Friday, July 17, 2009

I found what you were looking for!

If you weren't aware, I am a transplanted Ontario boy. Born in London (birthplace of Jim Finlayson) and growing up in Pickering (hometown of Sean Avery, yeah, not proud of that one), I still self-identify as Ontarion (yes, that's right, that's what I am calling people who live in Ontario). Growing up playing soccer, I spent many a summer afternoon baking in the sun of a weekend-long tournament. This is all to say that I am used to the "it's not the heat, it's the humidity" of Ontario summers.

Speaking with friends and loved ones still in Ontario, there has been much whining about how wet and cool this summer has been. With lower temperatures and lots of rain, the Ontarions have been wondering where there summer has gone!

This post is to let all the people in Ontario know that I have found it!

It, like a smart Ontarion, has moved out west. Yes, that is right, Toronto's summer is in Vancouver. And man, have I weakened while living on the left coast. It is HOT here! I am sure that if I had just moved out from Ontario this year, I would not bat an eye at this weather, but having been out here for almost 10 years (YIKES! Almost ten years!), I have weakened and now find anything over 25 degrees hot.

Running has been fun, and a little wet at the end of the run. This afternoon was a light run with drills and strides as I prepare for the Summerfast 10k tomorrow morning. I am hoping to run well, and although it will be warm in the morning it shouldn't be too bad as the race starts at 8:00am. Jay will be riding lead bike so that is incentive to run hard so that I can have my own personal cheerleader but the race has been won in low 33/high 32 for the past few years, and with some money on the line, people come out of the woodwork, so I don't expect to be at the front. Maybe Jay can just let the leader know where to go and then he can come back and hang out with me!

If you are still an Ontarion, I hope that summer finds it way back to you, and if you are in Van or Vic, make sure to drink water and wear sunscreen!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Super Hilly University

That's what SFU should be renamed. No longer SFU, but SHU.

For a change of pace, and because I have been living here for almost two years and still haven't really explored the trails at SFU, I decided to go out and run around Caprica City (ok, blatant Battlestar Galactica reference, but if you don't know, go watch it). I drove to the base of Burnaby Mountain and parked in front of a home being reno'd. I almost decided to forego my run and see if I could get a job helping on the site, but I didn't think that my running attire would put me in good stead with the foreman. So, with dreams of becoming the next Mike Holmes put on hold, I ascended the mountain as my warm up.

I have always felt that SFU had a connection to McMaster, but running the trails here I was really reminded of Cootes Paradise, the trails which line the back of Mac. I spent many hours running in there many years ago and I was transported back there as I ran the North Road Trail. Windy and soft with lots of little (and I do mean little for this was at the base, after the initial ascent and subsequent descent from the peak) hills, twists and turns and some mountain bike trials to run over. To finish the run, it was another 20 minute ascent to the school before the fun run back down to the car.

The day was much warmer than I had expected and I was thankful that I had brought along my handheld water bottle as the circumnavigation of the SHU trails took about 80 minutes, much longer than I had accounted for at the beginning of the run. But being on the trails and with good podcasts and in the heat made the run seem much shorter than the time and it was fun, which is the goal of the summer.

Packing is coming along well with Sonja doing most of it, but I trust her spatial skills more than mine. We are fortunate that we don't have THAT much stuff and all our furniture is apartment sized. We will be done what we can pack at this time by the end of today and I don't think that there will be much more to do until the final week.

Oh yeah - saw the midnight screening of Harry Potter. Good, but not bedazzling. The difficulty in the translation to the screen is the amount of backstory that can be fit into 2 hours and 30 minutes. I am looking forward to the double movie for the 7th book. Good times!

Monday, July 13, 2009


The time of naps, and runs, and HGTV.

I think that many people, including myself, underestimate the absolute volume of emotional energy spent during the school year. I am sure this is the case in many professions, especially those which centre around helping others. I find that the first month of school is about getting back into school shape, much like the first week of the Tour de France is about getting into "Tour" shape. In what seems to be the most counter-intuitive proclamation ever made (yes, EVER!), the riders in Le Tour proclaim that they are feeling best and most fit in the closing stages of the three week race. Yes, after thousands of kilometers of riding, they feel better than they did in the first few hundred. I feel school is similar in this respect. By the end of the year, while tired (and no doubt the riders are fatigued), I am better equipped to deal with the fatigue and the rhythm of the weeks. But once it all ends, once hte kids are gone and I have decompressed for a week, the fatigue hits. Naps left, right, and center. On the couch, on the floor, and sometimes, if I am going for a long one, in bed. The recovery process has begun.

After the Scotiabank result, I ran for fun. Sonja and I ended up in Calgary for the Stampede (and may I say, it was much different than I thought it would be - I have never been at a more patriotic event in my life). I took the time to enjoy the company and hospitality of Sonja's extended family and to run around the city a little. Upon returning to Vancouver, I have gone to two workouts (both went very well, the last being 12 x400 on 100m rest averaging 68 seconds - low of 71 and high of 66 - for the 400m). Other than those workouts I have been running and listening to podcasts, enjoying the freedom to go when and where I want. I even completed my first double run in about two years, starting with an easy 10k in the morning and going to VFAC for workout in the evening. I have decided to race the Summerfast 10k this weekend to see how it goes. I may stop fighting distance.

Yesterday was the one year anniversary of breaking my foot at Knee Knacker. Since then I have recovered well only to re-injure it in December to recover again. In the grand scheme of life, this is minor, but in the hyperbolic world of running, it is a huge setback. While I have regained speed, and I am running workout times faster than I ever have, the translation to longer distance running is not forthcoming. My two half-marathons this year have been my slowest in years and I have not felt strong. The injuries have kept me from building a strong base which has made my house of speed a little wobbly as the foundation upon which it is built is precarious (yes, too much Mike Holmes). I am flirting with the idea of abandoning everything beyond 10k racing for the rest of the year and focussing on really building speed this summer, using the winter to rebuild my base and then approach the new year with a one-two punch. I think this weekend may go a little ways to determining whether or not I follow through with that plan. Either way, the summer has been good to me so far.

I will see how this weekend goes and then nap on a decision.