a blog.

1 month 3 weeks ago

May 1, 2022

To close the daily running loop, in April I started a little challenge to myself to run every day... to streak.

It lasted sixteen days.

Not long. Not terrible. Not exactly one of those "guy runs for two years" stories, either.

On day fifteen I did a long run and my calves cramped up something fierce less than a kilometer from home. I had to hobble a bit, walk and stretch it out, before slowly resuming my creep back to the house. Something was off.

Streaks push you to get better, but when they push back it's worth asking why... and stopping for a bit.

A week later I was sick with what seems to have been COVID, though no positive test to correlate with the long list of symptoms I was feeling. Chances are the end of my streak had more to do with rest than infection, but both those things together meant I ran a mediocre race and have taken a few days off in the meantime.

May is looking to get back on track again tho, with the four days per week schedule leading it all, and I'll be creeping up to the start line of my May race a little more traditionally.

2 months 2 weeks ago

About a year and a half ago I adopted a puppy.

Pandemic puppies were all the rage for many people and finding a dog to adopt was likened toy rushes at Christmas, but for us it was hardly a rash decision. We'd been plotting for years, and attempting to figure out how we would find ourselves a good opportunity to reintegrate a dog into our lives a few years after our previous dog died of a late-in-life heart condition. Puppies are a bit of a full time job. Training, caring, and generally looking after the curious things for the first couple months almost requires a work sabbatical. Working full time downtown while living in the burbs was not going to provide such an opportunity easily.

As it turned out "not easy" meant a global pandemic, and amidst the countless negatives and tough things that happened, we found our chance to bring a dog home.

Working from home for an indeterminate amount of time seemed a bit risky, but as it turned out eighteen months of puppy training and habituation followed a Miniature Australian Shepherd joining our family before the day finally came that we had to start migrating (at least part time) back to the office.

The timing to turn her into a running partner was a little less cooperative.

By the time she hit the ripe old age of one year, or about the time that most vets and blogs seem to converge on their advice on when it is ok to start a running program, the summer was just wrapping up and we were more concerned with her spaying surgery and follow up recovery than we were about getting her out jogging the local trails.

Winter was cold and icy, so that didn't seem ideal as an introduction to my favourite sport.

And now finally, it is spring. She's comfortably past the age of concern for starting such a program, yet still young enough to take it up with ease. I while I've been impatient, she didn't know what she was missing... until Saturday.

This past weekend, a couple days ago now, I laced up and looped my faithful dog into her harness. We stepped out onto the clear sidewalks running alongside the grassy parks, and ... ran three klicks.

Run one. It begins. I'm aiming for three days per week, though I think she'd go every day if she could. I think I may have unleashed a monster... metaphorically speaking.

2 months 3 weeks ago

April 1, 2022

A little more than a month ago I posted a blog and declared that March was my daily month. I was going streaking and I was going to log a bit of mileage every day.

Nope.

And a good call, too. The weather turned out to be less than cooperative and the endless snow, thaw, freeze cycle meant that until about a week ago every sidewalk and trail in the city was a hazard zone. Slick ice in the morning was replaced by wet puddles and hidden ice in the afternoons. Everything was a mess. I could barely walk the dog let alone put in a respectable run.

Plan B slowly emerged: April.

Well, today just happens to be April 1st, 2022 and (no joke) I'm mentally preparing myself to go out for the first of a my daily runs later this afternoon, after work.

Sometimes you gotta read the room. Sometimes you gotta read the road. March said no, but April is looking like lots of yes.

4 months ago

Each spring I partake in a ritual attempt to get over the winter slump.

I streak.

Fully clothed, I assure you, I pick a date on the calendar, usually in or around March, and I try to run every day, logging a minimum number of klicks every day for a certain span of time in a methodical, systematic effort to rebuild the endurance of a winter spent in maintenance mode.

It is late-February as I write this and I've been itching to get a move on with my daily running plan, even despite that the streets are slick with ice and the weather is still in the negative double digits some days.

A factor of success to any daily running effort is goal setting, of course.

Daily running is a goal in and of itself, but wrapped up inside the daily effort is a second layer of expectations around speed, time, distance and run quality. Does a short run count, and how short is a short run anyways? What if I run on a treadmill if it's really too cold out? What if I don't feel it one day and I just do a light jog with a lot of walking breaks instead of a proper run?

Daily running means setting a bar over which one needs to leap, then leaping it. Daily. If that bar is too high, or requires a second leap while already in the air, then that, in my opinion is a second goal. I personally set my expectations low. I get out on the trails in running shoes. Daily. That's my bar.

A low bar is better than no bar.

4 months 4 weeks ago

An eating style.

Not that this website has any real audience as I'm mostly writing it for myself and my own amusement, but if someone does happen to stumble upon these words I wouldn't want them to think that I'm some guy whose obsessed by weight or diet because that happens to be what I write about here.

I've been "eating better" for a whole week now.

Whoop. A whole week, he writes as sarcastically as he can.

I write here not because I'm necessarily obsessed by the topic of weight management, but when I went through a big four month long weight loss effort almost ten years ago now I found that between the increased exercise, the managed diet and the various other lifestyle tweaks the biggest factor for me was public accountability. Writing my efforts down on a blog and then sticking to them, even if it was just me and the wind reading it, kept me as honest as I could manage.

So, a week of no sweets, no seconds, no snacking (except sometimes on "cheat days" which are generally weekends) is complete and a week is nothing in the multi-month-long effort that this is going to be to get closer to my pre-pandemic fitness level.

It's yet another lifestyle change, but hopefully one for the positive.

Carrying that little bit of extra weight is hard on my body, makes it tougher to keep up with my friends on the trails (and this will only get worse when those long summer runs roll in) and generally leave me feeling a little grumpy about all that effort yielding lesser results.

I can be accountable to myself and in my head all I want, but writing it down here makes it real outside my own mind. And that makes this eating style real, and not a diet.