Posts Tagged ‘Toronto’

Ready To Go

May 3, 2014 2 comments


I just finished my last long run before my first race of the year, next weekend’s Sporting Life 10k.  I feel ready.  Ready not only to run this race, but to get my race season underway.  It’s time to get this shit going!

I haven’t had a race since mid September.  I’ve felt a bit lost in the wilderness ever since then.  Like I’m training without urgency.  Like skipping a workout isn’t a problem, because race day is still so far away.  Well not anymore.  It’s time to kick off the 2014 season!  I’m seriously excited about this!!!

I raced this same race last year – I wrote a pretty extensive race preview at that time.  I don’t have much different to say this year as far as race previews go.  The race is sold out this year – 28,000 runners expected.  I can’t wait.  Plus, I get to run again with my cousin, which I always enjoy.  PLUS, this race last year is where I set my 10k Personal Best time (1:02:41) – and I kinda think I might have a shot at beating it this year.  My weight is down about 10lbs since this time last year.  My average running speed is :15 – :30 per km faster than it was this time last year.  I’m not feeling ‘under-trained’, as I did this time last year (so says my race preview post from last year).  And this is a course designed for Personal Best times:

All.  Down.  Hill.

All. Down. Hill.

Seriously excited.  Seriously ready to go.  Seriously ready to get this race season started!!!



Little Victories

July 8, 2013 1 comment


Tonight’s bucketing rain kept me away from Run Club (and, I’m guessing, everyone else too… that first picture is just down the street from my building).  So – in keeping with this week’s theme of Mental Strength – I decided to put in a hard and fast 5km on the treadmill.  Nothing like a good ‘ol fashion set of treadmill intervals… amiright? Right!


I know it was a treadmill, and not outside, and I know that’s not a crazy fast time in the big bad world of running, but I’ve never run a 5km faster than about 33:30 before.  Damn!  I’m a wee bit proud of that shit!

New goal for this summer… I want to run 5km in under 30 minutes.  I’m gonna run a 5km in under 30 minutes!  Damn right I will!

How was your Monday?


Don’t Drink the Water

July 5, 2013 1 comment
It's not that scary...

It’s not that scary…

One of my biggest laments in tri training is my lack of OW (open water) swim training.  Sure – I jump in the pool with varying frequency (actually a lot less frequency living in Toronto – must keep working to find a better pool solution).  But there’s something to be said for training in the open water – sighting practice; long swimming stretches without a bottom to touch or a wall to grab; not having a line on the bottom of the pool to keep you straight; varying water and air conditions.

So last night after dinner I decided to hop on the ferry to Toronto Island to get in an OW swim in good ‘ol Lake Ontario.

(that's me on the ferry... in case it isn't super clear... which it isn't)

(that’s me on the ferry… in case it isn’t super clear… which it isn’t)

I was a little skeptic at first – growing up, I always though of the waters off of Toronto’s beaches as being some of the dirtiest waters in the province.  Turns out they’re actually pretty darn clean.  Not sure if that was then and this is now, or if that was fiction and this is fact (or if tomorrow I’m going to wake up mighty sick).  But either way, off I went.  Must say though, I had this song stuck in my head the whole time I was swimming…

It wasn’t my longest training session – I swam just 0.88km (or one round-trip length of the break wall off one of the beaches), and didn’t properly time myself… I once heard a quote (sorry, I don’t remember where from):

If it isn’t measured, it isn’t training – only exercise

Whatever – I still think it was a valuable session.  I pushed hard, and swam well, but more importantly I adventured out to a new site and tried it out.  Next time I know what to expect – I know how long the wait is for the ferry, I know where to walk once I get to the island to find the beach – where to change, where the lockers are, where to swim.

... and apparently, I also know where to walk.  Seriously!?  Only on Toronto Island

… and apparently, I also know where to walk. Seriously!? Only on Toronto Island

I call this a successful trip.  I think I may make it a weekly routine to get out and do an OW session (though possibly two or more laps of the break wall next time – if I’m going to go through the trouble of ferrying out there).

Have you had any adventures lately, trying out new places to run, or bike, or swim (or whatever you do)?


Race Preview: Sporting Life 10k

May 8, 2013 Leave a comment


Before you know it, your next race is upon you…

This weekend is my 3rd race of 2013 – the Sporting Life 10k.  I have very mixed feelings about this race.  On one hand, I’m really looking forward to this for a couple reasons:

  • I’m looking forward to running with my cousin again.  We ran together in the Hamilton Road2Hope 10k last fall and had a blast
  • For the first time ever, I’m entered into a race that isn’t a longer or tougher distance than my previous races.  I’ve done a 10k before.  For the first time, I’m not going to be content with merely finishing
  • The race is sold out – 27,000 runners.  Holy crap!  The largest race I’ve been a part of so far was 10,000 racers (and before that, about 500 racers).  I wonder if I’ll notice the difference between 27,000 and 10,000?  I better not come in last this time!!!

On the other hand, I’m also not looking forward to this race for a couple reasons:

  • I’m under trained
  • I’m really under trained
  • I’m really ridiculously under trained

I got a few runs in over the last week, but one week does not constitute a training program.  I’m not ready to do my best.

It’s a “B” race for me though – I would like to do well… better than I suspect I will do.  But I’m not going to get too bent out of shape over it at this point.  Time to go out and giv’er my best and see what we can do.

My 10k PB is 1:09:41.  I’d love to beat that.  I’m hoping to beat that.  I might have a chance to beat that…

The race is advertised as “downhill” at pretty much every opportunity the organizers get.  And they’re not kidding.  Looking at an elevation map they sent out with the race route:

All.  Down.  Hill.

All. Down. Hill.

Apparently I didn’t believe this when I saw it.  Apparently I had to go and test it out.

Race kit pick up is all this week at the Sporting Life store, which is at the start line.  Today I was in my office (which is on the race route, at the 7.1k point).  I decided I should go pick up my race kit after work.  I decided I should walk from work to the pick up… since it’s a nice day.

Yes, the run is going to be all downhill, as I discovered

Therefore, the walk there was all uphill, as I also discovered.  7.1k uphill.

But at the end, I got my race kit, and now have a new race shirt to add to my training wardrobe:

Self portraits are not my specialty

Self portraits are not my specialty

(I put that picture in to show how lousy I am at self portraits… and also how bad the particular red of the shirt clashes with the still-very-red arms I’m sporting.  But here’s a better look at the shirt)





When signing up for the race, I had to select a starting coral based upon my expected finish time.  I chose the “green” coral (for racers expecting to finish between 0:56:00 and 0:59:59).  Let’s be honest: there’s no way in hell I’m going to run sub 1:00:00 – not 10 minutes faster than my PB.  Not with how little training I’ve done so far.  But I’m feeling good about an aggressive goal, and I think running with faster (though not impossibly faster) runners will be a good push.  And who knows – with the course being so downhill, maybe it could happen…

I think, this weekend, I have no idea what’s going to happen.  But I’m going to have fun.


First Sunburn of the Year

May 4, 2013 1 comment


My first sunburn of the year, and it’s a doozy.  I look like a tomato – no joke.

I’ve discovered the Martin Goodman Waterfront Trail here in Toronto, handily, because it runs right in front of my home.  The trail is going to be amazing for my training this summer.  On Thursday I took Big Red (my road bike) for her first spin of the year on the trail for a 20km ride.  She was fast – impressively fast.

Looking back at my race history, my 20km bike splits have been in the 44 – 46 minute range (or roughly a 26.5 kph speed).  Thursday’s ride started out real strong, even hitting a top speed of 46.6 kph at one point, but my return half was a lot slower.  In the end my ride took 46:58, with an average speed of 25.1 kph.  While it confirmed for me that my work over the winter has helped increase my wattage output and top end speed, I still have a lot of work to do on sustained endurance.


image credit

The trail was great though – I didn’t have to stop for a traffic light or stop sign once the whole length of the trail.  For a downtown metropolitan trail, that’s pretty darn sweet.  I couldn’t ever open up my speed for any real length of time (which could also speak to my result… though really I think it was just my fitness level showing it’s true colors), as there were a number of other cyclists and joggers, and lots of families and kids walking the trail.  I actually didn’t mind that – I like that there were kids out playing on the trail and enjoying the waterfront.  I don’t mind having to slow down or hit the brakes a few times for kids playing – our community is better when kids are active and play outside

This morning I took to the trail again for my weekly LSD (Long Slow Distance) Run.  My goal at this point in my season is to do a 90 minute long run once per week as a counterbalance to the fartleks and tempo runs and other pieces of speed work I want to do.

This morning’s long run was lovely – the same trail that treated me well as a cyclist did just as well for me as a runner.  I went out for 40 minutes – however far that took me – and then turned around.  I assumed my pace would drop a bit and the same distance back would take longer, but it didn’t (meaning my run only lasted 80 minutes… oh well).  I only covered 11km today – I was a bit disappointed I didn’t got further, but it was after all an LSD run, not a tempo or race pace effort.  I guess I shouldn’t expect to match my personal best.

What I should have expected, though, is that 80 minutes in the sun today deserved sun screen.  Being only early May, it didn’t even occur to me to put on sun screen.  Oops.  After the run was done, a quick trip through the shower and I was off to the Blue Jays game, where the Skydome Rogers Center lid was open.  Still didn’t think to grab sun screen.  The sunburn continued.  And now I look like a tomato.

Yay for sun.  Yay for spring.  Yay for weather that makes us want to get out, and train, and have fun outside.

Apparently tomorrow I will be going to the store to invest in sun screen.  Tonight, I may be sleeping with ice packs.

– DO’G

Run Club

April 29, 2013 1 comment
Queens Park, Toronto

Queens Park, Toronto

I’ve now lived in Toronto for just over 48 hours.  The apartment is still full of boxes and we’re still learning our way around.  But so far, I am really happy here.

This morning I walked to work.  Walked.  It may have been misty outside, and may have taken me 30 minutes, but I walked.  It was so much nicer than the 75 minute drive I’ve become used to.  What a wonderful treat to not commute, but to walk.  Sometimes the little things make such a difference!

A friend of ours who lives here in town invited my wife and I to join her for the Lululemon Run Club.  That’s right folks – I stepped inside a Lululemon store.  Pigs are flying somewhere, I’m sure.


Admittedly, I was apprehensive about going at first – not because the group was based out of a store that is so far outside my normal shopping routine – but because it involved running in a group, where others’ experiences are impacted by my running speed.  I’ve always thought of myself as too slow, too much of a burden to other runners to join a group.

This was a lot of fun.

Monday evening Run Club is billed as a 5km run… what they don’t mention is that it’s not just a 5km tempo run, but a different set of drills activities.  Today we ran from the store over to Queens Park (~2.5km away).  We were told the theme of the day would be “Long and Strong”, but not told the activity until we arrived.  Fun!

Queens Park is oval shaped, with a path roughly 800m around the edge.  The drill activity was simple – pair up with another runner of roughly equal ability and take turns running the loop for 20 minutes.  Run it hard so that your partner doesn’t get too long of a rest, then rest while they run the loop hard.  It was effectively a variation on fartlek/interval training, but with a fun, social, almost competitive twist.  And there was another runner in the group close enough to my skill level for me to pair with (without worrying that I was making her wait too long while I ran my laps).

Go figure – fun, social, and training all at the same time!


My first run in Toronto was pretty great – a park I wouldn’t have gone to had I run on my own, some speed work I wasn’t expecting, and a fun group of people to chat with.  This just may become a regular part of my Monday training schedule.


Destination: Toronto (For Keeps)

April 9, 2013 Leave a comment


Sometimes life takes us down strange and unexpected paths.  Sometimes those paths cause a great deal of anxiety and stress at first, but they usually work out well in the end.  I’m going to trust this is one of those “work out in the end times”…

My wife and I are moving to Toronto.  We found out about 2 weeks ago of a change in her summer placement and have been scrambling to find a place to live (and deal with our current home).  With less than 4 weeks’ notice until her placement starts, it’s been a whirlwind – thinking through the unexpected task of packing (and downsizing), arranging for all of our service providers, and changing all of our summer plans.  We need to be moved and settled by the end of April.

At times it’s been a schedule strain.  We’ve made 4 separate trips into Toronto to view apartments.  This has led to a lot of canceled training sessions, a few canceled date nights, and even a few rescheduled work meetings.

At times it’s been an emotional strain.  Facing moving to a new city that we neither expected nor asked for – rationalizing the implications of an unexpected change on our finances, our social life, and our home.  There has been tears, and there has been ice cream (more of the latter than the former, thankfully).

My wife has been a trouper – her life has been turned upside down.  In addition to our home relocation, she’s had to adjust to a new job: new clinic, new city, new preceptor.  I’ve tried to be helpful and supportive – not always sure I’ve done a great job, but I keep trying.  I’ve noticed the impact to my training.  I’ve missed quite a few training sessions because of last minute apartment hunting trips (or having to work at odd hours due to apartment hunting).  My sleep has been off, and my mood has been turning sour as the stress and reduced exercise take their toll.

Sometimes I just want to sleep... anywhere

Sometimes I just want to sleep… anywhere

I’m not concerned about missed training from a race perspective – sometimes life > training.  But I notice the impact it has on me.  An experience like this reminds me how much I enjoy training, as a hobby as much as for race preparation.  It reminds me how much I use training as my own thinking time (or non-thinking time, as is sometimes more needed).  Sometimes I need my training time not only to keep moving faster, but just to keep moving.

Today we got confirmation of our new apartment in Toronto.  After several search sessions (and anxiety all weekend waiting to hear we were approved – we knew we would be, but the waiting game is still tough) I feel like I can turn a corner.  I can start making plans, knowing we have a new home waiting for us.  I can start getting excited about Toronto.

I can start to look for jogging trails in my new neighborhood.

I can start to look for community centers with pools in my new neighborhood.

I can start to figure out where the hell I’m going to store a bike in 700 square feet of space (I’m going to miss having a house with a basement)!!

I can start looking for a pub for post-training carbs 😉

There are lots of positives to take from this unexpected experience.  My daily drive to work will suddenly disappear – our new home is walking distance to our Toronto office.  Though we had a few great friends in Hamilton, we have more family and friends in Toronto who we will get to catch up with.  And I’m looking forward to a summer in the Big City, with all the pubs and cafes and activities and culture the city has to offer.  I think this will be a good thing for us (if not an expected thing).

We now have 2 1/2 weeks to pack, and purge, and plan, and get the hell out of Hamilton.  It’s going to be busy and anxious and stressful (and will probably continue to wreck my training plans), but once we get there it’s going to work out in the end.


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