Thursday, February 24, 2011

Yesterday's Awesome Run

This is directly cut from my running log:

Target: base x 2, 10:13 x 2, base

Avg Pace
Avg HR
Max HR
5-Mi Avg!

11°F clear Feels Like: - Wind: NW 5 m/h

toque, glove inserts
Sweat shirt, turtleneck, t-shirt
track pantsx2, thermal socks

I ran with music and a water belt with one shot blok. There is something to be said in running knowing that you don’t have enough time to finish your run. I left the front door at 10:22 p.m. last night because of a very very long business meeting until 10 p.m. I ran the entire time with a mentality of “I’m late!”

I’m having trouble finding a meaningful race. There are a lot of these non-certified 5k fun run/walks for local charities, but I’m worried about human pylon dodging and distance measurement.

I’ve stretched out the search to May 1 and found a Road Runners Association Organized race weekend event (3k/5k/10k/half) about 3 hours from here.

I think I need to announce it here. My goal for the Kingston May 1st race will be a sub 30-min final.


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

2-Minute Burpee Challenge Results (Official)

Rank Participant Best in 2 Minutes
1 Tri-James 43
2 Melissa Cunningham  35.5
3 Matty O 35
4 AndrewOpala 34
5 Kiesha 33
6 Katie 23
7 Heather 22
8 Amanda@runninghood  20

We had agreed to a random draw for all non-video workouts and a top prize for the best video workout.  Then I got my sponsor to agree for a prize for Katie who would help judge.  Then today he called me and I mentioned there were only 6 hard core participants.  He hemmed and hawed and agreed for prizes for everyone.

Tri-James will get the $25 gift card to his online store of choice, given that I can gift it to him.  And the other 5 participants will get a $10 gift card to their online store of choice (given that I can gift it to them).  And Katie for helping as well.

Please drop me an email with the online store and any other information I need to send the gift to you.  andrew [at] andrewopala [dot] ca.

Thanks everyone ... I had a lot of difficulty finding the wind to get past 19 in two minutes, and then Tri-James got me so hyped that I managed to overcome a stroke in mid-air and add another 15.  No video really came out cuz I did them outside with the bright snow as background and me facing the bowels of the garage.

I would like to try this again in a months time to see my progress.  Let me know if you want to give it a shot.  Thanks Katie, I felt extra special because of your participation!

I'll have had a banner graphic for you as promised, and I'll get one up shortly.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Race Report: Waterloo Re-Frigee-Eighter 8-Mile Run

Race: Waterloo Re-Frigee-Eighter 8-Mile Run (Combined start 8Mi, 8km, 3k Fun Run)
Start Time: 10 a.m., February 20, 2011
Race Weather: -7°C(19°F), sunny, light winds from the East

Max HR
1 mi
My Dinner with André
2 mi
3 mi
4 mi
5 mi
I'm loving it!
6 mi
7 mi *
Ahh, this is muscle pain!
8 mi
Just run as fast as you can dummy
9 (100 y)
29 secs
What! who moved the finish line?

8-Mi Avg
- -
- -

Chip Time: 1:26:27

The last 9 participants (the people on a mission!):
O'all                                 Gun       Class       Gender  Pace   Chip  
Place  Bib         Name              Time      Placing       Place   /Km   Time      City  
----- ----- -----------------      ------- ----------------- ----- ----- -------   ----------
  176   524 Andrew Opala           1:27:06 LM45-49   15/15     106 10:49 1:26:27   Mississauga         
  177   533 Elise Pierre           1:27:32 LF25-29   14/14      71 10:51 1:26:43   Kitchener           
  178   512 Paul Miner             1:28:16 LM50-54   15/16     107 10:55 1:27:17   Burlington          
  179   514 Debbie Moore           1:28:18 LF35-39   13/13      72 10:59 1:27:50   St. Jacobs          
  180   554 William Spaetzel       1:28:38 LMW+200    4/4      108 11:00 1:27:53   Kitchener           
  181   430 Gina Cowing            1:28:58 LFW-140    3/3       73 11:03 1:28:23   Innerkip            
  182   575 Carrie Strub           1:29:22 LF40-44    8/8       74 11:08 1:29:00   Cambridge           
  183   412 Bill Bentley           1:30:38 LM50-54   16/16     109 11:15 1:29:53   Waterloo             
   DQ   568 Connor Watson            38:08 DQ                       4:46   37:59   Kitchener  

Thanks for all your support on Twitter, Facebook, Email, DailyMile and the Blog.  This race was definitely a test of patience.  There were 5 water stations evenly placed at the bottom of uphill portions of the run.  When I saw them I would plop a shot blok into my mouth, and then put my hand out for the water.  I'd pinch the water cup closed, and run through the traffic and then sip the water slowly way past the stop (I did no drinking through the stops).  I ran with no music.  The run energy was awesome.

After listening to people talk about nonsense (My Dinner with AndrĂ©) for the for the first 4 miles I fought with passing them (or running ahead of them if they were behind me), but I knew I had to keep my pace.  Once the 8km group peeled off from the 8-milers (at the 4 mile mark) it was pure bliss.  But I didn't know what was waiting for me.

Mile 7 seemed like a breeze at the start: I felt like I was banking a lot of energy, and then I hit this slight hill, and it felt like every thing in my body was screaming with pain when I tried to maintain my pace.  I glanced at the current pace when my interval rolled over and I was at 12:12!  I tried to bring it back during Mile 8, but there wasn't much there.

Then the final stretch on Mile 8 showed me that I still had 100 yards to run to the finish (didn't run the tangents). Looking down at my watch after I finished I was "sprinting" at an 8:50 pace up the last hill to the finish.

Thanks Jill, you were right on the pace that would keep the pain away for the longest so that I could "sprint" at the end.  I was experimenting with going faster at the start - the 3k, and 8k groups shot out like rockets, and me with them!  But at the 1k marker I toned down my running considerably.  I remembered Paul's comment about putting my timing chip on my nuts and kicking them across the finish line, and I thought I have this race in the bag.  I'll impress everyone.  But near the end my "elephant" balls turned into "moth" balls, and I was struggling to give it everything I had.  I also have to thank those three volunteer kids near the end of the race who were doing synchronized cheerleader cheers, high fives and fist pumps.  And their funny comments, "Keep going, you're almost there, there's pizza and hot dogs at the end!"

It was a draining and strategically-run race for me.  And I have no regrets.  Plus I got a new PR!

Burpee Challenge Results will be tablulated and announced tomorrow.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Final Race Strategy - 1:26:30

  • I have been very busy participating in my next start-up.  
  • The term sheet is setup and most of the business plan is written.  
  • I have feelers out for Developers, Quality Assurance and User Interface Designers.  
  • We have one omnibus patent drafted and I'm starting a grant proposal to the Federal Government for Industrial Research Assistance.  
  • I'm so busy, I have apparently forgot to pay for parking down town, and I have received two parking tickets in the last two days totaling $70.  I actually paid at the meter both times, but the first ticket was for not having my bumper entirely clear of the post that marked the end of the parking zone.  My plate and a bolt were past the post in the no parking zone - and rules are rules.  The other ticket was handed out at 3:44 pm, for a payment slip paid up until 3:40 pm.  Unfortunately I was at my car at 3:41 to listen to the traffic report on the radio and the ticket was already on the windshield.  No one said that the meter guy's time is synchronized with the meter's time!

Ok, what was my point?

Oh ya, I love you all and I haven't visited your blogs ...

... and I spoke with Jill, a.k.a. the Colorado Running Computer (who just posted twice in one week! maybe a third time coming.) and she said (paraphrase) to me regarding strategy:

Listen you dumbass maple-syrup slurping wannabe - you can't project your fast 5k sprints into predicting speeds for distances like 8 miles.  The 10k is better predictor.  You have to keep the pace of 10:45 for the entire race.  If you do not keep this pace and start to run faster before mile 7, your testicles will collapse to your knees, your colon with subject out from your anus, your left lung will collapse as your right ventricle begins to fade into oxygen-deficiency and you will bonk just feet short of the finish line and cause a scene as women from the over-60 club will be chicking you until the ambulance arrives (cheer up, if they are merciful they will drag your shoe with chip attached across the finish line).

Plan to finish in 1:26:30.

So that's my strategy.  I run 10:45 for 7 miles and then I run faster than 10:45 for 1 mile (if I can of course).  This seems rather easy.  I won't be packing water, but I will have a few shot bloks with me.  I'll be wearing less clothing than some of the most recent training runs, as it will be warmer and I expect to be very hot during the race.

Here's the list of registered runners, of which 174 will be running the 8 Mile distance.  And here's the results from last year.  As you can see I'll be pretty nearly the last guy to finish this distance at this speed.  So why am I running again?

Oh ya, I love it because it is me against me, and it is difficult, and I am showing some progress and learning each day that I run.

Now if I could only get a speeding ticket!!!!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy St. Valentine's Day

  • nothing is known of Saint Valentine except that he was buried on the Via Flaminia on February 14
  • a Medieval legend says he would not convert to paganism and so was executed ... but before then he restored the sight of the jailers daughter to say "no hard feelings"
  • a later addition to the legend said Valentine was a priest that performed marriages for young couples, thereby keeping them out of the Roman army
  • finally Hallmark cards started to say that before he was executed, Valentine sent the first greeting card (with bar code) to the girl of the jailer
I think the truth is more in line with the video below:

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Lot's of stuff

2-Minute Burpee Challenge

By popular groaning ... extending the 2-minute burpee challenge for one more week to then end of the day on Feb. 20.  I still haven't posted my video - but I can't win anything of course.  But lot's of people said "Oh, sh*t, does that end today?"  ... so it's extended.  The video first prize will be a $25 gift card to amazon.  And the non-video prize will be 3 randomly drawn $10 gift cards.  So get your booties in gear and get those submissions in!

Yesterday's Tapered Run

I ran 7-miles of negative splits yesterday, tapering into my 8-Mile race on the 20th.

3 Mi
1 Mi
1 Mi
1 Mi
1 Mi

The one problem in the workout was that my final average HR for the run was only 127 bpm.  That's near the bottom of my fat-burning zone. So I had a lot more energy here and I picked the wrong starting pace, and the wrong pace increases over time.  My race will have to be a lot faster to me not to hang my shoes up and my head down.

8-Mile Race Goals

Here is my projection based on my previous races and the improvement I have been showing since I started to run:

Date Race Time 8-Mi Projection
9/25/2010 Guelph 5k 0:31:23 1:26:13
10/17/2010 Waterloo 10k 1:09:45 1:32:14
12/11/2010 Burlington 5k 0:30:48 1:24:36
2/20/2011 Waterloo 8-Mi

I'm saying a 1:22:41 should fit in line with my normal amount of improved fitness based on previous runs., But if you look at the 7-miler I ran yesterday and add a 4-mile starting interval instead of 3-mile, I would easily run the 8-mile distance 1:36:42.  So I have to drop 14 minutes in my run going from easy to uncomfortable.  ... obviously some thinking/strategy required here ... the coach needs to jump in and be a guide!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Winter Spike

I'm lucky enough to have had a friend at the Mountain Equipment Co-Op store when I was researching my running shoe strap-on devices! (not that kind of a strap on: Kovas, Adam, Chris, Shawn, Jamoosh!)  (He's now a floor manager at Canadian Tire so I'm outta luck unless I want to test drive some windshield washer fluid!)

In looking and quizzing about different strategies for running in the snow, we decided to try out a quick snow run on King Street in Toronto with several devices.  Here's my review of the ones I tried.

[Nota Bene: I'm about 235 lbs, 5' 11", I usually take choppier steps than marathoners, and I land flat footed, or a little on the ball and toes - I also underpronate (supinate) my feet during my running gate.]


  • available at lots of different stores
  • don't need a lot of strength to put them on your shoes
  • funny Chinglish on the packaging
  • grip well on ice

  • rubber loses stretchiness in cold weather and heel slides off
  • do not grip well when spikes can't penetrate through to hard surface
  • uncomfortable running on hard surfaces
  • no traction aid on packed snow

shoveling snow on the drive-way in the summer
Slide Grippers

  • really really easy to slide onto a shoe
  • feels like you're wearing nothing at all
  • look good near curling rinks

  • really really easy to slide off of a shoe
  • feels like you're wearing nothing at all
  • look good near curling rinks
walking to tim horton's to buy 4 double-doubles and a box of assorted tim bits for your curling team
Yaktrax Pro

  • no slippage on the shoe whatsoever
  • good for ice, excellent on slush and snow, good on flat dry surfaces too
  • makes a terrifying chain clanking when you run by dogs and children that won't get out of the way
  • best road/side-walk/city trail combination

  • takes a little experimentation to figure out how to put them on your shoes
  • need to remove them from shoes, after use, else shoes will crumple into little ball of goo
  • if you put them on wrong the velco will rub the inside calf of the other leg during your gait
running in a variety of conditions like, dry hard tarmac, slush, icy-patches on side-walk, packed-snow tracks, and bridge-mix trails

  • excellent on ice and difficult trails
  • sense that the chains would not slide around on your shoe
  • seems like it's meant more for terrain and track

  • felt like I was damaging the spikes on clear road and sidewalk
  • a soft running shoe doesn't seem strong enough to resist the tension of the framework
walking from your BMW to the uncleared drive-way of one of your rental properties to see a bailiff evict dead-beat tenants from your money-maker

Along with my Garmin, the Yaktrax are going to go into my running hall of fame as facilitating an awesome run experience. There is no way to run fast without this shoe gear in the winter conditions I run in.

Don't forget about the 2-minute Burpee Challenge.  Only a few days left!  I'll post my video shortly!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Tribute to Chris K

Chris was born in a small fishing village just outside of Oslo Norway.

Because of poverty, he had to run to school every day not to be beaten by the evil headmaster.

But because of this twist of fate, he developed a love of running.  Full of vibrancy and youthfulness, he set himself a goal to qualify for an entry position in the Boston Marathon.  The years of training built him into a better and better runner.  He found a coach.  But then tragedy struck.

He injured his heel.  He sought solace in many places including the blogosphere.

No athlete wants to give up, so his coach made him train in the water.  This helped him keep his fitness as good as possible given the circumstances.

As time went on the coach had him work on how he leaned into his running, which was a major cause of his heel problems.

Finally, the big day arrived.  In a small fishing village just outside of Huntington Beach, his entire life went full circle.


Chris K - My Hero!!!!

closed track, professional driver, actual mileage may vary, on approved credit, some scenes may have been combined to enhance clarity, Andrew received no funds for endorsing Chris, this post may contain confidential information the use of which by an unintended recipient is unauthorized.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Invitational Colon-Resection 1/2 Marathon

I ran over a half marathon today. Wow am I sore.

Jill had me down for 11 Miles with different pace intervals, when I did the math I got 12, I mapped out a run for 13, then ran almost 14.

I set a 1/2 Marathon Training PR of 2:47:08. Not the best time in the world, but it will work as a target to improve upon over time.  When I was running back, cooling down, with the lovely blizzard snow biting my face in the strong wind, I though if I just laid down on the overpass I would most probably be moving faster than I am shuffling.  A snail and two turtles passed me.

Don't forget to join the 2-minute Burpee Challenge!!!!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Does this shirt make me look thin?

May 2010

Stanley Harbor - Hong Kong Great Wall - North of Beijing

February 2011 (40 lbs later)
Bed Room - Mississauga

Thursday, February 3, 2011


Ok, imagine my surprise, when I get back to my blog and discover, 2 automated posts didn't show up.  And only poor Katie writes to see where I have disappeared to.

Being the world's greatest scientist and most intelligent person, I began to investigate.  It turns out that Blogger is run by Americans.  And therefore the date is Month/Day/Year.  Of course, the rest of the world does it Day/Month/Year or Year/Month/Day, but that does not matter.  If it's good for Americans it's good for blogger, and therefore it is good for me.

As a heads up:
  • on January 2 (the past), a post will appear discussing traction devices for winter running
  • of course for some really stupid reason I didn't post anything to appear on the one day that would work February 2 
  • on March 2, a post will appear discussing my Diverticulitis which happens to be improving and is a little gross so I will delete it for now unless I want to start a trend called "farting Friday" or "bowel resection Thursday" or something similar
  • I'll rewrite Friday's post or even wing it!
Finally, I'm in talks to partner on a guerrilla venture to develop some time-sensitive super-secret software, with an entrepreneur who has a successful track-record of taking stuff from the garage to the victory lap.  I have a decent track-record too, but I've never been the money guy, I've always been the Scotty to Captain Kirk.  In this venture, I could be Dr. McCoy, or even Mr. Spock!  All I really want to know is that when we organize a landing party, I don't have to wear the red shirt!

Don't forget to join the 2-minute Burpee Challenge!!!!