Running Into The Unknown

Having arrived into Dublin a few days ago now, I think I’m mostly over the jet-lag. Last night’s run was fantastic, so I really slept like a baby.

While I’m here I’m running tech-less. It’s just me and my water bottle when I set out. I don’t have access to my beloved Nike+ and I can’t seem to find my Garmin charger. Once I lost those two, I felt like I should just ditch the iPod as well, out of solidarity.

So it’s back to the old tech version of planning out a route beforehand and then running out the door. This becomes doubly difficult in a city I’m unfamiliar with, with road names I can’t pronounce, and whose streets never go straight in any direction.

That said, running without tech and along completely unknown routes is exhilarating. It forces increased alertness and pushes curiosity. I think both are great things.

That said, it can lead to some interesting problems. Last night, being somewhat jet lagged and completely exhausted, a plotted out what I thought was a very easy 4k route. Just a quick jaunt to wake up my legs, my heart and my mind. The first 1k was pleasant, following the River Liffey, passing the Guinness Brewery.

Then the route curved off into the city, and, apparently up. And up. And up.

About 2k of a gentle but persistent slope upwards. The kind that leaves a dull ache in your calves. This is apparently a popular running route, as I found several significantly more capable runners than me blasting up the hill.

And thus, my short quick run was turned into a hill workout. Such is the joys of running new routes, in a new city.

I can’t wait to head out again tonight.

 

 

Route Change Up

Run

As you may know from reading my posts, I’m currently running and writing in Dublin, Ireland. This means I’ve had a BIG route change up, and am happily exploring new running routes and trails.

However, when I’m home I frequently find myself running the same routes, just out of habit. I know that this route, for instance, is a great 5k loop without many stoplights, or this one is a fantastic 20k long run that flows through many different interesting neighbourhoods.

When I first started running, I used it as a way to explore my city and truly see the world around me. I still do that, but occasionally I fall in to lulls where I use the same route, day in and day out. I’m here to encourage you not to do that.

Changing up your route has several benefits, the biggest of which is avoiding running boredom. Constantly seeing new sites and navigating new terrain keeps you aware and bright, both of which are good for your psyche and your run time. On a slightly darker note, the Toronto City Police also recommend running different routes, so potential predators will not be able to track you easily. It’s a sad thing that I have to mention this, but changing your running route can increase your overall safety. Of course, when selecting a new route, make sure you are not running down dark alleys at 2am next to minimum security prisons, etc, etc, etc.

If you have a system like Nike+, Garmin or any other GPS watch, its easy to head out the door without a plan. If you don’t, take 10 minutes before your run and map out a new route on Google Maps. If you’re stumped on where to go, contact your local Running Room. They have routes of different lengths and technical skills mapped out, all of which leave from their stores of course. And while you’re at it, maybe head out with one of their free Run Clubs!

Alright, enough planning. Go Run. Go Far. Go Enjoy. And Happy Running!

(Photo Credit: R A Pyke)

Happy Canada Day

Canada

All the way from Dublin, Ireland, I’m wishing my home and native land a

HAPPY CANADA DAY!

If you are one of my readers from outside the Great White North, today is the anniversary of our country becoming, well, a country. And we celebrate it with inordinate amounts of red and white cake, strawberries and, of course,  fireworks.

In 2001 we went a trip on Canada..Spirit Island..

If you don’t know anything about Canada (or just know our frequent use of the word “eh”, maple syrup and our affinity for toques), then let me tell you this: Canada is a beautiful and diverse country, both in its people and its countryside. I am blessed to call it home. Visit the country if you get a chance. And if you are Canadian, may I suggest traveling from coast to coast to coast? Get to know this wonderful land of ours. Maybe even pick up a few races in each city you see?

So Happy Canada Day and happy running!

(Photo Credit: Palindrome6996 and Truus)

Jet Lagged Running

Good morning to you folks. It is currently mid-afternoon for me, as I have now arrived into Dublin, Ireland, where I will be posting from for the next month or so.

semàfor dublinès - dublin traffic lights

Today, I am very very jet lagged. Red eye flights can do that for you. Nonetheless, I am lacing up for a quick run. And by quick, I a mean I will run at a very slow pace over a very short distance, but nonetheless will run.

Look, sometimes just getting out the door and going for your run is a big feat. Not every day can be the day you set a new record, run a little farther or run a bit faster. And that is okay. Those days are just the days you are preparing to hit your new records. Or they are the days you are running, like me, to get your run in.

Truth be told, I’m also running because I want to explore some of my new neighbourhood, as well as hit the internal reset button that running hits for me. Sure, I may be tired as hell. I may only run 3 kilometres. It may take me an eternity. But I know I’ll feel better after I do.

So Happy Running, from Dublin.

(Photo Credit: Campru)

The Big News

Ireland

Alright you guys. I have some big news. Drum roll please……

I’m moving to Ireland. For a month. Maybe more. Don’t really know.

I’m going over for my company to work on a project, but I’m really really really psyched about the running part. That picture up there? That’s Howth, which is a neighbourhood of Dublin, Ireland where I will be living. Beautiful, right? I’m looking forward to running those trails and clocking some miles in a new country.

This will be to mildly offset the beer and potatoes I plan on consuming while I’m there. Everyone talks about the beer in Ireland, and while that’s great and all: POTATOES. (I should add here that I have been to Dublin before for work, and am also technically Irish in my ancestry, although my family has been in Canada for generations now, meaning it might just be in my blood to love the potatoes of Ireland).

Seriously folks, the potatoes in Ireland are fantastic. I know this sounds crazy, but just….listen to me on this one. I have honestly never had better potatoes than in Ireland. They are these fantastic little clouds of starch, regardless of the preparation. Nothing is more satisfying than that on a rainy day.

I’ll be posting while over there, so I look forward to updating you with my very own snapshots of the island. Expect to see shots of both the running trails and the potatoes.

Sláinte!! (and Happy Running)

(Photo credit: Roberto Taddeo)