Wheel of Shoes

So now that my marathon is out of the way, I have retired my two pairs of runners that got me through training and that race. They were the two last pairs of Saucony Mirage 5’s that I could find as unfortunately they are a discontinued model; I seem to be making a habit of this as this is my second set of runners that I had liked to be discontinued.

So now I search for a replacement, honestly a couple of models as I like to rotate my shoes. I might add that I have also retired my speed work shoes and will be looking to replace them as well since I was not overly fond of them.

I have worn a number of different brands of different drops and stability. Stability isn’t really a problem as I have run my fastest races in neutral shoes, however I generally only wear shoes with a drop of 4mm or less. I think, however that I will move up to 8mm as that expands my choices of shoes.

To begin I have moved back to a pair of Skechers Go Run Ride 5’s, I wore a pair of the 3’s for my marathon in Chicago so I had no trepidation of trying them again. They are neutral with a 4mm drop and are very stiff. Upon putting them on they feel cushioning but the stiffness replaces the springiness of energy return of the usual rubber. So far I am undecided after about 4-5 runs of a distance of up to 7km.

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Skechers Go Run Ride 5

I am also looking at different brands that I have never tried before; among them New Balance, Nike and Mizuno. The biggest problem I see now is the price of these runners, they have become really outrageous! I managed to get my Skechers on Amazon for under $100 because they are a unpopular color. From my reckoning the median price point is around $150…that’s pretty steep for something that you will wear for a few months. On the other hand I am running and don’t want a bad or cheap pair and end up injuring myself.

So I will pick up a pair here and there and see what will fit my feet and not cause problems. I don’t start my next marathon training cycle until the new year so I will have time.

I would welcome any suggestions.

Previous runners worn: Vibram 5 fingers. Saucony Vrata, Brooks Cadence 2, Skechers Go Run Ride 3, Skechers Go Run Speed, Merrell road, Saucony Type a5 and a6, Saucony Mirage 5.

One foot in front of the other.

Chris

Race Report – Marathon #4

Recently I ran marathon #4 at the Prince Edward Island marathon on the lovely island of PEI. The course was a point-to-point variety with the marathoners starting about a 30-40 minute drive from downtown Charlottetown and running their way back.

We were bused out to the start on a truly beautiful morning; I was running my first marathon with my love Nicola and our good friend Rod was running the first leg of a relay marathon. At one point we had the sun rising on one side of the bus with the hunters moon setting on the other; incredibly beautiful.

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Near the Start

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Brackley Beach

It was a bit chilly at the beginning of the race with temperatures near zero degrees celsius however we are Canadians who also knew that we would warm up quickly upon running.

The first 3-4km of the race were run next to the Gulf of St. Lawrence on one side with an inland water body on the other…it was pancake flat which helped us ease into the race and find our pace. We turned more inland at this point but were still following the inland water body and gawking at a few “shacks” that I’m sure cost more than I could predict. We were still running with Rod at this time which seemed to make the km’s go quickly by. We were also running at one point with a man from Manitoba named Doug who was running his 51st or 52nd marathon; he wasn’t sure actually!

At around 6km Rod finished his leg then we ran with his lovely better half, Joanna. Nicola and Jo promptly scooted out ahead and chatted which was fine because I was enjoying the course and the colours. Sadly after a further 5-6km we bid Jo a goodbye and ran on our own. I must admit that I enjoyed having a relay as part of this race, not only did we get to run with our friends but each exchange point had very excited, energized participants and friends alike cheering them on.

Having left the water vistas earlier we were now running through rolling farmland vistas plus an increase in the wind. Now it wasn’t “a right gale” by any stretch of the imagination but it was gusty and right into our faces; from about 16-17km until 21km we ran in to the wind and I certainly noticed a difference in our running during this time.

My right calf began to bother me during this time as well, it wasn’t near bad enough to slow me down but I was of course concerned about later and my stride.

At this time we turned and ran on a multi-use trail of crushed gravel that wound its way  for 13km through farmland, occasionally an orange pumpkin field and lots of trees. This part of the run is actually a gradual downhill and we were keeping our desired pace until about 32km when Nicola had a bout of vertigo that brought her to her knees within a few steps. The awesome fighter that she is we only stopped for a short period and were back running again. Unfortunately between this and my leg, which had become progressively worse began to plant a bit of doubt in our minds.

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Trail Section

At 34km we exited the trail on the roads, only 8km left and it was on asphalt!

Nicola began to cry, I was a bit confused. Was she hurt, angry, frustrated? No she was happy to be off of the trail and have only 8 km left. At this point we were at about 3:50:00 or so and even with a slow 8km we would be under Nicola’s time from Vancouver, which was a mark she wanted to break badly.

I wasn’t aware of how badly unfortunately because we really didn’t talk about pushing through pain or difficulty to achieve this PB. As a runner i should have known better and I should have both pushed myself but also pushed Nicola on a bit more because we started having more unplanned walking breaks. Nicola had assumed that we were well under the PB time, which we were initially, but once we started walking, it tightened considerably. I mistakenly assumed that we were walking because of vertigo or my leg or that we were tired but we had both assumed that each was needing the walking breaks when it turned out we were both prepared to push through!

D’oh!!

I love that each of us was concerned about each others condition but if we had communicated our desires and condition better, we could have skipped a number of the walking breaks.

Nicola had also discovered late in our training cycle that her watch didn’t have the battery power to last for the whole race, thus after about 32-34km she had no idea of our time or pace and was relying on me to keep us on point as it were. This is where I tripped up as i didn’t keep informing her of our progress. If i had continued to alert her on how much time we were losing we would probably would have also skipped a few of the walk breaks.

After series of hills we roared our way to finish, with Nicola dragging me, sprinting, to the finish.

Curses! We were over Nicola’s time from Vancouver and she hadn’t realized our time until we were within sight of the clock.

As we crossed the line Nicola was completely upset, confused, crying, mad and all of the other things that competitors would be. It was a shock for her to see that we would not set a new PB after a great training cycle. I was happy to have finished and was very happy that I had maintained my energy level through the marathon for the first time; each of my previous 3 had seen me hit the wall….but I was despondent that my love was so unhappy and disappointed.

I knew her mindset well because I had felt the same way after Chicago and she reminded me of that fact during our discussions afterward.

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Finisher Medal

We walked to the community centre to get a massage…well I hobbled as my calf and glute on the right side had become a solid mess then met a slew of people for food and beers….mmmm beers.

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Massage…YAY!

We stayed the night in Charlottetown, had a great meal, then drove back to the beach where we had started the next day and took a nice walk no the sand…beaches are great for recovery in case you didn’t know. We even stopped at Vesey’s seeds and picked up a few things for our garden.

After coming home on Monday we had dinner and talked about the race, what went right and what went wrong. Physically we were both good aside from my leg and her head….these were known quantities. We talked honestly about out lack of communication during the run and vowed to never let it happen again. We also agreed that we were being pretty hard on ourselves seeing that we had both just finished running a marathon…together! This has and will always be our main goal, when you can run together with the person you love, especially over a long distance, and finish, then you are some of the luckiest types of runners!!

For me, my races are over for the year, I was wanting, perhaps, to run one or two shorter distances but my schedule has conflicts. However, in the new year training will start again for the Ottawa marathon at the end of May. We will be running it together with our afore mentioned friends Rod and Jo, and we are extremely excited.

Chris

And then there were 5!

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Here we are, the final week of the taper and 5 days until Nicola and I run the PEI marathon.

Generally our training has gone really well, we managed to run 36k twice and improved our time the second time out due to less walking breaks. We are following the 10:1 principal but of course have been taking extra breaks when we felt like taking them.

We have also included generally 2 large hills during every long run to simulate the finish burn at PEI, the last 5km have 3 hills with the last being significant; however I’m confident that we will have little trouble with them. The course itself is relatively flat with some rolling hills and a general incline during the second half but I believe that we will be able to get into a groove early.

The weather is looking ok at this point, the chance of rain is minimal but it may be somewhat windy, however the direction would see us with a tailwind for more than half of the time so I think we will be fine, we will judge the strength and direction the day of to set a pace.

Instead of a goal finishing time we are shooting for a finishing range, this way there is less pressure and we can enjoy the race more.

Each of us has a massage scheduled for today and we have our carbing meals all set out for the week. I have a very light work schedule this week after working 3 nights last weekend so my main goal is to rest and stay loose.

Hopefully all of these things will lead to a steady, solid run, but honestly I am looking forward to running my first marathon with Nicola, we have run all of ur training runs together aside from just one so we will draw on each others strength and love throughout the day.

I look froward to posting a recap next week to let you know how were fared, talk to you soon!

Chris

Recipe of the Week

For this weeks recipe of the week Nicola and I tried to make a simple appetizer. Sometimes we don’t feel like cooking something involved and a simple appetizer usually fits the bill. When we go out to a restaurant we often choose a few appetizers to minimize our portions and to maximize the different flavours…plus it’s normally cheaper too!

This week we made an avocado scallop tostada (tortilla) that we found on Myrecipes.com web site.

Avocado Scallop Tostada

The recipe was fairly simple and it was ready quite quickly. About the longest part was the preparation of the avocado paste.

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup fresh Cilantro leaves
  • 1 cup greens (micro)
  • 2 ripe Avocados – halved
  • 1/4 teaspoon lime zest
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground Cumin
  • 1/8 teaspoon Paprika
  • Cayenne pepper
  • 12 large scallops – cut crosswise
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 24 tortilla chips

 

Recipe

First the Cilantro and greens were combined in a bowl.

Dinner

Then the avocados were mashed and combined with the lime juice and 1/4 teaspoon of salt in a second bowl, the lime zest was not added.

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The Cumin, remaining Salt, Paprika and the pepper were combined and sprinkled over the scallops. Cayenne pepper was not available at the time.

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The oil was heated and the scallops cooked for about 1-2 minutes a side. Sadly the scallops were not yet completely thawed and water came out of the scallops when they were cooked which dulled the spices.

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Lastly, the avocado mixture was spread on the tortillas and the scallops were placed on top. We purchased smaller scallops so we added 2-3 per tortilla which may have also changed the flavour. In total we made 12 separate tortilla chips with scallops on them.

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We prepared a second batch of scallops, 12 more this time, cooking them in Blackberry Ginger flavoured oil from Liquid Gold oils. This certainly added a bit more flavour but we still agreed that something more would need to be added if we were to try the recipe again.

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Verdict

We both agreed that while they were good, there was a bit of a lack of flavour, a bit of a punch missing. Nicola suggested that adding garlic into the avocado mix would add some much needed flavour. Also using large scallops would have perhaps concentrated the spices and flavour more…and next time we will completely thaw the scallops before cooking.

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Hope you enjoyed the quick recipe that we tried this week, Nicola and I learn something every time that we try and cook something new 🙂

Chris

Recipe of the Week

Last week Nicola and I tried a vegetarian, fruit recipe called “Watermelon Curry with Black Beans and Paneer” from the recipe book, “The Modern Vegetarian” by Maria Elia. Naturally we didn’t have any Paneer handy so we used tofu. Paneer, by the way, is a form of curdled cheese. We also used Canola oil instead of Grapeseed oil and substituted yellow curry for turmeric.

Ingredients:

  • Watermelon
  • 2 tablespoons Canola oil
  • 1 white onion
  • fresh ginger (6 cm)
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 2 red chilies
  • 2 stalks lemongrass
  • 2 teaspoons yellow curry
  • 4 teaspoons coriander
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • pepper
  • 250 g of tofu
  • 400 g of black beans
  • dried coriander (powder)
  • sea salt
  • juice 1-2 limes (not used)

Recipe:

First off I sliced up the watermelon and carved off the outside. I placed about 3/4 of the watermelon into my blender and puréed it. I cut about another 1/3 into chunks to be added later in the cooking process. I ended up with a small chunk of watermelon left over.

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Heating half of the oil in a pan we added the onion, ginger and garlic and cooked over medium heat until softened.

We then added the chilies, lemongrass and spices and cooked it for another minute or so.

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We then added the purée and brought it to a boil, then simmered until it reduced by about 50%. This really is the key step as upon adding the whole amount of watermelon the spices are doused and the acidic nature of the juice comes out.

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The tofu was fried in the rest of the oil then dabbed to remove any excess oil.

After the liquid had reduced we stirred in the beans, tofu and cubed watermelon. The powdered coriander was added and we aded a bit of salt.

Once warmed through we served the liquid with coconut basmati rice that we had prepared in our rice cooker.

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Verdict:

Initially we had reservations about the amount of watermelon juice we would be using and whether the spices would show through. We needn’t have worried, after reduction the spices melded wonderfully with the watermelon and the rice. The dish was truly delicious and we have been enjoying leftovers for a few days. The blending of the fluid and spices only gets better with time.

You need to demonstrate a bit of faith and patience with this recipe, however in the end it will be a nice change of pace meal, especially using the watermelon, which was a first for me.

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Fredericton Craft Beer Festival 2016

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Last night was the 4th annual Fredericton Craft Beer festival grand tasting in Fredericton, New Brunswick. Each year the number of brewers and participants has grown and this year an afternoon session was added to accommodate the interest and to try to limit the congestion of just one session. Also a number of events were held during the week at various local establishments to celebrate the event. I had to work for part of the week so in the end I only attended the tasting.

As per the norm I attended the event with my partner Nicola and my friend Jason; this year our friends Joanna and Rod joined us. We started out with dinner at Vault 29, which was hosting an after party for the the afternoon session and had a warm-up beer to get us in the mood 🙂 There was a live rock-a-billy band playing called the Hypochondriacs who were really good and we left in good spirits for the show.

The convention centre where we attended the event was a short walk away, we had to wait in line for a few minutes to get our tasting glasses and VIP lanyard, then again to access the room but the lines moved quickly and two of our friends were manning the check-in desk…needless to say everyone was in good spirits.

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Ahead of the event, an app had been released cataloging the brewers and their location on the floor so I had flagged some beers that I had wanted to try and a few breweries that we normally can’t access at the start. As usual we had all acquired VIP access which allowed us to start sampling an hour ahead of everyone else and gave us a bigger sampling glass…this year a Belgian inspired design.

I started at Barnone, a brewery from PEI because they are still quite small and we can’t get their beers here. I started out with their award winning Milk Stout and the night went on from there 🙂 Next up were two breweries from Cape Breton; Breton brewing and Big Spruce. I’m a big fan of each and Big Spruce had a special collaboration beer that they made with a local cider company and samples of their recently bottled Imperial Stout aged in old Whisky barrels. I loved the nose but the beer needs some integration to really shine.

Continuing my Stout tour I tried a Milk Stout from North Brewing in Halifax then ran into the best beers of the night from Hammond River which is located about 11/2 hours from Fredericton. Their IPA was excellent but I loved their White Stout…it was flavourful and perfectly balanced. Their Vanilla Porter has also won awards in the past.

Honestly the rest of the night was a mixture of stouts, IPA’s and lagers. Sadly I only had one or two red ales which has seemed to fall to the side of the beer craze. One good sign was that there were a number of sour/Brett/Gose type beers present. Sometimes the latest trends take their time to get to this part of the world so it’s good to see some breweries taking a chance on these types of beers. The most unusual beer that I tried was a purple Maise corn beer from Big Axe (a favourite brewery of mine), which was based on the Peruvian Purple Corn Beer. I have visited Peru and have had their version of the beer and while this version was different it had some of the qualities, I salute them for taking a chance on making something different.

Overall, in my opinion the event was a success, the number of brewers have grown and with two sessions it appears that the demand is there. I sampled 20 different beers over the course of 31/2 hours so some semblance of variety was present. I do lament the lack of any real food options aside from potato chips, there is a lot of beer involved so maybe some finger food would be a smart idea…but of course this takes away from vendor space and probably their are some rules/by-laws/laws to be considered.

Next year I hope to attend a few other events during the week but for now I’m always happy to support this event by attending the grand tasting.

On a happy side note I won a tankard as being the most active person on the events new app which of course will only encourage me to taste a few more suds.

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Until next year!

Chris

 

Running Year in Review

I approached 2015 with less goals in mind and an eye on having more fun running and to not have to race every race. I had run a marathon during the last three years and to be honest I was tired and not interested n going through the training once again. Thus I planned on obtaining a new PB in the half distance and then have more fun, i.e.. run more smaller races with friends regardless as to whether there was any prize or reward or bling aside from the experience.

I also decided that I would cut my distance down, I’ve been lucky that I’ve not yet sustained a serious injury while running but since I hit 45 this year I know that taking care of yourself is more important than ever. I have been interested in the training plan where you run 3 times a week and cross train 1-2 of the other days. One of those runs is speed work, one other tempo work then a long run. I followed this plan for the first half of the year while training for my events and I liked the results so I will continue to follow it. I will modify the long run somewhat to run it at a faster pace than suggested by the plan.

2015

The big running event for me this year was helping and then watching my girlfriend Nicola run her first marathon in Vancouver. We chose Vancouver due to the exotic locale, the presence of her family and the likelihood of good weather for the run. Weather played a huge part of her training for the full and my training for the half as we experienced one of the worst winters in recent memory; lot of snow, lots of cold and ice, lots of wind. To add to the misery, Nicola developed a very, very sore shoulder and neck just before the holidays so most of her training cycle was through  pain. Thankfully the pain subsided near the end and she powered through her long runs and happily she clobbered her marathon in Vancouver. She was smiling and happy when she crossed the line which made me very, very proud.

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Winter Training Blows!!!

Just a wee bit proud

Proud First Time Marathoner!

Before running the half in Vancouver I ran a race in easy April in Lorneville, it’s a hilly course of 13km that gives you a nice indication of your fitness. I nailed it and PB’d by 4 minutes!

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Lorneville Loop

I was happy going into Vancouver and was running with Stephanie who was also shooting for a PB but I wasn’t in a very good state of mind when we started the race however due to organizational issues, according to me, which threw me off, causing me to wall out at 14km…I finished in 2:05 and change but was 6 minutes off of my PB. Happily Stephanie ran a PB, so there was lots to be happy and proud about!

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Vancouver Half

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Steph, Nicola and I with John Stanton in Vancouver

After a week of relaxation I restarted my training again as we had decided to run Jonny Miles in late June in New Glasgow. This race had a very good reputation and we were eager to run it for the first time. Nicola and I were also running it with our great friends Rod and Joanna. I was a bit underwhelmed by the race to be honest, especially for a 40th edition. I did manage to run a PB here by about 2 minutes but I still had problems after 16km so I really, really, really need to work on my fuelling.

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Me, Nicola, Joanna, Paul and Rod in New Glasgow

Through July and August I maintained a relatively good level of fitness as we ran a bunch of smaller races in New Brunswick, the highlight coming when I won the 10km race on Grand Manan Island in July! I wasn’t super speedy, with a wining time around 52 minutes, but I pulled it out when it counted. This was my first ever race win. I also missed one scheduled fun run because I drank too much fine ale the evening before 🙂 but instead of lamenting the DNS, I have more fun laughing at my idiocy 🙂

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Joanna, Rod, Nicola and I in Grand Manan

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First Place!

In September I returned to shift work which really hurt my running as finding time to run between shifts is very hard and the runs aren’t of the best quality. Also, for the second year in a row, I was on the organizing committee of the Fall Classic race in Fredericton. Our race had some issues this year but thankfully there weren’t too many complaints. I had already decided to not participate on the committee next year ahead of the problems so the two things aren’t related.

In October, over the Canadian Thanksgiving , Nicola and I traveled to Nova Scotia to run a 10k race, The Valley Harvest and to celebrate the holiday. It was a pretty good day to run and I again ran just around 52 minutes, a decent showing due to my lack of training.

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Kate, Me and Nicola in Wolfville on Thanksgiving

Most recently our whole running crew ran the Santa Shuffle put on by the Salvation Army. The day was stunningly beautiful and the weather warm and we had a great time running and laughing, it was a great way to end our racing season.

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Me, Rod, Joanna and Nicola at the Santa Shuffle

I enjoyed this year of running, it was mostly relaxed while I watched other people achieve personal bests and distances that they hadn’t thought possible. The last few months have been really, really devoid of runs as I figure out my schedule and other great life developments but I’m confident that I will rediscover my energy once again.

Other Races

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Nicola and I at the Kilted Run

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Nicola in front, me in back at Covered Bridge Run

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Nicola and I at the Runway Run

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Me, Nicola and Myles at Bluenose

2016

This year I will once again train for a marathon in October, the PEI marathon in Charlottetown. Nicola and I are planning to run this one together with a goal time in mind. Also, we will be going to Maine to run a half marathon, which will be my first race in Maine. I also intend to run Lorneville once again and the runway run in Fredericton for the second time. I will try to make the beer run this year, limiting my consumption of ales and hope to run in Saint John as well. A number of smaller runs will most likely fall into some of these weekends and I plan on a few virtual runs during the winter.

I’m not setting a mileage goal once again with the hopes of not having to force myself to run on certain days. I received a new pair of racers for Christmas and I just bought a new pair of trainers so it appears that my mind is in the right place at least 🙂

I wish you luck in 2016, run smart, have fun!

Chris

One Foot in Front of the Other