Monday, 30 March 2015

Around The Bay

Jen described it as reminders of parts of her favourite races.  There's the store-lined streets of downtown, like The Yonge Street 10k, the highways and overpasses of Disney, the hilly suburbs of The Mississauga Marathon.  

Across the overpass

Long road ahead

The crossing lights were on, alarms sounding

We parked several blocks away, then found that the lot across from the stadium was still mostly empty.  It was great to be able to wait for the start in the warm stadium.  It was really cold outside.  

Batman! That's going on the blog

I can understand people complaining about the weather if they are summer runners, and tried running here in shorts.  After the Hypothermic Half, we were well prepared, with layers of Merano wool to keep us warm, heavy gloves, hats.  It's what you need.  It was a nice sunny day if you had the right gear.

Happy Palm Sunday

It was Palm Sunday, and two churches had people out waving palm fronds, wishing us a good run.  

Skyway in the distance. We just came from there.

I like how you could always look across the bay to see where you were going, or had been.  It really gave a sense of the scale of a long run like this.  

Sunday, 15 February 2015

Hypo One Half Race Report

There isn't even an athlete briefing.  It's just expected that everyone knows what they are doing and has dressed how they need to.  The weather forecast this year was for ice pellets.  With some wind, that would be bad.  Really, really, frostbite, ouch this hurts, what are we doing here, bad.  I think this is the most dangerous race that I enter.  In triathlon, I'm not going to drown, I might get scraped falling off my bike, but that wouldn't compare to freezing rain and ice pellets.  For this I packed my ski goggles that I use biking in this weather.  You can't have any skin exposed.  Sunglasses are to keep in warmth as much as to keep out the light.  It could be horribly cold, or wet, or strong winds with ice pellets.

Hypo One Half

Jen worked Saturday, so I picked her up at Pita Pit at 5.  I should have gotten there early to eat, but traffic was bad and I couldn't find parking, so I was late.  I grabbed a chicken sandwich at Tim's on the highway out of town.  We collected the race packets from Dayna in Sarnia.  She got them for us yesterday.

We stayed at the host hotel, the Holiday Inn near the bridge.  It was packed for a weekend pool tournament.  People carried bags everywhere with their cues.  We were to bed early, but every hour or so, drunken pool players would pass loudly down the hall.  About midnight, one came pounding on the door of the room next to us.  In the morning, Jen suggested we return the favour.  No.  Breakfast in the hotel restaurant.  Toast with jam and peanut butter.  Just like one of our driving trips where we go to Tim's for the same.  

We assembled at 8:30 in front of the hotel.  That's great.  No driving, just walk outside and ready to go.  I want to do that for one of the Toronto events.  

Lake Huron is frozen over

The weather was nice!  It was right around freezing, with no wind at all, not even for the stretch of the run along the lake shore.  As we came in to finish, it began to rain, and that's all of the precipitation we had.  I hadn't snowed for a few days, so the roads were clear of slush.  The water at the aid stations wasn't icing over.

The run begins towards the bridge, then heads east to the outskirts of town, and loops back along the lake.  We passed the church where my mom's funeral was held two weeks earlier.  That's why I raced here two years ago.  It gave me an adventure while on a trip to visit her.  It pleased her that her granddaughter (Jen, whom I race with) took care of herself with all the running.  You can't go home again, but you can go running there. 

Back at the hotel, we enjoyed the brunch provided.  Chocolate milk, eggs, and bacon.  Lots of bacon.  Usually after a run I'm not very hungry.  I use Gu to keep my energy up, but today the sight of all the hot food brought on quite a craving.  The drive back was horrendous.  Freezing rain kept icing up the windshield wipers;  and ice pellets;  but not for the race.

Sunday, 18 January 2015

Winter sunset

I wanted to include a pic of the sunset.  I pulled out my phone during today's run, and wondered what the flashing green light was.  I turned on the screen, and it immediately shut down for low battery.  That's the green light.

The sunset was nice, but a bit of a problem.  There was a train across the tracks earlier, just sitting there. Instead of waiting, with my sweat giving me a chill, I took the long way around. It's another 5 km, making the run 21 km total.  I was feeling good and had an extra Gu to keep my energy up.  The railway crossing was at the outskirts of town, and the bonus distance was on the gravel road into the countryside.  I began the run in the afternoon, with plenty of time for the planned route, so I was wearing my black and red Brita jacket from last year's Resolution Run.  I got a nice and bright MEC jacket for Christmas, all covered in reflective highlights, but it was at home. So here I was, a kilometer from town on a country lane, dressed in my black ninja outfit, with the sun going down.  The streetlights would be on by the time I made it to the house. Plus, my phone was dead, taking my music away.

Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Festivus pole

I built a Festivus pole out of the traditional material:  beer cans.  I has stood up well, except for the night someone came to look at it and tripped over the cord for the blue lights on the nearby tree.  I found them stretched across the lawn in the morning.  It's almost 7 ft. tall.  Back in November we had a couple days of snow before it got warm again and melted it all away.  

Festivus pole of beer cans

Our two snowy days this winter

Tuesday, 30 December 2014

We could go biking

I went to visit my brother in Toronto.  The weather is nice, so we went biking of course!  

It's winter.  Let's go biking!

Here we passed by the local ski hill with the snowmaker desperately trying to get some coverage put down. The next day it snowed a lot, and it took me 2 hours to get the 10 km to Milton.

Must make snow

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Santa Shuffle

I had on a numbered race bib, wore my new running shoes, and did 45 minutes of running, but wasn't intending to be in a race.  It surprised me when a race took place around me nevertheless. 
Always ready to go
The Santa Shuffle is a fund raiser for Salvation Army.  He said this is the 24th year that they have done it.  Jen and I signed up only a few days earlier when we found the time slot compatible with our work schedules.  They promote it not so much as a race, but a fun-run/walk.  They provide the horse track at Western Fair raceway for the venue.  So off we went for a fun morning run together.  There's no timing method provided.  The distance is about five kilometers or thereabouts, or as far as you feel like going within the hour that is available. Jen and I did 9 laps, which is a little over 6 km.  


However, Running Room is a principal event partner.  They made it into a race.  Everyone gets a race bib to wear.  There's prizes for the first finishers.  There's medals for everyone upon completion. The race is 7 laps which was considered to be almost 5 km.  Who knows.  There isn't even a finish line.  The race started and ended somewhere over there on the track.  

Shuffling with wings
Before we began, came a trip to Canadian Tire for some rope to secure the angel wings.  The included straps were fastened at the top, making them more of a backpack than wings.  Needing the rope cut to order, Jen fetched a clerk. He was startled to find the giant snowmonster in the aisle.  What to do?  Act natural and treat it like a regular customer.  The girl was talking to the snowmonster, so it must be okay.  After the race, we went to Costco.  There, I did them the courtesy of putting on pants.  It seems so much more civilized to wear pants in their store.

For us, the point of the day was the same as any other race we go into.  Have a good time.  Hang out with your friends and family.  Get some exercise.  Accomplished.  She dressed up in angel wings. I bought a couple Santa caps, then decided to make a snowman.  Most everyone had a red Santa cap.  Dogs and babies were welcome.  The weather was around freezing, with a light breeze, and no sunshine.  The track was dry, thankfully.  Even a bit of overnight snow could have turned the day into a muddy mess.  We ran laps in the gravel until most all of the runners quit.  I was surprised to get a medal.  What's a finsher's medal about when you finish whenever you feel like stopping?   

Santa came to shuffle
Anyone looks friendly when wearing a Santa cap, so the crowd appeared very friendly.  After running for a while we stayed to drink hot chocolate and coffee.  It was a good start to the holidays.  Jen and I are signed up for the Hypothermic Half in February, so we need to keep on running on into the winter.  The cold weather has just begun, and there's so much more running to do.

Saturday, 22 November 2014

Yes, I rode today

It's that time of year when people ask me, "Did you ride today?"  

The first snowfall of 2014

Yes, I did.  I have all the right gear, so the snow isn't so bad. The balaclava.  Must have a balaclava. And the ski goggles. Can't leave any skin exposed at all. Snow is much better than the rain.  The rain gets in and I'm wet, and cold and there's nothing that helps.  This storm was easy, because the snow was light and fluffy, so I could cruise right through it.  When it's wet packing snow, the tires have a much harder time to plow through it with these wide tires I have on.  They pack the snow down instead of slicing through like narrow tires would.

There's a train coming

I tried snow tires for my bike, with tungsten studs screwed into the knobs.  It's supposed to help on ice.  It doesn't.  It's ice, and it's slick no matter what.  I've still got the street tires on my Townie, which I use in the winter.  When I take the bike in for the mid-winter tune up, I will have them put on the snow tires.  

Snow on the overpass