Archive for the ‘Routes’ Category


…here in London.  Which may have been the primary cause of my LSD demise.  My anticipated goal this weekend was 22-25km so as to taper down from my longer run two weekends ago.  Alas, there were too many factors working against me this weekend.

I struggled to make it to the first km.  I walked.  The second km.  I walked.  The third km.  I walked.  The fourth km.  I walked.  The fifth km.  I walked.  I wasn’t even 1/4 of the way to my planned distance and I was already hauling ass.  Now I know why I warm up so much before real races, as the elites do, because my legs need to get warm before they’re working at peak efficiency.  By the sixth km I was starting to feel better.  It was none other than my tired legs that were holding me back.  I took the first half of my GU gel at 7km and I managed to make it to 9km without walking.  It kicked in at that point, and I was happy that my body was starting to come alive.  It was no where near a solid run, but at least I was getting out of the funk.

The night before, I was given the floor to sleep on, in a sleeping bag atop a thin area carpet situated on top of hardwood flooring.  My back was aching throughout the night and I hopped onto the leather sofa at around 2am.  I finally got in touch with my fiance at 3am to make sure that she was ok, and at 4am, she called me back to tell me that she made it home.  I was utterly exhausted.  The sleeping bag provided little ventilation as well, so I was constantly covering up due to chills, and opening up the bag due to cold sweats.  Sleeping in a new and foreign setting takes a toll on your physical self.

I rolled out of bed at a late 9 a.m. and managed to get myself on the road in short time, as I wanted to avoid the afternoon sun.  I managed only to scarf down a peach right before I left, so I’m afraid that the lack of digested food really did me in as well. 

London has a really nice path that runs along a river, and my friend is fortunate to live so close to it.  It’s not as nice as the Rideau in Ottawa, but it’s nice enough.  Although I was lucky that I was protected by an overcast sky, the humidity compounded with the proximity to the lake made it yet another hellish and hot run.

The city of London is very small, especially through the eyes of any Torontonian.  I ended my run in St. Catherine’s Cathedral park, where they have a very nice ‘Queen’s Park’ish circular path that allows you to do nice intervals.  Seeing as how it was the end of my run, I decided to try as the professionals do, and run one final kilometer at my best pace, so as to utilize fast-twich muscles that I had not been using this whole time.  I wasn’t even able to get under 4:00:00.  WTF??  Damn elites!

In the end, I knocked out a paisely 17km, a sizeable chunk of it was probably due to walking.  Let it never be said that a good night’s sleep has no affect on performance.

Highway to Hell…


…is most definitely a hot one.  Running at such high temperatures and humidity tested the limits of our will like never before.  Our plan was to leave at 10:30am on Sunday, but luckily we managed to get our at together and got going at about 9:45am.

The run west on Sheppard provided us with serious challenges with many daunting hills and lack of cover from the blazing sun.  We were fortunate to have overcast skies for about 75% during the whole run.  But it was still that 25% that physically drained nearly 100% of our energy.

Looking down at my GPS watch, even at about 12km, I was more than willing to call it quits, but with Donald at my side, I knew that I had to trooper on.  This partner running really does give you that mental push.  Not only that, but had he not been there, I would’ve been without gels too!

Each preceding step was 2x more labour intensive in this sweltering heat.  We were forced to drink warm water with each sip, as we could no longer afford to spit out the water waiting in the tube in anticipation of cooler liquids.  Stopping for that gatorade fix at the Esso gas station was like taking a sip from heaven.  It felt so good.

It was clearly obvious that the heat was taking its toll on us.  I kept yelling out “Slow it!” to Donald, trying to gain some composure.  I was ready to jump into the next public swimming pool.

I was more than happy to have stopped where we did, and hopefully we’ll have gained some physical and mental experience from this endeavour.  Cycling downtown to the beaches and back was certainly a feat in itself.  Kudos to a endurance-filled weekend!

Airport run
Saturday 8:30am…*ring ring* “hallo…?” “Yo man, are we running? Are you ready?” “Bleh… Its only 8:30 dude, thought we said 10?” “Yah man, you can’t wake up at 10 for a 10am run!” “Arg…ok lemme get ready” what a way to wake up after a night of partying 😦 I go downstairs, pull my water pack out of the freezer, grab a couple handfuls of cereal and walnuts, chug some water, change and pack… Crap! No ear buds! I need music! No time, I just borrow my sister’s. Crap! No sweatband! Arg! I hate not living at home. I send Jay a message, gonna be late, gotta go home to get a sweatband… A quick drive home later and I’m ready to go 9:30 🙂

I head out the door and after a short warm up run to Yonge and Finch meet up with Jay. Omg this day is going to be brutally hot! Good thing we left early. We start making our way down Yonge. “Did you bring gels?” I ask Jay, “crap! I knew I forgot something!” Its ok, I brought 3 and that should be enough to get us through this run. Jay proposes an alternate route instead of running down, much less crowded. Sure! Whatever works.

We hit Sheppard and start heading westbound, now the sun is really starting to come out. “Dang it! We shouldn’t of called beach! This weather is starting to look perfect for it!” Jay says. “Yeah maybe true, but look at those storm clouds, they’re looking pretty omnious if you ask me, if it starts to rain, do you think we should call it?” I ask. “Naw man, rain’ll be good for us, this heat is really beating down on us.” Jay says. Its true, the sun is really starting to come out now. We continue down Sheppard, trying to find shady spots along the way. Then I notice it, is Jay picking up the pace a little bit? I’m starting to get out of breath… Bastard! Whatever, I’ll try and keep up till I can’t take it and… “Slow down” Jay says. Sweet! He must of realised that we were going too fast, especially in this heat! He tells me that we should be taking this run at Cat pace.

We continue on our way on Sheppard past Downsview station to the part where it wraps around Downsview park. This is probably the worst part of the whole run, there is absolutely no shade and there seems to be a bunch of long gradual uphills. The sun is really beating down on us at this point, my skin feels like its on fire! As we hit the crest of the Downsview loop we see a dog kennel 🙂 I joke a bit and bark back at the dogs.

We finally finish the Downsview loop and reach Dufferin, there a long downhill and an over passing bridge, we hide under the bridge for a bit for a welcome break from the sun. Once we reach the intersection we take a quick break and share our first gel. “Let’s take the Vanilla first, it has no caffiene in it, so we won’t go too fast and burn ourselves out”. We continue and hit the second big hill, oh man… I remember this beast! I had attempted to do a large portion of this run last year, except in the opposite direction and that time I failed the run. “Taking a hill is like getting a BJ from a granny” Jay says “don’t look up”. Good advice. If you don’t look up, you don’t really know how much further you have to go and it seems to get over sooner.

After the long hill and some running later we approach Jane. Things are starting to look familiar. “This is where I stopped to get some water and a power bar” I tell jay, “this is where I couldn’t run anymore”, “this is where I asked some guy to fill my water bottle”… Luckily I’m feeling much better this time despite the extreme heat, the water pack definately helps.

We keep treking along and we pass the first highway, hwy 400 its a pretty decent incline, but we manage it no problem. Shortly after we see Weston road and make a left. A few kilometers later I see the bridge right before the 401, there’s a long downhill followed by a long uphill, I hear Jay groan. Lucky for him I remember that I didn’t actually run over the bridge, but over it via a side ramp, its a slight uphill, but much easier than we would of had to do if we went under. Right after the bridge we see the 401. Yes! We’re over half way there! We stop for a bit and take our second gel, this time we take the chocolate for a little more of a kick, leaving the Roctane for when we really need it. As we take the gel I ask Jay to check on my water supply, it feels like its running low, Jay confirms this I have about a cup and half left. We say that we have to stop soon to refill. we start up again, and start to cross the 401, OMG the legs feel heavy! I think we stopped too long 😦 after we cross the 401 there’s a large plaza with several fast food joints, and even a real canadian superstore! But because our legs felt so heavy still we decided to keep treking and look for a convenience store instead.

We continue down Weston road, down to I notice that there’s a park there and keep an eye out for a water fountain, no such luck 😦 we cross a bridge into a beautiful neighboorhood. All residential, no convenince stores… I start to panic a little as I’m now starting to suck up some air when I take sips of water. Then we see it, dixie.rd! Yes! We’re at the home stretch and on a road this big there HAS to be something! We keep going on our way and pass a couple strip plazas, some having dr’s offices and restaurants, even a shut down grocery store! But no convenince store. At this point my water supply is completely out. Finally about 3km down, there’s a gas station, let’s stop there! We make our stop, Powerade is on sale, 2 for $3 we grab that, I grab a liter bottle of water. We go outside and I try and fill my resevoir up, messily spilling all over the place as my body is extremely exhausted at this point. I get Jay to help me out, he shows me that in that short time he’s already finished his bottle of Powerade. We wait for the light and start treking again. WOW!!! Legs are even heavier than our last stop! 😦 this is no good, no matter we push though and hope for the best.

Soon we hit the 409, there’s a perkins there… Man I could really go for some breakfast I think to myself. The heat is starting to get bad again, and suddenly I feel it, my calf is starting to cramp again 😦 I take several big gulps of water, cramps are usually caused by dehydrated muscles. It helps a little and I keep going. Wooooshhh!!! A plane flies right over us “We’re getting close!”, but then we see it…one last hill 😦 man, we’re 22k into our run now, this is gonna hurt. We take it slow, but it definately doesn’t help my cramping calf, I try and use my thighs more, and keep drinking water. We clear the hill, and there’s the 401. We’re so close now, I can see terminal 3 off in the distance. But the cramps are starting to get worse and more frequently now, I keep drinking water, I even try and stop to stretch it out but nothings working “can’t go anymore man!” I tell Jay, “my calf is cramping”, 24k Jay says, not bad considering the conditions and our previous long run being 4k shorter. We walk the rest of the way, we see a sign that says our final destination was still about 3kms away, meaning a 27k run total, I guess its a good thing we didn’t run the whole thing, that’d be 7k more than we did last week. On the way we decide to stop over at a office building to get a nice long stretch in. We leave nice big sweat stains everywhere we sit :p I change my clothes and head over to Zets, we’re both starving. As soon as we leave the lot it starts to trickle a little “dam you! Where were you while we were running!?!” Yells Jay. We start making our way and the rain gets heavier. Dam, I knew once I changed it would rain! We run between trees the rest of the way to avoid the rain. As we get there I order the 10oz steak and eggs, mmm protein! Best meal ever.

Final LSD in June 2010


It was feeling like another hot summer day, but the need to squeeze in an LSD outweighed the less than ideal weather conditions for our run.  I posed a route that ended up downtown, for a myriad of reasons: to check out water backpack’s at MEC, to pick up some food in Chinatown, and to lay witness to the downtown hoopla.  We managed to get going by 3pm, as we had just realized that MEC was to close at 5pm, and this would be really pushing the envelope.

We left our respective homes at 3:15pm to meet at our usual designated Yonge  & Sheppard meetup point. However, this time of day left us vulnerable to the ill effects of the sun and heat.  Even the short 2km warmup to our meetup spot left us both dreading whether or not we would even make it downtown.  Oh yes, it was hot.  Donald was armed with his waterpack and I with my waist bottle and an extra handheld disposable in tow; we began hoofing it across Sheppard to Bathurst.  From Bathurst we would head directly south, leaving North York behind in our wake.

We had to keep reminding each other that this was an LSD to “slow down!”, but unfortunately in the back of my mind, our destination had an expiry time.  Donald listed this distance at about 14km so we’d be able to make it with some time to spare.

The frequent red lights along the small side streets commanded us to slow down and stop, but we blasted through them knowing that there probably isn’t a cop for miles due to the G20.  We needed to make good time.  Donald was cursing his headband for insufficiently soaking up his sweat, while I was lucky that my hat was doing a fairly good job.  My sunscreen was visibly painted along my arms.

We passed Wilson, and then we tackled Lawrence.  “Slow down!”, we kept telling each other.  Eglinton was coming up soon enough.  The road to Eglinton gave us a challenge with some rolling hills, so till this point we kept trotting at a moderate pace.  It wasn’t until the long steep downhill after St. Clair that we really sensed the urgency to boot it.

With each passing kilometer, the running gods smiled upon us as the clouds paid us a long visit, and the temperature decided to retract its claws.

Donald alerted me with the time.  “Holy crap!”, I said.  It was already 4:15pm.  Right after Donald answered the call of nature at the bottom of the hill, we had settled comfortably into a good pace and there was no stopping us from there.  I was very much in doubt that we’d make it by 5pm, but Donald said that we would.  We pushed on.

We banked east onto Harbord to head down Spadina, and we really turned on the jets.  By now, it was 4:40pm and with no chance of having enough time to actually shop around, we made it our goal to simply make it to the door at the projected time.  It’s fun to have a goal.  Donald says that his calf is starting to act up.  He troopers on knowing that we’re so close.

College!  We shoot past the circle at U of T.  A bunch of bike cops ride their peloton past us.

Dundas!  There are so many pedestrians.  I decide to remain on the road for the rest of the way.  I don’t care that I’m technically on the wrong side.  We’re almost there!

Queen!  Donald drops back and tells me to finish up.  He doesn’t want to risk injury.  5 mins to go!  There’s a red light directly ahead of me with more than 8 cops standing around!  My legs carry me to the other side and my brain shoved its proverbial ostrich head into the sand hoping that cops wouldn’t see……whew….they didn’t care!

King!  I swing around the corner and reach MEC with 2 minutes to spare.

A sign reads: We are closed for Saturday and Sunday.


Mission Accomplished.  The route turned out to be 18.1km and with a finishing time of approx 1:45.00, we are elated to suck back on some vitasoy box drinks and Chinatown delights.



After being rained out the day before, and a late night at the casino, I get a message from Jason “Joiners for LSD down to mec before dinner? Wanna check out camelbaks, pickup bun mi, and smash some windows… ;P” (g20 riots were on just the day before). I already had a week off from my long runs, so I finished up my cooking and cleaning, then planned out a route. Down Bathurst all the way down… Apparently down to the lake was only 14k, so I add a few more km by doubling back at the end. I fill up my water resevoir, grab a headband, pack my flip flops, a change of clothes and a reusable grocery bag and head out the door.

Whoomp! One step outside and it hits me right away, the heat and humidity are so intense it feels like I’m in a sauna! I hope we haven’t made a mistake running so late in the day (3:30pm) as I make my way to Yonge and Sheppard I run at a very slow pace, even at that I find myself gasping for air, oh man… I hope it cools down fast. I arrive at our rendevous point, almost instantly the sweat pours out of my pores. I’m so glad that I remembered to wear a sweatband. Off in the distance I see a guy in a red shirt and black hat, that kinda looks like Jason, but he’s just standing around… Why is he just standing around? He turns around and I recognize Jay’s water belt, he’s getting out his phone. I get his attention and he walks over, apparently he was looking on the other side of the street for me.

Off we go, we both complain about the heat and humidity. Jay tells me how he tries to avoid lunch time runs because of the heat. Clip clip clip… “Did you bring any gels? I forgot to bring mine” Jay say. I did, but I suggest that since this is potentially only a 14k run, we probably don’t need it. Jay agrees, but says we should probably go super slow or do 10 and 1’s.

We approach the bridge on Sheppard between Yonge and Bathurst. By this point the head and humidity are really getting to me, each breath I take is super heavy, the hill feels like hell. As we crest the hill a girl runs by, Jay speeds up..WTF!? “Gotta make it looks good” he says… Yah yah… I’m still trying to catch my breath at this point. I try taking extra deep breaths, hoping that they’ll some how expand my lungs, and each breath won’t feel like there’s a ton of bricks on my chest. Soon we get to Bathurst and Sheppard. “Let’s use this intersection as our 1 in our 10 and 1s!” I say, praying for a break in this hellish run. Ok! Jay says, and we take our time getting to the opposite corner before starting again.

Bathurst! We have arrived, the longest and hopefully the easiest (mostly downhill to downtown) leg of our journey. Clip clip clip… Where’s my wind?!? How come each breath still feels excruciating? At this point my back behind my lungs start to feel tight and sore too. I try my deep breaths technique, hopefully this’ll help a little. Nope! I turn to Jay, “dude! We’re not even at the 401 yet! I don’t even know if I hit my stride yet, my lungs still feel super heavy! F’ing humidity!” He tells me something about training in less than ideal conditions, so your body can work even better when conditions are ideal.

After some more running, and pointing out that almost everyone we came across being philipino (probably the maids of all the Jews downtown, I joke). We see it 401! Yay! Jay says this is the place where Cat changed her pants our last run. We pass under the 401 and it hits us, BREEZE! THANK GOD! Almost instantly I feel the energy kick in! Could it be? Is it my wind? Or is it just the lack of humidity? Whatever it is, it feels like heaven compared to the heavy tight lungs I was running with before.

Down Bathurst we go, at this point we definately had hit our strides, as we constantly kept speeding up and had to keep telling outselves to slow down. Within a blink of an eye there’s Lawrence, and so begin the rolling hills. I tell Jay that I had run this little stretch before too, except at the end of a 14km run, not at the beginning. I get to the hill I hated last time… Hmm not so bad, I guess its different when you’re going at it with fresh legs, as opposed to at the end of you long run. There’s Eglinton! We dash across the street once the light changes to beat the advance green light. Clip clip clip, then it comes, the result of over hydration before the run. I gotta pee! Well we’re over half way done, maybe I can hold it. We pass St.Clair… Nope, now I really gotta go. I tell Jay, he laughs. He suggests we stop by somewhere, nah, we’re guys, I’ll just find a corner. I hate going into places, all sweaty and stinky to just ask to use the washroom. I see a little side street with some bushes, “hold on, I think I found a spot” nope, there’s a crowd of people there, just hanging out outside of their house. Crap! No worries, just a bit later there’s a little forest with a path 🙂

Clip clip clip, I check my watch, 4:30! Are we gonna make it to MEC before it closes? Well we’re over half way done, we shooould be ok, but its cutting it close. We pass Dupont, we’re getting close, more landmarks = feels like we’re covering more gound faster. Bloor! We’re almost there… 4:45 uh oh, its getting tight! We also gotta get back east to Spadina, I tell Jay. Let’s pick a street that isn’t too crowded. 4:50.. Oh man! I take a quick short cut though a high school lot, and we’re now on Harbord travelling east. 4:52…. At this point, both of us definately start picking it up, 8 mins! Can we make it? We hit Spadina, and the pace picks up yet again.

We pass College, then it hits, a pang of cramp runs up my right calf, oh no! Not on the home stretch! 😦 we get to Dundas, the pace picks up yet again. Another pang, on no! “Jay you may need to go on without me, if you wanna make the 5:00 deadline” he tells me to fight though the pain, pain is only temporary he tells me… The cramps start to come more and more frequently now, crap! I must drink more water along the way! We pass Queen, 4:55 at this point my leg is fully cramping. 4:58 Just go! I tell Jay, and he takes off to King, I turn left on Adelaide instead, and drop my pace significantly, still a light jog though. I turn on Peter to King. I get a text from Jay, MEC is closed, he’s going to Europe Bound instead. Man… Did we miss the 5:00 deadline?

I turn the corner, King is totally deserted except for Jay and maybe 2 other people. Apparently Mec was closed because of g20, thank God! Europe bound is closing too, they have 2 conflicting signs, one that says 5:00 and the other that says 5:30. Bah! We walk over to King and Spadina and stretch out, great run! Insane pace.

After a nice stretch, I change out of my soaked clothes, and shoes, into the change I brought and a set of flip flops. I take off my headband, and wring it out to show Jay how much water I probably lost. don’t know how Jay is walking around in his gross sweaty clothes. The only thing I couldn’t change was my underwear that was equally as soaked as the rest of me, its very uncomfortable. We head over to Chinatown, Jay buys an aloe drink and downs it asap. I buy some yu choy, and a 6 pack of malt vitasoy, soy milk. 7 g of protien per carton, excellent recovery food! We make our way to Eaton center which thankfully isn’t on lockdown anymore, and I finally change my underwear.

We make it back up town, and its very apparent that it was raining, heavily. Also as soon as I get home, it start pouring. I message Jay, good timing eh? He asks if its about the riot. Apparently there’s another G20 riot taking place as Spadina and Queen! We were just there! Wow, we JUST missed all the action! What a wicked run!

A big mistake…

Of wise decisions I could make, running another 10k the day after running 15k was probably not the best idea ( …  but I had promised my sister that I would help her run her 10k lsd this week, and I couldn’t let her down. Besides, I’m a little more athletic than her, and I have experience under my belt…. Big mistake, what I didn’t take into account was the youngest (super athlete) joining us on our run. All the sudden our slow casual run had become a game of keep up with the youngest sister. Right off the bat I felt the effects of the run just a day before, my legs ached with each step, and my calves burned and felt like they were ready to cramp up. No matter, I just needed to get the blood flowing, hit my stride then it’ll be ok, that how us old people work right? no… 4km it was only worse, in my mind I was ready to give up, but there’s no way I’d let my sisters beat me! jog jog jog… as we pass some store fronts, I notices that my gait has become slow and sluggish, it looks as if each step I take is done so with excruciating pain (I now know how Cat felt the day before). As we hit lights, Megan (youngest one) is bouncy waiting for the light to change so she can get going, Nicole is lightly jogging to keep he cardio up, and I “look like I wanna die, silently cursing to my sisters for making me do this run” At around 6k Megan hits her stride, and takes off on us, Nicole starts to slow down a little, which is a much welcome rest after the past 7km of pain. The rest helps a ton, and I hit my second wind, I see Megan not too far in the distance, and think to myself, hmmm I think I can catch her. So I start to speed up a little, but then also notice that Nicole is starting to fade back… Since this run was for me to help her on her LSD’s I kybosh the catch up attempt and keep a slow and steady pace to keep Nicky up with me…. She says to me…”How the heck is Megan going so fast!?!” I laugh…. we finally hit Yonge again, and the home stretch, Nicky looks like she’s dying, she’s happy that at this point she’s run her 10k and accomplished her goal… at this point Megan is a tiny speck in the distance, I can see she’s doing extra distance just to tire herself out…. all while Nicky and I are suffering like crazy.

We finally arrive home, with our mom yelling out the window at us to get in and eat dinner, cause she’s starved! So are we = )

Hill Training – The 4 Hills off Yonge

Never having done any hill training prior to my halfs or marathons, I decided that I should give it the ol’ college try.  Situated near my home, I could think of no better location than the four hills that spout from the chasm at Yonge & York Mills.

One word sums up hill training:  Intense.

I slow jogged it to the bottom of the hills where, armed with my GPS, decided to attack each hill one at a time, tempo speed, running hard only on the elevations.

Hill #1 – On York Mills, East towards Bayview – This is the steepest, yet shortest of the 4.  Approx 400m.

Hill #2 – On Wilson, West towards Bathurst – Arguably the longest, and most constant slope.  Approx 600m.

Hill #3 – On Yonge, South towards Lawrence – The hill actually goes from Mill st. to the lights at the top – Approx 600m

Hill #4 – On Yonge, North towards Sheppard – two distances.  200m, then 500m to the 401.

Needless to say, I could not sustain tempo speed for the full distance of any of the hills, but it felt exhilarating to push my heart into maximum heart rate limits.

I will try to incorporate this training methodology once every two weeks.  They say that “intensity cannot replace mileage”, so I suppose that hill training is secondary to LSD’s and tempo runs.

Flimbs’ Run Schedule 2010

Tuesday June 29 – Grimsby – 10km

Sunday Sept 5 – Montreal – 10km

Saturday Sept 18 – OPG – 10km (maybe, leaning towards no)

Sunday Sept 19 – Ottawa – Army Half-Marathon

Sunday Oct 17 – Toronto – Goodlife Fitness Half-Marathon

Sunday Oct 24 – Niagara Falls – NF Half-Marathon

Sunday Nov 7 – Hamilton – Marathon

I have opted out of the Scotiabank run this year, but if anyone is participating, I’ll definitely be there to cheer them on.

Post your schedules Team!

The schedule

Sept 5th – 10km – Montreal

Sept 18th – 10km – OPG

Sept 26th – Scotiabank

Oct 17th – Half – GL

Oct 24th – Half – Niagara

Nov 7th – Full – Hamilton