Sunday, April 29, 2012

New Shoes

A few weeks ago now I saw Jenna out running and exclaimed how awesome her shoes were.  They we all bright colours and cool.  Well through work everyone gets a well-being allowance for the year and I decided that I would spend mine on some new running shoes especially since mine are almost a year old now and I’ve got runs through the mud to do.

I went to Sportchek today since they have a buy one get one 1/2 price thing on now, but any shoes they had on that deal were outrageously expensive or they only had select sizes left (like 13 and 15) for stability shoes (which is what I need).  The sales guy was pretty eager to sell me one certain pair of shoes and that was about it.  I tired them on and I was not too keen on them and so I told the guy no thanks and set off to the running room where I had gotten my first pair of shoes.

I got there and instead of just asking what kind of shoes I needed the lady asked what I was using them for.  I opted to not be a smart mouth and told the clerk that I run mostly on roads, but I’m doing some trail running and doing a few races through the mud and whatnot.

She took note of that and showed me two different pairs of shoes that would fill those needs.  one for the hard surface running I was doing and another for running on the looser trail surfaces.  I opted in the end to get both since the trail running shoes were less than 1/2 price.


These are the trail runners, I like the back and red


A comparison of the treads.  Clearly the trail shoes have more of a spiky bottom to give grip on the softer surfaces.


These are the new runners! It looks like awesome threw up all over them!

Now I had already run in the morning as you can see here. But I was excited to have these fancy new runners and so this afternoon I pulled them on and went for another run!  Not usually my thing to do two runs on the same day, but it was not out on the roads and neither of them were one of my planned routes.  I took my phone and use the GPS to track me as I did the run.  It kind of links back to the whole enjoyable running thing I was talking about earlier.

A Runner’s Boredom

As I mentioned the other day, running on the treadmill is *really* boring.  Especially if there is nothing interesting on the TV or nothing good to look at at the gym.  It does not help that typically I run at a pace on the treadmill that is nearly at my limit to maintain for the duration of whatever distance I am choosing to run.  It also does not help that I have been running on the treadmill usually after work when I am already mentally exhausted.

A friend of mine recently pleaded with the universe for alone time and one of her friends suggested the treadmill because that is where she does her best thinking.  I do not even get that reprieve as if I break my concentration too much I can not keep up the pace I am going at.  I run to run, not to think about other things, usually.

It is hard to enjoy the sights when the routes you run are filled with mental markers for time.  For instance when I run the 5K route at my house I know at least a half dozen spots where I can check my time and know if I am on pace to beat my record or not.  All I do is push to be faster.  When the run is over it is satisfying to be better than I was the last time out, but during the run it leaves no space to be unfocused.  If I break my concentration I will not get a fastest time yet, it is that simple.

So yesterday I did things a little different and I found that spot where I again really enjoy running.  I went to the gym (because I had to be away from my house for showings) but I ran the trails instead of running on the treadmill.  I knew I was going to run for about half an hour and I knew that that would be about 5K, but that was it.  The route was new, it was on trails instead of on roads, I had no idea of the actual distance I was going to run.  It was enjoyable, I learned the same lesson last year, but somehow forgot it I guess.  Afterwards I figured out approximately how far it was that I ran and it was about 5.5K and it took me 28 minutes and change.  So I ran much slower than usual.  The point in this situation is not speed though, it’s that I can run and it wasn’t a contest with myself.  I think that this is something that I need to do a little more often if I am to be able to run all summer long this year.

So yeah running, and really exercise in general, can be pretty boring.  If you are working out at a level that you are pushing yourself all the time it is hard to take that mental break during the activity and actually enjoy what you are doing.  Making a change in the routine or stripping away the ability to constantly measure what is happening can really help keep one energized and excited about the whole thing.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

How To Win A Battle Of Wills Against A Machine

Today I was in a bit of agony all day long.  I went to the gym on Tuesday and did my ‘go till I drop’ day.  Mainly what seemed to kill me was the 120 squats (done by going 1 squat in the first minute, 2 in the second, 3 in the third etc.) and then not stretching enough after.  That’s the part the usually comes back to bite me.  You could ask the girls at work and they’d tell you I was sort of grunting like and old man any time I had to sit or stand back up all day long.

Today is Thursday and therefore a gym day, I was not about to let a little sore stiffness get in my way.  I also decided arbitrarily that I was going to run 8 Kilometres (5 miles) once I got to the gym. 

I got on the treadmill and started off at a 7mph trot just to try to work the stiffness out, a couple of minutes and I went to 7.5 and by about four minutes in I was running at 8mph.  It was not a high pace, but I figured that I was a bit sore and I have done pretty much only 5K runs since picking it back up in December, so I would go at a pace where I could be sure to get the distance.

Running on the treadmill is dreadfully boring and where you start is where you finish so when you are feeling like I was today it is easy to think about getting off and stopping.  I finished the 5K distance and I was thinking ‘I could stop now and it would be no different than any other run.’  But I had said to myself 8K and now that I was at a 8mph pace I decided that I could not go back.

So I just kept running, my legs were really screaming at me now, but I had to win.  I had made the rules and I was going to beat the machine.  I would run the whole distance I had set and the pace I was presently at or my legs would give out and I would hilariously flail to the gym floor trying.

I think this whole process was made more difficult by the machine and the boredom that it brings with it, but that is another topic.

In the end I did succeed, if I would not have gotten thrown out of the gym I would have spat in the face of the machine that thought it could defeat me.  However, All the exercise did nothing to cure my stiffness, I’m still hobbling around a bit this evening.  Boo to that.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Speak Up In Class!

Yesterday I wrote about how I like PD and all that.  Well I was at another PD event last night with about twenty people in the room and after every question from the facilitator you could pretty much hear a pin drop.

It was the same in school, and in the school setting where it happened for hours on end.  Every day I got fed up quickly and just blurted out what I had to say off the top of my head serious or otherwise just to get the ball rolling.  I am not all that surprised that in a room full of teenagers and early twenty-something girls that this happened.  But in a room full of adults, who all work at the ‘same’ job for the same company this should not be an issue.

I come to PD to learn and share ideas and discuss things, if I am the only one talking besides the leader I do not learn as many new things as I could be if people would just say something!  If it frustrates me, who is just showing up and attending, it must really aggravate the leaders who spend time planning and designing these sessions!  

I think that besides myself and the other pedagogical leaders that were there, there was maybe two people that started off answers to the facilitators questions.  Don’t be shy folks, there is no one that is going to fire you for opening up in this environment.  Half the time in school when Mary Lou would ask for ideas on how to guide behaviour I would make a slapping motion when no one would put up their hand.  There was a couple of reasons I did this.  I knew Mary Lou would scold me and I thought that was funny, it would make a few people laugh, and then *any* answer anyone had in their head was better than what I had just done so people would speak up a bit more.  The edge was off and it was OK to say something that might not be right on the mark.  I graduated just fine (and with good marks) being shy is not a requirement for the job, any job really.

In a professional realm I’m not as inclined to be as much of a goof when it comes to getting the ball rolling, but by the end of the PD last night I was about ready to just let loose any time a question was asked just to hear what other people had to say after.  And because it is really awkward waiting for people to speak up!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

I Like PD

Or Professional Development if you prefer the long version.  It makes me feel like I am back in college again.  I think that is what I like about it.  I’ve been at enough PD events since getting on with Kawartha Child Care that I don’t feel awkward being the only guy there, or about just spitting out the thoughts or answers that I have.

I was at our Book Study meeting last night with just one other person along with the two people leading it so it was a nice sort of quiet meeting and lots of ideas and thoughts were shared, great times!

It does take some time away from the evening or other things in my life, like karate with Monday night PD events, but it really does help to energize me in my day to day work at the daycare.  It’s always great to hear ideas of others, peers and otherwise and to have those same folk go ‘yeah that’s great’ about an idea that I share.

Being with a company that places such a high regard for continuous learning is fantastic.  It’s something that could benefit so many other jobs, but it seems that few people actually do this kind of thing.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Dear Metabolism,

I love you.

Thanks for burning calories,


I could post just that really, but I’ll expand on it for the rest of you that are not part of my body functions.  Me and the other folks at work had a bit of a get together last night – which was awesome – and I knew that there would be amazing food there since it was potluck.  With this in mind and the fact that it was nice weather yesterday and it’s supposed to rain all weekend I decided that when I got home from work I would go for a run.

I got home and ran 5K at a good pace (22:05 for time) and felt ready to go eat have some fun, the furnace had been burnt low and now I needed fuel.  To this point on the day I had eaten my usual breakfast, a couple tiny muffins that I made for snack at work a burrito for lunch, the second half of a medium Oreo blizzard and a few pretzels.  Roughly 1500 calories. 

Over at Missy’s house the food was amazing! Smoked pulled pork sliders (of which I only had one on a bun and then just had a couple helpings of the meat, Hawaiian meatballs (5 I think), a piece of pizza, some pita with like a Greek salad type of dip, slaw, score rice krispie dessert thing, ice cream cake and a chocolate covered strawberry. All of that eaten between 7:30 and 9pm.

Now since I started losing all my weight I have been on Wii Fit nearly every single day of the last two years, so naturally I was on it yesterday morning and just now this morning.  Any guesses on my weight change?

Zero, nothing.  I weigh exactly the same as I did yesterday morning.

And that is why I now love my metabolism.  Some of my weight fluctuations are a bit weird here and there, but for the most part I know that if I go and do something at the gym or go for a run that my body will use up whatever I put into it in the following few hours.  If you are working out to get in shape, this is the point you want to get to, where you can just do some work and then eat things you love and not even worry about it.  It does happen eventually.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Top Speed

I think I have found my top speed after work.

At least on the treadmill.  I have run 5K on the treadmill a few times after work now and even though I thought I had a pace on Tuesday that would put my under 21 minutes I guess my math was off and I ended up at 21:08 for a finishing time.

It is by no means a bad time really, but I was hoping to break the 21 minute mark.  I think it is just a result of working first for nine hours and then going to the gym after that.

If I am to get to a better result it will be in the morning.  I know I can get this 5K to be under 21 minutes, of that there is no doubt.  I will be happier of it when it happens on the road and not on the treadmill as well.  I have been thinking about this determination I have to get this time down to twenty minutes and about the ‘rules’ of such and achievement.  Basically I want it to be on a ‘natural course’.  Just about as flat as can be, I down want it on a downhill where gravity can assist me.

For now though a best 5K speed of 14.2Km/h is plenty fast enough.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

I’m Happy With That

The race has come and gone.  It was a great morning that is for sure!  I headed out to Ennismore just in time to get registered, I didn’t want to be too early since the check in ended at 10 and the race did not start until 10:45.  So I got checked in and then headed over to the day care to park and change and store all my clothes and whatnot there.

I got back to the starting area and saw a few of the moms from daycare there to do their race as well.  One was walking and the other was running that I saw anyways.  For me it was my first regular, plain ol’ race, and my first race with a chip timer.  Seems odd to me though that there is an ‘official time’ and a separate ‘chip time’, is that not the whole point of having the chip?

As I have written here a few times I have run the race course plenty of times and had noted my time at different points along the track, this way I would know if I was heading out too quick or was off my pace a bit or whatever.  The race started and all us runners were off!

I got caught up in the pack a little bit at the start but since there is a bit of a hill right away I was able to get out of the crowd early and just do my thing.  By the time I had reached the corner I was about half a minute ahead of my time and it was then that I realized that I need to pace myself a little bit, I knew I wanted some energy for the ending.

By the time I had reached the half way point I was pretty much around my usual time, and I was in 16th place I figured if I had counted the people coming back my way correctly.  It was here that I also tried (and apparently failed) to gauge the age of the men who were just ahead of me.  I figured at that point that I was in 2nd place in my age group.  Way in the lead was one of the girls that works at the gym.  She basically sprinted the entire course!

I followed behind the guy I figured was a good gauge for myself as I thought he and I were about the same age and I paced myself off him a little bit, by the time we had reached the sign that is on the road for a reduced speed due to construction – on of my check points during training – I was about 20 seconds ahead of my usual time.  This is where the climb begins and for the next 800 metres the course is uphill.  It is here that I strategized myself out of a real placement medal.  I figured that I would keep my pace during this climb and then once the down hill began I would make the move to overtake what I thought would be 1st place for my age group.

As we passed the daycare I started to push a bit to close the gap, and by the time he had gotten to the crest of the hill I was, I figured, within striking distance.  I opened up down the hill and as I turned onto Cashel road I began to flat out sprint for the finish.  It was too late.  I had waited just seconds too long to start that push.

I ended up 4.1 seconds behind him.  My time though was 21:56.8 (my stop watch had 21:55), about 50 seconds faster than my previous best time on the course, pretty much as I predicted.  The only disappointment is my judging of age.  The categories were in ten year groups so out of the 30-39 year old males I ended up coming in… fourth.  Boo.  Don’t get me wrong I’m really happy with the time I set and my over all place and all that, but once I saw that I was a bit disappointed  because I knew I could have passed that guy had I just turned on the jets a wee bit sooner.

For now I will be satisfied with 12th out of 178 total and 9th out of 62 for males.



Saturday, April 14, 2012

So, I’m Moving

This past week has been filled with extra work around the house due to the fact that we are putting it up for sale starting in the middle of next week somewhere.

I’ve been living in this house for almost eight years!  During that time a few things have been updated and changed.  The second night here was the flood of 2004 in Peterborough, there was about three and a half feet of water in the basement!  We’ve redone the bathroom and added a mudroom.

Last weekend we tore down the part of the deck that was there just so that you could go into the pool that was there when I bought the house.  The pool died during the second winter I lived here and while I did eventually replace it with the type of pool you put up and take down each season, the deck was a disaster and easy (and fun) to rip apart!

Yesterday we rented a cargo van and last night I filled it with the remnants of that destroyed deck to take to the dump today.  I’ll have to make a few more trips in order to get all the junk out of the back yard as well.

We are also painting the front porch and the fixed, but smaller, back deck.  Amber did the railing on the front porch last night and since it looks like it’s going to be a nice day I’ll be painting like mad today to get the rest of those things done.  Selling your house is a lot of work!

Where are we moving to?  Bridgenorth.  My Grandma’s old house actually.  My aunt owns it and she’s giving us a bit of the ‘family discount’ for us to buy the place from her.  It works out so well since the basement has a separate entrance and we can rent it out and get ourselves out of debt way faster than the treading financial water we are doing now.

It’s an exciting but busy time!  Still on deck is the race for tomorrow though.  It’s you last chance to donate some money to that cause (click the link at the top of the page!).  I have done the course four times now and average out at about 22:50 for time.  considering that it always seems to be windy in Ennismore and the hills that are on the course, I’m happy with the time and I think that it will be good enough for a strong finish tomorrow.  Of course you will be able to read about it here!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Just One Week Left

Well there is only about a week left until the KMs for Care race.  I have run the course three times now and yesterday I managed to complete the run in 22:47.

I’m pretty happy with the time, especially after I looked at the course on Map My Run.  It’s not overly hilly or anything, but it begins with a climb, and then ends with a hill that is about 800 metres long!


So, I feel pretty prepared for the race, I think I can get a better time running in the morning and not at the end of the work day.  With the extra free time of the long weekend I am hoping to get out there and run the course to see if that thinking is true.

I have had a bit of a hard time getting donations and so I’m doing this!

I have three $10 gift certificates for New York Fries anywhere in Canada.  Make a donation to my run of $5 or more and be entered in a draw to win those $30 worth of fries and pop and hot dogs and stuff Woo!  C’mon people! Just click the link at the top to donate!

The Most Painful Thing At The Gym

I have discovered it so that you don’t have to.

Part of one of my new programs includes doing sets of pull-ups, eight sets to be precise.  Each 20 second set is separated 10 seconds of rest.  During each 20 second set I can manage about ten pull-ups.   Now I should mention that I am using the assisted pull thingy for this, I did do regular pull-ups in a previous program, but whatever.  During the first few sets it is fine, my arms are fine, it’s all good.  Near the middle it I can start to feel it, and by the end I’m struggling to make the 10th pull-up.

So 80 pull-ups and that is not the worst part of it yet.  The worst part is when I am done.  Yeah not until about thirty seconds after the whole ordeal is over does it get bad.  Because that is when my forearm cramp like mad.  My hands are all claw like, and I sort of hold them up like lasers are going to start shooting out of the palms of my hands.

I don’t think I have done anything else like that in my time working out that has made muscles hurt so much after I’m done doing that thing.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Outta Gas

I went to the gym after karate yesterday to run.  I wussed out on running outside here in the morning because I didn’t want to run in the cold again, it seems so cruel after having run in some really nice temperatures for the last couple of weeks.

I did karate first and lead a fairly mild warm up, push-ups, crunchies, some frog jumps and some burpees.  My legs were used, but definitely not tired.  I got to the gym and hopped on the treadmill and set it to 9mph.  The idea here was that a steady pace of 9mph gets a mile done in 6:40. 5K is 3.14 miles, and so with a sprint near the finish I might be able to eek out a time right around or maybe even less than twenty minutes.

Now usually the last few times I have done my run on the ‘mill I have run the majority of the distance at about 8.7 or 8.8mph or so and bumping it up yesterday seemed to make for pretty hard running.  I would not have thought there would be much difference.  Maybe there should not have been.

Maybe a couple of the running people can help me out here.  Because where I think it went south actually started the day before.  Friday I had greasy Pizza Hut pizza for lunch and then a fried calamari appetizer (and fish and pasta) for dinner, and then I played goalie from 9-10pm, and then only seven hours sleep.  Actually listing it all off like that and I am no longer surprised what happened on the treadmill.

To run 5K is 12.5 laps on the distance thingy on the treadmills we have at the gym (400 metres x 12.5 laps = 5K) and at the end of lap 10 I just could not keep up the pace anymore and had to drop it a bit for lap 11, and then a couple .1’s more of lap 12.  I did finish by sprinting, but yesterday at least going that speed for that long took it’s toll and I just could not keep my legs moving that fast.  I had visions of Adam Savage on the treadmill a couple of times.

It might be wrong to laugh at the injuries of others, but this is still hilarious!

I did end up finishing the 5K in 21:16 just off my best time so far, so it was not all that bad of a run.  But I think a slightly lower pace for the beginning and then a slightly long, slightly higher speed sprint at the end might be the way to go to get this time down to twenty minutes.