iRun because I cannot say no to a second slice of chocolate cakeEmily Shandruk , Vancouver, BC

iRun to stay fit and release those running endorphinsLiliana Plava , Calgary, AB

iRun because I want to qualify for Boston and raise money for charities near and dear to my heartChristine Gracel , Calgary, AB

iRun because it makes me feel good, allows me to spend time with my friends and gives me a feeling of accomplishmentHelen Kolodziejzyk , Calgary, AB

iRun but not enoughMichael Shaw , New Westminister, BC

iRun because I never thought I would be able toGary Morris , Winnipeg, MB

iRun to challenge myself, physically and mentallyKathleen Keenan , Brampton, ON

iRun because people around me inspire mePina Bevilacqua , Caledon, ON

iRun therefore I amDuncan Walsh , Nottingham, UK

iRun because I liveGeorges Schneller , Laval, QC

iRun to be free and enjoy our beautiful countryCheryl Carter , Clearwater , BC

iRun for overall wellbeingTrish McCourt , Halifax, NS

iRun because it makes me a better person, a better wife, a better mother and a better friendNathalie Joncas-Caissie , St-Antoine, NB

iRun because it makes me feel powerfulCarlene Paquette , Carp, ON

iRun because pecan pie, french fries and beer are chasing meTeresa Sterling , Ottawa , ON

iRun because it’s in meMichael Foley , Stittsville, ON

iRun because it reminds me that I am capable of so much more than I have doneJames Sauve , Ottawa, ON

iRun for meKiza Francis , Ottawa,ON

iRun to prove to myself I canLesley McGougan , Brampton, ON

iRun because all the ladies are chasing my sexy runner’s bodyChris Baker , Etobicoke, ON

iRun because I can and I’m gratefulTerry SanCartier , Gatineau, QC

iRun because when I run I feel most aliveMeghan Lynch , Ottawa, ON

iRun to unleash my inner athleteAdelle Densham , Avonmore, ON

iRun because it cleans up my life, because I drink more water, sleep better and eat healthier foodsRobin McIntyre , Ottawa, ON

iRun because of the peace and strength it brings meMichelle Jordan , Ottawa, ON

iRun because I need it to soothe the soul, keep me in shape and for overall wellbeingBeth Neil , Lombardy, ON

iRun because it is my tonic and my salvation Georgia Ioannou , British Columbia

iRun for relaxation and to motivate my two sonsKeith Bradbury , Newfoundland

iRun because endorphins are freeCassandra Chouinard , Ontario

iRun because somebody once told me I couldn’t Heidi Abbey-Der , Saskatchewan

iRun because couch potatoes die young Cathy Andrew , Ontario

iRun because it’s cheaper than therapy Leah Boulter , Alberta

iRun because I like buying running clothes Pamela Blaikie , Ontario

iRun slowly!Jason Hoffman , Manitoba

iRun because it gives me freedom to relax my brainMarie-Claude Gregoire , Nova Scotia

iRun because I learn more about who I am with every kmSteph Mansell , Quebec

iRun because iEat Sherry Maligaspe , British Columbia

iRun and run, and run, and run, and nobody can stop me Andrei Lucaciu , Ontario

iRun because the wall is meant to be broken Jonathan Bird , Ontario

iRun because it has saved my life John Marshall , Alberta

iRun for the challenge to go faster and farther Steven Matejka , Alberta

iRun to my happy place and some days it’s very Doreen May , Alberta

iRun because food tastes better afterwards Patrick Houston , Alberta

iRun because I can’t dance Mario Javier , Ontario

iRun so I don’t say never ever again Linda Klaric , Manitoba

iRun because it makes me whole Denis Ladouceur , Quebec

iRun because it gets my husband out there Tricia LaLonde , Alberta

iRun away from the negative and towards the positive Teri Lepard , Alberta

iRun because running is like breathing to Stephanie McEvoy , Ontario

iRun because I love the solitude Janene Tailleur , British Columbia

iRun for the moment when both feet are off the ground Catherine Anderson , British Columbia

iRun to someday win the race Lindy Dunlop , Yukon

iRun to stay ahead of the weight gainMyra Abstreiter , Alberta

iRun because otherwise I’m grumpy Alexandre Charest , Quebec

iRun because I get foot rubs afterward Kate Howerton , British Columbia

iRun because iLoves my man Beverly Huang , Alberta

iRun because not everyone can Olivia Harvey , New Brunswick

iRun to get to know myself, my strength and my spirit Lisa Groulx , Ontario

iRun whenever I feel the need to escape Iona Hillis , Ontario

iRun because it’s like flying, only lower Glenn Johnson , Ontario

iRun because it makes me feel powerful Sarah Kallaghan , Alberta

iRun because I’ve lost 80 lbs and running has become fun Cheryl Kelly , Ontario

iRun because there is no finish line Claire Kilgour , Ontario

iRun so my daughters know that they can, too Shelley Kirkpatrick , New Brunswick

iRun because it reminds me of how strong I can be Monique Lavoie , Ontario

iRun because it’s a great way to see the world Sherry Mahoney , British Columbia

iRun because my heart tells me to William Martin , Manitoba

iRun to prove to them that iCan Catherine Smith , Manitoba

iRun because it’s fun when it’s done Sue Matte , Ontario

iRun because I am not as clumsy I thought I was Hanna Baer , Quebec

iRun see where my feet will take me todayMegan Dolinskas , New York

iRun for the cool t-shirts! Pina Bevilacqua , Ontario

iRun because I want to be a role model for our six kids Catherine Empey , British Columbia

iRun to inspire my kids to tryGlen Johnston , Nunavut

iRun so I can eat ice cream Sandy Bolan , Ontario

iRun because I want to live to be 100! Colette DeJean , Ontario

iRun for health, i Run for life Pat Cheung , British Columbia

iRun because it gives my day a boost of energy Sara Campbell , Nova Scotia

iRun because it’s better than almost everything else Nathan Carey , Ontario

iRun at 50 years old because at 43 I couldn’t Peter Cicalo , Ontario

iRun because it is my tonic and my salvation Georgia Ioannou , British Columbia

iRun for relaxation and to motivate my two sons Keith Bradbury , Newfoundland

iRun because endorphins are free Cassandra Chouinard , Ontario

iRun because somebody once told me I couldn't Heidi Abbey-Der , Saskatchewan

iRun because couch potatoes die young Cathy Andrew , Ontario

iRun because it's cheaper than therapy Leah Boulter , Alberta

iRun because I like buying running clothes Pamela Blaikie , Ontario

iRun slowly! Jason Hoffman , Manitoba

iRun because iEat Sherry Maligaspe , British Columbia

iRun because I learn more about who I am with every km Steph Mansell , Quebec

iRun because it gives me freedom to relax my brain Marie-Claude Gregoire , Nova Scotia

iRun at 50 years old because at 43 I couldn't Peter Cicalo , Ontario

iRun because it's better than almost everything else Nathan Carey , Ontario

iRun for my heart, so it runs for me! Cathy Brzoza , British Columbia

iRun to inspire my children! Wendy Bowen , Manitoba

iRun because it sure beats the bus Robin Robbins , Alberta

iRun for the challenge and to remember to fully live Pascale Synnott , Québec

iRun to kickstart my day Sharon Strueby , Saskatchewan

iRun for me! Judi Wearing , Saskatchewan

iRun because it's a great stress release Brooke McKenzie , Yukon

iRun because i love to Mirella Petriello , Ontario

iRun because it helps me see things more clearly Jennifer Pitts , Ontario

iRun to eat Maureen Tritscher , Alberta

iRun to correct years of sedentary living! Mike Scott , Ontario

iRun away from the abyss Charlene Thomas , Ontario

iRun all the livelong day Pierre Saint-Laurent , Québec

iRun to challenge my perceived limitations Cassandra Williams , Ontario

iRun to maintain a strong physical and mental state Tammy Rainville , Ontario

iRun so that I can live longer and stronger Derek MacPhail , Ontario

iRun to feel great Kathryn Rachar , Saskatchewan

iRun because I like to be healthy Melanie Oickle , New Brunswick

iRun to eat more, especially sweet potatoe fries Joanna Skomra , Ontario

iRun for the fresh air and adrenalin Charlyn McGregor , Saskatchewan

iRun for the individual pursuit Robert Pelletier , New Brunswick

iRun to satisfy the irresistible urge Tim Nixon , British Columbia

iRun because I love the sense of accomplishment Amber Moase , Nova Scotia

iRun to challenge my mind, body and soul Sonia Mendes , Ontario

iRun because walking is too slow Barry Knapp , Ontario

Super-easy springtime sipping

April 22nd, 2014


Even people who say they don’t like “healthy drinks” will love this gluten-free beverage. Featuring a balance of complementary fruit flavours, this thirst-quencher is a delicious way to squeeze in an additional nutrient boost.

Super-Fruit Sangria
Serves 1/Makes 2¼ cups (550 mL)

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Special Equipment: high-speed blender

4 or 5 fresh or frozen strawberries
10 fresh or frozen raspberries
1/2 cup (125 mL) fresh or frozen blueberries
1/3 cup (75 mL) chopped pineapple
2 fresh mint leaves
Zest of 1/2 orange
Zest of 1/2 lemon
Zest of 1/2 lime
2 tbsp (30 mL) freshly squeezed orange juice
2 tbsp (30 mL) freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tbsp (30 mL) freshly squeezed lime juice
2 tbsp (30 mL) pomegranate juice
2 tbsp (30 mL) acai berry juice
6 tbsp (90 mL) coconut water
2 tbsp (30 mL) agave nectar or maple syrup
1 tbsp (15 mL) pure vanilla extract
About 2 cups (500 mL) ice

In a blender, combine all the ingredients except the ice. Add ice to about 1 inch (2.5 cm) above the liquid line. Blend on high speed until smooth and creamy.

NOTE: When using frozen fruit use less ice.

From: The Thrive Energy Cookbook by Brendan Brazier. Copyright Brendan Brazier, 2014. Reprinted by permission of Penguin Canada Books Inc.

Five Cheers for the Boston Marathon

April 19th, 2014

This year as we return to the Boston Marathon, we cannot help but be more determined than ever to finish the race that was needlessly interrupted. As runners, we train, we persevere, or we raise countless funds to toe the line at one of the world’s greatest races. As one of the largest Boston Marathon fields is assembled this year, we have more reason than ever to cheer runners on to take a stand against fear and to finish Boston Strong.

Here are five #CheersForBoston that you can use to tweet your favourite Boston Marathoner:





Cheering for Boston,


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Follow Andrew on Twitter: @andrewchak

Eric Gillis: being a parent changes the way you run

April 18th, 2014

ericgillisyongeiRun mostly because I can; it`s something that I`m physically able to do and I get a kick out of it.—Eric Gillis

Parenthood changes everything; even for elite runners like Eric Gillis. “Being a first-time parent wasn`t easy the first year,” says Gillis, “I needed to be a little less idealistic and get into a routine.”

With their daughter now four years old, Gillis and his wife Emily recently welcomed a baby boy to their clan. According to Gillis, it’s all much different this time around simply because he knows what to expect with each stage which has helped him keep it all in perspective.

As with many new parents, Gillis says it took him a little longer to understand how to balance his full time training schedule with having a newborn but with his son he has adapted much more quickly. While having two children might be enough to keep most parents on the run, Gillis found that planning his race season accordingly (no early spring marathon) has not only reduced his stress, but it’s also enabled him to schedule quality training which has been much more enjoyable. Here’s how the two-time Olympic athlete keeps on pace with the demands of being a full time dad and runner:

Being more flexible
Crediting the combination of having a young family and getting a little older (and wiser), Gillis says his ability to be more flexible with his training has enabled him to stay focused on his next race. With his new perspective Gillis has come to accept that many days striking a balance between the training you might have planned and what life allows you to do is the ultimate success. “Once I made that switch it definitely became easily to enjoy my family and running.”

Staying in the moment
“Having kids doesn’t allow time to dream as much,” says Gillis with a laugh, “but it allows me to be more productive. I feel more in tune with where I’m at physically and where I need to be.” While it’s easy to let your mind wander on a run, staying present and in the moment is a big part of boosting your mental game. For an elite athlete like Gillis, putting that same level of mental energy into his training also allows him to stay focused and even realize when scaling back will help him keep his rhythm going.

Having a team

If there’s one thing that Gillis makes clear it’s that he hasn’t done this alone. Whether it’s his supportive wife who Gillis says was pretty much instantaneously a natural parent, making it easier for Gillis to find his way or Reid Coolsaet his marathon training partner and the team at Speed River, the combination allows him to purse the life of a professional runner.

With a personal best in the New York City Half Marathon and a victory at last Sunday’s Toronto Yonge Street 10K, Gillis is staying focused on maintaining his half-marathon winning streak at the Scotia 21K de Montreal next weekend and gearing up for Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend coming up in May. Find out more about Eric’s training and running season on this week’s iRun | The Running Show and Podcast with Mark Sutcliffe and Ray Zahab.

42 Signs of Running Fever and Their Cures

April 16th, 2014


Let’s just assume that it is now finally spring. The recent taste of warmer temperatures has not only given us a bit of spring fever, it can also bring on an insatiable condition know as “running fever.” There are 42 telltale signs of this condition and a number of surprising cures depending on how feverish you are.

Check off each sign of running fever which applies to you and total up the checkmarks to get your diagnosis and treatment at the bottom.

No. Sign of running fever This is me
1 You look at hourly forecasts for your scheduled run time.
2 You think that 10 degrees Celsius is perfect weather.
3 You plan your weekends around your long runs.
4 You cringe when friends tell you that they’re planning to get married in the spring or fall.
5 Your calendar marks off birthdays, holidays and race dates.
6 You know where the nearest hill is.
7 You know where your nearest running store is.
8 You have a favourite running track.
9 You’ll drive or take transit to run a particular route.
10 You see coffee shops and fast food restaurants as change rooms or luxury portapotties.
11 When you are mapping out directions, you always ask yourself, “Could I run there?”
12 You can convert miles into kilometers.
13 A cotton t-shirt makes no sense to you.
14 You choose clothes based on how fast they make you look.
15 You have come to grips with wearing tights.
16 Your running watch is your watch.
17 You are a firm believer that compression socks make for excellent dress socks.
18 You keep an extra set of running gear with you at all times “just in case”
19 Your laundry is organized by running gear and “everything else.”
20 You rotate your shoes more than you rotate your tires.
21 You know the mileage of your shoes.
22 You pack your running gear first.
23 You’re grumpy until you get your run done.
24 You have “run envy” when you see others running and you’re not.
25 You think that fartleks really are fun.
26 What used to be your “long” run is now a “short” run.
27 You’ve been known to “accidentally” run longer than you’re supposed to.
28 The thought of doing a “double” (running twice in a day) actually excites you.
29 Your favourite meal is RUNch.
30 You wish that there was a “carbo-loading” category for finding restaurants.
31 You constantly browse the back of running magazines hoping to discover a new race you hadn’t heard of before.
32 New medals you don’t have are just so shiny.
33 Race entry fees are always “worth it.”
34 Your favourite day of the week is “raceday.”
35 You don’t remember the pain and suffering that it took to finish your last race, you only remember that feeling of accomplishment when you finished.
36 Your first thought on completing a race is on finding the next one to register for.
37 When you ask “How was you’re weekend?” you’re really asking “Do you run?”
38 You actually like it when others call you “crazy” for running.
39 In conversation, you’re either talking about running or using running metaphors.
40 You read iRun from cover to cover.
41 When you’re not running, you think about when your next run is.
42 When you’re running, you think about running.


Cures for Running Fever

Score Cure
0-7 You have early onset running fever. Run around the block and then sign up for a 5K race now.
8-14 Your fever is light but you have lived to tell about it. Time for you to push the distance and get after a 10K.
15-21 You can feel a bit of the burn and a yearning for more. Go for that 15K.
22-28 You consistently have running fever more often than not. The only cure is to run a half marathon.
29-35 You are really starting to burn up and you’ve got to get out and crush a 30K right now.
36-42 Your running fever is totally on fire and only a full-marathon can quench those flames.


Feverishly yours,


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Follow Andrew on Twitter: @andrewchak

Staying healthy in the long run

April 16th, 2014

John Zahab 1A certified strength and conditioning specialist with over 16 years of experience, John Zahab has worked with amateurs athletes and high performance professionals. He recently shared his tips for maximizing your athletic efficiency during his presentation about Activation Before Loading at Ottawa’s Mountain Equipment Co-op.

Muscle domination
Many runners are hamstring dominant which means that the gluteus maximus (the muscle which stabilizes your hips) is not actively engaging, which can be dangerous because unwanted hip movement not only reduces your running efficiency but it can also increase your risk for overuse injury.

Engage your core
Wake up your gluteus maximus with low intensity exercise and steadily increase the intensity. Keep in mind your need for purposeful torso training. That means, you need to train your core because a lack of core stability equals unwanted movement or rotation of pelvis which can result in injury.

Stay injury free
Any joint that doesn’t go through its optimal range of motion will be less efficient. When one muscle or joint is not moving, your body will try and take movement from weaker or less stable muscles or joints which can lead to injury. Light stretching at the end of your range of motion is the key to staying injury free. And when it comes to strength training, do endurance athletes need it? Although a strength training program will not help you break the tape sooner, it will give you more time on your feet and reduce the chance of injury and that’s reason enough to make it a part of your program.

Do you need a simple core strength training routine?

Get inspired to run for a cause

April 16th, 2014


By Ray Zahab
When Charlie, Kevin and I reached the edge of the Sahara at the Red Sea after running 111 days and 7500km across the Sahara, I knew a change had happened. For me, running came to me later in life than one might have expect, but it has become my greatest teacher.

While running had already taken me to ultra-marathons all over the world, introducing me to many cultures and experiences, we all learned a great deal running across Africa. In fact, I took a greater appreciation for the life I have in Canada, especially clean water. On our Trans-Saharan run, I also learned that we are all capable of doing extraordinary things in our lives-something that was lost on me.

Based on the lessons I had learned while running in the Sahara, I decided that I wanted to find a way to provide young people with a free platform to experience their own incredible adventures. Adventures which they would undoubtedly learn a great deal about themselves and their own amazing capabilities, yet ones that would also empower them to share what they were learning with other young people in classrooms all over the world. Youth inspiring their peers to make a difference. That was 2007, and Impossible2Possible (i2P) continues to take young adventurers on their own expeditions all over the world.

Running is not only a great teacher, but a fantastic vehicle for change. So many great events, so many great organizations now exist that utilize running to not only inspire and educate, like i2P, but to fundraise, create awareness and enact change. With such diverse events as the Canada Army Run, Sears Great Canadian Run, Run For Water and Wings For Life World Run, the range of combining running and a cause is not only becoming increasingly popular, it’s also effective!

Although fundraising through organized event is not entirely a new concept, it has become increasingly popular as more individuals combine their race participation with a cause that can make a real difference. Each year in Abbotsford BC, I join a group of ultra-runners who are fundraising for clean water projects in Africa. We get together as part of the Run for Water race weekend attended by thousands of runners with donations supporting clean water initiatives.And technology has also had an impact on caused-based running events. For the Wings For Life World Run (#WorldRun) which is taking place on May 4th, 2014 in Saskatoon, runners will simultaneously start with their counterparts on 35 courses around the world. This global event also features an innovative format along with a mobile finish line that will chase down runners via a catcher car.

Whatever reason you’re running for, getting started and taking those first steps can truly make impact on both you and the lives of many others.

Runner, adventurer and motivational speaker, Ray Zahab volunteers with Impossible2Possible, an organization that inspires and organizes youth to help protect the planet and the people on it.  Twitter: @RayZahab, @GoI2P

Rob Watson: defending Canadian Marathon Champion and…Crepe Man?

April 15th, 2014

2014 iRun Rob Watson Proofs-16
Rob Watson on Vancouver’s Kitsilano Beach. Photo: Robert Shaer

ROB WATSON FUN FACT: When Rob Watson was living and training in Guelph, ON, he ran a crepe stand at the Guelph Farmers’ Market.

His bestselling crepe? ‘The Most Valuable Crepe’, which had peanut butter, banana and Nutella. He tells this story:

I was at a meet in France on my own. After about five days alone, I was pretty tired and a little homesick, and I heard these two girls speaking English — it turns out they were from Ottawa. We were chatting and they were talking about the crepes. When I said I had never had one they took me to this crepe stand, where I had a crepe and I said, “This is the best thing I’ve ever eaten in my LIFE!” I was 24 and I had never had a crepe before, and I thought, how have I never had these? I don’t want this to happen to anyone else.

So when I got back to Guelph I did a bit of research, and on a whim I bought an industrial crepe maker and I opened a crepe stand in the Guelph Farmers Market and became The Crepe Man.

The secret to his crepes? If you’re using a sweet filling, the key is putting vanilla in the batter.

“I loved that crepe stand. I haven’t had a crepe since I closed my stand because no one makes a better crepe than me,” he laughs.

The newest edition of iRun is out and Rob Watson, Canada’s defending Canadian Marathon Champion, is this issue’s cover story. Rob is also training ‘Le Team Du Rob‘ for the 40th edition of Ottawa Marathon — find out how iRunNation member Sinead Brunet is doing on her journey to #TOWR2014. 

Toronto Yonge Street 10k — almost a hat trick!

April 15th, 2014

Toronto Yonge Street 10K female wonners
Top three female finishers Krista DuChene (2nd), Rachel Hannah (1st) and Erin Burrett (3rd) on Sunday’s Toronto Yonge Street 10k. Photo: Sandra Laurin

I haven’t scored a hat trick since playing hockey with the Guelph Gryphons a few years ago, so Sunday was my opportunity to do it again, but as a runner. I had my Around the Bay 30k win followed by my Harry’s Spring Run-Off 8k victory a week later, then today’s Toronto Yonge Street 10k race to seal the deal. Three wins in three weeks would be sweet. Amazing, actually. And mission was accomplished for 9.5/10 km until Rachel Hannah just flew past me, throwing down a big hammer for the big win. How on earth she managed to beat me by 8 seconds in the final 1/2 km is really mind-boggling. She likely made it look like I was standing still! What a fast last kilometre for her! My shout-out obviously goes to her this week!

In our cool down together after, we had a nice chit chat. We are dietitians and really enjoy each others company so our topics ranged from food and racing to jobs and family life. Felt bad for winner Eric Gillis who joined us in our cool-down amidst our big quinoa discussion. We dietitians can be quite nerdy! Anyway, Rachel recently suffered from an IT band injury but stayed in amazing shape by cross training and only doing quality running.

Like me a few years ago, Rachel has been consistently training and racing, steadily making her way up. Sunday was a huge advancement in her running career as far I am concerned; she was more than a minute faster than her time from last year! Rachel ran a great race, right in my back pocket and made a perfect move to break the tape on a course she knows very well. I started the race as a rookie, at a good clip around 3:10/km, which is to be expected with a start that’s also downhill. Throughout the race, I had a few parts where I thought I was on my own. I kinda let my mind wander and was cruising then would hear, “Go, ladies”. Ladies? So, I surged a bit and got moving a touch faster. Only for it to happen, again and again! In the end, only running 32:41 for a 12 second PB on a downhill course after a season devoted to strength and speed was a bit of a downer but I guess this race was more of a fartlek than anything. My “Go, ladies” surges were reflected by inconsistent splits that ranged from 3:10-3:19.

Alas, I am certainly not displeased with the race. Honestly, I don’t know when I’ve ever walked away angry or pouting at any race. Just not my style, I suppose. There is always something to be learned, a positive take-away. The glass is always half full. And I always have so much to be thankful for. As my dad would say, “You always win if you can lose with a smile!”.

Today’s race was the end of my low mileage (120 k/wk) spring/strength season. Coach Rick will start to ramp up the mileage and we’ll return to longer interval sessions, lengthier tempo workouts, and more consistent 35 km+ long runs. I have certainly enjoyed the frequency and fun of racing, easier recoveries after racing and training, and a few less workouts here n’ there. But to be honest, I’m ready to get back to my marathon thing. I’ll always race 10ks but I am more suited to the mental and physical balance that comes with marathoning. Those “shorter” races are great and certainly necessary but I don’t seem to find a rhythm and I recover so easily that I sometimes wonder if I tried hard enough while racing! I think my Canadian Marathon partner Lanni has recently found the same thing. She ran a 32:29 PB at the Stanford Invite last weekend. It is most certainly a respectable time  — especially given her high mileage training for Boston but the only thing that bothered her after was a sore tricep! She said her legs just wouldn’t turn over and her engine was set for the marathon. I don’t know all the stats, but I don’t think many athletes can race at top level over a range of distances. Mo Farah, a multiple Olympic and World Championships Gold Medalist for the 5,000 m and 10,000 m debuted in Sunday’s London Marathon in 2:08 for 8th place. Amazing. Truly outstanding. But not the best that day. I think it takes years to master one distance.

Now that spring is here, I look forward to logging more kilometres outside. After that crazy winter, it’s just nice to have footing that is free of snow and ice! I have a long, two-week break until Montreal with Easter in between race weekends. Not sure yet what my goal time will be but with winner, Rachel Hannah and 3rd place finisher, Erin Burrett racing, I’ll certainly have to play my A game!

Here’s one of the, “I think I’m on my own, I’ll let my mind wander” moments.

And you see that arm behind me. This is one of the,  “Go, ladies” moments.

Other than the end, this is the only time I actually saw Rachel and it was for a very brief moment. If you can’t hear your competition’s breath or footsteps that are right behind you, they are smooth. Real smooth. Beware.

All smiles with Rachel Hannah after eating her dust in that final stretch.

Great recovery food – Liberte Yogurt.

Little bit of East vs West competition with Rob Watson before racing.

Team East gets the victory over Team West!

So excited about my involvement with Tarah and Wesley Korir’s, Kenyan Kids Foundation! Much more to come.


Nutrition tips for going the distance

April 11th, 2014

Mountain Equipment co-op event Chris Chapman

By Ted Simpson
As long-distance runner Chris Chapman prepares to compete in this year’s Boston Marathon, here are some of his tried-and-true nutrition advice for fuelling up for a marathon, which he shared with runners during The Secret Art of Carb Loading event held at Ottawa’s Mountain Equipment Co-Op.

Loading Up

Three days before your race, begin carb loading. Chris recommends consuming between eight and 12 grams of carbohydrates per kilogram of body weight per day. Are you new to carb loading? Stick with eight grams per kilogram, especially if you are a lighter person. Try and eat frequently and consistently at regular times throughout your day. Focus on unprocessed carbohydrates including white rice, honey and dried fruit and avoided more processed ones such as bread, bagels and pasta. Chris finds that he consumes about 40 per cent of his carbs through sports beverages. If you are looking for a low-sodium alternative, Chris recommends mixing half-and-half water and orange juice, then adding a pinch of salt and sugar or honey to taste. For those going gluten free, rice and rice flour products will satisfy your carbohydrate needs. As an alternative, try sweet potatoes for added nutrition and remember that dates are packed with carbs—a handful of dates contains about 75 grams of carbohydrate.

Race Day Nutrition

Wake up four hours prior to race time and begin drinking small amounts of water and Gatorade. Keep in mind you’ll need to stop your fluid intake one hour before race time. Eat a breakfast of simple, familiar food as nerves can be doing a number on your stomach. Then 15 minutes before the race eat a gel washed down with a mouthful of water.

Although you can get the nutrients you need during a race from electrolyte sports beverages, Chris recommends bring gels for any run over 20 kilometres. Gels make it easier to control your intake as you can easily spill a cup and miss out on the nutrients needed to finish. And don’t forget to have a method to carry you gels during the race, Chris uses the draw string of his shorts to keep them secure. Stay hydrated during the race by drinking a little on a frequent basis.

You need to rehydrate within 20 minutes of running across the finish line, proper hydrating with a electrolyte sports beverage is key. A little protein during this time frame will go a long way towards muscle recovery.

Not having a fuelling plan is a big ‘Oops’ when getting ready for race day—what else should you be prepared for?

Don’t get sidelined by one of these four common running injuries

April 8th, 2014


By Anna Lee Boschetto

You’ve probably heard it before. Your friend, colleague, family member – or maybe even you – embarked on a running program. Then after only few weeks, they find themselves slammed with an injury. With more people taking up running now than ever before, physiotherapists and other health care professionals are also seeing some common injuries. This rise in the sport’s popularity has sparked researchers’ interest in taking a closer look at the causes of these injuries, which makes for better recovery and prevention methods.

Here, four of the most common lower-body ailments along with tips for getting back to running…fast.

1. Iliotibial Band Syndrome
What: Commonly referred to as your IT band, this ligament-like structure stabilizes your knee joint and can become irritated and inflamed if you’re not careful.
Symptoms: Typically runners will experience pain in the lower thigh or outside part of the knee, which can be increasingly painful even during daily activities that include bending, such as climbing the stairs.
Causes: While IT band syndrome can result from several causes including overuse, errors in training as well as your individual physical make up can create imbalances that lead to muscular inflammation. More specifically, the inward rolling of your foot while running, known as pronation, and tight quadriceps or gluteal muscles can be contributing factors. When it comes to your training, many runners make the mistake of running on one side of the road, which can put stress on the IT band.
Fixes: Professional analysis of your biomechanics will uncover any physiological issues. But when it comes to training, varying your routes so you run on both sides of the road as well as altering the types of surfaces you’re running on may help alleviate your pain. And don’t hesitate to take some time off from running.

2. Plantar Fasciitis
What: This inflammation of tissue that extends along the bottom of your foot, from your heel to your toes, is a common cause of heel pain. The connective tissue absorbs the impact from pounding the pavement, but when it’s over stretched the tissue tears and becomes inflamed, which results in a sharp, jabbing pain.
Symptoms: If you’ve ever stepped out of bed first thing in the morning and experienced knife-sharp pain on the bottom of your feet, it’s likely plantar fasciitis. Although it can occur in both feet, often this injury is found in only one foot.
Causes: While it’s common for this injury to occur in runners, pregnant women can also suffer along with anyone wearing unsupportive footwear like flip flops.
Fixes: Proper assessment and properly fitted running shoes, along with incorporating stretches are the key to pain free running.

3. Runner’s Knee
What: Used to describe several disorders with different causes, George says this can be called the classic athletic injury. Essentially, this injury can be sustained by runners, cyclists, or any athlete where repetitive bending is part of the activity.
Symptoms: Ongoing pain that is either behind or surrounding the kneecap and worsens when walking downhill, downstairs or when simply bending your knee. In addition, runner’s knee may also include a grinding or popping sensation of your knee joint.
Causes: This type of injury stems from overuse, however, according to George, multiple causes resulting from potentially different sources makes it difficult to provide a specific cause for these types of injuries. While the connective tissue that joins muscle to bones becomes overstretched causing the pain, physiological issues including flat feet may also contribute to runner’s knee.
Fixes: As a runner, it’s not anyone’s favourite option, but staying off your feet is your best method for getting back on track. When you must get up and going, a compression support sleeve or bandage will offer extra support. Your best line of prevention are stretching and strengthening exercises as recommended by your health care professional.

4. Shin Splints
What: Referring to the pain that is either experienced along the tibia (the large bone at the front of your lower leg) or just behind it.
Symptoms: While the type of pain may vary from a dull ache to sharp jabs, anyone experiencing shin splints feels a pain along the front of the shin, along with possible swelling.
Causes: When too much force is placed on the shin bone and the connective tissues that are surrounding the bone, it’s common for runners or any athletes who participate in sports that require a sudden stop-and-start, including tennis and soccer, to experience this type of pain.
Fixes: Similar to runner’s knee, shin splints can be alleviated by resting from the activity that causes the pain. During your recovery, activities including swimming and other lower impact aerobic activities can be substituted for running.

Next issue: June 11, 2014
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