Running thoughts

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“My thoughts can sometimes run hot, cold, quick slow or to the very topic of running. My aim is to just keep thinking – and running.”

I am not running this weekend at the Toronto Waterfront marathon but have some running friends who are. My goal was to be at the start line but hundred mile training weeks en-route to a marathon attempt at the Ottawa marathon this spring and some cranky hips are keeping me at home.

This blog is for my Toronto marathon digital champion friends and all those lacing up for the Toronto marathon or any other race this weekend.

How to say sane before the race

Relax, kick back and relax your mind. The work is done – its time to get ready to race.

Read about running or have fun with some running videos.

Podcast about good running book.

If able set aside 5-10minutes to just sit quietly and meditate or just clear your mind and relax. You may not realize how wound up or stressed you are (excitement can still get you tight and stressed).

Last minute tips

  • Prepare ahead of time and have your stuff packed, your race day gear ready and your bib (with pins) set to go.
  • Make sure you have cheap throwaway warm up gear
  • Throw plastic garbage in drop bag in case of rain (cheap rain coat)
  • Limit your time on feet day before at race Expo – quick browse then go relax.
  • Stay hydrated and eat healthy, nothing out of the abnormal and plan your race day breakfast.
  • Gently stretch and stay loose.
  • If you want to get a pre-race massage, ensure its just to relax and not too deep or anything you are not used to.
  • Set the alarm and have a back-up.
  • Know your A, B and C plans for race day.
  • Go out and get 100% out of yourself.

Race day tips

  • Remember your plan and your goals
  • Focus on getting 100% out of yourself
  • Remember you cannot control weather
  • Get yourself well-positioned and good spot for your pace at start
  • Do not go out too fast, remember you have 26.2 miles to run
  • Relax, breath and bring down heart rate and focus n locking into your pace

And make sure you have fun. Even if you do not run as expected – remember you volunteered, no animals were harmed in the running of your race and that you will live to run again!

Run on my friends. Each footstep is a victory and let the finish line welcome you with its warm sense of accomplishment when you meet it.

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Green Shorts

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“Running is such a minimal gear sport and all you really should need is a short, shirt and shoes.”

I am a runner and I love trail running and like the idea of green products (environmentally friendly and natural). In the world of running products – natural is however hard to find – plastic is everywhere. I think few of us runners really complain because comfort and function is the first priority.

But I am always open to natural and green products if they work.

Someone found my blog and found me and decided to send me a pair of all natural running shorts to test and try. Here is what happened.

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Urth/Wear

The Company name is Urth Wear and the logo and the shorts both have leaves on them. I am okay with that. But the test shorts that arrive in the mail are dark green and have leaf prints all over them. They kind of look more like short boxers than anything else. But I put aside colour and check them out.

The outer short is a cotton material and not overly light but looks okay and there is an inner liner/brief that is made out of a white soft material. I remind myself as well that this i a prototype and I there is room for improvement and feedback.

The Shorts

Cotton seems a bit stiff but okay. Shorts are short shorts like I normally wear but seem shorter due to material and do not move like synthetic material. The inner liner is surprisingly comfortable but bunches a bit at the groin. When I tie up the shorts the draw strings dissapears into the hole and is too short—-but the shorts are snug and no problem with falling down.

Off I go for a warm fall run and the shorts are on. I feel a wee bit self conscious because of the coulour and the design on them. I warm up and pick up the pace. It is a leaf-strewn bicycle path through the woods. The shorts feel comfortable if not a tad too short.

Still need to test on a longer – sweatier run.

I send off my feedback and comments and throw the shorts in for the wash.

Conclusion

I am really open to wearing and using green and environmentally-friendly products but I think – being honest – for me to buy them they need to look as good, be of reasonable price and be functional. I think runners in general can be stingy-but will buy if it looks cool and works well.

I am interested to see second prototypes.

Run on friends!

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Joggling boggles my mind

Michal Kapral Joggling
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“I have just enough brains to keep one foot in front of the other, to keep going and not tangle myself.”

I recently ran a relay race on the east coast (Nova Scotia) and witnessed a military runner fly by while juggling. Really. He wasn’t jogging or back with the strollers and wearing baggy basketball shorts – he was hammering along with three balls in the air. Boggled my mind.

But it was not the first time I had seen a joggler (running and juggling). The former editor of Canadian Running magazine and someone I got to know had been the first. And this person, this joggler is back in the news. Let me introduce you to Canadian joggler (from Toronto, Ontario) – Michal Kapral.

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Michal, recently screaming around an indoor track (joggling) with balls in the air.

Michal

Michal is lean and fit for a 42-year old in the publishing and writing world. Like a superhero he not only is a decent runner but has an almost super-talent. He joggles.

He is the current Guinness World Record holder for the fastest joggling marathon of 2 hours 50 minutes and 12 seconds and also holds the 10K record of 36 minutes and 27 seconds. (I have a hard enough time dragging my aging body along anywhere near that speed nowadays – forget about adding juggling!) So there is no current Guinness record for the joggling half-marathon, but Michal has joggled an uncertified 1 hour 23 minute half-marathon in the past and is hoping to beat that time.

But as I said, Michal is fast. In 2002 Michal was the overall winner of the Toronto Marathon in a time of 2:30:40 after taking up competitive running just four years earlier. He has also recently set some impressive times as a Master runner.

On Sunday, October 19 Michal will be running the half-marathon at the ScotiaBank Toronto Waterfront marathon weekend. Michal will be joining a charity team including two-time Olympic gold-medallist Miruts Yifter (nicknamed Yifter the Shifter for his ability to change up gears in a race and destroy hi opponents) in raising funds for AIDS orphans in Ethiopia through an organization call P2P Canada.

But not only will Michal be running, but he will be bring along his juggling balls and going for a new a Guinness World Record for the fastest half-marathon while “joggling” three objects. And Michal is fast enough to do this.

“I can’t emphasize enough how tough it is to race a half-marathon while juggling every step of the way” Michal says. “I hope to get enough donations to the P2P charity so this absurdly difficult challenge will make the world a better place.”

I got hold of Michal and asked him a few questions about joggling as his big race approached.

What is it that draws you to juggle and run – joggle?

“I keep coming back to joggling because it’s the perfect combination of full-body endurance exercise, hand-eye coordination and entertainment. Once you get a good rhythm going, it’s poetry in motion.”

How difficult, how much harder do you have to concentrate when joggling?

“There’s a lot more concentration involves when joggling compared to running, but it really varies over the course of a race. I find I have to concentrate a lot at the beginning of a race as I find my groove, then it’s relaxing for a while, almost like a trance. But near the end, it becomes absolute torture trying to maintain the juggling cascade as I push toward the finish. The half-marathon is tough because you are really maxed out at the end, and still have to maintain a quick pace. “

Does joggling add to or just make running more difficult?

“Juggling does make the running harder but it also adds a really interesting new element to it. I’ve been at this whole joggling thing for almost 10 years now, so there’s definitely something there. The training runs are especially fun because I can do tricks and clown around. I get people cheering for me as I joggle through downtown Toronto — that doesn’t happen when I’m just running!”

Running is hard enough but Michal runs and joggles – boggles my mind. Run and joggle on my friend and hope to see a record in Toronto!

 

To make a donation to Michal’s cause, click here.

You can follow Michal on his blog

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Also find me on:

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Malaysian runner who needs a leg up

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“We all grumble about getting out the door for a run sometimes or about minor aches and pains that make running difficult – take a step back and remember there are always those with bigger challenges.”

I came across a story in Ottawa, Ontario that caught my attention. I tried reaching out to make contact with those involved but never heard anything back. I have decided to share what I have.

Selvan

Born in Malaysia in 1990, Selvan Mohan is a missing right tibia, kneecap and ankle. Despite multiple surgeries, at the age of 12, his leg was amputated just above his knee. Since then, he has been walking with a prosthetic leg. Walking then turned into an ability and desire to run.

This is where the story comes to our shores. After completing high school, Selvan received a full scholarship to study in Canada. He finished his undergraduate degree in Biotechnology and Biochemistry in the spring of 2013 and has fast-tracked into a PhD in Chemistry. He is working in the field of Bionanotechnology and is currently researching the impact of nanoparticles to the environment with Environment Canada. Selvan is also in the process of applying for a Permanent Residency in Canada.

Despite only having one real leg, Selvan runs and cycles. Hard enough for us 2-legged folks. Since early 2014, parts of Selvan’s prosthetic leg started to fail. He consulted the Rehabilitation Centre of The Ottawa Hospital and was told that he would need to replace his prosthetic leg soon. He was told the total cost of the leg would be $21,674.87. The cost as a foriegn student who only makes makes $26,000.00 from being a Teaching Assistant was too much. His international student fees amount to about $22,000.00 a year!

A campaign began to help raise money to get Selvan his leg and to help him keep walking, biking and running!

A friend told me of the story and I hope you find interesting and inspiring. Like Selvan, don’t let challenges or differences from stopping you from doing what you want. The road may be bumpier, slower or steeper but you will get there. Run on Selvan.

Much of information for this blog was gleaned from links below: Website

Ottawa Citizen article

Also find me on:

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A middle-aged turtle and some stuff to test!

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“We were Ninja turtles in the 90s, middle-aged turtles on the weekend and soon enough will be tortoises with headbands and dreams of speed.”

The September day in Nova Scotia was beautiful. A last warm hug from Sister Summer before fall sweeps in with leaves and chilly winds.

I was on the east coast of Canada for a reunion with some older, balder, fatter former teammates and friends for a reunion. A reunion in the form of a relay from Halifax to Lunenburg, Nova Scotia. 10 runners and 110 kilometres.

The day started at the crack or rather yawn of dawn. Arm warmers, a reflective vest and I was off at 6:30am for 12k or so of morning running fun. I eased into a decent pace and tried not to push too hard (I was supposed to run the last leg as well)(or so I thought). I held an okay pace of around 3:58 and cranked the pace up a bit to hold off another runner near the finish. Wet wipes and dry clothes and I was ready to cheer on the other runners.

We all ran well and sported matching orange singlets. Some struggled, a little less fit than thought and others surprised themselves. Some I have been in touch with on a regular basis, some now and again and some I had not seen in almost 20 years. It was a lot of fun. We traveled mainly in 2 vehicles and a team-spirit seemed to grow as every kilometre went by. The injured teammate who had come along (Trevor) – and who I was supposed to run for at the end seemed to be getting more and more excited, and started talking about running. I waited.

The last leg came after a long day of cheering, shuttling runners around and handing out water. Fatigue was setting in but it was still fun. Leg 10 of the relay arrived and Trevor was in running gear and told me he was going to do it. He did, all 600m before stopping. I smiled for I know the desire to run, the team spirit and old friends and teammates had gotten to him. I would not have cared had he run 2m or 5km- he was good to see him with the desire to run.

We passed on the awards ceremony and went to a greasy restaurant that used to make pizzas for the relay (way back in the 1990s). It was just as bad as I remembered and had wieners on it. Ahhh memories, old friends and running.

Stuff to be tested

I have a pair of all natural green running shorts from a company called urth/wear that looks interesting. The green shorts with leaves on them might not be the colour or design I would have chosen but I am game to try something that might be good for Mother Nature….as long as they don’t chafe me silly. Review and pics to come.

Received some endurance nutritional drink from Tailwind Nutrition that should be interesting to try. Be tasting and trying out before, during and after runs. So many more choices than the days of only Gatorade (in the glass bottles)(yep I’m old).

All that and just got a sweet little box from Cliff bar with some samples and a hat…sweet!!! Sometimes the little things make me happy!

Run on my friends – see ya all out there on the roads!

A Bunion Derby?!….a running book review

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There are tough runners and then there are tough runners.

I was a ravenous reader of running books when I was younger. When I first started running I needed to consume printed word about running, track and marathons. My eyes would seek out key words in the dusty and quiet corners of libraries (no internet in those days).

I read books about the first 4-minute mile, Jim Fixx and sat intently looking at black and white photos of track stars from the past.

In all those days I don’t think I ever read about a Bunion Derby.

A few weeks ago I picked up a book from a local bookstore that was resting on the shelf by its lonesome.

The 1929 Bunion Derby - Johnny Salo and the Great Footrace across America

link to book site

I found a hardcover book and quickly sat to start reading. I got sucked in right away. It is fact and the story of hardy souls just before the Great Depression who sign up for a crazy run from one side of the US to the other (New York to Los Angeles). It is called the Bunion Derby.

This book takes you into the characters/runners (including Johnny Salo) in the race and the drama that became the whole event. if you think ultramarathoners of today are tough – take a read and remember the type of shoes they had back then, the roads they ran on and the amount of training knowledge there was.

Recommended read!

This is one you can take to bed and read and has some nice black and white photos to get the imagination going.

Run and dream on friends…oh and read:)

Running Reunion – Trying not to make an ass outta myself

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“Time does many things but it seldom makes you faster. I would sometimes like to trade in my years of wisdom for a bit more leg speed.”

It is the cool fall month of September and it is the time for the annual Rum Runners Relay in Halifax, Nova Scotia (Canada). It is a 110 kilometre relay that follows the old rum-smuggling route along the coast from the province’s capital city to the UNESCO Heritage site and cozy town of Lunenburg.

I ran it when I was a young, skinny teenager with my running club. It was a day of young foolishly fast runners competing against adults. We were called the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles – it was the 90s. Back in the days of Walkmans, tapes and when the Canadian band Barenaked Ladies was making it big.

The Relay

The relay is a day long running affair that is run Tour-de-France style and starts and stops for each leg of the journey. The average leg is about 10-kilometres but there is a short leg of just under 4-kilometres and a longer one of near 17-kilomtres. There are team-powered water stations and lots of cheering and is generally a good time.

The Ninja Turtles are back and so is our relay team. We have re-named the team (Middle-aged Ninja Turtles). Most of us have slowed or are barely running but we are coming together to see some faces we have not seen in quite a few years and to celebrate our love of running (if that is what it will look like).

Some of the crew from back then! (Noel, Ian, Cathy, Paula and Steve)

Me (far left) with some old running friends.

Me (the balder middle-aged Ninja Turtle)

I am quite a few years older (some 20+) but am one of the few who has not really stopped running. My hair has thinned and I basically buzz it completely off but still sort of feel like my teenage self in some ways. Hopefully I can still run something like my former teenage self.

Wish me luck as I ask the running bank for an overdraft and hope not to make an ass out of myself out there.

Running is like life and life seems to in some ways get harder as we grow up and running mirrors that.

See you on the roads folks!

Cowabunga dude!