Thursday, August 31, 2006

It's cloudy and billowly? No..

Asics Nimbus and GT-2100
Originally uploaded by yumkerun.
I wrote yesterday that I bought a new GT-2110 (same as the shoe at the right, but red). The reason is because yesterday, I tried out the Gel Nimbus (black and silver) for my 10K. I felt blisters coming on and what came to my mind was 'screw this, isn't Nimbus supposed to be like a cloud, like running on a cloud?'

No, the soles of my feet were aching. Which is why I bought the second pair of GT-2110s for marathon day. I don't want my feet getting used to another shoe while I hit my big month for mileage. I will wear the Nimbus post marathon. R. picked it up for me in New York and I hope it's just a matter of lacing up the shoes a bit differently.

Today, I ran 6K (3.7 miles) part tempo with the km splits of:

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

I'll have a short, double latte to go...

Originally uploaded by yumkerun.
Wandered into my local running shop, where they had a sale for members! Go me! I picked up my next pair of GT-2110s that I will be using on marathon day. And it was 25% off! Added to that, I bought a Sugoi long sleeve fall running shirt and the 'new' PowerBar Gels.

I don't know how many of you use PowerBar gels, but they came out with new types (maybe we're slow to get themin Canada?). Anyways, these new ones are 25 cents more, but they also include electrolytes in addition to the carbs. Which means these gels pretty much replace sports drinks. I'm going to use these on my long runs to see how things go.

And they also came up with new flavours: A new tasting vanilla and a double latte.

Ran 10K (6 miles) this morning.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Bad food, good times...

Oh, I wish I took pictures with my camera phone.. oh well. I ran 6.5K (4 miles) today, then my friend Fitzy called. He said, wanna go to the Ex? To which the answer was, 'hell ya!'

You see, I spent a good 10 summers working the final 20 days leading up to labour day at the Ex. Canada's National Exhibition is a huge fair, made up of tonnes of midway rides, gambling tables and more than you can count of ways to lose money. It's also a place where you'll find hundreds of vendors of, for the lack of a better word, stuff.. Oh yes, and food. Sweet god the food!

When we got there, we made a bee line for the Food building with its 90 vendors. I love that place, and it's where I spent all 10 summers at my dad's burger shop. I started at the age of 10 as a bun boy, placing burger buns in a massive rolling toaster (yes, I qualified as child labour.. i think dad gave me $5 for day's work). Then I graduated to fry guy, where I learned to carry two baskets of fries with ease, then to burger flipper (after flipping thousands on a grill, i have to say I know my way around frozen patties.) then to the cash register, where I learned the good manners...

Anyways, dad stopped running his burger joint about seven years ago, but my uncle and aunt run two of the best fish and chip places there, H. Salt fish and chips. Oh my god it's sooo good and worth the trip to the Ex. Crispy batter and moist and tender inside. Heaven. We visited my aunt and I swear I wanted to pay for dinner, but she shoved two plates of fish and chips at us.. It's the familia.. Who are we to refuse?

That was later followed by a corn dog (gross) and a bag of Tiny Tom donuts (icing sugar)... Think Homer Simpson and say, 'Yummm.. Dooo-nuutyy goodnesss'

Oh yeah, and speaking of small world, guess who i saw at the midway. Jelly, who took the day off work to hang out there with her sister. Like the running geeks were are, we somehow snuck in talk of mileage while figuring out how to lose more money.

Good times..

Monday, August 28, 2006

In my mind...

Originally uploaded by yumkerun.
This was what I was picturing during my long run.. peaceful, no traffic no people.. okay, I wish..

I skipped my scheduled 4 miler this morning cause I wanted to sleep in ahead of my first day back from vacation (and the ninth last day at work before the new job.

After work, I decided to not only make up the 4 miler, but to do 16K (10 miles), the distance of tomorrow's sorta-long run. I'd replace tomorrow's sorta long with today's 4 miler.. Besides, I'd rather do a long run in the evening than in a weekday morning.

It's a big week, one of my plus-50 mile weeks if I can get all the mileage in.. Frankie and I have been having a debate on whether we should attempt 23 miles on one of our long runs. I'm undecided. Anyone else out there think there is good use to getting that close to marathon distance?

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Chicago countdown: Week 9 complete, 55 days to go

After yesterday's long run, I really didn't feel like putting any effort into a run, so did a slow paced 6K (3.7 miles) and threw in an 800 metre run at 4:30 km pace. Felt good. Considering I didn't run from Monday to Wednesday, I think my total mileage this week was pretty good.

Now, a couple of things on the horizon in what will be a big September for me.

  • I start a new job in two weeks. I resigned from my old job a week and a half ago and will be joining a rival website. I'm sad to leave after six years but excited for the challenge. I got it written in my new contract that I would have Oct. 20 and the 23rd off so I could do Chicago. Yep, I'm not going to throw away months of training away, no way.
  • I have three more 20 milers coming then on Oct. 1, the taper will begin. Three 20 milers in September. Ouch.
  • In one of my step-back Sundays, on Sept. 24, I have signed up for a half marathon. This will be the dress rehearsal for Chicago. The debate is whether I want to do the whole thing at marathon pace or try to run at my half marathon racing pace. One thing is certain: I would love to kick the ass of the time I logged there last year.

    Weekly total: 65K (40.5 miles)
    Time run this week: 5:48:28
    Year to date: 1,720.5K (1,069 miles)
    Marathon training to date: 668.5K (415 miles)
  • Saturday, August 26, 2006

    19 miles + 4 pastries + 2 Gatorades + 2 Powergels + 1 clifbar + 1 ravioli = still hungry

    Today it's about fuel. Well, not just fuel, but also about running. I did my 19 miler (30.9K) with a bunch of out and back routes. Most of it was flat. It was cool, and very windy, which meant the first 7K were running into the wind, followed by 15K with a tailwind, then, oh mercy, the final stretch was with that same headwind.

    Found it tough to keep the 5:30 kms (8:50 miles) with the shifting winds and the fact that I didn't really have a rest day into this long run. No worries, I was in it to get in the miles. Ended up with 5:37 kms.

    Okay, on to fuel. I ate a Clifbar before the run and took a gel at the 1 hour mark and the second at the 2-hour mark. But I was feeling hungry. My stomache was still growling. This is good that i'm actually fuelling cause I usually don't eat before normal runs. I structured my route so that I'd end it near Union Station in downtown Toronto (only 2K from my home). There, I bought my first Gatorade, used the facilities, then walked 1.5K to St. Lawrence Market, where they had buskerfest.

    Which explains this picture here of some mime artist. At the market, I visited my favourite bakery and picked up two focaccias, six little puff pastries, three filled with potato filling (carbs!) and the others with spinach (popeye!). Then bought a small ravioli with meat and spicy sauce topped with cheese. Proceeded to gobble the pasta outside. I guess I was quite the spectacle, in my running gear, eating and, by this time, a nice sprinkling of salt throughout my body as a result of the sweat. Finished the pasta, then watched more buskers while munching on four of those yummy pastries. Walked the 3K home where I got another gatorade.

    Thing is, I'm still hungry. So this is question for all of you. I am justified for needing this much fuel after a long run, correct?

    Oh yeah, I ended up buying a chicken sandwich at Churrasco, the best in town.. I think i'll have that after my power nap.

    Friday, August 25, 2006

    'Be careful'

    That's what Arcaner and Bob has advised as I laid out my catch-up plan for this week: Thursday do 10 miles, Friday do 10 miles, Saturday 9 miles and Sunday 19 miles. I think they are right and as I just posted, I decided to do about 7.5 miles today. Tomorrow may actually be my long run of 19 miles then i'll do a recovery run on Sunday, the distance will depend on how I feel. I must remember that the goal is not to cram in the miles when I run out of time in the week, but to maintain quality runs. I'll need this encouragement to get me to the starting line on Oct. 22. Thanks guys.

    Mind games..

    As i'm off this week, when 7 a.m. arrived and I sensed a hint of rain, I decided not to run. Then, two hours later, when R. and I were about to run, it started to rain. Then, we decided to stay in a bit longer. Then we went to her place, unpacked some stuff from the camping trip, and then proceeded to watch TV for 3 hours. Yep, by 5 p.m., we were out shopping, and it was then that I knew I had to get home and into my running gear.

    As I said yesterday, I planned to do 16K (10 miles) today to catch up on the missed runs. But with a dinner with friends planned, I figured I'd fit in at least 10K then see if I can add a few more. I decided to run for an hour. So out I went, and it dawned on me that at a 5-minute km would take me exactly one hour to complete 12K. Out I went, and as I hit the halfway mark, I saw, according to my Garmin, I was just over 30 minutes. I decided to play a little game of, lets go negative split and do this run in under 60. What followed was the most fun tempo run i've done. I was racing against the clock, trying to run 4:30 minute kms.

    Final tally was 12K in 57:34 and my last 5K were nice and quick.. Tomorrow may be the long run. We'll see how I feel.

    Thursday, August 24, 2006

    I'm back...

    Camping trip was so much fun. So tiring too. The park had major hills but by the time I thought about running, I had lost the will. We did, however, get plenty of exercise. We did a 15K hike that took 5 hours and featured leg scratching foilage through the trails. We did not encounter a single person. My Garmin was amazing on that trek, able to get signals in the forest. We portaged countless times (no, not with canoe) and transported 24 logs of wood for our camp fire. Then we paddled, probably more than 13K by my total.

    The rest of the trip was spent setting up camp, making our yummy meals by our fire and stove, chilling out at our canoe-accessible beach, and sleeping in our sloping tent. Picture above is of R. canoeing out to our camp site in the evening.

    Of course, I had no runs. Do I count all the activity I did toward my mileage? I won't. Today, we got back at 4 p.m., and my, desperate to get my mileage up, went for a 16k run (10 miles) in 1:19. It was a tough run, but I loved getting in the run. Something about missing three days of running that gets you raring to go. I will make this a upper 40-mile week, so I will do another 10 miler tomorrow, followed by a 9 miler on Saturday and 19 miles on Sunday.

    Sunday, August 20, 2006

    Gone camping...

    Not yet, but i'm outta here tomorrow morning, heading to the Bon Echo provincial park, about a 4 hour drive from Toronto. R. and I are canoeing to our site so now we're trying to pack everything (sleeping gear, cooking stuff, tent, clothes, food) into our two backpacks..

    The plan is to try to keep up with my runs. I think the goal will be to do a long run Tuseday, then hold off until I get back on Thursday and do a long run on Thursday, a 3 miler on Friday, then launch right into the weekend long runs.

    And now I get to use my Forerunner to guide me through the park.. woo hoo..

    Chicago countdown: Week 10 complete, 62 days to go

    So.. it's halfway here. In about two months, we'll be in Chicago, running the marathon. Yikes. Anyways, Is it fall already? Damn. My long run took me up hills today. A lot of them. And just to spite me, mother nature throws in wind of 30km/h along with 15 degree temperatures.. Not good.

    The run went okay though. Since I ran last night, my body ignored the two alarms that were supposed to get me up for 7. So I set out at 8:45 and started off slow. Took lots of walking breaks, particularly after the big hills, just to get my heart back down below 80%. 20.6K (12.8 miles) in 1:48:56.

    Again, like the end of all my long runs, I picked it up, mostly because i'm impatient.

    It was a step-back week and now I have a big week. But, I also have a camping trip from Monday to Thursday. I told R. I'd like to keep my runs in, but we'll see. Will be on the lookout for good running trails.

    Unrelated, like my new header? I got tired at looking at green so I played around with the top until I got what I wanted. A whole lot of soles...

    Weekly total: 71.5K (44.5 miles)
    Time run this week: 6:09:17
    Year to date: 1,655.5K (1,028.5 miles)
    Marathon training to date: 603.5K (375 miles)

    Saturday, August 19, 2006

    Like a champion...

    ... you racer types probably recognize this picture. Yup, it's my very own ChampionChip, a birthday present to me from my good friend Jelly. Very cool, I get my own personalized number (obscured here in the picture) and so when I line up for a race, while everyone else has their black one, i'll have my bright yellow one!

    Yesterday was TGIF, so did BBQ and stayed up late with some friends. Which meant I wasn't getting up early today. No way. R. and I are going camping early next week, so we started to grab our gear.

    Long story short, I wasn't ready to run till 7 p.m., and instead of doing a pace run (4:45 Ks) at 14.5K (9 miles), I decided to run longer (17.3K or 10.75 miles) at 4:56 pace. Not bad...

    Tomorrow, a 12 miler planned.

    Thursday, August 17, 2006

    TGIF, almost

    Dying for this week to be over... Cause when Sunday's over, this training program is half over. And I have three 20 milers ahead of me, cooling temperatures and the marathon will soon to approach in no time... Today's the step-back weekend, which means 9 miles at pace (which is not easy) and a 12 miler Sunday.

    Today, did my 10K (6 miles). Definately took it easy. Funny how every single morning, I almost, just almost, talk myself into staying in bed. Then, 5 minutes later, I find myself getting up, looking for the running clothes...

    Wednesday, August 16, 2006

    Easy to hard 10

    Well, time to make up for Monday's lost run. I did 10K (6 miles) hoping I'd be able to do it within 50 minutes because I was out there late and had to get to work on time. Which meant I had to run sub 5 minute kilometres. Started off slow but a few quick kms put be just seconds short of 50 minutes at 59:54.

    The picture here is of that Arc that they built on my running trail. Kinda neat, no?

    Tuesday, August 15, 2006

    The one second difference

    I took yesterday off running. No biggie, I think, as it was only a 3 miler. I think i'll make it up tomorrow by adding a few miles.

    My calves were super tight so that I spent a good portion of the run loosening up. I took a few walk breaks and really wasn't into it. The last 5K, however, was nice, I picked up the speed considerably.

    The weird thing, the one second difference, came after my connected my Garmin to my computer. Last week's 13K (8.1 mile) run was done in 1:09:28. This week's 13K? 1:09:27. WTF?!

    Looking at the splits, they weren't mirror runs. Last week's 10K mark was hit in 54:19 while this week's was in 54:41. Which means I had a speedier final 3K.

    Sunday, August 13, 2006

    Chicago countdown: Week 11 complete, 69 days to go

    Well, I topped 50 miles this week for the first time in the training program. A lot of that was as a result of yesterday's 20 miler.

    Started out later than usual because of the late-night festivities (thanks for the birthday wishes everyone) and Jelly showed up and told me she did her 13 miler.. woo hoo. R. and I did 5K today, then I set out to complete it.

    My shorts are rubbing the inside thighs the wrong way and since i forgot bodyglide this morning, well, not pretty.. Ended up doing 12.1K (7.5 miles).

    This week is a bit of a step-back week as the long run coming up is 12 miles. Which is good. The picture above is of the surprise canoeing tour that R. sprung on me this afternoon. So got two hours of upper body work...

    Weekly total: 82K (51.1 miles)
    Time run this week: 7:23:28
    Year to date: 1,584K (984 miles)
    Marathon training to date: 532K (330 miles)

    Saturday, August 12, 2006

    My 32...

    Tomorrow's long run was supposed to be 17 miles, but damned schedules. After last week's 16, I felt I needed to run more, to reach the big two-zero, and I didn't want to wait another two weeks.

    Tomorrow's also my 32nd birthday, which was on top of my mind when I set out to do my long run this morning, one day earlier. I'm thinking I may be having a drink or four tonight and it would be a bad idea to get up tomorrow at 6 a.m. for a long run.

    With age, comes wisdom, or wariness toward post-drinking mornings.

    So I set out, with a vague vision of doing 30K (18.6 miles). Then I started running, and it felt good. By the time I hit the 5K mark (3 miles) I decided to make this run count. Make it symbolic. I'd run a kilometre for every year. I'd run 32 kilometres and reach that 20 mile mark, not for my training program, but for me.

    It's all in your head, I've always believed about these long distances. The ability to run for more than two hours is an amazing feat that once you get it into your system, you can find ways to do it well. It's when you hit the 10 mile mark and you're running smoothly and the heart rate is actually at the 75% mark, the measure of effortlessness. It's when you breeze by the other runners and only you know that you're embarking on a long, long run. Are they as well? Who knows?

    Once I hit the 26K mark (16 miles), I passed a woman who was running at a good clip and as I passed and we were on the lakefront, the sun glistening off the quiet lake, she said 'isn't this beautiful' and I answered, 'yes, it is' with a smile, and with that, I turned on the jets. I would not end this 32K run, each kilometre for a full year, slowing down. I would take each successive kilometre and push it harder. And as I ran the last two kilometres, I quietly repeated:

    'This last kilometre, it's for me.' My mantra fuelled that last 5 minutes and as I approached the final stretch by the music garden, I thought of a little raised seating area in which I love to end my runs. At the end of my 5K sprints, i'd end it by leaping up on the platform and, for a few moments, run a bit higher. So with it in my sights, I turned on the jets, aimed, and leaped...

    32.2K (20 miles) Negative split of 1:27 / 1:23

    Thursday, August 10, 2006

    Trail transformed

    Breaking news: So much for the tempo run

    As most of us know, London officials have arrested more than 20 people in uncovering a terror plot. Pretty frightening stuff. I was snoozing when a co-worker (and friend and reader of this blog) called me to tell me about the news. Long story short, I ended up working, on and off, from 2 a.m. to 5 a.m., on our news site, then flopped into bed, hoping to sneak an hour of sleep, then get in my tempo run, then get in the office at 8 to continue chasing the story...

    Uh, yeah. I woke up at 6 all right, only to hit snooze. I ended up skipping my morning run, figuring I was too tired to run and had a long day of work...

    Luckily, having worked three hours before going to work, I managed to leave work after a whopping seven hours. Let me tell you, when I got home, the bed was the most comfortable looking thing in the world. I got 15 minute laydown, then decided between resting tonight and running tomorrow, which is my rest day before the big weekend runs...

    I dragged my sorry ass downstairs, and went for a 10K run (6.1 miles) and even though I started fatigued (first two Ks were 5:34 and 5:23) and with a side stitch, I ended strong (last two Ks were 4:50 and 4:31) with a negative split... I find that encouraging somehow that I can do a 51 minute 'slow' 10K when i'm exhausted.

    The trail is going great. Here's another shot. The flower beds are in (you'll have to click on the picture for a zoom-in) and the lawn will go in tomorrow. I'll take more closeups when I go down to the water for dinner. They're building an 'Arc De Triomphe' made up of bicycle parts... where do my property tax dollars go, I wonder sometimes..

    Wednesday, August 09, 2006

    City romp

    By the fifth day of a 6-day running week, I'm feeling like short runs are too short. So for my 4 miler, I just set out on my city run, then hit the waterfront to check out progress of the temporary bike/running path.. They planted 500 metres of flowers overnight and are going t lay down lawn.

    As I type this, they're putting some sort of tarp above the asphalt so they can plant.. very odd, this.. Anyways, 8.8K (5.5 miles).

    Tuesday, August 08, 2006

    Magic trail...

    Trust me, this is a running post.

    So my city, like a lot of lakeside urban areas, has a big problem connecting its downtown with the waterfront. If I remember my trip to Chicago correctly, there is a highway that separates the city and the water. However, I also remember that the city has done a good job in using its water space. Toronto's waterfront is disconnected from the city. We have a raised highway running the length of our downtown. And condos, like my own, act as a barrier as well.

    But things are changing: The former parking lot is being turned into a park (woo hoo for property values) and this week, the city is taking away two lanes of traffic and planting grass and flowers for 1 km, along with a running and bike route. Sweet. Only thing? It'll last for nine days.

    Which accounts for the pictures here of the fenced area (above) that will become a blissful running path (outlined in yellow) by this Friday. I'll take pictures to track the progress.

    Oh, the run? I did my 13K (8.08 miler) today, and ran a negative split again. It helps that I start off slow. Total time was 1:09:28.

    Monday, August 07, 2006

    An easy 3...

    Recovery day run was today, and it was also a holiday. Since I went to a wedding and reception after yesterday's long run, I was pretty much exhausted today. So I slept, ate, talked to R., slept some more, went out to watch Miami Vice, ate, then slept, then ate. By 7:30, I was bloated and not feeling really good, so I thought a run would be perfect. We did 5K (3.1 miles)

    Sunday, August 06, 2006

    Chicago countdown: Week 12 complete, 76 days to go

    I've been reading about different philosophies surrounding how you do long runs. My friend Frankie has been trying to find his pace, saying he may have run his last one too fast. I think i've found my pace, but sometimes I feel like I have energy to burn at the end (i'm lucky, not having reached the 20 milers yet).

    Yesterday, while reading some more running stuff at the beach, I read about some training programs that ask you to run long the usual slow pace, about 45 seconds to 90 seconds slower than your marathon pace. But, the difference was to pick it up in the last quarter of the run. It wasn't the first time I've read this.

    Today, I ran out and back to the Beaches, out the door at 6:40 a.m. and hit the Beach just as a volleyball competition was taking place. I took my iPod shuffle with me for the first time in a long time and I felt it interfere with me looking for the right pace. I slowly got used to it and sometimes took the headphones off for some songs.

    As I've said before, i run my long runs according to heart rate and i've been learning what keeps it down: a steady slow pace, taking hills with less vigour, hydrating often. With about 4 miles to go, i decided to pick up the pace, letting my heart rate get up just barely above the 81% range. It was still a step away from comfortably hard, but it definately was not easy.

    It felt good. I had energy left for picking it up that I felt I was slowly emptying the tank. My fastest split was 8:10 mile (5:00 km) and I ran a negative split for the run, just barely. 26K (16 miles).

    I fuelled up at the halfway mark and now I'm considering whether I should fuel up properly before my long runs. How many gels should I be consuming If i'm doing a 20 miler? Unknown.

    The week's over and I'm just a few miles from the big five-oh. I'm feeling good about the training and the cooler weather has provided a huge mental boost.

    Weekly total: 76K (47 miles)
    Time run this week: 6:38:42
    Year to date: 1,502K (933 miles)
    Marathon training to date: 450K (280 miles)

    Saturday, August 05, 2006

    Perfect day for a pace run

    Was up at 6 a.m. but not out the door until 7. Today would be a great day, I thought, as I was about five steps out the front door. It was breezy, the sun was just starting to heat up the waterfront, and it was, dare I say it, cool. Yes, it felt like the cool that ushers in fall's full arrival. Perfect.

    Today was my pace run. The idea, as they say, is to teach your body your racing gear. Now, in my running life, I've learned my gears. There's the warmup gear, in which I probably run a kilometre at 5:45. There's the tempo gear, which I would run at 4:20. There's the 800 interval gear (4:10), my 'i'm comfortable but kinda trying gear' (5:00), my long run gear (5:30), my half-marathon racing gear (4:30). Then there's the 'i'm recovering after a night of drinking' gear (5:00 to 6:00)

    Well, in this marathon, I've selected a pace of 4:45 (for my American friends, that's about 7:38 miles). Instead of warming up to it, I streched well, and just launched into the run, aiming to take to the pace quickly. It felt good. I tried various pacing tricks to teach myself to memorize what it feels like, the rhythm of my foot steps on the ground, I would first count up to four with every foot step, then resorted to counting one for every two footsteps. I tried breathing in tune with my strides. I focused on my arm movement and tried to keep upright.

    Then the km splits passed, one by one. And on every split, I'd look down at my Garmin, and there it was: 4:48, 4:45, 4:42, 4:44, 4:47, :4:42, 4:41... etc.. It was amazing. Even with downhills and uphills, flats and turns, I was still hitting my splits. I stopped looking all the time at my Garmin to get my pace, because I was getting the hang of it, I was learning my gears... I think they call that listening to your body.

    Anyways, I ran 13K (8 miles) and decided to compare it to my 8 miler I ran earlier this week at a slow pace...

    Tomorrow's the 26K run (16 miles). I'm looking forward to it..

    Thursday, August 03, 2006

    A low tempo 200th post

    Nothing extraordinary about today. I was supposed to do a speedwork day, and the assignment was hills. I don't want to do hills, there aren't real hills in my neighbourhood, plus isn't Chicago flat? I figured I survived the big heat wave and I'm just happy to go out for a normal, run of the mill, run. (by the way, it's soooo much cooler! 23 degrees this morning)

    So instead of a speedwork session, I did a 10K (6 miler) that before this marathon training began were the meat and potatoes of my weekday routine. Instead of running tempo pace, which is anywhere from 4:15 to 4:30kms I chose to stick close to 5 minute kms. Which is fast, but not even my marathon pace.

    Oh yeah, the 200th post. That really crept up on me. I've been blogging since December, 2005, not really expecting much but a way to track my runs and to have a place where I could write (or on certain days, not). I used to rave to R. whenever I figured out that someone from outside my circle had checked my site.

    Now, 200 posts later, I feel like I'm part of something more. The running blog world is not a massive community, but it's a passionate and compassionate one. We come from different walks (or jogs, strides?) of life, we haunt trails only known to our shoes. We hail from cities, from small towns, from rural areas. We live in hot climes, in froster areas. We love Asics, Saucony and every other brand name(does anyone like Nike?). We train for a marathon, a key race, or just to keep on going. We write our daily log, and we check each others, giving each other encouragement.

    I started this blog knowing that my Chicago marathon training was on the horizon. Now, in addition to running the marathon with two friends of mine, I feel like I have a bigger group. All of a sudden, a daunting race of 40,000 people has turned into a run with a good bunch of people (rounded up in nicely by Bob).

    I've worked in publishing for a long time now, from putting out weekly university newspapers, to quarterly magazines, from working as a cog on big dailies to running a by-the-second news site. The thrill of publishing has been in my blood, dating back to my grandfather, who penned books and newspaper columns in another era. But in my editing and writing life, I never really covered something just for me. Until December. Until now, for the 200th time. Thanks for checking in.

    Wednesday, August 02, 2006


    So I'm tired.. not sure if it's the heat, or the long work hours or the fact that I'm hurting for another week off during the summer. What I hope it isn't is the fact that I'm on a six-day training schedule. Should I be taking another day off? Part of me think it's because I'm getting up early to run, then going to bed late... let me sleep on it..

    8.4K (5.2 miles)

    Tuesday, August 01, 2006

    Company on the trail...

    Okay, I'll get the heat story over with. It was 27C when I stepped out of the door at 6 a.m. Humidex is crazy today as it hit 36C or 47 humidex, which is supposed to feel like 116F. Crap that's hot. Us Canadians melt in this temperature!

    Anyways, this little shot from Google Earth shows the area from which I start my lone run every day. My condo is at the start point and you see where all the boats are docked, beside the beautiful garden. If it looks familiar to those with music training, then you're right, it's inspired by Bach and Yo-Yo Ma helped design the garden based on Bach's music.. On this morning, like every morning, I wait for the Garmin to pick up a signal, stretch, and watch the runners on the trail go by as I am about to join them.

    I started my run behind an older man, someone i've seen on the trail before. By the end of the run, I had found a kindred spirit. He was sorta limping, but keeping up a strong pace, about 5:30kms. It was hot and my calves were tight, so I happily paced off him and ran about 15 metres behind him, seeing my heart rate was at the perfect zone. By the time we hit the 5K mark, we were going downhill, and I caught up to him. With all the heat, I didn't feel like pushing it past him, so there we were, running side by side for 30 metres, when we started the conversation.

    I can't remember the last time I ran with a running partner. Actually, since I document all my runs, it ... let me check.... June 3 with Jelly. Suffice it to say, I've done my marathon training alone, and am happy to do so. So I don't really do the run and talk test. Today, I was running at a good pace to do so.

    Me: "How long you running today?"

    Him: "To the pool and back to my condo... "

    Me: "I'm doing 8 miles."

    Turns out, he's 68, has been running for 50 years, and is doing his own 8 miler. He usually does two runs a day, speedwork in the evenings. Then he splits out a number that knocks me off my feet: 'Yes, I usually run about 100 miles a week'..

    Oh.. My.. God..

    Anyways, we split up when he reaches the pool, he says 'thanks for the company,' and I nod the same, and I keep on going. I then turn back and a few kms later, enounter him again. He's talking to another runner but picks up the run as I approach. 'You get to know the regulars,' he says as he nods to another passing runner. Another woman, he tells me after he says 'good morning to her', is getting better at her walking, going farther and farther. I feel like I'm running with the Godfather of the Martin Goodman Trail.

    We run the 4K home together. He tells me he has been in Toronto for 14 years, have lived in New York and London. He runs 3 hours on Saturday and 2 on Sunday. He's injured right now and has a bad hamstring. He doesn't drink during runs but can list every single water fountain in a 10K radius ('I run with people who stop at water fountains,' he explains).

    He doesn't do marathons any more, but does 10K and 5K. I'm scared to ask his time, knowing that he's a speed demon and I'm not. He imparts more advice: 'If you want to lose weight, run twice a day'

    We then talk about the trail. Our favourite runs. The races we've done. We're both year-round outside runners and, on this hot day, we talk about running on this same trail, about how in the late fall it empties of spring and summer runners, about treading on snow and about winter cleats. As the Ks go by, I forget about the creeping heat, the breathing and the tightness leaves my calves as I adjust to our slower pace.

    With a few kilometres to go, he says "My name is Dennis'" I go "My name is Kenny, good to meet you."

    And as we reach the music garden, the sun getting to a full rise, I bid farewell to Dennis. I'm sure i'll see him again soon, as I do from time to time. Next time, I'll say hello, and maybe, if we're going the same way, we'll run for a few kms.

    13K (8 miles) in 1:13, with average pace of 5:37