evening rushes, or at lunch in the cavernous “food court”. As well, I just returned from a week’s holiday in Cuba, a place where it would be very difficult indeed to separate your mind and body, for a variety of reasons. Coming home with a flu bug has only increased this feeling of my mind floating above my body like a balloon in a hazy sky. And I think the cold weather and early darkness also make it easier to forget about having a physical presence in the world.

I’m going to check out the local YMCA in the next few weeks and will probably join. It has a running track and is closer to my new job than the University of Toronto Athletic Centre where I usually run in winter. I’m realizing that I need this physical activity for more than just physical health. I think that running will help me to reverse this feeling of unraveling. I hope so, because it’s really beginning to creep me out.

Nissan Toronto 5K 2007

Brooke was running the Nissan Toronto Ten-Miler this morning in the Distillery District, so I entered the 5K because I don’t enjoy anything longer than 10K. It was a perfect day, cool and sunny, and the race started very early at 8:00am. Getting up at 5:45am was not fun, but it was a decent race for me. Not my best time this year, but I didn’t go in with any expectations.

Kilometre 1: 5:06.9
Kilometre 2: 5:11.6
Kilometre 3: 5:11.7
Kilometre 4: 5:08.0
Kilometre 5: 5:03.4

Chip Time: 25:35.8
Gun Time: 26:06.8
Overall Place: 111/425
Gender Place: 75/174
Age Group (M40-44) Place: 7/16

P.S. Brooke took three minutes off her previous time at this distance, so I’m very proud of her!

Official Results from the 2007 Nissan Toronto 5k