March 15th, 2017
One of the first things I ask when someone returns from travel is, “How was the food?” I enjoy hearing about their experiences and embracing the local cuisine when I travel. I usually research the must-have dishes, which I enjoy after racing, such as waffles with ice cream and chocolate in Belgium after the 2015 Rotterdam Marathon, seafood chowder after the 2005 Boston Marathon, and chocolate in Switzerland after the 2013 World Champs in Moscow.
In my preparation for the High Altitude Training Camp, Reid Coolsaet was a great help in assisting me about the food that would be provided. He explained that many of the lunches only included lentils as a protein, and only hot milk (not cold) would be provided at meals and tea times (10:30 am and 4:00 pm), so any drinks would need to be made with water. Other than that, the food would be delicious and meet my nutritional needs. John said I should bring my own coarsely ground coffee beans and I could use the hot water to make coffee in a French press. And obviously for training, I would need to pack my own Eload electrolyte and recovery drinks, and gels. I packed some canned fish and protein bars and powder so that I would be prepared.
Since day one I have been very pleased with each and every meal. One of the things I teach people when counselling them for nutrition is that it is important to come to the table ready to eat but not overly hungry, and leave satisfied but not stuffed. It allows you to know that your body is getting what it needs. I have never counted calories nor taught my patients to do so. It is critical to know your own body in order to maintain a healthy weight. Often we can complicate the simple things. Because I am in a four-week cycle of high training at altitude, it is important that I consume a high quality and quantity of food in order to avoid injury and illness, have appropriate energy for training and recovery, and achieve my weight goals. I find that one full plate of food seems to be exactly what I need in order to do this while training in Iten. The food is fresh and truly organic, from nearby farmer’s fields and gardens. As for what is served and other details about the food, I’ll let the pictures tell the rest.
Day 7, Monday, March 13
This morning Julia took me on a 22 km run, I ate breakfast, rested, then walked a short distance with Kristina for coffee at the Kerio View, which looks out over the beautiful Rift Valley. At 5:00 pm I joined the core class for 30 minutes, which was quite enjoyable because it was all of the exercises I normally do alone at home, but this time with company. I did a bit of strength work, rode the bike for 10 minutes, had an easy 9 km run, then spent some time in the sauna and pool. Dinner was at 7:00 pm and I was in bed sometime after 9:00 pm.
Day 8, Tuesday, March 14
Today was the big “track day” and my first altitude workout. In communication with Dave and Trent we decided it would work well if I did every other run with Tarah’s Kenyan women’s group that was doing 12 x 1km. It was important to ease into quality work. I had plenty of recovery between sets and quite enjoyed the experience with countless Kenyans speeding past me in very large groups. More on this topic later.
Once I returned back to the camp I had some breakfast that Julia saved for me, said goodbye to Kristina who had a fresh order of 10 chapatis (both John and Neasa did this when leaving, thanks to Oliver), showered, rested, read and had lunch. My body appreciated the rest after the workout. In the late afternoon I did Taylor’s routine, and a short run to total 25 km for the day. Again, I spent some time on the bike, in the sauna and pool before dinner.
Day 9, Wednesday, March 15
Julia and I started our run together at 6:30 am. This one didn’t go so well for me with multiple pit stops along the way. I needed to slow my pace and take it easy, knowing tomorrow was to be my first tempo workout. It was likely a combination of poor timing and a fibrous dinner the night before. She was so good to me, coming back to me to make sure I was making the correct turns in our return to camp. I have really enjoyed being her roommate. Not knowing who you are going to live with for a month can be concerning, but I am more than pleased with how things are going with her. It’s been nice to get to know her and we have a good balance and routine, particularly going to bed and waking up at the same time.
The run took a bit out of me, leaving me fatigued. So I filled my bottles with Eload, ate my normal breakfast, and rested in bed. Other than my massage with Dan at 2:00 pm and picking up another 10 L bottle of water, I spent most of the day writing this post. It takes quite a bit of time to go through all of my many pictures and writing the details experienced here in Kenya. At 5:00 pm I joined the core class for the full 45 minutes then read by the pool before 7:00 dinner. I was back at the room by 8:30 pm to read a bit more before bed.
|Breakfast is 7:30 – 9:00 am. It usually consists of oatmeal, bread, pancake/bun/crepe, fresh juice, some sort of egg, and bananas. I brought some peanut butter and protein from home, which I add to my oatmeal. Hot water is available to make coffee in the french press with the ground beans I also brought from home. Tea is the hot drink of choice here. I do enjoy it but love my coffee in the morning.
|Lunch is 12:30 – 2:00 pm. It usually consists of lentils with some sort of rice or pasta, a cold vegetable salad with cucumber, tomato, onion or cabbage, homemade soup and delicious fresh buns. Sometimes there is a cooked vegetable and/or small amount of meat at lunch. For the lentil meals, I am starting to add the canned fish (tuna, sardines, salmon) I brought from home to ensure I am meeting my protein needs.
|Always good food that leaves you completely satisfied upon finishing, and ready to go to bed to prepare for another training day.
|Dinner is 7:00 – 8:00 pm. It often includes ugali (flour cooked in boiling water), sakuma wiki *(cooked collard greens), rice/pasta/potato, a salad or cooked vegetables, and commonly beef or chicken. Sometimes fish or goat is served. Fruit such as pineapple is a frequent dessert. A popular side of chapati is served Wednesday and Sunday evenings.
* I remember one of the first times I saw sakuma wiki. It was on Dylan Wykes’ plate the night before he made his 2012 Olympic qualifying time in Rotterdam. At the after-race party, I told him it was the “green guck” that made him run so well.
|Walking up the road to buy some fresh avocado or mango adds a bit more to the meal. Often a few people will bring it to the table and share with those around, just like family.
|Near the end of the road to the HATC, there is “the club.” You can go there for a drink like mango juice or hot chocolate, or order a meal. Often the runners will go here for brunch on a Saturday after a long run because it’s difficult to make breakfast hours at the camp. It’s also a nice change and a way to get out for people staying several weeks or months at the HATC. People will go to play cards, socialize, enjoy the different scenery or take their laptops to do some work and use the wifi
|Grocery store in Eldoret where I stopped with Tarah and the kids after church.
|Couldn’t resist her hand reaching toward me. Not only will children run alongside you, they have walked up to me to hug my legs. It tugs at my heart.
|This just might be one of my favourite pictures of the trip. Thanks, Neasa.
I asked this young girl what she was carrying – milk.
She asked me how far she had run with me – 500 m.
March 14th, 2017
Make ahead meals where you can do the prep work the night make for an easy time the next day. Pull together a fast and fresh meal together with ease,ulie Miguel’s secret weapons : burrito bowls. The great thing about Burrito bowls is that they are versatile so you can use a variety of proteins such as chicken, beef or pork and any of your favourite toppings.
BY: Julie Miguel
Pulled Pork Burrito Bowls
1 2-3 lb pork shoulder or pork butt
1 cup brown sugar
¼ cup sweet smoked paprika
¼ cup chipotle powder
¼ mustard powder
1 Tsp Cayenne pepper (Cayenne is very spicy so eliminate this if you don’t like spice)
3 Tbsp garlic powder
¼ cup Tbsp Olive Oil
1 bottle of beer
1 cup white rice
2 cups water
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 sweet yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon chili powder, or more to taste
1 tablespoon paprika
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 (15 ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
Salt & pepper to taste
Make the Pulled Pork: mix all of the spices and the oil in a bowl and incorporate into a paste with your hands. Rub the mixture into your meat very well, massaging it to make sure the spices penetrate the meat. Put the meat into an oven safe dish. Pour in a bottle of beer. Seal your dish well with foil paper.
Roast for 3-4 hours at 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
Remove the dish from the oven at the 3 hour mark and check to see if the meat is coming apart from the bone easily. If it is not, roast it for a little longer. Once it is cooked and easily comes apart, let cool to a temperature that you can handle the meat with your hands. Take the pork with your hands and shred it using your fingers. Discard extra cartilage, bone and fat. Add the shredded pork back into the dish with the drippings. Reheat your meat, if needed, in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about 10-15 minutes. Keep warm until you are ready to use it or store in your refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
Make the Burrito rice: Bring rice and water to a boil in a saucepan over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the rice is tender and the liquid has been absorbed, 15 to 20 minutes.
Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook and stir onion and garlic in hot butter until onion is translucent, 5 to 6 minutes. Melt 1 more tablespoon butter with onions and garlic; stir chili powder, paprika, cumin, black pepper and cayenne pepper into mixture. Cook, stirring often, for 2 minutes.
Stir black beans and tomato sauce into contents of skillet; bring to a simmer, reduce heat to low, and cook until flavors blend, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Mix your plain cooked rice with your bean mixture until combined.
Make the tortilla bowls: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Heat the tortillas in the microwave for 30 seconds. Rub each tortilla with a little oil and gently press the tortilla around the outside of an oven safe bowl. Place the bowl on a baking sheet and put in the oven. Bake for about 10 12 minutes or until the tortilla appears browned and crisp.
Make your guacamole: Cut the avocados in half, remove the pit and spoon out the fruit into a bowl. Mash the avocados, add lime juice and stir. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Assemble your burrito bowls: Add rice, pulled pork, guacamole, sour cream, tomatoes, cheese and cilantro to each tortilla bowl. Serve and enjoy!
Julie Miguel is an iRun food contributor, where you’ll find a selection of weekly recipes and food ideas. She is a home cook, and food influencer and has worked with a national television, print and online media outlets. You can also follow her food discoveries and travel adventures at Daily Tiramisu.
March 14th, 2017
I was already impressed with Ed Whitlock before I met him in 2008. Then I found out about his training regimen.
By Mark Sutcliffe, reprinted from his book Why I Run
Whitlock doesn’t just defy aging with his world-record, age-group race performances, such as becoming the first person over seventy to run a marathon in less than three hours. He defies logic with his relentless routine.
To train for a marathon, Whitlock runs for three hours a day, seven days a week. And if you’re searching for a metaphor for a man who has cheated aging, hedoes all his running in a cemetery. Round and round the gravestones he runs, as if he’s taunting the gods who have pried younger men from their lives while he’s maintained impossible racing times.
The loop is only a third of a mile, so he can end up running it sixty times or more. He doesn’t bring any water and doesn’t count his laps or measure how far he’s run. He carries only a watch so he knows when it’s time to stop.
“Absolutely, it gets boring,” he says. “But for me, it has some advantages. It’s just 200 yards from home. In the winter, you don’t run against the wind for any length of time, and they clear the road. In the summer, most of it’s in the shade.
“I never claim that’s what everybody ought to do, but it works for me.”
Whitlock was always a fast runner. He was a competitive athlete in high school in England. He gave up running when he moved to Canada, but took it up again in his forties, racing internationally in middle- distance events. He won the World Masters in the 1500 metres for men forty-five and older in 1979.
That year, he also ran a 2:31 marathon, which he now says “wasn’t bad for a middle-distance runner.
“I was forty-eight, so I was getting old,” says Whitlock.
His running dwindled again in his fifties, but he took up long- distance running in his sixties and started knocking down one record after another.
He ran a series of sub-three-hour marathons in his late-sixties and got the idea that he might be able to do it in his seventies.
“That was an objective worth going for,” he says.
In 2001, at the age of seventy, he came up just short. At a marathon in London, Ontario, he finished in 3:00:24. It was a world record for anyone over seventy, but it wasn’t fast enough.
After taking a year off because of an injury, he trained for the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon in 2003 and planned to try again to break three hours. But six days before the marathon, he was almost knocked out of the race.
“I was walking over to the mall and I was walking along quite briskly and I managed to do a face plant on the sidewalk,” he says. “I found out afterwards that I broke my nose. I had two black eyes and all kinds of abrasions all over my face. It wasn’t a pretty sight.”
Whitlock says many people told him not to run the race, but he did it anyway. He was ahead of his goal pace at 35k, but then it started getting tougher.
“It was a real struggle to get home,” he says. “Fortunately I got in with a little group of runners that helped me along. I stayed with this group, grimly hangingon, until about forty or forty-one. And one guy stayed with me and shepherded me home.”
He finished in a time of 2:59:08, becoming the oldest person ever to break three hours.
“The photographs of me finishing are not pretty. I had all these facial disfigurements for one thing, and I was showing obvious distress apart from that. I was leaning over to one side. I was happy to have got it done, but I was still embarrassed about the way I finished and the way I looked. It was a feeling more of relief than elation.”
The next year was a different story. At seventy-three years old, he ran the Toronto Waterfront again and finished in 2:54:48.
“It was an absolutely marvellous race,” he says. “I wish I knew how you could do that all the time. It would be nice to be able to bottle it. I finished in great shape, I wasn’t in any distress.”
How is Whitlock able to do it? Not even he is sure.
“I suppose a large part is genetics,” he says. “I suspect that’s more than ninety per cent of it. I’m naturally light, I have good mechanics. I don’t pound as much as most people would do.”
And although he’s occasionally sidelined by an injury, he has no intention of stopping.
“Do I have any thoughts that I’ll be running in my nineties? Yeah. I’ll run as long as I can.
“I’d just like to keep running, mainly. That’s what I’d like to do. And set some eighty-year-old records, maybe. They’re well within reach if I could keep running.”
March 13th, 2017
Trevor Hofbauer is currently one of Canada’s fastest half marathon runners and he’s just getting started. The former basketball player turn runner is a New Balance athlete with his sights set on running at the 2020 and 2024 Olympics. Now training with Speed River Track and Field Club in Guelph, Ontario, Hofbauer has the worth ethic and confident mindset to turn his goals into reality. Hofbauer shared his top spring training tips so you can have your Olympic training moment, and get into the groove for the running and racing season ahead.
Positive mindset. With Spring training right around the corner, the biggest contributor to personal success starts with your mindset. No matter how tough a workout can be or how much you’re dreading a long run/workout, keep your mindset positive. We all go through rough patches, so look at the big picture at move forward.
Consistency. Staying consistent will prevent injury, allow your body to fully adapt to your training, and fine-tune you for that spring race.
Focus on big goals. This tip ties in with the positive mindset. It’s extremely important to train your mind just as much as your body. With every training program, I have fully invested into the purpose of each run/rest day/race/meal to better serve me for the big goals. By doing this, you’ll accomplish more than you think otherwise.
Proper nutrition. Nutrition is key to a good workout and proper recovery. I start my mornings off with a bowl of Stoked Oats oatmeal because it sits well in my stomach and gives me the energy to complete each run fully. Sticking to a proper breakfast routine will also train your body for race day, preventing the likelihood of any race day mishaps.
Remain hydrated. Hydration will also benefit your workout performance and recovery. As the temperature increases throughout the spring, it’s important to consume enough liquids as dehydration can be counterproductive to your training. It’s also important to train your body with hydration products for your upcoming race (especially the marathon) to prevent any midrace stomach issues.
Ensure you have proper footwear. If the tires on your vehicle needed to be replaced, would you continue to drive on them knowing they could fall apart at any time? The same applies to your footwear. I think it’s very important for every athlete to have 2-3 different shoes on rotation at any given time. Wearing shoes with varied cushion levels and different fits will strengthen your foot, decreasing the likelihood of injury in the process. Wearing different shoes will also prevent you from freaking out when a brand tweaks ‘your favourite shoe that you’ve worn for 5 years’.
An employee from your local run specialty store can size you up with the perfect shoes for you.
Train for the race, not the workout. We all know somebody that brags about their workouts, but does one workout really destine you for a good race? No. Remember, your training for a race and all the workouts leading up to that race are meant to strengthen you for the race. Putting in work, consistently, will benefit you more than hammering a periodic workout.
Don’t sweat the small stuff. I think it’s average for athletes to have rough patches in a training program. On the days when our bodies are overly sore, fatigued, ill; value rest more than forcing out that run. Yes, it can be mentally tough doing so, but this can prevent any further damage from being done and taking one (or a couple days off) is better than taking a few weeks off.
Don’t try anything new on race week. A few common mistakes athletes make on race week is trying a new food, trying a new brand of shoes, consuming a different kind of gel. Remember, you’ve had all spring to try new things and the race week is not the time to do that anymore. Stick to and have confidence in your routine.
Music. For some, listening to a good playlist before a workout/race gets them into the zone. For others, silence or interaction gets them into the zone. Whichever you prefer, I think music is important. My go-to artist before a race is Linkin Park.
March 13th, 2017
“Well, Ed, how was your race?”
“Oh, it was good, another world record.”
That was at the Longboat Toronto Island 10K last September, the first of a few times I met this lovely man. That day, he broke the 10K world record for the 85-90 age group. He’d break another a few weeks later when he ran the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon in under 4:00.
The term that will surely be used most in remembrances of Mr. Whitlock is “inspiration,” though Ed said he never thought of himself as such. In a sense, the term really doesn’t fit, at least in the very basic sense of an inspiration being a person or thing we hope to imitate or model ourselves after.
Ed Whitlock at the 2016 Longboat Toronto Island Run.
After all, no runner in their right mind is going to go chase world records, or anything for that matter, in shoes with decades of wear and tear on them, but that’s what Ed did. He didn’t like the stiffness of the new models, he said. No coach in their right mind would tell an athlete to eschew speed work and tempo runs and train solely based on long distances, but Ed did that.
What made him wonderful was that he was just so damn unique and gloriously unorthodox. Running three hours a day every day before becoming the oldest man to run a sub-3:00 marathon at the age of 74? Ed did that.
Just as when Glenn Gould slouched over the keys on a chair too low to the ground in a way that you’d never hold up as a model to a student and like Ali dropped his hands in violation of the first commandment of combat, to protect yourself at all times, you just couldn’t question the methods no matter what common sense told you. All you could do was be in awe.
Ed with Alan Brookes after running the fastest marathon ever by an 81-year-old.
If you tried to be Ed, your body would revolt, almost as if it meant to remind you that there was only one Ed Whitlock and you weren’t him. But we still searched for some of that magic in ourselves and maybe in the end found a bit more than we thought was there because Ed made us look, so perhaps we have to give him the title of inspiration he was so reluctant to wear.
Really, though, he was a maverick. And when it comes to mavericks, the best we can do is savour the joy and privilege of watching them be great, knowing full well that there’ll never be another like them. And those of us who had the opportunity will certainly never forget the joy and privilege of watching that mop of white hair bob up and down along the course.
Long may you run, Mr. Whitlock (1931-2017).
March 13th, 2017
Ed Whitlock did things that no one else had ever done and he did them in a way that reminded everyone how to live. Whitlock, 86, succumbed earlier today to prostate cancer, after having run his last marathon in October at the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon in under four hours.
He leaves behind his wife Brenda, sons Neil and Clive, and his sister Catherine.
After his race in October, 2016, Ed walked to the train station at 85-years-old with his son after the marathon in the freezing cold. He ran 2:54 at 73 in a performance the New York Times ranked as the best marathon finish of all-time. He thought that his accomplishments could be improved upon and, among other things, he accepted no sponsorships and succumbed to no special training methods. He didn’t watch what he ate. He didn’t buy new shoes. Ed didn’t even say that he particularly liked to run. He said that he liked the attention — that his wife liked getting him out of the house — and that he thought other people should be running faster at his old age.
I’ve known Ed for a long time. For a story he wrote in iRun, he came to meet me in Toronto and showed up at Union Station in a suit. He also wore a suit when he gave his PowerPoint presentation at the Scotiabank Toronto expo. Ed famously ran circles around the cemetery near his Milton home. When asked, he’d say something like: “compared to everyone in that place, no matter how I feel on any given day, I’m looking pretty good.”
I once asked Ed what made a good marathon runner. He said: “Shine a flashlight through their ear. If a beam of light comes out on the other side, odds are that they’ll do pretty good.”
See, it’s not just that Ed had 25 world’s master records. That’s great. But it’s sports. Records are made to fall. Somehow Ed had something intangible, real. He wasn’t just approachable. He wore a suit when we showed up in sweatpants. Ed gave marathon running grace. And he didn’t take himself too seriously. And he smiled when he talked to you. Even when you asked him asinine questions, the same things he’d been asked over and over again — he took the time to listen. We shot him for the cover of iRun and we had to set him up again and again outside in the wind. Ed didn’t complain. I did. But not Ed.
The memories of his greatness come flooding back: you walk into his house in Milton and there’s a bunch of newspapers on the small kitchen table. A half-completed puzzle, which he said was Brenda’s. I remember him showing us his old leather cleats. I remember begging him to let me write his story.
Ed Whitlock made running approachable. He did impossible things with a shrug. He was the greatest runner I’d ever spent time with.
Ed Whitlock, legend. Your memory will always live on.
March 13th, 2017
It’s Sunday evening and I am feeling quite settled. It took about three nights to get used to the time change. The first night I slept because I was tired from the travel. The second night I didn’t get to sleep until about 4 a.m. And then I slept through until 4:00 a.m. and 5:30 a.m. the third and fourth nights. Like hundreds of other runners in and around Iten, I enjoy starting my morning runs at 6:30. It’s cool and the sun is just up. I’ve seen a few stunning sunrises already.
There is so much to write about and I’ve already taken countless pictures so I thought I would recap each day, then post pictures about one of a few topics: the facility, food, training and people.
Friday, March 10. I met Neasa at 6:30 a.m. for an easy 15 km. It has been wonderful to get to know her and she has been such a great help, taking me on various trails and showing me around. John did the same for her and I’m sure Reid did the same for John a few years ago on his first trip. After breakfast we said goodbye to John who was sad to leave, but happy to be departing with an order of 10 fresh chapatis. I did some stretching and rolling, rested, had lunch, went for a massage with Dan, bought a mango and some water, then did a second session of training. It included a short bike ride at the gym, some strength exercises, an easy 10km run that included the company of about 6 local girls on their way home from school, time in the sauna and pool, dinner, chatting with Neasa and Kristina, and in bed just after 9:00 p.m.
Saturday, March 11.
I had a good sleep, but was up early so made the best of it by FaceTiming my family at home. It was still early so I did an easy 5 km in the dark with my headlamp. Within a few minutes I had already seen over a dozen runners as Saturday is long run day. I then met Neasa at 6:30 a.m. Bekele was there because he was going to pace Neasa in the second half of her last long run. Bekele has paced a few Canadians lately, starting with Lindsay in December then Katherine, Neasa and Kristina. It is a good income for him as he is saving for his children’s schooling. Today was perfect for me to join them in their first part before the pace picked up. I totalled 23 km but had to drop back from the two of them in order to listen to my body. I’ve been running about 20 seconds slower than my easy pace at home and was happy to stay at that pace, knowing that it is very important to take the first 5 days as easy when adapting to altitude. I’ll write more about this later as one of my topics.
One of the many things I already love about being here is that everyone is so much alike; after a run the first thing we want is food! After another delicious breakfast I rested, had lunch, then went for a walk with Kristina and Neasa to see the beautiful Rift Valley. Rest and recover is extremely important when adjusting to altitude so I had another short nap before heading to the track to do 10 x 100 m strides. On my way to the track, hundreds of people were walking back into Iten after watching a track meet that had just finished. Everyone walks around here! Dinner was a delicious meal of fish. Again, more about this topic later. Before calling it a day, I walked up to the club to visit with Kristina and Neasa again.
Sunday, March 12.
Neasa and I met for our last run together. I took my phone this time so that I could capture some of the scenery and get myself in a few action shots. We did an easy 15km then had breakfast together before saying goodbye. Thank you, Neasa. I will truly miss you! It was wonderful getting to know you. Shortly after 9 a.m., McKayla and Jayden Korir (with their driver) picked me up so that I could go to church with them in Eldoret. Tarah had done a tempo at the beginning of Wesley’s 35km long run so was showered and ready when I arrived. Wesley would be going to church in Cherangany where he grew up, and had commitments as Member of Parliament. After the service in Eldoret we went for lunch with one of Tarah’s friends, the pastor and his family. We stopped at the supermarket then had a nice visit on the way back to the camp while the kids napped in the back of the car. I rested then sorted through some of my many pictures before heading to dinner. Some FaceTiming with Leah was enjoyed before heading back to my room for 9:00 pm.
March 11th, 2017
What city has the most enthusiastic runners? Who gives the best race face? Sportstats times the country’s best races and that means Sportstats is the company connecting runners across Canada to their times.
Which of these runners takes the best selfies? Who has the photographs that deserve to be immortalized?
What city can make the most runners smile?
All this week, Sportstats is hosting a contest on Facebook and we want to see which city will hit us with their best shot.
What does the winner receive? Beyond bragging rites, the five best pictures as voted on by the iRun design team will be emblazoned upon the newest Sportstats van.
Plus, represent your spring race in your hashtag and the race that produces the most responses will receive an after party to end all after parties, like what we’re doing for Around the Bay, invite below, courtesy of iRun.
(And yes, if your picture makes the van, you drink for free).
Big thanks to everyone for your participation in these amazing spring races. Timing is everything, and this contest is only open for one week. Represent your city. Take a runfie. Celebrate your sport.
Live forever on the side of a Sportstats van.
March 10th, 2017
Steve B showed up for his first day of running training in a combination of beer swag and cycling gear and in his winter boots. To his stubborn credit he never complained about it, but we knew that if he was going to run 21.1 this spring, he needed a winter-spring running wardrobe – like, STAT.
Beau’s Steve B and brewer Bryce make tracks on training day one.
We reached out to the Ottawa Running’s Phil Marsh. In addition to some cool credentials like training MPs and having the first-ever weekly radio show about running in Canada, Phil also does stuff I personally admire, like guiding visually impaired runners. Phil said he could help get Steve set up with the basics, made the drive in to the big city of Ottawa for some advice.
We arrived at The Running Room with armfuls of Beau’s beer (the international language of friendship), and Phil gave Steve the old once-over.
PHIL: So, what are you running in now?
STEVE: These. (Points down at winter boots)
PHIL: (Shocked silence).
PHIL: Um. OK, well when we get you in a pair of running shoes, you are going to see a huge difference!
Phil got Steve to do a few things like walking, squatting, and running on a treadmill to check on the usual concerns, and then helped suggest some warm-yet-breathable gear that would be versatile for the kooky whimsy of an Eastern Ontario winter and spring.
Steve opted for shoes that would be OK for indoors and out, and a few layers to mix in with his existing array of sporty-type clothes – a jacket that could be worn with a shell, and pants that could be worn with a warmer layer over if required. Phil told us we could MacGyver our running shoes with duct tape if we wanted to block the cold wind. We also talked about a hydration strategy (and checked out some options) and grabbed a few gels to start working into training later this spring.
Steve was pretty pumped to get out with the gear on, and Phil was right – he instantly shaved a huge swath off his km per min on the next run out. Turns out they are called running shoes for a reason! We are hoping our new buddy Phil Marsh will come out to Vankleek Hill so we can teach him ALL about the finer points of drinking Beau’s beer.
That same week Steve also learned the importance of clipping his toenails before a run, and what a snot rocket was. But I’m not going to share any pictures of those. Instead, here’s us drinking beer after bagging 8K a few days ago.
March 9th, 2017
Like my journey to the Olympics in Brazil, I thought I would share my journey for high altitude training in Africa. Many people told me how much they enjoyed it and some day I will appreciate looking back on the details of this experience. I will plan to post every few days, either on this blog or social media.
It’s 8:00 pm on Thursday, March 9 and I’ve now been at the High Altitude Training Camp (HATC) in Iten, Kenya for just over 24 hours. Planning this trip was exciting and knowing what I could get out of it was even better.
Then there was doing it.
I’ve experienced various degrees of pain and sorrow in my life and completely understand the difference between being prepared for and having the knowledge of something vs. actually living through it. The two things that come my mind are deaths of loved ones and childbirth. After losing my parents two years apart to cancer when I was barely an adult, it was then that I completely understood what it was like to mourn someone. I can’t say that it was something that I had prepared myself for; not many do at that age. Then there was childbirth, something for which I completely prepared. Then I gave birth, three times. Wow. Both sets of pain, emotional and physical, were by far the most difficult experiences I’ve ever had.
The weekend leading up to my departure for Kenya was busy, which was a good thing. I then had to work Monday evening, which at first I wish I had rescheduled but was later glad because it helped to occupy my mind. However, after my last patient, I really started to feel awful. The tears started earlier that day and started up again. My stomach was tight and I had that lump in my throat you feel when fighting tears. I had texted my husband the idea that our daughter could open my spring Saucony shipment as something to distract her Tuesday morning after seeing I was gone. But in his wise and gentle words, he replied, “Honestly, I don’t want to make a huge deal about your trip with her. She will have her sad times, I know this, but I don’t want to create drama where none exists. You can open with her tonight.”
That is when I had to let it go. I had done everything possible to help them, but likely more me, during my absence. His words helped me move along in the process of actually leaving my family for four weeks but I still felt terrible. I held it together when saying goodbye to the kids and tucking them into bed for the last time, but lost it when my husband came to say goodnight. I hadn’t felt like this since my dad died in 1995.
I’m very glad that I had an early ride to the airport so that there wouldn’t be any good byes with me trying to get out the door. Thankfully with our dog’s loss of hearing, he didn’t hear the car (and bark) and I escaped quietly. The 24-hour door-to-door trip to Iten had me teary much of the time, but I knew I was doing the right thing. I knew this season was about giving everything with no regrets. I kept speaking truth to myself while continuing to pray that I would get through it. Messaging family and friends while at the airport and reading messages was so encouraging. As always, my friend Stacey was supportive and my sister was incredible, encouraging me with her story about returning to teach full-time while leaving her young children at home. After posting a picture of my Team DuChene goodbye note, a Kathi Dewey from Instagram wrote, “Always remember that your children are watching what it looks like to work hard, to chase your dreams and to sacrifice — you are teaching them all of this by going! What amazing lessons!”
I even tear up now, writing this. Kathi, I can tell by your profile picture that you are a mom and I deeply thank you from the bottom of my heart. Those were the exact words I needed and continued to read along my journey to Africa. They were words of truth.
So, moving along. Thanks to Reid and John, my travel was perfect. They gave me much assistance and several helpful tips to make everything go as smoothly as possible. I left home Tuesday at 5:30 a.m. and arrived at Pearson Airport at 6:30 a.m. for my 10:15 a.m. flight, which would be about 13 hours to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. I then immediately got a connecting flight to Nairobi, Kenya, which was about a two-hour flight. Once landing I had a few hours to get Kenyan shillings, a SIM card and eat something before checking in for my next flight, which would get me to Eldoret in 45 minutes. Like many flyers, I killed time by napping, reading, watching a few movies, taking washroom and stretch breaks, and waiting for the next meal or snack to be served. I met a man from China who was also travelling to the HATC and we easily found our ride to the camp, which was about a 75-minute drive to Iten.
With every moment closer to the camp, I felt that much better about what I was doing. My children would be cared for and I was making a great investment. Immediately upon arrival to the camp I was greeted by the staff and Speed River teammate, John who introduced me to two other Canadians, Kristina and Neasa. I met my roommate, Julia, and unpacked some of my things before John took me to get some water. I went for a shake-out run with the women, had a shower and joined the group for my first delicious meal. African living is simple, but the food made with just a basic kitchen is far beyond simple. I’ve now had four meals, which I’ve enjoyed immensely (ok, yes it definitely helps that I am not doing any of the prep, cooking or clean up). The camp set up is bang-on perfect for that of a runner; sleep/rest, run, eat and repeat.
After being in bed at 9:00 p.m. it took me a while to get to sleep, but it was decent and I was out running with Julia at 6:30 on the red dirt paths with countless other runners doing the same. Breakfast, rest, more unpacking, tea time, visiting, lunch, nap, another easy run, time in the pool and sauna, showering, dinner and a trip to the “club” filled my day.
I have much more to say, but have plenty more time for that so will leave you with these words for now.