Thursday, August 30, 2012

Took a ride on the Giant this week...and injured my foot

GIANT bicycle that is.  Dirty mind!

This week for the first time since Sally and I've been back in Toronto, and the first time since summer 2011, I went for a bike ride in Toronto. And of course I promptly hurt my foot.  Go figure.

My good friend Brad who lives nearby suggested we go riding this summer.  For one reason or another we didn't get out for our first ride until this past week.  For my part, I confess I wasn't eager to go riding in Toronto with all the traffic.  But he told me we'd be riding mostly on paved trails along river valleys in some local parks so he hooked me.

This bike ride actually ride started last weekend when I went to our off-site storage locker to pick up the bike that had been carelessly stored since we became apartment dwellers.  Ahhh...the special pleasures of 'limited storage'.  Sally was very clear about this:  keep the bike, put it in off-site storage!  Not negotiable.

Flat tires and partially disassembled, I took my 'GIANT' to Brad's house a few days before the planned ride.  If could have spoken, it would have sighed and cracked a smile at being 'released'.

Then it got interesting.

If you know me at all you know that I had to incorporate some running into the bike ride.  And it was a simple plan:  do some speed work (10-20-30) running drills over the 2 miles from our place to Brad's before the bike ride.  Sally of course had her usual look when I informed her that I was skipping dinner with her and replacing it with a bottle of Powerade. She was not impressed!

The run started out well enough and I was through my 4th rep when I felt a 'twinge' in my right foot.  I didn't think anything of it at that time so pressed on.  I mean, there was a 'little' pain but it didn't feel too bad.  During the bike ride which was absolutely spectacular as we took in the trails of the Humber, the Kingsway and some other beautiful neighbourhoods on an absolutely perfect late summer evening I didn't feel pain at all.  It was only when I put my running shoes back on to run home that I knew something was amiss:  I couldn't take a step without some serious pain.  It turned out that on the run up to Brad I pulled a small muscle along the top of my foot.  Man was I pissed!  "When am I ever going to run without injuring myself again?"  I took Brad's kind offer of a ride home, tail between legs.

In my bad old days I would have continued to be upset.  I wrote this blog post instead.  Hey, I must be growing up...

Until next time...

Follow me on Facebook at Run for Heart.  Races for 2012: Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront 1/2 Marathon, October 14, Reggae Marathon, December 1 

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Running god: What have you done with Chris?

"Who the hell is that?"

When I saw this photo of me from 30 years ago I couldn't believe MY eyes!  I mean...holy crap!  Couldn't I have at least picked a larger size tuxedo?  And the hair...what's with the hair?  I must have cut it myself...wait, I did!!

Seriously though, this was taken at age 25 at the peak of my weight and waist size: 225 lbs (give or take) and 42".  Yes, it was taken before I took up running.  Oh, and did I mention that my blood pressure was 'heading into concern territory' according to my doctor.  Salty snacks and a totally sedentary lifestyle were the culprits.  Running a marathon as I did in 2009 at Reggae Marathon was not even a slightest thought.  Heck, waddling to the cupboard to get a bag of salty snacks was about as much as I could manage at the time.

But the most bizarre thing...and that triggered me to write this post was that at the time I felt normal!  I mean, that's who I was.  I didn't think anything was wrong or amiss.

By now you know the story.  Got the health scare of following my Dad down the medication path to manage high blood pressure and decided to do something about it.  Running was the answer for me then and even with the recent nagging foot injuries still is.  I've tried cycling and swimming and while I enjoy both, I still come back to running.  I guess I like the tights.

I've had some great running experiences along the way including running in places like Sydney, Australia, Paris, France, Hong Kong, Sweden...pretty much any place I travelled for business or pleasure.  Check out "Getting back to the Beach". On business trips it was normal for me to run stupid early in order to get a run in before a long day of meetings.

I also met a lot of really nice people along the way most recently when I started running with the Wasaga Beach Road Runners when we lived up north.  And since Reggae Marathon, I've met even more really great people who keep me at it...the best motivation! Check out Dan and Larry the other 2 of the Reggae Runners Half Marathon Challengers.

But the coolest thing is how my family has reacted.  My sister's both work out regularly now.  In fact, Susan and her husband have become dedicated runners and Ginnette hits the treadmill at her gym regularly.  And I've had the special pleasure of running a number of times now with two of my sons:  Toronto Scotiabank 1/2 Marathon and Reggae Marathon twice.  In fact, we are going back again this December.  It will be my fourth.

I'm very glad the running god stole the 'old Chris'.  Shudder..... May he never return.

Until next time...

Follow me on Facebook at Run for Heart.  Races for 2012: Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront 1/2 Marathon, October 14, Reggae Marathon, December 1 

Thursday, August 9, 2012

What I learned about the birds and bees from Running

Met this 'not-so-friendly' guy and his buddy Saturday
I've learned a lot about life from running.  It's possible to run through pain.  Past a certain point, it really is mental. And Sally has noted that I really am 'Mental' for doing it.  Hmmmm...I think she is referring to another meaning of the word 'Mental'.

But I digress.  Running a marathon is a lot tougher than it seems on paper.  The half way point isn't actually at 13.1 miles as I learned in my one and only full marathon at Reggae Marathon in 2009.  

But it's what I've learned about running from the 'birds and bees' that's been most interesting.  And I've had altercations with both the birds and the bees.  Spoiler alert:  it's not about sex!

Years ago while running early morning through the trails along Grenadier Pond in High Park, Toronto I was attacked by a couple of birds.  Not quite like a scene from Alfred Hitchcock's 'The Birds' but disconcerting none the less.  The two birds went straight for my head.  Looking back it could have been that they were attracted by my ever so tiny (back then anyway) bald spot.  I've worn hats ever since.

Then this past Saturday morning the bees attacked.  OK, they were likely wasps or hornets but 'birds and wasps' doesn't sound quite right.  I was coming to the end of a really nice 60 minute run when I literally ran into two of these not-so-friendly little bastards.  One went directly to my left thigh while the other went...guess where...directly to my now much larger bald spot.  Both were successful in leaving me with their stingers.  Trooper that I am I only swore out loud a couple of times.  But I didn't break stride!

Maybe these birds and bees (wasps) were after a tasty Jamaican snack.  Or maybe they'd been watching the Olympics recently were looking for the secret sauce that allows Jamaican runners to run so quickly.  In any case I was not amused by either attack.  Alert to all birds and bees:  I will fight back! Pass it on to your friends.

Until next time...

Follow me on Facebook at Run for Heart.  Races for 2012: Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront 1/2 Marathon, October 14, Reggae Marathon, December 1

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Guh haad an dun: Jamaica at the London 2012 Olympics

Jamaican Olympic Team 2012
"Guh haad an dun".  That's the motto of the Jamaican Olympic Team for the 2012 Olympic Games currently under way in London. "Give it everything you've got"  or "Don't leave anything at the table".  I think you get the drift...

"100% Jamaican".  Sally often asks me if I'm Jamaican or Canadian.  My answer, "It depends..." gets me in trouble every time.  The nice thing is that I can be both.  "It depends...".

"100% Jamaican by Association". that's more like it.  I've never met a person who hasn't become intoxicated by Jamaica once they have met a Jamaican or been to Jamaica. 'Intoxication' may not be the politically correct word but that's what happens the moment you get off the plane.

These and other sayings were produced to support and promote Team Jamaica at the 2012 London Olympic Games. With apologies to the drama in the pool surrounding Michael Phelps searlier this week, the overarching story of the London 2012 Olympic games is Jamaica!  In particular the anticipation building toward the Track and Field events starting Friday.  In the Men's 100M Sprint events over August 4 and 5 it's basically Jamaica vs Jamaica vs Jamaica. This will be "Must See TV" even if you're not a hard-core sprinting fan.  And so you don't miss any of the action, here's the ultimate viewing and online guide:  Ready for the Olympics.

For the first time in a long time Sally and I caught the entire Olympic Opening Ceremony last Friday.  A few things stood out:  James Bond and the Queen (she does have a sense of humour after all), Mr. Bean on the keyboard (ROFL), the Arctic Monkeys doing a Beatles cover (Ballsy) and Paul McCartney closing the show with Hey Jude (he still has it).  In addition I love these images from London 2012  including Reggae Marathon Race Director stylin':  Favourites from London 2012.

Get the Red Stripe and Jerk Chicken ready for the weekend. "Guh haad an dun".

Until next time...

Follow me on Facebook at Run for Heart.  Races for 2012: Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront 1/2 Marathon, October 14, Reggae Marathon, December 1