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Sunday, February 27, 2011

Race Report: Peterborough 1/2 Marathon

The New Course

In a word: hilly!

There aren't many stretches where it's not going either up or down, and some of the hills are killers. The most notable is at the Lift Locks, at about the 5.5km mark... and best of all you get to do it both ways, so it's waiting for you at about 15km in the other direction!


Click here for my garmin data and map with elevation.

Still, I really enjoyed it. Far more scenic than the old course, and the challenge made it that much more satisfying to conquer.

Not ideal for your first half or if you're going for a PB... but hey, it's February, you're probably just testing your legs out anyway, right?

My Race

So now that I've said the course isn't suitable for a personal best, I get to say that I set a personal best! Maybe it's the mountain biker in me, but I don't mind the hilly go-into-the-red-then-recover cycle. It suits me well.

Me at this race:

2007- 2:07:06 (my first ever running race)
2008- 1:53:55
2009- 1:49:17
2010 - 1:45:26
2011 - 1:38:54 (89/501, 8/29 M35-39)

(My previous PB was actually 1:41:10 from the Whitby 1/2 marathon last May)

I've focused much more on speed work this year so far (weekly tempo & interval session) , and I've also manged to keep up a lot of my long bike rides outdoors. Between the two, I feel like I'm in better shape than ever for this time of year.

My plan was to hold a 4:45/km for the first half, then play the second half by ear. That's pretty much exactly what I did... I hit the turn-around point at 4:46/km, then sped up to 4:34/km for the second half. I felt good through-out and even had the gas for a nice finishing kick!

Nutrition: 2 gels, one at 0:30, the other at 1:00, and some Gatorade here and there. Made sure I didn't over-drink or eat before the race, stuck with mostly liquids and some Sharkies. Also took 2 electrolyte caplets and a multivitamin ~3 hours before - not sure if that helped anything, but certainly didn't hurt!
Injury: ITBS seems to have flared up again... I think it's due to the hills and the road camber. Kicked in at about 17-18km or so. Hoping it passes quickly, doesn't seem too dehabilitating at the moment.
I'm doing the half marathon at the Whitby Marathon again this year, my goal is sub-1:35. Finding 4 minutes is daunting, but that course is easier and I should be in even better shape... we'll see!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Daily Calorie Requirement Calculator

How Many Calories Do I Need?

Common question - and here's the answer! I whipped it together based on these formulas provided by Health Canada (as of Feb 21, 2011).

Remember these are estimates only... but if you stay in the ballpark, you will lose weight.

Male Female
in pounds:
... or in kg:
... or in cm:
Activity Level
Note: I find these a bit tricky/annoying, so I simply chose "Sedentary" and calculate my exercise calories separately... your choice!

Calorie Requirements
Click "Calculate"...

Friday, February 18, 2011

Race Preview: Peterborough 1/2 Marathon 2011

New course!

A lot of people disliked the old course... it was barren and windy. And that Febuary wind could be pretty crisp.

The new course goes through more of the actual town of Peterborough. I haven't actually run it yet, but I'm looking forward to it... it certainly couldn't be less interesting.

Details on their site.

My Peterborough 1/2 Marathon History

This was the first running race I ever did... so it's nice to look back at my times and see a progression. I think I still have more in me for this one!

2007- 2:07:06
2008- 1:53:55
2009- 1:49:17
2010 - 1:45:26

2011 Plan

It's at an odd time of year, so I'm far from my peak... but I think I can get close to my PB of 1:41:10. My ultimate goal this year is a sub-1:35, which is impossible for this race, but hopefully I show enough improvement to keep the dream alive!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Winter Running - What to Wear

I did a post about what to wear while cycling in the winter, now it's time to cover running.

Running in the winter is amazing... there is something just surreal about running on freshly fallen snow in the quiet of winter. The scenery can be equally amazing, a new snowfall clinging to the trees, an icy creek... you get the idea!

But what about the cold? Pffft, I say! Staying warm is pretty easy, you can layer the heck out of yourself. The real challenge is finding the sweet spot where you aren't too warm or too cold, so you can stay dry and happy.

So without further ado...


Lycra cap. I have one with a felt lining, one without.

If it gets really cold (worse than -10C) I'll wear a toque instead... but I try to avoid this, as it gets hot and sweaty.


This is below -12C or very windy day accessory. Keeps the face warm, but makes it a bit weird to breathe. Still beats the treadmill, though!


Layers, layers, layers!

I have a few configurations but ultimately they boil down to the same thing.

1) A base layer
2) A technical shirt
3) A light windproof jacket. Most important feature here is zippers, need to be able to get air in if you are overheating to avoid getting soaked. Wet + cold = bad.


Gloves. I use my mountain bike gloves, but really anything without lining will do to about -10C. Below that you might need ski gloves or equivalent, but keep the lining light and breathable.


Down to -5C or so (depending on wind) I wear wind briefs (left) and normal running tights (right).

Add tight long underwear (middle) when it's colder.

Search for "wind briefs" at MEC. I used to go without - never again! They're brilliant.


Normal shoes and socks.

In actuality these are "Cold Running" socks from WrightSock, but I use my normal WrightSock dual-layers interchangeably. The only ones I avoid are the CoolMesh ones - pretty much any other dual layer sock gets the job done.

I've found this fine down to very cold temps - even -20C or worse. You would think you'd need thicker socks, but I've never had an issue. Your mileage may vary!

Are you sure!?

All I know is that this works for me... I'm warm and cozy when I need to be and not overly sweaty.

The wind briefs are essential. I can't speak highly enough of them... before I bought them I was using normal shorts, and had *ahem* issues.... if you catch my meaning!

One other thing - BodyGlide on the nipples. I know, I know, ewww. Crazy internet and people over-sharing things, bad enough I'm talking about my briefs! But if I help just one person avoid bloody nipples (ewww) then it was worth it. Winter makes it worse. I've said too much.


Saturday, February 5, 2011

Winter Cycling - What to Wear - the Ultimate Guide

When I say "Winter" I mean WINTER. Canadian winter. Below freezing, snow on the ground winter!

Sure, you could hit the indoor trainer, or the gym... but it can be horribly boring, and I personally just can't get the long rides in. Solution: get outside. I get out there anytime there's (1) light and (2) it's -8C or above (17F)


First, a lycra cap under the helmet.

I have two - one with a felt lining for below freezing, one without for above.

Second (optional) is a face covering... I have one that covers my cheeks, nose, mouth, but I never use it. If it's that cold, the trainer starts to look a lot better...


Layers, layers, layers!

1) Cycling jersey
2) Long-sleeve felt lined top
3) Jacket (unlined)

I have tried other combinations - like just one thick jersey and then the jacket, but I find having more layers lets the moisture wick away better. And it gives you more flexibility if you start heating up.



I usually wear my mountain biking ones (pictured). I have tried ski gloves, but found my hands just got too sweaty.


Bike shorts with leggings on top.

These ones are from Mountain Equipment Co-op, and have a wind-proof front to them. They can be a bit stiff and bulky, but everything else I've tried hasn't blocked the wind well enough.


This is probably where I've had the most trouble, but I finally seem to have got it.

1) Thicker socks than normal. Not so thick that your shoes are tight, though...
2) Feet warming inserts. Put these on the top of your foot covering your big toe
3) Good lined shoe covers. Windproof ones don't cut it here, you need the thicker ones.

Does it Really Work?

Absolutely! Most times I'm toasty warm. In fact I tend to have more trouble being too warm than not warm enough.

It's a lot more preparation than the spring, but I love it. I love bombing down a snow-covered road on my cyclocross bike, or hitting a packed trail on my mountain bike... it's fun, challenging, and best of all it's outdoors. And being outdoors is what I love most about cycling!