Sunday, March 15, 2015

Marathon Training

 It has been a busy couple weeks since I returned from Canada. This is why I haven't updated the blog in nearly a month. As soon as I got back to school I had a lot of deadlines to meet for report cards among other things a 2 week vacation gets you behind in.

Plus, as mentioned in this whole post I have been dedicating my spare time to running!

As I mentioned in my post about the AQI, I decided to run a marathon on The Great Wall in Beijing. The race will be May 16th, and since I made the decision I have continued to take steps to make this happen.

The first step was find someone to run the marathon with.
A grade one teaching colleague liked the idea and jumped on board right away. After that, we started training, often together. We both found a beginners website for marathon training that had a recommended 16 week schedule. This was perfect because at the time we were still over 16 weeks away and it gave us the opportunity to warm ourselves up to running. We also needed to decide on if we wanted to do a 10km run, a half marathon or the full one.

We opted for the full one. Go big or go home is what I have been saying.

The next step was to pay for the actual race. Once we reached this point, there was no turning back! The marathon cost us over $300, which is kind of steep, but given we will also be on one of the seven wonders of the world, we felt the hit was worth it. When else will we have this chance?

The running regimen has been going good so far. Paul--the grade 1 teacher--and I have been doing a good job at following the schedule for the most part. We have been pushing each other as well, making sure the other does not slack off.

The hardest part was finding the time during Chinese New Year (which was the last two weeks of February). It was also difficult given that Paul remained in China while I returned home to Canada. The air pollution was non existent in Canada but the temperature was quite cold. I guess that was the trade off. I initially thought there was no chance I'd be running outside.

As time went on however, I realized if I didn't run outside I may not be able to run at all for a few days. I did not have a gym with a treadmill easily at my disposal like I do in Shanghai. So on one of the warmer day (and by warmer I mean not -20, just -10) I bit the bullet and ran outside. I was at my sisters house and pulled on my winter boots and put on a hoody with sweat pants. I warmed up inside and left my coat inside as well. I ran about 8km outside and felt great. Nothing like fresh air entering my lungs while running!

I ran a couple more times while home through the snow and cold. All were in different places. The longest run was in Oakville Ontario and I ended up by a lighthouse. The ground there was icy so I had to be careful. The wind was also wicked so my ears became quite cold. I ran roughly 16kms that day and about 14kms the week before in Watford.

Last weekend Paul and I entered a 10KM race at Binjiang park. It's in the north east corner of the city on the coast of the Pacific Ocean at an estuary. It took nearly 2 hours to get there by foot, metro and then taxi. We ran with 2 other colleagues, Richard a high school math teacher and Lara the primary ICT teacher.

We were supposed to run about 18KM that weekend but instead decided to enter the race. Since we were only running a little more than half our scheduled race, I decided to challenge ourselves and try to run the 10 ks in 45 minutes. This meant we needed to run every km around 15 seconds faster than what our average pace was. 4 minutes 30 seconds was the target pace.

Race day was very clear pollution wise for Shanghai, but that is where the pleasantries of the day ended. It was cold and it was rainy. Some of the path we were running on was slippery as well.

It was still a great day. Unfortunately we didn't reach the target of 45 minutes. We have a number of excuses--the weather, sudden turns, slippery paths, rocks across creeks--but at the end of the day we weren't fast enough.

Paul led the way and I struggled to keep up most of the race. Once we got to 8km I realized that we were not on pace and found deep inside I had another gear, so I sped up. I managed to run the last couple KMs faster, but not fast enough. I finished the race around 48 minutes (the actual race time has not been posted so I don't have it) with Paul not too far behind me.

Earlier this week when I ran 8km my exact pace was 4 minutes and 30 seconds!


  1. I was wondering why you weren't posting. lol Too busy I guess. Thanks for sharing the great pics with the blog. Wish I could be there to cheer you on on May 16!! Mom

  2. Good Job Andy keep it up!!! You will be ready in no time. Its hard when you haven't ran in a long time. I am rooting for you. Wish I could run with you or come and watch.