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Monday, April 29, 2013

Winter Running in Ottawa

My neighbor Steve has lived his whole life in Ottawa. He replaced winter tires on his SUV last week. He must know. It was an indisputable sign that the winter was over. Wow … we won’t get any more snow storms in late April. The whole city seems to be focused now on a big after-winter cleanup. Runners are coming out in large numbers to run along the canal. Everyone seems to be happy to finally be able to shed layers of winter running clothing and wear shorts and light technical shirts. Yes, spring is in the air. It almost feels like summer with +23C this weekend. Helen and I survived our first winter in Ottawa. It was a very long and cold one. There were several chilly, but gorgeous days with lots of sunshine and beautiful blue sky. There were also many cold, snowy, icy and windy days. I’m happy to report that nothing prevented me from running except for few very warm days when the snow started to melt and the path along the canal was flooded with 3 inches of water. Of course, a big freeze overnight turned the path into a “skating rink” the next morning. But runners adapt. I bought Yak-tracks to run on ice. Balaclava and goggles for windy days. Gortex running shoes, heat packs, smart wool socks and big warm mittens from MEC for freezing temperatures. My first half of a long run on Sunday often took me to the Museum of Civilization where I would change to a set of dry clothes carried in a backpack before running the second half back home. Most of my weekly mileage was accumulated by running 5K along the canal to and from the office. This “commute” allowed me to stay outside for no more than 30 minutes which is recommended in freezing temperatures. Running-generated heat also made those cold days easier to cope with. It was easier to run to work than wait for the bus in those low temperatures. After a couple of months, Helen and I would often say: “Hey honey, it is sunny and mild -15C today”. When you say “mild” and “-15C” in one sentence, it is a pretty good indication that somehow we have adapted. Now we can enjoy "adapting" to sunny and warm spring season in Ottawa. 

Run Strong!

Monday, April 22, 2013

The tragedy in Boston Marathon hits home

Racing in Boston will always have a very special meaning for both of us. Helen did Boston Marathon last year running an epic race in scorching heat. I did one back in 2010 and have many wonderful memories of the city and this classic event. Robert and I still remember one of those magic moments when we received free tickets to the Red Sox game from one of the fans when we visited Fenway Park. A simple act of kindness and generosity that stays in your thoughts for a long time.

The tragedy in Boston on April 15 left both of us and the whole running community in a state of shock, disbelief and deep sadness.  Two days later, the Running Room on Bank Street in Ottawa was packed with runners who came to their weekly Wednesday run with a purpose to show their support. Like many others, Helen and I were wearing Boston racing shirts hoping that this simple gesture of solidarity will somehow make a difference and send a message. A message that this act of senseless violence will not break our spirits, that there is more good than evil in the world, and that our running community is united and strong ... Boston-strong.

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