The past weekend I was able to sneak in two 5 mile runs within the city of Edmonton. Edmonton is my favourite place in the world. Running downtown and across the river in Old Strathcona is a super fun experience. This past weekend I also ran on an edge of the city, and found myself with two very different episodes.
It also started a few blocks south of Whyte Avenue at our friend’s house. I laced up the ol’ New Balance shoes and headed out. I stuck to some side roads that zigzagged just west of 109th. There was where I found the students, hustling here and there, most not for a night out, but for a night in of studying and book hitting. Their books draped over their backs, and some sort of athletic shoe on their feet, these people seemed utilitarian in their purpose. No parties (saw an advertisement for a “Toga Party”), just some solid state studying.
On September 10th, Stony Plain will be holding their annual Run For Life. All of the funds raised will go to help finance mental health education for the schools in the area.
This is my 3rd year running the half marathon. Last year I chatted with a woman who said that this run is a big part of their fundraising. They had started with a part-time worker travelling around to all of the schools in the Parkland area. Now with the support they’ve raised, they are able to fund a few full-time educators.
Honestly, my memory is hazy on the exact facts, but what I remember was that this lady confirmed that this Run For Life is a big part of helping get workers out there into the schools to meet with and educate the kids.
It’s a big reason I have decided to run this every year. Growing up in Stony Plain, I can understand the need for services such as this and I feel the strong connection to helping bring support to my hometown.
Recent studies have shown that the group most effected by mental health issues is middle-aged men. I am 36, heading towards middle age. Talking about issues is important. I try to spill my own struggles and battles with depression and sadness here on the blog.
Hey guys, I did it!
Sunday morning at 7am I set out on what turned out to be a 4 hour and 38 minute journey through Edmonton.
Here is how it went down:
First of all, on Tuesday I came down with a pretty serious cold. As I hadn’t been sick like that in over 2 years, I couldn’t believe my luck! The cold lasted all week. Surprisingly, a couple of positive things came from this. First of all, I cut out coffee for the entire week! That’s the longest I’ve ever gone without a cup since I started going hard on the stuff back in 2007. I switched to lemon tea, which was great for clearing things up, and water, lots and lots of water.
It was a Wonderful Week of Water, as they’ll say generations from now when they talk about it. Or something like that.
The other thing it did for me was made me go to sleep at a reasonable time. I was sleeping by 11pm every night, which is great for me.
The cold slowly faded and by Saturday afternoon I was feeling pretty good.
It’s kinda like Christmas, except there isn’t any snow and I need to run really far.
The Edmonton Marathon is just around the corner. It’s my first crack at the 42.2 km distance. I survived 36 km back in May, so we’ll see how this goes.
I am mostly excited for the day. The run will start at 7am in front of The Shaw Conference Centre. I’m not sure how many people will be running, but since I usually run solo in the middle of nowhere, it should be a nice change of pace.
Speaking of pace, this is something I am struggling with. I’m thinking of a range of 9:30-9:55 minutes per mile. This is in line with my goal time of 4 hours 15 minutes.
I know that I’ll start out fast and will spend a few miles trying to slow down to that pace. From there, it’s about staying slow, and fueling when I need to. I’m going to need to scarf about 700 calories during the run. I’ll rely on some gels and chews to bring me there. I’ve been experimenting with them a bit, so I’ll see how they work for me.
In the future I would like to find more natural ways to refuel during the run, but with the way work has been going this summer, I haven’t had the proper amount of time to dig into that.
By the way, racing a Marathon in the summer when I work at a summer camp was sort of a bad idea. My training has been above average at best, not excellent like I was hoping for. Oh, well. I’m headed for whatever is in my way, ready or not!
If you’re in the area of Jasper Ave. on Sunday morning, anywhere between 7 and (hopefully) 11:30am, stop by the road and look for me. I’ll be wearing my red running hat, my blue and pink New Balance shoes, and a collection of other clothes that I’ve found at Value Village along the way.
I have Instagram because:
For me, it’s almost always about running. I run a lot, but I’m not running as much as I want. If a post of myself leaning over my shoes helps get me out the door, then so be it!
Really though, we’re all a bunch of show-offs when it comes to posting pics. Everyone’s got something going on in their lives that is more awesome than the sum of their reality. We all just choose to focus on the positives. No big deal, if you ask me.
If you’re pretending your life is always like your posts, then I’m afraid that the joke is on you, my friend.
I see other runners on there, pushing through a tough run, or prepping for a race, and it gets me excited!
If you’ve got a goal, or if you’re doing something awesome with your life because you’ve decided to get on with it, then please, share it with the rest of us! I need the motivation to say ‘Yes!’ every day. Bring it out of me. Be my inspiration!
I’ll keep on posting running pics. I’ll even throw in a pic or two of my kids from now and then. My lovely wife and I on a hot date? Why not! Life’s too short not to share the good stuff.
Summer’s sneaking by me like a ninja. Fast times, for sure.
I have to say that it has been a quite a lot more difficult to throw some consistency into my running. I’ve had to be at our summer camp’s morning meeting to facilitate at 7:45. That means that I’ve got to aim for a 6am 45 minute run, a 10 minute cool down/garden water, shower, coffee and such, and then head in for the meeting. That’s quite a to-do list first thing in the morning.
The problem is that my body was conditioned to run in the evenings. After waking up, some days it takes me up to 15 minutes to actually feel awake. Then I need to push myself out of the door, then hit a bit of a rhythm and then, bam, I’m in the run zone. That’s a lot to ask of an evening runner.
Anyway, I’ve logged about 75 miles this month, down from my 110/month pace, yet still squarely where I like to be.
One big change is my weekly Runner’s Yoga routine. I’ve been at it since mid-June and the other day, while stretching my leg out while sitting in my office chair, I noticed that I could stretch it a lot easier and further than before. Super convenient. I will keep that routine in my schedule. It’s a 30 minute Youtube video with Adriene, which I have pretty much memorized.
Now grab your pillow!
When I do get out for a run, I’ve yet to regret it. The sun is sharp and full of angles as it blasts above the eastern trees. The green grass along the side of the road sways to my music (at least I pretend it does). I’ve seen a Whitetail Deer scurry across the road. I’ve come across two foxes, who take a look up the road at me before darting into the trees. Moments later I come across their scattered paw prints in the morning dew.
The sounds are of such variety. Geese squawking overhead. My feet touching the asphalt as softly as I can make them. The buzz of the power lines echo as I pass each tree line that stretches out between the fields.
This past week, the BC fire smoke made its way into our neighbourhood, having its way with the low-lying areas. I thought about staying in that morning, but then I remembered that while I was living in China, the air was always much worse. If I’m up and ready to go, I’m not going to let some sneaky smoke get in the way of a good, morning run.
July is almost over. I could tell you all of the nasty things that have happened this month, but with it almost behind me, I figure this might be the right time to move on and forget about anything that might have gotten me down for a hot minute or two of my time.
Life is good. Fresh air is good. Smoky air is good enough.
Here we go!
I’ve been out on the road less than I’d like, if I’m being honest. My job is busy, my kids have been filling up the schedule with baseball, and a million other excuses have brought me to a slight plateau. I’m still getting out the 3 times a week at minimum, throwing down an average of 17 miles. But that’s below my goal of 25/week.
I think it’s just a lull. I’ve got a bit of an abdomen injury that might have something to do with it, but nothing serious. With my marathon only 53 days away, I’ve got to get at it!
Digging in the dirt is quite a nice thing. I’ve only got little kid-sized garden tools, so I really get in there! The watering barrel has been at encouraging levels these days, so I can’t complain.
Overall, life feels like its pressing down on me. It kind of hurts sometimes, but it’s forcing the good parts of myself to the surface. This summer is going to be a wild ride and I’m thankful for moments like this, and like when I’m running or digging, that remind me to not take everything so seriously.
Yesterday I turned 36, and to fulfill my promise, I ran 36km for charity: water . Earlier this year we were able to pull together enough money to provide clean water for 38 people. The goal was 36, so 38 is even better and I am quite happy about that. We raised the money, now I needed to come through on my promise.
So that left me with my 36th birthday party; me running around Edmonton for 36km. Here is the review of this experience.
For me, 2017 seems to be flying by. Now that the weather is nice, the outdoors are even more inviting for running.
So maybe that’s why I struggled to get through April. The weather was so erratic, with a mix of rain, snow, mud, and dry land to force my way into. I had a hard time making it out there for each of my training runs.
April total: 17 runs, 105.3 miles.
March was a good month for running. Oh, don’t get me wrong, having it snow, freeze, melt, then snow again is not the most ideal of conditions for country running. Yet with the sun coming out, and the dry days, I really enjoyed running on the days when the roads were clear.
I logged 129.7 miles in March.
This is the most I’ve ever logged in a month before, approximately 10 more than last month.
I feel good. My plan incorporates rest days the day after a long run, and I think my legs really appreciate that.
The one thing my plan is lacking in is speed work. I am going to exchange a speed day for an easy day every week to help with that. I’ll try it out, and see how it goes but I really do feel like my speed doesn’t vary enough for my liking.
I bought some sweet running hats from Value Village. My favourite is an OV Beer hat. I remember the commercial like it was yesterday.
Our beer around here is OV. Around here, our beer is OV.
March also signalled the completion and success of my charity: water campaign. With your help, I was able to raise enough money to provide 38 people with clean water!
I am extremely happy with the campaign and with the fact that people believe in the project, and my money raising method, to make it happen. Next month I will fulfill my commitment by running the 36k in honour of the good people who helped out with the cause.