Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas from ThatRunninGuy

I have a lot to be thankful for in 2011.  While it was a year of ups and downs, on the whole it was a year of working successfully through transitions.  The trip to Negril, Jamaica in early December to run in my 3rd Reggae Marathon event capped it off nicely:

  • I've got a great wife and I'm very, very thankful for that.  She supports not only me but our four sons in virtually everything we do.  I wouldn't be here without her.
  • And speaking of the sons:  Andrew, Court, Holden and Michael who as they grow into fine young adults continue to delight and surprise.  I had the chance to run with them in two events in 2011 (the Scotiabank Toronto 1/2 Marathon and the Reggae Marathon) and even though they ran ahead of me, I was totally thrilled.
  • We celebrated the life of Sally's Mom who passed away at age 91 in November.  She was both motivation and inspiration for me.  She will not be forgotten.
  • Sally and I made the successful transition from Wasaga Beach back to Toronto in mid-December.  After nearly 6 years of 2 city living, we decided to simplify.  The transition to life in the Kingsway went very smoothly...even Tia has handled it well.
  • Work was also something to celebrate in 2011.  Being able to use my years of experience in marketing and advertising in social media is something I am truly thankful for.
As I look ahead to 2012 I can only imagine what's in store.  And since I am an incurable optimist, I am looking forward to great things.

Merry Christmas!

Until next time...

Monday, December 12, 2011

V for fund raising victory in Reggae Marathon 2011

The V indicates ultimate victory in the 2012 Run for Heart campaign for the Heart & Stroke Foundation of Ontario.  Yes I ran the races (and got shot at by the kids at the Paint Attack Paintball event earlier this year) but it was well worth it!  The original goal was $2,000 in 2011 and with your generous donations we hit $2,100!  Thank you all so very much for your donations and support.

The really cool part about this though is that over the past 3 years, you have contributed $10,000 for the Canadian Diabetes Association and the Heart & Stroke Foundation of Ontario.  Now that is a real triumph!!

There have been a number of events:

  • Paint Attack:  my sons and their friends get together late summer at Wasaga Beach Paintball to...shoot me!  Really we take advantage of their huge and varied outdoor paintball facility to play a number of games.  
  • Quilt for Heart:  Sally the quilter made a special quilt last year that we auctioned off
  • Marathon, 1/2 Marathon and 10K runs:  Reggae Marathon 3 times, Toronto 1/2 marathons multiple times working through a year long foot injury injury in 2011 with the help of barefoot training and the best pair of running shoes I have run in, the Puma Faas 500's in the picture above.  The Puma's have been retired now but are soon to be replaced with a new pair.
  • Ride for Heart:  In the rain last year I powered through the Becel Ride for Heart a 50 K ride along the Gardner Expressway and up the Don Valley Parkway.  The ride up was tough but let me assure you the blast back was exhilarating and worth the ride.
Another big deal was that I got to run with two of my sons.  It actually started in 2010 at the Reggae Marathon when Court and I ran the 1/2 Marathon together.  Yes, he helped his 'old man along'.  Then this past fall Court, Andrew, Amy and I ran in the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront 1/2 Marathon.  And finally, Andrew, Court and Mike and I ran in both the Reggae Marathon 1/2 Marathon and 10K.  Who knew they were such avid runners.  Thanks guys.

With Christmas 2011 around the corner it's time to celebrate.  Enjoy the season.  Here's to 2012.

Until next time...

Photograph courtesy of Karen Fuchs Photography

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Reggae Boyz in Jamaica for Reggae Marathon 2011

Thankfully it was dark when I ran the 10K at the Reggae Marathon last week in Negril, Jamaica.  I know that sounds crazy but let me explain.

I sweat a lot when running.  The temperature has nothing to do with it actually, I sweat in the cold winter temperatures in Canada just as much as in the summer.  While it's a great way to loose weight quickly, it poses a special challenge in a race like Reggae Marathon where even at the 5:15 am start it is a comfortable mid-20's Celsius.

So there I was at about Mile 2 running along smoothly when I realized that the technical running shirt wasn't doing it's job. Court and Andrew in the photo above had the right idea.  So not wanting to repeat the overheating issue from last year's Reggae Marathon, I went totally against the grain and took my shirt off!

For the next 3 1/2 miles I ran shirtless figuring that it was dark and that no one would notice.  It worked.  Thankfully there were no pictures...wait, I did hear one lady shout out, "nice pecs" or was that my imagination?

I remain humbled by the three Reggae Boyz above.  Without me asking or prodding, they made the trek to Jamaica to participate in the Reggae Marathon. I will never be able to fully express how special you made it for my by coming down.  Thank you so very much!

Reggae Marathon = Negril, Jamaica Beach Vacation + Run + Coconut Water + Cold Red Stripe Beer!

Until next time...

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Caught lying down after Reggae Marathon 2011

After completing the 10K in the Reggae Marathon this morning and before having my first Red Stripe beer, Gina Harrison of Reggae Marathon caught this picture of me taking a picture of me taking picture of a runner relaxing beside the pile of discarded coconuts.  That's the true story and I'm sticking to it.

It really was a magnificent Reggae Marathon event today in Negril.  As you know by now I had a delay in getting to Negril and only arrived Friday night at 7 pm at the Pasta Party in time to fill up on pasta for Saturday's race.  Both Andrew and Court ran the 1/2 marathon and they had fantastic results!  These boys can run!  They placed 31 and 45th overall in the entire field of 1/2 marathon runners and it's only the second time they have run the distance.  I am tremendously proud of them.  And their good friend Mike who ran the 10K with me also did really well.  Mike, great job.

The best part of the Reggae Marathon is not the coconuts, Red Stripe beer or even the swim in the ocean immediately after the race.  The best part is what the four of us did back at the hotel:  hanging out on lounges 10 feet from the gently beating surf on the white sand of Negril.  Now that's Reggae Marathon.

The absolutely best part of the experience is the result of the Run for Heart campaign:  with the generous donation yesterday, we topped out at $2,050...over the target.  It is simply not possible for me to describe my feelings at the generosity and support that you all showed toward this campaign.  I know I ran the distance in the Toronto 1/2 Marathon and the Reggae Marathon but it was because I was carried on your shoulders.  Thank you.

Until next time...

Friday, December 2, 2011

Daylight come and me wanna go run the Reggae Marathon

Enough talk, it's time to go running!

After a small delay this week, I'm off to Negril, Jamaica for Reggae Marathon 2011 this morning.  Didn't sleep a wink last night...I felt like a kid on Christmas Eve.  Come to think of it, Reggae Marathon is a great way to kick off the Christmas season.  And since I arrive in time to go directly to the Reggae Marathon Pasta Party tonight, I'll do my best to sleep on the plane because I know there will be precious little sleep tonight.  It is a 5:15 am race start after all.

The wackiest thing about today is the staggered arrivals of Andrew, Court and I.  Andrew and his friend arrive at 2:20 pm; Court arrives at 3:20 pm and I arrive at 4:20 pm.  Whew!  Next year we will have to plan this much better.  The important thing though is that we all connect this evening at the Couples Swept Away Sports Complex for the Pasta Party.  Carbo loading here we come!

The really good news is on the Heart & Stroke Foundation fund raising campaign.  I'm up to $1,800 for the Run for Heart campaign.  Thank you everybody for your generous donations and support.  But don't be shy:  there is still time to donate.  Just click on this link, Run for Heart to make a donation now.  I'd love to get back from Jamaica having met my goal of raising $2,000 for the Heart & Stroke Foundation of Ontario.

Anyway, gotta go now...boarding shortly for Jamaica and Reggae Marathon 2011!

Until next time...

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Sunny and warm for next Saturday's Reggae Marathon

The forecast in Negril, Jamaica next Saturday for Reggae Marathon 2011 will be virtually ideal for both running and vacationing:  27 degrees Celsius.  And do we ever have a special run ahead of us!

I arrive in Negril this Wednesday and have the advantage of a couple of pre-Reggae Marathon running days to help get used to the temperature.  Andrew, Court and their friend Mike arrive Friday evening just in time for the  Pasta Party at Couples Swept Away Sporting Complex.  Then it's off to our hotel, Rondel Village, a small boutique-style place a mile or so away from the start.

Next Saturday morning around 4 am we'll walk and jog over to the start at Long Bay Beach Park for the on-time Reggae Marathon race start at 5:15 am.  Court and Andrew are running the 1/2 Marathon and Mike and I are doing the 10K.

This is my third trip to Negril for the Reggae Marathon and after this I will have completed all three events:  The full marathon, 1/2 marathon and 10K.  I will have the full set of finisher medals.  I guess next year I'll have to work my way back up through the distances.  If I do that, my 2nd full Reggae Marathon would happen at age 55 in 2013.  Hmmmmm, I wonder if there is any significance in that?

Until next time...

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Retiring my 1st Puma Faas 500 Running Shoes after Reggae Marathon

They have been a lifesaver these first pair of Puma Faas 500 running shoes.  Coming off a nagging long-term foot injury, these shoes helped me make the successful transition to forefront or 'natural-style' running.  And after the Reggae Marathon next Saturday in Negril, Jamaica I'll retire them.  But not to worry, guess what I asked for from Sally for Christmas.  Now if only I can decide on the colour.  Should I stay with red or go to the gorgeous black and green?  

Here is my ode to my well worn Puma Faas 500 running shoes.

Until next time...

Friday, November 18, 2011

Today is not the day I no longer run!

I know one day I will not be able to run.  On that day Sally will make sure that I take up swimming, cycling or walking.

I'm not afraid of that just happens that today is not that day!

I got this quote from Gibson's Daily Running Quotes and just loved it.  You can find them on Twitter and Facebook.  I follow them on Twitter and am a fan on Facebook and on the mornings when I am not motivated to run, they get me up and out. Check them out at the links above.

Until next time...

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Running to keep hearts beating

I run to stay healthy both mentally and physically.  At least that's what I say in public.  The truth is that I run because it is the only way I can get people to stop smoking and take care of their heart.  It really sucks to loose someone to heart disease or stroke.  Last week I lost someone I love, my Mother-in-Law, Elizabeth Puodziukas.  She was 91 years old and experienced more in those years than any of us will ever experience in ours.  From the horrors and trials escaping from Lithuania on foot at the height of World War II as a 20 year old to building a new life in Canada in the wilds of Northern Ontario, she did it without hesitation.  As Sally said so touchingly last Sunday, "Over her 91 years and 16 days her heart beat nearly 3 Billion times and each one with love". We miss you!

Elizabeth, this run's for you:  Reggae Marathon 2011!

Please don't just read this blog post and move on.  Take a moment to make a donation to the Heart & Stroke Foundation of Ontario.  Click this link, Run for Heart.  Help me keep hearts beating.

Until next time...

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Interval Training Explained

One of the toughest things I have learned to embrace in my training is running intervals.  Olympian Carrie Tollefson who I met at Reggae Marathon in 2010 does a nice job in this video of explaining how to do it and the benefits.  If you're a long-time runner like me who slips in a rut every once in a while, interval training will lift you out.

Until next time...

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The first Reggae Marathon beach run!

December 1, 2011.

7 am.

This is the view I'll be facing for my first run on the beach in Negril just ahead of the Reggae Marathon Dec 3.

We're staying at Rondel Village this year.  We've never stayed there before but are looking forward to it. It's a small boutique hotel directly on the Negril beach about 1 1/2 miles from the start of Reggae Marathon.  That will make for a nice warm up walk early Saturday morning before the 5:15 am start.

The big decision for this first run is barefoot or shoes?  On one hand I have been running in minimalist shoes from Puma (Puma Faas 500's) and have made the transition successfully to forefoot running so a barefoot run on the sand would be fun.  On the other hand, I don't want to risk an injury 2 days before the Reggae Marathon.  I'll let you know after.

Until next time...

Monday, October 31, 2011

"Morales rumbled 39 yards for a touchdown"

Holden, the youngest in the family isn't one of the long distance runners in the family.  But he is not to be beat over 40 yards with his explosive power, acceleration and speed.  This past Saturday I caught the Acadia Axemen game streamed live from Antigonish, Nova Scotia.  I was the 'super proud' Dad cheering at the computer while watching the game.  Here are some pictures of Holden in action:

Breaking a tackle...check out his left foot shoe!


Oh, and there was some defense as well.

Holden, only 9,990 meters to go to make it through a 10K with me.

Until next time...

Sunday, October 30, 2011

11th Reggae Marathon set for Dec 3

Still one of the world's best. And for good reason:

1. Reggae Marathon is super well organized and starts right on time at 5:15 am
2. Aid stations at every mile.
3. Reggae Music at every aid station.
4. Water and hydration available at every aid station in unique plastic pouches
5. Fresh cut coconuts, cold Red Stripe beer and a swim in the warm Caribbean at the end.

Do I need to say more? Actually, don't just take my word for it. Check out this link for the word from the Jamaica Observer about Reggae Marathon:11th Reggae Marathon set for Dec 3

Until next time...

(Note:  Photo is of the Registration Area at the Couples Swept Away Sporting Complex...also site of the Reggae Pasta Party Friday night before the race.  Courtesy of Errol Anderson Photography)

Saturday, October 29, 2011

100% chance of perspiration

This is our motto for Reggae Marathon 2011 Dec 3 in Negril, Jamaica.  First the 5:15 am start, then the coconut water and Red Stripe at the finish.  Thanks to my very good friend Tim Tobias for designing poster. It nails it!

Until next time...

Friday, October 28, 2011

The fourth runner in the family

She may not be a distance runner but in a sprint she is hard to beat.  Yes, this is Tia our Yorkie in full stride.  Approaching 9 years old now but she still loves to run.

Until next time...

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Running on the beach

I've had a blast running on the hard packed sand of Wasaga Beach.  It's where I re-learned to run this summer after nearly a year dealing with a plantar fasciitis injury in my right foot.

There is one catch though.  Running on Wasaga beach only works in the summer.  The ice and snow that jams Southern Georgian Bay over the winter cannot be navigated safely.

Until next time...

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Morales X 3 at Reggae Marathon 2011

And then there were 3...

With the recent success in the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon, the MoralesMen have decided to travel to Jamaica for Reggae Marathon 2011 December 3.  Court and Andrew have booked their tickets and arrive Friday night just in time for the fabulous Reggae Marathon Pasta Party at the Couples Swept Away Sporting Complex.  Both are running the 1/2 Marathon and it will be a thrill for me shortly after 7 am on Saturday morning when they cross the finish line together.  Even though both are super competitive, the opportunity for a photo finish will be too hard for them to resist.

I've watched with pride all my son's grow into fine young men.  Holden the youngest is currently at Acadia University tearing it up on the football field in his final year of playing university football.  Michael is in the early stages of his career and has proudly set up his home in Kitchener where he is also knocking it out of the park at his company.  And ask him a question about baseball...he'll have the answer.

On December 3 this year make sure you log on to Facebook or the Reggae Marathon web site to follow our progress in Reggae Marathon 2011.

Until next time...


Monday, October 17, 2011

Just another Sunday morning run in Toronto

I ran for a lot of reasons this past Sunday at the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon.  And despite the cold headwind for the first 6 miles and the screw up at the baggage check at the end, it was a fantastic day!

First I ran to see if I could actually complete a 1/2 marathon race.  Since the plantar fasciitis injury from August 2010, running has been tough.  I took nearly 4 months off this winter and only got back to serious and regular running late summer when I went 'natural':  barefoot running on the hard-pack sand of Wasaga Beach then natural-style running with the Puma Faas 500's.  Since then I can thoroughly and enthusiastically recommend natural-style running. I made it through the race on Sunday with a strong finish.  Sally really appreciated that.

Second, I got to run with my kids.  OK, that's a bit of a misnomer...they were well ahead of me but we were in the same race.  That kept me moving at a good pace and helped 'the old man' achieve a really great time especially after a coming off a serious injury.  And Andrew even made the news on this web site:

$1,190.  That is the amount of donations to the Heart & Stroke Foundation that I've raised so far this year. It's the most important reason I ran this past weekend. Thank you!

Sally, the kids and I have experienced heart disease and stroke in our families:  her older brother passed away from a stroke, my Dad from a heart attack. We miss them. As long I can put one foot in front of the other I'll keep running to raise money to help with research, education and treatment.

And this year's campaign is not over.  We're heading to Negril, Jamaica for the Reggae Marathon on December 3. There's a good chance Andrew, Court and I will get to run again in Negril.  I'm so proud of their support.

Run for Heart is still accepting donations.  Just click on that link that takes you directly to the secure donation site.

Finally, a super BIG thanks to Sally for 'freezing her ___ off' on Sunday to take these great pictures of us at the finish of the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon.  Thank you!!  What would we do without the 'Official Photographer?"  Here's one more picture with all of who ran:  'The Old Man', Andrew, Court and Amy.

Until next time...

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Watch out for the Red Puma's at Scotiabank Toronto 1/2 Marathon!

Even with the thousands of runners expected at this Sunday's Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront 1/2 Marathon  it will be easy to spot me with these bright red Puma Faas 500 shoes.  I got them earlier this year and with the adjustment to a mid-foot running style am running stronger and faster than ever.  That could all be in my mind however...Sunday's finish time will tell.  In the meantime, here's what to look out for:

And watch for them as well at the Reggae Marathon this December 3 in Negril, Jamaica.  The spirit of Usain Bolt...and the finish line coconut water, Red Stripe and ocean swim...bodes well for a personal best.

Until next time...

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Reggae Marathon: Tears mixed with Sweat

Can you say, "Glad that's over?"

After 26.2 miles along the Norman Washington Manley from Negril to Green Island and back, crossing the finish line of the Reggae Marathon at Long Bay Beach Park was bittersweet.  On one hand I had finally completed my unfinished marathon and on the other hand "I HAD COMPLETED THE REGGAE MARATHON!!!".  Tears mixed with sweat!  Then the coconut water, Red Stripe and dive into the warm Caribbean!  57 days to go to Reggae Marathon 2011.

Until next time...

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Can you spot the difference between these pictures?

This was just weird.

I found these two pictures recently in Picassa. They were side-by-side and stopped me dead in my tracks.  I forgot I had sat for the picture on the rocks on Wasaga a couple of years ago; the one of my Dad while he was on vacation in PEI was from my sister.  How they made it into the gallery is a strange coincidence.

Until next time...

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Reggae Marathon at 6 am

Describing the feeling of running in the Reggae Marathon is like describing a dream.  This photo at around 6 am on Saturday morning at around mile 5 about sums it up.  Thanks Sally (my official Reggae Marathon photographer) for capturing the feeling.

Until next time...

Friday, September 30, 2011

Running Wild

She's a sprinter who could likely give Usain Bolt a run for his money over 100 M.  Even in middle-age (turning 9 years old this fall) she loves to run.  I'm talking about Tia our tiny Yorkshire Terrier with the massive personality.  She got me to fall for dogs once again.

Until next time...

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

I doodle therefore I am

I doodle.  There, I said it.  Doodling artform, creative, intellectual...heck, it's also really fun!

Until next time...

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Running with the boys

On October 16 I get to run with my boys.  Andrew and Court have both signed up to run the ½ marathon at the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Maraton.  Holden would have joined us but he is away tearing up the gridiron at Acadia University.  Next year, Holden.

My emotions are running high already thinking about the three of us running in the ½ marathon.  Since I had the opportunity of running the ½ marathon at the Reggae Marathon last year with Court, I have an inkling that this race on October 16 will be even better.

And race it will be.  Despite my best efforts to not ‘think competitively’, about running with 28 year olds, I’m betting that 25+ years of competitive experience will rule the day.  We all say that we are training hard but that’s likely just trash talk. Time will tell!  To be specific, around 10:55 am on Saturday morning, October 16.

Until next time…

PS:  I wrote this blog post at 35,000 feet on my flight home to Toronto after a week-long business trip in British Columbia.  Friday, September 23.  In mid-flight the significance of that date struck me:  it was the 3 year anniversary almost to the minute of my Father’s passing after suffering a massive and fatal heart attack.  I still miss him.  So while I’m running in the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront ½ Marathon in his memory, I’m running to raise $2,000 for the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario.  You can donate here:  Run for Heart.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Running on the road in British Columbia

Running ‘on-the-road’ this past week was effortless.  And it brought back some great memories as I covered some old ground.

In a previous life I spent a ton of time travelling on business throughout Canada and the United States.  I always brought my running gear and fit in early morning runs every day before business meetings.  It balanced out the stress of travel and endless meetings.  It kept me sane.

British Columbia was a regular stop and I’ve had the chance to run in just about every major city and town.  This week I ran in Vancouver, White Rock and Kamloops.  Here are some random thoughts and observations:

Vancouver…well, Richmond near the airport actually.  My route from the Delta Vancouver Hotel takes me over the Sea Island Way bridge to #3 Road where I headed down into the commercial strip of Richmond.  Where did the Speedy Muffler King shop and the General Motors Regional office go?  Both were gone replaced by retail stores!  I had a great tempo run putting in multiple speed repeats.

White Rock.  I have tons of great memories of White Rock…all good.  My first experience was with the kids, Andrew and Courtney when we took them on a trip to BC.  That trip included a visit to Al and his family for a salmon BBQ in his backyard in White Rock.  We also had the chance to walk along the sea floor when the tide was out…the kids had a blast picking up all sorts of slimy things. Al and I had dinner this past week and realized that was over 20 years ago!  Time flies…  My run took in some of the ‘hills’ that White Rock is famous for.

Kamloops.  Four hours up the fantastically scenic Coquihalla Highway northeast from Vancouver is the high-planes city of Kamloops.  One of my first business trips was to open the Speedy Muffler King shop in Kamloops.  It is often windy in Kamloops and the highlight of that experience was hanging on to a helium-filled blimp that we used at the celebration.  No wind to worry about this past trip but the hills got my attention.  I got in a great run up the side of the mountain near my hotel:  upward pain rewarded with a sprint back down.

Packing up to grab the early morning flight back to Toronto was melancholic.  I wasn’t looking forward to the flight but was glad I got to cover some old ground on the road.

Until next time…

Monday, September 19, 2011

Time for a change

I changed things up today.  Welcome to the new-look blog.

This was brought on because I've been in a slump around my running...or lack of running. After 25+ years of relatively injury-free running, I sustained a plantar fasciitis injury to my right foot a little over a year ago in August 2010 that still has not completely gone away.  Like the 'tough guy' I pretend to be, I thought I could 'run through it'.  This was absolutely the wrong answer at last December's Reggae Marathon but I was determined to finish the 1/2 Marathon especially since I ran it with my son Court.  The photo at the finish was worth the pain!

So I decided it was time to change things up on the blog.  Funny how frustration in one area can lead to positive things in another.

Fast forward 12 months from last August:  a change in my running has happened as well. After 3 months off, I eased back into running this spring.  Thanks to a new pair of shoes, the minimalist Puma Faas 500 and barefoot running on the sand at Wasaga Beach I'm back to running regularly.  And pain free, faster and more comfortable as well.

And maybe that's the lesson:  you can't expect things to change if you keep doing the same things over and over.

Until next time...

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The real reason I love running

It's not to loose weight or keep high blood pressure in check although those are the goals that motivated me to start running in the first place.

It's definitely NOT because I look great in tight-fitting spandex...where do those ripples and bulges come from?

And it's definitely not because I am the fastest runner although I keep telling myself that 'I am improving with age'.  But even though I'm not be running any faster, I am running much more comfortably even though the aches and pains take longer to recover from.

It comes down to the simple fact that it is the only time I get any alone time.  For those 30, 40 or 90 minutes I am totally self absorbed with no smart phone, headphones or distractions.  I'm only focused on my breathing and the occasional car that hasn't noticed me running along the side of the road.

I'm scared that it will end one day.  I'm doing my best to keep that day at bay.

Until next time...

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Running for Heart in Toronto and Jamaica

I stopped running December 31, 2010 due to the agonizing pain in my right foot.  The pain that I 'toughed out' in last year's Reggae Marathon.  I've only run semi-regularly since early summer but since I changed over to a 'natural-style' running which has included both barefoot running and the Puma Faas 500's I'm thrilled with the results.  I'm running faster, more efficiently and with no pain!  Who says you can't teach an old dog new tricks.  Check out the video at the end of this post.

Now on to the good stuff: Fund raising races this fall for the Heart & Stroke Foundation of Ontario.

I've got two planned.  First up is the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront 1/2 Marathon on October 16. I've heard good things about this race and am looking forward to running it.  Andrew and Court, my eldest sons are planning to run as well...that will be really special. And hey, this old dog may teach them a thing or two about running a 1/2 marathon...don't get in my way at the finish line guys!

Then on December 3 it's back to Negril, Jamaica for the Reggae Marathon.  This will be my 3rd time at the Reggae Marathon and I'm running the 10 K so that I can add this medal to my collection of Full Marathon and 1/2 Marathon medals from the past 2 years.  I'm looking forward to the coconut water, bananas and cold Red Stripe beer at the finish before an early morning dip in the Caribbean.

I'm racing in both of these events to raise money for the Heart & Stroke Foundation of Ontario.  I've called this year's effort, 'Run for Heart'.  My goal is to raise $2,000 by December.  I've set up a secure, online donation site that accepts Visa and Mastercard to make it super easy to donate.  Just click on this link:  Run for Heart.

I've always run for myself and it's been good.  Now running to raise money for the Heart & Stroke Foundation of Ontario it is really great!

Here's that video...keep your eyes open for the red Pumas flashing by at both races

Until next time...

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Steamed Fish: a meal fit for a runner!

On Fort Clarence Beach just outside of Kingston, Jamaica a couple of years ago Sally and I enjoyed a fantastic lunch:  Steamed Fish prepared fresh on the beach!  Perfect for a runner!  And yes, Sally enjoyed it as well.

We sat in our wet bathing suits at a picnic table under an Almond Tree and devoured our steamed fish along with escovitch fish, bammie and lobster.  All washed down of course with cold Red Stripe.  Truly a day to remember with a meal fit for a...runner! 

Guess my first meal when I arrive in Negril this December for Reggae Marathon 2011? Mmmmmm.....

Until next time...

Monday, August 15, 2011

Run for Heart, 2011 Fund Raising Campaign

"Run for Heart", the name of the fund raising campaign this year.  I am going to run anyway so might as well sweat for a good cause. 

Sunday, October 16 at the Scotiabank Toronto 1/2 Marathon and Saturday, December 3 at the Reggae Marathon in Negril are the 2 "Run for Heart" fund raising events.  My goal is to raise $2,000 for the Heart & Stroke Foundation of Ontario and once again I've set up a secure online donation page with all the donations staying in Ontario:  "Run for Heart".

And this year I going all out with the colour coordination:  Red Puma Faas 500's will complete the ensemble.  Check them out here:

Flat and cool 1/2 marathon in October followed by a flat and a little warmer run in Negril in December to raise $2,000 for the Heart & Stroke Foundation of Ontario:  Run for Heart.

If you see me on my early morning training runs, give me a shout out...if you can catch up with me...

Until next time...

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Life is not a dress rehearsal

"I couldn't help it".

It really makes me mad when I hear that. Yes you could.

The other day I head that dreaded line from a runner who didn't go out for a regular run because it was too hot.  Excuse piled on excuse but I only heard the first one before I tuned out. I wish I had seen the photo below in order to respond.
Life is not a dress rehearsal.  This is the show: Acts I, II and III.  We don't know when it ends and can't be sure if there's an encore.  Get running...or living, or loving...just get moving.

Until next time...

Saturday, July 30, 2011

I love beer...I love running

As I sit here on the back deck this Saturday morning enjoying what we call ‘a perfect Wasaga morning’…  cool temperature, sun breaking the horizon on a cloudless sky…my thoughts turn to…beer!  I know how that that sounds but recently I have enjoyed a renewed interest in beer.  And not the stuff of my youth, but craft beer from a range of excellent craft breweries operating in Ontario.  My favorites include Red Stripe, Hockley Valley, Steam Whistle, and my new favorite Waterloo Dark from Brick Brewery in Kitchener/Waterloo.
Red Stripe at the end of the Reggae Marathon.  While this is not from a craft brewer in Ontario, it deserves special mention. At the conclusion of the Reggae Marathon, iimmediately after the fresh cut coconut, the cold Red Stripe goes down really well.  And since the race starts at 5:15 am, this is an early morning beer.  And it tastes really good! Hockley Valley does a really good job with a 3 pack:  Dark, Black and Tan and Stout.  Not too heavy for drinking even in the warm summer months. Steam Whistle Pilsner.  While I prefer the darker beers, my friend Josh introduced me to the light, refreshing taste of the Pilsner.  Nice beer but a little too light for me. And last but not least, Waterloo Dark from Brick Brewery.  A nice dark beer without the heavy taste.  Drinkable all year even in the summer when I have been enjoying it most. And it goes down nicely after a long, hot run.
What does beer have to do with running?  Nothing actually:  I love beer and I love running.

Until next time…

Sunday, July 17, 2011

If I live to be 100, I want to run on a beach

Only 47 years to go and I want to be running every day to get there.

If I do live to be 100 the one thing that will keep me motivated is a beach at sunset.  Walking barefoot on the sand and wading into the shallow, warm water is on my highlight reel.  Sally, Tia and I enjoyed that yesterday at the end of a glorious day in Southern Georgian Bay that started with my early morning along this stretch of Wasaga Beach.

I grew up in Jamaica and the most memorable experiences happened on the beach.  Dunns River Falls, Discovery Bay and especially Negril.  Now Negril was a special treat.  It was over a 4 hour hard drive to get there from our home outside of Kingston but it was worth it. The miles of white sand beach with the warm, shallow water were the best!

Driving north from Toronto to Wasaga Beach stimulates similar feelings.  It may seem strange to compare Negril to Wasaga Beach, but they are so similar that they beg comparison.  Both curve along miles of white sand and both have spectacular sunsets.  I'm fortunate to be able to enjoy both each year:  Negril  in December for the Reggae Marathon and Wasaga Beach the rest of the year.

If I do live to be 100 I the next 47 years will include time well spent walking and running on the beach.

Until next time...

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Barefoot running explained

Running barefoot on pavement? It sounds crazy doesn't it. I did it last week and survived.

As you may know, I've been recovering from a nasty, nagging plantar fasciitis injury in my right foot since last August. I haven't run regularly since after the Reggae Marathon last December.

Recently though I've tried a combination of barefoot and running shoes (Puma Faas 500) that has allowed me to run relatively pain-free. For the first time last Sunday I completed my first run entirely barefoot...and it was, well, good! While I won't go all the way and run barefoot all the time and in every circumstance, I am now firmly on the side of minimalist running shoes.

Thanks to George Colombo of Natural Stride Running and Dan Cumming of Running in the Zone for their support. Dan sent me this video that shows barefoot runner Mark Cucuzzella 'pounding the pavement'.

Until next time...

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Just for fun running video

It's Wednesday afternoon, hump day of a short week. This video captured my mood and is why I don't run on treadmills.

Until next time...

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

I've fallen...and I can get up!

"Never, ever give up!"

My Dad believed that until the day he died.  I believe it and I've done my best to share it with my sons.

This video caught my attention today.  It is truly inspiring:  when you fall...and you will...GET UP! Never ever give up.

Until next time...

Sunday, June 19, 2011

I've got a feeling...

Sally and I were sitting on the back deck this morning enjoying a Wasaga Morning!  Drinking coffee, looking at the sunrise and listening to the birds singing.  I was gearing up for a run on the beach.  She casually mentioned that she loved the Black Eyed Peas, "I've got a Feeling".

"Open the sunroof and crank up the stereo...Lively, catchy, positive, infectious!"

I couldn't agree more.  Guess what song was playing in my head when I went out for my run on the beach later that morning.

Until next time...

Monday, June 13, 2011

Time waits for no one

"Time waits for no one".

I found that saying on Steve Kings's web site this past weekend.  Here's the back story of the interesting connections that led to that discovery this past weekend.

From a comment left on a recent post on the Reggae Marathon blog I connected with Dan Cumming. He's the author of a book and blog, "Running in the Zone".  Dan's a runner and his book and blog are for 'seasoned runners'.  I liked the sound of that having crossed the 50 year old threshold myself.

I then checked out the web site of Dan's co-author Steve King who is also a runner.  The following really grabbed me.  After reading it I asked myself this question:  "If I'm not enjoying myself right now, what am I waiting for?"

To realise the value of one year:
Ask a student who has failed an exam. 
To realise the value of one month;
Ask a Mother who has given birth to a premature baby. 
To realize the value of one week:
Ask an editor of a weekly newspaper. 
To realise the value of one hour:
Ask the lovers who are waiting to meet. 
To realise the value of one minute:
Ask a person who has missed the train, bus or plane. 
To realise the value of one second:
Ask the person who has survived an accident. 
To realise the value of one millisecond:
Ask the person who has won a silver medal in the Olympic Games. 
Time waits for no one.
Treasure every moment you have.
You will treasure it even more when you share it with someone special.
Just remember - none of us will be leaving here alive, so reach for your potential.
Time waits for no one.

Until next time...

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Jamaica in my head

With just under 6 months to go until Reggae Marathon 2011, I'm starting to get ramped up again for the race in Negril this December.  The hot, humid weather we are currently experiencing in Southern Ontario feels great!

This cool video caught my attention this morning and the music is stuck in my head.  It's a flash mob scene from Union Square New York City called Jamaica in my Head from the Jamaica Tourist Board

Love it! 

Until next time...

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Here are a few of my...running...things

I had no idea running barefoot on the beach could feel so natural.  I haven't run barefoot since I was a kid tearing it up around my Grandparent's home in Kingston.  Yes non-believers, I ran as a kid...mostly bugging my cousins and sisters. 

Since I started running barefoot on the beach that shear joy of running has returned.  After all these years of running...and the last 4 months off...I was afraid that I wouldn't be able to re-start.  The beach did the job.  I'm only up to running once a week and for really short distances so far but I  love it.

I shot this video last weekend because it captured 3 of my favorite things:  Beach, Puma's and Reggae Marathon.

Until next time...

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Running clears the head

Forget drugs.  Running is the best thing to clear the head and rejuvenate the spirit.  And running on the beach early morning takes it to a whole new level.

Saturday morning was heavily overcast but I was determined to go for a run on Wasaga Beach.  Working back from the foot injury has been going well and I was eager to get out and do some barefoot running along the hard-packed white sandy beach just minutes from our house.

After slipping on the Puma Faas 500's and running down to the beach, I stopped for a few minutes to savor the absolutely fresh early morning air.  Stress...what stress?  Minutes later I was happily running barefoot with absolutely no pain.  I felt like a kid again.

I know I thought about lots of things but by the end of my run my head was absolutely clear.  With the Puma's back on the run back home was even more light and effortless.  I can hardly wait until next weekend.

Until next time...

Monday, May 23, 2011

Running: I complain about it but 'I CAN'T STOP!'

John Mazerolle in a recent article in Metro Toronto summed up the love/hate relationship most runners have about their running obsession: "I complain about it but I CAN'T STOP!" Metro - Don't do what Dippy did

I've been hobbled with a running injury for months now. Sally has completely tuned out my complaining. Every time I come back from a run she watches carefully for my hobbling. I can't complain, but I can't stop.

Recently I've began running barefoot. Here at Wasaga Beach we are blessed with miles of hard-packed flat sand. I run down to the beach in my Puma Faas 500's which are really comfortable and support the natural running style of forefoot running. Once on the beach though it's shoes off and full-on barefoot running.

The experience has been 'interesting'. No pain! Huh? How can that be? With regular running shoes the pain is unbearable...running in the Puma's and barefoot, no pain. If you know the science behind this, I'm listening...

I haven't pressed my luck however. I've only been out a few times and never back-to-back days. So far so good.  Sally likes that I've started running again...she especially loves 'no complaints!'

Until next time...

Monday, May 9, 2011

Can I really give up my running shoes?

One of my favorite books is Christopher McDougall's 'Born to Run'.  He details the running story of the Tarahumara Indians of the Copper Canyons in Mexico and how they seem born to run...without sophisticated footware.  But the best part of his book is how he postulates that human evolution in the early years was driven by our ability to out-run other animals.  We're not the fastest but we have the longest endurance.  Now, can I really give up my running shoes?

Until next time...

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Falling in 'serious like' with my Puma running shoes

One of my son's has a shoe fetish.  Not in a bad way.  He buys running shoes and keeps them stored in their original box taking them out only on special occasions.  I used to have that fixation while in university but life and other distractions intruded.

Recently though I experienced the emotion again. First with my new Puma Faas 500 running shoes I'll be running in at this December's Reggae Marathon, then more recently with a pair of casual Pumas.  Take a look:

Reliving my misguided youth?  Sure why not.  They feel fantastic and look great.  Heck, I even wear them to work on casual Friday with a jacket and jeans. 

I don't think I'm in love with them yet.  Serious like though...definitely!

Until next time...

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The answer to the question, "What is interval training?"

I've run up hills, run backwards (that's a sight) and logged countless long slow distance miles (LSD's).  But until I came across this video, I just didn't get what interval training was.

Thanks to this video from Olympian Carrie Tollefson I GET IT!

Thanks Carrie.

Until next time...

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Breakfast in running today :(

I had breakfast with my friend Andrew this morning in Stayner.  It was a miserable day for running and with the foot injury still dragging on, it was a great way to start the weekend.  Plus I didn't want to get the Pumas dirty.

Andrew is in real estate and has a great affinity for social media so we had a lot in common to talk about.  We chatted about business, family and life in general but stayed away from religion and politics...that's why we've become such good friends.  And I found out the secret to understanding the British: it's their steely, disciplined way combined with a naively arrogant, yet understated assumption that they can achieve anything they put their minds to.  I understood that.  It's what got me through my first Reggae Marathon in 2009.

Oh, and the breakfast of 3 eggs sunny-side up with bacon, toast, hash browns served with and hot coffee (milk, 2 artificial sweeteners) was great too.

Until next time...

Monday, April 11, 2011

Baby steps back to running

"Baby Steps".

First you pull yourself up and hold on gingerly to the coffee table.  Then slowly and not without a few falls you push off and take those first tentative baby steps.  That's how I felt last Saturday on the first really true spring day.  Of course they were in my new Puma Faas 500 running shoes and I have to tell you they were the most comfortable I have ever put on.  It should only be a couple of weeks before I head out for my first run in over 3 months.  I can hardly wait.

Until next time...

Friday, April 8, 2011

How Buster Martin runs marathons

Buster Martin:  drinking and smoking before, during and after running marathons.  There is a part of me...a very small part mind you...that envies what Buster Martin does when he runs. 

Until next time...

PS:  I am not endorsing this of course but what a story

Sunday, April 3, 2011

How to use hill running to build strength

Hill running hurts!  But man is it effective in building strength. Here is an excellent video that demonstrates a simple way to do it effectively

Until next time...

Friday, March 25, 2011

What's wrong with just being nice?

People suck in big cities!

Let me correct that, 'Ignorant people suck in big cities'.

As a lifelong runner who does all the right things including running facing traffic, wearing reflective clothing for my early morning runs and stay on the sidewalk wherever possible, I hate it when I get the finger from a driver because he doesn't want to come to a complete stop at a STOP sign!  Don't worry "Mr. Ignoramus", your body shop should be able to pound out the dent in your door panel caused by my foot quite easily.

What's wrong with just being nice?

Last week I was reminded that there are some nice people in the world.  Sally was in a big, crowed parking garage at St. Joe's Hospital in Toronto.  A big, crowded garage with attendants valet parking vehicles.  One of them recognized her and asked why she was back.  After telling him, he simply said that 'since she was doing something nice, someone was watching over her'.  It made her day.  That was nice.

It's a bustling city but take a minute to just be nice.  It'll make someone's day and it will save damage to your vehicle.

Until next time...

Friday, March 11, 2011

Running like a kid is the answer to foot injuries

After 25 years of running I have finally learned how to run like a kid again.  And it only took a nagging bout of Plantar Fasciitis in my right foot to figure it out.

Don't run with traditional running shoes!  That's the main culprit that caused my injury. I tried to run more naturally in shoes that were not designed for that style of running.  So after nearly 3 months of not running and lots of research online I've accepted that I've got to learn to run like a kid again.  Just take a look at how they run:  bent knees, rapid foot turnover and landing on their forefoot and springing up.  Especially watch them running barefoot in the summer.

Obviously running barefoot is not an option for me.  Natural-style running in shoes designed for that however is the solution for me.  I've recently taken delivery of the new Puma Faas 500 running shoe.  While I haven't been able to get out for a long run in them yet, the first experience was positive:  very comfortable fit with a heel designed to simulate barefoot running.  I am anxious to get out in them.

In the meantime of course I've been busy writing and blogging for the Reggae Marathon (Sally loves this...she says I need to keep busy...go figure).  The latest blog post on the Reggae Marathon blog summarizes everything I've learned so far about natural-style running.  If you're a runner or know someone who is, check out this post:  Natural-style running minimizes foot injuries

This summer watch out for the 'Big Little Kid' running through a neighbourhood near you!

Until next time...

Friday, February 25, 2011

How come my foot hurts? "Are we born to run?, asks Christopher McDougall

 "How come my foot hurts?" is the simple question that Christopher McDougall, author of the excellent book, "Born to Run" asks.  In the book he explores the history of running and postulates that humans ability to run long distances is a key element of our evolution and resulting dominance in the world.  Interesting stuff.

I've been running...walking really...with an injured foot since last August and I want a solution that will allow me to keep running.  I think I've found it with McDougall's help and it means I have to learn how to run all over again in a more natural style...the new Puma FAAS 500's will help.  (I love them in Red...Sally is so jealous, she loves the colour red)

Not running has an additional benefit as well: leisurely coffee in bed with Sally (and Tia) on weekend mornings.  Just ask her what she thinks of that. :)

If you are a runner or know someone who is, suggest they take a look at Christopher McDougall's video included in the link on the Reggae Marathon blog below.  I guarantee it will be worth it.

Christopher McDougall: Are we born to run?

Until next time...

PS:  True confession:  I have the 10 K race in the Reggae Marathon planned for December 2011.  Two goals: first, cross the finish line with my 3 kids (now that will be a photo moment for a lifetime) and second finish under 45 minutes in the 10 K to collect the full series of Reggae Marathon medals.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The King’s Speech – 4 lessons for leaders

I loved the movie. It was probably the best movie I have ever seen so strong were the characterizations. My friend Marguerite Orane of Free and Laughing was also moved by the movie and went further and identified 4 lessons for leaders.  She did a really good job of cutting out the BS and reducing down four.  I especially like her last one:  credentials don't matter, results do!  Click on this link to read her post:

Until next time...

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

PUMA Faas 500 in my running future?

I will get over this nasty foot injury!

I will get over this nasty foot injury!

I will get over this nasty foot injury!

There, I've said it. Three times for good measure. And once I get over this nagging injury and get back to running I'm thinking of a radical change in running shoes: Puma.

Puma is not only a sponsor of my favourite race the Reggae Marathon but they have these cool new running shoes that have been getting great reviews.

The specific model I'm thinking about is the Puma Faas 500. Here is a review Puma Faas 500. I hope to add my own experience soon.

Until next time...

Friday, January 7, 2011

I had this experience at my first Reggae Marathon

I had tears after reading this story.

You see, I ran this race with her in Negril in 2009.  It was my first marathon ever and I too predicted finish times that turned out to be pure fantasy.  I was glad to just finish.

But she did it and so did I.  I hope you enjoy the article as much as I did:  Tara's Reggae Marathon Race Report.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Until next time...

Monday, January 3, 2011

Jamaican/Canadian or Canadian/Jamaican?

I got to end 2010 with a bang!  Through the Reggae Marathon and Linkedin, I connected with Loretta Green-Williams in San Francisco.  She runs a successful consulting business and hosts a weekly podcast called Sumatra the Bold, Strong and Smooth.  Through our shared Jamaican heritage, interest in social media and the Reggae Marathon, she invited me to share my story on her final show of 2010.

I've never said no to a microphone or an opportunity to share my story and this was no exception.  I had a blast of course and got the opportunity to dive more deeply into the issue that I get asked a lot:  "am I Jamaican/Canadian or Canadian/Jamaican?"  For the answer, you'll just have to tune in: Podcast with Loretta, Dec 31, 2010 

Until next time...