My Chase After the Olympic Torch - Why You Need Periodic Testing of Your Fitness

Olympic fever has hit Vancouver and I've definitely caught it. As someone who only a few weeks ago was rather apathetic about the Games I'm on the band wagon now.

I briefly saw the Olympic Torch relay on my drive home this morning. As I had a run planned for this afternoon I thought I'd check the relay route online and see if maybe I could catch more of the festivities.

As luck would have it, the torch route was planned along one of my most frequently run routes, False Creek. The online map also gave me approximate times when the torch would be at specific locations.

The run I had planned for today was a moderate pace run of about 45 minutes. But looking at the map and the time I had to change my plan and turn this into a bit of a butt-kicker of a run as I only had 25 minutes to catch up to the torch.

Being in the Olympic spirit, I dug out an old red and white race t-shirt (from the 2003 Knee Knacker race), grabbed my blue & green Canucks toque and strapped on my bright green Nike Free running shoes. I'm sure my girlfriend would have been appalled at my mismatched ensemble but at least I had on both the Vancouver Olympic and Canadian colours.

Forgetting the importance of a warm-up I took off at a brisk 6:25 min/mile pace and my heartrate began to climb steadily. Keeping an eye on the helicopters to gauge where the torch was, I ran by hundreds of people as I ran along False Creek.

My pace dropped to about 6 min/mile and my heartrate climbed - 171 beats per minute (bpm), 175, 178, 180, 181 but I kept going. The speedwork I've been doing over the past few weeks has paid off. I maintained this pace for 22 minutes as I tried to catch up to the relay.

I made my way over the Granville bridge in time to see the torch go by under the bridge in a canoe, surrounded by a flotilla of other watercraft. It was amazing to hear the shouts from both sides of the bay as people cheered.

Maintaining a fast pace I did get over to the landing spot in time to see the torch land and go by for the final leg through the downtown streets. I couldn't believe the size of the crowd and how many people were decked out in red and white.

I used the chase after the torch as a litmus test of where my current fitness level was at. The run home was more moderate pace but I was really happy with the results of my mini-race.

The fact that I could push my heart rate to 90% of max. and keep it there for an extended time was a good sign. My body felt great and though it was hard, I actually felt refreshed afterward. If I could maintain this pace I could run a 10k in under 38 minutes and a marathon in under 2:40.

If you never test yourself, you'll never know if you're getting closer to your goal or not. Even though I know I couldn't run this pace for an entire marathon today, I was on track to reach my goal of breaking 3 hours by May.

The information provided by testing yourself will tell you if you should continue to follow your current plan or if you need to make modifications. Test yourself every 4 - 6 weeks to stay on track.


Olympic Information.

If you live in or near Vancouver and are wondering what there is to do during the Olympics I've got a great website for you. Check out www.bcliving.ca for info. on what's going on around town.

I'm heading downtown tomorrow to visit the different international houses and do the zipline across Robson Square.


Profile on Olympic Athletes.

I watched a fascinating documentary this week on the training of some Olympic athletes. One of the athletes showcased was downhill skier Lund Svindal from Norway. He's one of the top contenders to medal in the men's downhill in Whistler.

I was blown away by the fact during the time it takes him to complete a downhill race (just over a minute) he only blinks once! Amazing! As one of my client's put it, he does the course in the blink of an eye.

View the program.

Go Canada Go! 
Curb Ivanic, MS, CSCS, PES


Ean Jackson's picture

Torch Relay and Zipline

Atta go on the torch relay, Curb.  Had I known at the time what I know now, I'd have run in my Canada flag shorts in *front* of the torchbearer carrying a tiki lamp with a flag attached.  The guy in full hockey gear and a national team jersey who ran down the street doing high5's got as much applause as the torch-bearer herself.

Given the 4.5 hour wait, we took a pass on the zipline.  Did you make it? 

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