I have moved all of my stuff for a third time in the past three weeks. This time to Guelph home to a slew of radical punx and one of the countries top track teams. Friday morning I woke up to a facebook post from Gnarly RJ, of Ottawa’s Mount Trashmore fame, saying he had built me a loft bed for whenever I decided to arrive at our future home. That day at around 4pm after two hours of making our way through traffic my mom was dropping me off on Arthur St.

The house itself is falling apart in true punx fashion. “The River Shanty” as the Guelph lifers know is has been home to a few incarnations of punx, dealers and travelers of all sorts. The basement is a fucking mess, filled with piss jugs an insulated but decrepit jam space and one metric ton of building materials / the landlords stuff. The upsides include a huge backyard shared with a cool neighbor. At the very tip of which there are a bunch of chairs right on the river bank. The kitchen is huge too and once we get it set up I have faith it will be awesome.

My first two nights were spent in the downstairs bedroom on the loft bed which I was sharing with N. / Spork and N. / tay-tay. Since then I have moved myself upstairs to a room which has not yet been built. One which will most likely be made by drawing a curtain across the room. A bit less than desirable but everything is still being set up.

The house was set up a little over two weeks ago by a group of punk cuties from Ottawa. Spending only a few hours with them leaves the impression that they are super comfortable with each other; able to call each other on small shit most would let slide and do it with a smile. It’s a good vibe and one I hope will lead to a more open environment than my last few months @ The Burning Brick.

Looking back I can see I probably should have asserted myself more. There were a number of issues with one of the T’s which I never really settled. Some of it makes me feel petty for carrying on feeling resentful but I should be honest with how I feel.

Running has been on and off. I think I ran through my pair of Adizero Adios because my shins were quite sore until I went and got new shoes a couple days ago. I’m on the mend from my groin injury and managed to log about 30 miles last week. This week is off to a good start after an easy but solid 10km last night and my plan to find the Speed River Track practice tonight wherever they are, one would assume they’re at the track.

On Sunday I ran to the campus and found the Gryphon track which is dirt! I ran two miles at race pace, or so I thought. My Garmin beeped for me to stop saying I had ran a mile about 100m short of 1 mile according to the track. I’m unsure what to trust and it’s making me feel uneasy that I have possibly been running short miles this WHOLE time! AHH!!! This is what I get for trusting all this future tech. I’ll have to sort it out.

I am for sure on the mend and within a few days will hopefully feel close to 100%.

Stay healthy ya’ll

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Running to Forget

Leaving Winnipeg was really tough. Despite all these plans that I make they rarely come to fruition. Yet here I sit in my mothers one bedroom appartment where I’ve been sleeping on the floor/couch for the past week. Even now after it’s all said and done I miss it, and I’m still honestly a bit unsure if I have made the right decision. Stubbornness will keep me away from Winnipeg for the next 5 months. Fists In! has a show with Lemuria (fingers crossed) in December and I will make the trip back for that.

The last two weeks in Ontario have been bittersweet since Jasunn has left us. We got to spend a few days together before his departure and I feel fortunate for that time. He’s one of my oldest friends and I will always have a spot in my heart for him, even if he becomes a filthy Aussie.

I have had this plan to try and run with the Speed River Track Club as some point in the next year. I’m sure I could stroll over and ask to run a work out with them now but, I’m nervous and want to make a good impression so I will probably wait until after the Toronto Waterfront 5km.

The ultimate goal is to go to University *coughguelphcough* somewhere next year and hopefully make a track team. So, I need to post 2-3 good times this year to show I’m in it to win it… and all that. Since I am training alone right now I thought it would be best to hit the books before I hit the road. Even if I find a club to run with for the next while a little knowledge couldn’t hurt me… right?!? The moment I had free time in Kitchener the hunt for running literature began. Over the past two weeks I have found four great titles by respectable running dudes:

The first book I found at Casablanca Books in downtown Kitchener for $3. The Winning Edge: Trade Secrets of an Olympic Track Coach is by Brooks Johnson. Johnson is not the most respected coach anymore having been largely blamed by the running community for USA’s failure to capture many gold in the sprints & relays during the 2008 Olympics. The book itself has anecdotes about elite runners Johnson had coached in the 70’s and 80’s all which showcased a clear cut desire and determination to win, what he calls “The Winning Edge”. It is also filled with some useful tips about strengthening running muscles, your feet and proper running form as well as a training schedule he used with a few elite athletes back in the day. All in all, I found the chapter on form very helpful but one week on that training schedule and I am suffering from a strained adductor, haha some wouldn’t be surprised.

The next I found for $9 at A Second Looks new location also on King St, that place is HUGE now! Explosive Running by Michael Yessis has a very thorough break down of running form, both proper and improper including stop frames from training footage. This book read more like a textbook than a guide, which was good and bad, I had to reread most of it in order to actually absorb the information. A good book since I’m pretty serious about running these days, probably not for the casual jogger.

My kind mother ordered the next two for me off of Amazon and they arrive within two days. We are living in a fucked up world when I can get stuff off the internet that quickly.

Daniel’s Running Formula by Jack Daniels (of course) is pretty much the running bible and has been for the past 15 years. Now in it’s 2nd edition it is once again, more like a text book from a running class than a how to guide. Beware: Contains Science. I have yet to digest much of this book because most of the information has been adapted by others and put on the internet. Meaning, I’ve already fawned over my charts and programed my Garmin with my various paces. I would assume most serious runners know what their VDot is, what their easy, tempo, VO2max and raw speed paces are ect. It is nice to have thorough explanations of the various thresholds and all the information about mitochondria so I can be totally in my body in my head while I run now haha.

The other reason I haven’t read much of Daniel’s is because I have been caught up with Road Racing for Serious Runners by Scott Douglas and Pete Phitzinger. This is very similar to the Running Formula but maybe bit easier to understand. I feel almost anyone who wants to run, and run well, would benefit from this read. The whole 2nd half of this book is filled with chapters on training for and racing various road race distances. Super great book! Get it (looking at you Felicia, Matt, Nick, Luke & Jeff)

Book Report over

As for actual physical training I am taking this week easy have a minor hip adductor strain from last weeks mania. Last week I ran my first long run in two weeks; 11 miles /w hills & a strong headwind at times @ 6:30 pace on the Sunday. Monday I went to the track behind my moms house and ran 12 x 100m Sprints, which I did too hard after being pumped up by all my new running knowledge, and 2 miles barefoot half of which was on the asphalt track. Tuesday I was back in KW and decided to run to the park to run a work out with Tri-City Track Club, who I used to train with back in high school. There were a few old friends there back from running in the USA and I managed to stay within view of the top guys, which gave me a load of confidence. The rest of the week was filled with two days of easy runs, strides and drills and two long runs of 8-9 miles.

By saturday I was at about 46 miles for the week which is probably a 40% increase from the week before (mainly because of exodus). Too much, too soon and now I have a sore leg. This week I managed to take Sunday completly off and Monday was an easy day with strides, drills and stretching.

Tuesday I really needed to run a bit of speed but didn’t think I could handle the work out I had scheduled so I decided to slow the pace down and work on my 5km race pacing. My goal pace for the Laurier Loop at the end of the month is 5:07/miles. I ran 3 miles with 2 minutes of active rest between my splits were 5:08, 5:06, 5:08. I made a strong effort on that last rep NOT to speed up, instead choosing to concentrate on what the pace felt like. I was very comfortable and was able to finish the last mile without switching to a 2/2 breathing pattern. Meaning I wasn’t even close to my last gear. The groin strain didn’t spur up at all while running either.

Wednesday was another active rest day the same as Monday. Today I went out for a Long Run of 1 hour. I took the first 8.5 miles out easy, averaging 6:40/m, because my groin was feeling tight. I brought the next mile home pretty hard, 6:13/m, working my way through 10km pace and then finished with one lap of the track at sub 5:00/m pace because I was feeling super good. My groin had totally loosened up and once again after stretching I couldn’t even tell it was there.

Sitting here now it’s Friday morning and I should be sleeping but this post has taken me a few hours to write and I am determined to get back on track with this whole blog thing. My groin feels a bit sore right now but some Ibuprofen tonight and an easy day tomorrow and possibly Saturday as well will fix that up I hope.

Wish me luck.

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Summer Happened…

It’s the truth and I haven’t written in several months. So much has happened since May 27th. Folk fest & assorted Mondragon drama, Fists In! recorded an album, Sh!thawks kinda… went tits up (almost 100% my fault), my good friend moved to Australia, I met a wicked awesome girl who was is into Springsteen and we both moved (not together… simple coincidence) Eastbound across the country.

So, I could write a lot about all of that, which I won’t. I could tell you about running, which I will. I could sit and complain about how fucking bored I am in Toronto at the moment, which I will… also. But right now, please take a break and watch this video from my going away party.

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Running In Translation

I did have a plan to solve the issue I am about to explain. That plan has been pushed back and maybe canceled due to injury which you can read about in the post under this one.

Runner’s have breakthroughs. Many professional runners are training at roughly the same level. Doing variations of the same work outs, training at altitude, different weight training, 2 tempo runs week or 3 ect. Some have a boost from genetics or from a more active childhood. They’re all in amazing shape. They’re at a level where running 10 seconds faster in a 5km would mean a world record… 10 seconds. That’s the difference for them between being remembered forever or being another good runner.

When it comes to race day we sometimes see one runner break off from the pack never to return. At the Boston Marathon this year there were worlds best times ran, almost a world record. Ryan Hall, America’s best marathoner, had a breakthrough and posted a personal best. Then again so did most of the other top runners. After the race Hall said he tends to breakthrough on a day when every else does too.

It’s that moment of breaking a mental block. Seeing your splits and taking them in with a relaxed confidence or excitement instead of a restrictive tight fear that you’ve gone out too hard. Chances are you’ve been ABLE to do this for a long time, today is just the day it’s happening.

I’ve been explaining this to my friends and some seem bit surprised. Some maybe don’t get why I’m disappointed running a 35:40 10km, some maybe don’t get when if I’m ABLE to run faster why I don’t or can’t. That really isn’t something I can explain fully, I can’t tell you the reason but I can tell you the feeling and maybe we can decipher this together.

The training I do both in milage and the times I post for my interval splits are roughly that of someone who is able to run 0:30 – 1 min faster than I currently do in my 5km. I can do the workouts without stressing or puking or running myself totally ragged. I usually for a 3-4 mile warm up and cool down. So the issues isn’t my body. The block is in my mind.

Put quite simply I am not running as hard as I can when I race. My training is strengthening my body but it’s not translating onto the road when I take off from the start line. In my past two races I have gotten to the last 1-2km and my legs aren’t burning. I’m going hard, but I haven’t put enough out earlier in the race and once the end comes along I find it difficult to switch gears. It doesn’t feel like I’m racing really, like I’m just having a very strong solid run.

When I was in high school I remember running races and 1/3 to 1/2 through I would be convinced I couldn’t finish. I would finish and usually do quite well but it took a lot of mental toughness.

Part of my problem is that I am running small races and that means I am running alone. In my past three races I have placed. Two of those I ran and won with a 3-5 minute lead, winning a 5km race with a 5 minute lead is kind of silly. I feel that if I had someone running with or a head of me for the whole race that I would be able to post a better time or at least feel like I left it all out on the course.

I feel like I need to run some shorter races get back into middle distance for a bit. 800m or 1500 or 1 mile. Something where I can go out HARD and just grind out the last lap or two on sheer guts. That seems like the best way to prove to myself and my legs that when I’m heading into the second half of a 10km race that I do have gears left, that I haven’t even started to hit tired.

Once I’m recovered, we’ll see.

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A Stint with A Splint

Last weekend I ran two races, in hindsight I shouldn’t have run either. I have a shin splint in my left leg which has been bothering me since Thursday before the races. I should have taken the weekend off and let it rest, I shouldn’t have told my self it was just regular muscle soreness and I should have been icing and stretching it it every day since then. Someone brilliant young woman once told me you can’t ever should or shouldn’t of done something. I think that’s supposed to mean we do everything for a reason, even make mistakes.

I had been running through minor injuries since December. It seemed pretty par for the course. My body getting sore in places after years of relative inactivity. I would taper off the mileage and then build it back up when it would return. I bought a foam roller and started stretching more regularly. Doing a constantly shifting array of yoga poses, epsom salt baths and visits to the steam room. I was feeling very in touch with my body and like I was able to feel when I was reaching a tipping point. The difference between muscle soreness, slight muscle strain and legit full blown injury. I fear now I am somewhere between the latter two.

Last week I did two plyometric and weight work outs which I believe are what got me here. During Thursdays workout I started to feel some minor shin pain but convinced myself that with all the tools at my disposal I could take care of it after. I did stretch and steam and roll and massage it but after two races and then two days off when I took short 3-5 mile runs Wednesday and Thursday of this week I was still feeling pain and gauged that it was getting worse.

Thus, I’m sidelined.

Part of me thinks this could be a good opportunity to do solid cross training, to put more time into other areas of my life such as my music which I’ve been neglecting pretty hard. That same party doubts my ability to transition seamlessly into that. Running is where I get my energy for other activities. Hopefully I will be able to stay mentally tough for the next few weeks and stick to my recovery plan.

As of Thursday:
– No running until June 19th. Which will be roughly two weeks off my feet.
– Swimming / Water Running, Stationary Bike & Weights 3-4 days a weeks to maintain fitness.
– Post or Pre work out session with foam roller and 20 minutes of stretching.
– 10-15 minute steam room and self – massage of effected area 2-3 days a week.
– 400-800mg of Ibprophen a day until June 15th ish.

June 19th onward:
– 3 – 5 miles every other day, plus one 8 mile long run for first two weeks.
– depending on pain level. Start with 1 speed session a week, adding one additional speed session each week until I am able to run 3-4 again.
– continued use of R.I.C.E (rest, ice, compression, elevation) post work out
– Epsom salt baths post work out as needed.
– Ibprophen post work out… maybe. If it’s severe enough to require anti-inflammatory after 2 -3 weeks of recovery than I may have to consider a serious lay over, guh.

Send me some positive vibes and hopefully I’ll be back to posting trivial updates about long runs through Osbourne Village in no time.

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Winnipeg’s Free Pressblicity

I’m a nice guy, sometimes. Recently a reporter from the Winnipeg Free Press caught me interacting with A. on one of his less sober days. He’s a man who hangs out outside the Drag most days, coming in for soup, coffee and to ask everyone working if they can buy him a veggie burger. I have an okay history with him. He’s a nice man and thusly we haven’t had an conflicts really aside from a few times of him being rude to others and me hearing about it.

Last week he came in pretty drunk and asked for food which I said I’d make for him if he’d have a seat. He sat down at a table already occupied by two small timid looking women who were frightened. I walked over and offered him a coffee if he’d come outside with me and that was about it. There was a woman from the free press watching this and she wrote an article about it.

I don’t know how I feel about it really. Had it not been Mondragon related I wouldn’t have called her back when R. told me she had asked to speak with me. I don’t feel that it’s news worthy, being nice. Treating someone with respect be it a stranger, a homeless person or any of the bourgeois who come and have lunch at our restaurant everyday isn’t something worthy of praise. Or at least it shouldn’t be.

I get it, to the majority of people the idea of a server / business owner treating someone like A. as if they were human is abnormal. Maybe having words in the paper about how we consider that to be the way it should be is a good thing. But this article is a touch over-flattering of us and totally a bit demonizing of A. and street people as a whole. I don’t want to spit in the face of someone appreciating the work we do but it would be dishonest if I wasn’t critical of it as well.

Let me clear up a few points. A. is not damaged and I am also not always gentle with him or other street people or anyone for that matter. He’s not an animal and I am not jesus christ. The street folk who come in to the Mondragon probably don’t forget what time we give out soup, they’re capable of remembering. I just think that when they’re hungry they don’t care if it’s 3pm or 9pm, which is fair they want soup now. It’s also fair when we’re too busy for us to say no and to ask them to come back later, which I do.

I enjoyed reading it and I always love having our picture in the paper. I’ve had a few dozen people come up to me in the past few days calling me “nice guy” or a saint or claiming the author has a crush on me, haha. I suppose the whole thing needs to be taken with a grain of salt.

If you would like to read the article you can CLICK HERE!

Either way, a half page on the 2nd page of the Free Press is publicity we could never afford. So, I guess being nice does pay off sometimes.

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Weather’s Turning

Wednesday :
We had a temp drop and some frost two nights ago. Everyone’s gardens probably got a bit of a shock from that. I took the day off from running on Tuesday and my evening was a bit of a write off. My legs were still quite sore from monday’s gym session so after work I took a nap and made dinner and then went to visit A. at work which was nice. She leaves soon and I’m going to miss her a lot.

Wednesday at about noon I took a jog to the Kelvin high school track to do a sprint workout. It was my first sprint work out since I’ve gotten back into running. It felt good and a bit strange to have tired legs with my cardio still ready to go. I did two sets of 5 x 200m. I managed to get down to 29 seconds on my fastest rep and did the rest between 30 and 33.

The fastest rep was a time I ran past a dude walking across the track and noticed him looking at me. Being around other people always makes me push a little harder, that is probably a truth for many runners. I don’t so much care about people thinking I look fast but I do want to look smooth, as effortless as possible. I told myself “Stay smooth, don’t speed up, don’t get tense. Be light.”

I am constantly staring when I see runners on the street. I notice their stride, I watch their pronation and gate. I look at their shoulders. Are they pulling their elbows back? Are they swinging their hands across the center of their chest or using them to drive forward? Then you can see how it fits together. How they either push their butt out or tuck their hips in and underneath them. How tense or loose they look. Most times you can pick out a good runner just by watching them for a few seconds.

B. and I met up after my run. We hung around the house for a couple hours before walking to the sports medical supplies place. I had been wanting a foam roller for quite a while now. There are all sorts of awesome exercises you can do with them to help your muscles recover faster. It was about an hour walk but it was really nice out and we talked about our high school make out partners as we made out way towards the Pan Am Pool. C. was out front tending to the Landless Farmers Collective gardens which are in the pan am lawn.

B. got a call from her sister inviting us to have dinner at their place. We ended up getting picked up from the store and had a nice drive to Transcona, I think that’s the area. B. lives in a house with wood paneling that makes it look like a cottage in the middle of the city with her sister and mom and a tiny dog. We sat at the table and ate taco’s, which her sister made us, and watched a stream of runner’s go up and down the street.

After dinner we hung out in the backyard for a bit and then took a nap. Around 10:30pm S. took us to pick up B’s mom at her work and then drove us to one of B’s friends house. There we hung out for about an hour. B. and her two friends tried some wine they had made and smoked various kinds of American cigarettes and middle eastern tobaccos. It was a nice time. We went home and called it a day after making stir fry and passing out watching an IMAX dvd about space.

B. and I woke up and had a nice morning of cuddling and oatmeal. Once she left I ended up taking a nap and sitting around for the rest of the day before heading off to run with V’s group. Before I went out I took the opportunity to roll out my legs for the first time which was very painful.

I was feeling super sluggish on the way out and was breathing somewhat heavy by the time I made it the 4.25 miles to the Formal Gardens. I feel that rolling my legs released a lot of negative feelings and heavy energy in my legs. I might have eaten too close to running or my legs were wiped from the hard run on Wednesday and Mondays weights. I did 4 x 1 mile at tempo pace which wasn’t very hard, and then headed home nice and easy.

I rolled my legs out again and stretched on the front lawn while having a shake and a snack. Fists In were already practice next door and I felt a bit anxious about going over because I’m always late for practice. After practice I felt pretty tired and went home to sleep since I had to work in the morning.

I opened the grocery store at the Mondragon and somehow managed to stay pretty busy the whole day. I spent a good chunk of the morning sorting through a bin of green onions that were going bad, making them look at pretty. E. suggested I do some filing at about 2pm when I was running out of tasks. At about 3:40 I headed home for the day with a backpack full of groceries.

I took a nap before heading into the gym. It was raining out and my plan to have a nice easy run seemed like it wasn’t going to happen so I decided to go to the YMCA. On my way there I was feeling pretty good and decided maybe I didn’t want to run the Air Force race on Sunday. This would free me up to do a good weight work out again and set myself up really nicely for the Run for Rights on June 4th.

After warming up I did an almost identical work out to Mondays minus the cable exercises and the incline sit ups. I was concentrating on doing all the exercises the best I could, taking my time, having good form and taking fewer breaks between reps. At 7pm I started and had a goal of being done my work out by 8pm so I pushed through with less recovery and started to get quite tired. Luckily all the harder exercises were at the beginning and by 7:45 I was in the studio with my roller stretching and doing a bit of abs. After a quick bit in the pool and a steam, shave and shower I was done.

The Mad Young Darlings had their CD release on Friday which started at 8pm and I was determined not to miss Natasha’s set. I’ll write a full review of the show in another post, but I will say that it was great and I’m really proud of all those folks for finally finishing their project with such success.

At the show I had a glass of wine even though I felt like I shouldn’t. That one glass spiraled into drinking until 3 in the morning at the Mondragon with stops at a fancy club to dance to R&B and shotgun beers in the elevator. It was a good night and I did have a really good time but I woke up at 7:30am on Saturday morning for work with the weight of regret.

I can’t decide if I want to stop drinking or not. That’ll have to be saved for another post as well.

I was super tired at work all day and couldn’t concentrate. I ended up leaving at around 2pm because there wasn’t much to do and I was being quite useless. I slept (do I nap alot or what?) for maybe 5 hours and woke up when the Fists In team showed up at my door to collect me for practice.

We spent the night finishing up some sections of the songs I have been feeling a bit sketchy about. D. and I took a bit in the kitchen unplugged to figure out guitar leads which was nice since I’ve pretty much been improving most of the leads at all of our shows to varying degrees of success. I feel like we have things pretty set now which is great.

D. showed us some pictures from the MYD show and a few other nights while we collectively day dreamed about an august tour. We took cool pictures for animated gifs of each band member and registered a web domain for the band! We’re like a real band now pretty much haha. Soon recording!

I have run out of steam for this post so I will leave you with an animated gif D. made for/of me from the last show at All The Way. Enjoy and goodnight.

Me playing with Sh!thawks at what would be the last All The Way house show.

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