Lawson Craddock on a podiumDifferent Motivation…

Categories: Non-Running
Comments: 1 Comment
Published on: July 21, 2014

I don’t follow professional cycling at all. But a former classmate and facebook friend does. He posted this article about Lawson Craddock and Chad Haga were doing well at the UCI WorldTour. I know nothing about these athletes, but something in the accompanying photo caught my eye.

Lawson Craddock on a podium
Lawson Craddock on a podium (source)

Do you see it? Let me zoom in a bit.

Detail of the mark on Lawson Craddock's face
Detail of the mark on Lawson Craddock’s face (source)

The podium Girls left a mark!

Maybe I should buy a bike. I guess I’m in the wrong sport… ;)


On a serious note, I see that many fellow running bloggers Nicole, Henry, Mari, Lisa, Irina, Sam, EmmaNadiya, Alice, Hong, and even Patty are active cyclists now. I guess I should get on the bandwagon and finally get a bike too. I’ve said that before.

Niagara Falls International Marathon LogoReturn to Pacing!

Categories: General Running
Comments: No Comments
Published on: July 18, 2014

I recently found out that I will be the 2:30 continuous pacer at the Niagara Falls Half-Marathon this fall! Nicole will be pacing the half too! I’m approaching it with a mixture of excitement and trepidation.

My actual goal race for this season is the Ottawa Army Run Half-Marathon in September. I’m also doing the Disneyland Half-Marathon at the end of August for fun and the Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas Half-Marathon in November back-up goal race or fun run. Niagara seemed to fit in nicely in between the Army Run and Las Vegas and pacing Niagara seemed like a natural way to keep going between the races. Besides, it would be like a catered and FREE long run!

Running the Niagara Falls Half-Marathon (photo by Mark Young)
Running the Niagara Falls Half-Marathon in 2013 (photo by Mark Young)

As some of you might remember, I ran the Niagara Falls Half-Marathon last year and quite enjoyed myself. When I ran Niagara last year I was recovering from injury. This year, I expect to be in my best for ever.

When I finished the race last year, another runner tapped me on the shoulder and asked me “aren’t you usually a pace bunny?” I had to sheepishly say not this year. It’s a little ironic looking back at that conversation now.  

I haven’t paced in quite a while. The last race I paced was the Around The Bay 30k in 2013. You can see my whole pacer history on this page. My only trepidation about this pacing gig is that it will be 2:30 continuous. I’m pretty sure I can easily manage 7:07 min/km, but doing it without stopping will be a new challenge. I guess I’ll have to modify my training a bit and get out of the habit of 10-and-1′s.


Uranus Half-Fanatic?

That makes a lot of half-marathons this year. According to the Half-Fanatics Criteria, I would qualify for Uranus level if I completed all 8 this year. Heh, Uranus

And here I thought I wasn’t doing too many races this year…


So, is anyone else planning on doing the Niagara Falls Half-Marathon this fall?

June Review

Categories: General Running
Comments: No Comments
Published on: July 16, 2014

This monthly review is pretty late. I blame the vacation. But since it’s half-way through the year, it’s an especially important Monthly Review and an important time to review those New Year’s Resolutions.


Goal: SET A NEW HALF-MARATHON PB (< 2:03:22)
Status: I have a shot!

Time is ticking down to the Army Run Half-Marathon in Ottawa. Only 66 days away. Training is grueling, but I hope it will be worth it! And if it doesn’t go so well, I’ll have a backup in the Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas Half-Marathon 6 weeks later.


Status: Inconclusive…

Date Weight (pounds) Body Fat % Body Fat (pounds)
December 31, 2013 205.8 26.6% 54.7
January 28, 2014 206.6 28.7% 59.3
February 28, 2014 205.4 25.3% 52.0
April 2, 2014 207.6 26.4% 54.8
April 29, 2014 203.6 25.8% 52.5
June 03, 2014 207.2 26.6% 55.1
June 24, 2014 204.6 27.7% 56.7

My overall weight is down, but pounds of body fat is up. I want to believe it’s just my body retaining more water.

Ideally I’d already have lost 10 pounds of body fat buy the half-way point of the year. I get a feeling the 20 pounds isn’t going to happen.


Status: Average 7.55 hours per night

Hours of sleep June 2014
Getting up early for #5amRunClub really drags those sleep hours down. Most weeknights I’m only getting 6.5 or 7 hours. That might sound like a lot, but the volume and intensity of training are demanding on my body and I want to sleep more.

Status: Well over half-way there! (26/16.6 this month, 115/100 for 2014)

I thought I’d be below my monthly rate. I hope to keep up the pace for the rest of the year!

Earned Value Chart showing that my number of workouts still exceeds schedule
Cumulative workouts vs. moving goal (June 2014)


Status: I did pass!

There’s not much more I can say about this. I described it extensively in this post. I will probably not cover this in future monthly reviews.


Status: Started April 21

I finish my first class next week. I’m quite enjoying being a student at Ji Hong Tai Chi in Mississauga. I plan to continue in the fall, but I’m not sure if I want to study the Chen or Yang style.


Status: Check!

This was completed four months ago. I’m going to create a new list of half-year resolutions, and that will include getting some of the 60 PDU’s I need to get over the next 3 years.



This hasn’t been happening. I’m going to take this off the list and write it off as a failure for the year.

I’ll be publishing a set of half-year resolutions soon to update my goals for the next 6 months.

Finishing the Color RunColor Run “Race” Report

Categories: Race Report
Comments: 3 Comments
Published on: July 15, 2014

I ran The Colour Run in Mississauga on Sunday, July 13. It definitely wasn’t a typical race, but it was quite an experience. This post will feature my report and LOTS of photos. Click on any photo to see a larger version. A special thanks to Kris and Sharon for sharing the photos you took during the race.

A Blank Slate

I know a lot of ‘hardcore’ and ‘ultra’ style runners don’t speak highly of mud, color, foam and other fun races. I have mixed feelings about these kinds of races myself, so I’m glad I was able to experience one first-hand to report on it.

I was reluctant to do this run in the first place. But, peer pressure got me to sign up. We were team Dye Hards! 11 runners strong!

It seems rather odd but I was more worried about this 5k than a typical half- or full-marathon. I suppose it’s because I know what to expect out of a marathon. The preparation for a colour run is completely different: There’s no long taper, carb-loading, or nerves about setting a personal best. I did have to carefully select gear to ‘sacrifice’, and have post-race cleanup organized.

Unloved running gear about to be 'sacrificed'
Unloved running gear about to be ‘sacrificed’

I’m being dramatic and exaggerating saying I’m was sacrificing gear. I was warned that anything I wear may get stained, and electronics may be badly damaged. So, no Garmin, no phone, no camera, and no iPod. I dug down to the bottom of my gear drawer to get some of my least-loved gear: I got a white shirt I haven’t worn in a year, shorts that I are way too long, and a pair of running shoes that were way over their 500km limit last year. As recommended, I bought a baseball cap and sunglasses from Dollarama to protect my hair and eyes. As it turns out, my shirt, hat, shorts and socks washed out and looked almost as good as new after a run through the washing machine, and the hose cleaned up my shoes pretty well too.

A Clean Start

The forecast for race day was for high humidity, strong winds, heavy rain and potential thundershowers. Hours before the race, the whole team was nervously messaging each other wondering if the race was going to be cancelled. By about 7am there was no indication that the run was going to be cancelled so I had my breakfast and walked to the rendezvous point.

Pre-race at the carpool rendezvous
Pre-race at the carpool rendezvous

All 11 members of Team Dye Hards got together. Our team Captain Kris was amazing! She got us a bunch of stuff from the dollar store including leis, and whistle-like party things. After taking a group photo, we loaded up into the carpool cars. I’m very thankful to the drivers who ‘sacrificed’ their cars to drive us. But, they were very careful. The car I was in had all the seats, seatbacks, and headrests meticulously covered with garbage bags and then towels.

"Before" group photo
“Before” group photo

We got to the Hershey Centre about 45 minutes before the race was supposed to start. The entire parking lot was blocked off for the race, but we found parking across the street. It looked like the rain was holding off, but it was windy and very humid.

I was impressed by the restroom facilities for this run. There were lots of porta-potties, and even hand-washing stations, which aren’t a regular sight at races.
There was a tent selling things like sunglasses, shirts and tutus, which would have been nice, but I don’t imagine many people brought their wallets for fear of them getting damaged/dyed.

"Color me maybe?"
“Color me maybe?”

Well-timed jump!
Well-timed jump!

It was a different kind of crowd than I’m used to seeing at races. There were lots of families together for the run. This reminded me of the atmosphere for the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront 5k I did last fall. There were also an awful lot of young people. I didn’t know Mississauga had all through young people? Where do they hide? Maybe they’re all in high school…


Goofy pre-race photos

All smiles in the corrals
All smiles in the corrals

Even more smiles
Even more smiles

Is it time for our wave yet?
Is it time for our wave yet?

Smiling patiently
Smiling patiently

After taking a lot of goofy pre-race photos, we headed to the starting area. I’m glad we headed to the starting corral early because the ‘waves’ system they had wasn’t very quick. The first wave went off about 10 minutes late, and then later waves were sent out in 10 minute increments. We kept taking goofy photos in the start corral, but were quickly getting anxious to get running.

More Goofy pre-race photos

Getting goofy...
Getting goofy…

Things kind of went sideways from here
Things kind of went sideways from here

We're shoe-ins for this race!
We’re shoe-ins for this race!

Waves of people waiting to start
Waves of people waiting to start

We were in the 3rd wave that was sent out around 9:40am. Without a Garmin I don’t know how fast we were going, but it felt a little uncomfortable due to the fact I wasn’t warmed up and it was really humid.

Approaching the first dye station
Approaching the first dye station


We reached the first dye station (Pink) shortly after starting the run. After approaching the station we understood why the waves were so far apart: If the runners were continuous they would quickly run out of dye powder. The waves meant that the volunteers can conserve the powdered dye until a group goes through the station.

Course Map. Approximately 5k (??)
Course Map. Approximately 5k (??)

I was originally resistant to the idea of getting too dirty. After the first station, I realized that it was inevitable so “in for a penny, in for a pound” and just embraced the mess. It would be silly to go into a colour run and expect to come out clean!

Getting progressively more coloured
Getting progressively more coloured

Strike a pose
Strike a pose

Let me take a selfie...
Let me take a selfie…


Our group started breaking up shortly after the first station. We stopped once or twice to consolidate, but eventually we broke into a group of 9 in the lead with two taking an easier pace. The second dye station was blue, but looked more like purple. Either way, it made a big impression.

I’d say this was about half-way into the run, and we were starting to notice a lot of people walking. As we weaved through a group of walkers, I heard someone tell their friend “you have to train to be able to run like that.” I thought that was kinda funny. The 9 of us running together train regularly, so an easy jog like this was comfortable. I imagine that untrained athletes would need to take some time to catch their breath.

I got a good dose of colour at the yellow colour station.

After getting hit with yellow dye
After getting hit with yellow dye


As we passed by the last station (purple) we noticed that they were starting to run out of colours. I think the high winds were scattering the powdered dye much more than expected.

As we left the last (purple) station, we noticed the pink station again right across the street. Some of us keeners went back to pink and got dyed again, and then back through purple AGAIN! Why? Because why not?!


A Colourful Ending

Finishing the Color Run
Finishing the Color Run

There was a nice set of arches heading to the ‘finish’ line. My watch said it took 38:22, a fair time for an easy 5k. However, I have my doubts that the course is actually 5k. I tried tracing it with Google Maps and MilerMeter but some of the out-and-backs were on soccer fields, side paths, and parking lots that don’t measure well.

Group "After" picture
Group “After” picture

Right after crossing the line, our team Captain Kris produced little medals that were probably from the dollar store too. It was a nice touch! She was so good to us!

Not long after we crossed the finish, it started to rain, A LOT! But, I suppose it was welcome to cool us off and start to wash off the dye. Once you’re wet, you don’t really care.

More fun post-race photos

Someone looks too clean…

In the Kaleidoscope
In the Kaleidoscope

Washing off in the rain
Washing off in the rain

We headed to the post-race party. It was actually pretty cool. They had a DJ on a stage and there was a kind of mosh pit/dance floor in front of it. Some of us danced because, again, why not?! My favourite part was when they did colour releases. They would toss unopened packets of dye into the crowd, and after a countdown, everyone would open the packets at the same time. The effect was really awesome, and you got even dirtier!

Dye release during the post-race party

Dye cloud
Dye cloud


Woah! Awesome!!
Woah! Awesome!!


Would I recommend this run? Yes! It was as advertised and what I expected. It really was a happy5k.

Will I do a colour run again? Probably not. I liked the ‘fun’ aspect of it, and it was nice to comfortably job past the ‘casual runners’. But the mess is too much! There’s so much prep to a colour run like having to properly protect vehicles, cleaning gear, and then showering out the colours.


Special thanks to Kris and Sharon for sharing these awesome photos!

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