Sunday, July 26, 2009

My Sunday Long Run (In Pictures)

After enjoying watching the last stage of the Tour de France , having my daughter Denise visiting on this weekend, I asked myself, to run or not to run? It didn't take long to find out, I laced up my running shoes, grabbed my hydration belt with water, and took my camera out of the house and saw this. Rain and thunderstorm!

With my camera getting wet from the rain I tried to take a picture of lightning in the sky but was not quick enough, noticed I was doing 5:30ish per k from my Garmin, so had to slow down,couldn't risk reinjuring the left calf injury. I stayed closer to the houses mostly running the pathways instead of the road. I didn't want to end up a roasted/barbecued runner in case there was lightning nearby. :)

Saw this father and son walking in the rain on the road, camera shot was blurry because it was really raining hard and the sound of thunder and lightning in the sky was becoming a cause for concern.

I decided to run in the nearby woods to avoid getting hit by lightning while in the open. I started reciting, "the woods are lovely, dark and deep, but I have promises to keep, and miles to go..." It's so funny how this old poem is retained in my sub-concious after being buried there since high school.

It was so peaceful, quiet, with just the sound of raindrops falling on the leaves and ground, and occasionally the faint sound of thunder from far away. Brought back fond memories of my Tata Leon, (my Nana Eleng's farmer/fisherman husband)when I was a young boy vacationing in his rural farmland, holding his buri hat, smiling with his blackened teeth showing, looking up the dark sky , taking a deep breath at the smell of rain watering his dry rice fields.

As the rain fell harder poodles of water started forming on the pathway.

And more water!, I noticed both my shoes, including the inside were soaking wet, and it was so uncomfortable, with my socks all wet too, and hearing "squish, squish" every step I took. This time, I decided to change course, go home to change shoes and socks.

After a short return to my place to use the washroom, refill my water, change shoes and socks (didn't bother with the wet clothes) and consuming a banana, off I went out again and noticed that the rain had stopped although the sky was still gray.

Passed by a pond where people could watch geese, ducks and birds that frequent or live in the place.

It seems like wild flowers bloom in bright colors right after a rainfall.

I have to confess now, this where I go surreptitiously when I crave for hamburgers when the wife cooked only "healthy foods", vegetables , fruits, nuts. The trick is, to put gas in your car at the nearby gas station, and eat as fast as you can so you'll not be missed. :) Have to stop this, if serious about losing weight.

Markham is one of the older communities in Ontario, so in some areas, the architecture and design of buildings and homes go back to the 18th century.

First time I ran this street, in the interior, it was all quiet except for a few homeowners I saw tinkering with their plants in their front lawns..
Ain't this house so beautiful, it's front lawn and garden so simple and well manicured, that if it goes on sale now, I'd risk losing face and borrow money from my father in law so I can buy this house (ha ha, just joking)

Passed by the Main Street GO train station that goes to and from downtown Toronto. It had been more than 2 hours from the time I started running and the legs seemed to be holding good. Maybe, it's the photo taking that's keeping me unaware of the time and distance. I was starting to feel fatigued though at this point.

The sun and blue sky after the rain, only made it hotter and humid, I had to decrease my speed. Also, noticed I was breathing harder because of the humid air. The legs were feeling tired but otherwise no pain (no injured pain I mean).

Passed by a dentist's office in his home, with the rent of professional offices so high, this is practical specially in this recessionary times.
Ran out of water at this time. also felt hungry, as had my breakfast at 8 am and had only a banana during this run. This time all I could think of was food and water, and Jay and his boiled saba and Rico's hopia cubes crossed my mind for whatever reason. Must be missing Pinoy food . :)
So, more than 2 hours into my run, had to stop over at Tim Hortons for chocolate marble donut and an orange drink.




And it was a good decision to have a bite and a drink as it went warmer and warmer as the minutes went by. I was now running back home but even much slower because of fatigue. It was my intention to just run 15k today. But at this point I was pretty sure I would cover much more than that.

Saw this couple on a late Sunday date in their front yard gardening.

Yes, so right, I was just having the most peaceful long Sunday run at this moment, and my body (including the injured calf) seemed to be in harmony with the mind, spirit, surroundings and the whole universe. Hallelujah!

Amazing how an hour or more can change the color and sights in this same woods.
The poodles of water on the ground seemed to have all but disappeared.

Yellow and white wild flowers appeared to be rejoicing and praising God for giving them much needed rain in this hot summer day, like the runner who was passing by, feeling so blessed for his continuous recovery from his injury and getting more distance in this run than what he was hoping for.

Sorry, my friend I'm just too tired to play one on one at this time.

I figured out, I was so close to home anyway, might as well shoot some hoops with this friendly fellow. I tried a few three point shots, none went in. I tried medium range shots, maybe 1 out of 10 went in. I tried a few lay up shots and most missed, that's when I called it quits. Too late for a basketball comeback. I'll stick to running.

The picture says it all. I was so tired I just had to sit on the concrete floor on my front porch for a few minutes. Too tired even to stretch (I did it afterwards). I completed 19.3 ks total in 3:02. Thanks Dr. Labelle, and thanks to all the prayers and good advise from my friends, the Midsummer's Night 30k Run on August 22 is looking more and more like my next long race, God willing.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

My Sunday Long Walk In Pictures

A beautiful sunny day, perfect for a long walk, thanks for all Your goodness and make this long walk a safe and enjoyable one.

This time around my running clinic group would be more than half way finished with the 19 k LSD (long slow distance) run on the first day of our 8th week in the 18 week marathon training program. Instead of sulking and feeling depressed by my calf muscle injury problem, I decided to do a long walk (one activity that does not cause pain in my calf), at least 3 hours. Let's see if I'll be able to do it.

I'm turning right to Castlemore, and thinking whether to walk in the nearby woods and trail or the park and recreational place. I think the latter is better as I'd been to the trail the last time. I brought some cash with me just in case I run out of drink. I only have 2 containers of gatorade with me.

I'm passing by the sales office and model home of one of the home builders here in Markham. Prices of homes here have remained steady despite the ongoing recession in the US and Canada, because of its good location, cleanliness, reasonable property taxes, parks and recreational facilities, well maintained roads and infrastracture, low crime rate, and fiscally conservative municipal government, among others.

When I was a teenager I and a couple of friends volunteered as "pulot" boys at a tennis court in a neighboring subdivision (Paradise Village) for minimal pay. We were allowed to play afterwards, and we took advantage. I'm sure the 3 of us played poorly in those rare moments we were allowed to use the court and tennis racquets, but in the heat of the moment, I would imagine myself as Jimmy Connors as I tried to make a service ace or return a serve with a two handed backhand. Any Federer's among you who'd challenge me to a tennis game?

It seems like it was just yesterday, when we enjoyed taking our kids to the park to play. Now that they're young adults with their own independent lives, we have more time to indulge in our own individual interests, my wife with volunteering in church and myself with running.

Beside the children's playground is a full basketball court that I visit once in a while. I remember last year, I and another middle aged friend, Celso, who also used to be a good basketball player, and my ex-team mate in a Senior's Basketball League here, were just shooting the ball, when two 15 year olds , who told us they play for their high school team ,challenged us to a two on two game. They were both taller, their skills were still lacking and raw. but they were overly confident. So, we gave them a lesson in basketball, Pinoy style, "konting gulang" but still clean. They lost all three games against us. After the game, we gave them some fatherly advise and little tricks that could help them as basketball players. Basketball gives me fond memories. My father played it. My older brother Mike too, and my youngest brother Lino, who played varsity ball with the UE Warriors in the UAAP.

It's not the wisest idea to do a long walk at this time of the day with the heat of the sun beating down on me. The sunblock I applied on my skin surely is helping. Now, with my dark brown skin, nobody will mistake me for Chinese.

This school carries the name of a Filipino saint, I think the only school in Ontario that is named after a Filipino. It is so fitting that I just live not even 2k away. What a coincidence.

A grandfather and his grandchild sharing quality time on a beautiful Sunday morning. If I get lucky to have one in the near future, I'll be at the basketball court more often.

This morning, all I had was half a bagel and a glass of milk. I'm passing by this Srilankan Restaurant for some food, carbs, to sustain me in this long walk. They prepare the best South Asian food I've ever tasted here in Markham. The one good thing about living in Markham is it is like a melting pot of different cultures and nationalities, and this is reflected in the best Markham restaurants, Chinese, Japanese, Thai, Southasian, Italian, Greek, Canadian, American.

We runners need carbs to sustain us during a long race or a long run. I bought 3 small samosas and 2 of these donut like bread which are both vegetarian. I think these are more than enough for my projected 3 hour walk. As I am eating, I am reminded of the different food choices that some of the runner bloggers consume during their races or long runs that I find quite unique and interesting, as they mention them in their posts. examples are, Pia's bake products from Leona's Bakeshop in Cebu, Jovie's (Baldrunner) hard boiled eggs, Jay's boiled saba :) (if this is his secret to a fast time, I will have to import some here to help me with speed), Rico's hopia cubes :) (Pinoys can help Rico introduce the hopia cubes to marathon runners here in Canada and the US to replace energy gels ,eloctrolyte tablets, or shot bloks) and the many more examples of individual choices as to the food that will help them achieve the goal to finish. Can you imagine watching Haile Gebrselassie on a world marathon record run peeling off a boiled saba in the middle of a race he is leading or the best American marathoner, Ryan Hall, opening a hopia cubes pack with made in the Philippines printed on the packet. :)

These wild berries remind me of the duhat in the Philippines, except ours is purplish and bigger.

Passing by a small cemetery, and reminded of MJ. Hopefully he's at peace now.
Residents of interior homes have a way to get to the main road thru this pathway.

This vine reminds me of the upo and patola vines that my Nana Eleng (my Dad's sister) planted in her rural home in Sto. Cristo, Nueva Ecija where I used to go on vacation in the summer months when I was in elementary school. I learned to ride a water buffalo (carabao) there too, as my aunt and her family were farmers.

I prayed, please don't let me see runners, but this lady runner is showing what I'm missing.
And then another runner greets me good morning. How lucky these healthy runners are.

Maybe it's time for me to try another sport.

I think I can do that.

I tried stepping on it with both feet and I almost killed myself . So, on second thought, no, I'm gonna stick with running. :)

Decided to buy a 649 ticket at a nearby variety store.

The nearby soccer field , but the game just finished.

God, it's getting hot and I'm feeling tired.

Before becoming a runner, I'd be there rather than here.
Finally, a little shade.

Let me see what's inside the Conservation Park .
Can somebody please help us translate the Chinese characters on the lower righthand corner.

Meets a very friendly couple originally from Trinidad who are bird watchers. They tell me that variety of Ontario birds make this Conservation park their home and haven. It turned out that Robert is a runner too and is considering running a marathon in the future. I ask if they know of a bird that has a bright orange color that I saw while walking on the other trail.

They show me this, a picture of the bird I saw.
I say my thank you, and off I continue with my solitary walk. Didn't notice the time passing by, it's more than 2 hours since I left the house.

Both my girls are competitive volleyball players. Whenever we go to family picnics at a park, we set up a net, and we play volleyball just like this group. I suck at the game though.

This is just a gorgeous day to spend the lazy afternoon reading a book or relaxing close to the water where it is much cooler with a breeze.

Or frolic in the sand close to the water. At this time the camera battery goes dead. Any way it is time to return back home. It has been more than 2 hours since, my feet are starting to hurt, but I enjoy the walk so much that I hardly noticed it until the battery went dead.
I take the same route walking back and arrive home 4 hours and 20 minutes after I started, covering a distance of 18.3 ks, fatigued but otherwise okey. The time includes all my stops, to Babu Restaurant, visit to the washroom, replenishing my water/drink, stopping by the skateboard playing ground, buying the 649 tickets ,and my constant stops to take pictures. I constantly had the urge to do the slow jog even for a few seconds as I was not feeling any pain on my left calf, but I succeeded in not falling into the same trap again.
I am scheduled to see a sports injuries doctor to look at my calf on Tuesday. If all things go well the next couple of weeks, I know I'll finally see the light at the end of the tunnel.