Blog

Stepping out into thin air

“Life is  what you make it, a quiet, tame socks and sandals experience or a chance to take in the adventure and world around you.”

This is my July adventure and review of a sky-diving day in Gatineau, Quebec (15-minutes from Ottawa). This will be something you should read if you want to jump here in the Ottawa/Gatineau area or if just thinking of sky-diving in general.

Why 

I am somewhat afraid of heights and throw up on roller coasters (although have survived a double-looper vomit-free)…so why would I consider jumping from a plane? I like challenges and experience…and living life! I have run 100km ultra marathons and run a solo rim2rim2rim run of the Grand Canyon, bungee-jumped and hung from a helicopter. Skydiving was on the list.

safsfsfsd
Daniel Sévigny (Co-owner) and my instructor Aristides (Ari) Saavedra

Fun fact – between the 4 co-owners of Go Skydive – they have a group total of 17,700 jumps!

I did my research and happen to bump into an instructor (Ari) at the grocery store where I live – we chatted briefly. Then I talked to a colleague who gushed with excitement about her jump. I went online and found Go Skydive in Gatineau, talked to co-owner Daniel – and the rest you can read about below!

Untitledjj
Click here to watch my entire jump (video uploaded to YouTube)

What it was like

“Like sticking your head out a car window at 200km/hour but facing down from 13,000ft, a yank and then slow peaceful arcs in the sky with amazing views before legs up and a super smooth landing on your butt.”

*For full experience – watch the video above.

I reserved my day and time for a jump and then it was jumping into the car and finding the jump site. Once behind the wheel I felt committed. It was an easy drive and pretty easy to find (once you arrive on road to leading right up to Gatineau airport, don’t turn in but turn to the right on a road that appears to be a dead end. Go Skydive is at the end – look for a flag).

I signed the form, got someone to witness it and went to wait. While waiting I got to talk to others waiting to jump and there was quite a diverse group. There were some young people in what was probably their first real jobs, there to say goodbye to a colleague and then there were a mix of men and women of various ages.

I took photos, walked around the quite, grassy area and waited. I watched others get instructions and get suited up into red jump suits and saw a few float down from the sky. Everything seemed really orderly and jumpers and instructors were given heads up to the next jump time from the main administration building. I was relaxed but felt some nerves.

DCIM101GOPROG0018371.JPG
Me and Ari ready to go. he arranged so he would be my instructor. Super nice guy.

Finally. I watched the instructions video about what to do on a tandem jump. Head back against instructor, hold on to straps, kneel at the door when ready for jump and then arch like a banana when out with feet back between the instructor’s. Then into gear, instructions again and checked. Extra big goggles to go over my glasses.

DCIM101GOPROG0028380.JPG
Loaded onto a wagon with benches for short ride to the Go skydive plane.
DCIM101GOPROG0038385.JPG
Getting ready to board the plane on a cloudy day in Gatineau.

Once suited up, Ari double-checked my straps and equipment and we got ourselves out to the  plane. Ari had a GoPro camera on his wrist and took photos and video during the entire process. He was fun and enthusiastic but professional and made me feel relaxed. I had sat down and chatted with him and another instructor before the jump. He said he had always wanted to jump and when he did he was hooked. Ari also said for him it was a love for skydiving that brought him to work as an instructor but for him he also enjoyed seeing others experience skydiving.

DCIM101GOPROG0048393.JPG
Snuggled up infront of Ari on a bench as the plane climbs into the sky.

DCIM101GOPROG0058434.JPG

Green light on – things got real.

Up we went. Some were supposed to jump at 8,000 and a few at 13,000ft, but with clouds and some rain moving in, the pilot smartly chose to go straight to 13. There was shouts and general positive feeling in the cabin and I tried to relax but as we got higher, the nerves set in no matter how much I fought them. Ari goes through what to do again and we wait. Glasses on, hands on strap. Green light, door open and we shuffle forward.

DCIM101GOPROG0058454.JPG

No countdown, kneel at door, hands on straps, head back and go!

DCIM101GOPROG0058468.JPG

Small chute slows us to 200k/hr but you feel the drop and rush of air. Adrenaline pumping. Amazing!

I had not been sure what to expect. I had bungee-jumped before and it is like falling into nothingness (quite freaky). This was different, I felt the fall but there is more wind resistance (alot more) and you are buffeted pretty hard. My stomach lurched a bit but was pretty cool. About 60-seconds later we are yanked up as Ari pulls the main parachute.

DCIM101GOPROG0068524.JPG

A 5-7-minute journey from about 5-6000ft to a smooth landing where things began.

You feel a yank and feel like you get sucked up, ugghh guts again. Then things settle down and get quieter. I may have a fear of heights but not here. I feel secure and well in control (well Ari) is and enjoy the view. Ari offers me the toggles to control the parachute but my guts can’t handle any more Gs than a slow turn and I resign myself to looking down and around. I am a passenger on this jump but ok with it.

DCIM101GOPROG0078590.JPG

Super smooth landing.

Before I know it we can make out the landing zone below and I am reminded to lift my legs up as we approach a landing. Slow turns and then we rush towards the ground. Not even a bump for me. I slide my butt along the grass and we stop.

One word. Amazing.

Advice

What you need to consider before signing form for your jump:

  • Affect on your insurance
  • What could happen if there is an accident
  • That if not a roller-coaster guy if might make you feel nauseous
  • Weather is unpredictable and a jump or jump time not guaranteed
  • If you wear glasses make sure they will fit snugly under goggles

Untitledyugyufu

What you may need for the day of your jump:

  • Loose clothing and appropriate for weather
  • Shoes or sneakers you can tie snugly
  • Jacket etc. for in case weather changes
  • Plan for what could be a 3-4 hour wait (can be shorter)
  • Bring a folding camp chair
  • Bring a friend or come with a group
  • Bring snacks and something to drink
  • Bring your cell/camera and a book
  • Non-drowsy dramamine to help with any nausea (motion and adrenaline)
  • If a runner – bring some running gear in case you can squeeze in a quick run

And lastly make sure you are comfortable with your instructor, the weather and your decision. Everyone is different and life is full of risks, but if you choose wisely, think ahead, you can minimize them and let some adrenaline flow and experience a few things!

Go SkyDive also has a Frequently Asked Questions section.

Untitl999ed

Fun Fact: Co-owner Daniel has been jumping since 1999, has 4000 jumps under his belt and has been a part of 5 CSPA Canadian records .

8uuuu

Where

The Go Skydive location is just to the left of the Gatineau airport identified by a flag at the entrance to a path that leads to their small grassy setup. Its a short trip on highway 50 from Ottawa or Gatineau and is a few seconds from the exit 154 identified as “Boul. de l’Aeroport”.

There is plenty of space for parking and its only a quiet few seconds walk to the administration trailer on a short path that includes a bridge over a small stream.

1717, Arthur-Fecteau street – Gatineau, Québec

Pay , Play and Pee

There is a an administration trailer where you sign your forms and pay (bilingual staff) (and has some cool gear for sale along with skydiving goggles, altimeters and a few other items for sale). A small vending machine is just outside for a few snacks. There is a small tent for shade with a couple of tables to rest and wait for your jump and is also where you watch a promo video that also goes through the basics for a tandem jump (instructions). There is a small play structure for small kids and lots of grass for playing and there are 2 porta-potties with soap and water to wash hands.

For friends and family there is a covered area (with shade) with a clear view of the drop zone (where everyone lands).

For a first time jumper the cost is $239 or $245 (more if you want pictures or video)(Video is super cool). The less expensive version is called an Adventure Tandem and you get a bit more training, a chance to pilot the parachute and wear an altimeter during the jump. Full information on prices on their website.

Conclusion

I loved the personal challenge and experience. I  do not think I am hooked (as some really appear to be right after their first jump). I think I will jump again but not right away – but I do encourage others to try.

web

Go Skydive website

Go Skydive FaceBook page

If you would like to do your own research and get more information on skydiving:

 

Life is never risk-free, but if you think and plan your adventures you can keep living and exploring life!

 

Writing from the bottom of a well

“If life is like a trail run, I have descended into a very steep, dark valley and am struggling to climb the trail back up and out.”

Hello running friends – its me – the runningdad. I slept in until after noon on a sunny summer day, throwing off the sheets because some part of me still wants to keep going. Here is an update from me.

Work me, running me and where I really am

My writing (something I love like running) is something that seems to be part of my therapy. I am sharing as much for me as for other runningdads, parents and those suffering through depression.

I get up and I go to work, I smile and laugh and go to the gym but it feels hollow and I have a thin veneer of protection. I snap easier, I am not myself but I can fake it most days, the running gives me distraction and something to keep me moving from day to day.

I know I am not the only one going through this, I know others have it worse, I know others power through – others handle it better – but I am me and this is where I am.

Being a runningdad 

I love my daughter and being a dad and adjusting to single, part-time parent life has become easier. I love watching my daughter nod  to music in her car seat in the back seat with her sheep, sheep – I love the feel of her little hands and how she runs to her Poppa when she sees me at the daycare. But it is still not the life I wanted – it is still hard.

The bottom of the well

I snapped at a colleague, I fake positiveness at work, I seek distraction and I make poorer and poorer decisions and reached a low this past week. I barely got out of bed this morning.

The road ahead

Somehow I keep running because it is therapy for me, it is something I like to do, it gives me direction, distraction and keeps me moving forward.

I guess I need to do the meditating I talk about, keep taking my Kava, multivitamins and fish oil (can’t hurt) and maybe call back that counselor I saw once (can’t hurt). I also need to take the time to finally get my shit together – and I need to find work that is either lower stress or something I enjoy doing. I plan to take some time off in what ever way I can for a few weeks – now its not an option.

My daughter needs a positive, functioning dad and if I plan to keep friends or ever find someone of the opposite sex sometime in the distant future – I need to mend what is going on now.

Oh and I know I need to keep lacing up.

See you out there running friends!

Running on the Rock

“Everyone runner has a story to tell.”

I have chattered back and forth with a elite runner from Newfoundland long enough (did meet in person once) – so decided it was time to profile him and introduce him to others.

David Freake

Newfoundland is sometimes referred to as the rock – perhaps referring to its hard, rocky terrain, and this is where David Freake runs. Calling, St. John’s home he works full time as a technical sales representative and account manager for a BioPharma company. When not at work he can very often be found lacing up his running shoes and flying down the road or around a local track, and on weekends he often is winning road races. Freake is an elite-level road racer who unlikely many others drawn to the big cities of Montreal, Toronto or Vancouver to train has stayed on ‘the rock’ to run.

19942801_476875986008959_3416470125888721891_o

A Brooks sponsored athlete, the lean runner with a great smile only picked up the sport in the summer of 2010 as a way to get into shape after what he describes as a fairly sedentary university student lifestyle. Spending the first couple of years just running, gaining experience and chasing other runners around he says he started to then look into how to train, to get faster.

“I became fascinated by the physiology of running and how when we stress our bodies we see adaptation. I made some decent progress in 2012 but it was really 2013 that I began training the way an athlete should. I have a fantastic coach in Jeremiah Johnston who I began working with in 2015. Under his tutelage I feel like I will be able to make consistent progress and become a much more developed runner. I have lofty goals in this sport, but I know that I can’t rush things. So I will build upon the foundation I have and make small steps towards my long term goals in a seasonal/yearly fashion.”

And David has gotten faster as his personal bests below can testify to.

Personal Bests

14:56 for 5km

24:07 for 8km

31:07 for 10km

68:47 for the half marathon

Despite being miles away from the big city hubs and where there are often large competitive track or road racing clubs – Freake has found a way with the help of his coach to run and push himself. And it is not only the distance from big city races or clubs that can make running on the rock a challenge. He describes running in Newfoundland as 50/50. He says from April to November it’s fantastic with amazing trails, a 200m indoor facility and an 8 lane Canada Games 400m outdoor track (in St. John’s) but winter is what’s difficult.  Echoing what most Canadians see on the weather channel, Newfoundland gets very cold temperatures, plenty of snow and high winds. Freake says he gets friendly with the treadmill for much of the frigid winters when outdoor running just does not make sense or is unsafe.

Davis is sponsored by Brooks Canada also supported by Smith Optics, CEP Compression and LeanFit.

What is your favourite Newfoundland race?

“My favorite race on the rock would have to be “The Tely 10 Mile”. It’s our cities version of the Boston Marathon, everyone comes out to show support and lot’s of fast runner’s like Matt Loiselle come down to race it. Over the past 5 years it has grown from 2500 finishers to well over 5000 last year. After the race or a training run I like to grab some sushi with friends and training partners at Sun Sushi in downtown St. John’s which has a great view of the harbor.”

What drives you to keep running faster?

“I think what drives me to run faster and train harder is an inherit drive to push past goals and see just how much I can get out of my body. I was never a runner growing up so to have started in my early 20’s rather than my teen years it’s fun to compete against those with a more decorated and substantial running pedigree and see where I stack up.”

What are your goals for 2017 and beyond?

“My goals for 2017 are to run 30:30 for 10km on the roads as well as break our provincial half and full marathon records which are a modest 67:22 and 2:24:17. (our records for the 10k and under are untouchable as they are held by Olympian Paul McCloy. (For reference he’s run 13:27 for 5000m and 27:XX on the road and track for 10k, still holding the Canadian 10k road record to this day.”

Although Freake does run and race at home he can be found hitting the mainland now and again to run his favourite competitive races like the Vancouver Sun Run, Goodlife Toronto Half and Ottawa race weekend, 5km national championships and the Toronto marathon and Canadian Cross-country nationals in the fall. Keep an eye out for this fast Newfoundland runner.

Find David on his blog, on Twitter @Davefreake or Instagram @Davefreake.

 

Run on running friends!

Full Contact 5k Death Race?

“Watching a race can be so much fun – especially the mid-pack races when the finish line comes into view.”

A full contact death race? Some medieval, spartan-inspired foot race? No just something that should be fun to watch at a local 5k race organized by a friend of mine in Nova Scotia. This is the story.

Disclaimer: Neither runner portrayed in the blog article may run as fast or inflict as much bodily harm as portrayed in writing or linked to videos. Young children are asked to read in the accompaniment of a sober adult.

Spilling the beans on the death match (Macdonald vs Mooy)

I caught wind of the craziness and this so-called death match on social media (Facebook). The two runners involved are Luke MacDonald, commonly known as the shoe guy at Halifax’s oldest running shoe shop, Aerobics First (where I used to work centuries ago) and that strange guy flying around town on his bike/elliptical contraption (Elliptigo). luke is also a former very fast, competitive runner and likes to race. The other combatant is John Mooy who lives near Kentville, Nova Scotia and is part of a running club called Mountainview runners. There is a rivalry between Luke and John. I have seen some very amusing photo-shopped photos of Luke….and can guess who created them (like the one below) (laughing as I post).

19959086_10154577998406671_2278758582308588131_n
Luke running amazing well and not far behind Ryan Hall despite the walker.

The creative running son of the race director for the Windsor 5k even put together a great Youtube video about the duel where both runners talk about the race and talk trash.

Untitled77
Click here to watch the video.

I grew up and began running in Nova Scotia and the run community is a tight-knit group where even if you don’t know everyone personally you probably have heard their name or have seen them at the start of a race. Its a friendly (with exceptions!) and great community to be part of and have grown a lot since I ran there. The organization called Run Nova Scotia (the Windsor race a part of) puts a great series of races together throughout the small east coast province.

Untitled

The betting man

I have known Luke for many years. I know he has run 32-minute 10k races and loves to race hard and fast. I have also seen Luke sport what we jokingly referred to as a “maternity singlet” not that long ago. He has been training hard, eating well and cross-training. He can be fierce when he steps up to the line….but is he fast enough…has he taken too much time off running.

John I have seen on the track in the videos and know he has a solid training group in the valley of Nova Scotia. John and Luke are close in time. Can John’s fitness and Photoshop skills make up for Luke’s savvy racing skills honed during his elite racing days?

Who are you betting on?

If you are near or in Nova Scotia scramble to get down to this race and watch what happens (and of course go run the race as well).

What         16th annual Windsor 5k

When         July 29th, 2017

Where       Windsor, Nova Scotia (Canada)

Website    

Race organizer     Paula James (read about her and her running family)

Contact       runnergirlpaula@gmail.com

I wish everyone running a great run and I wish I were there to see how the duel to the death ends. Knowing both runners I think there will be laughs and a few excuses at the end no matter what.

Life is about about living, having fun and for me – running! Run on friends!

A review of recovery sandals.

“So may runners forget to take care of the main tool for running – their feet!”

I am a little older now and my feet and legs seem to get tired and sore more often than my younger self did. I have great Birkenstock sandals that have support and allow my feet to spread naturally….but they are not soft!

I recently was at the Ottawa race expo and heard talk of these super comfortable recovery sandals that runners are loving – I was intrigued. The runners were saying they not only felt good but helped you recover and were supportive…..smelled like something to check out and review to me!

Unlike flip-flops, the OOFOS patented footbed is designed with tremendous arch support to take the pressure off of ankles, knees and hips, as well as your lower back.

Biomechanically designed, OOFOS flex with both your foot and the ground. The soft, flexible OOfoam material enables your foot to articulate the way nature intended.

• Soft, conforming toe post eliminates chafing
• Durable OOfoam holds its cushion its entire life
• Moisture resistant closed cell foam is shower-ready and machine washable
• So light they float

So here is my review.

download

Oofos recovery footwear

Their website says: “Biomechanically engineered to alleviate the foot stress and soreness caused by your daily grind. Perfect for casual wear, recovery after a grueling run, or relaxing after a long day on your feet. Slip into a pair and you’ll immediately “Feel the OO”.

The box arrived and I took a pair of black, rubber/plastic sandals out. The sandals were all one piece, decently thick and soft but not soft to feel like they had no support. I was pumped to try them out.

 feet

Oofos say they use foams are designed to “rebound” and propel you forward and apparently absorbs 37% more shock with every step than traditional footwear foam. I can say it does feel nice. The sandals are also supposed to be biomechanically designed to flex with both your foot and the ground enabling the foot to articulate the way it is supposed to. The website also says the soft toe post (I used to hate flip flops rubbing between my toes) eliminates chafing, the OOfoam holds its cushion its entire life, the sandals are moisture resistant (closed cell foam), are shower-ready, are machine washable and the suckers float. Cool.

So I put them on.

My thoughts

 The sandals (I got the original Oofos model)(more options available – even a clog) are VERY comfortable and the toe post does not bother me like old-school flipflops do. The sandals do feel soft and are not solid like birkenstock or some other sport sandals I have worn and they take a few minutes to get use to slight movement with each step. I feel supported in arch area but not huge amount (though I have high arches) and after walking for a few minutes feel good and I got used to unique feel.

Untitled

I worn for a few minutes out of the box, after runs and in the house and outside. I liked. These sandals are comfortable and feel better than harder sport sandals I have worn – they really do feel like they are giving my feet a break. I did not wear in shower yet but sure they would be fine —will throw in tonight.

Do they do as they say they do —-need more wear and testing but feel good. With my years of running and experience with feet – these could be a nice recovery footwear to have around after hard runs/workouts and races. If you have really unstable feet/ankles or wear orthotics I would slowly try these out a few minutes a time and see if you can adjust to and meet your needs. Everyone has different feet (most complex bony structure in body) and each person has different needs and preferences.

Thumbs up

So for me and my feet I love these  sandals and think are worth checking out if looking for a sport sandal or something to help your tired feet!

The original sandal I tried retails for $44.95 US and comes in 6-colours. For my US friends you can order online and in Canada – there are lots of distributors and stores (search).

Run on my friends and keep those feet happy!

 

You can find Oofos on their website (Canada) and also on Twitter @OofosCanada and Instagram @OofosCanada.

 US Oofos website

UK Oofos website

One of the quick ones

“When you run the marathon, you run against the distance, not against the other runners and not against the time.” – Haile Gebrselassie

Ok so I am a little late with this…I meant to jump on this and have it up right after the 2017 Vancouver marathon. I did not happen. I had been watching the results of the Vancouver marathon earlier this year and saw a story about an almost unknown runner showing up as the top Canadian runner at the international calibre event. I was intrigued. I also noticed his last name – same as a co-worker in Ottawa.

Sometimes Canada is as small as we joke about it being – big land mass but very connected population. So one thing led to another and I connected with this runner –meet Michael.

Michael Trites

Michael is another east coaster like myself, being originally from Berwick, Nova Scotia, a small town in rural Nova Scotia (I remember running a race there years ago). Like many maritimers he moved away for studies in 2013 and is still in school pursuing a PhD in Physiology at the University of Alberta.

Michael however only started running when he started graduate school, running recreationally 3-4 times a week without any structured training program. He quickly discovered he was not half bad at it quickly after jumping into the Edmonton Half Marathon and running 1:25. The new runner became I hooked on the Alberta running community and even did a brief stint with the University of Alberta Golden Bears Cross-Country team. As he got more serious he found a coach and a club and now trains with the Edmonton-based Running Room Athletic Club (RRAC) coached by Matthew Norminton. The RRAC has several athletes in Edmonton who race primarily middle- and long-distance events from 800 meters on the track to trail ultra-marathons, and everything in between.

I liked the Nova Scotia connection and always like chatting with runners. New enthusiasm and newness to the sport almost oozes out with the sweat on his forehead – and there is nothing wrong with that. Sometimes I miss the newness of running.

Michael’s chat to Canadian Running right after his finish:

Untitled
Click here to watch the video.

Michael is sponsored by the Running Room and below are some of his recent race performances.

  • 2017 BMO Vancouver Marathon (2:34:07)
  • 2017 Jasper Canadian Rockies Half-Marathon (1:16:16) 2nd
  • 2017 Banff Marathon 10k road race (34:11) 1st and course record
  • 2016 Mizuno Midsummer 5k (15:53) 5th

Untitled

Canadian Running online magazine article about Michael.

I tracked down Michael and asked him a few questions:

How did it feel to be top Canadian at the Vancouver marathon?

“It was an exciting surprise to be the top Canadian at the BMO Vancouver Marathon. There were a lot of outstanding Canadian athletes there at the race. I just tried to focus on the variables I could control (my race plan, efforts, pacing, etc.) rather than variables outside of my control (other athletes race plans, placing, etc.). It was great to see the hours on the treadmill and running through the frigid Edmonton winter come to fruition.”

What are your goals this year?

“My goal for this year is to dip under 2:30 in a fall marathon. Currently I don’t have any other races on my calendar, however depending on how the build-up for the fall marathon progresses I may try and improve my half-marathon or 10k PB in a late summer race. However I may adapt this goal a few times depending on the time-constrains I end up facing with school.” 

What drives you to run and race?

“The main drive in getting me out to run and race is the Edmonton running community. I am quickly realizing how small (and passionate) it is. I have been incredibly fortunate to be able to meet inspiring people from diverse backgrounds that all share a thirst to run.  I am not going to try and name everyone, because I am sure I would miss someone.  However, even if they train with one of the other groups in Edmonton, whether it be the Running Room Athletic Club, Fast Trax, Run Collective, November project, RunLab, etc. Seeing everyone else out there and hearing the stories keeps me pounding the pavement.”

Winning a race is always a thrill and something I wish everyone could experience, but we cannot – thus we often live through the victories of others and dream. Keep running Michael and hope you achieve your goals!

Run on running friends – see you out there.

Give me a shout if you have a running story to share – or know someone who does.

Talking to a running dad on Father’s Day

‘Becoming a father changes your life forever.”

This is a blog profile of a runner who has adapted to runningdad life like I wish I had.

I chatted with and profiled Devin a few years back for Canadian Running magazine and thought he was an amazing trail runner and he had some amazing trail run photos! I became a dad about the same time as he did…be I think he has adjusted much better than I. This is Devin.

Devin Featherstone
A runner profiled back in 2015, life has changed for the Calgary fireman and trail runner. He is now a dad.

Devin grew up playing hockey and only started really running when he joined the Calgary fire department. He began running and got into trail running and lots of it. Devin went from 5ks to 100milers.

Devin: “I love the drive, mental focus and the sufferfest of running very technical trails. I have race races all over Alberta, British Columbia, Oregon, Hawaii and Hong Kong. It is a way for me to see the landscapes in a different way. Hawaii was HURT 100 miler and my wife was 35 weeks pregnant crewing me, she then had out beautiful boy Kai 2 weeks later when we arrived home. It has changed our lives for the better and couldnt imagine a day without him. He has pushed us to explore and show him a crazy life all in his first year. Kai was at the finish line in Hong Kong in October to give me a smile and a big kiss.”

Races Devin has run
Squamish 50 -50
HURT 100 Miler – Top 10 finish
Lost Souls 100km – Two time winner
Gorge Falls 100km
Lantau 70km
Iron Legs 50 miler
Carlgary Marathon – 4th overall, 9th overall
MEC Half marathon with a stroller 1:22 hr\min 2nd place overall
Sinister 7

What was the hardest part for you – transitioning to running dad life?

“The biggest thing was the upper body that you think you have but when you push a stroller around you really realize that all those tiny muscles that you usually don’t use are being used nonstop. Even your hands holding onto the bar to steer takes its toll and you need to switch. I was a learning curve for sure but one that you need to take baby steps. I think my first run with the stroller was when my son was napping, it ended up being about 24km because I had to keep moving for him to sleep. That was by far the hardest part was once I started I had to go until he woke up but as we did it more often it became easier to know when you could stop or routes you could pick to make it fun for you and him.”

What have you enjoyed the most about being a dad?

“The thing I love about being a dad is all the time off from my job as a fire fighter. It allows me to spend so much time with Kai and really see every little thing he goes through. The funny phases like loving sunglasses or birds. It truly melts my heart to think of a day without him. Kai didn’t slow me down he has kept me going. Keeping me running and exploring in the mountains. It is an opportunity where I get to do it with him and show him the kind of life his father loves. To me that is the best part of being a dad and capturing those moments through photos.”

How has your running and life changed after becoming a running dad?

“Life has changed, as it would with anyone. You now have a human that depends on you. It can be scary to most. I use to be able to get up and go to the mountains to run all the time or run whenever I want. It has changed to the point where you have to plan a lot better. You have to be able to do what is best for them. I have planned runs where I have had to cancel them and run on the treadmill later. Trail running is my true love but having Kai has made me appreciate having a treadmill. I will run on a treadmill so he can have a better nap or stay warmer inside. I still get to the mountains once a week but to me its okay and wouldn’t trade it for anything.”

What advice would you give another dad to be (who runs) about what to expect when the little one arrives?

“I would give the advice to not listen to the people who will tell you YOU WONT BE ABLE TO DO THAT! I had that a lot and it was my goal to prove them wrong and I think I have done a damn good job of it. If you are passionate about running you will do it. Run with a stroller ease into it, dress the kids accordingly and pack food and things to make life easier. Know you might have to cut your run short if a meltdown happens. If you want to keep running you might need to run a 5am before work or the kid is up, you might need to sacrifice and run on a treadmill which is called the dreadmill to me. My biggest advice is don’t make excuses to not do it, because you can do anything. I prove it daily from running, hiking, biking, ski touring, cross country skiing, snow shoeing with Kai and you can too.”

Devin you inspire this running dad. Run on my friend.

You can catch Devin on Instagram @dfeatherstone or on his blog, Tiny Big Adventure.

Reviewing a runningdad running book

“Written words are often all we have to express the joy and pain of life.”

A few months back a running friend and fellow running dad (and another writer) I met through social media sent me the book he had written. Like I would have written, it was about running.

Meet Brian Burk. He is a US runner who has been lacing up since 2000 and since then has logged over 12,000 miles across the United States states, and overseas in Crete, Iraq, Sicily, Greenland, United Kingdom, and Qatar. Brian seems like a super nice guy and I was pumped to read his book. Ok….so it has taken a while to finish it, depression and some procrastination got in the way…but I finished it.

Brian’s book – Running to Leadville

So how to talk about the book without giving too much away? It is a about a runner who has experienced loss, believes he may not be able to love again and has a goal to run the famous Leadville 100-miler. It is a book about life and running. I really related to it.

181-pages

Order Brian’s book on Amazon.

book

What I thought

After starting this book, I had a hard time continuing…not because it was not well written or a good story but it touched a sore spot. I am now a single running dad in his forties. I am not sure I can love again and I still feel rather lost and without direction…although I am trying to get better and fight depression. The story was hard to read at times. I am not sure I wanted to read about a happy ending.

But I read the book to its end. I like it. Brian is not a Pulitizer prize-winning author but he writes well and I liked the struggle and story he wrote about. An ultramarathon can be like life with lots of ups and downs and down with physical and mental struggle.

 

Brian’s blog: http://briansrunningadventures.com/

You can follow Brian on Twitter @cledawgs
Brian’s pics on Instagram @cledawgs

Run on my running friends – see ya out there.

Real fuel for the trails

“Each one of us is different – different feet, stomachs and taste preferences and now it seems there is a fueling option for everyone!”

Okay a review about some unique running fuel.

Here is how I stumbled across it.

The story

A while back I was home nursing a cold and was sitting in bed just contemplating getting up to get something to eat. I flipped over my cell phone and flipped through messages and then social media updates. I noticed some tweets about a young native runner running to raise awareness about Canadian murdered and missing aboriginal women. I looked up some more information and realized he (Theland Kicknosway) had started his run that morning and would pass not far from where I lived.

17884336_10158583609840370_4099611638039851251_n 17903928_10158583610875370_6504944339470273817_n

Photos above of me and Thealand and his mom (Momanger).

I scratched at my stubbly face, yawned, grabbed a banana and some running gear and headed out to my car. I figured I could sleep and rest after finding and running with this young man for a few minutes to show my support.

EnduroforceFlint-ENI ran with Thealand and a huge supporter and fellow ultra runner called Flint (François Flint Bourdeau Clemens) – we chatted and he later sent me some new endurance athlete fuel…..hence this blog!

I wish I had enough time to talk about Thealand and the run but I will save that for another upcoming blog – maybe I will reach out to Thealand to do a profile of him.

Okay the fuel (Maskorima)….

Mas Korima

The primary nutrition focus of Mas Korima products is based on Pinole (Heritage quality maize that has been roasted and ground), and a true “super-food”, Chia. Both have been fueling some of the world’s greatest endurance athletes for generations. We use only natural ingredients; no chemical weird stuff, and no funky processing. Heck, some of our Pinole processing begins with a fire, a matate (a stone used to grind the corn), and the hands-on labor of grinding and cooking from someone who cares.  (From website)

All the ingredients sound perfectly suited for endurance athletes and you can read more about on their website (link).

C_8SAtjUIAE2WAC (1)

Andale

This is a drink mix made from the same ingredients basically as the small packets of on the go running fuel you see above. The drink mix adds another ingredient called omnimin which is a dried sea mineral concentrate from Utah’s great Salt Lake that provides magnesium sodium and potassium. When you open the container it looks like finely ground dirt (its brown). I found the plastic scoop and follows instructions and added to water – and added a bit of honey. Sip sip.

I drank the mixture right away and also let it sit a bit to try out.

Comparison_chart_Template

Check out how the drink mix compares to others out there (link).

Korimalitas

These are small plastic packages of about 4 (loonie-sized) centimeter thick brown biscuits. The package was easy to open with my teeth and I quickly took a bite out of one. The biscuit is not too hard or soft and is what one might imagine a cormeal cookie might be like. It tastes good without having too much taste.1 package provides 100 calories. They are quite dry and on a few runs I really needed to wash down with water.

C_LgKrHVoAAD-Xe C_qPd5DXkAAwQRF

What did I think?

The biscuits (Korimalitas) I found tasty and felt more like real food that gels and chews. They are easy to eat on the run or when stopping a second but can feel really dry when its hot and your mouth is dry. make sure to have water or fluids handy. Good taste, no aftertaste and my stomach had no issues with. Thumbs up.

Th drink mix I think I need to experiment with some more and see if I can get used to. When I am hot and tired on a run – I appreciate something that fuels me and has electrolytes etc. – but that also tastes good.

I like both of these products as they aim to try be as natural as possible and are real food! I do not think everyone will like these but they should be tried!

Thanks to Flint for introducing me to this stuff and will continue to try out on my trail runs!

Find them on Twiter @Maskorima

Find them on their website: https://www.maskorima.com

 

Run long, run hard my friends!

Kenyan Runningdad

                                    “We all have fathers and runners are no different.”

It is a mild but overcast spring evening and my legs have 25-kilometres of running on them. I am typing away with a cup of Kenyan tea in a mug beside me and my Kenyan friend Justin Lagat is glued to a replay of last year’s Ottawa marathon. Its a good day.

Justin is in town (Ottawa) and crashing on my couch so he can run the Ottawa Sporting Life 10k as a warm-up for the Ottawa marathon at the end of May. I hung out with my fellow running dad and friend for the weekend. Here is a bit about Justin and a few things he had to say about running, training and being a running dad.

Justin Lagat

(Bio from Justin’s profile for the Ottawa marathon, where he is an ambassador) Justin grew up in the rural area of the Rift Valley region in Kenya. His primary school was about four kilometers away from home and as a kid he, with his siblings, would run to and from the school four times in a day making it a total of 16km daily. He believes this, in addition to his genes, made him grow into a runner.

C_thshuXUAA1Wqj C_vYWejXcAAkcnU

However, in a land where everyone is born into the same life situations, it was hard for him to make a great impression as an exceptional runner in the region. He would only win in some low profile competitions, but that was enough to jump-start his career in running.

Running and writing, which is his other passion, have blended well and besides running he is also a columnist with RunBlogRun, author of Determined Runners (e-book)and a freelance sports journalist covering the sport of running. His work has been featured in a number of international media including the Competitor.com and Thrive Sports.

So far, he has completed three marathons, one being the 2016 Ottawa Marathon, during which he had to push on to the finish despite the heat. His aim from now on is to complete at least two marathons every year.

Justin’s personal bests

  • 10K   29:48
  • Half-marathon   1:06

I took a few moments to ask Justin a few questions:

How do you balance being an elite runner and being a dad, is it hard being away from your family?

“When you are leaving a young daughter (3-years old) it is hard to hear her ask when daddy will be home. When she was younger it was hard because she needed so much attention and I needed to be a dad – now she is going to school and I can train and rest after without any interruptions!”

If all goes well with your training and your taper – what would you like to run at the 2017 Ottawa marathon?

“My goal is to run under 2:10, to run as fast as I can. It would take things to the next level for me and I would hopefully get more recognition, sponsorship and the ability to run at more international-caliber races.”

North Americans always want to know the secret to the Kenyan running success, is it the barrels of tea, the training at altitude or just plain hard work in your opinion?

“I think it is the hard work and the motivation to do what it takes to succeed in running, in a country already filled now with fast runners – that have driven our success.”

How do your rate my cheese and cucumber sandwiches?

“I give it a 6 out of 10….I prefer hot foods more.” (I think he was being nice)

Sunday update: Justin ran the Ottawa Sportinglife 10k (which raises money for the local CHEO Hosptial). Justin loved the fact the race was flat, fast and raised money for a great cause. He also won the race in a time of 31:02!

*A big shout out to the friendly and great folks at InStride management (who manged the Ottawa race) who put on a great race and were super welcoming to Justin!

**A big thanks to Justin for being a cool guy and introducing me to Kenyan tea! (now addicted)

You can find Justin on his blog and on Twitter at @kenyanathlete

 

Run on my running friends!