One Year of Blogging (& Running)

I love sharing photos of the places I run, hoping to inspire others to keep up this crazy addiction we can running.

Over this last year I have enjoyed sharing my running adventures and along the way I learned a lot about blogging and writing in general.

It has also been a good record of my running journey. Keeping track of it this way is a whole lot better than just a bunch of stats of my times and distances.

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Here is one photo from each of the 12 months of blogging that was taken while I was out running. It was pretty hard to pick out just one good one.

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August 2015 – Ironlegs 50 miler, Kananaskis, Canadian Rockies
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July 2015 – Lots of hills training in the Rockies

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Blogging stats for year one:

8000 views on WP over the year plus the unrecorded “tons” of viewers by email, rss feeds, Facebook and G+

By far the most popular post 328 views – Surviving the whole half which was my race report of the half marathon with my 14 year old daughter

Second most popular 240 views – Trail Running in the Canadian Rockies. Places to run. Inspiration for anyone who lives the mountain trails.

My first blog post (short and sweet) that kicked it all off: Too Many Trails, Too Little Time.

Running while blogging: 3300 km over 12 months in 4 countries

Thanks for joining me on this journey. We’re not done yet.

Preparing to Sit a Lot

I like doing a hard run or workout just before a trip. I want to go into a long flight or drive, or series of day long meetings feeling that my legs deserve a rest and that this inactivity is not so bad.

On most trips (business or vacation) it is difficult to keep up the running at a high level. So my theory is to go all out on the morning of the trip or the night before, recover during the trip and then try to make it up again when I get back.

I don’t know anyone else who does this but it works for me.

This trip is 2 weeks long but the many preparations kept me from doing anything really long or hard. I ran the evening before and again a couple hours before the flight but each time was maybe half an hour. It cleared my head (which definitely needed doing)  but it didn’t do much for my legs.

Right now I am in a middle seat on a 9 hour flight with the seat back in front of me leaned way back in my face. So I can’t even roam the aisles or stretch very far.

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A lot of sitting still

I always plan lots of exercise on these trips. I pack all my running gear, skipping rope, stretch bands. I check out running routes from hotels. I plan to get up early before the heat.

But inevitably it never goes as expected and I don’t have the energy or I value my sleep. But if I could measure it in good intentions, I would be running for at least an hour every day.

But if I don’t get it in, at least I can run when I get home.

Heard at the dinner table

“Of course I am in a good mood, I just went for a run”

“Its Saturday tomorrow Dad, where are we racing this week?”

“We need to get to bed early tonight, it’s Friday. We have to get up early for a race tomorrow”

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A running family
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So many shoes, so many choices

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“Don’t think of it as vegetables, think of it as fuel”

A family that runs together … Eats a lot and has a lot of shoes

Running on Less – Money, That Is

I am pretty cheap when it comes to buying stuff for running so I am constantly looking for deals and ways to get things to last longer.

For example, there are recipes to make your own energy gels, directions to build your own gaiters, and modify your shoes with screws to create winter running cleats. You can strap your gels to your pocket-less shorts with safety pins instead of buying a special strap. You can borrow “Runner’s World” from the library either hard copy or e-version, instead of buying it. You can register early for races. You can share a hotel room at a distance race.

If you don’t mind not having the latest fashionable (read expensive) running paraphenalia you can save yourself a lot of money for whatever you do besides running. (admittedly, for some of us, that’s not much)

Here’s a great article from Trail Runner Magazine entitled “12 Cheap Running – Gear Hacks”. It shows can you can create and modify stuff you already have to prevent having to go buy new stuff. Click here for the article.

Another article here about using stuff longer, or finding discounts.

There’s lots more advice out there, just Google some of the blog sites like wordpress.com, or blogger. Look in the blogs for money saving measures, not the company websites because they just want you to buy the latest stuff.

One of my strategies is to let my garage-sale guru wife know what I am looking for (like a prefectly good running bladder or old copies of running magazines) and then she might eventually find it at a steal at some garage sale. It won’t be today or tomorrow, but eventually. Hopefully I haven’t lost patience, given up and just gone out and bought new.

Patience saves money. And it also helps if you don’t mind not having the latest.

Running with books – Less dangerous than scissors

I have found that audiobooks are a great way to pass the time and keep the brain engaged during long runs. In an hour long run you can get through several chapters of a book that otherwise would have gone unread. I love reading, but with my training regime I am not getting enough reading in.

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I alternate between easy to listen to fiction and more engaging non-fiction. The last book I finished was a historical treatise on the forming of Kurdistan. It actually was very easy to follow and didn’t seem too long if you’re into that sort of thing. I know there aren’t many like me out there that like this sort of reading.

Now I’m listening to Nelson Mandela’s autobiography which is very long and detailed. The problem with audiobooks is that when you are browsing for them, you do not get an idea of how long a book is. I have listened to 9 hours now, and I still have 11 hours to go. It takes much longer to listen to a book than to actually read it. If I had seen this book on a shelf in a library, I likely would not have dared pick it up – it is over 650 pages long. Luckily many audiobooks are abridged versions.

Our local library has thousands of books that I can download so I am set for many years (and many ultra-marathons) to come.

Running long hours means being inside my own head for much of the time. Getting out of that and into something engaging helps me pass the hours.

But if I need to push the pace, or need a tempo run, audiobooks are not the solution. Focus on the effort is more important then.

Surveillance video for motivation

I ran a new route on Saturday which was along a lonely rural road that was the access road to the provincial prison. The frontage of the prison is about 2km long and I couldn’t help thinking I was on video the whole time even though I couldn’t see the cameras or the actual security personnel.

When you are on video you can’t stop for a walk or pee break because you know they are watching you close and trying to figure you out. Why would I be running 10 km from any town along a gravel road. And then an hour later I doubled back as I ran back to my car. I was worried they thought I was scouting out the place. Any way, it was a good excuse to just keep going and not stop for a walk break. Maybe they were analyzing my gait, or laughing at my pained expressions. I was probably the most entertaining thing they had seen all day.

Maybe I will choose a different route next weekend.

It appears I run differently when people are watching.

Anyway here are the pictures of the approaching storm that chased me all the way back to my car. It caught with about 3 km to go and I got quite wet.

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Long May You Run

Sneezing, spider webs, mosquitos, sun burns, and mowing the lawn. All the things we forgot about when we were wishing for Spring.

But woohoo for long-lasting days! The long runs in the morning and well into the evening that do not require head lamps.

Long may you run! – Neil Young. Click here to hear it again and go down memory lane. It’s a pretty slow tempo to listen to during normal runs, but maybe while you’re collapsing on the couch.

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NEIL YOUNG VORLAGE (2)

 

 

No Swimming! (This Week Only)

We couldn’t make our swimming date this week and probably that was a good thing. After an epic swim last week and the necessary 2 days of recovery, I am glad for a week off.  When you are only swimming once per week those muscles sure can complain.

But the running continues without a break…

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Seasons of River Ice

Out my backyard and down the river bank trail for 100m, I get this view everyday on the way to the bus stop.

Shouldice Bridge crossing the Bow River.

December 2014 to January 2015.

Stay tuned for an updated gallery as the season changes into Spring, Summer and Fall again.

What NOT to give me for Christmas – A Runner’s List

Dr. Daily from Runner’s World has a great post about holiday gift buying for runners. Along with his good ideas, is a hilarious list of things runners would absolutely NOT want. Check it out.

“Long Run” Simulator Kit, $4

Dr. Daily says: “No time to get in your long run? No problem. Just vigorously apply these specially formulated sheets to underarms, nipples, and crotch area. Your friends will never know the difference.”

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Yoda Mat, $50

Dr. Daily says: “Better than a yoga mat, and it’ll probably see a lot more use. Regret this purchase you will not.”

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Sparklers, $38 per case (288 count)
Dr. Daily says: “Invaluable for running in the dark. That price is for a case of 288, or about enough for one 5-mile run.”

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Check out the FULL LIST Here: http://www.runnersworld.com/fun/dr-dailys-2014-holiday-gift-guide