Not To Be Trusted With Knives

The Internet’s leading authority on radicalized geese


Road to #12

Hey remember that most recent time I set a goal of running a sub-2 hour half marathon, specifically for this year’s BMO Vancouver, which will be my 12th half marathon? Since I’m really, really, really going to dedicate myself to my training and not flake out on it and tell myself that finishing the race is good enough1 this time, I went for my first training run (and my first run in *eight* weeks!) on my lunch break today.


My Runkeeper app doesn’t pull any punches. Apparently not going for any runs in December makes me a snail.

As usual, I’m following the training plan from the Running Room‘s book on running2 – except for the part where I’m actually going to follow the plan3. I’ve also signed up for a Sunday morning running clinic so that I have people to do my long runs with, which is through Fit First4. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Back to today’s training run.

As I mentioned, I hadn’t been out running in two months (!), so I was expecting be sucking wind on today’s run. Instead, I actually felt fine. And not only did I feel fine, but I ran a significantly faster pace than I usually do, though it didn’t feel like I was running faster. I think maybe there really is something to this whole “recovery” thing I keep hearing about.

Today’s run5 was slated to be a 3 km tempo run, targeted at 5:55 per km. Since I was running on my lunch, I decided to set up my Runkeeper app to have a 5 minute warmup, which is enough to get me away from the busy street on which I work and past the long streetlight on another major street, so that I could focus on running uninterrupted along the seawall, in the hopes that I could reach the target 5:55 pace. And as you can see from this handy dandy screen shot, I was practically on my target pace for the warm up, and then well within the pace for the necessary 3 km (outlined in red):

3 km tempo run(The last “1 km” is really just a small fraction of a km and included me stopping at the aforementioned stoplight as I geared down for my cool down).

I have to say, I was pretty chuffed that I was able to achieve the target pace and that I didn’t feel like puking from it. Honestly, I was really surprised when my app told me what my pace was (as it was set up to tell me my pace every 1 km) and thought that there must have been a glitch where it thought I’d run further than I had, as I felt the same as I do when I run my usual ~6:30 per km pace! I think what we can learn from this is that my internal speedometer, like my internal compass and my gay-dar, is broken.

Now here’s hoping that this run is a harbinger for the rest of my training6!

  1. To clarify, I do think that finishing a half marathon is an accomplishment and, in fact, I recommend to people running their first half marathon that “finishing their race” is a fantastic goal. But I’ve run 11 of them now, so I know I can do them. I really think it’s time to challenge myself. []
  2. And, as usual when I mention a company here on ye old blog, I have no affiliation with the Running Room, other than the fact that I spend a bunch of my money there. []
  3. As opposed to what I usually end up doing, which is just the long run on the weekend and one short jog during the week – nowhere near the 5 days per week of running that the plan calls for. []
  4. I also have no affiliation with Fit First, other than having paid to join their running clinic, albeit through Groupon, so I didn’t pay that much. []
  5. which was actually scheduled for tomorrow, but I have a hockey game tomorrow night, so to avoid tiring out my legs with a run on a game day, I did the run today. []
  6. *Knocks on wood* []


One Week Today….

… I’ll be running the Hollywood Half Marathon!

Now that the plague that had infected my lungs is down to a mere biosafety level of 2.5, I’ve been able to get out and do a couple of runs this week, confirming that I can, in fact, break the previously-elusive (at least in the past 3 weeks) 7 min/km barrier. So I might just finish this race in a halfway decent time after all1. But, as is the case with all my races in the last few years, I’ve downgraded my goal from “personal best” to “hope it’s not my worst time!” Actually, my hopes are a wee bit higher than that. Here’s the graph of all my half marathon race times:

Race Finish Times up to Nov 2013

As you can see, I managed in my most recent race to turn the tide of the downward spiral I was in (remembering that this is a graph of race finish times, meaning higher is worse) and it would be just peachy if I could continue that and  beat my time from the Fall Classic of 2:17:25. Honestly, I’d be happy with a 2:15.

More importantly, though, my two runs this week were actually enjoyable. They were short and quickly (for me) run and along the pretty riverfront and dry and zombies were chasing me2

Also, my Runkeeper app tells me that I’ve achieved 32% of my running goal for the year:


And we aren’t even quite 25% of the way through the year! If I managed to do that during the hardest part of the year to run, I think that I’m going to crush this goal now that the better weather and long days are here!

  1. Assuming my foot holds out – it’s been a bit sore since the running study, though nothing that a bunch of stretching shouldn’t be able to fix – and that there’s not an earthquake. Yesterday’s news of an earthquake in LA reminded me that LA gets earthquakes. I hadn’t even thought of that until now! []
  2. Hmmm. I thought I’d blogged about the zombie running app that I use, but a quick search of the blog reveals that I have not. Guess that’s the subject for an upcoming blog posting!!). Pretty much everything one could want in a run. This winter and spring has had far too much running on treadmills or in the dark and the rain and I’d almost forgotten that I actually *like* running. But when I ran one day after work this week and actually felt the warmth of the sun as I set out on my run, and when today I felt like I was flying as a cruised along the pier, smiling happily at others out for a walk or a run, I remembered: this is why I run.

    As if to reward me further, the running gods decided to put someone at the Waves coffeeshop by my place giving out free samples when I was was on my way home from my run:

    Day 265

    I generally don’t like Waves coffee, but this vanilla latte wasn’t too bad ((Kalev, remind me to give you the coupon that I got, as I’m not likely to use it, but I know you like some of the stuff at Waves. []


Running Update

Today was the Sun Run, so it seems like a good day to do an update on my running. Now, for the record, I did not do the Sun Run1 (but many congrats to all the people who did do it – Heather, Raj, Alicia & Paul – I’m looking at you!!). In fact, I have *never* done the Sun Run. Every year I think “I should do the Sun Run.” And then I remember that 60,000 other people have this exact same thought and the idea of trying to run through a crowd of that many people makes me claustrophobic, so I decide to skip it.

Instead, I chose to run this week’s long run – a 10 km, just like the Sun Run – yesterday. I happened to be in Vancouver to see my accountant and my investment person2, so I brought along my running gear so that I could run along one of my old Vancouver routes – the seaside route from about Oak to Kits beach. Running in Vancouver is SO MUCH BETTER than running in Surrey. And I’m not sure if it was the sunshine or the being next to water that inspired me, but I had a spectacular run. Like, I ran 30 seconds per km *faster* than last week’s long run! And it didn’t even feel like I was pushing myself too hard. It just felt good. Craziness! I don’t expect I’ll be able to maintain that speed as the long runs over the next few weeks increase by 2 km per week, but it sure was nice!

Day 299

Look at me being a good girl and actually doing my stretches after my long run!

Oh yes, I suppose I should mention that when I’m talking about “the long runs,” I’m referring to my training plan for the Scotiabank half marathon, which I’ll be doing in June. I’ve officially registered for both that and the 8 km at the BMO Vancouver International Marathon. w00t diddly w00t!

  1. I was actually asleep until after the run was over! []
  2. I was feeling particularly grown up seeing financial professionals and when I mentioned this to my investment lady, she laughed, paused, and then said, “So, the braces are new, eh?” Pwned! []


I Call It Running Smarter, Not Longer

Last year after I ran the Vancouver half marathon, I ran into my friend Rachel who had run the 8 km race.  And I saw that she got a medal for running the 8 km.  And I said, “I ran 21.1 km and I could have run less than half that distance and still got a medal?  I’m such a sucker!”  Well, I didn’t make that mistake twice – check out the lovely medal I got for running this year’s 8 km race at the Vancouver International Marathon:


At marathons, they always have professional photographers taking photos and then they try to sell you photos of yourself for an exorbitant price. They go through all the photos and tag them with your race bib number and then email you a link to all the photos that you are in.  I got my email today and there was only one photo of me from the race.  Which I thought was odd given that Alicia and I posed for *two* photos.  Alicia happened to be coming over for dinner tonight and when she was here she asked if I got the email of the photos of us.  Photos plural.  Turns out, Alicia got emailed three photos, including a photo of me crossing the finish line – a photo that doesn’t even have her in it!  Weird!  Looking at the photos made me wish that I’d even attempted to wear clothing that somewhat matched.

I’ll have to make a note of that for the Scotiabank half marathon, for which I just registered.  It’s at the end of June, so hopefully it will be warm and not raining and then I can dress for style and not for trying to keep dry & warm! Speaking of which, if you are planning to register for the Scotiabank half, let me know and I’ll give you a coupon code and you can save $5.  It was just at the bottom of my receipt with a note that I can give it out to my friends so they can save $5 (it should have also said, “Ha ha, no one gave *you* a coupon code, full price-paying sucker!)) and I figure all ya’ll are my friends, right?


I Have A New Watch!

So I finally got around to getting a new watch.

I wanted to get a watch that was different from my last watch, since that watch, as you may recall, fell apart.  However, as it turns out, the only women’s watch I could find that includes the interval timer feature is… you guessed it, the fall apart-y model of watch that I had before!

“Interval timer” is a feature that allows you to set your watch to beep at different intervals. In my half marathon training, I like to run what are known as “10 and 1s” – this is where you run for 10 minutes, then walk for 1 minute, then repeat.  The interval timer allows me to set my watch to beep after 10 minutes, then after 1 minute, and repeat.  The only watch I could find that would do this was the “Ironman” Timex watch, which is what I had before it fell apart and the time piece disappeared (I still have the (completely) useless watch strap, but the (actually functioning) time piece – gone).  Oddly, the Timex “Marathon” watch does not have an interval timer. It will take your pulse, but it won’t beep on 10 and 1 for you.  Which seems odd, given that a lot of marathoners and half marathoners run 10 and 1s.  Weird.

Anyway, I decided that, other than the slight problem of falling apart after two (or maybe it was three?) years, this particular model of watch has served me well, so why not buy another one?  And, in fact, I used my birthday money from my sister, so technically she bought it for me.

new watch by you.

I decided to go with black (as opposed to the baby blue that I had before) because I had noticed that a baby blue sports watch actually looks quite out of place when I’m dressed up for work. Which I only really noticed after I’d been wearing it while dressed up for work for ages.  (Becasue I’m awesome like that). I’m hoping that black will be a little les conspicuous.