December 30, 2009

Run Like Pheobe?

New Year's Eve I dont really celebrate big.  In fact, I find every time I have made an effort to do something fun for it, it is a big disappointment.  The build up, the execution, its all just such a big let down.  I usually like a quiet evening at home the majority of times.  I do let loose occasionally, but even that is laughable to some of you crazy cats!  I find the same with my hobbies and passions.  The big hurrah's are no match to my desire to churn it out day by day and celebrate the little things.  Running accommodates this.  A  goal to race is great, but I cant live only for races.  I feel the celebration is in the personal victories, in my day to day strides.  When its a party of one because of a new PR, or a run with a buddy, life for me reflects the run, its all in the intimacy.  Same is with pursuing health or overcoming obstacles like an injury.  We are dealt a hand.  We are also given much each day.  What do we do with these things?  Do we shrivel?  Do we punish ourselves?  Do we believe there is more available if we just push forward, let loose or let God take control?  Freedom is given to the runner as he/she pushes hard but also listens intently.  I find it interesting how we think freedom is all about doing anything and everything our heart desires.   Like on the show "Friends" when Pheobe shows Rachel how to run, its just all over the place, hilarious to watch.  Ive tried that with a buddy.  Its much harder work, so inefficient!
However, to be truly free in who we are, there are things we need to adhere to to be the best we ought to be.  Running takes an acceptance of a pattern, a discipline, a healing, a resting a striving and a feeding.  It also takes community for perspective and inspiration.  Sound spiritual?  That is intentional.  Run hard!

December 20, 2009


First timeI had brought my stop watch in a long while.  43:10 for my 10 k, and that was me pushing pretty hard.  Another thing to look back on and be glad for in the last two years is to think that certain goals were impossible.  Fo rme right now, I would love to crack the 40 minute 10 k.  A difficult endevour, but I know I can do it.  I use to think runnign past a 1/2 hour was a huge feat.  There is always someone who trumps your efforts, and always someone just starting and needing encouragement.  I find it a funny mix of humbling to know you will never be right on top in front, but that you can do  fa better than you ever thought if you apply yourself! 

December 15, 2009

He Runs Beside Me

This verse from the new testament often comes to mind while I am either running or thinking about running.  1 Corinthians 9:26-27.  Now, you many not be a bible reader, but everyone has a connection to scriptures from places all over our culture, as many of our sayings and deep thoughts quote scripture in part.  This particular verse, when I think about it, is an encouragement to keep my faith.  Some might assume it would be faith in myself, in that things will eventually go well with me, or faith in life, that it all will add up in the end.  For me faith is much more specific than that.  It is faith in a personal Being, who is involved in my daily life.  He uses personal experiences to talk to me, including running.
When I think of this time of year, when cold weather prevails and my bed feels like its Velcro to my body, when I am discouraged by my winter times or the hiccups in my plan to get out there and run when I would like, then this scripture speaks to literally running.
But of course, as in many things written, it isn't always about the literal subject.  If you are like me, running is representative to a lot in my life.  Have you ever ruun and felt that you were runing out your pain, your anger, your stress, your grief?  Within hardships, my failures, my triumphs, my tests,  the race represents more so my time here on earth.  This is what I would call hardcore meditation, because it is using much more than my heart, or just my mind to process.  Instead, my daily routine of actually carrying out this activity, specifically running, gives me a connection to this passage that me as a non-runner could only imagine with limited knowledge.
I run for far more than I used to.  I run because for me it is a form of meditation and worship to my Creator.  I have had some argue this point with me, as it is not a traditional sense of spirituality,.  Then anything could be considered sacred! But in this activity there is wisdom.  Only a runner could understand what "beating my body and making it my slave" really means.  It is the discipline, the payment made to reach a goal, or to be qualified for the "prize".  What rich meaning, and what a great thought to ponder.  Each step then becomes a type of cry, or prayer when I have no real words to use.  And I feel a sense of companionship beyond earthly, He runs beside me.
May your time on the road or trail bring you a meditative and peaceful place, a place to connect with your Creator, and qualify you to reach the prize you have set before you.

December 11, 2009

Running as a Social Lubricant

Are you like me?as I promised to look back on the last 2 years of running, one thing has been a bonus that I never really counted on initially.  THis is the matter of having a point of interest and passion to launch off of socailly that I never have used before.  What I mean is, I have been able to talk to people about a common passion in running both at work, at social get-togethers, at church, and obviously, online!  This came over time as I realized I now held something in common with many teachers at work, with students I work with, with friends and soon-to-be-friends.  Having a learning curb about the discipline, science and lingo of long distance running has certainly given me more to interact about with those I normally would not have much to say to!
You see, I am actually a bit shy, but I cover up with humor and sticking to topics I know something a little about.  Running has branched me out.  Sports I have observed, tend to do this. For example, I have a colleague whom on a working level I have always gotten along with, however, I knew that they were into triathlons, which was to me just a foreign and alien topic to talk about.  My face was like many others I am sure who say, "oh you run?....uh... Good for you!  Wow, I could never do that" and then a change of topic was in order.  Now, however I may ask about their experience, for advice on pre-race prep, use the terms like PRs, ITBS, and about gear with much more informed and experienced know-how.  Also sharing recent war stories (like this morning's encounter with a dog  who tripped me and its owner whom I told off) in my mind helps me be a great ambassador for running.  Sort of like, "if this Forrest Gump can do it, and laugh at themselves, then anyone can, maybe even me!"

December 07, 2009

Frosty Run

Frozen Solidtoday, this morning's run was a really good one, but I felt slow.  I actually like this frigid weather.  Not so much the dark mornings, so I need to stick to the highways around my place to keep well-lit.

As long as I have extra, er, insulation 'down there' as I tend to feel the chill there first, I like getting out into such cold weather, especially when it snows.  I think because parto f me feels so hard core!
It is miserable to have wind against you though!
I feel that I am thoroughly prepared this winter for cold though.  What about you?  What are your must haves in cold weather to make things more bearable?  Share and I will probably think about getting that item.  Has anyone used hot paws or a toque with ear buds in them?  Electric socks?  What are the ultimate trend in stock stuffers for the runner this year?
Things I need for cold weather:
  • toque/beany
  • gloves
  • wind resistant pants/underwear
  • highly visible breaker
  • thermal long sleeved shirt that wicks
  • hot shower afterwards
  • a dream of a future hot tub

December 03, 2009

Running from the Flu

I had A Terrible Stomach Fluthis week.  My whole family has been down.  Tried to go on a short run even three days later, and still had to stop even before breaking a sweat due to a pounding headache.  This got me to thinking... on reflecting upon the benefits of the last two years of serious running, here is another quality I appreciate about my body in its transformation.  I have not been too terribly sick in the last couple of years.  Being an allergic person, I was still not that sickly, since my immune system was always on overdrive, but I have noticed my body's increased resistance and resiliency from sickness!  Being healthier in general I have noticed has meant a better fighting chance against air borne illnesses and yearly bugs.  When others are struggling for days and even weeks with a virus, mine has bounced back faster anyhow.  What a great kick back!
Tell me if I am crazy, but have you noticed your body adapting for the better since running?  Since losing unhealthy weight? Bravo!  For those who are looking at beginning a healthy life choice which may include running, this is a terrific thing to weigh:  less time sick means more time doing other things! 
Here is an article on Runner's World about this phenomena, including ways to keep running from literally also running your immune system into the ground, which is also possible!
I think the 'listening to our bodies' post from The Essence Of Running blog would fit this category of body awareness.  I had gotten all geared up and up early just to cut it short, but to what gain?  Well, long term,  I would rather recover fully from the flu and take it easy then to drag out a flu just because I was roaring to go again too early.  My headache to me was a good indicator that all was not fully well, even though my fever and stomach were fine.  I will pick it up possibly tomorrow, taking it easy the first one in to be in check with my body's energy level.

December 01, 2009

Personal Bests

26.14 km (16 mi)This was my last run on Saturday.   Took me over 2:20, and it was not on purpose at all.  I just headed out and trekked through a new course. I had a perfect day of little wind, my body felt energetic and I was able to keep my tunes going! These are the days I really enjoy running.  It boosts me to have pushed myself beyond where I have gone before, wther breaking a PR or lengthening my runs.  There is always a cost... my feet really hurt as did my hips ache after that long run.  What  I love about this is that I am finding out how much I can do, and it is something very personal to be on the trail, hoofing it alone.  What about your "this is why I  love to run" moments?  What are those for you?  Give me some feedback!

November 24, 2009

My Little Friend

There is one itemthat I have purchased that I love beyond description, and comes with me everywhere I go.  This has been along with me for most of my runs.  I commute with it, run with it, sleep with it (!), and it has been with me on most of my hardest runs, singing to me, making me laugh, making me cry, encouraging me, and pretty much getting nothing in return.
I am talking about my Ipod.   Thanks Ipod.
Top Things I listen to:
  1. Harry Potter -Audio Books - Read By Jim Dale - amazingly absorbing
  2. Podcasts - Running with the Pack, Pottercast, Bethel Church, That's What She Said
  3. Innocent - David Cook
  4. U2 - Beautiful Day , City of Blinding Lights, No Line on the Horizon Album
  5. Third Day - Keep On Shining
  6. Chris Tomlin - Arriving Album
  7. How He Loves - Kim Walker
  8. Wake Up - Arcade Fire
There is more, but this is off the top of my head. :D
So versatile, I love having it to motivate me,  entertain me and inspire me!  What do you listen to if anything?  We could use the ideas!

November 20, 2009

Diet Schmiet

Diet? Hell, NO.  When I first began to run seriously, I knew some changes were in order.  I love food, I love to munch.  I have a particular weakness for the mixture of sweet-n-salty.  I knew, however, from previous experience in working out, that there was going to need to be some serious changes in order for me to gain any success.  My feet hurt because of the extra weight!  I had also taken to snacking on nachos and other such salty delights at night with my honey of a wife.  Popcorn sprinkled with m and m's.
These habits, which I felt were treats had actually become staples in my diet~!  Birthdays in our family are many and very sugary as well.  Not partaking would be a social insult!
So I did not diet.  It was a change in overall investment into my health.  Actually an investment is exactly how I had to look at calories and fueling my body.  Its not that I would take all pleasures out, but that I would need to reset my body and mind around food expectations.
This is coming from me who recently indulged a little more than I should have on Indian food at a friends' house last month and sat in the bathroom groaning, ACTUALLY GROANING because I ate too much and felt sick!  Really couldn't get enough of a good thing.
What I needed to do was come off of carbs, my weakness as much as I was enjoying them.  I cleansed myself for a month, trying to not snack, picking low-cal and especially, especially looking at the portions I was having, going for only one helping of meals rather than returning over and over.  I snacked on fruits, yogurt,  milk and other filling but treat-ish foods when the moment seized me.
Calories in calories out.  This worked, but it was a painful resetting.  I was experiencing sugar lows, moodiness, and finding that my munchy times were actually fuelled by either comfort or boredom, both emotionally based.  Stress also kindled my munchy side.
When it came to social gatherings with the treats, I would literally tell myself in a mocking voice, that it wasnot my last meal here on earth, so DONT eat like it IS!!  Cake comes and goes.
My running became my understanding as to what investment I was making.  Calories in, Calories out. We got a Wii fit, which does weigh you and make a little version of your body type.  Mine looked like my actual BMI, pudgy!  It was around 24.5, which is near obesity.  My goal was to get down to a healthier BMI.    This was going to be my way of tracking.  I decided not to become obsessive about it, so not to measure every day, but to allow it to be a  gradual guage.  The weight really didn't change much for a while, infact after 5 months, I had lost only about 15 lbs.  But I felt fantastic!  I plateaued for a while, and then slowly as my runs got longer, my fitness increased and my calories were kept at a healthy reasonable intake, the weight slid off for another year.  I kept needing to tell myself why I needed to eat only small portions of those things I loved, let them become rewards for hard work, and indulged when I truly felt the need to celebrate!  I also realized that true treats aren't the cheap ones you see everyday, but that being picky is actually saying something about what you truly enjoy!
So as I approach this holiday season, I will be enjoying as I always do, in moderation and picking those things I truly feel worthy of my palate.  Eggnog lattes, caramel chocolates, no bakes, and of course, turkey are all going to be on my 'to consume list'.  Just not VATS, PALLETS, and WHOLE TURKEYS. :P
What changes did you have to make or are you making?  Are they achievable?  Are they healthy?  Give me your plan to a healthy you this season of your life.

November 17, 2009

Turtle or hare...

For the first 3 monthsor so of my running, I was intent on doing what I always did.   Push hard, never really getting that my changes were to be slow and steady.  My friend Jeremy was also running, he had started the fall before me.  I had no patience to do the run for 5 minutes, walk for 2 minutes program. But I saw that he was sticking to it.  So I begrudgingly tried this way.  This is coming from a guy who decided it would be fun to head all by himself to the lake at age 18, more than an hour on bike only to go until he threw up on the side of the road from overexertion.  Kept going, too.That was the old me though.  Slow and steady, eh?Trying this taught me a new patience.  This patience was with my desire to just be where I wanted to be, to see results immediately, and to boast about the extremities of my accomplishments.

Some days were so slow and not enjoyable, others truly liberating.  I needed to enjoy the process, not the goal.  This would help me to keep my attention on enjoying the run, not on how much weight I had lost.  But that is another blog to come.
What about you? What has been the thing that kept you going long term? Give me some fuel for the fire this winter!

November 10, 2009

Geared Up for Winter

2nd Winterfor me in running. Well, second and a half.  I began back in the January of 2008.  That makes two years of serious running.  My body has changed, my clothes have changed, but now I am geared up and looking towards a winter of running with all my barriers addressed.  I have just received from Roadrunner my thermal compression tights.  They are Pearl Izumi Therma Phase Tights. I don't feel the liner inside will be able to keep my nether regions warm enough,  so an extra pair of underwear is necessary, also for support on longer runs.  Why cant they make them more 'brief-like'??  I do feel like a superhero in them!  I am hoping they keep me warm for the really cold weather.

I also have a high-visibility marathon jacket (illumiNITE Marathon Jacket) I have purchased so I don't look like a dark ninja on the road.  Both were affordable and I got a great discount from the site for having a VIP membership, with free shipping!
If you are inclined to stay indoors, there is a site which may interest you :  It is devoted to reviewing treadmills and there are some quizzes to do!  Unfortunately, I cannot afford the space for a treadmill, in my home thus my heading outdoors in the wind and snow.  I have to say, wind is a bigger difficulty than is snow in my books. 

November 02, 2009

Dark Running

Afterfollowing my 1/2 marathon up with some runs for the last few weeks, I have been having such a hard time staying motivated to get out there.  I missed my long run yesterday.  This was because of the transition to later in the day runs because of the darkness factor. 
I am not stationary, and have been going to the gym twice a week lately as well as running, but my motivation to go out after work is really taking a hit.  I feel winter slumpsville.  How do you handle the change in season??
I have purchased equipment, all except a headlamp, which I will probably need, but do not really want to have to use.  Running in the dark is a HUGE barriere for me!  Anyone else feel that way?

October 21, 2009

Dark Run

Winter booshave started.  I hate when my runs are altered sue to the sun being absent.  I just cant go out with the pitch blackness of night still looming.  I bought a reflective shell to wear, but will likely need to buy a headlamp bright enough for winter dark running.  Maybe then I can get out still before work.  With my wife working longer hours, it will be very difficult to go after work, as I am with the kids.  Winter can really be a challenge.  And if it snows, don't get me started.  I need to stick then to the highways, where large semi truck zoom past me, blowing wet sand and wind at me.  The loop is about 12.5 k on my consistent run then.  Makes for a dreary run.

October 20, 2009

post marathon

Recove(red)Well, I am officially recovered from last week's 1/2 marathon.  It was not too bad, a couple of days of me quad's delayed onset soreness.  Stairs hurt.  I am hoping to do a full marathon in the new year.  I am getting fairly reflective about all my training.  It has changed me in many ways, but has only been noticed on the most surface level by others unless they talk with me.  I t has become a deeply personal place where I can pray, reflect, meditate and in an ironic way, be still.  It has also become a social outlet for connecting with those I normally would have little in common with.  So, in the next few blogs, I am going to focus on the blessings running has brought me, so that you too could be inspired to be your best!

October 12, 2009

A Great Run

MY PLACE OVERALL:  72nd out of 1500 plus runners.
AGE CATEGORY Male   30-39 :18/133 
Gun Time                 1:35:15 
Chip time                1:33:24 

The whole experience was incredible, emotional, nerve-wracking and all worth while.  I felt fantastic on the actual run.  Knowing when to step it up and when to hold back, as I had been nervous about, was the challenge yesterday morning.  The temperature was below freezing, so I had to think about keeping from getting uncomfortable from the cold.  I wore some tights I was wearing under my jogging pants, as i have yet to invest in thermal tights.  I saw some fancy pants there, that's for sure!
It seems trivial, but I see that I would have placed even higher if I had seeded correctly.  I have never competed like this before, so this counts for me in some fashion. I like to understand where i am at amongst all my peers here!  So my goals were met, I set a new PR for the 1/2 marathon and was able to place in the top 5% of the race.  Check!  And  most of all I enjoyed every moment of the day.  As I mentioned in my last blog, I am so THANKFUL that I went  to the hospital to treat my asthma.  This was a big part of my enjoying the whole run.
I had more energy, felt alive during the run and stayed focused.
My hope was for a negative split  and to match my PR of 1:38.  My first split was at 4:19, 4:27, then my Ipod died from cold exposure which was frustrating.  One thing about next time is not to panic last minute with technical gear, just focus on warming up.  Also, it took me 2 whole minutes to get to the start line!  I will seed myself further forward next time too.

Me, pre-race fresh.

Me, post race exhilarated.

October 10, 2009


AHHHHHH...A little voice told me to go to the hospital today.  Okay, it was not a little voice, I know it was God.  Anyhow, with all my cruddy times and lack of motivation or energy, I felt it would be prudent to check out my lungs.  It has been so long since I have had to even think about them, so my asthma has not been forefront on my mind.  Until the trip I took to Silverwood a couple of weekends ago.  That was the beginning of crappy run times, of me needing my inhalor and of frustration.  You see, running has basically eliminated my need for my inhalors.  I am cured, save for a few allergy triggers like dog dander.  This in itself is a miracle.  In fact the lung test the doctor did on me was in his eyes surprizingly strong for the kind of lung inflammation I was experiencing.  I know it s the training, and it makes me smile.
So, long story short, I got my nebulizor, felt FANTASTIC after, in fact, I was so buzzed form the medication that made me better to breath, my wife sent me early with Jeremy, my running bud to the marathon site.  I guess me buzzing hyper diaper around the house, dancing around her and humping her leg was a little much for her.  But honestly, as I said to the doctor, that med should have been given to me the next morning just before my race, cuz I was raring to go.  I was feeling mighty high.  But alas, I will only have intact lungs to get me through the 21 k.  I breath a sigh , a full sigh of releif.

October 08, 2009

Half Marathon , A Personal Milestone

3-2-1Go.  My count down is on for the first longer race I will have ever competed this Sunday.  Am I nervous?  Yes!  I'm getting butterflies.  But like anything, I am prepared and I am excited to see what comes out of it.  Although I have had some very slow times lately, I know that there is lots to pour out on race day.  The race is in Kelowna, 1.5 hours away, so it is not a terribly far place to go.
What I am most nervous of is getting in my head too much, letting the race become more about other people than about me.  It is my nature to back off of competition and let others battle it out.  THis is good for me, I keep telling myself.  I am a champion!  I am on FIRE!  Mentally, I will need to get in the game by mapping out the distance and my goal times to keep me on track and out of the turmoil around me, as it will all be nw, from the aid stations to the crowds to the intimiation of the other athletes who obviously dressed better than I.
I am nervous also of the weather's sudden drop in morning temperature, which is approaching freezing levels here.  This makes for a different cardio for me. 
I am also wondering if me not doing my longer runs in the last three weeks as I taper will throw me off my ingrained pace.  This concerns me as I have had terrible slows runs as of late.  I have two runs left this week that will be short but zippy.  Hopefully this will boost my confidence for the big day!

October 05, 2009

One Foot In Front Of The Other

8 km todayStill Tapering.  The 1/2 marathon is in 6 days, and I have battled nervous thoughts lately.  I started the day with a pounding headache, which made for a terrible feeling run.  A severe cold is going around.  Yikes!  Excruciatingly slow run for me, an average time of about 5 minute km.  But that is where my complaining stops.  Watch this, I found it very encouraging and inspiring.  Eddie Iz Running . He is not a typical runner in the way of body, habit or anything but he faces a challenge I couldn't imagine.  A marathon a day!
What I see in me now is the will to keep going.  I have had a very difficult year personally.  Sometimes running is all I have had to keep me sane and healthy, and it turns into a deep prayer, a place to commune, to intercede.  Not everyone gets this, but I have been supported immensely in key ways but those that matter most.  Namely my beautiful wife who has been my cheerleader, my friend Jeremy, and a handful of others who I realize were engaging this part of my life.
So with every heavy footstep, I am thankful.  I am grateful for this day, for this step, for this road for this life.  I will get through the hard runs, have fast ones, slow ones, heavy and light ones.  What is important is that I keep finding joy in the moment, engage my spirit and praise God every time I draw a breath.  This is good.  As for the hard times, they too will pass, and like a good taper, I will heal and keep running that good race to the end.

September 30, 2009


I just don'tfeel so excited about running these days.  I think it is probably the season.  Its getting colder and darker, and I am back to work full time so squeezing in a run after the sun rises gives me maybe 1/2 hour to get going.  Winter.  

September 24, 2009

Taper Tantrums

First time I have been to a sports massage therapist, and it was totally enlightening.  I had to get past the nudity under the blanket, but that was quickly overcome.  I was feeling anxious about my tight piriformis, and its effect on the coming race, so this is what most of the conversation included.  I was pleasantly surprised to hear that most people in training just before the race go through some breakdown.  The therapist calls it Taper Tantrums!  Taper Tantrums refer to the visits frequented by those preparing to race in long races, and because of the intensity peaking just before the race, the body kind of goes into shock, preparing to mend and heal based on the fact that there was breakdown for a long period.  Rest now and recovery is paramount to a good performance.  If the work has been put in, then the race just needs the focus and trust put in as we rest.  Thissettled me, and i was given a clean bill of cautious health for the coming weeks.

September 21, 2009

Why's My Piriformis Always Pickin On Me?

I Had My Last long run on Saturday, it was a 22 km.  About an hour later, I felt my buttock stiffening up, and when stretching it out, I felt "that familiar ache".  I need to take it easy.  Luckily this is my tapering start for the 1/2 marathon coming in October.  I got out my foam roller and began some determined massage and stretching to preemptively nip my muscle before it nips me.  I feel no pain walking or running right now, but if I don't ease off, I know only too well how disappointingly inactive I will be forced to be.  This is considered an overuse injury.  How do I avoid it and amp up my mileage too?  I am looking for answers about this, as it would be my third injury this year.  This year happens to be my most intense training I have ever done with the highest mileage.However, I seem prone to this hip and buttock injury.  No more!!
This foam roller is quite painful to use, but it is supposedly very helpful in releasing tight muscles and moving lactic acid from the areas that need it.  The video on Youtube looks a little funny, but the guy knows how to get to the trigger points effectively. I bought mine through JumpUSA. 

September 18, 2009

Cycling up or Down in Training

Cycles.I found an article in my research that is helping me tremendously to understand possibly why I had injuries this year.  Its about cycles, and the explaniation is pretty logical.  I went from doing 13 km in the winter for my longer runs- 15 km to 24 km.  This buildup with no real reprieve is immensely problematic to the need for our bodies to recuperate and rest.  True of life as well. We are not machines, impervious to wear and tear.  We are organic.  Resting is a part of growing, of strengthening and of producing.  Its as important as the actual work.  Swing to either side of the pendulum and there will be trouble. So I am realizing there is much more to learn about preparing for a race, about planning for improvement and for making gains in life.  To everything there is a season.

I'm Freakin Out

Firsts.I could go mental trying to figure out how to get through it without losing sleep, but there you go, I am nervous already!  I imagine with my nerves will possibly come worry.  I worry that when the start pistol goes off, that there will be these invisible concrete shoes that I will wear for 21 km.  Like in your dreams when you are trying to run somewhere, but can't run at normal speed, you are like molasses asses.  Or trying to talk, but the words don't come out.  I just hope I can be relaxed enough to be present in my body, feeling free to just run out of pleasure.  I have a certain performance I would like out of the experience, but to enjoy it and take on the challenge with joy, that is another thing.  This is voluntary after all!  We shall see.
I am contemplating tapering, it is a foreign and scary thing.  More to come on that too.  I am happy to say that my friend Jeremy is looking like he is good to go, it was a bit iffy whether his Achilles was going to take him out of the race.  Good journey on that one, bro!

September 14, 2009

1/2 Marathon Training

Goal= 1:40 (ish)I am going for my very first 1/2 marathon on Oct. 11 in Kelowna, B.C.  My time yesterday on my long run was right in line with what I hope to accomplish.  I clocked myself at 1:38:16 !!  This was well beyond how I hoped.  I pushed myself, but no wretching or gagged happened, so that is good, and I feel good today, not too sore at all.  If I am able to do this, I would be in the top 100 of the event.  Here's to trying!  Much of it will be psychological for me.  I have good hopes though. How exciting!

September 12, 2009

Intervals and my PR.

Intervals.Well, I can officially count my 5 k as a 20:00.  Thats my first.  I was going for a sub 40 min 10 k, but totally petered out by 5 k, which was still fine by me.  Interval training aided me so make my best split ever. 

September 11, 2009

Red Faced Running Stories

Stupid is as stupid does, isn't that the saying from our favorite dufas from the 90's?  I was pondering all the private and not-so-private things I have done while running that were, well lets say, embarrassing!?  
Like there was the very first run with my friend Jeremy I ever took.  Being the "entertainer" I am, I decided it would be funny to leap into the air and turn to him and say "FREEZE FRAME!" as we ran side by side.  This made my very visual mind think it looked very funny, because I took a mental slow motion snap shot of myself leaping in the air.  It was more for me than for my friend's benefit.  Problem:  my feet didn't get back under me to keep running. with the momentum we were going.  Result:  me landing on my leg, hips,  and rolling onto my back and me having to stunt roll on gravel while keeping a smile on my face.  I looked completely insane.  I got road rash all along my legs back and body.  Stupid is as stupid does.
Then there was the time this summer that I decided in Victoria, along the beautiful ocean shore to keep running as 'ocean-side' as I could, veering off the road and heading onto the actual shore hoping to meet up with regular walkways I was accustomed to.  BIG MISTAKE.  It was a over sludge, water, seaweed and eventually, I fell slipping off a rock I was leaping onto and minutely injuring myself.  Private embarrassment quotient VERY high.  Glad no one saw me, but I embarrassed myself!  How do you do THAT?  I eventually found a road again, but it slowed my run down to a crawl for a good 1/2 hour.
Then lastly, of course, any runner with distance under their belt would have some bathroom , er, issues.  When I first started running, I found my body's jarring and jostling , uh, loosened up my bathroom needs immensely.  A few emergency stops made for close calls.  One in particular didn't turn out so well.  I was needing a bathroom in the middle of a 20 k run, and a gas station seemed to be my salvation.  When asked the gas attendant, he pointed to an out house.  I could do that, no problem.  Once I sat to "go," I realized...hmm... no TP!!!  A sign indicated i could ask at the till 50 yards away, as it tends to get stolen.   But it was a little late for that.   Result?  I just ran off, uh, feeling unclean... ew...  Builds character, no?  What character?  Well at least it builds interesting stories for my blog.

September 06, 2009

Ice Baths... Necessary Evil

It Is Not My Ideaof a good time, sitting in a cold bath after a long run, which has again exceeded the 20 km mark, my injury threshold. But the experts sing the praises of an 'ice bath'. I have been modifying it to a cold bath. Full cold water. Does it count? My heart says yes. I read it should be between 50-59 degrees F. Being on the superior metric system, I have no idea what that means. So I choose ignorance and get in a cold shower, partly because I have a lot to keep track of already, and have no ice machine at home. Should I worry? I want the benefits of constricting my blood vessels and then the blood rush is thought to heal the torn fibers of the muscle from the long run. My legs, hips calves all benefit. I need to take care of things, as I have had a couple of injuries that have stalled my running career. What do you do? Thoughts?
Here is the article I recently read on the subject:

September 04, 2009

I threw up a little in my mouth

Personal Record,PR. A daunting goal. I was not fixing to go for it this last 10 k. They are uncomfortable. The time is this carrot on a stick. But last week, I felt particularly inspired to attempt to crack it. My last PR was on my first 10 k race here in my home town. 43:20. It was right around my goal time, but I was pleased with the result. I did it. Then, heading home into my street, my stomach heaved! Yes, I threw up a little in my mouth. Gross.

I started off and felt good. My splits are never negative when I try to crack the time. Its not been my priority for speed, more about distance for my longer runs. I knew as I approached my half way point, I had a chance, so I pushed on. It was the mental anguish of the last 3 k that did me in, it always does. My body wanted to ease off, but I told it to keep hitting it hard. I know i am doing this when I can hear wind in my ears.

So, my PR is now offically 42:40. i am that much closer to a sub 40 min 10 k. But I wont be trying that again soon. I have a marathon to worry about! Plus, I hate gagging.

September 03, 2009

Of Short Shorts and Torrential Rain

Flash Flood! I went on my 10 k today, it was nice weather, overcast, but not too cold. I was trying my new shorts out. Now let me tell you, I ordered these running shorts from an online store. What I knew was they were short. I was not expecting this short though. I bought them because it was them, which showed more leg, or it was compression shorts which showed my bits n pieces. Lesser evil? Well I am not one to be too carried away with how I look, but it is a new game when this type of short is introduced to me. I took one look and laughed. This is new. These shorts are short! The reason for them was simple. Lack of chaffing, freedom of mobility for my long runs. Also these were about $ 20-30 less expensive than compression shorts, so they won out. On e day I'll maybe wear BOTH together and then I'll be done with it. When I'm rich.

So I took off on my run today, new short shorts on, feeling a new found leg freedom. It was actually a great sensation. Like running around in your underwear or something. On my 7th km, a saw a rain storm coming. What i didnt see coming, was the flash HAIL storm, and then buckets of water that would drench me within 1 minute flat, so much so that my shoes became instantly heavy with water. The hail actually stung a bit, and all I could do is laugh. It will become a metaphor in my life. You can't predict the storm, maybe you can somewhat prepare, but all in all, it is just something I need to eventually laugh about. I am thankful I only had 13 more minutes of running after that flash flood to get home. I am also ironically thankful for my new short shorts, which did NOT chaff on my legs, unlike the other shorts I have which would cover more leg and rub me raw. And I might add, I can now say I look officially like a serious runner, and you WILL NOT catch me in the supermarket with these babies on. You just won't , so don't ask.

August 07, 2009


Lettingmy heart bleed out during my run this week, I realized that I love running for another reason. Putting my body into action, into meditative action and rhythmic endurance, draws out my most base feelings. I speak about this from this week's runs here in glorious Victoria, B.C.. Here I vacation. With friends we stay. With my friend, we run. Jeremy and I chat, and my difficult year comes into conversation during one evening's 10 k. As I share about it, I realize running has lowered my defenses, and allowed me to just sweat and cry and beat out grief. I am fortunate to not care about this with my friend, bless him. I urge us on as my anger and angst intensifies and I run harder into that feeling. Glorious.

By the way, Victoria, she loveth me. :P

August 01, 2009


After threeweeks of healing, my muscles have been feeing that "I'm ready to get back to work" feeling. The injury seems to have gotten healed to the point of being able to run on it again. I tried to hold back a bit for my first run back. It was only slightly tight in my right glute. So happy to be back running. It was euphoric, to say the least. 8 km was where I capped myself, just to be safe. Since then I ran a 10 k an i am hoping to do 18 km for my longer run tomorrow. I as going to go today, but I have a lost of things to get done as we are leaving for vacation this week, and felt being in the car all day tomorrow will be reason to do a long run. I am also laying down patio bricks at my mothers and feel the amount of leg and glute strain is enough for today and yesterday.

July 24, 2009

2.5 weeks of a pain in the ... HEE HAW

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Well, my marathon training has now been bitten into. My muscles are continuing to give me grief, cross training is still the only way i can get out and about. I went for a trial run two days ago, but felt the discomfort growing in my injury, so I stopped it and made an appointment with my chiropractor.
Seems I have a secondary injury now in my buttock. My gluteus minimus is tight and injured. Ice rest and stretching. I will try in about a cup of coffee today to go for a run, but my guess is the injury will stop me again and I will need to grab my bike again.
With the kind of year I have had, this really does not surprise me, that I am injured, preventing me from the only outlet I have for personal time. I even got a flat tire last outing on my bike!
What this means for my marathon come October, i really don't know. I was ahead of Yasso's plan, so i will have to see.
UPDATE: 1 Hour Later: I went for another trial run. Got further than last time. It is definitely a different injury now. Right in my higher side. Dang. I had to stop since the discomfort was growing to where I couldn't maintain proper running form.
Rule followed in running
: if the pain is changing your form or gait, STOP IMMEDIATELY.

A very informative podcast to refer to when injured comes from this blog called Runners Roundtable. It has the info I refer to through the resources I have found on injury assessment, treatment, and prevention. The audio is a bit sketchy, but it has experienced runners talking about their various injuries from running. Enjoy!
I will post more as I learn more about this new ailment. Until then, I am still a pain in the ass.
I Have a Chiro appointment today. Who, by the way, tried to kill me last week in treatment. Brandt, you know you're wonderful, but those tears were real.

July 16, 2009

The New Joy of Cross Training

With this injury, coming on two weeks now, has forced me to re-imagine my cardio. I haven't been on my bike for workout reasons before. I started this up just to keep me sane. Bingo bongo bango! Loved it. The burn was imenent, having not used my quads or calves quite as intensely. I have a lot to learn in this realm, but I can see how a triathalon might have its appeal. I have a trail bike, though but I was on a trail most of the time of my 1 hour 15 minute ride.
Funny thing, I was told to try to make it to Osoyoos lake, but it was so far, I went way farther than I ever intended. I was wiped after, but felt great. Cross training might need to be the way I get my 4-5 day per week workouts without overuse injury. We will see. Other than that I have one more chiropractor appointment, and I thinkIll be ready to hit the road again. I wonder. Will I have to start cutting my mileage at first, event hoghI have workout this last two weeks? Hmm.

July 12, 2009

This Is My Weak Time...

I hate layoffs in my running. It has now been 7 days. No running. I got some cycling in, but with each day, I feel more sluggish, like I am missing something.
I still have discomfort in my arse, it is ebbing, but still there. I will see how today goes. If I run on an injury, from experience i know it will not be good for getting back on the road regularly. Last time, I did this and could only run 4 blocks before packing it in in frustration and immense pain. It felt like a steel spike with each footfall going into my buttock.
So for now I practice patience, athough patient is not how I feel. Running has taught me patience in new ways. I usually push too fast too soon and pay for it, running has taught me to be patient with my limitations, to work diligently and keep at it. As Dory says..."just keep swiimming, swimming, swimming, just keep swimming...." :(

I found a new love for a tennis ball for self-massage. It has been great to roll my muscles on , although painful, I have felt the muscle release a lot, and icing helps too in healing the inflammation.

July 10, 2009

Getting Better

Well, its been a week nearly since I have taking a break from running to get my piriformus back in working order. I have stretched, went to the chiropractor, and iced my butt. I am feeling improvement and hope to hit the road again soon. I really do feel like something is missing, mornings aren't quite the same with out my runs.
I still feel sore when I let my hip on the right side drop. I think I might be investing in a foam roller I keep reading about online. They seem to be really helpful. I used a frozen water bottle yesterday to get some massage on the right places.
My goal this fall is the Kelowna Marathon. 42 km right now seems intriguing, although intimidating. I respect that distance. WIll I enjoy it? Will it be misery? So far I love pushing my long runs. I know I am a sicko. But I feel really alive and empowered on that kind of run, excited to see how much I can do.
Hopefully I will have healed up enough to get on that training ASAP.
I'm going to Victoria this summer, so a long run seems immanent. :)

July 06, 2009

Man Down Man Down!

Well I did it again. Got an injury that will require some time off from running for a few days. I was on my long run on Sunday morning, pushing to 24 km, felt great, but had a bit of a tender Piriformis (now I can see clearly that this was what I was feeling, I wasn't sure if it wa because i spilled on my bike). By the time I got back, it hadn't gone away. Should not have run on it like that, now it is inflamed and painful to walk on.
I know the stretches, to apply cold and feed my body with protein and other nutrients to heal quickly. I hate this, though as it was preventable. This is the second bout of this injury I have had, both this year.
I have also developed ITB syndrome, which as not as painful, but made me back off my mileage and find new ways to contort to heal.
Injuries are now plaguing me, but I certainly need to take care when the need arises, or it will be longer term issues, which I cant afford in my running.

June 27, 2009

Trying Out Gu

I went for my long run this morning, 21 k. Finished in 1:51:09. I have the hydration down pat now, using a skookum "fuel Belt" product. I started doing this ofter my run got long enough that I felt very bad after I topped 20 k, my arms went a bit numb! I realized that it was dehydration, and that I should be bringing something with me. Turns out after 1 hour, its wise to replenish your fluids, especially if you are like me and are "salted" after a run.

My next stage was to take the plunge into mid-run nourishment. I just feel my performance could improve if I was thinking about how my body is fueling a bit more aggressively. I am frugal in nature, so I brought raisins, chocolate, anything sweet that I had on hand in the house. These are problematic, as getting them warm and soggy is gross. So I dropped by my local running store and picked it up.

I felt so great after eating a vanilla flavored approaching my 10 kilometer. First of all, eating candy during excercise is just UNTHINKABLE! hat a reward. And it tasted like sweetened condensed milk, with if you ask Pam my lovely wife, is a very big celebration, I could just eat a whole can of the stuff on a good day. It had caffeine in it too. I really felt acute to get the second half in with all my gusto, so I like the stuff. I don't think I will use it every time, but I surely appreciate the need for supplementing when going long and hard.

I felt by kilometer 15, my right hip getting sore, but otherwise, I felt a the top of the world.

What gels. packs, juices do you treasure on your longer runs? Let me know!

June 24, 2009

DEAD legs

I followed up my Seawall run with a 10 k yesterday morning. I must say, this is where my stubborness kicks in. Push myself hard and then instead of taking the recommended easy run after my long, I decided to push it and see how fast my 10 k could be. Well it wasn't. My time was well over my personal record. At 46:00 I now see there is a reason to take it easy. I had a lot of gusto at the beginning, with a first split of 21:28, but soon after the split I felt like my four year old was dragging behind me slowing me down. I was sucking wind too hard to keep the pace up, and i felt my speed quickly wain as my legs became heavier.
Oh well. My goal is a sub 40:00 min 10 k. But Rome wasn't built in a day! I really hate speed work, but I feel its a goal I will feel very satisfied in if I can achieve it, a sub 40min 10 k. It will happen... what I am relizing it some track work , interval training, and hill work is the prescription to faster times. With the marathon in the fall approaching, I need to both keep my distance goals in mind and tax my body in time efficiency training. Can distance and speed go together? Yes I beleive so.
RunnersWorld has some great articles about this subject which I will post as follow-up comments.
I will be working my way up to over 30k for my long runs, but doing some hill work and some dreaded intervals. I think I may need to ask for reinforcements for this, though. A friend to help keep my momentum up. Let me know if you have any advice on this front

June 19, 2009


Yes, i am going to see Coldplay on Fathers Day weekend, and my plan is to run this majestic route. Cant wait! I will be going early morning, hopefully it will be a bit misty.

Ill post pictures of the trip when I get back, for sure!

June 18, 2009

First Race

My first race was this year. It was a 10k in my own home town of Oliver, BC. One of the great draws was that every entry got a bottle of wine from a local winery, which our town is famous for making copious amounts of. Yipee! It's like Canada's little Italy.
I had only ever ran a race before in grade school. My one memory of this was the pride I had in a cross country run in grade 6. I was placing 9th I believe. I have always enjoyed running even then. At the last turn of this run in which I was doing so well, I made a terrible mistake. Some people were flagging me down calling me over, to which I misinterpreted as the right direction to run. It wasn't. Instead, I cut across a field I was supposed to be circling, and then had to double back to get back on track. Thanks a lot, idiots! So my placing slid into the droves of other kids that did NOT make that mistake.
That was my only memory of running in a race until my grade 12 year when we had a track meet school wide. An 800 meter dash , which I thought I could handle, turned into an embarrassing drop out due to a crazy bad asthma attack. I have asthma by the way.
This race was different.
Here are a couple of my own observations from the race experience. First, the crowd being so tight at the beginning was a challenge. Just trying to weave without being too jostled and to maintain my own pace rather than a pack pace was off-putting. The next thing was my own inner dialogue! I realize...I AM VERY COMPETITIVE. Internally, I want to take down anyone in front of me. I hated the sound of approaching footsteps from behind. Mentally, my desire fro personal excellence gets thrown out the window for the sake of just kicking ass. This is a discovery of great importance for me. I have alway gravitated to sports that are individual. This way I could avoid comparing myself to others accomplishments.
At 35 years old, I was entering it totally prepared and experienced in the length and knowledgeable to a degree of how I would do. My goal was to a time of a sub-45 minute run. My personal best as far was 42:30. But I know myself. I know my nerves would definitely try to usurp my training. I get anxious and over think everything. This makes me hyper aware of how tired I feel, and psychologically plays against me.
I had two friends running the race as well. One I knew was much faster than me as we run occasionally together. He was the man who I found to be very inspirational in keeping at my discipline for the long haul. The other gentleman was a local principle of a high school, and from talking I knew I would place before him most likely.
The people who showed to the race were such a great way to connect to the bigger world of running. There was a diverse array of ages, levels and backgrounds. I met people I knew but had no idea they were runners.
Trying to take it easy on the first split turned out harder than I thought. I did run out of steam,but pushed trough that weariness to make a time of 43:20. A respectable time for my overall goal.
Things I didn't expect that I will know for next time: I will be very sore the next few days after. There will be people with elbows crowding me. A negative split requires patience and discipline in training so that race time will be more automated. People at the races are on the whole just excited to be around other runners. For myself, my goals are the most important thing, not the outcome on the whole. Although now I have a better idea as to what time and effort it will take to place more competitively. This is a revelation. I want to run a sub 40 minute 10 k.

June 17, 2009

Jan 1, 2008 - a runner - not a jogger - is born

Okay, so I like the idea of blogging, but am never sure what I could continue to write about. Then I am realizing, how writing about what I love, what I am passionate about, is the best chance that I will continue to update it.

I have not been a self- proclaimed athelete, but have always tried to be active. I did the gym 'beef-up ' thing, played a little b-ball and v-ball and soccer growing up. These all came and went for good reasons.

It had been almost 8 years since I had been physically active. I have jogged on and off my whole life, but it wasnt until Jan 1, 2008 when I realized my dream of being a bonified 'runner' was embarking.
I was at 201 lbs. I am 5'9", so that on a BMI scale was considered nearly obese! Obese!!? Flashes of my health going easily where I dreaded suddenly solidified all the daydreams of me running with abandon as I had done my whole life. It was no longer an option for me; I was about to begin a very personal journey. My father passed away suddenly at age 54 due to a mysterious heart attack right after a run. He had adult-onset diabetes, and had bought himself 9 years by getting the weight that had crept up on him in his adult life in control. This flash of fear in me made me realize how easy and sneakily my health issues were coming just as they had for my father, whom I miss everyday, as do all the peopple who knew him.

So out on the road I began, with a good friend who was already on the road to running regularly to encourage me. I started a regiment of nutrition overhauling, regular treks into the neighbourhood panting and wheezing and sweating all the way. It was tough to get into gear! From "couch potato, consume whatever was in front of my face" to "today no nachos - tomorrow the WORLD!" mentality.

Here I sit, a year and a half later, currently weighing in around 155 pounds, my more sane Body Mass Index intact, and I really want to put out my thoughts on this journey. I have learned a lot, reflected a lot, pushed through a lot, and achieved a lot. I am a runner.