Archive | October, 2011

1000 Kilometers

30 Oct

Soooo prepare to bow to me in admiration because yesterday I ran my 1000th kilometer since starting this running thing. Take a minute to ooh and aah, I’ll wait.

Done?  Okay, well, the first 85 of those 1000 I ran in 2009… then after a hiatus, I ran the last 915km since this May. Which is a lot you guys. That’s like just picking up and running from Vancouver to Calgary… which either means nothing to you, or you recognize that this would be a horrible choice. Better to run the other way into the ocean then run to Calgary. Barf. I’m joking only not really. I don’t understand why people live anywhere in Canada other than British Columbia. As far as I’m concerned, if your city sees people die from cold every year… it shouldn’t exist.

And we all know how horrible heading to the sea can turn out.

But back to the issue at hand here, which is how awesome I am. I don’t mean to sound like I’m bragging (I am though, suck it), but this is a pretty big deal for me. I went from having no athletic inclination whatsoever and actively avoiding exercise in all forms to this. I guess it makes me look back on how much I’ve changed, how different my priorities are, and how effing magnificent I am in comparison.

I ran this 1000.83 km over a total of 154 workouts. It took me 128 hours, 58 minutes, and 20 seconds to run it all. I burned 53712 calories. I saw approximately a billion deer, all of whom were too sassy for their own good. At least 100 dogs barked at me from behind fences. Maybe 75 cats freaked the hell out of me when I caught their glowing eyes in my headlamp. Hundreds of cars have swerved to avoid mowing me down. And hundreds of drivers thought to themselves; “hey, there goes one cool lady”, or so I assume.

The Nike+ Interface. Proof behind the bragging.

I’ve run up hundreds of hills and lived to tell the tale. I’ve run through shin splints, head colds, and a nice case of appendicitis. I’ve skipped parties so I could run the next morning. I’ve gone to parties I shouldn’t have and had to run through the hangover as a result. I’ve been made fun of for being obsessed and that’s totally cool with me.

I guess it just feels good to think about how each and every single run, whether it was 2 kilometers or 21.1, added together to such a crazy number. And then I look at my training schedule for the next few months and realize I’ll more than double my total by the marathon in May. And that just makes me feel sleepy.

If this doesn't make you sleepy on my behalf, we're not friends.

My Watch Never Hits Pants O’Clock

27 Oct

Apparently we both wear the same brand of watch.

So my water bottle froze just a bit today on my morning run. I noticed when I tried to wash down a gel only to choke on ice chunks. Maybe where you live, this wouldn’t be surprising. But we don’t really get winter here. The dog’s water bowl only freezes about twice a year and it’s a pretty big deal when it happens…  although poor dumb Ruby doesn’t usually notice. But it shocked the hell out of me, especially considering I was only decked out in a (thankfully long-sleeved) tech shirt and shorts. I’m still thanking whatever is was that made me decide to bring some gloves as well; otherwise I’m sure this typing would have caused some rotten fingers to fall off. Just last week I wore the same long-sleeved shirt and was so hot I rolled the sleeves as far up as they would go and tucked the bottom into the band of my sports bra (you’re welcome construction workers).

Please pleeeease don't follow me home.

And then I nearly froze my ass off today, which is saying a lot, because god knows I’ve got some insulation around them parts. So I guess winter is here. And I have no idea what I need to keep warm. So I did some research and thought I’d share with you.

Gear-wise:

So apparently, you need to wear pants. Some of you may be more okay with this than others. Basically, you need to layer up that body of yours like a lasagne. The degree and type of cold (dry versus wet, like ours) is going to vary, so use that life experience of yours to judge how many layers to wear. Gloves are a necessity. Maybe two pairs. Maybe a scarf. Hat yes, your grandma’s mink coat, no. Synthetic materials that will wick sweat but keep heat in will go a long way.

But what if you just HATE pants? First off, been there friend. Let’s just say jeans have not touched these gams of mine in a long time. I’m okay with leggings though and today I’m going to go buy those Lululemon ones I was talking about.

But MOOOMMMMM no one else is wearing pants!

And sir or madam, you’re just going to have to make yourself like pants (and long-sleeved shirts and gloves and ear warmers and everything) because if you don’t, and go run around like an idiot with cold muscles, your chances of injury will sky-rocket. Remember how everyone ever has recommended you warm up by walking or jogging before your start your run? Yeah, there’s a reason. Cold muscles do not adjust well to a sudden increase in effort. Sometimes they protest, like a little Occupy Your Body, except instead of disorganized chanting, they BREAK. AND IT HURTS. So… probably a much more effective protest than an Occupy Whatever…

So effective. I really feel his message.

So just do it.

Shoes-wise:

Don’t wear your old shoes. They are old. This means that the treads are going to be pretty worn down. You’ll only need one patch of black ice to end your training for a couple weeks. So unless you really enjoy broken bones, or at the least skinned palms, wear your newest pair, even if they’re brand spankin’ new and you don’t want to mess them up with mud or snow.

There’s another option which I think I might try out… which involves driving screws into your old shoes so you can dig in best in ice and snow. If I end up doing this I’ll keep you updated, with photos of the massacre of course.

That’s it I guess. I’ll let you know how my layering goes, and maybe detail any frostbite I get. Look forward to it.

Happy winter running everyone! Try not to lose any body parts this season!

I would also protest about this.

When to Run

25 Oct

So, maybe you’ve noticed, but I run pretty damn early in the morning. Early enough that if I were to be attacked by a mad dog and/or a herd of deer, no one would be around to hear my screams.

Shaking in my sneakers.

I should also note that even if I don’t plan on running, I still wake up at 5am. This is because I am a full-blown, 100%, chipper-without-coffee morning person. I wake up and do homework or laundry or whatever needs to be done because I’m most productive and efficient in the mornings. Plus, with that and a run out of the way, I don’t have to worry about getting anything done later. Although I do experience a strange boost in energy around 3 or 4pm, I am otherwise useless to the world past noon. Oh yeah, and I go to bed at 8. Clearly I’m the life of the party.

Wait, so not everyone feels like this in the morning?

But this is me. I am different. I am different than most people and that’s cool with me. However, I feel like I give off the impression that one has to run in the morning, which couldn’t be further from the truth. I just do it because I like getting it out of the way early… and because mornings are the only time I can manage to say my name with stumbling over the words. Mornings are my time. But they may not (and are probably not) your time.

When I first started running, it was mid-January and pitch-black til 8am. I also had to wake up at six anyway in order to get to school (long story short, my high-school commute was probably longer than your work commute). Running in the morning wasn’t a thing that even occurred to me. I ran when I got home from school, which was around 4:30. And it killed me. I was insane enough to want to finish the training program and the 10k race we were shooting for, so I kept at it. But after the race, I immediately stopped running. I just wasn’t enjoying it; I was already exhausted by the time I got home. Remembering that I still had a run to do nearly (and maybe did) drive me nuts.

Don't pretend you don't feel this sometimes. A thirst for human flesh I mean.

When I picked up running again last fall, I luckily had no obligations that required my leaving the house before 10am. So I did what felt natural, and ran first thing in the morning. And it didn’t suck balls, to my surprise. I loved it! I came home energized and with a feeling of achievement that stuck with me for the rest of the day. I’d finally found a way to enjoy running, which ended the feeling of having to go for that run. Now I wanted to.

The running-specific moral of this story is that in order to be a successful runner, and be more likely to stick to your training program and achieve your goals, you’ve got to work out a schedule that works for you. Running at 5 may be your thing, or maybe it’s something more reasonable like 8. Or you may want to do it in the afternoons or evenings when you’re home from school. You might be a total freak who goes to a 24-hr gym at 11pm to bust out a 10 miler. Whatever it is, you’ve got to fit your runs in in a way that works for you, no matter what time other people like to run.

This extends past what time of day to run. It’s also important to make sure your weekly schedule fits with your other obligations. This spring, when I began a half-marathon program, my long runs always landed on a Saturday. This was fine for about a month until I started working at 9 on Saturdays. I had to wake up at ridiculous hours (even for me) in order to fits the long run in before work, but for whatever idiotic reason I didn’t change my schedule. I had Tuesdays and Wednesdays off, why didn’t I do my runs then? Long story short, I was exhausted all weekend because I was stupid and didn’t adjust my schedule. Finally I got the hint this September, and now I do my long runs on Thursdays, when I don’t have to be at school til 1 o’clock. And it works a lot better.

So, in conclusion, don’t be stupid. If you want to be a runner, making running fit your life, not the other way around.

And because this post lacked any hilarious jokes about flesh wounds or habits of deer, here’s something for you:

Pictures of cats never fail.

Basic Running Gear

23 Oct

To begin with, I’ll let you know that I jinxed myself with that post about running while sick. The fates stepped in blessed me with a head cold so now I get to put all my advice to good use. Booyah.

But what I’d like to focus on now is basic running gear. I figured this was a good topic because so many running people like to debate the wicking abilities of different brands of tech shirts… and most new runners are still trying to figure out when cotton turned into a bad thing.

Oh yeah right. Awkward.

When I first started running, I wore an old pair of leggings (that boasted only three holes) and a cotton tank top. I had a fancy Lululemon jacket that I wore on top that had, until that point, never experienced anything remotely similar to exercise. My first shoes, as I mentioned before, were those Pumas that everyone was buying because they looked cool. Like most things that look cool, they didn’t work so well.

I’ve since upgraded once I learned what I needed and what I didn’t. So if you’re looking to get a new outfit for your runs, I’ve got some tips.

Tops:

Ladies, please disregard what everyone says about cotton. Yeah, it doesn’t breathe so well, and probably doesn’t look as cool, and when you sweat, it’ll show. But it’s cheap. As in free. Because I would bet a $500 Nike gift card that you have old cotton tshirts laying around that would be perfect to run in.

Possibly the most appropriate shirt I've ever seen.

So what’s all the noise about tech tops? Usually these tops are made of special fabric that wick away sweat, keeping you cooler and more comfortable. If you got the cheese, buy ‘em. But if you’re poor like me, just use the cotton tops. I do fine wearing them.

Gents… uhhhh… go for the tech top. Just do it. And invest in some Vaseline. All I’ll say is chafing. I’ll leave the rest to your imagination.

No I won't! You're welcome.

Bottoms:

Everyone seems to understand what to wear on their legs. Shorts for warm weather, leggings or jogging pants for winter. Ladies, please god, make sure your shorts aren’t too short. No one wants to see your junk, especially first thing in the morning. Same goes for guys actually.

Chances of junk showing must be equal to zero. Punishable by death.

I’ll admit that I tend to splurge on bottoms for running. I have a couple pairs of fancy shorts from Lululemon (sense a pattern here?) because I like the way they look.

They also have very handy pockets that I use for my iPod when it’s raining and for my gels. I’m also planning on buying a pair of their running leggings PURELY because they make me look buff. What? At least I’m honest. Here’s the link.

Miscellaneous:

And then there’s the rest.

Ladies, do yourself a favour and buy a good sports bra. Yes, they’re expensive. But your girls are going to hurt more than your bank account will. Mine is from Lululemon (duh) but they don’t actually make them any longer. I’d recommend hitting a sports store for a wider selection and cheaper prices.

What about rain? I live in a temperate rainforest. Rain is a part of my daily life. I wear a ballcap to keep the water off my face, and maybe a jacket if it’s raining hard enough. It’s an old shell of my mom’s that doesn’t fit either of us but I only use it when it’s really pouring.

That's what a raincloud looks like when it's feelin mean.

Socks? Wear the ones you have unless you’re running 15k or more, or if it’s especially hot and/or humid out. The distance increases rubbing and so does the heat and humidity. Rubbing equals blisters. Blisters equal pain (and unsightly flesh wounds that scar young children). If this sounds like something you want to avoid, buy a pair or two of tech socks from your local sports store. They’ll cost you $15 bucks a pair but it’s worth it.

For cold weather, I wear a thick headband that keeps my ears warm without making my head too hot. I also wear Lululemon gloves (god I have a problem) that boast handy pockets and finger holes.

What to do about hair? For the ladies and the male hippies only. I put mine in a simple ponytail at the back of my head and wear a Goody hairband ($5 for three) to keep the wisps away.

Of course, wear good shoes. I cannot emphasize this enough.

These things are going to be the foundation of your running. The main theme I’m trying to get across is that for most things, you don’t need to get the latest and greatest tech designs. Splurge on what’s important to you if you can. Otherwise, save the cash for race registration.

Wait what? They make you pay to run around in a giant circle, risking being rundown and/or mauled by the crowds? They make you pay $75+?

You'll pay for the mauling and you'll like it.

Yeah, life sucks.

Running Whilst Sick

21 Oct

So you’ve got some bogies up in that schnoz of yours huh? You’re sick. It’s that time of year. You’re stuffed up and sneezy and sometimes you feel a little dizzy but that’s the fun part so you don’t mind. The question is, are you okay to run?

Now, disclaimer, I am not doctor. Plus this show contains graphic images that may not be appropriate for all audiences. Viewer discretion is advised. But I promise not to mention boogers again (boogers). Just keep my lack of medical expertise in mind and, for maybe the fourth time, please don’t sue me. I’d only be able to pay you in tears and old college textbooks.

But I do have experience with running while sick, and I’ve read a lot about it so here are some of my expert tips:

I literally found the most disgusting photos I could. I thought black-and-white people were a little more civilized than this.

The Number One Rule:

If you feel sick from the neck up, you’re good to go baby. Shove some tissues in your gel pockets and blast off because it’s runnin’ time. A poor imitation interspersed with snuffling and sneezing would be alright too. The point is, if all you’re suffering through is a head cold, your body can withstand a run. I even find that my sinuses clear right up once I get moving. Just make sure you do what your mama always told you; take it easy and drink plenty of fluids. This is no time to try to beat your PR for the 5k. Nice and easy is the way to go.

On the flip side… if you’re feelin’ it from the neck down, stay right in that bed sir. Seriously. If you’re anything like me, it kills you to miss a workout. Even if you feel like a steaming pile of it, missing that run (in your mind and mine) will only make you feel worse. The way I deal with it is to remind myself that running in that condition will only prolong my recovery time. So take it easy. Not runner-easy like I mentioned above where you cut your run 2k from 25. Sit. At. Home. Drink tea, do whatever makes you feel better. Now is not the time to push it.

I am so sorry.

The Number Two Rule:

Despite everything I just said, you’ve got to listen to your body. Sometimes a head cold is bad enough to keep you at home. And sometimes a little tummy-ache shouldn’t keep you from your run. Only you can tell what’s right for you.

Those are my two personal rules I follow. Admittedly I’m not so good at the listening to my body part (read about my appendix issue if you feel up to it) but I’m trying. I remember one morning, the day after I’d experienced some severe post-surgery pain I won’t get into, my mom caught me trying to sneak out for a pre-dawn run. I honestly did feel much better, and it was just a 6k, MOM, god. But I know I should have taken the day off. It’s a learning experience and it’s harder for some people than it is for others (psycho Type As like me have trouble).

So best of luck with your training as we head into cold and flu season. Hey maybe we should all get that shot them people keep talking about? Or not, as usual.

My last tips? Stock up on tissue (boogers haha) and do what feels right. Enjoy the weekend everyone! Plus:

Top Ten Things No One Tells You About Running

19 Oct

I’ve had some friends read the blog (my prettiest, nicest friends) and I’ve actually had a couple say that they felt like taking up running after doing so. This I like. Like a lot. Because then I can make them run with me/they’ll listen to me talk about running and maybe be interested. But, I thought it fair to give due warning. Not all aspects of running are pretty. Some, I’ve discovered, are downright horrible. So guys, here’s my list of the top ten things no one tells you about running.

1.The foot issue.

Do you like your feet? Do you yearn for summer every year so you can show off your finely-shaped arches? Of course you don’t. Feet by nature are ugly. But at least it’s universal so you can wear those jelly sandals like a boss. You’d think nothing could make feet worse. Until you start running.

The first issues are the growths that will sprout. Calluses man. Jesus. All of my toes have hardened bumps of skin on each side. I have particularly large ones on the outer sides of my big toes. One started bleeding once then healed over so it’s just black. Then there’s the blisters, which usually can be avoided with due diligence but if you let just one cotton sock sneak in on a long run… prepare for glares from mothers on busses as you cause their children to burst into fear tears. Festering wounds and bumps that could probably grate cheese. This is in your future, you’re welcome for the image.

2.The buffness.

“Yes,” you think as you step out for your first run, “I can feel the burn. I’m going to be so ripped after this.” I won’t argue with this. You will build muscle in your legs and it’ll be awesome. The issue I have is being too buff in the booty now. Please know that I was known as Ghetto Booty in high school. Questionably racist, yes. Flattering… not so much. I naturally am larger on the bottom than on the top. So then I go out and decide to run and bulk up even more. Good choice Margaret. My legs look like Superman’s but my top half is more like Robin. Yes I just mixed two universes but you get the meaning. Disproportion. Be prepared

*Note, this can be avoided by strength training work on your top half. I’d do it if I actually cared about this issue.

3. Weight Loss.

Weight maintenance started off being my main reason for running and became secondary as I started setting my sights on distances. It’s an added bonus for me now. But don’t expect just to lose weight because you’re running. Yes, runners on the whole are generally thinner than the average populace. But you know why that is? Most runners watch what they eat as well. You can easily burn 1000cal on a run, but if you go home and choke down pancakes, eggs, and bacon, you’re going to quickly undo any benefits of that run. So if you’re looking to run to lose weight, make sure you’re watching your diet as well. In fact, watch the food first and add in exercise when you’ve got that down. You’ll be amazed by the results.

4. Running Gear.

Is freaking expensive. And so beautiful… you’ll want to buy it all. Those leggings that make you look so buff with all those panels and pockets for gels? $100 solid. And that doesn’t even include the gels. That Lululemon tech shirt that’s so breathable you could use it to silence a hostage without suffocating them? $75 easy. Have fun with your running gear envy.

5. Wanting to Wear Said Running Gear All the Damn Time.

You look soooo good in those $100 leggings. And you spent ONE HUNDRED DOLLARS. You want to get your money’s worth, but society won’t let you. They expect you to wear real people clothes to the grocery store. Things like jeans and boots. So horrible.

"What? You said put on real people clothes! What do think this is?"

6. No One Cares About Your Running.

That’s fairly straightforward. Really, no one cares. All you’ll want to do is brag about how far you ran. And all people really want to hear is nothing. Save it up for a blog y’all.

7. It’s Addictive.

I’m not joking here. The first few weeks, or months, you’ll be forcing yourself out there. But once your body gets used to the effort, and for whatever reason you can’t run for a week or so (injury, giving birth, etc.) that body of yours will freak the hell out at you. Why aren’t you running, like now? You’ll be dying to get out and you’ll start cursing that plantar fasciitis/ newborn child.

8. Running in the Rain.

Holy mother of God, I have never felt more hardcore than how I feel when running in the rain. It’s pouring down upon you as cars splash by, and you are a god of running. You are king. The peasants (a.k.a. people driving past) will fall at your feet in envy and admiration. Combine this with runner’s high… no wonder it’s addictive.

"Bow to me puny humans."

9. Suddenly, You’re Invulnerable to Pain.

Remember what I just said about running being addicting? You’ll do anything to get your fix. That includes pretending that a major injury is nothing but an irritant. This can range from injuries from your running itself or anything else. This happened to me this summer. After two long runs on consecutive weekends, I experienced piercing pains in my abdomen. I finally made it to the hospital, where they cheerfully informed me that I had acute appendicitis and that my running had aggravated it. It was actually a good thing because I noticed it much earlier than I would have if I hadn’t run. But… it meant immediate surgery and two weeks of bedrest. Which I idiotically ignored. I took it easy for a week then got back on the treadmill. This extended my recovery I’m sure. But all I wanted was to get back on schedule. I had a run to do guys!

10. Finally, Slow Effing Walkers.

I don’t know about the rest of you, but I get really frustrated by slow walkers. I used to just push past them. But now that I know I could just drop my stuff and bolt through their little molasses party, preferably flailing my limbs to inflict as much damage as possible, I get infuriated. But maybe that’s just me.

Hope this helps guys! Please enjoy another hilarious photo of an animal thinking it’s people:

This carefree attitude makes me hate pandas even more.

Buying Your Own Shoes

18 Oct

So you’ve already listened to me go on at length about shoes of races past and those bitching new ones I bought (I mean, how can you not love the neon), but you may be wondering if you’re wearing the right shoes or how to make sure the next pair you buy are going to do ya good.

I’m here to impart my wisdom.

Admittedly, I’ve only bought two pairs of runners in my years as a, perhaps improperly proud, slow runner. But I read a lot about running and I’ve gathered a few tips that I’ve personally found helpful.

1. First off, this aint about looks y’all.

My last pair of runners. Smelled kinda weird when it rained.

Sometimes runners are ugly. Sometimes they come in barf green. Sometimes this may be the best shoe for you. So put looks out of your mind and focus on the pair that will help you run safely and comfortably.

2. Know what style of shoe you need.

Did you know there’s such a thing as pronation, and the degree to which you naturally pronate can affect your running style and proneness to injury?

What exactly is pronation you ask? Is it a dirty word, because it kind of sounds like it? Alas, not today folks. Pronation is how your foot rolls inward when it hits the ground. Basically, you can under, over, or just pronate enough. Over means that your foot rolls too much inward, and under means that it doesn’t roll enough.

“Wtf Margaret”, you yell, “how am I supposed to know the degree to which my damn foot rolls when I run? I can barely tell if my feet hit the ground at all.” And to that I say, first, stop with the drugs, and second… go see an expert. That’s my expert advice. These guys and gals at them fancy running stores know their shit. They can tell just by looking at your shoe or the way you walk what kind of shoe you need. So go ask them.

If you find out you overpronate, you’ll need to look into stabilizing shoes. Underpronators will want cushioning shoes. And just-enoughers will look at neutral shoes. This is mostly helpful if you’re shopping online; otherwise the guys at the running store will tell you which shoes to focus on.

3. Don’t buy any old shoe you dumbass!

Speak up if something does feel right. Your new shoe needs to feel perfect when you’re just walking around the store, because anything that bugs you now will KILL you when you run any sort of distance. Don’t go along with what the sales guy says or your friend or your mom or that judgmental guy who looks like he runs a lot and maybe he’s looking down at you or maybe he smells something weird? Speak up now is all I’m saying.

"Oh you ran that race in 2:05? I ran it in 2:04."

4. Invest.

Straight-up. Spend good money, or risk spending a huge dump of money on physio to recover from that injury of yours. I spent $140 on my new shoes and I expected to pay more. Just do it.

5. Finally, it is about looks everyone! Neon! Pink! Gotta love it.

That’s my expert advice you guys! I hope it helps. For the record, I’m a just-enougher with narrow heels. So I need a neutral shoe with high heels in the back so I don’t rub the skin to the bone. Happened before (okay not really but there was some blood).

Oh, and don’t wear cotton socks if you’re running far. Just don’t. Blisters… oh god the blisters.

Utterly Necessary Information

16 Oct

I didn’t write yesterday because of some serious emotional trauma that I endured. I came home too emotionally drained to write hilarious things for you all to enjoy.

“But oh beautiful Margaret, how can you be so sad when your hair is so pretty?” you ask.

Well, yesterday I had to let go of two people who mean very much to me. Meet Left Saucony and Right Saucony:

It hurts to look.

Notice the faded colours that once glowed so brilliant against the pavement. The cushioning, once so comforting, gone, leaving me at the mercy of the road. Shoelaces so muddied they look like muddy shoelaces.

It was time to replace the runners.

You may call them sneakers or running shoes or maybe you’re a freak who doesn’t always wear shoes (yes I’ve seen you guys out and about) but don’t deny you develop a certain attachment. Maybe you don’t go so far as naming your shoes but… they’ve been through a lot with you.

Those Sauconys were my first pair of runners. When I started running I wore a pair of athletic-looking Pumas that were not meant for athletes at all. When I decided to actually do this running thing, I bought my first pair at a running store on the North Shore. Of course I’d had shoes for gym and once a pair of cleats for field hockey, but those were the $40 ones from Payless. These babies were the real deal. Arch support, shoelaces that stayed tied; features I’d never experienced before.

We were fast friends. We would go out and run and play but mostly run. We ran through two summers of blasting heat, and two winters of pouring rain and snow. The Sauconys came with me on my first race, the Vancouver Sun Run 10k. We proceeded to run three more 10k races and two half-marathons. We survived shin splints and runner’s knee with only each other for support. If I took a few days or a week or a month off, the Sauconys would be right there waiting for me.

Soon we added a new blessing to the family. The Nike+ device for my iPod. We were too cheap to get special shoes to hold the device so we bought it a pretty purple blanket and tied it haphazardly to Right Saucony’s laces.

With Nike+, we were the perfect team. We destroyed the road, one slow stride at a time. Nike+ took care of the numbers (calories, pace, distance and all) while Left and Right and me too sometimes did the grunt work.

It was a beautiful thing. But like all good things, it came to an end. Left and Right were getting too tired. They couldn’t keep up on the long runs. In the end they were causing me knee and hip pain. It was time to let go.

So I bought these babies!!!

The hot homewrecker.

Check that neon out. Look at those swoops and glides. Hot shoes guys.

I bought them because the guy at the Running Room told me to. Well, he gave me a bunch to try on based on my style of running and I chose these as they felt the best. I just went in there prepared to depend on their expert knowledge and I think I came out with a great pair.

My advice on buying runners? Simple. Invest and make sure that you get shoes that are right for you, not just shoes that look good.

Even though mine are sweet as all hell.

Check back for more advice on buying good shoes for you. In the meantime:

Haha ridiculous.

Dear Deer

14 Oct

"No no don't worry about us. We're just here to steal your soul."

This is how I begin most of my mornings. Being stared down by a couple of deer.

I guess technically I don’t run at night… I just run so early in the morning that it’s too dark to see. At what time of the morning does it become not night and just early morning? Whoa okay guys I’ll try not to get too philosophical here.

The point is, often when I start my runs, it’s dark out. This can be anywhere from 5 – 7am. I wear a headlamp that looks similar to this one:

Headlamps: allowing kids to pretend to be as glamourous as miners since 1965.

Only it sticks out even further. I don’t think they even make the kind I have any more. Picture a unicorn that fell in a vat of industrial waste and now has the superpower of emitting a weak light through its horn. Which could have been accomplished with the unicorn’s inherent magic anyway. That’s what I look like. But you know what’s great about running at night/ so early that it’s dark? No human being is out and about to witness your shame!

But you know who do enjoy the early mornings? The deer. I live in a place where deer are very common. To point where they ain’t Bambi anymore, just unruly kids who eat up your tulips. The deer are simultaneously my comrades and my archenemies. Sometimes I give them a cool head nod like ‘hey bud, what’s up? We’re just two creatures hanging out at night, enjoying eating leaves and stuff’. Sometimes I even say hello if I’m feeling bold enough.

But you know how the deer respond, no matter what I say? They stare. They just stare at me, with those glowing eyes in the light of my headlamp. It’s unnerving. It forces one to recall that hey, wow, that deer is mighty big and remember that one video where a doe mauled a dog with her hooves?

So you start to back away, but they’re still watching you, stock still. They’ll continue watching you as you run off down the road. They won’t move until you’re out of sight. So don’t glance back, because those eyes… will be watching you.

Oh hiiiii. That's a nice headlamp you got there. I think I'd like to keep that headlamp.

Okay well that's just adorable.

This was supposed to be about the technicalities of running in the dark but I got side-tracked, by deer, as usual. Maybe tomorrow.

On Dogs that Want to Chase Me

14 Oct

A runner's worst nightmare

This is a follow-up to yesterday’s post. Today let’s explore the dark side of the relationship between running and dogs. I bring this up because on my run yesterday morning, I got chased by a grand total of FOUR DOGS. Usually I attract maybe one dog who’s exploring his yard in the morning, but never four on one run.

Fences are very unpopular where I live, unless you have a nice garden and you want to keep the deer out. This means that dogs are free to roam their owner’s yard, the neighbours’ yards, and the road in front of the house. There was one German Shepherd when I was growing up that specifically came into our backyard every morning to drop a deuce. It was annoying at first, then funny, and then back to annoying.

This doggy freedom must be nice for the canines, but for innocent joggers that get lunged at as they run down the street, it can be a heart-pounding experience.

You should know that 99% of dogs that come tearing towards you screaming bloody murder in dog language (barks and growls, etc.) just want to check you out and be on their way. They’re protecting their territory, and once they know you’re not a threat, they’ll trot away. Alternatively, flopping down on the road for a belly rub is a good option. Even a dog that’s behind a fence will bark at you until you’re far enough away that they can smile smugly to themselves and pat themselves on the back for being so good at scaring intruders away.

So how do you avoid being torn to pieces by aggressive dogs? This is from my experience only so if you find yourself with bite marks… I’m sorry, please don’t sue. When I see dogs coming towards me, I follow a couple of steps:

  1. First, slow right the eff down. Stop moving, and let the dog come to you.
  2. When they’re close enough, greet them like you’re happy to see them. A few “hi puppy, good puppy” types of things are good.
  3. Let them smell your hand when they approach.
  4. Meanwhile, don’t look them in the eye, as this can be seen as a challenge.
  5. Pet them if you get the sense that it would be okay with them.
  6. When they’re finished with you, slowly continue on your way. Better to slow the pace than to lose a couple fingers or something.

Likely, at worst, you’re going have mud prints on your new leggings from an overeager jumper. Usually the dog will demand a few ear scratches and then flounce away, content to know that you are not a threat.

I don’t have any advice for actually mean dogs that actually want to kill you. My go-to instinct is to punch faces but I don’t know how well that works with dogs. All I can say is good luck.