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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

26.2 Questions with Madlene and Carsten

1. Your name?
Madlene: Madlene Lazarian

Carsten: easy :-) Carsten

2. Profession?

M: Controller
C: Software janitor ... analysing, developing, and cleaning up other people's software mess

3. Favorite way to relax (downtime)?

M: Anyone who knows me knows relaxing is difficult for me. I like to walk with Rio and Carsten in the trails, just being in the trails is beautiful and all the dogs there – I love it
C: Madlene suggested a walk together with her and Rio along the Fraser (in the Southlands) but this is too specific. Relaxing in a lounge chair in the backyard on a sunny day eating gelato/ice cream from the tub is part of it. I think it comes down to not having a watch (or other time measuring device) within reach. Kicking back and not having the feeling I have to spoon up the ice cream faster because in 3 minutes 25 seconds I have to move on to the next task ...

4. Favorite movie?

M: There are many that I like but I can say that I really like the Harry Potter series. I cannot say I have one all time favourite movie.
C: The Matrix - don't we all live in

5. Favorite running legend?

M: I unfortunately don’t know too many – I would say Dick Hoyt with his son
C: sorry, never had a real idol or role model

6. Your inspirational role model?

M: Every time I am out there running and I see someone who does not fit the “typical runners profile” I am inspired. When I hear about people running who have faced physical challenges or are older and are still out there running - I always say to myself if they are out there running I have no excuse.
C: see 5

7. How long have you been running? 

M: I have always been running. In high school I was on the track team and I always preferred the longer runs at the track meets (1500m to 3000m) even though now that is not long at all. I continued running as a way to maintain fitness and weight. In 2003 I decided to run a marathon and I trained on my own and ran Vancouver. In 2008, I decided to go back to running but I started with the half and I went to Alma running room to train with others. I enjoyed the half and training with the group and I decided to go for the full. The half was in Victoria in November and I decided to do LA in February 2009. I figured I already started training so I just needed to continue and I chose LA because I had grown quite attached to LA. Everyone talks about Boston and I decided that to become my next goal. I actually was not that familiar with the significance of the Boston Marathon until joining Alma. Fortunately or unfortunately, LA marathon was postponed for the first time ever from February to May 25 I think it was due to sponsorship problems (it is now back to Feb). this gave me the chance to train with the Alma group that was training for Vancouver in May since LA was only a few weeks later. I have been running ever since.
C: I ran for a bit in 2002 and did the Vancouver Half - hated it ... returned to the couch right afterwards, then began Jan 2004 to train for marathon and caught the bug

8. How many marathons have your done? 

M: 7
C: I stopped counting at 20 but I can't remember if I just stopped last year in Chicago - i.e. 20 or 21.

9. When was your first marathon? When was your last marathon? Can you list some of the special for you marathons you did in between? 

M: My first was Vancouver 2003 and my last was Eugene 2011.
C: Vancouver 2004, 3:57, last: Eugene 3:36, Berlin (2005) loved the race, Boston (2006) loved the experience, Chicago (2005/10) personal menace, both times stress fractures, Big Sur (2008), major stomach issue, loved the scenic course ... oh and there was LA

10. What is your PB? 

M: 3:42
C: 3:14:32 Vancouver 2005 BQ, come back 3:19:02 Sacramento 2009 BQ hardest last mile ever

11. Must have accessory when you travel to run a marathon? 

M: My Garmin and my running cap LOL (I don’t think I have ever
run without my cap)
garbage bag, sweat shirt and body glide

12. Your most memorable race, when, where and why? 

M: Oh this is a tough one – I guess I would have to say Victoria 2009 because it was the first time I qualified for Boston
C: would that be LA? It's the only marathon with a lasting effect

13. Your next race? 

M: I am signed up for New York 2011 in November
C: 50yrd dash down the aisle ... or waiting at the finish; no races in the line-up but London is on the horizon

14. Hardest part of training? 

M: Realizing the difference when I don’t feel like running because I am tired and I actually should run and listening to my body when it really does need the rest. It is hard to know the difference. Usually after a run you will know if it was a good idea – if after the run I am feeling rejuvenated I know I was just being lazy but if I come back from a run even more tired than maybe it wasn’t such a good idea for me to run in the first place
C: Hearing the rain against the windows at 7:30am on a Sunday morning long run to Deep Cove

15. What’s your motivation to get out and run even when you’re not feeling up for it?

M: I am meeting friends a lot of time and the great feeling I have after I finish a workout and on the same note – the bad feeling I get when I decide not to go – I fell guilty.
C: motiwhat? I am worried that without the feeling of responsibility for the clinic bad (lazy) things might happen

16. Your favorite workout? 

M: I cannot believe I am saying this because I used to detest these workouts but I am beginning to enjoy track. It’s a short workout but I can notice the difference already in the pace I am able to keep on the track. I also really enjoy running the trails but I view those workouts as more of a relaxing activity rather than a workout
C: I like track workouts ... Yasso's 800 is cool but tough!

17. Your favorite cross-training workout? 

M: I am swimming right now once a week as a way of cross training, I prefer to do a spinning class but swimming works out better in my schedule and I think it is better for me overall. I also do Pilates once a week. I don’t think I cross train enough
C: do as I say not as I do! I don't really cross train. The closest cross training is North Shore trail running which has a lot of "hiking";

18. How many days a week do you run? 

M: Right now I am running 4 times a week but soon I want to increase it to 5 by adding a short steady run.
C: I usually run 4 times a week, at the moment time is a t a premium which means more than 2 days is hardly possible

19. Do you prefer to run in the morning or afternoon? 

M: I prefer to run in the mornings (but not early like 6am)
C: longer runs in the morning but I enjoy the evening as they help getting over the annoyances of the day

20. Do you listen to music when you run?

M: I have started to listen to music again during my tempo runs but generally I don’t like to carry more things on me than I need to.
C: never

21. Your favorite fuel before, during and after a long-run? 

M: Roctane Gu jel 15 minutes before and during. I am not very diligent about refueling after a long run
C: I eat a normal breakfast before a run, Nutella is an essential ingredient. On the run I stick with water and GU (tri-berry or the yummy blueberry Roctane)

22. What is your favorite pair of running shoes? 

M: Seems my new favourite pair is now the Nike Free – I use them for the shorter distances and tempo runs, for the longer runs I am using Mizuno’s
C: Will hooked me up with a pair of Brooks Trance a couple years ago when the RR was still selling them. They never let me down, the RR did by not selling them anymore

23. How many pairs do you have?

M: I just have 1 of Nike’s but about 3 pairs of Mizuno’s
C: 2 active Trance, a pair of trail running shoes and one or two Trance in a box. I don't keep shoes for sentimental reasons - old shoes take up space hence they need to go (and make room so Madlene can keep more sentimental things)

24. Your favorite shirt color you would wear if you were to run through a “screaming” tunnel (like at Wesley College in Boston) dominated by spectators of the opposite sex?

M: Yellow
C: Sorry Madlene ... but even before Madlene, Wellesley College wasn't for me, so white it would be ...

25. Indulgence after a long-run? 

M: I don’t have much of an appetite after a long run
C: Ground for Coffee warm cinnamon roll

26. Your favorite “recovery” drinks at a post-race party?

M: Tequila
C:  chocolate milk

26.2 How do you reward yourself after a race?

M: I cant think of anything that I specifically do after a race to reward myself. I am really happy once a race is done but I don’t do anything specific. I know I take a break from  running for a couple of weeks LOL!!
C: Q42.195: I try not to indulge too much but occasionally I did enjoy an Advil, extra strength. Most marathons go without Advil now, it does help to relax the legs especially the next day

RPB: Thank you. Have a very happy lifelong running together!

Run Strong! 

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Running in Berlin

Running in Reykjavik was windy.  Doing hills on the roof of the Opera House in Oslo was cool. Running along the canals and parks in Stockholm was like a dream. Running in the center of Warsaw was conspicuous. What about running in Berlin, the last stop on our European tour this summer? I was about to find out soon enough. Our hotel was just a couple of blocks from Tiergarten; a big green spot in the middle of the city map. This was supposed to be a short recovery run after high mileage week back in Poland.  After 30 minutes of running in the park where I passed many runners also in training, I reached the Victory Column and was about to head back to the hotel. However, I could not resist running for a little bit longer to drop by the Brandenburger Tor that was clearly visible from where I was. This extra mile was worth it. The site impressed me on my last visit back in 2004 and did not disappoint this time either. 

And when I was about to turn around I thought that maybe it was a good opportunity to see Unter der Linden with beautiful museums, government buildings, embassies, and coffee shops on both sides. This wide boulevard had a soft gravel path in the middle that was so tempting. After running for 45 minutes one way it was time to go back, but could I be so close and not drop by the Alexanderplaz? Not a chance. Few more minutes and I reached the base of the Fernsehturm, the television tower. Standing 365-meter tall this structure has been a symbol of East Berlin since it was constructed in 1969 by the former DDR.  It was 8:00 in the morning. Time to head back to the hotel, wake up Robert and go for complimentary breakfast before the restaurant downstairs closes at ten. Running back I could sense the excitement and anticipation of running Berlin Marathon in this great European city next year. 

Run Strong!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Running Trails in Poland

How many miles a week do you need to run not to gain weight in Poland? A trip by train to Berlin gave me plenty of time to think about it. After hopping from city to city in the last two weeks, Robert and I spent as much time as possible with our family last week. My Mom and sister live in small towns surrounded by vast areas of forest in the south-west part of Poland about 25 miles from a city of Opole. As a teenager I used to run trails in this forest to get ready for a team handball season, but my 3-mile 'long' run somehow limited what I could discover back then. Over the last three decades, local Rangers have clear cut several paths dividing this forest into more manageable sectors as part of fire prevention and response strategy.

You can imagine my delight when I discovered a map showing tens of miles of soft forest roads connecting nearby towns and villages. Every morning I would run for hours through this beautiful forest far from the intercity traffic knowing that to keep my weight down I needed to burn a lot of calories to fully enjoy my Mom's delicious breakfast waiting for me after my run. It must have been a strong motivation as my mileage last week reached 90 miles with no apparent damage to my overused IT Band probably due to soft surface of the trails. However, some things never seem to change in Poland. As a teenager, I was always a little bit concerned about an encounter with a wild boar ruling the forest in this part of Europe. Running the trails last week I was trying, like in the old days, to always stay alert; however, I could not remember what my brother-in-law told me to do in case of such encounter: run, fight, or play dead? Fortunately, I did not have a chance to find it out and could enjoy my Mom's breakfast instead of becoming one.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Running in Warsaw

Kasia from Guest Service Desk at Westin recommended a run along Vistula river, but I decided to run around the city center to become familiar with the part of town that has changed so much since I visited Warsaw seven years ago. The city was decorated with national white and red flags to commemorate 67th anniversary of Warsaw Uprising, a tragic event when countless lives were lost and most of the city west of Vistula river was destroyed and burned.

Running on cobblestones of labyrinth-like streets in the most historic part of town I was reflecting on the truly remarkable effort of the city's citizens who sacrificed so much to rebuild the Old Town from the ground up based on the drawings recovered after the war from several museums in the United States, Russia, and the rest of Europe. Especially valuable was the work by Canaletto, an Italian painter who captured the city in great detail on many of his old oil paintings. After almost seven decades the city still seems to be one big construction zone with new hotels, office towers and residential buildings mushrooming in the downtown district. A new subway line is under construction making driving downtown even more challenging. One positive change I noticed almost immediately after leaving my hotel, was much better air quality than seven years ago. Economic reforms in Poland allowed its drivers to quickly replace old and polluting Fiats, Ladas, Trabants and Skodas with the latest models from VW, Citroen, Honda or Toyota. New highways around Warsaw moved the heavy inter-city commercial traffic of trucks away from the city center. However, some things never seem to change. There were still very few recreational runners on the streets early in the morning. Maybe it was my improved high-cadence running form, or my bright green Kinvaras, but some people were turning heads as I was passing by. "I should have listened to Kasia and run along the river", I thought as I was plowing bravely through crowded city's downtown to get back to my hotel.

Running in Stockholm

We left Odenplan and after a  couple of blocks turned left into Haga Park, where Gustav III used to have his summer residence A trail around a lake in the park was simply irresistible. Running trails in the Stockholm! How cool is this!? I lost concept of time. Exiting the park we turned right into Sveavagen street heading to Gamla Stan, the old town. Annika and Caren were leading our small group at a blazing  pace that somehow felt very comfortable. We passed Riksdagshuset, the Parliament,  Kungliga Slottet, the Royal Palace, Operan, National Museum, Dramatiska  Teatern, and were running on Strandvagen street toward Djurgarden island that attracts millions of visitors every year with its Nordiska and Vasa museums, as well as a theme park, and Royal summer residences. The island is also a popular destination for runners who can enjoy soft gravel path along the island's shoreline.

It was an early morning, but many tourists were already lining up to get on board of one of the tour boats docked along the canal. "Dream city for running", I thought, with so many parks and paths for runners, walkers and bikers. Running today seemed unusually effortless, but something was a little bit odd. Why was I the only guy in our group? And running barefoot in plaid Levi shorts and orange polo shirt? "Well, I'm on vacation", I thought as we were passing by an old church. A distant sound of its bells grew louder, and louder, and louder, and ... I woke up. The alarm clock was displaying a blinking 6:00 AM. Time to get ready for my first run in Stockholm. A beautiful city that is both old and modern. A city that is very friendly and even on the first day of our visit seemed strangely familiar.

Running in Oslo

Oslo was slowly waking up after a sea of people caring roses marched in silence through the downtown area yesterday evening to express their sadness and sorrow for so many lives lost in Friday's terrorist attack. Robert and I joined the 'rose march' and walked for few minutes towards the cathedral before deciding to start searching for something to eat. We were starving after a flight from Reykjavik and a bus trip from the airport to our hotel. Going for my daily run around the city center early this morning I was passing many monuments, buildings, fountains, and parks that were still 'draped' in flowers, Norwegean flags and burning candles; a sight that was very sad and beautiful at the same time.

My run took me to the Opera House where I couldn't resist doing a little bit of 'hill training' by running up and down the amazing roof of the structure. On my way back to the hotel, I met a female runner from Germany who was holding a map looking for directions. She was a journalist who came to Oslo to cover the latest tragic events and decided to go for a morning run to de-stress. We ran together and chatted for few minutes looking for the best way to the city center before taking different turns and going back to our hotels. Running in Oslo is fun but may get expensive. The city has been consistently ranked among top 2 most expensive cities in the world just after or sometimes even before Tokyo. The energy bar and coffee before the run: 50 krones, a power bar during the run: 25 krones, protein recovery drink after the run: 50 krones, Gatorade to get some electrolytes in 7 Eleven will cost you another 35 krones. It all adds up to roughly C$30 with an exchange rate of approximately 5 krones for C$1. However, having paid C$15 for a glass of beer yesterday evening, everything else seems 'relatively' inexpensive in this very cool city :)

Running in Reykjavik

A must-have running accessory in Iceland? ... a wind breaker. It was a cold and windy day in Reykjavik today. The gusty wind made the morning run sometimes very difficult. I stayed mostly on special bike paths that are quite common in the city. After 90 minutes in a cold wind, a short visit to a hotel´s fitness center to stretch, and 3 trips to a buffet brunch to replenish lost calories, I was ready for a trip to Blue Lagoon. Having no expectations I was blown away by the beauty of this place: an oasis of hot, light blue, milky water in the middle of surrounding area of brown and grey lava rocks of Iceland´s terrain.

Robert and I spent over an hour chilling out and sharing this huge 'hot tub´ with visitors from all over Europe. We´re flying to Oslo tomorrow with mixed feelings. On one hand we´re looking forward to seeing Norway. On the other hand, like everyone else we´re shocked and upset by the tragedy that happened there only few days ago. Talk to you soon. 

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