Tuesday, September 24, 2013

75 Days to Reggae Marathon!

Larry, Chris, Dan ... Post-race, Reggae Marathon
Yikes!  Where did that year go?  It was only yesterday when I was waiting outside Rondel Village in Negril for the shuttle to take me back to the airport in Montego Bay for the trip home.  All my family and friends had left for home the day before and even though I enjoyed an early morning swim and a few hours lolling for the last time on the Negril beach, saying good by to Reggae Marathon 2012 was tough.  Only 364 days to go...

Fast forward...now under 75 days to go to Reggae Marathon 2013, my 5th consecutive Reggae Marathon.  It's the only race event I've done 5 times.  And yes I was born in Jamaica but this race has something special that brings me back year after year.

There have been both highlights and low times at Reggae Marathon.  Each experience...even the not so good ones...have been positive once enough time passed.  Here are some of the experiences that have stayed with me over the years:

  • My first Reggae Marathon in 2009 was my second full marathon and my first and only complete marathon.  It wasn't pretty but I 'got it dun!'.  With my slow pace I spent a considerable amount of time under the mid-morning sun.  I was prepared and had trained for it yet nothing could prepare me for the long, long stretches of running with no one else in sight.  "The loneliness of the long distance runner?"  I got it!  The hardest part:  knowing that Sally was waiting for me at the finish line wondering when I would ever get to the finish.  Thanks for waiting Sally.
  • My second Reggae Marathon event in 2010 was actually harder.  I entered the Half Marathon event and cockily predicted a sub-2 hour time.  It was not to be.  Even with my son Courtney running with me, I struggled.  I ran with a bad case of Plantar Fasciitis, in the wrong shoes and with the wrong T Shirt.  I overheated, destroyed my feet and crossed the finish line a mess.  Not my finest hour.
  • Reggae Marathon #3 in 2011 was much better.  I had two of my sons, Andrew and Courtney in Negril along with one of their friends, Mike.  We all stayed at Rondel Village and had a blast playing on the beach before and after the race.  I entered the 10K and upon finishing could proudly claim I had 'Medalled' in each of the Reggae Marathon distances:  Full Marathon, Half and 10K.  Plus the highlight of this race was that I ran topless!  Don't worry, I didn't scare anyone...it was dark the entire race.
  • My 2012 Reggae Marathon could have been a disaster.  Barely 2 months before race day I broke some bones in my right foot.  I missed a planned half marathon that fall but expected to be fully recovered for the 10K event in Negril.  Never happened.  I was still in my walking cast when I traveled to Negril and I promised Sally I wouldn't run.  I kept my word and walked the entire 10K in my walking cast.  For the first time I got the opportunity to take pictures along the route...some of them priceless to me.
For 2013 I'm back for the event December 7.  I'll be running the 10K event once again.  Truth be told, it's my favourite distance...it's how I got into running in the first place.  I'm totally looking forward to it.  Beach, sun, run...Reggae Marathon 2013 here I come!

Until next time...

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

The Incredible Shrinking Runner

5 feet 8 inches!

That's how tall I am after being officially measured by my new Doctor last week!

What....???  When did that happen?  All my life I've been 5 feet 10 inches tall.  Then I miss a couple of years of visiting a Doctor and shrink 2 inches!  I was so surprised by this result that I had her repeat the measurement...I even tried to 'stretch' to make myself taller.  Didn't work.

Dam...after living up north for 6 years that water in Georgian Bay in Wasaga Beach must have been really cold!

The back story.

I haven't been to my Family Doctor in many years.  No annual physical, no regular checkup in over 3 years. Reasons were varied and many:  Previous Family Doctor was in Oakville and we lived in Wasaga Beach; No serious health issues (OK, the broken foot bones last year were serious but a great Clinic here in Etobicoke did the job);  too busy! But since moving to Etobicoke in December 2011, the excuses had worn thin.  So after Sally signed up with a Family Practice 10 minutes from our place, I bit the bullet and did the same.

I had my first visit with Dr. Catherine last week and it was...well...OK:  Blood pressure below normal and a few pounds overweight.  The only 'interesting' observation was a very low pulse rate.  Get this, my resting rate is 40 beats per minute...less than one per second.  Dr. C says there's no cause for alarm given that I've a lifelong runner but to be sure, she scheduled me for a full cardio workup.  She did give me heck though for way too much caffeine and Diet Pop consumption.  Luckily I can keep drinking coffee but she was blunt on the Diet Pop:  "Cut that crap out!"  That's not likely in the Doctor Training Manual but I like it.  So long Diet Soda...hello Fizzy Water!

Recently I've observed all the kids, Andrew, Court, Michael and Holden to appear to have grown.  Now the truth is out:  I shrunk!

Until next time...

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Walk Sally, Walk!

She was an active skiier and tennis player.  In an earlier life she enjoyed sailboating.  Over the past few years however she has become less active.  Then this summer, the 'Eureka' moment:  she took up walking!

Like all such decisions this happened after a major life changing experience:  she contracted pneumonia!  This nasty bout kept her bedridden for nearly 3 weeks on heavy anti-biotics and a liquid diet.  It wasn't much fun.  But like Rip Van Winkle, when she 'awoke', she was hungry for something new.

And a walker was born...

Yes, Sally has taken up walking.  As you know we live beside the Humber River in Central Etobicoke and have miles of paved walking trails just steps from our house.  When the non paved trails deeper into the woods are included, the choices of cycling, running and of course walking are virtually endless.  Most of the trail is tree covered and the noise of the city...well, there is no city noise to be heard.  It's like being deep in the forest.

And like any newbie, all she talks about now is walking:  blow-by-blow of each walk, the benefits of polypropylene and of course shoes.  Her first few walks were in a pair of fashion shoes...not good...led to early case of shin splints.  Her second pair were an old pair of running shoes.  She didn't like how clunky and 'wedgie' those were.

We went shopping!

After trying on a number of shoes, she settled on a pair of walking shoes from Columbia.  'Heaven'.  They have a lot of support with a very natural feel.  Not too much rise so they mimic a very natural and comfortable walking stride.  Sally loves them.  Of course once bitten, she is now eager to try out other pairs.  I see a new favourite store in her future:  Running Room!  For her birthday recently she asked for and got a Gift Certificate for Running Room and it's burning a hole in her purse.

Sally was determined to keep it simple and non-competitive.  Then she found the Map My Walk App for her Galaxy 3 Smartphone!  Now when she hears the voice, 'Signal lost' she walks faster to pick up the GPS signal again.

I join Sally and Tia most weekends now to 'go for a walk'.  The most recent milestone was a 7.5 K last weekend on a particularly hot and sunny Sunday morning.  Thankfully the trees overhead provided nice shade for most of the walk.  It actually began as a 2.5 mile walk but the challenge of the longer distance got the better of us and we ended up doing 7.5 K.  Sally was in some pain the next day...thank you Voltarin (this stuff really works).

She will never transition to running...one crazy in the family is enough...but she loves walking every day.  Now if only we can figure out where to hang our respective workout clothes...

Until next time...
ThatRunninGuy (with ThatWalkinGirl)

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Running DOES solve everything

What was I thinking in my last blog post? (Running doesn't solve everything).  Running does solve everything.  On every run I've been on I've been able to 'solve all the problems of the universe' multiple times. If only I could remember the solutions after I finished...

Getting 'into the zone' where all the problems of the world disappear is magical.  Some days it happens quickly on others it only happens during the final kilometre.  I've always experienced it though no matter the run.

So running does solve everything...these are my top 5:
  1. It solves the problem of what to do for an hour at 5 am in the morning.  It's better to go out running rather than trolling on Facebook.
  2. Running allows you to talk to yourself without being called crazy.  Fess up:  you've had at least one run where you huffed out loud, "Come on...I can do this!!!".  Or the other version, "#%#!!%#@@!!...this is hard!!"
  3. Running is better than swimming, biking.  Swimming - drive to public pool; put on bathing suit; shower;  then get wet in a chlorinated pool.  In the cold winter months this is a chilly affair.  Biking - buy bike, carry up and down elevator, store in apartment; give Spouse a reason to get angry.  And biking in the city? Unlike Holland with dedicated bike roads, sharing the road with cars in Toronto is like playing chicken.
  4. Running can be done alone.  Sure you can run with a group but it isn't absolutely necessary.  Just get up, put on running gear and get outside.
  5. You meet the nicest people running.  Really.  Sure all we talk about is running, getting injured and recovering from injury but it sure beats talking about politics and religion.  Maybe if more clerics and politicians ran things would run more smoothly (sorry...I couldn't resist the pun).
Until next time...

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