Sunday, 11 November 2012

51% running shoes, 49% gasoline

For the past dozen years or so I've only worn one type of trainer; the Nike Pegasus (29 currently).  Now many people might say they aren't the greatest shoe, and I really don't care because they work for me.  Twelve years of essentially injury free running can be attributed to many things, and shoes are certainly one of them.  I generally order multiple pairs of Pegasus trainers at a time, and fortunately there is a shoe store in town that has always given me a good deal which I am very thankful for.  I often discard a pair of shoes at 450 miles, which is 4 to 5 weeks of running.  I always like to start a new pair of shoes on a Monday, so sometimes I may toss a pair of shoes at less then 450 miles, but generally never try to go above that. I hose down and clean old shoes and if they seem clean enough and reasonable enough (450 miles isn't much to most people), I try to give them to charity or put them in one of those recycling shoe bins so they don't go to the dump immediately.

I like to do my runs from home, but that isn't always possible.  We do workouts here and there around the city, and for me the only way to make it to practice (I live in the suburbs) is by driving my Jeep.  I'm not a huge fan of gas guzzling SUV's and I often wish I had something smaller and more practical.  But the cost to purchase a new vehicle is prohibitively expensive compared to keeping a 12 year old, low mileage vehicle.  I mostly justify driving a Jeep by saying that I don't drive it very far or often, generally a couple times a week into the city and maybe a small trip within Richmond.  I fortunately live across the street from my bank, grocery store, produce store, liquor store, and butcher shop, so I can walk to the essentials.  While I avoid the Jeep as much as possible, it is still a necessary part of my life and from time to time it needs gas.  Living in Metro Vancouver means expensive gas.  Anything over $1.30/liter is normal and at the current rate of $1.23/liter I feel like I'm stealing money from the oil companies (very sad). I can generally go 4 to 5 weeks on a single tank of gas.  I've actually kept logs for the past couple years recording my mileage between fill ups and gas consumption.  The on-board computer says, the Jeep uses 14.1L/100k lifetime.

So where am I going with this? I've often wondered what costs more, driving my Jeep or running.  In the past I've loosely done the calculations in my head while running and figured they were mostly comparable.  So I though it would be fun to actually do the math and figure out what actually costs more.  For some simplicity, I'm not going to calculate in flats and spikes in the running equation or oil changes and maintenance in the vehicle equation.  This will be a straight up mile for mile comparison - Pegasus vs. Jeep.   Oh, I'm also going to use regular cost/value for this.

Nike Pegasus - $140.00.  At 450 miles per pair it costs me $0.311 per mile.

Mr. Jeep. - 70L tank and gas at $1.23/L = $86.10 per fill up.  450km average or 280miles per tank.
At 280 miles and $86 to fill up it costs me $0.307 per mile. 

Mr. Jeep in Pumpkingate 2011
In reality the shoes cost me less per mile because I don't pay $140 a pair and gas isn't generally $1.23 a liter.  But we're only talking about a penny or two per mile here if I recalculated this.  So what does that mean?  I think I'm more of an environmental concern then an SUV.  In fact, if I used a smaller, fuel efficient car that used less gas and went further per liter used, I am (running) a far greater concern to the environment then a vehicle.  I feel bad now. At least I use recyclable bags at the grocery store, a coffee mug to avoid paper cups, and turn the heat down and opt for sweaters in the winter to save energy.  I feel better now. 

Friday, 26 October 2012

100% stupid trying to come up with precentages

I'm having a productive evening.  I've managed to get a bunch of things typed up and out the door, or more like onto the interweb.  Figured I might as well keep it going and get a new post out too.  I enjoy writing these much more because they are anything but formal.  I can use crappy English and use words like "boring" if I really want to.  Unfortunately, my mommy who is an English teacher, reads this blog.  She likes to let me know when my writing sucks and when my posts are boring.  I really do try hard with our club website and "press releases".  I make an attempt proof read those articles and go over them once before publishing them.  Same goes when I'm trying to put together some sort or proposal, request, or form.  No squiggly red or green lines and were set!!

Hunt, Huff, Friesen, Brockerville, Wilkie, Forester, Gant, Pawluk
A bunch of us were in Whistler last weekend for the Whistler 50 relay.  Road relays are pretty awesome and I wish they had more of them.  They remind me of university cross country days.  Something about the team dynamic that you simply don't get in regular races, even if you have a dozen other team mates on the line.  We dominated the race too winning all 8 stages.  Fancy new Timex watches for all.  None of us ran particularly fast, but there was no pressure to do so.  We won by about 20 minutes and somehow missed our record from last year by 2 seconds.  Now the challenge is to find another road relay, hopefully with some competition and hopefully somewhere closer then Japan.  Were eying one down in the States, but missed the registration and its now sold out.  Hence the formal proposal free of grammatical and spelling errors that I was working on earlier tonight.  If anyone out there knows of any solid relays let me know!!  Or better yet, anyone who thinks they have a team that can challenge us, come out to Whistler next year and race us!

Pawluk #123, Winter #389
BC Cross Country Championships are tomorrow.  I'm looking forward to it and its bringing back some old memories.  The race will be in Abbotsford and it will have been 10 years since my last race on this course which was BC High School Cross Country Champs in 2002.  That year I won, beating Chris Winter and Geoff Martinson.  Best part about tomorrow?  I'll be racing against Chris Winter and Geoff Martinson.  Those guys are pretty darn legit.  I'll have my work cut out for me.  Both these guys are pretty fit right now too.  Hell with it, I'm pretty fit right now as well.  It'll be a good race.  I'll put some sort of race recap up if it turns into an epic battle.

Sunday, 14 October 2012

25% cold, 75% rain drops keep falling on my head

I was planning on getting something out here a few days ago, but then I got sick.  Being sick mostly sucks.  You know you're eventually going to pick something up, its just a matter of when.  Thankfully I got this cold at a semi-ideal time (super ideal time is when your not racing at all and just putting in some base mileage).  The time qualifies as semi-ideal because there are no major races for a few weeks, so plenty of time to get healthy again.  In general, I'm a lucky SOB and don't get sick too often.  I can't even remember the last time I got sick.  In fact, sometimes at the end of a season, when I have a few weeks to run relaxed, I go out of my way to try and get sick.  Yeah, it sounds messed up to deliberately get a cold, but if you know your going to get sick, you might as well do it on your own schedule.

So we had a really nice summer over here in Vancouver.  It was so wonderful and spectacular that we didn't have any rain drops fall on our heads for all of August and September.  It was so dry that even trails and parks were closed do to "extreme fire conditions."  I ignored all the signs and ran off limit trails anyway.  Made me feel like some kind of bad ass rebel.  As wickedly wicked as the nice dry weather was, it was not meant to last forever and we finally have rain drops falling on our heads.  Its actually a bit of an understatement to say "rain drops," as we haven't seen drops for the past few days, but buckets of water instead.  I'm now three for three in being completely soaked and drenched after my runs.  I have all sorts of awesome rashes on my chest and behind my knees (half tight chaffing?)  Today was a beyond miserable 2 hour run.  We started going a little nutty after a dozen miles or so and started jumping in puddles trying to splash each other.  Oddly enough we couldn't actually get any wetter. 

Now I started getting a bit off topic here, but I'm talking about rain (and lots of it) because Vancouver (Jericho) is hosting national cross champs again this year.  Those of you who were here last year, or saw the pictures know what a pleasant afternoon we had last year with sunshine, no wind, dry hard footing, and warm temperatures.  Oh wait, that's what we had on Wednesday when we did a work out at Jericho.  Amazingly enough, when we were down there today the place was already flooded, and it only took three days.  So heads up to all of you thinking about traveling out to Vancouver at the end of November for Nats, the weather will probably suck and it will likely be a mud bath yet again.  Remember those 13mm spikes. 

Next up, is the Whistler50.  Its a 8 person, 80km relay (alternating 13k and 7k legs).  This is the events 2nd year (replaced Haney2Harrison).  We dominated the race last year and were planning on doing the same this year.  We're mostly made up of Point Grey guys but for kicks we have a Newfie for good times and laughs. This event generates awesome stories.  Check out our 2012 t-shirt.  We name our team after outhouse/port-a-potty brands.  Last year we were Team Honey Bucket, this year Point Grey Port-A-Loo.  If you know any awesome port-a-potty names let me know!!  We'll need something fresh for next year.  Heck I'd even send you a t-shirt if you have an awesome name for us.

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

50% 15:07, 50% 16:00

A few days ago was the Oasis Zoo Run 10k, which also serves as the Canadian National 10k Championships.  Seems like add odd concept, holding a national championship race in a zoo, but it actually works (mostly).  The Toronto Zoo is pretty impressive, and has a lot going on.  Unfortunately though, it also means that the zoo has an abundant amount of trails and foot paths going all over the bloody place and we had to race on them.  Thankfully the first few kilometers were outside the zoo, on the wide open roads which felt a little more natural - like animals running free in the wild.  I went out with the leaders right from the gun because I didn't want to loose visual contact in the later parts of the race.  I have no idea what our splits were but the course started downhill, and then went up hill for nearly a kilometer, then rolled a little, and included two 180 degree turns (all within the first 3.5km).  I was still the the pack at 5km (15:07), but after that it started to spread out a little in the twisty and complicated parts of the course.  The frustrating part for me was not knowing where we were going.  I can say I studied the map the night before, but it didn't really help at all.  We'd go around a corner and have no idea what awaited us on the other side - quick left, long straight (actually there were very few of those), or maybe a sharp right.  Anyway, I survived it and crossed the finish line in 7th overall, 6th for the Canadian Championships.  I think I surprised myself a little with that.  The field included a lot of very talented runners so finishing in the mix was a nice feeling. Congrats to our BC team which won a bunch of team categories and had a lot of solid individual performances.

Raccoons in a zoo
Raccoon in my parent's house
But as awesome as the race was, the cool down was a lot more awesome.  We got to see animals.  Now I have mixed feelings about zoo's and I don't really know if I'm for or against them, but there is something pretty awesome about seeing some of these amazing creatures up close.  I saw giraffes and monkeys, and bears, and lions, and moose, and cougars, and a rhino.  Oh, and most importantly, I saw an elephant.  It was probably the most useless cool down ever as I stopped every minute to take another picture of some random animal.  They also had the fattest raccoons I've ever seen.  I'm pretty used to raccoons because they're everywhere in Richmond and frequently wander into my apartment when I leave the back door open.  But seriously, these guys at the zoo were well fed.  Now that I think about it, I'd also never seen so many fat squirrels either. 

Now its back to business.  I don't have any races until the end of October which means nothing but quality training for a few weeks.  It is certainly a nice change from the spring and summer when I was racing every other weekend, or in many cases several weekends in a row. 

Monday, 10 September 2012

50% yawn 50% routine

This blog writing nonsense can actually be difficult at times.  I was hoping to knock one of these out about once a week, but I think 2 weeks or so has gone by already.  Sometimes the motivation isn't really there.  Actually, its not that there isn't any motivation, but there's not much going on and therefore no awesome stories.  But then again I did originally say this blog was meant "to put people to sleep," so boring posts may help me achieve that.  I've also started writing "press releases" for our Point Grey website in addition to this.  Maybe that's where my creative effort has disappeared to.  Truth be told, my articles are actually quite pathetic.  I can't get beyond three or four sentences.  The formula goes like this.

1.  Person A will run a race on such and such a day
2.  The weather will be.... (old people like the weather)
3.  Person A hopes to do... insert goal here
4.  Other random fact, like other contenders or some info about the race itself.  Add a picture!!

So that said, every club should be able to have a wicked website with up to date race results and news articles because they only take about 2 minutes to do.  Oh, and if your really smart about it you can subtly get a quote from people via emails and text messages or twitter or whatever media friendly platform people enjoy these days.

Other then that, the last couple have weeks have gone by quickly without too many running related hiccups.  We're finally getting close to racing as well.  Less then two weeks until the Zoo Run/Canadian 10k in Toronto.  I'm looking forward to that one as its been a couple months without any racing.  And unlike the winter/spring of 2012 where I raced 15 times or so I only have 3 or 4 races on the schedule for the fall.  More time to train well with more selective races.  I think I'll likely run the BC cross country championships and then the Canadian cross championships at the end of November.  I like the mud and crappy weather so its hard to pass on that one.   I don't care to write about training specifics and workouts but maybe I'll do some kind of race report or something after my races.  Like I pointed out above, they are really easy to do!  Plus, now I don't have to update this blog for nearly two weeks again.  Awesome.

They have elephants at the Toronto Zoo. Will it be the best cool down ever?

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

100% Point Grey TFC

Delorean Monster Truck!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
So I started this post a few days ago, but started getting bored and it was kind of dry.  Then I got distracted by the interweb.  But you can only read so much about Lance Armstrong and then that gets boring too.  That's when I got way off topic and started educating myself on the history of monster trucks.  I figure that could someday be a plausible dinner party conversation and for lack of sounding stupid I thought it best I know something.  People can only talk about politics and religion... or running... for so long before you need to spice it up a little.  All you really need to know is a guy named Chandler started it all with Bigfoot.  I've actually been to a monster truck show.  Have you?  It was entertaining.  Good for 10 year old kids because they get to watch trucks.  Good for 20 year old kids because they get to watch fights.  

I'm part of a track club, a pretty bad ass track club.  We're called Point Grey TFC.  Who are we you ask?  Let me fill you in.

Point Grey started a couple years ago as an outlet for graduating University of British Columbia athletes and other graduates or senior level athletes from elsewhere.  As many of you have likely seen and noticed in your hometown or respective running communities, lots of athletes quit competing after their university career is over.  And truthfully, this is a real shame.  Marek, the head coach at UBC, for years had been looking to create an affiliate program, but this required some help from other individuals who were willing to make this come true.  All the Vancouver based powerhouses had essentially vanished and it was time to bring one back.

Three years ago, the timing finally worked for Marek.  I got back into the running scene and was looking to train so I could uphold a promise I made to a group of guys for a road relay.  Last thing I wanted to do was show up unfit.   I agreed to fill in all the required paper work and do all the administrative type junk and before you know it we were actually official and had about 5 members!!!

Fast forward three years to now and were actually kind of legitimate.  We have nearly 30 athletes, most of us in our post university years, and a few university athletes who train with PGTFC in the summer (non-university) season.  We have two stellar coaches, Marek Jedrzejek and Richard Lee, and have began developing relationships with business's and supportive groups within the community. 

See that was boring to write which I why I started Googling monster trucks.

We're a no-thrills track club.  We don't offer much, can't support much, and don't have much. This is fair for a baby club with dirt cheap memberships and cash-poor members in their 20's.  But we have goals, and desires, and the will to make ourselves more prominent and established.  What we lack in existing infrastructure we make up for with young resourceful individuals, ingenuity, and passion for the sport. 

Princess worked on this for a long time.  He did a nice job.
I've read a lot of blogs and message boards with people sharing their thoughts on what it takes to make running "better" in Canada.  In my opinion, (and I may be wrong here in the minds of many) what you need first and foremost is a group of people who want to succeed and are willing to do the work required.  Our club is exactly that.  We're not expecting people (or governing athletic agencies) to open up their wallets and blindly support us.  We have to do the grunt work first, and that's more then just running fast.  We have to promote ourselves, physically approach local businesses, and show that were an important part of the community.  Maybe someday we will grow to a point where we can and do receive outside support and some of the small day to day burdens can be lifted allowing us to train a little more and a little harder. 

A lot of people use the Speed River example.  Speed River Track Clubs aren't going to magically pop up all around the country.  But they can exist.  Lots of them can exist.  It just means our club, and your club too, are going to have to work hard to make it happen.  And the good thing is that there are lots of groups out there trying to make it work.  We want to be a high performance club.  It may not happen in my running career, but maybe with the right attitude and drive, we someday can be the Speed River of the West Coast... but of course we'll be called Point Grey TFC!!!

Sunday, 19 August 2012

10% intro, 90% squirrel

This blog was originally supposed to be an internal club type blog.  I've been chasing after Dr. Ben to add it to our Point Grey TFC website for sometime now.  Instead, he simply went outside the club and made it a bit more public then I wanted.  In reality this probably won't make much of a difference.  I might have to be a bit more "PG" and some of the jokes and pointless things I like to joke about would and will only make sense to Point Grey TFCer's.  That said, check out our website.  You'll have to Google search Point Grey TFC to find us.  I actually have no idea what our website address is and I'm too lazy to look it up, but I can tell you its a Runnerspace page and its not that hard to find.  Dr. Ben does a pretty good job looking after it.  Not too sure how much time he'll have in the future to keep it up to date as he has to perform open heart surgery in September, brain surgery in October and will perform his first prostate exam in November (see, these are the inside jokes we like to make).

Fat Squirrel - The Joy of Cooking has squirrel recipes
On to better things.  I don't like to run with music or any of that non-sense and I put in a lot of solo miles, so the only thing left to do is observe the world around me.  One thing that I always notice are squirrels, and lots of squirrels.  I actually kind of like squirrels.  Essentially, they are fluffy rats but much more entertaining.  Squirrels are always a little jumpy.  Have you ever seen a squirrel walk around?  Nope.  They always bounce around and seem to be scared of everything including blades of grass and falling leaves.  They are suspicious little creatures.  It’s weird too, because they’re often on their own, like me on so many of my runs!  You don't see squirrels in large groups or in "family units."  Raccoons work as a team to take down the garbage can and when trapping my mom in the garage (really funny story).  Eagles live together and look after their eaglets.  Even skunks hang out in groups to create twice the stink (once I even got held hostage by a few skunks on a 5am morning run).   The only time you see squirrels together is when they chase after each other.  And this is where my real question lies.  What is this chasing all about?  I think its squirrel foreplay, pre freaky activity.  And obviously squirrels do get it on at some point.  They must mate, but at the same time I feel like I’ve never seen a juvenile or baby squirrel.  They are all look like “adults” being roughly the same size, some being a little fatter then others.   All of this led me to googling squirrels.  Turns out there are several different types and sub species or something like that and they all have slightly different nesting and foraging habits.  But here is the craziest part.  Squirrels can live up to 12.5 years!!.  That means I’ve probably been running past some of the same squirrels for my entire running career.  In fact I’ve probably ran by multiple generations of the same squirrel lineage.

So that is what I do when I run.  I think about stupid stuff like squirrels and whether or not two squirrels chasing each other is squirrel foreplay.  What else are you supposed to think about for 90 minute runs every day?