What is #SUP? Say that fast three times!

Making our way down the Rideau Canal

I did the StandUp for CHEO fundraiser yesterday. One word for it: Awesome!

For those who don’t know what Stand Up Paddling is, it’s basically a surfboard with a long paddle. It sounds easy but it’s a bit tricky at first to get the balance thing down. But oh so much fun!

While I was on the 18k trek  from Mooney’s Bay to the NAC and back, I had time to think about the similarities between SUP’ing and life. It took us about five hours when you include the locks and all! Here are the highlights:

  1. Be efficient: Like most sports now, a lot of the success on a board has to do with using your core. You can just use your muscles but you will run out of steam in a short while. Sounds a bit like ChiRunning…
  2. There’s a method to the madness: Further to the first point, there’s a technique to SUP. It really helped to have a few experienced paddlers around. And like everything in life, a few tips from knowledgeable folks when you’re a novice makes a world of difference.
  3. Right equipment helps: I had been using my Mom’s board (board are basically rated for different weights and different usage) so using a board more suited for my size made a world of difference. Is your equipment right for you in your day-to-day? If not, it would be worth the time to make it happen now!
  4. Don’t take yourself so seriously: I was trying out different boards after the event and took a pretty nice wipeout trying to turn around a displacement board in the windy conditions. I might have looked like a tool but I enjoyed the refreshing dip!
All and all a great day. Let’s just say it won’t be the last time you hear from me on this subject…

And for those who missed it, here is my interview on CTV Morning Live I did last week for the upcoming CTV Presents Amazing People Gala in support of SchoolBOX.

And interested folkssee schoolbox.ca/gala for all the details. Tickets went on sale last week and it’s bound to be a sell-out!

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How do you measure up?

“What gets measured gets done.” –Peter F. Drucker, management icon

This is true. I can tell you from experience. From following a training plan for a race to a “diet”, measuring tangibles tracks your progress.

I’ve gotten back to weighing myself on a daily basis since I’m back on the slow carb diet (from Timothy Ferriss’ 4 Hour Body) . I hadn’t done so in months and we all know how that worked out…

So far so good as I’m down almost six pounds for the week. Don’t worry I’m not starving myself, just choosing from different sources of food. And even have a bit of red wine every night!

Part of the issue is you get reminders of what you should be doing with the weigh-ins. Also knowing that if you cheat it will most likely show up the next day/week is usually motivation enough to stop you from doing it in the first place. Sometimes that’s all you need.

Studies show that you get better results if you write outcomes down, whether it’s a food journal or a running log. It keeps you accountable and it makes you proud when you hit certain milestones.

I’m not saying that you should just measure everything in life. You probably wouldn’t actually get much done that way. I’m just saying if you have some goals, getting something you can measure along the way will go a long way in determining your success!

How do you measure up? What do you measure?

When you’re done measuring, take a stroll through the forest instead of going to the gym if you want to “get away”. Trust me it will help your mental state.

This article from the Guardian shows that being in nature helps quite a bit, according to a study from Glasgow University.

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#Crowdsource your life!

I try to practice what I preach. Since I’ve been involved with crowdsourcing for the past year or so, I’ve incorporated it into my day-to-day.

If I’m looking for a good restaurant in a new city, I usually post something on Twitter or Facebook and let my peeps guide me. I haven’t been steered wrongfully yet!

I do the same thing with a lot of other things these days, i.e. car dealers, professionals, etc. With the connections through social media these days, it’s so easy and pain-free. And you might be surprised where the good stuff comes from…

I’m even getting friends to do it. Recently my buddy Rob was looking for some suggestions for running-related books. I told him to post something on his Facebook wall so I can share with my contacts, a lot of them being into running. Within a day, he had close to a dozen suggestions which he’s still enjoying to this day. Love it!

Crowdsourcing is increasingly omnipresent. Google uses a form of crowdsourcing though their algorithm although I trust my friends more than SEO. You can always ask your neighbours but I think my contacts know me better these days. You can also go old school and look in the Yellow Pages. Okay, maybe not. Do those even still exist?

If you want to know more about crowdsourcing, see a recent post I wrote for the Intersol blog on the subject. It’s my definition of crowdsourcing in 300 words or so!

And here’s a cool video on the subject:

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Bonne fete du Canada à tous! Happy Canuck Day!

That’s the one nice thing about Canada, you can be cool in French or English!

I might not be as Canadian as this guy:

But I think I’m a pretty good candidate. I’m fluently bilingual and I’ve lived in numerous provinces. I’ve been to almost every province and territory but Newfoundland, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Yukon. I play hockey and I enjoy good conversations about sex, religion and politics without wanting to shoot people.

I love poutine and Beavertails. I like our beer, wine and comedians. I also love our international rep and our thriving multiculturalism. Yay us!

When you read this, I will be on my way to run freely with a friend of mine in downtown Ottawa. We’re very lucky to have those liberties. And a thriving economy. It’s almost the best of both worlds.

We’re not perfect but this is somewhere I’m proud to call home.

Now let’s raise a glass. Un verre pour tout le monde!

And here’s another classic to help us celebrate:

Happy Birthday Canada. I’m darn proud to be Canadian today (and everyday)!


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The good and the not so good: #Tremblant70.3 race recap

According to the announcer, I did it (the 70.3 equivalent of “You are an Ironman”)! That’s a good thing…

It was definitely an experience. I signed up for this race six months ago or so since the rest of my family was also doing it. Things didn’t really work out that way…

Here are a few good and not so good things about my stay and race in Tremblant:

Good: Hanging out in Tremblant for a few days with some family and friends
Not so good: It can’t last forever…

Good: Seeing Solefit Orthotics’ Ryan Grant coming back in second place. It couldn’t happen to a nicer guy.
Not so good: I didn’t finish in the top ten. Or even come close to my PB…

Good: Nice and easy check-in process for this 70.3
Not so good:  Seeing the number on the scale. Ouch!

Good: Seeing lots of folks cheering out on the course
Not so good: Them seeing me in a tight get-up. At least I was smiling!

Good: No soreness today, all thanks to using the ChiRunning principles out there
Not so good: I should have trained more so I could have pushed more!

Good: Amazing scenery here on the bike and a nice and easy first 70k.
Not so good: The last 20k were not kind to me. That’s when the lack of training caught up to me and my chain falling off didn’t help.

Even if it wasn’t my best result (or even close), I’m glad I did it. Now I need to figure out something for this racing season. It will probably be a quiet one as I slowly get back in shape.

The good thing is that I can still do a Half Ironman with minimal training and smile all the way through it.

Here’s a great article on how Canadian runners are closing the gap on world-class runners with some innovation and high mileage.

I’m really enjoying the features in the Globe & Mail these days!

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You always remember your first time!

I’m less than a day away from doing another 70.3 (Half Ironman for those not familiar with the Ironman lingo). And the logo to the right says it all…

I still remember my first one like it was yesterday. The non-corporate one was at the Canadian at the end of the 2006 tri season. A small race with lots of family cheering and me caring about where I placed. A lot. Oh the good old days…

My first M-Dot one was two years later at the inaugural Rhode Island 70.3. A great course and an awesome day but what struck me the most was what a production it all was.

If you’ve never been to an Ironman event, it’s worth it just to soak up the atmosphere. A weird mix of spandex, carbon fiber, testosterone and now compression socks…

It all looks a little silly to the naked eye. And now that I’m removed from the hardcore tri crowd, I can attest that it can be. I used to be very preoccupied about my bike splits, my aero wheels and my sperm helmet. Now I just want to play some golf or go for a run with friends. How the time changes everything…

One of the great things I still love about triathlon is that it attracts all kinds of folks. If you wait at the finish line you will see all the ages and shapes and sizes, well after the pros and top finishers have come through.

And it still makes me smile when you see a newbie cross the finish line. You can’t fake that kind of smile!

As for tomorrow, I’m not nervous for this one since I don’t really have goals for myself. Except maybe finish. And don’t die.

Good luck to me!

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Can #ChiRunning be useful for short distances like a 5k?

World record holder for 5000m. Does he look like he’s using a lot of muscles to propel himself?

I taught Intro to ChiRunning workshops on both days this past weekend. Not only did we get unreal weather, I also had the pleasure of teaching two wonderful groups.

One of the participants on Saturday emailed on Sunday with this question: Is ChiRunning used by many runners for short distances, such as 5 km, or is it more intended for long distances?

Great question by the way, and I love having questions emailed over. It means the people actually listened and then went home and actually tried it. Success all around!

Actually long distance in running circles is considered anything above 800m. You cannot use muscles to propel you efficiently over the long run (anything over 400 or 800m).

I think most people come to ChiRunning for injury-free running or to increase mileage but more and more folks come to me to increase speed. I guess it comes with being a runner and A-type.

Trust me that you can get some really good speed with ChiRunning. And you don’t need muscle. If you use muscle (pushing off or grabbing ground with your feet), you end up stopping the forward momentum you’re trying to create with the pull of gravity.

Some people try to mix ChiRunning with the old school stuff (power running/heel to toe) but unfortunately you can’t marry the two. If you push (with muscle) while ChiRunning, all you’re doing is getting closer to seeing your health professional.

I know it’s a bit counter-intuitive but in ChiRunning if you want to go faster, you have to relax more. Weird when you start but oh-so-good when it happens for you…

Just go with the flow folks! 😉

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What is a #TweetUp?

When I tell people about one of my favourite subjects these days (tweetups), I usually get the same response: What is that?

So I thought I would answer it once and for all! Okay, maybe not but here is my version of the facts.

A tweetup is a meeting of Twitter folks. Yes, we actually meet in the same room and chat. And no, not just through our smartphones either!

When we started the Health & Fitness TweetUp late last year, all we wanted to do is get like-minded folks together. So far it’s worked wonders with two great installments already. More goodness to come!

I’ve been to a few over the past year and it’s always nice to meet folks in a different setting than online. Most of the time you start talking about the subject at hand but it always gets personal (in a good way) rather quickly. I’ve met some amazing folks at these and I still connect with them regularly.

I’ve also done some great networking at these sessions, especially since folks come together for a shared purpose. People used to meet in church and now they meet online. To me, this is just an evolution of it all…

For those in Ottawa and interested in checking one out, the next Health & Fitness TweetUp (#hftott) is on Tuesday, June 26 at Rama Lotus. See here for all the details.

There is also a tweetup for the Social Capital Conference (#SoCapOtt) coming up next week (Wed June 20) so there is no shortage these days…

Another great look at the barefoot vs shoe debate, this time on Podiatry Today. It seems everyone and their mother is getting involved.

Like I always say, as long as we’re actually talking about it, it’s all good!

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Is science flawed?

I must admit. I’m a geek.

I read a lot of articles, most of them on running, and most of them refer to studies. And some of them contradict each other. Interesting…

So is science flawed? How can midfoot striking be better for you and so can heel striking?

I think science is a lot like stats, you can almost make it say what you want. Do you remember all of the science experiments you did in high school. 10 teams or so followed the same steps but yet some got ridiculously different outcomes!

There are a few things that are close to gospel (gravity, osmosis, photosynthesis, etc) but every time you add human interaction it has potential to be flawed. It’s not because we are bad people (I truly think people are good) but rather biased beyond belief. This fact has been proven studies so there!

I still try to be aligned as close to science as I can in what I do but sometimes you gotta go with what feels natural. When both collide, it’s magic. Hence my love for ChiRunning!

I’ve been re-listening to Timothy Ferriss’ books (Four Hour Workweek and Four Hour Body) and through both, he takes a critical look at a lot of assumptions. A lot of the day-to-day principles we follow are not really scientific but people love something that sounds good.

I guess it goes back to figuring out what works for yourself. We’re all a walking science experiment with countless variables. So go out there and experiment and throw out all those assumptions.

And let me know what science is flawed for you!

Here is a good article from Running Times on foot strike since I know a lot of folks are worried about that. I guess that’s a by-product of science talking about how bad heel striking is…

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What is #minimalist running?

I often get that question so I thought I would provide a brief answer. In really short terms, it’s more than just the shoes!

One caveat, if you’re trying to adapt to a minimalist running style, make sure you take your time!

Until then…

Also, here’s a guide from the Washingtonian on the best minimalist running shoes out there. It interviewed a ChiRunning instructor from DC for it. Cool beans!

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