I ran for Beer?


“Sometimes we all just need to lighten up and have fun. Life is short and racing is great but fun is a must.”

Okay – so I don’t even drink so why would I sign up for a run/race that has beer as theme? Why not? The 5k race was on Saturday August 27th on a hot summer morning along the beautiful Rideau Canal in Ottawa.The run was to coincide with a craft beer festival put on by Ottawa’a craft beer market. It was called the Ottawa Craft Beer Run.

I was in the middle of marathon training and at the end of a big mileage week. No taper and figured I would run as a workout. Wanted to see how fast i could turn over my tired legs.

Ottawa Craft Beer Run

The run was simple out and back course only a mildly undulating course along the canal. No traffic and the sun was out and beaming (actually a little hot). Chip timed and well organized. (Race details)

ocbr-site-plan-2016 ocbr-public-route-2016

Here is the low down (from their website) on the race organizers. I got to briefly chat with Jason and Laura. I sent them some questions for a short Q&A but have not heard back (will add if I receive).(I wanted to know the history behind the race).

Founder & Organizer
In 2013 Laura organized the Oktoberfest Run with great success, now she’s back and excited as ever to plan the Ottawa Craft Beer Run. Passionate about fundraising for worthy causes, Laura enjoys volunteering with charities and organizations that promote physical activity. As a certified personal trainer with experience teaching strength and conditioning as well as running bootcamps all over the city, her favorite past times include biking, canoeing, running, swimming, yoga, ziplining and of course lifting weights. Always ready for an adventure, Laura can’t wait to launch this new run in support of Motivate Canada.

Tech Guru
Jason is a computer engineer working in software development. He enjoys cooking, biking, playing the piano, video games, and all things tech. He is also a real foodie and beer aficionado. Jason once ran a 5K in Super Mario Brothers…his thumbs got a real work out! With those interests in mind, Jason is excited to put his skills to the test in support of this charity event.

Marketing Wiz
A keen hockey fan with a love for puns, Alex is an aspiring filmmaker and lover of all things health, fitness and art related. One of Alex’s hidden talents is her ability to quote the entire Mean Girls movie by heart. Passionate about helping others, she enjoys getting involved and giving back to her community. When she’s not working on a creative project, Alex can be found working up a sweat at the gym, exploring the outdoors with her dog Obi (as in Obi-Wan Kenobi), or running marathons…Netflix marathons.

Route Director
Shannon has experience coordinating events for organizations such as Canadian Cancer Society and Girls Inc of Upper Canada. She‘s passionate about bringing her organized and innovated approach to worthy causes. She has a background in Information Security but she loves to moonlight planning events to bring people together whenever she can. Shannon enjoys tennis and exploring Ottawa’s craft beer scene and even dabbles in makeup artistry from time to time.

ocbr2016_00022-470x705 ocbr2016_00025-1030x686

My experience

The registration fee for the race was a bit steep but being a social media geek I got a discount from the race crew (THANKS) which helps being a single income household and busy new runningdad right now. The race kit pickup was pretty quick and you got a bib, pins and a nice t-shirt.

The race started and I went out as planned and tried to hold 3:25ish pace. 3:25, 3:30 and then legs shut down. Was a grunt-fest the last 3k and I was feeling the burn coming home. the legs were just super tired. Managed 6th in a slow 18:34. (Results here) The guy who won ran what i had hoped to run.

Wobbled over to refreshments table and got plastic beer pilsner (glass one would have been nicer) and bumped into a guy who ran who now lives in Ottawa – we chatted. Got my bag and actually ran home (about 13k).

There was beer at the end for runners but I had water lol

Fun idea, well organized and if you like craft beers – even cooler. Worth checking out if the race crew gets all frothy and pours out another beer run in 2017.

*Photos courtesy of photographers Kamilla Presentey and Kevin Cappon.

Catch me on Twitter at @NoelPaine

Running frames


“You only have one life so enjoy it, live it and be different!”

I have worn glasses for a long time now and do not foresee a time when I will be without them. At one point I wore my glasses in school but did not run with them (my prescription was not that high). My eyesight has gotten worse over the years and I like to see a little more clearly on runs. I needed glasses I could wear at work, home and on the run (too many different pairs and I would just lose them).

A couple of years ago I found the Oakley Crosslink Sweeps that worked well, looked unique and worked for running. It had frame arms that gripped , looked cool and with transition lenses would change from normal glasses to glasses in seconds. Oakley changed their models and I began looking for another option.

What I found

After finding some cool folks and cool sunglasses at XX2i-Sunglasses, I asked about prescription frames. XX2i passed me on to their friends at Rudy Project. I needed some cool frames (why not be different) that were sturdy and could wear at work, home and on the run, would work as sunglasses and fit comfortably.


Rudy sent me a catologue and I ended up going with a frame not specified for running but for water sports (The Zyon). I ordered a black frame with polarized lenses and waited patiently for them to arrive. Rudy project has their own lab and does the prescription (Rx Direct) lenses for you (you just need your prescription and pupillary distance.

Zyon facts


  • Adjustable nose piece
  • Safety hinges for active wear
  • Adjustable temples
  • Can use with prescription lenses or clip-ins

What I think

I really like the frame shape and fit for me – its sporty but I can get away with at work. The polarized lenses quickly darken just enough for most sun conditions. The glasses come with lots of accessories in a great hard case. Loving them so far – have them on now!

They are neat cheap – but worth it. Check them out on Rudy Project website.

*My review of Xx2i sunglasses.


Catch me on Twitter at @NoelPaine




Talking with John Stanton-a fellow running dad


“Canada has a series of stores for runners called Running Rooms. They and their founder have grown running in Canada.”

I had the privilege of chatting with fellow running dad, runner and founder of the Running Room, John Stanton.

I grew up on the east coast of Canada and when I started there were no running rooms and not a lot of information or gear available for runners. I absorbed everything my local library had on running and grabbed whatever running shorts and shirts I could find to run in —more cotton than technical. Later in my university years I worked at a great local independent running shop (Aerobics First). I was anti-Running Room when they arrived. But I respect what they have done for the Canadian running community and the support they have given to so many events. I have many runners benefit from their running programs.

John Stanton is a member of the Order of Canada and author of ten books on running. He is recipient of the Canadian Cardiovascular Society Dr. Harold N. Segall Award of Merit and a Honourary Doctor of Laws degree from the University of Alberta, the Canadian Medical Association Award for Excellence in Health Promotion. An inductee into the Canadian Retail Hall of Fame, Alberta Business Hall of Fame, Athletics Canada Hall of Fame, the City of Edmonton’s Salute to Excellence Hall of Fame and the Hon Col. of the Loyal Edmonton Regiment (4 PPCLI).  A recipient of the Alberta Centennial Medal, the Queens Diamond Jubilee Medal and a board member of the Commonwealth Games Canada Foundation.

Stanton is regularly featured in the National Post, the Globe and Mail, Global, CBC, CTV, BNN and media outlets across Canada. He has run over 60 marathons, hundreds of road races, and numerous triathlons, including the Hawaiian World Championship Ironman competition.

John Stanton is the Founder and CEO of the Running Room a family owned and operated Canadian company with over 110 stores and 1400 employees in Canada and the US. Not a bad resume (See John’s online bio). John is also a running dad and I had questions for him about being one.


Here are some questions I asked the Running Room man and John’s answers:

What can you share as a former running dad about how to balance life, family and running?

“Running was, and still is part of our family’s culture. Growing up a daily run was an extension of life, like brushing your teeth or washing your hands. Our family went to local races much like some family’s ski on the weekends. We all participated, either as a runner or volunteer helping out at the event. We trained together. My sons and I often would go for a run when they were in their teens. Their wives are both athletes as are all four of our four grandchildren. All of whom are active. Family gatherings often have a sport of running, biking or swimming  etc. included in the celebration of the family event.”

Did running rub off on your two sons and family?

 “Actually it was my sons that provided me the coach potato to get into running. They were both very active and I like so many dads had focused my life on my family, career and community activities and had really neglected my own health. The challenge by my wife and sons to do the first 2K fun run was the catalyst for a life style change and career change.”

What are the positive and negative effects running can have on family time\life?

“Running for our family is truly a lifestyle, we all run and it’s an integral part of our lives contributing to our mental and physical well-being. It also nurtures us  a family unit to stay connected as athletes and family. There is a mutual respect for the other family members and appreciation for the commitment, dedication and work ethic.”

 Looking back on your running and being involved in the Canadian running community/business-how has it been?

“A dream come true, as a family we never know if we are working or playing. We have friends and extended family through our team at the Running Room and in the running community across Canada and North America. Its been a joy watching many people discover they can be athletes for life. My books, our clinics and our Run Club have inspired many to become athletic and to expand their circle of friends. The Running Room and our culture provides a positive supportive community environment for people during a time when out world needs more community!”

From your experience or talking with other runners-what is the best way to share running with others?

“Be gentle and listen to your body to avoid injury, be progressive and challenge yourself to be better on each subsequent run, listen to your body and soon you will be achieving your best performance … remind yourself …you are your own competition!”

Thanks for answering my questions John – keep supporting us stubborn Canadian runners and lets get out for a run together sometime.

Run on my running friends!

Catch me on Twitter @NoelPaine

Catch me on Instagram at @runningwriter

A friend running long for a reason


“Run long and then run some more.”

I love when runners do good on foot. Here is a story about a friend, fellow running parent and Ottawa runner set to do a very long run for a good cause.Read about her and her 210km run from Montreal to Ottawa (in Canada).

Having run from Kingston, ON to Ottawa, ON (258km in 2.5days) last year (October) (link to my run story) for my 40th birthday while raising money for Cancer – I know the kind of run Gesine is set to run.

Here she is.

Gesine Freund

A mother, social entrepreneur and ultra runner.

Gesine is not only an avid runner, but she also enjoys going the distance in support of charitable causes. In 2008, inspired by a friend, she put on her runners – and soon realized she couldn’t make it around the block.  Her friend provided useful running tips, invited her to join on training runs, and suggested to set a goal by signing up for a race. About three months later, Gesine completed her first official 10 km run during the Ottawa Race weekend.


Encouraged by this milestone and her kids, she continued her training and a year later completed her first half-marathon which was followed by a few more in Ottawa, Montreal, Toronto, and Niagara-on-the-Lake. In October 2013 she ran her first full marathon at the Toronto Waterfront race. While continuing her training, she met a group of philanthropists and runners, who set out to tackle a full 100K in support of the End Kids Cancer campaign. Baffled about that distance at first, but more so inspired by the idea of running for charity, she decided to set a new goal and run with that group the following year. Super motivated, she ran all throughout the cold and long Ottawa Winter, added trail running to the mix in Spring, and along the way expanded her circle of runner friends. Between August 23rd and October 4th of 2014 she completed three 100 km runs helping raise funds for charity. By September 7th 2014 she completed another goal early 2,014 km clicked for that year. Over the course of the years, her kids – who are one of her biggest inspiration, joined her on many training runs. Florence, now 17, and a black belt in karate and Matthew, 16, who is adamant in working out at the gym 6 days a week; have both already completed their first official 10 km and half marathon races.

The reason for the run

Fast forward 2016, and a few more ultra runs (24HR Tremblant, Halliburton, 100 km i2P run, another Toronto Waterfront Marathon in 2015), Gesine continues her training year-round. She now dedicates her running and fundraising to impossible2Possible, a charity that strives to push boundaries with their Experiential Learning programs. i2P brings the world to the classrooms, and the classrooms to the world! All expedition expenses for Youth Ambassadors and all i2P Experiential Learning Programs are delivered free of charge to schools and students around the world.


In June of this year, Gesine ran with a small group of other Team #GOi2P ultra runners to raise awareness for the charity by running 85 km in one day from the North Gate to the South Gate in Lake Superior Provincial Park. She is excited to have just completed her first stage race, a 3-day semi-supported 150 km trail ultra in Gatineau Park, the Bad Beaver Ultra. However, her biggest event this year is coming up this Labour Day weekend. From the 3rd to the 4th of September, Gesine will run from Montreal City Hall to Ottawa City Hall, almost 210 km to raise awareness for impossible2Possible (i2P) and upcoming youth expeditions. – You can follow her on this journey on Facebook and Instagram or if you are itching to run along the way, join her for parts of the run. A map and pit stops are also posted on the Facebook event page.

I got a chance to ask Gesine a few questions about her fundraising run:

What has driven you to want to run from Montreal to Ottawa and why did you choose this route?

“When I mentioned to Ray Zahab a year and a half ago, that I’d like to run for i2P, I was looking for a distance of at least 100 miles (160km). I always loved Montreal – it’s the first place I visited in Canada about 20 years ago. In the end, I decided on the route from Montreal via Laval, St. Eustache, Oka, Montebello, Cumberland which is super beautiful, has a few interesting historic spots on the way, and offers very scenic views along the rivers.”

How will you stay motivated, fueled and sane during the run?

“My best friend and partner, his best buddy, and my two teenagers will make for an awesome crew and accompany me by car. There will be fuel stops every 10-15 km. We will be sharing stories and pictures on the way and what impossible2Possible is all about.”

How will this run compare to other ultra runs you have done?

“I’m doubling the longest distance I ever ran non-stop!!! Being strategic about hydrating and fueling on time will be just as important as remembering Ray Zahab’s #ninety10 rule. Most of the distance I will be running on my own, but I am somewhat counting on my crew members and fellow runners to join for parts of the run! I always love to hear about others’ running career, how they train and what keeps them motivated. Other than that, I usually do enjoy a bit of me- (and meditation) time.”

What will be the first thing you do or eat at the end….any ideas?

“Fresh pressed orange juice! There will be many food choices at the finish line since on Sunday September 4th, the Latin Festival will also be taking place at Ottawa City Hall.”

Finally-how did you train for this ultra run?

“My motto is to just keep running – staying active, it’s part of my life now. There are good days and better days – What’s most important to me is to enjoy every single run, not to put pressure on myself but try to do the best I can. I hope to inspire others, although I don’t expect everyone will pick up running crazy distances, but running in general is a fun and one of the most accessible sports I can think of.”

Good luck Gesine!

Follow Gesine on Twitter at @Gesinef – (Check hashtags #GOi2P and #MTL2OTT2016 for updates)

Check out her fundraising page and her FaceBook page.

HOKA’s Beefy Betty


“Training, running and planning properly requires hard and easy days and hard and easy weeks – shoes for each of these type of days help too.”

My old runningdad feet seem to need more care and love than when they were younger. I have in the past few years moved a bit away from more minimal training shoes and more towards cushion for easy runs and long runs. My feet get more tired (and the body) and a grumpy first joint on right foot – take some care now.


In March 2015 I got hold of a pair of HOKA Cliftons to test out. I had seen these thick, well cushioned running shoes and wondered what they were about. I liked the shoe for easy runs and was surprisingly light. The fit was a bit boxy but it was a very different shoe from anything I had run in a long time.

Now a review of the updated version.

HOKA ONE ONE Clifton 3

Think of this shoe as a beefy betty of a shoe that weighs very little. You sit a little higher up and land on a lot of cushioning that is not too mushy or too firm. The shoe is not over responsive nor too clunky. It comes in 4 colour options.



  • Medium (a little boxier than Clayton but snugger than old Clifton)
  • Decent heel fit, good toe room but not boxy
  • Good laces
  • Road (or tame trail, careful as raised off ground)
  • Category: Neutral: Lightweight Training
  • Preferred Ride: Plush (feels like but WELL-padded)


  • 8.60 oz Weight is based on a US size 9 (feels like but alot of shoe)
  • Pretty light for big cushioned shoe


  • Offset: 5 mm
  • Forefoot: 24 mm
  • Heel: 29 mm


  • Ultra-Lightweight No Sew SpeedFrame Construction
  • Early Stage Meta-Rocker Geometry (ok toe-off but liked for easy slow runs)
  • Full-Length Compression Molded EVA Midsole (soft but not too marshmallowy)
  • Full Ground Contact Design



I liked this shoe and it fits and feels better than its predecessor. I would still like it to roll of the toe a bit better – but great for easy runs or slow long runs. It laces up well and does not feel heavy despite taking up some real estate. I liked the fit of the heel cup and seems wide enough for my foot and put no pressure on my sometimes cranky first joint. However if I did lace or pull too tight the upper would get tight on my foot just behind little toe (otherwise roomy). This shoe feels good right outside the box but I like it even better after a few runs and seems to have a nicer feel once I have worked it in 1-2 runs.

For those making a move from something really light or minimal i would try the Clayton first.

The Clifton 3 retails for around $130 – go check it out on the HOKA site.

Big thanks to my HOKA friends Tyler and Jen!

Check out my other HOKA reviews:

I am training for a fall marathon and thinking the HOKA Tracer might make a great race shoe —let you know!

See you out on the roads running friends – catch me on Twitter at @NoelPaine


Taking some pressure off


“Life and running are about change but sometimes you don’t see it coming till it hits you.”

So what the heck does that mean right? Well it means this skinny 40-year old newer running dad is realizing that he is still having trouble transitioning to dad life. And I need to make changes.

Dad life

Maybe I am not the most natural dad. Love my daughter but the change to my new life has been hard for me- and hard for my wife to deal with. I admit I am a bit selfish – and giving up time and things i like to do (sometimes my passions) is hard.

I also have a tough time unwinding and relaxing – I am task-oriented and like taking some down time when things are done and put away. This is not always possible with a wee one. My life feels pretty full and often when I want to relax I cannot —-and the little alarm clock (daughter) goes off at 6:45am every morning (regardless of when I got to bed).



I am running and doing a fair amount compared to some people. Where I live and my work environment allows me to run commute and most lunch hours – to slip out for a run. I am lucky. Running on the weekends is tougher and I have made Saturdays family day (no running if required)(stroller run if I run).

I had plans to work with Dylan Wykes (Canada’s second fastest marathoner ever)(running dad too) with his Mile2Marathon program – but had to back down. Right now – for now I need to be more flexible and ease the pressures, stresses and rigidity in my life.

I still plan to go to a quiet, fun Vermont marathon in October with a friend (for his first) but am not getting stressed out.


So for now – the training is go by feel and when I can. The blogging will be less scheduled and when I can and I am going to try and get full-time into dad mode and balance out my life. I want the running shoes to stay next to the little baby-sized sandals by the door!

Love to hear from other running dads!

Thanks to all  my supporters and sponsors for sticking along with me for the running dad adventure!

*Upcoming blog review on the HOKA Clifton! (when time permits)

Run on my running friends!

Catch me on Twitter at @NoelPaine

Holy HOKA!


“There are shoes for everyone but it is not always easy to find the ones for your feet!”

I have been running for almost 30-years….say that a lot don’t I …sorry. Sometimes it just seems odd that I have been running that long. Over the years I have run in almost every brand of running shoe and tried many models and many different running shoe technologies and philosophies.



Okay – first off- I really like this shoes. I am not saying this just to appease the friendly HOKA guy who gave me a deal on the shoes. I have really enjoyed my first pair of this newer HOKA running shoe model – the Clayton.

FIT: Snug fit at the midfoot-reinforced with midsole support that creeps up pre-arch, good heel cup with good toe room and comfortable footbed. Fits much snugger and feels better than last year’s HOKA Clifton (my review). I also like the laces that stay laced up snugly and rarely have to bend my old creaky running dad body down to retie.

FEEL: Uber light HOKA feel (considering beefy look) and very cushioned feel without being marshmallowy or feeling thick and too solid. The shoe is also quite responsive despite being a thicker-soled shoe and you roll off the toe quite easily. Not sure how light it could be? It weighs 7.3 oz, the Adidas ADIZERO ADIOS 3  weighs 8.1 and my favourite race shoes the New Balance RC1400 weighs 7.2oz!!

Specs on the Clayton (7.3oz for a size 9)

  • Offset: 4 mm
  • Forefoot: 20 mm
  • Heel: 24 mm


Lightweight, No-Sew TPU Lattice Provides Forefoot Support
Lightweight, Form-Fitting Heel Construction
Microfiber Reinforced Midfoot Support
Early Stage Meta-Rocker
PRO2LITE +10 Midsole for a Unique Balance of PROpulsion and PROtection
Forefoot Matrix Technology provides dynamic cushioning and flexibility at a breathtakingly light weight.
Oversize Active Foot Frame for Maximum Tuned Stability
Full RMAT® Outsole for High-Rebound Cushioning and Traction



I really like this shoe for my marathon training and for my current 40-year old feet. The toe box gives room for my cranky stiff first joint on right foot and space for my feet to move around (not as much as Altra shoes I have tried)(shaped like feet) and good cushion for my feet that seem to demand a wee bit more love these days.

I was expecting this to just be a long run that was uber cushioned but a bit responsive. I have now worn this shoe for easy runs, tempo runs and done a solid track workout and loved it.

I did find there was a few (2-3days) of getting used to the bigger shoe (but was comfortable from the get go) feel but once I had a few runs in—loved. I have always considered myself a New Balance boy but my feet are really the ones who decide – because if my feet are not happy, I don not run and I am not happy!

*You can also check out my review of the HOKA trail shoes (Speedgoat and Challenger ATR) here.

**Watch for a coming review soon of the updated and I hear–snugger-fitting new HOKA Clifton.

Have fun out there my running friends!

Me on Twitter @NoelPaine