Adventures in urban running

Last night, I got bit by a dog while on my run.

It sucked.

This is not the dog that bit me. But it looks kinda like him. It was dark, though, and I'm not a dog identifying expert.

It was so nice and balmy outside after a terribly cold week. I was excited to get in an easy run after taking a rest day early. Matt’s parents were in town and they took us for dinner. I think that’s as good a reason to not run than any! Matt’s mom is also an expert marathoner, so I was eager to get her advice on my training plan and conquering the horrible hills I’d need to get under my belt for Around the Bay in March. Hills = enemy.

I planned a 6.5k route that ended at the Wine Rack at Broadview and Queen. (I’m such a regular in my workout gear there, the staff now asks me about my running. It’s both awesome and embarrassing). But about 2k in, my foot started to hurt a bit. Nothing to worry about, but a sign that I went from 0-60 post-holiday too fast and I should back off. I made the decision to head back early, running along Dundas instead of Carlton. This is not the prettiest stretch, but it’s neat to see all the development happening in Regent Park.

Then right at Broadview and Dundas, there was a man. And a dog. No big deal, right? I called out “on your left” and passed them.

Boom! Dog jumps on me! I yelp, but don’t stop! I check my hip. No blood. I’m a bit shaken up, but then the owner laughs. “Sorry!” Uh, dude: your dog attacked me. NOT FUNNY. In my fluster, I don’t think about the proper course of action. Instead, I do what any not-so-rational person does: I run away. I buy a lot of wine. I get home. I disinfect my wound, google “dog bite” on the internet and then drink the wine. ALL OF IT.

I’m okay. Getting bit by a dog is just another story I can add to the “Proof Erin is a runner” file.

Image: Liza Daly. Liscensed via Creative Commons.

On the run in NYC

It’s 2012! Happy New Year!! Celebrating New Years in Manhattan is not only one of the biggest tourist attractions on the planet – Time Square at midnight watching the epic ball drop, it is magical and something to see no doubt.


Moving so fast it looks like I'm standing still!


But, thankfully for my friend Stephanie moving to New York this summer –- my New Years plans where already set well in advance. I wanted be one of the 1 million people in Time Square for the event. Although my plans may have taken a different route my promise to squeezing in some New York running time did not. Stephanie and I laced up our shoes for a quiet 5k along the beautiful East River Thursday evening after my arrival. Staring longingly into the Brooklyn lights on my left and the lovely East Village on my right, visions of my future Brooklyn apartment raced through my mind. I’m such a New Yorker now (not really I’m good pretending).

Inspired by Erin’s Chicago runs, she showed me it’s easy to keep fitness goals in mind, even on vacation. So, I made the effort to do the same.

Running is easy to do while traveling – it’s a cheap tour guide, a perfect way to see a new place, and “fit” in.

Note to self, I need to start running more!



Jill’s 2012 Fitness Goals

2011 was a good year for me in both my work life and personal life. I was a much too frequent yogi at Moksha Yoga Downtown and decided to join the Miles Nadal Jewish Community Centre once my student statues had expired at George Brown. Other than the hopes of meeting new people and keeping fit, I hadn’t given much thought to what exactly I wanted from going to the gym all the time (other than a cure to boredom). This year I want to achieve something other than the self-satisfaction “I worked out today”. I’m setting tangible goals I can cross of my list and brag about once I do!

1) Run a race

Mostly out of pure sisterly completion (and wanting to be just like my big sister), I have convinced myself to be more like Erin and become a runner. Despite wearing practically nothing in the middle of December and running a 5k race for a class assignment — which count as races — I don’t think can classify myself as a runner just yet. So in 2012 I will run. Looks like I’ll be signing up for the Toronto Yonge Street 10k with proper running clothes this time. Next up the NYC Marathon! Or maybe another 10k first.


2) Do some triathlon training

This resolution, again harnessed from pure competition – my old roommate completed her first triathlon last summer using my bike, while I watched her do it. And I also discovered at my work Christmas party – I work with very fit people Bullfrog Power apparently employs Iron Man competitors and Extreme adventurists – who knew. And I can’t leave out the fact my housemates happen to be marathon runners. I’m constantly reminded of my un-accomplishments everyday, so now I want – more like need – to belong at work and in my own apartment. I need to stop telling myself this is something I could do and actually do it! I want to swim, bike and run my little heart out in 2012. Shannon would be so proud of me!


3) Lose weight & get in better shape

A very cliché resolution, I know. But, who doesn’t want to lose weight really? I would love to see my self 10 to 20 pounds lighter on the scale, but it’s more about improving my BMI and shedding the unwanted body fat weight, then actually losing weight itself. Building muscle definition is my primary objective and therefore may not directly show up on the scale. But, once I’m squatting more than my current body weight I’ll know I’m doing better. Not that I want to look like I could be in a fitness competition (but this could a resolution for 2013?) I want to improve the shape I’m in.


4) Do a handstand

Not only with this force me to improve my shoulder, core and total upper body strength I will also feel as though I have proven Personal Trainer wrong and perhaps shock myself with my athletic abilities and determination! Personal Trainer is the name I gave to one of the JCC workers whom said I have a lot of work to do if my goal is to do a handstand. Well, Mike, I will have the last laugh.


5) Eat better

Not only will this help my over all fitness challenge to lose weight, but I’ll feel energized and stronger. I like the sounds of that! Hence, all other training will be that much easier. Easy, right? Ummm. The eat better plan will be similar to Erin’s – eat less sugar, carbs and plain garbage that I do not need (I do have a sweet tooth so this will be difficult), I also plan to cleanse all unnecessary toxins out of my body four times this year. It’s the yogi in me saying this.






Erin’s 2012 Fitness Goals

2011 was a year where I got back into fitness in a big way. I’ve always been an on-again, off-again runner, but I finally committed, to great results. A year later, I have 2 half-marathons, 1 15k race, and 3 10k races under my belt.

It was an interesting year, as I struggled with bringing together what I expected my body to do, and what it could actually do. Thoughts like “Of course my first HM will be under 2 hours!”, “15k with little proper training? No problem!” were frequent in those early days. Now, I have a solid base to build on and can set reasonable — and achievable — goals.



1) Run a marathon

I keep toying with this idea, but I need to get over any fear or anxiety I have about this. I just need to put it out there and try my best. I have my sights set on the Goodlife Toronto Marathon on May 6th (training shall commence in a few short days!). While the hope is to just finish the damn thing, I’m keeping a 4:45 time goal in the back of my head. Because running your first marathon isn’t hard enough…


2) Do yoga weekly

I was a semi-religious yogi before I took up running. I rarely missed my Sunday ashtanga class. But as running became more and more frequent, I found it harder to fit in a weekly yoga class — especially during the busy literary seasons. Excuses no more! I’ve built 2 weekly yoga classes into my marathon training. I’m going to need that downtime as I creep into 50k+ and 60k+ weeks.


3) Run a sub-55:00 10k

A weird thing happened in my three 10k races. Each run was stronger and more consistent than the last — but each one was slower. I chalk thing up to the courses being harder and harder. My 10k PR is 57:15 at Sporting Life last year. I know with a bit of speed training, sub-55:00 is within my reach this year. If I don’t snag it at the Toronto Yonge Street 10k on April 22, I plan to make this the focus of my summer running.


4) Eat better

The plans for the diet are, like every year, big! But instead of listing these as “no more sugar!” and “no more carbs!” I think it will be more achievable to simply try to eat better. I read somewhere that 50% of the food you eat every day should be raw. I’m going to do that. I’m a pretty healthy eater as it is, with one exception. CARBS. I love bagels a bit too much. So, if I plan to cut back on the fast food (bring my lunch more often!), sugar (this should be easy. I don’t have a sweet tooth, I just get lazy and eat crap) and carbs (this will be the big one), I won’t feel like a I broke a resolution or cheated if I slip up every once in a while.

Besides, eating better will mean running better. That should be enough, right?


5) Become a morning person

Why? I like my mornings. I like the ritual of reading the news and drinking coffee and getting ready for the day. And the earlier I can wake up, the more fitness I can fit into a day. But I’m the kind of girl that needs a good 8 (or 9 or 10) hours od sleep a night. So this morning person goal means shutting the TV and computer down and closing the books early — 9pm is the goal! If it goes well, that’s an hour to unwind and a 10pm shut eye — which I need if I’m going to start saying hello to 6:30am.

Wish me luck!