Monday, May 24, 2010

Road Hogs

Drivers react in so many ways to runners. There are the wild reactionary types who lean on their horns and gesticulate like they're having fits, eyes rolling and mouths flapping, seemingly obsessed with owning the road that is wide enough for at least two of the vehicles they're driving, but certainly not for the runner who is taking up less space than the occasional bag of Mcdonald's garbage on the curbside. These types amuse me to an extent, but I get alarmed when they have passengers in the vehicle whose lives are obviously at risk.
Before you start assuming that I'm one of those runners who push the envelope, running on narrow, busy streets and causing excessive angst for the drivers out there who, I know, are also runners in many instances, I will assure you that I am very safety conscious. I take back streets, quite deserted, very wide, and 90% of my routes include bike lanes in which I run. I wear bright running gear as well.
The clueless drivers really scare me. You just know that they don't see you and could easily run you down if you don't hop back up on the curb.
The best, though, was one time during a blizzard when I was stopped waiting for a light. There were drifts of snow on the road, visibility was about two feet, and the wind was close to 50km/h. The driver of the van beside me rolled down his window and asked me how the traction was. We chatted until the light changed; he was a runner too and was jealous that he wasn't out there running as well. Those are the drivers you want to see more of.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Number One Run

Today I ran 20 km at a pace of 5.15 mins per km. That's my second-fastest recorded pace to date, the only faster being 5.12 on a 10 km run. I also did 5.15 two days ago on a 10 km run.
I've been running for about five years now. One promise I made to myself was that I would drop weight slowly. When I started running I weighed close to 180 lbs; today I weigh exactly 160. I've been at 160 for less than 6 months, which I think has everything to do with my recent burst of speed. I eat much less, but I concentrate on fruit, vegetables, whole grains... and very little meat or fish, and always low fat. Of course I indulge in 'bad' food on occasion, and have a few beers or rums now and again. Running lets you get away with a lot.
Active people know the simple truths of weight, diet, and exercise. We have to continue to be examples to everyone else in our lives. They see what we eat, how we regularly run, and most importantly, they see how much better off we are as a result. I see the effect I have on colleagues at work, on members of my family, my kids... As we know, everything else falls into place: a healthy environment by definition is devoid of junk and is constructively organized and responsible. So kudos to all of us, and let's keep making little improvements in our world every day.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Niagara Daredevil

The 2009 Niagara International Marathon was an important milestone in my marathoning journey. It was my 11th marathon, but it was also my fourth marathon of the year. I had never done more than 2 marathons in a year prior to 2009. The two spring marathons (Waterloo and Mississauga) were exceptionally slow due to injury and poor stretching regimens. The marathon I ran about a month prior to Niagara, the Scotiabank Toronto, was a PR for me, and I expected simply to cruise through Niagara, get some bling and have a bit of fun.
However, as the race started andI found myself sustaining a pretty swift (for me) pace, I realized that I felt pretty good and that this could be a good one. So I took a risk; I kept up a pace that was beyond my normal comfort level. And sure enough, my body went along with that. I PR'd at 4:12, 4 minutes faster than my previous best. And I felt great.
I feel like I've hit a new level, especially after nailing the Around the Bay 30k in 3:05. Look out, Ed Whitlock, I just might be able to catch up to you (if you're still running at 100 and I'm still running at 70)...