Ten reasons to stop worrying and love winter running

25 11 2007

I haven’t been too bummed by the recent early winter snap in southern Ontario. In fact, I’ve secretly harboured a little happiness.

Don’t throw your snowballs just yet. Hear me out.

While I was out today on a 24k, I thought of 10 good reasons to embrace winter running*:

10. Clear air. I breathe easier in the crisp winter conditions, while I never can seem to get the same lungful in the heat.

9. Sleeping in. Wait until 9 a.m. in the summer and you’re toast. Literally. But the later you get started on a winter’s morning, the warmer you’ll be.

8. Less pedestrian traffic. Ever had to dodge a group of rollerbladers on the paths in January? Me neither.

7. Two words:

hot chocolate

Hot chocolate.

6. Two more words: Hot showers. 

5. Guilt-free sun exposure. Or less-guilt. You still can get some UV rays if you’re out for a few hours on a sunny winter day.

4. Guilt-free napping. Having a snooze after a long run in the summer is strange, with kids outside playing and the sun high in the sky. No such worries in the winter. You’ve been outside enough.

3. Even out the battle of the bulge. My second favourite winter activity is digging into a bag of cookies and bundling up on the couch. Running helps to balance that out.

2. Amaze your non-running (and summer-only) running friends, who can’t believe you’d actually go out in conditions like that.

1. Simply put, you feel great. You 1, Winter 0.

* I reserve the right to revisit this topic in mid-February, with an entry called “10 reasons to @#$#!@% hate winter running”


Sir Lance-a-lot and the NYC Marathon

5 11 2007

I can’t believe it’s been a full calendar year since I last spouted off about Armstrong running NYC. Can it really have been 12 months? 

He was back again this year, finishing in 2:46.

> Full story from the AP

As the story sez:

“I enjoyed it much more this year,” said Armstrong, who finished 698th in 2 hours, 46 minutes, 43 seconds Sunday. “Last year, I had no idea what to expect with 26.2 miles, and I paid for it.”

The seven-time Tour de France winner trained harder, was injury-free and drew upon the experience of running in the showcase event. Last year, he called the five-borough race “the hardest physical thing I have ever done.”

Armstrong looked fresh in his yellow jersey at the finish after hobbling in last year.

“I came in better prepared, but perhaps I started faster than I wanted,” Armstrong said. “I sort of got out there and realized I was either going to finish OK or be crawling home.”

Armstrong said he needed about four months to recover from the shin splints last year, when he finished 856th. This time, he trained more consistently and included faster 18- and 19-mile runs.

Well, well … it looks like even Tour de France winners have something to learn when it comes to training. The lesson was, as it always is, RESPECT THE DISTANCE.

You can take this as my official end to whining about Lance.

BTW – Full props to Paula “The Phenom” Radcliffe and Martin “The Magnificent” Lel for taking home the top honours from the Big Apple.

I love Lel’s quote: “”To be a champion, you have to be a champion fighting with the man.”

I’m not sure I know what it means, but it sounds bad-ass.

How Edward McClelland ruined my breakfast

4 11 2007

This yarn from Salon called “How Oprah ruined the marathon“, written by one Edward McClelland, presents a good/bad news proposition.

The bad: Reading this tripe has soured my appetite and got me as steaming hot at the Sunday morning oatmeal.

The argument is frankly stale and boring — recreational runners like Oprah or the Penguin who just want to finish, who just relish in the challenge of 26.2, have turned the marathon from “a competition” to “a self-improvement exercise”.

Blah, blah, blah, you sour old fart.

Some quips and quotes:

It makes me ask: Has this country’s marathoning spirit been trampled by hordes of joggers whose only goal is to stagger across the finish line?


If Frank Shorter inspired the first running boom, Oprah inspired the second, by running the Marine Corps Marathon. And it was a much bigger boom. This was not a spindly 24-year-old Yalie gliding through Old World Munich. This was a middle-aged woman hauling her flab around the District of Columbia. If Oprah could run a marathon, shame on anyone who couldn’t.

When Oprah expanded the sport, she also lowered the bar for excellence. For the previous generation of marathoners, the goal had been qualifying for Boston. Now, it was beating Oprah. Her time of four hours and 29 minutes — the Oprah Line — became the new benchmark for a respectable race. (That was P. Diddy’s goal when he ran New York.)

And so on. I don’t have the stomach to go back to it again for more, but you get the drift.

If you want to read a better dissection of this bitter b.s., go to Kenny’s blog or here, here or here.

But let me just thank McClelland for giving everyone who’s trying to get fitter or faster a good excuse to get back on the couch this Sunday morning. Jerk.

Hope that cotton T rubs you the wrong way — big time.

Getting out there for the challenge is worth it, whether you’re a three- or six-hour marathoner.

ps: The good news … This morning’s long run is going to be a fast one. I’m all worked up now.

Nike+ challenges

3 11 2007

One last RR note. I’m signing up for the RR Nike+ challenge, of course on the side of my local store (High Park). Will keep you posted on how it goes.

Here’s the link if you want to see what the fuss is about.

Save at the Running Room

3 11 2007

Like you need another Running Room coupon, but just in case:

At visaperks.ca, there’s a coupon for 20% off RR merch if you use a Visa card. I did just this today for a new pair of shoes.

Guess which kind? (Same as I always buy.)

Main image for GEL-1120™

Tragedy in New York, star runner Ryan Shay dies at 28

3 11 2007

Very sad news from the U.S. Men’s Olympic Trials today, in case you hadn’t heard. From the AP:

NEW YORK — Top distance runner Ryan Shay died during the U.S. men’s Olympic marathon trials Saturday, overshadowing what was supposed to be a showcase day for the sport.

Shay collapsed about 5½ miles into the race and was taken to Lenox Hill Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 8:46 a.m., New York Road Runners president Mary Wittenberg said. He was 28.

“It cuts a knife through everybody’s hearts,” said Wittenberg, whose group organized the race.

Shay was the 2003 U.S. marathon champion. Absolutely heartbreaking. My thoughts go out to his family.

His death cast a shadow over the day’s proceedings, including the incredible accomplishment of three young American runners.

Ryan Hall, who had never run a marathon before April, won in a trials record time of 2 hours, 9 minutes, 2 seconds. Dathan Ritzenhein followed in 2:11:07 and Brian Sell was third in 2:11:40.

They’re all going to Beijing to represent the U.S. in the marathon. Meb Keflezighi, the reigning silver medallist from Athens, won’t be there. He finished eighth. Neither will Khalid Khannouchi, the 35-year-old former world-record-holder. He was fourth.

The young guns made them take a back seat. Will the 25-year-old Hall, 24-year-old Ritzenhein or 29-year-old Sell come through in China? Can’t wait to see.

Don’t forget, tomorrow is the big show — the NYC Marathon. Can’t believe it’s been a whole year since last year’s debut of Sir Lance-a-lot (of pain, that is).

Some YouTube-age to get you psyched:

Let the eagle snore

1 11 2007

Just testing an embed of a YouTube clip. But if you ever needed motivation for running, this might be it.

Former U.S. attorney general John Ashcroft singing his patriotic ditty,”Let the Eagle Soar”. Yes, he wrote it. No, it’s not a joke.

For more political entertainment and rappin’ Karl Rove, check out Musical leaders: Should politics and singing ever mix? A little shameless CBC work plug for ya.