Thursday, February 28, 2013

Inspiration by treadmill

  The latest sloppy winter mess finally drove me to a place I never thought I would go,the treadmill. Tuesday night after work I was watching the weather forecast and I decided if I woke up and it was really messy I'd give it a try.I have listened to my friend James speak highly of treadmill training in the face of uncertain weather so how bad could it be, he's an intelligent man and dedicated runner with some excellent marathon finishing times.
  I further stoked my enthusiasm with some new songs on the ipod and thoughts of running free of all my winter gear in a nice warm place with dry feet the entire time,a welcome relief after months of pruned appendages.I arrived at the gym early selected a sturdy looking machine in the back row with a good view of the dozen or so televisions and started poking at the buttons to fire it up. This is when some alarm bells should have started going off, the timer maxed out at  ninety nine minutes, no consideration for someone wanting to get a long run in.Oh well I guess I can restart at a nice even mileage say 10 miles, poked a few more buttons for a nice steady pace of 8.13 per mile and away I went this was going to be a piece of cake. Ten minutes passed I had found the incline button and set a steady grade of 4(whatever that means but it felt good) and was questioning myself as to why I hadn't tried this before,so nice and warm.Twenty minutes in and I realized all the daytime t.v. shows were about buying, building or renovating your home,one t.v. playing the same 2 minutes of news over and over and a cooking channel of all things, not overly exciting after all. Thirty minutes in cranked the tunes,who cares about some rich guy trying to decide which three million dollar home he likes more but my feet are warm. One hour in my wife waves as she comes in to see her trainer,this will help pass some time, I can watch and maybe pick up some tips for core exercises from what my wife has shown me this trainer has some excellent ones that really work. Nope they are around the corner in another area,so much for that idea.Two hours in the t.v.'s are driving me crazy the clock seems to have stopped and I think when I'm not paying attention the treadmill is counting miles backwards.
  It really fell apart from there,I managed to finish the planned marathon but it was pretty ugly,at twenty miles I actually dropped the pace to get it done and by the time I hit twenty six I was begging for wet feet and a cold wind blowing in my face. Would I do it again? Not for awhile but in hindsight I can see some benefits, definitely an advantage to the ground controlling your pace for keeping things steady and your feet stay dry, that's about it.
  Today I hit the trails feeling inspired,it didn't matter how wet my feet were I was outside and felt alive. It started out cool and lightly snowing but postcard perfect to look at, a couple other sets of footprints on the main trail but none as I headed up the escarpment. It warmed up after an hour and started to rain lightly but that's OK it was way better than the treadmill.Two hours in the snow was soft and several spots I broke through the ice crust under the slush to find myself shin deep in water but again yesterdays treadmill experience had me laughing off any discomfort. At the end of the day I squeezed in thirty six kilometres I was cold wet and extremely happy, who knows that treadmill might be good for something after all.
  The good news is everything was slippery so the ground and rocks were the least of my worries.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Road Miles

 All my excitement over the snow is over now,I'm ready for spring,really ready! The beautiful snowy trails have melted and re-frozen into a pot-holed icy mess.I'm sick of trying to figure out just how many layers it will take to get through a long road run and as usual the roads are taking there toll,aches and pains from to many miles on a surface that is just too flat.
  The only upside has been getting in some faster runs than normal and getting some longer miles in my Saucony Triumph 10's,a shoe I switched to for my longer road runs after deciding the Asics Nimbus was just too much shoe. The Triumph has been great,providing the protection needed for multiple long runs in one week while still feeling light and responsive on the feet. Fast looking colour too!

 Hopefully the next couple weeks brings a good thaw ,I'm definitely ready for some mud and sunshine. Three out of four groundhogs said yes to an early bring it!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Snow storm running

 We finally got a good storm in southern Ontario! This one really delivered,Friday I ran about 20k in the morning and had a really good workout the snow in the eyes got a little annoying while facing the wind but overall it was a great day.
I didn't see another person out there which surprised me a little,I figured the cross country skiers would be racing to be the first ones out.Ran past this small doe and she just stared at me,I guess she didn't want to leave her sheltered area in the pines
 Saturday morning I met with my friend Mike at the trail head for a repeat of the same and we had one of the toughest runs I've ever done.The first 10k was manageable,slow going but we kept up a steady pace and managed to find some footing in the loose powdery snow.We ran a short 4k road section to loosen the legs back up before tackling what I figured would be the easier half of our loop. My wife had went out early in the morning on snowshoes with a friend so I was sure we wouldn't need to break trail through this section.Unfortunately after she went through a few cross country skiers did and the trail they left was like walking a tight rope in ball bearing shoes.
 Overall the day was a real character builder and I know when the tough times come in the race this spring I can look at it as "at least there's no snow on it".

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Joys of a Cold

  I knew it was coming last week already,I was having a great week training and running very comfortably,my poor wife on the other hand was suffering miserably. The joys of a winter cold had their grip on her and she hardly ever gets sick, and this time she really had it, stuffy nose, hacking cough the works. I was eating oranges by the dozen chewing vitamin C tablets like candy and taking cold FX ,but Sunday morning I woke up a little sneezy and by Sunday night I was the 200 pound baby in the cold medecine commercial.
  Monday I had planned to run a 20k morning tempo and speed work at night in Paris but switched it out for a 30k trail run at a very easy pace. The cold air cleared my nose and although a little more tired than usual it felt OK.Today I woke up with one plan, sit on the couch and be a giant sick baby.The plan was going well,had my first coffee brought home by my loving wife after her night shift, watched a little news and generally felt sorry for myself.
 It was at this point I recieved my inspiration to get off the couch, my friend and fellow runner Krista DuChene posted a great entry on her blog entitled perseverance (see it at if it doesn't help you get out the door I don't know what would. I read the entry, layered up in my running gear and headed out the door. There were a few little trails I had wanted to explore around Dundas Valley and I figured a nice slow easy run wouldn't hurt. Ended up having a great time the weather was good and I feel better for having been out.