November 22, 2020 · 9:06 am
When I look at the calendar, it blows my mind that we are already at the end of what I refer to as “my running season” (typically, the period from March to November) and yet I still haven’t gone running yet this year.
How did that happen? How did a whole running season escape on me?
Thankfully, it’s not like I was sidelined due to injury or anything like that (been there, done that!), but I think we can all agree that 2020 was far from normal for anyone.
Much like every year, when the ice build-up on the wintry sidewalks was melting, making them less of a hazard for slipping and breaking an ankle or a hip (a legit concern for us folks on the cusp of “elderly”), I had every intention of getting out, building up my walking routine and slowly graduating to running.
At the dawn of the Covid-19 lockdown, I was working from home and during most lunch breaks, I was outside walking two kilometres to get some fresh air, sunshine and exercise. In reality, that wasn’t too far off from my routine had I been working from the office. Over time, my pace increased with no noticeable complaints from the legs, knees, hips, IT bands or shins. I felt like I was making good progress.
Over the span of a few weeks, I had just graduated to the walk-run combo for my two kilometre circuit, so I was almost there and planning to increase my distance. Continue reading →
Filed under Health and Wellness, Running
Tagged as city, country, energy, goals, health, home, house, management, meditation, nature, relaxation, renovation, run, runner, running, selling, stress, wellness
June 23, 2019 · 11:10 am
NOTE: This blog post is not intended as medical advice, nor do I represent myself as a medical professional. Please consult your doctor or health care professional if you feel pain, fatigue or discomfort when practicing any sport.
It is a blow to the ego to know that in 2014 I was able to run 21 kilometres as I prepared for a half-marathon, yet in the years that followed my distances kept getting shorter and shorter.
In those years, I was frustrated with myself when instead of shaving seconds from my personal bests, the durations of my runs were steadily getting longer. I often asked myself if this was what it meant to be over 50.
For someone who isn’t a jealous person by nature, I admit I felt envy in seeing my Facebook friends sharing their athletic accomplishments and their new personal bests.
For someone who was an active participant in a running club, I felt like I was letting down the team when I just couldn’t keep up… or even to make it out to a get together because I was too embarrassed to admit I had slowed down so much, compared to what I was able to do.
When someone would ask “How is the running going?” after years of saying I was sidelined due to injury, it felt like I was making excuses when my body just wouldn’t cooperate, no matter how many times I tried. Continue reading →
Filed under 50+, Health and Wellness, Running
Tagged as age, band, connective, decline, fascia, fasciitis, iliotibial, injury, IT band, plantar, runner, running, shins, shins splints, slower, tissue, training
July 15, 2018 · 10:46 am
1. It gets me out to enjoy the fresh air and sunshine.
2. It’s a versatile activity: when running with friends it can be a very social activity, but when running alone, it can offer great moments of introspection.
3. There are several great programs and clinics offering information and instruction on how to run injury-free. Checking one out can be the difference between hating the sport and loving the sport.
4. Running helps me to clear my head.
5. Running can be a good activity for stress management.
6. Running puts a smile on my face.
7. Running is a great conversation starter with other runners.
8. The subtle changes I see and feel in my body, when a belt can tighten a notch or when something from the back of the closet suddenly fits again.
9. Overall, I feel more confident when I have been running.
10. Running only seems to require discipline in the beginning. Over time, the sense of progress, achievement and well-being seems to help discipline take care of itself.
11. When I am running regularly, the sense of progress and achievement seems to motivate me to make better, healthier choices overall.
12. The feeling of “ugh, I need to work out” disappears as soon as I am done, which means less guilt for the rest of the day.
13. There is a wonderful sense of community among runners.
14. I sometimes get my best writing ideas while running.
15. I sometimes solve problems while running. Continue reading →
Filed under Health and Wellness, Inspiring, Running
Tagged as accomplishment, anxiety, beauty, body, discipline, enjoyment, goals, gratitude, guilt, happiness, happy place, health, jogging, joy, meditation, mind, motivation, music, race, runner, runners, running, seasons, spirit, sport, stress, well-being, wellness
April 22, 2018 · 8:52 am
I admire those people who say they are going for a “quick run”.
They are those phenomenal runners who stack up personal best after personal best, while barely breaking out in a sweat, who can simultaneously update their Facebook, Twitter and Instagram feeds with professional-grade photos of wildlife, beautiful scenery and gorgeous skies.
They can carry on a conversation without ever being out of breath. And they look so graceful, from the beginning to the end of the run, like gazelles out for a joyful dash through the savannahs.
They inspire me! I love them and I am incredibly jealous of them.
Meanwhile you can find me at the back of the pack, fiddling with something or other, or holding a part of my anatomy that’s complaining, wondering why a 3 kilometer run takes me an hour… or two.
Here they are, my top 10 reasons why going for a quick run is impossible (for me). Continue reading →
Filed under Running
Tagged as conditions, earphone, exercises, fitness, food, gels, headphone, hydration, music, planning, playlist, playlists, preparation, quick run, regimen, routine, run, runner, running, Seinfeld, spring running, stretching, wallet, water, weather, wires, workout
March 19, 2017 · 8:23 am
I have always admired those runners who are able to look out the window at the most adverse weather conditions and still be able to pick out the perfect layers of clothing, lace up their shoes and go for a run with a smile on their face. They are my heroes!
I will admit that I tried it for a couple of winters, and when properly dressed for it, it wasn’t too bad. In fact, on a sunny, crisp winter day, a nice run can definitely raise the spirits after long stretches of grey winter skies.
But when Mother Nature delivers long stretches of snowy day after snowy day, and it has been weeks since I have even seen a sidewalk, it is all too easy for my discipline to be hiding on the couch under a pillow and blankie, thumb stuck on the remote, leaving a trail of sodium-reduced potato chip crumbs wherever it goes.
However, when March rolls around, it is no exaggeration to say that I can’t wait to get out of the house. The excitement and desire to return to the running trails builds with each passing day.
But when it comes to those first runs of the season, I have learned that managing one’s expectations is incredibly important.
After being away from it for several months, I tend to over-romanticize the running experience, accentuating the positive, musing about beautiful spring runs on flat, bare sidewalks, the fresh spring air, the sun shining, and the birds cheering me on. Continue reading →
Filed under Humour, Inspiring, Running
Tagged as allergies, cardio, discipline, endurance, enjoyment, exercise, expectations, fitness, fun, funny, humor, humour, ice, progress, run, runner, running, snow, spring, spring running, strength, stretching, training, weather, winter, winter running, winter weather
January 29, 2017 · 8:01 am
If you ask any weekend warrior, I am pretty certain that most will have a story or two about an injury sustained while practicing their favourite sport. I am proud to say that I am no different.
In my journey as a runner, I have been no stranger to shin splints, knee issues, “IT Band” irritation, plantar fasciitis, lost toe nails and bleeding nipples. I sometimes ask myself why I do it, but the answer is clear. Aside from the occasional occupational hazards of the sport, when I am in top running form, I feel so much better and I enjoy the multiple benefits associated with it.
But the oddest running injury I have encountered to date has to be when I injured my eye.
How did I do that? It wasn’t easy.
Picture it… Ottawa, July 2015… a beautiful summer day, as I was coming home from work and the running trails were yelling “André, it’s a beautiful day. Why don’t you come out for a run?” My body responded, “Yes, indeed! Could it be a more perfect day? The sun is shining, the birds are singing, the temperature is perfect for running, the humidity is low and an ever-so gentle breeze will keep me cool. Absolutely. I’d be a fool not to.” You can’t bottle that kind of enthusiasm!
Faster than a Broadway actor in a one-man-show, I changed from my work clothes to my running clothes, filled the cat’s bowl with her favourite dinner, laced up my shoes, picked my perfect musical playlist and went for my neighbourhood run.
When the weather is flawless and mind, body and soul are in perfect alignment, a run can be a beautiful thing. It was phenomenal! Continue reading →
Filed under Humour, Running
Tagged as contact lenses, eye, eye care, eyes, fitness, funny, funny stories, glasses, healing, health, hydration, injuries, injury, irritation, lubrication, run, runner, running, sleep, strange, weekend warrior, weird
February 23, 2015 · 6:16 am
Shortly after the major milestone of running my first half-marathon last fall, I have to admit I really enjoyed the month that followed. With training on the back burner, I fully enjoyed the free time I reclaimed: more time for writing, more time for staying on top of errands and housekeeping, and of course eating anything and everything as my metabolism was still cranked up high and quickly burning up anything I consumed.
Then the post-run party is over, replaced by holiday parties and more “fun food”!
Then when the holidays are over… Winter! Ugh!
When it comes to winter I am not a sports enthusiast:
– Despite many lessons in my pre-teens, I skate about as gracefully as Bambi on ice. Sorry, Rideau Canal.
– When I was a kid, my dad was in the ski patrol. We were out on the slopes at the crack of dawn every Sunday. You could say that before age 12, I did enough skiing to last me a lifetime and it would be true, especially given that I was not a fan of the cold and snowy part.
– Contrary to popular belief, Canadian kids are not born with hockey sticks in their hands. Besides, I was always picked last for team sports like that, so I sublimate that lifetime of trauma, by attending as many cheery musical theatre performances and uplifting operas as I can afford.
– I tried curling, I understand the game and really enjoy the wardrobe options (Google: “Norwegian curling pants” and click on the “images” tab) but I prefer my exercise in short spurts.
So what about my first love in sports, running?
In theory, if properly dressed for it, running can be performed in almost any kind of weather. I say in theory because I know my limit is around -20 degrees Celsius. Below that, my lungs are not happy in the days that follow, but that’s just me. The fact is that I have enjoyed running on sunny and bright but less “crisp” wintery days. Continue reading →
Filed under Humour, Running
Tagged as fitness, focus, guilt, half marathon, perspective, priorities, run, runner, running, sport, training
July 27, 2014 · 8:59 am
or.. What runners think of when they are writing
T’was a Sunday morning
Ideal for a run
All stretched and hydrated
I was ready for fun
My run gear was laid
On the bedside with care
Hoping the weather, as planned,
Was 25, mostly fair.
I drove to the park
My favourite starting line
Where the paths run flat
Backed by views sublime
The first few K’s
Were a bit of a mess
My contacts felt itchy
My shins felt stressed
I wondered right then
Should I have stayed in bed?
I was so comfy there
As dreams filled my head Continue reading →
April 7, 2014 · 6:44 pm
Perhaps you may think that athletes are a pretty superstitious bunch: a lucky golf shirt, hockey socks that don’t get washed for months, putting on one’s shoes or pant legs in a specific order, tapping the goal posts before a game. Everyone has their ritual and it isn’t always logic that rules such behaviours.
Even in my journey as a runner, I have had an inside view of all kinds of pre-race rituals including lucky running shirts, lucky socks, lucky shoes, anti-chafing products, anti-blister products, special meals, a prescribed series of stretches, a perfect playlist of music in a specific range of beats-per-minute, taping one’s nipples so that they do not bleed, and icing body parts to fend off inflammation, to name a few. To an insider they all make sense, but out of context, some might be perceived as downright weird. At the end of the day, whatever it takes to keep someone happy, engaged, comfortable and injury-free in order to go the distance and meet their goals, seems generally well-accepted.
The writing world is very much the same as some successful authors throughout history have been known to have their unique methods to achieve peak performance:
– Mark Twain and Truman Capote were reported to have written several works in bed, specifically in the horizontal position.
– Agatha Christie and Edmond Rostand were known to write in the bathtub in an effort to fend off interruptions.
– Ernest Hemingway and Albert Camus are reported to have written standing up.
– Several writers are known to have done their best work in the nude, including Victor Hugo and Benjamin Franklin.
If you have a look on the web, there is a segment of the writing world that refers to itself as “car writers”, people who seek the privacy and seclusion of their car in order to concentrate and produce their best work. Continue reading →
Filed under Humour, Running, Writing
Tagged as anecdotes, athletes, focus, observational, passion, rituals, runner, running, sports, writer, Writing