Monday, December 26, 2011

Merry Christmas & boxing day

I enjoy Christmas, it gets me a few days off work, and some space to breathe. This year Christmas falls on the weekend, so it works out to a four day weekend, awesome :)

I've been in Sechelt since Friday evening, it's now Monday and I'm heading home late morning to get a run in, and maybe go Van shopping tomorrow.  (Yes shopping for a Minivan...strange but true..)

The weekend was awesome, this holiday is less about  the presents and more about the family now. My favorite gifts this year, were a Marino Wool sweater and a Nathan fuel belt. The best thing though was hanging out with the little dude, Lil Peter is 20 lbs now, getting super tall and strong at less than 8 months old, he's growing just like we'd expect him to. 

I've also been reading a blog all weekend, I've been going through it post by post, it's called 65redroses written about a woman named Eva who lived with Cf her whole life. She was an inspiring woman, I wish I'd found her while she was writing it, I catch myself thinking May 3rd 2007... I was riding on the course for the BMO marathon for the bike team, and planning to run a 10k the following weekend, all while she was in the hospital gasping for air... It makes me feel privileged to be able to be as active as I can.  

Here is the link to her blog, have a read, I'm up to May 2007 (I'm reading slow because my brain is running that way lately)

To follow her theme...
Location: Parents house
Mood: mellow, easy
Music: Harp chords, sounds like Fiona Apple (in my head...kind of repetitive..need some real music soon)

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Define Happiness

Happiness is that feeling on a long run, when the rhythmic perfect, and the world seems to flow;

Happiness is the feeling of soft skin brushing against my face, for however short a time, that moment is perfect;

Happiness is looking out across the ocean, and knowing that it is neither a barrier, or scary;

Happiness is doing something nice for someone else when it is returned with a genuine smile;

Happiness is in the moments where I pay attention to my place, my space, and where I am in it;

Happiness is here, this moment too, 

Happiness is any space where I stop to realize that any challenge can be met with focus, and be met on my terms without taking anything away from that challenge. 

Happiness is...

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Separation Anxiety

I love running, this is something that I realize whenever I run, but lately I have had a hard time convincing myself of that until I am actually running. But there is a moment in the run, while I am's bliss, intensity fades away, and all thats left is empty, no feeling, no anxiety, no deadlines, just... In the pure moment, Running....

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Motivation update - Race4MS 2011

My goals for this year seem to have fallen into a more fluid struggle to stay motivated. My stated goal at the beginning of the year was to get fast, really fast. I started off this year by playing with my stride some more, changing shoes, an running with faster runners. This worked really well, I have turned in three sub 50 minute 10k races and knocked 5 minutes of of my half marathon in April giving me a new PB of 1:44:20 for 21.1k.

On paper it has been a really good year, and the plan was to get into good enough shape to knock 42 minutes off of my marathon time to get a Boston Marathon Qualifying time o 3:10 for my age group. Weather I got in or not I didnt care, I just wanted the time.

Looking back at that I'm not sure that I was truly tapping into what I wanted to get out of the experience. Since the beginning when I started running in 2006, my true motivation has always come from how I am feeling. This year started out pushing so hard that it took the fun out of the experience. I missed the long distance slow runs, and add to that, April marked 4 years of racing and training for me since my first 10k with barely a break. It is time to dial it back, smell the roses, and remember what is fun about running, and what I like about being in the shape I am.  I like that I can run for a bus without getting winded, and that a 10k is an easy distance to go for a jog when I have nothing better to do. I really like that stairs don't bother me, and climbing the Chief in Squamish requires no more thought than a protein bar, and bottle of water.

When I started running 4 years ago, I decided to run a 10k because the simple act of getting to that distance was what I needed to start a change into becoming the fitter person that I am today. Now it has become a way of life, I need to remember that I should also have a life while I do it.

Now I am still back to the challenge I stated at the beginning, I want do do something, I thrive on challenges... Is my next adventure still running based? Could be an Ultra Marathon... Or a long cycle trek, or should I drop everything and go to school. Only time will tell, for now I'm going to keep putting one foot in front of the other, and keep track of how I feel, when I find that bull I'll take it by the horns again.

Chow for now

Running or not, it's all fun :)

Today I ran in a race, it was not a big race, and I was not breaking any personal records, and I had no intention of pushing any limits or beating anyone up. Today was about enjoying the run, being a mobile cheering squad, and cameraman all at once. I took a video camera; a new Kodak HD camera that I bought today, and tried to figure out if I could get any smooth video from holding the camera while I run.

I was running with Alex and Bobby in the Underwear Affair, between the two of them they raised nearly $1500 for cancer below the waist. Alex looked strong through the run until she left me behind at around 4k, and I stayed back so I could make sure Bobby was doing OK. 10k is not a huge distance for me, but Bobby while in decent shape is not a trained runner, he has enough fitness to get him through the run, but it is a challenge. And he did not train for this at all. The next 6 k Bobby held a steady pace, it was not till the hill before the bridge that he was finally forced to stop and walk a spell. But good on him, as soon as he got to the top of the steep hill he started running again, most if the way to the top of the Burrard bridge then again back down to the finish line in Kitsilano.

Overall I ran good, I was wearing Vibram Fivefinger Bikila shoes for the first time, with easy intervals to get ahead and take pictures, then walking at the end with Bobby when he needed a recovery.

We finished in 1:00:08 just over an hour and into a mass of runners all drinking beer, and wine in their underwear. This was a good run to remember that running is fun, and remember that I am in good enough shape to just get out and do it. There was a time that 1:25:00 was my best ever and only 10k, and that was 30lbs and a lot of miles ago.

They say no pain no gain, it's a good thing to remember to enjoy the gain too :)

Sign up for 2012, it was a great event, I will be back next year schedule premitting  

Run like a Caveman  - Vibram Fivefingers - Bikila

WARNING- If you are interested in buying these for training or racing purposes, you must start slow and short. They are different enough that of you try them For the first time coming from traditional running shoes that you may cause injury. I will outline what I did to get used to them...

I have purposely taken a while to write this review because these are strange enough in the shoe world that I wanted to make sure I had some history in them before I formed an opinion.

These are an interesting shoe, if they can be called a shoe at all. I could describe them like toe-socks with Vibram soles. Mechanically they feel like bare feet, with just enough padding so that my forefoot  does not burn too much from running in them.

My first experience with the Vibram Fivefinger was with the KSO, which I started playing with in October 2010 after the Victoria Marathon. Mostly walking, and a bit of running, but the KSO is more minimal,  easy enough to run in for short and medium distances, but the lack of padding left the balls of my feet burning after a long-ish run.

The Bikila is more of a purpose built running variation of the Fivefinger design, it has the same heel profile, overall fit, and is slightly warmer than the KSO. The difference is on the ground feel, there is just a little more rubber between the ground and my foot, which for longer runs does feel better for me right now, less feel of what is under foot, but still a lot better feel than a traditional shoe.

The way they are supposed to work, is with virtually no heel lift, you are forced into a barefoot, forefoot strike in your stride, engaging the arch of the foot, and calves to absorb all of the impact of running in the soft tissue. Rather than beating up my knees and back by accidental Heel strikes from running, all of the wear and tear happens on the muscles. This is why it takes a while to get into them. My first walk with them was 10 blocks to the coffee shop and back, the next day I felt like there were 10 small little muscles in each calf that I diddnt know I had complaining at me. Over the next three weeks I progressed to jogging a few blocks, then one kilometer then two. My first "Run" in these was about 2.5k, and included a significant hill. After that run my calves burned with DOMS, like I had been power lifting, it was worse than my last two Marathons. But my calves did stop burning and my legs have now gotten a lot stronger as a result.

The theory I have read is that traditional shoes with high arch support, and posting to remove impact is similar to putting your foot in a cast. Causing the arch of the foot to drop, because it is not working to stabilize the foot anymore, and all of the muscles associated with that function atrophy as a result causing knee problems, back problems, and all manor of injuries that just did not happen 40 years ago when shoes were so much more simple. I had been very aware since I started running that changing shoes, brands, and types were very uncomfortable. So much that I have 4 pairs of $40 insoles just so I can have a pair in every running shoe and work boot I own.  Now after 8 months of running in these shoes, I don't need the insoles any more, my arches are much stronger, and my legs have gained a lot of strength as well. It is strange to think but after running 6 days a week for 4 years, I'm still learning.

Final Verdict on the Vibram Fivefingers: Two Thumbs Up  and a closet full of these,  with the caveat that they need to be eased into. I could see the potential for injury was high if I tried to jump into a full training plan with them right out of the Box. We were born to run, It would take a team of Engineers a million years to improve on what we were born with.

Nike says "Just do It", Vibram says "You Were Born for This.."

08/14/11-Update - I have recently added to my collection The KomodoSport, Similar feel to the Bikila but with an added adjustable Heel Strap for a snugger fit. I am liking these as well.

Cleaning Tip: (Unconfirmed) I was told that these clean best if you soak your fivefingers in water with a Denture Tablet then hang to dry - Im going to try it out next time and will update with the result.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

The Point-Reflections on the news

It's been an interesting couple days, Arnold and Maria getting divorced, new Royals visiting Canada, Hugo Chavez  has Cancer, and Gas prices always seem to tease that they are going to dip. Seems like there is a lot going on. 

I wonder why we follow the trivial news or what we get out of it. Once it's past, there is rarely time reflection and the narrative never closes. For today we hear about strikes and protests, but I'm betting  We'll never hear that Canada Post and the union actually do come to an agreement, and they sign a contract that keeps the mail flowing, and the workers working. We don't hear about the upcoming elections in Egypt to replace the current temporary military leadership that replaced Mugabe, or that Tunisia is still a least for now; we won't hear any more about that missing 16 year old girl who was found on a bus in Chilliwack; who by now should be back home on Vancouver Island figuring out why she felt she had to leave, and maybe, just maybe learns something from the experience. We won't get that unless we look for it or watch for it...and we won't. 

I think we follow the trivial stories because they give us what we want to see, Prince and Duchess are happy newlyweds, Arnold gets what's coming to him (until his next movie) and Venizuaila may need a new president if Hugo Chavez falls ill, possibly bringing South and Central America into a new period of instability. Ok, maybe Venizuaila is not such a trivial story. 

I'm taking a moment today to think about the news, what it means, and how much of it has passed me by this year. It does not need to consume or fill my life, but there is humanity, and history there. Rome may not have been built in a day, but when the first brick was laid, I bet is was called Home, and it took a lot of those before it became Rome.