Sunday, January 31, 2010

The moon

It has been an interesting week.

As I got coffee last night at my favorite coffee shop I took a moment to read my horoscope. It turns out that this full moon was not good for my sign. Wow, I wish I knew that all last week. Nothing really happened that bad but I just had a feeling of frustration. It is funny how being in a bad mood can make even the most insignificant occurrence seem like the end of the world.

I did not run a formal workout yesterday but rather decided to do some speed play. Both my feet and lower legs have been giving me some issues over the past week and thus I decided to take it easier to avoid any further damage. I ran into a couple of friends in the park which was nice and got a corresponding dinner invite which was even better. The funny thing is, I was running along a trail and saw a couple of hot guys out of the corner of my eye. As I came out of the trail I heard them yell my name and I was very surprised and happy to run into my friends to have a little chat. My run yesterday was satisfactory although I am also getting over my cold. Yesterday I was quite congested which added to my lack of desire to train.

After a fun yet frustrating night last night I was feeling less then enthusiastic to run today. I eventually got myself out the door in the afternoon for my long run. I should have run 17 miles but the pain in both my feet limited my ability to run too long. It seems like I have a tibialis anterior tendinitis, so a long run is not the best to aid healing. I ran a good 12 miles and in spite of the pain it went by fast and I had a good amount of energy. I still have the remnants of my cold and a couple of times I tried to clear my nose while running only to have a giant snot land squarely on my cheek and clothes. I feel much better now. It almost seems like my run has cleared out my head. Unfortunately my legs are not feeling that great. Both are quite sore and I can only limp when I need to go somewhere. It was a long walk to the grocery store.

I am hoping the bilateral leg pain is merely an initial reaction to the increased workload that I have piled on my body. Running intervals makes a runner fast but also chew up the body. The forces of running fast on the body are much more severe then that of a slow easy run. I will have to ensure lots of ice and Ibuprofen over the next few weeks to ensure I am able to continue training at a high level.

Mileage
Saturday: 8 miles
Sunday: 12 miles

Thursday, January 28, 2010

VFAC Track

Tonight I had a great and much needed workout.

Tonight we were to run 5 X 400 at slightly less then all out pace with the first interval as a warm up. I ran the first interval in 64 which was very comfortable. I followed with 4 efforts all sub 60. As this is only my second workout on the track I am extremely happy with this workout. In light of feeling somewhat under the weather and with approximately an hour warm up this bodes well for improving my front end speed. I have no idea where my track legs have come from but I will take them.

I was slightly annoyed on the track as there were several groups training. I will not rant as I had for the jerk on Saturday but I will make one point. I find it very disheartening when runners show complete disregard or do not familiarize themselves with track etiquette. The inside lanes are for the fastest training group. When someone yells 'track' it means move to the outside lane to let the faster group go through. Tonight I was totally blocked by 4 slow moving runners. When trying to run sub 60 seconds for 400 this is not a good thing. Also, do not stand on the inside lane not should one do drills on the inside lane. As the sign says, first three lanes are for FAST runners, also known as the fast lanes. If you are slower please move to the outside.

Tonight I have quite severe foot pain which is throbbing as I type this. I also have a sore throat and my nose is starting to snot and run. This cold is totally annoying and I wish it would either go away or get really bad. This whole half hearted lingering thing is tres annoying. The best would be for it to go away!

Mileage
Thursday: 8 miles

Happy Training!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Great Expectations?

I expect a lot from myself and typically not as much from others. Is this a failed or defeated way of looking at the world? Should we expect as much of others as we do ourselves? First let me report on my training.

Today I hit a bit of a road block called my left foot. As I walked home from work I felt a shooting pain in my foot causing me to almost wipe out. I thought for a panicked instant that I may have to call a taxi to get home but thankfully the pain resolved and I was able to continue on my way. As I did not want to get stuck somewhere while out on a run I decided to run on the treadmill at the gym tonight. I ran 4 miles in total at 6:30 pace. I almost fell off the machine around 3 times when the pain came a calling. I managed to stay on the treadmill and would have run longer if not for the pain. After finishing my run I hit the weights for an annoying session. None of the weights or machines I was seeking were free and instead of quickly ripping off my sets I sat and waited for the big fat goons to finish their workouts. I finished my workout with a good core workout and my abs are still burning. I cannot wait for summer so I can rip off my shirt and run with my 6 to 8 pack firmly and solidly in place.

As I was heading to the shower I quickly glanced at a man who from a distance may have been considered attractive. On closer inspection he was far from anything I would date. Once into the shower I got to thinking. Most people would consider this man attractive and would sleep with him, am I too picky? I have been told I am picky, that maybe my expectations of what I can find are unrealistic. Seriously, what I am looking for is a man with less then 10% body fat, graduate education, a good professional career, a sense of style, a sense of humor, ability to carry a conversation, good sex drive, manners, healthy lifestyle and cute. When I tell people what I am looking for they stare at me as if I am from outer space and call me picky.

What I am looking for in someone else is nothing more then what I look for and expect from myself. Is it unrealistic to expect from a partner as much as I expect from myself? Should they be held to lower standards than I hold myself? To be honest I have already lowered my expectations of others. I have lowered them to the point that I know what I desire does not exist. What I desire will never come to fruition. The one expectation I will never drop is the expectation and belief I have in myself. For in many ways I have my perfect man within my sights already. He has less then 10% body fat, a wicked 6 pack, cute skinny trousers, a great job, amazing and inspiring friends and he can run like the wind. I am learning to be content with the most important relationship I have, with myself. Learning to love oneself is often the hardest thing to learn.

I was wondering as I walked home from the gym when I lost my great expectations of others. It has been a slow erosion of faith. There are series of events in our lives that chip into the belief that someone else will always be there to help or support us. It is a survival skill to be able to swim on ones own without the support or assistance of others. It may be a lonely existence but it can be very effective. It may start with the first realization that our parents are neither immortal nor able to protect us from pain. It continues when we are first betrayed by our best friend or left out of an activity. At last when we enter the real world our expectations of others are crushed when we enter the working world and discover that we are all disposable. There will always be another employee to fill your shoes. Expectations crumble when forgotten by friends, ignored by 99% of the population, been on dozens of failed dates and faced with continual disappointment delivered from others. When the only plan one can count on is one they make to complete on their own then great expectations collapse.

This is all not to say I am not continually surprised by the joy and generosity of others. But, it would be nice not to be surprised. It would be exceptional to have high expectations of others and have those expectations fulfilled. It would be nice to expect of others nothing less then I would expect from myself. Alas, my expectations have been crushed. I expect only the best from myself, or at least the best that I can be. As for others I hope and pray for surprises. As I learned at a very young age "the only person you can depend on is yourself".

It is obvious I am into the rhythm of my training and the consequential pensive and slightly depressed mood. I am into the cadence of training and thus have stopped even thinking of making plans on Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday day and Sunday. It has taken a bit to get into focus but I am back. Things will be a bit more serious for a while but that is what I have grown to expect. When the going gets tough I will ensure to get some awesome new things!

Mileage
Wednesday: 4 miles, core and weights

Happy Training!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Tempo with Sequel

Today I had a surprisingly good tempo and a surprisingly good swim.

I woke up this morning feeling and looking like somehow through the night I made my way to the Burrard Sky Train Station and figured a way to get hit by a train and still make it back to bed. The alarm clock radio was not a welcome invention this morning. Upon getting off work and heading home I was dreading what I thought would be a dreadfully painful tempo run. I made a deal with myself to run a specific route with an end point for my tempo rather then running a specific time (today, 50 minutes). I ran to my usual starting place and began my tempo effort. I ran a full loop on the trails of Stanley Park South of the Causeway then crossed the pedestrian overpass, looped Beaver Lake, ran up to Brockton Point, across Siwash Trail then to the Seawall at Third Beach to finish after running around the Seawall to Second Beach. It was 40 minutes at tempo pace which was great. I loved not having a timer ticking down to measure my workload. I do not think I ran as quality pace as usual but I do believe I was still able to move along at a reasonable pace. If I think back to my last few tempos that would mean that I most likely ran the appropriate pace.

After my cool down and a snack I was so tired that it was impossible for me to avoid laying in bed for a bit of a rest before heading to the pool. I woke up an hour later feeling like a bit of a human again. I had a bit of a bag dilemma before heading to the pool as I thought I was looking quite cute in my skinny pants and big cream colored sweater with an awesome high neck. To top it off I had my lovely cashmere scarf wrapped around my neck. I was concerned my Speedo bag would sully my look. I reached for my leather bag in a moment of narcisism. I quickly realized that I did not want to take my precious bag to a chlorinated nightmare of a pool and placed my bag back in it's proper spot. I think the back pack makes me look like a 15 year old, but whatever.

After sign in I was very tempted to walk to the closest restaurant, order take out and then go home and go to bed early. Instead I changed into my tiny Speedo and hopped into the pool for "the set". This is the longest mileage weeknight workout of the month. My one usual consolation with this workout is it is almost always freestyle. I was disappointed to see Medley on the board. The swim itself was great. My freestyle is not too bad and for the first time ever I did not drop back when doing backstroke. I swam fly and fly drill for the breaststroke so I was even able to keep up for that horrible stroke. I am very pleased I was able to swim the whole workout. I am tickled that my backstroke is starting to finally get better. So nice to go to the pool and not feel like I am going to drown in backstroke!

Overall a great day of training with very inauspicious beginnings. My cold is not really doing much. I feel a bit drained with some voice changes. I am starting to sound quite sexy and a bit manly. As I continue to have no real breathing problems I am pretty pleased with the sexy results of this nuisance. Maybe I will drop another octave for tomorrow.

Things I love
New Things: This seems so obvious, everyone loves new things. Actually not everyone likes new things. In Vancouver people hate new things. If they are going build a new building, house, park, field or start a new program or give new stuff to the poor, people always complain. I suppose that is a post unto itself. New Things are great. I love all new things. Even the most mundane new thing will make me happy. I got new antiperspirant today and I am really excited. I am thinking of using it tomorrow despite the fact that the old one still has some life in it. But the new stuff is going to be great, I can tell because it is new and new things are great. I even get excited with new dish soap. It is hard for me to put it into the cupboard and wait to finish the old green stuff. The new orange stuff is so much better. Even new socks can send a shiver of excitement through my body. Food is not immune from this phenomenon. I will try a bite of almost everything I have bought at the grocery store within hours of getting home. From the 2 kinds of cereal to cottage cheese to a bit of Dijon mustard I will give all the new things a little sample. And they are usually great, when eaten in context, because they are new. Things I love, New Things!

Mileage
Tuesday: 10 miles with 40 min tempo
Swim: a few thousand meters

Happy Training!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Going Viral

I have finally gotten the cold.

It started Saturday and now I have some chest congestion and a sore throat. I woke up through the night with a sinus headache. This will put a bit of a damper on my training as I continue to feel a touch under the weather. I am not overly disappointed. This is great timing for a cold. I can still train through a cold but I do not have to worry about my performance lagging. I will just have to remember that I am sick when I do not hit my times on Thursday's workout.

Yesterday I went out for my long run and soon there after felt the budding effect of my cold. I was tired and weak with difficulty breathing. Instead of running out to UBC I ran to Kits Beach then along False Creek. I still managed 10 miles. The 10 miles took a lot of my energy and I felt drained for the rest of the day.

My eye contact record for today is at 0. I thought I made eye contact with a Japanese tourist today but it was a false alarm. She was just checking me out. I was not feeling that great today so I did not have as much energy to put into making smiling eye contact. Maybe the people in Vancouver are all sick? That would really explain why people are so sour. Last week at the cafeteria a woman, who must have been having a really bad day or in a big fight with the lunch lady, barked a really rude order at the poor immigrant lunch lady. I had secondary embarrassment for this rude and mean acting woman. I wonder what happened to her to make her such a sourpuss. Did her cat die that morning? Is she in a loveless marriage? Did her child not get into med school? Did she predict that Sacha Cohen would not make the USA Olympic Team? Whatever has happened in her life to make her so terse and mean to the hardworking, sweet, engaging and wonderful lunch lady must have been pretty severe. Or else she is just a bitch.

I am going to try and go to the gym tonight as I am afraid I am going to fall off the wagon and lose my abs and veins. Tomorrow I will attempt my tempo though I will cut it short if I am feeling ill.

Mileage
Sunday: 10 miles

Happy Training!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Unfriendly

Today I had my first workout back on the track and it was a challenge, for many reasons. I also had a fun running clinic with some of the members of the English Bay Triathlon Club.

I arrived at the track nice and early to get warmed up for what would be 10 times 400 workout with 200 recovery. I felt slightly sluggish on my warm up although drills felt good. I became quite short of breath on my strides which I will attribute to what I feel is a cold beginning to develop. By the time John had arrived at the track I was ready to go. The first 4 intervals went well up until the last 100 meters of the 4th. This is when lactate acid started to hit and my legs turned to jelly. I was a bit concerned as I was running under pace and I had the feeling this workout may become a crash and burn. I was able to 'suck it up' on the 5th interval and follow with a very good effort over the last 4 400's. I ran very consistently on 64 pace for the majority of the workout. I am pleased with this first effort on the track as I have residual fatigue from Thursday night and I had to work through a tough spot after number 4 interval.

Following the workout I had a great time leading a bit of a running clinic with EBTC. We went over some drills and strides and I must say that the coordination of the athletes was impressive. I have seen some ugly drills in my years of running so I was happy to see some triathletes learn quickly. It is fun to share my love of running and some tips and techniques that may lead to others loving this sport as much as I do.

My eye contact test is still going strong and I am finding it quite comical. Yesterday I made eye contact with 2 people. One was a pretty though slightly overweight blonde and the other was a pretty brunette. I will hypothesize that they are either single or in a bad relationship to make eye contact with me. The eye contact I garnered with them was within 1 block of being home so they totally rescued my eye contact day. Sometimes I have to giggle at the lengths people will go through to avoid eye contact. I almost ran into someone in a crosswalk and they still did not make eye contact. I felt like stopping them and shaking them to see if they would look at me. Even the overtly gay men walking down the street avoid eye contact at all costs. Or if they do make eye contact it is fleeting and followed by a look of shock. That must be the emotion I stir in the homos, total shock.

If my eye contact experiment makes me think Vancouver is less then friendly then an experience on the track today makes me think this city is unfriendly. I may be wrong to assume such a preposterous supposition, but I was led to believe that running tracks were for running. The problem with Saturday morning track workouts are the soccer games in the infield. The actual games themselves are not much of an issue, it is the clueless parents who are watching. There is a constant stream of distracted and self absorbed parents crossing, meandering, strolling and standing on the track, in the way of the workout. It requires constant yelling and prompting to get these human obstacles out of the way. When one is running fast it is very hard to stop to avoid a stupid and clueless moron who cannot quite understand that people are actually running on the track. Most of the people will move out of the way, yet we still encounter those who believe by the sheer fact that they exist in this world that they have a right to do whatever the fuck they want regardless of the purpose of a facility. I encountered one such prick today.

I was on interval 7 or 8 when this little incident occurred. I had noticed a man, a bit on the shorter side, balding and wearing and over sized Adidas soccer coat, watching the soccer matches in the infield from the track. Occasionally he would wander close to the track and I had to avoid him a few times during my warm-up. As I was coming around the bend to home, in the last 100 meters of my interval, I noticed him walking slowly, squarely in the first lane of the track and meandering towards the second lane. I yelled 'track' which is the standard command one yells when on the track. He did not move. I yelled 'look out' as I got increasingly closer and he did not budge an inch. Remember I am running fast, very fast, and at this point in the workout I am tired and starting to struggle a bit. By the time I was on his shoulder and in the process of passing he finally responded with "Fuck Off!" Welcome to Vancouver. Of course this is my fucking track as much as it is this little asshole's so I yelled right back. "Get off the fucking track!" In all my years of running, the very many tracks I have trained on from one corner of Canada to the other. From St. John's Newfoundland to Victoria, BC, I have never been told to "fuck off" for trying to run a workout on a track.

I have been harassed and berated more in this city then any other place I have lived for merely trying to live an active life and make myself a better athlete. I am repeatedly catcalled, made fun of and criticized while training. And now I am told to fuck off by some suburban asshole while I am using a track (which my club help to build) for it's intended purpose.

I believe that it is the people who can make a city great. Being from the Maritimes I understand this concept very well. Per capita the Maritime provinces will donate more to charity then any where else in the country, despite being the poorest of all the regions. There is no fancy infrastructure nor is there much money, but the people will welcome you into their home for a hot cup of tea and sweet if they get the chance. People will stop for you to cross the street. The car horn is to say hello rather then fuck off. Here in Vancouver if one stops to let someone cross the street there is the risk of getting hauled out of your car and beat up. Vancouver has so many wonderful aspects from the soaring mountains to the beautiful facilities to the amazing glass architecture that defines the downtown. I feel more and more fortunate every day that I met some great people in my time here in Vancouver because if not then I would be moving away as soon as the Olympics are over. If it is true that it is the people who make a city great then Vancouver is one of the worst cities I have ever lived in. It is unfortunate that a happy smiling face is met with revulsion and suspicion rather then friendliness.

This has been a very critical take on the populace of Vancouver and it has been born out of a few years of very frustrating interactions. I am more determined now then ever to put my best foot forward and smother people with joy and happiness and friendliness. I will not put the mantra "if you can't beat them join them" into practice but instead I will try to lead by example. Again, I hope they do not put me into the psych ward!

Mileage
Friday: 5 miles
Saturday: 10 miles

Happy Training!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Pain then Gain

I finally feel ready to run again, I think.

Tonight I ran with VFAC for the infamous 4-1-1 mile workout. Starting at mile 0 on the Seawall this workout is a exercise in learning to pace. I have felt what has driven me to train and I enjoyed it. Even with a much too fast first mile (5:04) I was able to run below what my coach had asked (5:20) for my average mile in the first interval. The last mile of the 4 miler was quite tough and at one point I thought I was taking a heart attack, but the pain subsided after a few hundred meters. I had so much energy for the first interval I thought I was going to spring right into the glowing Olympic Rings floating beside the Seawall.

There was full recovery between the intervals. I got a chance to catch my breath but I also had to keep moving to keep my legs loose. Despite the warm weather it is still quite easy to tighten up with a short time standing around. The first of the single miles felt quick and easy. I was working hard and it felt as though the work was resulting with speed. My stride felt crisp and fresh. It was not as easy as the first mile of the 4 miler though it still felt nice. The last mile required a lot of effort as I was chasing my clubmates who were running really well. The chase always provides inspiration to run harder. I do not feel like it's racing in a workout but rather working together. It is like our energy pulls each other on or provides feedback into our own performance. Specifically tonight, when I passed the guys in front of me short of the first mile, I instinctively knew I had run too fast and they are very good at hitting their pace. That type of feedback is not something that is readily available when running on your own. It is nice to be around the running energy again and have a chance to talk racing for a few hours. It is nice to not have to talk about work or love or anything other then running. It is a wonderful twice weekly voyage to a world somehow separate from my normal life.

With the exception of one weekend, 2010 is proving to be exceptional. The scary thing is that I think it is going to get even better. I have gotten some really cool opportunities and will have some coming up. My friend is visiting for the Olympics and I will be attending some really cool events. I am almost as excited for the Cultural Olympiad then anything else. I will be in row 15 for Feist and 4 for the best ballet companies of Canada. The city is really starting to get energized at last as the people here do not seem to get enthusiastic about anything. With the city covered in Olympic regalia it is starting to get quite festive. One does not realize the scope of the Olympics until they are on the verge of happening. The city is beginning to get spruced up for a giant party. I have also booked a trip for the summer which may prove to be my undoing. I will be 2 months out of my marathon and in the mood to party. I will be healthy again with a little more weight on my bones. Currently I am beginning to get very, very lean. I have never had a 6 pack like I do now. It is a bit creapy as I can see all the muscles in my back and some of the bones. As I am also very pale at the moment I imagine to the outside observer they would think I was ill or something. Add to the image I am presenting, shaggy hair and a weeks growth of sparse shaggy beard and you have the workings of a leading role in Jesus Christ Superstar. How can life get any better?

Mileage
Thursday: 12 miles

Happy Training!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

These Eyes

First running then other stuff.

I ran my tempo yesterday and it went well. The warm up was a touch precarious as I had to stop a couple of times to ensure my Achilles/Calcaneal tendon was ok. I also had some bilateral foot pain in my warm up but nothing that I have not felt before. Once into the tempo session I felt good. Once at the 15 minute mark I began to get bored. I was running a long downhill section on a wide open trail with little to no terrain or even anything interesting to look at. This gave my mind a chance to be rational and I began to contemplate why I was running. Then I remembered that I was planning on running a marathon in May. Of course I proceeded to reflect on why I was running a marathon if 15 minutes into a tempo I am getting bored. The thought of running for a few hours at tempo pace and the number of long tempos that I still have to run made me reconsider the whole goal of running a fast marathon in the spring. At this point the timer of my watch went off and I was almost half way through my tempo run. Thankfully my brain shut off at this point and I was into the world of the runner. I hit the Seawall with 20 minutes to go and it flew by. I finished my 45 minute tempo running quite hard and on further reflection during my cool down, I may have started my tempo above my lactate threshold. My breathing was heavy and my quads were fatigued on the hill climbs.

After my run I had only a short time to rest before I went to the pool to swim a workout with my swim club. I swam last Saturday so I actually felt somewhat satisfactory in the pool. An IM set killed me, as butterfly always does, but I was happy that I was able to keep up with backstroke. My backstroke is getting much better which is heartening. I still hate breaststroke!

I have been learning a lot from my gay coach (I have a coach for swimming and running, why not for being gay?) and he has offered me some good insights into life in Vancouver. He was good enough to write out a very long quote so I will share it here;

Jan Morris is a travel writer who lives in Wales - she underwent male to female surgery a few decades ago. This was her impression of Vancouver:

"All Canada, is of course, reserved, undemonstrative, unassuming. I put it down variously to the size of the country, the generally daunting climate, the lingering influence of the British and their debilitating traditions, and the presence of the marvellous, mighty, and terrible neighbour to the south. In Vancouver, however, decorum assumes a new dimension, and gives the whole city (to a stranger's sensibility, anyway) a peculiarly tentative air.

Consider the Smile Test. this is the system I employ to gauge the responsiveness of cities everywhere, and it entails smiling relentlessly at everyone I meet walking along the street - an unnerving experience, I realize, for victims of the experiment, but an invaluable tool of investigative travel journalism. Vancouver rates very low in the Smile Test: not, heaven knows, because it is an unfriendly or disagreeable city, but because it seems profoundly inhibited by shyness or self-doubt.

Pay attention now, as we put the system into action along Robson Street, the jauntiest and raciest of Vancouver's downtown boulevards. Many of our subjects disqualify themselves from the start, so obdurately do they decline eye contact. Others are so shaken that they have no time to register a response before we have passed by. A majority look back, with only a blank but generally amenable expression, as though they would readily return a smile if they could be sure it was required of them, and were quite certain that the smile was for them and not somebody else. A few can just summon up the nerve to offer a timid upturn at the corners of the mouth, but if anybody smiles back instantly, instinctively, joyously, you can assume it's a visiting American, an Albertan, or an immigrant not yet indoctrinated."
This quote was in response to a conversation we had regarding my inability to meet anyone who would date me, or whom I would date, despite my many extracurricular activities and quite extensive social network. He was quite puzzled by my dilemma as I am pretty sure he thinks I am cute on top of being talented, well educated and generally neat. He did some research to find the previous quote which made me feel much better. After getting this little snipet I decided to try my eye contact test again. Walking home from work yesterday I tried to make eye contact with people on Robson Street. By the time I was home I was chuckling to myself as I made eye contact with a panhandler (go figure, give me money?), a person who looked to be in the midst of some sort of psychotic episode (he was continually yelling 'POW!' trying to scare people) and a man who may have been homeless and only had one eye (This man may not have made eye contact as it may have been a glass eye). I did make eye contact with a hot man while I was running but I think that was more to do with the ponytail I had sticking out from the top of my head.

I love Vancouver and I will be writing a loving ode to Vancouver and the Olympics soon (I am so excited for the Olympics I think I might pee my pants!). I do have to be critical of the people who live in this city. This is not the friendliest place. Even at work people will not make eye contact or even those whom I have worked with will avoid eye contact and turn their back in a elevator. The people I find friendly in this city are those who have newly moved here. Most of the friends I have made here were within the first year of actually being here. I think maybe I have lost my friendly attitude too. Sometimes I do not feel settled here. Sometimes, despite the wonderful friends I have made, my running club and career, I feel as though this is not really the place I am meant to settle. When I have traveled recently I have missed the city very much which would leave me to believe that this is becoming my home. A home with one thing missing. Maybe the one thing I am missing is what will eventually make this place a real home for me. A place where I can have everything I ever dreamed of. If only I could get beyond the cold, distant surface of the people of Vancouver I could really make this place a home.

For the time being I am going to pursue awkward eye contact every time I am on the street. I am even going to start smiling at people. I just hope they do not take me to the psych ward.

Mileage
Sunday: 6 miles
Monday: 8 miles
Tuesday: 12 miles as 45 minute tempo
Wednesday: 4 miles and weights

Happy Training!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

The Switch

After a series of 5 star days I have hit a weekend of 2 star days.

I will start with a training update. Running is not going well. Not that I have an injury or anything, although it may be a brain injury. I am still struggling with motivation to train. I am still loving running and look forward to my run everyday. I cannot seem to get fired up to run a workout and I have no desire to race. Normally I thrive on competition and racing, now I feel like the fire has fizzled. Somewhere the flame has been doused. Today I ran 6 miles on treadmill as I was not feeling the love for a long run. When on the treadmill at the gym I usually start at 6:30 pace, get bored, then ramp up the speed to as fast as it will go and run the last 5.5 miles. I sure love to be a tool and make everyone else look fat and slow. I also did some weights with a core workout. Strangely I am enjoying the weight program and I think I am starting to see results. The biggest difference I am seeing is the huge veins developing on my arms and I have become extra lean. I also have no appetite issues.

When it comes to weights I do not ever want to be a giant beefy mess. I like being lean and thin. I do not like the emaciated look I have been pushing for a while so I think a bit of muscle will be an asset. And I also noticed tonight at the gym that the only guy I thought was really attractive and made me feel funny was a skinny guy in plaid shorts and converse. There were many 'attractive' men in the gym tonight. I think it is weird that the one I was attracted to was skinny with a different haircut. **

I also think the euphoria of being flirted with and feeling attractive on New Years has finally worn off. I am impressed that it lasted 2 weeks considering the only real accomplishment was getting a guy's phone number. I am pleased to report that subsequent date with Mr. was nothing less then a complete awkward mess (I would not want to buck a trend). The only good aspect of the situation is that there is no follow up. Some how I need to learn to communicate with attractive gay strangers. Maybe there is an adaptive device I can fabricate somehow. Although conversations are always 2 ways and if he is stupid then there really is not anywhere to go. The moral of the story would be that looks might get you in the door but if you actually want to play with the toys you better have enough words to describe them.

The last reality check is leaving the world of half time work and going to the world of 80% work. I have a great opportunity that I am actually really excited for. The downside is that I do not get a day off a week anymore. It was wonderful while it lasted. I still have a reduced schedule which I love.

On the bright side I am trying to explore my gayness more. I have never been to a big gay pride festival before. I have a bunch of friends in Toronto and also a gay life coach who teaches me about some of the subtleties of gay sex in the city. I love Vancouver but I think for gay men Toronto is more exciting. I am thinking of heading East for some summer heat and excitement. This will be something to look forward too!

Mileage
Sunday: 6 miles and weights/core

Happy Training!

**I was going to post an image of a beefy man and then an image of a skinny (dandy) man but the beefy men made me feel bad and the Dandy man made me jealous.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Be Mine

I noticed some Valentine themed merchandise popping up in Downtown stores thus marking the impending onslaught of depressing marketing espousing love for everyone. One of my few comforts at one time was that most marketing was directed towards a hetero crowd so did not apply to me. Now, in light of human rights and the lure of the almighty dollar, companies are marketing to all of us people living a life in love with images of men in love on some of the advertising for Valentines equipment.

I am generally in dislike of merchandise for holidays showing up in stores months in advance of the actual day. I feel it draws out the event to the point that one is happy the day is over by the time it gets there. Valentines day is no different for me. Already I am thinking about where to take my special someone on that night for the most mind blowing dinner and dancing they have ever known. Or maybe we will go to the Opera this year as a change from the everyday. Or maybe I will drink a bottle of wine, eat a box of chocolates and go to bed early by myself.

The thing is, I have never had a Valentine. Of course I get cards from family and a few friends who will have pity for my pathetic dating abilities but I have never had a real Valentine. One year, while I was at MacMaster University, we had a track workout at the York University Indoor Track. Most of the guys on the team were not thrilled to be running a track workout as Valentines day is the one day when they are almost guaranteed sex with their girlfriend. After the workout the team was pretty anxious to get back to Hamilton and me, as one of the drivers, obliged their wishes and hustled back to the Hammer as fast as possible. Out of sympathy for me one of my teammates got me my first Crispy Creme Doughnut. It is nice to know that even though I do not have a Valentine I have lots of people who care about me. It is still lame that the Crispy Creme Doughnut is one of the few things anyone has gotten me and it came from a hetero teammate.

After noticing the Valentines offerings at the grocery store today I was in a fine mood to get in line behind two love birds at the cash. At the best of times public displays of affection are annoying. At the worst of times they make me mad. As I watched the couple in front of me, a once handsome couple who are in the process of letting themselves go, touch, kiss and whisper into each other ears I thought about my happy days at the country home and counted my breathing. The sound of the slop of their tougue kiss awoke me from my mindful state. I often think, as a hetero couple makes out in front of me in public, what would happen if I were to do the same with my 'boyfriend'. I dare say that at least one person would comment about the gays shoving their sexuality down their throat. Anywho's, as a consolation, their groceries consisted of hydrogenated oils, potato chips, white bread (gasp!) and full sugar Coke. I think there was sausage and bacon too. Have fun with your type 2 diabetes and coronary artery disease.

This morning I had a nice run in the Park. I am not feeling the desire to train hard yet and have put off yet another workout. Instead I did some drills and strides to maintain my strength and speed. The weather cleared yesterday afternoon and I must say the change is glorious. I have said it before but it bears repeating. Vancouver is a great city in the rain and when the sun comes out it is absolutely amazing!

Mileage
Friday: 0 miles and weights
Saturday: 6 miles

Happy Training!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Oh, The Rain

The treadmill has been used, need I write more?

There has been solid rain all week here in Vancouver. To get an understanding of what the rain is like, imagine running one block with a thin shell jacket on. At the end of that block you are soaked to the bone. I had a struggle yesterday to get out the door. I can train in the rain for several consecutive days but at a certain point I cannot take it anymore. Yesterday was one of those days. I was planning on running with VFAC, but I knew that if I waited to run in the evening I would instead have a big glass of wine and go to bed early. So, I forced myself out the door in the late afternoon to trudge through the wet conditions. Once warmed up the run was not that bad, until the last 10 minutes when I started to shiver. There was also the problem of my soaked feet. Twenty minutes into the run my shoes began to gush with water with every stride. Oh, and once my gloves got soaked after 10 minutes my fingers got really cold. And then I began to chafe. Maybe it was not such a great run.

I would have loved to have run with my club but I could not bring myself to stand in the rain for a few hours. There is something about waiting to get cold and uncomfortable that is worse then actually going out the door and getting it over with. I really dislike running when it becomes a question of getting it over with rather then looking forward to it. I feel that if running becomes something that I 'want to get over with' then it might be time to stop. Hopefully this rain will stop soon so I can start looking forward to running again.

Things I Hate
People on Cell Phones: I do not want to come across as a technophobe but I need to get this off my chest. There are many things about cell phones I hate, including cell phone companies (they are all evil!). My hatred towards cell phones is not necessarily how I use mine (or do not use, as it may be) but how others use theirs. I was at the gym the other night to run on the treadmill. I was bopping along on the machine when a cute blonde chick established herself on the treadmill beside me. After approximately five minutes her phone rang and she began what would become a series of voice and text conversations which would continue throughout the duration of her workout. I wonder when people actually take the time to turn off. We have become such a pressured society that we cannot even exercise any more without multitasking. I have seen people out running while talking on their cell phones, wtf? People cannot get through a performance or movie without whipping out their cell phone to see what message they have received. Unless your loved one's death is eminent or your house is on fire I believe one ought to be able to go without a cell phone for at least 2 hours. If you cannot last a short period of time without your technology of choice then maybe you should stay at home instead of interfering with my enjoyment of an event/activity. I believe you are pathetic and overly co-dependent on others for your own self worth if you are so wedded to your piece of technology that you must be connected to it throughout the duration of your waking hours. I hope I do not offend but...
...Things I hate, how some people use cell phones!

Mileage
Wednesday: 6 miles (treadmill, ugh)
Thursday: 8 miles

Happy Training!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Omens?

Tempo Tuesday was yet another success. I ran a 40 minute tempo with a couple of omens to boot!

As part of my convoluted work schedule I did not work yesterday and only worked a 1/2 day today. It is amazing the amount of energy I have to run on this reduced work schedule. It is amazing how much energy I have in general. I am loving part time! After a lunch at home I changed into my running gear and hit Stanley Park to warm up for my tempo.

The weather has been rainy but warm here in the city so I was able to wear shorts and t-shirt with arm warmers. Not many other places in Canada where the conditions are this conducive to training. I felt good on my warm up, not unlike any other regular day. I had no aches or pains and felt 100 times better then last week. Once warmed up I set my watch and worked my way into my tempo.

I ran approximately 20 minutes of the tempo on trails and the last section on the Seawall. I felt satisfactory in the trails. Unremarkable really. It felt like I was just clicking the minutes away. I love the transition to Seawall as I feel very quick and sharp once onto the tarmac. Over the last 20 minutes I could feel my pace building and I felt stronger and stronger. Although I felt like I was working I also felt like I was cruising (and not the gay kind). My brain was engaged in the act of running and I had a good internal dialogue going with no negative self talk. If anything I was trying to go a bit too hard and a few times I had to remind myself to stay below threshold. The last 5 minutes I usually run a bit harder because that is fun. I got to get a bit of burn and felt fast in the last 5 minutes. I finished my tempo at Third beach which enabled me to have a quiet jog to start my cool down with just the sound of the rain and gently falling waves.

So a week ago I wrote about omens. I may have seen a couple of omens today. As I was hammering into my last 12 minutes of my tempo I was rounding the turn at Siwash Rock. I took a quick glance over the Seawall into the crystal clear pacific and noticed a floating condom. I thought, 'that is kind of gross but at least someone is having sex'. I did not really think much of this occurrence although it was the first time I saw a condom floating off the Seawall. Actually I did think of how gross it would be to have that wrapped around my fingers while training open water, but I digress. Then when I finished my tempo and strolled down to the beach to recover I saw another floating condom. Is this a sign? I am finding it hard to interpret this omen. At first I thought that maybe that was a sign I would have a lot of used condoms over the next year. Then I was thinking that maybe my love life will end out being more like a used floating condom then anything else. I do not know how my love life could get more limp and lifeless but I guess anything is possible. Anywho's, I am happy with my tempo regardless.

I had the day off yesterday and had planned to ski but because of the warm weather the ski hill was closed. So I ran some errands and ran in the UBC endowment lands. Following my run I hit the gym to work my giant pipes. So far my weight program is giving me bigger veins and if anything I think I am smaller, although leaner. I have been going to a different gym lately and I must report an increase in the attractive man count. I have seen several men who I would consider having a drink with, although they also have to speak in full sentences which is not a guarantee.

Tomorrow I actually have to work a full day, imagine the inconvenience. I will have an easy run after work and maybe hit the gym. I have a bit more incentive to endure the monotony.

Negative Split: When a workout or race is run with the second half faster then the first. Some argue that one ought to negative split all workouts, building towards the end. Consistent negative splits may also be a sign that the individual is not working hard enough through the first part of the workout.

Snap: In running terms this would be a descriptor of how the leg moves through a running stride. If a stride has good snap it feels as though the stride is quick and energetic. The foot comes off the ground easily with the heel snapping quickly towards the bum. The reach to plant the foot feels effortless and natural and quick. If a stride feels like there is not a lot of snap it feels slow and sluggish. The foot seems to rest on the ground for eternity and generally just looks ugly. If you have seen a person tie up at the end of a race they would have little to no snap in their stride.

Mileage
Monday: 6 miles
Tuesday: 12 miles with 40 minutes as tempo

Happy Training!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Good

Things are good.

I worked yesterday so I could not run my speed workout. I was thinking of pushing my training back one day but instead I just skipped my workout and did my long run today. I had a good long run to the UBC Endowment lands, around the trails and back to Vancouver. It was difficult to get going but after half an hour or so I got into a rhythm and got the run done. It was quite nice.

Last night I went for dinner with a few friends. We ate at Two Chefs and a table and it was wonderful. It was very nice to have a 5 course meal with wonderful wine. I had two courses of lamb which was a bit of lamb overkill but was still really tasty! I guess I love the whole animal from their beautiful natural fibre to the suculent morsels of loveliness I enjoyed last night.

I love a long evening dinner with friends. I was thinking on my way home about my life in Vancouver. I have been here for over 3 years. I have grown to both love and hate the city. Up until this point I was able to say that there really was not much for me give up if I moved away. Of course I would miss the amazing sport facilities I have access too, the mountains, the weather and the lifestyle but I did not feel an emotional attachment. The emotional attachment to my life here has taken hold.

I really have wonderful friends in this city. I have a bit of a bitter side to me. Being with my friends and seeing their happiness, helping them through a tough time or having them to help me melts that bitterness away. Being part of their journey through life makes me happy. Just knowing they are there, makes me happy. It would be very difficult to leave this life and it gets harder every day. I hope that is a sign of a life well lived. With every passing day it just gets better and better. I have confidence this trend is going to continue for a very long time.

Mileage
Saturday: 6 miles
Sunday: 16 miles

Happy Training!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Negative

It is funny how running negative can be a positive. I have returned to running with VFAC and had a pretty good workout.

Last night we ran 2 times 3 miles. Generally I felt good, not counting the freezing cold rain. The first interval went by quite fast and I did not have to really dig hard to run a respectable time. I held myself back and tried to stay steady and even throughout the effort. The last quarter felt really good and I even cracked a huge smile as I rolled into the finish. The second interval went much faster and it felt harder as well. I ran a quicker for the first 800 and rolled through the mile in 5:07(?). For the last two miles of the workout I could feel the faster first section in my legs and lungs. I had good snap and stride length and although I was working hard I felt relaxed. Into the last mile I imagined Paula running hard in the cold by herself and was motivated to run hard to the finish. I was pleased to negative split my workout on my first effort back in the fray.

This negative split gives me confidence in my fitness for this time of year. It has been a while since I have taken a break of this duration. I have also been a little more reckless on this break so to come back and run well is heartening.

This morning, on my first Friday off as a part timer, I ran in the beautiful trails of Stanley Park. My legs felt better then I thought they would. I am tired but generally feel good. I have to ice my right Achilles due to some pain but it really is nothing unexpected. What is a little annoying is the knee pain and hip pain that is starting which serves as a cue to buy new training shoes.

I hate buying running shoes. I am tired of spending money on running shoes that are going to be worn out in 3 months. I am tired of paying too much for shoes that were made in a sweat shop in China or Mexico for $5 a pair and I end out paying $120 or more. I figure I have spent at least $5000 on training shoes as a conservative estimate. I have favorite shoes that I love but at this point in my life I figure I would rather fore go the luxury of a upper end running shoe, that will be worn out in a few months, and buy the cheapest shoe I can find. I do not have a sponsor (I am not fast enough and am overtly gay and opinionated, not really sponsor material) so I end out spending a lot of money. Maybe it is my gay roots showing but I would much rather buy a cashmere sweater or scarf then a clunky pair of ugly running shoes.

Tomorrow I should be running a hard workout but due to a messed up work schedule I will be working instead. I will put all my training back a day.

Mileage
Thursday: 11 miles, interval workout
Friday: 6 miles

Happy Training!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

What I Am

To celebrate a new layout one of my favorite tunes sung by John Barrowman. I had no idea he was one of us!



Happy Training!

New Format

I am enjoying the freedom of part time work! A whole afternoon to make homemade chicken soup/stew and play around with the format of the blog. I am mostly happy with the formatting but the header needs a bit of work. I will have to think about it while out running.

I am in the mood for a Bridget Jones night. I think a Milk Tray and a bottle of Red are an order.

When I was going to school in England I became obsessed with running. I was driven by exercise physiology and equations regarding body weight and oxygen absorption. If I was to weigh less then 125 lbs my V02 Max would be above 80, wow! While living in England I ran high mileage and ate very little. I also did not have a mirror so I could not see the damage I was doing to my body. While visiting a friend in London I caught a glimpse of myself getting out of the shower, I was shocked and scared. That day I ate the best doughnut I have ever had from Camden Market and bought a Milk Tray for my trip back to my small university town. I credit doughnuts and Milk Trays with bringing some perspective to my life.

My friend brought me a real Milk Tray from London. My how I love thee!

Happy Training!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Battered

I feel like a piece of cod ready for the fryer.

My body is feeling very beat up. Almost everything on my legs hurts from my big toe to my hip flexors. This is to be expected when getting back into a training program but that does not make it easier.

Yesterday was Tempo Tuesday. I was feeling less then enthused with running a tempo while spending the morning at work. After my 1/2 day of work I had to run a few errands and had my stitches out from my surgery a few weeks ago. Upon arriving home I was very tired and sore. I got changed into my running gear as quick as possible to avoid the temptation of slipping into bed. I got out of my building and started my slow hobble to warm up.

The warm up was bad. Not only was I in pain but I had zero energy. I ran my two miles and stopped to set my watch. It was still light out so I could run in the trails. I hit the start button and off I went. I continued to feel quite dreadful and told myself to just put one foot in front of the other. There was little pop to my stride and I felt like I could not get full extension when reaching to plant my foot. The pain was slightly better while running fast and once warmed up but my energy level was similar to that of a solar battery in Vancouver during November. I ran the first 2o minutes on the trails then emerged from the forest to finish my run on the Sea Wall. The last 15 minutes on the Sea Wall were actually satisfactory. I felt like I could finally get my feet off of the ground and get some follow through with my stride. I finished my tempo by Second Beach Pool. I was relieved to get though it!

I believe in omens. Once in a while, when faced with a big decision or when I question a decision I have made, I find an omen. I finished my tempo and stopped to catch my breath before running my cool down. I looked over the Sea Wall to the beach and saw a piece of sea glass glistening in the sun. I jumped down to the beach and picked up this little gem. It turned out to be a jagged piece of glass that was not quite ready to be taken home, not a weathered beautiful piece of glass. I dropped this piece to be found by someone else in the future. I kept along my way jogging slowly on the beach. To my surprise I caught sight of a small piece of green glass in the sand. I picked it up and polished it to find a perfect piece of sea glass gently softened by the ocean. I took this piece of glass home with me and it rests in my omen vase.

I do not want to be Hocus Pocus about this but the whole exercise spoke to me. It tells me that I should keep on my current track. I ought not to settle for something that may serve it's purpose but not necessarily be appropriate or speak to my heart. I can check something out with the ability to set it away to be found by someone else, who will love it more. I can hold out to find what I truly want and deserve and it will come. I believe I will find what I am looking for, a little more patience and it will be mine.

My cool down felt bad and I was very happy to round the turn to home. I was tough yesterday to finish my run and for that I am proud.

Today I ran an easy 5.5 miles on the Sea wall. My legs felt better then yesterday though as I sit here typing I am in a bit of pain. Hopefully it will be better by tomorrow so I can run a good workout.

Things I Hate
Smart Phones at Concerts: I went to Teagan and Sara last night with my friend. It was challenging. We got to our seats half way through the warm up acts (who were bad). There was a blue glow in the balcony from the many people checking their various {insert brand name here} smart phones/ cell phones. On average the people around us, on all sides, spent at least 50% of the show on their phones. The 4 girls in front of us arrived late and immediately all turned on their iPhones to check Facebook. After 20 minutes of completing their tasks they put their phones away only to repeatedly check them every 10-15 minutes. At one point the girl on the end e-mailed the girl on the other side of the row. I believe it is a very sad reflection of our current technologically addicted culture that a phone is more intriguing then a real human. What the hell is the point of going to a fucking concert if you are going to spend the duration with your nose stuck to a phone screen? seriously? Question mark? Pretty soon these phones are going to have vibrate and dildo functions so that we can email sex to each other. They will come heated with soothing voices to comfort us at night. Jeeze, maybe I should just get an iPhone instead of a boyfriend. Things I Hate, 'Smart' phones at concerts!

Mileage
Tuesday: 10 miles
Wednesday: 5.5 miles

Happy Training!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Run Way

I had a few things I wanted to blog about tonight. I guess I have a lot on my mind. What I have settled with is running fashion, or the lack thereof.

First, and before I forget. Check out the current Xtra West. If you look in the letters section there is a letter from me. My roommate picked up on my usage of 'dildo' a couple of times. He now thinks I have a dildo fascination which is not necessarily so. I published this letter on the blog a while back and now it is in Xtra West. Let us give a big cheer for real diversity!

Being fashionable while running is very difficult. This is an area where function takes precedence over form. For a racing/training flat I have 1 option from every shoe brand. The shoes that are available in this city are quite limited so I may have 2 brands to choose from. Chances are the shoe is going to be ugly with colors that are easy to clash. I usually buy my running shoes with function and cost as my priority thus I usually walk out of the store with the ugliest thing they have. I cringe to think of the monstrous shoes I have worn (Brooks Beast, hideous). When purchasing a shoe one also has to think about street cred. If I ran to the start line in a pair of Nike Shocks (or is it Shox or something dumb like that?) I would lose any status I had as a real runner. By showing up in a pair of slightly muddy road flats I am showing that I care about running fast and not about being a poser.

For running clothes in general we can divide the garments into race wear (including warm-ups) and training wear. I will start with race wear. One is allowed to match in a race, but only if they are sponsored or are representing a team. Otherwise DO NOT MATCH! Why are you paying how many hundreds of dollars to wear a matching Asics outfit? Throw on your old and comfortable singlet or sports bra, a pair of spandex shorts and hit the start line. If someone is not giving you something for free then why are you doing their advertising? Of course if you really like {insert shoe company here}'s child labor split shorts then by all means wear them proudly and show them to the world.

As for wearing all matchy, matchy it looks very professional so you better be able to run. I have to say that beating the many sponsored athletes in their matching outfits, while wearing my ratty old spandex shorts and my VFAC Singlet, makes me very happy. It also serves as strong motivation when the runners who do get stuff for free are way down the finish results. Another note, if you are wear National Team gear you better be able to win the race. There is nothing worse then watching someone finish a race wearing their matching Team Canada clothes when it is obvious they never were on a National Team. You better earn that gear if you are going to wear it. Lastly, do not wear the race t-shirt in the actual race. Once you are done it is appropriate but not during the current race. Wear your last race t-shirt with a nice pair of shorts.


Training gear can be very interesting and I am going to hit on a couple of trends that I think people should avoid.
  • Matching: Not to over emphasize the point but I do not think it is cool to totally match everything together. Real runners have tonnes of crap in their drawers from years of running. When they go to the drawer to run they usually pick out the shorts that smell the least and the shirt that does not chafe.
  • Lu Lu Lemon: You can run in a few pieces and I must admit I have a pair of their running shorts which I do like. But the whole get up of Lu Lu screams 'look at me I match and I am running and this is what everyone else is wearing and doing so that means I am cool.' It is the Kits/Vancouver cliche outfit.
  • Shorts over Spandex: This trend scares me and I do not know why. I think it harkens back to the 80's and early 90's trend of the short shorts over spandex which was truly retina burning. I wonder when someone is wearing shorts over spandex what they are hiding. Besides, not only are you soiling two garments but you are also hiding your most important asset!
  • Non Weather Appropriate: We all occasionally make the mistake of dressing before checking the temperature and thus either freeze or fry on our runs. But our mistake may involve putting on a hat when it is not needed or tights when shorts would do fine. What we ought not to do is wear 10 layers in the summer or conversly go shirtless in the snow. You look like a tool, stop!
Many basic fashion rules can apply to running apparel. Buy a few basic garments in complimentary colors and go from there. Also remember that fit is key. This may be difficult for runners who have been at it for a while. I have a pair of running tights that I have worn since I started running. They are very saggy but that just makes me look skinnier (if small running tights are too big then you must be skinny!). While matching everything may not be ideal, ensuring the garments are at least complimentary is good.

Black running tights are always good even if you feel self conscious about what you feel might be your cellulite thighs. I hear Costco has some nice training gear that is pretty cheap and looks good. They have black pants that my friend from Toronto wears and she loves them and looks great too! Black spandex shorts or baggy micro fibre shorts are always nice as a neutral garment. Adding a ratty old t-shirt or a pretty sports bra or sport top and you are ready to go.

If you are looking to purchase some running gear I would advise to not buy any t-shirts. Races always have tonnes of shirts and you can get some awesome stuff. I have a t-shirt from the Oasis Zoo Run in Toronto and I love it! It is micro fibre and it fits. It is very comfortable and it keeps me warm. You should never buy anything at full price as there are usually big sales and sales racks in stores. If you can find an old school factory outlet then you are golden. There are some companies that have big sell outs once a year, Sugoi being one, where one can purchase gear for super cheap. If in one of these sales remember that despite the hot pink tights being $5 they are still not worth it unless for Halloween or an 80's party. If you try something on and it does not fit then do not buy it, you will never wear it and nor are you going to lose weight to fit into it. Once you lose the weight reward yourself with a shopping spree and get stuff that fits!

I feel like there is a lot that I could write but when it really comes down to it try to avoid some bad trends. If you cringe when you see someone coming towards you because of their running attire then do not wear that stuff yourself.

Today I had a painful run on the Seawall (outfit up above, my favorite 3/4 length tights, old long sleeve with arm warmers, worn out gloves with the finger out so I can press my watch controls and my lightweight hat). I am sore from my run yesterday just about everywhere. I was trying to do an inventory while I was running but my mind began to wander once I got past the feet and started to inventory my leg pain. It is all muscular except for my right arch, Achilles, heel and my left arch and Achilles. I have full range so I am not too worried about tomorrow's tempo. Once I was warmed up I was feeling good so no real concerns with my current pain.

Mileage
Monday: 5+miles

Happy Training!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Baden Powell

I hit the Baden Powell and went to Deep Cove for the first time today.

I ran to the last section of the Baden Powell from the West End then met up with friends to complete my long run on the trail. I did not enjoy the Baden Powell. What I enjoy about a long run is running. I do not like stairs, loose rocks or brooks where a trail ought to be. I do not like varying heart rate nor do I enjoy technical downhill sections covered with clueless tourists. I am pleased that I was able to complete this run today as it took over two hours but it was not the appropriate run for today. I am nervous to wake up tomorrow morning as I think my legs are going to be fucked.

At least I was able to use my new bag to good effect! One good aspect of the run was brunch in Deep Cove. I had waffles with tonnes of whipped cream and fruit and a chocolate donut. I love food after a long run!

I am hoping to be able to run tomorrow as I am already feeling the effect of today's run in my feet, heels and Achilles. We will see!

Mileage
Sunday: 16 miles

Happy Training!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

10 Years

2010 marks my 10 year anniversary of starting to run. If the first two days of 2010 are a measure of my year to come I am very excited.

I ran my first workout in just under two months today. I made my way to Beaver Lake in Stanley Park to run 5 X 1 km (the real 1 km loop, not the short UBC loop). I was not optimistic heading into this workout as I woke up feeling tired with a splitting headache which required 2 extra strength Advil (I should either stop drinking red wine or get a sponsorship from Advil or Motrin). I also felt a bit queasy and generally fatigued. Knowing that I do not run well on pain killers, have been abusing my body the last 6 weeks, have not run a hard workout in a couple of months and on top of everything to be training by myself made me anticipate slow times. I was forecasting a 3:10 to open the workout and then try to work down to sub 3 minutes by my final interval.

I had a sluggish warm-up with satisfactory drills and strides. Although I felt pretty gross my feet were quick of the ground and I had a bit of a bounce in my step. There was a steady rain and my feet were wet within a minute of starting my run (I love my Fast Twitch flats but the lack of structure means that water comes up through my toes when I step in a puddle and mud in the trails). I started my first interval and it felt moderately good through the first 800 meters then less then stellar for the last 200. I had no idea how fast I was running. Upon finishing the loop I looked at my watch and thought I saw 3:36. My heart sunk as I realized I was in way worse shape then I had thought. I took a second glance at my watch and realized it read 2:56. I was excited and very relieved. I followed this effort with a 2:57, 2:56, 2:56 and a 2:58. The last two intervals were an effort and I could feel my lack of training. I am ecstatic with this workout!

After my first interval I did not care what I ran for the rest of the workout. My goals for the workout were to work the lungs and legs, get that 'lovin feeling' back and run sub 3 minutes for at least one km. I figure with all factors recognized this workout would put me around 3:50 shape. I know I have a copious amount of training ahead of me. I also know that to run a workout like this, in the condition I am in, is a great precursor to a good season of racing. Once I get back with my group I will have the confidence to get on a shoulder and get pulled along.

Tomorrow I have a long run and it may end out being on the Baden Powell Trail in the North Shore Mountains. It will be nice to mix it up a bit.

Thinking back to the last few months and how tough they were, with almost every aspect of my life, I am relieved to be out fast in 2010. I know two days cannot predict a year just as the first 200 meters of a marathon are no indication of how the race will end out. What I do know is that an easy and light first 200 meters of a marathon can put the mind at ease and help the body brace for what lies ahead. Life can be very tough at times, and I am prepared to go to a scary place in my training to maximize my potential. I have made some important changes to ensure I can maintain balance in my life and ensure I am happy to wake up every morning and tackle the day with gusto. I think I am going to say fuck it to New Years resolutions. I am just going to live and follow whatever path I feel like.

Mileage
Saturday: 10 miles

Happy Training!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Try Anthing Once...

...And a second time to make sure the first impression was accurate.

Last night, after ringing in the new year with some friends, we went to an after hours club for some hot dancing and craziness. I have only been to this club once and that visit was during Pride. My first impression was nothing more then repulsion (see blog post from August 2009).

My second visit could not have been better. What I have discovered is that the club, although small, divides into groups of individuals in different sections. When we arrived the club filled up fast and within half an hour it was packed to the point that it was impossible to move without running into someone. After 45 minutes of being pushed around by gargantuan fat men I was frustrated and very annoyed. On the verge of leaving I retreated to a sitting room to get some air and space. I re-entered the dance floor looking for fun. Thankfully I found fun in the form of an impressive array of men fit for the pages of GQ.

The whole night I was dancing with men who could make your heart race. I was happy to have spent some time in the gym as the array of sculpted abs were distracting to say the least. The compliments were flowing in all directions and although I know the lighting was quite dim it was still very nice to hear. Compared to my first visit, when I found not one individual more then satisfactory, it was inspiring. Even while I was dancing with one very attractive shirtless man he commented on the mood of the club during Pride as angry.

I was skeptical going into the club (the line up seemed to be full of trolls and their masters) and was proven wrong. By 5 I was getting very tired and slowly danced my way to the door while ensuring my friends knew I was on my way out. Even leaving the club I was catcalled cute. I arrived home at 6 totally exhausted, sweaty and very relieved. I needed a good new years to get the year started on the right foot. This was one of the most fun nights out ever!

After a short sleep I got up and had a good run in a very rainy Stanley Park. I was a bit tired though the 6 miles felt effortless. I was striding well as evidenced by my very dirty backside. Tomorrow I will hit the park for my first speed work in a while. I am planning on 5 times a km by myself to gauge my fitness before resuming training with a group. I would like to burn a bit on my own before I crash and burn running with others.

After years of quiet New Years Celebrations it was therapeutic to party hard and still manage a good run in the aftermath.

Mileage
Friday: 6 miles

Happy Training!