Thursday, December 31, 2009

Year ender and the fourth blogiversary

Yesterday was my fourth blogiversary, which I marked by not posting but did get a 3 miler in. Four years ago yesterday, started this running blog and while the frequency of posting has gone down over the years and down during my non-training periods, I'm very happy to mark the day. I'm a few dozen posts from hitting the 1000 mark and looking back, this blog has been a great way to meet other runners and a nice chronicle of how I got to where I am.

Which is, at the end of 2009, 2120 miles or 3411 kilometres. 2009 was a great running year, to say the least. Three marathons, countless other races and I finally got my BQ all while pounding out the miles in Toronto, Washington and places in between.

Tomorrow starts a new cycle, races will loom and Boston and New York will be on the horizon. Winter is the season that tests one's running passion up here, but i'm looking forward to the snowfall, the long runs on the lonely trail. I doubt i'll hit a treadmill. In any case, it'll help burn off the calories I've inhaled over the past two weeks.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

The eating season (and running through it)

This is the time I dread. I don't have quite enough time to run -- having to help cook dinner, buy and wrap presents, and get ready for the festive season. I do have, however, plenty of time it seems to eat. Cookies and chocolate that gets passed around. The first and second platefuls of carb and protein (and fat) rich foods.

This year, it's slight different. I'm in the second week of marathon training so I'm not fond of dropping the mileage down to nothing. I've fit in 13 miles since Monday, not bad I think, and plan to get out there Christmas morning for maybe a medium long run. On Boxing Day, hope to get another run in.

Today I'm visiting the folks and I threw down four miles in the old hood, including a loop that had me passing my old elementary school. In the track below is where my love of this pursuit was born, many years ago. This afternoon, like most times I've passed it in recent years, it was deserted, dusted with snow.

Merry Christmas everyone

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Winter wonderland

, originally uploaded by yumkerun.

I'm finally in a mood for winter running. If only we could get this type of snow in Toronto like we got in DC last night. R. and I went for an hour long walk in the evening. I hammed out a 5 mlier that morning in blizzard conditions.

We're venturing out again for another run. I'll snap whatever pictures I can.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Back on the job

I took a vacation from running this week, only running about 3 miles in six days. It was actually kinda nice, just staying at home after work with no pressure to get in a workout, or going out with friends into the night without worrying about the next 8 miler.

In our working lives, we look forward to the weekend for that need to recharge. Or a week off in the summer so we can unplug. Because running is our side passion, we often fill those weekends and weeks off with a hell of a lot of running. Sometimes, running actually feels like work -- not in a bad, 'I hate work' way, but in a 'I gotta put on the running shoes five or six days a week' to get the job done. (The job, in the case of marathoners, is the training.)

I've typically run the least amont of monthly mileage in December, it's usually my rest month of the year. Actually, I don't think I've topped 100 miles in each of the last four Decembers. It's a great chance to end of the year. This year, it's different because tomorrow, my 18 week marathon program begins for an April marathon.

So this year, I probably will top 100 miles for this month. I'm kinda glad I have training through the 'eating season' that Christmas tends to be. I'll eat, but have the daily runs haunting my schedule.

Running vacations are great, but we all know that fitness gains are hard to make if you take too long a break, so today, I did 8.5 miles around the city. Hit some hills, ran in the rain, and ended of the last day of my vacation from running with a nice strong run.

Sunday, December 06, 2009


I can't lie, the body wants to be in hibernation mode. It's getting dark early and I wake up on weekends too often not wanting to run. In fact, if there was a weekend to skip a run, this would be it: I'm one week away from starting the next marathon training cycle and could use a step-back week.

But today was a sunny day, and looking at my BlackBerry I saw too many emails fly into my inbox -- it was a Sunday morning and I just couldn't escape work. So I said to myself "You can't not run on a sunny day, you don't get many of them these days."

So without a real goal of distance, I went on a sprawling route around downtown, taking a turn here, a lap at the track, then up a big hill and down a long one. Before it was over, I saw that I was going to do more than 10 miles. By the time I was done, I'd done 20K.

True, I run with an iPod at times, and always with my Garmin, but while I'm connected to these gizmos one thing I do when I run is disconnect from the wired world. Emails, tweets and text messages can land in their many inboxes or screens but for those few hours when I'm running out there, I'm out there disconnected, only to find myself -- while huffing up a hill, breathing hard at a stop light, striding down a sidewalk with studder steps to avoid a pedestrian, looping around the highschool track, gulping down water from an icy cold water bottle, sprinting down asphalt on a deserted street, turning a corner to discover a new route -- that all those motions all help me find the purpose. Reconnecting with myself.

That'll serve as another reason why I run.

Training wise, Boston prep begins in one week. I've been logging strong mileage over the past five weeks so I may take it really easy the next seven days. The first month of training, which will include the holidays, will be relatively light. Lots of 8 to 10 milers in there with some tempo work. The long runs won't get truely long until mid January. It's going to be tough between now and March: The three dark and cold months have always been a test. I'm almost anticipating the snow.