Tuesday, October 29, 2013

I missed running in the Fall this year

Walking/Running/Cycling Tree Covered Trail along the
Humber River taken by Sally on her walk last Sunday
Where did Fall go?

I look forward to the transition from summer running to fall running every year. It seems I missed it this year.  Only last week I was running in short sleeves and short tights.  Then overnight it turned to Fall!  

Where we live in Central Etobicoke we enjoyed greenish leaves on the trees until last week.  But with recent daily highs in the single digits Celsius and early morning lows hovering around zero, the leaves have changed colour and fallen! Almost time to start looking out for black ice! And north of Toronto last week there was snow!  Negril and Reggae Marathon December 7 can't come soon enough!

But that's still the future.  There are things I like about running in the fall and I'm sorry to have missed them this year:
  • I'm not wearing a toque yet.  That I save for the below freezing temperatures that are coming.  
  • Frosty breath!  I love seeing my breath in the cool morning air.  This must have something to do with growing up in a warm climate...winter seemed so exotic.
  • Light fleece.  I know the heavier fleece is coming but for temperatures above freezing the lighter weight gear makes me feel like a Gazelle when I'm running.
  • Running in the dark.  I love it!  Maybe this goes back to my early running days when at 240 lbs running in the dark so no one would see me was the reason I went out early.
  • Watching the leaves fall.  After the leaves change colour, there is a period when they are still on the branches and haven't fallen yet.  I especially love running then.
Soon winter running will be here along with that the icy sidewalks encrusted with salt. Yuck!  Then the sadness of missing fall running this year will really sink in.

Until next time...

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Anatomy of a Run

4:30 am comes early in my house.

That's the time I get up most week-day mornings to go running.  For some crazy reason, I love running in the dark (Sally says I'm 'in the dark' most days but I digress).  I like the quite and almost total lack of traffic early morning. I should clarify though:  I get up at 4:30 am...I don't go running until nearly 6 am.  That's one of the things about growing older:  it takes me nearly an hour to 'go running':
  • I don't like to run on a full stomach.  Unless I'm going for a long run, I don't eat anything before heading out.  I drink water though...I sweat a lot even in the winter so having to stop for a 'bio break' isn't a problem for me.
  • The first thing after I get up is to check the weather.  Unless there's been an ice storm overnight, I'm going running.  I am sensitive to temperature though so I check that via my handy Smartphone App (The Weather Network).
  • Once geared up:  In the summer, short tights and a technical T shirt;  in colder conditions long tights and layered tops, I walk down the four flights of stairs from our apartment.  That's it for pre-run limbering up.  I have never liked stretching before a run:  something about straining cold muscles.  
  • With a nod to my age, I walk the first 100 metres before breaking into a jog.  Most mornings it's only a few minutes before my breathing normalizes and I pick up the pace.  That's a good running day...some days it's 20 minutes in before things settle down.  On those mornings I ask myself, "This is fun?"
  • I run about 40 minutes 5 days a week now with a couple of days off.  My 'long run' is usually a Saturday or Sunday up around 75 minutes.  After running and racing and training for events most of the past 30 years, I really only have one 'race' that matters:  the annual pilgramage to Negril each December for Reggae Marathon
  • I don't run with music.  I like my 'alone time' while running and when all goes well just enjoy an easy pace.  I do solve all the problems of the world while running though...unfortunately I never seem to remember the solutions after.  I know my head is clear though...that's all that matters.
  • I sprint for the final 500 metres.  OK, an exaggeration but I do pick up the pace as I near the finish.  Old habit...I like to finish in a flat-out sprint. I'll never be Usain Bolt but it feels good trying.
  • Post-race I walk for about 10 minutes to cool down.  I don't stretch after running either...the walk seems to be enough.
  • Since I run early in the morning and don't eat before I run I come back famished. Lots of water plus hot cereal does the trick.  That's the plan anyway...I usually end up with a cereal bar.
That's the anatomy of my typical daily running routine.  Well, it's exciting to me!

Until next time...

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Scatterbrained Running

Some mornings I'm not sure how I make it through my run.

It's dark outsode.  Pre-dawn with only the occasional passing bus to brighten up my route through Central Etobicoke.  I put on my 'dark' running gear, walk down the 4 flights of stairs into the cool morning air.  I do love fall!

After a minute or so of brisk walking...my version of warming up...I break into a slow jog.  That lasts for a few minutes until my brain and legs begin to talk to each other:  "Crap...he really is serious about running again this morning".

Most days I get to the sweet spot quickly:  legs turning over rapidly (160 times a minute is the goal), breathing deep and regular, mind blank.  But some days no matter how hard I try, not so much.  On those days I go scatterbrained:
  • Why did that raccoon cross the road?  Dam...that's a big raccoon!!  Hope he's more scared of me than I am of him.
  • Will I be  delayed on the TTC this morning?
  • My son is getting married!!  Yikes...when did he grow up?
  • Gotta loose some weight...carrying this extra Muffin Top around sucks.  Running with it sucks even more.
  • I should walk for a few minutes.  Nope, keep running!
  • I've been running for 30 years...why doesn't it get any easier.
  • Will my client make my candidate an offer today?  Will my candidate accept it?
  • "Stop thinking about work!"
  • Why are my lungs screaming for air?
  • Oh, oh...here comes that hill again.  Why did I pick this route?
On those mornings running isn't fun...thankfully though it's over relatively quickly.  What keeps me running is knowing that tomorrow is another day...

Until next time...

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Shoot me November 2 at Sector 57

"November 2...the perfect day to shoot me".  Preferably not in the back at close range while running to 'Capture the Flag'.

We're back!  A little later than normal and with a new Outdoor location but our 5th Annual Paint Attack Fund Raiser for the Heart & Stroke Foundation is on for November 2 at Sector 57 Paintball in Oshawa.  My sons and their friends will be out in force once again to have fun playing paintball...and shooting, I mean marking, the Old Man.  They may have youth on their side, but my superior experience gives me the edge. Or at least I hope so.

In the past we've dedicated our annual event to family who have passed away from heart attacks, heart disease and strokes: my Dad, my Mother-in-Law being two immediate family members.  This year we're dedicated to two close friends who have suffered from heart disease recently: Nigel and Brad.  In the prime of their lives each recently had a brush with heart disease.  Through the quick efforts of the health services, they both received top-notch care.  The money raised in Paint Attack goes to the Heart & Stroke Foundation of Ontario.  It helps fund research and education to eliminate this disease if possible; alert you to the symptoms so you can take quick action.

I'll be running on November 2 for sure in Paint Attack #5.  Sector 57 in Oshawa has outdoor paintball fields and from past experience, I expect the boys to 'light me up' every chance they get.  I won't mind...it's for cause that's affected all of us.

If you are interested in shooting me November 2 at Sector 57 during oue 5th Annual Paint Attack, leave a comment on this post or contact me directly:  chris@thatrunninguy.

Until next time...

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

40 Beats a Minute: Zen Baby, Zen!

Zen baby, Zen!
40 beats a minute.  That's my resting heart rate.  Less than 1 beat per second. 

"Thumpa...big pause...thumpa".

My Doctor was concerned so she sent me for a battery of heart tests...stress, electrocardiogram, ultrasound.  Her concluding diagnosis:  "40 beats per minute is abnormal...but it's your normal". Sally got a kick out of that notion that 'my normal is abnormal'. It may just explain my mellow state. It explains a lot.  And it got me thinking:  what else beats at 40 beats a minute.  To answer that of course I Googled it:
  • First up was this article, "My heart rate is 40 beats a minute, does this mean I'm in good shape?".  My favourite answer noted that only Sages and Monks had heart rates that low.  Hmmm...Sage...I quite like that!
  • In music, I am a 'Lento'.  That means music at a 'leisurely' 40 beats per minute.  One great example is this one from Charles Mingus, "Goodbye Pork Pie Hat".  Not so good to run to...ideal though for relaxing and meditating;  Perfect for a lazy Sunday afternoon...Zen!
  • And speaking of running, with the change to forefoot running, I'm up to just over 160 step rate...that's 4 x 40.  Don't you just love math.
  • Also at 40 beats are Hummingbirds.  Of course, they flap their wings at 40 beats per second!  
  • In cycling, the current theory is that the ideal cadence is 80 RPM:  2 times my resting heart rate
  • Driving in a school zone in Toronto:  40 Km/hr.  Hmmm...
  • And still on driving, my comfort speed is 120 kpm:  3 x 40.
  • This past year I celebrated the 15 anniversary of my 40th birthday.  OK, I didn't find that on Google...
I could continue but that would be beating a dead horse.  The bottom line is that I'm healthy, still running and enjoying every minute of it.

Zen baby...ZEN!

Until next time...