Mind, Motion & Matter

Running, Essentially . . .


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New Years Lessons and Resolutions

Alan Brookes of the Canada Running Series retweeted the article New Years Lessons and Resolutions from Canadian Runners with the question, How about YOU? This blog post is my reply to the questions asked in that article.

Oh, where oh where would we older folks run track without OMA

Oh, where oh where would we older folks run track without the OMA

What did you learn in 2013 that you want to apply to your training in 2014

The importance of maintaining good leg turnover. I’ve known this intellectually for most of my 30+ years of running but training with the UTTC Masters track team with coach Paul Osland, an Olympian,  has provided the tools to make this a part of my training routine. Even though I have been running fewer miles since the Ontario cross-country championships last November, I’ve been able to maintain my cruising pace, which has quickened thanks to regular track workouts.

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Super-fast coach Paul

What was a great moment that you will remember about 2013?

That is a difficult choice. But I’m going to say being chosen Ontario Masters Athlete of the month for February by Ontario Masters Athletics (OMA). This gives me the chance to highlight the fantastic support masters runners and track athletes get in Ontario.  I was recognized for having broken the Canadian indoor 5K record twice at this rarely-raced distance.
Doug Smith checks out Doug Smith trophy at U of T Athletic Center

Doug Smith checks out Doug Smith trophy at U of T Athletic Center

The remarkable thing to me is the dedication of long-time volunteers like Doug Smith (President of the OMA) who create the opportunity to race and break records. Doug Smith who with his self-deprecating sense of humour, does an amazing job of making everyone feel welcome whether to the OMA or to UTTC Masters on top of just about everything else including meet organizing, race photos and website maintenance. There are many dedicated volunteers who helps as timers, registrars, lap-timers, record-keepers, cheerleaders and more, including Stafford who emailed me a nice certificate to commemorate the 5K record. Paul Osland our high-functioning Olympian coach, is in his third term as President of the CMA, following in Doug’s footsteps as an extraordinary volunteer. On behalf of all masters runners in Ontario. Thank you all!
The University of Toronto Track Club (UTTC) has recently fully embraced the Masters concept and the UTTC Masters have been warmly welcomed to the main club. A huge benefit is sharing the indoor track and outdoor track at Varsity Stadium.
What goals do you have for 2014?

In order of priority:

  1. Help UTTC Masters team win the Breslin Cup.
  2. Increase my age-graded score for the outdoor 1500 at the Ontario Masters Provincial Track and Field Championships
  3. Increase my age-graded score for 5k on the road.
  4. Run faster than last year at the Boston Marathon.

Two resolutions: one running resolution and a non-running one?

Get back to regular weight work. When I was in top form I was able to legpress 250 lbs. and squat 135 lbs. I can probably only do about 60-65% of that now. Remain ever-grateful for the good heath that allows me to keep training so I can get slower gracefully.

Keep mentally fit. One aspect of this is to keep up to date with all things digital. This is made easier with my great in-house tutor, son Steven, a recent U of T, comp-sci grad. He knows how much time I spend at home and at work on the computer so to celebrate his first job as a software developer, he surprised me with a Christmas gift of a Yoga Pro 2 laptop. He told me this will increase my productivity. Weighing in at 3.1 pounds with a 13.1″ by 8.6″ high resolution screen, perhaps this highly-portable laptop means I should set my sights higher than my two posts a month. I’m not about to make promises I can’t keep but we shall see!

Lean, mean blogging machine
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Three tips to find time to run

November was a busy one. And we are just coming upon what is sometimes referred to as the “season of busy” which can make it hard to get our runs in.

Slow cooker

Tip # One
Buy a slow cooker

For much of my adult life I have been meaning to try out slow-cooking. Driven by one of the busier months of my life, I finally got around to ordering one. To determine which one to buy I consulted this popular blog on slow-cooking. And of coures, to save time, I ordered the slow-cooker on-line. I would estimate that I saved 2-3 hours this past week thanks to my slow-cooker.

Tip # Two
Run to and/or from work

Being a daily runner, I know I WILL run so using my running time to get to work saves me at least 45 minutes. In my case it is also so much easier to hit the road knowing that running is much faster than the cross-town transit options and a $3.00 saving each way.

Tip # Three
Do chores, shopping and window shopping on the run

This really works well for small and /or lightweight items. Swiss army knives are a great gift for many people that can be easily picked up while on a run. Gift certificates to Mountain Equipment Coop are another. I do a lot of on-line ordering but sometimes you really do want to see an item, hence window shopping while running makes perfect sense. The new practise of looking at items in a store and then ordering (often at better prices) is called “showrooming”.

Trips to the bank and post-office are also good candidates for doing-while-running. Especially if you can time your visits to be at low-traffic hours. Get thee to the post office early! Running with a hip-pack or back-pack is not that bad. It certainly beats missing a run. I’ve got my eye on some hip packs including this Patagonia Hip Pack

Hip pack

I’m an admitted time-management book junkie. Hence I got a chuckle out of something a former workmate had this on posted on her bulletin board:
“Your lack of planning is not my emergency.”

 

 


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A fast pace

Indeed! With seven weeks before the Boston Marathon I’m heading into the heart of marathon training. In addition to 60+ miles of training a week, a number of other activities are keeping me busy. But first a running update.

Lynn Kobayashi, Lynn Deutscher Kobayashi

*The Look* On the verge of death or childbirth? I think I need some finish line coaching from Usain Bolt.

A few weeks back I set a Canadian age-group record for the indoor 5K. It was “low-hanging fruit” as far as records go but as one friend said I’m sure it was delicious nonetheless. I ran 21:55 – breaking the old mark of 26:14 held by Gossette Radlein since 2008. Tomorrow, I’ll be running another indoor 5K so it looks like I will be running to lower the Canadian record 🙂

Lynn Kobyashi, Lynn Deutscher Kobayashi

Why am I HERE? (far right)

The 5K was an invitational race with athletes of all shapes, sizes and ages, and just one woman. That would be me. I’m not sure what the logic was of putting me in the best starting spot, the inside track, so to speak, perhaps that was the spot where it would be least likely for someone to trip over the vintage 1955 wannabe record chaser.

5K jerry k

Jerry, the class of the field.

A couple of other records were broken in the race. Jerry Kooymans broke the men’s 55-59 record and Jack Geddes ran 23:29 – breaking the record of 27:46 held by Whitey Sheridan in 1991. I was happy to take the record down to a respectable level, a solid national class time (equivalent to about 17:40 were I in the Open category).

Mini Meet JackLynn

Setting the pace for a 75 yr. old record-holder.

Jerry on the other hand is the crème de la crème of masters running in Ontario, an international caliber athlete who has been competing his whole life and still holds records for the Princeton team. Jerry ran most of the way by himself, finishing in 16:44. He broke the old record of 17:27 held by Robert Jackson set in 2011. Jerry is just a few months older than me which makes me an expert in knowing when he enters a new age-category.

Lynn Deutscher Kobayashi, Lynn Kobayashi

We did it!!

This blog post has filled up rapidly thanks to all the great photos courtesy of Doug Smith of the Ontario Masters Track and Field Association. So I’ll have to elaborate on my other activities some other time. As far as that goes, let’s just say that Ethiopia is on my mind.

My To Do List for the Next Ten Weeks

  • Organize reception at University College on March 7th to recognize and attract sponsors and supporters for gala to benefit Ethiopian orphans. If you are interested or know of companies who might be interested, download this invitation: Sponsor Reception or email: people4kids@bell.net for more details.
  • Organize gala for Ethiopian orphans at the ROM on May 1st
  • Finish reading Les Miserables – The harsh conditions in the book make me think of hardships faced by those in developing nations. I am 45% of the way through.
  • Run for Ethiopian orphans at the Boston Marathon on Monday, April 15th.


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Running with the rabbits

I MUST tell you about my amazing teammates. It took me awhile to decide whether I wanted to commit to a club and twice-weekly workouts as I value the flexiblity of working out on my own schedule. Now that I’ve been a member of UTTC Masters for a year, the resounding verdict is triple-YES and WooHoo! How do I love UTTC Masters, I could count the ways but I’ll start with this. I am the oldest female on the team and am usually training for longer distances than my track-focused teammates. This means that more often than not, I do the maximum number of track repeats. So, combined with my age-diminished speed, I am usually the last off the track. What this means is that I get lots of cheers as my teammates cool-down and there are pace bunnies aplenty.

Fifth Avenue Mile

Annie, Queen of the Mile

On many occasions my teammates have jumped in to help me through the final stages of my workouts. The younger men, have paced me for whole segments as part of their cool-down while the somewhat-younger-than-me women have helped me kick it in through the final lap. Most recently I can thank Linda, Nathalie and Rita! And thanks Charlie who, I suspect, has been adding on an extra lap or two from his original target to keep me company.

guelph-11-lynda

Linda, looking good in the 50-plus category

My first experience with being paced was last year when Annie, “The Queen of Fifth Avenue” ran the last two laps of a 1K time trial with me. Yes, Annie won her age-category at the Fifth Avenue Mile. Her balletic running form is admired by all of us. Just check out those pointed toes in the top photo as she breaks the tape in NYC.

Rita Kingston

Rita runs fast and coordinates team social events as well

Last Thursday, four of us ran 6 X 600 together and then I was on my own for the rest of my 12 X 600 workout, or so I thought. My teammates stood by the track to cheer me on and then jumped in for the final 150 meters of each repeat. That made things so much easier. One teammate to push and one to pull me along. Yesterday, I had a big workout of 5 x 1 mile with 3 minutes rest. With no company for the final repeat, Michael paced me through the last seven-minute mile. It was the fastest of the lot but felt the easiest.

Michael UTTC

Michael, a gentleman and a runner

In all my years of training with various teams, I’ve never had this kind of support, a benefit in part of getting slower. Thanks guys and gals.  I guess it is never too late to discover how  running with pace-bunnies can make track work, the hardest type of workouts, easier and fun!

* Many of the photos of masters runners taken at track and cross-country meets have been taken by Doug Smith, another amazing teammate and dedicated Ontario Masters Track & Field  Association volunteer extraordinaire.


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Those long runs, from start to finish

Yesterday I ran 14.5 miles (23.5K) on a balmy, for January day. I then drew up my training plan for the Boston marathon which is on Monday, April 15th, 2013. There are 13 weeks to go and I will do eight long runs. At the bottom of this post is my Boston Marathon racing and long run schedule.

My training will be relatively light, as at age 57, the long runs don’t come as easy as they used to. I’ll be trying to maximize recovery from the long ones and I’ll be doing a single long run of 20 miles. Contrast this to the eight runs of 20-22 miles, I did six years ago when my result was a third place age-group finish at Boston. My goals for 2013 are modest. For my fifth Boston marathon, I’ll be running on memories – and lots of TLC on the day of my long training runs.

Boston Marathon 2007

Boston Marathon 2007

Central to the ability to absorb the impact of long runs will be sedate Friday nights and quiet Saturdays, ideally a nap will take place post-run. One of the benefits of training at my age is that my son is 25 years old so naps are possible AND my husband is very supportive of my training. While we did attend a member’s viewing of Frida & Diego at the Art Gallery of Ontario on Friday, I was just as happy that there was no space in the lounge to stop for a drink. I’m going to try and avoid alcohol before my long runs.

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Marathon training aids

After the run, I enjoyed a long bath, with coffee delivered to the tub and bubbles courtesy of a Christmas stocking stuffer, a LUSH bubble bar, one of my favourite things. Our weekend routine is that my husband does the cooking on as well as the grocery shopping. If I’m not too tired from my run, I enjoy going with him but after a 16 x 200 meter workout on Thursday, I was beat. I was encouraged to have run 37 seconds for the final 200, the fastest of the lot.

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View from a bathtub

My husband does run but far less than he would like due to a torn meniscus. I guess I am the beneficiary of the extra time he has due to his injury.  I wrote about my husband’s running and his torn meniscus in these posts: If my husband had a tattoo and A bit of cortisone for the road

Long Run Recovery dinner

Long run recovery dinner

Things are falling into place for the next eight long runs with one development being that my long-standing Saturday group – known as the Wise Guys (3 of 4 are profs, with one bio-statistician) have agreed to start 30 minutes later than our usual time. Bounding out the door for a long run at 7:00 a.m. solo, for an uphill 5K (often in the dark) was not getting any easier. Getting the extra half-hour sleep is great. Another development is that I finally conceded defeat to my dying IPod and bought a new one. The thought of being able to count on the company of music is a great boost and I’ll be checking out LegalSounds regularly. While I love the pure thrill of running, I do find that my IPod and BlackBerry are much welcomed accessories in helping me sustain 33 years of training, the majority of which has been for the marathon.

I always loved running…it was something you could do by yourself, and under your own power. You could go in any direction, fast or slow as you wanted, fighting the wind if you felt like it, seeking out new sights just on the strength of your feet and the courage of your lungs.”  Jesse Owens

Training for Boston

# Week of: Long
14 07-Jan 14.5
13 14-Jan 15
12 21-Jan 16
11 28-Jan race
10 04-Feb 17
9 11-Feb 18
8 18-Feb race
7 25-Feb 18
6 04-Mar 19
5 11-Mar 20
4 18-Mar race
3 25-Mar 18
2 01-Apr race
1 08-Apr relax
0 15-Apr BOSTON


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A Tale of Three 10K’s

Marathon countdown, two weeks to go and time to start evaluating my training and racing results from the past five weeks to determine a target pace for the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon.

On August 26th, I ran a 10K I’d rather forget in Quebec City. The route was a lovely, slightly rolling, point-to-point route run on a wide scenic parkway along the St. Lawrence with one wide turn. The weather was hideous with near 100% humidity, high-heat and not the slightest breeze to be felt. I was far off my goal of going under 45 minutes with a time of 47:35.

Last Sunday, I ran a 10K in Oakville in 45:37. The weather was fabulous, the course fairly flat and I was satisfied with my time. Apparently the course was long. Members of a local running club posted their times with revisions to what they felt their results should-have-been. I was happy to accept the possibility that my time was really closer to 44:40.

A long course . . . I’m open to the possibility.

Today I took part in what was billed as a time trial. The Railpath Run took place on a 2K loop with a timing mat at each 1K mark. The challenge was to see how many kilometers you could run in 45 minutes. The top three male and female runners were determined by the number of kilometers logged and a tie would be broken by the fastest time for those kilometers. My what-if  is . . . say two runners both run 9K but one runner passes the other and holds the lead before the 45 minutes is up. Does the runner with the fastest 9K time still win? In the women’s race this scenario did not materialize as the top two both ran more than 10K but less than 11K. From about 400 meters, I was in fourth place and not long after passed one woman and held on for third place. I received a lovely photograph taken along the rail path route.

Awards at the Railpath Run

The drama for me came when at the last kilometer I saw that I would have to run a really fast lap to get timed for 10K. With the help of cheering from an enthusiastic volunteer who saw how close I was to crossing the timing mat before 45 minutes was up, I just made it! My last lap was my fastest time of 4:16. I was pleased as the last lap was also one of the harder ones as it had some uphill running and a severe hairpin turn.

MY SPLITS
1: 4:22 4:22 downhill
2: 4:31 8:52 downhill, hairpin turn, uphill
3: 4:36 13:27 uphill
4: 4:35 18:02 uphill, hairpin turn, downhill
5: 4:29 22:30 downhill
6: 4:34 27:03 downhill, hairpin turn, uphill
7: 4:35 31:38 uphill
8: 4:38 36:16 uphill, hairpin turn, downhill
9: 4:30 40:45 downhill
10: 4:16 45:00 downhill, hairpin turn, uphill

Given the impediment of the five hairpin turns, I’m confident that I am in sub 45 minutes shape. For an almost-57- year-old, the age-graded equivalent of 45 minutes is 36:25. I think I’ll be finding it harder to internalize these extrapolations when 50 minutes becomes the new 36 minutes. According to my research this will happen in six years when I turn 63. Like most people, I find it is hard to accept the physical limitations of aging.

Quebec City, happy it’s over. A digital photo for $29.99, I’ll think about it.

As for determining my goal pace for the marathon, that is complicated and I’ll save that for a pre-marathon blog-post in the next while.

The best of times, the worst of times, still glad to be out there. Happy days!

Lynn


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The 100 mile week, redefined

Until a few years ago I could run up to 170K or 105 miles at the peak of marathon training no problem. As I approach my 57th birthday the realities of training in the second half of my sixth decade (other than slower times) have begun to appear. Pounding the pavement takes more out of me and I just can’t train like I used to. What to do?!  While I have been a lifelong commuter cyclist, I’m not too keen on training rides that take three times as long to get the same cardio effect as a run. Training takes enough time as it is.

Back in the day, younger at age 52

So this is where I am at now, with eight weeks before my target race, the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon on October 14th. I’m cautiously boosting my mileage. I should hit 102K for this week after logging 18 miles or 29K this morning. After my 5 mile run tomorrow the past week will look like this:

  • 13 miles ( with 2 x 10 minutes at threshold pace)
  • 6 miles easy
  • 7 miles easy
  • 8 miles with a ladder workout of 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 (minute) sections of near interval pace running
  • 6 easy
  • 18* steady
  • 5 very easy (tomorrow)
  • Total = 63 miles or 102.5 K

The * asterisk is to note that having devised a new and complicated route to merge my run with a friend’s 10 mile run.  I got home, measured my route and saw that I was short 1.5 miles. You’ll know by this comment that I’m an old-school runner who does not own a GPS watch. Thankfully, I had not cooled down much so I immediately headed out the door and did the missing mileage. I gave myself a little pat on the back for that. Had my husband greeted me with a latte, as he often does post-long run, I might not have been able to gather myself up to get the job done.

Looking ahead, the peak training weeks will be from August 27th to September 24th. From there I will begin a three-week taper. I am curious to see how much mileage I will be able to manage at the summit of my training – the 100 mile week redefined.

As for my goal time, I’m will race a 10K next Sunday, on slightly rested legs, which will help me gauge my fitness level. Naturally, I’m hoping to improve on my 2nd slowest time ever of 3:50 run at NYC last year, the slowest being the 4:10 I ran in my first marathon in 1981.

My results since age 50 are:

3:10:02 Detroit (2005) 1st in age-group

3:13 Chicago (2006) 1st in age-group

3:17 Boston (2007) 3rd in age-group

3:23 Boston (2008) 7th in age-group

3:42 California International Marathon (2010) 1st in age group CLICK HERE for full story

3:50 NYC (2011) Waahhh! This one really hurt bad and I was 29th in age-group. CLICK HERE for full story

I’m hoping I can improve on my 3:42 of two years ago and my most optimistic hope is to run close to 3:30. According to the McMillan running calculator the 21:04 5K I ran in the spring extrapolates to a 3:25 marathon but we all know that for the vast majority of us, it is really difficult to match our shorter distance race performances at  the marathon because of the mileage base required. Surviving marathon training, is a lot of what running a marathon is about.

One bright spot on the topic of aging is that I was able to match past performance levels (age-graded score) at 5K on fewer training miles, with the help of intense  speedwork and an indoor track season build-up to the 5K. But – as a 56 year old marathon runner, accustomed to running the longer path, I’m hoping that a shorter path might still do the trick.

To get to the finish line, you’ll have to try lots of different paths.
Amby Burfoot