Blueberry waffles and grits to Power my first 1/2 marathon

Brussels WafflesOn Sunday January 14, 2010,  I started the morning still feeling uneasy from my illness which started on Friday and left me reeling on Saturday.  As I did not eat much the  previous day, I decided to make a big breakfast to start the day off right. This consisted of home made waffles, a good helping of grits and a few veggie sausages. Combined with some fresh orange juice this together represented a power breakfast.

As the grits and waffles were high in carbs it helped to fuel my body for the rest of the day.  In my blueberry waffles I included a whole range of healthy items which was based on a recipe from the cook book The Joy of Vegan Baking.I took my time to eat the meal and found about 1 hour later my energy levels were starting to return to normal. By avoiding the dairy in the recipe, I am able to prevent the mucus / clogging effect it has in my body.

As I was feeling much better, I decided to go for my weekly long run scheduled  to be an 18K  long run. I began at a slow pace and took a number of trails which had a covering of snow and made my way down to the harbour to enjoy the scenery. There were many ducks, geese and swans at the beach protected from the waves and the roads and trails were fairly quiet.

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Running to the Beat and Drumming with your Feet

I have been enjoying music as part of my runs lately. This has been a investigative personal running journey to weigh the impact of music which has a good beat which is fast enough to match the cadence. The goal I have been working on is to find the best songs for me to run with. I have found that music can clearly help to aid in performance while running. It is another tool for a runner to help control the mind.

Lately, I have been using Banshee Media Player in Ubuntu to help determine the beats per minute (BPM) within my music collection. I have found certain songs help to encourage a quick pace which is supported by various research on-line. The songs with the highest beats per minute usually have a positive impact when working to find a good running pace. Since I started with this I have found numerous studies supporting the positive of running with music when practiced safely.  During my on-line research I found a company named Audio Fuel which provides high paced running music. I am in the process of testing this out as part of an overall investigation into what type of music works best for me.

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Pulling your way along the road to the Chilly

Chilly Half Marathon 2010 PosterI have recently decided to add in some spinning to help increase my cardiovascular fitness level. My plan was to drop one training run a week to mark the 1 month before race day. So this means I am moving from 4 to 3 runs per week and I will add in an extra high intensity cross training class per week. The level of intensity in the spinning class after 40 minutes is quite remarkable. Additionally, I suspect the fast action will further the development of the ‘fast-twitch’ muscles in the legs which I started to work on with down hill running. I hope this is the case as it might aid in increased running efficiency and speed.

My thinking was to start lessening the impact of running on my body with the extra running “rest” day. This is to get my body fully rested and ready for the Chilly 1/2 marathon race. It would be a shame to push a little harder on the roads in the last month and risk injury. Incidentally, in a healthy state I am already able to reach my original race pace goal so the extra mileage on the road seems unnecessary.

I have been told that as a runner you need to figure out what works best for you.  There is certainly a real degree of truth to that statement and I would add that the process of trying different techniques help develop the runner’s mind. This is as important or probably more integral to develop then the body. I point out my descartian simplification of mind and body makes it easier to explain this process of being mindful of pulling while on a run but in reality they are one.

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Energy level and -16’C cold weather

Yesterday, I went for my Saturday long run with running group in training for the Chilly half marathon. I went on a 12k run and I found it was much harder then usual to complete. Afterwards, I was trying to determine why this run in particular was such a challenge and I came up with two main reasons.

We started out at 8:00 am with the sun rising above Lake Ontario. It was serene to run along the shore and see the effect of the cold on the lake. The sky was mostly clear and it was -16 degrees Celsius outside. The sun was shining bright. Suffice to say it was a very cold morning for a run. Incidentally, this is the coldest run I have taken so far. During the run I was reminded of a winter camping trip I took to Algonquin Park in similar conditions. So far I have yet to repeat that trip and wonder if the same goes for this run.

I had the opportunity to chat with a few members of my group to see how they experienced the run. The vast majority of the replies were in sync with my experience. The run felt way harder then it should have and one fellow runner even remarked that it felt more like a 20k run.

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Training one day at a time

The training is going along nicely with a little soreness. After a long run on the weekend of 18K I found I could have used one more day of rest as my feet were still a bit sore. I ran to my schedule instead of how my body felt and I found it was not a very good run yesterday so I ended it at 7K.  Another lesson learned.  After my run,  my feet were a bit sore so today I decided to get some more Active Release Techniques (ART) treatment.  I was able to go on my hill run later on in the day as it really helped loosen up the area in my feet which was very tight. This is only the second time I have used this treatment and I have to say it is quite remarkable.

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Room for Doubt in a Runner’s Journey?

After my 12K hill run last night I decided on renting the documentary “Running the Sahara” as it came highly recommended by a good friend. This documentary was very touching to see how they positively impacted the lives of the people with whom they encountered on their run.  Charlie Engle, Ray Zahab, and Kevin Lin ran for 111 days straight across the entire Sahara desert for a total distance of 170 marathons – 6,290 kilometers (4,300 miles). They did not take a complete day off in all that distance!

As I watched the video I could not help to think about my training for a 1/2 marathon as quite infinitesimal to this unparalleled  expedition.  I decided to watch the movie for two reasons. The first reason was to pick up some tips which might help me with my training as a runner. The second was to get a glimpse of parts of the world seldom seen on television in such an intimate manner.

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Goodbye My Faithful Running Pal Jax

Fetching a BallWhen I first started getting into trail running in 2009, I would often take my dog Jax on the runs with me.  He is a dog that truly loves to run. I know this by the way he follows me around waiting all day till our run. I know this by the way he smiles after a nice run.

Jax always wants to be out in front when on the leash. Before doing some speed training he was my pace setter throughout 2010.

It has been a “few years” since Jax was able to run but I will always be fond of the days when he could go for runs with me. As he got older he took a long time to learn he was not young anymore;  still chasing after squirrels and pulling muscles in the process. But the last few years he slowed down and accepted his limitations. Sadly he died on April 8, 2017 at the age of 15. He was a great dog and was loved so much! He lived a mostly health life with few real issues. Time took its toll and stiffness eventually took over and limited his freedom.

He loved his walks in his later years. Even stiff and sore he always wanted to go out. A day before he died, he was happy to be out in the rain, doing the things he loved.

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Sore Ankles & Winter Trail Running

Diagram of the AnkleTwo weeks ago (Jan 3, 2010) on a Sunday afternoon a friend and I decided to go for a run in Toronto. It was with excitement that I drove downtown with the snow softly falling. There were not many people on the roads allowing me an easy and safe passage to my destination. I was headed for a 16 kilometer (10 Mile) run that purposefully avoided roads and focused on experiencing the green space that Toronto offers for free. Today was extra special because of the weather: we were experiencing one of the only snowfalls we have had so far this winter. I actually was thinking that the mild winter season really helped ease me into my first year with winter running.  So as I was driving to the run I was quite excited to appreciate the full beauty of a winter snowfall while enjoying a good run.

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Create Garmin Running Course from GMaps

I went for a 9K run several nights ago and had the task of being in charge of leading the route within my pace group.

Forerunner 305 Watch by GarminUnfortunately, I ran out of time at the office and did not have the ability to study the exact route I was running. even had I dont this the route was so complicated to add in the hills we are using to improve our endurance during this training phase for the Chilly.

I was very kindly given the route on a piece of paper from the group leader and given it was night time I very quickly found how difficult this task really is while still running.

I decided during that run that this is an unnecessary impediment to Running Samadhi so I made plans to use my Garmin Forerunner 305 as a course guide. It is very easy to create courses in the Forerunner or the Garmin Training Centre if you have already run the course, but not so easy if you have not. Being part of a running group the route usually changes for every run so this was not an option.

This task was easier said then done. I spent several hours scouring the internet to find a way to do this as easily as possible.  After many false starts I finally figured out how this can be done with relative ease compared to manually editing an XML file. I wanted to share these steps developed for any other runner needing to create courses from a Google map (gmaps) before running the actual course.

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Welcome to Running Samadhi

This blog will share many of the new adventures which I encounter while taking part in learning how to run fast and as efficiently as possible.

I have heard from a number of runners I have met on the path that running is something that needs to be learned if you are to do it well. I am sure with all things there are some people in which it comes naturally. While I find I am able to run just fine for recreational purposes to run fast for long distances clearly requires good technique and training.

I hope the techniques and tips I will share through this blog will help some other runners. If you are exploring running for the first time or are training for your next race welcome to Running Samadhi.

I am quite excited to be going for a run later today after my day of rest.

Happy Running!

Paul MacKenzie

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